This Project Is Dead

Okay folks, this is officially over. I detail the reasons why below:

In 2008 I began work on what was intended to be a feature length horror film. This was my second attempt at making a feature length film. In 2003 I made my first feature, which was financed with money from family, and never screened anywhere. My first film and the lack of response was a major disappointment. I began learning about distribution and marketing using the internet. I tried to implement what I learned by making Zombie Ferox. That is the title of the horror film I wanted to make. The storyline was inspired by The Naked Prey starring Cornel Wilde, the last man on earth tries to survive on foot in a zombie infested wasteland. I did not have the funds to shoot the film all at once. Also, after the experience of my first movie, it didn’t seem wise to invest a lot of money in a film that did not have a distributor. I decided to make the film in a piece meal fashion. Not being able to afford a permit to shoot in my hometown,Los Angeles, and after almost getting arrested trying to film anyway, I found an affordable filming location in Nevada. I found local actors in Nevada and brought makeup artists from Los Angeles out to the desert to film. I shot the first 10 minutes of the movie, edited it together, and was very happy with the finished result. I should let you know that the makeup artists were the only paid crew I had, the actors worked for free, the location was cheap, and I still ended up spending around $8,000. I spent $5,000 of my savings and put $3,000 on my credit card. The cost of the makeup artists, special effects, and insurance was still very high. I also filmed outdoors in the Nevada summer, when the heat was about 115 degrees, so I had to pay for misters to keep the actors and crew cool. By the time I had shot that first part of the film in July of 2011, I had already been working on the film for three years. At the time of this writing, the video I uploaded to the Zombie Ferox youtube channel has only had 344 views. In the years leading up to filming, I tried networking online with the horror community without looking like a shill. Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and still no audience. No one is paying attention. So, due to the cost of filming and the less than enthusiastic response, I am moving on. I am going to make another film. A film that will be completed. Right now, I just have some sketchy ideas about what I want to do. But one thing I can tell you, is that I will film on the streets of Los Angeles and there will be no special effects makeup.

My new website is danielsemel.com

I’ve created a new youtube channel and uploaded Zombie Ferox, which you can watch below.

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Decapitation! The Living Dead! No After Effects! See Zombie Ferox!

I am happy with how this turned out. I am writing new scenes to continue where this left off.

I made a realistic prop gun using a water gun

Prop Gun Before 2011

Prop Gun After 2011

Through the Frugal Filmmaker http://filmflap.blogspot.com/ I found this guy KnopTop who has a Quick FX YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/Knoptop. He posted this video for making a plastic gun look like old metal. All you need is black spray paint and metallic spray paint. I think his guns look better than mine, but I still thought it was pretty cool. You can check out the tutorial below:

I created a storyboard for the first part of the movie & wrote a new synopsis

Hi folks,

so the new synopsis for the movie is: the lone survivor of the human race looks for shelter in a zombie infested wasteland.

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I found my next shooting location in Nevada

I’m beginning the next phase of the film. I’m shooting in a new state, I’ve given up on California. I’m also drastically reworking the story of the film. In the past few weeks I saw The Naked Prey starring and directed by Cornel Wilde. It takes place in the 19th century in Africa and Cornel Wilde is a guide for some white men who have come to Africa to hunt elephants for their ivory. The ivory traders offend the natives and end up being captured and killed in very creative ways. The natives have some respect for Cornel Wilde, so they strip him of all weapons and clothing and give him a chance to run away. They give him a 5 minute lead, and after that lead time, they chase after him. It has a very simple plot that I love and I would like to do something similar with zombies. For the new direction my movie is going in, there will be no group of survivors or ex military people, which is something I’ve noticed turning up in a lot of zombie films anyway. I’m going to have one lead character trying to survive in a kill or be killed environment.

I went location scouting last Saturday. Below are some pics of locations I will try to work into the script.

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first Matte Painting test with Final Cut and Photoshop

This is the first matte painting I have created. It was a lot more difficult than I thought to find pictures that fit with the video I shot. I tried to make it suck less by adding an explosion. My movie is supposed to take place during the apocalypse, so for my test matte painting, I tried to find pictures of rubble and bombed out buildings. I found some good pics on Google images, but I couldn’t make them work for the narrow neighborhood street I had filmed. I think matte paintings work best with wide open spaces. This gives me an idea of the kinds of locations I should be looking for when I shoot my movie.

I used Photoshop CS3 and Final Cut Pro 5, with footage shot on standard definition mini DV tape. I also watched a tutorial on matte painting I found on YouTube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYBlN74uAz0