Yesterday my husband and I got to attend a filming of Talking Dead for Fear the Walking Dead. We have been trying what feels like literally forever (and I hate the misuse of literally, so you know its serious!) to get tickets for a taping of Talking Dead for The Walking Dead, so when these came up, we jumped on the opportunity.
The Talking Dead does its ticketing through a company called 1iota, and they seem to give you tickets based on attendance ratings to other shows that they ticket for, so it can be really tough to get into some of these tapings. And the Talking Dead's studio is super small, there are only forty fans allowed into a taping, so getting tickets is like the Hunger Games, may the odds be ever in your favor.
The experience itself was interesting, just because we have been to a couple of tapings of the Conan O'Brien show (once when he was with NBC and once with TBS), so we thought we knew what was going to happen. And for the most part, it was similar. There were a few big differences though, like you are absolutely not allowed to have your cell phone on you once you hit the lot, where at Conan they always said "if we see it, we take it." This information was printed on the ticket though, so my husband and I left ours in the car. Others did not head the ticket's advice though, and once we made it through the metal detectors, they were all asked to put their phones in a basket and they could retrieve them after everything was said and done. I understand why they do it though, you screen the episode before it even plays on the East Coast, so they don't want spoilers to find their way to the Internet. They also don't rely on electronic applause or other reaction signs that hang in front of the audience, instead, a producer told us when to clap, when to amp up the laughter, all that stuff. It was pretty cool, kinda old school really.
They also tell you how to dress, which was interesting considering you pretty much never see the audience in Talking Dead shows. You are told to dress like you're going on a movie date, so casually nice, no large logos allowed, except on fandom tees. They should really change that rule to no logos whatsoever allowed, My husband was chosen as a potential question asker, and he had a tiny logo on his polo shirt that was about the size of a dime (think- alligator polos from the 80's). The show brought out a sweatshirt for him to wear in case he was chosen because the logo wasn't allowed. Oh yeah, they also tell you to bring a light jacket or something because they studio gets cold. Totally listen to that one- it gets freezing in there! (and I had a light hoodie on)
The process goes pretty quickly once you get into the studio, but waiting beforehand (outside, on the sidewalk of a busy LA street with no trees) is boring. 1iota says you have to be there by four pm to make it in, but you really need to get there sooner to line up (if you're parking on the lot though, they won't let you park until three, and they are very to the minute with that time). You sit how you line up, and your position in line won't really change unless you're chosen to potentially ask a question (they choose four people to do this, but only one gets to actually ask a question), then you get to sit in the front row once its time to film the show. After the screening of the episode, there's about a half hour wait before you go into the studio. During that time they let you eat from the vending machine and go to the bathroom if you need to, and the people chosen as question askers get whisked away to sign a bunch of papers, get new questions (because their's aren't good enough, lol) and have headshots taken. I was very bored for that time, since I didn't get to go with my husband and the people around me weren't all that friendly. If I get to go again, I will most definitely bring a book.
I got to sit in the second row since I was a person who had a person taken from me (that what they called it lol) by the cameras, which was fun. I was still alone, since my husband got to sit in the front row, so that kinda sucked. But I did get to learn about how they do the sets for the different Talking Deads, and all the random, minute details that they put into them, which was really interesting. And the show was dynamite, of course, and Chris Hardwick is well, Chris Hardwick *mild swoon* The guests (Tamera Mowry-Housely, Jim Gaffigan and Mercedes Mason) interacted a lot with the first row, which was lucky for them, not so lucky for the rest of us *shrug*. Once it came time to do the question asking, they chose one of the girls to go up there and not my husband. womp womp. The producers give the potential askers these questions, and then whatever question best fits the flow of the show or hasn't really been covered yet is the one that gets chosen.
Overall, it was a really fun and interesting experience, and I hope we get to do it again. A lot of people in the audience were Talking Dead veterans, so that gives me hope that my name will come up a winner again in the ticket lottery :)