Filmmaking, visual and written storytelling

How to Create Engaging and Memorable Characters

As a storyteller, one of the most important elements of your work is the characters you create. Whether you’re writing a novel, screenplay, or video game, well-developed and interesting characters are essential for engaging your audience and keeping them invested in your story.

So, how do you create memorable and engaging characters? Here are a few tips:

  1. Start with the basics: Give your characters names, ages, backgrounds, and physical characteristics. These basic details will help to flesh out your characters and make them feel more real to your audience.
  2. Make them multi-dimensional: A one-dimensional character is often boring and forgettable. Instead, try to give your characters multiple layers and dimensions. This could include their goals, motivations, flaws, and desires.
  3. Give them unique personalities: Your characters should be distinct and memorable, which means giving them unique personalities and characteristics. This could include their sense of humor, their outlook on life, or their way of interacting with others.
  4. Make them relatable: Even if your characters are fantastical or larger-than-life, they should still be relatable to your audience. This means giving them emotional depth and complexity, and allowing them to experience the same joys, fears, and struggles as your readers or viewers.
  5. Show, don’t tell: Instead of simply telling your audience about your characters, try to show them through their actions and dialogue. This will help to bring your characters to life and make them feel more real to your audience.

By following these tips, you can create engaging and memorable characters that will keep your audience invested in your story.

Bibliography and useful links

An Oscar-Winning Masterpiece: Revisiting “The Secret in Their Eyes”, an Argentinian film.

“The Secret in Their Eyes” is a critically acclaimed Argentinian film that has garnered numerous accolades, including an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2010.

“The Secret in Their Eyes” is a masterfully crafted film that combines elements of crime drama, romance, and psychological thriller to create a unique and compelling viewing experience. The film’s non-linear narrative structure, complex characters, and stunning cinematography all contribute to its overall excellence.

One of the most striking aspects of “The Secret in Their Eyes” is the depth and complexity of its characters. Benjamin Esposito, played by Ricardo Darín, is a retired criminal investigator who becomes obsessed with solving a past case that has haunted him for decades. As he delves deeper into the investigation, he is forced to confront his own demons and the guilt that has weighed on him since the case was originally closed. Darín gives a standout performance as Benjamin, bringing a raw and emotional depth to the character that is truly captivating.

The film’s other main characters, Irene Menéndez-Hastings (Soledad Villamil) and Pablo Sandoval (Guillermo Francella), are also well-developed and multi-dimensional. Irene, Benjamin’s former coworker and love interest, is a strong and independent woman who is not afraid to speak her mind. Pablo, Benjamin’s colleague and friend, is a no-nonsense detective who is fiercely dedicated to his work. Both Villamil and Francella give excellent performances, bringing depth and nuance to their respective roles.

The plot of “The Secret in Their Eyes” is equally compelling, as it combines elements of a traditional crime thriller with a romantic subplot and themes of justice and redemption. The story is told through a non-linear narrative, which adds an extra layer of complexity and intrigue to the film. As Benjamin investigates the case and uncovers new clues, the viewer is drawn into the story and becomes increasingly invested in the outcome.

In addition to its strong characters and plot, “The Secret in Their Eyes” is also visually stunning. The film is beautifully shot, with a number of striking and memorable images that stay with the viewer long after the credits have rolled. The cinematography is evocative and moody, perfectly capturing the film’s themes of loss and regret.

Overall, “The Secret in Their Eyes” is a must-see film for fans of crime dramas and anyone looking for a thought-provoking and emotionally resonant viewing experience. Its complex characters, compelling plot, and stunning cinematography make it a truly memorable and rewarding film.

How my passion for books and horror literature was born

I have always been passionate about books and horror literature. My love for books began when I was a kid and couldn’t read yet.

I remember flipping through the mini-comics that came with the Master of Universe action figures. I couldn’t read yet but I could make up stories from the pictures. Later, while still a child, I started reading the weekly Mickey Mouse comics. I remember entire summers spent reading the comics of Mickey Mouse, Pluto, Gaston, Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge.

But it was the monthly Dylan Dog comics that introduced me to the horror genre for the first time. In my time, superhero comics were not marketed in Italy, or rather they were not as popular as they are today. The most widely read comic in Italy at that time was Dylan Dog. Dylan Dog with its stories of zombies, ghosts and other monsters was an adult comic because it was imbued with melancholy and a very dark and pessimistic philosophy. Definitely, my predilection for the horror genre was born from reading this comic.

