Quick! Grab your zombie escape plan, try to remember everything you’ve learned about Zombies in Plain English, and stay calm. You gotta be cool, composed, and have your wits about you if you’re going to survive The Outbreak, because in this George A. Romero-inspired entertainment experience, a wrong decision could be your (err…rather the middle-aged white guy who you’re controlling’s) last.
Created by uber-talented interactive design firm SilkTricky – whose clients include Taco Bell, Axe, and Red Bull – The Outbreak spawned from a love of choose-your-own-adventure books and gore and a lifetime of pent up frustration from yelling at the move/television screen whenever a horror flick’s mortally inept characters make very bad decisions.
The undead action unfolds from a backwoods house where Kelly (the token girl), Seth (the cocky badass), Alex (the scared $#!%less creepy guy), and Dave (the injured one) attempt to stave off the zombie apocalypse while You/James (the CPA-looking dude in control) are calling the shots. It’s fast enough to appease ADD-ridden websurfers with more than enough blood and entrails to satisfy the genre fanatics.
I caught up with SilkTricky patner, Lynn Lund who told me more about how the project came to life:
Tilzy.TV: How’d you come up with the idea?
Lynn Lund: Actually, the idea came about from the many years we’d been involved in interactive design. We had worked on several projects that had different levels of interactivity and thought, “Why don’t we do this for ourselves and apply it to a genre that we love?”
Pretty much every horror movie we’ve seen, we were constantly yelling at the characters because we knew that they were so obviously lacking in good judgment. The Outbreak allows people to take control of the situation, so they can really only blame themselves.
Tilzy.TV: Who’s involved?
Lynn Lund: My business partner (and husband) Chris Lund, the Director/Editor, came up with the idea and called upon his two best friends from his hometown in Pennsylvania, Shaun Casper and Scott Wilson to help make this film a reality. Shaun, who has been a huge horror movie fan and zombie aficionado, was a great reference and made sure we got the “rules” right when dealing with zombies. Scott, who’s always been a movie buff, contributed to the idea as a whole and helped with dialogue.
Together, Chris, Shaun and Scott were able to write the screenplay, always keeping in mind that since the primary audience is online, we’d have to start the movie with a bang and keep the it moving quickly to keep their interest. After the screenplay was written, Chris and I took my experience as a web producer and tried to apply as much as we could towards the film’s production. We reached out to the local Portland, Or area film community and found a ton of local crew and talent, whose passion and dedication helped to get the film done.
Tilzy.TV: How long did it take to shoot? What kind budget?
Lynn Lund: The film was shot over the course of 6 days. 5 days of principal photography and 1 day additional for a reshoot of an end scene. We had originally budgeted for around $25k (using our own savings to fund the project) but in actuality, it took about $35k to complete. Though this figure does not include the time spent in Pre and Post Production (producing, editing, special effects, website development) which Chris and I were able to do ourselves through our web design company.
Tilzy.TV: Will there be a sequel?
Lynn Lund: Currently, we’re taking on other web-based, interactive, and motion graphics projects for our regular “day jobs,” at our web design company, Silktricky, but we’re hoping that if there is enough interest, that we can do another film.
We’re received some feedback that it’s “too short” which we didn’t think would be possilbe since online audiences tend to have shorter attention spans. It’s exciting to know that people are taking the time to go through the film, even going back several times to try out all the different options. Very cool!
Tilzy.TV: How many different story options are there in The Outbreak?
Lynn Lund: There are a total of 21 scenes, with 10 total decision points. There are 6 options that lead to death, and 2 that lead to your survival.
Watch them all at www.SurviveTheOutbreak.com.