DARKFALL - Death goes LIVE!
DARKFALL - Death goes LIVE!
Unexplained massacre inspires live TV seance. It goes horribly wrong. Shot on film; using practical effects and real magic. Yes, magic!
Unexplained massacre inspires live TV seance. It goes horribly wrong. Shot on film; using practical effects and real magic. Yes, magic! Read more
IN A NUTSHELL
This is a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a feature film from master magician and filmmaker R. Paul Wilson. Darkfall is a psychological-horror thriller with a killer twist. Paul developed the story for Darkfall over a period of 4 years, has refined the script and assembled an extraordinary team to help execute his vision.
It will be physically shot in Paul's native home of Glasgow, Scotland.
Darkfall will use absolutely no CGI. Everything seen on the screen will be the result of practical effects, actual magic and the art of illusion. This is a contemporary film that pays homage to fine classic techniques.
Says Paul: "If Georges Méliès couldn't do it, neither will we!"
THE PLOT OF THE FILM
Police are summoned to a Glasgow apartment where they discover the gruesome aftermath of a bloody mass murder. There is an eerie energy, an unseen force. They all feel it. Bodies strewn across the flat are those of a group known to have dabbled in the occult.
Police later question a strange young woman who often associated with the group. There are no arrests but the sordid story takes on a life of its own, becoming front-page fodder for the tabloid press. The rumor mill starts to churn.
A television network specializing in sensational programming sees a unique opportunity for unprecedented ratings. They approach the young woman with an offer: "Lead a seance to contact the other side and we'll televise it - LIVE"
The site is an abandoned Victorian mental asylum - an old building with deep winding corridors.
The network adds three celebrities - a gossip journalist, an extreme athlete, and a beautiful starlet. The plan is for celebs and TV crew to be locked inside just before the feed goes live. Advance numbers show it could be the most-watched television event in years and we cut to people at home around the UK, preparing to watch. Most are skeptical. All are intrigued.
The TV feed goes live. Some small talk and then - the seance begins. Chanting. Shadows. Strange sounds. The celebrities and crew feel surrounded by something, as if shadows have somehow come to life. Discomfort leads to anxiety. Anxiety leads to confusion. Confusion leads to conflict, and conflict leads to chaos.
Celebrities and crew become separated in the chaos and confusion. Alone in the dark, people start to die, or do they? We cut again to the people watching at home. Is it real or just reality TV?
The network keeps broadcasting. Phones are ringing off the hook. Do they let this continue? Do they stop it? Can they stop it?
The ending ... it's killer.
Says Paul: "The twist at the end has shocked and delighted everyone who's read the script. You won't be disappointed."
SHOOTING AN INDIE FILM ON ... FILM!
Hello, and thanks for reading. My name is R. Paul Wilson (Paul to my friends) and I'm a magician, a writer and a filmmaker. Since 2002 I've worked in film and television - writing, producing, directing, acting, presenting, consulting, getting coffee, and asking others to get me coffee. But let me flash back to a much earlier time.
When I was a young boy living in Scotland I was sent to stay with my grandparents most weekends. There, I discovered the films that would change my life. Classic horror movies by great directors like Robert Wise, Jacques Tourneur and Alfred Hitchcock. Films that created tension and suspense with subtle visuals and powerful, engaging stories; where monsters remained in the shadows yet somehow ... were all the more terrifying.
"movie magic" ... "the Golden Age of cinema" ... "the magic of film"
Those are phrases we've all heard. Movies were magic to me then and they are now. Over the years, as I studied the art of magic and became a professional magician, I began to understand how to engage with an audience. My appreciation for the art of filmmaking grew, along with my desire to direct an indie feature that incorporated illusion.
Darkfall is about perception, distortion, and twisted reality. I will strive to fill it with tension, to make it a powerful and terrifying experience for its audience. I have planned and crafted its design accordingly. I believe that for a project like this, the subtlety and nuance of celluloid will yield the ideal cinematic image to create the desired audience experience. Here's why:
- The moving image is perhaps the greatest illusion of the twentieth century. At twenty-four frames per second, the human eye experiences motion in a way that we now take for granted.
- Film is a physical, tactile format. It has no choice but to index what is burned onto it. As a chemical process, it reacts with purity from the moment it is exposed to light. It's honest. It's alchemy. It's magic.
- Shooting on film challenges the filmmaker to marry preparation and scheduling, with the spontaneity intrinsic to the filmmaking process. As a fan of film, I have seen that produce greatness. And as a filmmaker, I find it an exhilarating proposition.
My mission is to prove that film is not only possible, but advantageous - even on a micro budget. I firmly believe that film IS a viable option for many movies, not just blockbusters like Star Wars.
