JULY 5th 2014: MEET DAVID KENNY by Zion
David - AKA JOHNNY CRASH - has worked on several big b-movies under that guise. Most famously, SPIDERBABY, which earned him the honour of HOWERD STERN declaring it "B-Movie Of The Year". Since relocating back to the UK from New York, David has directed and edited 50+ music videos and is in great demand as an editor.
I approached him about coming onto MTC about a month ago and, once we worked out the logistics and how it would work, we secured his services and can breath a big sigh of relief!
MAY 29th 2014: CANNES YOU BELIEVE IT?! by Zion
Fortunately for us, some industrial action by the French bus companies meant that a lot of scheduled meetings between movie bigwigs and other movie bigwigs didn't go ahead. This gave us the opportunity to grab sneaky, stealth meetings with the aforementioned bigwigs to talk all things Cadaver.
Here is what I learned: ours is a concept, an idea, much loved by all that heard it. Bored faces soon turned to excited, expectant visages, keen for more. All were left with our top secret clip trailer. All have asked for screeners when they are ready.
So, the future for "Meet The Cadavers" looks very promising indeed. [view all Cannes photos]
Since returning from Cannes, we attended the MCM ComicCon in London. The biggest event of its kind in the UK, we promoted our movie to another large crowd. Those that already knew about it were asking after it. The editing situation is frustrating but, hey, who said making a film was easy? It shouldn't be easy! If it is, you did it wrong.
Anyway, look who we bumped into at ComicCon - actor Karl Smith, aka Barnaby from "Meet The Cadavers"!
APRIL 15th 2014: EDITING UPDATE by Zion
Then I remembered when I sat with Matt putting together some scenes from scratch. Thought about it and figured that, once I learnt how to use a programme, I could probably edit. I know the film better than anyone, know what I want on the screen and have the time to do it.
Last week, with that in mind, I started to edit together an Extended Trailer for Cannes in May. Luckily, the person we have since chosen to do the score sent through his idea for the theme. I fell in love with it and decided to cut the trailer to it, meaning that it was over 3 minutes long [listen to it here]. Importantly, it had to include all the really cool stuff to whet the appetites of potential buyers. I spent about 10 hours doing it and nervously showed it to David (who is an experienced editor) who said "You can edit!". In other words, I have the knack.
I then showed it to a bunch of other filmmakers whose opinion I respect (in case David was being kind) and they all concured.
Thank fuck for that.
David and I use different formats (Mac vs PC) so we are just working out how to fix that little problem then the edit will commence. Full speed ahead!
FEBRUARY 23rd 2014: EDITING DAY 3 by Zion
One of the scenes I was most looking forward to doing was next. It is going to be one of THE scenes of the film. One that everyone will be talking about. So funny. It opens in such a way where, what follows, is a total shock and surprise. It also really showcased the acting chops of Chloe, Karl and Jack (Myrtle, Barnaby and Sid, respectively). Among the humour is some real pathos - something I am very proud of and something that would not have worked if it weren't for the skills of the cast. We slowed the scene down a bit, to really focus on the emotion of the scene. It must have worked as, when we played it back, Matt announced that his "stomach went funny". Always a good thing! I am particularly fond of some of the shots during this segment as it reminds me of the TV programme "Peep Show". You'll see..!
We discussed what we wanted to do with the trailer next. It's a hard one as we don't want to give any plot away, but we need to draw people in and want the audience to NEED to see more. We'll get there. We have to - we're all sorted for Cannes now in May.
Next job is to give some of the shortlisted composers an edit of the credit sequence to see what they make of that. Hoping to get that across this week.
I have come away with a couple of hard drives
containing all the shots. I've got to go through the next four
scenes to be edited, to pick out all the best shots to use so, when we
reconvene next month, we can get busy!
FEBRUARY 4th 2014: EDITING DAY 2 by Zion
Thankfully, it was the latter! I was able to look at what they had done and make suggestions on how things could maybe be done better. I was also able to help fix "problem" parts and generally be a useful addition to the process. I guess I have run through the film in my head a lot and, as a student of comedy, I understand how to eek out the most laughs possible from a particular scenario. Also, I think it helps having a fresh pair of eyes on things. I know from my experience with music and recording, long hours in the studio can make your brain fuggy.
