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DVD update!

[quote][size=5]Season Two Update and DVD Reminder[/size]

Update #53

Hi, everyone!

Some quick housekeeping:

■ We’re still fine-tuning the season two feature edit, because we’re perfectionists and we want you to receive an amazing DVD and digital download when it’s finally released.
■ Per your requests in the comments on an earlier update, we’re also taking the time to make the DVD bonus content amazing, rather than rushing that.
■ So if you pledged for $50 or more, your rewards have not yet shipped, with the exception of poster tubes. We’ll do a massive shipping party when we have the season two DVDs in hand.

Our current schedule is to finish shooting Gamers 3 on December 1st. At that point Gamers 3 will go to Matt and Aubrey for the first editing pass. Meanwhile, Ben will be completing the JQ2 feature cut and DVD. Once those are finished we’ll let you know, get digital downloads going for you, and get the DVDs off to replication.[/quote]


Well, I’ve finally caught up on Season 2 of JourneyQuest!! It was more than I expected and wonderful as I knew it would be!!

I love all the characters, but I have to say that Silver Tom and Karn were my favorites this season.

I look forward to the DVD release and Season 3!


There’s just way too much for me to keep track of these days!

New Rude Mechanical!

[size=5][B][B]RM - Coming Soon[/B][/B][/size]

[video width=425 height=344 type=youtube]dfBknDV4Tpo[/video]

[size=5][B][B]Rude Mechanical - Interlude[/B][/B][/size]

[video width=425 height=344 type=youtube]VlSzRp5tXSw[/video]



Along with the trailer![/b][/b][/size]

[quote]Zombie Orpheus Entertainment

JourneyQuest: Season Two—the ongoing epic that calls “one of the ten best web series of 2012”—has been recut and remastered for this definitive feature length edition and is made possible thanks to your support and encouragement.

The digital release is available for only $7 and it comes in streaming and downloadable forms, all without DRM and compatible with almost any modern media device. City of the Dead is now available for digital streaming and download at

We’re also opening pre-orders for the Director’s Cut DVD, right here at

The DVD has over 600 minutes of special features, including an exclusive Bonus Episode: “Nomicon & The Founder”, Director’s Diaries, Behind the Scenes, Outtakes, Six Commentary Tracks, Four Featurettes, Five Interviews, and Script Library and Production Archives on DVD-ROM.

Remember, if you pledged to receive any of these items as rewards for the JourneyQuest or Hands of Fate Kickstarter campaigns, you don’t need to do anything. We’re emailing your download keys today and the DVDs will return from replication soon, at which point we’ll immediately start signing and shipping them, along with the rest of your rewards.[/quote]

[quote]Zombie Orpheus Entertainment

A feature film presentation of JourneyQuest’s second season, City of the Dead is now available for digital streaming and download at and for DVD pre-order at[/quote]

[video width=425 height=344 type=youtube]c2mm9zWXuWc[/video]



[QUOTE][B]Zombie Orpheus Entertainment[/B]

The JourneyQuest Season Two DVD master is out for replication. We expect to have a big order of discs in our hands in about two weeks![/QUOTE]


In case you were curious about the differences between the 10 eps. and the movie.

[b][SIZE=“5”]Q: [/SIZE][/B]
[I]is this just a reworking of the material of season 2 into a continuous stream? or is there some new material?[/I]

[I]It’s mostly a reworking, but we’ve added new establishing shots, cleaned up some visual effects, remixed the audio, reworked a couple pieces of the score, and put a couple of new shots in to help us tell the story more clearly. This is the definitive version.[/I]


[size=16]News from the Signing Party[/size]
Update #57 / Shipping Update


The long “lost” Rude Mechanical episode!

[size=5][B][B]ep20 Rude Mechanical – The Lost Episode[/B][/B][/size]

[video width=425 height=344 type=youtube]l7FVq8U6A3c[/video]


[quote][size=5]ZOE March Update[/size]

[size=5]In this update:
1.A new path for Matt Vancil
2.JourneyQuest RPG Update
3.A JourneyQuest discussion
4.The Future of ZOE[/size]

A new path for Matt Vancil

In his own words, here’s Matt:

[quote]For me, it started in two places: a coffee shop at the end of the Burke Gilman Trail, and on a train ride back from ComicCon in 2009. A production company funded entirely by fans, where the creators retained control over their work and worlds. I thought it was crazy, and I told Ben as much. It could never happen, not in this industry. And then it did, in our little corner of the Pacific Northwest, with JourneyQuest: ZOE, the fan funded network, where no one but the fans could cancel us.

