Late May, I was
walking round Marwell with the kids and took a call from George Howarth from
Botley Co-op. I’d written to several
retailers requesting support for the 15 June hordes shoot, given the community
nature of the project in providing opportunities for local residents and
students, to get involved in film production.
recognised the value of the project and was keen to assist. He explained he’d be applying to head office
for £250 worth of stock, to include items such as bottled water, sausage rolls
etc. Nothing was guaranteed but this was
excellent news. I’d already asked extras
and crew to bring a packed lunch and decided not to broadcast this news in case
nothing came to fruition. Locks Heath
Waitrose had already supplied biscuits for the event, which were gratefully
somewhat of an amateur meteorologist in the weeks leading up to 15 June,
checking the weather outlook several times a day. During the course of production, I have come
to trust the BBC report more than the MET office. I find their weather map in particular to be
I’d heard the
weather for that weekend had been described as ‘unsettled’, which left me
feeling the same. So much planning had
gone into this shoot that nothing short of a storm would cause me to cancel
plans. But I knew even the slightest
amount of rain would either put people off attending or simply prevent us
getting all required shots. So much was
financially committed too. I was advised
within a fortnight of the event that we would no longer be permitted use of the
annex toilet on site. I therefore
arranged for three portaloos to be delivered the Thursday before. Without going into detail, let me just say
these were not cheap! Fortunately my
parents very kindly offered to cover the cost.
liability insurance was my next big cost.
Again, I won’t go into figures but ouchy! Let me just say it was either about the same
or perhaps even more than the total I have spent on the production to date
(excluding the portaloos!). I quite
simply was not prepared to go without and in any case, the landowners quite
rightly wanted evidence of this before the event.
I also believed
the event should have a risk assessment completed. I’d not done one before, but used a template
from work as a guide and made it relevant to our activity. I wanted to do everything as responsibly as
possible, given the numbers expected.
Safety always has to be the number one factor.
This was a
useful process, as it enabled me to think in more detail about planning jobs
for crew. I decided I’d need two crew
members to initially deal with parking.
I wanted both in hi-vis jackets and on hand to ensure cars parked where
and how needed. I wanted access left
available for emergency vehicles if required.
The weather the
week before was horrible. Rain, rain and
more rain. I think it was the Wednesday evening we had a particularly heavy
downpour and the landowner contacted me breaking the news he no longer wanted cars
parked on the six acre field through fear it would be too boggy.
Over a hundred
expected attendees and I’d just lost my parking. 48hrs to come up with a plan, on top of everything
I decided to
approach Woodhill school, which was just down the road. In fact, I was at work on the Thursday when
the toilets were delivered on site, so my dad (also Russ) oversaw their arrival
and then popped into the school to make the request. The receptionist took his details and said
the headmaster would phone later that evening.
heard until the Friday morning, when he received a voicemail stating it was
fine for me to park my vehicle there
– I just needed to hand them my registration! Clearly the request had not been
fully understood, so he shaved, booted and suited and popped back to the school
to make the request again. He clearly
made a good impression, as the school were on board. Phew!
I put an email out that afternoon confirming the revised parking
last issue, Steve Launay would not be present for the hordes shoot. I therefore popped over on the Thursday
evening to collect all the equipment.
Steve also leant me an antique gazebo.
On the Friday morning, I enlisted my wife, Selina, and my father to
assist me in constructing all five gazebos I had acquired.
The first three
were dead easy. However the Launay circa
1850 edition came with no instructions and consisted of a bunch of poles
resembling Meccano. We had no idea what
went where and every time we came close to fitting sides together, they came
apart and twatted us over the head.
There was evidence Steve had previously experienced similar issues, as
the poles had tape on the ends and we ended up following suit and taped
everything together! It was extremely
unstable until well-tethered.
We’d wasted an
incredible amount of time on that one gazebo, which took longer than the others
combined. When the fifth gazebo came out
its bag and we realised it was from the same era, we decided four were enough!
Next on the
list of chores was signage. I decided
when signed-in, each extra would be given the letter A, B or C and this would
correspond with not only what gazebo they reported to for makeup, but would
determine which zombie group they were part of on the main field. Briefing a hundred zombies in one go would be
extremely difficult but three people briefing a group of around thirty each
would be far more manageable.
