Monday, August 15, 2011
365 Movies Day #140 "Humans Vs. Zombies"
So it's not until film #140 that I post about a film I was actually in, but "HvZ" is worth it and I finally got to see a rough cut of it the other night. Everything I hoped it would be, which is a fun, cool zombie flick...with ME in it. I used to stay up late planning with my friends on my front porch how we would survive the zombie apocalypse...when I was 12. Romero's 3 original films were more than films to us. They were lessons in survival...and what NOT to do in case of an outbreak. We had elaborate plans and would attempt to poke holes in each others theories. So, for most of my life I have been a zed nut. Well, not a fan of them, but a fan of killing them...and not being killed or turned in the process. Enter Brian Jaynes.
A bit of backstory first. I had just lost a job in Rockdale TX after only 9 months of employment because the plant closed. I had just accepted a position with a Target Distribution Center in Tyler, TX (which turned out to be filled with deceitful, evil people and an environment that encouraged the blame game and cutting down others to get ahead...and I'm not good at that game). My agent in Austin, Heather Collier (who is amazing) hooked me up with Linda McAlister in Dallas (also amazing) so I had those bases covered, but I wanted to connect with some indy filmmakers in the Tyler area. As you can imagine, it's not a big scene, but there was this one guy who had made an amazing music video I found on myspace for a song called "Firestorm" by the Texas band The Vehicle Reason.
Great song and a great video, and director (and now long time friend) Samuel Haun lived right in Tyler. I hit him up on myspace and not long after I moved there, he and I hooked up at Starbucks and talked about plans for the future. Shortly thereafter, Sam introduced me to his friend and mentor, Brian Jaynes. Brian was in the process of pre-production for a little flick called "Boggy Creek". He and I met to discuss a script my wife and I had put together over lunch and in the process Brian and I hit it off and he gave me the role of Deputy Klein in "Boggy". I had a blast on set, shot for two days, met some amazing folks and founded some friendships that will last for a lifetime.
I must have done something right, because Brian came back and told me his next project would be a zombie film based on the college campus game Humans Vs. Zombies.
Pretty cool game and a zombie movie to boot. The lesson here is social media does work sometimes and you can meet some very cool folks who make badass movies and will put you to work on them. There are a lot of smoke blowers but they are worth dealing with for the rare gems that actually follow through with a vengeance.
So here we are, in Pittsburg, TX in December of 2010, shooting a badass zombie movie for four weeks. The premise is somewhat familiar with a zombie epidemic breaking out in a small town. The heroes are mainly college kids, some of which play the game HVZ on campus. Frank (me) is a notable exception. He's a whacked out security guard and war vet who has prepared for something like this all his life. He's kind of me...but a bit more eccentric.
My fellow leads were played by the wonderful Madison Burge (best known as Beck Sproles on the hit TV show "Friday Night Lights"), the fantastic Chip Joslin (veteran TV and indy actor with roles on shows like "Trauma", "CSI", "Cold Case", "Criminal Minds" and "Veronica Mars"), the adorable Melissa Carnell (star of Brian's first film "Boggy Creek") and relative newcomers Jesse Ferraro and Jonah Priour. In addition, we has some amazing supporting talent like Rheagan Wallace who we talked about before on "SIX STRING SAMURAI" and just came off working on "Deep in the Heart" which looks amazing and also stars Larry Jack Dotson who is also an "HVZ" cast member. And I'd be totally remiss if I didn't single out Matthew Downs who blew me away as Billy.
I don't want to give away too much of the film and I'm not sure what I can talk about regarding release and what not, except to say that if you look on the IMDB site, you can see that it will be on Chiller and I'm hearing rumblings of a theatrical release soon, but not sure of exact dates or how large. Let's just say that you won't have to search to hard to be able to see it.
In closing, I'd like to say thanks to everyone involved on the project for helping me knock out a dream of mine. I can't wait to work with ALL of you again. And a special thanks to Pittsburg for being the coolest town a film crew could ask for!!!
If you want to help support the film, click on the IMDB link, click on the actors pages, check out the videos on youtube, post them everywhere.
Check out the gamesite here: http://humansvszombies.org/
Check out the movie's official page here: http://www.hvzthemovie.com/
Oh, and if you are checking this out from my facebook page, I am tagging the official facebook page in this post so go LIKE IT! Great place to follow news on the site.
HUMANS VERSUS ZOMBIES ON IMDB