As a magician as well as filmmaker, I come at this with a deep understanding of conjuring methods and their history. With visual effects, audio illusions and psychological subtleties to build tension, Darkfall will utilize age-old proven weapons from the arsenal of classic filmmaking, and capture it all on the ideal medium - film.
Thank you for indulging me by reading this commentary. :)
PRACTICAL EFFECTS AND REAL MAGIC
(Note: the video above is a 2 minute excerpt from Our Magic, a feature-length documentary produced in 2014 by R Paul Wilson.)
For those not familiar with the term, practical effects are special effects that are produced physically, without post-production techniques such as computer generated imagery. Practical effects involve sculpture, prosthetic makeup, animatronics, puppetry, suitmation and other techniques to realistically create illusory effects and living creatures. They can involve scale models (for Miniature Effects), aerial rigging (for Mechanical Effects), pyrotechnics (for fire and explosions), squibs (for wounds), matte paintings and so on.
But did you know that magicians were the true pioneers of special effects? It was magicians who first created "trick films" to tell astonishing stories that inspired and amazed the public and inspired the next generation of filmmakers. Magicians gave birth to the seventh art, and none were more influential than Georges Méliès.
No computer (or cgi) effects will be used in Darkfall. We will use practical effects and magic together as cinematic foreplay designed to engage the audience and draw them deeper into the rabbit hole. As Darkfall builds suspense and tension towards a tragic, violent climax, everything seen on screen will be created "in-camera".
R. Paul Wilson is a world renowned magician and he will personally design bespoke in-camera illusions to tell his story.
For practical effects, Darkfall is proud to be working with two masters. Perhaps "wizards" says it better. Bill Taylor (ASC) is a legend. He has been honored by the Academy for his work with classic visual effects. Mike Elizalde has designed more monsters than Victor Frankenstein. He.brings his personal mastery to Darkfall, as well as the resources of Spectral Motion, among Hollywood's most accomplished and respected effects houses, which Mike owns. Check out their bios and you'll see how big a deal this is for Darkfall.
Practical Effects remain the gold standard for film. There's a natural realism or weight to a mechanical effect and a seamlessness to visual effects captured in-camera. As recent as the 1960s, Ib Melchior employed magician's tricks as effects for his film The Time Travellers, and he fooled his editors. They couldn't fathom what they were seeing burned into the celluloid!
MAKING A FILM SCARY & SUSPENSEFUL
The horror genre has several sub-genres. There are campy horror films (Darkfall is definitely not that), shock and gore films (Darkfall has plenty of both) but more than anything, Darkfall is a thriller, a suspense film, a psychological horror with a killer twist.
Says Paul: "To make a great horror film, first you aim to make a great film. This means strong story, a solid script, believable characters, great dialogue, and powerful situations and events. People are most scared when they care. Realism involves the audience emotionally. If you're watching a film and identify with a character, you feel it. Your heart beats faster and you're emotionally involved. That's what I am setting out to achieve. But don’t worry, we won’t be holding back on the gore and violence either. It will be perfectly timed to maximize impact. In fact, to shoot Darkfall, we are ordering blood by the gallon ..."
THE MEANING OF DARKFALL
Darkfall explores how reality is perverted by how we experience it. The film features three perspectives of the same reality. One is that of the people watching the televised seance at home.
What does the word Darkfall actually mean? There really is a specific meaning. We're so sorry, but we can't currently divulge it (to be honest, we're not really sorry.) The short teaser below sets the tone for one perspective of the Darkfall reality. It doesn't give anything away, and features composer Reyn Ouwehand's ingenious and disturbing score:
ABOUT GLASGOW, SCOTLAND
Paul divides his time between Los Angeles, London, and his native home - Scotland. He has decided to shoot Darkfall in Glasgow.
Scotland is one of the great locations on Earth - a rich history, fabulous architecture, proud and friendly population, and breathtaking scenery. Glasgow in particular is a perfect backdrop for a horror thriller - starkly beautiful, with unique energy, and malleability. World War Z turned Glasgow into a replica of Philadelphia, Fast and Furious doubled Glasgow for London while Cloud Atlas turned Scotland's biggest city into San Francisco. We will be turning Glasgow into ... Glasgow.
