Category Archives: Thoughts

Questions Answered

Behind the scenes shot of Kelly standing in for Roy, for the last shot of Spring.
Behind the scenes shot of Anna (Trinka) and Kelly standing in for Roy, for the last shot of Spring, sporting the Roy’s Towing logo on the back of his shirt.

Still trying to figure out how it all ties together? Have you  asked, “What happened to So-and-so?”, have you figured out that the four stories are actually all one single story?

Have you figured out the fate of the “survivors” in each season.

Ready to find out if your theories about the film are correct?

Massive Spoilers ahead… turn back now.

Alright, here it goes:

The short answer: There is only 1 survivor at the end of the film.

The long answer:

We start in Spring, ending with just Anna and Roy. (“Roy” is the tow truck driver that came to help when Anna hit the deer, and she call’s him Roy because the logo on the back of his shirt is for a company named Roy’s Towing)

Behind the scenes shot of Madison and Gary, after Gary’s demise.

At the end of  Summer we see Gary and Madison are the only survivors of the attempted float trip to Muncie.

So what happened to Gary and Madison?

During Fall we get to see Gary and Madison and find out what happened to them.

In one of Doc’s flashback sequences, we see that Madison contracted, and died of pneumonia. Not realizing she had turned, Gary goes into the vault to check  on her, where he is attacked and has his throat torn out.

During Fall, we also catch a glimpse of Marcus.  He’s at the foot of the bed in the opening scene, and he helps carry the bed with Don’s body out at the beginning.

Marcus, Marianne, and the pregnant woman who killed them all.
Behind the scenes, of the Fall intro, with Marcus, Marianne, and the pregnant woman who killed them all.

In the final scene of Fall, a man brings a woman in labor to Doc.  One of the big themes of fall is the things that will kill you pretty easily, that we don’t even think about in the modern world.  Giving birth with little medical equipment, no medication, and few surgical tools is a risky business.  She dies giving birth, and everyone in the building does too.

Marcus manages to escape the building, and at the beginning of Winter, we find Marcus traveling while it’s still cold and safe.

Thanks again to all the fans.  We’re nearing a million!

600,000 views

This morning at 10:04 AM, the Year After Infection broke 600,000 views.
It’s a proud moment for us as film makers.

When we were submitting the film to festivals, and distributors, we heard over again… “too weird”, “too different”, “too complicated”, “too slow”, “too depressing”.

Here we are 600,000 views later, and TYAI did find it’s audience. It’s still being watched and spread to others.  We still get subscribers and comments.  I confess I don’t read them.

I’m still proud of it. I got to make the film I set out to make, with no compromises.  Some people love it.  Some people hate it.  And that’s exactly the kind of film we set out to make.  No playing it safe.  No middle ground.  You either get it, or you don’t.

In retrospect, it’s weird to look back and realize that we were halfway into principal photography when they announced “The Walking Dead” on AMC.  (No, I’m not a fan… SURPRISE!).  Mike and I were standing on the bridge where we shot the climax of Summer, and when discussing it I told him “This is either very good, or very bad for us.”  I’m still not sure which it is.  We were making a niche film.  Walking Dead made zombies mainstream.

So at the end of the day, it was a successful failure as a film.  I don’t quite know how to feel about that.

Not too bad for a film that was rejected from over 22 festivals.  Each one costing $25-100.  Each rejection was a soul crushing experience.  The problem is you start to believe them.

When it was all said and done, we never got our theater premiere.  We never got to put an “Official Selection Smitty’s Backyard Old Time Film Festival” on the poster.  We never bothered to press the DVDs, or print the sleeves, even though all the artwork was done, and the DVDs mastered.

When we finally decided to post it on YouTube, just to get it out there, I would have been happy if 5,000 people watched it.  And when we posted it, I wasn’t sure it would reach 5,000.  So to reach 600,000 is a great feeling.

Being an actor and getting rejected is tough, but being the guy who wrote, directed, and edited a film and getting rejected is a gut punch.  So work on your core fellow film makers.  A gut punch is what killed Houdini.

And if you plan on getting rich on YouTube with a feature… well you can set that thought aside.  Our ad revenues have only left us about 96.5% in the hole.

