Wednesday, April 23, 2008

"The Veil" - A Case Study in Getting your Indie Horror Film Finished

This is going to be a new feature on the site and I hope to get a new one done each week. One of us will talk with a filmmaker about their film and get some insight to share with other indie horror filmmakers. This is really the first one that I've finished and I have about three others that I'm working on right now. As I post them, I'll archive them, so they can be referenced in the future. You'll find them on the left hand side of the page under "Case Studies". If you're an indie filmmaker and want us to cover your film, let me know. I'll get to it... eventually.

Our first case study is on "The Veil"...

Film: The Veil
Written By: John & Richard Chance
Directed By: Richard Chance
Released By: Brain Damage Films

About: The Veil is an ambitious micro-cinema horror that came out last year. Packed with effects and action, it’s a zombie movie about a small town that’s infected by a deadly virus and the frantic cover-up that’s taking place because of it. The film was completed in just over 4 years and funded completely out of pocket by Chance Encouters, which is the moniker of John and Richard Chance's production company.

Budget: The budget is low and was paid for out of pocket. “I’d say for clothes, weapons, tapes, camera/editing/FX equipment and props, (it cost) around ($4,000 - $5,000) max.”, according to John Chance, the films producer and co-writer. “It was done over a long period of time: weekends, whenever we were not working and could get people over, that’s a rough estimate of how much everything cost.”

Getting it made: Not only is the film an epic (running over 150 mins), the making of the movie was an epic, as well. “The Film took a little over 4 years to make”, but “if that’s what you want to do – even if you are exhausted from working all day, to then coming home and still have energy to shoot scenes at midnight in full SAS gear or made up as a zombie and make it realistic and believable, you do it.” The film was shot in black and white, using a Sony DV cam. As for editing, essentially they have no comment… but they will say this, “invest in a good editing kit; in the long run, it will save you a lot of time and energy.”

The special effects: Their budget may have been limited, but that didn’t stop them from loading the film up with gore and effects. They used squibs for gun fight scenes, there were exploding heads, lots of blood and, although some of it was exactly what you’d expect from a low budget film, there was a lot that will exceed your expecations. They offers some advice on effects... “If you can setup a couple of cameras when you are doing an effects scene, (even if one is lower quality than the other), you'll have a better chance of getting the good shot or having an interesting cut between the two. (Take) the exploding head in the carpark… we used a ‘ground shot’, which would normally be used for gun shots that miss from machine gun fire in a movie. (They are meant to burst from the ground and spit dirt up) We used something that was much more powerful than what we were supposed to - the fake head, and blood mixture contained, bursted perfectly upon the impact of 'ground shot' squib we used. The eye rolled out nicely too…”

Distributing the film: They shopped“The Veil” around and it ended up being distributed by Brain Damage Films and is available almost everywhere. When asked how distribution is going, they said “it’s selling well (right now and) it’s sold out quite a few times on Amazon and other places, but it’s too early to say. I’ll let you know when I receive the first paycheck.” They also offer some advice when it comes to distribution… “With any Distributer, especially if you’re starting out, it’s best to find out information about the company you're getting involved with. There are a lot of crooks out there willing to sell your film that you slaved over, but you want to make sure you're not getting a bad deal. You're doing them a favor, after all. You have something to sell, they're just selling it for you. If in doubt, try to sell it yourself. Reviews from the vast range of people, critics, magazines, websites newspapers, etc., applauding your film could go a long way too. Know your rights, read the small print and good luck!”

What’s next: Richard and John Chance are just finishing up a short film called “The Day I Tried to Live”, a sci-fi fantasy narrative with elements of horror and drama, which they hope will be hitting festivals soon. They’re going to continue to make short films until they find people interested in helping finance their second feature. They’re open to offers and they have plenty of scripts that require some financing…

If you'd like to know more about John and Richard Chance or you'd like to finance their next feature, you can go to their website.

To buy "The Veil"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Awesome to see the Chance Brothers get some recognition. I own The Veil and have seen Chainmail, and both are fantastic. Their trailer for The Day I Tried to Live previews what could be their best work yet. I hope to see more from them.