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Conventions

#TWDFamily Part 4

It’s not just fandom. It’s family.” If you are at all familiar with Walker Stalker Convention or Heroes and Villains Fan Fest, you’ve probably seen this tag line before. Though I’d seen it, I had never put much thought into what it meant until I experienced this family for myself. From attending the conventions as a fan to beginning this podcast with Kia, I have witnessed a fandom that supports each other with their whole hearts. I have seen people come together for each other in a way that can only be described as magical. Their one common thread? They love The Walking Dead and attending the conventions that celebrate their favorite show.

In this four part series, I will be chatting with many of the people that make up this family. In this final installment, we take a look at some of the amazing vendors you may see this weekend or at Walker Stalker Conventions in the future!

Meet our vendors!

Drawing of King Ezekiel by Aislinn Draws

MDG Art and Customs: Illustrations and customized vinyl figures

Benny from Benny Miller Art: www.bennymillerart.com Artist

Aislinn from Aislinn Draws: aislinndraws.co.uk  Prints, t-shirts, and pins of her hand-drawn fan art.

Piper from CreepynCuteShop: www.etsy.com/shop/CreepynCuteShop The metro Detroit-based, original, authentic, CreepynCuteShop zombie doll designers and gifters.

Ginger from Creation 13 SPFX: www.facebook.com/creation13spfx SPFX artist and creator of Monster Junkie Magazine.

Have you been a vendor at Walker Stalker Con? 

Aislinn Draws: I have been a vendor twice before, at the two London Walker Stalkers. I decided to become a vendor after hearing about WSC London too late and discovering all the general admission tickets were gone. For a while, people had been suggesting I ‘do something’ with my artwork, which was just a hobby until then. So I bit the bullet, reserved a vendor table, ordered some prints and hoped for the best! It was, at the time, the best thing I had ever done. So of course I returned the next year!

The ladies of CreepynCute Shop with Danai Gurira with her custom Michonne doll

CreepynCuteShop: Yes. 3 WSC Atlanta (plus 2017, will make 4), 1 WSC London, 1 WSC NY/New Jersey, 2 WSC Chicago, and 1 WSC Orlando.

Creation 13 SPFX: Have been a vendor 2 times for Tennessee and Georgia.

Which upcoming Walker Stalker Con can we find you at? Please list your booth number (if applicable, plus any other identifying factors to help people find you.

Aislinn Draws: I’ll be at Walker Stalker Atlanta this weekend. My booth number is 119 and I’m along the row of booths facing the big entrance doors to the main convention hall. It’s a hella big place but I’m hoping that makes me a little easier to find! If you’re still stuck trying to find me, I’d recommend listening out for an excitable British accent!

MDG Art and Customs: I’ll be at booth 344.

Benny Miller Art: I attended my first Walker Stalker last year but not as a vendor.  My first one will be in April at the Walker Stalker Con 2018 Chicago.  I am way excited for it.  It’s happening simultaneously with FanFest Heroes and Villains, but I’ll be on the Walker Stalker side.  I don’t have a booth number yet, but my booth will be the one with the sweet art and the handsome, long-haired dude working it (haha).

CreepynCuteShop: WSC Atlanta 2017 and WSC Nashville 2018. For WSC Atlanta, we shall be at Booth #331.  WSC Nashville booth numbers have not yet been assigned and/or released yet by WSC.

Creation 13 SPFX: My booth is 372, Creation 13 SPFX. Look for my husband standing on his soap box wearing a top hat, selling a freak show like setting zombie experience for $10.

What made you decide to become a vendor at WSC?

Custom RIchonne print by MDG Art and Customs

MDG Art and Customs: It was a moment of madness. I tend to create art that I wanna see and though I love the gore and guts and action or the lovely character portraits, I was frustrated at not finding the type of art I wanted at conventions; very specifically Richonne art. I went to 3 conventions last year and only the awesome Kirk Manley had artwork that included Michonne and Rick as a couple (that I could find, anyway) and since I’m basically obsessed with drawing the softer side of Richonne. I decided to go for it. I know there are others out there who do too, and I just wanted to share in on that.

CreepynCuteShop: We are vendors at WSC as a result of fans’ requests. We are also vendors because of our passion for all things ‘The Walking Dead’ related. We love the fans and feel we are now a part of WSC Family and WSC Fandom.  We are also vendors because we love to design & gift celebrities their character and/or portrait dolls in appreciation for the best entertainment they provide for the fans!!!

Custom Carl drawing by Benny Miller Art

Benny Miller Art: As for what made me become a vendor, I’ve been struggling for a while to find a niche for my art. I was kind of all over the place, but started doing portraits a few years back and found that I was decent at it. I started doing them mostly with oil paint on a large scale.  They were very time consuming and labor intensive. I then stumbled upon the wonders of Copic markers, and decided to give them a whirl. I began doing smaller, gray-scale portraits with them on toned paper and just REALLY liked the effect. Plus, they took a fraction of the time. I began doing a lot of them, and before I knew it, had a collection. I had been thinking that maybe I could start selling them at cons, but my wife was the one that was really vocal about the idea and the driving force behind all of this. I have my first booth in Chicago only because of her support.

Creation 13 SPFX: I do it for the laughs, scares and experience. Hearing someone scream, “That’s Winslow,” answering questions on how to do make up to old and young. Talking with the teenagers who aspire to be makeup artists. It’s about the experience the customers walk away with.

How has the Walker Stalker Community helped to expand your business?

Aislinn Draws: Walker Stalker has helped me expand my business in that I literally did not HAVE a business before WSC came along. It has helped me to not only find a very focused audience for my work, but also to make friends who support my work both financially and through moral support. One friend in particular, Heather, is someone who I quite honestly would not have been able to do this without.

Benny Miller Art: Through Walker Stalker, my wife has met a number of incredibly generous and supportive people who helped us figure out the vendor process, giving us ideas for sales, how to advertise, quantity of product, how to display, and just about everything else involved with this.  My first customers were also people from Walker Stalker, and the whole community has just been so supportive and wonderful.  There are just some really incredibly generous people involved in this whole thing.

CreepynCuteShop: The WSC community, family, and fandom have helped expand our very ‘organic’ business by welcoming us and our “Share the Love” mission & motto. They have also helped by sharing our business name on their website, sharing social media posts, and sharing some of our doll gifting experiences where we have gifted character and/or portrait dolls to various celebrities.

Creation 13 SPFX

Creation 13 SPFX: Walker Stalker Con has helped expand my business by letting the public see me and my magazine. I have also been introduced to new artists causing new issues for the magazine. I am able to advertise for other booths. I do it for free. Art is to be shared, not hidden. I suffer from anxiety disorder. Walker Stalker has helped me interact and somewhat helped me deal with understanding my limits and how to fight it off and enjoy the beautiful souls around me.

What do you love most about Walker Stalker Con?

Aislinn Draws: The people! Not even the celebrities – as great as they are – but the other attendees, vendors and staff. If I scroll back through my inbox, about 90% of my recent messages are from people I’ve met through Walker Stalker. I went to Atlanta last year as an attendee knowing not a single person, and I return this year with over thirty different friends to reunite with!