My first book was the novelization of Spielberg’s movie “Hook“. Soon after, I read the novelization of Home Alone (both two films). After that, I read Stephen King’s book “IT”.

“IT” literally changed my young mind; it was a coming-age stunning reading. For the first time, I was aware of the power of writing. I was literally inside the mind of the characters and I could feel their sentiments. It was an impactful book.

But perhaps of all the things I´ve read, the one that has had the greatest impact is H.P. Lovecraft´s short story “The Call of Cthulhu“. The masterpiece of cosmic horror introduced me to Lovecraft. In the following years, Lovecraft’s life and letters to his friends strongly influenced my thinking and my personal approach to life. King’s books and Lovecraft’s life and thought have been instrumental in shaping my literary tastes.

Books have always been my passion, and horror literature has been my refuge. It has made me look at the world differently and has opened my mind to new perspectives. I’m grateful for having found it, and for having been able to grow and develop my love for it.

Crafting a Unique Horror Experience: A Guide to Different Horror Sub-genres

If you’re looking to make your own horror film and elicit fear and revulsion in your audience, it’s essential to understand the different sub-genres of horror. To help, let’s explore the different types of horror films and provide tips on how to make a successful horror film.

We can trace the roots of horror films back to the French filmmaker George Méliès and his 1896 short film Le Manoir du Diable (The House of the Devil). Méliès’ film was an early example of limited locations and re-using shots, which is a key filmmaking tip. Japanese filmmakers were also quick to join the horror genre with two 1898 films, Shinin No Sosei (Resurrection of a Corpse) and Bake Jizo (Jizo the Spook). As we move into the modern day, horror films are often associated with indie and DIY filmmaking and offer an opportunity for creative exploration. Thus it is important to have a basic understanding of genre theory when making your own horror film. With this knowledge, you can then go on to experiment with different horror sub-genres, such as psychological horror, paranormal horror, and monster horror, to create your own unique horror experience.

Slasher horror

Slasher horror is one of the most well-known and beloved genres of horror. It is often considered to have started with John Carpenter‘s Halloween in 1978, and experienced a major revival in the 1980s and 1990s with the mainstream success of The Silence of the Lambs. Today, the slasher genre is still alive and well, though it often has a self-aware, tongue-in-cheek aspect to it. Writing a slasher film is relatively straightforward, as it usually follows the same pattern of an unknown assailant hunting a group of people or an individual. Although slashers usually take place outside, there is nothing stopping filmmakers from shooting them in an indoor setting. If you’d like to include special effects such as slashing, it may be necessary to have a budget and the technical skills to make it look realistic. Otherwise, a simple shadow or blood splatter can still be effective. If you’re looking for some inspiration, be sure to check out classics such as Psycho, Scream, Halloween, Black Christmas, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Behind the Mask, When A Stranger Calls, and I Know What You Did Last Summer.

Zombie Horror

The zombie horror genre is one of the most recognizable sub-genres of horror films, with George A. Romero‘s 1968 classic Night of the Living Dead setting the tone for the decades of zombie films that have followed. From the classic zombie horror of Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead to the comedic Shaun of the Dead and the hyper-realized 28 Days Later, zombie films have become a popular choice for aspiring filmmakers. A zombie horror film can be made almost anywhere, as long as it looks run-down and remote. However, with the massive success of The Walking Dead and other properties, some may argue that the zombie genre has been done to death. Yet, the short film Cargo, which was later adapted into a feature with Martin Freeman, shows that the zombie genre can still be used in a unique way. If you’re looking for a great zombie film to watch, check out Dawn of The Dead, Day of the Dead, 28 Days Later, Shaun of The Dead, Train to Busan, Night of the Living Dead, and Zombie Flesh Eaters.

