Butcher Bird News
We’re excited to announce completion of principal photography on IN A FOREIGN TOWN, a short film based on the works of acclaimed horror author Thomas Ligotti. Adapted and directed by Michael Shlain, the short is a proof-of-concept for a television series currently in development. Shot over 5 days at the Butcher Bird soundstage, the Universal Studios backlot and on location in Hollywood and Downtown LA, we assembled a first-class cast and creative team to bring Ligotti’s surreal, disturbing dreamscapes to life. More to come as the horror unfolds.
Do not avert your eyes. This is no dream. You’re all going to see everything…
Butcher Bird Studios created 2 branded content web-series (16 episodes) for portable power company TYLT that are currently releasing at TYLT.com/untethered and on their Facebook page. Untethered: My Passion introduces us to 9 unique people actively living their passions and covers a wide range of interests spanning music to fashion to comic books to photography to BASE jumping. Untethered: On the Road follows Erika Terriquez and Butcher Bird’s Jason Milligan on a 55 day road trip across 42 U.S. states as they live out of a coupe, document their travels, experience new things, and meet their work-related deadlines.
Butcher Bird Studios announces the start of principal photography for its zombie-themed dark comedy BETTER OFF ZED. Helmed by director Travis Stevens (Linked; Shelf Life) and with a script penned by 2015 Nicholl Fellowship-winner Amy Tofte, Better Off Zed stars Graham Sibley (Sully; Nanking; Zombie Honeymoon) and Christine Woods (Hello Ladies; The Walking Dead; About a Boy). The film is being produced by Linda Morel (Key & Peele; Teachers).
For the last decade, Guy (Sibley) has worked a mentally and physically demanding 80-hour week, a daily grind that has slowly crushed his soul; while his wife Paige (Woods), a free-spirit with multiple fine arts degrees to her name, has spent their marriage chasing artistic inspiration. When the zombie apocalypse comes, Guy is ecstatic: no more grueling work, no more monotony, no more hopeless future. He spends his day in idyllic splendor, living life in the moment… while Paige snaps into survival mode, taking on the role of pragmatist, figuring out how to secure their perimeter, stretch out their food supply, and following news reports for any glimmer of hope that they might be able to escape. They have, in essence, switched places. And with this new dynamic, all of the small fissures pressured beneath the surface of their relationship finally crack open, forcing them to deal not only with Armageddon, but with a potentially far more insidious threat… each other.
BETTER OFF ZED serves as a metaphor for the claustrophobia of modern living and modern relationships, as well as the struggle for the inner artist in all of us. Director Stevens says that, “Everyone who wants to be an artist is just crushed by making a living, finding inspiration, even just getting people to notice. In a way Zed is giving a voice to that frustration… with zombies.”
Butcher Bird Studios is a creative studio and production company founded by director-producers Steven Calcote, Jason Milligan, Luis Reyes, Michael Shlain and Travis Stevens. Butcher Bird Studios creates cutting-edge branded and narrative content across mediums including digital, television, interactive and virtual reality. BETTER OFF ZED is the company’s first feature film.
Travis Stevens is an award-winning director and writer (Slamdance, NYCIFF) working in Hollywood, CA. Grounding his work in real life experiences, Travis’ past jobs have included time in the Army, working as an EMT, harvesting tissue for an eye organ donor clinic, as well as in the entertainment industry for companies in roles that span from production to post production. BETTER OFF ZED is his second feature film.
Amy Tofte won a 2015 Nicholl Fellowship for her feature script Addis Abeka. A graduate of the prestigious CalArts MFA writing program, her films and plays have garnered accolades across the country and internationally. Her short film Other Side won Best Independent Short at the 2016 IFS Film Festival in Los Angeles. And, most recently, her play FleshEatingTiger premiered in Melbourne, Australia.
Graham Sibley began his career starring in the highly-lauded cult classic Zombie Honeymoon, executive produced by John Landis. From there, he appeared in the Emmy-Award winning film Nanking, directed by two-time Academy Award Winner Bill Guttentag and starring Woody Harrelson. Other credits include television roles on The OC, Grey’s Anatomy, Unforgettable, Aquarius, How to Get Away with Murder, and The Newsroom; as well as in the film Before the Sun Explodes, alongside fellow Better Off Zed co-star Christine Woods; and in the upcoming Clint Eastwood film Sully, starring Tom Hanks. Graham is also a co-founder of Los Angeles-based IAMA Theater Company.
Christine Woods starred opposite Stephen Merchant on HBO’s Hello Ladies, as well as in an impressive array of television shows and films, such as The Walking Dead, About a Boy, and Perfect Couples; and she has recently wrapped the Netflix film Handsome with Jeff Garlin, Natasha Lyonne and Amy Sedaris; and Unt. Macon Blair Project starring Elijah Wood and Melanie Lynskey. She has also garnered accolades for her stage roles. As a member of the prestigious IAMA Theater Company, Christine earned a Stage Raw Award nomination for her role in A Dog’s House. Other credits include the television shows Flash Forward and Go On, and the films Dean—from writer/director Demetri Martin and winner of the Tribeca Film Festival—and Wild Man, where she starred alongside Mike Vogel and Kate Upton.
Linda Morel is a producer best known for her work on Key & Peele and Teachers. She began her career in the music industry with Warner Music as an International Artist Development Manager for artists such as The Deftones, Bette Midler and Chaka Khan. Morel made the leap into television as the Production Coordinator on Nickelodeon’s The Brothers Garcia. Since then she has worked in production for such outlets as USA, Comedy Central, TV Land, and NBC, as well as working on several critically acclaimed films.
Thanks primarily to the efforts of Conrad Martyn, we have us a fancy new showreel. Take a peek with your peepers, people.
Butcher Bird Studios Launches its First Podcast
Don’t know what a podcast is? It’s like a radio show. And Butcher Bird Studios has one. Season one of the G.O. Get Outside Podcast begins today. It is a weekly show featuring conversations with rad people who make getting outdoors a primary part of their life and still manage to handle all of their adult responsibilities. Get outdoors yourself, interested in getting outdoors, think the outdoors aren’t for you? Give the show a listen. Your embers may get stoked.
Please subscribe, rate and review. It will help us a lot. Thank you!
Three episodes are available now. There will be a new episode every Thursday (beginning Sept. 10) for the next 18 weeks. What are you waiting for? Go listen.
Butcher Bird’s mostly glabrous Michael Shlain brings you a touching tale of nature vs. nurture and scientist vs. baby just in time for Memorial Day. Penned by (and starring) Chris Pearson, Back to the Fuhrer finally answers the question of how time travel should best be utilized to deal with the Hitler Problem.
Also starring Joe Smith. Cinematographic stylings by Nick Novotny. Production design wizardry by Morgan McShea. Sound Design funk-overload by Ben Chan. Visual FX-citement by Jason Milligan. End Credits Music by Max Raabe & Palast Orchester. Shot at Monkey Kingdom Productions with huge thanks to Yuri Lowenthal and Tara Platt. Produced by Butcher Bird Studios.
We’ve been making lots of preview trailers for mobile games over the last year or so. These primarily tend to be post jobs consisting of editing, animation, and motion graphics. On occasion we will shoot some original footage to be cut in or comped into the game world (one fun example involved dancing people in costumes, a plush monkey, and a cardboard robot). For a recent release, Dungeon Link, we not only created the trailer, but also animated various in-game cinematics. We should be wrapping up a couple more videos shortly. Below is a playlist of several that have been completed and released.