independent movie

Still a Few Opportunities to Participate!

* Art/Illustration by Justin Gammon – ’cause I just love his work!!!

On Sunday, October 28th – just a few short days away, Dead Votes Society will be shooting the final location footage for our lil’ zombie movie. We’re nailing down a few details and could still use some help! So if anybody in the Prescott, AZ area would like the chance to work in front of or behind the camera, now is the time to speak up! We could use a few more Extras to play Press/Reporters, and 2 or 3 folks to work on the tech side (grips). 

And you know what? Making a movie is FUN! Yes, there’s plenty of work to do, but ask anybody who’s been on set with us and they will tell you that we know how to have a good time while gettin’ the job done. So last chance, people. If you want in on the fun, drop us an email at thedeadvotessociety@gmail.com and we’ll be in touch!

I DO believe in zombies!!! I do, I do, I DO!

Race to the Finish

*Artwork by Justin Gammon – pretty much sums up how I’m feeling at the mo’.

With just over a week to go before our final shooting location, I keep reminding myself that “It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” but it sure feels like things are picking up speed as my “To Do” list continues to grow.

We’re still looking for a few more volunteers to help out as tech crew, a few more regular hair and makeup peeps, and we even have space for more Press/Reporter Extras. It’s the last minute “cover all yer bases” sprint before we hit the ground running on October 28.

Want to help out? Then shoot us an email at thedeadvotessociety@gmail.com and put “Volunteer” or “Hair/Makeup” or “Extra” in the subject line and I’ll get back to you ASAP. Again, we can’t pay folks, but we will feed ya and you will be credited in the movie.

We’re so excited to be bringing the very important issue of voting rights for Undead Americans to life, er, um, whatever, in this movie.

Viva los Zombies!

What’s It Like On The Set Of “Dead Votes Society?” – Take 2

(Production Designer Penelope Davis does last minute touch up for actress Joanne Robertson as fellow actor Parker Anderson unleashes his charisma at the camera.)

Joanne Robertson, star of many, many productions at Prescott Center for the Arts, wrote us this note, fresh from shooting her scene as news anchor Melissa Blonde in “Dead Votes Society.”

“So what did I do today? Got to watch a team of very talented filmmakers doing what they love to do. Got to be directed by Angie and Andrew, who really get this acting stuff.

Got to hang out with Parker Anderson who was the source of continuous laughs. Got to know some really cool people like Penelope the production designer and latent actor (ha ha.) Got to hang out with some long-time friends like Arnold who I really respect. From beginning to end, a top-notch, professional and VERY fun time.

Thanks you guys for the GREAT day! Break-a-leg on the remainder of the shooting… Can’t wait to see the movie. It’s gonna be great!!!”

Don’t forget, if you’d like to be an extra in the climatic last scene of 
Dead Votes Society” on Sunday, October 28th, just send an email to thedeadvotessociety@gmail.com.

(Fine Print) Sorry, no one under 18 years old. Must be available from 8am to 6pm on that day. This is a volunteer position. We will, however, feed you and give you screen credit on the film and IMDB!

Just Another Zombie Day…

 *Aaron Boe and Lex Althoff. Photo by Chad Castigliano.

Dead Votes Society has officially passed the 3/4 mark in principal photography. It was a full weekend, starting off with a news desk location on Saturday, and ending with the goriest shoot of the movie on Sunday.

Joanne Robertson and Parker Anderson did an incredible job as our morning news show hosts. More than one crew member on the shoot turned to me and said, “Oh my god, that was perfect casting!” And they were right. This pair of local actors had great timing and chemistry together and were fully believable as their characters. Plus? Super fun and easy to work with. This was the one location that didn’t require SFX makeup, and the shoot zipped along smoothly. We actually got out early!

Sunday was a different story. We were all tired from the previous day’s shoot, it turned out that the location’s electrical system wasn’t going to cut it (a huge “THANK YOU!” to Forrest‘s dad for letting us borrow a couple of generators), and it took FOREVER to get our zombie actors ready. But, as you can see, they turned Aaron and Lex into great looking zombies and we finally started shooting around 1:30 p.m.

Folks were getting impatient as the set up time dragged on for the “martini shot,” or the last shot of the day. And yet, Carie Hughes, busy freezing on the concrete floor while Production Designer Penelope Davis and her crew prepped the scene with a gallon of stage blood and faux innards and gore, managed to stay professional and patient. After lots of “Wait, you can see fill-in-the-blank,” or “Move your head more that way,” and “More blood over Carie’s shoulder,” it was time to settle and take the damn shot.

