How do I make my movie look depressing?

Oh come off it, tc. When I was sixteen I was making stupid claymation videos and having fun. Now, I am a film major in college. The best way to learn things is to do them, and you have to start somewhere. It takes a while to be to the point where you have to worry about proffesional quality. You have to learn to understand the power of the camera first, and you can learn that only through experimentation.
And to Spluurtaf, more power to you for doing soemthing constructive. It takes guts to come up with an idea and follow through on it. Don’t let the elitists who seem to believe that you have to be born with millions of dollars and instant knowledge of all things film discourage you. A low-budget video project could be the begining of a wonderful future. I suggest you buy the book “feature Filmmaking at Used Car Prices”. It sure served as an inspiration for me to stop worrying about the obstacles in my way and consentrate on making wonderful things happen. If you are serious, try taking an interductory class on film at a local college after school. Learning a little bit of theory can make all the difference in the world.
As for depressing places…you seem to have a pretty good idea. I really like the train station idea. Bus stops are nice, too. Actually, you might want to try inside a bus, especially if it is raining. Cheap amusment parks can be depressing and somewhat serreal. Good luck!

Hey there man. Sorry if I didn’t help you out before. I guess I didn’t understand what you were asking for. Some depressing places: junk yard lot, doctor’s office waiting room (at least to me anyways), broken-down farms that have been abandoned, lonely places (ie. dark rural roads), old/abandoned movie theaters, places where people are working the grave-yard shift (though it works better if it’s a mausoleum (sp?) or a morgue), bad nursing homes, places associated with sick or dying people, and any place that is very old and in disrepair. As for characters, a lot of the people that inhabit these places are depressed (though not all of them). For example, a mausoleum janitor could be very depressed. Though I wouldn’t count on that for sure. People who are not in their element in these places could be very depressed. Also, it always seems to me that lonely people are very depressing. From the sound of your plot, maybe an old, run down hospital would be good. Weird sounds making your main character jump. The few people they do run into are the way you describe it. You sure would get that depressing creepy feeling. I hope this helps you out.

Knock it off. You are not to insult people in my forum. Ever. And, anticipating your response, you are not to offer unsolicited psychiatric diagnoses here either. Ever.

DVous Means, are you suggesting that canucks are downers?

Shoot it with the lens cap on.

disused industrial sites are A1 depressing, as are geriatric wards and council estate tower blocks (or US equivalent)

Spend a couple of days with the curtains drawn and a couple of bottles of whisky watching David Lynch videos - that should do it - in spades

Locations are important, but if the public access studios taught you anything, ti would be that form follows content. The most important thing that you could ever posses is your phenominal script. If your script isn’t all it could be, rewrite, rewrite, and rewite some more. The next thing you need to do is storyboard. this way you will have some idea what the finished product will feel like, without even shooting a scene. This will help you decide on possable locations, or sometimes more importantly, how to fake out these locations using long shots to set up the location, then using close shots to advance the scene. Having never seen your script, i would say that it needs work if you are still up in the air about locations. This is not an insult, just an observation. If the script is trong, the locations will be obvious. DO NOT try to go out into the field thinking that you want this actor to walk around, change clothes for every cut, and have other actors spew giberish at him. The actors will not be able to do what you want them too, they need to know what you want. If you finish the script and storyboard, then you will be able to convey the rest of the depressing mood with editing, and a good location will add to the overall feel. With a budget of only $150 dollars, you will not have alot of options anyway, so work on it through script (are you sencing a theme to this post?) and editing. These are two things that cost you nothing (assuming the p/a studio gives you unlimited edit time) and will benefit you more than a location ever will.


This might not help much but that’s never stopped me before. What’s really depressing is a depressing story not a series of depressing scenes with no story. A typical audience doesn’t like heavy handed symbolism as much as believable dialog. A good movie combines both symbolism and dialog, you might want to consider adding in some intelligible conversation. A well-written story that’s been shot uncreatively is still much more powerful than a dark movie involving random characters and phrases shot creatively. 1984 patterned after a gap commercial is still 1984.

I know this is probably your first attempt at working with video and making something short that looks good is tempting but the magic is always in the storytelling not the eye-candy. Then again who wants to deal with actors.

Not at all, just a lot of the music of these guys.

I must admit that ny joke is not original. I ripped it off some Australian standup comedian. In his routine he was complaining about his house being burgled and most off his possessions gone, except the hifi and his Neil Young records - hence he was doubly depressed about it all.

Don’t get me wrong, though. I like Neil Young’s music, especially the classic “harvest” album, but at times he does come out with some less than happy themes.