My Movie Debut-My Review of Risen:The Movie

06/27/09-The historic Waco Hippodrome with a line for the Waco premiere of Risen: The Movie
06/27/09-The historic Waco Hippodrome with a line for the Waco premiere of Risen: The Movie

The Waco Premiere of Risen: The Movie

Saturday night, June 27th, was the Waco premiere of the movie Risen: The Movie.

This movie was filmed in Texas in the Bellmead, Waco and McLennan County area just over four years ago.

I was one of the fortunate ones to be an extra in this movie. The entire experience from start to finish was nothing short of amazing. If you ever have a chance to be an extra, you should jump on it. It will change how you think about movies.

My Filming Experience

How We Came To Be in the Movie:

My employer utilizes the services of Damon Crump and his production company Jackalope Entertainment. Just over four years ago Damon was telling our marketing director about a movie he was filming and how they would be needing extras if anyone was interested. The marketing director was one of my friends and casually mentioned it to me and another friend.

Were we interested?

Who wouldn't be interested once she told us it was a zombie movie!?

The First Night of Filming for Us:

The open call was for a Friday night out a local dirt race track. A group of us went out to eat and followed each other out to the track. We found several tables already set up with make-up artists working on people turning them into zombies. We found Damon and he told us we were needed to be part of the group of people who had been quarantined for safety from the zombies. We were instructed to just stand around talking to each other acting natural. We had this done pat. For the next hour or two, we did just that. We stood around burning barrels and old truck and tractor tires talking and having a good time between calls for "quiet on the set" and "action!" We didn't feel that we did much, but it was enough fun to leave us wanting more. We were told to come back on Saturday for additional filming and this time bring more friends. They wanted a much larger crowd.

The Second Day of Filming for Us:

On Saturday, in addition to those of us who had gone out Friday, I managed to recruit my daughter, her dad (my ex-husband at this point) and her cousin. This time they were shooting the carnage shots within the quarantined area. That's right, we were now all going to play dead people. Strewn all over the infield of the track we assumed whatever position was most comfortable for us. Comfort was important since they took what seemed like hours of shots of us in this position.

First, we had to lie there while they took buckets of red-dyed Karo syrup mixed in a small wading pool, and came around to each person and poured over us our allotted blood. One thing my daughter learned is that it's hard to lie perfectly still when the bees have discovered you're covered in Karo syrup. But, she was a trooper and stuck it out. We're just glad the fire ants didn't discover us.

They took wide angle shots, distance shots, and finally close-ups of each person in the area. As they came around they had smoke machines that created a smokey affect. Since we were dead, it was extremely important during all of this activity to lie perfectly still. That's more difficult than you think.

My ex-husband is an amputee missing most of his right foot. All he really has is an ankle. For his shots, they were able to utilize this by applying liquid latex to his stump and making it look like it was freshly gnawed off. It was so graphic I overheard several of the extras talking about how gross it was. It definitely wasn't for the squeamish. I have a picture if you're interested. It's far to graphic to just plop it in this hub.

The Third Day of Filming for Us:

This time, extras were needed on a week night and I told my daughter that we'd only do it if we both would agree that no matter how late we stayed up, we would still get up and go to work and school the next morning. She agreed.

This time the scenes were shot at the community center. I was still really interested in being zombie. We got in line for that and my daughter and her friend and friend's mom got zombie make-up, but by the time they got to me, they had determined they had enough zombies and they really needed more regular people for some of the fleeing scenes. So, once again, I didn't get zombie make-up. My zombied daughter and the others played in a scene outside the community center where the stars would be exiting the building. My role was to be one of the ones fleeing the community center in the background of a scene following theirs.

We were there filming until almost 3 a.m. We went home, showered, went to bed and still made it to work and school on time. Yes, we tired, but it was so worth it!

The Fourth Day of Filming for Us:

This time, we're back at out the race track and they are needing lots of zombies this time. I thought for sure I had a chance to be a zombie. They had three professional make-up artists applying liquid latex and making gaping wounds as fast as they could. Several of us, including me and my daughter, helped apply base coats of off white to everyone in line that wished to be a zombie. Again, I was overlooked for the full latex because this time I was busy helping out. I did get the hollow eye look and a few veins. Good enough for the crowd shots they were shooting tonight.

