Now it’s time to give you a bit of writing about our second ever Halloween Special, Spooky Club. We had such fun making Death Master’s House last year that we couldn’t resist following up the tradition. You can see Death Master’s House below and read our production blog by clicking here.
Trying not to repeat the same mistakes as last year, we starting writing this short a couple of months in advance. We finished the script 5 days before shooting. We won’t make the same mistake next year though.
We actually wrote about 10 different scripts that we considered filming but never quite felt happy with them. Most were really good but if at some point in any script there’s the line “then something else happens” or “fuck it all, this is all just shit” you know that it’s time to move onto something else. I don’t think the script or any notes for Spooky Club contained any of the aforementioned phrases so we knew we were on to a winner!
We had a week to get all the costumes and props together. Usually I quite enjoy sourcing things but the less time you have, the more expensive things tend to get. Also, we needed stuff shipped quickly. Amazon Prime is a lifesaver under these circumstances and their return policy is also great. I’m surprised that I haven’t been blacklisted yet for copious amount of returns. That weekend I ate like a king. By king I mean that I had a disgusting Mac and Cheese Pot Noodle and a chip cob. Evidence of the latter is below.
We spent ages carving pumpkins for this film. Here’s a picture of us carving pumpkins for the film. I hope you enjoy it.
We shot Spooky Club in Sherwood Forest, at the same place that we filmed Death Master’s House. Because of our budget and time constraints we had to camp there. However, Rowan (who played Whitby) stood in dog shit and managed to smear it all over the inside of his tent. This meant he had to join myself, Lloyd and Michael (who played Franklin) in sleeping in our production HQ, which was a dark room with no heating and a hard concrete floor. Michael compared it to the Hilton, but I suspect he was lying due to the fact it was nothing like the Hilton.
Our luxuries extended to a bag of Candy Corn, which has to be imported over to the UK as the food colourings in them are illegal over here. When I was younger I used to go hyperactive when I consumed Sunset Yellow and Tartrazine (orange) colourings. My Mum once had to fetch me from a friend’s birthday party when I started dancing on a table with an upturned bowl of crisps on my head. Apparently I was also foaming at the mouth. Unfortunately the effects aren’t so pronounced nowadays and my fun factor only increases by around 10% as opposed to the 200% increase of old.
Filming itself was mostly a lot of fun. We only planned on shooting for one day but the camera’s hard drive decided to freak out for a few hours, which meant we lost all the daylight we needed to finish up. One of our actors was unavailable on the second day so we had to scrap all the footage we had in the can and do a rewrite so that she wasn’t needed. It worked out well in the end but unfortunately for Clare, she got kicked out of Spooky Club. What a bummer! Here’s a picture from a scrapped scene where Clare was involved in the heist.
Another issue we had was the resident dogs at the property. Max, a fifteen year old Alsatian, is on his last legs so often wandered into shots, slumped on the ground and then made noises as if he was about to die. Being a huge dog, with legs that barely worked, it wasn’t easy to move him once he collapsed. He also enjoyed eating our pumpkins. I’m not sure how healthy they are for dogs but at least he’s close to the end anyway. Also, don’t look closely at Max’s dick in this picture. He’s got a stiffy and it’s a bit rank
Rowan really enjoyed getting to portray Whitby, the halloween king, again. I think he especially enjoyed the hour long makeup process and the half an hour it took to remove at the end of the night. Michael also had to have a full face of makeup which he struggled to remove. At least now he’s doing his thing to transcend all race barriers by cultivating his own brand of grey skin.
For the voice of Alfred The Creep we got in touch with the awesome co-director of Swiss Army Man, Daniel Schienert (who's one half of the directing duo, Daniels). They make amazing films, music videos and commercials and also have really nice American voices that make us British people sound like awful, boring nerds. Daniel was kind enough to record a load of lines and email them over to us. They are probably the highlight of the film.
For anyone interested in the technical side of things, we shot our film on the Digital Bolex with Veydra lenses, using three F&V LED light panels and two Dedo Lights.
As we are always on a super tight budget (aka poor), we never have a director of photography, gaffer, sound man or anything that extends past a group of friends banding together to take on numerous jobs that none of us are remotely qualified to do. It’s often very stressful but we get the job done and keep costs down. I think the cost of this short totalled around £200.
We also had six people playing the Alfred The Creep during the weekend. If you weren’t busy and were in the vicinity of the camera, chances are you ended up wearing the ghost sheet.
For some shots we used a dolly which I constructed using my non existent DIY skills the week before. It cost me about £50 and was made from items that I found at the local DIY store and some skateboard wheels and bearings I already had. It would have been much cheaper if I didn’t keep buying the wrong nuts and bolts. By the end of the week I lost count of how often I visited B&Q and I still don’t know what M6 roofing bolts are.
Oh yeah, as has become tradition, we threw all the pumpkins in a bush when we'd finished with them. It never gets old. Wanna see proof? Fine, we'e got it! See below.
Anyway, that’s all folks. Here’s some more pictures from the shoot. Thanks to Tom Crabb for taking a lot of them. Happy Haunts and thanks for checking this out!