MDG Art and Customs: I love everything. There’s art, there’s cosplay, there’s Andrew Lincoln spending his precious Sunday taking photos with us and it’s all about The Walking Dead. If you’re lucky, you might get to tell your favorite actor how much the work they do means to you. You get to meet up with friends you might not see all year round otherwise; you make new ones. It’s like one big family reunion….with family you actually want to spend time with!

Benny Miller Art: it’s got to be the people. My wife and I have met so many supportive, creative, and just all around incredible people. I think my wife talks to her Walker Stalker family more than she talks to her real family. I know she’s made some life long friends and they’ve all extended such wonderful acts of kindness to us and our family. I remember before our first Walker Stalker, we were really unsure of what to do and needed some general guidance on the workings of it. A complete stranger, Heather, messaged my wife on a message board and told her “you can call me, I promise I’m not a weirdo.” It’s a year later and they talk on the phone daily, along with a number of other friends my wife made there. I feel really fortunate to have such a huge number of supportive and generous people in our lives. Who would have thought that such a family could be created from a mutual love of zombies!!!

CreepynCuteShop: The fans, the celebrities, the overall convention experience, and especially the hugs, smiles and out pouring of love!!!

Creation 13 SPFX: James and Robin get all these amazing actresses and actors under one roof for so many to express love to, take pictures with, and share the positive energy experience. And of course, the Walker Stalker Con fans. Watching children cry in love, not horror, when they see a hero character. The respect and love the actors and actresses give to strangers, thanking them for enjoying the work they do is great to see.

 

 

#TWDFamily Part 3

It’s not just fandom. It’s family.” If you are at all familiar with Walker Stalker Convention or Heroes and Villains Fan Fest, you’ve probably seen this tag line before. Though I’d seen it, I had never put much thought into what it meant until I experienced this family for myself. From attending the conventions as a fan to beginning this podcast with Kia, I have witnessed a fandom that supports each other with their whole hearts. I have seen people come together for each other in a way that can only be described as magical. Their one common thread? They love The Walking Dead and attending the conventions that celebrate their favorite show.

In this four part series, I will be chatting with many of the people that make up this family. Today, we take a look at the fans who love to attend WSC! Many of the folks who were kind enough to speak to me will also be in Atlanta this weekend! If you see them, I encourage you to say hello!

Who have you most enjoyed meeting?

Jennifer Cronin (4 time WSC attendee):  I’d have to say the person I most enjoyed meeting was Norman Reedus. I’ve tried meeting him for three years and he finally came to Nashville this past year. I was excited and a nervous wreck. Once I got up to see Norman he was very sweet, asking how my day was. To make things better he even held my hand the whole time he autographed my Funko Pop and picture! Then sent me on my way with a hug and a piece of candy.

Mel V (8 time WSC employee): Loved meeting Danai the most. She remembered me and talked about me on Conan O’Brien!

Mike Angelo with one of his favorites, Alexandra Breckenridge

Mike Angelo (5 time WSC attendee): JDM, Alexandra Breckenridge, Norman, Lawrence Gilliard Jr.

Angela Barr: (4 time WSC attendee): Ross Marquand without a doubt! The first time I met him was in 2016 when I was volunteering in Panels at Walker Stalker Con Chicago.  I was standing outside the Panels area as he came out of Photo Ops.  He walked over and greeted all of us volunteers and thanked us. Then he gave each of us a hug! Ross gives the best hugs!!

Stephanie Rodriguez (1 time WSC attendee): Jeffrey Dean Morgan.

Robert Bernardo (7 time WSC attendee): Andrew Lincoln.

Connie Connelly (1 time WSC attendee): So far it’s a tie between Lennie James and David Morrissey. Until I meet Jon {Bernthal}.

Stacey Lee (2 time WSC attendee): Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Even though I’ve met him prior to his Walking Dead time, he is my literal everything at these cons and I cannot get enough.

Ingrid Bascope hugging her favorite, Scott Wilson

Ingrid Bascope (4 time WSC attendee): Scott Wilson is so far the most amazing human being. I approached to him for a picture and I told him, “Mister Scott I’m a big fan. I watch all your movies with my dad. How I wish he was here with me to meet you!” And he look at me with a sad face and said, “I’m so sorry your dad is not here come! Let me me give you a hug!” He hugs me and my kids and tells them to be good at school.

What do you love most about Walker Stalker Con?

Jillian (3 time WSC attendee): I love the fact that James puts so much in to these events. He’s a fan just like us

Jennifer Cronin:  I love the Walker Stalker Con family. Everyone genuinely cares about each other and we all love the Walking Dead. I’ve made forever friendships because of Walker Stalker and these people are now part of my daily life. Also, how awesome is it that you get to hang out with people who love the Walking Dead? I love my Walker Stalker Con family.

Gemma Hewitt during some of her favorite photo ops

Gemma Hewitt (2 time WSC attendee): I love the whole experience but making friends has been the best part, I’ve met some amazing people who I now class as my best friends.

Heather Robertson aka Sparkles Handler (5 time WSC attendee): Meeting the other fans and making friends from all over the world. We look forward to seeing each other again at the next con. It’s like a big family reunion.

Anna (9 time WSC attendee): I love the experience, the people, its not just about the celebrities you meet, i do go to meet celebs but i look forward to being able to see a good majority of my friends all in one place.

Mel V: I love meeting up with fellow TWD family; people who have become lifelong friends through this awesome show!

Stephani Walker (5 time WSC attendee): Everyone is there for the same reason. The troubles of the world cease for three days. Three days of fandom and horror. Everyone there has the same passion and love for this show among many other shows that are a beautiful and entertaining escape from the reality that stresses us out. For three days, nobody cares about the color of your skin, nobody cares about your religious beliefs , nobody cares about your political views and nobody cares about your sexual preference. For three days, thousands of people from around the world gather for a family reunion and meet their idols, have fun and keep all things spooky!

Mike Angelo: It’s an all immersive 3 days with people from all over the world that share the same passion you do.

Angela Barr: I love so much about WSC but if I had to narrow it down to just one thing, I would say it’s the people that I have met at WSC. Whether it’s an actor from the show or another fan, I love that WSC gives me the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life who love The Walking Dead as much as I do! The Walking Dead family is absolutely amazing!  And getting the chance to get together with a group of people who share my love for this show is such a great thing! I am so grateful to James Frazier for starting Walker Stalker Con and allowing me to be a part of this big, beautiful Walking Dead family!

Rachal Belew (1 time WSC attendee): I love the TWD Family. It’s amazing that everyone there will help you out and wants to be your friend.

Stephanie Rodriguez: The family style spirit the fans share with each other.

Robert Bernardo: Meeting fellow fans from all over the world.

Connie Connelly: How everyone comes together and helps one another. The fandom is so warm and friendly it feels like family!

Stacey Lee: Even though Atlanta is hugeeeee, it doesn’t feel that way. You can literally walk up to the dude standing in front of you in line at the ops and you have a new friend: it’s rad.

Do you have a favorite memory or story from your time attending Walker Stalker Con?

