Sunday, February 10, 2013

From A World Less Bright

I haven't written here in well over two months, I simple didn't have the energy to make a new post at the time that would look anything but gibberish as I had to put all my energy into another project and nightly shootings.
With that said, this whole project has taken a quantum leap forward since last time!

First of all, I am not the only one working on this anymore. Though I will still do most of it myself, like editing, most of the shooting, and all sound, the project is now also joined by several new actors, a few advisors, and I've taken contact with people for such things as grading, help with in-camera effects, and eventual prop-building, to name a few things. This did indeed begin as something of a personal sandbox at first - making something recorded on a not very impressive iPhone-camera in a stairway with me, a handful of voice-actors, and some simple prop-monsters as the only cast into a feature length film seemed very unrealistic at the time. To my great surprise I was very very wrong! In many good ways!
It will still remain extremely low-budget and improvised based on what and who I can find, as far as possible completely without money. Not because I have to (though I actually do. Nearly a year of sickness was as unhealthy for the wallet as for me in person), but as much because this film actually gains from keeping visuals very simplistic and vague. Mind you horror lies in what you do not know. It also forces me to find new and different ways to deal with things that makes the whole project spring to life in very unexpected ways!
It is still being recorded on my iPhone, though I have now found a program to replace the ridiculous app the phone is bundled with to a new one that gives me control over important things like picture settings, framerate and bitrate.
All effects are still being made in-camera, and absolutely all sound will still be made and processed in my own fully professional studio with both heavy design, full foley, and a tremendous and greatly spatial mix in true 5.1 surround embracing the viewers!

What's new though is, not counting the heavily improved picture-quality (already did mention that above, you know...), first and foremost that the story has evolved. A lot.
Three months ago I had a beginning and an ending. The beginning has remained pretty much unchanged throughout the work, but the more I thought about it, and I do think of this all the time, the more the world grew and evolved, and the ending most of all. When the movie reached its first incarnation of what it would eventually become, I had a cool story that was well enough to make a good movie, but I didn't really know exactly why he was there, or even exactly where he was. Didn't seem important at the time, and I will never give clear answers anyway if I don't have to. I also hadn't given much though about whether or not the monsters and entities was sentient or even had some kind of agenda and purpose at all either. At the time I saw them pretty much as regular movie-monsters - no more than powerful animals just looking for prey. The main antagonist, "Him", was the first one to gain a true identity and a purpose of his own, and that he did pretty much instantly, but all other entities has gotten their backgrounds, final characteristics, and reason for their behaviour as time went.

The next thing to advance heavily has been the locations! I did already mention the abandoned farm in a previous post, but what I've found lately has been far beyond what I could ever had hoped for!
The first place I found was an old hospice in the middle of being razed. A hospice, in contrast to a hospital, is not a place you're sent to in hope for recovery. That is a place you're sent to because there are no hope, but they wanna give you as much dignity as possible until you are no more. How awfully fitting for a ghost-story!
With that said, the whole place smelled absolutely awful. A sick, sweetish, infected smell I'll never forget...
Doesn't matter though, if I hadn't seen gangrene and badly infected wounds before I'd probably just thought it smelled weird and thought nothing of it. The nose gets used to odors fast though, so that wasn't really a problem.
 The footage I got was pure gold! When I first found the place they'd just begun razing it, so the entire basement and a whole section of the house was still standing. There where reinforcement-iron, shattered glass and loose piles of concrete everywhere, so I had to be very careful not to impale myself on something unpleasant....especially here...but all in all luck was on my side.
As mentioned earlier, this project is completely improvised, save for the beginning and ending, and as such, new scenes and locations are completely dependent on what I can find and who I can get with me. The hospice and everything around it gave me a first much wanted piece to take the more industrial and extremely decayed touch I was looking for from the very beginning, and with that in the bin the movie took the first strides into becoming what it is now!
Together with the new locations, both this one and all the other I've visited the last few months, not to mention the ones scheduled, came more kinds of hostiles and entities, as well as new kinds of hazards. This is not really an action movie, I truly love surrealistic creeping horror, but it's still an extremely hostile environment - every step might be his last, and he has absolutely no means of fighting anything attacking him. The new techniques I've found using camera and lighting in collaboration has enhanced the already sinister soundscape to give that feeling of helplessness tremendously, but frankly nothing has done so much for this movie as the hellish locations!

I revisited the hospice four more times at different stages of the razing, which gave completely new material every time, until it was completely mowed to the ground and all that remained was a humongous earth-filled hole in the lawn.


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