Thank you for five amazing years with Zombie Orpheus Entertainment. The time has come for me to move on and pursue new projects. I remain a steadfast fan, and I’ll be involved as much as I’m able, but my path’s down a different trail. Thank you fans, thank you friends, thank you cast and crew family. It’s been a blast. I love you all.[/quote]

Everyone at ZOE wishes Matt the very best in his job as a writer for an upcoming video game! We’ll be sure to let you know when the title is announced.

We and Matt have also compiled a short FAQ about his departure, which immediately follows this sentence.

[quote]What does this mean for JourneyQuest?

– The script for JourneyQuest: Season 3 has been completed and Matt is still attached to direct. We’re currently assessing options for bringing the new season to life. (see below)

What does this mean for Gamers 4?

– Gamers 4 is not currently in development, but should it become an active project or receive a green light, Matt will certainly be involved.

What does this mean for the larger Hopjockey story?

– Matt’s plan has always been to tell the Hopjockey meta story across a number of platforms and in different forms of media. His departure from ZOE won’t complicate the rollout or development of future installments in the story.

Where can people view the projects that Matt is working on currently?

– The best way to track Matt’s projects would be to follow him on Twitter (@mattvancil) or on Facebook. He has a website ( that by his own admission he never updates, so that’s a roll of the dice. Best to go with Twitter, wethinks.

JourneyQuest RPG Update

As many of you know, Kevin Mickelson (who wrote the Mask of Death module for us) has been co-writing the JQ RPG and adventure path with Matt. Kevin will now be taking on full writing duties for the campaign. He plans to keep Matt in the loop on progress, as well as making sure that the story and information remain canon. With many months of story already sketched out, this should be a seamless transition.

As the adventure path increases in complexity, we’re giving Kevin additional time to complete each chapter. We think that you will be pleased with the continued depth and breadth that this time will allow Kevin to achieve. He’s hard at work on the next update right now!

We’re also planning on converting each chapter into a fully formatted, downloadable PDF, which will make it much easier for you to print or access digitally during a campaign. For those of who who don’t access the website very often, receiving these PDFs in your email should help keep you up to date on the story!

[size=5]A JourneyQuest Discussion[/size]

Here’s where we need your input, as core fans and Phase II backers.

In its current form, to film the script for JourneyQuest Season Three would require a budget of $340,000. This would mean a Kickstarter campaign goal of around $500,000.

Please visit the blog version of this newsletter and let us know what you think about the following options:
• Continue as written, mount a campaign for $500,000, and shoot the complete season if the campaign succeeds.
• Attempt to reduce the scope of the script until it can be shot for a lower total goal.
• Maintain full production quality and shoot part of the script, supplementing the rest with a companion graphic novel.
• Postpone production of JQ3 indefinitely while we work on smaller projects with fast turnarounds that can help build the fan base to a size large enough to fund JQ3 fully.

We all want to do justice to the epic story that Matt has created and will direct for JQ3. We also firmly stand behind our No Studio, No Network, No Cancellation policy. And right now part of living up to that standard means having a candid discussion with you, involving you in making the best possible decision for the show, and making sure that we continue to produce incredible content. Let us know what you think in the comments!

[size=5]The Future of ZOE[/size]

Many of you are probably wondering what Matt’s departure means for the company. In terms of current projects and releases, very little will change. We’re finishing up the Gamers 3 campaign fulfillment, working on Humans & Households, Natural One, Dark Dungeons, JourneyQuest Season Three, and the secret project we shot last December. And of course, we will invite Matt to attend conventions, screenings, and development meetings as his schedule permits.

