About The Film
Dead Weight is an independent film produced in central Wisconsin throughout the course of 2011, and released in March 2012. It tells the story of Charlie Russell, traveling the wilderness in the wake of an apocalyptic viral outbreak, in search of his girlfriend, Samantha. As his journey brings him closer to his destination of Wausau, WI, he must face physical exhaustion, malicious survivors, and perhaps most menacing, his own emotional burdens. With his newfound traveling companions Charlie must attempt to find attempt to break his obsessions with the past. He must learn to let it go.
Monday, November 28, 2011
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
This is the to-do list, this is all we have left. That is weird!
- Color Correction
As detailed in John's great blog post!)
- Foley and ADR placement
We've recorded almost all of the foley and ADR, just a couple quick spots we need to hit and then it's all captured, just needs placing!
Nicholas Elert has about 15 days as of today, to finish this beastly score. We know he'll do it, and it will be awesome. More about Nick here.
- End Credits
We recently had a hiccup with the progress on getting the credits handled, but we're back on track. Not like it's going to take a lot of time, just a lot of typing and then proofreading.
- On screen graphics
Alongside the end credits, had a recent hiccup in progress. As of today we have Eric Arsnow, who has worked on Screaming in High Heels, Sleepless Nights, and Swamphead with our color correction wizard, Derrick Carey. Eric did the opening credit sequence for Swamphead, so if you've seen that then you know he does great work. Special note: THIS IS NOT CG. There is a single scene that requires some graphics, that's what he's handling.
- Audio mix and master
There will be a huge blog post on this guy in the future, you'll all have the chance to get to know an old friend of mine, Adam Tucker. Adam runs Signaturetone Recording in the Minneapolis area, and has handled mixing and mastering for many of the releases I've done on my record label.
This is basically filler video, essential to the visuals of the film, but without dialogue or anything. We had to wait until the trees were bare so this footage would match our initial filming conditions back in April, so these past two weeks have been perfect. We were even able to send our still photographer, Mary Manchester, out with a DSLR to grab some 1080p video during that snow last week. Party time! Just a couple more we need after the snow falls again.
- Pick-Up Shot
A single segment we need to grab to accent a scene we already filmed. We have the pleasure of working with Milwaukee actor Joel Kopischke on this, who was suggested to us by Dead Weight actor Reva Fox. Great lead, Reva!! We will be filming this on Friday, once again enlisting the help of Mary Manchester.
That's all! Then on to bonus features! We can't believe we're almost there.
|We're both glad the to-do list doesn't look like this anymore!|
Be on the lookout for an interview of Adam and I on Icons of Fright, coming soon. Guess you don't really have to be on the lookout for it, as you know darn well we will post the links.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Friday, November 11, 2011
|Adam, Joe, Dan, John, Scott, and Michelle at Terror in the Aisles 9.|
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
|Jon Kitley wants you to join the Kryptic Army.|
Dead Weight is fundamentally a child of the horror community. It will always be a horror film to us, despite how much it leans in the direction of drama and suspense most of the time. It was founded in horror, and brought into existence by the love for horror.
|Dead Weight actor Aaron Christensen with executive producer to be, Nancy Cremer. HorrorHound 2011, a fateful weekend.|
Sunday, October 2, 2011
So, here is the full trailer & theatrical poster that we premiered last night. Enjoy & share!
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Early on in pre-production, the filmmakers knew they would want someone to document the filming process. To achieve this they brought on longtime friend and accomplished still photographer, Mary Manchester. Over the course of the initial week of filming in April, and first day of May, Mary took over 1,300 photos of every aspect of the production. “Through A Still Lens” is a photography exhibit that showcases a small portion of these images, all favorites personally selected by the filmmakers and Mary Manchester. The exhibit premieres at 6:00 PM on October 1st, 2011, at the New Moon Café at 401 N Main St., Oshkosh, WI during the October Gallery Walk. The photos will remain on display throughout the month of October.
During the exhibit there will be a new trailer for the film premiering, alongside the unveiling of the film’s theatrical poster. Many members of the cast and crew will also be in attendance during the exhibit premiere.
