IFH 063: The Walking Dead – Working on the Dead Set



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If you are a Walking Dead fan you are going to LOVE this episode. If you ever wanted to know what an assistant director does onset you are going to LOVE this episode.

In today’s episode, we have a long-time friend Vince Gonzales. Vince has been working in the film industry for over the top decades. His IMDB page is pretty crazy. He’s worked on 90 classics like The Sandlot, Speed, and What Dreams May Come. Now after 2000, his credits start to heat up: Pearl Harbor, Six Feet Under, Charmed, Boston Legal, Grey’s Anatomy, Transformers: Age of Extinction and of course The Walking Dead.

I wanted to bring Vince on the show to discuss his time on The Walking Dead but also what it takes to be an assistant director on both small and “monstrous” sets. Don’t listen to this episode in the dark.

Right-click here to download the MP3

Alex Ferrari 0:04
So guys today as you can tell a little bit different. I have gone full deadhead for walking dead. This is our special Walking Dead edition of the podcast and we have a very special guest this week we have Vince Gonzalez who has actually worked on walking dead for seasons two and three. So he was there very early on and saw the growth and how the cast kind of blew up and the whole show like how it started off as like this little quiet little thing and they had no idea how big they got and all this kind of cool stuff. He gives us a lot of information about what he did on the show. He was a assistant director and Vince is worked on I mean his his credits are insane from Transformers Age of Extinction neighbors Red Dawn, the tooth fairy with the rock stepbrothers as well as Pearl Harbor traffic. And then on the TV show it's and that and that's not by the way, he worked on a ton of other movies as well. One of my favorites, sandlot Encino Man and son in law and speed for God's sakes. I mean, he's worked on a ton of stuff on TV shows Walking Dead Grey's Anatomy, Boston Legal charmed six feet under the list goes on and on. He is a wealth of information and I wanted to get him on the show and it just so happened that this this week is the final episode of the season for walking dead and that he worked on the walking dead I am a huge Walking Dead fan. I was like well, I got to get you on the show. We're going to talk a lot about an assist being assistant director, stories from the set all those kind of cool things, but I dug in deep on what was it like to work on walking dead? The process is how they not torture but Raz new directors as they come in, and what they do to the new directors. So on new directors going on two sets of a TV show always keep an eye out because it's it's kind of like a fraternity sometimes. But anyway, guys, it's awesome, awesome episode, so please, enjoy it. Without further ado, my interview with Vince Gonzalez. Vince, man thank you so much for being on the show, bro. I really appreciate you taking the time.

Vince Gonzalez 3:29
Alex, how are you?

Alex Ferrari 3:30
I'm good brother. Good. It's been it's been a few minutes since we've talked. We work together god how long ago now? 10 years 10 years ago a way though, right? I think it was 10 years ago when we work that we did that in a leap thing where you are my You are my first assistant director on that project.

Vince Gonzalez 3:50
Ohh that was so fun.

Alex Ferrari 3:51
It was so much fun. And then I came back a year later to be a teacher, an instructor which was a lot of fun. And then we got to know each other on that level as as opposed to me just going crazy running around as a director.

Vince Gonzalez 4:04
It was you know, it was a lot of fun. We created a lot of great work in a very short amount of time. It was a it was a sort of a camp an intensive where we took young directors for a week and we prepped two scenes from their feature film scripts and shot them over a weekend. And

Alex Ferrari 4:28
With real talent or crew yeah with restaurant.

Vince Gonzalez 4:31
Yeah, that's amazing results. They had the editors there but they laid music down to it and in say a week we had a finished product of these two scenes that we were able to view and look at and with with you know high production value and Hollywood results.

Alex Ferrari 4:47
Yeah, we were shooting on if I remember the the we were shooting our mini v mini DV on the Panasonic dv x 100 a little camera, but that was the technology 10 years ago.

Vince Gonzalez 4:59
No it was a great great programmed with young people, or newer filmmakers who had never put the camera down who always held the camera. We took the camera away from him said, talk to the actors.

Alex Ferrari 5:11
I know it was so weird because I was a director, I wasn't I was I was that trouble director wasn't I had to remember if I remember correctly, I caused a big stink. Because I brought a second camera, I wanted to shoot, I wanted to edit. And I was like, I had no idea how to do anything else, until finally the program director, she's like, no, you're not gonna do anything, you're gonna direct and you're just gonna talk to the actor. And I'm like, but I have a second camera, I want to make this production really good. Like, now you can't use a second camera.

