It took over 6 years of dedication and out-of-the-box thinking for director Casey Walker to make "A Little Bit Zombie," a ZomRomCom about a mild-manner HR manager (Kristopher Turner) who becomes infected with a virus during a weekend get-away with his sister (Kristen Hager), best friend (Shawn Roberts), and fiancé, Tina (Crystal Lowe). Now he has an overwhelming desire for brains, an obsessed zombie hunter hot on his trail, and a bridezilla-to-be who will do anything to make sure the wedding takes place, even when her husband-to-be is a little bit zombie.
"A Little Bit Zombie" opens in Canada on May 18 and has already become a hit with audiences on the festival circuit. It seems like audiences really connect with Zombies - who knew?
But audience support came before the movie was even made. Walker raised most of the funding to make the film by crowdsourcing - selling the film frame-by-frame, literally. He was the first person to do so using his website: mymilliondollarmovie.com, back in 2006, garnering great support and media attention. It was his lifelong dream to make a feature film, and now he has.
First Weekend Club caught on with Walker to discuss zombies, comedy, the filmmaking journey, and raising cold hard cash:
Why do you think that Zombies, comedy, and romance mix so well?
I couldn't answer that accurately as our take on the romance isn't what you'd traditionally see in a romantic comedy. We're more un-romantic. But I think that Zombie and Comedy go well together because they're like chocolate and peanut butter, separately they are still fun but together they're truly awesome.
Why do you like zombies?
I found them the scariest of creatures because there is no reasoning with a zombie, and a hoard of them is truly frightening.
How did the idea for "A Little Bit Zombie" come to life? And how did it end up on the page?
I met Chris Bond at a mutual friend's birthday and he told me the idea. It really stuck with me for a week so I tracked him down, bought it and tasked he and his writing partner, Trevor Martin, to get the script going. It took us 3 years and 1 day from that first meeting to going to camera.
This must have been a fun set. Any funny incidents?
Too many to list. We all laughed all day long, every day. I could barely call cut I was trying to contain my self through a take and would just let it all out instead of calling cut. That's how the actors knew we were done.
I've heard that you had a pretty creative way of fundraising for the movie, can you tell me a little bit about that?
I was the first person to apply crowdfunding to a film with my website mymilliondollarmovie.com. This was back in 2006 before anyone else was doing it.
How did you come up with the idea in the first place?
Necessity is the mother of invention and I was inspired by a kid from the UK who raised money online to go to school.
How did you spread the word about your "campaign?"
A press release got the attention of a lot of people and it just snowballed. Remember social media wasn't what it is today. Heck, youtube was only a few months old!
It clearly worked. Why do you think people embraced it so much?
Because they wanted to be a part of something different.
You've got a pretty unique approach to distribution too. What are some of the ways that you're doing it differently?
I didn't just sell if all to one distribution company in each country. I'm partnering with teams with proven track records in each area (DVD, VOD, TV, etc) to bring it to audiences in a cost effective and efficient manner.
What are some of the most thrilling experiences you've had so far with the film?
Making the film would be a start. I've wanted to make a movie for as long as I can remember and that alone was the biggest thrill. I think the one thing that got me the most was when my parents came out to set on the biggest day of shooting. We had a big set piece with 120 people on set and they couldn't believe I was at the centre of it all. Just before they left, my dad told me he was proud of me for the first time in my life. That's a moment I'll never forget. And now that he's seen the film, he hasn't changed his mind!!
That's a good thing! This project took 5 years to get off the ground -- that requires a great deal of dedication and tenacity… where do you find it?
I'm a stubborn SOB, ask anyone who knows me.
For more on "A Little Bit Zombie," visit: http://www.alittlebitzombie.com