Directed by Adam Nitzberg

For this project I wanted to challenge myself but at the same time I didn’t want to overextend myself. I wanted to do something that would test my skills as a director while being realistic in regards to the short timeline and lack of budget. I had heard too many horror back at school of ambitious directors overextending themselves and the product coming out sloppy. The main factors that people were overzealous with, I realized, were having too many actors, too many locations, and/or making their films too long.

Project Breakdown

So, I decided to push forward with an idea that I had been juggling with for a while, a microshort, a film under one minute in length. This would allow me to focus on telling an effective story in a concise amount of time. I chose the genre of horror because I thought that would be the most effective for the length and it would allow me to explore an unsettling concept. Mirrors and reflections stuck out to me because they are something we deal with every day so the horror of them is not foreign like a monster isolated to one specific patch of wilderness or a ghost that haunts one particular house.  Nearly everyone looks at themselves in a mirror at least once a day. My goal was to make those people wonder about the face they saw looking back.

Logistically, this tested my all of my skills do the inherent difficulty of the concept. I used Maria’s  (one of the other interns) apartment and covered the wall mounted mirror with green screen. She then had to mimic all of her actions exactly the same twice, as would the camera operator. Then, in post-production, the two shots would be composited to give the illusion of it being a real mirror. Directing this proved to be quite a challenge.  

Directing was a very different experience for me.  I’ve always only captured people with a camera and didn’t interfere with what they’d naturally be doing.  Kind of like a fly on the wall. The extent of my directing/staging during a shoot was positioning someone for an interview shot.  So I felt really annoying and pushy telling people what to do this time. Pretty much every shot besides the found footage was staged.  I planned everything as well as thought of more shots on the spot, I positioned my friend exactly how I wanted her, and told my crew what I wanted them to do with the camera.  I even did Sierra’s hair and makeup. After I saw the footage on the monitor, I couldn’t wait to get editing. It was so incredibly beautiful (Shoutout to the best crew ever).

I think in that regard I mostly succeeded. I did make a couple mistakes that proved to be costly and caused me to abandon the original ending and to trim more off of the film than I originally intended. I think it is certainly not the best film I have done but it is without a doubt the most I have ever learned in a single project.

This project was created as part of the JTWO [INC]ubator Project. A semester long internship program built from the ground up to give young filmmakers, content creators, and all around hungry for a challenge individuals a place to stretch their creative minds while preparing them for the road ahead.

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