For Christmas this last year, my wife Christina surprised me with an incredible gift: she had full-size movie posters for all 12 films designed, printed, and framed for me. Needless to say, they turned out incredible. They were designed by our friend Daniel Benitez, and he did a fantastic job of giving each one its own unique style and look.
From the beginning of 12 Films in 12 Months, I knew that I wanted to make a horror movie in October for my tenth short film. I wasn’t sure what kind of horror film I was going to do at first, but I felt like October (with Halloween and all) was a good month to plan a horror film. I ultimately landed on doing a zombie movie and because it’s a classic, fun horror genre that I knew would be possible on a low budget and fun to shoot.
Well October turned out to be a very busy month, both for me and for some of the other people involved in the film and the shoot got pushed back to mid-November. So about two weeks ago, we all got together and finally made a zombie movie!
One of the things that made this zombie movie work (and even in a way possible) is the fact that my wife and I bought a house at the start of October. There are a couple of rooms that are kind of quirky and unfinished and I knew they would work great as a setting for a zombie chase/attack. Plus, I set the story in the home of a couple that just moved in, so it was acceptable that we still have some unpacked boxes laying around. Of course, I added a few in other rooms to give the effect that they had just moved in. All in all, our house ended up being the perfect set for the film.
The other thing that made the movie work was having zombie make-up. As I was trying to figure out what to do about getting some good zombie make-up, I started Googling “zombie make-up” and found different bits of advice like this or this or even this. Fortunately, in the lead-up to the shoot, I was talking with my brother and he mentioned a friend of his who does make-up and has always wanted to do zombie make-up. I got in touch with Bird (the make-up artist), and she was stoked to be part of it. The day of the shoot she showed up with a massive make-up and airbrush kit that she wheeled in and pretty much took over the dining room with. It was fantastic. As you can see by some of the photos I put on Flickr, she did a phenominal job.
The shoot itself went really smoothly. We had a pretty tight schedule to keep and everyone worked really hard and did a great job. That tight schedule, combined with the fact that I wanted a lot of freedom of movement with the camera and a somewhat shaky, kinetic visual style led me to shoot the entire film hand-held. It allowed us to move from shot to shot and set-up to set-up very quickly.
I’ve had a chance to look through all the footage and I have a good, solid cut put together at this point. I’m in the middle of the sound design (which is going to be so important to adding suspense and tension to the film). Watch for the film to release in the next few days!
It’s been quite a busy Fall so far. I got back from working the second National Youth Workers Convention for YS two weeks ago and now, as I write this, I’m on my way to Nashville for the third. Although the busyness has slowed the release of my monthly films, it hasn’t stopped production.
In regards to Film #9, I’m close to picture-lock and I’m getting started on the sound design and soundtrack. I’m still trying to balance the blending of film noir and kung-fu. The sequence that’s been giving me the most trouble has been a fist-fight that we shot. As it stands in editing, it doesn’t have the right rhythm and pacing yet. It lacks momentum. Other then that, the other main challenge is to find/create a soundtrack that can evoke both genres.
At the same time, I’ve also been working on Film #10. I have wanted to do a horror movie and more specifically, a zombie movie since I started this project and I decided that October would be the perfect month to dive into the horror genre (October being the month that this film was originally slated to be produced). Well, we shot it this last weekend and I’m seriously excited to get it put together and share it with you.
Finally, I’m starting into pre-production on Film #11. This month’s film is a sci-fi thriller based on story by my wife, Christina. It’s a story idea she passed by me before I even started 12 Films in 12 Months and I’m stoked to include it in the project.
Well, there you have it. That’s the current state of the remaining films for the year. I have six weeks exactly until the project is completed and I’m ready to kick into high gear and finish it well.