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.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Don't be deceived by the lack of activity on the blog, friends. That's all about to change. Part of the reason things have been quiet on our end is that we've been working like mad to finish up the film. Believe it or not (I know we can't), but the end is not only near, but in sight!

In fact, just last Friday (Nov. 4), we sent the film out for color correction. A few people have asked me just what that means; color correction. Well, quite frankly, it means just as it sounds. It's the process of getting all the scenes to look similar throughout the entire film. For example, our main cast of survivors wear the same clothes for the duration of their journey, and different lighting can make Dustin's grey jacket look a little more blue, or lighter, or darker. Color correction provides a consistency from scene to scene.

We are also using color correction as a strong, visual device in the film. Well, more so than usual. Some know this, some don't, so I am going to "spill the beans" now. There are two timelines in Dead Weight. We call these the present and flashback timelines. The present timeline is the post-outbreak time period, when the world has moved on. The flashbacks show the relationship of our two main characters, Charlie and Samantha, before the outbreak. Adam and I discussed early on that these two timelines needed to look completely different from each other. To achieve that, we did two things. First, we set a color palette for both. All wardrobe in the present timeline consisted of dull, earthy colors: greys, browns, darker greens and blues, etc. In the flashbacks, our characters wear brighter, livelier colors: reds, oranges, yellows, light greens, etc. As you'll see in the raw footage (the trailer contains NON-corrected shots), this worked successfully. However, there are aspects we can't fully control, and we wanted to push the feel even more so… enter color correction. The images in this entry contain a pairing of the same frame twice. The first is the original, raw colors, with the second being the graded frame from our DP, Travis, worked on to give our color correction guy a starting point. Hey, speaking of this magical color correction guy, who the hell is he?

It's my pleasure to introduce the most recent addition to the Dead Weight family, Mr. Derrick Carey. 

Derrick's another super talented cinephile from the Fox Valley, and when the thought of bringing someone on board for color correction, Derrick was the first person I thought of. Derrick's had a great year for film thus far in 2011. Just this summer, the documentary Derrick edited, Screaming In High Heels: The Rise and Fall of the Scream Queen Era, written and directed by Jason Paul Collum (another cinephile from Wisconsin), premiered at Flashback Weekend. Screaming showcases the career ups and downs of three fantastic (yet typically screaming and scantily clad) ladies; Michelle Bauer, Linnea Quigley and Brinke Stevens. If anyone picked up the badass Slumber Party Massacre box set that came out last year, Derrick also edited the documentary on there (another one Collum wrote/directed), Sleepless Nights. Also this year, right before Derrick started working on Dead Weight, his most recent endeavor was Oshkosh's very own Swamphead (released through his Rabid Child Films), one Derrick edited and produced. We premiered this one at the Oshkosh Horror Film Festival, and the packed house went nuts over it. If you like your horror to be dirty, sleazy, vulgar, and bloody, Swamphead is up your alley. Think early Hershel Gordon Lewis mixed with 80's Troma. 

Derrick's stepping right out of the swamp and into the cold, vast world of Dead Weight, and we couldn't be any happier to have him on board. Just yesterday I saw the corrected opening scene, and just when I thought the image couldn't look any prettier, Derrick proved me wrong. 

Oh, and I should point this out, too. The title of this entry, Needs More Beautiful Color!, is a little nod to my painting professor from college, Li Hu. Li was not only one of the kindest and most talented people I have ever gotten to know, he had one of the best taglines ever. "It's pretty good… but I think it needs more beautiful color!" Ask any of his students, he always said that. But, you know what? He was always right. So, Li, don't worry, we are giving the film more beautiful color! I promise. 

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