How do you survive a zombie apocalypse? Well, if you have the Zombie Survival Crew at your back, you stand a chance of survival! Join up with cast members of The Walking Dead and Boondock Saints and get yourself ready to survive zombies! I got the chance to talk with Juliette Terzieff of the Zombie Survival Crew, a fan organization that has global reach and may even save the world someday, at Dallas Comic-Con. Check out our chat below:
[Above: ZSC crew represent! R.C. Murphy and Juliette Terzieff]
SciFi Mafia: We are talking with Juliette Terzieff with Zombie Survival Crew. Tell me, what are you guys about and how did you form up?
Juliette Terzieff: We’re an interactive, online community for fans of the zombie, sci-fi, and horror genre. It started out as a small community of mainly fiction writers, who were looking at the world around us and seeing cataclysmic events – mostly natural disasters and also all of the wars that are unfolding around the world post 9-11.
It started us all thinking what would we do to survive if there was a cataclysmic event and somebody suggested that I was the appropriate person to head up a zombie survival crew if there’s a zombie apocalypse, which I thought was a little crazy.
I’m a former war correspondent, so I always have a “go” bag packed. So they were like, you know what you’re doing so you have to lead this up. So, I was like “ok”.
It was a small community of writers and after The Walking Dead premiered, I wrote a blog post saying that although I love my writer friends, they probably weren’t the best equipped to survive a zombie apocalypse. I was taking tips from the show and some of the actors saw the blog post, came onto my blog, and the Zombie Survival Crew was born!
[Above: Norman Reedus and Andrew Lincoln in The Walking Dead]
SFM: What sort of activities does the ZSC do together?
Juliette Terzieff: We do all sorts of crazy activities online contests, interactive blog posts and live tweet-athons to involve the fans. It’s free to join and when people join up they are slotted into one of seven brigades.
SFM: And the ZSC has star power in its leadership, right?
Juliette Terzieff: Yes, three of our Brigade Commanders are Walking Dead cast members – Norman Reedus who plays Daryl Dixon, IronE Singleton who plays T-Dog, and Anthony Guajardo who played Miguel in the “Vatos” episode. We also have the guys from the Boondock Saints and Neil Brown, Jr. who was also in the “Vatos” episode as first lieutenants amongst our command crew.
[Above: James Gonzaba, Neil Brown Jr, Juliette Terzieff, Anthony Guajardo]
SFM: The ZSC has reached a worldwide membership already. That’s impressive!
Juliette Terzieff: We are! We threw open our doors in December 2010 for membership and almost immediately started to attract membership from around the globe. We have ZSC brigades in Mexico, Brazil, Romania, Greece, New Zealand, Australia, Scotland, England, Spain, and Norway.
Juliette Terzieff: Yeah, it’s gone worldwide really quickly. I mean we’ve only been around not even six months yet. It’s obvious that what we’re doing speaks to people. Most of what we do is campy and fun but it also has a serious side to it. We do a lot of tactical ops posts and survival strategy posts that is couched on a zombie apocalypse, but people can use these things that we’re enumerating on for God forbid that there’s an earthquake, a hurricane, or a war. It’s things that people can do to help prepare them to survive.
After the Japanese tsunami/earthquake, one of the actors, Norman Reedus, was raising funds for relief efforts so we’ve joined with him. We’re raising funds both through his efforts and the Red Cross. So we do do some serious stuff as well because very few of us actually expect a zombie apocalypse to happen tomorrow but it’s not out of the question. Given the recent warnings from the CDC, you never know.
SFM: Now tell me more about these warnings from the CDC. Have they contacted you guys?
Juliette Terzieff: Well, now see, this was interesting. I have been saying all along to the Zombie Survival Crew members that yeah, we’re talking about zombies, but you can use all of this stuff in the event of cataclysmic situations. The CDC put out a bulletin (Editor’s Note: part of a tongue-in-cheek campaign on zombie survival on May 16, 2011) recommending that people prepare a box or a bag filled with certain necessities – medicines, water supply, clothing, so on and so forth and to craft an escape plan with your families which is what I’ve been saying all along. And the CDC said, we’re doing this for a zombie apocalypse, but you can use this for earthquakes, tsunamis and everything else. They basically said what I’ve been saying so that was kinda cool.
Juliette Terzieff: Unfortunately, it’s got people a little worried, because if the CDC is talking about zombies, we all kinda have to wonder what exactly is going on here? The Zombie Survival Crew was approached by an unnamed government agency to help prepare the public for a zombie apocalypse but they have proven themselves to be a challenging ally, so we’re not sure where we stand with that.
SFM: Challenging in what respect?
Juliette Terzieff: I’m afraid I can’t divulge that.
SFM: It’s classified!
Juliette Terzieff: It is classified information. Command only. [laughs] We definitely have a lot of fun with what we’re doing but it does have a serious side to it. And the great thing about the Zombie Survival Crew is it is whatever an individual wants it to be.
For some people, it’s a safe space to do a little bit of role-playing, for other people, it’s a great place to share their art. We encourage all of our members who are writers or artists or photographers to contribute their work to the blog and we’ll happily promote it for them. For other people, it’s the more serious side of what we’re doing. And we do have a certain percentage of people who are flat out survivalists. It’s great that it appeals to a broad array of people who might not interact under other circumstances but by interacting, they are sharing the knowledge. So that somebody that is in their little box can get out of their box.
SFM: That’s fantastic that you can be an outlet and vehicle for all types of people to come together.
Juliette Terzieff: We’ve got everyone from devout Muslims to far right-wing Republicans, to gay liberals. It’s great. It can be something that can unite people. It’s something that can cross societal, political, and religious boundaries.
SFM: Everyone’s afraid of zombies!
Juliette Terzieff: It’s a safe and fun space for everybody.
SFM: So how do people join?
Juliette Terzieff: It’s really easy. If you’re on Twitter, follow the Zombie Survival Crew Command account which is @TheZSC or directly to the website, www.zombiesurvivalcrew.com and there’s a membership registration process there and we’re also on Facebook. We do all sorts of contests all the time with the actors that are involved so it’s a great way for the fans to interact with these guys, especially for all those people who can’t make it out to the Cons to meet them in person.
A huge hug and thank you goes out to Juliette of the Zombie Survival Crew for taking the time to talk with SciFi Mafia. Seriously, join up if you want to survive zombies or any emergency event. I’m a member of the Light Blue Brigade, under the command of Anthony Guajardo! (Had to give a shout out to my brigade, yo!)