Monday, October 20, 2014

the matt interview: walking dead ed.

Annnnnd it's time!! 

This week I had the opportunity to sit down with Matt B., renowned extra from the Season 5 premiere episode of AMC's Walking Dead. Matt was understandably busy dealing with all of the press and paparazzi hounding him regarding his illustrious performance (that mostly did not make it past the cutting room floor), but he was kind enough to throw a bone to his wife this aspiring journalist and answer the questions that were burning on all of our minds.

For the sake of...um, journalism...and ease of reading and stuff, I've combined/consolidated similar questions. To see all of the original questions and who asked them, please see the original post regarding his Walking Dead experience.

Also, I'm taking a lot of journalistic liberty (let's play a drinking game where you do a shot every time I use a form of the word 'journalism'- GO!) (you're drunk already!) and mostly summarizing the answers in my own words here. Writing down people's speech verbatim is exhausting. They don't pay me enough for all that.

How did you get to be an extra?

Not to brag or anything, but it's all thanks to his fabulous wife. Seriously.

Awhile back I started following a Facebook group called Extras Casting Atlanta. They film a lot of amazing shows and movies around Georgia now, and I'd heard that you could sometimes figure out what they were casting for based on what kind of extras they were looking for. Plus, it's downright funny sometimes- like this posting from last week:


A good example of a casting call I would not apply for...
So one afternoon in May I saw them looking for a '6 foot 2 male, dark hair, slim athletic build' for a shoot the next day. Sure sounds like someone I'm married to...and Matt happened to have the next day off of work. I emailed him and he thought it sounded like fun and sent in a few pictures and whatever other info they asked for.

They didn't get back to him until the next day, at which point they'd already filled that particular role- but they said "hey, we need some more folks for Walking Dead next week...would you be able to do that?"

Hmmm...let's see. Our favorite show. Matt has roughly twice as many discretionary paid days off as I do (meaning he has PTO to burn)...uh, yeah, he was available. After he replied that he was indeed interested, it started getting really fun. Over the weekend they sent several emails with all the (classified!) details about where to go, when to report (freaking early o'clock), what to wear (really old and dirty clothes and shoes, don't shave), what not to bring (phones, cameras), who not to tell (anyone, lest they sue you), and how not to act once you got there ("DO NOT BOTHER THE TALENT!").

So to summarize, really the only 'qualifications' that he needed to be an extra were that he was available on certain days and was willing to drive to Atlanta really early in the morning. 

How long did it take to get ready for your scenes (makeup, wardrobe, etc.)?

"On the first day, there were LOTS of extras, so it took awhile. We all had to line up, then go through these stations where they would look at your papers, see what your role was [Matt was a Terminian, or 'Termite,' as the insiders called it], and then get your sizes for pants, shirts, shoes, etc. Then I would put it all on, then they would look me over and decide they didn't like that shirt or whatever, so they'd have me change to a different one. A few times.

Then I would go to makeup and they would put dirt and 'sweat' all over my face and hair. Then I would go outside and they would put dirt and stuff on my clothes. All throughout wardrobe and makeup they are taking pictures over and over so that my dirt and sweat would be consistent when they reapplied it later (and the second day)- they would make notes on the iPad that there was a sweat spot on the left shoulder, stuff like that."


Probably the only selfie Matt has ever taken! This was one night after he got home from filming.
How many days were you there?

"Two- a Monday and a Friday. The first day was much longer- there were a lot more extras that day and we were there from about 5 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. On Friday there were fewer extras and it was a shorter day, only about 9 a.m. to 5 p.m."

What was it like working with the zombie actors? Did it freak you out?

"Well, you gotta understand that there are three different types of walkers. There are some that are only shown [on TV] from so far away that really all they do is just make them look dirty- they don't look scary up close, just dirty- they're only filmed way in the back of a horde or something. Then there are some that are kind of mid-level, that get more extensive makeup and gore on their bodies. Those are the ones that get killed. Then there are 'heroes' that get extensive makeup, prosthetics, gore, and those are the ones that the camera gets on close-ups and stuff. They don't kill those, they're the ones that they usually show full body and up-close for several seconds or more.

