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July 2007 Archives

July 11, 2007

Film School Wannabe...Me

For a long time I have wanted to make a short movie. In particular I have wanted to make a horror film (something not a lot of people know about me). Today while talking with my younger sister I decided that I am going to make this dream a reality within the next year and a half. I already know one thing...it is going to be a zombie flick. I had initially thought about doing something with vampires, because they are what really fascinate me as far as the undead is concerned, but zombies are just calling to me right now (or rather moaning). Vampires are in the future for me, but I felt like it would be so predictable for me to make that my first venture.

I only want it to be a 30-50 minute film that will begin en media res. Obviously there is a lot of planning that has to go into something like this even if it is a short film. I have begun watching zombie films and researching more about the genre. I have always been a fan of both analyzing films and writing about them, so this should be really enjoyable research for me to do. Already I have several notions about the consistencies and inconsistencies between various zombie films. Right off the bat I know that most horror and science fiction pieces of literature and film deal with the idea of an alien/outcast in society that faces persecution by the majority of the population.

Dr. Albert Wendland once told my MWG: Popular Fiction class (highly reccomend to English majors) that the core plot development for most of these novels comes from literally using aliens and monsters to represent minorities in our real word version of society. The social undertones (and overtones) that are present in zombie films can also be related to this statement mainly because the zombies are just like living humans in every way except that they are dead. That is the true fear factor of the zombie condition: they are just like you and me. In these films and stories it is also interesting to relate the extermination of zombies as a species or section of the human race. The horrific idea of mass genocide comes to mind, though in reality it is a stark contrast.

I know there are just a ton of things that I need to consider before I even begin writing the script. How many people can I afford to cast; where will it be shot; how much will the props and effects cost? I am working with a budget that will be rather limited. As of right now I have a bunch of ideas, some DVDs to watch and a video camera. Though I can boast some zombie makeup experience from several past Halloweens and other miscellaneous events. Who knows where this will take me? One of my dreams for a long time was to grow up to be a zombie makeup artist lol. I plan on posting my observations about each film on my blog over the next few months as I begin researching and I welcome any feedback or responses. I find great inspiration in hearing from both peers and professors.

Modified & Horrified...

This is a really cool version of a picture from Halloween. Stormy actually turned it negative on her phone and sent it back to me and this was the result. Freaky and I love it. Figured now was an appropriate time to show this picture. Enjoy!

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Code Monkeys...

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If you are in any way a fan of the old school heavy pixel video games then I suggest you check out Code Monkeys on G4, the video game channel. The show is described as an 8-bit look at game developers trying to live the dream in the 80's. The developers are so funny and the situations that they become involved in are even funnier. Tonight I saw an episode about the ill-fated ET video game. The episode proclaimed that one night before the release of the movie Steven Spielberg was paid $20million dollars to give out the rights to create the game. That may explain how bad the game was and why lol.

According to wikipedia a code monkey generally refers to a computer programmer or other person who writes computer code for a living. More specifically, it refers to person only capable of grinding out code, but unable to perform the higher-primate tasks of software architecture, analysis, and design. In this sense, the term is considered to be mildly insulting, and is often applied to the most junior people on a programming team. Check out the Code Monkeys official homepage for more details on this awesome show.

The wikipedia entry about the show is also very informative.

July 12, 2007

Dawn of the Dead (2004) Notes...

And so begins an incoherent note taking session…

Director: Zach Snyder
Plot Location: Wisconsin (Milwaukee area)

When the film begins everything is normal as it appears to the viewer. Remarkably it takes less than a full day for the zombie infestation to spread like wild fire. Unlike most zombie movies this one differs because of the speed of the zombies. Normally they are very slow moving creatures, but in Dawn of the Dead they move with super-human speed, especially when attacking. It is also important to note that the transformation from dead to undead is immediate in this film. There is literally no grace period between the time the person dies to when they change. It is close to a 30 second transformation.

I don’t know why, but I drew several conclusions about vampires and zombies during this sit down. Both are: creatures of the night, dead/undead, biters that sire their victims, and demons that survive off of human flesh. Vampires and zombies can also both survive under water and do not need to breath.

One thing that I am still very unclear on is the point at which zombies went from solely needing to eat human brains to survive and transitioned into being able to sustain existence on human flesh in general. The level of intelligence of vampires appears to be much higher than that of zombies who have minimal and basic human functions. I mean do zombies eat only fresh flesh with blood pumping through it? Because if they would eat just any old flesh wouldn’t they eat each other?

The day after the outbreak has begun there is instant pandemonium which is to be expected. In the early scenes of the film a helicopter is flying overhead and it reminded me a lot of the game Dead Rising in which you play a photo-journalist in a helicopter that catches a zombie invasion as it is happening. In particular it was similar because there was a bus that was being overrun by zombies in both the movie and the game. The game and the film also both end up with people seeking shelter in a local mall.

At one point Anna, one of the main characters struggles to get away from a bus driver and ends up driving off the road and down into the brush and hits a tree. This reminded me a lot of Night of the Living Dead when Barbara drives off the road into a similar area when she is attempting to escape the zombies at the cemetery. Both scenes involved women driving down hill to escape peril and they both hit trees. Who knows, maybe they are just trying to say women are terrible drivers? Somehow I feel like the replication of certain scenes is done in an attempt to pay homage to classic zombie flicks.

The line “we are going to the mall” proves to be very interesting because it provides the survivors with comfort and shelter much like shopping is sometimes a way to make people feel better about their problems. There is comfort in shopping much like there is comfort in the mall for those running from the zombies at this point. Those who go to the mall will prevail is the way in which I was reading this scene.

