Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Crystal City Underground as zombie uranium mine

This year Poetry Scores is finishing a movie, Go South for Animal Index. Like all of our movies, it is a silent movie with zombies (as opposed to a silent zombie movie). Our zombies in this movie are uranium miners, millers, and couriers. That's because our movie is drawn from Stefene Russell's poem of the same name, which we already have set to music (we are now shooting and editing to that poetry score), and it's a poem about the Bomb.

We need to shoot uranium miners, millers, and couriers. So we need a uranium mine and mill, and some passages between mine and mill, and more passages between mill and bomb shop. We are starting to find what we need.

Dawn Majors, who is helping us to shoot the movie, took me out to Crystal City Underground, an old sand mine in Crystal City. This is pretty amazing, since we want our zombies to come out of the mine with something that looks like corn meal. They will be trundling it out in wheelbarrows. When it occurred to me that it would cost a lot of money to buy a wheelbarrow full of corn meal, I figured out we could fill up a wheelbarrow of sand then just dust that with corn meal. Well, our mine has plenty of sand.

Further, we need the illusion of mass production, though we only want to shoot a limited amount of action. So it would be perfect if our mine has visible evidence of completed work of the kind we need to simulate completing. Our mine has that, too.

It has a pile of sandbags. So we can shoot our zombies chipping away at the walls, and shake something that looks like corn meal coming off the walls. Then shoot the zombies bagging the corn meal, and putting the bags on this pile of sandbags. They will then fill wheelbarrows from the pile and trundle them out of the mine.

A wider shot of our zombie miner workspace. My photos are not great. There also are endless passageways in the mine to shoot the zombies trundling down, though my pictures don't really show them off. Did I mention the mine is wired for electricity and has plenty of lights? Our mine is wired for electricity and has plenty of lights.

Our mine also has a large underground lake, but it doesn't really fit this movie. Next time.

We need to get our zombies out of the mine. This is what one appraoch to the best exit looks like. Not bad. The other approach looks better, but my pictures look worse.

This is the exterior the zombies will emerge from. Probably we will need to shoot tighter so we don't see these trucks (see below).

There is some trashy looking stuff in the exterior we'd have to live with or laboriously move, like these bricks.

Also, a truck bed with a logo, which we would have to mask (perhaps with a "Debased Cogs"* logo; see above) or shoot around.

We would also need to mask the logo on this truck, which doesn't run anymore. I guess we'd also need to explain why the zombies don't drive trucks instead of trundle wheelbarrows. Come to think of it, we will need to shoot around the trucks.

We need the zombies to trundle away from the mine, toward the mill. This road will come in handy for that.

We also have a bridge to play with. Nice river below I should have shot. This is great, because we have rivers in other segments of the movie.

We also need a road lined with barbed wire for people driving in and out of the bomb shop, the military base, Lost Almost. Crystal City Underground has that.

I've been fantastizing about a long fence line like this where we can control traffic. Got it.

At the moment, the mine also tornado shelters which would make perfect zombie homes.

Or a perfect zombie village.
Pretty good day on the location scout, eh? And there's more! (To be continued.)
* "Debased Cogs": In a poetry score, we set to music every line in a poem; our movies are silents shot and edited to these scores. In Go South for Animal Index, Stefene Russell writes:
There are no alchemists, only opportunists
And beneath them the debased cogs
Who bear wheelbarrows, packed full of lightning.
The "debased cogs" in our movie are the grunt workers on the bomb project, the zombies.

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