DEATH & LIFE
With the exception of Eric, there were no professional filmmakers or actors involved in the creation of DL. By keeping professionals out of the project, Eric was able to thwart unnecessary stress and second-guessing that often comes with using a crew trained in a specific, cookie-cutter style of filming. Instead Eric brought on artist Mike Bailey. This allowed for a fresh "awakening" in Eric's approach in creating a film that isn't simply disposable entertainment, but a work of art.
As much as possible, the idea was to create an arthouse film at zero cost. Aside from a few minor expenses here or there, everything utilized for the filming of DL was already acquired by Eric and his collaborators. All that mattered was what was captured in the frame, not how wealthy the production looked to others.
New York City was the playground on which we created this work of arthouse cinema.
The art feature in the rooftop painting scenes are the work of Mike Bailey. The more abstract, multi-colored pieces were created at the direction of Eric while filming took place.
Some of Mike's abstract art was created at Eric's suggestion, by layering thick, dripping lines of paint (from the bottom, up) over one-another. This specific painting was to resemble a planet's rough terrain.
Eric created his own ink art for the film, which was layered in over the video during the scenes where Mike visits various art galleries.
All of the artistic process scenes were shot in one afternoon.
"The Great City" is depicted as poorly designed, by inept planning boards. Eric chose to film all of the city's locations in or near one of New York's many government housing projects. "The Projects" play a crucial role in the visual aesthetic.
Mike frequently created props during principle photography. Here he draws up the pages for his character's journal, which he presents to the character of Jane in one of the film's later scenes.
Jan Major re-wrote all of the dialog for her character, Jane, one week after shooting her scene with Mike Bailey. Her coverage was re-shot and edited in one day as the last and final shooting for the production of the project.
The mice in the stop-motion shot were actually toys for Eric's cats.
Every collaborator on DEATH & LIFE were SUNY graduates, except for one who was in the process of enrolling.