Sunday, November 3, 2013


I was just checking YouTube to see that my Steele O'Neil trailer has 13 views and the extended cut has 6 views and both videos have two "likes" each.  It is sad, but I actually "liked" my own videos and I know who was the other person who liked them which means I know who DIDN'T like them.  That's cool though, at least you didn't "dislike" them.  Now as I promised here is the story of how they came to be.

I hadn't planned on filming anything when I was back in Cranbrook last as it just sort of happened.  I woke up Thursday morning to find my phone had updated some of my apps including FXGuru.  I have mentioned this app before as it was the driving force behind the last time Willie and I filmed something and this time it happened again.  I opened to the app to see what was new and they had some Halloween SFX shots including a zombie one which is the one I used in the video.  I had the SFX shot, but I needed a "story" to wrap around it and decided to dig up an old Crapola Pictures character, Steele O'Neil.

Where the Hospital Auxiliary thrift store's old location was there was a lawyer's office next to it called "Steele O'Neil and Associates" and Cody and I always thought the name "Steele O'Neil" was pretty cool.  We threw on the "Zombie Buster" and a horror movie icon was born.  Later when I moved to Calgary I found a pharmacy called Blain MacClain Pharmacy, which also happened to be next to a thrift store, and Blain McClain became Steele's sidekick/apprentice.  We came up with the basic story of the two fighting zombies together, Blain gets bitten, tries to hide it, turns into a zombie and then Steele has to kill him because that's what he does...kill zombies.  In the extended trailer zombie Blain shows up as a nod to this.

Back in the day we actually shot some footage for Steele O'Neil with Cody as Steele and I was going to be Blain.  I believe Cody's version of Steele still had a leather jacket, but he also wore a pair of rubber/gum boots because he'd be ankle deep in blood and guts.  Cody even made some paper mache heads that we meant to blow up, smash, destroy, etc.  I don't remember how much stuff we filmed or even if we had a "script", but it is lost to the ages.

Zombie Blain!

Anyway, I came up with a basic "story" for the trailer, but I wanted to keep it short and simple, so nothing too fancy.  After getting out of bed I texted Willie and let him know what was happening.  We didn't have time to film on Thursday which was cool because we needed to get some props first.  I picked up Willie and Cheryl and we checked out the thrift stores for stuff we could use.

I was looking for a duffle bag because I had a shot I wanted to use of Steele putting his bow in a bag full of various weapons.  I ended up getting a Chelsea FC duffle from the Hospital Aux for $3.  When we finished the shooting I let Willie keep the duffle bag.  Willie also bought his leather jacket, which is real leather BTW, there too for $2.  The jacket was originally $4, but winter wear was 50% off so he got it for $2.  He can't actually do it up, but it looks cooler open anyway.

After shooting back at Willie's with his Chelsea bag.  Love that lens flare.

Later on we went to the Salvation Army where I found the zombie mask.  I hadn't even planned on having any zombies in the video except the CGI zombie, but couldn't resist a $3 zombie mask.  I made sure to clean it and wipe out the inside before I put it on.  It still smelled extremely "plasticy" and after I took the mask off I could still smell plastic.

I cut off the protective ring to turn this toy into a deadly killing weapon.

I also visited every single dollar store in Cranbrook and stocked up on all kinds of weapons for Steele's duffle arsenal and most importantly the bow.  The bow was originally blue, so I went out and bought a can of spray paint to paint to black, so it would look more realistic.  As for his other weapons, there were a lot including pistols, batons, shotgun, short sword, nunchucks, ninja stars, twin sais, grenades, handcuffs, a walkie, goggles and a compass!  And then none of it is actually shown on screen!  I wanted to have a shot of Steele putting his bow in the duffle and pulling out a pistol and when he does so you see all the weapons inside, but it didn't quite work.  I bought all those weapons for nothing?

Dollar store arsenal.

I had three pistols that I already had in Cranbrook and the pistol you see Steele pull from his bag is one of them.  That one has also seen some action in other Crapola Pictures features.  Just for the hell of it while at Jim Smith Lake we took a couple promo shots of Willie and in one he is dual wielding pistols.  One of the guns was a die cast pistol and Willie pulled the trigger not knowing it was loaded.  Remember everyone, treat every gun as if it were loaded!