Jillian (3 time WSC attendee): My favorite memory is meeting 3 of my closest friends; Ashley, April, and Amanda.

 Gemma Hewitt: One of my favourite memories so far was the Saturday of London, I managed to buy an Andy photo op from somebody 10 minutes before the shoot so it was a mad rush but I got to meet him & he was sooo lovely!

Heather Robertson, Sparkles the Unicorn, and one of her favorites, Ross Marquand at WSC Nashville 2017. If you see Heather and Sparkles, make sure to say hello and take a photo with Sparkles!

Heather Robertson: At WSC Charlotte in December 2016 is the first time I met Ross. He was so friendly and down to earth and I loved talking with him. He remembered my name on Sunday after just meeting me on Saturday, and that made me feel amazing. The best part was when he made this amazing video for me. It was him standing beside me and doing 3 different voice impressions. It was the best thing ever. I still go back and watch that video over and over.

Stephani Walker: This is my 15th convention but for WSC, I have many great memories. I believe creating a painting of Norman and Mingus’ rescue cat, “Eye In The Dark” along with a quote from Norman himself. He gets hundreds of gifts daily and it was heartwarming to capture a video of him leaving with Sean Clark and security carrying the personalize canvas with him.

Stephanie Rodriguez:  I found out I was pregnant on the same day I met Jeffrey Dean Morgan. When I met him I was happier than I imagined I would be and he remarked on my huge grin. I told him it was the best day ever because I met him and found out that my IVF had worked. We took our picture and then he gave me a huge hug and a peck on the cheek before wishing me good luck. He was so sincerely happy in the exchange, it was just a great moment and really fulfilled my expectations of meeting him. He was fantastic.

Robert Bernardo: During the first Walker Stalker in Atlanta, I remember meeting Andrew Lincoln and introducing myself as “Robert from San Francisco.” He said, “Hello, Robert from San Francisco.” Then, later in the day when we were doing the cast photos—he yelled out to the rest of the celebrities, “Hey, everyone! It’s Robert from San Francisco!” That’s my fondest memory from all the Walker Stalkers.

Connie Connelly: So far when I met the governor, I was very nervous. I couldn’t talk and he asked me, “What’s wrong? You’re not a fan of the governor,” As he goes to my throat to pretend to choke me. 

Any advice for new Walker Stalker Con goers?

Jillian (3 time WSC attendee): My advice would be keep an eye on the schedules. They can change at anytime. And if you need any help with anything ask anyone. We’re all willing to help you out. We’re a big family.

Jennifer Cronin: Plan your day as far as photo op times, autos, panels, etc. Portable phone chargers are a must! Germ-x so you dont pick up the con crud. Mostly have fun, this’ll be one of the best experiences of your life and it’ll go so fast, so cherish every moment. Walker Stalker Con is just amazing.

Gemma Hewitt: My advice would be to plan your schedule and check the floor plan so you know where you need to go. Don’t waste valuable time looking for a table! Also, if you are like me and get shinier throughout the day, a powder compact will be your best friend! I topped up in every photo queue!

Heather Robertson: Don’t be shy. Talk to other fans when you are waiting in line. Join the meet up groups and connect with others. You will learn so much from the veterans. Plan, plan, plan. Do your research, it will help your first con experience go smoother.

Anna: If allowed, bring water and small snacks, comfortable shoes (if you’re cosplaying the most comfortable you can find), bring a bag of some kind to carry your stuff, buy photo sleeves ahead of time or find a vendor who has them for 2 or 3 bucks each. You can fit 2 or 3 photos in each one until you get home. Don’t stress too much about a schedule unless it’s very time specific such as photo ops or panels. I thought having everything planned to a T was a great idea when I went to my first con (NYCC of all places). My “plan” for the most part fell apart midway through the first day. After that I decided to just wing it. Surprises happened, I got most everything I wanted. It was a great time. Above all, expect the unexpected. You never know what will happen when you least expect it. And don’t be afraid to ask questions to people who have attended cons before. I don’t think I would have survived NYCC and NYC without asking a ton of questions beforehand. Some people will be jerks and not want to share “secrets” but we aren’t all like that. I do my best to pay it forward to newcomers to any con (I’ve done a few others besides WSC and NYCC). I remember all too well what it was like to be new.

Mike Angelo: Plan ahead. Start a year out if possible.

Angela Barr: Be prepared for lots of walking and waiting. The venues where the Cons are held are pretty big.   That means between the Panels, photo ops and meet and greets, you may have to walk from one side of the venue to the other several times a day. And there are lines for everything. Lines to pick up your badges, lines for photo ops, lines for meet and greets, lines to get into the Panels and lines for food. But being cranky about waiting will only spoil the experience for you and possibly for others around you. To pass the time, make a new friend while you wait in line. To make the most of your experience – remember to pack your patience and wear comfortable shoes.

Rachal Belew: Aim for the big stars you want but never forget the co-stars. They are all so kind and take the time to make you smile too!

Robert Bernardo: Here are my Top 3. 1. Prepare a schedule in advance so as not to waste precious time. 2. Plan ahead for any Photo Ops (costumes, props and specific poses). 3. Bring: phone chargers, cash (Note: photo ops and autographs are “cash only”!), any prescription medication, plastic photo protectors, and comfortable shoes.

Stacey Lee: Breathe. Take it in. Smell Jeffrey’s breath and have fun.

Ingrid Bascope: Get ready for 3 days of excitement and study the maps so you know exactly where to go. And don’t hesitate to ask a volunteer for help. That’s what we are there for.

 

Want to go? You can purchase your WSC Atlanta tix here!

#TWDFamily Part 2

It’s not just fandom. It’s family.” If you are at all familiar with Walker Stalker Convention or Heroes and Villains Fan Fest, you’ve probably seen this tag line before. Though I’d seen it, I had never put much thought into what it meant until I experienced this family for myself. From attending the conventions as a fan to beginning this podcast with Kia, I have witnessed a fandom that supports each other with their whole hearts. I have seen people come together for each other in a way that can only be described as magical. Their one common thread? They love The Walking Dead and attending the conventions that celebrate their favorite show.

In this four part series, I will be chatting with many of the people that make up this family. That includes some of our newest members. I had the chance to talk to a few awesome newbies that will be making their WSC debut this weekend!

How did you first hear about Walker Stalker Convention? 

Simone (1st time WSC attendee): I’ve been lucky enough to know some people in the business where I’ve worked at a convention but, this will be my first time attending something as a guest and I am very excited. I first heard about WSC through the Walking Dead fandom.  At first, I thought it was the name of a podcast, but I started to see pictures posted by fans and it looked amazing. Sometimes it’s hard to be a super fan because people laugh at you or don’t understand so also being a theater person I love being around like-minded people who like to geek out!

Marissa Griffiths (1st time WSC attendee, has attended one other fan related convention: I heard about Walker Stalker by seeing photo op pictures fans posted to Instagram tagging their favorite celebs.

Ashleigh (1st time WSC attendee and convention newbie): I heard about it from my brother, who invited me to come with him.

Valerie Stevenson (1st time WSC attendee and convention newbie): I heard about it from a friend (Misty Haines) and TWD fan who’s been to several of these.