I should have bought the Lotus.

I’m sure part of the reason we haven’t dove into another feature film is because I’m still a bit raw over the experience of the last one.   We will make another film.  I just don’t know if it’s going to be the labor of love that TYAI was.  It’s like dating after your first real relationship.  You want to love again, but this time you’re far more cautious, far less trusting, and far more critical.

I had planned a long time ago to do a series of posts about in jokes that were peppered throughout the film, but, when you don’t think anyone is going to see the film to appreciate the joke, it just seems like a waste of time.  Well, you proved me wrong. I may just do that series of posts when we hit a million.  That seems like an appropriate landmark. (We still have all the props and wardrobe)

So do me, the cast, the crew, and everyone involved in the film a favor.  If you watched the film, and you liked it, pass it on to a friend.  Word of mouth has been what got us this far, and I don’t see any reason that it shouldn’t continue that way:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqziPSVIsmE
https://www.facebook.com/yearafterinfection?ref=bookmarks

Much love to the fans.  Thanks for making it all better.
And to the folks that kept telling us “no”, we still have the film in HD if you’re with Netflix, Amazon or a distributor that is interested.

 

 

After Thoughts

If you’ve been following the blog very long, you’ve probably figured out that I type exactly what I’m thinking when I’m thinking it… and right now I’m thinking “What’s next?”  I’ve outlined what I want to do next, and the subject comes up between me and Mike quite a bit, but truth be told, I don’t know how I’m going to put together a group of people as talented and dedicated as this group has been.  I know I need a break, and I know they deserve one.

I also start to think, “Why do people make movies?”  There are easier ways to tell stories.  There are less expensive ways to do it too.  At the end of the day, I don’t even want to think about what this has cost… but, I’m sure Karen knows down to the penny.  I won’t lie and say “Why am I doing this?” hasn’t crossed my mind.  There’s only one answer for that.  Because I wanted to.

If someone had told me I was going to spend 21 months making a movie, I would have said, “That’s a long time to shoot a porno.”

Seriously though:
I’m fascinated and terrified at the idea of death.  I tend to reconcile this with the notion that the universe existed before I got here, and it will continue after I’ve been.  But what I find even more terrifying is the idea of death (or even some semblance of life) with all loss of persona.  To become a non-sentient thing.

The zombie genre has pretty much taken this as a reason to horrifically and graphically smack down humanlike substitutes in the most gratuitous ways possible.  And, it seems, that’s all that has become of it.  A game of oneupsmanship.  How can we creatively kill something that looks like a human, but without the stigma of it being a human?  Zombies, sadly, have become a cipher, and I guess that’s what really bothers me the most.  It’s sad that a genre with so much potential has been relegated to splatter and spectacle.  Of all the zombie films out there, there really is only three that have stood up to the test of time.  The Night of the Living Dead, it’s remake (which I actually prefer), and the original Day of the Dead.  The rest pretty much fall into the same mold.

Outbreak>panic>survivors>survivors lost>things go back to normal.

It’s tired, and cliche, and that was really the inspiration for this.  Then came the realization that 28 Days Later and The Walking Dead  are the same story (even down to both protagonist waking in abandoned hospitals).  And even worse are the films where people walk around with seemingly endless supplies of food and ammo.

One of the reasons I wanted to do this, was because I felt it was time for the zombie genre to grow up a bit. The real genesis of this project was, it always seems, whenever you watch a zombie film, there’s always someone in the group that proudly claims that they would survive, and then usually go on to tell you how and why they’d survive.   Needless to say, most of these notions, I find to be pretty thin.  But more than that, if you did survive, would you still be you?  With the collapse of the culture we live in, how many people would remain functional and intact?

No one ever deals with the idea of  the trauma an event like that would really have.  The notion that “If your daily life became a tooth and nail fight for survival, with no technology and no communication and no way out, what would those people who where lucky(?) enough to survive be like?” has never really been addressed to my satisfaction.  How easy would it be for them to adjust to this new world?  PTSD doesn’t exist in zombie films, at least nothing a quick open-handed slap in the face wont fix.  Nobody is ever bothered by the idea that they are finishing off things that once upon a time were their father, brother, sister, friend, co-worker.  Sorry.  I call bullshit.