So yeah, the heroes were kinda scary with the prosthetics, there were one or two mid-level walkers that were scary because they would just stare at you awkwardly. But then everyone else just looked dirty and they weren't very scary."

And this is Erika speaking- you didn't ask, but Matt did tell me this back when he filmed and I thought it was so interesting: the walkers don't make any of their sounds/noises during filming. All of that is dubbed in later in editing. So while Matt's group was guarding the fence and stabbing walkers through it, they weren't making their gmmmhhhhhuuuuu ghhhhuuuuuu noises that are creepy and intimidating like you see on TV- they were just silently pressing and grabbing against the fence! Isn't that crazy??

Were there any special effects things you got to do?

"Well, they trained me to shoot a machine gun with blanks, which was really cool. But then they didn't have time to actually shoot the scene, so I didn't get to do it. But I did get to wear the machine gun on my back in the scenes I did shoot. I was there when they blew up the big tank thing [that Carol shot], though. I didn't get to see it because we were eating lunch, but there were lots of fire trucks and firefighters there and it was really loud."

Did you get to meet the cast?

"The other extras and I got talk with Mary, who was one of the main actors/characters in Terminus [she was killed in the Season 5 premiere]. I saw Carol on Friday, but I didn't talk to her or anything. None of the other main cast members were there on the days I was there, though."

What was your favorite part about being an extra?

"Catered lunch, haha. Really just the whole experience of being on a set and TV show was cool."

Did you get to keep anything from the set?

"Only the makeup on my face." ("And the memories in your heart," prompts his lovely wife.) (And they mailed him his paychecks a few weeks later, so he got to keep those, too.)

Did you scream at Carol and Darryl to make out, because I totally would have?

Haha, sadly, no- he didn't see that scene being shot. But I'm sure he would have if he could've!!

How is Matt going to top 2014? A daughter AND an appearance on WD seems like a pretty tough combo to beat.


"Awwww man, I don't know! How do you beat that??"

If life really is like Seven Degrees of Kevin Bacon, doesn't this experience practically make you BFFs with Andrew Lincoln?

I'll assume this question is for me, so I will say YES- we are basically BFFs now.

Not exactly a question, but: he go PAID?!? I would have sworn extras did that for fame not fortune.

Yes, he did get paid- but not much. Non-featured extras like Matt got paid about $8.50/hr (and time and a half for anything over 8 hours/day). Soooo...you probably don't want to quit your day job to be a full-time extra. ;) But that was really the minimum- extras that got close ups, speaking roles, walkers, or anyone more 'featured' got paid a lot more.


Proof is in the paycheck! $85.60...it was tough not to get too wild when such riches arrived in the mail!
Anything else you want to share that I didn't ask about already?

"Yeah, it was kind of funny that a lot of the extras apparently DO do 'extra-ing' frequently- a bunch of them all knew each other and were like 'oh hey, I know you from Catching Fire!' or 'we worked together on Fast & Furious!' and stuff. So apparently you can semi-make a living doing this if you want to, I guess. Oh, and a couple of the extras had never seen the show before."

Annnnddd...that about wraps us up. If you have any further questions, just ask in the comments and I'll get the answers there and post them so that everyone can see them. And one more time, for good measure: a repeat of the screenshots of Matt in his legendary Walking Dead role.


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Friday, October 17, 2014

highest praise & a supermodel

After all my waxing poetic about body wash yesterday, you'd have thought I got it out of my system. But nope. In the course of 'researching' for my post and looking up the products on Ulta and Target's webpages, I happened upon some user reviews that a) made me pee my pants laughing and b) made me need more products by this line. Please enjoy:

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Both of these reviews are for a different scent (Superfruit Complex Bubble Bath/Body Wash), but obviously I will be buying it (or begging Matt to get it for me) at my earliest convenience because it SMELLS LIKE ANGELS DESCENDED FROM HEAVEN AND DID A SWEET SMELLING DANCE IN THE BATHROOM??? It FEELS LIKE YOU ARE BEING LOVED?? Who are these reviewers and why aren't they writing poetry?! And why won't they be my best friend? We obviously have similar passion towards bath products, so like...man. 

