Monday, September 26, 2011

How to Make a Short, Indie, Post-Apocalyptic Thiller

A friend I've never met, Josh Oakhurst, let me in on his latest project and gave me some behind-the-scenes details on how he pulled it off.

A brief backstory: "Six months from now, two North American Union Armored Guard Personnel and an electrician find out what it's like to be trapped in a rolling coffin in unfriendly territory. Inspired by a photography project on abandoned homes."

Here's the film:

Chimera from Josh Oakhurst on Vimeo.

And here's how he pulled it off, shared with me after I asked stupid questions like, "How'd you pull that off?"

Josh said finding people to help out, not just actors, was by far the hardest part.

Aside from his wife (the female cop), all of the other actors and crew were just people he knew from the neighborhood.

He catered lunch over two days and tried to pay everyone something, even if it was just a little bit.

My wife obviously worked for free. She was a trooper and I definitely tested her patience.

The Male Cop was a dude from the neighborhood I know. I liked him, he was great.

The electrician guy was a Turkish engineer I befriended in my building. He was awesome, no one ever asked him to do something like this. His wife was so proud.

The kid I found through a post on Craigslist. His mom volunteered him. He was really great as well.

I paid this big Jamaican dude to run security for us on both days. We were in some sketchy neighborhoods.

When we were shooting inside that abandoned drug house, the actual drug dealing (not hyperbole) neighbors next door thought that we were a SWAT team or something. I guess between the car, the uniforms, the big dude with a SECURITY t-shirt and some prop guns, they thought we were raiding the place.

The rest of the people on screen, and the "crew" were all a bunch of drunken, fellow artists from the metal studio who had a free afternoon.

All told, I think if I'm honest I'm in this thing about $7G, including all the metal work and learning how to weld. I think it was worth it, because no one else has ever spent that much money on anything else I've shot. I needed to do it for me, if nothing else.

Nice work. And even though Josh is a creative director at a digital shop in North Carolina, this supports what I've always said about working in our industry; you've got to keep a side project that you have total control over. You're never going to satisfy your need to create by working for clients.

Film Festival time for Josh, I think.

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