This week’s crowdfunder of choice is Night of the Living Deb, a romantic zomedy (or rom-zom-com) with a female lead, written and directed by Kyle Rankin and Andy Selsor.

NIght of the Living Deb

Night of the Living Deb dons a script described on its Kickstarter page as “hilarious with great characters and cool action.” Similar to past humor-woven zombie films such as Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead, Ruben Fleischer’s Zombieland and Jonathan Levine’s Warm Bodies, the film takes an infamous horror genre subject and turns it into a love story/comedy while somehow retaining the goriness of zombie films. Yet when MovieMaker asked him, Rankin noted that his inspiration didn’t come from other zomedies. “We [he and Selsor] discussed the sincere, dramatic, groundbreaking films in the genre (Night of the Living Dead, 28 Days Later, World War Z), and not so much the other comedic takes – though I love them,” Rankin said.

night of the living deb michael cassidy

Unlike most Kickstarters, Rankin and Selsor decided to put the first 16 pages of their script online for potential backers to read for themselves, in order to get an idea of what they’re investing in. A glimpse into the film’s first scenes present us with Deb Clarington, a 30-year-old camerawoman with no family to spend Christmas with, and Ryan Waverly (played by Michael Cassidy of the TV series Men at Work), a trust fund pretty boy with an “I’m-too-good-for-you” attitude. Laced with pop culture references to Ferris Bueller and Back to the Future, the film’s first 16 pages captivate the audience with rapid character development and humor, compliments of quirky protagonist Deb.

Getting Michael Cassidy to come on board the film so early on was a huge score for the Deb team. After meeting Cassidy through mutual friend director Perry Lang, Rankin fell in love with the idea of Cassidy for leading man, and the rest is history.

As for now, the role of Deb is still undecided. According to Rankin, actresses such as Melanie Lynskey, Katy Mixon and Collette Wolfe have been thrown around, but he anticipates a decision within the next few weeks.

Rankin is passionate about filming his project in his hometown of Portland, Maine. Said Rankin, “It’s such a gorgeous, underutilized state (where filmmaking is concerned) filled with talented, un-jaded people.”

The film’s title is a rip-off of George Romero’s 1968 horror film, which Rankin justifies as a strategy for the film’s success. “By standing on the shoulders of these giants… our audience will know immediately that (1) it’s a ZOMBIE picture, (2) it’s gonna be FUNNY, and (3) it’s gonna have a WOMAN in the lead role,” reads the Kickstarter page.

The film’s cast and crew, including Cassidy and Ray Wise of Twin Peaks fame, will be hosting a free Zombie Party in West Hollywood on March 20 for those of you that want to get to know the film more intimately. For more information on the event and tickets, go to their Eventbrite page here.

SynoposisNight of the Living Deb is a zom-rom-com that takes place during a zombie apocalypse. After an awkward one-night-stand, Deb, the “endearingly average, awkward heroine,” leaves her pursuant, Ryan’s, apartment, only to drive right into the beginning of a zombie apocalypse. With the only safe haven being Ryan’s apartment, Deb and Ryan must stick together to survive.

Campaigners: Kyle Rankin, writer-director

Target Amount: $99,000

Amount Currently Raised: $25,727

Campaign Opening Date: March 6, 2014

Campaign Closing Date: Saturday April 5, 2014

Funding Goes Toward: Equipment, props, make-up, wardrobe, food, production insurance, travel, lodging, music, sound effects, rewards creation/distribution.

Donor Reward Highlights:
$200: (plus previous rewards) “TALKER: to be fair… it’s more of a guttural hiss… but you’re SPEAKING! Which is why we should give you a part. At this level, come be an EXTRA in the movie. Choose to be a zombie OR a survivor, and we’ll do our very best to feature you in an important shot. You must get yourself to set in Portland, Maine- but we’ll provide a yummy lunch (with cast and crew). And since you’re one of us now, this level includes a ticket to the WRAP PARTY. Your name will also be in the end credits, but now as part of the cast!”

$500: (plus previous rewards) “PLANNER: you’re smart enough to set traps. Or lure us away from the group. This won’t end well for us… but it will for you: with a SPEAKING PART in “Night of the Living Deb.” Only a line or two, but there’s no such thing as a small part. You’ll have to get yourself to Portland, Maine – or, if you’re okay with being a vocal presence on a radio or telephone… you can immortalize yourself from ANYWHERE in the world. This level also includes two tickets to the wrap party, and one of the red carpet premieres (and after party).”

$6,000: (plus previous rewards) “ZOMBIE WITH A SHOTGUN: is there anything more terrifying? You’ve found a gun, loaded it, and now you’re the most horrifying, pants-crappingest thing EVER. At this level, we’ll give you a MAJOR ROLE in “Night of the Living Deb”- we’re talkin’ one or two scenes in which your character is given a name and featured prominently. You won’t be edited out, because you’ll be a pivotal part of the story. Please have some ability in front of the camera… or, at least, the confidence to know you can kick ass. This premium means your name is on the poster and in the top credits. We’ll provide travel to Portland, Maine (from within the U.S.), and accommodations while shooting.”

$10,000: (plus previous rewards) “ZOMBIE GENERAL: you’re running this entire invasion from the comfort of your, um…. Place where zombies are most comfortable. Scores of your undead brethren await your commands – you’re kicking ass and eating brains. At this level, your name will be listed as an EXECUTIVE PRODUCER in the pre-opening-title credits. This premium also gives you access to shooting and/or post production at any point you’re interested in. You’ll be listed on IMDB and sometimes even consulted for a creative opinion during post production (on rough cuts of the film, etc.) This premium includes all physical rewards from every other level as well.” MM

To learn more about Night of the Living Deb check out their Kickstarter, Facebook and webpage

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