Folk Horror

Folk horror is a unique sub-genre of horror that has captivated viewers for decades. It brings together the fear of the unknown and the terror of nature in a way that has not been seen in other forms of horror. Films like Children of the Corn, Midsommar and The Witch have all been widely acclaimed for their exploration of folk horror. If you’re an aspiring filmmaker looking to make a folk horror film, the best thing you can do is find a suitable location that you can use to its fullest potential. A vast expanse of fields and forests or a rustic barn can be the perfect backdrop for your story. And if you really want to capture the essence of folk horror, you could even get your cast to sing a song like “Ring Around the Rosie” while holding hands. In addition to finding a great location, it can also be helpful to read up on the basics of folk horror. For any aspiring folk horror filmmakers, here are some essential films to watch: Kuroneko, Kwaidan, The Wicker Man, The VVitch, Midsommar, Children of The Stones and A Warning To The Curious. All of these films will give you a good idea of what to expect when making your own folk horror production.

Body Horror

Body horror is an incredibly effective way to shock and frighten audiences by delving into the darker side of our own human biology. Films like Scanners, Videodrome, and The Fly have been critically acclaimed for their ability to explore the possibilities of what our bodies can become. To make a successful body horror short, a filmmaker needs more than just camera angles, props, and VFX. Realistic reactions from a talented cast are essential, as is a location that perfectly complements the story. Though the cost of creating jaw-dropping VFX may be high, it can be well worth it to deliver a powerful shock to viewers. While a project may not have the budget of a full-length feature film, there are still ways to make an impactful short with the right knowledge and resources. Some of the greatest body horror films of all time include The Thing, Alien, Rosemary’s Baby, Possession, Aliens, Black Swan, The Fly, Carrie, and Under The Skin. Each of these films has become classic for their capability of challenging audiences and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with body horror.

Found-Footage Horror

Found-footage horror has become one of the most surprising successes in horror films over the past few decades. This has been a great boon for filmmakers with limited budgets and those who prefer DIY production. Found-footage horror has combined modern technologies such as video recording, home video, and smartphones with classic horror fears found in slasher, folk horror and zombie films. The Blair Witch Project, released in 1999 with a budget of only $60,000, earned over $200 million. Other big franchises and films such as Paranormal Activity, Cloverfield, and V/H/S have continued to thrive in the found-footage genre. DIY filmmakers on a small budget should consider found-footage horror when creating their own horror shorts. With found-footage, filmmakers can rely solely on themselves and their camcorder to create a spooky and effective film. They have total control over what they say, where they film, and when they take breaks. However, the writing and performance of the film need to be engaging in order to leave the audience in suspense. If you’re looking for some found-footage horror to watch this weekend, check out Noroi, REC, Troll Hunter, The Blair Witch Project, The Taking of Deborah Logan and V/H/S.

In conclusion, horror films have a long and rich history and offer a great opportunity for creative expression. There are many different sub-genres of horror, such as slasher, zombie, folk, body, and found-footage, each offering its own unique elements and opportunities. To make a successful horror film, it’s important to understand genre theory and to have a basic knowledge of the different types of horror. With this knowledge, you can then go on to experiment with different horror sub-genres to create your own unique horror experience.

The Influence of H.P. Lovecraft’s Cosmicism on My Life

As a young reader, I was enthralled by the works of H.P. Lovecraft, particularly his short story, “The Call of Cthulhu”. I had no idea as to what I was getting myself into when I first read it, and it was only when I delved further into his vast body of work that I came to understand the scope of his vision and the philosophy of Cosmicism that underlies it.

Lovecraft’s Cosmicism is an understanding of the universe in which mankind is insignificant and powerless in the face of the vast and unknowable forces of the cosmos. He believed that the universe exists beyond human comprehension, and that any attempt to understand it would inevitably end in madness.

The idea that humanity is small and insignificant in the face of a greater cosmic power has been a source of comfort in times of distress. When confronted with the enormity of life’s problems, it is easy to feel overwhelmed, but knowing that the universe is far bigger than any single individual has been a reminder to stay humble and strive to appreciate the beauty of the world around us.

I have also come to understand that the universe is far greater than any single person can comprehend and that the best we can do is try to appreciate the beauty of what we can see.

The concept of Cosmicism has had an immense influence on me.

Still today, to me, Cosmicism is the idea that humans are insignificant in the grand scheme of the universe, and that our attempts to comprehend it are futile. This concept has made me think deeply about my place in the world and how I should live my life. It has helped me to appreciate the beauty of the unknown and to accept that some things are simply out of our control. It has also given me a greater appreciation for the power of nature and the interconnectedness of all things.

