Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Slowly But Surely

So, after many months of kicking and screaming I finally release what was supposed to be the "Halloween episode" in late January of 2010.

Now once Halloween passes the holiday season surely becomes another distraction, not to mention a scheduling nightmare with other people who work on this web series for free.
I can't stress about that, it's quite understandable. But still, sometimes I do wish I had the kind of budget (since I have none) where I can tell the entire cast to take off 2 weeks from work so we could film non-stop for that particular period of time. I would be able to knock out all of season 1 in no time.

But in the end episode 5 (which we began shooting back in August) was finally uploaded to the main site at for those of you who are living under a rock (haha)
And I must say, this seems to be the most popular episode so far. Give `em a small splash of blood and they respond with great excitement, it seems. Just wait to see what's next.

Anyway, since then I was lucky enough to have Dead Road reviewed by a few websites, all who have given the series nothing but positive praises (usually a 4 out of 5 rating) great news.

Still the lack of an audience is very noticeable at least to me being the creator of this series.
Between all the social networking and the very small efforts made by friends and family to get the word out (apparently they must think it advertises itself) it's kinda frustrating. I'm not expecting huge numbers, but at least more than what I'm seeing. The traffic is slow.

Not exactly sure what else I can do to get the word out. I mean people just want instant gratification, but if you utter the words "help us get the word out" they lose all sense of community, whether they are Myspace/Facebook friends... Or followers of the ever-useless Twitter. And these days e-mails are just not being read it appears.
I understand that these are hard times and people are busy, but I don't think I'm asking for too much. Anyway...

I guess my friends and family like to hear I'm doing "well" as long as they have nothing to do with it. I still have friends who have not seen any of the episodes. Or people who ask me on social networks where could they find the link... What?

In other news, between you and me, I'm really starting to hate episode 1. I think it's terrible and I do plan to do a quick re-edit to cut out some of the painful dialog that still makes me twitch when I hear it. I feel like I'm rambling right now...

Anyway, throughout the making of all 5 episodes so far I still have the same usual audio problems (which is starting to improve) and the lack of extras... It's like no one truly cares...
I mean, they make it to the zombie walks all over the tri-state area so you would think that being in an actual series would be something any of these people would be interested in.

I've also tried going to these zombie walks to gather extra stock footage, perhaps to be used for future episodes... But I can tell you that idea is one big FAIL. For the most part all the participants at these zombie walks are way too giddy and happy to give you any usable footage. Then you have the zombie that's smoking a cigarette, the zombie that's just walking around not in character. And the zombies that just talk among themselves. But whatever, that's not really important. Just another experiments in this on-going real life saga.

Anyway, other than the never-ending task of trying to schedule film shoots with an impossible cast (due to their jobs of course, I care a lot about every single one of them) I remain stuck at the same problem with never having enough zombie extras...

However another huge problem that has surfaced is the big location for the big shootout I planned for episode 10. Which would be shot in Pennsylvania. The owner of the place has recently been involved in some legal problems and completely cut us off. God Damn!
This will be a very difficult location to replicate, but I will definitely find a substitute. I have to.

It's exhausting work, which I will never stop since I love it so much... But between every day stress at home, stress due to the economy, stress due to delusions of grandeur and other self inflicted obstacles I'm moving forward.

I'll admit my thoughts are becoming blurred as time passes and keeping a grip on things is becoming difficult, but I refuse to become another cliche' if you know what I mean... I will remain and always aspire to be known as an artist at the end of the day.

Onward to episode 6!!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Reaching Episode 5

As I get closer to completing episode 5 certain things have developed... Besides the fact that I am currently unemployed, due to my previous employer's cash flow issues.

I'm currently waiting it out for another month or so, to see if the call back they promised will indeed materialize. Currently I'm collecting unemployment (peanuts) and being raped on rent.

Meanwhile with episode 5 about 85% shot, I've come to a complete stop... I have 2 more scenes to shoot, but financial complications are keeping me from moving forward. The funny thing is that I don't really need much financially, but that little bit that I do need is just beyond my grasp and it's extremely aggravating.

I've learned a few things:
Life at home is definitely not for me, while I'm definitely a home-body to some extent. And I do enjoy to sit at home and work on my material whether it's music, scripts, images or audio editing... Or just trying to find the time to enjoy a DVD. I am definitely a workaholic and not having that portion of the day where I'm in the office is killing me slowly but surely. I need to function in a labor-like environment. I don't slack and I like to keep busy. Doing the family thing works better for me after I've arrived home from a long day's work.

Other than that personal outburst, in respect to DEAD ROAD... I recently planned what I wanted to be a large scale scene, with lots of zombies. Between facebook, Myspace and the ever-useless Twitter... I had the word spread out all over the internet. I tried to tap into as many zombie-related sites as possible. I had a few hits and some people confirmed... Everyone promising to bring people. I even made it so that the shoot would begin at 2PM (contrary to my preference) Instead of the usual 5 or 6AM wake up call.

Endless amounts of texts and e-mails as well, to assure that I can get a big crowd to show up at the (perfect) location that I was able to get. With an overwhelmingly apprehensive feeling in the back of my mind, I continued.

This was set for October 25th, just in time for Halloween... Who could ask for a better time? I tentatively tried for the 18th as well, but everyone was agreeing for the 25th. So I made my decision... When everything was set in motion and the day approaching faster than you can say "what the fuck is going on?" I was all geared up and ready to go...

