Chrissy Baclagan: Well, I’d like to start off by asking a personal question, if you don’t mind. Where did you grow up?
Justin Lesniewski: I was born and raised in Worcester, MA. I made it through a lot of tough winters by reading, following the Patriots, and watching my favorite shows and movies.
CB: What kind of books, shows, and etc. made an impact on your life?
JL: Growing up the biggest impact on me was Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. I was blown away by the pilot episode Emissary, and the serialized storytelling that took themes seriously. It taught me so much about how to develop and execute characters and a plot. When I was in college, LOST absolutely blew me away with the way it integrated each character's arc with the overall story. And, of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Zack Snyder. He's a huge influence on me. His films are visually stunning and fully realized thematically.
CB: Zach Snyder is phenomenal. I love Dawn of the Dead. Anyways, what led you to create How to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse?
JL: Dawn of the Dead (2004) is my favorite zombie movie! I always love talking to another Snyder fan. How to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse is a combination of two ideas. First, I'm a huge fan of The Walking Dead in specific and zombies in general, so I wanted to come up with a way to put a new spin on the zombie genre. Second, I had an idea for a character arc that has become Norm's arc in the series. I thought about the best situation I could tell it in. Of course the answer I came up with is zombie apocalypse because my brain works that way.
CB: [Dawn of the Dead] is fantastic! I'm an avid fan of zombie movies, and his film is my favorite. That's awesome! Anyways, with your ideas, how did you find others who shared the same vision as you did?
JL: Well, zombies are popular right now so I basically just had to step outside and yell, "Who wants to make a zombie apocalypse series?" That attracted a horde. But seriously, our director Stewart Wade is a good friend of mine. I was an AD on his last feature and have helped out with this our web series. I wrote the first episode and season one outline and showed it to him. He loved the idea, so we went about contacting other people he's worked with and holding auditions to find similarly talented and excited people.
CB: Regarding your ideas, I've read on your site that your show reinterprets the idea of humanizing zombies, which I find to be a cool concept. I know that you've mentioned that you won't mention any more on this idea on the site, but are there any little hints you'd like to share? If not, that's completely fine with me, too.
JL: Sure. People know that zombies want to eat brains. But have you ever thought of all the implications of them doing so?
CB: Whoa, that's pretty neat. So, since you're holding a fundraiser for the series, is there anything else you'd like to mention regarding that?
JL: Yes! I'm a huge zombie fan and made so this series for zombie fans, so I want them to be a part of it. Thus, we have a lot of rewards that get you directly involved with or production, so if you've ever wanted to be a zombie or be killed by one or design a weapon for the zombie apocalypse, then you'll definitely want to donate. Many of these rewards are even cheaper during the remainder of our Supply Run Sale over the next ten days. Also, we're coming to the end of our campaign so showing support in the form of donations is really important. Popwrapped and I would like to thank Justin for his time. We wish him success in his career and his web series. Be sure to check out and subscribe to How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse on YouTube, visit their official site for more information, and donate to their Indiegogo campaign here!
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