In short, Cosmicism has had a profound impact on me, and I am grateful for the lessons it has taught me.

Celebrating My Bachelor of Arts in Practical Filmmaking: A Day to Remember

Yesterday was a truly special day. After two years of hard work, I obtained my Bachelor of Arts in Practical Filmmaking.

It was a ceremony of celebration and recognition for all the efforts and dedication I had put in to reach this milestone.

I was surrounded by peers who were all graduating on the same day. Everyone was so excited and proud of what they had achieved.

The ceremony took place at the BFI Southbank near Waterloo station in London. We watched all the short films that our peers had made as part of their final projects, which was a great way to celebrate the success of everyone in the room.

Following this, our names were called one by one to collect our certificates. It was a short but unforgettable experience. We were handed our degrees, and everyone was so proud of our accomplishments.

The ceremony was the perfect way to celebrate our achievements and the start of a new chapter in our lives. I am so proud of myself for finally completing this degree, and I am looking forward to what the future has to offer.

A Cinematic Masterpiece: Exploring the Artistry of Children of Men

Children of Men is a 2006 science fiction film directed by Alfonso Cuarón that focuses on the lives of two people in a dystopian future, set in 2027.

The film follows Clive Owen and Julianne Moore’s characters as they try to protect a miraculous pregnant woman while navigating a world in which no children are being born and the future of humanity is uncertain.

The story of Children of Men is a gripping one, and it is one that is told with an incredible level of detail and thoughtfulness.

The script is full of layered subtext and symbolism, and it is the perfect example of a film that is able to tell a powerful story without relying on cheap plot devices or over-the-top action sequences.

The film is a complex exploration of the human condition and the effects of a future without hope, as well as a commentary on the state of the world today and what will happen if we do not act to correct the things that are wrong in our world.

The film’s production design is also incredibly impressive, with every scene meticulously crafted to create a believable and frightening world that feels both familiar and alien.

The production team did an excellent job of creating a believable future that feels like a place that could actually exist, with a unique blend of technology and a dystopian atmosphere that will leave viewers feeling both inspired and terrified.

The cinematography is also remarkable, Emmanuel Lubezki is one of the most celebrated cinematographers of our time, and his work on Children of Men is no exception.

With long takes and an almost documentary-style approach to the visuals creating a feeling of realism and immediacy, immersing the viewer in this future world and allowing them to truly experience what it would be like to live there.

Another aspect of the film that makes it a masterpiece is the direction of Alfonso Cuarón. His use of long takes and slow pans helps to create an atmosphere of tension and suspense, while his close-ups allow the viewer to connect emotionally with the characters. His visual style is unique and powerful, adding an extra layer of depth and emotion to the film that makes it an incredibly memorable viewing experience.

One of the most iconic scenes from the film is the car long take scene, in which the camera follows Clive Owen’s character as he drives through a war-torn city. This single take is an impressive feat of filmmaking, and it is one of the most visually arresting and emotionally impactful scenes in the film.

Finally, Children of Men is an exceptional film because it is a masterpiece in every aspect. From its gripping and thought-provoking story to its impressive production design and cinematography, it offers something to viewers of all ages and backgrounds. Literally, the viewers can spend hours discussing and analyzing the film’s themes, characters, and plot points.

Its themes are timeless and its visuals are stunning, and it is a film that will remain relevant for many years to come. It is a powerful and moving exploration of the human condition and our capacity for both hope and despair, and it is a must-see for any fan of science fiction or dystopian stories.

The Harsh Realities of Immigration: Examined Through “Identifying Features”

Identifying Features (2020) is a Mexican drama film written and directed by Fernanda Valadez.

The film, which was nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film, follows the story of a mother named Magdalena (Mercedes Hernandez) who sets off on an arduous journey to find her son, who has been missing for over a year.

Along the way, she meets Miguel (David Illescas), a young man who has also lost his family while crossing the border in search of a better life. Together, the two set out on a journey filled with danger and uncertainty, determined to find out the truth about their loved ones.

The film’s narrative focuses on the themes of immigration and identity, as both Magdalena and Miguel are forced to confront the harsh realities of the ongoing immigration crisis in Mexico.

