by Hannah Bungard
Having shot at least half of the Zomblogalypse movie in one nine-day block, the cast and crew now turn their attention to half a dozen weekends scattered throughout the summer and autumn to finish the film. In our second exclusive set report, co-creator/writer/director/producer and actor in Zomblog, Hannah Bungard, gives her point of view on the whole gory story.
With the first nine day block of shooting already behind us, Saturday 30 June was the start of six shooting weekends for the Zomblog film. We arrived, far too early, at some picturesque ruins (which could be anywhere in York really, couldn’t it?) for a morning shoot that proved to be a little more complicated than we had expected, but should be a fun sequence in the film. We’re bursting to tell you what it is, but that would spoil the surprise.
This weekend, my co-conspirators (co-writers, co-directors, co-producers) Miles Watts, Tony Hipwell and me were all creating a moment of our own in the film. Saturday morning was my turn and Miles and Tony filmed theirs on the Sunday. It was wonderful to see everyone, friends and new friends, working together to make these moments as absurd and enjoyable as possible. Absurdity is a huge part of the Zomblogverse. And a huge part of filmmaking. I will not get up at 5am for any other thing (except a flight, possibly), but there I was at 6:15am, tea in hand, not quite raring to go but definitely awake and attempting thought.
On set this weekend we had some excellent zombies, including two friends I hadn’t seen for a few years (Zomblog brings people together, yo) and quite a few members of cast. Now that we’re further into the film, the Zomblog trio are finally interacting with other humans and, as you can imagine, those other humans are not best pleased. While setting up for the morning’s filming, we managed to grab a few little interviews to camera with the cast in character, all talking about the events in the film. It was very, very difficult not to laugh during these. Most of Zomblog, including this film, is improvised, so to ask some questions but just let the cast run away with the answers was a lot of fun.
I say this once every few hours as we’re shooting but everything we film seems slightly more ludicrous than the last. When we put it all together (Tony is assembling the footage as we go and, I must say, it’s a right rollicking silly adventure so far), it will work overall, but the sight of Tony leaping about the forest with chicken drumsticks attached to his thighs will stay with you. That’s not even the weirdest thing we’ve done so far.
Except for Saturday afternoon, where we filmed inside at our base at Clifton Moor, all of the weekend’s shooting took place outside. This presented us with more challenges than if we had had a more controlled environment. Keeping tourists/dogs/joggers/children from wandering into the set is much more difficult when you’re in a public place. Toilets are often a car journey away, locations aren’t always as usable as you thought and you and your co-star Lyndsey might be comparing horsefly bites by the Sunday evening. For example.
If there was something I could have wished for on set this weekend, it would have been more cups of tea. I mean, runners. Runners are essential on a film shoot. They might camera assist, stand in for a member of the cast while the shot is being set up, relay messages back and forth if you’re so low budget you can’t have walkie-talkies, stand outside the location for 3 hours directing people to the right place (sorry Josh), help to create a prop we suddenly decide is essential to the scene, or make everyone a cup of tea every half an hour. They might need to drive to the nearest supermarket for more cups, gaffa tape, chicken drumsticks or coffee. Yes, this does make us sound like megalomaniacs with a bizarre vision but, what I’m saying is: runners are essential and it was a shame that we had only one this weekend, and only for about 3 hours (sorry again Jake).
That’s the problem with low-budget filmmaking. You can’t always fill all the roles because, even if you know a production manager, you can’t necessarily pay them. And not everyone can take time off work to work on projects that don’t pay. So we are hugely grateful to everyone that has helped us so far and we understand that not everyone will be able to. But we really do feel like we’re creating something rather special (/ridiculous), with a terrific cast and crew, and there’s still time to be involved. Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, if you fancy being a zombie. Or if you make a great cup of tea.Zomblogalypse