*Disclosure: I attended this event as a member of the media. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.
I started watching The Walking Dead in May 2013, because one of the executive producers, Gale Ann Hurd, was speaking at BlogHer. I expected to watch a few episodes of it and then be done, because I dislike gore and horror.
The pilot itself (which I rewatched in Atlanta this year, actually) was so good, especially for a pilot, and I was hooked immediately. Flash-forward to this month, when I'm now completely caught up on the show, and I was able to attend Walker Stalker Con in Atlanta, where my friend who hooked me onto the show lives.
The convention was definitely an interesting experience. I have been to three different BlogHer's (a blogging convention) and other types of cons, but never a fan convention. I expected a ton of people dressed up as zombies, but did not expect to see people dressed like the show's characters:
|Rick Grimes - or is it? ;)|
|The "cast" of the Walking Dead|
There were definitely SOME zombies around, but not a ton.
There were three main components to the convention: the panels (usually moderated), the actor's booths in the convention floor hall, and the vendors' booths. I didn't know that normally actors or their reps charge you for photographs, which was a bummer - I would have loved to have had my picture taken with some of the actors. The friend I went with paid to have her picture taken with Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) and with T-Dog (IronE Singleton), and IronE later retweeted my tweet about meeting him (I love Twitter!), which was pretty cool.
|Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Damon (Ian Somerhalder), from The Vampire Diaries|
There were also photo/autograph packages you could buy, from professional photographers, and it was fun to stalk the #WSCAtlanta hashtag last weekend and see everyone's photos - some did "prom-type" photos with Andrew Lincoln (Rick) and/or Norman Reedus (Daryl).
|Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Daryl (Norman Reedus, and Greg Nicotero (director of TWD)|
The panels were my favorite part of the con, although they were sometimes a mixed bag - the Andrew Lincoln/Norman Reedus one (Rick and Daryl) was called the "Bromance" panel but really the Vampire Diaries one should have been called that, in my opinion, as they were hilarious - definitely one of the best panels. The Rick/Daryl one came in second for me, and I liked Glenn's panel as well (Steven Yeun - who is from Troy, MI!). On the other side of the spectrum, Carl's panel (Chandler Riggs) didn't have a moderator, for some reason, so they only did audience questions and the format was a little awkward.
|Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) and Andrea (Laurie Holden) panel|
For the panels, seating was determined based on the type of ticket you had - platinum and gold VIP ticketholders got to sit near the very front, VIP in the middle of the room, and general near the very back. For this reason, I'd recommend you buy a VIP ticket if you go - it's $200 for 3 days versus $100 for general admission. General ticketholders were near the back of the room, usually, although in some cases were invited to move up if the panels weren't very crowded.
Though the convention mostly focused on The Walking Dead, the two leads from Vampire Diaries (aka Damon and Stefan! I may have fangirl-ed a bit ...) were present, and Landon Gimenez (Jacob, from Resurrection - see above) was also in attendance. Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones) was in attendance too (who is also very good-looking ...), and I wanted to talk to him about the brewery he just purchased in Detroit, but unfortunately he was not doing press interviews. We did, however, get to interview Merle (aka Michael Rooker) at a press roundtable, which was a lot of fun.
Although I definitely enjoyed the conference, one major complaint is that media seats were in the back of the VIP section - the seats were not great for seeing the actors, though we were told we could go towards the front and take photos when needed. My friend and I always moved up when we were invited to, and that made a huge difference.
|We took MARTA (Atlanta's subway system) to get downtown - super convenient.|
I don't think I need to attend another WSC this year, but I'd love to attend one in a few years to see all the actors again - it was fun to see so many celebs in one place, and to have everyone who was attending be so passionate about the show.
Walker Stalker Con will be in NY/NJ in December, San Francisco in Jan/Feb 2015, Chicago in February, Dallas in March, Orlando in June, and Boston in August - click here for more information.
Thanks to Walker Stalker Con for the media passes and also to my friend Sarah, who took many of the photographs you see here, as well as hosted me for the weekend!
Click to see more pictures: