Ahead of Filmbase’s upcoming Screen Studio Academy: Directors Intensive Lab – Shoot Your Own Horror Short, writer, director and nightmare-maker Conor McMahon shares his 5 tips to scare the bejebus out of your audience.
1. Take your actors to one location and chop them up. Preferably a location that doesn’t mind you throwing fake blood around.
2. Make the first death the most impactful. The audience will be nervous about what’s to come.
3. If you’re making a comedy horror get funny actors. You can’t direct someone how to tell a joke.
4. Use the elements. Wind, fire, smoke and rain, will all add to the atmosphere.
5. In a scary horror less is more. In a comedy horror, more is more.
Screen Studio Academy: Directors Intensive Lab
20th October – 26th November, Tuesdays & Thursdays
€380 Members / €420 Non-Members
SHOOT YOUR OWN HORROR SHORT! Learn the techniques needed to successfully direct a horror film with the Screen Studio Academy: Directors Intensive lab. Participants will focus on idea generation to intensify terror as well as creating atmospheric screen stories.
The Screen Studio Academy: Directors’ Intensive Lab is a highly practical course for filmmakers who want to take their skill to the next level. While examining different genres of horror, students will develop a group idea to shoot a short horror film.
The course runs two evenings per week (Tuesdays and Thursdays) and directors will also be expected to set aside time outside of class for assignments and for developing project work. As well as working on the short, participants will also work with the Screen Studio Actors and Writers Academy programmes at Filmbase to collaborate on developing projects through performance and workshop participation.
Participants new to directing are welcome and encouraged to take part in the course. However, they should be willing and eager to push themselves and committed throughout the duration.
The course will cover directing for horror film and television, specifically focusing on:
• Creating a story that speaks to an audience
• Looking at fear triggers and how it’s translated in film
• Story and script editing
• Developing a directorial voice
• Working with producers and creative departments
• Understanding cinematography and lighting techniques
• Horror genre conventions
• Planning for special effects and gore
• Working with actors
• Post production
Tutor: Conor McMahon
Conor studied filmmaking at the Irish National Film School in Dun Laoghaire. In 2004 he made his debut feature film Dead Meat, which was funded by the Irish Film Board. Following this, Conor went on to direct Zombie Bashers, an entry in the RTÉ’s Storyland competition. The show was voted by the public as the winner of the competition.
Short Films Conor directed have won numerous awards including: Best Short at the Sitges Film Festival (Spain), First Prize in the Kodak Commercial Awards (London) and Second prize at Edinburgh’s Dead by Dawn Horror film Festival.
Conor has worked on the popular RTÉ sketch show, The Republic of Telly, writing and directing sketches with acts such as The Rubber Bandits, Damo & Ivor and Georgia Salpa. His 2012 feature film Stitches, starring British comedian Ross Noble, won best film at the Midnight Xtreme section of the prestigious Sitges Film Festival. And most recently: Conor’s latest feature, From the Dark has been described by Fangoria as ‘a taut, coiled piece of dread-infused cinema that… delivers everything one could hope for from a fresh entry in that subgenre.’
- 20th October – 26th November, Tuesdays & Thursdays
- 7.00pm – 10.00pm
- Weekend/evening work may be required for collaborative projects (dates tbc)
- Participants should set aside two to three hours per week outside of class time for assignments
- €380 Members / €420 Non-Members
- €150 Deposit
- Filmbase, Temple Bar, Curved street
Follow on courses
Participants will be offered priority booking for Screen Studio Directors’s Academy Advanced Courses from January 2016 in Comedy Directing, Soap and Television Directing and Directing for Transmedia projects.