I saw the documentary on BBC3 “Bryony makes a zombie movie” last night on WORLD WIDE DEAD – a zombie film made by people collaborating on the internet, and all to be completed within an incredibly ambitious time frame. And this film surprised me by winding me up in a very uncharacteristic way – filling me with negativity. Even now when I think of it I have to take a deep breath. Someone ‘playing’ at making a genre movie and flippantly exploiting something so precious to me…..
I had first heard of the personality – Bryony aka Paperlillies – well before I had heard of the project, by randomly searching on YouTube for anything remotely interesting. I checked out one of her opinionated vlogs to see what the fuss was about and for the life of me couldn’t see why this woman was getting so many views – apart from the fact that most of the people on the web were male and probably desperate for a glimpse of a woman, even if she still had her clothes on. She wasn’t saying anything particularly interesting, she ‘ummed’ a lot and the vlogs seemed very rambling and superficial. But I guess the media loves women doing something out of character like making horror films, hence not paying any attention at all to the other net-collaborative films that had been made previously.
When I saw the BBC promotion of her suddenly making a zombie movie, I checked out the webisodes and laughed at the idea. Not exactly original, there have been other unsuccessful projects – but this was the first to get establishment backing from Auntie Beeb and the papers, and genuine net fever was generated over the ‘concept’. All of the other collaborative projects had failed miserably at garnering any media interest and were often structurally flawed and technically patchy – due to the variety of contributions and limited budgets. It’s hard enough to get people to collaborate in person, let alone across the planet and even harder when they are doing it for free. When you also involve the opinions of many illiterate teens who think they know it all, you have to think that sooner or later there may be a net back-lash when they disagree with the chosen approach. Somebody somewhere will get the final say and someone will feel slighted, such is the way of these things. But was it any surprise that the project polarised opinions so fiercely? When people who’s contributions were ignored or removed felt cheated, and people didn’t agree with the choices that were made for both plot and actors? – Was it any surprise that the finished result would look rushed and amateurish with the insane deadline?
I don’t think so. But what surprised me was how much I wanted this project to fail! I mean I felt bile in my throat when I thought about this project and I am not usually such a negative hateful person!
To me the film had to fail – thrown together in mere months, using random scenes and contributions rather than following a well developed plan is creative suicide – especially if you want to launch a career with a quality product. Even more so, when you don’t know enough about the genre and are making it up on a whim, you don’t deserve to be able to release. I hate this ‘Any body can make a zombie film’ attitude especially! that is why there is so much dross out there already!
I know many people who’ve put years of blood, sweat and tears into creating original horror films, only to be ignored. Admittedly there are others who are content to turn out rubbish and luckily those films quickly disappear. This woman barely seemed to break into a sweat, even when flame wars started over the project instead choosing to go on holiday! She knew nothing about the genre, had no technical or practical experience and basically was allowing everyone else to do it all for her and was getting a nice bit of media exposure to boot. When I saw the pitiful promo being screened I was genuinely happy that she had failed – she had not completed the full feature and what they did screen was utter toss. Justice was served in my opinion. It has nothing to do with her being a woman – I know a few very knowledgeable women in the industry who have more right than her to that media exposure – who have something to say and experience and talent. She’s just another wannabe.
Unfortunately I bet the film will get a significant release on the back of the media exposure, when other people’s worthier films struggle even for a release on a z-label.
– Sorry if this is rambling. Just taking time out from writing my own film, one I have spent many years working on and which will probably never get made. Bitter? Moi? ;0) But even if I had not invested time on my own project, I’d still want this film to fail. It’s not just jealousy.
Watch the lame opening promo here:
Watch the doc here and make up your own mind: http://www.bbc.co.uk/zombies/