Sunday, July 14, 2013

Moonshine of the Damned, Production Journal #13

So this scene, in the script as 4A - where the character Freebird (Heather Panton) encounters some zombies and first comes up with the idea of the Spiked Zombie Head Mace. In the original script these elements were much more drawn out and it was just a bow and arrow she created, in the 2nd major revision it was the mace. In this version, there are about 3-4, possible more sequences all mashed down into one sequence.

It got postponed from June 30th, we were going to shoot it on my birthday, but had to cancel due to illness. No worries, because we got to do it today and it turned out awesome. I already edited it and I was a little worried at first I might've missed a few things and whatnot, but it all went together really well and I'm pretty damned happy with how it turned out.

The scene is significant in a couple ways, it represents the first really FX scene. Not overly huge on FX, but it did take while to do it all - and you have to consider, I'm doing all this myself with no help. It's a lot of work to break all this down and try to get it done on time and done well at that.

It involved one of our hero zombies, referred to as Angry Zombie - played awesomely by Angela Corrigan. Angela is fairly tall and thin and athletic, so not only was she the right size for a zombie, but could probably handle the physicality of it as well. First thing was to outfit her with some Out of Mouth Dentures, it was a little problematic since I don't have a vehicle and neither does she so we had to do this whenever there was even the slimmest of opportunities, and eventually it worked out.

Here's the finished dentures. Now, I've not even done enough work with this stuff to even be called an amateur. These were my 2nd attempt at them and they worked pretty well for what was needed. I ended up making a mould for the teeth themselves rather than trying to sculpt them by hand. That turned out to be a good idea.

It took a couple fittings, but we got them working well enough for the shoot.

And I had to create all these. It doesn't look like a whole lot of work when you see them just sitting there. But each head had to be cast in latex, cured and filled with polyfoam. The latex can take awhile to cure and with one mould, it can take a while to do this many. Once cured I had to damage each one, seal that up and once cured added some gory bits and wait for it to cure again and finally painted them all.

Then came the task of finding the right size and shape sticks to mount them on, which required a lengthy hike into sweltering hot, mosquito infested territory, the stick had to be cleaned up, all the little branches and crap removed and finally sharpened on both ends and head the heads jammed on. It was a lot of work, it took a long, long time and they're only onscreen for maybe 20 second in this one scene, but longer in another.
If you're thinking, "Wow, that's a lot of work, what a waste of time since you only see it for a couple seconds" then quite frankly, fuck you, you're probably an idiot and please stop reading, go away and find something better to do with your life, like help lepers or something. The whole point of this project was to go this distance, to create more work than you'll really notice onscreen. Why? Because I wanted to, that's it. This crap is what I do and I love the shit out of it, so if I can find an excuse to make a bunch of messed up severed zombie heads and jam them on sticks, than I'm going to do it.

Next is the Single Spiked Zombie Head Mace. The idea here is that Freebird grabs one to defend herself, realized it's a decent weapon and jams more spikes into it later on. So I had to make a 2nd mace with just one spike. The full spiked head will now be painted up to reflect the mess made on this one.

The staff from the original full spiked head was taken and put onto this head, since originally I didn't have the time to make a new staff. Since then I've made a new one and fixed the wobbly staff problem, so the Spiked Zombie Head Mace you'll see in the rest of the movie will look much better now.

And now, on with some pictures from the shoot. Here's Angel and Heather before we started.

The blind eye look was sort of a last minute idea. I had the contacts and since I knew Angela was fine with them, I figured we give it a try and hope it didn't mess up her depth perception to much. Luckily, even though it did, she was still cool with going for this look. It really added an extra little bit to the character and I think this will end up being some of the best zombie makeup in the movie.

Here I'm trying to get a locked down shot that will be combined with footage being shot in Scotland. We'll have this one shot with our footage and theirs combined, otherwise Freebird will just be watching the zombies in the other footage wander about.

I was just testing the camera and got this shot. No reason to post it other than it was a really decent picture of Heather.

I made this goofy looking little rig to mount my camera in, it kind of allowed me to steer it a bit more comfortably than just holding it. It could even be weighted and made into a sort of steadicam.

Some heads.

And another.

Kim took this random picture of herself while we were shooting I guess.

Finally, some zombie fighting action.

If I didn't know this was Angela lying there in makeup, I would swear this was just a prop.

Freebird after her first major zombie fight.

Angela and Heather in a couple extra "after" cast photos.

In the end Heather got bloody, Angela couldn't wait to get out of makeup, my camera survived a near whomping from the mace and we finished right on schedule. As I mentioned, I already edited the footage and it looks pretty awesome.

So a huge thanks to Heather and Angela for coming out to do this today. And to Kim for getting some awesome pictures. And now for the Line of the Day:

Not sure when we're shooting next. I've got a tentative date set on the 28th, but that all hinges on a lot of things coming together perfectly. We'll see what happens.

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