Education Blog

Film Challenge: That Thing is Scary

By Darrel Swann, Education Program Manager 07.27.20

Sound Film Challenge #2: That Thing is Scary

Challenge posted Thursday, Aug. 6; submissions due Monday, Aug. 17 by 5:00 pm.

Congratulations to our last Film Challenge's winners Chloe Mace and Sofia Alvarez, who won with their film The Crazy Lady! Click HERE to watch their film.


General Challenge Rules

  1. Film Challenges come out on THURSDAYS. To enter the prize pool, you MUST send us your film, or a working link to your film, to filmchallenge@burnsfilmcenter.org by the deadline at 5:00 pm.
  2. Films must be under 2 minutes.
  3. Films must be “family-friendly” to win the challenge. Nothing R-rated!
  4. All film challenges have three components - an Image, Sound, and Story element. Each submission must include the requirement for each category.
  5. The prizes are having your film featured on the JBFC YouTube Channel and free film and concessions tickets!


That Thing is Scary

PROMPT: Be it a doll, a furnace, a tire, a plant, or a group of birds, a good Director can make anything scary. That’s because “scary” is all about atmosphere. For this challenge, find an object and make it scary. Think about why it’s scary, maybe even extra scary, to your character in particular.

*If scary isn’t for you, then you can do the same project, but have two objects meet in a romance or maybe even a musical. Here’s a great example of a short film about a lonely avocado half.

IMAGE

Putting the camera up high and shooting down, a High Angle shot, first image below, is great for making a subject look scared, lost, lonely, or insignificant. The opposite, putting the camera low to the ground and shooting up at a subject, is called a Low Angle shot, second image below, and is great for making subjects look heroic, imposing, or larger than life. It’s often called “the hero shot” for just this reason. 



TASK: Use a High Angle shot and a Low Angle shot in your film. 


SOUND

It’s always important to surprise your audience, especially when you’re trying to scare them. Watch the video for this JBFC View Now Do Now to see some creative and unexpected Sound Effects.

TASK: Have an unexpected sound effect in your film.


STORY

Planting and payoff is a pretty advanced storytelling technique that we see all the time and in all types of films. The idea is that the film casually mentions something, or shows something, in its beginning that becomes important later in the movie. This is literally everywhere in films:

  • The song WALL-E dances to by himself is where he learns to hold hands, something he finally does with Eva at the end of the film.
  • In the beginning of Back to the Future, Marty’s mom mentions the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance. It turns out to be crucial later on as Marty tries to get his parents back together.
  • In Frozen we learn early on that “the head can be persuaded, but the heart is not so easily changed.” This becomes important information when Anna finally finds Elsa in her ice castle.

TASK: Plant a piece of information early in your story that helps the character(s) overcome their obstacle later on. Maybe it’s the key to beating the monster, or a place the two objects might meet.


That Thing is Scary Film Challenge Recap

PROMPT: Be it a doll, a furnace, a tire, a plant, or a group of birds, a good Director can make anything scary. That’s because “scary” is all about atmosphere. For this challenge, find an object and make it scary. Think about why it’s scary, maybe even extra scary, to your character in particular.

  1. Use a High Angle shot and a Low Angle shot in your film.
  2. Have an unexpected sound effect in your film.
  3. Plant a piece of information early in your story that helps the character(s) overcome their obstacle later on. 


We can't wait to see what you create! All submission information is available at the top of the blog. Good luck!

The next round of Film Challenges will begin August 20th, opening with a focus and study in Story.