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.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Once again, we take some time to put the spotlight on an incredibly dedicated individual, who was with us most of production, Cole Garrow. I have known Cole since high school, but this was the first time we ever worked on a project together. Cole was essential to have on set, he worked hard whenever you needed him to, and was able to make others laugh with his odd comments and jokes. When you are facing stress like we had during production, being able to laugh and smile is key.

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...

-Cole Garrow

Cole takes Joe's "crazy" lunch order.

Friday, July 22, 2011


Early on in the writing process John and I came to an agreement on something. We needed to put an immense amount of effort into ensuring our women characters were not weak, overly-emotional and stereotypical. A weak woman character is one of the things that will break a story for me, whether its in comics, film or literature. Across the spectrum I can pull numerous examples off the top of my head, stories that I feel are made weaker by the lack of power on the female front.

Alan Moore is, without a doubt, one of my favorite writers. His imagination and firm grip on the English language are so enthralling to me. I love it. When someone told me how he thought he was a magician, for real, I thought he was nuts. Well, I wasn't far off, he is a bit out there, but when I watched an interview where he explained his stance on what he considers "magic" and how the worlds he creates are his spells and his creations (that's how I understood it anyhow), it made a lot of sense, and the romantic writer somewhere deep inside me began to greatly respect that idea.

But when it comes down to it, there are some fundamental problems I find with his writing. Swamp Thing, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and especially Watchmen. All books I absolutely LOVE, that have a great amount of imagination and incredible writing. I'm getting all fuzzy just thinking about it! But one place they fall short is in their awful, terrible, weak, emotional wreck female characters. I think Watchmen suffers the most, which breaks my heart. Even if a female character does have any sort of power, they are entirely dependent on a male character emotionally or otherwise. Don't try and tell me about Promethea, either. I've read two trades and I fail to see any great strides in actual feminine strength.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


DEAD WEIGHT - open casting call for extras.
Head Trauma Productions and Gilead Media are now openly casting for extras in their feature length presentation Dead Weight. The specifics for the filming and roles available are as follows:

- Filming will be taking place from August 1st, 2011 to August 3rd, 2011 between the hours of 10:00am and 10:00pm each day (with a potential of running later). You are not required to work the entire twelve hour day. but there are specifics "shifts" and periods for which we will need completely committed individuals for the roles.

- You must be age 18+. We are looking for a wide range of ages here, particularly for those age 30+.

- The majority of these scenes will be filmed in Oshkosh, but there will be one filmed in Grand Chute.

- Anyone selected for a role is responsible for their own transportation & transportation expenses.

- Food will be available free of charge to all those selected to fill a role.

- There is no pay for these positions.

- You are required to sign a waiver giving Head Trauma Productions the right to use your performance in any way they see fit without additional compensation.

- Some scenes will call for casual clothing, some for more formal clothing. Only apply if you're capable of appearing in either.

- Your name will not appear in the credits of the film.

-  *CRITICAL* Any individual selected for an extra role must be committed to the date and time for which they are cast. Although you are not being paid, we do ask that you consider this a job. We are relying on those we cast to fill a position and we cannot have anyone canceling on us. This also means that you are NOT allowed to bring friends, children, parents, extended family members, pets, neighbors, your mail man or anyone else that is not personally selected by Head Trauma Productions to fill a role.

If you're interested in applying for the role of an extra please email the following information to info@carryingdeadweight.com. Make the subject of this email "DEAD WEIGHT EXTRAS." Do not send any attachments or photos, just answer these questions in the body of an email.

Phone number
Email address
Type of transportation you have
Dates available (From Aug 1 to Aug 3)
Times available (From 10:00am to 10:00pm. Please also note if you're available later)

All submissions must be received by Noon on Monday, July 25th, 2011. We will respond to every request by Tuesday, July 26th, 2011 at 6:00pm.

Thank you! We look forward to hearing from everyone interested in a role!
- Adam Bartlett & John Pata
Co-producers. Co-directors.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Throughout the majority of our blog posts we've elaborated on the multitude of lessons we learned during filming. Chiefly among them was this: nothing goes according to plan. No doubt you've read about the things that taught us these hard lessons, so we will spare you the recap.

John and I began this project with an absurdly ambitious agenda, and a near-impossible schedule in mind. We knew it would be rough, but we also knew that when we want something, we make it happen. There's been many things we've worked on together, a lot of things that required an absurd amount of hard work, and we've always been able to pull through in one capacity or another. We've always overcome the challenges and achieved our goals, whether it be deadlines or other miscellany objectives. That's one reason it took us so long to make an official announcement on the status of Dead Weight. There is one basic fact that we have finally come to terms with after hours of frustrating discussion.