There’s a realization in all this.  That after this is all said and done, my life will be profoundly changed.  The movie could succeed.  It could fail.  Either will impact me pretty drastically.  I hope, when it’s all said and done,  I remain functional and intact.  I tend to take everything personally, and this is something that I really have poured heart and soul into, and in doing so, I’ve also discovered a lot about the people that are a part of my life.  Some good.  Some bad.  The good is as good as it ever gets.  There’s a lot more that goes along with this, but I can’t explain it to you.  You either have to experience it for yourselves, or don’t.  Sorry, but words can only carry certain kinds of ideas.

If you’re a fan of movies you  might have seen Fight Club.  Chuck Palahniuk brilliantly wrote  “This is your life, and it’s ending one second at a time.”  That’s an absolute truth.  In the same film there is a scene where Tyler Durden asks two men sitting in the back seat, “Guys, what would you wish you’d done before you died?”

Well, at last,  I can finally say “Nothing Tyler.  All good here in the back seat. Go ahead and let go of the wheel…”

And with the completion of this movie, that’s what I have to do.  Let go of the wheel.   People can like it or not. It is what it is.

I guess all I can do now is wait for someone to splice single frames of pornography into my movie.

Thanks for letting me ramble….  more to come

Lessons I’ve Learned #2

Lesson #2
Don’t Fall in Love With What You’re Creating

Now that might sound like a complete contradiction to Lesson #1, but it’s not .

There have been a lot of hard lessons in this one as of late.  So what do I mean by “don’t fall in love with what you’re creating”?

No matter how good the shot, no matter how phenomenal the performance, no matter how perfect the sound, and lighting are, know when to leave it on the editing room floor.

This applies not only in editing, but during shooting.  Even if you think you got it absolutely perfect in the first take, trust me, you probably didn’t.  Shoot it again, and again if necessary.  I can’t begin to tell you how many times during the course of this project that what I thought absolutely positively for sure was going to be THE shot wasn’t.  Days or weeks or months later when you’re editing, you’ll get to see it the way an audience will see it.  When you sit down to edit, make sure you have choices, and even more importantly, know when a shot is flawed, no matter how good it seemed when you were there shooting it.  A very minor seeming error when you’re shooting will stand out like crazy when you’re putting it all together.

There are plenty of these golden moments that were captured on film throughout the course of the production,  but you can never, ever allow yourself the luxury of forgetting what you’re there to accomplish.   At the end of the day, it’s about telling a story, and it’s about being succinct. When you’re editing it all together, you are never allowed to get indulgent.   Do so at your own peril, because the audience will not be forgiving.

If there’s one lesson that is absolutely impossible to know if you learned, it’s this one.  There are plenty of films both big and small that are guilty of committing this crime.  Films that started off with a great script and a great cast, and fell apart during final assembly.  I could cite numerous examples, but I won’t bother.  Everyone has a list of films they kind of liked, but seemed to drag on, or took forever to get to the point.

If you’re viewing your rough cut, and it feels sluggish or off paced, then you’re guilty of this.  You have to be able to cut a scene down to it’s absolute essence.

Now each scene  should be there for a reason, and sometimes slowing down to take a breath or really explore a moment is vital.  Know when to stop cutting, and know  when to not cut.

Each scene demands different sensibilities, and getting a passing grade on one doesn’t mean you’ll get a passing grade on the next.  The directing doesn’t end on the last day of filming.  Picking the right take is just as important as getting the right take.

And after all that hard work, the only thing left to hope is when you sit down and watch the whole thing together it works.

 

 

 

Lessons I’ve Learned #1

So, with no more crew members to tap for blog posts, I’ve taken a brief hiatus from editing to usher in my triumphant and glorious return to the keyboard, and I can feel the wondrous afterglow radiating from the 40,000 of you that are tuning in.

I know.  I know.  You just couldn’t wait for me to get back…  big hug.  I’ve missed you too.

