About the film:
Ownership is mad. We own objects which do nothing and get us nowhere because they make us feel secure that if we turn away those things will still be there. Ownership gives us control. My House of Things is a Kafkaesque Horror Comedy about a naïve introvert, Dirk Howard, who loses everything. This is the story of Dirk Howard losing control.
Told through the lens of moving house, the normally mild mannered Dirk must fend off several monsters from the night: slippery conmen, over-excited tourists and worst of all... His Parents.
To survive this fateful night Dirk will need to let go, not just of his possessions but of himself. Dirk must learn that in this selfish ‘civilisation’, the only way to make it through to the morning is to become your worst nightmare.
I wrote My House of Things shortly after moving into my graduation year student house. As I’m sure you can imagine if you have ever moved house, moving is an exciting but stressful experience; all of your possessions are held in a state of boxed-up limbo as people you have never met cart them around. My aim with ‘My House of Things’ is to re-create this atmosphere of moving house: a specific brand of bizarre stress which is caused exclusively by the madness of ownership.
The film will be a midpoint between the exaggerated madness of Terry Gilliams ‘Brazil’ and the anxiety inducing chaos of Darren Aronofsky’s ‘Mother!’. Anxiety and comedy will support one another to create a story in which the audience feel like they simultaneously want to laugh and cry. In other words, just like the real world.
The word of the day is ‘Control’. As Dirk loses more and more control the film will start to shift away from him, pushing Dirk to the edge of frame as more eccentric and exaggerated characters arrive to emotionally squeeze Dirk out of his own film. Every new character will present a new kind of pressure, whether that be the pressure of a parents expectations, the pressure of helping someone or the pressure of conforming.
I have been writing and considering this idea for almost a year now and I am excited to present it on the screen in the best form it can be. To this end anything you can do to help will be highly appreciated, not just by me, but also by the film's eventual audience.
The themes of self-reflection and identity in ‘My House of Things’ relies on the strong visual storytelling, which is explored through the claustrophobic framing and intense lighting. Drawing inspiration from cinematographers such as Roger Pratt and Sven Nykvist, we wish to convey the terrors of isolation, surrounded by the daunting horrors of the night!
Illustrating the slow downfall into complete chaos, we wish to experiment with many techniques to achieve a cinematic approach, whilst leaving the audience with no room to breathe. Additional funding will support the Cinematography team in reaching unreachable heights, allowing us to achieve our vision whilst under the current limitations!
The set design is very unique for this project. The aim is to build a pile out of the “possessions” of our main character, that serves as a centre piece throughout the film. The pile would resemble the house he cannot find and every object exposed would tell a story of its own about Dirk. It is a big construction (inspired by the barricade design of Les Misérables ) and it requires enormous about of material to build it.
Costume and set share a colour palette. Every character has their own colour scheme but putting those together we get a well thought range of colours all represented within the pile and complimented by the lighting department.
Details are extremely crucial for the design and as a result, Production design is the department most in need of financial support so we can execute the vision that would make the film truly worth the title “My house of things”.
The costume design in this project is key in exploring the characters and their personal desires. The detailing and materials of the costumes will be of great importance to ensure that they are still dynamic and visually interesting with the low lighting of a night shoot. For example; Cassandra’s eclectic nature will be echoed in her costume with various layers and textures of the fabric (fur, embroidery, velvet) all reflecting light in different ways.
The costumes will complement the colour scheme of the overall set and will add to the surrealist tone of the film, the characters costumes will be evocative of different trades representing the individual characters motives. Slim will look like a business-man who has been dragged through a bush or been through a war, foreshadowing the harrowing journey Dirk is about to go on. The costumes will heighten the lack of realism in the film and will demonstrate the shifting attitudes of our main character Dirk.
Therefore the uniqueness of these costumes and the range of materials required to make them as aesthetically engaging as possible will be expensive; we would greatly appreciate the funding to facilitate this.
Convincing Sound design is imperative for any film, but in My House of Things it will be crucial to create a detailed soundscape which immerses the viewer in the chaos that breaks out.
By combining the score, sound effects, and Foley we hope to engulf the audience in the environment of the film, placing them directly in Dirk’s shoes. As the narrative and tone changes this will be mirrored by the soundscape. When we are introduced to a new character, they will be summarised through their aural presence which will change as they develop over the course of the narrative. Our goal to create a rich, in-depth, believable atmosphere for the viewer to immerse themselves within.
Editing a film as chaotic as My House of Things was always going to be a challenge. To build up tension in scenes where Dirk realises the world as he knew it is falling apart mixed with un-canny characters such as Bargain, you’ve got to be creative. That’s why together with the director and cinematographer we have formulated an editing plan that will truly reflect the story to screen. Taking inspiration from editor Chris Dickens, who has worked on films such as Shaun of the Dead, I intend to use fast whip-pan cutting techniques to reinforce the chaotic nature of the film, especially useful for scenes where by tourists and customers start to take a hold of Dirks possessions. With limitations due to COVID we have a very limited cast so to recreate scenes where loads of tourists come out of the woods I will have to use masking techniques to make it appear there is more than one person on screen at any time- I have recently been testing this with solid results. As we are shooting at night I am limited in terms of colour-grading, I have worked on some sample grades already and have concluded that a slightly de-saturated image, with sepia tones in the highlights with blues in the shadows, that’ll be lifted slightly, will make the image moody- this allows me to make key elements such as torch light really bright in contrast to the rest of the shot, drawing the viewers attention and adding levels of brightness and colour to the shot.
We'll be shooting the film at the half-finished Victoria Arch, just outside of Leeds. The arch's mysterious past and imposing pillars fit the film thematically and add a sense of Kafkaesque threat to the films visuals. The arch was built to celebrate the arrival of Queen Victoria in 1858, however she never arrived in Leeds and thus the arch has been left in the forest, forgotten.
We are fortunate to have already received some funding from the Film School, allowing us to make our film in its most basic form. However, with coronavirus and reduction in crew sizes the budget is a lot lower than expected. If we want to create the best film possible, we will require your support!
A final note:
This is our final project film and we want to be able to create the best film we can from our 3 years of education. All money donated will aid the creation of this film and will help us bring our vision to life!
Even if you can't donate there are other ways to help us!
1. Share our Social Media Accounts!
2. Like Comment to show us your support!
Facebook: My House Of Things
One of the main goals of this project is to keep it sustainable as possible by using a 'Green Filmmaker' approach, reducing our waste and ecologically unfriendly materials typically used on set.
Please note: All rewards will be delivered after shooting, around 14/03/2021. REWARD TIERS COME WITH ALL PREVIOUS TIERS.
What about coronavirus?
We've specifically made My House Of Things in a way to keep cast and crew to a minimum, not only as cost-saving measures but also to make sure the film can go head during these difficult and challenging times. We will of course always adhere to the rules and regulations set out in our filming locations.
The entire team thanks you for considering our campaign and we hope that you are just as excited about this project as we are.
My House Of Things Crew