One of the things that’s complex in working with a story that is as human as Depleted is finding different ways to show the world that exists. While filmmaker collaborators will help us flesh out the world of Depleted in this regard, I really wanted to have an additional perspective that we could show in the prologue, Depleted: Day 419, besides that of Jenna Whitmore, the main narrator. It was always my intent to have two versions of the film: one with narration and one without. While the narrated version would be the one I preferred, I wanted the film to work even if there was no narration. However, as I began to think more about it, I realized that I actually wanted three versions. The third one would allow a pirate radio station to be heard when Jenna is in her appartment and in vehicles.
Pirate radio stations are a major element in the world of Depleted, although their range is limited to small communities and enclaves for the most part. Because Jenna lives on the outskirts of a town, it makes sense that she’s close enough to hear the town’s pirate radio station. Once I started thinking about this, I realized that this wasn’t just a cool idea, but that this would give me a way to bring in gossip, insight, and story plot information that will become important in the feature film. As such, each of the three versions of the film will give viewers more information and alternate perspectives on the World of Depleted, as well as insights into the secrets of how the world collapsed and hints as to who may have seen it coming. (We might even have a fourth version with different news from the radio that will be hidden somewhere.)
We concluded the Depleted: Day 419 pickup shoot on Sunday with a truly hellish shoot day. The day was set to begin at Noon and go until Sunday, with a fairly reasonable driving related shoot. However, rain pushed back the shooting until after 1 PM. We then pushed into the dialogue sequences that we needed to record between Jenna (Kat Carney) and Andre (Tim Smith). DP Nate Eckelbarger managed to come up with an extremely creative way to capture the shot which also permitted us to set up our “video village” (laptop and GV ADVC 110 video converter) on the truck’s inverter. However, the shot took longer than expected and the inverter failed to shut down before the battery on the truck was drained! As such, the truck refused to start and had to be jumped in order for us to get the next shot!
Unfortunately, the next shot proved to be an absolute bear. The truck couldn’t back out of the parking spot it was in, so most of the entire crew ran down to try to push the truck out of its parking place. (As I was trapped with the video village, I managed to snag some footage of this amusing scene, as did de facto videographer and co-star Eric Henninger! The footage will likely find its way into easter eggs and DVD extras later on! To see a sneak peak of this footage with Kat Carney’s thoughts on low-budget filmmaking, check out this YouTube video.) Eventually we managed to get the truck finagled so we could capture the next shot and we moved on to our next location: a nearly abandoned intersection in the college town of Wilmore, KY (which is all but empty in the summer). Despite all of the work we had put into finding a location that had nobody around it, the intersection was busier than Time’s Square. Fortunately, the adroit fingers of Eckelbarger managed to snag a golden shot in the midst of the chaos. (At that point, I finally stopped asking people to help me commit sepuku on the hot street corner!)
By the time we managed to work on our actual driving shots, we only had an hour and a half to get all of them. Undeterred, the Director and DP jumped in the back of the picture truck with the camera rig and recorded driving shots that way. From time to time, at a particularly picturesque location, the two would have the actors stop the truck so they could exit, setup the camera, and grab a tracking shot from the roadside. In the end, the shoot day was made! However, everyone was badly sunburned, especially yours truly, as I had neglected to reapply any sunblock on my head or even apply any to my arms!
The Depleted Day 419 shoot went very well despite a number of setbacks related to locations at the last minute. The complex shoot involved a large fight sequence that required a lot of creativity from fight choreographer Jay Kerr and DP Nate Eckelbarger. The film was shot with an HVX200 (kindly loaned to us by tech writer, Tom Stern) and the Redrock Micro M2Encore 35mm lens adapter system, as well as Eckelbarger’s impressive collection of glass. The fights were filmed at 60 fps, further increasing the light demands for gaffer Steven Mathews in the depleted space which was sculpted by Production Designer and Art Director, Sarah Jane Gray. Frankfort’s Dave’s Airsoft helped by providing a lot of the necessary green gas for the elaborate gunfight!
As an army marches on its stomach, Chicago-style stuffed pizzas were provided by the Nicholasville, KY branch of Papa Murphy’s pizza. This delicious food helped everyone keep trucking throughout the shoot!
