About The Project
It’s midnight–strange noises and cat howls awaken Bill and Shelly Sampler. A terrible ruckus ensues when Bill goes to investigate. Shelly rushes into the kitchen, finds Bill bloody and unconscious on the floor and is attacked from behind. Before the attacker finishes her off, she sees a dark hero bash him, punch through his skull and rip out his brain. Shelly faints.
At dawn Shelly awakens on the kitchen floor to a perfectly clean house and Bill quietly asleep on the sofa as the History Channel drones on the television. No blood or mess – was it a nightmare? Bill seems ok, but…she can’t seem to find his pulse. Very cold and very hungry, Bill wolfs down all the cold, raw meat in the fridge. Her best friend Carrie arrives to help, but is stumped – and disgusted.
Shelly inspects a gaping bite wound on Bill’s shoulder and Carrie notices a trash bag full of clothes by the back door. They both gag as Bill absentmindedly nibbles on a dismembered hand. Bill determines that in the chaos of the attack, he must have gone crazy defending Shelly and ate the prowler who was trying to eat him.
In his romantic justification of defending her, Shelly loves him more than ever. A longtime vegan, Carrie is repulsed. (Then again, she never liked Bill anyway.) Bill and Shelly are months behind in the rent and when keys jangling at the front door indicate the sleazeball landlord is letting himself in, Shelly insists she can handle it and shoves Bill and Carrie in the bedroom. The landlord sleazily demands “some form of payment” and as his hand wanders up Shelly’s blouse, Bill bursts out of the bedroom and in a Tasmanian-Devilish blur of motion, eats the lecher. There’s a whirlwind of zombie cannibalism, a mighty burp, and nothing left but a pile of clothes and a wallet full of money. Their rent problem is gone.
Bill accidentally bites Carrie and the soon-to-be-ex-vegan is now infected – and really, really pissed about it. Desperate for answers, Shelly calls her conspiracy theorist/survivalist brother Charlie for advice. After all this time, maybe one of his crazy theories might actually be true.
Charlie’s sources on the web have followed this zombie virus coverup for months and now, like a kid in a conspiracy candy store, Charlie believes Bill ate the initial attacker and is now The Prime Infector, the main carrier of the virus. Shelly begs Charlie to help find an antidote or treatment instead of beheading him as Charlie proposes. Charlie insists this whole thing is a government conspiracy and if they breathe a word about it to anyone, men in black suits will just take Bill to a lab in the middle of nowhere never to be seen again.
The door bursts open and two Men In Black-style agents rush in to capture the new Prime Zombie. Shelly and her crazy brother will stop at nothing to protect their family. Bill may be a Tasmanian-Devil-Zombie-Cannibal but this is love. Their wedding vows “in sickness and in health, ‘til death do us part” take on a new meaning. There is only one way out of this mess and tonight no one will see it coming.
Tonight, maybe the zombies are the good guys.
THE STORY BEHIND THE PROJECT
I am a fan of comedy. I love Mel Brooks, the Marx Brothers, and parodies like Airplane and Shaun of the Dead. Over my career behind the camera working with many great comic actors, I have studied and worked to prepare for this moment to be ready to bring my vision to life.
Along my journey, I’ve earned membership in the Director’s Guild of America, the Television Academy, have worked on television shows, movies, commercials, video games, internet pieces and have traveled filming all over the world. From working with the Borg on Star Trek to diving with sharks off the coast of the Bahamas, I’ve had an amazing career so far telling other people’s stories.
Now it’s time to tell a story of my own. Z-Burbs is my comedy.
Inspired by my history working with comedic actors and directors, Z-Burbs is my take on the Zombie genre. While the performances and characters honor the traditions and rules of the Zombie genre, with Z-Burbs, I present a story about real people caught in the fantastical dilemma of what might happen when your soulmate succumbs to an un-deadly virus. Sometimes a tragic diagnosis can reap unexpected rewards.
With my experience and connections in the industry, I am able to assemble a first class cast and crew. We have put together visual and practical effects that will surprise and please the audience. I also know what it takes to get a finished product out. I joined the DGA in 1995 and have been a successful First Assistant Director for over 20 years. The job of the First Assistant Director is to become a master of time origami, ensuring that time is folded very precisely and intricately so that everything comes through on schedule and on budget, which gives me a tremendous advantage as we look to do this feature both stealthily and frugally.
I have directed episodic television, short films and even a documentary but I’ve yet to tackle a full-fledged feature film. In a place where it’s not always what you know but who you know when it comes to getting directing jobs, I realized my very best chance at getting a film I could proudly direct would be if I stuck my neck out on the line and made that opportunity myself.
This story came to me one night as I pondered the question, “why are zombies always the bad guys?” I love physical humor and parody and taking a genre and turning it on its head. I wanted to see about mashing up the ideas of Shaun of the Dead and Eating Raoul. What came out was a tale of true love, immensely funny bits and a madcap conspiracy adventure. Zombie movies don’t always have to be dark.
This is going to be a fun movie to work on and even more fun to be a part of. Come be a part of our zombie adventure. Help me create a Zom/Rom/Com to make people laugh. You will be a part of an amazing team, no matter how big or small your contribution. And if you’re so inclined, a lucky few contributors will be able to come to set to be eaten on screen – that’s a full immersion into zombie culture.
On a personal level, I’m currently on break after wrapping a successful season of a kid’s show – what better time to immerse myself fully in this film?
On a cultural level, zombies are hot now. With zombie appreciation at a record high level, I feel this movie has a very stable built-in market. And it’s different enough from the usual zombie offerings that it will also intrigue those who prefer romantic comedies, too.
Looking at the big picture of this big picture, it’s got a sequel built into it, so when this one goes, it’s ready for the second installment.