This year, as the door creaks open on All Hallows' Eve, a legend will be reborn. Determined to put a smile on your face is the not so grim Reaper. That’s right, on October the 31st the big man in the hooded cape will be hitting the dance floor and you’re invited to the premiere.
Welcome to the world of DEAD GOOD.
Dead Good started life as a short film but it quickly became clear the story was destined for a longer run and after all, this is the era of the series. Netflix, Amazon and HBO. Box sets has replaced the one off as we watch the on-going adventures of robots, gangsters and the folk beyond the wall. Everyone’s looking for longer formats.
Developed over 13 episodes the series tells the story of The Reaper’s search for acceptance, as a dancer. Understandably for most people steppin' out with Death isn’t top of their wish list so the Reaper is forced to take matters into his own hands. In classic genre style our hero puts together his own crew of misfits to take on the establishment and the world of street dance will never be the same again.
Script written, time to make a sizzle, put the look and feel down for all to see. But sizzles are speculative, traditionally having no production budget, so it was time to ask some very talented people for more than a little professional help. First…
GRIM NEEDED A COSTUME. Luckily there’s some expertise in the family. Lou Prechezer worked on Sleepy Hollow and The Phantom Menace so she knows a thing or too about the dark side. The challenge was to develop Grim’s classic look but not in a horror style. We kept the hooded shape but we used mirrored shades to bring sparkle to the inner hood. Trademark Adidas Ultrastar 80s, Run DMC style, gave him the Hip Hop vibe and if you look closely you’ll see the legend “Grim” sequined across the back, Strictly eat your heart out. Now it was time for the iconic prop.
NO SCYTHE NO REAPER. The fabulous Derek Brown created something totally original out of driftwood and sculptured metal. It’s was huge and we listed it in the call sheet's risk assessment as an “action prop”. Luckily it was never wielded .
BLACK AND WHITE. I always wanted to shoot the sizzle in widescreen black and white, a classic look for dance videos and movies like La Haine and The Artist. The immensely talented Cliff Evans – see Wine Show – made the dream a reality and we were lucky to have George Simpson AKA SteadyG on steadycam. We shot on an Arri Amera capturing raw colour and then Danny Coster’s team at Locomotion London – graded by Jon Davy – created the wonderful widescreen image. Edited by Ben Harrex at Final Cut. Music was thanks to James Edward Baker and sound by Zane Hayward.
THE CAST. Came from Brighton based dance guru JP Omari, owner of Marine Studios – his young crews have won Street Dance championships all over Europe and you can see them every year at Straight Up which he stages at Brighton’s Dome - the event was somewhat of an inspiration for the story structure of a dance championship. It was through JP that I discovered Amelie Hurley, the film’s lead. This young lady is sure to have a bright future given her immensely watchable and charming performance. Talent.
THE GRIM REAPER. Now for the big man in the hooded cape. Dancing in such a costume was like a work out in a hamam, not to mention the challenge of almost zero visibility. So who achieved the miracle? Watch out on social media and all will be revealed but let’s just say he’s a magician, dancer and his bones are quite magical.
Dead Good was an amazingly refreshing experience, a chance to create something original. Here's the trailer I hope you enjoy the sizzle - out on Halloween - and we all look forward to shooting the whole 13 episodes.