In the dark woods, screaming for your life?
In your dreams perhaps, or on a video game?
Yes, really! Ok, it was a film set, but still …
One of my favourite jobs ever, to this day, was working on the Zombie Diaries, right after I graduated from drama school. I already knew that film was where my heart lay and landing a plum role in this indie feature felt like a huge validation – and it was so much fun!
We really did run around in the dark, in the woods, screaming and being chased by Zombie extras. It was exhilarating!
It was shot in the style of The Blair Witch Project (if you remember that) with lots of handheld cameras and improvised scenes and dialogues. As with all films, we didn’t shoot scenes sequentially, so my first day on set was actually shooting my last scene in the film. I freely admit that half the time, I had no idea what was going on!
The big surprise however, was how hugely popular the film became. We even had a premiere at Leicester Square in London, complete with hundreds of Zombie fans all dressed up. And the two directors, Mike and Kevin, worked tirelessly to secure a worldwide distribution deal. Somewhere in the world I am dubbed into Chinese and Russian!
Here’s what you might not know about indie films. They take a massive amount of effort, skill and time to make, because they don’t have the big bucks behind them. Film sets are like huge machines with every cog making an essential contribution – and let me tell you, the acting is a very small part of that behemoth, though of course we get all the attention and glory. Making indie films is twice the work because you are constantly on a shoestring, making do and mending as you go. Organising a cast and crew who have put their faith in you and your vision is no mean feat and at the very least you have to feed them well and look after them, because who knows when the money will come, if ever?
Which is a lot like the entrepreneurial journey, right? We throw our faith into our product or service and keep going despite the bumps along the road, despite not being entirely sure whether the money will come, eventually. Learning as we go, picking up software skills and marketing techniques and hauling ourselves out of bed every day because we BELIEVE.
Doubly so for product based businesses. Making products takes a massive amount of effort, skill and time and a huge amount of faith and belief and persistence – even though you are practically guaranteed not to make money, at least not a fortune, at least not in the early days.
That is why I LOVE working with product makers. Because, like indie filmmakers, they BELIEVE in their craft and they never stop, they keep going and bring the rest of us along for the ride. That passion is contagious – like a Zombie virus!
And that’s why it’s important to tell us your story. We want to hear from you about your passion, inspiration, adversity and joy. We want to hear all about the Zombies knocking at your door, telling you to give up and stop running towards your goal. We want a piece of you!
That’s why one of my 3 Secrets to Selling Your Product Online is Identity. Showing us your uniqueness, your character and your face!
As for the Zombie Diaries? Well I did get paid eventually. Two years after we wrapped a very healthy cheque was posted to me and I was glad, not only that I had put my faith in Mike and Kevin and their vision, but to have played a part in the overall story. Because, although that was well over a decade ago, the guys went on to make Zombie Diaries 2 and are now making another movie in the same ‘universe’ as well as digitally remastering the original film; truly a visual demonstration of tenacity and belief.
It was SO much FUN!!