I’m not sure what I was doing, or what I should’ve been doing, before I started watching Cameron McCulloch short film titled “Home.” But after I watched the first couple seconds, how I arrived didn’t matter. All that mattered was that I was there, in the moment, watching one of the most spectacular zombie short films I’d ever seen.
We all get a kick out of those short, funny zombie videos lurking about online. They’re a dime a dozen. But you won’t find that here; instead you get 11 minutes of beautifully composed shots, perfect cuts, professional editing, phenomenal acting (you rock Jamie McDowell!), great special effects, and—best of all—meaning and story. That’s a lot to say about one short film, but I stand by it.
I was so impressed by the whole thing I had to do an interview with the director (McCulloch) and get some behind the scene details for all you aspiring zombie film makers. He also was kind enough to share some cool photos from the film. Be sure to watch the film here.
Interview with Cameron McCulloch
Zomblog: Out of all the films you could make, what inspired you to make a zombie short?
McCulloch: I’ve always loved the genre. I started to write a story about a woman alone, I set out to make a emotional film with no dialogue and zombies seemed like a perfect fit. The zombies came into the film by accident, I need a external force to project her story, and at the time zombies weren’t too popular (or at least there want many zombie films out at the time). So I figured why the hell not by the time the film was finished everyman and his dog was making zombie flicks, I just hoped ours is different enough to not be seen as “Just another Zombie film”
Zomblog: Well, you succeeded. It’s amazing. What about the concept? It’s very dark and depressing on some levels. Why did you go that route instead of a spoof, humor, or kickass survivor route?
McCulloch: I love all those kind of Zombie films, but I really wanted to try something different, something I hadn’t seen before.
Zombloe: How long did it take to make the film from start to finish?
McCulloch: Shooting took 3 1/2 days over 2 weekends, Our pre production was 3 months and our post another 3.
Zomblog: How much footage did you go through to find the right shots? Hours?
McCulloch: We had 2 cameras for most of the shoot and on the action day had 3, so in the end we had about 2-3 hours of footage, Editing was tough, I had a co-editor, I’d cut the hell out of it then, he would cut the hell out of it, and we went back and cut together. Having another really helped as I was so close to the project I want brutal enough. (1st cut was just under 30mins)
Zomblog: The location was perfect. Is it a place you found or did you have to convince someone to let you use it?
McCulloch: We shot at my girlfriends folks place, everything was there! It just required set dressing, We also shot in the You Yangs (A national park) which matched our previous location. and for the final scene it was in my parents garage, (They have a car pit) once again we set dressed and with some clever sound design no one is the wiser.
Zomblog: Do you know the zombies or are they just volunteer extras?
McCulloch: All the hero Zombies where friends, and all the extras where friends of friends. The first Zombie was my girlfriend her death was much longer but I cut it down to bare bones.
(Note to filmmakers, if you cast your girlfriend and then cut her death scene right down, she will get mad)
Zomblog: I know it’s won some awards. What awards are you the proudest of?
McCulloch: It’s awesome to win anything, I’m just happy that people are seeing the film, but I’m happiest with the Awards Jamie (our leading lady) has won, cos she really went above and beyond, there is no film without her.
Zomblog: What was the makeup process like? Did each zombie take a long time to create, or did your makeup artists crank them out quickly?
McCulloch: All the hero Zombies had their head casts done and they took between 2-4 hours each, the long shots with zombies took a lot less, we painted their faces, and threw blood all over them.
Any other interesting tidbits about the making of the film?
McCulloch: Like any film shoot it was a fun, grueling, fucked up thing, Jamie had a chest infection the first weekend, but being the awesome trooper she didn’t complain. We had the usual issues with some crew but all in all it went well, and we had a fantastic group of people. What saved us was having damn good food, good food makes for a happy crew, (Particularly when you’re not paying them). Also having a fantastic sound designer saved our ass to no end, Paul worked really hard and did a amazing job, Our Color graders kicked ass also.
Behind the Scenes Photos