Facebook Event Page
Thursday, August 25, 2011
The third day of filming there was a terrible blizzard that more or less destroyed our plans to film a very important scene at the original location. After nearly two hours of failed attempts to make it work we admitted defeat to the Wisconsin April weather. We spent the next hour and a half at a gas station in Pickett warming ourselves and generally increasing morale amongst the cast and crew. One key factor to this was the acquisition of one plush possum, who informed actor Aaron Christensen of his name via telepathic message. This was easily the most identifiable and critical turning point in our week. We went from our lowest low to our highest high in the matter of a couple hours. Found a new location, moved on, and everything turned out far better than we would've been able to manage under any other condition. Seth Frank, freer of Stangaar, we are forever indebted to you.
Without further delay, we are proud to present "Stangaar The Mighty," by producer Lee Marohn.
(Note: Must be sung by a mixed choir of children and axe-wielding Vikings)
He came to us one Tuesday morn
When things were looking grim
His goodness spred unto us all
And now we cherish him.
Stangaar the Mighty
Stangaar the Bold
Stangaar inspired us
In the chilling April cold.
Stangaar joined our little crew
And things have turned out great
What did we do without him
He's the hero of DEAD WEIGHT.
O, Stangaar the Mighty
Stangaar the Bold
Stangaar inspired us
In the chilling April cold.
|Stangaar, official mascot and source of limitless energy.|
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
|When in doubt, talk about Rush at The Reptile Palace.|
|Patiently awaiting her man at the Outagamie County Airport.|
|A nice (yet incredibly hot and humid) afternoon at the Paine Art Center (with wonderful company).|
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Let's turn it over to Cole and hear what he has to say:
I never thought too much about what it meant to be 'dedicated' to something (especially the more intangible things, like the production of a movie) until after the first couple days of helping to shoot Dead Weight. The work wasn’t hard, but the weather was demoralizing and pure shit. I'm a bit glad I didn’t have to show up for the blizzard day... What I realized after getting out of the second day of shooting and once the feeling started to come back to my face and toes was that I was really interested in/dedicated to seeing this project through for its own benefit and for everyone else involved. In the process of helping out on an awesome project; I made some friends, got my first case of windburn, had some good laughs, set up a tent for absolutely no reason, discovered the world of film making and enjoyed some tasty sandwiches/wraps (thanks, Cari!).
My favorite parts were: Manning the boom, being Travis' helper, the last night of filming and making inane references to Mr. Show and Tim and Eric with Seth. Stuffing dummies was no slouch, either, but that doesn’t compare with the Bag Hutch® (right, Seth?). Throughout my involvement (but especially on the last night, Seth and I were like a two-man-grip-army), it felt like I was making a difference. Don’t get me wrong, I make 'differences' all the time, but this one felt like it had value. I was happy to help, happy to meet all the wonderful people that I did, and happy to have my work appreciated. Granting I'm still alive, and still within a reasonable geographic proximity, John and Adam, you have a dedicated grip. Thanks for letting me be a part of the magic...
Friday, July 22, 2011
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
We really have to take the time to thank you for your continued support. We're constantly thinking of everyone who has given us positive feedback thus far. We know that many of you want to see this film, and believe us, nothing would make us happier than showing you the finished product. In time this will happen. You are the coal in the belly of this beastly engine. We will not let you down.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
We reached out to our crew, letting them know that we want to hear their voice, their side of production. For this first time around, we have Lance Ford. Adam and I have known Lance for a few years now, as we met him at (where all the cool people in Oshkosh meet) House of Heroes Comics and Games. Lance has always been super supportive of what we have done, and has shown nothing but the utmost most enthusiasm when it came to Dead Weight. Lance was one of the few crew members we had every single day, from start to finish. Hell, he took his first week long vacation from work in 23 years. To his wonderful wife, Monica, thanks for allowing him to spend that vacation with us. The next vacation will be spent with you, we insist. As if that isn't a testament to Lance's dedication, everyday he was officially the first one to arrive and the last to leave. Lance worked his ass off, and made all of us incredibly proud to have him on board.
