For this assignment, I decided to take a different approach from anyone else in the class, although there were some who did a TV show instead of a film, no one else did an animation turned IRL apart from me. (This is as far as I know). My goal for this film was to turn Lilo & Stitch into a horror/thriller.
In order to do this, I went over the specific scene I was recreating, I tried to find any element that could be switched into a darker tone. The biggest change from this scene is that Stitch is no longer an alien lifeform, but instead a demonic doll, who possesses Lilo. Originally, that was going to be my only creative change to help bring out the horror aspect and keep everything else rather similar. My first idea was to have it take place in a dog shelter and have Stitch be a toy that one of the dogs found. But due to lack of responses from almost all dog shelters and the fact that the only one that allowed us to film was an hour away and closed at 6 P.M, (this clashed with one of my actresses timetables).
My second idea was to have Stitch found in an old toy store, but this idea was quickly shut down since no toy stores allowed us to film.
My final idea was to have it be a makeshift yard sale and have Stitch be donated. This would mean I could set up a small yet creepy place with dozens of toys, and have Stitch be in the centre.
From getting my cast and crew, it was only a few days work. I sent out a call sheet on a facebook page for actors and filmmakers in Glasgow, and within 2 days had about half a dozen responses, I had Chelsea send in an audition tape since her character was very specific. I then had to make sure that the actress playing Lilo, was fit for the possessed child character type, and had some resemblance to Chelsea, the girl that I picked to play Lilo (Eva) also worked on a previous film from another SAE student, which was also a horror, so I had some reference to see if she was fit to play in a horror. Jean’s character didn’t require an audition tape, for she did send in a reference tape from a few previous jobs.
I also had Iona Morrison be my 1st AD, and Matthew Mace as my DoP, as I was confident with both of them since I worked with them previously on many occasions.
Once I had my cast and crew, I quickly arranged rehearsals, this was to make sure that Eva was pronouncing things the way I wanted her to and to make sure that she was hitting the creepy possessed child look I was wanting. Rehearsals also took place to make sure that the chemistry between her and Chelsea was good enough to be sisters. Although I wanted to have rehearsals right away, it was hard since everyone had clashing timetables for about 3 weeks. Not long after rehearsals, I had the proper film day, which lasted about 3-4 hours.
When it came to the edit of it all, I had major issues with sound, as we filmed near vending machines, and it added variation to almost all the audio that involved talking, this would have been avoided if I was able to have an audio engineer on set, but due to the struggles of getting a location locked in place, I didn’t have enough time to talk to one. For the colour grading, I went with darker shadows, and a blue tint to everything, this is to help emphasise that the film is not like the original and that it is involved with the horror genre (blue is used often for many horror films). I decided to not have a film score, but instead have child whispers play in the background when Lilo is with Stitch, as whispers are very stereotypical for horror films to emphasise that something unnatural is happening or present.
Overall the process of directing this film was a major challenge, as I set myself up for many road blocks, from working with animals and children, to having the overall idea be rather difficult, but I was able to present a great piece in my opinion, with the help of my 1st AD, and having a great cast and remaining crew.
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