Writer/Director Jesse Blanchard and his Portland, OR Puppetcore group are creating a feature length monster extravaganza called Frank and Zed. The monster needs his zombie and his zombie needs him. Their domestic life goes swimmingly until the pesky villagers show up with their torches and pitchforks and war axes.
Puppetcore wanted it Indie. They wanted it handmade. The wanted it crowd-funded. They live in the Pacific Northwest where there are few studios and other resources so they decided to make it all themselves building their own puppets and using practical effects funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign.
The film is almost finished, but they need more funds for the final shots and have opened another kickstarter to raise the money. The Puppetcore website has more details and the new Frank and Zed Kickstarter page has more videos and opportunities to get in on the finishing efforts for the film.
We had a few questions for Jesse about the project.
When do you expect to be complete?
If our Kickstarter is successful, we should have it complete by December or Early January. The primary components are the miniatures and score as well as specialty insert shots (For instance, rats transforming into blood-thirsty mini-monsters and mini-puppets being launched out windows trailing their intestines.)
What’s next after that, are you hitting the festival circuit?
Yes, the festival circuit appears to be the best way to cut through the noise and get noticed. That said, I’m dying to start work on my next film; if some other opportunity pops up, I will jump on it. (This being life, who knows what will happen.) I have been contacted by a couple producers/distributors but nothing has felt right so far.
Give us some stats about the film.
The trailer was shot, crafted, edited, etc all in less than 400 square feet of space. Since the original trailer debuted, we’ve completed another 1,200 shots on the film. We average 11 shots/day but many shots take a full day to shoot by themselves. This, of course, does not include any of the fabrication of the sets, characters, or props. Current cut is 87 minutes. Should clock in about 90 minutes when done with 5 minutes for the credits.
What is it like making the film?
We made the original fire-breathing puppet using hot glue. When it came time to film, we’re squirting alcohol out his mouth for the flames and with every take, whatever doesn’t burn soaks into the puppet. So, you’re up to your shoulder in an alcohol drenched wad of felt squirting at a torch in your other hand. Then, we realize, that the alcohol is acting as a release on the hot glue so the whole thing is disintegrating on top of you. Of course, the poor puppet finally went up in flames and we had to be totally rebuilt.
The film ends in a crazy, epic battle called, ‘The Orgy of Blood.’ I was actually scared to show the storyboards to the crew because it was over 450 shots and ended up being 30 minutes long. I love how the battle turned out but it was over 3 months of shooting which was an exhausting way to end principle photography.