Nick is an ostracised freshman in school due to his sloppiness and lack of motivation in life. He tries to make friends but always ends up in rejection, leading him to be labelled as a weirdo in school. In a desperate attempt to make friends, he attended the school’s Halloween party as a vampire but turns out to be a feeble attempt when he caught his friends gossiping about him. Realising that his last ditch of effort had went a waste, Nick isolates himself in the washroom and stares at his reflection in the mirror as he questions his identity. The emotional turmoil from constant rejections starts to turn him into a psychopath as he sees himself as a real vampire. Wearing the identity of a vampire, he began to seek revenge on his friends. The revenge started as a means to display his prowess but gradually turn nasty. He starts hunting them and taking them down one by one.
Actor: Nevin (Main)
Cameraman: Jafri and Nevin
Screenplay: Nevin and Jafri
Storywriter: YuQing and Jafri
Production Designer: Yen
Film Editor: Nevin
So, here’s a timeline of our work progress :
24 Oct: Storyline Discussion
Among all the genres, we decided to work on horror. Firstly, we felt that it was a genre that works to the strength of our team because Yen is well-versed in production design while Jari enjoys working with lighting. Secondly, horror allows us to experiment a lot more with visuals. And lastly, it was a genre that pushes us out of our comfort zone and work on something new to all of us. Honestly speaking, none of us were fans of horror shows except Yen. Nevertheless, we wanted to seize this production as a good learning opportunity for the team.
As a team, we had an endless flow of ideas. We were watching trailers after trailers and discussing horror stories one after another. Ideas were just floating everywhere. Hence, the storywriters had to intervene and filter the ideas and string them into a logical narrative. In the end, we decided to settle on a story that revolves around Halloween as Halloween was just around the corner at the point of discussion. We were also partly inspired by the film ‘The Clown’ – a film where the dad dress as a clown for his son’s birthday party but could not remove it afterwards. The mishap takes a bad turn as the clown costume turns out to be demonic.
However, we decided to change the context such that it resonates with our audience – our classmates. One of the major change was the main character which we wanted him to be a misfit. This idea was from Nevin when he acutely pointed out that misfits had been interesting character archetypes in recent years eg Perks of Being a Wallflower and Big Bang Theory (nerds!). Even Disney movies work with outcasts in their shows.
This is the initially the (brief) story outline we had:
- Nick is a very messy and unmotivated freshman who is ostracised by his schoolmates.
- However, he wants to make friends (shaping force of story)
- Flyer for a Halloween house party given out in school.
- X is loner and not invited but picks up a flyer for the party
- He’s keen to join. (he smirks at the invitation)
- Go home and find an old set of costume in the attic
- X tries on the costume. Costume fits him perfectly and completely covers his face.
- X goes to party and no one recognises him in the costume.
- Overhears a conversation where other people are gossiping about him.
- X get angry and leaves the party silently.
- Reaches home and want to remove costume but realises he can’t. Costume is stuck on him.
- He starts hunting people.He struggles to remove the costume
This story outline gradually took on a more solid form and logical flow in narrative along the way as we film.
We planned out filming scenes in details. However, many of the scenes were not used eventually as we came up with new storyboard along the way.
24 Oct: Film Footage at Halloween Party
Since OUR school was having a Halloween party, we decided to seize the chance and film footage for our trailer. Jafri and Nevin filmed different students in their costumes and some of the footages were ultimately used in the final trailer. (In a way, we had blurred the line between fiction and reality.)
30 Oct: Act 1 filming at Jafri’s Hall
In order to establish our character as messy, we decided to use Jafri’s hall to show a messy room. As Jafri’s hall was very neat, we took some effort to mess it up for our main character. It was our first shoot and our progress was pretty slow. A lot of time was spend trying to figure out how to shoot the crane shot smoothly with just Jafri’s arms. #budgetproblems
31 Oct: Act 1 filming in school
Most of the scenes film on this day did not make it into our final trailer as we thought the shots were too long and not impactful enough to establish the character. The establishing shot of our character was almost becoming a narrative for a full film. However, we got a lot more practice with panning and tracking shots on this day. Watch the video to see our progress for that day and the outtakes for the trailer.
1 Nov: Act 2 filming in school
This was one of the most productive shoots we had and a lot more fun. YuQing was starting to understand what’s going on in filming. Yen finally had her chance to shine. Jafri was getting better with camera movements. And most importantly, Nevin finally became a vampire on set. Woohoo!
And YuQing brought a skateboard to set that makes dollying shots a lot more productive and fun. We were able to get smoother dollying shots in the scene where the vampire stalks his victims.
Most of the scenes we shot today were for the climax and re-shoots for the character.
For the re-shoots of the character, we decided to reference ‘Friend Request‘ to show how Nick is being rejected by his friends – Nick is being shoved aside by a jerk he considered as his friend.
The scene where the victim turn around to see Nick was one of our favourite scene. This was referenced from The Conjuring trailer.
The filming started at about 6pm and ended at about 12:30 midnight. It was a productive day.
3 Nov: Climax filming at ADM, Hall 12 and NTU Running Track
This was probably one of the most memorable shots for the group as we finally moved out of ADM and shot at new places. We were shooting at a lot of outdoors shots at night (ie carpark and running track) so we had to use the Caliber lights we had loan from school. They were really useful. The low lighting condition really puts our lighting skills to test as well as coordination between actors, cameraman and the grip (aka human tripod). Also, as the scenes for the climax are usually fast cuts, we less concerned about camera movement but instead focus on character movements and shoting angles. Our cameraman/director/screenwriter also tried to experiment and shoot more footages that could be useful while editing for the trailer.
An overview of our filming schedule:
|Scenes – Location
|Discussion of storyline
|Scene 3 & 5 – Jafri’s Hall
|Shabby outfit for Nick
|Scene 1 – Classroom
Scene 2 – Locker Hallway
Scene 4 – Locker Hallway
|Conversation outside of party – TBC
Nick’s struggling transformation from Halloween costume to full vampire – Jafri’s Hall
Full werewolf hunting down of Qing along ADM hallway
|FULL vampire costume
Costume for Qing
Costume for Jafri
|Intense Hunting Scene:
The editing were all done by Nevin. It was a tedious process to edit fast cuts and many of our scenes were shot in low lighting which needed more processing. Thankfully, our responsible editor continues his editing even on his flight to NYC which allowed us to submit a more finished piece on final submission/presentation day 🙂
Just for the fun of it, we decided to include a logo for our group which encapsulate the alphabets H-A-R-M-O-N-Y. We called ourselves Harmony Production because coincidentally, our group members we all of different races- Chinese, Indian, Malay and Vietnamese. We put harmony in interracial 🙂
And, let’s end off with some bloopers and behind-the-scenes 🙂