The Learning Season: Natalie Brooks

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Most students spend the summer catching up on course credit, vacation time or sleep. Others spend their break interning or working typical summer jobs. However, University of West Georgia student Natalie Brooks plays a zombie.

Over the past two summers, the senior English student has worked as an extra on TV and movie sets around Atlanta, first working as a regular extra for the “vamptastic” television series Vampire Diaries in 2009.

This summer she continued, working for a VH1 movie produced by Queen Latifah called Single Ladies and the AMC newly anticipated original series The Walking Dead.

Working on the set of The Walking Dead, Brooks gives the rundown of a typical day as a flesh- hungry zombie.

“You show up at 6 a.m. and go to wardrobe and makeup to have blood sprayed on you and your hair matted with conditioner. Then they hand you a mask, place you in front of the camera and direct you to chase a car, tear down a gate and growl. By day three I had perfected my zombie walk.

“It’s like babysitting,” she said. “You can turn down the days you can’t or don’t want to work with no penalty. We get paid to have fun on set and it’s a fast way to meet new people.”

Georgia is quickly becoming the new hotspot for filming and television production. Summer box-office hits like Ashton Kutcher’s Killers and award winning movies such as The Blindside, as well as popular television shows like CW’s Vampire Diaries have all been filmed in the state. Each brings new job opportunities and quick cash for college students.

“As an extra you’re basically a freelance worker, which as a full-time student is the perfect job,” says Brooks, “and as someone who loves movies and wants to work in the production industry it’s a great way to expose yourself to the environment.”

The Walking Dead, set to premiere in October on AMC, is a show based on the comic book written by Robert Kirkman, published by Image Comics.