Thursday, 12 April 2018

3 Filmmaking Tips You Can Learn From A Quiet Place


A Quiet Place is a fantastic cinematic experience and a film I would strongly suggest you watch first-hand in cinemas and not wait for the DVD release. From the get-go the audience are INSTANTLY involved in the story, and as you may have heard already - there are very few words spoken in this film. Intrigued yet?  

Great! But be warned: SPOILERS AHEAD!


If you're not familiar with the plot, then before we get into the filmmaking magic, here's the logline: 

A family is forced to live in silence while hiding from creatures that hunt by sound.

Filmmaking Tip 1


KEEP IT SIMPLE & YOU CAN'T GO WRONG

The concept of the film is very simple - a family must survive in silence. Make a sound and the aliens will kill you. 

A Quiet Place does NOT get bogged down in the events leading up to the first scene, or the history of the aliens or the characters and their backstory. It starts with the action as it's happening and by doing so, the audience can instantly recognise who a character is by the actions they portray in the scene. The audience may not understand everything that's happening at once, but all will be revealed and easily understood with a well thought out story and concept. Don't overshare and rush to fill in the blanks with the audience. 

CONCLUSION: 

  • START WITH ACTION - Instantly draw your audience in as events unfold

  • SHOW RATHER THAN TELL THE AUDIENCE- Communicate with a character's look or body language over words. Make every word serve a purpose.

  • DON'T GET BOGGED DOWN IN BACKSTORY- Audiences are clever, let them fill in the blanks when necessary. A good story will be able to convey what the audience need to understand.

Filmmaking Tip 2


USE YOUR ENVIROMENT/SETTING AS A CHARACTER IN YOUR STORY

The remote setting of A Quiet Place adds to the tension and desperation felt within the family unit for these characters. 

The woods do not guarantee safety or shelter for these characters, if anything it feels claustrophobic. One wrong move and the aliens will flee from their hiding places and storm the farmhouse - the home of the characters or find them out in the land around the woods.

The characters are also very mindful and clever in using the tools around them for survival. For example, they put down sand over the footpaths they use to dampen the sound. They also communicate with one another over distances with coloured fairy lights outside their home - red to signal help/danger. 

CONCLUSION:

  • THE WORLD OF YOUR STORY IS A LIVE CHARACTER - Think of the environment and setting your characters inhabit as a live character. How can it interact and serve the narrative? 

  • MINDFUL ACTIONS - You can tell more in a script by having your characters DO rather than speak. SHOW the audience what will happen. This adds to the tension in your story, what consequences will happen because of the characters actions?


Filmmaking Tip 3


DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE 'WHITE SPACE' - EMBRACE IT

I won't give away the first loud noise/word spoken in A Quiet Place, but when it happens it presents one of the biggest shocks to the audience. 

Up until that  point, the audience has been fully immersed in an almost entirely silent story - even the characters are communicating via sign language with one another - and naturally, the audience are already active participants in the tension building towards the first climax. 

CONCLUSION:

  • BUILD TOWARDS THE INCITING INCIDENT - When writing your own script, take note and don't try to fill your page with unnecessary dialogue. When the 'shocking/inciting incident' finally happens, it's all the more SHOCKING because it's a significant moment with REAL and HORRIFYING consequences for the main characters. 

  • CREATE SIGNIFICANT MOMENTS/EMBRACE SILENCE - Make sure that you are able to drive the audience in the direction you want in your story by providing them with significant silences. Let them ponder what's developing on the screen in front of them, have them as immersed in your story as possible. 


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