Tag Archives: First Feature

Indie Horror Journal: Bringing the Child Eater to Life Part 4

Colin_Child_Eater_2After nearly a month in Catskill, New York, we’ve completed three weeks of principal photography on Child Eater and have just a single day of shooting left to go. But before we make our way down to New Jersey to shoot the hospital portion of the script, it’s well worth revisiting certain experiences from the past week because it was certainly the most challenging of the shoot.

Lesson 1: Weather Sucks

One of my favorite parts about being a producer is problem solving. Something goes wrong and you fix it; it’s that simple. However, no matter how hard you work, for the most part, there’s just nothing you can do about weather. When we put together our shooting schedule back in March, we had a number of things we needed to schedule around. At that point, the priorities were an actress that we had to fly in from Los Angeles for a short period of time and also accommodating the day-set and night-set material in a way that our call times would get later and later each day so that our cast and crew had a proper turnaround. A few days in, something else took precedence – our child actor. He had to be wrapped by 10pm on school nights and midnight on weekends, and as unforeseen factors forced us to make changes to the schedule, we absolutely ran the risk of jeopardizing that requirement.

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Indie Horror Journal: Bringing the Child Eater to Life Part 3

Colin_Child_EaterIt’s hard to believe it, but we just finished up week two of principal photography on Child Eater. I’d be lying if I said everything went swimmingly, but there was loads of successful troubleshooting and problem solving and, in the end, we managed to walk away with exactly what we needed.

Lesson 1: The RV that Changed Everything

For the majority of this week, we shot in a two-story house that also has a two-story barn on the property. Initially, we thought there’d be more than enough space for our grip truck, art department storage, catering, craft service, holding, hair, makeup, wardrobe and, of course, our set, and there was, but we didn’t factor in the production office appropriately. For the first day of shooting in the house, myself, Luke (producer), Alvaro (UPM) and Katie Valovcin (2nd AD) crammed into a bedroom to set up shop. We managed, but weren’t as efficient as we could have been had we had a quieter space, all on our own. We had to sit with laptops on our laps, couldn’t print anything while rolling and constantly had people walking in and out of the room grabbing equipment and other items left there for storage. We made it work, but it was far from ideal. However, an RV changed it all.

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Indie Horror Journal: Bringing the Child Eater to Life Part 2

Cait_Colin_Child_EaterFor part 1 of this indie horror journal that looks at the making of Child Eaterclick here.

Week one of Child Eater is officially complete. We shot six very full days, drank pots and pots of coffee, saw the sun rise four times, and added three new vehicles to our fleet, but we did it and did it quite well at that.

Every stitch of footage is all that we hoped for and more, but there’s no denying that there was quite a bit of troubleshooting to set the bar that high and then keep it there. I could probably write a book about what I’ve learned about making a feature based on these first six days alone, but for the sake of brevity, I’ve isolated four pivotal lessons and experiences that are vital for any filmmaker to know.

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Indie Horror Journal: Bringing the Child Eater to Life Part 1

Child_Eater_Short_PosterStep 1: Film School

While enrolled in Columbia University’s Film MFA Program with a focus in creative producing, I was required to team up with a writing or directing student who had a feature length script so that we could take it through my feature film development and pre-production courses. Any writer or director interested in participating sent in preliminary details and then those details were put into a binder sorted by genre. Naturally, when I got ahold of that binder, I flipped straight to the horror section. It probably won’t come as a surprise to know that compared to the drama section, the horror one was sparse. In fact, I only had three options, but fortunately, one of them wasn’t just the best of the bunch, a last resort or adequate enough – it was above and beyond anything I could have hoped for. Sure enough, I instantly hit it off with the man behind that script, Erlingur Thoroddsen, and not only did we agree to work together through those two courses, but continue our collaboration well after and fulfill one of our thesis requirements by making a short film together. And so begins the tale of Child Eater.

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