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How I Shot That (LAFF Edition): Combining Practical SFX With Performance for ‘Inner Demons’

How I Shot That (LAFF Edition): Combining Practical SFX With Performance for 'Inner Demons'

Screenwriter of “A Late Quartet” (Starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Christopher Walken and Catherine Keener), director of “The Butterfly Effect 3: Revelation” and producer of “On the Rocks: The Search for America’s Top Bartender,” Seth Grossman is about to premiere his new film “Inner Demons” at the Los Angeles Film Festival.

[Editor’s Note: Indiewire reached out to filmmakers with films playing at the 20th LA Film Festival (June 11-19) to ask them about how they shot their indie, and what advice they had for other filmmakers. We’ll be posting their responses throughout the run of the festival. Go HERE for the master list.]

What camera and lens did you use? We shot with a Red, and used Canon zoom lenses to recreate the feeling of handheld reality shooting.

What was the most difficult shoot on your movie and how did you pull it off? Probably the final kill shot at the end of the film was the most difficult, as it combined practical SFX with performance and we only had one chance to get it right. Also, it was our last shot after a long day of work, and the crew was exhausted. We rehearsed it dry a dozen times before we loaded the blood into the compressor, and then we went for it and prayed it would look right. It did. There was a lot of cheering before the crew grabbed paper towels and started mopping splattered blood from the floor and walls.

What’s the one thing you wish someone had told you BEFORE you started your movie? “We have decided to raise the budget to $4 million.”

What’s the worst piece of advice you ever got? A producer I worked with on a prior project didn’t believe in test-screening rough cuts and objected to my doing so — terrible advice. It’s important to test-screen a cut as often as possible, especially a horror movie, to determine which jumps and scares are working, and which need to be tweaked.

What’s the best? Do the big scares first, make sure you got them right, and then move on to the rest of the movie.

What advice do you have for aspiring or first-time filmmakers? Make sure the story is worthy of the investment of time and resources by telling it to as many people as possible and getting honest feedback before you move forward. Find a good day job that exposes you to interesting characters whose experiences can inspire you.

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