Kimberly Behzadi ’12
wears zombie makeup as she talks in the lobby of SUNY Oswego’s Johnson Hall on
a rainy Wednesday night. She describes it as just part of the learning
experience as the Oswego Independent film club prepares for its first major
production, Greg, a zombie comedy.
“We had to figure out how long it takes to get made up and
make sure it won’t cause skin irritation” for the actor who will wear it,
explains Behzadi, secretary of the club. She even considers the rain fortunate
for testing how the makeup withstands the elements.
The Oswego Independent, which has 25 to 30 core members,
learns every bit of the filmmaking process as it prepares the 15-minute film
about “a zombie who runs away from his master and ends up hanging out with high
school students,” Behzadi says. The production process includes around 25 crew
members with a cast of six actors plus extras.
While the Oswego
Independent has existed for a couple of years, “I wanted the club to get
together as a group to make a really solid short film,” says President Mike Potterton ’10, a cinema and screen
studies major at SUNY Oswego. “At the first meeting of the year, I got there 15
minutes early and the room was packed, which was very encouraging. And it’s
definitely still growing. We’re continuously getting people interested in
That enthusiasm continued through the semester, evidenced by
the excited throng in the lobby of Johnson Hall in early December, preparing
for a script reading and production meeting.
Selecting a screenplay
The club reviewed scripts earlier this semester, weighing
not only the merits of each but also the practicality of filming on a
self-raised budget. Club officers and a script committee reviewed 10- to 15-page
submissions and asked for revisions in a process that took three to four weeks,
“What we were drawn to about Greg was that it was
charming, it was fun, and it was about zombies,” Behzadi says of the script by James R. Domachowske ’12, a double
major in communication and cinema and screen studies at Oswego.
“I wrote down five short ideas and asked my friends which
one they thought I should make, knowing we had limited resources,” Domachowske
says. “I’ve learned it takes a lot of pre-production, much more than I ever
thought it would. As long as everyone does hard work, the job can get done.
People are doing hard work and it’s showing.”
Along the way, Potterton emphasized having the whole club as
involved as possible, encouraging students to choose which positions in the
production they wanted. “If the students don’t want to do it, it won’t get
done,” he says.
“Fortunately, we have some really dedicated students who
really want to do it. I’m really happy to see the club succeed as much as it
has, and that they enjoy doing it.”
Behzadi has found the whole process educational, from
working with Oswego
High School for
permission to film there to even finding the most minor props. “It took us a
week and a half just to find a football,” she recalls. “We’ve learned about how
much goes into securing a set location, legal release forms, so many details.”
Many members are freshmen and sophomores at SUNY Oswego
learning from older students while providing a bright outlook for the club’s
future, says Behzadi, a double major in cinema and screen studies and English.
With pre-production running since October, the excitement
for filming was palpable. “It’s really amazing when you’re about to start
shooting and it’s going to happen,” Potterton says. “It’s a lot more intense
than doing it for a class.”
After completing post-production, Oswego Independent
submitted Greg for consideration at college film competitions, including the
SUNY-Wide Film Festival in April.
— Tim Nekritz M ’05
Matt Moran '10 films Tim O'Halloran '12, who plays the lead zombie in Greg.
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