While researching my very first article for moviepilot.com, I travelled to Senoia, Georgia, where much of The Walking Dead is filmed. I first heard the phrase "Walker Stalker" that day, and saw for myself some of the people who hover as close as possible to the set - with binoculars and long-range lenses - hoping for a glimpse of a zombie or Walking Dead star. As the show's popularity has skyrocketed, Walker Stalkers started traveling from all over the country, and even all over the world, to visit tiny Senoia, Georgia.
Eric Nordoff and James Frazier were among the traveling stalkers, coming from Nashville, Tennessee, in the fall of 2012. While there, they were able to meet some cast members from the show. Inspired by this thrilling experience, they developed a convention specifically for other Walking Dead fans. The first convention took place in Atlanta in 2013, and now in it's third year, is held in seven different locations all across the United States, and one in London, England.
Although there are various locations, the Atlanta event is considered the biggest of the tour, and I was able to attend this year on behalf of moviepilot.com. Held at the Georgia World Congress Center, a massive venue downtown, fans had the opportunity to meet dozens of stars from The Walking Dead. Among attending stars this year were Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Melissa McBride, Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan; essentially the majority of major cast members from past and current seasons.
Tens of thousands of people arrived for the opportunity to meet their favorite actors, and to get autographs and photos. Additionally, a number of panels were held in which attendees could ask questions of actors, producers, directors, and crew. Hundreds of vendors were on hand selling fan art, collectibles, and prop replications. The Walking Dead Experience, a new, technological wonder recreating an immersive zombie apocalypse experience, was available, as well.
Many fans attended the convention in cosplay, and while most of them were zombie and Walking Dead related, the convention took place over the Halloween weekend, so there were all kinds of other costumes, too. From babies to the elderly, fans showed up for access to practically anything relating to The Walking Dead, and the show closed Sunday night with a big screen viewing of episode four of season 6 (the one where we didn't find out if Glen was dead).
One of the reasons The Walking Dead has such a large following is because nearly everyone involved in the production is dedicated to the fan base. Participating in Walker Stalker Con is a way in which they make themselves accessible to literally anyone who is able to attend. I was amazed at the willingness to pose for thousands of photos, and to sign thousands of autographs, for hours at a time. The generosity of those associated with The Walking Dead was certainly evident throughout the convention.
While I was not able to interview Eric Knordoff or James Frazier, I imagine Walker Stalker Con has become exactly the event they'd hoped for.