Consulting, Publishing, Engineering

Managing Zombies

I got to be part of a short film recently, performing as a member of a crowd that eventually all turned into zombies. It was officially released Tuesday night, and will be part of the upcoming Tucson Short Film Festival.

I thought the whole thing was great fun, AND I learned a little bit about movie-making. Turns out there is a lot of sitting around and waiting involved (like waiting around for a doc review?) and an extraordinary amount of mess, though that’s likely to be related to the zombie theme.

I was very impressed with director Tim Gassen of Purple Cactus Media Productions. I don’t know enough about movies to comment his directing of the actual movie, but he did a terrific job managing all the various components of the project, including the random assortment of extras who showed up (including me!). Several of the things that made it a successful project could help other managers:

  • We had lots of great communication and information up front (what to expect, how long it would take, how to prepare)
  • Tim provided very clear instructions throughout (”It’s an HONOR to eat baby brains!”)
  • We had practice sessions before each major scene
  • He often asked us what we wanted – such as another run-through before filming, or a snack or bio break.
  • After the work of the zombies was done, Tim still kept the communication open, inviting us all to the release part, providing copies of the finished DVD, and generally responding to any and all enquiries quickly and professionally.

All in all, it was a great experience. I would love to be in another crowd someday, perhaps next time with less gore!

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