We are totally stoked that DVS has been named an official selection of the 2014 Phoenix Comicon Film Festival!
Our film will screen on Saturday, June 7th at 10:45 am – a fantastic show time at this internationally well-known convention. Last year, over 55,000 people flooded into the Phoenix Convention Center to soak up genre entertainment, comic book icons, panels on everything from sci-fi/fantasy books to cosplay and one of the biggest and most amazing Zombie Walks EVER! This year, in the middle of all that fab goodness, there’ll be our lil’ movie, Dead Votes Society.
Come join us and see Dead Votes on the Big Screen in Phoenix!
We were delighted to read that San Francisco, the site of Another Hole in the Head Film Festival, was heading for a high of 70 degrees this weekend. So we mailed off our exhibition copy of DVS and packed our bags, we’re off to the somewhat more sunny big city.
Angie has been laboring over the color correction for the film. As usual, she is learning, doing, learning some more and trying again, separated only by the lengthy data processing required by our elderly Mac Mini (hours and hours) and hair-pulling when she watches it and realizes its not quite what she was trying for. Deep admiration for the ever hard-working Madame Producer.
This copy is a Blue Ray disc, per the festivals request. It makes such a difference!
Looking forward to seeing friends and maybe some new fans at the New People Cinema in SF’s Japantown this Sunday.
If you see us after the filmmaker Q and A, come up and say hi. Or the even hipper, “Viva los Zombies!”
(Angie, our good friend the Reverend Dave Chontos, and Andrew at the step and repeat wall of the 4th Annual Prescott Film Festival)
The past three weeks have been a blur. We not only prepped our exhibition copy of the Dead Votes Society but acted as department head volunteers at the Prescott Film Festival. By the time the festival was underway, we had to remind each other to do the fun stuff filmmakers get to do: sign the poster, hang out with other filmmakers, get our picture taken with people who enjoyed the film. We had a great time at the first film festival Dead Votes Society was accepted to. More on that later.
In the process, we learned a lot. Stuff like…never get so focused on the big picture that you neglect to make posters and post cards of your film in time to distribute them around the festival. Always take the time to review the projection of your film with the tech crew, even when it is part of a package of other shorts, and check in with the screening host to make sure everyone’s on the same sheet of music.
The purest pleasure of the whole thing was sitting in large audiences to hear the laughter. It not only makes you feel good, but you start to understand the movie better.
We learned that a larger audience gives you a better idea of how well the comedy is working and where the comic beats are for the audience. Watch a comedy with three friends and you get laughter from only what those three people find funny.
At our world premiere in the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center, on July 24,2013, we had over 400 people in the audience. They laughed long and hard. Maybe hearing lots of people laughing near you puts you in a laughing state of mind? Maybe a larger audience gives you different people who laugh at different things? Doesn’t matter! The laughs were big and genuine and we were happy to hear them all.
At the second screening, on July 28th – in the smaller Yavapai College SNW Community Theatre – the room sat 200 and they were sending out for extra chairs as the lights went down and people kept trying to get in.
Both times, there was a nice Q and A afterwards and a chance to share the stage with Prescott filmmakers Holly Rillovick, Ryan Moser, Greg Smolarz, Sam Coodley, Ken Gregg, as well as festival MVP Forrest Sandefer (three movies in competition, either as director or DP!)
All in all, a great first festival experience. Now, we do a little more prep, upload the screener to Withoutabox and start offering our little zom-com to festivals for the coming year. Viva los zombies!
That’s right! This year’s Prescott Film Festivalwill feature two screenings of “Dead Votes Society,” the hilarious and chilling new zombie comedy shot in Prescott, AZ.
The “Dead Votes Society” World Premiere happens Wednesday, July 24th, starting at 6pm, at the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center. “Dead Votes Society” is part of “Prescott on the Big Screen,” a showcase of independent short films shot right here in Everybody’s Hometown. We’ll have Q and A with the film makers afterwards and a chance to meet the cast and crew.
