Everyone knows the name and ALMOST everyone loves zombies. But have you ever wondered what process you go through to become an undead roamer on the screen? Let's take a look at the steps and process the actors, makeup team, and production go through to make it all work.
As most don't know, you can't just walk up to the studio while filing and ask to be a zombie. You have to go through a process of an audition by having a resume, headshot, and actually act out being a zombie. Also you have to have the look they are searching for. If it's for really decaying, hollow-in-the-face types, they look for tall and super slim form for these parts, like you now see on The Walking Dead. In contrast, Fear of The Walking Dead has newly dead walkers, so anyone could be a zombie on there.
2. Zombie School
If you make it onto a big Hollywood production set for film or television, you automatically go to zombie school. Co-Producer and head of makeup for The Walking Dead, Greg Nicotero of KNB FX, puts ALL the zombie actors through a three day training. He even has a check off list to see if you qualify to be killed by the leading actor of the show or someone that gets killed in a group.
3. Wardrobe and Makeup
Once you are finally through the school, you get fitted. They take your measurements prior to the school and a polaroid that they attach to the sheet. Then the wardrobe team goes through their thousands of pieces of clothing and if they can't find something, they go to a local thrift shop to acquire a piece. Once you try it on and they see if it works, you'll head straight to makeup! If they have a lot of zombies that day, you have to wait your turn in line to crawl into the makeup trailer.
4. Rehearsal on Set & Filming
You'll get to set and the director will have you practice walking as zombies. It'll be the first time you're in the element of what your character is dealing with, so it might take one or two rehearsals before they bring on the actor(s) to do a rehearsal with you as well. Once that happens, they'll ask for quiet on set and begin rolling.
It's not all captured in one take. To do a scene requires different angles and set ups. So what takes five minutes on your screen literally took an hour to film -- sometimes two hours! So when being on set as a zombie, make friends with your fellow undead and you'll never be bored.
5. Post Production
You'll get to see all that hard work pay off when the editing team puts all the footage together and cuts it to work for the episode. From the music to the camera angles and the actors' work, you can give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done.
And for those that truly want to follow through on this process, I've provided a link to an article from ScreenCrush.com which helps you audition for such a role.
Now that all you zombie-loving fans know what it takes, we want to hear your opinions below about The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead!