My road to the OMBIS set started out in NYC Friday morning and ended after an eight hour drive to my hotel in downtown Buffalo. OMBIS was filming a big fight scene Saturday night between the main characters, the alien known as Nemesis (Rich Winiatowski) and the hero Mark (Jason John Beebe). Before the shoot though, I got a chance to hang out with one of the hardest working men in indie filmmaking Michael Sciabarrasi and the star of OMBIS Jason John Beebe.
Our day began Saturday morning with the guys picking me up at the hotel and then heading out to meet Dan Akroyd. Yep, the GHOSTBUSTERS Dan Akroyd. He was at a liquor store doing a signing for his alcohol brand Crystal Head. The line was huge, but well worth the wait. I dropped $40.00 for a bottle of Crystal Head, which he signed and it is now displayed on my workspace shelf. Props to Michael for trying to get Akroyd in OMBIS, he pitched an idea to him that was essentially a commercial for Crystal Head. You never know you might see Akroyd in OMBIS.
After the signing we headed out for a little lunch over at TED’S, a hot dog and hamburger joint. I got myself a dog and onion rings and I was impressed at how good the dog was. The whole time Michael phone is going off, like I said he is busy. After lunch, we stopped by a casting call for Paper Ghost Productions newest film and meet with Aaron K Bush and company. They had one of the biggest audition rooms I have ever seen. Doing some casting calls in NYC we pretty much have a room the size of a closet, but their room was nicely set up. I have to admit, I did not know Buffalo had so many filmmakers, but if they can put out some good horror the more the merrier. Can’t wait to see what the guys from Paper Ghost put out.
After the visit we headed out to the set in the small town of Angola. Before we got the set we made another pit stop to Tim Horton’s for coffee. I have never had Horton’s coffee before, but after the fist sip I was hooked. With coffee in hand we arrived to the set. Some of the crew was already there, prepping for the shoot. They were able to get the town to shut down main street and even have cops present all on the towns dime, now that is incredible.
On set I finally got to meet the director of OMBIS, Adam R. Steigert. He was busy directing a tractor pulling a demolished car that was going to be in the fight scene of the film. In fact there were several demolished cars that were being used and again they were able to secure them at no cost. One car was flipped on its side, another car was placed on top of a already beat up car and there was one car that seemed to be damaged by fire that they used effectively with some fog from a fog machine.
I was introduced to a couple that has been to every shoot of OMBIS where extras were needed. Rick & Bonnie are retired school teachers, and really nice people, who happened to see an ad for extras and decided to attended and they have been in the film playing different roles ever since. I think they are up to five different appearances in the film, so look for them in the film and make a drinking game out of it.
While all this was happening the FX team was hard at work making local town folk look beat up and battered. The FX team consisted of three makeup artists Phill Beith, Jill Jovic and Janeen Avery. Phil and Jill both attended the Tom Savini makeup school and brought the skills they learned there to OMBIS. Not only did they have the task of making up people to play dead bodies for the scene they also had to create a few mutants as well as prepping the Nemesis for his big scene.
Speaking of the Nemesis, he looked pretty bad ass in full gear and standing about seven feet tall looked pretty intimidating. On the flip side Rich couldn’t be a nicer guy. OMBIS is his first acting gig, but I bet it won’t be his last. He was very gung ho for his fight scene even though he was melting underneath his costume and for a big guy he got the fight choreographed down pat and performed it to a tee even though he had limited vision in the mask. I would sign him up to play my monster in a heartbeat.
As for the choreographed fight scene it was put together by a Tim Datu Hartman a master in several types of fighting techniques. He was on set working with Rich and Jason John Beebe for the big fight scene. This is just another area where OMBIS is more than an indie film. Getting a guy to choreograph a fight scene who actually knows what he is doing. The guys practiced for a bit using mats to protect their star, but once the cameras were rolling I felt bad for Jason, because he took several hard tumbles on the floor. Give Jason credit though because he got up each time ready to do it again and I am sure it will be all worth it once he sees it on screen.
As for the film OMBIS I am actually excited to see the film. After being on set with the cast and crew, seeing what Adam can do, hearing about the other very cool locations they shot at and seeing some of the acting abilities from the cast the film should be a fun ride.
About the Deftone Production family, they have something there. Everyone had a role and they did it with very little direction and were very professional. I met a lot of people that day, too many to name, but to all of you thanks for having me and letting me creep around the set while you guys worked. They have six more shooting days before the film wraps and even with long hours and everyone doing the film pretty much for free there was no bitching or moaning, they just all loved being a part of the movie. That says a lot about Adam and Michael Sciabarrasi that people would give up their days off to make this film and normal town folk would endure hours of lying still as dead bodies to be in the film. If the rest of the shoots were as good as this one then OMBIS could make some noise.
Lastly, thanks to Michael Sciabarrasi and Jason John Beebe for putting up with me for a whole day and letting me tag along. Jason is a very cool, down to earth guy who loves acting and everything about filmmaking. He has a short film coming out later in the year about a serial killer that I am looking forward to. And Michael who again is one of the busiest guys I know and one hell of a promoter, he is also the best cheerleader for Jason and the film you can ask for. Thanks again guys it was fun spending time with you both.
Have a look at the ton of photos I took from the set and check out our interview with some of the cast and crew from OMBIS (excuse some of the sound, it was a windy day).