Leslee Tyler (1st time WSC attendee, has attended one Supernatural Con): Truthfully, I don’t remember how I heard of Walker Stalker! I’ve been following WSC’s social media pages for 2 to 3 years, living vicariously through the announcements and posts! I have dreamed of going for as long as I have known about it!

Margarita Wolfe (1st time WSC attendee): I first heard about it through my best friend at work. She goes to them a lot.

Who are you most excited about meeting?

Simone, who was on AMC’s The Talking Dead for episode 12 of Season 7, has a special love and connection with our favorite power couple, Richonne.

Simone: I’m most excited about meeting Danai even though I don’t have her autograph, we just have a photo op. But I very much admire her and appreciate what she represents as a woman and a warrior. I really wish I could have gotten a Richonne Photo op so I could thank them together. I’m in an interracial marriage and even now in 2017 we still get looks and sometimes comments and seeing them on my screen just brings so much joy and hope that people will one day just get over it. Love is love and that’s partly why I love them so much. They beautifully represent what love can be through insurmountable obstacles

Christina Chan (1st time WSC attendee): Who am I excited to meet?! Oh my gosh! Well, EVERYONE ! Andy, for sure! I won a drawing on the Facebook group fan meet up page and it was a dream come true!  Not only the cast members but I am excited to meet other fans. So many of use have chatted about the con the last few weeks, doing live videos and helped each other! This fandom is something; it truly amazes me.

Marissa Griffiths: Originally was most excited about meeting all of my favorite Walking Dead actors, now I’m most excited to join in on what seems to be a huge collective fan experience across the board.

Ashleigh: That’s a tough one. I would say Norman, JDM, and Michael Cudlitz.

Valerie Stevenson: I’m most excited to meet Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Ethan Embry.

Leslee Tyler: I am most excited to meet Andrew Lincoln. I am a “Rick-girl”, through and through! Lennie James is another that I am terribly excited to meet! Honestly, I am excited to meet any and all cast members. I want to thank them for bringing the characters that mean so much to me to life. I also can’t wait to meet and spend time with like-minded fans. Lifelong memories will be made!

Margarita Wolfe: I adore Norman Reedus and cannot wait to see him.

What has been the most helpful resource in navigating the Walker Stalker Con World?

Christina Chan: The facebook page Walker Stalker Con Atlanta Meet Up.

Marissa Griffiths: The most helpful tool in navigating Walker Stalker has by far been the veteran run Facebook groups. If I have a question about anything con related, I can quickly message any of the admins of those groups, and they get me an answer very quickly. Fans helping fans is incredibly prevalent.

Ashleigh: All the Walker Stalker groups that are out there. There are many meet up groups as much as information groups. They have been extremely helpful!

Valerie Stevenson: Most helpful resource has been my friend Misty Haines and the Walker Stalker Atlanta Meet Up.

Leslee Tyler: Two words: other fans! Walker Stalker veterans have been the VERY best resource for me. I have learned so much and gained enough knowledge that I almost feel as if I have been to Atlanta before! I feel ready to take on the weekend and have the time of my life — I can only thank the Walker Stalker family for that.

Margarita Wolfe: The most helpful is probably the groups on Facebook. The people that have been there before have great advice about WSC.

 

Want to join the fun? Purchase your Walker Stalker tickets here! Join the Walker Stalker Con Meet Up Group here. If you’re a WSC newbie, make sure to check out tomorrow’s post with lots of helpful tips from other attendees!

#TWDFamily Part 1

It’s not just fandom. It’s family.” If you are at all familiar with Walker Stalker Convention or Heroes and Villains Fan Fest, you’ve probably seen this tag line before. Though I’d seen it, I had never put much thought into what it meant until I experienced this family for myself. From attending the conventions as a fan to beginning this podcast with Kia, I have witnessed a fandom that supports each other with their whole hearts. I have seen people come together for each other in a way that can only be described as magical. Their one common thread? They love The Walking Dead and attending the conventions that celebrate their favorite show.

In this four part series, I will be chatting with many of the people that make up this family. Today, I am highlighting the volunteers and ambassadors that have helped make the conventions you love happen.

What made you decide to volunteer for WSC vs attending as a fan?

Lauren with The Walking Dead star Khary Payton

Lauren (volunteered for WSC ATL 2016 & HVFF ATL 2016): I decided to volunteer because I have previous convention experience, both being as a fan and a volunteer and I wanted to utilize my experience with WSC.

Calli Newman (volunteered for 1 WSC): I love volunteering for different events. Am a fan of the show so it was the best of both worlds.

Jeff Wagoner (4 time WSC volunteer): I decided to volunteer instead of attending because, this might sound crazy, but I love to people watch! I love to see the reactions from the fans and the celebrities as they meet one another. Nothing else like it! Seeing the smiles and laughs on each other’s faces is so awesome!

Kimberly Lujan (3 time WSC volunteer): I originally bought tickets to attend in 2015. When I found out that you could volunteer and work with the cast that I admired so much, I signed up and was accepted. Since then, I will try to work as many as I can. We don’t volunteer anymore. Since we are now paid for our time, we are called “ambassadors.” For me, being on a fixed income, the money really helps. Working allows you access to the same event for free and it helps on costs. I believe that WSC wanted to help compensate us for some of our travel expenses. I think that’s awesome!

Kimberly T (3 time volunteer, including WSC ATL 2017): I really have no clue! I found WSC randomly one day when I was bored at work.  I clicked the volunteer tab and on a whim signed me and my husband up.  This was months before the actual con.  I’d actually forgotten all about it and then I got an email saying I was accepted to volunteer.  In those days it was kind of like a lottery for who got chosen and who didn’t.  They always made it clear that they wanted to give as many people the chance to volunteer as they could so just because you were picked for one didn’t mean you would automatically be picked for another.  Had we not been picked to volunteer we probably would have attended as a guest otherwise.

What do you love most about volunteering for WSC?

Karen Crawford (WSC ATL will be her 4th time volunteering): The best part of being an Ambassador is helping the attendees. Whether it’s just showing them where they need to be, explaining a process they don’t understand, or holding a little girl’s hand when she is overwhelmed with excitement to meet a celeb.

Jeff Wagoner with Walking Dead fave Alanna Masterson

Jeff Wagoner: What I love most about volunteering at the conventions is getting to work along side the celebrities and them really treating you like the celebrity! They always tell us they are just like us with high profile jobs that’s all! Also what I love most is they remember you when they see you working again!

Calli: The people. I got to work with a fun group. Also seeing and helping put smiles on guest faces was a big highlight.

Kelsey Odle (volunteered for WSC and HVFF Nashville): I LOVE being able to see people meet their favorite actor or actress.

Kimberly Lujan: In the beginning, it was the fact that I got to be near the cast and producers of my favorite show. NOW, I enjoy being a part of a huge family and group of people that I can depend on and that accept my nerdiness without any judgment. I Also work in customer service so I love to interact with the people and fans. We are there to make their experience an awesome one.

Anna (3 time WSC volunteer): I loved helping people and seeing their excitement.