I hung A, B and
C signs in the gazebos, along with a plan of the site and a Day 66 logo. Other Day 66 signs were placed at the
entrance to the site, opposite the front gate and on the main road through
Botley so people knew where to turn. I’d
made additional signs for parking attendants and to remind people that entry to
the main field was only permitted if they’d handed in their disclaimer.
My father had
kindly leant me five of his radios, which we then tested, along with a
megaphone he’d purchased online for a tenner.
These all worked fine – we could easily communicate from the field to
the school parking area. Given the
price, I’d not expected much from the megaphone but it worked a treat.
I received an
email from James Robinson from the Daily
Echo advising that the article he’d interviewed me for a few weeks earlier
would be in the Saturday 15 June paper.
They’d not wanted to publish it earlier in case it gave the location
With the site
prepped and extras and crew appraised of the new parking arrangements, that
evening all I had to do was pack my car with kit and props and try to
relax. Oh, and boil some eggs…
I woke up
around 4am on the Saturday unable to get back to sleep – things were playing
over in my mind about the big day. I saw
the article on the Echo website and stuck a link to the Day 66 social media
pages. I once again then checked the
weather and reckoned we’d be alright until about 1/2pm when it would likely
rain and not stop. But there was nothing
I could do.
I popped to the
Co-op on route to see if the supplies were ready. George was not in but staff assured me they’d
ring when stock arrived and was ready for collection.
I arrived on
site around 8.15am. It was a sunny, dry
start. Both fields felt firm. Good start.
sign-in duties to my mother, Helen.
Beacon member Mat Hasker took on parking duties in hi-vis, joined by my
father. Mat had the important role of
holding the Day 66 sign outside the school.
Mat has a lovely personality, ideal for meeting and greeting and he was
the perfect man for this job, as I’m quite sure extras will agree with. The last thing they needed was being met by a
‘don’t give a shit’ attitude, having given up their time to be there. Mat and my father had a radio each. “Parking” and “Old man” became their
impromptu call signs. My mother had one
too – “Sign-in”, as did I, “Director”.
Not rocket science! Totton
student, James Caven, was assigned gate duty and had the fifth and final radio
to start with.
picked up a slightly hungover Giorgio Cavaciuti from Botley train station. Giorgio had kindly come down from London for
the shoot, having celebrated his birthday the day before! I was impressed at his dedication! Both would be our primary camera operators
for the shoot.
Sam Warren also
attended, taking on sound duties and also used a second camera to get
alternative angle shots of the horde.
ever reliable on this production, was my assistant and was in charge of the
Liam Low Ying
was on behind-the-scenes photography and interview duty.
students Armin Penzes, Riley Cole, Midnight Cook, Shannon Harris and the
aforementioned James were runners.
Fellow student Matthew Wright was placed within the horde as a mole,
along with fellow moles Thomas Rawlings and my brother, Howard Tribe. I tasked them with taking charge of a zombie
students arrived than anticipated from the London college of Beauty Therapy but
there were still 19 of them, plus two lecturers. I was so grateful for the effort they went to
in travelling down from London by coach and they arrived extremely keen and
raring to go. Nine makeup students, plus
a lecturer, attended from Solent University.
They had exactly the same positive attitude towards the production. Lead injury detail makeup artists for the day
were the returning Molly Savery and Rhianna Kingdon. Both mucked in with helping getting the horde
I made a point
of meeting and greeting as many extras as I could, keen to thank them for
giving up their time. They were all
genuinely lovely, nice people and all seemed to instantly gel. I then addressed them all by megaphone and
explained the rough order of events.
As expected and
planned-for, some extras had arrived pre made-up, so whilst the majority were
still being ‘gorified’, we made a start around 9.50am. We filmed some shots at the bottom of the ten
acre field, where my character Jack appeared from the woods, followed by
members of the deceased community that would come to be known as the ‘tree
thought that Armin was competent with operating the boom, when in fact he’d never
used one. We therefore used the
opportunity to train student Armin and Billy oversaw this. Giorgio started on camera. When Sam arrived, he took a second camera and
got shots of the zombies from the side s they emerged from the tree line.
I received a
call from the Co-op confirming our supplies were ready for collection and
tasked my mother with collecting these.
Little did I know she’d require a small removal truck!
reached me that there had been no activity in the car park for an hour, I
called back my father and Mat and stood down James on the front gate. Mat was put on field guard duties. James gave his radio to Howard, so I had
means to communicate with the horde.
