Check out BAIT, the newest episode of Shivers Down Your Spine, and then read director Bryan Wolford’s commentary about it after the jump!
- Director:Bryan Wolford
- Writer:Tony Crumpton
- Starring:Mike Patterson and Wes Thompson
- Editor:Dave Gibbons
- Sound Design:Darrin Ford
- Boom Operators:Amanda Anderson and Craig Van
- Music:Kevin McCleodatIncompetech.com. Additional music viaPurple-Planet.com
I was really excited when I was asked to do an episode of Shivers Down Your Spine. I got to have the distinction of being the first person to direct an episode besides Mat. That was kind of a lot of pressure. Basically I was asked to drive the sports car and make sure to bring it back without any scratches, dents, or dings. Just knew I was going to have to drive carefully.
Well I got Tony’s script and saw immediately I could put two of my good friends that I’ve wanted to put as leads in something but just the right project hadn’t come up yet. Mike (The Dysfunctional Workshop) and Wes (Drunken Zombie). Both have helped with my other projects but I never had the right project hadn’t come up that they could both be the main focus. Wes has sort of been my go to guy when it comes to monsters and ghosts. He played the lead Shadow Man in Shadows and the body in Whisper. And me and Mike have thrown some ideas around about stuff we could do but really only a fake trailer for a contest was all we had really done together. So I knew both these guys were going to be able to shine in this.
One of the best things I loved was Mike’s portrayal of Kemp. I started to think about how Kemp would look and immediately a thought came to mind. As many know we at DZ frequent the horror conventions so we’ve met a lot of celebrities in the horror world. The funniest experience we’ve had is meeting William Forsythe. Nice guy. Always been super cool every time we’ve seen him. But one thing that we always laugh at is that when he walks down to his table at these conventions is that he just doesn’t give a fuck at all. He’s usually wearing sweat shorts (a little smaller pair than I’d like), slippers, and an old t-shirt with a track jacket over top of it. He prefers comfort to appearance. So I immediately decided this was Kemp’s style as well. Sweat shorts, slippers, and an old shirt. Mike went the extra step and brought an old robe. It completed the outfit. I instructed him to grow out his hair and beard. Not only did he do that but he also the day before the shoot shaved the back and sides of his head giving Kemp a sort of mullet mohawk sort of look. He was instructed by his wife that he would be shaving it the next day. Wes played the straight man in this scenario so really there wasn’t much prep for him. Just had to be as normal as possible.
We shot in late October hoping to get this in before it started to get cold. My family owns a farm so getting access to a barn was super easy. The first thing we decided when we got there was that we’d be changing the script a little as Kemp and Andy were supposed to be digging inside the barn. I had forgot that the floors were cement in our family barn. It turned out to help as we would then have very little lighting to do since it was all outside. A majority of this was filmed in chronological order and we started to film Kemp sitting in front of his garage when my step-dad’s mother came out of her house from across the driveway and asked if we could use this for our shoot. I look and she has a female mannequin dressed up in Native American garb. I immediately said “Yes. Yes we will.” So if you look as Andy pulls up you can see said mannequin in the background. There is actually a deleted scene from when Kemp is standing to take Andy over to the barn and he turns to the mannequin and says something like “I’ll be right back darlin’. Keep an eye on the place.” In editing it just didn’t really fit the flow so it got chopped.
Probably my favorite thing in the episode is the death scene. This is my first time working with blood and I had a definite idea of how I wanted it to go. We filmed everything we needed with both the actors being blood free. Then the idea was going to be that Kemp stabs Andy in the throat with the pitchfork and a gush of blood would splatter in Kemp’s face. We really only had one shot at this. I told Mike that it had to be flawless. No breaking character. No stumbling. No goofs. So we went over the scene a few times to make sure the framing was good and that everyone knew how it was going to go. As we went for THE take I sat below the camera with two squeeze bottles full of blood. Just waiting for the stab I was afraid I would mess it up. But he went for it and I just unloaded a gush of blood right into his face. Sure enough he went with it. Didn’t break, didn’t goof. It turned out great. And then the flip side of dumping a bunch of blood into Wes’ mouth and having him spit it up complimented it really well.
Then of course there is the editing by Dave. He did a great job. He added suggestions like repeating the shovel hit a couple of times that just added the punch to it. The guy is good at what he does.
So all in all I think Bait turned out really well. There are a few continuity mistakes in there (find them yourself!) and sure a few scenes I might have done a little differently but I’m very happy with the end result. It was all shot in 6 hours on a Saturday and I think turned out fantastic considering. It could have been a complete cluster fuck but it all went so smoothly that I was afraid we had missed something, but all the scenes on our shot list were accounted for. I wish every shoot could be that easy. Anyway I hope that you all enjoyed it and feel free to leave any feedback (positive or negative) below. Keep an eye out for next month’s episode Convention Girl on Deadlantern.com.
– Bryan Wolford (Director of Shadows, Whisper, Bait, and the upcoming Myctophobia)