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.
I had two filming dates scheduled, the first on Saturday January 9th and the second on Saturday January 16th. After a 6am call time, on Saturday January 9th, the actors playing zombies were in makeup for 4 hours. After about 10 am I began driving the actors to a small secluded field around the corner from my Mom’s house. I could only fit 3 people in my car at a time and I made 5 trips. It took about 15 minutes. After I dropped everyone off I began walking to the filming location with my camera, storyboard and bounce card. And that is as far as I got. There was a police helicopter hovering over us with a cop screaming into a loud speaker. We were instructed to lie down on the ground and put our hands on our heads. As we waited about 4 or 5 cop cars drove up and the police got out and drew their guns.
One by one, we were instructed to walk backwards with our hands on our heads. One by one we were handcuffed and put in the back of a squad car. After about 45 minutes, while the cops inspected the water guns I was using as props and talked to each of us, we were let go with a warning and told to leave. It was truly a horrible experience. Some neighbor saw us and called the cops saying we had guns. I say bullshit. There were a dozen actors in full zombie makeup, a camera, and a couple of makeup artists. It was obvious we were making a movie and some wannabe piece of shit decided to ruin it. Even the cops scared us and wasted our time for no reason. It was obvious we were making a movie. All they had to do was tell us to leave.
Anyway, the very next day, Sunday, I drove to a friend’s house in San Bernardino. It was about a 90 minute drive from the Hollywood area where I live. I thought I could film here instead and began making plans for Saturday January 16th. Then a day before the shoot, I get a text message from the makeup artist saying she and her assistants are going to cancel. The makeup artist was not happy about almost getting arrested and I’m pretty sure that’s why she quit. Unfortunately by the time I found out it was too late to find a replacement.
I’m pretty much starting all over again and though I have barely shot anything, this film is already a big pain in the ass. I go to school and work a part time job. I had a month off after fall semester and was hoping to shoot some scenes for the film and get it going. I didn’t get to film anything and I lost some money buying supplies, paying for the makeup artist, getting wardrobe for the zombies, and preparing for two film dates that got botched. The first part of the film I shot I can’t use because it really isn’t that good. I was planning on starting over again with the scenes I was going to shoot on those two Saturdays.
Oh well. I can’t afford to buy a permit in California. I’m going to have to look at filming in other states in the USA that have more affordable film permits. A place where the permits are a few hundred dollars instead of a few thousand. Anyway, I included some pics from the debacle below including everyone in handcuffs.
What could have been….. Sigh
The barn where I shot the first scenes of the film is not available any more. The guy who owns the ranch changed his mind about filming on his property. This new location is where I hope to shoot major portions of Zombie Ferox. It’s a nice open space and I can make it look like more than one location. I hope it works out.
This is the location I’m filming for the first scenes of Zombie Ferox.
I went location scouting at a youth correctional facility. It’s sort of like a little town and I was looking for locations that could look like a city lost to the apocalypse. It didn’t really live up to my expectations and I also can’t afford the permit to film there. You need to have $1,000,000 dollars of general liability insurance. I got a quote from a production insurance company after I provided them information about my film: no crew, not many actors, 10 year old antiquated equipment, etc. The quote I got was $1500 dollars a day. I’m trying to keep the budget for the entire film under $1,000, so that’s the end of that.
Also, they don’t have any running water at the institute, which means no working toilets. I don’t know what it costs to rent one of those Port-A-Johns, and I don’t want to find out.
I’ve continued to try to find locations that I can afford. I’ve found a state owned youth correctional facility that has been shut down. It’s like a little town. It has a prison, a hospital, a residence area for the warden and his staff. It would be a great place to film. I have an appointment to go there and see it in person. I’ll post pictures and video of what I find there.
Because this property is owned by the state of California there is no location fee and there is no permit fee; however, you still need 1 million dollars in general liability insurance to film there. My film has no budget so that is just not possible. I’m still going to keep my location scouting appointment and check the place out, but I really can’t afford to film there. Or anywhere else.
I am going to have to rewrite my script according to where I can actually film and right now I have no idea where that is. Most films about the living dead, and most low budget horror films, usually take place in a house that is under siege. I don’t want to do that because its been done to death and filmmakers much more talented than me have already done a great job with the one location premise. So whatever I actually end up filming will show the actors/protagonists fighting the living dead out in the open and at more than ONE location.
Last week I went driving around downtown Los Angeles to look for locations. The locations have to be appropriate for the story and my film takes place after the apocalypse where the living dead rule the earth. There are a lot of run down industrial areas in LA, unfortunately it is expensive to film in Los Angeles because permits are so expensive. I don’t think I will be able to use any of the locations I visited, but I thought I’d share some location pictures with you anyway.