The Scottish indie film scene has begun to flourish. Thanks to the effort of schools and other initiatives, there is presently a rich vein of Scottish talent on both sides of the camera; here is some of it:
MEET OUR TEAM
Writer, Director, Producer. Paul is a very well known figure in the magic world where he has performed, advised TV magicians such as Dynamo, served as Magic Advisor on Smokin' Aces and is an expert on cheating and con games. His BBC TV show The Real Hustle ran for 11 seasons and has been shown in 45 countries. When he was 16, he told his school careers officer he wanted to make movies and she offered him counselling! In his early thirties, he returned to those ambitions and worked as 2nd Unit Director for RKO’s SHADE with Stallone, Byrne, and Foxx et al. From there he created, produced, directed, wrote and presented several TV shows and specials before returning to filmmaking. His short film The Magic Box won Indie-Demand film of the year in 2015. He produced and directed Our Magic - a unique documentary on the art of magic followed by his first scripted feature, the acclaimed Con Men, made for a skeletal budget. Now Darkfall is the fulfillment of the original dream he had as a young boy in Scotland.
Director of Photography. Alan is a successful young cinematographer who has been involved with feature films winning at festivals around the world. Most notably, Difret, shot on 35mm in Ethiopia winning the audience awards at Sundance and Berlin festivals. It was also nominated for a cinematography award at the renowned Camerimage festival . He is passionate about 35mm film, his personal photography all being on medium format, and has worked extensively with Kodak and Panavision. In 2013, he also won a BAFTA award for Best New Talent - Director of Photography. He hails from Aberdeen, Scotland.
Bill Taylor A.S.C.
A true legend in the industry. Bill worked on nearly 100 films with Universal Studios, then founded Illusion Arts Inc., where he and his partner supervised and executed visual effects for nearly 200 additional films. Bill is serving his sixth term as a Motion Picture Academy Governor representing the Visual Effects Branch. He has won an Emmy and an Academy Science and Technology award. He is an Honorary Life Member and 2012 Fellow of the Visual Effects Society, and the recipient of the Society’s Founder’s Award. Bill was awarded the John Bonner Medal by the Motion Picture Academy in March 2013.
Mike Elizalde & Spectral Motion
Mike Elizalde is an Academy Award nominated prosthetic makeup designer, animatronics designer, and Screen Actors Guild puppeteer. He is also President and Creative Director of Spectral Motion, Inc., which has created mind-bending prosthetic makeup and creature effects for X-Men, Hellboy, Birdman, and countless others. The company's robotic art installations will be featured in the Broad Gallery in Los Angeles. Mike is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Screen Actors Guild, and is also a ‘Magician Member’ at the world famous Hollywood Magic Castle.
Eden has been a highly creative content creator for two years and continues to expand her skills as a well rounded makeup artist. She has two YouTube channels which portray her skills. She worked on the 20th Century Fox lot assisting the makeup effects team on American Horror Story and has been invited back for more FX work. She believes firmly in the credo that her work is, above all else, an element of the storytelling process. She's had a pretty good teacher in this area.
Composer. Reyn is a talented and successful music producer and performer from Holland who has composed the score for Frankenstein’s Army, De leugen, Con Men and Fallen. He lives in his own church which doubles as his studio. How cool is that? He loves the analog aspect of this project. He has broached some amazing ideas to use music and audio to creatively intensify the experience. Reyn's passion for genuine sound makes him a perfect match for Darkfall. His music will help drive the story while it both entertains and disturbs the audience.
Actor. Rob starred in Ryan Gosling’s “Lost River” and is the lead in a new film “Decay”, which is now on the festival circuit. He is the former lead singer of the band Possum Dixon. And, he is a prominent figure in the magic community, making him a perfect match for this film. In fact, Rob is a bit of a legend at The Magic Castle for his seances; and he has committed to host a seance at The Magic Castle for 12 special backers - see the Rewards.
Actor and Producer. Gianni is now a leading man in European films and a supporting actor on several successful action films. He brings knowledge of production, and distribution via sales agents and the international film market. Gianni lives in Los Angeles and regularly visits his home town of Glasgow.
Producer and filmmaker. Remo is part of Glasgow’s flourishing indie film scene. Having begun with music videos and corporate promos, Remo has now wrapped 5 indie films in 2 years. 3 of those have won international awards, and he is known at many of the most popular horror festivals in the world. He has also worked as 1st AD on 8 films, including Family Portrait, the recent winner of the Paris Courts Devant post-production prize. He just finished a commissioned short for Eli Roth’s Crypt TV.
Producer team: Stuart, who also produced Con Men and Where Do We Go From Here, is a professional Assistant Director (he was 1st AD on both projects). He has served as AD for Game Of Thrones, Fast and Furious 6 and World War Z. He is a passionate supporter of independent film in Scotland.
Producer team: Lauren is a very well-respected indie film producer in Scotland. She produced Paul's last film, Con Men and the comedy “Where Do We Go From Here”, which won at Sydney in 2015 and is now touring the festival circuit. She has supported and co-produced dozens of film projects in Scotland while working as a creative producer for Scottish Television.
