Friday, January 31, 2014

"Brides VS Zombies"

Click here to watch.


Director: Laura Somers
Director of Photography: Erik Forssell
Brides: Tricia Pierce, Tunisia Hardison, Claudia Perea, Michelle Halterman, Lorren Cotton
Zombies: Popeye V, Cole Taylor, Larry Herron, Patrick Herncamp, Robert Bravo
Zombie Makeup:  Robert Bravo

Why this script/concept? How does it reflect your vision as a commercial director?

I picked this script because I LOVE ZOMBIES!   Well, all horror, actually, and I’ve never gotten the chance to direct anything of that genre.   Also, the concept is hilarious – having been in many weddings I can tell you angry brides fighting zombies would be a tough call.   

As for my vision as a commercial director, I just like creating offbeat worlds with a sense of humor and I thought this really fit the bill.

What was the casting process like?

Casting was easy on this one.  I direct for a web-based sketch comedy group, and called on all the actors I work with to come down and do the spec.   They loved the idea of a girls vs. guy thing. 

How did you search for/lock a location?

I found the zombie alleyway through a search on craigslist.  This was the back of a tiling store in Van Nuys that rented itself out to indie filmmakers for a good price.  They loved having zombies on their property and even asked for a group photo.  You gotta love property owners like that.

For the brides, I picked Newport Beach because it had an iconic pier that a lot of wedding photographers use for their backgrounds.  I thought it would be a great way to unconsciously sell the brides being on the beach, because it was the type of location that people often think of for weddings.  We contacted the City to find out about permits, and they said since it was such a small group we could get away without one.  Nobody bothered us, and we showed up at dawn for the shots.  But boy, that beach filled up with people quickly!

The third location is my home.  That’s mine and my husband’s arms fighting over the remote at the end.  That’s the closest I’ll ever get to convincing him to be on camera.

How did you select your DP, crew?

Erik Forssell the DP is always my go-to guy.  He’s extremely talented and loves to have a good time on set.   He brought along a couple of his friends to help out with grip and second camera.  We’re all just people who like to shoot stuff as much as possible.   I own a handheld audio recorder and got wild audio for the zombies and brides at the end of the shoot.
I’ve been doing all the costumes and art direction for my specs.  I don’t like to work alone, but it helps keep costs down.  I distressed the zombie costumes with a hand-held sandbelt and some coffee grounds, tea bags and mud.   It was a blast!

How did shooting go? Any challenges?

Shooting went relatively smooth on this spot.  I think the biggest challenge was that the all of zombies’s prosthetics kept falling off.  Those poor guys had to hold their heads at weird and uncomfortable angles to keep their makeup on.  I think it helped them get into character.

Tell us about editing and finishing.

For the edit - it was all about the music for me – I let the pacing be dictated by the two compositions I used.  I knew at what point in the story I wanted the action music to ramp up, so everything that came before that cue was about keeping the story moving forward.

I worked with an excellent post team who was able to do some magic on the shots – the colorist brightened up the dark beach skies and made the color tones match the zombies.   Another colorist was able to smooth out the shot of the pull back from the television – it was a little bumpy and steppy.  I think they added some extra frames.  It’s really nice looking now.

In retrospect, is there anything you would have done differently?

I had originally wanted to shoot the brides in a botanical garden but I didn’t want to spend the money – it was crazy expensive.  But in retrospect, I wish I had.  I was disappointed with the beach, because the sky was gray and ugly when we shot it. I forget that you’ve got the marine layer out here in California in the early mornings pretty much without fail.  Or maybe we should have shot at sunset – but then we’d have a huge crowd of people behind us.  Fortunately the colorist was able to help out a bit and give it some life.  Plus the girls are so colorful in their dresses that it makes the shot pop.

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