At Night: A Film By Michael Fidler

What Is At Night?

At Night is the film I directed and edited for my capstone project. It is about a girl named Alex who is woken up in the middle of night and decides to wander her house to discover the unknown. Is something lurking or is it all in her head?

How I Came Up With The Story

My inspiration just came from when I was a kid. When left alone or when my parents were asleep and I’m alone at night. As a kid, our imagination is unlimited, so in this instance I may think I hear something or see something. Overall, nothing is there and it’s all in my imagination. Maybe I just finished watching a scary movie or reading a scary book. Then I get ready to go to bed, but I hear a creek of the floor or see a shadow in the corner. All of these are instances that have happened to me as a kid and maybe you too. So, this was how I came up with my story.

Research

For my research I read articles on many directors and read articles on suspense, thrillers, and psyche. Through my research I read a lot of material on Alfred Hitchcock and learned more about how to film suspense. Hitchcock is one of the great horror/thriller directors, so who better to learn from than him. I also watched a few movies for research as well. Trying to get ideas and inspiration from said movies. I watched many of Hitchcock’s films, many of David Fincher’s films, Christopher Nolan’s Memento, and Ari Aster’s Hereditary. These films and directors helped me when it came to writing and filming At Night.

What I Learned?

Throughout my time this semester, I learned more about the equipment (lighting and camera), editing through Adobe Premiere, improving a script, and time management.

I haven’t used much lighting before, so this was a new experience for me. Trying to get the right amount of light on a characters face for example, was new to me. Using the camera was straight forward, however I shot my film using a blue tinted filter on it. This was new ro me and helped make the setting look nightime. The majority of the film was shot during the day, so since the story took place at night, I needed to make it look like it was dark. This filter helped with that, as well as darkening everything in post.

During this semester I took an editing class and did my internship at WDVM. By doing both of these, this helped familiarize me with Adobe Premiere. So by the time I was ready to edit my film, I knew what I was doing.

Then, going through and improving my script was very helpful as well. I worked with Jason a lot on finalizing my script, and I went through four drafts before finalizing everything. This helped with trying to make my story as perfect as possible.

Time management was very important since I was working with two other people. The actress needed to be available as well as the owner of the house. Sometimes one was available while the other wasn’t. So I had to juggle and work around schedules. This also prevented me from doing any needed reshoots, which I wanted to do. Sadly, this was not possible and I had to work with what I had filmed. If I could have it my way, I would have shot extra scenes and reshoot the out of focus scenes. Also, even though my film is short at a little over 3 minutes, filming is a very time consuming process. Since I was limited to the amount of filming and the amount of time each day, I had to make great use of my time. Something as simple as getting to the location 30 minutes early to set up equipmemt, lighting, and camera positions was very important. This helped me make great use of my time during filming, and not have to waste any time.

My Film

The Future

I love being creative, and using my creativity is all I want to do in life. Whether it’s directing a film, or just helping someone else with ideas. All I want to do is work in a creative field, coming up with ideas, writing a story, operating a camera, directing, editing, etc. Any of these would be great for myself, and what I would love to be doing in my future as a career.