When they work, found footage films are testaments to the power of a limited perspective. Features like The Blair Witch Project, REC and Cloverfield get juice out of the fact that we're not able to see or know more than the characters on screen. They use a gloss of the intentionally clumsy -- jittery camerawork, lower quality footage, mundane dialogue -- to allow a story to invade from an unexpected angle. They require cleverness in concept and, more importantly, in construction, particularly when the found footage flick in question is of the horror genre, as so many of them are; there's no easier way to lose your audience than to make them wonder why, when such frightening things are allegedly happening, your characters are still bothering to roll tape. On the plus side, they're a way to hide your monster (or witch, or demon, or alien) from view for longer than is usually allowed a more standard film -- and the monster we imagine is usually much scarier than the one we finally see on screen.
Duncan Jones is a director who loves his science fiction. After finding success with his debut feature Moon, Jones assumed the helm of this week's Jake Gyllenhaal pic Source Code, about a soldier involved in a government project that sends him back to relive a dead man's final eight minutes in order to avert a terrorist attack. What's more, Jones spent his down time on the Source Code promo trail whipping up a treatment for his next film -- an even larger scale tale that he promises will be "my last blast of sci-fi." So really, who better to drop some friendly pro-tips on making science fiction cinema than the man currently making his mark in the genre?