Kayla H (one time WSC volunteer): I loved the fans. As an attendee, you are consumed with what you want & who you want to see, you forget the other fans. As a volunteer/ambassador I got to see so many people meet their favorite villain.

Do you have a favorite memory or story from your time spent volunteering for WSC?

Lauren: Probably getting to work the Tom Payne line last year. Everyone said I was the best volunteer in that line and I took that as a major compliment. He signed my shirt before I left. It was the best.

Karen Crawford: My favorite memory is from WSC Nashville 2017.  I was working Steven Yeun’s Line, and a disabled woman came up to me and starting asking questions.  It was her very first WSC, and she was Gold.  She didn’t understand what she needed to do with her photo ops, her autographs, or where she needed to be at what time.  I excused myself from my line and walked her over to CelebPhotoOps so she could choose her photos.  A little while later, as I was still working Steven’s Line, but was up at the front this time, she came back.  She was so excited that she got to meet Steven, and got his photo op.  She thanked me profusely, and then gave me the biggest hug I think I’ve ever had! I tried not to cry, but I’m sure there were some tears that escaped. Working the cons isn’t about being close to he celebs, it’s about being close to the attendees… making it the most memorable experience they have ever had.  Seeing the smiles and excitement on the faces of the attendees warms my heart so much. It just makes me feel good that I can be a part of all of this!

Jeff Wagoner: My favorite memory from my time of volunteering is working with Lorenzo Henrie in Charlotte in 2016! He kept bringing me food from the green room and we kept throwing candy into the crowd walking by! We had such a blast.

Kelsey Odle: My favorite memory as an ambassador would have to be from Walker Stalker Con Nashville. At this WSC, I was working with Steven Yeun. Steven was a little late getting to the convention on Sunday and there was a girl around the age of 12 standing in the front of the Gold VIP line. We were able to talk awhile because Steven was late and, as she was telling me how much she loved Steven, she burst into tears and started shaking. She asked me if I had ever met him. I told her that I had and Steven was the sweetest person. I also told her that if it were possible, she may even love him more after she met him and not to be nervous because he was so amazing. Steven arrived and I watched this little girl meet him and get a hug from him with tears in her eyes. She came back through the Gold VIP line just so she could give me a hug, thank me for talking to her, and tell me that I helped ease her nerves while waiting.

Anna: There are so many favorite memories…all of them. I think one of my favorites was assisting with escorting a Walking Hope survivor to a few tables, and sharing a few of my photo ops with him and his family.

Kimberly T: Probably my “Baby Negan’s” 15 seconds of fame via Twitter.  Meeting Jeffrey Dean Morgan was SO fun! We dressed our little Finley up as baby Negan and his reaction was priceless.  He said….”awwwww….ohhhhhh… a baby Negan!!! Can I hold her?” So of course we handed her over and he was so sweet with her.  Even better, some of his “people” took candid shots on the side and emailed us copies later.  We even went back and had him autograph the picture the next day.  A few days later, we noticed Finley’s picture floating around Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook and it was even tweeted by Skybound Entertainment which was pretty huge to us! We will definitely remember that forever.

Kayla H: There was a little boy who loves Negan. JDM was presale only unless they opened the lines up. On Saturday, they were able to open his line to everyone else, who didn’t already purchase a autograph. When I was able to find his parents and tell them, the little boys face lit up ! He was so excited. After he walked out, he ran over & hugged my legs saying thank you. That one little moment made my entire weekend. Seeing a fan, that small, so happy was why I wanted to volunteer again.

 

Interested in becoming a Walker Stalker Con ambassador? Check out their website for more details!

Mel’s Weekend at WSC Nashville

My friend Heather and I doing the tango with Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Norman Reedus

Not a lot of people can say they did the tango with Norman Reedus on their 29th birthday. (Or on the fifth anniversary of their 29th birthday….who’s counting, am I right?) But Walker Stalker con is just out here making dreams come true. For me, WSC Nashville can only be described as magical. As I walked through the doors on  June 3rd (my birthday eve), I felt like a kid on Christmas. If the presents were hugs from Cooper Andrews, selfies with Michael Cudlitz, and kisses from Jeffrey Dean Morgan. (Does this analogy make Norman Reedus Santa Claus?) Here are some of the highlights from my WSC weekend!

Kia and I with Cooper Andrews

 

Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Jeffrey 👏🏻 Dean 👏🏻 Morgan👏🏻  If you’ve been listening to our podcast/known me for five minutes, you know my love for this man runs deep. I had the opportunity to meet him in Atlanta, (You can hear more about our Atlanta WSC adventures here.) but I was so flabbergasted that I completely spaced on what I wanted to say to him.

My photo op with Jeffrey Dean Morgan

In Nashville, I finally got my chance. He gave me his undivided attention and was so gracious, kind, and caring. I have had the good fortune of meeting many celebrities, but there isn’t anyone as sweet as Jeffrey Dean Morgan or any cast member from The Walking Dead. Period. The moment I got to have with him a couple of hours before this photo was taken was priceless. To hear more about this special moment, click here.

 

A tale of two Negans

 

The BEST  cosplayers ever. You may have already seen our interview with Rick Grimes cosplayer “Trick Grimes,” but there were many more fantastic costumes roaming the show floor. Some of my favorites were the kiddos dressed as their favorite post apocalyptic bad guy, Negan.

You know my heart beats for Richonne.

The cosplay contest is always a highlight of any Walker Stalker. The categories are broken down into survivors, walkers, and kids with one overall winner. In Nashville there were many creative costumes, but none quite rivaled contest winner Alexandro Quiles who cosplayed as Jerry. Quiles captured Jerry’s look and adorable personality perfectly.

The cosplayer contest finalists including winner Alexandro Quiles

The People. This part is two fold. Obviously, one of the the main reasons you attend WSC is to meet the actors behind your favorite TWD characters. It is always fun to spend a couple of moments with someone like Ross Marquand and get to hear one of his amazing impressions. If taking selfies is more your style, you will love being goofy with Michael Cudlitz, Josh McDermitt, and Steven Ogg. If Norman Reedus is attending the WSC near you, make sure you pre purchase an autograph (more info on that at the official Walker Stalker Con website), so you can know the bliss that is Norman taking your hand from across the table. He makes sure every fan feels loved.

Amanda and Heather are two of the awesome friends I have met because of WSC!

One of my favorite things about WSC is the family of friends you make because of your mutual love for all things TWD. Every time I go to one, I walk away with at least one new friend. If you are attending WSC in the near future, I fully suggest joining one of the many fan groups on Facebook. Walker Stalker Con Meet Up is one of my faves! There you can connect with other folks attending the convention in your town and coordinate hang outs. Many of the people in the group have been to WSC before so they are also a wealth of knowledge and are happy to help answer any questions you may have. Some of my favorite people on the planet I have met all because of this convention. Don’t be afraid to strike up conversations with other fans in line or stop that person in the badass Michonne costume. It might be the beginning of an awesome friendship!

Katelyn Nacon delighted WSC attendees with a musical performance

The music. You probably don’t think of Walker Stalker and music as two things that necessarily go together. However, if you have ever had the chance to attend you know that Katelyn Nacon has the voice of an angel! If you’ve never heard her sing Radiohead’s ‘Creep’ click here. At some WSC events, you might get to hear Jordan Woods-Robinson perform too! Check out his tunes here.

