Production Company: FrissonFilm Ltd. (UK)
Year of production: 2011
Country of origin/language: United Kingdom/English
Shooting and delivery format: HD / 16:9
Running time: 77mins
Our production base was a beautifully renovated Edwardian house called The Parsonage just on the outskirts of Penistone, Sheffield, teetering just on the edge of the beautiful Peak District National Park.
With several bedrooms, a large dinning room, kitchen, two lounges, one of which we converted into a production office (well, we just put a computer in it) not only was The Parsonage a place for us to eat, meet and sleep, it was also to provide us with locations for some of the films key scenes. This decision to put the main cast and crew in one big house turned out to be a massive advantage in terms of speed of production. In the evenings we could plan the next day together, we could get up early and start shooting, and when we set off to locations we all went together as a convoy, eliminating the usual problems of people getting lost or just not turning up on time.
We had a small crew of about eight that was broken down into director, producer, sound recordist, two make-up artists, production assistant, runner/stills and catering. This level of people worked out really well for us in the end, all of the main bases were covered in terms of getting the key stuff on the screen (great sound and make-up) and keeping people happy behind the scenes (great food and transportation). We never seemed to be struggling with people-power on set, in fact I suspect that if we'd had more people it may have just slowed us down.
The script was written to encourage a more improvisational approach and more naturalistic style during the shoot, but actually it turned out to be almost impossible to write scenes without dialogue, mainly because without it you have no real measure of character or the interactions between them.
All of the cast turned out to be brilliant, especially the two leads, Stan Rowe and Sarah Spencer, who both went through an emotional rollercoaster during the shoot. Sarah certainly threw herself into the dramatic climax with gusto, and you know that stuff is working when some of the crew begin to get emotional during takes. Lee, Andy and Richard as the vigilante zombie killers turned out to be a fantastic combination together, and it's almost annoying that Lee had some of the best lines in the film, none of which were written by the director; "Times up crusty cock" became a favourite amongst the cast and crew.
A number of people have been asking how we shot so fast, and really it boils down to a number of factors. Firstly we shot everything hand-held, documentary style and with as much available light as possible. Secondly it was really down to having a small and excellent crew who were always one step ahead.
Producer Richard Guy - "Working on Harold has been a fantastic experience for all involved and I feel that we have a completely unique film in the zombie genre"
Director Keith Wright - "What I was keen to do was explore the period between when a person is infected and slowly becomes zombified. Our two main characters have a special bond and that is slowly dragged apart by a cruel disease"
Harold's Going Stiff is one of the first feature length films in the UK to be shot in High Definition on the increasingly popular Digital SLR camera the Canon 7D.