The big question for the company right now is whether we should continue with large tentpole productions, like JourneyQuest and The Gamers, that can take a year or two to complete, or if we should change focus for a while to smaller, more contained shows with much faster turnarounds. Part of the challenge with these large productions has been keeping up with their scope and general epic-ness. Completing Gamers 3, for example, has been exhausting. Worthwhile, but exhausting.

We’re seriously considering mounting a series of smaller crowdfunding campaigns, like in the $30k-$60k range, that could fully fund ongoing production and new releases every month or two, rather than every year or two. At that size, we could afford to hire a full post-production team as well, which would take enormous pressure off of Ben, who has been our primary post worker since Andy went into major crunch at Amazon. Removing the post-production bottleneck would speed up the entire release process by a considerable margin!

What do you think? We have more stories to tell than there is time in the span of our lives—would you be interested in more smaller shows, more frequently, or are the massive tentpole projects what keep you coming back? Or would you like to see a hybrid, where we create regular self-contained campaigns and releases while we patiently develop the big stuff?

Share your thoughts below!


As always, thank you for your support and encouragement! We’re looking forward to a major website and technology revamp later this year, including shifting away from the problematic PayPal recurring payments system, streamlining our code, and upgrading our site to modern specs. We’re also moving into a new office space next week with the crazy geniuses at LeftJet Studios. With a full shop, two soundstages, super-fast internet, and an awesome community of filmmakers, we can’t wait to get started![/quote]

[quote][size=5]Quick Updates[/size]

Hi, everyone.

I know, I know, it’s been awhile. Several whiles, if we’re being honest. Ever since my son got mobile and chatty, it’s been hard to keep this website up to date. I even forgot to post news about my own Kickstarter, if you can believe that. Also, I hate wordpress. So much, in fact, that I made my wife type this post for me. What? She offered.

And on that front, she’s taking over managing this website for me, and will help me keep things updated as best she can. She promises me she’ll avoid posting kid pictures via her instagram account. We’ll see how long that lasts. Content is content. Anyway, she’s ideally suited for this job because a) she’s used to reminding me to do things I forget, and b) she knows how to knock information out of me — with a stick in her hands, I am an information pinata — so the site shouldn’t lack for new material, even if it’s just a transcription of me moaning over my stick bruises.

Some quick updates:

  1. Perhaps the biggest news — I have left Zombie Orpheus Entertainment. This was a difficult decision, but ultimately the right one. I left amicably and am excited about future projects, both mine and ZOE’s.

  2. JourneyQuest: Season Three — The script is done! And it’s awesome. The best one yet. The end of the season is basically the turning point for the series.

  3. Another reason I haven’t been posting, aside from the ever-moving toddler and my general laziness, is that I got a full time job at a video game studio. I’m writing dialogue and missions and playing the game all day. Though it’s mainly the writing part. The game hasn’t been announced yet, but when it has been, I’ll let you know more. I or my wife will. I can tell you that we just finished closed beta, and will be launching our test market release in May.

  4. Oh, that Kickstarter? Right. The novel! The first draft is back from my editor with notes. In a nutshell, she said “It’s great. Now fix these parts that aren’t great.” That’s what I’m doing.

  5. My wife. She’s incredible. But you don’t get to know her name (I mean, unless you already DO. I can’t much do anything about that.) And you can’t call her Mrs. Vancil. She’s not my mother.

  6. Last, but certainly not least — I am also teaching a screenwriting class at the Seattle Film Institute.

And that’s the first update in nearly two years. More to come as it happens. I promise the next one won’t be in 24 months. My aim’s to have a new update in at least HALF that time.[/quote]


A little update posted in reference to this article.

[quote][size=5]The Future of ZOE, JourneyQuest, Gamers, and You[/size]

Cable networks? Game of Thrones budgets? Net neutrality? Mostly, these sound like concerns for big players in the media landscape, not a tiny fan supported company like ZOE. But the linked Salon article identifies several issues that are extremely relevant to all media creators.

First, net neutrality, about which much has been written. Yes, it will threaten everything, no, we’re too small to do anything about it other than join larger lobbying groups and educate the public where we can.