Vince Gonzalez 5:40
That's, that's true. They gave you some trouble about that. But you know, they give them all trouble, because it was all these directors who had done everything who were one man bands, and to give them a professional crew and have them step back and focus on the actors. I mean, you could tell us what that's like, because it's got to be a big freedom for you.

Alex Ferrari 5:57
You know what I tell you that the first time I ever directed something that was not that I did not edit was that I'd always edited, everything I've ever done. So when we did those scenes together, and I had someone else editing and I would walk in and I kind of tell the editor what I wanted and walk out of like, well, this is nice. This is nice.

Vince Gonzalez 6:19
But that that allows you to also rethink that from being a filmmaker who's who could be a one man band and get it all done yourself from beginning to end to trusting the collaborative process and having professionals and other experts in other talented people who are talented in their own fields. Be part of, of your piece of art, you know, having 20 artists rather than just you?

Alex Ferrari 6:45
Oh, absolutely. Now we've already we've already digressed. Vince, we haven't even started the interview yet. We just catch it up. So there's I wanted to get you on the show because you have a very unique perspective on the film business you've been in the film business now for I'm not gonna say the years but a good amount.

Vince Gonzalez 7:04
More than two decades,

Alex Ferrari 7:06
let's say more than two decades. Absolutely. And I loved working with you. And we work together. And we've stayed in touch over the years. And I really wanted to get you in the show to get your perspective on things. But first and foremost, tell me tell people how you got into the business.

Vince Gonzalez 7:20
Well, you know, I grew up in Colorado, and I went to school at the University of Colorado and I had a communication class I, I went into the communication School, which is interpersonal communication, and it's because my roommate came I was an undeclared as a junior, my roommate came home and said, Hey, I just got an A in the comp school and there's 30 girls to every guy, every class. So I said okay, I'm gonna be a con major Why not? Right? And at the comp school, I kind of brought in a different, different ideas. I mean, they wanted me to write a 15 page paper with four other people. And I said hey, there's this I'm taking this VHS I have access to a VHS recorder a camcorder. Would you mind if we just did a video project instead of writing the paper? Can we try that and the professor was up for it, which was cool. And we did this project and it took the Communication Department by storm and they loved it we all got A's and you know

Alex Ferrari 8:27
Now what is this now what is this VHS thing you speak of? Is that like beta now I'm joking.

Vince Gonzalez 8:39
Right? But But you know, I made it we made a film and a film a video project rather than writing the papers and and to me, it was a better way to communicate. And it was exciting for the for the console to to see the results of this is the whole class you know, we have them and they laughed and it was funny and they got the point. So to me that made me excited about film and I decided to go into the film program and make films and the rest and film program there. So I created my own independent degree and moved to LA decided I was going to move to LA and make movies so

Alex Ferrari 9:20
and then and then you and I was looking at your, your IMDb and you've you've worked on a lot of movies, but in your early career you worked on some of my favorite films growing up, sandlot Encino Man, son in law. Those movies I mean when I was growing up I absolutely love and Sam lots of classic I mean it's an amazing and you're a PA on these on these are just starting out you were just starting out basically in your career. So how did you how did you get your first gig? How did you like just get that first foot in the door?

Vince Gonzalez 9:54
Well, I had I had moved to Florida because it was going to be the new Hollywood.

Alex Ferrari 9:58
Yes, I'm from Florida. So I'm I'm in Orlando even more. So yes, I completely know that that was the

Vince Gonzalez 10:03
right thing with Disney. The Disney Studios were built and they were had just finished universal. Yes, huge studios and yes, and Spielberg was on, on the TV and on the radio saying in Hollywood, he's just gonna kind of give going to be a great place to make movies. And so I didn't have a lot of cash when I moved at a college and I moved to move to Florida to get started. And I worked in the film office, I was an intern in the film office, and I delivered the permits to the various commercials or whatever was shooting, because I wanted to get to know what was going on. And I go to work at the TV station at night, because I had sort of a TV background as a floor director. And one day I delivered a permit to an hbo movie. And it was called some buddy has to shoot the picture with Roy Scheider from Jaws, of course and and I met the producer and I said here's your permit, sir. And here's my resume. I really want to work on your movie. And he said well, thanks for the permit and you know, there's really nothing on your resume that pertains to us but why don't you call my office and see if they need some help? And I was like okay, great. Wow, yeah, so I called the office and and they said Yeah, come in tomorrow at 9am

Alex Ferrari 11:26
does that's the greatest phone call ever isn't it? Well, well it is.

