Interview With Zomblies Director – Dave Reynolds

19 Mar
Interview With Zomblies Director – Dave Reynolds

What was your inspiration for making the film?
Zomblies was really a trial-by-fire for the team. I am a great believer that you can talk about things, study things and so on and there are benefits but it can also be a way of insulating yourself from actually having to go out and do it.

There is no better way of learning than by throwing yourself in to the deep end; that way you make failure a non-option. So I guess you would say the inspiration was to create an opportunity that a lot of people could get behind; an idea that would challenge us to breaking point with the craft of what we were doing and one in which the appeal would be obvious.

Aren’t zombie films a little overdone these days?
Totally and that’s what the film is about. It’s about the way zombie cinema has evolved and how audiences have grown complacent about it. There are a lot of zombie movies out there but the good ones, the great ones, you will notice they almost invariably bring something new to the table – that’s cinema evolution taking place right before your eyes.

What makes Realm Pictures different?
The thing that makes us different is dedication, perhaps to a fault. The biggest asset the company has is not in technology or training – it is the team. We have an ever growing family of people that have dedicated their entire lives to this, understanding that no minute is wasted if it’s spent working towards your dream.

Zombies from Zomblies

How do you guys manage to hold down fulltime jobs at the same time as making the film?
Sacrifice. Filmmaking is far from glamourous; anyone who has ever been on a film set will get that. The long term life implications of doing what we do and having to work a nine to five job stacking shelves only become apparent over time. It means never ‘chilling out with your mates’ never getting drunk on a Friday night. You have to sacrifice so much: a ‘normal’ life, sometimes even friendships and relationships. You have to ask yourself if that’s what you want your life to be and if you think it’s worth it. I do.

How much did Zomblies cost to make and how did you raise the money?
Budget is a difficult thing to define on a project like this with so many favours called in. If you ask me how much cash we had in the production bank account it was around £5,000, self raised. Then again, we also had almost 200 people involved as anything from extras to make-up artists to a helicopter pilot. Not a single person has or will make profit from this – everybody has given 100% of their time for free. Therefore, you might say the film had an incredibly low financial budget and an enormous debt of gratitude.

How did you manage to persuade 200 people to work for free?

Everybody loves zombies. That’s the hook, that’s how you pique people’s interest.

After that it’s different things for different people. Some people want to improve their showreel or CV; some want to gain experience; some just want to have fun. It goes without saying that you have to lead from the front in this. It is beyond immoral to ask people to work so hard for free just so you can make a quick buck. If you are doing it for the love of it, people get that and can get on board.

The effects look fantastic. How did you manage to achieve the effects on such a small budget?
It starts with something called a Rodriguez-List, after Robert Rodriguez, the king of DIY cinema. You make a list of all the weird and wonderful assets at your disposal – you have now cut your budget in half. For example, our list started with an old Honda Bros motorbike and a farming quad-bike. Thus a great action set-piece in the movie is now an escape on a motorbike from a horde of zombies in an abandoned factory, all filmed from the back of a speeding quad. You have to be resourceful in the extreme and willing to find new solutions to old problems that traditionally are solved by throwing money at them.
Zomblies Bike

Was it difficult working with amateur actors?
It’s challenging working with any actor, amateur or otherwise; that’s the beauty of being a director. There are obvious benefits to working with pros, but I think we have experienced some real advantages of having a less experienced cast – specifically in the casting of the troops. We wanted a group of people who could roleplay a situation in which they were fighting for their lives against hordes of the undead, armed to the teeth with machine guns.

Any man between 14 and 40 who isn’t totally devoid of imagination has already played that role a hundred times in his own head!

What were the biggest problems you encountered during the production process?
We have faced financial crises, scheduling crises, medical crises, and emotional crises. One of the worst situations was a spontaneous storm on Dartmoor. Even with the best laid plans in the world, the weather up there can be lethal and small mistakes
can snowball real quick. Fortunately the emergency services up there are efficient otherwise things would have been a lot worse. In general, though, with any problem you just have to grit your teeth, put your head down and have faith that you will come through the other side stronger and closer to those around you.

What are your plans for Zomblies and when can we see it?
Zomblies is Premiering in Screen One of the Exeter Odeon on Saturday March 27th at 7.30PM. There will be an exclusive after show party at the Amber Rooms on Sidwell Street, featuring live music from The Quails. We are currently negotiating for a second screening in the Empire Cinema in Leicester Square. It will also be available on DVD and Blu-Ray from the website.

What’s next for Realm?
In the immediate short term we are producing a music video for The Quails’ new album; a fantastically talented bunch of guys who are really going places. After that, two of us are actually going ‘full time’ and trying to make a living in the harsh world of video and film production. We are currently running a writing competition and building a production design team to produce a number of shorts in the next couple of years.

Click here to watch the Zomblies trailer or find out more about Zomblies along with a ton more pictures on the official site.

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Comments (1)


  1. Roxstar says:

    This looks awesome!!

    Do Realm have a site? Be interested in following their future projects.

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