Friday, July 23, 2010

The Night Shift: Ghosts sightings, trailer madness

The Night Shift is the on-set diary of Fighting Owl Film's new independent supernatural-adventure-comedy of the same name currently in pre-production in Mobile, AL. Over the course of the next several weeks and months, you'll get an insider's peek at what it's like for filmmakers to craft a new entry of paranormal pop culture from Erin Lilley, a producer and actress on the film.

Ghost sightings and Trailer madness 

"Seen any ghosts?"

That's probably my number one most-asked question. Considering we shot The Night Shift in two cemeteries, at night, over the course of two months, it's also a completely understandable question. Of course, we're not ghost hunters. We didn't have K2 meters or night vision goggles, or any of that other high-tech, fancy equipment Jason and Grant have at their disposal. We just had our eyes and ears, so anything out of the ordinary could only be chalked up to personal experience, and nothing scientific or definite.

So, did we see any ghosts?

Well...maybe. There were some oddities, that's for sure. One night we were setting up lights, and one rig was set a tad too close to a headstone. Just as I started to tell the crew member who had placed the rig that maybe he should move it - just to make sure we didn't get in any trouble with the cemetery - all of our lights went out. All of them.

The crew member moved the rig, and everything came right back on. Now, it's possible a circuit was tripped, or maybe a wire was loose somewhere, but it was awfully coincidental, and it didn't happen anymore after that instance. There were also times I was sure I'd seen an actor standing in the cemetery - once, so positive I'd actually started to walk over to them - only to be distracted for a second, then turn around and find that area empty, and the actor in question on the other side of the cemetery. That will make you think you're well on the road to crazy. 

No one ever mentioned anything during filming, but I thought I'd ask around and see if anyone had any stories to share.  I was a little surprised, to be honest, when a couple popped up.

Here's a story from Production Assistant Genna Hebert:

Late at night during shooting, all the extras had left for home, and it was just the core group there and the caretaker. All the lights were focused on the next scene being shot and I happened to look behind me for something. I saw a figure in the distance, a bulky male figure just standing in the back of the next plot of headstones - just standing there, arms loose at his sides. I thought at first it might have been the caretaker, since the rest of the people there were all next to me, but I looked further down the road between the plots and there was the last member of our human group. I looked back where I saw the figure and it was gone. Out of all the nights in the cemeteries, that is the only time I ever saw anything, but never once did I feel spooked or unwelcome.

From Director Thomas Smith:

After filming in a cemetery for several weeks, you start to forget you're actually in a cemetery and get used to your surroundings, even at night. On the last night of filming in our main cemetery location, I was pretty well adjusted to being there at night - not terribly creepy or scary. I've kept my eyes open the whole time we've been in the cemetery for anything ... unusual. The whole time we were filming, I never saw anything that fit into the criteria, possibly because I was so darn busy and concentrating on other pressing matters.

Until the final night of shooting.

Around 11 p.m., things were beginning to wind down. We had a couple of shots left and I needed something, can't recall what exactly, from my car which was parked a hundred feet away. I ventured across the darkened cemetery, somewhat relaxed, and noticed something unusual out of the corner of my left eye. In between two headstones, there appeared to be a woman sitting with her back to me. She was dressed nicely, as best I could tell, and appeared to have her hair in a bun.

We hung around this area the most during filming - it was essentially our base camp because of a pavillion and trashcan a few feet away that made our lives a little easier - so I knew the area pretty well and was sure what I was seeing wasn't a headstone. I looked behind me to make sure everyone was in the filming area and they were.

That's when I got a cold chill down my spine and realized something wasn't quite right. I hurried to my car, constantly glancing out of the corner of my eye at the headstone and possible figure. It never seemed to move and I didn't say a word. As soon as I pulled whatever I needed from my car, I walked very quickly back to the filming locale. Later that night, when we were packing up, I walked back to the area, this time with people, and looked the area over. Whatever was there earlier was gone, and the place I saw the "figure" was an empty space between two headstones.  It was a little weird.

So, did we see any ghosts? 

In other news, we have a trailer!  It's online at, but also embedded below. We're really thrilled with how it looks. The footage is raw - no color correcting or special effects - and the music is just a temporary track, but it should still give you an idea of what's in store for the finished product. 

For now, Thomas is furiously editing away, and our effects and sound editors are anxiously awaiting the footage. Kyle is painting away on the poster. Soren, our composer, is working on an ambitious and frankly, freaking cool score, and I'm embossing folders and putting together press kits. It's all so excit ... er, stressful.  Yeah, that's the word I was looking for. Stressful.   

On that note, I'm off to pick out pictures (such as this one?) to go in the press kits.  If Thomas finds anything "interesting" caught on film, you'll be the first to hear. You never know who (or what!) might make a cameo.

Next Week:  Still putting it together. That is, after all, the art of making art (thank you, Mr. Sondheim). Follow Fighting Owl Films on Facebook. New friends are always welcome. And please visit the official movie site, (where you can also pick up some neat-o merch). You can also check out Fighting Owl Films' other work at and keep up with the movie's progress on Twitter at @NightShiftMovie. Yes, we're very social