The making of a low-budget feature film is often a painstaking process involving groveling for money from family members, placing numerous ads on Craigslist for actors and crew, who rarely get paid, and long hours of preparation. But when the film is wrapped, an independent filmmaker is born. And that is what just happened for one of Bayside’s own.
Independent filmmaker Rick McDonald, 26, created a 60-minute horror film called “Lucifer’s Angels” for $5,000, and on Sunday, will premiere it at Douglaston MovieWorld at 11 a.m.
McDonald, an IT specialist for a healthcare company, put his time, money and energy into the horror flick, but he wasn’t alone in the process. McDonald was assisted by his family, who from the start, worked as a team to build the concept and bring the project to fruition.
The Bayside filmmaker worked on the movie, from start to finish, over the last four years, alongside six family members and two close friends.
For an independent filmmaker, the desire to co-write, produce, film, direct and edit a feature film is a dream come true, and for McDonald it was no different.
He says the idea matured over a period of time, but it really began one night when his family was on a camping trip. Sitting around the fire, telling ghost stories and the like, the clan made masks out of paper plates, and then shot a home movie with their camcorder. After that, McDonald knew he wanted to create a feature film.
“The family came together to complete a project of this magnitude — that’s an accomplishment,” McDonald said.
“Lucifer’s Angels” follows three separate stories of people in the Catskill Mountains: one group of four friends, who go on a camping trip; a ghost hunter and his fiancee; and an old man and his son. All the characters find themselves being hunted by a group of undead killer mental patients, who want retribution for being wrongly accused of crimes they did not commit.
There’s also a flashback scene with a sadistic clown named Mr. Smiles, plus lots of blood and gore, a creepy musical score and bone-chilling moments galore.
The majority of the film was shot on the popular high-definition camera, the Canon Vixia HV40; and landscape video and b-roll were filmed with the Canon EOS Rebel T2i. McDonald did the editing on Final Cut Pro 7, and he used Apple Color and DaVinci Resolve for color correction.
McDonald says he learned many valuable lessons on the set of the film, but the most important element, he admitted, had to do with the audition process and caliber of actors he chose to use.
“The experience of auditioning and working with experienced actors taught me that casting is vital,” McDonald said. “If the casting is off, the scene is not going to be believable.”
After the film premieres, McDonald hopes to submit it to multiple festivals and travel the circuit with the horror flick.
And in six months, he hopes to start looking for a new script to produce, but in the meanwhile he’s satisfied.