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.
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.
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.