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.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Talk about surreal. As mentioned in an earlier post, Adam photographed an alley in Downtown Neenah and sent it to me. This alley acted as a catalyst of sorts, sparking the origin of Dead Weight. In a way, we wrote the story around this alley. When the script was completed, we knew we had to get clearance to not only use this alley, but to (hopefully) shut down some of the surrounding area. Okay, sounds like a good idea, right? Yeah. But wait, how the hell do we go about doing so?

I sent out a very brief email to the city of Neenah, explaining what we wanted to talk with them about (using the alley and closing off some of the area) and nervously awaited a response. To be honest, I think it's safe to say both Adam and I figured this was a far-fetched idea, but figured it was worth trying. Within 12 hours I got a response from a gentlemen named Chris, who is involved in Community Development. He said this sounded like something we could work out and wanted to meet with us. The time and date were set, and next thing you know, Adam and I are sitting in a conference room in Neenah's City Hall meeting with Chris.

On a quick little side note, there was this AWESOME conference call phone that I really wanted to use... maybe someday.

Anyway, the meeting went over really well and Chris thought this idea would work. Keep in mind we did put a little pressure on him, considering he asked why that alley and we told him that we basically wrote the script around that alley. He asked for some additional info, and said we would have to meet with a few more people. A couple weeks later, I head to Neenah to meet with Chris, and now two other officials, Gerry and Justin. Again, we discuss the idea further, bounce ideas off each other, and make a few adjustments to the original plan. As the meeting is coming to an end, they say everything looks good... now it just has to be passed by the Public Services and Safety Committee, and then the Common Council.


On Tuesday, March 29, Adam and I went back to Neenah to sit in on the Public Services and Safety Committee meeting. Wanna know what was intimidating? This! We sat in a conference room, with about 8 city officials sitting around the table, while Adam and I (along with others) sat along the wall. Then they call to order the topic of Dead Weight filming in Downtown Neenah. As Adam began to sweat, I started to feel like I was about to puke. Imagine sitting in a room, where everyone is completely serious and formal in their discussions, and they are talking about you but you cannot respond unless addressed. They look over the proposed filming area, talk back and forth, ask a few questions and then one official called to vote on the subject. Oh no, make or break time. The topic was passed unanimously. Adam and I are told the topic will now be voted on by Common Council the following week and that we should be present for that meeting as well. We thank the committee, grab our things and walk out of the room. Leaving City Hall, we are both in disbelief of what just happened. Here we are, two guys with this idea a year and a half ago, and now our film is a topic being voted upon by a official committee. As Adam's dad is known for saying, un-fucking-real.

Alright, time for the final step. The Common Council meeting was held on Wednesday, April 6, and this meeting is now in a much bigger room, and there are many more officials, something like 12 altermans and the Mayor of Neenah. This is the real deal now. As Adam approached the microphone to thank the Council and answer a few questions, I couldn't help but get lost in the reality of the situation. Here we are, going in front of the city of Neenah, asking for permission to close off some of downtown so we can film. How did this even happen? Once again, everything went over terrifically and there we were, leaving City Hall after just being given the go ahead. I said it once before, and I will say it again, un-fucking-real.

Three days later, I receive the following certificate in the mail:

Exactly how all this happened is beyond us. However, let me just say that working with the city of Neenah on this idea has been nothing less than amazing, and we greatly appreciate their understanding, support, and permission. With that said, a huge thank you goes to Chris for being on our side from the start and making everything happen. Much thanks to Gerry, Justin and everyone else, as well.

No comments:

Post a Comment