When the horde were all made-up, they made their way to the top end of
the field, awaiting instruction.
We still had a
few shots to finish where we were, so I sent Sam and Armin up to the top to
record foley sound including individual zombies, small groups and the whole
horde. With the odd sound-cameo by a dog
walker chatting over the fence.
I gather Luke
then took on the important role of keeping morale up within the horde whilst
they patiently waited, even getting them to floss! (As in the modern dance – not a mass zombie
teeth cleaning exercise). Howard also tells
me he was talking to them about Love Island and asking the vegetarians within
the horde why they wouldn’t eat meat and yet had a fascination with human
the bottom, so to speak, I was having trouble getting my primary weapon out, being
a baseball bat Jack had hammered nails into.
You may recall the anecdote…
Firstly, I was
incapable of reaching the bat, which was sticking out the bag on my back. Secondly, once we cheated things slightly, I
still couldn’t pull it out, as the nails kept catching the fabric.
proceeded to make hungover Giorgio jump out his skin, by charging at the camera
screaming “Arrrrrrgh!” without warning.
finished those shots, I sent everyone up the top end, whilst I dived into the
woods and swapped my clean jeans for a bloodier pair.
We then got
some great shots of the horde walking past the camera, along with shots of me
running amongst them with a hammer. Georgia
Jackson, of the Daily Echo, then
attended and took video and photographs of the action unfolding. I was briefly interviewed before cracking on
with further shots. I had planned to
follow these with aerial shots courtesy of Billy and his drone, however, the
weather took a turn for the worse and we experienced a downpour. I therefore called time for lunch. The announcement of the Co-op survival
package noticeably increased morale at a vital time! And blimey did they deliver the goods! A HUGE thank you to Botley Co-op for the
generous supply of goodies for our students, extras and crew.
As you can
imagine, rain stopped the minute we broke for lunch but the horde and crew
deserved the break. After lunch, I
noticed numbers had dropped in the horde.
It was then I realised numbers overall were not as expected.
I had pretty
much bang on a hundred extras confirmed to attend and exactly fifty turned
up. Of those fifty, nine went AWOL at
lunch. Still, the fact I hadn’t realised
until that point showed that having fifty extras out on that field forming a
horde still looked pretty impressive and given the nature of our film, actually
getting as many as fifty extras (not to mention the makeup and crew) involved
is spectacular in itself.
forecast and last minute parking issues, I’m not surprised some dropped
out. But I’d never have guessed such a
large percentage would and this is a learning point for future
filming and started with a shot by the tree line I’d missed in error involving
the baseball bat. I called for runners
to assist retrieving props and realised they’d gone AWOL too! Word reached me via radio they’d opted to
walk into Botley to get lunch! This was
frustrating, as at times I was having to act, direct and run across the ten acre field to get props myself.
Rhianna were then up for their first injury detail, a gash caused by the
bat. Then a laceration from the claw end
of the hammer. Then a head injury from
repeatedly smashing a head with the hammer…I’m hoping the BBFC are suitably
repulsed by all this when that time comes.
Talking of the
head smashing, I’d brought along a brain splatter mix I made in February. It consisted of fake blood, cranberries, and
bread – only now with an added layer of mould!
We positioned the camera – quite a new one for Beacon Productions – on
the ground near the mix, as I hit it several times with the hammer. I had hoped the mix would splat in my
face. However, very little hit me but a lot hit the camera, including the lens! After my last camera incident, I was hoping
to keep this one a little discreet, but the wonders of social media scuppered
those plans! Still, the shot looks
I had to make
some tough decisions. I cut one attack
sequence to save time. It involved my
least favourite injury. There was also a
bit where the claw end of the hammer was supposed to get imbedded in a zombie’s
forehead, which we would’ve achieved using wire, however, this would also be
too time consuming to set up, so I opted to have the extra simply hold it in
place. It actually comes across quite
funny – likely a much needed moment of comic relief.
Rhianna had a few more gory delights to work on but I had a couple of my own
too! I’d chopped the ends off those
boiled eggs and soaked them in fake blood overnight. I then carefully placed one on the end of my
knife and it gave the appearance of being an eyeball I’d ripped out poor Claire
Goble’s head. Those Goble’s don’t have
much luck with their eyes – poor Luke had a similar experience in mid-2018
during our very first zombie sequence.
followed by my favourite shot – me cutting open my brother’s stomach and
pulling out his intestines, involving those tights I talked about preparing in
a previous Venturer article. As a recap, they contained tissue paper and
had been tied together to form a long sausage-like string of guts. I’d then attached them to an old white t
shirt. I got Mat to abandon his post,
put on some gloves and soak the intestines in fake blood. Howard then put on this t shirt under his
other one and we carefully positioned the guts between the two layers. They worked a treat and disgusted those
present. A week later and the blood has
only just disappeared from my hands.
