What actor could possibly imagine that joining the ranks of the undead would be a great career move? Currently in post production and premiering in February of 2014 with its first season of 8 episodes on its official website (to be launched soon, see link below), the new comedy web series ACTING DEAD hilariously presents such a scenario as it tells the story of two down on their luck actors who desperately try to reboot their dead careers – which are just as dead as they are! The show’s trailer is embedded below.

Previously covered here during its IndieGoGo crowd funding campaign (back when it was known simply as “BLANK”), ACTING DEAD stars Brian Beacock (McCRACKEN LIVE!) as Tate Blodget, an out of work actor who’s tired of taking a passive approach to life and decides to boost his dormant career by putting matters (including his life) into his own hands. In addition to starring in ACTING DEAD, Beacock serves as its executive producer/showrunner, with fellow producer Susan Bernhardt (writer/creator of MISS BEHAVE).

The show’s ensemble cast also includes Jillian Clare (from the web series MISS BEHAVE and the long-running soap DAYS OF OUR LIVES) as temperamental former child star Alex, whose life wasn’t turned upside down by the usual temptations (drugs, alcohol) but simply by her own obnoxious behavior on-set and off. Now, she wants to cross over into the afterlife, and towards a successful Hollywood career. The series also features Paul Nygro as Tate’s old friend and roommate Paul Baker, a Wall Street high roller who let the struggling actor enter both his world and his fancy condo but won’t do the same for little trick-or-treaters on Halloween.

Soap veteran Patrika Darbo (DAYS OF OUR LIVES) portrays Tate’s longtime, long suffering agent Margot Mullen. Baffled that her client hasn’t found any substantial work in a long time, and aware of the incredible popularity of movies and TV series about zombies, Margot’s got the perfect solution to Tate’s career woes: become one – literally! Rounding out the cast is Chris Galya (Disney’s JESSIE) as Hunter Lee, a handsome ex-child actor and former castmate of Alex’s on the family sitcom “2 MUCH FAMILY LOVE”. Like Alex, he had to endure the rough post-teen idol years, but unlike her, Hunter managed to survive them. Even though they’re close friends, they’re now roommates who can’t stand each other, but Alex feels that Hunter may be her best chance for success in an industry that’s seen its fair share of child stars turned adult burnouts.

In addition to these performers, ACTING DEAD features a star-studded roster of guest stars from across the world of daytime and primetime TV, web series, and even pop music: former ‘80s teen idol, singer/songwriter Debbie Gibson, soap stars Carolyn Hennessy (GENERAL HOSPITAL, TRUE BLOOD, COUGAR TOWN), Eric Martsolf of DAYS OF OUR LIVES, and Sean Kanan of GENERAL HOSPITAL, and Christine Lakin (of the popular ‘90s family sitcom STEP BY STEP and her own web series LOVIN’ LAKIN), just to name a few.

For Beacock, the travails of auditioning for roles and maintaining steady employment in the acting profession is something he knows all too well. So too is being stuck in Los Angeles’ notorious traffic jams, and it was in one such situation on the way to (of all things) an audition that he suddenly came up with the concept for ACTING DEAD. “I pictured all the people in the cars, sitting there. Zombies. Going about their routine day in and day out. Not an unusual thought (and) I’m sure most of us have had it. But then I thought, well, what if they were real zombies, acting like people? Going to work, dates, the gym, auditions, the studios, etc.? And what if they were going to audition to be cast as zombies…and didn’t get the job! Still too pretty, not gross enough, etc. All the typical reasons an actor gets when they’re overlooked, not cast, what have you,” says Beacock.

“But then I thought, what if these actors were so desperate to be cast, say, in THE WALKING DEAD, ZOMBIE HIGH SCHOOL and the like, that they actually ‘zombie-fied’ themselves? That’s where our company ACTING DEAD comes in. Hollywood’s newest actors’ service that will “kill you” (turn you into a zombie by watching multiple hours of syndicated terrible sitcoms a la A CLOCKWORK ORANGE) and throw in 100 free headshots while they’re at it. Win-win situation. You’re all set. New zombie on the block ready to take the town by storm. This was the beginning of ACTING DEAD,” he says.

While many web series have successfully mixed horror and comedy elements, ACTING DEAD does so in a unique way, with a story and characters that many people, especially actors and fans of the zombie sub-genre, can relate to. As Beacock explains, though, the series’ aesthetic qualities may be what truly sets it apart from other web-based horror/comedy hybrids. “Well we really wanted the show to look like a television show, which not all web series do. Not that that’s a good or bad thing, it’s just something I wanted for this show. Being a zombie series, but a comedy, I really wanted the style and look to be different, so I decided to have it shot like ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT and PARKS AND RECREATION with all the camera movement, pushes and pulls, whips, flashbacks, etc.,” Beacock says.

“It’s fun to play against the traditional horror style we see in THE WALKING DEAD, etc. And even with a comedic horror slant like in WARM BODIES, we set ourselves apart with the camera style. That being said, it’s still ‘weird’. It’s a very ‘weird’ show. Which again, is something I wanted. It’s a bizarre Los Angeles, even more than it is in reality. The era is sort of skewed with people using old cell phones or none at all, (and) the costumes are a blend of time periods. This is a different kind of Hollywood we haven’t see before,” he adds.

Along with shows like ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT, 30 ROCK, and AMERICAN HORROR STORY, Beacock finds great fascination with some of the weirder parts of life, and it’s that fascination that also factored into the development of ACTING DEAD – along with zombies. “I’ve always been attracted to the absurd. The weird. Plus, I love zombies. I wanted to make something that would challenge me and something that I would want to watch.  Currently I’m watching “Misfits” on HULU which is a show made in the U.K. It is ridiculous.  I love it.  I wanted a world like that, where anything could happen, bad things could happen, and it could still be ok. Or at least not the end of the world.  Very satirical, very dry humor. Love it.”

Amid all the hilarity, there’s a much deeper message that Beacock hopes to send through ACTING DEAD, and just like the show’s comedy and characters, it’s one many people (especially actors) can relate to – no matter how talented or smart or handsome or beautiful you are, achieving your dreams is nothing without hard work. Says Beacock: “I’d say the theme or message is entered around our hero, Tate Blodget. He doesn’t give up. He goes for what he wants. At any cost. He’s a true go-getter. And he’ll do anything to achieve his dream. He’s learning through his journey a lesson a lot of people learn out here in Hollywood: ‘it takes talent and brains.’ Although sometimes just being twenty years old and ‘hot’ works too.”

(Note: the series will be closed-captioned for the hearing impaired.)

ON THE WEB: www.actingdead.com (To be launched soon.)

FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/ActingDead

TWITTER: http://twitter.com/ActingDead

The show’s initial trailer can be viewed here, with its first-look trailer set to be posted early next year.