Second, the question of how television budgets have been subsidized at a level that can support massive shows like Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad. See, ZOE’s work receives zero subsidies, only fan support. And quality TV is not cheap to produce. And if it is cheap, that means that somewhere in the pipeline, somebody wasn’t being compensated for their time and labor. This is (mostly) fine if you’re a hobbyist working on a weekend project. But if you’re a professional producer? It’s not okay!

The final question raised by this article is key: would you rather, given the choice, reduce quality or the scope of the story? We have had countless internal discussions about this issue. Quality shows professionalism. It looks good. It sounds good. It’s creatively fulfilling! And without budgets that would make you, the fan funders, shudder in fear, it’s almost impossible to maintain unless you’re telling stories about a couple of characters in a room, talking and maybe drinking tea. Why? Because somewhere in the pipeline, somebody worked for less than a reasonable wage to close the gap between the budget and the dream.

In some ways, it sounds like a Catch-22. Without cable-level technical quality, what if people don’t take us seriously? What if the fans stop watching? What if our shows never win any awards? But on the other hand, how feasibly could we raise a half-million dollars minimum for each new season of a show like JourneyQuest, Gamers, or anything else that we have in development? So we’re faced with the same choices on every new project: raise more money, cut the story, or cut the quality.

Who here remembers The Gamers? Technically, the quality was beyond amateur. It’s a visual nightmare for film professionals. But do you want to know a secret? It’s one of the two top-selling films in the DG/ZOE catalog? People love it. And do they love it for the story, for the humor, and for the heart. Here’s another secret: JourneyQuest Season Two, the most visually accomplished show we’ve produced to date (we had to sacrifice quality to the Story Gods on Gamers 3—and we’re okay with that!) is our biggest financial flop. Don’t get us wrong, we’re completely proud of that season. But as a benchmark for what we can achieve visually, it would cost us easily over half a million to do again. Why? Because everybody involved in that show made major personal sacrifices to bridge that budget/dream gap. We did it because we believed in the show. And we still do. But that kind of sacrifice burns people out, no matter how passionate they are about a project. To shoot a show like JourneyQuest on an ongoing, sustainable basis requires boatloads of cash. (Or reducing quality to levels that would cause deep embarrassment to our entire team.)

So what does all of this mean for ZOE, both for the creators and for the fans who fund us?

Keeping a show like JQ going at the level we’ve been producing it means getting tons of new fans on board with funding a third season. At least 5000 people willing to put in $100 apiece, or 10,000 at $50, or 20,000 at $25. That’s a lot of new viewers hitting the “back this project” button. And that’s a lot of money to put into the kind of show that you could view on Netflix as part of an $8 a month subscription. But we’re not receiving cable subsidies. We don’t have enough viewers to attract large corporate sponsors or significant advertising revenue. And if you read the article, you know that those shows and their quality are at risk too!

That’s where we come back to the core ZOE motto: No Studio, No Network, No Cancellation. Being fan supported—and being a fan supporting our shows—means embracing the fact that we’re different. On the producing end, we retain creative control because we’re not relying on fickle networks and studios. On the fan end, you retain the freedom to fund content directly, in direct collaboration with the producers. We empower each other in a way that is totally unlike the Hollywood model. But that comes with costs and choices: without (at risk) cable subsidies and other traditional funding sources, we have to maintain the best balance we can between visual quality and storytelling choices. And you have to decide whether the experience and shows we offer are worth the premium cost of supporting our work.

So what does this mean for all of us moving forward?

First, for JourneyQuest to continue, viewership and fan funding have to quadruple. We’ll be setting up a special web page where you can share the show with friends, nurture their latent fandom, and encourage them to sign up for the “Fund JQ3” mailing list. When that list has 5000 people who have committed to $100 in funding apiece, we’ll launch a Season Three Kickstarter campaign.

Second, while you’re rallying the troops to increase the JQ fan base, we’re going to keep working hard at a more sustainable funding model than Kickstarter. We’ll be launching a new show, Strowlers, that can be affordably produced on a monthly basis in between massive tentpoles like JQ and Gamers. And most importantly, we’ll be working on a massive transition from Kickstarter funding to a revamped Phase II campaign.