I've rambled enough. It's time to turn the spotlight on Lance. So, please, take it away:
|Lance slating the first shot of Dead Weight.|
The stories that you hear about cast and crew members who have worked with the same people for years and how they become like a family isn't only true about people who have worked together for years, it's true when you've also only worked with some people for a week. It seemed as if I'd known everyone I met on the set forever. And when filming was done, I missed them. Thank God for Facebook. I met so many fascinating actors and crew members, and I wouldn't change that for anything. Everyone who acted in the film, even those who had never acted before, were unbelievable. I lost count of the number of times while standing there watching, that I got goosebumps or a tear let loose from the corner of my eye at how excellent a job they were doing. And excellent doesn't even begin to describe their performances. I was totally blown away by the range of emotions brought forth during the films intense sequences.
|Lance in said snowstorm.|
For me the week flew by, despite the long hours or disasterous weather, because something was happening every minute of every day. One of the most hilarious moments occurred off camera at Ryf's house when Dan Kiggins did his "tuck", and Sam opened the door and there was Dan standing there looking all innocent. Sam kept right in character and didn't mess up the take. I'm surprised I didn't start laughing out loud and ruin the scene. Good Times.
It was really great getting to know everyone on set. I know there were a few people I really didn't get a chance to talk to much, but those I did get to know a bit, I would be proud to call my friend.
And now, I would like to take this opportunity to thank John and Adam for allowing me to be a part of this endeavor. It was truly an honor and a privilege to get to know both of you a little better and to help you fulfill your dream. Thank You.
One last thing from John: You can pick up Lance's first novel, Ace Kincaid: In Search of Heroes at House of Heroes Comics and Games, 407 N. Main St., Downtown Oshkosh.
Thursday, June 9, 2011
I debated whether or not to share this story. Not because I am embarrassed, or anything like that. I just wasn't sure if people would want to hear such a story. But, then I thought, hey people like to hear all the weird behind-the-scenes stories… so why not? Things are gonna get a little "risque" here, consider yourselves warned.
Day two of production started with us in a house, filming a little kitchen scene. This was a quite welcomed change from the insane winds we faced on day one. We spent a couple hours in the house, and had everything from moments of panic, to arguing, physical confrontation, and even projectile vomiting… and that doesn't even include what we actually filmed. Or does it?
Once we left the comforts of the house in the city, we ventured back to the outskirts of town, to film the exterior shots of the house. As we finished our shots at this location, Cari pulled up with lunch/dinner, the infamous Wrap Car, as did three additional cast members; Matty Field, Jake Martin, and Mark Muetzel. It was time to step into the woods and film ourselves a scene around a campfire.
Nothing too bizarre yet. Just you wait, I gotta set it up first.
As we drive onto (producer/script supervisor/location manager/script editor/actor) Lee Marohn's step-dad's land, Travis (our DP) and I get the lighting/camera truck stuck in the mud. Tensions were high at the moment, but with the help of the crew, we got it out no problem. We carry all the gear a couple hundred feet into the woods, and start setting up for the scene. This was our first night shoot, and we had about eleven pages of dialog to cover. We knew it was going to be a LONG night.
For the campfire itself, well, it became everyone's arch nemesis. It didn't seem to matter where you were positioned, the smoke went straight into your eyes. The cast had to sit around that fire, smoke in the eyes, for a good three straight hours. In between every take, the cast shielded their eyes with their hands, hoping to find a few moments of comfort. Needless to say, once we wrapped the scene (around 12:30am), everyone was happy to get the hell out of there.
I know, I know, still not that bizarre. Well, hold onto yo' butts, here we go.
All the gear was packed up, the cast was sent home and we were just getting ready to leave the location. And finally, that damn fire was extinguished. Now, it was dark as hell out there; no fire, no lights, just darkness. It was fairly dry in the woods, so we wanted to make damn sure the fire was completely out. All the water we had was dumped on the fire, and I don't recall exactly who it was, but someone piped up and said, "Anyone have to pee? If someone pees on the coals, that should do it." I did a little piss check. Yep, I should be able to squeeze something out.
So, there I stood, in a circle around the remaining campfire with Adam, (producers) Lee and Dan, and (crew members) Seth, Lance, and Cole. There might have been someone else, I can't remember. A few of the guys had flashlights, some were pointed on the coals, and a one or two were pointed at me, right on the crotch. Well, time was wasting, we all wanted to leave, so…
I was pissing on a fire, standing around with at least six sets of eyes, and flashlights, all on me. All male eyes, mind you. People were pointing out coals that were still hot, it was almost as if they all were my support, encouraging me on.
Now, I'm sure all of you are wondering, "Did you successfully put out all the coals, John?" You better believe I did. But, I can't say I've ever had a bunch of dudes stare at me when I was pissing, let alone with flashlights lighting up the scene. This is a great example of the strong bonding that happened on set. That, and I guess you could say that some people have shame. Sigh… I don't.
God, I miss filming...
