Making “Zombie Team Building”

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“Zombie Team Building” was produced with Inside Creative Minds for the 2010 Almost Famous 48 Hour Film Challenge.  For the challenge, the theme we had to use was “a white lie”, the prop was a mirror, and the line of dialogue was, “What just happened?”

A boy and his zombies.

The limit on the finished running time of the movie had to be a five minutes.  However, we elected (or maybe I did, and failed to mention this to anyone) to shoot a ten minute movie in the same amount of time and just turn in a five minute version for the competition.  It was ambitious, but since we were able to pull it off with “Masters of Daring,” I knew we could do it again.

I flew in from Fresno, California just four hours before the kick off.  The next 48 hours would prove to be an exciting and challenging whirlwind.

We were going to shoot in two locations … an awesome industrial exterior to open the movie, and then office interiors where we can run amok.  My girlfriend arranged for the outdoor location, and we toured it right after the kick off, but it fell through at the last moment.  It was for the best, though.  Splitting up the day with a location move would have killed us.

Bracken lines up the next shot

The office building we shot at, which producers Elyse Rukkila and Tray Goodman scored, was scheduled to be renovated.  That meant we had permission to destroy certain walls and splatter fake blood all over the place.  So cool.  I just wish I would have had time to enjoy, like the rest of the crew.  Yes, destroying the building became the favored pastime of the crew, who occasionally got out of hand.  I remember walking down the hall, thinking about an upcoming shot, when an axe handle burst through from the other side of the wall.

What I had originally conceived as a very visual, actiony movie, turned out to be quite character and dialogue driven.  Craig and I wrote what we knew of corporate culture, which was effectively secondhand experience, but it wasn’t until Bracken Batson chimed in with his first-hand experience that the material finally jumped to life.

The ten minute version of the movie included a scene where a zombie (played by Noah Klinge) bursts out of a wall and pulls poor Logan through the hole.  It wasn’t in the script, we just made it up on the spot, but I mean come on … if you can have a zombie burst through a wall … then ya gotta do it!

It can’t believe we pulled it all off in 48 hours.  Props to everyone for doing an amazing job, I’m so grateful.  And thank you to our zombie hoard.  At the Almost Famous 48 Hour Challenge ceremony, ZTB won First Place Comedy, 3rd Place Audience Award, Best Use of Theme, and Craig Curtis took home an acting award for his performance.

The film got a great reception at the Phoenix Comicon (check out the behind the scenes videos),  and coming up on September 3rd it plays at the Dragon*Con Independent Film Festival!

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To watch “Zombie Team Building” visit our website at Squishystudios.com!

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