IronE Singleton putting out the birthday call to everyone and their mama at WSC Nashville

The ‘Birthday Chair’ is totally a thing. When I visited IronE Singleton’s booth on June 4th(also my birthday), he noticed the ginormous gift bag I was carrying around that one of my friends had gifted me with. Mid conversation he told me I would have to get in the birthday chair. Then, we continued our conversation about things unrelated to birthdays, took a photo, got some of those famous IronE hugs, and were about to be on our merry little way. Then IronE says, “Where do you think you’re going? You have to get in the birthday chair!” I said, “Oh wait, so that’s a real thing?” IronE proceeded to laugh at my naivety and say that OF COURSE it was a real thing. He pulled a chair out to the front of his booth and asked me to be seated. He then proceeded to yell out TO THE ENTIRE CONVENTION that it was my birthday and asked everyone to say ‘Happy Birthday’ to me. Have you heard this man speak?! He can project like nobody’s business. Also, when he tells you to take your bow afterwards, he means it. Thanks, IronE for helping make my birthday so memorable and special. Also, embarrassing. 😂

A view of the Skybound booth

The loot. There’s lots of fantastic vendors at WSC. Of course you can always find some unique t-shirts (and I always suggest hitting the WSC march booth for a convention t-shirt), but theres so much more. You will find action figures, tote bags, life size cut outs of Negan (totally thought about purchasing one), and amazing artwork.  One of my favorite vendors was one belonging to artist Kirk Manley. Kirk makes special limited edition prints for each city that you can purchase at the conventions. But he only makes a small amount and once they’re gone they’re gone! The detailing in his pieces is unreal! For Nashville he did a country music theme. You can check out his latest work and the Nashville print on his Instagram.

The promise of more to come. I love that our friends at Walker Stalker understand that we all get a little sad post convention. You spend months looking forward to the experience and then it flies by so fast. These guys didn’t waste any time putting WSC Nashville 2018 on the books for May 12 and 13 at the Music City Center. It’s not too early to buy your tickets and start planning! Visit the Walker Stalker Con website to see if WSC is coming to a city near you!

 

 

Meet “TRICK GRIMES”

At first glance your heart might plummet to your stomach. You might think to yourself, “It can’t be him, right? There’s no way! IS THAT ANDY LINCOLN?! IS RICK GRIMES REAL?! WHAT IS HAPPENING?!?!’ These are all thoughts I had when I saw Rick Grimes cosplayer Trent Roberts at Walker Stalker Nashville. Though I can assure you, after careful inspection, he is in fact NOT Rick Grimes. But he’s pretty damn close.

First, tell me a little background on you. What is your day job? How did you get into cosplaying as our favorite python wielding badass?

Roberts with his sons Josh and Zak

I live in the Dallas area but [am] originally from Louisiana. My “real” job is Regional Sales Manager for a Whiskey company so I stay very busy with a lot of travel. That’s why I have to be selective on how many events I can do as a cosplayer. As for how this started, I have been a fan of the show since day one. From the age of about 20 or so I’ve always had a beard and longer hair. Every once in a while I would change up and shave but it wouldn’t last long, so I’ve looked like Rick way before there was a Rick. Starting about season 3 I started having people notice and comment on my resemblance. Then early in 2016 my sons wanted to go to a comic con in Dallas and suggested I dress as Rick and they ended up regretting the suggestion. We started getting stopped for pics in the parking lot and once we entered we couldn’t walk more than 10 feet at a time before getting stopped for another picture. It didn’t help that my youngest son dressed as Carl. He quickly got tired of hearing “Ccooorrallll”. This is where someone mentioned to me that I should go to a Walker Stalker Con. I had never heard of it but went home and looked at future dates.

How many Walker Stalker conventions have you attended?

Roberts in Trick Grimes mode

The first one was Dallas last year and then Atlanta last October. Nashville was my first working WSC. I did attend Dallas FanExpo twice and another smaller con or two in the Dallas area. Megacon the week before was my very first con to work. I will be attending A-kon this weekend but not cosplaying because I want my boys to be able to enjoy themselves even though they realize even in regular clothes I will probably still get stopped some. Oh and I forgot one of the most fun things I’ve done with this, the cruise.

Do you have any memorable moments from this past weekend’s convention in Nashville?

Too many. Even though I am working some of these now I still have a hard time thinking of myself as a professional cosplayer. This is for fun and to give fans a great experience. I guess a couple of times this weekend we had fans with either physical or mental disabilities and to see their faces light up makes it all worthwhile. Also, it’s funny how many of the fans that I have to actually convince I am not Andrew.

 What’s been the best part of attending WSC?

The fans. I didn’t realize how close knit a family this was. I have started seeing the same people now at multiple events and started forming friendships. I also have to say that through this I have had the pleasure to meet many of the stars of the show and they have all been incredibly nice.

Roberts with Michael Cudlitz, who played Abraham on The Walking Dead

Which ones did you meet and what was their reaction to you? Have you met the elusive Andy Lincoln yet?

I’ve met Steven Yeun, Scott Wilson, Greg Nicotero, Michael Rooker, Michael Cudlitz, Chandler Riggs. In Nashville, Irone came up to me hugged me and complimented me on my resemblance as did Chad Coleman who I happened to run into in the restroom of all places. I was lucky enough to get to ask Andrew a question at his panel in Atlanta. Norman was on stage and saw me first and said to him “he looks just like you” and then Andrew asked if I could fill in for him at work on Monday. It was nice to get the acknowledgement. I have also met a couple of the saviors and they have said the resemblance is uncanny. Norman passed me on the walkway as we were boarding for the cruise and even he did a double take when he saw me then even in street clothes. Gave me a thumbs up.

Kia and I were majorly creeping on you in Nashville because you look SO much like Rick. All the way down to the swagger. As someone who has met Andy in person, the swagger is an integral part to being Andy/Rick. Is the swagger learned or is that just you being you?

I’ve had people say I even walk like him but that is just my normal walk. For most of my life I have worn cowboy boots almost daily, so I’m sure that is part of the natural walk. I’ll admit though that once the jacket and gun belt go on it probably amplifies it a bit.

So, be honest, is it weird when people stare you down (*ahem* kind of like we did?😳)?

Sometimes. I’m still wrapping my head around all this. It is weird to me the way people act towards me and I’m not even the guy. I just look like the guy. The one thing I want to make very clear to everyone, I am not the celebrity here. Even when fans know I’m not him they get all emotional around me or are afraid to approach me. Please don’t do that. I’m just a regular guy who happens to look like someone famous. That doesn’t make me famous. I have been around enough cons now to see that there are too many professional cosplayers who think they are celebrities and have the attitude to go with it. That’s not why I’m doing this. I enjoy cutting up and having fun with everyone and I hope that if nothing else people will know me as the fun, nice Rick cosplayer.

How difficult was it to acquire the Rick Grimes wardrobe (including his famous murder coat)?

