Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I Was (Almost) A Movie Zombie

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That's not me. It was supposed to be.

For the past couple weeks on MySpace i've seen bulletins from these folks who call themselves Rat Monkey Productions and they've been in need of people to be zombie extras for their film Victim Zero. Last night, my girlfriend, my friend Monkey (yes, thats his name) and I decided to check it out and live out our dreams of being zombies on film but, well, it wasn't as exciting as it sounded.

After an hour plus long drive, we arrived at the meeting place (the Dunkin Donuts parking lot), where we would remain for two and a half hours doing absolutely nothing. The vibes right off the bat weren't too good, but I figured it'd take time to get used to and get to know everyone. Turns out the chi was way off the whole time. Then again, we were in the parking lot of a donut shop, how good could the chi be. It seemed like it was just a bunch of friends making a film and we were the outsiders wondering why we were even there. Now you'd think no budget filmmakers would be so thankful that anyone drove an hour to be in their shitty little movie, but not so. Didn't really get the least bit of gratitude and it just wasn't the most welcoming environment.

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We came to be zombies and right when we got there, the 'director' assigned myself and Jen human roles while Monkey got to get all dolled up as a member of the undead. He was also given a spiffy camo life jacket of some kind, I guess to sell the point that he was, as they called it, a "militant rebel zombie". Turns out Monkey was the only one who got to do any acting whatsoever as after more then 2 hours nothing else was shot but a 10 second scene of him and a few other zombies walking up to the camera...in the Dunkin Donuts parking lot. Monkey did manage to spew blood all over the director, so that was kinda cool.

This is no budget filmmaking, so I didn't expect to see George Romero and Tom Savini when I arrived, but my god was it amateur. The camera they were using was a complete piece of crap and they were literally using a flashlight to light everything. O, and they had absolutely no script. As in nothing was written down. Now how can you make a movie with no script? I asked the director if there were any lines written or anything and he replied that it was pretty much just gonna be zombie mayhem with no speaking or any kind of structure. Sigh.

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There was one point where I did kinda start getting in on the fun and was getting a bit excited, but it didn't last long. The 'makeup techs' told Jen and I that we needed to get a little dirty and grimed up. So I told them to go ahead and have their way with me and one of the dudes literally told me to go grab some wet dirt from the parking area and rub it all over myself. I told him I wanted to feel a little more professional than that (not that i'm above dirt rubbing), so they ended up dowsing us with black hair spray, to simulate dirt. It looked kinda cool but wasn't enough so I eventually did grab some of that wet dirt and gave myself a rub down. That was about the extent of the fun. Thank god for the beer distributor across the street...

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Don't know why I was posed like that. I think I was trying to show off my new dirty look, which isn't so impressive now looking at it in the light.

After a long time awkwardly spent huddled in our small group in the parking lot, we were told to follow everyone to "set", which was some dudes house. For us, that was our cue to ditch. We'd spent enough time doing nothing and going to some strangers house without the guarantee of not being raped and murdered didn't exactly sound like the most appetizing thing at the time. I realize that it wasn't the most professional or kind thing to do, but we were really left no choice. They didn't seem to be in need of us anyway, so fuck 'em. The thing was we really did come to help out and we would've done so in any way we could. We were geniunely excited to be a part of this thing, no matter how small and lame, but they didn't seem to care.

All in all, I guess it was a somewhat fun and amusing experience. My friends and I could've just sat in my backyard and had more fun playing zombies (which we have) but I can't say I totally regret it. It just wasn't nearly as much fun as I hoped it would be. I didn't even get to be a zombie. In fact, the most exciting part of the night was getting a dozen tye dye donuts. If anything, it showed me that you really can't make a movie with no budget. You need at the very least a few grand to do anything. Even one of the cheapest made movies ever, El Mariachi, had a $7,000 budget. I totally support low budget horror but if you're gonna make a movie, make it right. And don't try and make one with no script or any kind of planning. It aint that easy. A bunch of zombies running around mindlessly eating people do not a good movie make. The sad thing was, these guys were acting like they were making the next Dawn of the Dead. If I ever do decide to write a movie, i'm either not gonna even try to make it myself or i'm gonna stockpile cash for several years before I even attempt it. Then again, maybe i'm just letting this experience get me down because I know for sure that if you're creative and determined you can make something out of nothing.

Here's a couple videos I took. One of Monkey getting done up and one of the most amusing guy at the place walking around in full zombie garb while the 'makeup tech' tells a funny story.


1 comment:

Wings said...

Yeah, I agree with you. You need some $$$ to do it a little right.

From what I have seen of the "Plan 9" remake, however, even with a little $$$, people can still fuck it up.

Ah well, at least you had the experience, right?