A couple of issues with scheduling the regular cast was to be expected, not a big deal. But the night before the big shoot the symphony of cancellations and straight up ignoring started to throw a gigantic monkey wrench into the whole thing.

The situation was looking quite pathetic, but I kept going forward... I finally arrive to the set for that day. Where I once had about 20 to 30 people confirmed, with friends and all. I ended up with only 1 single friend showing up to play a zombie... Just 1.
There were about 3 actual people I never met who heard about it and showed up. One of them made a few phone calls and got another few people to show up as well. Lucky for me.

So I ended up with about 11 zombie instead of the planned 30 or 40, not nearly enough. But I shot anyway, thinking I might as well make them all tight shots and fix it later in the editing room as I always do. The make up was set, the blood was splashed around, the lines were horribly performed since no one tends to know their lines and I have to keep feeding it to them when I'm supposed to be paying attention to the shot instead. Not to mention the audio problems (I hate dubbing)

All these struggles I can deal with, I'm just put off at how my good friends just completely ignored me when I needed them and maybe 4 of them had the decency to let me know that they could not make it. While the others pulled that bullshit convenient disappearing act.

It amazes me that complete strangers came through, where my own family and friends were just about nowhere to be found. Except for my good friend Brian, who made the effort.

Granted, this is not the most important thing in anyone's life but my own... But when you're gonna show support and enthusiasm, stick to your word.
It only looks good on paper... Carrying in out is a whole different story.

I guess I'm not important to them at the moment.

Things will change, I can't wait.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

It began with the end...

My name is Corrado.

In 2008 I began my own zombie horror webseries Dead Road.
This was years in the making, and since no one else seemed eager to
work with me I had to take matters into my own hands.

Film was not an option. Dead Road has absolutely no budget.
No one has partnered up, nor shown an interest in investing.

Since the technology was there for me to start shooting digital and
I had help in the editing department, it began.
I gathered some loyal friends who've worked with me in the past.
They were all excited about a zombie webseries and the rest just
worked itself out.

The hardest part was working with no team.
I literally deal with:

  • Directing
  • Writing
  • Co-editing
  • Composing and recording music
  • Scheduling (which is painful)
  • Scouting
  • Photoshopping
  • Advertising
  • Webmaster to
  • All other sites, Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  • Prop master
  • Make up effects
The list goes on, it was truly an overwhelming decision on my part.

In addition...
Setting my story 2 years in a post apocalyptic setting was insane, but
I was up for the challenge and everyone seemed to like the idea:
  • Early morning shoots to avoid traffic
  • Locations empty enough, free of people
  • indoor location, which seem harder to find
  • Enough extras for zombies etc.
Now that all the ingredients were more or less in place we started shooting. Episode 1 was more of an intro, but it was worked on in such a rush in order to make a Halloween deadline. Audio problems and all it was finished. And the series began.

Scheduling turned out to be the biggest problem, so the frequency I had wanted had to be scrapped from my original plans. Once a month has proved to be just about impossible.
So now it's "whenever we're ready"

The turn out has been pretty good so far, and my main reason for doing this is not only for the love of film making and the genre. But for some exposure. And hopefully, I'll be able to help out
all my friends along the way.

The biggest help with the making of Dead Road is the cast.
Without them there would be no series.
So I'll finish this blog entry with them:

Rich Ruperto:
Known him since the 6th grade. We've shared many of the same interests throughout the years, whether it's music, movie, comics, you name it. We've traveled around the World, attended many conventions, and spend countless hours watching and discussing films and animation. He's been loyal to all my projects, always there to show support and has worked on a bunch of shortfilms
I made from High School to now. He has definitely improved
in the acting department, I can't complain. He's invested in
the series quite a bit I must say.

Humberto Rivera:
Another school friend, I've knows just as long as Rich.
We would often draw pictures in class rather than study and
have cut class many times to hang out at my place to watch Japanese anime. He first helped me when I attended film school back in `98. About 10 years later he came back around
and we started making short films for a couple of competitions
I entered. To me he's a natural actor.

Julie Robbins:
I've known her for a couple of years and shared a passion for travel, we would sometimes discuss our past destinations and stories. While I began writing Dead Road I sorta had a female character in mind that was somewhat based on her, so I decided to see if she would be interested in playing the part of Paige.
A name that she actually came up with. It worked for me.
She came on board and seemed to fit right in with the rest
of the cast. Perfect choice.

Edwin Rivera:
Another friend I've known for a long time. Also shares many of my interests with music, movies and animation. Ed has been wearing many hats during the production of Dead Road.
And although he was not originally cast to play Chris, he jumped at the chance when I had an opening. Besides that he is also the show's military consultant, having been in the military himself.
And he has also been our zombie "Shemp" in every single episode.
As well as performing some zombie audio dub overs. Truly a dedicated jack of all trades.

Corrado DeRobertis:
He's actually my cousin and probably the only person in the cast that has formally studied acting. He was the obvious choice to play the role of Capt. Hawkins and a reliable person when it comes to anything I may need help with during the production of this
on-going webseries.

Other cast members include: Pete Borshowsky, Rody Bustamante and more... At this point in the series they have not yet appeared, so I do not want to give anything away while the series is still in production.

I hope people enjoy the series as it continues.

Thanks for reading,

Creator and producer.