Award of Merit – “Pest” (USA)

Title: Pest
Runtime: 3 min
Country: USA 
Director: Kyle Roy
Placement: Award of Merit
Competition: June, 2019

Synopsis: There’s something in the house, and it isn’t friendly.

FILMMAKER Q&A (Director, Cinematographer, Editor, Actor – Kyle Roy):

OR: What was the inspiration for your film?

KR: I had been spending a lot of time developing other longer form projects and I guess you could say I was starting to get sick of just writing scripts all the time. After helping out on the set of a colleagues’ no-budget feature film I suddenly had this massive burst of motivation to just go and shoot something. So as an exercise for myself I decided I would try to see if I could make something that was worth watching while executing it one-man-band style. No sitting around waiting to get the right people together, no scrutinizing a script, just me and a camera. 

OR: When did you conceive the idea for your film and how long did it take before it was realized?

KR: It’s honestly all kind of a blur. There really wasn’t really a script or even a rough plan. I was coming up with it as I went along which is something you’re typically told isn’t a good idea. Any form of preparation was essentially done in my head as I was running around my house with a camera and chocolate syrup on my face. (I probably looked pretty silly) In some ways it was nerve-racking because you can’t really lean on anyone but yourself, but in other ways it was really fun and exciting. A feeling I haven’t felt since I had made home movies when I was younger. 

I knew I wanted to take a crack at doing some acting and I knew I wanted to try something in the horror genre. Typically the stuff I’ve made in past has had some fairly prevalent humor throughout and I wanted to do something different. I wanted to make you feel something without a detached or ironic twist to it for once. Also, since I had virtually no resources I figured I could get away with having the “monster” off screen the entire time and it would probably work in my favor. Anything the viewers mind can come up with will always be scarier than anything I could show them. So I figured I would rely heavily on music and sound effects to set the tone. Black and white horror is something that I also wanted to try because.. well.. it looks cool.. haha. 

OR: What was the most challenging aspect of working in a short film format?

KR: Getting your audience to care quickly is probably the biggest hurdle when making short films. 

OR: What was the most challenging aspect of your production?

KR: Definitely the lack of help and having no script to guide me. I might as well had been swimming in the ocean without a life jacket. It’s really easy to get discouraged when you’re all by yourself in a house making a movie and have no one there to tell you what you’re doing is any good or not. It’s really easy for you to just say, “Ah, this is stupid. I don’t know even know what I’m doing.”  Especially when you’re improvising the whole thing. I think the way I justified pushing through was saying to myself, “If this ends up sucking nobody has to see it.” 

OR: Do you have any advice for first-time filmmakers?

KR: Don’t be afraid to throw the rule book out the window every now and again. There really isn’t any rules. Just a lot of suggestions that work for a lot of people. Don’t be afraid to take risks. Don’t be afraid to fail. Try stuff. If it ends up not working figure out why it didn’t work and boom.. you’ve just learned something. Filmmaking; and art for that matter isn’t this calculated thing you can predict with all the “right” pieces in place. So go out there and make mistakes!