Your new movie Zombie
Dust - why a zombie movie, is that a genre you're at all fond of,
and why (not)? And some of your genre favourites?
always been a fan of zombie movies. The first I can remember was George
Romero's Dawn of the Dead back when zombies were zombies and could
hardly move without an arm or a leg falling off and when you would shout
at the screen "Just walk quickly past them, you'll be alright!"
Surprisingly I also really liked the 2004 Zack Snyder remake (I feel bad
for saying, maybe even more than the original). More recently I have
really loved the zombie comedies that have come out, the best of
which, in my opinion, is Zombieland.
did the project come into being in the first place?
Dust really started by accident (yes we accidently
made a zombie movie), my son was studying a film course and had to come up
with an idea for his second project, I suggested that he do a zombie
movie. Before starting the project however he decided to switch courses
and there was no longer a need for the project. So, as would be the normal
response, my wife and I decided that we would do it instead (a few beers
may have played a part in that decision!).
While planning Zombie
Dust, I thought that it would be great
to set up a non-profit production company (more like a filmmaking club)
which would give people the chance to get involved and perhaps encourage
young people to get into the industry. With lots of interest but no
experience in the field we would need to get a few projects under our
belts and then try to tap into the wealth of experience that there is here
in Ireland and in particular in the North, with productions such as Game
of Thrones, The Fall, Your Highness and the upcoming
Dracula film all
being filmed here and get the professionals in to spread their
knowledge and experience (that's for the future though).
were your sources of inspiration when writing Zombie
Dust, and how much of what got onto the screen was actually in the
script, how much was improvised?
The sources of inspiration
were many and varied, from the obvious Zombieland, to cheesy
lines inspired by films like Airplane and right down to "Tick, tick,
tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick. - How many ticks is
that..." from Reservoir Dogs. Actually quite a lot of what you see
(hear) was in the original script albeit with a few on-set-pencilled in
last minute changes and a few adlibs that worked better than the original.
The script actually started a lot smaller but we had found ourselves
adding scenes as more people wanted to get involved we didn't want to turn
anyone down - after all it was really just a bit of fun.
How would you describe
your directorial approach to your subject at hand?
Paul McMurrough with zombie Gerard Broderick
this was my 'directorial debut' (sounds very grand), I had nothing to go
on in terms of previous similar projects, so I approached it the same way I
do in my professional life (i.e. as a control freak) - I tried to control
every aspect of the process personally; from the script, location
selection, pre-production, production, camera, FX, editing, everything
- which in the end meant that we missed some opportunities to get more out
of the times when we had a lot of people on set in full makeup.
also appear in front of the camera in your movie - so how much fun was it
to play spaced-out zombiehunter Zed?
I had intended to stay
behind the camera at first but as so many people were really throwing
themselves into it and stepping outside their comfort zones I thought it
only right that I give people the chance to laugh at my wooden acting.
Actually the first half of the Zombie Hunter scene turned out to be at the
top of the shot list and so was the very first thing that we filmed. It
was shot in a local park and as if trekking through a public park
with a homemade dolly system, tripod and camera with a body building
zombie wasn't bad enough I had to do it wearing a fake gun, a crazy
hat and ith a wooden sword on my back. Needless to say a few
people chose an alternative route to walk their dog once they saw us.
What can you tell
us about the rest of your cast, and why exactly these people?
of the cast are friends or friends of friends, and in the case of the
Zombie Daycare-scene, all their kids. There turned out to be around 40 cast
Dust. Every time I tentatively asked someone if they would
like to get involved, expecting to be told to 'wise up', they jumped
at the idea and couldn't wait to get involved. Bare in mind we are
all professionals mostly in our thirties with absolutely no experience in
any film-related discipline. (During a mid-life crisis some people buy a
boat or a sports car - here in Ireland we make zombie movies!)
can you tell us about the actual shoot, and the on-set atmosphere?
movie was shot over 6 shoots spread across about 4 weeks. The most
memorable shoot was the party scene. For this we
brought in couple of beers and few cases of pizza (or maybe it
was the other way round). We shot the 'pre-infected' shots and
started doing the makeup, Natasha Barr was leading the makeup task with some
'help' from a few others, although it turned out that one of the helpers
thought that we were making a sequel to The Smurfs and started painting
everyone bright blue (Clare?). The makeup took quite a long time (longer
for me as I was the only person not drinking) but by the time it came
to shooting the rest of the scene everyone managed to get into character
very well, either that or they were just completely wasted, either
way they could hardly stand up or talk, which came in very handy. The
apartment where we shot the scene had a balcony which backed on to a local
hotel so when a few hotel guests heard some commotion at 3am and looked
out their bedroom windows they saw a hoard of zombies heading for the
elevators. For some reason they complained to the management???
key question of course, where can the movie be watched?
Dust can be seen on YouTube -
can you tell us about audience and critical reception of your movie so
For the screening of the movie we approached the local cinema
who were only too happy to screen it for us. So for our 'world premiere' we filled a 100 seater theatre with the cast and family and
friends. I don't think anyone asked for their money back but I can't be
Since putting the movie up on YouTube, the feedback has
been very good. Some good comments and I don't think anyone has taken
it too seriously. It would be good to get some constructive technical
feedback so that we can improve for our next project.
As far as I know, when making Zombie
Dust, you (like everyone else involved) were pretty much a
beginner when it came to filmmaking. Any filmmaking experience prior to
Yes we were all complete beginners. The extent of
our experience would be that a few of us have done some extra work in
the past (including a half second shot of the back of my head on Game of
Thrones - Spielberg has not called yet, he must be busy!). A couple of the guys
are going to try to beat my half second record on the upcoming season.
The only person with any professional production experience
(on the music side) would Neil Lavery, who, as well as playing the
role of Dave, composed and performed all the music for the movie. Neil's
soundtrack is available on iTunes.
After the experience of making Zombie
Dust, could you ever be tempted to return to the director's chair
again/any future projects?
Yes - would love to, although I
would also be happy stay in the role of producer (closer to the
project management work that I do in the real world) and let someone with
a better eye take the big chair. We have two further shorts (much shorter
this time) in planning, both horror/chillers, at least one of which I
would like to get out later this year. Although we need to wait until
we get a decent camera (Zombie
Dust was shot entirely on a Panasonic
Lumic FZ150 which doesn't even have a manual focus ring).
How would you describe
yourself as a director?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
An absolute beginner who has
learned so much from so many mistakes.
Filmmakers who inspire you?
Tarantino, JJ Abrams, Steven Spielberg (is it wrong to George Romero?).
Saving Private Ryan, Forrest Gump, Django Unchained.
... and of course, films you really
The Happening - I usually like Mark Wahlberg but
WTF? What was really great was the way the lead actors made it look like
they had never acted before in their lives - that is a real skill.
Your/your movie's website, Facebook, YouTube,
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/zombiedustmovie
MeAndMeMates Productions - www.mammproductions.com
Thanks for the