Behind The Scenes

The Inspector

‘The Inspector’ was inspired by one of my favourite films The Silence of the Lambs directed by Jonathan Demme. I particularly love psychological thrillers, how they build tension, and how they often leave the viewer satisfied by the ending. I wanted to experiment with this short film by creating as much tension as possible, and then subverting expectations by switching genres from a thriller to dark comedy at the end of the film.

As I wrote the screenplay, I was conscious of what might be achievable during production. I decided early that the short would be filmed in my own home, and I wrote each scene with my house in mind.

In retrospect, the script isn’t as descriptive as it could’ve been. It doesn’t ‘set the scene’ effectively, but it did have a three act structure, something that I hadn’t explored in my other films before. In that respect, writing the screenplay for the Inspector was great practice for storytelling in general.

Have a look at my Screenplay for The Inspector

The Inspector Poster
Creative Direction & Atmosphere

This was my first ‘thriller-comedy’ short, and it allowed me to explore the filmmaking process with a certain kind of freedom I didn’t have before. I wanted the film to be a challenge artistically, and I put a lot of effort into planning scenes ahead of time. As there were only four locations (outside, hallway, kitchen, sitting room) I would go to each location when drawing the storyboards, to visualise the most effective shots.

I wanted to make the film quite stylised when possible. As the film goes on, the less realistic it becomes – visually and literally. I wanted the lighting and the colour in the film to get more absurd – without taking the audience out of the film.

I had an idea of what colour schemes each room was going to have, and other elements like a fog machine were used. The fire alarm did go off a few times but I think it was worth it! This, along with the props, are why I’m very proud of this film.

I have never been in control of a set as much as I was on this film, I understand and appreciate the importance of set design, and how integral it is to the atmosphere. In this respect I think I achieved something original and creative with this film.

Props List and Crew Roles

Props List and Crew Roles

Storyboard Scene 1

Storyboard, scene 1

Shot List, by room

Shot List, by room

My Role as Director

I believe this film really challenged my role as a director, and made me think more deeply about how I managed the crew.

For pre-production, I first made a comprehensive list of every prop needed, and whether they would need to be bought or made or borrowed. At first, I assigned a few of the crew to be the Art Department and create the props. Unfortunately, they did not attempt to make anything, and I ended up making all the props, which put a lot of pressure on me as I had exams at the time.

On set, it was challenging to have so many people in my small house at the same time. For some indoor scenes I had to ask everyone to leave the room, so I could have give the actors one-on-one directions without interruptions. Setting boundaries with the crew was very difficult! I felt like I had no break, sometimes people would interrupt me while I was doing something extremely important. When everyone had gone home for the day I was preparing for what came next, or tidying up after someone else.

I am always conscious of my attitude while I am directing, and I try to be as approachable and communicative as possible. This is usually a good thing but I now realise it can be taken advantage of, if I’m not careful, and in future I will not resort to doing other people’s jobs for them! I will delegate their jobs to someone else, and make sure the crew views me solely as the ‘director’.


Editing & Sound

Like most of my short films, I edited the Inspector entirely by myself. It takes me a lot of time to edit the films to achieve the effect that I have in my imagination for the final cut. Unfortunately there wasn’t enough B footage for the kitchen scene, but I managed to edit together something with the shots I had.

I found the audio of this film in particular a challenge to edit, and I’m still not entirely satisfied with it – certain points of dialogue are not seamless and I found that very frustrating. Finding the music for the film was also a particular challenge, but a fun one! I wanted to find something that would progressively get more intense as the film went on, and eventually found a score that I could get the rights to. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a song for the twist ending that was copyright free.

When it comes to art in general, it is difficult to know when your art is completely ‘finished’ and I definitely struggle with that. I think this short film helped me overcome that problem, because I was able to detach myself and move on, and not obsess over it.


I think filmmakers should make entertaining films, and I hope the Inspector achieved this. I made the film for the cinema screen, and I wish I could have seen a live audience’s reaction to it at a film festival, however, the pandemic ended that possibility.

I learned not to take the filmmaking process too seriously. Yes, its important to be organised and vigilant as a director, but it is also important to be comfortable enough to try new things on the day, and see what kind of discoveries you can make with your cast and crew.

Colour and lighting set the atmosphere