The scene of the whole movie I was most worried about was looked at in depth today. It was a difficult scene to film for many reasons, not least the weather. A bunch of factors meant that we were distracted so, during the scene, there were moments where we all "could do better". Watching the rushes back in January, I had noticed this and my concerns had started. Watching the first run through of the edit, my fears were founded. The scene was boring and awkward. However, we persevered for several hours on it, inserting cuts, tweaking arrangements of cuts, the timing, using different shots and so on until - thank fuck - we ended up with a killer scene that WORKS.
As I fully expect the rest of the film to be way better than that scene, I know we will have a treat in store for you all. That was the ONE scene in the whole movie I was worried about, and it is fixed!
JANUARY 22nd 2014: EDITING DAY 1 by Zion
Our plan is to view each scene, take-by-take, and to select the best takes. Or, in some cases, the best parts of several takes to piece together. Seeing as there are probably a thousand shots, this is a long task!
Logically starting at scene 1 (featuring Pete Bennett), it was great to finally see some of the action. It's also encouraging that IT LOOKS LIKE A MOVIE - phew!! I'm very glad to say that the three of us seemed to be in agreement probably 99% of the time on what takes to work. Of course, sometimes it is obvious, but other times it is a bit harder and it may be one tiny moment that is the decider.
Although quite heavy on effects (be they special, make-up or visual), the number one most important aspect of this film is the story. It is a great story so all the editing choices are geared toward that. I suspect that some of the more anal among you will enjoy spotting the fuck-ups or the continuity errors but, those that are just happy to lay back and have the story and characters sweep over them, you are in for a great time.
So we spent many hours going through the first eight scenes. I am not an editor - in the practical sense - but as writer and co-director, it is very much my vision and story so am part of the editing process. Just not the actual hands-on stuff! One day, I would love to know how to do all that but, for now, I am very happy to be in the capable hands of David and Matt. David, of course, is my co-directing cohort and Matt is our camera operator. He wanted to extend his role and we are more than happy with that!
Those first eight scenes are being edited between now and Feb 5th. David has the first 4; Matt the next 4. We'll then get together and view eachother's assemble edits to make sure we are all going in the right direction. We will also be able to start determining if we need to shoot any extra footage (ie, establishing shots).
The goal is to have the full film in an
assemble edit by 10 weeks. We will also get the extended trailer
ready for ComicCon in May. On another note, I am currently busy
auditioning potential composers for the score. Got some exciting
potential candidates and am looking forward very much to letting one of
them loose on the end movie!
DECEMBER 15th 2013: FILM SHOOT DAY 10 by Zion
So, we had to find a way to fake it. I have learned a lot as a co-producer/co-director over these last few months and, one of them is that you have to think on your feet, fast. Being a low budget indie production, we cannot throw money at any problems that arise, so we have to adapt and survive. And that we did!
Hitting suburban Sussex, we shot the scene with Mrs Goodberry. As with most of the scenes we shoot, it turned out better than expected. Partly due to the actress, Susan, who was fab and partly down to Nick (sound) and Craig (DoP/Horace). You see, Nick wanted a cameo and this was the ideal scene to do it. Craig then had a great idea for something he could do in this cameo, we added it, it is hilarious. Team work.
It rained. The thing I think we will all remember most about the MTC shoot is the rain. I am not sure if we have had a day without rain (apart from the one spent solely inside); I guess that works for continuity! We had to shoot a scene by a stream today. The stream was virtually a tsunami because of the rain but, the two actresses in the scene coped without complaint. We really have the best bunch of people on this shoot.
The highlight here was David (director) who, this weekend, was acting as camera operator due to the absence of Matt. He took it upon himself to plonk himself right in the middle of the stream to get the "booby" shot he wanted. Thank fuck he didn't drop the camera in!
Rain was actually pretty torential at times; we were all soaked through. None more than David though who spent the rest of the day in squealchy boots.
We were shooting today the scene that Karl and Jack auditioned with. The scene they filmed for their screentests and the scene in which they first acted together. A momentous moment and, you would have thought, one that would fly by as it was the one most played out. Of course, it took forever! With fading light, we had to push through and, eventually, for Karl and Jack - AKA Barnaby & Sidney - it was a wrap. Sad times.
