Posted by Tim Posada On 7:28 PM
We're back with another original video. This one's called 702. The premise is a zombie horror-comedy mockumentary that questions the nature of objectivity and journalistic involvement in a post-apocalyptic setting where the end of the world makes critical analysis through say film a rather fleeting endeavor. I've always wanted to make two films, a documentary about the house I live in and a zombie movie. I never thought that I would just merge to two ideas together and go from there.
Here's how it all came together. I proposed an idea to a three other classmates and then we started writing. We went through several drafts before filming. Here's a link to the first draft I created, and here's a link to the second draft Saralyn created based on our brainstorming. And even during shooting, the process was very organic. My roommates just sat in front of the camera and talked. I also had a bad spill out of my attic, fracturing my ankle-caught on video and in the film. After that happened, we had to rewrite some parts and pass off my lines to other people who could still walk. It was difficult to keep a 12-person crew focused and quiet during shooting. We also had trouble finding a day that worked for everyone. Luckily, my two roommates who had to get to work decided to call in and say they couldn't make it.
The editing process was pretty enjoyable as well. Unlike the video essay, where I tried great a very tightly edited package, there weren't as many cuts here and that made things dramatically easier. Since I was stuck on a couch for several days after the great fall, I started editing earlier. I approached it by thinking about a mix of documentary styles and viral videos, thus the final product was a mix between a heartfelt exploration of place and something more akin to Cloverfield or Quarantine. We had some challenges with footage since we ran out of time to do reshoots and some shots didn't fully show everything going on (people running, fake blood, etc.) but the final product was very raw and looked great to me. I also found another challenge in choosing music. I didn't want to use any music that I couldn't get copyrights for, thus the music in the film was either created by me (three songs), a bluegrass song made by my friend, another acoustic song made my another friend, and, during the credits, a rock song performed by Nick Maldonado's band Destroy the Runner, the fine gentleman who got someone to cover his shift and drove up from San Diego to play the lead zombie in the film.
We went into the project to create a piece that questions the nature the documentary and, really, the point of higher education when people are dying. However, the final project did so much more as the interviews revealed some fascinating things about representation. Horror-comedies often critique their own form and we do that here too. We have some cliche moments: Elliott saying "I'll be back" and then getting killed first; the final showdown where several people die; the angry locals at an outsider who caused the problem in the first place; and the issue of representation. As in most horror, women usually remain in subordinate roles, either by dying first or relying on male leads to protect them. Here, we stay with that by having two girlfriends/fiances already dead prior to the incident with significant others with nonchalant responses to their permanent absences. Further, the death of the female documentarian solidified this view. This gender issue was not intentional prior to filming. One story about Bryan having to mercy-kill his fiance was actually rooted in a real dream he had but the story Roy tells was just something that he jokingly said (with his actual girlfriend in the other room) during filming. Even though no as visible in the film, we also had two female zombies (no intentional but more based on who could show up for the day). The other unintentional representation came after my injury. Anyone in a wheelchair or with a crutch dies first in these films and, well, I needed to because my actual ankle was the size of a softball and I couldn't run to the care, thus I died early in the final showdown so I wouldn't cause the swelling to grow.
I'm very proud of the final project and it's given me new energy to start doing more writing and filming like this. Welp, with that said, hope you enjoy the movie and be sure to pay attention to the credits, there's a few easter eggs in them.