We are totally stoked that DVS has been named an official selection of the 2014 Phoenix Comicon Film Festival!
Our film will screen on Saturday, June 7th at 10:45 am – a fantastic show time at this internationally well-known convention. Last year, over 55,000 people flooded into the Phoenix Convention Center to soak up genre entertainment, comic book icons, panels on everything from sci-fi/fantasy books to cosplay and one of the biggest and most amazing Zombie Walks EVER! This year, in the middle of all that fab goodness, there’ll be our lil’ movie, Dead Votes Society.
Come join us and see Dead Votes on the Big Screen in Phoenix!
We were delighted to read that San Francisco, the site of Another Hole in the Head Film Festival, was heading for a high of 70 degrees this weekend. So we mailed off our exhibition copy of DVS and packed our bags, we’re off to the somewhat more sunny big city.
Angie has been laboring over the color correction for the film. As usual, she is learning, doing, learning some more and trying again, separated only by the lengthy data processing required by our elderly Mac Mini (hours and hours) and hair-pulling when she watches it and realizes its not quite what she was trying for. Deep admiration for the ever hard-working Madame Producer.
This copy is a Blue Ray disc, per the festivals request. It makes such a difference!
Looking forward to seeing friends and maybe some new fans at the New People Cinema in SF’s Japantown this Sunday.
If you see us after the filmmaker Q and A, come up and say hi. Or the even hipper, “Viva los Zombies!”
That’s right! This year’s Prescott Film Festivalwill feature two screenings of “Dead Votes Society,” the hilarious and chilling new zombie comedy shot in Prescott, AZ.
The “Dead Votes Society” World Premiere happens Wednesday, July 24th, starting at 6pm, at the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center. “Dead Votes Society” is part of “Prescott on the Big Screen,” a showcase of independent short films shot right here in Everybody’s Hometown. We’ll have Q and A with the film makers afterwards and a chance to meet the cast and crew.
The big news this week is, of course, THE POSTER! Between the graphics magic of Tres Ikner, the mad photographic skillz of Christopher Marchetti, and the fab makeup by Penelope Davis, we feel like we’ve got a pretty damn fine looking poster.
But…that’s last week’s news. This week, the focus is on music and sound. Matt Jackson has made huge progress on the music and has been super patient with us. I confess it’s a little difficult to try and explain “suspenseful and quirky,” but Mr. Jackson ran it through his brain and has come up with some great music for the final sequence. Somehow, he’s managed to create music for the whole dealio that combines a western flavor with plenty of humor and a healthy dash of scary. I have no idea how he does it, but I’m super happy with the results.
It’s amazing how important music and the overall sound mixing is to a movie. Seriously, it can make or break a perfectly good flick. Nick Stecki is hard at work making sure the sound mix is as awesome as possible – and believe me, after the sound craziness of shooting on the Courthouse Square, we are thrilled to have him on board!
So the beat goes on and we get a little closer to completion every day. I know everyone involved in making Dead Votes Society is chomping at the bit to actually SEE the movie. All I can say is…I think it will be worth the wait.
He was this fantastic photographer who did the big league stuff – swanky shoots for catalogues, bands, etc. His studio is on the top floor of the old Masonic Temple – the ceremonial room, in fact, with thick carpet, richly ornamented ceiling, scads of cutting edge equipment, design forward furnishings, etc. I mean, if there ever was a Bond Villain who was a photographer for Paris Vogue, his lair would look a lot like this.
So, out of our league. But, it never hurts to ask. So, we did. And he said yes. We had a great shoot with the various wonderful oddball voice actors who were going to bring these radio theatre characters to life. Chris really took in that odd energy and found ways to get it in the photo. Our performers really opened up to the camera and we got some of the best photos we ever had of the group.
Here it is, years later, we’re making our first Crest Top movie, “The Dead Votes Society,” a satire about politics in Arizona, adapted by Angie, Christian and I from the original radio sketch.
Angie, as these things usually happen, HAD AN IDEA. “What if on the movie poster we had this grave and the hand of a zombie is coming up out of the grave and its making that “V for Victory” sign with its zombie fingers and we superimpose the title of the movie, “Dead Votes Society” with the V in Votes being the zombie fingers making the V for Victory sign?
