Jumba Juice: The Making Of A ‘Zombieless’ Zombie Film – Part 1

14 Apr
Jumba Juice: The Making Of A ‘Zombieless’ Zombie Film – Part 1

Don’t forget to watch the film first – Jumba Juice

The idea and the script.

As a passionate fan of the genre of the undead and an amateur film maker I had always wanted to make a zombie film with my own personal spin on it. In late 2008 I began looking at how I could achieve this in a film that would be under 15 minutes. Air born viruses, infected monkeys and scientific experiments have all been ways that the undead have come about but while coming up with the script I wanted to do something different, and something that wouldn’t cost me any money, so looking at films with potions and spells I decided to put that element into my own film but making it even simpler by just making the cause of the infection a drink in a bottle.

With this idea in the bank I began writing the script, originally the start of a trilogy I placed the first part more in the category of horror than anything else. Hoping to film over two to three weeks mostly at night I developed my script into something dark and horrific. The next thing I needed to do was get hold of some talented actors to bring the first part of the trilogy to life. So I got hold of an actress in the family, who would later become my producer, and she set upon looking for the right cast for my ambitious new zombie short.

Prep work for Jumba Juice

A couple of months into 2009 all my actors and locations were found and I was ready to start production as soon as the summer came about. But I came into some restraints right away. Having to change the setting from night to day was only the start. As I would have no lighting and also have to think about actors, who were willing to work for free, having to come down during the day and stay till the early hours of the morning. So I went back to my script and began to change a few elements. Having to change it from day to night completely changed the mood of the short and I soon found that the horrific first part was not necessarily the best place to start, instead I turned to the second part of the trilogy that was the comedy section of the series.

Hearing that the locations I was hoping to use would not be available for as long as I had hoped I took this into consideration while writing the second part that would be the start of the trilogy. Adding elements of the first script, which focused on the character of Dylan and his first encounter with ‘Jumba Juice’, I gave the Juice to a young girl instead of an old voodoo priestess and wrote it so that it would be revealed that they were related. The second part was still the middle of the story for Dylan but it was also a contained story in itself so that there were elements left in there to give me the ability to make my original first part at another time but also allowed an audience to watch the second part as if it was the first.
Taking this new approach I began to look at the zombie genre in a different light. It became something less to fear and more to ridicule. Even as a massive fan of the genre it does have its flaws and by writing a fourth wall breaking script I could poke fun at it from the audience’s point of view.

With this the script continued to transform into much more of a comedy than an horror and so to add to the comedy even more I took out all the zombie scares and turned them into something to be laughed at. And there appearance in the film would be less the focus and more of a back-up to everything else that was happening. So instead of giving them gruesome make-up I decided that the ‘Jumba Juice’ would not actually make them undead it would just put them under the control of Ash and ‘vicious’ in the most comedic way.

So with my new script finished I sorted out the days I would be filming in each of my locations, cleared it all with my producer and actors and then got my crew together, formed of friends willing to help me out with only the payment of lunch. I was all ready to go until the evening before shooting was set to begin, I got a call from my producer. The two lead actress’s had both just pulled out…

ZC: Tune in tomorrow for the next exciting instalment of The Making of Jumba Juice. Same zombie time, same zombie channel!

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Asa is an 18 year old first year Film Student. His first experience of Zombies was when his mum showed him Dawn of the Dead when he was nine years old. Even since then he has been in love with the horror genre and Zombies too. He would like to become a writer, director and editor on his own films. Follow him on Twitter.

Read more articles by Asa Wheatley »

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