Then I did end up going to Target last night specifically to buy some of the lotion (even though the humidity is still 700% most days, my skin is so dry it is ridiculous), but I just went with the tried and true frankincense & myrrh scent (because that Superfruit Complex is apparently only carried at Ulta). I also got the body scrub, because better safe than sorry and all that. Soooo...if you want to come hang out in my bathroom and smell all my products this weekend, I totally understand.

Let's see. In non-bath product news...

...is there any??...

Oh yeah.

Millie's eyelashes continue to grow at an alarming rate. It's almost like God is forcing me to turn her into a baby model. Just kidding. But not really.

I tried to get a good picture of them while she was on her activity mat the other day.


That one was close, but they really are more impressive than that...just hard to capture on camera, I guess. But at least I captured this face:


Since Matt and I both make that ridiculous expression about 50 times a day, I'd say there's no question where that came from!

She may not decide to go into baby pageants, but she does seem to already understand the importance of accessorizing. She managed to wiggle the plastic ring on her elephant toy up onto her arm like a bracelet yesterday!


She was pretty proud of herself. Or maybe I'm just projecting.

We received an order of headbands and bows from Turbans for Tots yesterday- I was SO excited, as I've been scoping out proper head decoration since long before she was born. Naturally, Millie was napping when the mail arrived, so I had to wait several excruciating minutes before she woke up and could model them all for me. But it turned out to be worth the wait!!


I probably need to start watermarking my pictures so that unscrupulous companies don't steal her beautiful likeness and market their products with it. GAHHHHH she is beautiful!!!

After our post-dinner trip to Target last night, I spent a few minutes pretending there weren't a million other things I needed to be doing around the house and sipped hot chocolate and started a new book (that I've had on hold forever and FINALLY came in!).


It was delightful (and the book is good so far, although I'm not far in). I look forward to doing it a few more times this weekend. Yay fall!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

good enough for him, good enough for me

I'm working on getting Matt's Walking Dead extra interview together. But in the meantime, let's chat about something cleaner, shall we??

Body wash.

(Nope, not a sponsored review or post. Just a current passion.)

The preppy fashion and mommy bloggers have all but beaten the word obsession to death. I can't even think it without rolling my eyes. So we're just going to say I'm a big fan of these products. Not obsessed, because that would be lame. Just really enthused.

So before Millie was born, I was focusing on registering for and buying the things we'd need for her to come home. Baby bath products were on the 'buy now' list, since I assumed she'd need to be cleaned before we'd be able to have a baby shower. At one point in my life I was really interested in researching and analyzing and comparing every single product and thing related to babies, but at this particular time, I was long past that point. I just needed to get some stuff without expending too much emotional energy getting it. But I still had standards- when it came to bath products, I didn't want weird-chemical-filled and artificially-fragranced crap. I don't put that stuff on my skin; I certainly don't want to put it on an infant's skin. So I knew I couldn't just waltz into Target and buy the first thing I saw on the shelf. 

I made the logical decision to just ask my coworker/friend who has a baby and appropriately hippie standards. Ooooooohhh!!! she said when I asked. I love what we use!! It's ummm...yellow. You can get it at Target. I don't know what it's called, but it says 'frankincense and myrrh' on the front of it. It smells awesome and it doesn't have a bunch of weird stuff in it.

I asked what frankincense and myrrh smelled like- she said that she couldn't describe it, but it was great. Unusual, but great. And so it was decided- off to Target I went, searching for the baby body wash that was yellow with frankincense and myrrh. I couldn't help but smile at those two ingredients. I mean...frankincense and myrrh?? This is like the body wash Jesus would use or something.



Sure enough- there it was. And now flash forward to present day and you can go ahead and note that the bottle is half empty because IT IS SO DAGGUM AMAZING. I feel happy just thinking about this body wash. I go to the bathroom multiple times a day just to smell it. No wonder the Wise Men took Jesus gifts of frankincense and myrrh. They knew what was up. It's freaking awesome.

Not long after my discovery of this amazingness, I discovered that this brand ALSO has a whole line of adult bath products!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Those exclamation points are a mere shadow of my real-life excitement. I caused a scene in Target, I'm afraid. There are body washes! Lotions! Hair masques! Massage oils!! I need it all!! I can be scent-twinsies with my baby! (And stop borrowing her shower gel...) I can use the body wash that Jesus would use!