Once again, we needed a really excellent photographer – since this poster will be seen at film festivals all over this great land of ours. By great good fortune, Chris Marchetti contacted us about the same time and offered his help on this project. Angie is excitedly telling our good friend, graphic designerTres Ikner about our luck working with Chris Marchetti again. He says, “I love that image. Who’s doing your poster design to go along with that image?” Angie shrugs. Tres taps his own chest and nods knowingly. Holy cats, we know the coolest people.
So, we leap into action. As producer, Angie recruits one of our zombie actors, the very expressive Cason Murphy, to be our Zombie Hand Model.
Production Designer Penelope Davis develops a two by two shallow box that can have sod laid across the top, a slit made in the grass and a tube run up at an angle for Cason to extend his hand up through the sod. Then, Penelope puts together a zombie distressed fashion shirt and jacket sleeve, which, in combination with her application of the zombie make-up designed by Ridge Gallagher, make for a hand that looks like its coming back from the grave with something to say.
As director, I managed to find damn near the last piece of sod in Arizona. Who knew they stopped making it in winter? The folks at Evergreen Turf in Chandler, AZ were incredibly helpful with this bizarre request.
It all came together on Saturday, in that fantastical loft at the top of the Masonic Temple. Once again, it was a pleasure to watch Chris Marchetti work – his intuition with the shot is only matched by his patience as we figured out how to get an image that was at once easy to read, funny and maybe a little profound in its own silly way.
By the end of the shoot, Angie was standing next to Chris and shouting suggestions to the unseen Cason under the sod box.
“Do a sleepy V . . . do a happy V . . . do an angry V . . . ” And Cason’s zombie hand would change right in front of us as Chris clicked away.
By the time we got to “Do a Sexy V!” we knew we had it. Can’t wait to get the images to Tres for the movie poster.
* Matt Jackson working his movie music/sound magic.
Angie here. I flipped out a little when I realized we hadn’t done a blog post since December – DECEMBER!!! But the reality is that between post-production, the holidays and the general winter urge to hole up inside the house until spring, it’s no surprise.
Regardless, here’s the latest scoop: Matt Jackson is pretty much done with the music for Dead Votes. The music for the opening credits is AWESOME (as Matt said, “Nothing says ‘zombies’ like bassoons…and cows”). And the uber-pompous French horns in the theme for the “Hot Coffee!” news show is equally fantastic. Seriously, is there a more pompous sounding instrument than a French horn?!
Meanwhile, Chad Castigliano is busy working on the graphics and AfterEffects for the movie. We’re heading over to see what he’s done and do some troubleshooting later tonight. ‘Cause there are always challenges, right? Nick Stecki is kicking off the sound mixing/foley/music SFX. I can’t wait to hear what he does with that!
And while the guys are tackling those aspects of post, I’m busy learning color correction and gathering all the goodies for the website. Andrew and Christian are busy working on the trailer script and the script for the upcoming feature.
Throw in a photo shoot with photog Denise Elfenbein for head shots and a photo shoot with photog Christopher Marchetti for the poster art (next Saturday!!!) and that mostly covers the plethora of movie madness biz.
More news on Thursday – swear! But in the meantime…Viva los zombies!
Sunday night, Angie (Madame Producer) and I (Herr Director) met with our good friend Matt Jackson (musician/composer/sound engineer) and went over the rough cut of “Dead Votes Society.”
This was the first time Angie had seen my rough cut of the short. As you may remember, she’s doing her own cut, so we can compare and come up with a version that uses the best from both of our approaches. And doesn’t lead to fist fights in the editing bay.
It was also the first time Matt had seen the rough cut. In fact, its the first time the three of us have worked together since the days of Coyote Radio Theater on KJZA. We’d had a great time doing that, we respect the man and knew he worked in a simular comedic vein to Christian, Angie and I.
Earlier in the process, Matt and I had talked about how we’d like to approach the project. We decided he would write and create the music, and oversee the post-production sound at his studio. Premiere Pro 6 and Pro Tools 9 HD would be the software of choice.
First, we watched the 10:40 rough cut just for fun and to see when the laughs were coming in at this point. Thankfully, there were some. (Hey, after all this editing, its difficult sometimes to remember where it is funny.)