Vince Gonzalez 11:29
It is and I went at 9am and I'm and they said wait here and then they said make some Can you make copies of this well while you're here and how about making coffee and here's some money to go to the grocery store and bring back a receipt and I came back and and did all these things and pretty soon I'm saying well When am I going to get my interview you know I have to go to the TV station at three o'clock and you know I want to make sure I get my interview done it's almost two o'clock right now and they said What have you been doing the job for half a day TV station I says I'm not coming back now and ever thank you very much cut back on business

Alex Ferrari 12:15
that's all so you really don't even know you were in the business that's how green you were you had no idea that you had already started working

Vince Gonzalez 12:22
that's right as long as I can follow orders I think I was doing it and I know that was really a lot of a lot of fun and it doubled my salary and and that job lasted three weeks so at the end of two weeks I'm starting to say well we're gonna finish in one more week and I gave up a solid full time job and and what am I going to do right everyone there says you know what, we all work you'll work again and I said I don't have any experience she said stay in touch with everyone on the show that you met and you'll work again so I was really nervous and kind of scared but I just kept doing a good job and amazingly the production company picked up another show I was down for a week before they said hey come back to work we're going to we need you to do some pickups and some deliveries and get started again I was like wow that fast great it's it's

Alex Ferrari 13:21
it's it you know I've been a freelancer all my all my adult life in the film industry pretty much only other than two jobs that I had, which I was gloriously fired from. I'm very proud of my firings. I wear them as badge of honors.

Vince Gonzalez 13:36
You no one in this business until you've been fired? Yeah, absolutely.

Alex Ferrari 13:39
Absolutely. So I know there's that whole like, oh god, what am I gonna do? Am I gonna work next week or not? And that's only towards the beginning. But once you've once you like, oh, work just starts to come. And it is something that my wife took years to finally get comfortable with. This. It's we're carnies. We're carnies. mints. We're carnies. We're, we're Carnival folks to

Vince Gonzalez 14:03
Try and sell your mother in law and the fact that you have a regular job and a corporation.

Alex Ferrari 14:10
And listen, I listen to I tell you what my wife's family for three years, kept asking her and he was like, What is Alex do again? Like they couldn't they just didn't grasp the idea. Like, what is that? Like so? And then finally, after three, you're like, well, there's been food on the table. So apparently he does something and it's it's not illegal. So

Vince Gonzalez 14:30
So you know, my neighbors are skeptical.

Alex Ferrari 14:35
Exactly. No, can you Now with that said, Can you talk a little bit about the importance of relationships in the business and how imperative it is to maintain those relationships over the course of your career to be able to work?

Vince Gonzalez 14:49
Well, sure that was that was some of the best advice that someone gave me is that we all work somewhere and if you stay in touch with all of us, you know, someone's going to go somewhere and they're going to need some So that's really what you do is you start that, you meet that first crew, and you stay in touch with everyone there. And they all go different directions, because there's that many different projects. And, you know, you just go one to the other and, and What's strange about the business is you'll ended up with having choices. Because it all comes at once Of course, you have a voice, and then all of a sudden, you have four different directions to go and, and you're choosing for your career, do I want to go work for the art department? You know, when you're PA, they have you do different things? Do they want to work in the accounting department? Do I want to work with the assistant directors? And or do I want to work in camera so so that's a, you know, important decisions. And you always wonder, you know, if you went the right direction, if you made the right decision, the producer can on that first show kind of helped me make the right decision. Because I admit, I've worked with cameras, and I made films in college, and I said, I wanted to be a camera system, I want to be a loader, which was the bottom

Alex Ferrari 16:02
loading level. Now please explain to to the younger audience members what a loader does, because I know what a loader does, but

Vince Gonzalez 16:10
right back then, you know, the loader actually loaded the film in a darkroom offset into the camera, so you can't do it on the Saturday or in a bag or in a bag get dark. I mean, if you open it any lights exposed, it's no good. It's, that's what they say. flashed like the film got flashed or something, if it was exposed to any light, it'd be no good. So the loader had to go off set and

Alex Ferrari 16:38
very stressful, I would imagine.

Vince Gonzalez 16:41
The most important job,

Alex Ferrari 16:43
I it's truly, like, literally, there's millions of dollars in your hands. Every day, because if you and I know this, because I was on set many times that, you know, he would, they would hand you over, you know, you know, roll and they might have just shot, you know, might have cost $100,000 to shoot that, you know, five hours or whatever long it took to get this these shots, and to give it to give it to a 20 year old.

Vince Gonzalez 17:09
the least amount of experience, hey, make sure you load and unload this film without flashing it. And then at the end of the day, after you shot the entire day, which might be a $100,000 day, Rihanna to a PA to drive it to the lab. And every producer said to me when I drove them to the lab, he said, if you have an accident, put the film in the ambulance.