I finally got some this past weekend (I had to use up my other shower gel first, wahhhh). For the record, I got it at Ulta- they also carry the line, and the products appear to be mostly the same (or comparable) prices. But at Ulta you can use your $3.50 off $10 purchase coupon (plus earn points), soooo...Ulta wins this one. I'm happy to report that the adult version doesn't disappoint. It's even better because it's super moisturizing. I seriously spend all day long looking forward to taking my shower so that I can use it. It's kind of sad, really. Or maybe not.

Just like the baby version, it's free of lots of sketchy things.


So this is possibly the most boring post I've ever written, but I just felt like I'd be doing you a disservice not to alert you to this most holy of bath products. Frankincense and myrrh, folks. If it's good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for me. Also, now my Christmas list is started and finished. EVERYTHING THIS BRAND MAKES. Done.

Monday, October 13, 2014

cute baby, almost-famous husband

 We had a pretty delightfully uneventful weekend. We spent a lot of time watching football and watching our adorable little bobble head test out her little chair.


She's not really big enough for it quite yet, but she gets a kick out of sitting in it for about 49 seconds at a time. We're happy to acquiesce. Because she really does look like a bobble head when she sits there.

When Millie wasn't able to serve as my full-time entertainment because she was doing something boring like napping, I amused myself:


I've had that app for like a year and it doesn't get old. I put beards on Millie and Laney and texted the pictures to my parents with captions like they grow up so fast!!! and stuff like that. It cracked ME up, anyway.

On Saturday night my sister-in-law came over to hang out for awhile. We ate sushi, watched football, drank wine, and (finally) got all of the wall art up in the nursery! Let me tell you: wine and hanging gallery walls are a stellar combination. HA. 

We spent a lot of time getting excited for Sunday night's Walking Dead Season 5 premiere. But we had extra reasons to be excited beyond just liking the show...


Well, lots of you guessed it- or almost guessed it. 

Matt (not me!!) spent two days being an extra in Walking Dead!!!!

It was a really fun experience for him (and me, vicariously)- but unfortunately, not one he was allowed to talk about publicly until after the episode aired. But it aired last night!!! So let's talk away!!

The sad news: You could barely see him on TV.



That's his back (with a machine gun strapped to it). Basically you saw his legs run by, then this ghostly shot of his back/head. If you blink, you miss it.

The happy news: You could see him much better in the trailers.

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Perhaps the yellow arrows will help you locate him. Since this trailer aired in July, we were really hopeful that we'd be able to see him on the 'big screen' when the episode aired. Sadly, we couldn't (in this scene). Womp womp. They panned far enough left to see the girl next to him!!!! But not him!!! Oh well. We re-watched the episode last night and only on the second viewing did Matt notice himself running by in that other scene. We had been totally focused on the fence scene and were so devastated that we didn't see him there that we didn't look hard enough during the running/chaos scenes!

So back when he filmed (in May), I was WAY OVER THE TOP EXCITED LIKE PEEING MY PANTS LIKE YOU CAN'T IMAGINE HOW FREAKING OUT I WAS and I had this huge plan to interview Matt and do a big tell-all on the blog because uhhhh hello, it is so cool that he was an extra on the best show on TV!!!! But then a lot of other exciting things happened over the summer and fall (can you think of any? hint: she's growing a beard already) and I never got around to actually 'interviewing' him and writing it up for a post. So last night Matt was like "do you have questions for me? Are you going to interview me for the blog??" and I was like...uhhh...riiiight. I still want to! I just haven't thought of what to ask yet. So maybe this will work out for the best- do you have any questions for him? Since today is a bank holiday, Matt is home and has plenty of time to answer all of your burning (heh heh- if you watched the episode) questions about zombies, machine guns, the Terminus set, and the general glamour of being a Hollywood Atlanta extra. So ask away! He's an open book, except for if it's something he can't be an open book about. I don't feel like getting sued by AMC. But he says he doesn't know any spoilers anyway, so I don't think it'll be a problem.

In conclusion, my baby is adorable even with a beard, and my husband faux-stabbed zombies for money. Happy Monday!!!