Actress and Producer. The multi-talented Lisa Hague is also a force of fund-raising nature. Her charity work in Scotland is famous, she’s been a columnist for major newspapers, and the face of several brands. This is besides her on-camera thespian talents and general production knowledge. We are ecstatic to have her aboard.
Natasha Di Pasquale
Producer ream: Natasha is a photographer, producer and businesswomen. She opened her first photography business in 2008 working for corporate clients. In recent years, she has become increasingly successful and significantly involved in the Scottish film scene, helping to produce short films as well as features.
TIMELINE, BUDGET, AND USE OF PROCEEDS
Says Paul: "It's easy and obvious to say I came to Kickstarter for the money. But there are three other reasons I am here. The first is Independence, and the second is Truth. Darkfall is the culmination of a dream, and when you work hard and get close to a dream, you want it to unfold as you envisioned. With Kickstarter I can be independent, and true to my original vision. The third reason is Collaboration. I love it conceptually and in actuality. A film is a moast collaborative process. What better place than Kickstarter, where collaborations are a way of life, and where the power of collaboration has proven itself over and over.
ABOUT THE REWARDS
DELIVERY DATES: The Rewards show a delivery date of Feb 2017 which reflects the outside date when the film will be produced and completed. However, many Rewards items will be fulfilled earlier. Since the film is part of all rewards levels, we went with Feb2017 for all.
THE T-SHIRTS: information and photos soon
MAKING YOUR "CHOICES": All "options" involved in any Reward tier (t-shirt size or style, DVD or Blu-Ray, etc.) will be made after the campaign; Kickstarter has a survey form for this, works quite well.
THE RISOGRAPH: Celebrate the legacy of pioneer magician and filmmaker Georges Melies with this exclusive Limited Edition Riso print, by acclaimed artist Edward Ross, author of FILMish. Each print is vivid, three-color, museum-quality (see image on bottom left of page), printed on 200gsm (and 100% recycled) paper, hand-signed and numbered by the artist.
CAN YOU DO THIS? Yes, we can. If there are Rewards you'd like in a certain combination or quantity that are not offered that way, no problem. Send a message to Paul by clicking "CONTACT ME" in the upper right; we're glad to work it out. (Please indicate your geography when you send the message, since that impacts shipping.)
THE HONOR ROLL: You will receive everything from the $120 level PLUS we name a roll of film after you, we send you the empty film canister signed by the actors and we send you the core from your roll, signed by R Paul Wilson and Alan McLaughlin, which will make an attractive and truly unique keepsake. And - you will be part of an Extra Special Credit at the end of the film, as a member of our HONOR ROLL. For those who believe in the continued use and preservation of "films on film", this is for you.
THE MAGIC BOX: Although only available at the top (producer level) tiers, these are something special. Each is handmade by master magician and craftsman Paul Nardini, exactly like the box in R. Paul Wilson's award winning short film; extremely rare, made only for backers of Darkfall, made by the same hands that made the original.
PLEDGING A SPECIFIC AMOUNT: If you want to pledge a specific amount and that is not exact equal to a Reward level, you can. Pick the Reward level you most want, and select it. Go to the next screen. On this screen, you can go to the top where it already has a dollar amount, and change it, then complete the transaction.
You can always send a message to Paul through Kickstarter by clicking CONTACT ME on the top right of the campaign page. Any questions at all, not to worry, we'll walk u through it and we'd love to hear from you.
Risks and challenges
Says Paul: Making a full length feature film is a challenge, for me and for anyone, even a major studio. It is a substantial endeavor, with many moving parts. I have done my best to minimize risk and maximize use of funds without the slightest compromise to quality, and I have done this in several ways:
1. The lion's share of the film takes place in a single location, and so there are a limited number of sets. This adds efficiency to the production, and also creates a natural eerie environment to serve as a justifiable basis for the terrifying experiences of the characters.
2. The number of characters who enter the location / attend the seance are limited in quantity, which also adds efficiency to the production, and makes the viewer more likely to identify with one or two in particular. Watch out who you pick.
3. The magic, makeup and other practical effects used in this film, will be largely engineered and executed by me (for the magic part), and my longtime friends and associates. This also adds efficiency to the production, while delivering the most masterful effects from the most top-level talent imaginable. In fact, I am pleased and fortunate to count a large measure of my "team" as friends.
4. I have substantial experience and great understanding of the film making process and am realistic in scheduling scope of work, time frames, and budgets.
In summary, if the Kickstarter campaign succeeds, the film DARKFALL - Death Goes Live, will be made and all rewards will be delivered fully and on a timely basis.
Thank you. - RPWLearn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (48 days)