Day 66 – planning the hordes

I wrote my first Day 66 article for Venturer magazine on 1st May 2018.  That was a year and a day ago, at time of writing.

I had no idea we would still be filming this far into 2019!  The hordes on 15 June should mark the end of shooting, except for perhaps a few pick up shots here and there, as may be required.

April 2019 saw the first month of no Day 66 filming since production began.  I did disappear for 12 days to Kuala Lumpur and Phuket, but since returning have been starting to consider how I am going to pull off the feat of bringing together so many extras and crew in June.

Back in early 2018 I revisited an abandoned airfield in Hamble, with Steve Launay and Jon Leech.  Whilst it looked great, it wasn’t far enough away from surrounding buildings to suit the hordes.  This needed to be set in the middle of nowhere.  The New Forest would have been great, but for a few reasons we decided against filming there.

The work colleague’s property we’ve filmed at in Titchfield would have been ideal, however, that location has been exhausted with previous filming.  It would have been obvious we’d already been there.  We needed somewhere fresh.

Around February this year, I visited Queen Elizabeth country park on the South Downs and Royal Victoria country park at Netley, Hampshire.  Both locations were excellent, having parking, toilet facilities and open fields which suited my vision for the hordes.  I decided QE country park was too far away from where the majority of extra volunteers were coming from.  I was denied filming permission over at Netley, which was disappointing given the nature of the project and the real community spirit that is behind it.  But I accepted the decision and moved on.

I mentioned my struggles to my folks and they suggested I contact a friend of theirs, aware he had a plot of land that may be what I was looking for.

I met the landowner at their address near Botley, Hampshire.  It was perfect.  The land consists of two fields, of six and ten acres.  The six acre would suit parking and the ten acre the hordes filming.  There were trees blocking the view of houses behind, another tree line blocking view of his house, and the field was on a gradual slope, meaning nothing could be seen over the brow.  There are one or two houses to one side but nothing clever planning can’t overcome.

I think the land used to be used for strawberry pickers, so he’d built an annex consisting of a toilet for the pickers to use.  I was informed we could have use of that, so along with the parking and middle-of-nowhere feel, all requirements were met.

There was one catch – the field would be growing hay until late May, early June, so we’d either need to film the scene end March, or wait until June.  There was no way in hell I was going to be ready by end March, so mid June suited fine.

I emailed all the hundreds of people who had volunteered approaching a year beforehand, to be zombie extras.  I fully expected the vast majority of those people to have lost interest in the project.  Some considerable time had passed as progress had been slower than anticipated.  The response was fantastic, especially considering the date of filming.  I’ve had around 70-80 extras confirm for the 15 June shoot, along with another 23 or so performing arts students from Southampton, and around 34 make up artists from a London university.

I’m pleased to welcome back the three main make up artists who have helped on the project to date – Molly, Rhianna and Penny.  They should be able to ensure a level of continuity in the make up and I’ve tasked them all with various injury detail that will need applying on the day.  Let’s see just how disgusting we can make things this time!

At the time of writing, things are a little uncertain in terms of crew.  I desperately need members of Beacon to volunteer their help – whether it be to control the crowds of zombies, be a parking attendant, a runner or simply there to watch what promises to be one of the most ambitious filming days in Beacon’s history.  Any Beacon members worried they’ve missed the opportunity to get involved as a zombie extra – fear not!  There’s still time! The more the merrier!  Just get in touch ASAP please whatever you wish to get involved in.  It really will be appreciated.

I’ve started planning shots but haven’t got far – this will be my May task!  Along with an interesting prop idea I’ve had which involves making intestines, but I’ll write more about that another time!

PLEASE REMEMBER – We need as many Beacon members getting involved with the hordes as possible.  Not only Beacon members, but friends and family too, so please please please spread the word!  Contact me via email (find it on the club’s global emails) or via Facebook or any of the below Day 66 social medias.  Thank you for your continued support!

Don’t forget to check out the Day 66 website, www.day66.uk, and also follow us on Twitter (@Day66_Movie), Facebook (Day 66 Movie), Snapchat and Instagram (day66movie).  Taking a few seconds to follow us, and re-tweet / share our posts really does make the difference in getting the word out there!  AND CONTACT US TO GET INVOLVED!  SUPPORT YOUR CLUB!  WE NEED EXTRAS AND CREW MEMBERS!  Thanks allJ

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