And you know what? That final shot was AWESOME! Jaws dropped as the action unfolded. I don’t think anyone (except me, ’cause I know how inventive and detail oriented she is) imagined that Penelope would be able to pull off gore as well as she did SFX makeup. But it looked amazing and it looks even better on screen than it did “in real life.”

When Andrew called out, “It’s a wrap!” we all cheered and started hustling our poor, shivering poll worker actress off that concrete floor (Carie Hughes was as soaked in stage blood and gore as Sissy Spacek in “Carrie”), while the crew broke down the lights and sound gear in record time. 

From start to finish, a great movie-making weekend!

*Andrew Johnson-Schmit, Parker Anderson and Joanne Robertson. Photo by Chad Castigliano.

What’s It Like On The Set of “Dead Votes Society?”

Sean Jeralds (that’s him in the black turtleneck) has performed in a lot of comedies over the years in Prescott, AZ. Besides many farces at Prescott Center for the Arts, he was a cast member in the last Coyote Radio Theater group on KJZA.

So it was especially fun to have him on this shoot – an adaptation of a CRT sketch – playing a completely silent cameo as “Nervous Guy #1.”

Here’s Sean’s reaction to a day spent shooting and re-shooting 6 shots of scary comedy.

“WOW! What a competent, professional, well-planned and executed film shoot – that’s what it was like working with the team Angie and Andrew put together for filming of DVS. No detail was overlooked; from the catering to costuming, everything was dialed.  I’m not sure what I liked most about the day, but my choices are 1) getting “glycerined up” by Penelope, 2) being drooled on by Cason, or 3) Watching Tiffany trying to keep a straight face.  It was a great time and I can’t wait to see the finished product. Break-a-leg Team DVS!”

Awww, shucks! (repeatedly stabbing right toe into the carpet) What a great cast and crew we have on this film!

One Down, 3 to Go

* Penelope Davis touches up Cason’s zombie makeup, with Sean Jeralds and Tiffany Antone.

We wrapped up our first shooting day around 6 p.m. on Sunday. And yes, it was AWESOME! And a lot of work. But mostly it was so much fun that the work didn’t seem like work. 

Penelope Davis, our production designer, did an incredible job with the make up for both the zombies and the “normies.” Even with a knee injury, Tiffany Antone had a great attitude and played a terrific “straight woman” to Cason Murphy’s  zombie. And yeah, it was great to have former Coyote Radio Theater member Sean Jerald play the extremely nervous (and sweaty!!!) zombie interpretor. 

Other than a great cast and a kick ass zombie “look,” what made the shoot successful was a crew that figured out how to work well together super fast. Truly, a great group of peeps for the crew. And I know we’ll only get even better as we move through the next three shooting dates. I DO believe in zombies!

 

The Lengths We Go To Make a Movie

Behold, an Imported English Zombie Contact Lens.

Angie, as producer of this fine little zombie movie, found herself researching zombie contact lenses after talking with our SFX Make-Up Consultant, Ridgḝ Gḁllagḧḝr. (That’s Ridgḝ, testing make-up designs with zombie spokesmodel Cole Lahti.)

Ridgḝ, quite rightly, holds that its not enough to just slap on some white powder, paint a little fake blood  and black around the eyes and call it an apocalypse. Don’t believe it? Go to Netflix and use the search term zombie. Lots of low budget films, yes? Watch a few. Aaaaand they spent the budget’s other $1.50 on the catering.  In terms of production value, not a lot of it.

And this where I totally dig Ridgḝ’s approach. Besides his very detailed make-up, he talked with Angie about using contact lenses to take the effect farther, plus added effects like objects impaled in our walking dead or burns.

Think of it this way. If our zombies are still wearing the clothes they died in, everything that’s happened to them since is evidenced on these garments and this flesh. When Lex Althoff’s zombie appears on the screen, if she’s got a pencil sticking out of her head like a  poorly aimed harpoon, you can just imagine some poor zombie killer that didn’t live to tell the tale. If Cole Lahti’s zombie shuffles around the Square will one arm charred you can just imagine the fiery fate that could not stop her shamble.

