Workshop takes a stab at horror writing

Workshop takes a stab at horror writing

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With only three days to write, shoot and edit a short film, contestants of the 72 Hour Horror Film Competition are going to need all the help they can get. This may be why almost every seat was filled at the Writing Effective Short Horror Screenplays workshop, led by Emmy-winning screenwriter Albert Crim.

The 20-person workshop focused on helping contestants learn how to structure their scripts, effectively giving them a leg up for the competition. Attendance was $45. Admission to the horror film competition, normally $20, was waived for workshop participants. Lane Media Arts students were reimbursed by the department, and also gained free entry to the competition.

This will be the third 72 Hour Horror Film Competition presented by the Eugene Film Society. All final entries will be screened at the Hult Center on Oct. 31 at 7 p.m. There will be two winning films, one chosen by a jury of Eugene Film Society affiliates and one chosen by the audience during the showing. Winning teams will receive $500 cash and $500 rental credit at Cascade Production Rentals.

Crim walked the attendees through multiple short horror films breaking down what worked and what didn’t. He gave attendees 15 minutes to come up with a location, a character and an evil. Crim then had them give a three minute elevator pitch for a movie.

“Embrace your limitations,” Crim said. “Not as obstacles, but as the things that are going to allow you to get something done.” He also had the attendees write brief prompts based on an oil painting of his great-grandfather he brought with him as a prop.

“You’re really dealing with your ability to control a disaster in the making,” Crim said about the competition. “What can you do in 72 hours to keep your film from completely falling apart?”

Attendees were captivated throughout the four-hour workshop held on Oct. 17 at Lane’s downtown campus and attentively took notes on what Crim had to say. “The main theme of horror movies is life and death. That is the major conflict,” Trevor Everitt, media arts student said. “You’re constantly raising the stakes. You keep building tension gradually, it’s a slow buildup.”