To get our basic storyline, we took inspiration from this YouTube video, Ghost in the Stalls. This video is not designed to be a horror, Olan Rogers generally does exaggerated comedic story telling, however, if you imagine it from the man’s perspective, you get this story: a person goes into a stall thinking everything’s normal. They start hearing strange noises and each time, you see them getting more and more panicked. Eventually, believing that there is a ghost/monster/evil spirit, they are driven so crazy by the noises that they run out screaming. By building on the story using the information we gathered from researching horror, we can create our own short film.
In the video by Olan Rogers, the only noise there is that signifies there is a ‘ghost’, is screaming, but as I discovered from research, the most important part in horror movies is building up suspense, and if we cut straight to a scream we would be cutting to the release too soon and it would ruin the tension we had created. Instead, we decided to do a build up of noises, starting off with less obvious noises and moving up to louder, more frantic and scary noises. This would mimic the music, and also allow Kayla (our actress) to slowly show more and more fear, both of which would add to the build-up to the release. For example, in this scene from The Others is a uses sounds to heighten the uneasy feeling until it’s real fear, with sounds such as banging, creaking, whispering and footsteps are all heard.
For a bathroom, we could start off with a noise that doesn’t arouse any suspicion, something you would expect to hear in a bathroom like a dripping tap or footsteps. From there, we could progress to more classic horror movie sound effects: banging, whispering, maybe the sound of nails scratching. As we go on, we could even start to layer some of the noises on top of each other, building up and up in time with the music.
Final plan: shot list
- Establishing shot – panning. Woman enters toilet (a 2nd woman washes hands and leaves as she enters the bathroom). She sees an ‘out of order’ sign on one of the two cubicles, goes into the other and locks the door.
- sound effect – flushing toilet
- close shot – face. Shows face for reaction of surprise to the flush.
- mid shot. Shows her looking under the side of the cubicle into the adjoining one.
- Sound effect – squeaky tap and water flowing.
- Close shot. Woman’s face and hands showing fear.
- Close shot. lock jiggling.
- High shot. Woman stifling a scream. Climbs onto toilet seat. Adopts fetal position, head in hands.
- Sound effect – nails on chalkboard (for nails scratching on the door)
- Low shot – panning. Woman scrambles onto windowsill in fear, attempting to escape out of window.
- Extreme close up. Hands trying to open window.
- Sound effect. Banging on toilet door.
- Close up. Woman’s face. You see a character change. Face changes from scared to amused as she decides to face up to the ghost.
- Mid shot – waist up. Shows shoulders going from hunched up and timid to hang-dog as she squares up.
- Tracking shot. She jumps down.
- Close up. Woman unlocks the door.
- Wide shot. Woman walks out of the bathroom. (camera is pointing at mirror so all this shot will be of the reflection). As soon as she leaves the ‘out of order’ door swings open and you see a person standing there silently – the ghost.
When we went to look at our location, we discovered that above the toilet in each cubicle is a very large windowsill, wide enough for a person to get up there, as well as a camera if we want. That is how we are able to get shots 10-15.