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.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


There is one crucial aspect of a film that can make or break a viewing experience for me. Music. I’m sure you’ve been in the position where you’re taken entirely out of a scene because of some piss poor choice in music. I know it happens to me more than I care to think about. This is something we’ve been absolutely conscious of throughout the entire film, and one big reason we can’t wait to finish everything up. We know the music is going to play a huge roll in driving home the intensity and emotion that we wrote and the actors delivered. It’s going to round out the story and put that nice shine on the smooth parts, and dirt on the gritty parts.

We knew at once that Dead Weight would be a film that required a score, not unrelated licensed songs. Although there will be a couple scenes that feature songs by bands you may or may not know, the film really needs a dedicated, composed soundtrack to achieve the feel we are looking for. Throughout pre-production we reached out to a few different people I’ve met throughout my years working in music that may be able to contribute something, or score the film entirely. With one of them we were actually making some progress, but discussions sort of fell apart and it was obvious it wasn’t going to work out in the end. Right around that same period I received an email from Milwaukee musician Nick Elert.

Nick is someone I’ve come to know well after seeing his band, Northless, play a few shows and by eventually releasing one of their albums on my record label. Northless is a heavy band. Actually, heavy doesn’t even do them justice. Northless are the heaviest band I have ever seen, heard, or been sonically assaulted by. I’ve seen them play alongside some incredible bands, and they always steal the show. Nick plays guitar in Northless, and the scowl on his face while they execute the most intense misanthropic sludge metal I’ve ever heard, that scowl is something to behold. I knew Nick was a great guy and a great musician, but a great composer of soundtrack material? Well, it was worth a shot.

Little did I know that in addition to performing pummeling riffage, Nick focused on a lot of ambient & soundscape music. So, it turns out Nick is indeed a great composer… fantastic, even. But beyond the fact that he knows how to put together great sounds, he also truly grasps the themes and ideas of our film. He understands that the music needs to compliment those themes, cue the viewer and work side by side with the visuals to deliver the story. This is something neither John nor myself really understood how to explain, but Nick picked up on immediately. And that is key. Nick connects with us, sees the story the same way we do, and knows exactly how to tell that story with us. That’s what makes us endlessly happy to be working alongside him. We’ve really given Nick free reign to run with the soundtrack, because we trust him completely. There have been VERY few soundtrack demos that John and I have had to send back to Nick for changes once we all settled on the film’s musical aesthetic. He has been hitting the nail on the head scene after scene. When we can even hear a single demo for a scene and respond with an email where we tell him it’s “fucking perfect,” then we know we’ve found the guy for the job.

On top of all that music talent, Nick is also a nerd, and that’s a very important part of being involved in Dead Weight. So many of us are so dorky, especially John and I, so if you’re going to work that intimately with us, you need to be able to connect and communicate using our language, which Nick does. It’s pretty much safe to say we love him, and there’s very few people that could work with us on this level. We can’t wait for you to hear what he’s come up with. We couldn’t be happier to have Nick along for this storytelling adventure.

Nick has most recently begun work on the song for the end credits of the film. Which is something that John and I have been struggling with the idea of for months… perhaps a year? Nick sent us an email yesterday in which he tells us “it will be crushing,” and we know to have no worries, Nick will deliver.

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