Lights, Cameron, Action


Screen shot from Cameron’s series ‘The Rapture.’ Photo by Erik Danielson

David Cameron was 13 when he dreamed up an epic story of a post-apocalyptic world. Fast forward to high school, and his middle school daydream has become his reality as he juggles school and the production of his film series, “The Rapture.”

“[The Rapture] is based off the concept of the religious meaning of the rapture and that ‘true believers’ of Christ will be brought to heaven, but everyone else will be stuck on Earth living this sort of eternal hell. It’s sort of a cliche zombie flick, but the real goal of the show is it’s message and theme, which is how do you, in a completely different society, justify your morality against someone else’s. Obviously it’s sort of transformed a lot and matured [since the beginning] but I’ve always wanted to tell the story of people’s morality and how much that matters to them,” Cameron said.

“The Rapture” is set in a suburban post-apocalyptic America. The protagonists Gage and Tanner, being soldiers, hide out as zombies and forming gangs ravage the abandoned
suburban area.

“Their job is basically to to operate independently in these forlorn areas and provide whatever assistance they can to the civilian population. That gets increasingly tricky and dangerous as they find out that many of these people don’t want help and are fully ready to hurt them to get what they want,”
Cameron said.

The antagonist of the series, Matthew Hale, also makes the protagonists question
their morality.

“You have the antagonist, a man named Matthew Hale who is frighteningly competent. He can get a lot done, he’s a nation builder with no boundaries, he’ll do anything, no matter how morally depraved, to get his way.” Cameron said.
Along with writing the script, he is also in the film, portraying Gage, and directs the cameras, props and cast. But with a limited budget for production, Cameron uses what he can, including volunteer actors. His cast is primarily college students and adults.

“I know a lot of really talented actors that don’t necessarily do theater programs, and I wanted to work with them and help them see that they’re really talented. I have an excellent cast of hard workers,” Cameron said.
Cameron also borrows equipment from people he knows.

“I know a lot of film junkies and a lot of people that have their own equipment. So it’s mostly DSLRs and such. We don’t have much by the way of audio equipment which we’ve been trying to work on. We’ve been using audio straight from the camera, which is not the best thing to do, but it’s all we have access to. In terms of editing, we just have Final Cut Pro or Premier Pro and we’ve been developing what programs we have over the years,” Cameron said.

In terms of props, Cameron uses military surplus stores and reused and repainted replica guns, as well as airsoft guns.

“The Action Military Surplus in Roseville supplied a lot of the military costumes. For props, over a couple years we’ve accumulated a lot of weapons and decorated them. [We] went out and purchased a few that we need,”
Cameron said.

Cameron uses locations such as farms and regular houses, as if the characters were camping out. A big part of the filming, however, takes place at Dance Elite studio.

“There’s supposed to be kind of an irony there. A lot of this horrible stuff happening at a really happy-go-lucky dance studio.” Cameron said.

    Cameron is a self taught filmmaker, learning from his years of watching movies himself and being in the broadcasting program.

“From being raised in a movie-loving family, a lot of it is self-taught. A lot of the sensical production things  and to set up meetings and such. A lot of that has been refined by me being in the broadcast program here at Whitney but the majority of it, because it is kind of a different animal, is to learn from different observations and trial and error.” Cameron said.

So far, Cameron has about 70% of the series done, with the first episode ready to post soon. He plans to upload it to Youtube and possibly create his own website, as well as enter it into film contests. Cameron hopes to take what he’s learned and apply it to a film making career.

Cameron said, “I just find the process fun. Even though a lot of it can be sort of hair pulling. Also, I want to enter the film industry as a profession. A big part of being successful in that is making a student film in high school or college.”