Roberts showing off the infamous Murder Coat

I’m kind of a perfectionist about this. If I’m going to do it I have to be true to the character. There are a lot of Rick coat options out there but I wanted to make sure the collar was the right color and pocket zippers were at the right angle. I also had a few comments early on that my wardrobe was to new and clean so I took the jacket with me to my deer lease and drug it down the gravel roads behind my 4 wheeler. I also would freeze frame the show to see exactly where there were rips or fraying on his shirts and pants in order to duplicate as accurately as possible. The only other two significant expenses were the gun belt and Colt Python. I ordered the exact Tex Shoemaker holster that he uses in the show and again made sure I had all the accessories on the belt exactly as he does. The Python was a CO2 pistol that I modified the grip and replaced with actual Colt grips. It looks and feels just like the real thing now. The beat up boots, jeans and tshirt were obviously easy.

Do you have a favorite wardrobe item?

The gun belt. I grew up watching westerns and reading Louis Lamour books and always said I should have been born in the 1800’s. When I put that on I just feel like the sheriff getting ready for a gun fight.

Do you ever get stopped when you’re out and about because people think you’re Andy Lincoln?

Everyday. Especially because I do spend a lot of time in airports due to my real job. It always happens when I’m walking through and out of the corner of my eye I see people sitting at gates tapping the person next to them and pointing at me. Or, I walk by a group and over my shoulder I hear ” OMG that was…..”. It was just funny to my friends and family but now it’s kind of like, can we not go anywhere with you that someone doesn’t come over. We were at Universal Orlando for spring break and my sons wanted pics with they people in the Bart and Homer Simpson costumes. Now I’m on vacation in shorts, flip flops, tshirt and sunglasses. When my boys were finished and we were about to walk away we hear Homer say “excuse me but can we get a picture with Rick”. I’ve been to Senoiaabout 3 times now and have had interactions with people there who have been face to face with Andrew, sometimes on a regular basis. They have approached me and started a conversation as if I’m him. I’ve had to stop them and identify myself.

Trent Roberts (left) side by side with Andrew Lincoln (right)

What do you love most about cosplaying as Rick Grimes?

Having the opportunity to due some charitable work due to this resemblance is great. I have committed to due an event for a children’s charity in Vancouver this October and hopefully this will open doors for more. Talking to fans and hearing that I may be the closest they ever get to meeting Rick is another motivation to make sure they have a memorable experience when they meet me.

 

Make sure to follow Trick Grimes on Facebook and Instagram.

 

5 Minutes and 13 Seconds With Cooper Andrews

Khary Payton as Ezekiel, Lennie James as Morgan Jones, Cooper Andrews as Jerry, Logan Miller as Benjamin, Kerry Cahill as Dianne – The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 2 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Cooper Andrews won hearts all over The Walking Dead fandom when he appeared on screen for the first time in Season 7 as Kaaang Ezekiel’s comical sidekick Jerry. After the airing of Season 7 Episode 2 The Well, the interwebs were all abuzz wondering who was bringing this beautiful creature to life. ‘If Jerry Dies We Riot’ memes were being created and things were getting pretty serious. From his witty banter with Ezekiel to his affinity for cobbler, Jerry quickly became a fan favorite.

Cooper Andrews at Walker Stalker Nashville 2017

 

 

His acceptance into the #TWDFamily was cemented by the amount of fans clamoring to meet Andrews at his first ever Walker Stalker appearance in Nashville this past weekend. Fans lined up both days of the convention to meet their new favorite character and he did not disappoint. He came armed with peach cobbler (YES. He brought cobbler, y’all!), lots of laughs, and the best hugs. When the staff needed his attention, we watched as he had a WSC ambassador flag down the fan he had been talking to just to make sure she got a good photo and sent her off with a big hug.

Cosplayer Alexandro Quiles as Jerry

Fans got in the Cooper Andrews spirit when they voted Jerry cosplayer Alexandro Quiles as the winner of the WSC Cosplay Contest. Quiles said, “I chose to cosplay Jerry because he’s a cool new character and I love that he is super funny!” He also makes sure to stay in character. “I love to do the peace sign and say ‘Deuces!'”At the close of the contest fans cheered, “Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!” making it abundantly clear who would be taking home the prize.

A peach cobbler toast in honor of meeting Cooper

At the close of Walker Stalker, we decided there was only one way to end our magical experience. In honor of our new friend Cooper, we toasted the weekend over a giant peach cobbler.

Listen in below as we talk convention life and all things cobbler with the one and only, Cooper Andrews! Make sure to follow him on Instagram and Twitter.

 

MEL’S STUFF AND THANGS TO SURVIVE YOUR FIRST WALKER STALKER CON

As many of you already know, we will be attending Walker Stalker Nashville this year. This will be my third Walker Stalker Convention and I think it’s safe to say I’m addicted. I love Walker Stalker the way I love Richonne. And y’all know how much of a Richonne shipper I am so that’s a whole lot of love.  Though you can definitely catch much of the cast at other conventions, Walker Stalker’s focus is all things TWD. So here’s a list of a few thaaangs to help you survive your first Walker Stalker Convention.

If you want to have a moment like this, make sure to attend the Atlanta or London WSC.

-Know what your ticket gets you. There are 4 ticket levels at varying price points available for WSC: General Admission, VIP, Gold, and Platinum. Though Gold and Platinum certainly come with their perks, they also come with a higher price tag. Let me let you in on a little secret. With the right planning, you can likely still achieve many of your WSC dreams with a VIP or GA ticket. Additionally, now that WSC has implemented pre paying for autographs for big names like Norman Reedus, that helps to reduce your wait times. If you have general admission and all you want in the world is to stand next to Norman for 5 seconds and breathe in his rugged beauty, purchase a photo op. Also, beware that Andrew Lincoln typically only attends the Atlanta and London conventions.

-Pour some Bisquick and do some good! Make sure to bring some Bisquick or another nonperishable item to Michael Cudlitz’s booth for his food drive. Though Bisquick is a popular items to bring, you can also bring things like fruit juice boxes and canned vegetables.

-Maybe don’t wear the stilettos.  You will be standing in line a lot. There’s a line to get in. A line for photo ops. A line for autographs. A line for food. A line for the bathroom. You get the picture. Those 6 inch stilettos may make you stand tall next to Jeffrey Dean Morgan, but they will make your life miserable. Plan accordingly.

-Cash me outside. But for real. Get your cash from anywhere but the ATM inside the convention center to avoid hefty fees. Remember, all autographs and table photos are cash only. Prices vary by attendee so come with more than you think you need. Because when you see that Ross Marquand will make a video for you while doing a Matthew McConaughey impression you are gonna give the WSC gods all your money.

Selfies with Josh McDermitt are the BEST!

 -You have to take at least one table selfie. My vote is always with either Josh McDermitt or Michael Cudlitz. Both have a penchant for taking hilarious selfies and taking time with their fans. Also, they give the best hugs. Don’t take my word for it. DO IT!

-Pack snacks like you’re preparing for the apocalypse. Because you never know if the lines for refreshments will be insane/if the zombie plague might occur while you’re waiting in line for a $15 sandwich. And if it does happen, you already have a great talking point for convincing Steven Yeun to join your very own Survivors Club.