When I started this blog, I said I would be honest, and give you this whole thing warts and all.  So after all this, I’ve decided it’s time to share the lessons I’ve learned while going through this whole process.  Hopefully this is going to help some other aspiring film maker down the line.  And I’ve decided to kick it off with the most important lesson of all:

Lesson #1
Love What You’re Creating

Now, this sounds obvious, but through the course of this I’ve had multiple script and story ideas thrown at me from all kinds of people.  Some sound pretty good.  And the one thing I can tell each and every one of them with absolute sincerity is, you had better produce a script and a story and characters that you have fallen in love with, because you’re about to be married to them.

I’ve been hip deep in TYAI for almost 2 years now.  Two years of surrendering every spare moment, to either write, or film, or edit or design or build.  The list of tasks that goes into any film is humongous.  Loving what you’re creating keeps you working on it.  It keeps you editing.  It keeps you trying.  We had 57 filming days over the course of a year.  You better believe loving what you’re creating matters.

Sure you could treat it like a fling.  Sure you could give your story the Wham, Bam, Thank you Ma’am treatment.  And you know what?  It will be apparent to everyone who sees it after the fact. (Ever watched a Michael Bay film?)

Loving what you’re creating keeps you from cutting corners.  It keeps you shooting until you get that one perfect take.  It keeps you scouting for the perfect location.  It keeps you looking for that perfect actor.  If you aren’t passionate about what you’re doing, really, find something else to do. More importantly, it will drag your ass back out onto location to reshoot something you’ve already done, because you know it’s not right, or as good as it could be.

It doesn’t hurt to be a little obsessive.

Almost every day of shooting I wore a Star Wars baseball cap.  Occasionally someone would ask me if I was a Star Wars fan.  I would tell them no.  Usually this would be followed with “then why wear the hat?”.  My answer was always “it’s a reminder”.

Reminder of what? you ask…

Don’t ever kid yourself.  There is no way to be objective when it’s your creation.    So you know what you MUST DO.  Surround yourself with honest people.  People that will tell you shit is shit.  Do this at all stages.  Do it when you’re writing.  Do it when you’re shooting.  And Do it when you’re editing.  If it don’t work for them, it isn’t going to work for anyone else.  And more importantly, just like a relationship, listen.  Really listen.  If the crew you surround yourself with can’t be honest, or constantly blow sunshine up your ass, get a new crew.  And more importantly, let them be honest.  Don’t be defensive.  Let them tell  you why something doesn’t work.   Film is a collaborative process.  Let them collaborate.

The most satifying feeling in the world is showing those people a finished scene that they helped create, and have them genuinely be wowed by it.  These are the people that should be the least impressed.  They were there when it was being done, and if you can get a “Wow” out of them, you know the people who haven’t seen anything yet will be impressed too.

As an indy film, we don’t have the resources that a big picture has, but that doesn’t mean you have to produce schlock.  And plenty of big budget movies are guilty of scrimping on the script.  We don’t need a story… we have production design, or special effects or star power.   Well, If I ever utter those words, any cast or crew member is hereby granted the right to slap the taste out of my mouth.

And I’ll just go ahead and say it, flat out.  The Prequels sucked.  And why did they suck? They had production design. They had star power.  They had special effects out the wazoo… and for all of that, you can watch them and just know, soul deep, nobody was allowed to say “Hey George, this sucks. ”

Thus… the hat.  The reminder.

Blocking out a scene with Eric and Tim.

This all goes back to loving what you’re creating.  Love it enough to be honest with it.  Love it enough to rewrite it.  Love it enough to reshoot it.  Do that, and when it’s all said and done, you’ll love it even more, because you’ll know it’s right.

Hope you enjoyed this.  Please give it a share or a mention.
Or if you didn’t, leave a comment why… I’m all ears.  Really.

Little Miss Sunshine

editing nightmares

Greco’s Editing Nightmares won’t be seen this week.  After a month solid of editing, getting everything to it’s nearly finished form.  The last bits are just about finished, and instead of my bleary-eyed, computer glazed over eyes telling you exactly how tedious and time consuming the whole editing process is, we bring you the last of the crew blogs, from our resident ray of sunshine Kelly.