We were told to create a large mob and they would be recording the sound portion first. They needed moans and munching noises. That part was fun. There were probably a hundred people standing in a tight group making all sorts of gargling and gnawng sounds. Then they wanted the mob to walk like zombies (basically dragging one leg and hobbling) it's way towards the star who was lying on the ground. One of my friends who did manage to get the latex applied, was one of the zombies in front that 'ate' the star. The noise soundtrack we made was for this scene.

The Wait-Postproduction

The filming I participated in was in Mar/Apr 2005. We really expected to see the movie released around Halloween of that year. We kept watching the Risen website and even though we saw glimpses of progress it began to look like the movie wasn't going to be released anytime soons.

My daughter's friends began to think my daughter made the whole thing up when for four years we weren't able to provide any proof that we actually participated in the filming of this movie. She often asked me, "have we heard anything yet on the release of the movie?"

Finally, I began to see activity on their website and it looked like the movie was about to begin touring the country entering in film festivals. I begin to see awards being won and I was becoming more hopeful that the movie would be a theatrical release rather than just a DVD release like we originally thought.

I contacted Damon Crump and he said they had managed to find someone to promote the movie and it would begin to be shown in select theaters across the United States. They still hadn't worked out any tourdates locally. More waiting.

Finally, I received word that it would be shown locally, but for one showing only. I was so excited! I went and purchased ten tickets the day tickets went on sale. I really expected tickets to sell out quickly since I assumed it was as much anticipated for others as it was for me.

The line at the Waco Hippodrome for the Waco Premiere of Risen:The Movie
The line at the Waco Hippodrome for the Waco Premiere of Risen:The Movie

The Big Night

Pre-Showtime

The pictures shown here were taken about thirty minutes before they opened the doors. The line was already to the end of the block and around the corner. There were actually two lines, one of people who already purchased tickets and the other for those needing to either pick up their tickets or purchase them.

You can see the red carpet in both photos. I was able to see the film crew arrive by limo before I entered the building, but the stars arrived later after most had already entered the building to thankfully get air-conditioned relief from the Texas heat. One of my friends who was running a bit late, was able to see the stars arrive by limo. She called me from out front to tell me I was missing it. I told her that by me getting there early enough we at least had good seats. That was the trade-off. She was thankful by the time she reached the seats I had saved her because they were running out fast.

While patrons entered the theater to find their seats, thousands of still shots from the making of the movie were displayed on the screen. As viewers located themselves and their friends, shouts and applause echoed through the ever-growing crowd.

A Bit of History on the Building Where the Show was Viewed

The Waco Hippodrome opened in 1914 showing road shows, vaudeville tours, movies and local talent shows and events. A fire in the projection booth destroyed much of the front of the building in November 1928. After the fire, the theatre was remodeled with a Spanish facade. It then spent the next fifty years bringing renowned stars such as Elvis, John Wayne, and Ann Margaret to town. The largest crowd ever gathered there was over 10,000 people to see John Wayne in person.

It operated as a movie house until 1978, when it closed in disrepair. In the early to mid 80s, the community raised almost two and a half million dollars in private and public funds to restore the Hippodrome to its original use as a live performance venue. With the support local civic groups and many other individuals, the Hippodrome Theatre reopened on February 26, 1987.

The Theatre is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places and the Texas Historical Commission roster and is also a member of the League of Historical American Theaters. It is now owned and operated by the Waco Performing Arts Company, a community based, nonprofit organization which manages the facility for the benefit of Waco and Central Texans alike.

Can you imagine the feel of sitting in such a historic place waiting with hundreds, if not thousands, of other excited people for the the long-awaited movie to begin?

My daughter(left) and her friend (right) at the Waco Premiere of Risen: The Movie
My daughter(left) and her friend (right) at the Waco Premiere of Risen: The Movie

Risen: The Movie-My Review

The writer, David Talbot, stood before the eager crowd thanking everyone for believing in his project and for their participation in making his dream come true.

Then the movie began.

I hesitate to provide too much information about the movie, because I would prefer that you actually watch the movie someday. But, I will tell you that I found it very entertaining. I think they did a good job of introducing the characters and allowing you to relate to them. They helped you understood their relationships with each other and you were drawn into having your favorites and wanting to side with them on different issues.

I thought the acting was suprisingly good for Waco talent. Some of the actors/actresses looked more at ease than others, but overall I was impressed.

I had expected the show to be quite serious and scarier. It seems they took great pains in not being too predictable and I, for one, appreciated that. Not every tense moment ended with a tragedy. There was more comedic moments in the movie than I had anticipated making it a fun movie between the tenser moments.

