Early Brainstorming for a Short Film

I can’t decide what to do. I was up well past 3am last night pondering what I could do to create an interesting and compelling short film. I’ve come up with several interesting ideas, but I’ll save that for a post where I can fully flesh out the idea. Here I’d like to start by framing my project with some movies who’s styles I’d like to emulate.

1. MANIC (2012) – Specifically the remake starring Elijah Wood. Please do not misunderstand, I do not recommend this movie to anyone who does not love graphic, highly disturbing horror films. When I first saw this movie, a couple friend suggested we go to the midnight movie at an Independent theatre where I was living at the time. Usually this was a great experience, we went to the hookah bar and chatted for a few hours, drinking coffees. I knew nothing more than the title of the film and something about mannequins. It took five minutes for me to realize my mistake. It is a haunting first person experience, full of dreamy angles, shifting focus and reflections.  I hope to borrow some of this cinematic style, and none of the thematic elements.

2. Natural Born Killers (1994) – I first saw this movie two years ago, while carving pumpkins for Halloween. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen it sooner, it blew me away. I love the narrative style: the use of flashback, the trippy cuts and colors, the way it all unfolds in fits and stops. Once again, I don’t want the story to be an action/horror, but I’d like to borrow some stylistic elements.

3. Paper Heart (2009) – A mock-umentary film starring Charlyne Yi and indie hero Michael Cera, the characters (who retain their real names) ask a bunch of people about their experiences with love. This kind of format/concept lends itself well to all my ideas so far. Let me elaborate: I want the film to pull heavily from reality, while still having some fantastic elements. I want to express a certain childlike sense of wonder, already I have several scenes envisioned in my head which I could insert into any number of different plots.

4. Another influential piece of media I’m heavily considering comes from a Bright Eyes song: An Attempt to Tip the Scales, from the album Fevers and Mirrors. After the song plays, it transitions into a radio interview with singer and artist Connor Oberst. At first it seems to be very standard, but as it goes on it becomes increasingly surreal. Though it was probably scripted, it doesn’t come across as being contrived. Some elements are true and others are fiction, yet all serve to provide deeper insight into the themes and ideas communicated in the album. It makes me recall a quote I mentioned several posts ago, from Picasso:

“Art is a lie that makes us realize truth.”

This is something I’d like to draw into my short film, if possible.


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