She’s fun, funny, a great talent behind a camera, and willing to do whatever to get a shot.  Exactly the kind of person you want to work with.  Our long time readers will remember that we lost Kelly after beginning to shoot Summer due to a new job.  But due to a wonderful series of circumstances (not really) , a sizable ransom, a team of crack mercenaries were hired, sent into an area department store, I am pleased to report that Kelly was returned to us unharmed.

You'd smile if you were this wonderful too

Kelly writes:

Sooooo, as you heard we are done with shooting and it feels very bittersweet.  (yeah, clichéd I know however, my word document thesaurus isn’t giving me anything better) Anyway, I will miss filming A lot, yet I can’t wait to finally see the film all together and also see how every one of our fabulous fans react to the finished product, yay! As some of you may know I was a camera person on The Year after Infection and was lucky enough to be a part of almost every aspect of the film.

The only time I was not there was when I accepted a job for about 3 months at a department store selling kids shoes which was definitely an adventure in itself.   I must say, there is nothing like tying a child’s shoes then looking up in their bright face just long enough to catch a juicy droplet of saliva landing right between the eyes.  Oh and I couldn’t possibly forget seeing the crazed look in the parent’s eye when you tell them you don’t have the shoe they want for their “little darlings”.  Let’s just say, even though I wasn’t working on a horror film at that time I was definitely still getting the whole creepy vibe.  Some of the things you witness in retail have the potential to haunt you the rest of your life.  Retail Hell, it’s no joke.

So I’ve never filmed a movie before, or acted, or really anything regarding a talent.  Don’t feel bad most of it was due to me just not trying.  I do like drawing, however most of that was killed by an art teacher in the third grade who held up my project to the class asking “who does this….thing belong to?”

At least you could tell what I was drawing unlike Joe what’s his name in the corner who ate his boogers and thought Elmer’s glue made a delicious midafternoon snack.  (Admit it there’s always one, unless you’re it, then you can keep it to yourself)  Anyway, let’s just say I hadn’t really found my niche until I started helping out with the film.  What an amazing experience, I would say you should try making one sometime but seeing our director and producers put in that immense amount of hard work, and believe me I know what  hard work looks like.  I’ve spent many years avoiding it, I figure it’s really not for everyone.

On the second day of filming I was asked to work the second camera.  At first I thought they were joking, thus after the fifth time of hearing “no really” I decided to accept the offer before they changed their minds.  My first mission: walk across a dark field backwards while keeping one of the three actors in frame, sounds easy enough.  Now before I continue I must say that this field was not that large yet took all of two nights to shoot.  So, there I was slowly walking across the field, and thinking to myself my feet are soaked from the dew, I’m tired, I’m still a little shaky from the shock I received earlier from trying to plug stuff in on the dewy ground, and I’m having the absolute best time EVER! Mike said it best when he said “The absolute worst day of filming is better than the greatest day at our regular jobs.”

The very last day of filming just passed us and I must say what a great note to end on.  I also got the great pleasure of two of my marvelous parents, Bill and Laurie, being there and one (my dad) actually got to be a reporter!  I’m not just saying this because he’s my dad, but he did absolutely incredible.  I guess after so many years of thinking your parents are lame the phase ends and luckily in my case it was replaced by this truly talented individual who can act, and write/play his own music. (You’ll hear some of it in the film!) Anyway, I just had to give a shout out to my dad! So proud of you!

So, that’s pretty much it for me, I hope you all enjoy the movie!!

T in da HOUSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tony Mays for Zombie Clean
Tony Mays for Zombie Clean

And as I am still editing away this weeks blog post was written by Tina, or just plain old T.  T-money.  T-dawg.  T-rannosaurus Wrecks.  T-Bag. Hey-T.  I think you get the gist….   I know what you’re thinking… you have time to make these stupid pictures, but not enough time to write a blog.  Well, the answer is… YES.  That’s exactly right.

Anyways we interrupt this infomercial as T writes:

Breaking news from the KCUF News Team…

We are down to the last scene to be shot and winter editing is pretty well complete!

It has been a very eventful year + of filming and the project is almost complete…bitter sweet isn’t it?