Alex Ferrari 17:33
Yeah, I think that was one part of the filmmaking process that I think wasn't thought out properly. Over the course of the many decades that film industry has been around at this point.

Vince Gonzalez 17:47
Weren't jobs to the least experienced people? Yes.

Alex Ferrari 17:49
Is that what it's I mean, it's trial by fire, to say the least. So you know, one of the funniest thing is I had an old dp friend of mine who used to, just to mess with the, the PA, they would, he would throw a lens at them to catch, but it was a broken lens, it was an old broken lens, it had no value, but he just throw it like your catch. And when they drop it, he would lose it. It's just the onset pranks.

Vince Gonzalez 18:15
Yeah, that there may be, you know, the responsibility on his skin given to those people, because I guess you know, you want a film crew, you are ultimately very responsible for your position from the beginning.

Alex Ferrari 18:28
Oh, yes. Oh, no, absolutely. Now you went down the path of assistant directing. And so can you tell? tell the audience a little bit about what an assistant director does? And then the different kind of assistant directors because there There seems to be hundreds of them?

Vince Gonzalez 18:45
Yeah. Well, the an assistant director is part of the Directors Guild, which is part of the directors team. So there's a director and a first assistant director and a second assistant director, and, you know, various other assistant directors be below that that might work on the team, but there's only usually maybe three assistant directors on every feature film, so it's a very competitive position, whereas there might be 10 grips, seven to 10 grips, you know, or seven to 10 electricians, or four or five prop people, or four or five wardrobe people, you know, the the three assistant directors are very competitive, they're picked by the director most of the time to, to schedule and break down the film, what we do is we they give us a script and we go into a room and in the next day, we come out or a couple days or a couple of weeks, and we come out with a schedule and the director. We've talked to him or her and we asked him you know, basically this is our schedule. We're going to start in this room. We're going to do this, depending on an actor's availabilities, depending on the sets availabilities, depending on daylight or not Right, so you have all these meetings during prep. But we come out the first date, he makes a schedule, the second ad helps execute the schedule for him. And if you have a second second ad is what they call it seems odd, but that's the way it's read. And that person kind of writes a production report and about what happened, someone's dealing with the future, one's dealing with the president, one's dealing with the past.

Alex Ferrari 20:27
Oh, that's, that's actually a really great way of explaining it.

Vince Gonzalez 20:31
I hope it makes sense.

Alex Ferrari 20:34
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Vince Gonzalez 20:45
But, you know, we're like the managers of the set. So we're giving information to the crew constantly, and also keeping track of overtime and keeping track of staying on schedule. So if the movies not on schedule, it really comes down on the assistant directors to be efficient,

Alex Ferrari 21:02
right? I've had I've had experiences working with wonderful assistant directors like yourself, and I've had experiences working with not good assistant directors. And I really didn't never knew early in my career, I really didn't understand what a real good first assistant director does. But they crack the whip they actually keep they keep everything moving forward. To a certain extent, I could only imagine, because you've worked with some major major league directors, how how do you crack the whip on a Michael Bay?

Vince Gonzalez 21:34
You know, it comes down, he wants the same thing you do, he wants to accomplish all the schedule, as well as get the performance. So it's up to us to tell him Hey, in his five minutes that we have down, do you want to take the actors from the next scene and go into the other set and rehearse for for those five minutes and get an idea of what you're doing so that when we go over there, we can just nail it. And, and things like that, just try and work ahead and use every minute that you can on on the day because if you don't, you know it gets behind it. We put it this way, sometimes, if you know if you have 60 people on the crew, usually the cruiser on bigger shows or 120 or 150. But let's say a medium, small TV show. And if you have 60 people on the show, and each person gets two minutes to waste, or you're waiting for them for two minutes, I mean, that ends up to be two hours of the day, right? So so you can't afford that. Everything has to be happening like clockwork all at once. It's got to tick like a Swiss clock,

Alex Ferrari 22:39
right? And if not, you go into OT and you start going into I mean, like I was telling you like when I worked with with the first ad I was shooting something in the first ad was inexperienced, and I smelled it. The second he was on set and it was too late. By the time he was on set, and the crew ate him alive. Just it just ate them alive. And I literally had to pull them off something like Dude, you've gotta start controlling this set. If not, I can't get my day. And then it turns into the screaming first at which which is like not helpful at all. Like, like you use yelling is not helping anybody. No one it doesn't work. So I had them like Dude, you got to stop you. So he had absolutely no idea what he was doing. And I was just so upset at the production manager who hired him. I'm like, guys go seriously, you know, so, you know, I ended up having to kind of control the set a little bit, because with a season crew I mean it we really are events kind of like carnies. You know, it's like we're a group of Carnival folk who go out to make a movie. And the more experienced guys will Raz. The least experienced guys it's just part of the process. And you know, when you walk on the set, they smell the blood instantly. They're like oh, oh hey, he's the one so it's it's it's a rough it's a rough environment being on a professional set. Sometimes if you're not a professional.

