Werewolf

A group of friends foolishly decide to play a game of Werewolf. As distrust, lynching and dietary requirements put their friendship out of balance, the Werewolf remains hidden in plain sight.

Director’s Vision

Remember Socializing?

On a cold November night in 2019 a group of friends came together to shoot wee short film about a group of friends coming together to socialize. Little did we know then that socializing would become a luxury only people with gardens could afford.

It feels strange to look back at this film tapping into all the horrors, dangers and monsters we encounter when a group of people meet. Because heck, I really missed game nights.

The main challenge from a technical point of view was how to keep the audience engaged, watching 7 people sit around a table playing an imaginary board game. Usually it is the blocking of the characters that help portray power dynamics, relationship changes, etc. But hot dang it, they are all just sitting!
Thus we decided to create three visual stages of distrust with our camera language insteat. The film starts with static mid shots captured on a longer lens when the world of our characters is still in polite order. As the game of Werewolf begins, our camera becomes more active, whipping between our characters, trying to keep up with the game. We wanted the audience to feel like the game is moving too fast for them to pick up on all the clues. The editing pace also ramps up and the lighting in the room has magically changed. And finally, we threw the tripod in the ditch and went wild on handheld, as we push right into our cast on a wide lens to build a sense of claustrophobia. Everyone is in each other’s personal space, as lights flash and a spotlight illuminates the players in an otherwise darkened room. Relying on the hyperbolical visuals also allowed us to blow the performances out of the natural and into the manic. And suddenly, people sitting around a table didn’t feel so limited anymore.

The next challenge came with figuring out eyelines. Holy smokes that is 100% my kryptonite, and thankfully our DP Tom Lee helped us map it all out. The difficulty with shooting a scene with 7 characters is that you can’t just plonk down a camera in a mid shot and let them run through the scene. You need to know who will be talking to whom and make sure you get an angle for each eyeline. Considering we only had 1 night to shoot the main gaming scene with all the cast, we had to make sure we got enough coverage from all angles to give our spectacular editor Carly Brown enough footage to work with. Something she taught me is that Comedy editing relies a lot more on character reactions than character deliveries, to make the joke land.
Thankfully most of our Cast has worked together on various occasions so they already had a great group dynamic and were able to improv some dialogue and experiment with gags that weren’t on the page. Their stage acting background also meant they were comfortable to go big on the performances and maintain character while out of shot, to give our “close up” performer someone to bounce off of.

The whole film was a great reminder on how socializing actually can pay off! It is those socializing nights that allow us to find great people you trust, celebrate and cherish enough that you can work through the night with a minimal crew, and still have the best time! And as the world slowly comes back to socializing, I embrace the Werewolf in the group! It brings us together, tears us apart and along the journey is just a hell of a good time.