Q & A

 

Q:       What will I do with my weekends now?

A:

  1. Not inhale toxic smoke.
  2. Not shovel unknown materials out of a barn.
  3. Not stand in 35 degree water.
  4. Not spend 10 hours waste deep maneuvering canoes.
  5. Not deal with Sullivan Missouri’s finest. (You know who you are)
  6. Not drive up to Hannibal while there is a blizzard.
  7. Not clean up a half blown away home that smelled of mold.

 

Q:      What was your favorite filming day?

A:   It is truly hard to pick one…there are so many talented people on this film, and there were so many fun days!  One that stands out to me thought was the evening at the barn, in the middle of the night when the bats were dive bombing Joe…we had to stop filming because somebody in the general vicinity was having a karaoke party…noise travels in the middle of nowhere you know?  There was a lot of laughing that night.

 

Q:      What was your least favorite filming day?

A:      Hands down…diving into the water that was 35 degrees in November.  I use to love being in the water, swimming, boating, canoeing…now I am scared for life.  Just kidding I still love all these things…when it is 80 + degrees.

On behalf of the whole crew…it has been a pleasure working with all of you! You all are very talented, fun to work with and we hope you all have successful careers!

 

HEY THERE.
Tony May’s again.  If you act now I will throw in this Teaser Trailer absolutely FREEEEEEE.  So act now!

trailer

 

 

 

 

 

 

And Now a Word…

The Joy of Editing...

The Joy of Editing will not be seen this week…
Okay, so I’m completely swamped with editing duties right now, so in true TYAI style, I’ve enlisted some of the behind the scenes folks to write a bit, so you can get their take on their experiences with the film making process.

This week’s entry is Karen

 

Ok, bear with me. Because now I am sitting in that same damn kitchen and I have never done this before.

It has been a very long journey from when we started until now and we are almost there. I never thought we would see the finish line that is just right around the corner and I am not sure how any of us are supposed to feel. Relief, that we actually did it! A little sadness that it’s almost over & very grateful for the amazing people we have met on the way.

We have traveled from one end of Missouri to the other. Spent almost a month cleaning and setting up a hundred year old barn, that a wonderful woman & her husband in Washington let us use.  Burned hay that glowed greenish yellow in 100 degree weather, when it rained we thought we were in heaven it would stop and we thought we would die.

Spent nights playing with the bugs, bats and one very ornery gopher, and with all of that the cast & crew were a blast, even on some of the hardest nights until the wee hours in the morning the just kept going with the best of attitudes. They are a joy to work with!

Moving on to the next location that I think had to be one of the hardest to work with outside, very large cast, crew & extras. Weather challenges, scheduling, constant change in location, hours of driving and countless visits from the surrounding population (some very nice & some that stopped us filming all together.)  Countless encounters with officers of the law that thankfully turned out to be very cool and fun to talk to.

We know your jobs are not easy and running into us had to be strange to say the least. So thank you, gentlemen & ladies for your understanding, help, & some very good advice!

Props to the cast, extras & crew that would not give in. Even after the encounters with strangers toting guns, being sprayed with rocks the never ending interruptions from weather, planes, cars, boats, some very interested drunks, and live bands that you could hear for miles.

Then off to Hannibal! To an old 3 story building with the promise of heat LOL that happened to be on every floor but the one we were on Ha. I would love to give the owners name and plug his business but can’t without his permission. He not only let us invade his place of business but let us rearrange his entire top floor. We would show up unexpected stay all day and he was nothing but helpful.

He even found a location that was so much better than the one we had chosen, introduced us to his friend that had never met us before, who invited into his home and his sons stayed and helped us out THANK YOU!

Hannibal was a very cool city. The surrounding business owners would come out to watch and not once caused a problem we would yell action and everyone went silent I even turned to see a woman and her 4 children getting ready to cross the street and she pulled them back had them be very quiet until the director yelled cut and she went on her way like this happened every day. Hannibal was like the twilight zone and I can’t say enough kind things about the people there.

Our very ornery cast never faltered. Always on time happy to be there, came up with some very good ideas and made everything seem so easy.