I have mixed feelings about the blood and gore. I think I may have been desensitized about it since I participated in the filming. I looked at the faces and latex appliques as works of art rather than the graphic display of gore they were intended to be. So, rather than being horrified at it, I was in awe of all the time and artistry spent on the creations. It would be interesting to know how someone with no ties to the movie sees the gore.

As I'm sure most of the extras in the movie did, I spent much of the movie anticipating my scenes. I knew at least one scene I was in was scheduled to be the last scene of the movie. However, I guess I had somehow assumed the others would be scattered throughout the movie. As it turns out, all of my scenes were in the last five to ten minutes of the movie. That caused me to feel the movie ended too abruptly. Replaying the movie in my mind, and trying to be objective about it, I still think the movie had too good of a build up to end as abruptly as it did. Based on everything you knew from watching the movie you could figure out how things played out, but I personally felt a little cheated by not being able to see some of those events.

All in all, it was a great movie and I highly recommend it for a fun night of entertainment.

Update: Risen to Play in Local Waco Theater Oct 26-31, 2012

Premiere Cinema (the "dollar theater" to most) at 410 N. Valley Mills Drive in Waco will be playing "Risen" three times a day during the week leading up to Halloween. (Oct 26-31, 2012). You simply have to go see it.

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Comments 18 comments

Candie V profile image

Candie V 7 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

You're famous!! I hope the fame doesn't go to your head! Can I have your autograph?


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 7 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

How exciting. I don't know if I could stomach being an extra for a scary movie though.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Candie: I'm not THAT famous....LOL

Ethel: It was very exciting! It was far more fun than scary!

Thanks for stopping by ladies!


Candie V profile image

Candie V 7 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

You are way too modest!!


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

No, you're way too nice! It was a fun experience and I would do it again in a heartbeat. There was no pay, no credit, but loads of fun, excitement and it was a great learning experience.


dineane profile image

dineane 7 years ago from North Carolina

fun, fun, fun! You make me want to be in "pictures" :-)


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

You really must do it, Dineane! It is fantastic fun!


Candie V profile image

Candie V 7 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

They did a zombie movie up here, too, and my son had a chance to be an extra but wouldn't do it. They got a bunch of high school kids in it tho, tied up that tiny town (Pt. Gamble) something terrible, wish he had done it.. I can't remember the name of the movie, now.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

I just looked it up Candie....Looks like it was called "Zombies of Destruction". That is so cool. He sure should have done it! You too!


Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 7 years ago from India

Yippee KCC, this is the road to stardom! :)


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Well, I don't know about all that, Feline Prophet....but it was certainly fun and I'd love to do it again.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

FP -- I know, Huh! We can say, "Yes, we knew KCC back when she was just a movie extra. Now look at her!" Seriously -- this IS cool. How many people get to be in movies? And thanks so much for sharing the day-by-day play-by-play with us. That's really interesting. MM


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thanks, Mighty Mom! I was glad it was something I could share with my daughter as well. She was 12 at the time and thought it was the coolest thing to do with mom. It was definitely a bonding time for us both.

I'm glad I didn't bore you with the day-by-day play-by-play. I tried to keep it brief. All in all I think they spent 45 days filming, so my measly 4 times wasn't anything.

Thanks for stopping by!


Laughing Mom profile image

Laughing Mom 7 years ago

Michelle looks so much like you. She's beautiful! I'm so glad you had a great time. I thought about you so many times last night hoping you were having the time of your life. Thanks for the hub to tell us how it went.

Now, I'm still waiting for that autograph......


frogdropping profile image

frogdropping 7 years ago

KCC - no pay but you got to be a Zombie. Can't beat that ... Zombie for a day. What a great experience.

A great write up about the whole shebang KCC - and maybe I'll get a chance to see the film. I'm a bit partial to Zombie movies.

And I echo LMom - your daughter looks a real Princess :)


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Laughing Mom: Thanks for thinking about me Saturday night.

Frogdropping: It was a great experience and I'm glad you enjoyed it. I hope you get to see it once the DVD is released.

Regarding Michelle......that's my girl! I'm really proud of her.

Thanks to both of you for stopping by!


Am I dead, yet? 7 years ago

I am definitely a 'zombie' flick fan, big-time! It is also a part of my gaming repertoire! Nice! Will be looking forward to viewing the dvd!


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

You'll have to report back after you've seen it, AIDY! Hope you enjoy it!

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