The past year or so I've been working with some other filmmakers on an anthology feature called "Terrortory". I was originally going to do one segment plus the through-story that connects all the segments.
I shot the one I was going to do, called "Smiling Jack". This is him.
Smiling Jack's done and turned out very nice, starring Johnny Alonso, Melissa LaMartina and Matt Smith.
Anyway it turns out I'm going to do another segment called "Siren". I went out to do a location scout a while back and found what appeared to be a cool meadow very similar to what I pictured. We would just have to chop a dead tree down.
Weeks went by as I prepped other things related to the film(casting, shooting script/shot list, equipment prep), and this past weekend decided to finally go back out to chop that tree down.
When we first got back to the meadow I saw how overgrown it's now become with all the rain we've had lately. It's still doable, but doesn't look as good as it did.
Also: Nobody I know owns a gas chainsaw. I figured the tree's dead--how hard will it be to saw down/chop with an axe? Turns out, very hard.
This tree's not as dead as it looks. That's a time-lapse video of my brother and I trying to cut it down. We spent a good 90 minutes trying to cut it down. We went more than halfway through it with a big notch on the side you can't see(that's where we want it to fall), but it wouldn't go.
Tree 1, Us 0.
The other thing we went into the woods to test was this:
We have a head that's got to explode. We have no electricity this far in the woods so an air compressor is out. Explosives are unpredictable.
So I watched the making of on that Scanners head explosion, which has to be one of the best ever done and it turns out they got it to work by using an actual shotgun. My brother has a revolver that shoots shotgun shells, so I figured we'd test it to see if that had enough power to blow apart the fake head that Mark Wenger(the Terrortory creator and FX guru) is putting together.
We took a honeydew melon into the woods. I figure it probably has about the same toughness that the fake head will have. Here's our one and only try at it:
For those wondering, I did a quick color grade on that first section. The 2nd, even slower version, is shown as shot with a modified Natural setting on the GH4. The first take is 96 frames per second, the second is slowed down by 50%.
I think it's going to work.
Now I'm praying for no more rain because it's still pretty muddy out there and I want it to dry up so it's not so messy.
Anyway, just figured I'd show you how glamorous and fun it is being a no-budget filmmaker. I recommend it to no one.