Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Welcome to the Other Side!

Hey everybody!  Jon of Couch Zombies here, bringing you the first official Couch Zombies blog post!

What is Couch Zombies?  Well, hopefully I've given a decent overview of it in the sidebar, since this first post will just keep getting pushed lower and lower in the blog as we create new entries.  But, I'm happy to explain here as well, and even to give some more background!

Couch Zombies is an upcoming Internet series about the lives of suburban zombies, specifically a bunch of zombies who live in an apartment building.  The main characters are Zombie Steve and Zombie Jon, based on Real Life Steve and Real Life Jon.  We're the guys who came up with the show.

Their neighbors on either side of their apartment are Zombie Gerry and Zombie Janet.  Have you guessed yet?  Yep, Gerry and Janet are also members of the Couch Zombies team (Team Zomb, as I've been geekishly addressing the group in our emails).

How did we come up with this idea?  That's a funny story itself.  Steve was joking with his wife, Jen, one night, about how it would be fun to have a show about these Zombies who hang out around their apartment all day, sitting on the couch, playing online games, and commenting on the news.  They even came up with the title of Couch Zombies right there.  Steve and I are best buddies and we hang out a couple of times a week.  Steve brought this funny idea up, and it just so happened that at the same time, I was working on a funny cartoon with two zombies in it.  This was for a Mentos contest on deviantArt, and I'll go ahead and post it as one of the images here.

We decided that we could play the main characters, and that they could be based on us and on the zombies in the Mentos cartoon.

Alas, I wasn't even one of the semi-finalists in the dA contest, but that's all right.  It came at such a perfect time as to be one of the major catalysts for bringing this project to life.

We had several ideas on how to animate it.  The first was to make it a machinima, using World of Warcraft footage.  But then we decided we wanted it to be more original than that.  I started doing some comic strip style concept art for the characters, and had some ideas for animating it, but thought it would be great to get an experienced animator.  (My main form of art is 3D Modeling, which is what I'm getting my Masters in.)

I contacted my good friend Janet, who is a student in the same department as me at Academy of Art University, but who is majoring in animation.  She's terrific!  And, I'm happy to say that she was as excited about the project as Steve and I and signed on!  She'll be doing the animation in Flash.

Meanwhile, we realized that as part of pre-production, we needed story boards.  I tried my hand at this, and was so displeased with the result that I said that we had to find someone else for that job.  (I can draw, but like everyone, I have my limits.)  Steve contacted another long time pal of ours, Gerry, who is a fantastic draftsman.  Then, Gerry hit us with these amazing concept drawings of the characters that prompted me to think, just as Phil Tippet did when he saw the CGI dinosaurs they planned to use for Jurassic Park, "Well, I guess that makes me obsolete."

Of course, I'm not obsolete.  Steve's the head writer, but a lot of the ideas are also mine, and I have many other jobs on this project.  Really what it got me to think though was that Gerry needed to be our character designer.  I want this show to look as awesome as possible!

So, that's as much of the story as I'm going to share today.  I will leave you with the Mentos cartoon, and... oh yeah!  I mentioned that I'm a 3D Modeler.  Though the show isn't going to be in 3D, I thought it would be fun to create models of the characters' heads based on Gerry's designs.  So far, I've created Zombie Jon and Zombie Steve.  Zombie Gerry is next!  Check out the ZJ and ZS images below!

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