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
It's been hot like this for the past few days now. Hell, maybe even over a week. When it's this hot (and without air conditioning), it's a constant state of discomfort. I don't sleep too much, my appetite is gone so I'm not eating, and I feel like stress levels are high. Hey, wait a minute. This sounds exactly like the week of production: High stress levels, little-to-no sleep, not eating… such fond memories.
Looking back, I wonder how my body ever made it through production. Over the course of our seven day shoot, the most sleep I got in a night was just over three hours. On top of that, I ate a whopping four, count 'em, FOUR, meals. Let's say you're one of those "normal" people who eat three meals a day, and you want to know how many meals you would eat in a week. Well, it's easy. You take three (meals a day), multiply it by seven (days), and your answer is twenty-one. Any "normal" person would have ate twenty-one meals that week. Me, I ate four. Now, don't be fooled. Don't get the impression that there wasn't any food to eat. We made sure to have plenty of food (on and off the set), but when I get in work mode, I just go.
Then there's the whole water thing. So, I am somewhat addicted to water. I drink an absurd amount of water. No joke, I easily drink hundreds of ounces a day. I always have my canteen on me, gotta have my water by my side. But, during production, well, that was another story. Just how I didn't feel the need to eat, I never really felt thirsty. Aside from that, my brain went: water = having to piss. Having to piss = taking time away from filming. Taking time away from filming = no good. This is silly. I mean, how long does it actually take to piss? if having to piss would really take time away from filming, how much time are we talking about? Exactly. Silly. But, like I said, when I get in work mode… There was actually one day, I can't remember exactly which one, but there was one day I got up in the morning and peed, and then didn't pee again until I went to bed… 21 hours later. That was the day I did not drink anything. Let me tell you, when I peed right before I went to bed, my pee wasn't clear. It wasn't yellow. It was a light brown. Yeah, never had that happen before.
Okay, I don't tell you all this to make me sound all bad ass and shit (if you know me, you know I am not all bad ass and shit). I don't tell you this, hoping I will get some sympathy (I did it all to myself, don't feel bad for me). I don't even tell you this to make the shoot sound crazier than it was. I tell you all of this for one reason, to show that while making a film truly terrific, it's also really damn hard. It's ugly. It's trying. It's challenging. It's painful. There's been extremely positive talk about the experience of making Dead Weight, and, without a doubt, it's all true. However, there's always two sides to a story. It's hard to appreciate the good without the bad, right?
It's rough making an independent film, and Dead Weight has been no exception. Think about it this way, when making an independent, DIY film, EVERYTHING is against you. If my memory serves me correctly, on day three, the beautifully amazing Michelle Courvais (who plays Meredith) said filmmaking is nothing but problem solving. This is so true it hurts. With this problem solving comes stress, and anger, and frustration, and depression, and… pretty much every other negative emotion one can think of. Sure, once all is said and done you forget the ugliness, focusing and embracing on the positive aspects of your experience. But this doesn't make it easy.
So, what makes it easy? What makes it possible to push your body through such hell to make a film? The night before production began, Adam was just getting read to leave my place, and I told him there was the first production video blog for The Hobbit, and we had to watch it. Let it be known, Adam is quite the Lord of the Rings nerd, and I am also a big fan, but I am Peter Jackson nerd. As we watched the ten minute video, we began nerding out, but also released we were getting ready to embark on a similar journey. Okay, maybe not a similar journey, but a film making journey nonetheless. As the video came to an end, Peter addressed the cast and crew moments before the cameras rolled for the first time on The Hobbit, and this is what he said: Films are stressful, and they're hard to make, but ultimately what makes them fun is the people you work with. And that, my friends, is the truth.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Oh, yeah… post-production. Even though we have a few days left to shoot (which were scheduled for May but now have been pushed back to June), I have been in an editing frenzy, especially the past couple of days.
For those that know me, it's no secret: I love movies. Yeah, I know saying you "love" something is cliche and can even be generic as hell to say. But it's true. I became infected with the movie bug at a very early age in life. On top of loving movies, I love the process of making a movie. One of the culprits for this love of film making is most certainly the terrific (and gone but not forgotten) TV show called Movie Magic. As a young lad, I ate this shit up. Seeing that I grew up on a heavy dosage of horror, sci-fi and action flicks, Movie Magic just furthered me asking the question, "How'd they do it?"
