Director Training: Oren Peli’s Directing Style (Paranormal Activity)

Director of “Paranormal Activity” series, Oren Peli.

Steve Lee – 3A

Director’s Style

• An examination and report on a director’s style.
• A short documentary about a director’s style or emulating a director’s style.

Among directors, I want to examine specifically on Oren Peli’s directing style. Oren Peli is most widely known for his “Paranormal Activity” series.

Background:

The film Paranormal Activity was actually filmed in the Oren Peli’s house. It took around 7 days to film and 1 year to edit the whole movie. Before he started, he had people to audition for the film. Peli spent around $15,000 for the film. When it was released, it was only showed in festival circuits until Steve Spielberg saw the movie on a DVD. After Spielberg watched the movie, DreamWorks purchased the movie, which then became extremely popular.

Mise En Scene:

I can say the mise en scene of Peli’s film is first person perspective. The film was all made in the director’s house. According to Peli, he wanted to make sure to have a first person perspective in the film, being very raw and authentic. He chose this type of style because he wanted the viewers to feel how the characters felt in the film but at the same time did not want to offend the viewers in a certain way.

Directing Style With Actors:

In order to make the best possible film, Peli had numerous auditions to determine the perfect characters for the movie. After he found the two characters, Peli actually did something very interesting. Because this was a first person film, he only warned that something would happen before the characters went to bed. In this way, the characters would actually experience something new while filming the scenes. Here was the interesting part:

“There was no dialogue. There was only an outline of the story. The actors never received any script. They didn’t know about anything they were getting into. All they knew was they were going to do something about a haunted house and basically discover everything as they were shooting. There were no lines for them to follow. Everything was spontaneous.”

Unlike typical directors, Peli just gave a brief topic about the movie and that was it. The actors were also told to film with the video camera for the movie.



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