It’s been a while since we’ve posted an update (as my Dad pointed out to me over the weekend), but it’s kind of hard to post when it’s mostly about still waiting for stuff to be finished. We’re still waiting for the music and sound mixing to be finished, and we’re still waiting on the video graphics and poster layout to be completed. I’ve been busy learning AfterEffects to deal with a green screen dealio. So the focus has been on doing what can be done and trusting (with follow up!) that the pieces of the movie still in process will all fall in place exactly as they need to.
It is a little weird. After the non-stop movin’ and groovin’ of pre-production and production, this part of the process kind of feels like swimming through molasses. So what are we doing right now, you ask? Well, there’s film festival research, website construction, pulling together all the parts for the press kit and getting the next project(s) going in development.
So yeah, still movin’ and groovin’, but more of a waltz at the mo’. Don’t worry, though. I can feel the post-pro engine revving up and we’ll be back to a full on tarantella before much longer. And, as soon as I’ve got the final poster image, we’ll be moving this blog over the the “official” website, so stay tuned!
He was this fantastic photographer who did the big league stuff – swanky shoots for catalogues, bands, etc. His studio is on the top floor of the old Masonic Temple – the ceremonial room, in fact, with thick carpet, richly ornamented ceiling, scads of cutting edge equipment, design forward furnishings, etc. I mean, if there ever was a Bond Villain who was a photographer for Paris Vogue, his lair would look a lot like this.
So, out of our league. But, it never hurts to ask. So, we did. And he said yes. We had a great shoot with the various wonderful oddball voice actors who were going to bring these radio theatre characters to life. Chris really took in that odd energy and found ways to get it in the photo. Our performers really opened up to the camera and we got some of the best photos we ever had of the group.
Here it is, years later, we’re making our first Crest Top movie, “The Dead Votes Society,” a satire about politics in Arizona, adapted by Angie, Christian and I from the original radio sketch.
Angie, as these things usually happen, HAD AN IDEA. “What if on the movie poster we had this grave and the hand of a zombie is coming up out of the grave and its making that “V for Victory” sign with its zombie fingers and we superimpose the title of the movie, “Dead Votes Society” with the V in Votes being the zombie fingers making the V for Victory sign?
Once again, we needed a really excellent photographer – since this poster will be seen at film festivals all over this great land of ours. By great good fortune, Chris Marchetti contacted us about the same time and offered his help on this project. Angie is excitedly telling our good friend, graphic designerTres Ikner about our luck working with Chris Marchetti again. He says, “I love that image. Who’s doing your poster design to go along with that image?” Angie shrugs. Tres taps his own chest and nods knowingly. Holy cats, we know the coolest people.
So, we leap into action. As producer, Angie recruits one of our zombie actors, the very expressive Cason Murphy, to be our Zombie Hand Model.
Production Designer Penelope Davis develops a two by two shallow box that can have sod laid across the top, a slit made in the grass and a tube run up at an angle for Cason to extend his hand up through the sod. Then, Penelope puts together a zombie distressed fashion shirt and jacket sleeve, which, in combination with her application of the zombie make-up designed by Ridge Gallagher, make for a hand that looks like its coming back from the grave with something to say.
As director, I managed to find damn near the last piece of sod in Arizona. Who knew they stopped making it in winter? The folks at Evergreen Turf in Chandler, AZ were incredibly helpful with this bizarre request.
It all came together on Saturday, in that fantastical loft at the top of the Masonic Temple. Once again, it was a pleasure to watch Chris Marchetti work – his intuition with the shot is only matched by his patience as we figured out how to get an image that was at once easy to read, funny and maybe a little profound in its own silly way.
By the end of the shoot, Angie was standing next to Chris and shouting suggestions to the unseen Cason under the sod box.
“Do a sleepy V . . . do a happy V . . . do an angry V . . . ” And Cason’s zombie hand would change right in front of us as Chris clicked away.
