There is a point in our lives in which we must venture into the realm of cinema... the seventh art. This because either we feel the need of telling stories, ours or from someone else, or because we have to make some school project like in the present case.
It was 2009 and we were in a Literature course. The third partial project was to make a video adaptation of some story we read in the semester. We decided to make an adaptation of the Richard Laymon tale 'Mess Hall'. We had three or four days to fulfill the project (it was monday, we had to finish by friday that week -if my mind serves me corrrectly -and that monday was a holiday). The result was an adaptation... well, I'd better let you watch the video first (fullscreen please, since we were filming with limited resources, you know) and afterwards I'll tell you what the tale is all about:
Take a deep breath before moving on.
Now, basically, the original story tells the story of Jean (the protagonist) who, first of all, is fornicating with her boyfriend at a park. The couple is suprised by The Reaper, who blows the boyfriend's brains and kidnaps Jean. This singular killer takes her to a desolated cabin (I think it was a cabin, the point is it is a place where nobody would disturb them) with the intention of killing her and leaving her body there for the coyotes to eat -hence the name 'Mess Hall' -. Jean would have been the eight victim if The Reaper's past victims wouldn't have returned from the dead (as zombies, evidently) for revenge. Upon watching 'the show' (specially watching how a zombie yanks The Reaper's upper lip with his own pliers), Jean feels so sick she vomits. One of the zombies acknowledges the fact (yes, the puke) and having a... primitive brain she tastes the waste. Again, thanks to that primitive brain, the zombie develops a fancy for Jean (no, not in that way) and bites her in the leg. Jean and the undead begin to fight. When Jean at last frees her leg from the bite the branch to which she was tied to breaks. Jean then picks herself up, smashes the zombie in the face with the branch, throws a rock at The Reaper's face (not in the vide... limited resources, remember?) and escapes.
The realization was not peaches and cream. We couldn't get handcuffs (just a pink pair that did not quite fit the story), illumination on the first day was made with a flashlight (small... really small), that same first day the batteries on the camera with which we were filming depleted, we didn't have a big hollywood camera, like the ones they use in grand and ambitious blockbuster projects, the makeup was... minimalist (same goes for the special effects, specially the exploding head scene) and the cold on those nights was terrible. However, we all put our grain of sand and production overcame all the problems. We ended up with a seven minutes and fifteen seconds short and an eleven minutes with eleven seconds blooper reel (11:11, make a wish!). Funny how there are more mistakes than actual... anyway, so that you laugh for a while:
In case anyone is wondering, the final phrase of the Blooper Reel -said by the actor who played The Reaper -is "I'm a bad actor".
Some other things that were noted post-production:
1) Camera man leaves his Coke on-scene:
2) There's a scene in which The Reaper is is sitting holding his pliers. Theoretically he is heating his pliers on the fire. Someone (me) did not insert the bonfire digitally like he said he would:
3) The brutal change in illumination:
At the end of the day, the work we did was not good... IT WAS EXCELLENT ! For an amateur video without resources and without knowing the first thing about how to shoot a movie our work was exceptional. The collaboration and enthusiastic participation of Paco Romero, Erich Marín, Cristina Cebreros, Chivis Ontiveros, Roberto Bernal, Elisa Daniel and Mariana Barragán (together with Carlos Marín's advice) gave and excellent work, one that deserved the greatest note (which we got, by the way). So here it is, our first incursion in cinematography, a very fun experience that leaves me with very fond memories.