Donal O’Keeffe is a graduate of ‘Limerick school of art and design’ (LSAD) in Ireland with honors in graphic design. He is a Masters graduate from University College Dublin (UCD) in Film, specialising in Russian and American film. He worked as a broadcast motion designer for Screen Scene Post Production in Dublin, Ireland for three years. He now lives in London and works as a senior broadcast designer for ITN/ITV, specializing in information graphics.
Popcorn Horror asked him a few questions about his Zombie Survival Vehicles series.
What inspired you to create the series?
So the series was inspired by my love of zombie horror films and the especially the initial breakout scenarios. From ‘Night of the Living Dead’ right up to now with ‘The last of us’ and ‘The walking dead’, I find the first signs of a zombie apocalypse to be some of the more exciting elements within these films/games. We see characters reacting in all sorts of manners, some choose to stay and fight it out, some are completely overrun with fear and confusion whilst others evolve into real survivalist. And because most Zombie films deal with a real everyday contemporary world I reckon people can’t help but fit themselves into this frighten scenario. People don’t have military tanks to hand and so would need to very quickly incorporate standard cars and vans into strong reliable machines for escape. I felt that just showing the outside of these vehicles wouldn’t tell the full story of our survivors so I liked the idea of doing a cross section that revealed in the details, the people and their possessions. And so, tell us who they are and and perhaps where there from and whats important to them.
What is your favourite zombie movie?
My favorite Zombie movie would have to be the original George Romero’s ‘Night of the Living dead’ from 1968, its such a simple construct but from the start and the first few scenes in the graveyard I cant help but feel that I’m watching something truly scary as a concept. There’s a real slow paced creepiness infused in that film that alot of current zombie films neglect for faster editing and special effects. I’m not sure I like the new digital zombies full on sprinting in the movies of now. On a side note, one zombie film remake that I though was a real success was Zack Snyder’s ‘Dawn of the dead’, I felt he really captured the quirky nature of the original but also helped it by trimming at least 30mins.. great Halloween watch!
If you could only take one weapon into a fight with a zombie, what would it be?
This answer really depends on what stage we are at with the zombie attack, for example, guns are no good a couple months in as it would hard to find bullets, where as a crossbow would be useful but tough to reload in a close proximity fight for life So for me, and I know it sounds foolhardy, but I would go with a really good sword, something like Michonne’s from the walking dead.
Detail your zombie survival plan.
Zombie survival plan: great question. Again, there can be no real definitive answer to this as it depends completely on your location and when the attack happens. But to narrow it down, I reckon you got two chooses, 1: find a suitable place to hold up, make it secure, stock food and water whilst trying for help on the radio and of course arm yourself to the teeth or, 2; and this is my favorite create an exit plan, make for a port or marina and a boat, you need to get off land and hopefully make it to an unaffected island. I feel this can really be the only sense of escape. Of course making your way to a boat would include a survival vehicle!
What’s next for you, what projects are you working on?
I have several different projects on the go at the moment. I just finished my Halloween addition to the Zombie survival series, a ‘New Delhi Tuktuk’, that was alot of fun and I’m really happy with the final render (Just added it to my coroflot portfolio). I’m in the initial research stages for a cross section of a Zombie survival building. Its gonna be very similar in style to the vehicles but this time through the cross section it will tell the story of a bunch of survivors living in a block of flats. Also I’m currently working on a short animated piece that’s called, “The Town of Up and Down”. It’s not related to my Zombie designs in any way but does share my love of detailed 3d worlds. This is a long term project aiming for a late spring 2014 release.