Thursday, February 2, 2017

Hot Springs Horror Advises Filmmakers to Focus on Sound

Poor sound quality is the most common mistake committed by film festival rejects, says Bill Volland, director of Arkansas's Hot Springs Horror Film Festival.

"You can tell in the first few minutes of a film if a technical area is bad, be it sound, photography, or lighting," said Volland. "If your film is noticeably weak in one area, it draws you out of the film and into critique mode. You lose the story because it doesn't feel real. And that one bad area will most often be sound. A lot of new filmmakers overlook sound."

Volland also recommends that filmmakers invest a lot of time on pre-production. "Unfortunately, many people who love horror films acquire a camera thinking they can just run out and shoot a film, with no pre-production or planning. The good films benefit from good pre-production, a good crew, good post-production, good actors, and a little luck."

Hot Springs Horror last screened on September, 16, 2016. In future, Volland hopes to receive more feature length entries.

That's to be expected. Because features require more effort and expense than do shorts, fewer features -- much less features of quality -- are being made than are shorts. So if you're working on a horror short film, yours must be extra impressive to perform well on the festival circuit. Plan well, and pay attention to your sound recording and mixing.

Finally, Volland wants to see more horror films like they made 'em in the 1980s, "when the plot was thrilling and the scares were big."


For a behind-the-scenes look at horror film festivals and the festival directors who manage them, see Horror Film Festivals and Awards. This book also includes a directory of over 200 horror film festivals, and a list of festival award winners from dozens of festivals over several decades.

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