Vince Gonzalez 23:59
I said it's a tough it's a tough crowd and they're all very smart. And they're all experts at what they do. Right? And nobody wants to waste time wasted. Yes, so

Alex Ferrari 24:07
Exactly, exactly. So now I'm gonna geek out a little bit and talk about one of my favorite TV shows on on TV right now The Walking Dead and you worked on the walking dead in season two and three. So please can't Can I Can you tell me a little bit about how that experience was because you were at the you're at the beginning of the Walking Dead phenomenon. Now it's I don't even know what season I think they're on six or something like that five or six. if not more, and they've become you know, the I honestly I think they are the like the biggest, highest highest rated television show on on TV at this point, if not close to it. But at the beginning, even Season Two was still the craziness hadn't kicked in yet. So you kind of saw it's between two and three. I'm imagining you saw a big change in a lot of stuff that was going on. Can you tell us any stories or How that experience was?

Vince Gonzalez 25:02
Well, I'll start I'll start at the beginning. And even after 20 years experience, this is how getting the job goes. I'm, I'm I'm coming. I'm flying to Colorado. I just finished a week on. I'm stumbling here. A show. The Motorcycle Show.

Alex Ferrari 25:24
Oh, God. Yeah, yeah. Sons of Anarchy. Thank you.

Vince Gonzalez 25:29
So I'm, I just got off a plane, I'd done a weekend Sons of Anarchy, doing a second unit and additional for unit stuff. And I get off the plane in in Colorado where I was going to take a break. And my phone has a message on it. And I checked the message, it says, How soon Are you available and interested in working on a show in Atlanta? How soon can you be here? Well, it's Memorial Day weekend. And I called him right back on the tarmac and said, my bag is still packed. Why? Right now? You know, I'm in Denver, you know, booked me a ticket, I'll go. And that's kind of how these jobs go. Because he they said, Alright, you've got the job. But we'll do. We'll let you have memorial day off. You'll fly on Memorial Day, by the way. And be here for the day after that. Okay, great. And I said, What am I doing? And she said, it's a little show called The Walking Dead. And you're replacing a second ad there. And I said, Okay, great. So I'm coming in with no prep, you know, you have no idea what the job is. And I had agreed to it. You had no, but you knew the person, obviously, who was offering it to you. No, I mean, this was someone that I just met on the phone. Oh, really? Are you interested in available for this show? And I said, Yes. And then I then I say, well, by the way, what's the show?

Alex Ferrari 26:51
Right? And that you had no idea about zombies. You had no idea about?

Vince Gonzalez 26:55
You know, I'd heard about the show. In Season One, it was really starting to gain some ground. Of course, there's a big little zombie show going on. And they said, Well, this is called The Walking Dead. It's in Atlanta. And like, is that that song we show? I don't know. So I got on the plane and I flew in and, and I plan on replacing a second ad who was going off to do something else and and my first dance that I walk on to in season two, the barn massacre. The man,

Alex Ferrari 27:30
by the way, spoiler alerts.

Vince Gonzalez 27:33
Let's see season two. So it's the past but I get out of the van. And these guys are pouring jugs of blood on around people who are lying on the ground. And then I realized some of those people are dummies, and they're pouring blood around the dummies. And these It looks like a train wreck. You know, like a train in a school bus or something. It was a mess.

Alex Ferrari 27:57
This is your first day that said first

Vince Gonzalez 27:59
day on now, my eyes must have been as big as you know, chocolate chip cookies because the DP or the the camera operator comes up to me, Mike cetera zammis who's now the DP and the director. He comes up puts his arm around he says, it's your first day, isn't it, buddy? it'll it'll get better. It's funny. Very soon. It's okay. Cuz I look like I was gonna throw up. Oh, that's hilarious. This so? Yeah, after a while you have to you had to just treat it as tongue in cheek because it looks so real. And you're standing here in the middle of this mask. And, and everyone else is laughing and so yeah, yeah, put a little more over there. Look, no, no, we need the darker blood for this one. Okay, great. Okay,

Alex Ferrari 28:45
go grab that arm. Go grab that arm, I need another carcass, get another carcass.

