Friday, July 16, 2010

The Night Shift: Not dead finished yet

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.

Not Dead Finished Yet 

Principal photography for The Night Shift has officially wrapped. There was no champagne, no fireworks.  The small crew and one actor quietly loaded lights and props into Thomas' car, while I quickly made up the director's hand to look like a zombie's. We needed one shot of a hand coming out of tomb for our sizzle reel.

And once we had the shot, there were hugs and handshakes and promises to keep in touch - then we exited the cemetery one last time. 

We still weren't completely done shooting. We had one more day scheduled in July, but it was just for a few close-ups of Herbie, a couple of special effects shot and little things like that. It'll only took a few hours, and a lot of it was done in our backyard. Obviously, we didn't trouble most of the crew with this and we only needed one or two actors.

For all intents and purposes, the movie is in the can - and it has been a bittersweet experience. I'm a little sad filming is over and that I have to say goodbye to a character I've grown to love over the past two years. It's also going to be weird not seeing Soren, Khristian, Genna, Stacey, Jonathan, Jordan, Hilary, Brendon, Andrew, the rest of the cast and crew, and especially our wonderful caretaker every day. I've grown accustomed to their faces.   

That said, it's nice to have a car that doesn't have a body in the trunk. Or the backseat. Or the front seat. Or all three.

I still have a mountain of laundry but all the makeup and hair supplies have been organized into a little box, in the event we need any for pick-up shots (hands grabbing things or coming out of the ground or that sort of thing), another movie in the future or if my tween-aged brother decides he wants to be a zombie for Halloween. That's a very distinct possibility.

As it happens, we finished up at precisely the right time. It's just getting hotter. In the 20 minutes it took to clean out our cars, Thomas and I managed to both sweat completely through our clothes. I can't even imagine what it would be like to spend hours in wool, or fur or even long sleeves. 

So, the movie has been shot. Now what? Well, now is when the real work begins.

Thomas has begun the editing process, and I have started to work on marketing, and we both start really going crazy. As I mentioned earlier, he's working on the "sizzle reel."  That's the psuedo trailer we'll send to press and distributors. It consists of raw footage and showcases characters, more exciting scenes and the overall tone of the movie. Basically, it needs to be about two minutes of awesome. 

I've also been working on editing the photos I took during the shoot. They'll be compiled into albums to be included with press kits (lovingly embossed with the movie's title), along with bios, reviews of the short, articles (and blogs!) on the production and anything else we can think.  

And we're now working with Kyle Henry, a very talented artist - and super nice guy - who is designing our poster for us.  Kyle has given us our first good problem of the production - he sent three concepts for us to choose from and they're all fantastic. He totally gets the characters and tone of the movie, as well as the audience we're making this for, and has translated all of that in to designs that are pulpy, quirky and a little bit action-hero cool. I am so excited right now, I can barely stand it. 

It's not been easy, but we've settled on one of the designs, and it's here for you to see.  If you want to see anymore of Kyle's work, you can go to  

So to sum up, we are nowhere near done with this thing. We may be "in the can," but we're far from on the projector. We are well on our way, though.

Next Week:  Putting It Together.  That is, after all, the art of making art (thank you, Mr. Sondheim). Follow Fighting Owl Films on Facebook (and check out the new, improved logo shown here) or by going to the official movie site, (where you can also pick up some neat-o merch). You can also keep up with the movie's progress on Twitter at @NightShiftMovie.