Monday, April 13, 2009

Platoon of the Dead Production Diary - August 2, 2007

A few months ago my buddy John Bowker told me he was planning to shoot a zombie movie later in the year called PLATOON OF THE DEAD. He sent me the script to check out while he was working on arranging the financing. The script was cool, contained a few neat plot twists and was mostly in the woods or at a single house and had a small cast, both of which boded well for our usual very low budgets and 10-day shoots. The zombies, fog and other effects concerned me a little only because I knew they would take time, which we usually don't have enough of. He wanted me to handle shooting/lights/sound. He asked if I would be interested in coordinating food and I said I would, for the selfish reason of making sure we had some good food on set and weren't having baloney sandwiches for 9 days. John reminded me that it has been five years since he made a movie. I was excited to be a part of this new one.

I worked with an actor named Tom Stedham two summers ago when he flew out from Alabama to be in a thriller I shot called DEADLY PREMONITIONS. I couldn't recommend Tom more highly to John - he was a great actor, knew his lines, helped out on set any way he could, is a great photographer and a really funny guy. Not only that, but he would add some "beefcake" to the project and had military background that would make portraying the commanding officer that much more authentic and his wrestling background gave him a lot of fight choreography skills. John agreed he would be great for the role and plans to contact Tom once financing is in place.

John was at a loss on a location for the main house and initially I said I was as well. Then I remembered a picnic we had at my high school reunion at a funky old house in a small town about 9 miles from town. The house is owned by a guy I went to high school with. I mentioned it to him and the guy and his girlfriend are psyched about the movie shooting there and are even more psyched about the possibility of getting to play zombies. John plans to visit town in a few weeks so we can all meet, chat and check out the location. If it works out, it will be nice to be able to go home after shoots and sleep in my own bed. Plus we'll know where to eat, where to buy stuff in a pinch and John can line up all kinds of friends and family as extras and helpers as needed.

So right now, I'm just waiting. John is still working on a revision of the script based on some producer notes, so I'll wait until I get that to start with any storyboards. Once the schedule is locked-down, I can work on a plan and budget for food. John wants to shoot this "all in a row," that is, all at one time, rather than splitting shoots up over multiple weekends. He's hoping to have shooting dates picked out in the next few weeks, which is good so I can make sure I can take that time off of work.

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