A few years back (2012, for christ’s sake) I was asked to help out with a zombie web series by a friend of mine. He already had the script ready, a make-up artist and most of the cast already set up. It was a real mix of people, with some from the RenFair and some from the local MMA crew around Louisville and Lexington. I was asked to film, and then, once on set, to edit as well. To be honest, I was more worried about the editing…
It turned out to be a great time and learning experience for me and everyone involved. I met some great people and new friends and got to participate in making Sean’s vision into a reality.
The Infected Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL657D3DF435BCE0FF
We started shooting in February, and it was damn cold. We were bundled up while waiting on make-up and for people to be ready. Once shooting, we had to drop down to minimum to cover up since the continuity would have been lost going from Episode 1 with heavy winter coats to Episode 5 where there are no coats and people have their sleeves pushed up after only 6 days pass in the series. Would not have been the only mistake… It was a learning experience for everyone. Was it a perfect showing? Nope. Was it fun? Yep! Would I do it again? In a heartbeat!!!
As the shooting progressed, people got more comfortable in their roles and really started coming out of their shells. They got louder and more confident and looked at the camera less. It was all fun. What was fun was watching people I knew already become a different version of themselves. The director and writer, Sean, was having a blast, and I think he wanted to be in the middle of the action as well, but kept to his guns with directing. He was very against using guns to a great degree in the film, so there is only ever one shown the whole time, and it was never even fired. I could tell he was having fun as he was smiling the whole time.
As for me, I had the fun, but stressful role of being the only camera operator and editor. My prior experience with editing came down to trimming videos I shot of the different shows at the RenFair. Not working the same scene with different camera angles and cuts and takes, which all had to be organized and notated and put back together for a cohesive story that looks good, has everything in the right order, and everyone can be heard.
Sound turned out to be the biggest issue the whole time. We shot everything, save the first episode, outside in the tail end of winter and early spring. The wind never stopped, and even with covering the mics, we still could not edit it out without making everyone sound like they were speaking underwater. In the long run, however, we (I) pulled it off and we have a show that is fun to watch and to see the effort put in. On set, we spent hours (8 hours in one case) and in very different weather as well. Afterwards, I spend hours on each episode to get it out in time. It took a couple months overall to shoot everything, as we had to make sure we got everyone who was key together at the same time. We did, and we got done with all the episodes that were written.
Now, we are waiting for the next round of the undead.
This truly was an experience I wont forget. From getting the knowledge of setting up shots, shooting them and finally following through with the edited production to just meeting new people and seeing and interacting with old friends. I am anxious to get into something like this again, I just need the bait to get people together and to follow through. I learned a lot that was then put forward into the experiences I had participating in the 48 Hour Film Fest in Louisville, which I am hoping to participate in this year as well.
OK, I have been rambling off, but hey. Isn’t that what reminiscing is all about, just letting the mind wander and re-experience the fun of a time nearly forgotten?