The Survival From Concept to Reality

mike_dewittIndependent film making is like taking a trip into the wilderness where the goal is survival. The big wigs aren’t there with seemingly limitless pockets to be a buoy when problems occur, actors and actresses are getting paid very little, if anything at all, and creativity is a must. The ultimate goal is completion, and it takes dedication and flexibility.

Survival isn’t a choice, it’s the only option.

For Dustin Bacon and David Scott Lopez – and their 2011 short film Hunting Tripa trip into the wilderness built a friendship, and a survival instinct, that continues to create independent films. On October 29, their newest work, an idea transcribed back in April of 2014, will be released for public consumption.

It started as a 24-page script designed to pay homage to the 1985 film Return of the Living Dead. It has since grown into a film almost an hour and a half in length.

Filming began in June of 2014 and wrapped up a few months later in September. Although, the ending did need a re-shoot that was filmed just this past month!

Courtesy of Michael Thayer/Thayer Photography
Courtesy of Michael Thayer/Thayer Photography

With the filming completed, the work was far from over. 400 hours of editing and special effects were necessary to get the film up to the standards Dustin and David set for themselves.

Dustin and David have separate roles that makes their partnership, their friendship, work cohesively. Dustin likes to focus on the work behind the camera. The editing, equipment, and directing are his forte. Don’t write Dustin off as an actor though, he will dabble in front of the camera if the movie needs it.

David is the main talent on screen. Not only does he take on a large acting role, but he also acts a teacher to the other actors on set. While David’s IMDB page is littered with small, independent films, he recently had a speaking part in the future blockbuster Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Many challenges meet an independent film: money pitfalls and technological limitations are two big ones, but Dustin has discovered the biggest hurdle of all… time.

“It’s so difficult to find time for everyone to come together and film,” Dustin explains, “Everyone has busy schedules. You end up using all your weekends to get everyone together. We had one scene where we filmed a party and then staged a fight scene outside of the garage. We ended up filming until 3 a.m. the next morning because we had to get it done! We didn’t have time to per-choreograph the fights either.”

Return of the Dead 2Dustin and David made things easier on themselves by using equipment they already owned. No extra equipment was needed, so no sponsors had to be found. In all, the final cost for the movie ended up being what was spent on food for the cast, a whopping $600.

When Dustin takes a step back, he let’s the accomplishment sink in, “We made a feature film on a shoe-string budget. We took a concept we had and put it into reality.”

Return of the Dead will be premiering at Celebration! Cinema Rivertown on October 29 at 7 p.m. Click here to purchase your ticket!