Breakdown Lane

 Chris digitally added the text.

Chris digitally added the text.

September/October 2013: I was browsing the r/calgary subreddit on a Thursday night and saw a request for a DP for pickup shots for indie zombie film Breakdown Lane. Chris and I passed on our Edmonton Expo tickets to a couple of friends, then headed to Drumheller.

Bob Schultz was the writer and first-time director, with Signe Olynyk producing. Bob and Signe have already made a feature, Below Zero. This very accomplished partnership runs PitchFest in the US and Canada, has a film company, Twilight Pictures, and was a pleasure to work with.

 Right to left: cameraman/ninja Jon Samadopolis, writer/director Bob Schultz, stand-in Connie, PA Kyler Kotyk, DP Harry Papavlosopoulos, DP Chris Friesen. And a zombie hiding under the car.

Right to left: cameraman/ninja Jon Samadopolis, writer/director Bob Schultz, stand-in Connie, PA Kyler Kotyk, DP Harry Papavlosopoulos, DP Chris Friesen. And a zombie hiding under the car.

A second team of DPs were there for Friday and Sunday, but not Saturday: Harry Papavlosopoulos and Jon Samadopolis. They have their own film company, Sitting With Giants. The two of them are nothing short of awesome and I really hope we're able to work with them again soon.

 DP Harry is standing behind Chris, additional cameraman Jon is standing behind me. Seated to the right is writer/director Bob Schultz, and walking into frame is makeup artist Ashley Godick.

DP Harry is standing behind Chris, additional cameraman Jon is standing behind me. Seated to the right is writer/director Bob Schultz, and walking into frame is makeup artist Ashley Godick.

Kesar Lacroix was running key makeup, with Dan Doherty, Katt Panic and Ashley Godick assisting. We rarely work with practical effects, since Chris does the bulk of our effects digitally. Everyone on the effects team was excellent.

 A beautiful example of some of the effects team's work.

A beautiful example of some of the effects team's work.

We were missing a few key ingredients due to scheduling conflicts: the star, Whitney Moore, the vehicle (Breakdown Lane is about a woman and her car during the zombie apocalypse), the original DP, and most of the original camera equipment. We ran on a rented Canon 5D, and Harry and Chris's cameras, filters and monopod.

Our stand-in, Connie, had to be shot from behind or without her face in frame, and when her head was in shot, she needed to wear a blonde wig. She's also a couple inches taller than the original actress. I didn't think this was a big deal until I watched her force her feet into the original actresses' shoes, which were a couple sizes smaller and probably really painful.

 Outside: our stand-in's actual shoes. Inside: the shoes she had to wear.

Outside: our stand-in's actual shoes. Inside: the shoes she had to wear.

There were zombie kills and wolfdogs on Friday, then nothing but kill after gruesome kill on Saturday and Sunday. We managed to wrap everything by Sunday night, which was a miracle considering the pace of the shoot and the limitations we were working with.

 Wolfdogs.

Wolfdogs.

I'm looking forward to seeing the final film! Read Bob's script, see the trailer, and check out Breakdown Lane!


-Elisa