James and Eric are The Walker Stalkers - The best thing about Walker Stalker Con is that these two guys have turned being superfans into more than a hobby. They were gracious enough to take some time to chat with me about the upcoming convention in Atlanta and what they're most excited about in the months to come. For those of you that didn't know, everyone's favorite TV show about the zombie apocalypse has its very own convention and it's everything a zombie fanatic's dream should be.
It's been a year since the last Walker Stalker Con in Atlanta...what are you most excited for this year?
Eric: We will be in Episode 2 of The Walking Dead by then, I'm tired of talking about what could be and predicting what it's going to be like, so I'm excited to be in the beginning of the new season and can talk about that. Meeting all the fans and seeing and hanging out with the friends that we made since the last convention in Atlanta is going to be amazing. We're all going to be running on full cylinders, and I'm excited about that.
James: The thing that I'm looking forward to the most are just the unexpected moments, that's always the best part about the weekends, is we always seem to have something happen, whether it be with a fan or the actors. I think we love those moments so much that we have some surprises planned for the weekend that the fans are going to love. All of the ideas we've come up with this year to make everything better. We bought the 1972 Winnebago Chieftain (where podcasts will be held over the weekend), little things that fans can interact with. Last year, fans just lined up for autographs and there were some vendors, the panels were like a half mile away; but now it's all in the same building we have all sorts of interactive experiences over the weekend, the RV will be sitting outside, there's just so many moments that we're going to add to it so that we can add value for the people who are coming. I'm really excited about it.
What are some examples of panels that will be happening over the weekend? Do you have any that you're especially excited for?
Eric: One of my favorite panels is going to be the Normal Reedus, Andrew Lincoln panel - the bromance panel. The second one that I'm most excited for is "The Grove" panel with Melissa McBride, Chad L Coleman, Brighton Sharbino and Kyla Kennedy, that's going to be a great panel, talking about that episode and what went into it. That'll be a big one.
James: I think "The Grove" is the panel I'm looking forward to most, and I'm also looking forward to some of the behind the scenes panels. Gene Page is the set photographer for [The Walking Dead](series:201193), and to hear things from behind the camera. Gene kind of sits there are observes and captures moments, he probably observes more than anybody, so Im' looking forward to hearing some of his stories. Eulin Womble, who's come the last two or three shows and discussed costumes, but this year he'll be doing a demonstration and that's going to be really cool to experience. I also love the panels where we get three or four of the dead guys, they get really goofy, they take it to a whole new level - they don't care, they're off the show.
There's something new that you've added this year for people who can't attend the convention - what can you tell me about WSC Live?
Eric: We talked about doing this last year, but couldn't put it all together in the main panel room where all of the larger panels will be there will be a live streaming opportunity for people, and in the other panel room and in the special one-on-one interview room we will have video on demand for anyone who signs up for this. It's fantastic, so there's live streaming, video on demand of the main panel, convention hall panel will be VOD, as soon as it's done it'll be up on the website for people to watch if that can't come to WSC. Or for people attending, they maybe missed a panel because they're at another panel will want this as well. So for people attending, it's something you can watch that night, and continue your convention experience. The 1-1 interviews we're doing are almost all of the major people who are doing panels; so after they're done panels, they'll be coming behind the scenes and go on to a second platform in the convention hall to talk to Emma Loggins from fanbolt.com who will be doing most of the intervievies.
James: We're doing this as a response to one of the number one comment we hear everywhere: "Bring WSC to my town or to my country!" This is our way to be able to do it, and we hope that it gets a great reception and participation because those one on one interviews are only for people that are on WSC Live
Eric: You get to ask your question of everybody appearing in those interviews, so we're setting up a unique twitter handle for questions, and that's where we'll pull the interview questions from. This content will also be exclusive to subscribers and none of the the videos will be available on YouTube, and we're not allowing any video in the convention halls.
Looking at what's planned for this year it seems SO massive - when you started doing this, did you EVER think it would end up like this?
Eric: Oh yeah, this is part of our master plan, we've had this figured out for three years now... [they're totally f*cking with me here]
James: NOOOO we had NO idea, there is NO master plan, I have no idea what's going on, I don't know what I'm doing tomorrow. [laughs]
After we finished our event in Boston, on our first post event call, I literally said 'all right, it's time to grow up' it's time to start having a plan, and start figuring out accounts and finances and making sure we have all of our ducks in a row. Everything up to this point has been so...whimsical...very much "let's do this, let's do that" and just done it, and I think it's part of our success and it's been a great benefit and what's helped drive it because I think if we really put thought into it we would've 'out thunk' ourselves and probably wouldn't be in the position we are now.
If we didn't have the joy in it, the exhaustion that comes with it would have overtaken it. It's more work than we ever imagined it would be, but it's a blast. We're 37 days out, and I'm exhausted right now, but MAN I can't wait to get to Atlanta, because it's so worth it.
Eric: It's energizing, it's so tiring and so exhausting, but we'll be SO ready for the next one as soon as it's done. We have a pretty hefty schedule coming up for 2015, with seven cities, and we're actually planning some really exciting things for the touring convention next year. We're always looking for ways to make it fresh and exciting. It's going to be more than your typical con where you just come and get photos and autographs, there's going to be a lot of fan-driven fun and I can't wait to announce it once everything gets finalized.
Is there any city that you're particularly excited to go to?
James: What's really special is the uniqueness of each con to the city it'll be in - San Francisco will have a special feel a lot of people can come up from LA that we might not be able to get on the East Coast events, I'm looking forward to San Francisco, and I'm praying that there's not an earthquake during that time. Dallas is going to be fun to go to, I'm really looking forward to going to cities that we haven't been to and seeing what the dynamic will be.
Tell me about your TWD parody video, how did you choose your cast and what was the process of making this video?
James: We put a call out to our main Walking Dead cosplayers, Hacksaw Jack and his guys, and we got a few of them and invited whoever could make it in and we literally had a couple people fly in to Nashville to be in the video, people drove in from Ohio and things like that. I played Beth...we were left with a few people. I wanted to be Abraham, but I refused to shave my beard down to match his facial hair thing, so given that I couldn't pull off Abraham. Who do we have left? I can't pull off Shasha or Bob, for obvious reasons, Carl would be awesome, but again, I'm not going to shave, so let's just go with the whole bad drag thing and I went with Beth. I love Emily Kinney, so I hope that she saw it and found it humorous.
Eric: We've not heard from her since the video came out, she hasn't returned our calls. James and I fought over who was going to play Beth, and I let him win just as long as I could be Eugene, so that's who I play.
James: It was a fun, fun, day of shooting. There are a couple of other parodies that we shot that aren't up yet - we did a "Most Interesting Man in the Zombie Apocalypse" commercial, we also did "I ate the Bones" a KFC spoof, we made a bucket and it's TFC - Terminus Fried Chicken and it looks like a real bucket with Mary on it instead of the Colonel.
How did this all come about? Why make a parody video?
James: On our podcast, we've been singing for over a year now, we've done a lot of parody songs. We started out doing one for Greg Nicotero, I sang a Led Zep song for him we just changed the words. At the end of Season 4 we had emily kinney and T Martin Green, and we wrote songs about them and sung them. Being that Eric's in the music industry, and I don't mind being goofy it was really a lot of fun. I sang both the Rick part and the Daryl part. I did Rick really low and rough, and then I did Daryl very boy band-ish because I think that's how he would sing. Maybe I'm thinking Norman Reedus would sing that way, I don't see him singing really dark, I see him singing more like a Backstreet Boy - when you talk to Norman, he's very soft spoken and very artsy so I just think he would be the soft boy-band type guy when he sings.