Dead Weight will not be released in 2011.

That is actually the first time I've had to write those words. Sure, I've explained the situation to a lot of people, but seeing the written word on the screen feels so definitive, so permanent.

As we've said, there are many people giving up a lot to help us with this production, and there are a great deal of people with busy schedules that we need to find a way to work around. We are very much at the mercy of their personal and professional lives. We are not bitter about this fact, we're very sympathetic actually. We have a lot we need to work around, too. Does that make it less frustrating? No. Patience is (regretfully) not a virtue John or myself possess in any great capacity.

The good news: as I write this we have three days blocked out in August. We've scheduled this period of time and we're preparing to begin setting up locations so we can bang out the final shots of the film. As you'll soon learn, Dead Weight is really two stories that are related and intertwined. One was completed in April, the second will be completed over these three days in August. The already-completed portion makes up the vast majority of the film, while this second portion really works in support of that. This means we really only have about 25% of the film left to shoot, and it won't be in the middle of fields in the snow, so that's cool.

There are many things that have come up in support our decision to push back the film, things that will ultimately result in a much stronger production overall. In addition to that, there are key  opportunities we will now be able to take advantage of that were not a possibility before.

That's the long and short of it. A bummer we have to wait longer to unleash this monstrous project? Absolutely. Will it be for the better? Without a god damn doubt.

Right now we're looking at early 2012, and that's really all we're comfortable saying. There are too many new variables to get anymore specific. But you can bet that we're just as excited as we were three months ago.

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


Being a crew member isn't the most glamorous job on a film. Typically, you are the first to arrive on set, and the last to leave. You get stuck with the shit jobs, have more down time than anyone else, and (let's face it) overlooked due to the cast. Without a doubt, the crew is equally important as your cast. They make everything happen. So, it's time to put the spotlight on the crew.

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.
Before the week of filming Dead Weight, I'd tell my family and friends that I was going to be helping behind-the-scenes on the set of a movie that was being made by two friends in Oshkosh. They'd ask what it was about, and after explaining what it was and that it was being filmed in and around Oshkosh, they'd be - "Wow, that's cool". And the whole experience for me, since I like movies so much, and enjoy seeing the behind-the-scenes/making-of features and interviews with the actors which so many DVD's have - it was a perfect fit. I was so excited to be helping out and since it was my first week-long vacation in over 20 years, I'm glad it turned out to be a memorable one. I was totally pumped up for days prior to filming, even though I had no idea what tasks I would be assigned. I guess that sort of added to my excitement a bit. And since I really didn't know that much about the script, it was really cool to see it unfold chronologically right before my eyes as it was filmed. That aspect, by itself, was indeed a royal treat. Although, I did miss the last day of shooting in Neenah, due to a leg injury. I was really bummed about that, just ask John. I even told him I felt like I was letting them down, and being the great guy that he is, he reassured me that that that was not the case. Which brings us to something which John said on that last day - he said that it wasn't just his and Adam's film, it was Our film, as well (maybe its a good thing that I wasn't there, because that would have brought tears to my eyes). I guess I never really thought about it that way before hearing it put that way, because it had been written by John and Adam and it was their commitment, perseverance, overall drive and undying dedication to making Dead Weight that made it all happen. And because of their devotion, it enabled us to be a part of such a terrific undertaking. An extremely huge round of applause to both of them.

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.
From Day One, everyone I met was so down-to-earth and fun-loving. Professionalism reigned when it was called for, but jokes and laughter were present all day, every day. Yes, even on the day of the snowstorm, laughter became a weapon to ward off the blues. I have delivered to Ripon many times since and every time I drive by the BP gas station in Pickett memories flood over me and it makes me smile. I thoroughly enjoyed every second of the 80+ hours that I was on set that week. It was so difficult going back to work, as I'm sure it was for alot of us on the set. The first day back to work, I was standing there running my press and as I looked around, I wondered "Why am I here? I want to be back on the set making another movie." Every aspect of being there was awesome, from driving Dan Kiggins to and from locations, to chauferring A.C and Michelle to their romantic get-away at the Americinn for their anniversary (courtesy of the cast), right on up to getting to chat with cast and crew members during down-time, to getting to yell "QUIET ON THE SET!!" right after John called "ACTION!!" That was truly AWESOME!!! Working a little bit with Travis as he was getting the light set up was also pretty darn cool. Like I said - every aspect of this entire experience is truly something that I will carry in my memory from now until the end of time. Years from now, I know that I will talk about it with the same enthusiasm.

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.

-Lance Ford

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.