*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!
Two weeks ago, Carie Hughes (lying down in the picture to the left) portrayed the hapless Poll Worker charged with teaching zombies how to use a voting booth modified for their special needs. Needless to say, it didn’t end well. But, in terms of our shoot, it went awesome, with Carie turning in a great comic turn. Here’s her take on what it was like on the set:
“WOW! What an Amazing day, at the day of the shoot as the poll worker. This was my first time acting in a movie and I wasn’t sure what to expect or how it all worked, but once I arrived and got to make-up then costume I was ready for more. I so enjoyed watching the crew prepare and set up for each shoot. I was so impressed how well they worked as a TEAM.
When it was time for the Director to direct us to his visual of the scene I was so Excited I could hardly contain myself. I loved hearing “Rolling!” then “ACTION!” Each take I got more into it and wanted to give my very best. Working with the 2 Zombies was so cool make-up can make them be so Real.
My final scene was a great test for me on my patience. Laying on the concrete floor for a period of time with blood, guts and other special props was so Intense! The time and preparation for this one shoot was long but fun. I have to admit I loved having all the attention on me, I truly felt like a star:) For the last take it got really messy, but I mentally prepared myself to keep on acting even though I knew what was coming. Once the blood started to shoot everywhere I tried to stay in character. I was thrilled to hear Andrew yell Cut! I couldn’t see a thing but from all the laughter I knew it must have been a keeper:)
I had so much fun and laughed so much- I look forward to the next…
I totally have a new outlook and appreciation for the filming Directors and Actors.”
— Carie Hughes
(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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
(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!
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!
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!
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?!)
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 email@example.com – and put “Crew” in the Subject line.
See you at Principal Photography!
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.
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:
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org and put “Extra” in the subject line. Our producer, or one of her staff, will contact you to answer your questions.