Back to Sonia's (acting as location hub for the day) and, whilst the boys were getting themselves out of their Cadaver gear and into their regular clothes, David edited together a clip of the movie which included a nice cutaway of him, Nick and Craig being positively pornographic with Jack's motorbike. It will be on the DVD extras - so look out for it. A nice wrap gift for Jack!
We packed up and came back to mine for the very very last scene to shoot; the VFX shot held over from yesterday. It was still teaming down so we moved location to the porch (!) and shot from there. As it was a tight shot (in framing terms), this made no difference to the end results which look spectacular. A lot of people will wonder how we have done the VFX to this standard in a low budget indie. All I can say is that it is down to the immense talents of Lucy and Dugg, combined with the directorial skills of David. Without them, I'd just be chucking ketchup at stuff.
Final wrap was about 6pm. It was a weird, anti-climax. "Is that it?". "Are we wrapped?". Seemed hard to believe but, yes, we were. There were celebrations with pizza and mince pies then an exchange of hugs and goodbyes as the team disbanded, hopefully not for the last time.
Certainly, me, David and Matt will spend the next few weeks sifting through footage and starting on the editing process. David and Matt in the hands-on fashion, me in the over-the-shoulder "can we do this?" fashion.
The ending of the filming was very bitter sweet. I am going to miss like hell the whole comeraderie and the people and the playing. But, it is the process we have to go through to get to the next stage - post production - and, ultimately, the film: Meet The Cadavers.
DECEMBER 14th 2013: FILM SHOOT DAY 9 by Zion
I must confess to being very excited at commencing shooting. I have missed it loads. Of course, the downside is that this weekend represented the final weekend of principal photography. Next step: editing.
Up far too early but, for once, didn't have far to travel. The shoot today was going to be taking place in the hall where my band rehearses across the road; in a neighbour's tennis court and in my back garden. Seriously! Of course, through the magic of the movies, it will all look like the campsite where all the action takes place.
The first couple of shots were pickups. Small shots that were missed in previous weeks. These were VFX shots so took longer to set up than to actually shoot. We did these in the hall - which doubled as our production office, make-up room and wardrobe area - part of which was made to look like the interior of the social club. I have since checked the footage and I defy you to find it in the finished movie!
Almost since I started discussing this film with our locations manager, Sonia Mason, we have had problems finding a suitable tennis court. Tennis courts, by their nature, are very public places and not ideally suited to shooting a comedy horror film. I then remembered that one of our neighbours has a tennis court - perfectly located and, as it was disused, it matched the neglected campsite vibe that we had cultivated thus far. Very kindly, they said that we could use it so, around midday, our rather large team descended upon their property to shoot.
I've been looking forward to filming this bit since I wrote it as it is one of the funny set pieces of the movie. And, as suspected, filming it was hilarious. Jack (Sid) and Karl (Barnaby) were put through their comedy paces and were admirable. They are the perfect double act: one being the straight man to the other, they match eachother exactly. Sidney & Barnaby are this generation's Jay & Silent Bob or Laurel & Hardy. I cannot wait for you to meet them.
What was slightly delicate with this portion of the movie was a task that one of our featured extras was asked to perform. I will leave it at that and let your imaginations run wild!
The remainder of the day was set in our back garden. One scene was a major VFX scene involving much gore and some striking prosthetics. Once again, our prosthetics guy, Dugg Daynes surpassed himself with the quality of his work. We are talking Hollywood standard here, folks. I was involved in this scene so had to don my Victor Cadaver gear - or at least the lower half.
Big Brother 7 winner and all-round nice guy, Pete Bennett, was making his cameo appearance today along with his charming girlfriend Sophie. Again, some VFX so took a while to set up. Oh, and then the rain came. Of course! Anyway, this meant that filming went slower than it should have, as we had to protect all the electrical gear and spend longer making sure everyone stayed as dry as possible. Shooting the scenes with Pete were really good though. He is a natural comedy actor so really added something to what will be the film's intro. I will leave it at that!
