ZOMBIES IN VEGAS
WITH HOUSE OF DON'S VITAMIN Z
INTERVIEW WITH DOUGLAS FARRA Creator of Vitamin Z
Two years ago the People’s Republic of China and its allies launched a biological attack on the world. They created a vitamin-nutritional supplement called Vitamin Z. Through propaganda, media and free samples, within the first week of introducing the new product, more than half the world had tried it – then people began to change, they died and reanimated into zombies. The virus then took on the name of the drink that introduced it, Vitamin Z...
STRIPLV: What inspired you and your team to create Vitamin Z in the first place?
FARRA: The inspiration for Vitamin Z came from a short script I wrote a few years ago. It was more or less a comedy and was not intended to be anything more than nothing. My team and I were casting for a project we will be working on this summer, a feature film called Leverage, when we decided to squeeze a smaller project in during the winter and spring seasons. It is no longer a small project and definitely not a comedy. Vitamin Z has gained the attention of most local filmmakers and is doing much better than expected.
STRIPLV: I know you shoot mostly on location for the show. Where is one of your favorite Vegas places for shooting?
FARRA: Vitamin Z has filmed at three locations thus far and still has another venue on the horizon to finish the project. My favorite place so far has been a private residence, which is listed with the Nevada Film Office. The owner of the house has been very hospitable and it makes for a perfect backdrop for Vitamin Z. The owner only occupies a third of the house and keeps the rest open for filming and the lot rests on a few acres. It has been a great location. We will also be filming at theatre7 in the Arts District, which is another great location for filmmakers since filmmakers own it. We will have filmed there already by the time the article comes out. I would like to say that locations are not easy to come by on a next-to-nothing budget, especially when you need the backdrop to look like the apocalypse. As a filmmaker, I would wish for the Downtown project to get more involved with independent film, since they own a lot of awesome resources at the moment.
STRIPLV: It seems like zombies and zombie projects are really gaining popularity right now. Why do you think that is?
FARRA: Zombies and zombie projects have been popular for years, but mainly only in film, such as Resident Evil, Day of the Dead, etc. The Walking Dead would be one of the main reasons that zombies have taken on the mainstream public.
STRIPLV: What has been your favorite scene and/or episode so far?
FARRA: At the moment I would have to say that episode 7 is my favorite. The episode is guest directed by filmmaker Sean Jackson of Somnium Productions and is filled with lots of zombies and action. It should be one of the most favorite episodes by viewers as well.
STRIPLV: Where can our readers see Vitamin Z?
FARRA: Vitamin Z is scheduled to release its first episode on June 10th, and then will air weekly on Mondays for a total of eight weeks. People can see the episodes at VitaminZSeries.com, which currently redirects viewers to: HouseOfDonProductions.com, but should be set up as its own site by June 10th. They can also search YouTube for our channel, House of DON Productions or like our Facebook page: Facebook.com/VitaminZSeries.
STRIPLV: What does the future hold for Vitamin Z?
FARRA: We will be wrapped with the filming of Season 1 in early June and finished with postproduction in early July. We will then begin the process of brainstorming and scripting Season 2, which include a much larger cast. In Season 1, we have 3 guest directors and a few other guest crewmembers. We plan to do more of this in Season 2, as well. I believe that Vitamin Z is a great project to include as many local filmmakers and talent as possible. I will be hoping to make it more of a community project when we get to this point. We should begin filming Season 2 in December 2013.
STRIPLV: Do you have any new projects coming up at House of Don?
FARRA: We are about to start filming our first feature film, currently called Leverage. This name may change to not conflict with the TV show on TNT. This is an exciting project and way overdue. We have planned this for a long time and are hopeful, that once complete, it will do well in film festivals across the country. The movie is about a woman who seeks revenge on her father for the murder of her sister. We also have several projects in the planning stages that we really want to get to, but due to the short 24 hours in a day and limit on budget, we will only ever get to maybe half of them. I am confident that by this time next year we will have completed Vitamin Z Seasons 1 and 2, Leverage, a few short films, and be working on our 2nd feature. Exciting!
STRIPLV: Who is your idol in the filmmaking industry? And does that shape some of the production that you do?
FARRA: I have a few idols in the filmmaking industry – the main ones being Tom Cruise and Quentin Tarantino. As a small boy, Tom Cruise always provided me with an image that I thought was special. It seemed like all his movies involved life and its struggles, and the idea that you can overcome these struggles. Quentin Tarantino has provided a different type of influence; his movies always amaze me with originality. I have always enjoyed this, the way his stories can entertain every sensation in my mind and be completely different in every way. Together, both of these influences create the need for me to do better and be original – from the idea of the story to actually filming the movie. Leverage will be my first real chance to take these influences and make them come to life – where I get to show how my characters overcome diversity and do it in a unique way, not just through the story itself, but in the way the film is shot and edited.
STRIPLV: Do you aspire to move to L.A. someday, or is your goal to stay and shape the production industry in Vegas?
FARRA: To stay or to go, that is the question. I have not yet thought of any plans to uproot and move the production company. I believe that Nevada has great filming potential here and seems to have a growing filmmaking community. House of DON Productions and myself are still rookies in this industry, so for now we will stay and grow here. It is a great place to get a start and hopefully develop our talents and skills to a point where we will have to make such a tough decision. My team and myself are fairly new to this type of entertainment. We have put in a lot of work over the past five months planning and filming Vitamin Z and can only be proud of how far we have come in such a short amount of time and with barely any funding involved. It has taken others years to create this type of progress and I see it as only a beginning to much bigger and better things to come. Vitamin Z was great for us in a way that we never expected, but now we have a gauge on what we can possibly do in the future and look forward to it.