Then, we watched it a second time and took notes. We agreed its easier to adjust the length of the music, so Matt is going to rough out the music cues while we still are futzing around with the editing. We came up with some musical ideas for Matt to explore.
We talked about how to solve the unwanted background sounds on the Square (more on that later).
I love working with talented people. More importantly, people who I enjoy hanging with, just as much as I respect their work. Feeling a great 2nd wind coming on!
Perhaps you are beginning to tire of our endless posts about editing in Premiere Pro (CS6)? Don’t blame ya. Felt that way Day Three myself.
And yet . . . as Benny Hill would say, “Learning . . . Always Learning.” Today, I have rough-cut footage for the whole piece running at 8 minutes. Slowly, I nip and tuck at the transitions, a frame away here, a frame away there. I see friends and feel like we spent the whole night together but it was just their image scampering around the editing screen, “Back and To The Left . . . Back and To The Left!” I re-did the last 5 seconds tonight, totally changing the rhythm. Fascinating.
I find myself getting giddy when I learn a new shortcut – currently Grave Key is my favorite. What’s yours?
I start to look at the material, the look and feel of the piece differently. My god, there’s so many ways to approach the flow with these. And that’s before we smooth out the audio and make soundtrack music. Its overwhelming, in a good way.
And, may I say, God bless the Cut-Away Shot! Young film makers, you cannot have too many of them. Seriously, they are miracles of coverage and will save your butt. ‘Course, as the older, wiser Spielberg would even admit, you don’t HAVE to use them all in the final picture. But, they are golden for getting you out of situations like a nightmarish repeated jump cut dead end.
So, the battle rages on. We are winning. Matt Jackson will start writing the soundtrack around December 4th and this is all very exciting. Viva los Zombies!
*AZ legislature candidate Blaine Walpole, portrayed by the hilarious Kevin Goss. Photo by Denise Elfenbein.
Principal Photography for “Dead Votes Society” wrapped yesterday afternoon as DP Forrest Sandefer raced against the dying sunlight to catch the last shot of the day.
It has been a hell of a project so far and it was a hell of a day to get it all done. 18 set ups in 7 hours.
There are waaaay too many people who gave so much of their time, effort and amazing abilities to give them all the credit they are due this hot minute. Over 60 people crowded the north steps of Prescott’s historic Courthouse, where politicians from Goldwater thru McCain have played out their political drama. On Sunday, October 28, 2012, we played out our satire of the same high drama
I will say that the cast, Judy Stahl, Dino Palazzi, Kevin Goss, Jody Drake and our herds of extras went above and beyond with their focus, their flexibility and comic characterizations while working in such a public place.
The crew was astounding – from Max Kornhauser’s creative and tireless fight choreography to Forrest‘s on the fly lighting and re-lighting of the shots to pull them off, Chad Castigliano and Matt Montgomery and Deb Gallegos racing from one side of the set to the other getting scrims and lights swung ’round, Cindy Nichols running up and down ladders and keeping the clapboard clacking on time, Penelope Davis – ladies and gentlemen, the amazing Penelope Davis and her crew (Chelsea Stone, Sylvia Boyer, Jasmine Castigliano, Dori Mion, Ginney Bilbray, Andrew Pigeon, Susan Crutcher and Debra Klein Duncan) who turned out such amazing make up designs for our zombies and “normies” with such incredible speed, Phil Hammon and his crew – Nick Stecki and Jerod MacDonald-Evoy – dealing with an ENDLESS stream of motorcycle choppers, dogs and yes, at one point a freaking wandering saxophone player, Cynthia Kitts Sobo keeping the shoot flowing with her assistants Terri New and Kay Pifer, all three of our extra Wranglers – Dan Seaman, Coralie Cole and Cole Lahti for organizing and leading their herds of people through shot after shot, and finally our stalwart, Sean Souva who not only detailed the script continuity with a meticulous eye but came early, stayed late and worked his ass off.
Truly, without our hardworking cast and crew, Angie and I would still be sitting around the breakfast table going, “You know what would be cool?” “What?” “We could make a movie!” “That would be cool!””Yeah.” “What’s on television?”
Thank you all and it’s off to post-production. Viva los Zombies!