The “Thrillumentary” Educational Journey and How “Night of the Living Dead” Inspired it

Judith O'Dea, star of the original 1968 version of "Night of the Living Dead" that inspired the movie process experiment "Thrillumentary"
Judith O’Dea (pictured) as Barbra Blair in the original 1968 version of “Night of the Living Dead.” Our in person speaking with Ms. O’Dea about the movie’s low budget filmmaking approach is what inspired the development of “Thrillumentary.”

If you wish to contact us after reading this post, we encourage you to do so through Lights Camera Read.

Lights Camera Read and the Inspiration for “Thrillumentary”

And speaking of Lights Camera Read, we did an in person video interview for Lights Camera Read (and its New York Public Library workshops) of Judith O’Dea (pictured). O’Dea played Barbra Blair in the original 1969 version of “Night of the Living Dead” which notably was an extreme low budget movie. While conducting the interview of Ms. O’Dea we became fascinated as she told us about the low budget filmmaking techniques used to make the feature film. This inspiration eventually lead to us taking on the movie process experiment known as “Thrillumentary.”

The DocuMystery known as Thrillumentary

To begin, the Thrillumentary project is perhaps best known as as being a 2016-2017 documystery experiment. An experiment done to explore the making of a feature film that is primarily filmed with a cell phone, with no crew and a budget under $500.00.

Thrillumentary Was Partially Facilitated by a SUNY and a CUNY

State University of New York Empire State College stepped in during the phase following the development process of the DocuMystery Methodology. SUNY Empire State College students were initially going to be filling the positions of a small film crew that would shoot the piece if the screenplay got the green light. Although at this point in the production nothing had been yet spent yet, there was still the thought that some funding might be raised.

The “Thrillumentary” project during this check point in the chronology had a focus on the all-important aspect for fillmmakers today which is to “Create An Audience.” In fact, the primary filmmaker of “Thrillumentary” was asked to speak at an event entitled “Funding For Artists” that was being held on May 19, 2016 at 325 Hudson St in NY. At this event, one of the key topics covered included “How to Build and Audience,” a very important component.

During this stage of the evolution of “Thrillumentary” it was thought that the project might initially be done as an Empire State College web series. But that was soon to change.

Table Read and Platinum PIAs Inclusion

A work-in-progress cast was assembled on February 6, 2017. A table read was done by the actors. The plan was to have members of the ensemble appear “in character” at the 8th Annual Platinum PIAs Awards for ArtisticPreneurs. Also, the filmmaker was now receiving college credit in regards to “Thrillumentary.” He had integrated Thrillumentary into being a part of a Baruch College class he was taking in pursuit of getting a Masters in Arts Management.

Lights Camera Read was Involved

Helping to promote Thrillumentary was the nonprofit sponsored organization Lights Camera Read who announced the table-read in their blog. Lights Camera Read, since 2010, has been producing the annual awards show, the Platinum PIAs.

Movie Process Documents the Process

By the time April, 2017 had arrived, Thrillumentary was in production. As the blog entry of Movie Process attests, at this point Thrillumentary was being shot primarily with a cell phone using a “selfie” approach. Some of the actors were being filmed with a digital camcorder providing a different “look.”

The lead actor was filming himself, a fact which made sense in the context of the Thrillumentary plotline because he is communicating with others by speaking and gazing into his mobile throughout the motion picture.

The Movie Process article went on to say that the key to “no budget” is for the filmmaker to draw upon tapping existing resources. In other words, use what you have. Write your script around locations and props you have easy access to.

But the thing that really makes the “Thrillumentary” Movie Process unique, is that the three-steps-a-day approach that the film used was simultaneously being documented on the Art Gush website. Art Gush, which had been documenting the process on their website since August, 2016. Weekly installments were being produced in the form of courses. It should be noted that during this period, Art Gush was then an educational membership site featuring weekly “How To” videos but is currently transitioning into being an eBook-only provider.

The Blog “Artist Steps” Endorses the Art Gush Documentation Process

A blog entry on the “Artist Steps” blog details the three-steps-a-day approach that is being documented by Art Gush of the Thrillumentary endeavor. Art Gush tracks the methodology.

In Conclusion

Thrillumentary was a whirlwind project from its start in August, 2016 to its early end toward the latter portion of 2017. If nothing else, the filmmaking process of Thrillumentary proved that a feature length movie could be pulled off by working only three steps a day, seven days a week.

Some have asked what has happened to the video documentation that was done by Art Gush. It has been archived offline because Art Gush is now reinventing itself as an eBook publisher. They are completely changing their topic focus and will soon be making eBooks available as instant downloads for small businesses and ArtisticPreneurs who want to get more customers, clients and fans. We wish Art Gush well on this fresh venture.

As we stated in the opening of this article, if you wish to get hold of us you can do so through Lights Camera Read.

And finally in closing we wish to give a special thanks to Judith O’Dea, star of the original 1968 version of “Night of the Living Dead,” for generously giving of her time to talk with us and ultimately inspiring us to take on the “Thrillumentary” project.

Author: Thrillumentary

The filmmakers behind the documystery movie process experiment known as "Thrillumentary," wish to thank Judith O'Dea for generously giving of her time in person to speak with us regarding the filmmaking process used on the movie she starred in which is the 1968 version of "Night of the Living Dead."