After the tour, still buzzing from the experience, we headed to the director’s house, where cast and crew alike were to gather for a rountable script reading. The session was filmed by director of photography Chris Santucci, so that Greg could watch it again later and see how it all sounded, where revisions needed to be made, etc.
Present were myself, Lee Perkins, Sephera Giron, Jennifer Bihl, John Renna, Michael O’ Hear, Jay Mager, Alex McBride, MarLee Francis, and Greg Lamberson.
It was interesting getting to meet some of the rest of the cast (I’ll have to wait until tomorrow to meet Debbie Rochon, Robert Sabin, Mary Huner, and the other cast members who couldn’t make it), but the energy and excitement among us all was tangible. Everyone involved was a joy to work with. We laughed a lot during the reading, so much so that occasionally we had to be reined in, but the reading allowed us all not only to get a fuller sense of the material, but also our characters. Above all else, it allowed me to see the chemistry that exists between me and Lee Perkins, who, for the first part of the movie, plays an antagonist. During the reading, Lee and I delivered our lines through an air of palpable tension and latent hostility, and never failed to make eye contact while we worked our scenes. It was immensely satisfying.
Also a highlight was getting to meet Jennifer Bihl, a talented actress who plays my girlfriend Alexa in the movie. Jennifer is sweet but strong and, despite the fact that she has to carry much of the film by herself, does not seem in the least bit fazed by such a critical responsibility. It was great to have the opportunity to discuss the on-screen dynamic between our characters, and to develop some of the vaguer aspects of our relationship. As a result, the final shooting script features some of the ideas and lines we managed to conjure up between us.
After the reading, a lot of us gathered in the yard to smoke and chat and generally just ride the wave of excitement. Gradually, the group thinned as it grew dark, leaving only me, production manager Jay Mager, and special makeup effects artist and actor John Renna standing outside Greg’s house. We recruited Sephera and hit a neighborhood bar, where the Irish owner extended an offer to host us when we returned to shoot the movie. An offer we will likely take him up on.
A few hours later, I said my farewells to Sephera, Jay and John, and returned to my hotel to get some sleep.
The next morning, Lee and I had breakfast and discussed our scenes and some new ideas to develop our characters. It was a beautiful morning, perfectly conducive to such conversations.
After breakfast, Greg picked us up and we headed to Zombified Studios to get our face casting done by special effects maestros Rod Durick and Arick Szymecki. This was something I was both anxious and eager to experience. As it turned out, in the capable hands of Mssrs Durick and Szymecki, who went to great lengths to make sure we knew what was happening during every step of the process, it proved to be quite relaxing, akin to sensory deprivation, and not nearly as claustrophobic as I’d feared.
Having the viscous “goop” (technically known as “alginate”) poured like cement over your face until only your nostrils are uncovered, is quite a bizarre feeling, but I loved it. Once the alginate is applied, cotton balls are dabbed against it to give the bandages something to adhere to. The aim of all this of course, is to give the makeup effects guys something to work with when the subject is not there. So long after I returned to Columbus, they were busy fashioning the makeup using the cast for reference.
It’s amazing watching these guys at work. They’re masters of the art. To see them at work on Jennifer Bihl, my costar, check out the videos below. These videos will be posted sporadically and will document the making of Slime City Massacre as it happens, with cast and crew interviews and sneak peeks as it all unfolds.
In the meantime, I’ll leave you here. I have an 8 am flight to Buffalo in the morning, so the next time you hear from me, I’ll be deep into filming!