I’d like to thank the Academy

Ok, forget the academy. I just wanted to go head and thank all of the fabulous people who helped us get this shoot done. I admit, I kept joking that I was really looking forward to today (so I could sleep), but this weekend was the most incredible experience! We really had a blast! Everyone got together and made it work. And boy did we work!

Friday was a short day of shooting, but lots of people came straight from work and we keep them there until dark. Saturday started at 7:30 a.m. and went until after dinner time. Of course, Nate & I were running 1.5 hours of sleep, but everything ran so well that we didn’t feel tired at all. Sunday we had discussed changing locations, but our main location worked so well that we decided to stay and shoot everything around there. Thank goodness we did! Sunday was full of effect shots. We had planned for a short day, but each effect took a bit longer than anticipated, so we barely squeezed under the wire light wise. Now we know, double your time estimate for any shot with effects. Nate & I got a whole 4 hours of sleep that night, so we were down right rested!

First I want to thank the weather! Weather.com had predicted rain all weekend. I was checking the report almost hourly last week and sometimes it said rain all weekend but sun this week, then it was rain until next weekend, then sun next week, then rain. It just kept flipping but always maintained the rain prediction for this past weekend. Well, I saw how they didn’t know about next week and just decided they didn’t know anything anyway, so it couldn’t possibly rain. Friday rained in the morning, I believe, then again over night. Saturday rained about 30 minutes mid-afternoon which really gave us a nice break. Sunday was BEAUTIFUL!! It was a perfect weekend to shoot. Thank you, weather, for proving us right. 🙂

Of course, our cast was AMAZING!! Brent is the best vomiter ever. That man did whatever we asked, whether it was fall and slide on the forest floor, put a rather unpleasantly textured (but not awful flavored) fake vomit in his mouth and spew it up on command, or drunkenly stagger through the woods. He was great at all of it. When he threw up, we all wanted to throw up. He was that good! Oh, and when he cried, I was teary and even Adam, our sound guy, got a bit misty eyed. He did all of it with a smile and a great sense of humor. It was amazing to watch him bring the character and story to life!

Alex was awsome as well. The last scene we shot is the last scene of the movie and it was his best scene! Of course, I loved the first scene we shot, and every scene in between. He improvised a few lines and really loosened up the dialogue, but when Nate wanted to steer him back to what we’d written, he reigned it in just right. He really made the character his own, and it was great watching him and Brent interact. I must admit, there were a few times when I just got lost watching them perform. It was incredible!

Then there’s our crew. What an amazing group we put together. Karrie, as you know, did wardrobe, but she also helped with props and make up when Melinda had to be on set. Whatever needed doing, she did. And as Karrie always is, she was sweet and friendly and just generally awesome to have around. When we were still shopping and working out the kinks, she had amazing ideas and problem solutions. She did an amazing job destroying a pair of pants, and I can’t wait to work with her again!

Melinda was make up and WOW!! We’ve been developing our zombie look for over a year now, and she brought fabulous little touches that we hadn’t even considered. Our make up still needs work, and I really think Melinda will help us get the kinks figured out. I mean, the eye makeup she did was BEAUTIFUL (in a scary zombi kind of way). She added these little touches that really made it.

Nate’s friend Adam took care of audio for us, but he did so much more. He was over here (while having to move this week, try to prep his new house to be moved into, clean up the old house, work, and I think about 6 other things) helping with all kinds of stuff. He and Nate built a cart and tracks among other things. I don’t even know what all they built (I was busy making fake vomit & blood).

Scott, my fabulous photo assistant, was there just being helpful. Whatever needed doing, he did. He also kept us laughing with seriously awful puns (and I mean awful in the best way). He was definitely the crew jokester, and we loved it! He was also the only brave soul to willingly try the vomit just for fun. He drank (chewed) the whole cup. It really wasn’t that bad flavor wise (kind of bland, honestly). Just that texture. And we have some great footage of him enjoying every last drop. Scott, you are a crazy man! 🙂

Travis was our lighting guy, but he also helped out on camera getting lenses and helping Nate get everything set up. He also hooked us up with lunch from the campus Papa Johns. We got a bulk discount (10 pizzas, you know) because Travis called and got it all arranged. He knows people, that man.