Vince Gonzalez 28:52
So they're all having a great time with it. I was horrified. But you know it after a day or two, it started to sink in that, hey, this is the funnest part of moviemaking where, you know you're making it crazy. It's all about make believe and it's nothing having to do with anything that's real or, or any representative of that. It's just it's a lot of fun making make believe and here we go.

Alex Ferrari 29:13
And it was just and and then they you stayed on for two seasons.

Vince Gonzalez 29:17
We went from there and the actors are going to, to do a photo shoot for Vogue. And they come back and they're like, we just did a photo shoot for Vogue. We just did a photo shoot for Entertainment Weekly. And then they went to Comic Con and they came back and they said, Oh my god, you guys. Oh my god, you won't believe how huge we are. Because we're shooting in this tiny little town, south of Atlanta. And they said there was a line a mile and a half outside around the arena just to see us. And we you know, we're all being proud of that.

Alex Ferrari 29:54
That's pretty and I've heard that before from other shows. It was like I think Sarah Michelle Geller said that about Buffy because when she originally was doing Luffy they're in you're in a you're in a production bubble like you were your whole life. You don't even see the outside world you just you just keep making the show. Right? And then the first time you step out you don't even like you're not even on the streets. You're not even reading the paper like you just to show that's all you do. And that's I guess we have time for right right. It's all you have time for and then I guess from their point of view, they're in Atlanta, so they're in the they're not like in Hollywood. So you're in Atlanta, so you're in a bubble inside of a bubble. And then like like yeah, somewhat I guess we just did a photoshoot for Vogue I guess something and Oh yeah, did a photo shoot for entertainment and then of course Comic Con is the ultimate and they're like I could only imagine that experience it must be insane so then of course you guys are like hey we're on Walking Dead That's awesome.

Vince Gonzalez 30:50
Well you know we just keep making making the thing and all the actors are great young cast who you know may not have had a lot of big big shows before right and these kids were becoming stars and to be with them while they're becoming stars was a great experience and it's a lot of fun because you're sharing that experience with them you know that wonder of of wow people really like us and someone's out there you know there's millions of people watching us and the show gets bigger and bigger and pretty soon we're our ratings are better than Monday Night Football or Sunday Sunday night NFL shows which which you know, I don't know did you read all these beat everything

Alex Ferrari 31:33
right but this show like the show's insane and it's gotten bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger and I know you told me you haven't seen many of the episodes after the episode you've worked on so I won't talk to you about any of those

Vince Gonzalez 31:44
okay yeah I get busy I went on to the to the next hit show I was exploring other opportunities and in in that you know, I'm back in my production bubble where date day night and I'm eating sleeping drinking the show right? The way I have to work it's it's what we got to do.

Alex Ferrari 32:03
Exactly now. What was it I mean, the Walking Dead is a show that has a lot of logistics as far as extras and makeup and I mean a prosthetic it's so that must be for first or second ad must be a massive thing to undertake because I couldn't I mean just doing a normal show where you just have you know I got how many people on set today Okay, we've got seven people on set maybe we've got maybe a party scene with 30 or 40 people on set and they just oh how are they dressed? Great, great, great, but you've got like zombies so all of the zombies look insane so I can imagine what the makeup process goes through. So can you explain like the most hectic day you had on the show?

Vince Gonzalez 32:48
Well Well it's it's true walking onto that show was walking on to the hardest show that I've ever done in my life because because of all those elements I mean you have a cast that was 11 or 13 cast members every single day from the top of the day to the end of the day they are all together you know they're the banner and everything and then you add two hours of makeup on various walkers that are going to be in close up here on here I have another 30 walkers that are meds is what we call them and then you have you know the deep walkers if you really needed a big crowd that need to have a number of them that were deep that their makeup wasn't as good as the as the heroes right. So that process starts way early in the morning and these people were starting to come in at 330 in the morning and when I got there I said this this process is this is too hard to have a TV show if we had a feature we could get through it because then there'd be months of rest after a couple of weeks. But this is the only TV show that had six months to go or something and you know someone was going to crash your car on the way to work or on the way home because you're not getting rest right so so I talked to the producers and I said we need to fix this we can't come in at 330 in the morning to get these people started without adding 10 more personnel to do split shafts so a kind of a management thing and an experience thing and and I just said listen this is we can make this work if we start coming in at 530 if we only have nine heroes at the top of the day, and I can still give you 13 cast members you know it's kind of what what I know that we can push out of our factory as far as hair makeup wardrobe and and walkers. And the producers I was lucky that producers work with me on that everyone was glad to get another hour or two of rest. And the show only gets better when everyone's well rested. So right Oh