We were due to finish at 10 and we weren't that far off the mark. One VFX shot (that the rain would ruin) was carried over until Sunday but, apart from that, we got everything done we needed to.
NOVEMBER 17th 2013: FILM SHOOT DAY 8 by Zion
We had a band come today, Left Hand Pregnant. There was a bit of drama as their bus broke down, so they were a couple of hours late. Of course, when this happens, our military style schedule goes right out of the window and we spend the rest of the day playing catch up.
Also on set was a pal of mine, Rick Wood, who was there to play DJ Nigel Hammer. His first time doing any kind of acting and he did a great job.
We were at a nearby pub, the Black Dog in Crawley. We had the full run of their stage and social club from 8am until about midnight when we finally left. I want to thank them massively for that - an incredible generous gesture on their behalf.
The first shot of the day took forever to get right. It involved lots of fancy lighting, camerawork and behind-the-scenes trickery to get right but, finally, we did. Our actress, Esme Brand, did an amazing job. Sadly, it was her last day on set so, once her two scenes were done, we bid her farewell.
I think we were all so tired from yesterday, we were working in slow motion. Knowing it was the last day for a while probably added to the malais. Plus, being in the warm and dry gave us little incentive to hurry the fuck up. It was hard work keeping up the pace. At one point, we were three-and-a-half hours behind schedule. However, we did manage to play catchup to be just half-an-hour behind. I think it all went wrong again though!
Some key set pieces were filmed today. Of course, I cannot say what, but they went very well. It was an action packed day, full of barmy extras and slightly loopy crew. It had that last day of school feeling about it.
Sadly, it WAS Chloe's last day today. I have become rather attached to my little Zombie daughter and it will be odd not seeing her all the time. I best hurry up and write another!
We did a funny sketch thing on the bus. A promo or DVD extra kind of thing. Took a few takes but that was really funny. I wrote it on Thurs, just a short five minute thing.
As the night wore on, various extras were released along with auxillery crew. By the end of the night, it was a skeleton cast and crew filming the last few bits. We made it. Just!
Packed up and got the fuck out of there. Tired as all hell but satisfied with a job well done. We have two more scheduled shooting dates in December and then the fun of editing can begin!
NOVEMBER 16th 2013: FILM SHOOT DAY 7 by Zion
But a bit of hard work never killed anyone! So we were up at Dawn's crack and then over to MUA Lucy's house for the interior and exterior of the Cadaver family home. Filming on a Surrey street was always going to attract attention but, do it dressed like a Zombie and you don't half get some odd looks!
We actually got moving fairly quick, so, whilst we were waiting for Chloe and Jack to arrive, we started shooting some exteriors. Once everyone's make-up was done, we finished exteriors then moved to interior. We only overran an hour or so.
Next up was a different location; camera man Matt's studio. This is located rather conveniently down the end of my road. However, we had to get the Cadaver car from outside Lucy's to the studio then come back to get the bus-slash-wardrobe-slash-changing room-slash-prop store! Bit of faffing, but we got it sorted.
Driving the Cadaver car - a Morris Minor - was an extremely scary moment. It had no brakes. And when I say no brakes, I mean zero fucking brakes. Terrifying.
We had a bunch to do at Matt's. The first shot involved a rather large and impressive mechanical prop made by Dugg Daynes. He was given less than two weeks to come up with this item and it has to be seen to be believed. A bit of movie magic went on and a small script change (day to night seeing as it got bloody dark quick) and we were away. Thankfully, as a lot of these were exterior shots, the weather was kind. No rain and not too cold. A repeat of last Sunday would have spelt disaster.
There was a lot to do outside. And, due to certain make-up changes that would go on throughout, the order stuff was shot in was really skewy. Confusing but there is a fuzzy logic to it.
The scene that I have been looking forward to shooting since I wrote it back in June happened today. It is one of the scenes that was an audition piece and it would have sorted the wheat from the chaff. It was hilarious. In the context of the movie, it will be beyond hilarious. We could barely contain ourselves shooting it.
A bunch more scenes shot inside, then we got to drive around as a little Cadaver family in the car. Me, Vikki and Chloe were torturing Jack and Karl by singing show tunes in between takes. I think another five minutes and they might just have committed suicide.
