There are many roles within Zombie Infection's ranks. We have a hard working Creative/Managing Director (Greg Rudman - read his latest blog), a fabulous Communications Manager (Charlie Sadler - watch her shit herself weekly on the ZI twitch channel here), several brilliant Event Managers, a smashing HR Chief and Lord only knows how many other behind the scenes legends that I didn't know to mention..... But me? I'm one of the acting crew so I'm gonna ramble on about that for a bit. There are a few different characters within the "Zombie Infection Universe" and if your willing to work hard and learn the lines you can work your way around them all, Zombie Infection are great at giving everybody a chance to grow in confidence and ability each event.
First up we have our Protagonists; the rebels, cowboys, soldiers, etc who guide the customers through the story lines. These guys have to be tough and make sure the guests stay on track at all times. This job involves delivering a lot of important information, and while there are scripts written for them, it would be impossible to stick to them because every customer is different and every Zombie Experience plays out a little differently to the last. Each of these leaders adopts their own persona, they usually keep the same character name and their costume evolves in subtly different ways but they all have one thing in common....they are all capable of being an absolute bad ass. To do this job you need to be aware of time scales, health and safety, the event environment (things get broken) and the customers level of interaction at all times. It's a tough job but we have some amazing people in these roles. It's not easy keeping everyone on track and making sure everyone is involved enough to have a good time.
We also have our character actors, the NPCs of the zombie survival genre. Some are guards, some medical staff, some struggling survivors but all are 100% in character 100% of the time. These roles are fun but you have to be quick thinking, thick skinned and willing to be locked in dark spaces, alone....for ages. The nice thing about these characters is that every actor can play them differently. My favourite role (Dr Chase at the 18th Century Courthouse in Birmingham) is played by an incredibly diverse group of people and all of us play the role in totally different ways. I like to play the role as a deranged, but friendly genius who might just have a thing for that scared looking customer who's always trying to avoid his attention. Others take on the role of a hard arsed business person who views the customers as a commodity to be discarded once no longer useful....
These guys are the ones who really need to learn lines. You can rephrase the odd word here and there but every line of every script matters. These guys provide the plot twists, story lines and really sell the realism of each experience. If you forget your lines the customers might not know what to do when faced with puzzles later on. The better these guys do their job, the easier it is for the Lead actors to do theirs. The final acting group are the Infected. These are the rock stars of Zombie Infection. The only lines they need to know are the horrifying gurgles when trying to reach for a breath. An unrelenting delivery of terror. As an infected you basically play a reanimated corpse...and that is difficult. The lazy don't last long in this role, Zombie Infection call them "drifters" and are very quickly singled out. You get shot, you get back up, you run into a different location, you get shot again! It's exhilaratingly exhausting.
It's also a role that requires some forethought. Each Infected designs their own character and what they wear. They chose their sfx and make up based in the character they will be playing. Some have been dead a while and show signs of decay, others have still bleeding head wounds and are still relatively mobile. Take a look at the ZI Instagram page here and you will see zombie docs, guards, patients, police officers, construction workers, civilians, cowboys, chefs etc....it's like an undead village people convention! Ultimately everyone at ZI plays a Zombie at some point. Most start as one and then take on the more character based roles later on. As an Infected you have to know how and when to fall, how to sneak around old buildings and exactly when to jump out on some one to get the biggest reaction. You're a scare actor but also a stunt person, a corpse that's ironically the life and soul of ZI's Zombie Experiences. The most important people in an event day, however, are the customers. The more the customer can suspend disbelief the greater the experience for every one involved. There are always people who start unsure but ten minutes in they totally forget the real world and start shitting themselves with the rest of us (yes we jump out on and scare the shit out of each other). The customers ultimately play characters themselves and although they don't have any lines to learn we assure you, they deliver just as much important dialogue as we do!
To take part on one of our 2020 events head over to our website www.zombieinfection.co.uk and follow us across social!
Join Charlie and the gang for all things horror on our live Twitch channel: twitch.tv/zombieinfection