Commercialization + Money = Longer Life + Protection + Happiness

Hence spending money makes up happy and happy people live longer lives. We go to the mall to spend money and become happy which may in fact lead to the prolonging of life. In this case going to the mall is a matter of life and death because of its purpose in the literal sense as a shelter rather than simply theoretical comfort zone.

Infestation Theories: government, accidental leakage from a buried barrel, infestation of a virus, chemical warfare gone bad, hell is overflowing and when it has no more room the dead will walk the earth.

I found the statement “we start letting people in here and we are going to start letting the wrong ones in” to be a very powerful one. Even though it was made in reference to letting people into the mall it had some other meanings as well. It made me think a lot about society and specifically issues surrounding gated communities as well as immigration into the United States. This same kind of issue is touched upon a little more heavily in Romero’s Land of the Dead which I will discuss in a future blog entry.

An ethical issue that is raised in these movies is often whether it is ok to kill those who have been bitten before they truly take on their zombie forms. Most of the time there is no hesitation from what I have observed thus far. I suppose a point could be argued that the reason we are so detached about killing these creatures is because as a liberal society we are viewed as being in favor of euthanasia and abortion.

As I mentioned in my preliminary entry there is often some type of social issue that undercuts the zombie issue. In the case of Dawn of the Dead it can be argued that one of these issues is interracial relationships and the production of biracial children. An African American character and a Caucasian character of Russian background have a baby together and not only is it biracial, but it also becomes a zombie. These characters are coming from several very diverse areas and the use of the zombie transformation could be related to the feeling of alienation that some biracial individuals experience in life. As the story progresses all three of these characters are killed without hesitation, especially the baby.

On a different note I can say that a crisis like a zombie invasion does tend to bring people together from all walks of life. I guess you also have to consider that an outbreak like a zombie attack is non-discriminative in choosing its victims. In thinking of the outbreak as a disease I can compare its spread to that of AIDS and cancer around the world which we know do not discriminate either. The only ones immune to the zombie attacks in Dawn of the Dead were in fact animals, and most specifically dogs.

In theory the attempted escape of the characters at the end of the movie had no plausible chance because of what we see in both Resident Evil and Land of the Dead as far as water and zombies are concerned. In both of these films zombies function in and under water and can travel under water to land. Escaping via a boat would not really work at all and the only thing I can think of would be to start a colony on the moon to get away completely.

July 16, 2007

Blood Rocket Model 1...

After looking this over a second time I see that there are numerous flaws in my original design, which I had drawn out on paper first. I was thinking it was going to do something totally different than what this design shows it will do. This is just not practical for my purposes and even though it won't work I wanted to share it because it took a while to put together lol.

Once I put things into perspective on the computer I realized that this is not the direction I wanted to go in as far as the blood pack is concerned. Try try again. Back to the drawing board I suppose or maybe I will put this part of the process on hold for a bit.

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Angelina Jolie Sparks Casting Controversy...

Mariane Pearl might be delighted to have actress Angelina Jolie depict her in an upcoming movie, but some of you are outraged.

Pearl is the tan, biracial widow of slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, whose memoir, “A Mighty Heart: The Brave Life and Death of My Husband Danny Pearl,” will be adapted into a motion picture by Brad Pitt's production company.

The film, simply called “A Mighty Heart,” will tell of Pearl's experience after her husband was abducted by Islamic extremists in Pakistan in early 2002. A month later, his captors released a video depicting his murder. Pearl, who is reportedly of Afro Cuban/Dutch heritage, was pregnant with their son Adam at the time.

Since the news came out a few weeks ago, message boards across the Internet have been on fire, expressing harsh criticism about Jolie playing the role of Pearl. On BET.com's own boards, user chantejoy calls the very idea a "new generation of Hollywood in blackface."

Read more

Perfect Job Too Soon...

Oh wow. I can only say that I was super dissapointed when I saw a particular job advertisement in the paper yesterday (Sunday). It was something that I would be perfect for if only I was already out of school and back in the area. I could not have written a more perfect description of a job I would like to be doing upon graduation or even right now. It basically encompasses everything I have learned through out college and at my internship with E-Magnify. The position was for a Web Marketing Coordinator . The ad directly read:

ResortQuest's marketing department has an opening for a full-time, year round Web Marketing Coordinator. Applicant must have excellent writing and computer skills.

Knowledge of Web site management (including graphics and HTML), content management systems. Adobe Photoshop and Macromedia Dreamweaver, as well as Microsoft Office Suite, are a plus. Applicants must be able to multi-task effectively, work independently and thrive in a deadline oriented enviroment. Web related certification or degree, or equivalent experience is also a plus.

ResortQuest offers a competitive, comprehensive benefits and compensations package. This includes paid time off, 401K, dental, health, and vision insurance.

Please send resume and cover letter to: Fax (302) 539-9225, Email: trayne@resortquest.com with the job position in the subject line.

Blood Pump Model 1...

And so I am at it again. This design was inspired by some behind the scenes footage I was watching of The Devil's Rejects. A simple garden sprayer and some long plastic tubing should round out my needs. It would be easy to control because of the trigger. I was also considering maybe something with air-pressure involved to time a burst or spurt of blood. I also saw the simple method of taking balloons and attaching them to the inside of a jacket or clothing and pumping them full of liquid until they burst. I could also put holes in the ballons and attach them to the tubing which would make for a slow seep-out effect.

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About July 2007

This page contains all entries posted to Roamer's Zone in July 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

June 2007 is the previous archive.

September 2007 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.