Filmmaker's Insight: Alone at Night

Interview by Ninichi | Contact | Follow

Today I'm introducing you to filmmaker, writer and photographer, Sam Camilleri - the creator of ImaginationFilmz and the soon-to-be released short film Alone at Night. Sam and I had the pleasure of working together on some of the music to his short film and here he tells us more about the thoughts behind Alone at Night and how he created it: 

What is Alone at Night about?

'Alone At Night is primarily about a guy (John) who, through the aftermath of war, is forced to recognise and deal with the guilt of who he was. It’s not a war film, but it’s through war that he is forced to recognise his faults, but of course it is too late. 

The only survivor - the enemy is himself. Can he cope with his regrets?

It’s also a story about acceptance, and John struggles to come to terms with himself.'

Where did the inspiration for this come from?

'My most noticeable inspiration was 28 Days Later (One of my favourite films). From that I realised I wanted to tell a story of survival. The inspiration from that film formed the basis of first script in 2014. From that I built the story. 

The script has undergone various re-writes, which has led to filming delays but I think that’s just working out what the story was about.'

Tell us about you...

'I've always had a passion for film. I’d always be filming some silly video or concept, experimenting with ideas. I remember one particular video about going to heaven and meeting a God for defeating these robots. It was so bizare, but at the time I was just loving what I was doing - I thought it was something incredible, but that naivety is natural when you start out in something.  That’s the point - do what you love.These ideas were most of the time overly-ambitious, but I think that helped in a way, as it kept me motivated, and I learnt a lot from that experimenting. It’s from this love that I knew I should go into filmmaking. Not because I thought I was anything special - but because I loved the filmmaking process and loved, and continue to love learning more about it. Making films is something that just motivates me and keeps me inspired, I can’t see ever not working on something.' 

How important is the music in this short-film?

'Music is very important in this film, as it is in most films. It’s something I’ve thought about since the beginning of making this film. Before filming the film I was already collaborating with a friend on some music pieces. I had a very vague understanding of the film at that point and he would send me snippets of music that he created, and from there I’d work on forming scenarios based on that. It was very influential to making the story. However one of the main problems with this version of the film, having done various re-writes, is that those pieces of music don’t all fit.

At the start (of this current version) I was keen on introducing a theme for his past, as part of a leitmotif, to help separate his past and memories from the present. I also worked on parts of the score myself, and re-themed parts of the main theme to fit the different beats in the film as the character develops and the way in which he looks upon those memories changes. Music is very influential on signifying those changes and advances. There’s tension, action, and emotion in this film and it’s very hard to form a balance between these in terms of a score. It’s something I’ve struggled with for the Preview Film (2014), and it’s something I’m still conscious about and trying to work on for this latest version.

For the preview version I had 1 main composer, but the music was formed before I had even started filming. I’ve changed that process for this version to offer a more tailored score and I think it’s beneficial working with a few composers, including yourself Ninichi for this film for the various elements and to separate those beats in the film. Although this adds to the challenge of forming a complete story, having the theme and having been re-themed for the left motif I think will help move the story along in that aspect. I thank you for your help Ninichi in this process and I encourage people to check out your work for this, it’s atmospheric - especially the use of the xylophones. It works perfectly to set the tone for the scene it’s used in (I won’t give that away). 

I’m a lover of film music and listen to film music a lot - I can Identify the composer and film of most film music.' 

Who is your favourite film composer?

'My favourite film composer is Steve Jablonskly. His music alone part inspired me to make this film. Transformers is my no1 film score, and it’s extremely underrated. His music is epic but more importantly tells a story. Most blockbuster film scores fail to do this. Brian Tyler is an example (excluding F&F) with his Marvel scores in recent years - it’s very same-y and dull. My other favourites include Hans Zimmer (obviously), Michael Giacchino (very emotive and pure, and those genius track titles),  Alexandre Desplat, and of course - Ennio Morricone. There are many others but these composers have a consistency in every piece they do.'

What are you hoping that your audience takes away from this film?

'I’m hoping people enjoy it. That’s what it’s all been about throughout the process - creating something enjoyable and adventurous. I’ve worked on creating a compelling film and I hope that people are engaged by it, but at the very least I hope people enjoy it. 

I also hope to inspire those other aspiring filmmakers to just CREATE with passion, with love and with ambition. There’s no excuse in filmmaking. It doesn’t matter what camera or skills you have. Just create, create, create. Create with love. People fail because they don’t love what they do. It would be great to inspire people to do what they love and to enjoy it.' 

When will it be available to view & where?

'Alone At Night will (hopefully) be released (don’t hold it against me) early…. 2017. Sometime in 2017. Hopefully. 

The film is almost completely shot but the toughest and most important shoots are yet to come. Started on the vfx for this version. Long and hard process but developments are being made. 

The film will be released on Youtube - Imaginationfilmz. In the meantime take a look at this teaser clip...

About the author: Ninichi is a freelance composer specialising in music for films, games and other media. If you are a filmmaker looking for music for your film - I'd be delighted to help: contact me now.

You can find out more about Ninichi and listen to some of her film music. Follow @ninichimusic