Exclusive Interview: Chicago Loot Drop’s Mike Chuck Bretzlaff on “Shambler’s Ball” and More

We had the chance to sit down and chat with our old pal Mike Chuck to get some info on Chicago Loot Drop’s next great event: Shambler’s Ball, which takes place at The Public House Theatre in Chicago on October 27th.

If you aren’t familiar with Chicago Loot Drop, please check out their website and also the interview we did with Mike Chuck last year.

Hey Mike Chuck, it’s been awhile since we talked. It’s great to catch up with you. So how have things been going with Chicago Loot Drop so far this year?

Great.  Actually, better than great.  So great that I need Mary Poppins to invent a ridiculous polysyllabic word to express how great but without creating an ear worm of a song to go with it.

So far we’ve held two events of our own.  “Press START To Drink: Scott Pilgrim vs. Wreck-It Ralph” in March and “Drawing Dreams 2” at C2E2 in April.  Both were huge successes.  At the latter we introduced new tees that have become very popular and one of our best fundraisers.  They’re super soft and comfy, so people love to wear them and tweet about how comfortable they are.

While we’ve only organized two events thus far this year, we’ve been the benefactors and partners for several amazing events put on by some great Chicago groups.  In June, there was a Chicago Loot Drop benefit night at The Nerdologues’ show “The Lord Of The Wrigley,” a show that originally premiered last year at our Cinco de Bilbo animated Hobbit sing-along.  Then in August and September, things just got crazy.  Planetary Defense Force created “MegaDungeon,” an epic version of their live game show “Dodgeball Dungeon,” to benefit Chicago Loot Drop. Then we partnered with VS. The Universe’s first episode of Geek Show and Indie City Collective’s Bit Bash — Chicago’s first independent video game festival.  Plus, we were happy to assist our friends at TraffickFree by running in their annual 5K and be beneficiaries of the Midwest Game Developers’ Kickball tournament, all in one very busy day.

With all our plans this year, we tried something new and set a fundraiser goal for 2014.  We set it at $5000, thinking that it would be tough, but we might pull it off. And here we are in October, before we’ve even had our biggest event of the year we’ve almost doubled that!

Yeah, I saw that! That is so great! So your next event is Shambler’s Ball, which is totally just a nice, traditional Regency era evening of music and dancing, right?

Yes, just your usual English Country Dance.  It’s going to be a fun evening for everyone to come together for a good cause, get dressed up, socialize, dance, fight for your life against zombies.  Y’know, just like in times of olde.

Sure that last part isn’t entirely period accurate, but it certainly is going to be a lot of fun.  Inspired by the Netherfield Ball as it takes place in the recent adaptation of Ms. Austen’s Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, rather than retiring for the evening at the end of the dance, attendees will be trying to survive against a horde of the undead that have cut the merriment short.  The attack will play out as a short, fun zombie-attack game we’ve designed with the help of Andy North of Dodgeball Dungeon.

As with everything Chicago Loot Drop does, that sounds like an awesome event. Is it a challenge to keeping coming up with such unique ideas for fundraisers?

When we’re trying to think of something specific it can be difficult.  For instance, when we first wanted to have a booth at C2E2 there are obvious limitations to what we can do there that we had to think within.  When it’s just a general brainstorm, it’s pretty easy to come up with ideas because at that point there are no restrictions.  The hard part, whether general or specific, is thinking of or selecting ideas that we’re capable of executing well if even at all.  Another criteria for us, probably the biggest for us actually, is the cost effectiveness of each event. We want as much money to go to the kids at Comer [Children’s Hopsital] as possible with everything we do so we’re very conscious of that when planning events.

So what can we look forward to from you guys after the Ball?

Shamblers’ Ball is our last event for the year.  Looking ahead to 2015, like last year, when we had our second Press START To Drink event, we’ll be bringing back one or two of people’s favorites and probably some new stuff too.  So make sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with everything we have going on.

And in case anyone wants to donate and they either can’t make it to the event or they just don’t want to risk having their flesh ripped apart by a horde of zombies, are they able to do that?

Definitely.  We have a donation page on our website at chicagolootdrop.org/donate. All donations are 100% tax-deductible.

Sounds good. Thanks again Mike Chuck!
My pleasure.  Thank you!