Norman Reedus meeting and greeting fans at WSC Atlanta 2016

-Thou shalt not bite Norman Reedus. Or kiss, or grope, etc, etc. It’s an emotional moment. I get it. 😉 You’ve been planning your wedding to Norman since he had the dark emo hair in season 4. But so has every other female in the building. So let’s keep the honeymooning in our heads and hide our crazy, k?

-Meet and greets are short. Notice this is called a Meet and Greet. Not a Meet and Bare Your Soul for half an hour. Some guests are able to take more time with their fans. However guests like Melissa McBride who are there for one day only, will likely move very quickly. If there is someone you really want to meet, hit their line first. Prepare your heart with one thing you really want to say to them. Introduce yourself. Say hi. They are people too. They just happen to be really really really cool people.

Kia during her magical photo op with Danai Gurira

-Photo Ops are fast. Read that sentence again. Your photo op is now over. That’s how fast it is. This is not a meet and greet. Don’t even think about asking for an autograph. Many guests do welcome fans to have fun with their photo ops and many choose to pose creatively. If you have something special in mind, be prepared to tell the celebrity quickly or show them a photo on your phone as an example. Then throw that phone down FAST. I cannot reiterate this enough, guys. Be prepared to move quickly. Have everything off of you that you don’t want in the picture and place it on the table in the photo op area. Also, find out ahead of time if the guest you want to take a picture with allows cosplay weapons if that’s something you are in to. Some guests do not allow anything resembling a weapon. Please be respectful of their boundaries!

90s soap opera or photo op with Jeffrey Dean Morgan?

-Take in a panel!  Depending on who you want to meet/how many folks you want to meet, you can spend several hours of your day in line. But one of the great things about WSC is getting to take in the panels. Cast members take fan questions and give you a behind the scenes look at The Walking Dead.

-Do a lap around the convention floor and visit the vendors. There are so many! I’m not just talking about buying t shirts, though you can certainly find some great ones. Make sure to check out the Zombie Charm School booth where you can take photos with some of the best TWD cosplayers around including The Daryl Dude.

Kia and the cutest little Carol cosplayer ever

-Dress to impress! Cosplayers are one of my favorite parts about convention life. I have seen some amazing ones. Some of my favorites include the little kiddos dressed like our favorite survivors.

-Download the Walker Stalker Con app. From there you can access the full schedule of events and plan your days accordingly. Here’s the thing. If you don’t have anything you are dying to accomplish, by all means, be spontaneous and do everything on the fly! In my experience though, you will enjoy yourself more if you have at least some kind of loose plan.

-Make new friends! This is without a doubt my favorite part of the whole thang. I met my first WSC friend while standing in line to meet Tom Payne in Nashville in 2016. We then had lunch and discussed our love for our favorite show. Cindy is now one of my favorite people on the planet. There is a whole community of fans out there that is just as obsessed as we are. The Walking Dead fandom is one of the most loyal. Not just to the show and its cast, but to each other. I have made so many beautiful friends because of this show and this convention that I will be a WSC devotee for as long as they continue to have them.

For a complete list of guests attending WSC Nashville, click here. For venue information click here.
For hotel information, click here. You may also want to check out the FAQ on their website. For information regarding photo ops, visit Celeb Photo Ops.

 

 

 

TEXAS FRIGHTMARE: EVEN THE SCARES ARE BIGGER IN TEXAS

With two of my favorite cosplayers of the weekend, Marc Meeker and Marcy Meeker

When I arrived at Texas Frightmare Weekend 2017, my expectations were admittedly high. After talking with many fans prior to the convention, I was anticipating an intimate and exciting fan centered event. TFW did not disappoint. From director Ted Raimi speaking to you on the dance floor at a party to Ric Flair sitting just feet away at the hotel bar (yep, both of these things took place), truly anything can happen. The two and a half day event included guests from cult classic film Fright Night, Bates Motel and many, many more. Additionally there were parties, karaoke, vendors, and cosplayers galore.

Justin and Abby Mitchell in character as Mungy and the Missus

Among the costumed attendees were Justin and Abby Mitchell who reprised their roles as Mungy and The Missus. Mungy is a crowd favorite at TFW. But what seems scary on the exterior has a really sweet meaning behind it. The Mitchells now plan their anniversary around the convention because of their shared love for horror. “We’ve been horror fans our whole life. I’ve loved clowns my entire life and after we got married we just kind of found out that we both enjoy it,” Justin said. Abby added, ‘We worked in haunted houses together and we started going to horror conventions in Kansas City to Cyrptocon. We found out [about Texas Frightmare Weekend] from some fans there and when we came last year it was so amazing that we decided we had to do this every year. We want to be VIP every year and it’s just special because we get to be someone that we’re not every single day. We get to let loose and the entire atmosphere here is so friendly. Everybody loves everybody else. It’s like a huge community, a huge family. And so it means so much to us that we just decided this has to be a part of our lives from now on.”

Nicole Erskine and her son Zack with Freddie Highmore from Bates Motel

The impressive guest list is always a draw for convention attendees and this year was no exception. “I was most excited to meet the cast of Bates Motel. They definitely were more than I expected. Usually the fans have to strike up conversations [but Max Thieriot and Nestor Carbonell] were talking to their fans as if they’ve known them which definitely adds to the whole experience,” Maritza Henson explained. Nicole Erskine, who attended the convention for the fourth time this year was also excited to meet the Bates Motel cast, including Freddie Highmore. Erskine was touched by the special attention Highmore paid to her young son. “As an adult, we don’t have many things that excite us. Excite us in a way similar to being a child on Christmas eve. Can you really think of ANYTHING that makes you feel like that anymore? Anything that makes you excited, and anxious, and so happy you can’t sleep? That’s what frightmare does to me,” Erskine said. “And that’s the reason I keep going back. It makes me excited again. In a way that nothing else in my everyday adult life does.”

Josh Rose with actress Elizabeth Daily

Second year attendee Nathan Burroughs enjoys the guests but cites meeting new people with the same interests as one of his favorite things about TFW. “And actually running into the guests  at various points of the weekend,” Burroughs said of running into Ric Flair at the hotel bar. Though many attendees I spoke to were returning guests, there were also many new faces at the convention including avid horror buff Josh Rose. “It was my first time attending the 2017 Texas Frightmare. As an avid horror movie fan I can happily say it was truly an honor to meet some of the most humbling and down to earth people from all over the world. I look forward to many more years of setting aside vacation days to attend this fun, exciting and marvelous adventure of Texas Frightmare.”

 

With one of the many Dark Hour Haunted House cosplayers on hand to take photos at Texas Frightmare Weekend

Whether you are looking to meet some of the creative geniuses behind some of your favorite television shows and movies or if you just want to connect with other horror fans, TFW needs to be on your list of conventions to attend.  While many conventions can leave you feeling rushed, TFW has a very relaxed vibe. “What I love about it is we can be from all over the country, the world but we come here and we’re all united under one atmosphere,” Mitchell said. “It’s pure joy and happiness.” The next Texas Frightmare Weekend is scheduled for May 4-6, 2018.