Crystle, Roger, & Red Cloud.
I knew Crystle and Red Cloud for awhile now. They make up the duo "LightningCloud". Earlier this year they were nominated for the Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards in the category for best Hip Hop/Rap CD.
I messaged Red Cloud and said when they were here, we should collaborate on a video.
They sent me the song #ZombieLove and I wrote up a few different ideas that came to mind. At first the ideas were simple; something that would utilize my basement, maybe the local 100 year graveyard. The idea was very basic and it was something that could be shot in an afternoon.
That was the plan.
LightningCloud won their category at the APCAMA's. (Check out the Winnipeg Free Press Article HERE.)
The small concept for the video suddenly turned into a larger idea. We sat down for lunch that Sunday and started to come up with a new idea for the video. Red Cloud said he had an idea to fight zombies. That was going to be a challenge. We'd need to find people to be the zombies, plus we'd need make-up. on top of this, LightningCloud only had 1 day available before they flew back to LA on Tuesday. Well it was Sunday evening. The challenge laid out.
The One-Man Crew
I put the call out on my Koj-B Films Facebook group for volunteers to help me with lightning, camera, locations, etc. I got a couple 'likes' on the announcement but the few people whom were interested had to work that entire day. Things didn't look too good from a crew-standpoint. It looked like I'd have to play Producer, Director, Camera, Set-decorator, and Gaffer/Best Boy...heck, I was going to even have to be the Locations Manager too.
For this project I was going to be the "One-Man Crew".
The one thing I learned from previous short film mistakes in the past was locking a location. Whether it's your basement, garage, or the local park, you should plan out the places you want to use and get permission for the date and time from the owner (Unless of course it's your basement/ garage). I once pushed back filming on my short film "The Maintenance Man" because I could not lock a location nor did I have an experienced Locations Manager. It was a tough lesson but one well learned.
For "Zombie Love", I was already in contact with local artists/organizations/people whom had possible locations available. This is why networking is so important. Create positive relationships with your fellow peers and help them out when you can. You never know when you might need assistance and someone can come through and surprise you. Sometimes you just have to ask.
I called up Frame Projects and asked they had space available from 11am to 9pm roughly. Luckily for me, they did! I owe them huge! Thank you Frame Projects!
(If you are an artist in Winnipeg, be sure to check them out! http://frameprojects.org/)
Next up was finding the volunteer Zombies. I was relieved that I didn't have to take over on this part as LightningCloud put the call out to local fans and friends. I even heard it was announced on one of our local radio stations.
The only thing that was asked was for volunteers to bring their own zombie makeup.
I was afraid we'd have more people than we needed but it worked out perfect as we had just the right number of volunteers.
On top of this, we also landed a very talented local make-up artist to do Crystle's makeup for her big zombie scene; Enter Sayisi!
Crystle and Red Cloud asked her to come out for the shoot that day. Luckily for us she was available, otherwise I'd have to be the make-up person as well! ...I don't think it would have turned out as great if that had been the case.
Be sure to check out her Facebook Page: Make-up by Sayisi
Feed Your Volunteers
The one thing a low budget project must always do, be it a short film or Music Video, is ALWAYS feed your crew and volunteers! If you have no budget, find someone to make some Kraft dinner and juice/ coffee.
This one thing I always do on my Music Video/ Short film sets-- I'm always sure to feed people if they can come out.
There was one time I couldn't buy a huge meal, so I got the basic snacks and asked a relative to cook up some hot soup/ bread and bring it over. They were more than happy to do it! Now that was a filling meal.
If you are an indy filmmaker in 2013, chances are you've been able to purchase a DSLR camera. If you haven't and are surrounded by filmmaker friends, chances are they have one.
If you want to be a filmmaker and have no equipment, do not let that stop you. Use what's at your disposal! I shot another Music Video, Hawaii Airlines, on my iphone 4 when I got it, prior to purchasing my Canon 60D.
The first couple short films I shot were on a borrowed camcorder and edited on my old HP computer using Windows Movie Maker! One of them, "210" ended up getting chosen to play at the National Screen Institutes (now defunct) Film Festival!
I know it's been said but it's not the equiment you have, it's how you choose to use it!
I shot Zombie Love with my Canon 60D and my 18-135mm lens. I managed to rent an Arri kit from the Winnipeg film group for $20/day! It was a price I couldn't refuse! If I couldn't get the lights, I was going to just use the 3 worklights I have and get creative.
When I went to pick up the lights they also had a "lens baby" available for the day. I've used that before in my Drezus-Never Gonna Be the Same music vid; it has a dream-like quality to it that adds such a practical effect to the video!
I also managed to get a smoke machine for the shoot as well. The smoke added a lot of depth to each scene yet it was so subtle.
On top of the 2 lenses, lighting, & smoke machine, I still use my beat-up tripod. It doesn't look good but it still does what it needs to.
After it was all said and done, I wrote up a quick shot list, organized the 4 scenes we needed to shoot while Red Cloud and Crystle got the props and their wardrobe together. We quickly rehearsed each scene with the zombies so no one wold get hurt. Everyone was on point! Set's were dressed, scene was lit, camera ready, I called action and we went about our day, taking a break when needed.
We got everything on the shot list and even added a couple extra shots. By 9pm we were on the final shot, I called cut, & "boom!", we were finished!
It was tough but it was such a great experience! I love being on set. We had 2 days to pull it off from the concept to this final shot and we did!
People may ask for the budget so, without looking at exact numbers, for location, equipment, food and makeup, it came in at roughly $300.
Always say thank you!
I know I called myself a "One-Man Crew" but behind the scenes, everyone involved pitched in and helped with whatever I may of needed. I couldn't thank them enough!
On top of this, everyone showed up with an excellent & professional attitude!
I know I said it already but I'm saying it here again; Thank YOU!!!!!!!!
Be it a No-Budget or Low-Budget, as a filmmaker, I know I'm growing and getting better with each project I take on and finish!
No check out the Music Video we were able to pull off in 2 days and enjoy!
Thanks for reading!