All of which makes for an interesting movie. And production values. And Angie scouring the EU for just the right look in contact lenses. Its the work of Ridgḝ and Production Designer Penelope Davis (costumes, make-up, props and production values) to make this all come to life aaaaand on a budget that matches what big Hollywood movies spend on coffee stirrers at the craft table (unless its a Bruckheimer film. Have you seen his coffee stirrers?!)

Crewing Up for The Shoot!

Tuesday night on the wonderful patio of El Gato Azul, over a fantastic spread of brews and tapas, the core of our Tech Crew for DVS met for the first time. This would be the Camera Department, the Production Sound Department, the Grip/Electrical Department, the Producer and the Director.

Besides making each other’s acquaintance, we decided on our work flow for the sound (the mic to hard drive course the sound signal will take). And planned a test shot prior to the first day of principal photography, to make sure all these fancy plans will work out when we have actors doing actor-ly things in front of both departments.

Its a pretty solid crew and they give me a lot of confidence. Here’s the roll call:

Camera Department:
Director of Photography – Forrest Sandefer
 
Sound Department
Sound Recordist – Phill Hammon
Sound Mixer – Nick Stecki
Sound Boom Operator – Jerod MacDonald-Evoy
 
Grip/Electrical
Gaffer – Chad Castigliano
 

If you’d like to get some experience working on a film crew, here’s your chance!

We’re still looking for:

  • (1) Assistant camera person to work with our DP on the camera
  • (3) Grips to work with our Gaffer to set up lights and staging
  • (1) Production Assistant to work with our Assistant Director, Cynthia Kitts Sobo.

If you’re interested, just send an email to thedeadvotessociety@gmail.com – and put “Crew” in the Subject line.

See you at Principal Photography!

 

 

The Cool Factor of Zombies…

 Normally we re-post a letter to the editor related to the vital issue of Zombie Voting Rights. Due to an unfortunate SqueeZ Cheese incident in the Crest Top Chronicle news office, Christian H. Smith is no longer allowed to operate technical equipment of any kind, and this week’s letter has been irretrievably lost.  We hope to resolve the situation quickly so that Crest Top community members can continue to make their voices heard across the “interwebby.”

Who knew zombies were so dang popular?! I mean, everybody knows the kids love them some sparkly, broody vampires. But zombies? Zombies are kinda gross and are pretty much the opposite of sparkly. And not so much with the broody romance, since, y’know, missing body parts and corpse stank is kind of a turn off for most folks.

But here is something about the notion of the walking dead that seems to alternately freak out and fascinate people. Remember when zombies were just slow and creepy (White Zombie) instead of those badass super fast 28 Days Later zombies? Yeah, I don’t like those fast ones. Actually, I’m fairly certain that I wouldn’t want to run into either variety in a dark alley, or even a brightly lit grocery store with a fully loaded shotgun and tons of extra ammo. No sir. Not me.

I’m still trying to figure out how we ended up making a zombie flick – even one that has a hefty dose of comedy in it – when I can’t stand to sit through horror movies.  They scare the hell out of me. Just ask Andrew about the time we watched “The Silence of the Lambs.” On Fast Forward. With the sound on mute.  It took about 30 minutes and it was one of the longest half hours of my life.

But here we are, just a few weeks out from shooting, and I’m the one telling Penelope, “More blood! There must be serious blood spurtage! And head wounds, yeah, that’s the ticket!” So Penelope is dutifully whipping up a whole gallon of fake blood and working out some lovely, nasty SFX to try out. And we are both laughing like loons and having a great time.

Zombies, man. Part freak out, part fascination, pure fun.

Who Wants To Be In A Movie?

This is an open call for people who’d like to be an extra in a real, live movie. Interested?

On Sunday, October 28th, 2012, the comic movie “Dead Votes Society” will be shooting its last scene on Prescott, AZ’s historic Courthouse Square.

We are looking for extras to be in this scene. We are looking for all ages and body types, both men and women. We are casting for the following characters:

  • Reporters
  • Press Photographers
  • TV News Camera Operators
  • Tourists visiting Arizona
  • Militia Members
  • Secret Service Agents

ALL PARTS ARE UNPAID PERFORMANCES. We will provide food during shooting and, oh yes, it is a chance to see yourself on the Big Screen in a real, live movie.

If you would like to know more, send an email to thedeadvotessociety@gmail.com and put “Extra” in the subject line. Our producer, or one of her staff, will contact you to answer your questions.