Rhianna then had a couple of knife-to-forehead applications to action, so we
sent a second camera to the six acre field to get close up shots of those and
other injury detail close-ups.
remaining shots were in the can, I decided the time had come to get the drone
up. It was no longer raining and Billy
confirmed conditions were suitable. The
drone was a great way to end the day. I
stood with Billy and crew towards the bottom of the ten acre field, well out of
shot. The horde made their way from the
top to mid field. It was fascinating
watching the drone in action. Billy is a
talented drone operator. There was still
a fair breeze but you’d never have guessed it from watching back the
footage. From the angle I had, it looked
like the front row of my horde were about to be decapitated. Whilst this would’ve looked great on camera,
it would not likely have gone down well at court. Fortunately, Billy assured me it was just perspective
and my extras were well clear!
We kept the
drone up to repeat the sequence of me running through them with a hammer. After one take, we repeated the shot, only
this time I’d let the zombies crowd a little too close round me. I therefore decided to end the day on an
unscripted zombie massacre, allowing the circle around me to tighten until I
was effectively bundled on the ground.
This adlibbed “alternative ending” was just for fun but ended the day on
a laugh and extras started a round of applause, proceeding to shake by hand one
by one, thanking me for a great day. It
was lovely to hear and I’m just glad that despite the conditions and waiting
around, so many of them still had a fantastic experience.
leaving and the crew assisted in a clear up.
Unfortunately, as I was packing away, I realised I’d lost my knife. You may recall from around May last year,
this had happened before and against the odds, I’d found it among the fallen
leaves of the Addison woods ground!
Alas, there was no finding it on this occasion. It was a bittersweet ending to the day, as
the knife had served Jack well throughout the film and it would’ve been a nice
prop to keep. I ran a load of rubbish
down the tip and enjoyed several alcoholic beverages that evening! Months of planning and stress was now over.
I returned to
the location the following afternoon, to pack away the gazebos. Fortunately, Steve had given me permission to
retire his, so I made another trip to the tip.
Monday’s Daily Echo featured an article on the
shoot. I am extremely grateful to the Echo for their interest in the film and
for helping spread word of the project.
shoot, one of the extras, Tippers Pritchard, has offered to edit the remainder
of the film. Tippers has worked with
Beacon Productions several times before and I look forward to seeing his work
on Day 66.
reading the comments on social media, specifically Facebook, that followers of Day 66 have left regarding the
shoot. Several people have uploaded
their own photos, which was fab as I didn’t have opportunity to take many
Liam took lots
of photos and behind the scenes videos and intends on putting together a mini
documentary on the day. I look forward
to seeing that when completed. Liam has
also messed around with one or two videos he took on the day and my personal
favourite is the clip of me running amok with the hammer, to which he put the
Guile theme from Street Fighter! There’s also a hilarious Bullseye darts clip, which I’ll let you discover for yourself over
on our social medias!
The thing I’m
most proud of is managing to make this all come together on the day. It was lovely meeting so many like-minded
(warped minded?!) strangers, who share a love for the genre. All the outfits and makeup were
brilliant. Everyone was extremely
friendly and made a top effort.
As this was the
biggest shoot that Beacon Productions have undertaken, I intend on sending out
a feedback survey to extras and crew, so we can learn from any shortcomings and
discover what we did well that should be repeated in future. I’m a firm believer in seeking feedback, as
it shows people not only you care about their opinions but it provides an
opportunity to better yourself and working practices of the club.
foley sound will be required for several scenes and then Mat Hasker will need
to work his magic with the soundtrack. Liam
and I have also started work on the opening credits sequence. I intend on arranging a premier once the film
is completed, which will serve as a wrap party too!
once again to all supporters, extras, cast, makeup teams and crew that have
worked on Day 66 to date. You are all legends.
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)
for updates on progress. Taking a few
seconds to follow us, and re-tweet / share our posts really does make the
difference in getting word out there!