Yesterday was amazing. Yesterday I directed my first zombie scene and it was everything I ever dreamed it could be. I woke up yesterday at around 7 am and sprung from my bed. Fueled by adrenaline and anticipation I loaded up my car with all of my equipment and headed off to the cemetery where filming was to take place. I had my shot list written out and I kept replaying the entire scene over and over in my head during my hour long drive. I was ready. I arrived at the cemetery around 10 am, walked to the spot in the cemetery where I would be filming and began acting out the entire scene…by myself. I played all four zombies and the hapless caretaker. I can only imagine what passerby’s were thinking as they saw a man in all his geeky glory pantomiming a zombie attack. The day was off to a wonderful start. But of course, we are talking about a Grindhouse Pictures shoot…nothing ever goes off without a hitch. Luckily they were small hiccups but ones that cause a small level of anxiety.
First, one of our zombies had to cancel due to a family emergency. Now her canceling didn’t cause anxiety, our concern for our actor’s loved one did and we continue to pray for our actor and their family. Everyone here at Grindhouse Pictures is here for you. Then my make up guru Miranda had a rough day…someone stole her cell phone and she ended up running a little late. Miranda is one of the people who make Grindhouse Pictures go so I was a little concerned when I hadn’t heard from her…now I know why. Luckily Miranda made it to the set before we started filming and added some amazing, gruesome finishing touches to our zombies. The last little bump we encountered was when I went to my storage locker to retrieve a ladder that I needed to get a high point of view shot. Unfortunately when I got to my locker there wasn’t a ladder to be found. So I quickly called a new addition to the Grindhouse family Doug Cogit. I told Doug my dilemma and he told me not to worry…he would bring me a ladder. That was huge because those shots were very important to the scene. Doug also worked hard all day on Saturday. Not only did he help set up the shots, he was my boom operator and was a great sounding board when I had an idea. I have a great feeling that I am going to work a lot with Doug. Doug also has experience as a cinematographer and is going to help with the For Love of Zombies shoot. All I can say is welcome to Grindhouse Doug…it’s gonna be a blast.
We were still one zombie short so I called one of our zombies Corey Branigan. He was able to muster up another zombie, Rachel Sweider and they both did amazing jobs. It was my first time working with Rachel and I must say it was a joy. Very professional and talented. I have worked with Corey several other times and he never disappoints. You will never find a more willing and hard working individual. My other two zombies were Ryan DiBiase and Ron Crowell. This was my first time working with them and I wasn’t sure what to expect…needless to say I was not disappointed. They both brought the scary. I don’t want to give anything away but when Ron makes his first appearance on screen it is frightening. Ryan’s performance was pitch perfect. He followed direction perfectly and delivered a very convincing zombie performance…I will be using all four of these zombies in the future…no doubt. The other actor I had the pleasure of working with yesterday was one of my oldest/dearest friends George Scully. George played the cemetery caretaker that is besieged by the zombies. George was extremely convincing when it came to showing fear when surrounded by the zombie horde. And his screams of pain and agony are still echoing in my head. He also brought his daughter Amanda who lent a helping hand whenever she was asked. Thanks Amanda! I can’t believe you are graduating high school…I really feel old. Anyhow I would just like to say to all of my actors from yesterday…you humble me.
I also had a lot of help from three charter members of Grindhouse Pictures. My daughter Emily, Sarah Albertson, and Heather Felmey. Sarah drove all over the place picking up supplies and Emily was once again the best slate girl in the business. And Heather, as always, did whatever we asked of her…that’s why she is called set mom.
Last but certainly not least I have to give a huge thank you to the Goregod himself…Eric Welsch. I emailed Eric on Friday asking if he could lend a hand with the make up on Saturday. I knew Miranda wouldn’t be available to a little later and I knew I’d be chasing daylight and avoiding an approaching storm so I needed to get Miranda a helping hand. Little did I know what I had in store. Eric was amazing. He showed up prepared and with a vision and he started making up my four zombies in a manner I never imagined…and I loved it. The zombies were frightening, gruesome, and convincing. We decided to make them all “fresh” zombies because of time constraints and all I can say is WOW. Eric was extremely professional and extraordinarily talented. I know he and Miranda are going to make a great team and For Love of Zombies is going to be a success because of their efforts. There will be a ton of pictures posted later today on the For Love of Zombies Facebook page. I look forward to working with Eric again. His creativity and imagination are off the charts.
The footage we shot is going to be part of the last webisode leading up the the For Love of Zombies movie. Those webisodes are going to premiere May 8th at our Brains and Beer Fundraiser. You are not going to want to miss all the zombie goodness. Lots of giveaways and great food. Click HERE for all the details.
For Love of Zombies is off to a flying start. I am surrounded by talented, dedicated people that are going to make this movie amazing. I am truly a lucky director. Now as is my custom…I celebrate any accomplishment by viewing my favorite movie…Shaun of the Dead. Until next time…You Got Red on You.