The weather was a little cloudy on Thursday, but on Friday it was cool, but nice and sunny, so it was good for filming.  I picked up Willie and we headed over to the cemetery!  I thought Willie might freak out, but it was broad daylight, so he was cool with it.  If it was night though that would've been another story.  We filmed the pan of the cemetery and the zombie emerging scene used in the extended cut is right next to the cemetery.  Did anyone notice the car driving by in the background?

After that we headed up to Jim Smith Lake to do Willie's scenes and it was pretty quiet up there except for some kids running around.  We filmed what we needed for the main trailer and filmed some extra stuff like me as the zombie and the outhouse getting toasted by the orbital satellite.  Willie has only one line in the movie and we did a couple different takes of it.  The first take he did it with a light Irish accent and the second he did without the accent.  I had planned on using the second take(no accent) in the main trailer and Irish version in the extended  cut.  Later on when I got around to editing I found Willie's delivery to be too quiet (damn cell phone mic) and ended up having to dub over him anyway.

Willie cracking up while trying to deliver his ONE line of dialogue.

Then we headed up to Hidden Valley road because I knew it wouldn't be busy and had a decent straight stretch in it right by the "lake".  We filmed Willie's scenes then did my stuff as Blain.  Near where we parked the car we found some animal bones which we actually used in the film as you can see me gnawing on one of them.  I was holding it with a leaf because I didn't want to use my bare hand.  Later we found a much larger set of animal bones complete with fur and flesh on them.  It was kinda gross.  With all that done, principal photography was wrapped!

Fun fact:  Willie actually used the outhouse.

Of course I wasn't done yet.  Over the next couple days I got a few more establishing shots around Cranbrook and headed back to Jim Smith to shoot another zombie scene up there.  I thought it would match the other footage we shot a lot better if I did, but planned to use the bit we did at the cemetery in the extended cut just for fun.

The budget for the entire project was astronomical!  I bought the duffle bag, weapons, spray paint, name tags, zombie mask, X-Files CD and editing software.  I dished out for the Sony Vegas editing software, but got the basic edition, not the fancified version.  I didn't really know how to use and still don't really know how to use to it.  Luckily, Cody uses the same program, so he gave me a few pointers.

Cody also let me use his microphone when I had to dub over Willie's dialogue.  Cody originally dubbed over Willie in the extended cut, but his performance was lacking, so I axed it.  While I working on some sound effects clips in my audio program I found out it has a text to speech generator, and that's how I did Willie's lines in the extended cut.  I thought I might as well have some fun with it, I hope Willie isn't too disappointed he got dubbed over.


After showing Cody an early cut of the main trailer he said it needed some music.  I wasn't sure what to use, but came across a "X-Files: I Want to Believe" soundtrack by Mark Snow and ended up using bits of track from it.  I also downloaded various sound effects like wind, footsteps, shotgun pump, shotgun blast, and the zombie groan to use.

I took my time with the post production as I didn't want to rush it.  In the end I think it turned out better than I thought it would.  It wasn't bad for something I shot on my Galaxy SII phone even though the mic wasn't that great.  Although, it was good for picking up sound you didn't want.  I think that is everything, of interest anyway, of how the Steele O'Neil trailer came to be.  I'll be happy to answer any other questions.

Last, but not least is one final bit of trivial for you.  Blain's camo jacket was actually Willie's jacket as he brought two.  I bought name tags so Blain could wear just so you would know his name.  Then I went and gave Steele one that said "F-WORD" as a nod to the bathroom stall graffiti in Radium and Ryan Reynold's character in Blade III who had a name tag that read, "Hello, my name is FUCK YOU".  Steele's name tag appears in all the promo shots and the end sequence, but Steele's back is always to the camera so you don't even see it.

Steele always gets the final word.


Cam said...

I subscribed to your YouTube channel instead of 'liking' all your individual videos. Now I'm gonna go 'like' them too.

Keef said...

I saw you subscribed, but now I feel pressured to add more videos because you'll be expecting them or something.