MELISSA BLOCK, host:
It's that spooky time of year when we bring you hard-hitting stories about Halloween. Yesterday was custom-made fangs, today zombies.
If you're thinking about dressing up as a zombie, reporter Beth Accomando, of member station KPBS, has done you one better: She used online social networking to win a role in a low-budget Internet movie, playing one of the undead.
BETH ACCOMANDO: As far back as I can remember, I've always wanted to be a zombie. So the first thing I did when I got on Facebook was, I posted that I would love to be undead in someone's movie. In the magic that's Facebook, some dude named Kevin Perkins said: If you fly to Baltimore, we'll make you a zombie. Then he sweetened the deal.
Mr. KEVIN PERKINS (Filmmaker): We are going to blow your head off.
ACCOMANDO: So next thing you know, I'm on a movie set, and it's in a field in Joppa, Maryland, with a dozen reanimated corpses and an equal number of live crew members.
Here's what I learned while decomposing on the set: Lesson number one: The best and fastest way to get that vacant brain-dead look is whiteout contact lenses.
Those are sweet.
(Soundbite of laughter)
Unidentified Man #1: Oh that's awesome.
ACCOMANDO: I can still see. That's the amazing thing.
Lesson number two: If you need to have your brains blown out, you need to have a big guy in a white shirt strategically placed behind you to catch all the bloody spray - like a Jackson Pollack painting.
Unidentified Man #2: Guys, what we're going to do is, we're going to test the blood. We're going to see what the pattern spray is.
ACCOMANDO: Lesson number three: Having a metal pipe duct-taped to my back, with rubber tubing running down my leg, made getting into character easy. I had no choice but to walk like a zombie, all awkward and stiff -like rigor mortis had set in.
The device, packed with chunky brain matter, was designed to make it look like the back of my head was being blown off.
Unidentified Man #3: Ready? One, two, three.
(Soundbite of liquid spraying)
Unidentified Man #4: That was water. This is syrup and globs of fat.
Unidentified Man #5: Well, 150 pounds of PSI ought to push it.
ACCOMANDO: Lesson number four: If you need to make a lot of fake blood, then a trip to the grocery store is in order. Just ask makeup artist Scott Moore.
Mr. SCOTT MOORE (Makeup Artist): Then you have some mouth blood right here, which is just edible blood. It's made out of corn syrup and food coloring, and a little bit of cocoa powder just to cloud it up a little bit, which is good for you know, if you want a zombie to bleed out of the mouth, spit blood, anything like that.
Unidentified Man #6: Hey Kevin, do you want them to drool when they get closer?
ACCOMANDO: And the final lesson I learned is that without direction, zombies would just wander aimlessly on the set, looking for brains and wondering what their motivation is. Fortunately, director Kevin Perkins has plenty of experience wrangling zombies.
Mr. PERKINS: We're going to have you literally stay in character almost the whole way to the camera, and always look at the camera. Imagine the camera is your food source.
ACCOMANDO: Mmmm, brains. I can't wait to log on to the My Boring Zombie Apocalypse FaceBook page so I can see how my zombie debut - and demise -looks in the final Web video.
For NPR News, I'm Beth Accomando.