I never had much of a desire to be in front of the camera, I always wanted to be involved in the process. Wait, that's not entirely true. Even to this day, I am more than willing to be a body in some huge gore scene. Ah… a boy can dream, right? Wow, what the hell am I going on about?! Jeez, put a keyboard in front of me and I will just type and type and type…
Okay, I am going to get to the point. As I already stated, ever so generically, I love movies. I love making movies. I really enjoy every step of the process, however, post-production (editing in particular) holds a special place in my heart. Which is kinda of funny to me, seeing that editing is very similar to putting together a puzzle. I don't really like putting together puzzles. As the kids say, WTFuck?
I started editing about three days after we finished principle production, but haven't really devoted all my time to it until now. In the last 36 hours, I have spent over 24 hours editing. That's a lot of time spent with these characters in this little post-apocalyptic world that Adam and I have had in our heads for almost two years now. Which is why I am so drawn to editing: you finally get to see the film. Yes, it was an absolute trip (really, did I just say "trip"?) to have our first cast reading, see everyone in wardrobe for the first time, get on location, and actually create this film, but in editing you finally see it all come together.
There's a lot of (insanely awesome) people (who I am forever grateful for) that can back me up on this: the week of filming was rough. Don't get me wrong, though, it was easily the best week of my life and I wouldn't want to change a single moment of it, but it was an absolute test of human will. Need proof? Look at this photo of Adam. The way he looks in that photo is how we both felt for seven days straight. On top of not getting more than three hours of sleep each night, we faced pretty much every miserable filming condition possible in the first four days. We had to rework/rewrite scenes on the spot (courtesy of a wonderful mid-April blizzard), find new locations last minute and deal with all sorts of other stress. In what should have been a complete and utter disaster, turned out to strengthen the film because of the cast and crew. They might not be totally aware of this, but they are the reason Adam and I didn't lose it. With the conditions we were filming in, it would have been expected for every single person on the cast and crew to complain, get pissed, and quite frankly, give up. Hell, people took a week vacation from work (for one person it was the first in 23 years) to be a part of Dead Weight. It's not like anyone was getting paid, there really was no reason for everyone to power through it all. Except for the fact that they wanted to. The wanted to be with this project till the end and because of this fact, Dead Weight is NOT Adam and I's film. It is the film of every single person you will see listed in the credits.
Ah, again, with the tangents! I actually was on path to where I wanted to go, but it was just taking a bit to get there. I'm not trying to take away from everyone who worked on Dead Weight (don't you worry, you will be getting your own blog entry) but this entry is suppose to be about editing.
Talking about production does in fact deal with editing. As mentioned (and will be time and time again), it was one stressful week. When it comes time to editing, all that stress is gone, now I can solely focus on the footage and performances. And holy shit, has it been amazing. There's nothing like putting together a scene and realizing that every single aspect came together and the end product is better than you could have even imagined. This has happened so many times, and the reason for that is because of the people we have in front of the camera. I know most of you reading this know very little about this project (since Adam and I like to work in secrecy), but you will find out that this is one emotional film. Every actor was pushed to the limit, and then some. I'm not just saying that either, trying to be the guy who's all, "Oh, our film is so crazy, etc etc etc". From day one, Adam and I knew we wanted to make this film be about the characters and nothing else. If you go into this expecting to see a gore flick, tons of action, and not to mention zombies, you are going to be severely disappointed.
Again, getting off topic! My mind is going everywhere tonight. Okay, let's wrap this up. If you read this whole thing you know I said a lot, but not so much about editing. Here's the abridged version of what I wanted to get at: tons and tons of editing, so many awesome shots (thanks to Travis), so many amazing performances (thanks to the cast), so much excitement and we cannot wait to show you all this film.
Is it October yet?
Friday, April 29, 2011
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Here's how everything will work: We have 4-5 more days of filming left, all will be weekend shoots in May. The majority of them will take place in various Oshkosh locations, with also making a stop in Appleton. The winners will be informed of the locations and times, and it is their personal responsibility to make it happen.
Sadly, we cannot shoot around anyone's schedule and cannot cover transportation. Once the times, dates, and locations are set, they are set. In the event that any winner will not be able to attend the shoot (for whatever reason), we will redraw and announce a new winner.
Let's get onto it, whatta say? All winners will also be contacted directly. The six winners of the Dead Weight Extras contest are:
- ► 2012 (31)
- ▼ November (7)
- ► July (5)