By the time we got to “Do a Sexy V!” we knew we had it. Can’t wait to get the images to Tres for the movie poster.
* Matt Jackson working his movie music/sound magic.
Angie here. I flipped out a little when I realized we hadn’t done a blog post since December – DECEMBER!!! But the reality is that between post-production, the holidays and the general winter urge to hole up inside the house until spring, it’s no surprise.
Regardless, here’s the latest scoop: Matt Jackson is pretty much done with the music for Dead Votes. The music for the opening credits is AWESOME (as Matt said, “Nothing says ‘zombies’ like bassoons…and cows”). And the uber-pompous French horns in the theme for the “Hot Coffee!” news show is equally fantastic. Seriously, is there a more pompous sounding instrument than a French horn?!
Meanwhile, Chad Castigliano is busy working on the graphics and AfterEffects for the movie. We’re heading over to see what he’s done and do some troubleshooting later tonight. ‘Cause there are always challenges, right? Nick Stecki is kicking off the sound mixing/foley/music SFX. I can’t wait to hear what he does with that!
And while the guys are tackling those aspects of post, I’m busy learning color correction and gathering all the goodies for the website. Andrew and Christian are busy working on the trailer script and the script for the upcoming feature.
Throw in a photo shoot with photog Denise Elfenbein for head shots and a photo shoot with photog Christopher Marchetti for the poster art (next Saturday!!!) and that mostly covers the plethora of movie madness biz.
More news on Thursday – swear! But in the meantime…Viva los zombies!
* Cason Murphy did a great job on his voice over work.
Andrew and I spent most of last week at Matt’s as Dead Votes actors congo-lined through the studio to record their ADR and voice over bits. Judy Stahl had the toughest job – lots of ADR for her – which she handled with patience and persistence. I was also thrilled that we got exactly zero flack for asking folks to give up a few hours (or more, for Judy) during the hectic pre-holiday dash to come and talk, growl, and cheer into the mic. We are so lucky to have such great folks to work with!
But the coolest and most bizarre thing was watching the hubster direct. Who would have thought phrases like “More mustache!” and “Try hipster HAL (from 2001 Space Odyssey)” would be so damn effective? I wouldn’t have, but I guess that’s why Andrew is the director and I’m the producer. Kevin Goss (Blaine Walpole) changed the way he held his mouth after the “more mustache” direction and gave us exactly what we were looking for. Cason Murphy also managed to pull off not only a “Hipster HAL,” but also a “carefree Hipster HAL” voice.
As expected, there was a lot of laughter in the studio. I have no idea how other folks work on movies since this is our first, but I don’t think I’d like working on a movie where there wasn’t lots of laughter and silliness. I mean, I understand that there are serious movies that require a bit more gravity. Really, I get it. But I have to say that if I’m going to commit all the time and effort it takes to see a project through, it had damn well better be fun. So I will ALWAYS say yes to laughter on set and in studio. Always, always, always.
We’re still running flat out to get a final edit ready to hand off to Matt Jackson next week so he can get started on the sound track for Dead Votes Society. After looking at all the footage, we pretty much decided we needed to ADR (Automated Dialogue Replacement) the Press Conference scene we shot at the Courthouse Square. Nick Stecki is super talented, but there are so many external noises (damn you, motorcycles! and dogs! and car alarms! and wandering saxophone players! and yes, even a horse!) that it will sound best to ADR all of Serena’s (Judy Stahl) and Blaine’s (Kevin Goss) lines.
It’s a whole new layer of post-production that the average movie goer doesn’t even think about, but we’re actually kind of excited to learn how to do it. Besides, without ADR the entire movie would be less awesome. And we’re committed to making Dead Votes as awesome as possible!
For those who wanna see how ADR is done, here is a short “Behind the Scenes” video of the folks behind ‘The Navigator” doing some ADR for their movie.