The prayers and well-wishes of the entire Depleted team are with fight choreographer and producer, Jay Kerr, and his family, whose home and possessions were largely destroyed in the torrential flooding here in Central Kentucky.
Fight choreographer, Jay Kerr (featured above), led the action players of Depleted: Day 419 through a rigorous first training for the dynamic action sequence featured in the film. Torrential rains flooded Central Kentucky during the choreography, but the hard work continued indoors.
In addition to an elaborate gunfight involving seven shooters, there is an elaborate knife fight between Nash Fitch (Eric Henninger) and James Rockland (David Haney). The knife fight features two custom blades created specially for the film by Jay Kerr, who’s also an accomplished knife smith, and by knifemaker, survivalist, and police officer, Gabe Kinderknecht. Fans of the film will have a chance to bid on these one of a kind mementos down the road after all principle photography is completed.
News for Depleted fans include the casting of the Depleted: Day 419 project, as well as additional folks who are going to be involved with it.
The speaking cast for Depleted:Day 419 is:
Kat Carney as Jenna Whitmore
Tim Smith as Andre
Eric Henninger as Nash Fitch
David Haney as James Rockland
Additionally, we now have a few new folks that are bringing their abilities to the film franchise. Graphic designer Craig McDaniel brings his excellent skills to the table for poster, website, and other forms of graphic design while photographer and DP Nate Eckelbargeris bringing his talents to the table both for the publicity photos and cinematography of Depleted: Day 419. (Both contributed their skills for the included poster, starring Kat Carney.)
Paul Battista from Mind Fusion Law is coming up to provide legal representation for the Depleted project, as their firm has extra specialization in low budget Independent films. In addition to being a talented lawyer, he’s also an accomplished filmmaker. In fact, MFM reviewed his great book on low-budget film producing before choosing to retain his services. Gabe Kinderknecht will be providing brand new highly useful YouTube videos on how to survive an apocalypse like the Fall by showing you how to hunt for food, find water, get edible plants, make knives, make bows and arrows, and what to acquire for guns! Look for those in the near future on the World of Depleted YouTube page.
Additional news includes the fact that survivalists Jay Kerr and
As we continued to labor on the World of Depleted project, we’ve had continued breakthroughs in folks becoming involved.
We’ve lined up many of the bands that will be utilized in the feature by talking to Creative Commons bands listed on Jamendo and then talking with them about a specialized usage agreement for the film. The great bands that have signed up so far are as follows:
Deathboy – Industrial band from UK with dark and brutal lyrics that interweave well with the dark and foreboding World of Depleted. Josh Woodward – Ohio’s folk superstar has massive amounts of amazing songs to provide the softer and more poignant side of Depleted. – Two fine bands from Washington DC have teamed up for some amazing songs that add soulful depth to the World of Depleted.
Sekshun 8 – This Viriginia hard rock band has songs that are packed full of power and whose brutalized lyrics work well with the World of Depleted.
As we’ve progressed forward with Depleted, we’ve begun to flesh out the elements of a Depleted feature which we plan to shoot in May, 2011. Jeremy Hanke will be writing and directing it, as well. The film will follow Jenna Whitmore and her five companions as they make their way through the destroyed remnants of the United States of America to board the last ship. The feature will be packed with action and is currently slated to be shot with the RED Scarlet fixed lens and the Redrock Micro M2Encore system, provided the camera is available for use at that point.The Depleted: Day 419 film is slated to be shot in May, 2010 on the HVX200 with Redrock Micro M2Encore lens adapter setup. Casting will be done in April with a general casting call. Web designer Joel Robertson is kindly coming on to help with the website for the World of Depleted. Marketing specialist, Sheri Candler, is offering her expert help as we look forward to marketing both the feature and the World of Depleted itself.
The beautiful and talented Kat Carney is coming on board to portray Jenna Whitmore, both in the short and in the feature. Director Jeremy Hanke had directed her on Eric Henninger’s film, Collide, and had been extremely impressed with her presence and passion on that film. She also starred in Tom Stern’s film, Lives Left. (Tom Stern’s brilliant technical reviews have been frequent contributions to MFM throughout the years.)