Alas, poor Zombie

Feedback:

…the 2 zombies talking. Just a suggestion, the zombie idea you had seem to be a little anti climax, as 15 secs of “normal” conversation took place after 15 secs of zombie action

…In this case, try to time yourself with a stop watch as you say the dialogue between the 2 zombies. Don’t just run it through your head, time and record your voice, and watch your pauses. You need to do it anyway for your animatic. My guess is, it will over shoot the 30 secs mark. Also, i’m not sure how you can pull it off, but wouldn’t the zombies’ head be missing after being shot? So how do they continue talking? Finally, in your synopsis, you wrote 2 wise cracking zombie, so how do you plan to convey the horror and tension, and later replace it with wise crack?

My Response:

I agree on the anticlimactic second zombie scene. Combining the two scenes into one could possibly solve that. Have the two characters on set and mix their dialogue in with them waiting for the action call. This would give the scene tension and end with the execution as the climax illustrating what they have just been talking about.

…I used a stopwatch as I wrote and am confident of my timing. There are no pauses in the zombie dialogue as they are about to carry out a stunt, their adrenaline is up and so, therefore is the pace of their delivery. The scenario ends with the exploding heads but, as they are zombies complaining about being typecast in every film, their heads are only blown off as a stunt, not in reality.  I agree that it’s possible to communicate without dialogue: of the three scenarios, the first has no words, the second has six (which I may cut) and the third has some dialogue which is central to the theme. I think wisecracking can make an important contribution to film tension as it heightens the contrast between what is said and what is happening; film noir is peppered with wisecracks.

Zombie Storyboard – Final

Please click on first thumbnail to view gallery.

Script
The set is an impressive interior of  a cathedral or a gloomy abandoned richly-textured factory. A cry of ‘Take fifty one. Action’ is heard. Two Zombies, Zed and Zedd, stagger towards the camera, are shot, and their heads explode. A cry of ‘Cut, print that’ is heard.
(15 seconds)
Cut to Zed and Zedd in dressing room getting changed into business suits. No zombie makeup is removed.
The clothes they are wearing change by themselves with no help from the zombies as they talk.
Zedd: Sixty seconds screen time, thirty zombie heads explode.
Zed: Remember when films had brains rather than blew them up?
Zedd: I’m off for a liver burger at the morgue with the missus and kids.
Zed: I’m up for the role of Yorick.
Zedd: Now there’s a script! Best of luck
Zed: Thanks
They exit
(15 seconds)

Background and theme
I had watched a lot of zombie sequences in setting up a zombie walk-cycle for a flash animation unit and quickly got sick of seeing yet another zombie head explode.The central theme is based on two concepts: the comic actor who needs to be taken seriously by wanting to play the role of Hamlet; and the idea of putting yourself in the position of the extra or bit-player as Tom Stoppard did in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (play and film).
Resources
Material: Photo I take inside cathedral or abandoned building; green screen setup; set consisting of a background of a portable clothes rack with zombie clothes; two business suits; two actors; zombie makeup including two forehead bullet holes that can be stuck on with camera on pause and actors in a freeze.
Compositing
Green screen work with lighting to match pre-shot background; muzzle flash effect; exploding back of heads (particles?); color grading; other treatments to achieve ‘film look’.
Context
Stand-alone short film
Target audience
General audience and…zombies;  zombie lovers; actors who have played as extras; those who are ambitious for a better place in life; those who are interested in film.
Touchstones
Tutorials on the effects required and film sequences used as guides to zombie presentation to be included here.
Green screen: the course by Richard Harrington on Lynda.com
http://www.lynda.com/After-Effects-tutorials/Using-Ultra-Keyer/141500/144485-4.html

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