Chris drove all the way from Atlanta to help out. He’s an editor from Nate’s days at his first awful job. Totally worth the abuse to know this man. They’ve stayed friends since then, and it was great to have him there! He helped Adam with audio among other things.

Vincent is a friend here who is an amazing animator. We have plans with him. He generally isn’t a production kind of guy, so he came and observed the insanity. Next time we will have amazing storyboards. Next time we’ll plan more than 2.5 weeks to do all of the pre-production.

Bryan, Karrie’s husband, came to help on Sunday and thank goodness he did! Bryan is friendly and helpful, just like Karrie. He stepped in and helped carry stuff, run things back and forth to the set, light the camping stove for make up, hold a boom mike, take stills (which I promise to post soon), and be generally helpful. We were so glad to have him!

Dusty, Adam’s friend, also pitched in on Sunday with audio help. I barely got to talk to him we were so busy, but he had a smile on his face the entire time. Adam was exhausted from holding the boom pole (for 12 hours straight two days in a row), so when Bryan stepped in to hold that, Dusty stepped up to help him with the recorder. What a team player!

Larry & Aaron drove all the way from Cookeville to help out. They were here at the house, so we could ask them to pick things up on the way to the set which really saved the day (ahem, coffee & ice). Larry did a great job running the clapper board on Sunday. That had been Aaron’s job Saturday, but we stole him away to put him into zombi make up (we needed a body double for a shot & Aaron fit the bill).

Karen who I met on Twitter was there on Friday, and I’m so glad we actually met. She has a production company here in town, and I can’t wait to actually get a chance to talk to her other than barking orders about blood and gore.

I’m realizing that I don’t even know what all people were doing. I was so busy doing my own job, I just assumed everyone would do theirs and they did! It was amazing. I’m about to give up and go to sleep (finally!) so I hope this is coherent. I guess what I’m trying to say is Thank You! We couldn’t have done it without you!!

Oh, dear. I just realized I forgot some very important people who weren’t able to be on set but really helped us get this process done.

First, our friend Ruckus is a fabulous filmmaker. Nate worked with him on his last two shorts which were amazing! Ruckus was a great person to talk to about what we’re trying to do. He’s also going to do the soundtrack. How exciting!

Then there’s Michael. He is an amazing director here in town and Nathan has worked with him for the last three years on a variety of projects. Michael is the first person who hired Nate as an editor, and that experience really helped Nate see what kinds of shots and how much you need to make a great piece. Michael also had wonderful advice. He’s been doing this for a long time, so he had several suggestions on keeping our brains from melting. He lent us a strip board that looked like something so simple and silly but was integral to getting the schedule organized.

Then there’s Wade & his family. We descended on them for an entire weekend, and they were great about it. We barely heard them at all. When we needed the AC turned off because we were picking up the sound, they did it. We had bathroom access for zombi bathing (who really lets zombi into their house? That was kind of them) and they were just all around wonderful. Maddie, Wade’s daughter, was a real trip. She loves zombies and currently wants to be a director (she’s 8, I think). She was in a play all weekend, so she didn’t get to be on set as much as she wanted. But don’t worry, Maddie, we’ll do it again!

Of course, now that we’re done shooting, there are more things left on the to do. Nate has to get this thing edited asap. Once that happens, we’re getting the sound design done by Dan in Atlanta. Sound is at least as important as the visual quality of a piece. Bad sound makes your movie seem cheap and unprofessional. Sound is also generally ignored on these types of films. I can’t wait to get it back all fancied up. Hell, I can’t wait to see some footage!!!

OK, I think I got everyone. I really do appreciate it. I just stood on set this weekend feeling vast amounts of love for all of you. You made the universe align and kept a potentially hair pulling experience not just on the fun side, but an absolute blast! We enjoyed every second! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!! Words cannot express our gratitude.

p.s. Several of our people are professionals in the industry, so I wanted to take a moment to promote them as well. Of course, if we had our website up, I should put it here, but we don’t yet. Sigh. If I get your websites wrong, guys, please correct them for me!

Brent Thompson

Alex Thompson

Travis Stevens

Vincent Radford

Karen Daniel

Ruckus Skye

Michael Underwood

Wade Austin

Dan Schaefer


~ by rebeccaclaire on August 31, 2009.

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