Lou Arambul of Kennewick isn't looking too good lately.
In fact, there are days when he scares the hell out of people. No doubt because he looks just like the walking dead -- a zombie.
But all that blood dripping from his mouth, the gray tinge to his dead-looking skin and the dark sunken look in his eyes is just Hollywood makeup.
Arambul, 43, makes his acting debut today as a bloodthirsty zombie in SyFy channel's new series, Z Nation, which airs at 7 p.m. in the Tri-Cities.
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SyFy says the show is set three years after the zombie virus has gutted the country. A team of everyday heroes must transport the only known survivor of the plague from New York to California, where the last functioning viral lab waits for his blood.
Arambul's role is just a walk-on with no lines, but he said he hopes he'll be needed in multiple other segments of the show, along with his wife and four kids.
Ironically, it was Arambul's wife, Shiloh Kennelly-Arambul, who originally signed up for a casting call audition for Z Nation in April.
"I was the store manager for Coldwater Creek at the mall until it closed in May," Shiloh said. "I thought it might be fun to pursue something different over the summer and found out Big Fish Northwest Talent Agency was accepting applications and photos for potential extras for the show."
While filling out the online app, Lou and the kids decided they wanted to do the same thing. So the whole family filled out applications and sent photos.
"I got the first call in mid June," Lou said. "They were casting for zombies and human extras. Then a month later Donovan was called."
Oldest son Donovan, 22, will be a Z Nation extra in episode 6, which airs in a couple of weeks, his dad said.
"I felt bad that Donovan and I got the first calls instead of Shiloh when it was really her thing," Lou said. "But she's cool with it."
Shiloh said trying acting had always been on her bucket list, but she's thrilled when any member of her family gets a walk-on role.
"I'm pretty much the family's manager now," she joked.
Daughter Zoe, 8, will appear in episode 11, but sons Connor, 15, and Parker, 14, haven't been called yet, Shiloh said.
"I play a human child sitting in a grassy area with another child," Zoe said. "We were supposed to pretend to be doing something. I read a book and the other girl played with a cat. I'm wearing a red-and-white dress (in the scene)."
Donovan's first time on screen won't be as a zombie, he said. He plays a human.
"I don't speak any lines or anything, but I do get to spend a lot of time in front of the camera," he said.
Though it is exciting to be part of a TV series, the family got a taste of what all actors go through when making movies or TV shows.
"Sometimes it takes nearly six hours to shoot a three-minute scene," Shiloh said. "Lots and lots of waiting time doing nothing before you're called into the scene. Zoe didn't seem to mind, though. She also was chosen by a casting director to audition in Seattle for a short movie."
And when filming is done for the day, there isn't always a nice dressing room.
"I was heading home from Spokane late one night after filming and there was nowhere to wash off all the zombie makeup so I had to wear it home," Lou said. "When I stopped at a convenience store for gas I scared the people who worked there, until I told them why I was dressed this way."
So what does a casting director look for when thousands of applications start pouring in when audition notices are published?
"The casting department sends us a breakdown for the coming week's scenes that includes the roles we will be filling and their dates," Becky Reilly, the agency director for Big Fish Northwest, told the Herald. "Any number of things can be factors in determining whether you will considered for a scene: gender, size, physical abilities, clothing sizes, hair color, height, special skills. That's why it's critical your profile is complete and accurate."
-- Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @dorioneal