Our next location was mostly outside in the snow yes very cold again. One of our longest drives in Vandalia and a very wonderful family and I do mean the entire family!

Our smallest cast. An amazing little boy with a hell of a lot of talent! & a very quiet, kind man with a beautiful voice and talented! He made every thing look so easy and natural you sometimes forgot what you were doing and just stood and watched them in some cases you actually felt like you were intruding thank you guys so much!

 

 

40 Minutes, 23.5 Seconds

Int:
Oh, you know where I’m at.  The same damn kitchen, sitting at the same damn computer….

Julian and Clark

There’s something strange about finishing editing all this snowy footage together in a week where we are having heat warnings.  After hours and hours and hours of work, the rough cut of segment 4, Winter, is finished.  Can you guess what the rough cut run time is?

It will be trimmed down a bit, hopefully to about the 35 minute mark.  I’m afraid it will feel long, but honestly, I won’t know until we screen if for the crew, and start getting some brutally honest feedback.  What I do know is, there won’t be any pickup shots needed.

So now, there’s only two items that remain.  The pickup shots for this weekend.  Roughly 15 shots.  Just enough to make a day of it.  Then three shots for the intro, which equals about a day of running and shooting.

I can honestly say I’m exhausted, and a little worked up, and even a little nervous about this weekend.  So much to do… one day to do it.  It’s going to be a long day… but apparently a fairly nice one.  85 degrees is the forecast.  A nice break from the 90+ degree days we’ve been having.  I know the Summer cast is rip roaring and ready to go, and Karen has been busting ass for the last three weeks getting every detail sorted, in between running around getting the intro shots done.

Arron, Liz, Kayli, Hannah and John

Speaking of the intro shots, we actually shot the very first shot of the movie Saturday evening.  Funny that it would be so close to last.  So a huge shout out to our intro shot cast members Arron, Hannah, John, Kayli, Liz and last but not least Greg.  Thank you all for showing up and shooting in the dark, and thank you even more for nailing it in 4 takes!

Don’t worry, there’s still plenty more to do, and plenty more to talk about.  And I do mean plenty…

Editing… editing…editing

Int:
A windowless office decorated with movie props and posters.

Sorry no update last week.  I was in editing hell. I had started an entry, and by about the middle of it, I decided to do you all a favor and not post it.  Boring stuff, is boring…

So, this hasn’t been the most action packed of weeks. It’s been a lot of editing and preparation for the upcoming June 11th shoot. At the end of the day, it’s a good thing we didn’t schedule because we’ve been inundated with rain, and not the gentle spring shower kind.

We also picked up our cut acrylic on Friday, which will be used for the title sequence.  And that’s all I’m going to say about that. I wonder if it will survive the shoot…

Scott filming one of our intro scenes.

Saturday, however, was action packed and we started the day with lots to do.  I was up late (of course) and we went and shot some publicity stills with the lovely Trinka, who couldn’t possibly have looked any prettier, and we had a stand in for Stan.  Set up seemed to took forever, but once we were rolling things went well.  After that, some quick audio recording to dub over some bad audio from Spring.  There’s a fine line between ambiance and racket. The bugs were too loud, and they had to go., ironically, to be added back in on a second audio track, and turned way, WAY down.

A farewell hug to my lovely leading lady, and we were off to Clayton to shoot one of the intro shots with Scott.  We found the perfect spot, I told everybody what I wanted, helped position all three of the cameras, and we were shooting.  Got it in eight takes.  Not a record, but speedy.  Then it was off to the airport to shoot a second intro shot.  Found the perfect spot, and we’re shooting again.  Afterwards, despite the fact that we were in a location where it’s okay to shoot, everyone confessed they were afraid that security was going to pull up and confiscate all our gear.  It didn’t happen, but everyone thought it.

Then it was back to home base to pull footage and start editing.

How do I know editing is action packed and a thrill a minute?  Because everyone was asleep by 11:30 on a Saturday… except Tina.  Who actually watched with some interest while the sequences we shot were put together.

