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Creator and Artist Stories

Great videos on a budget: how to fake a zombie attack

By Heather Menicucci

Director, Howcast Filmmakers Program

Heather Menicucci, Director, Howcast Filmmakers Program, is writing weekly guest posts for the YouTube blog on filmmaking in the digital age. You can catch up on previous posts here.

Last week, we made some arguments for why quality matters in web video, and we heard from Howcast filmmaker Luke Neumann, who said that it matters “because you never know who’s watching.” Duh! Watching Luke’s videos, you can tell he’s motivated by much more than that, but as we said last week, it’s a good starting point.

Luke’s been making Howcast videos for about a year now and he’s got more than 50 under his belt. From the beginning, he impressed us with videos like “How To Yodel,” where he showed he could build a story around a simple script, work in some cool camera angles, and make us laugh. Last week we featured one of his newest spots, “How To Survive a Zombie Attack.” If we thought Yodel was pretty darn good when it came in a year ago, you can imagine "Zombie Attack" knocked our socks clean off.

Luke clearly strives for the best every time he uploads. The web offers free access to audiences like no medium ever has. As filmmakers, we’re tasked with not squandering this access. Every upload should be better than the last to keep this audience coming back for more and to refine our skills for the day when perhaps we are handed that huge check to make something.

We asked Luke to let us in on how he does it. How did he make this gorgeous zombie video on a budget that would barely cover the average wedding video? How did he create that apocalyptic feeling, complete with fiery explosion? And, how did he make his zombies look like they’re decomposing before our very eyes?

Here’s Luke’s first “Behind the Scenes” video for Howcast. This is the first part of a new series where we’ll be letting you come behind the scenes to see how our filmmakers make the most creative how-to videos on a DIY budget. Step 1: Cover yourself in plain old dirt to look like you’ve been to hell and back. The Walking Dead producers could learn something from Luke!

Want to learn more about how Luke created Zombie Attack? Visit his blog where he posted in-depth tutorials, photos and a cool trailer.