Alex Ferrari 34:51
yeah, cuz you can burn on a show like that and imagine you could burn out and not only burn out but you're thinking about people getting hurt like you like That's what first day DNS is a second do they think about what could happen and what you know like something like that like I remember I've been on many productions where like we can do a turnaround like that people need 12 hour turnaround you know you know and you're thinking like if you keep doing this someone's gonna crash their car someone's gonna get hurt

Vince Gonzalez 35:17
right and that's that's and we're making movies we're not we're not doing anything that's more important than a little bit of make believe so so they understand and and that reasoning went far and the Plus we're dealing with outdoor conditions you know, we're shooting out rash dad's waist high

Alex Ferrari 35:38
and it's a little humid I hear it's a little humid there

Vince Gonzalez 35:41
a little bit more humid now the temperature is only about 101 you know for most it's like

Alex Ferrari 35:46
Orlando all the time.

Vince Gonzalez 35:50
Like I luckily no gators

Alex Ferrari 35:53
yeah no gators Yeah, that's Yeah, we have you know 1000s of zombies so I don't know which is worse.

Vince Gonzalez 35:59
Right? Now wait, I just have to hand it to the cast and and and even the actors the walkers because they were so excited about the show. They come on with all this enthusiasm and, and the actors are standing in the grass, in text in chiggers. Yeah. And you know, we'd have the locations go down and beat down the grass. So that's the snakes would go away. These are things it's only 101 degrees out and humid. So

Alex Ferrari 36:26
but isn't it isn't a glamorous being in the film industry? Yeah.

Vince Gonzalez 36:29
It's just great.

Alex Ferrari 36:30
It's super glamorous being in if I don't understand what you're saying. You know, and hearing this kind of story, people forget that when they're watching it, they just like it. Like, it's not easy. It's not all like in a studio, comfortable air conditioning. They're out there doing it all the time. And there's actors kill themselves. Working I mean, look in the scope of scope of jobs in the world is not the worst job in the world. But it is hard work without question. And I can only imagine what it's like being in those, that full zombie makeup in 101 degrees in

Vince Gonzalez 37:04
Trying not to melt

Alex Ferrari 37:06
more, not more. Because already metaphor.

Vince Gonzalez 37:10
And the actors aren't going to, you know, these gigantic motor homes where they can go cool off in between takes, because we're moving so fast and doing so much work. And the trailers are a mile away, that they're sitting on set with us, you know, sweating through their clothes, just like everyone else. And that's what what makes them makes the show great, is because the cast works just as hard as their crew on on doing their thing. And they know what it's like so so they're there for us.

Alex Ferrari 37:41
Right? So it's kind of like a an army regimen. Like you guys are all fighting in the battle together against the elements to try to get this movie made. And it's

Vince Gonzalez 37:52
it's an experience that that you have you you have few experiences in life that are like that, where you something is so hard, and everyone goes through it, that you're bonded for life,

Alex Ferrari 38:03
right? You even though you only work on season that only but you worked on season two and three,

Vince Gonzalez 38:07
it's people are great friends of mine, right. And I see them once in a while at a comic con or a walker stock. And the experience we've gone through never goes away where you know, your friends for life, you're bonded.

Alex Ferrari 38:21
And that's something I think in, in the film industry is unique, in a way because when you when you make a movie, when you shoot a show, it's like going into a battle together. And and when you both make it out, or all of you make it out on the other side. You know, you and I are at the beginning of this conversation we're talking about, you know, a week that we shot 10 years ago, you know, like, you know, it is something that like, Oh, you remember when we did this, and that happened and we made it there is there is a you know, like a bond that is made in production. And then that's why certain people work with the same crew throughout their career like Clint Eastwood, Ron Howard. And, you know, when you find people you can kind of really work with, you take them with you. And you just,

Vince Gonzalez 39:10
yeah, you trust you trust them in situations that you don't want to be in without them. Right? Like if

Alex Ferrari 39:17
you're exactly like if you're in a foxhole, who do you want someone you just you just hired or someone who's been in the battle with you three or four other times, and that's where those relationships are so, so important. Where it just, those relationships are so important, not only for getting work, but also creating good work going down the line. So, so important. Now I'll ask one final question or walking down and then we'll move on, is what's the funniest story you can share from the set?