Back outside again for the finale. It was tough. It was late. Poor Chloe had to drive all the way back to Lewes and we didn't wrap until about 1am. The cast and crew we have assembled are absolute diamonds. They have endured the worst weather, long hours and a raft of bad jokes yet I have not heard one complaint. To say that I am grateful for this would be an understatement!
NOVEMBER 10th 2013: FILM SHOOT DAY 6 by Zion
He had decided that we were having it from 8 until 4. Now, with filming, you tend to have stuff that occurs at night, stuff that occurs during the day. Faking day into night is quite easy, the other way around is not. So, seeing as we had a bunch of stuff that required daylight to shoot, there was no way we could accommodate his whim.
So we called his bluff and told him to fuck off. This made him very grumpy indeed - even more so when Vikki tore him a new arsehole. Apparantly, we are all "shits". He eventually stayed away after David took him to one side and whispered something in his ear.
Apart from delaying our start, this also fucked up our planned location for the day. Nevertheless, we had to do what we could do so David and the 1st Unit went into the woods where Krusher's final scenes were shot whilst I had 2nd unit filming a nice little scene between me and the boys.
Once Krusher was wrapped, we worked on the rest of the daylight scenes, fixing a continuity gaff in one of them. Although, look hard and you'll see a zillion of them. The true mark of an indie film!
Whilst one of the large end scenes was being set up, I took Jack and Karl with the 2nd unit to film. Once that was done, with disappearing light and a load of extras, we got the end scene shot. This was a pick up from the first weekend, so glad to get it under our belts.
Now we got to play with cars. Our Production Assistant, Sonia, had arranged delivery of a car and a fireman. Both were used in one capacity or another. Again, spoiler alert so I'm not going to tell you too much other than I am glad we took out insurance.
You'll have to wait for the DVD outtakes...
So we decided to try to fake outside for inside and film the social club interiors outside. However, once again, we were defeated by the weather. Not, this time, rain but extreme cold. Barely able to move, tired, aching from cold with eyeballs freezing and clouds of visible breath, there was no way we could do it. So we called it about 10pm and packed up to fuck off.
Once again, we have the challenge of adding two extra scenes to next week's schedule. Yay.
Below is a photo of the article that appeared in the West Sussex County Times - click on it to enlarge.
NOVEMBER 9th 2013: FILM SHOOT DAY 5 by Zion
The weather today started off not too bad. Little bit of sun, just to lure us into a false sense of security. The first scenes today take place first thing in the morning in Cadaver Time, so we are in our morning Zombie attire. I am not going to ruin the surprise for you but we all look pretty hilarious. Of course, being in skimpies meant it was time to rain. And it did. Bucket loads. So much so that we decided to do the scene with brollies. Hell, it's England, a film without brollies wouldn't be true to life, no?
Was a fun scene to do - featured all the Cadavers, Barnaby, Felix and Horace. All characters you will get to know and, um, love.
The biggest drama of the day was that our actor for Horace didn't show up. Putting the concern to one side for the moment, there was no way we could re-schedule, so we had to replace him. So our DP and Stills Photographer, Craig Matthews is now in the film as Horace the Handy Man. Massive kudos to Craig for stepping in at short notice. And, in fairness to Gilez who he replaced, Gilez was actually in hospital at the time after coughing up blood! He's OK now though.
This meant though that previous shots with Horace had to be re-shot. So they were done 2nd unit whilst 1st unit shot other bits. We were dead organised today, completely scheduled out and, although we ran a few hours late, for the first time, we actually completed every single scheduled shot! See, it CAN happen.
I directed a scene that takes place outside the club featuring an actor who came down from Essex to do it, Mike Medway. We named his character after him, Meddy. It was hilarious, in an excrutiating way. Karl (Barnaby) has very few words in this film but his face tells a thousand words. I can't wait for you to meet him.
For me, the biggest fun of the day were some fight scenes that took place. Don't want to give too much away but I had been looking forward to them since I knew this movie was going to get made. They look really great on film and the way they end... classic.
Despite the schedule, it was still a really long day. We wrapped about 11 so home about 1ish. A very satisfying day.
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