LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Exclusive Interview Marc Price Director Of Colin
By James Whittington, Saturday 24th July 2010
Marc Price shot to fame last year when his low budget zombie movie Colin generated so much public interest that news of its release made headlines. The Horror Channel is giving everyone the chance to see this stunning movie on August 7th so we thought we'd have a chat with Marc to see how difficult it was creating a piece of cinema that cost little but gained huge kudos.
HC: Did you know from an early age that you wanted to be in the film industry?
MP: I think so... I remember wanting to be an actor. I loved the idea of 'playing' and that being a job. When I hit fifteen I realised I was a terrible actor and was naive enough to think directing involved 'playing' every part for the actors to see…y'know, to let them know how to do it. So if I directed I'd still get to play, but at the same time no-one would see my crappy acting.
HC: Were you inspired by any director in particular?
MP: I'm inspired by so many directors, particularly those who have taken the film making process into their own hands. Robert Rodriguez, Sam Raimi and Kevin Smith stand out, but the big turning point for me was seeing Peter Jackson in Tony Hiles' documentary on the making of Bad Taste. I think that was the moment I realised I could grab some buddies and make a film that other people may have the patience to sit through. Then a good few years later I read a fantastic interview with Shane Meadows where he said words to the effect of "Anyone can get their hands on a camcorder… there's no excuse! Make your movie!" So I picked up a camcorder and started playing about and it ended up being the same camera I used 10 years later to shoot a lot of Colin.
HC: Where did the idea for Colin come from?
MP: I desperately wanted to make a zombie movie and telling the story from the perspective of a zombie felt like something that I hadn't seen before. I hang my head in shame for missing Andrew Parkinson's I, Zombie. Bub from Day of the Dead was the first zombie I genuinely cared about, but the biggest inspiration was probably King Kong. I loved the idea of a character the audience could connect with in a way none of the characters in the film would. In the 30s Kong Fay Wray is screaming right up to the end… but in those moments before Kong tumbles from the Empire State Building the audience realise how much they care about him. I wanted the audience to connect with Colin in the same way. To care about him in the same way I cared about Bub or Kong…. or even Gorgo! I cared about that little guy as well!
HC: Are you a fan of low budget movies?
MP: I've seen more low budget movies in the last year than anything else. I'm not sure why… I've been sent an awful lot of them by other film makers and, to be fair, it's been amazing! It's inspiring to me when other film makers like Miles Watts, Andrew Barker and Keith Wright are kind enough to let me see their brilliant films. I also watch the Horror Channel which, for a long time, was the only channel dedicated to showcasing low budget film with as much enthusiasm as it took to make them.
HC: How did you go about casting the movie and raising the budget?
MP: I wrote Colin for Alastair Kirton, I always wanted him for the part. I knew most of the other actors in the film and the rest were friends I'd dragged along to play multiple zombies and/or humans. When I first moved to London my friend Matthew Bulgo, who plays the guy listening to the MP3 Player before Colin rips his ear off, was working on a production of Neil LaBute's Bash. So the first people I met here were actors and unlike my buddies back in Swansea, London based actors were so much easier to get together to shoot a fun sequence or short movie. So I had a great time meeting new actors and bringing together the people I'd met through Matthew and other actor friends. As for raising money… that wasn't really a problem. I felt that it was entirely possible to make the film without spending any money. It was written around locations that I knew we could get to. We were shooting the whole movie on a camcorder and wouldn't look like a film unit, so permits weren't anything I felt we'd need to worry about either.
HC: Did the script ever change whilst in production because of unforeseen circumstances?
MP: I'd always adapt or change little moments here and there, but never in a way that I felt was detrimental to what I'd originally had in mind for any given scene or sequence. We always looked at it as solving problems. I always knew what effect I wanted each moment to have on an audience and if there was a limit to what we could achieve, we'd always look at what we wanted to achieve emotionally, what we had available to us and weigh up our options. Everything I've read about film making, from zero budget to multi-million dollar epics, there has been one consistency and that's problem solving. Every facet of film making involves solving the problem of creating something that will work for a modern audience.
HC: Everyone knows that Colin was shot on a shoestring budget but was there ever a point where you thought that you’d have to stop due to lack of funds?
MP: Not at all. I had a pretty solid idea how to achieve everything when we started with the exception of music and make-up effects. After a week with the brilliant Michelle Webb I realised that make-up wouldn't be a concern and that only left the sound track, which was a bit sticky. If you tell a composer or a musician that you're making a zombie movie and need some music you always end up with something similar to Goblin. I got to a point where I realised that it would take so long to coax some of the composers into delivering something that I wanted that I ended up having to learn how to play a few chords, record them separately and mix them in the editing program to create some music myself. The evocative music tracks were composed and recorded by the brilliant Dan Weekes (who worked on Colin's Theme) and Jack Elphick. Any growling, grumbling noises were my clumsy fingers and a keyboard.
HC: How long did the shoot last and were you long in post production?
MP: I was shooting and editing the film simultaneously over the course of 18 months. It was a part time shoot where we'd allocate a few days a week to shoot with Alastair and use Sundays to focus on pick ups. It used to be pretty quiet when I worked evenings, so I'd take the rushes into the office on a hard drive and edit at work. The days we weren't shooting were usually spent working on the sound. Creating sound effects and mixing them in my bedroom.
HC: How did you manage to generate such a following for the movie?
MP: Do we have a following? That's amazing! I initially thought the only people who would watch the film would be my friends. I think we were exceptionally lucky to have the press attention we received. Every other film maker I've met who make low budget movies do the exact same thing as we did. I'm not entirely sure why we ended up with so much attention. All I wanted was for Colin to find its audience… Even if that audience were just a group of my friends.
HC: What projects are you working on at the moment?
MP: We recently made a 4-minute film as something of a camera and visual effects test for what I hope to be our next feature. The short film is called The End… and it's screening as part of the Short Film Showcase at this years FrightFest. I'm a bit nervous about it because it's just a little test, but I'd love to see it play with an enthusiastic audience. I wanted it to be a lot of fun. The feature that we're testing for is called Thunderchild which is the name of a Handley Page Halifax bomber on a mission over Europe towards the end of World War II. For the most part it’s an action movie but returning from the devastating mission a creature makes its way onto the plane and starts attacking one of the crew. The script is written, we've started our own visual effects company and it's been cast. Most of the actors were in Colin including Alastair Kirton, Leigh Crocombe, Dominic Burgess and Craig Russell. There are some new faces as well including Joe Morgan and Antony Eden. I can't wait to start shooting it.
HC: Marc Price, thank you very much.
You can catch Colin on the Horror Channel on August 7th at 22:55
(Photo of Marc Price by Damon Webster)
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