Editing is the least exciting and most crucial part of this whole process.  It’s a frame by frame game that every film maker has to deal with.  With some films, they’re worried about being short, so they tend to pad out scenes.  Not so with us.  I’m worried about running long, and so every frame counts. If it doesn’t forward the story, onto the virtual cutting room floor it goes. I’m trying to keep each segment to 35 minutes or less, but that’s proving difficult sometimes.   There’s so much great stuff in there, you want to use it all.  It’s a matter of choosing the best of the best, and it can be a painful experience.  There may be some great facial expression or movement that you really want to use, but you only get to choose one.  And with our spectacular cast, they didn’t make it easy.  Watching the same two or three takes over and over to see which one is the best to use, or which parts of each take to use is as tedious as it sounds.  But it’s also pretty fulfilling.  When you string together a bunch of great pieces, and you set a scene for output,  you can’t wait to actually see it all put together.  This frame, cut, that frame stays, that one gone.  It’s all very intuitive and feels like painting in a dark room sometimes.  You never really know how the finished piece is going to come out until you’re all finished, and watching it for the first time is like seeing it all for the first time.

Anyways, that’s enough rambling.  This week we have a full schedule, and it’s a short week.  We are doing the last of our prep for the June 11 shoot, and we’ll be shooting two intro sequences this weekend.  Almost there.  Just the sprint to the finish line….

Stay tuned!

 

So, What’s Left???

Int:
That same old damn kitchen

So we’re in final edit mode.  We have some pickup shots for Summer that need to be done, and some minor stuff to do for the intro.  It’s all coming together quite nicely.

Sadly though, according to this guy the world is going to end on Saturday.  And the CDC posted an article about the Zombie apocalypse and emergency preparedness here.  Coincidence?  I think not.  So, with the rapture coming on Saturday, you might want to change your plans, and make sure you’re not driving.  With it being Thursday, you still have time to get your shit together before the biting and screaming starts.  Me.  I’m going to Ben’s house.

Ben Bovee, and his tree.
Ben is armed for the zombie apocalypse with a tree. A fucking TREE!

I guess it’s a good thing we won’t be doing pickup shots this weekend, because nothing disrupts a shoot like having to get all set up, and then having to yell “CUT!” beating a zombie to death, and then have to get set back up.

This past weekend, we got some minor stuff taken care of, while I edited Winter together, which I’m about 1/3 through, and hoping to make more progress on this coming weekend, while we do a couple of shots for the intro.  Sadly, talking about editing is about as interesting as watching editing.  You know why they call it Post production?  Because it’s about as interesting as talking to a post…  feel free to steal that one.

The Summer pick up shots have to wait for June 11th, because of scheduling.  I’m a little upset about the delay, but I suppose it’s better than having to stand in freezing water again.  The shots are all just little things, but they’re necessary.  The edit of Summer starts off really well, but with the rush to beat the weather, it starts to fall apart by the time we get to the end.  There are some shots that just have to be there and it’s also a chance to fix some things I’m not happy with…  So we’re rounding up most of the cast, and getting ready to do one more filming day.  It will be a full day.  No doubt about that, but at least we’ll have plenty of time to prep.

There’s something that just feels appropriate about ending with the Summer cast.  Don’t ask my why… Maybe it has to do with some of my favorite cast members being there.  Maybe it’s just time for an outdoor shoot where everyone isn’t standing outside in the snow freezing their asses off.

All this is pretty boring stuff, no doubt about it.  The only other spot of news at the moment is I’m thinking of doing a photo shoot, because while I have a bunch of concepts for the poster (six or seven, I’ve lost count), I’m not really happy with any of them.  Still back-end processing that one.  We’ll come up with something…

I sure do hope this whole end of the world thing doesn’t screw up our submitting to all the film festivals.  I was hoping the Mayan’s were right, and we’d have until December 2012 to get this out there.

Alright, I have to go and sharpen knives and count ammo and such, while I hum the Rambo theme.  If the world doesn’t end this Saturday, I’ll be back next week with some actual news.  If the world ends and the internet is still running, I’ll be back with some news.  And if the world ends and there’s no internet, I’ll go spray paint next weeks blog on a wall somewhere…

More to come.  Stay tuned.