EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: The Team from Zombie Flick ‘Dead Inside’

A while ago we ran a trailer for the upcoming Indie horror film Dead Inside. As the film nears it’s release we managed to shepherd the director (Andy Gilbert) and one of the films stars (Simon Mathews) into a underground bunker, hopefully free from the undead for a little chat about the project.

Where did the idea behind dead inside come from and how did the project team come together?

Andy Gilbert: The Idea came from myself and Julian Hundy; we’d been friends at school and somehow ended up on the same course at university studying Media Production. We started our film production company in our second year of studies and we would always talk about making a feature and it slowly developed whilst we were at university. The script was written while we were still studying, meeting up a few times a week to work on it, and we made some great friends who were on the same course as us who got involved with the project too!

The sub genre of zombie films is filled with material from all mediums. What does dead inside bring that’s new to the table?

Andy Gilbert: We set out to make the zombie film that we wanted to see (my co-writer Julian Hundy and I) It was more about combining all our favourite aspects from the zombie genre and putting them into our film such as the first encounter, exploring the role of the military, surviving the initial outbreak, and then long term survival which we opted for over something more gimmicky which I think is a trap a lot of zombie films fall into these days.

Simon Mathews: From my point of view, and particularly with low/no budget zombie films there is soo much rubbish out there. What I hope TDI will bring is a good story that will have people interested. I’d much rather have a low budget film that was interesting than a no expense spared film that was shite! You can always spot a diamond in the rough but you cant polish a turd!

Your operating on a shoe string budget yet in some clips there are loads of extras, lots of gun fire and effects how did you manage to pull this off with little cash?

Andy Gilbert: I don’t think it would have been possible without the cast and crew being so committed and pulling together on the project after some early setbacks, Some of our weapons were supplied by one of the lead actors who also acted as our military adviser, and our SFX were handled by another member of the cast on more than one occasion, which really helped. When it comes to extras, the internet and social media played a key role in this. We advertised on ‘starnow’, and ‘castingcallpro’ for actors and extras and got a good response, and we set up groups on facebook to get people involved, keeping people up to date with news on the production, and asking for people to come and be extras for us. We also tried to get friends and family along too whenever possible and provided food and drink for everyone on set. I think most people really enjoyed themselves we even had some extras returning two or three times to be zombies for us which was great! 

Simon Mathews: All the principal cast, the crew and even the caterers did this because they believed in it. A lot of favours were called in and sometimes there were let downs because of it, but that the nature of the beast. I have nothing but thanks for all the people that gave up their time to come and zombie up for us especially! We could not have made it without them (especially the extra who stepped in with her own make up kit when we were let down on a big shoot). Thankfully people enjoy getting made up and prowling around covered in blood. With this project we very much had to engineer what we needed. The weapons were loaned from our resident soldier, I spent many an evening creating intestines and one of the other actors has shown amazing dedication in worked many many hours in post production on the FX.

Do you have any tips for any filmmakers looking to go the indie route like yourself?

Andy Gilbert: Just get out there and do it! Believing in yourself is the most important thing and maintaining that self belief throughout the whole process can be really tough, but the best way to learn how to make films is by making them!

Simon Mathews:If you have something that you and (possibly more importantly) OTHER people believe is good, there are always ways to get it done! I’ve done a couple of films now where I’ve read the script and just had to do it. If it doesn’t excite the people involved in making it then it’s a non starter.

What’s been your biggest high and low to date in making Dead Inside?

Andy Gilbert: The biggest low to date was realising that we’d run out of time to finish shooting at the end of the summer 2010 and because of the weather we’d have to wait at least 6 months to start shooting again, which has added almost a year onto the production/post-production process, although this allowed us more time to plan the remaining scenes and re-write them in places so every cloud has a silver lining. The biggest high for me was one of the days we had close to a hundred zombie extras rampaging through our set, which was lots of fun and a great experience although quite stressful at the time!

Simon Mathews:My biggest high will be seeing the finished edit on a big screen, watching people’s reactions and hearing their opinions and hopefully catching the eye of someone that might want to take it further! Knowing that all the hours of hard work by so many people has paid off. The biggest low I think is that it has taken so long, and the frustrations that causes because aside from making the film, people have to earn money and get on with day to day business.

You’ve recently released your first trailer what has the reaction been to it so far?

Andy Gilbert: We’ve had a really positive reaction to the trailer so far, it has over 3000 views on YouTube and that numbers steadily rising, it’s stirred up a lot of interest and we’ve had a lot of positive feedback, we’re planning on releasing another trailer over the coming month before we release the film so keep a look out. 

Simon Mathews:We have nearly 600 people signed up to our Facebook page, including a lot of the extras who are really keen to see more. The trailer is only the first of its kind, and thanks to people like yourselves we can start getting other people not directly involved (or friends of those) to be interested. We welcome any feedback about the trailer, or enquiries about the film in general! (I’m sure you can pass on anything to us right??)

I showed the trailer to a friend who’s an office manager and it freaked her out a treat, so lets hope most of the people who see it will be like her!!

When can we expect dead inside to be released?

Andy Gilbert: The film should will be ready for release sometime in February if everything goes well, in the way of a premiere and maybe a few other screenings around Bedford and Milton Keynes, so keep a look out! I’m hoping we will secure a distribution deal after this and get it released on DVD.

Simon Mathews: Ahhh….now theres the question! Its very close to being finished. Then the process of screening and selling starts. I’d like to say very soon, but at the moment it is a bit up in the air.

What is it about Zombies that seems to make them so appealing to filmmakers?

Andy Gilbert: I think, it appeals to filmmakers because they’re so much fun to make, you can take it in any direction you want and let your imagination run with it, giving you the scope to put in gory deaths, brilliant action sequences, and great characters.

Simon Mathews:Well if you go back to Romero and Night of the Living Dead, it was a mirror of the times, an allegory of that point in American history. 28 Days Later changed the rules again and very successfully. To me? Well its more that they are us. You have to remember that if you scratch the surface of humanity we are far more dangerous than any animal. If you strip away our ‘civility’ the things we can do are terrifying, and isnt that essentially what zombies are?

If you had to use three words to describe Dead Inside what would they be?

Andy Gilbert: Oh that’s a hard one maybe something like ‘gripping indie horror’ or The Dead inside ‘who will survive?’

Simon Mathews: Bloody good fun? It was making it anyway!

Thanks for your time guys and best of luck with Dead Inside!

Find out more about Dead Inside at the film’s Facebook Page.

GS Reporter: Nuge

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