The contest, called Film Your Own Paranormal Activity, was run on Icon Film Distribution's PrepareToBeScared YouTube profile for several months until the end of January, and allowed UK residents to create & submit their own 3-minute horror films made in the style of Paranormal Activity.
I don't personally consider Pigment of Imagination to be a horror film (it's more a suspense film), however its setting within a derelict house does perhaps evoke a spooky sense of mystery and darkness similar to the classic horror films that helped inspire it such as: The Haunting (1963), The Innocents (1961), and Dracula (1931).
With that opinion about the genre of my film I didn't expect it to do too well in the YouTube contest, but then again, its success perhaps shouldn't have been such a great surprise...
...The only reason I submitted Pigment of Imagination to the contest was because I got informed about it by the promoters (via a YouTube message) who said they really liked my film. They asked me if I would like to re-edit the film down to a regulation duration of under 3 minutes, then add the edited film to their YouTube playlist of contest entires for the public to watch prior to the closing date.
The original cut of my film (as shown at the Edinburgh College of Art 2009 Degree Show) had a duration of 3:48, which was at least 48 seconds over the regulation play length for the contest. If I was going to enter the contest I really didn't want to cut anything from the story because the story was already running very bare in the original version: but luckily those last 50 seconds were end credits for the Degree Show premiere at the Filmhouse cinema last June - and because I already had the main credits featured at the start of the film I could simply cut the end credits to conform to the regulations while keeping the original story of the film intact.
Throughout the contest my film was displayed on the PrepareToBeScared YouTube profile along with more than 130 other short films. In the two weeks prior to the submission deadline my film had attracted little over 100 views (which was one of the lowest view counts of all the films), and an average rating from two people of 2.5 stars out of 5, which didn't look promising. However my film managed to get shortlisted to the top 50 at the end of January, and then a week later I was informed by e-mail that my film had been selected as one of the final 10 films and would be appearing on the UK-release DVDs and Blu-rays of Paranormal Activity!
If getting shortlisted into the last 50 was surprising for me, being told that Pigment of Imagination will be appearing on all the DVDs & Blu-rays was even more shocking because it had been my understanding upon entering the contest that only the one winning film would be featured!
Thereafter I had to e-mail a digital file of my film to Icon, sign official release forms, post the forms back, and then wait for over a month to publicly release this news today (the secrecy wasn't an official part of the contest regulations - I just wanted to do it that way - but it's felt like a really long month)!
The Final 10 films have been publicly available on the PrepareToBeScared YouTube profile for several weeks: Indeed the contest has already been reviewed (a couple of weeks ago) by Pete Stanton at Moviefone UK, who gave outstanding praise to both my Pigment of Imagination, and to Killer Flies From Mexico by Ollie Bostock & Johnny Eveson.
Stanton wrote that my film is:
A beautiful animation that shows more flair and imagination than Paranormal Activity and Heebie Jeebies [the overall contest winner] put together.You can read the full review here. And you can click here to head straight over to the PrepareToBeScared YouTube profile and watch all 10 shortlisted films (as will appear on all the UK-release DVDs and Blu-rays of Paranormal Activity from Monday 22 March 2010).
I'd like to take this opportunity to again thank everyone that helped me with the film:
- Darryl Ryznar, Actress - sorry the day of filming didn't go entirely to plan.
- Chris Bathgate, Sound Designer - thanks for doing an awesome job with all the audio in such a short space of time!
- Annalise Wimmer, Filming of Snoopy the Beagle in Budapest - thanks for taking time out of your Christmas holiday to film all that reference material for me.
- Claudia Menting, Filming of myself as the Artist - Cheers for providing your camera & time.
- Alan Mason, Tutor - Thanks for providing all those film references, DVDs, Friday Film Sessions, and helping with the refinement of my script.
- Marianne Gallagher, Studio Assistant / friend - Thanks for providing support, and encouraging me to get the film finished!
- Ewan Green, animation classmate - Thanks for always being so cheery, knowledgeable, and for providing so many good suggestions over the years.
- All the students that I helped with their films prior to making my own - thanks for all the experience & tips.
- My parents - "for providing me with food and shelter; and for putting up with my all my equipment taking over the living room (for the past 12 months!)" - as it said in the end credits.