It is a powerful exploration of the chaos, violence, and tragedy that many immigrants experience as they attempt to make a new life in a strange land. The film also speaks to the power of human connection, as the two characters’ stories become intertwined and they come to rely on each other for support in their search for answers.

The film’s cinematography captures the desolation and danger of their journey, creating an atmosphere of tension and despair. Valadez uses a variety of visual techniques to create a sense of unease and suspense, such as extreme closeups and long takes that allow viewers to become emotionally invested in the characters’ plight.

Additionally, the use of shadows and silhouettes, as well as the film’s muted color palette, further convey the bleakness of the characters’ situation.

The performances of Mercedes Hernandez and David Illescas are excellent. Hernandez is particularly strong as the determined and resilient Magdalena, and her portrayal of the character’s emotional journey is both heartbreaking and inspiring. Illescas also gives a compelling performance as the vulnerable and desperate Miguel.

Together, their performances create a powerful and moving story of two people’s struggle for freedom and identity.

Overall, Identifying Features is an emotionally powerful and thought-provoking film that examines the harsh realities of immigration and identity in a compelling and affecting way.

Through its powerful visuals, heartbreaking performances, and thoughtful exploration of its themes, the film is a powerful and important work of art that should be seen by all.

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre: An Influential Cult Classic

Released in 1979, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (TCM) has become one of the most iconic horror films of all time. Although the film failed to make much of an impact at the box office, it has since become an influential cult classic and has had a major influence on the horror genre as a whole.

TCM follows five young adults who stumble upon the Sawyer family’s farmhouse while on a road trip. Unaware of the family’s murderous past, the group quickly finds themselves in a fight for their lives as they are hunted down by the deranged Leatherface.

The film, which is often considered one of the most influential horror films of all time, has had a major impact on American culture.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was released at a time of great political and social unrest in the United States.

The Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal were dominating the news, the country was in the throes of the civil rights movement, and people were looking for a way to express their frustrations with the state of the world.

TCM tapped into this tension, offering a dark and disturbing look at a world gone mad. The film was both a reflection of the time and a commentary on the darkness lurking beneath the surface of American culture.

The film’s political subtext has been widely discussed in the years since its release. Many have argued that the film is a dark commentary on the state of the world, and a reflection of the growing sense of unease and fear in the United States. Others have suggested that the film is a metaphor for the dark side of the American Dream, and a warning of what can happen when society fails to recognize its own limitations.

Regardless of one’s interpretation, it is clear that The Texas Chain Saw Massacre has had a major impact on American culture and politics. Its influence can be seen in the horror genre, in popular culture, and in the way it has shaped the way we view violence and horror.

The film’s use of shock tactics also tapped into the growing countercultural movement of the time. By pushing the boundaries of what was acceptable, TCM was able to capture the attention of an audience that was looking for something different.

The film is often credited with ushering in a new era of horror films. It popularized the “slasher” genre and its gruesome visuals and disturbing themes were unlike anything audiences had seen before. The film’s violent imagery and its use of shock tactics have become a standard in horror films and have been widely imitated.

The film’s success has inspired a number of sequels, prequels, remakes, and spin-offs and also paved the way for other slasher films, such as Halloween, Friday the 13th, The Hills Have Eyes and The Strangers

The film has also been the subject of numerous books and documentaries and has been the basis for a number of stage plays.

The film has also had a major influence on popular culture. Leatherface and the film’s other characters have become iconic and have been referenced in various media, from television shows to video games.

The film’s influence can also be seen in the music industry, with various bands and musicians referencing the film in their work.

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is a seminal horror film that has had a significant impact on horror films and popular culture. Its legacy continues to this day, and its influence can still be seen in the horror genre.

From its iconic characters to its shocking visuals, TCM has left an indelible mark on American culture.

TCM remains one of the most influential horror films of all time, and its legacy will continue to be felt for years to come.

Exploring the Possibilities of AI-Based Text to Image Technology: A Look at Stable Diffusion

Over the past few weeks, I have been experimenting with a new AI-based text-to-image technology called Stable Diffusion. This technology uses natural language processing and computer vision to generate images from text descriptions.

By training this technology with some of my close-up and full-body photos, I was able to produce the images you see below.

I hope you enjoy these images as much as I do. I’m really excited about the possibilities of this AI-based text-to-image technology, and I look forward to creating more beautiful images in the future.