Short, Sharp Interview: Jenna Payne

jenna1PDB: Can you pitch ZOMPIRE VIXENS FROM PLUTO in 25 words or less?

Foxy zombie/vampire hybrids attack Brooklyn in retaliation for the declassification of Pluto as a planet, rendering the Zompires ineligible for intergalactic aid.

PDB: Can you tell us about the staged readings that you have up at You Tube?

The goal of this webseries has always been perfectly clear to me – to make something awesome. Haha. But I still get an awful lot of questions as to what the series is actually about. We were fortunate enough to be accepted into Women In Horror month last February, so I put together a staged reading in four days with a combination of cast and and uncast (but killer) talent who were available. We had about an hour to rehearse before we performed the whole thing in front of a small audience. It was a ton of fun and while it doesn’t have the visual quality that I’m aiming for with the full series, I definitely think it does the job of illuminating the madcap adventures that the series offers.

PDB: Who else is involved in ZOMPIRE VIXENS FROM PLUTO?

I wrote this series a couple of years ago and have yet to fully fund the project. That said, though, there have been some amazing players who I hope will be available for the Vixens when all 12 episodes get greenlit. Sophia Remolde, Nylda Mark, and Emily Bennett have been cast as the Zompire trio. Marion Elaine and Tyler Cook are our two human heroes. Richard Brundage is featured multi-tasking in the staged reading and will be our Dr. Von Tron, the broken-hearted scientist responsible for declassifying Pluto. Drea Lorraine, aka 2012’s Miss Coney Island, really wowed me with her Empress of Pluto for the reading, and I hope she can come in for the actual show.

Michele Mulkey has been our key special effects guru from the beginning. She’s sent us some really amazing prosthetics for shoots, and I can’t wait to get her on set. Che Broadnax is kind of a mega sci fi geek and our cinematographer. Bob DeNatale is my frequent editor and finessed the staged reading videos. Ayal Kushner and Anna Duckworth have helped me produced shoots and events for the show. Lenny Gonzalez has done some composing for us. Phaedra Strecher has been our amazing graphic designer for Zompire flyers, t-shirts, etc. Many other people have made themselves available for the Zompire cause, and for that, I salute all of you.

PDB: Is there a connection between ZOMPIRE VIXENS FROM PLUTO and DARKTOWN?

Marion Elaine and Tyler Cook, our human saviors in ZOMPIRE VIXENS, were the two estranged lovers in DARKTOWN. Bob DeNatale edited DARKTOWN and will be editing the Vixens. I, obviously, am behind both projects.

Mostly I like how different the two pieces are. DARKTOWN is very, well, dark (as in grim) and rather simple. It was shot without a script and with extremely minimal props. The blacked out grid of Manhattan was the real star in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The actors showed up in their own clothes, and we made up the story as we went along.

In juxtaposition, ZOMPIRE VIXENS FROM PLUTO! also involves death, but it’s a zany horror comedy with an alien species travelling to Earth that only knows human history up until film noir. The story is actually pretty complicated. Also, there are a lot more fake blood, costuming, props, and gore happening.

The Zompires have been denied their lifeline of brainstems by the Intergalactic Consortium, spearheaded by Dr. Von Tron who loathes the Zompires. In order to keep their race alive, three Vixen lieutenants are sent to Earth to convince the good doctor to reinstate their food supply. Zompires, though, being a mix of zombie (forgetful) and vampire (sexy) get sidetracked pretty easily and lay waste to several of Brooklyn’s denizens.

Olivia, a gifted young astronomer and student of Dr. Von Tron’s, and her neighbor Chase take it upon themselves to save Brooklyn from the Zompires. The six episodes from the staged reading cover a lot of ground, but I’m really proud of some of the twists happening in the last half of the series. Fingers crossed we’ll get to unleash them in some way soon!jenna 2

PDB: You’ve recently moved to LA, why?

I spent the past ten years of my life in New York, and I came up in film there for three years. I’ve freelanced in production in Los Angeles a few times, but this time around I ended up staying. I got a bump in my dayrate and had been struggling in New York for far too long to ignore that kind of money. Basically, I love and appreciate the support and network that I’ve had in New York for so long, but Hollywood is the seat of our industry. I’ve been meeting many more people who have made it farther than I have and who want to hear about my projects. I was not finding those opportunities in NYC, but I guess the results remain to be seen. In the meantime, I bought my first car ever (her name is Gerty) and spend an astounding amount of time talking about the weather in a place that hardly has any discrepancy. Haha.

PDB: What’s on the cards for the rest of 2013?

I’m working on building packaging for ZOMPIRE VIXENS and for my feature-length slasher. I’m hoping to meet a lot more film folks in LA, and I’ll be hitting up more than a few midnight horror flicks at Cinefamily this month… Tis my most favorite of seasons!

PDB: Where can people find out more about Jenna Payne, ZOMPIRE VIXENS FROM PLUTO! and DARKTOWN?

Well, you can check out any of the following links and please send what you like to those you love the most!

Jenna Payne‘s YouTube


ZVP! YouTube


DARKTOWN – (Preview)

PDB: Anything else you think we should know?

I’m definitely looking for collaborators, so if you’re interested in my work, I would love to hear about yours, too!

Thanks Jenna!