Last week in LA, with the help of two very talented people and some money from Five One Inc., I checked off one of my life goals: to get made up like a zombie and let loose in Beverly Hills.
Early Sunday morning, Sony Pictures CGI/Lighting Expert-gone-photographer Ryan Rogers and I drove two hours west of LA to what I believe was an abandoned winery in Los Padres National Park, Santa Barbara. We left at 5am in order to catch the morning light. I opted to just stay up all night (both so my face would be realistically exhausted, and because there was a MacGyver marathon on). My pants were still wet from walking into a hot tub the night before, and the morning was unusually brisk, so while Ryan set up his twin AB800's I used some of the techniques shown to me by Richard Dean Anderson to defrost my pants. We began shooting by 7:30, in and around this gloriously haunted shack/barn and stopped around noon. I was not nearly as good at acting scared as I thought I'd be, but was quite pleased with the results. We were depicting track eight from Home. Ryan took many many pictures.
The following day, back in LA, Japanese man Kenji and I met Lauren (the female lead vocalist from Home) at Ryan's apartment at 10 am. Always going above and beyond the call of duty, Ryan had rented a Uhaul, and acquired ten bails of hay from Craigslist in order to fashion his storage unit into what looked like the interior of a barn.
Universal Studios SFX artist Erin Dellamore arrived and quickly made Lauren and I look like Jennifer Connelly and George Clooney respectively. For several hours we depicted track seven from the album, and Ryan shot a million photos. Lauren was frustrated with my lack of seriousness in depicting a pivotal argument, so she threw hay at me. I sniffed a lot of that same hay in order to catalyze my allergies (so I'd look sniffly). We picked the hardest scene to start with, but we couldn't start with the zombie stuff, because then we'd have to undirty me somehow.
After a late lunch we moved to a garage in Beverly Hills where Ryan had arranged a Janitor's closet scene. Erin immediately went to town on my thigh, applying latex globs and other goodies to build me a grubby gash. After that, she worked on my veins, forehead, fingernails, and eye sockets. She put slime in my hair. She flicked blood all over me, and covered me with a weird dirt that she fingered out of a bottle. Lauren tore holes in my favorite pants and shirt, both because we were depicting the aftermath of a zombie attack and because she suddenly found me intensely attractive. The Japanese man filmed much of this. All of this happened just off the side walk where mothers, babies, and young children passed without so much as a blink. People in LA cannot be shocked by anything (only morality).
While Ryan positioned me every which way in a corner, a bottle of whiskey in one hand, a glue bottle (which would digitally be replaced by a flare gun) in the other, Erin transformed the arms of Lauren and Kenji into those of the undead (we would need a nice variety of reaching arms to digitally place in the barn scene). The Japanese man was far too excited about his zombie arm, and so quickly abandoned his filming duties to pretend he was being chased by his eroding arm up and down the street. We closed the day with some goofy shots in front of a nice Beverly Hills home, Lauren playing the trophy wife, and I her rotting husband.