Vince Gonzalez 39:45
Oh, well, um, you know, there's pranks all the time. There's stuff going on all the time. And humor is really the only way we get through it and you really have to laugh every day. Are you, you know, you wonder why you're doing this business, if you're not laughing every day, I'm having a good time with it, you know, find something else but that are maybe that's what keeps us in it is because we are having such a good time every day. But I would go on a scout some of the funny stuff is, is I'll tell you two things, we'd go on a scout with a new director who hadn't been there. And we'd be standing on the side of the road and, and the director would walk into the field and say the scenes gonna be up here. And he'd say, why don't you guys come out here and we're, we're all standing on the road saying, No, I don't think so. Just Come on, guys. We're gonna do the scene out here. And we like yeah, we understand we've we've seen enough. And he's, he's like you sure you know what commander? We're like? No, because that field is full of ticks and chiggers and snakes. And he's like, Oh, I'm only out here for for two minutes. And he's already walking back to the road at that point, because we scared him. And the next day, he's got chiggers on his beltline, and he's itching and he's missed. Because you know, yeah. So you know, that's, that's one of the funny stories and then you know, another one is we're doing we're going to smash a walkers head and they load the walkers head up with a bunch of bloody gUc gak and, and stringy bits of whatever the magic they put in there. And everyone backs up about 15 feet. And I actually is ready to smash it in the director standing right there. And he looks at us back there and he's like, Hey, what are you guys doing back there? And we're like, nothing. Nothing. He was okay, actually smash splatter all over his pants on. And we're just writing sweat. And we're like, you know, yeah, we've been here before. We don't need to get blood all over us every day. So it seems like you guys need to read

Alex Ferrari 42:06
is every time a new director game? Yeah, I was gonna every time a new director came in. Apparently you guys just razz

Vince Gonzalez 42:12
them. Yeah, it's it's initiations.

Alex Ferrari 42:17
Now can you tell me a big difference between working on a TV show, and working on big huge tentpole movies like Transformers or Pearl Harbor,

Vince Gonzalez 42:25
TV shows me crank out a lot of work a day, we crank out probably seven or eight minutes of the show a day, because you only have a seven or an eight day schedule. And a feature might have a 65 day schedule, if it's a trend. It's a big movie, and they can go over a week if they need to. Of course, they don't ever want to, they don't ever want to because your budgets for a certain amount of time. But we shoot a lot less dialogue. Because you can spend more time on the action action takes, you know, action, an action scene where you flip a car, something might take half a day, compared to the actors talking for two minutes in the car, beforehand that might take you know, just a couple hours. So it's all kind of the art of scheduling inanimate things, right?

Alex Ferrari 43:25
So Vince, can you tell me what what lesson took you the longest to learn in the film industry?

Vince Gonzalez 43:31
Oh my gosh, you know, there's so many and I always think that you know, I might be successful because I made so many mistakes. So you can't be afraid to make mistakes and you can't be afraid to get have someone you know teach you a quick lesson by you know, I hate to say that I've been I've been yelled at the most I think for for the many many things for giving information wrong or not. or giving not giving it completely or giving it to the wrong person and the department head or you know, any silly mistake someone new in the business is going to make you know they have to be taught what's the right way. So you have to have a thick skin and It's nothing personal and don't take it home at the end of the day. If you've got your if you get beat up all day because you know, that's part of the learning process and those people end up being the best, the best people to work with because they have made those mistakes and they won't make them again, I guarantee you so let me ask you a real quick Vince where can people find you begins always calm or visit Gonzalez Denver Comic Con page on Facebook. Vince man

Alex Ferrari 44:41
Thanks again so much for taking the time out to talk to the indie film hustle tribe. I really appreciate it brother.

Vince Gonzalez 44:45
Hey Alex. Yeah. Appreciate you haven't been Thanks a lot.

Alex Ferrari 44:51
Vince is man a wealth of information and he was dropping value bombs like crazy in this episode, and it was so much fun to listen to how The cast and crew of walking dead were at the very beginning of the phenomenon. It's always interesting to meet house how to see how they were and how kind of in a bubble they were down in Atlanta shooting. So it was great to have Vince on so I really appreciate him coming on. If you guys want the show notes for the show, just head over to indiefilmhustle.com/063 you can get links for everything we've talked about in this show. And don't forget to head over to filmmakingpodcast.com, that's filmmakingpodcast.com to leave a review of the show, hopefully a positive one. It really helps us out a lot guys, it helps to get more eyes and ears on to what we're doing at indie film, hustle, and help more and more independent filmmakers around the world. So filmmaking, podcast, calm. Thank you guys, as always, for being loyal, loyal listeners to the show. The podcast is growing like weeds. It's insane how fast it's growing, and how the listener base is growing. So guys, thank you so much for listening. I really humbled the appreciate everything you guys do. So please spread the word. I want more filmmakers to be listening to not only my podcast, but there's a bunch of good filmmaking podcasts out there as well, that week that that give a lot of great information. So I want more and more filmmakers to know that there's great information and knowledge on podcasts. So thanks again guys. Keep the hustle going. Keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.




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