Phase II will be moving to Patreon. This will allow us to spend 100% less of our time hand-coding fixes to our current (broken) subscription system. You’ll be able to choose a funding level that fits your budget. And we’ll be able to fund a new episode of content every month: no more year-long gaps between releases.

For long term sustainability and ongoing production, monthly subscriptions will allow us to predict revenue, hire full time help, and dramatically close the gap between funding and releasing new projects. You’ll be able to join and leave when it works for you. If you don’t want to subscribe, you’ll be able to pay what you want for episodes when we release them, from $0 to… well, whatever you choose to put in. With predictable revenue, we’ll be able to be MUCH more efficient with your dollars.

And if we all commit to this together, we’ll be producing awesome, independent, Creative Commons licensed, fan funded content while the studios and networks are looking back at the golden age of television and wondering what went wrong.[/quote]



Hey, everyone, we have cool news to share—plus a functional email template—so here’s the latest from Zombie Orpheus!

[size=5]ZOE YouTube Schedule[/size]

Enjoy watching our films for free? We have tons of great shows coming out this fall, thanks to everyone who pledged on Kickstarter for each of these projects!

DARK DUNGEONS – A faithful adaptation of the famous anti-RPG comic tract from the early 80’s, this co-production with Rallsfilm helps illustrate the true dangers of RPGS. We’ve just finished serializing it on YouTube, so you can try before you buy.


HOUSE RULEZ – Dead Gentlemen’s long-delayed reality television satire is finally done! When the cast goes to war with the producers, hilarity breaks loose in this improv comedy from DG Improv.

BEGINS SEPTEMBER 16 on DG’s YouTube Channel!

HUMANS & HOUSEHOLDS – What happens when a group of adventurers decides to take a day off from saving the kingdom? A rousing game of H&H, where their characters must venture into Deeper Suburbia and face a pack of cars, household pets, and further dangers.

BEGINS SEPTEMBER 18 on our YouTube Channel!

NATURAL ONE – When Gary (Christian Doyle) hears that his sister is getting married, he sponsors a cyberpunk game to test her fiancé in this comedy co-production with Lynnvander.

BEGINS OCTOBER 9 on our YouTube Channel!

[size=5]Kickstarters We’re Backing[/size]

The Christmas Dragon

From our friends at Arrowstorm comes a new kind of epic fantasy mashup: a family film about kids, Christmas, and yes, a dragon.

We can’t wait to see what they’ve come up with!


Nailed It! But Wait…There’s MOAR!

Espionage Cosmetics is at it again, with all-new geeky nail wraps for the fashion-forward nerds in your life.

These ladies have a fantastic team, a great product, and a killer campaign.


The Demon Hunters RPG

Launching on September 16th, this new edition of the DH RPG is going to be killer fun. We’ve helped build the campaign, we’ve seen the rewards, and we’ve especially seen the stretch goals. You won’t want to miss it!


[size=5]Sneak Peaks & Updates[/size]

• We’re getting ready to share the new ZOECON website and ticket platform with you! But you’ll definitely want to be in Seattle November 21-23 of this year for our second almost-annual convention and fan gathering. Mark those days on your calendar now!

• JourneyQuest is moving into the next stage of Season Three development. The script is ready and we’re putting the final touches on our RENEW JQ website. Big updates soon!

• Strowlers script and world development continues as well. We shot and tested our teaser at Gen Con this year and people flipped out. This is our new shared world and we have crazy stuff planned for you.

• Our secret feature film project that we shot last December will be revealed this November. ZOECON guests will get the first look at our follow-up to Dark Dungeons. We can promise that you’ve never seen a story quite like this.

• We’re also developing a time-travel band movie with one of our favorite NYT-bestselling fantasy authors. We’ve already said too much…


And that’s this months’ news from the team at ZOE. It’s a busy time, with tons of projects finally coming out and many more in prep for production.

Thanks for joining us as we continue to build the indie studio that could!

Best wishes,
Everyone at ZOE


[size=19]Renew JourneyQuest[/size]




Dead Gentlemen Productions

Oh yes gang, ZOE hit that goal! Thank you for all your hard work spreading the word, and look for an update from Tony and Matt soon! #Soon #RenewJQ #JQ3


After a long and arduous journey on Kickstarter…