Behind the Slimed - The Story
"All things are difficult before they are easy." Dr. Thomas Fuller (1654 - 1734), Gnomologia, 1732
Slimed: The Story of the Making of A No-Budget Action/Sci-Fi/Horror/Comedy
Slimed began as a student film at the Rhode Island School of Design, where Eric Manche attended as a Film and Animation student and Jeff Nitzberg, a Fine Arts graduate of FSU, was working on his children's book about spoons. Originally planned as an animation about a Park Ranger who takes a group of campers on a death hike and then as a religious-themed musical about space-turkeys, the story finally evolved into a live action non-musical science-fiction/action comedy about religious tolerance and killer toxic slime. This decision was made for reasonable reasons. The deadline for Eric's Senior Film was May – which gave them about 8 months to write, film and edit the movie to a degree in which it would be showable enough for Eric's Senior Show... a requirement of graduation.
Work began on the script in September of 2007 in Providence and the story began it's many transformations. Casting began before the script was finished, as the main characters of Rock Rockerson and Pepe were envisioned from the get-go. After a month of remote casting through Craig's List, Eric flew to Florida and auditioned three actors for the lead of Rock. Jordan Lee (a Clearwater comedian) gave an energetic and terrifyingly convincing performance of the angry, unstable character and immediately secured the role for himself. The other lead, bumbling Bible Salesman Pepe, had been written for a St. Petersburg writer and actor Dustin Triplett whom Eric and Jeff had attended High School with and were familiar with his devout commitment to the Bible as well as his generally offensive and sardonic sense of humor. Rehearsals began but were put on hold while the script was being finished.
From Nov-Dec 2007, Jeff and Eric continued working on pre-production in Providence. This included finishing the script, storyboarding, puppet building as well as negotiating locations remotely. Most park rangers and city officials in Clearwater, Florida were surprisingly supportive of the no-budget film and were extremely generous in both giving permission to shoot and in the case of the opening cabin scene –actually lending the filmmakers an entire educational facility building for a full week.
The directors returned to Florida in mid-December for final rehearsals and finally began principle photography on January 3rd, 2008, which stretched into early March. Scheduling proved to be the most challenging part of the project, as the actors' and the crewmembers' time had to be carefully managed amidst shifting availability of each location – which shifted often and with increasing unpredictability. Luckily – Eric and Jeff had almost 2 months to fit in a 30 day shoot so there was some degree of flexibility.
Despite the hurdles, everyone pushed forward and made the necessary compromises needed to finish. Because the cast was composed entirely of volunteers, the main actors sacrificed a good part of 3 months and gave all they could to make Slimed possible. Dustin quit two jobs and slept on a couch for most of the shoot – often making the 45 minute commute to the shoot by bus. As Rock Rockerson, lead actor Jordan Lee saw it necessary to use a year's worth of vacation time for the production. My grandfather walked to school in the snow barefoot, but even he was aghast of the truly selfless spirits that drove those actors to believe in a film called Slimed which had exploding children.
Post-Production Part 1
Post-Production began in Providence in late February 08 – where Eric and Jeff began editing the 36 + hours of shot video as well as shooting additional special effects footage. In order to meet the RISD senior show deadline of early May, they split up and took turns editing individual scenes on separate machines, finally putting them together a couple of weeks before the due date. This period is known as the "angry hate period" between the two directors, a time in which their visions collided but were forced to reconcile speedily for the due date. After the blazing ego-fueled inferno dimmed, they finally reached final output the night before the show. The version shown at the RISD 2008 Film and Animation show was a rough-cut, using a barely legal temp-track of film score put together by Jeff and special effects that were constructed with efficiency in mind by Eric. To both of their relief – the movie premiered to a good reception and the positive encouragement of the audience response fueled the directors on with their final cut over the summer and fall of 2008.
Post-Production Part 2
Beginning in Florida and ending in Austin, Texas, Eric and Jeff continued work on Slimed. Jeff began to search for the composer and also color corrected the movie in his darkened bedroom. Eric finished his final passes on the visual effects and started pre-publicity for the film. Both began the detailed process of mixing and creating the film's sound design in the winter of 2008. These processes took them well into 2009 and where they finally finished the first sound pass, and locked on their film's composer: a talented young man by the name of Alex Kovacs who had spent the previous year working on the show CSI: Crime Scene Investigation in Los Angeles. After the final score was complete and mixed in late July, Eric and Jeff finally emerged from their darkened bedrooms and tore down the black drapes that had shrouded their windows. The sunlight, being so foreign to their clammy white skin, killed them both instantly.
For the continued riveting and electrifying history of Slimed please see our News page!