Today I have an interesting topic to discuss- building suspense in any movie using these three techniques. When I say 'suspense', I mean anything from a horror movie to saving a boring screenplay from eternal lack of success.
So here goes.
The 'approach' techniqueThis is a very quick, simple and effective trick that can be applied to just about any scene in your film. All it requires is movement from point A to point B. Point A is your main character(who should be alone) and point B is a mystery object on the other side of the room/road/field/whatever. For instance, your character has had a car crash and ended up in a ditch. As he gets out of the vehicle, he notices a box in front of him. He stands up and slowly approaches it. All you have to do now is alternate shots of him with his POV as he moves nearer and nearer to the creepy object.
Below, we have a well done approach technique with a well chosen creepy object. Unless you're a 5 year old, this shouldn't be much of a mental harm.
White people- never choosing to get the f**k outta the creepy house.
Let it be known I'm talking about the part where she approaches the corpse. It can also be done with something else.
Two Things at Once
You probably know of this technique(or saw it before). Generally, you have a tight, dramatic or action packed scene that is frequently interrupted by a pointless scene. For instance, the chainsaw scene in Scarface.
Sorry about the blood and gore, but this is the only example I could think of.
For instance, the main character is chased by ninjas. The audience is staring at the screen, hoping for a great escape when the scene switches to a shot of the main character's assistant, randomly playing a video game. All you have to do is alternate these two shots and BAM! You have suspense.
Information is Suspense
Finally, the last suspense element for you guys. This one happens when the audience notices something the main character has missed or is unaware of. The suspense builds up as they all wait for a blast.
To make myself clear, here's an example: The main character drives off from the parking lot, unaware that someone has driven a screwdriver through the breaking fluid container. Now we all wait for a massive crash as the main character realizes he's going downhill.
Here's another example:
And that's it for today. People of the internet, you will hear from me tomorrow...