Friday, October 24, 2014

Two Tickets For… Visits the 2014 Atlanta Walker Stalker Con: Wrap-Up and More Pics!

Andrew: Hello dear readers! If you've been checking out our recent series of posts recapping the trip Sarah and I made to Walker Stalker Con Atlanta on Saturday, October 18th, you know that we were able to sit in on panels where stars of AMC's The Walking Dead answered fan questions, and that we had a blast listening to them and recapping them for you here!

And while we really, really enjoyed the panels, we gotta be honest and say that our most favorite aspect  of the convention was walking the convention floors, checking out the vendors, watching some of the show's stars from afar, and getting to actually meet a few special makeup effects artists that we're HUGE fans of.

Today's post is going to be a simple wrap-up of our trip to Walker Stalker Con, with some pictures Sarah took while walking the floor, some pics of stuff we bought from a couple of vendors, and I'll tell you about our encounters with those special makeup effects artists.


- You may or may not know this about us, but Sarah and I are BIG fans of SyFy's movie makeup effects competition show Face Off. We've religiously watched it from the start of season two when we found out it existed. And during the course of the show we've had favorites every season, but there were always two that really stood out to us and whom we rooted for in their time on the show: RJ Haddy and Roy Wooley.

RJ was a contestant in season two, and as we mentioned it was the first season we caught, so contestants from that season have always been a little closer to our heart than some from more recent seasons. RJ in particular was one we rooted hard for because of his outgoing nature and his incredible work, particularly he fantastic makeup on the Tim Burton episode where he created a Burton-esque Bellhop. Check it out below.

RJ Haddy's character he created for the Tim Burton challenge in Season 2 of SyFy's Face Off, a Burton-esque Bellhop who is part dresser with clothes askew, and an actual bell he can ring if he taps the top of his head.

To meet RJ we literally just walked right up to his booth where he was selling makeup tools and promoting a class he would be giving later that day that we regrettably were unable to attend. He had just finished chatting with someone and he walked right up to us as we were looking at some of his work! We mentioned to him how we were big fans of the show and of his, and he gleefully discussed aspects of the show, including some tidbits viewers at home probably don't know about, like:

  • On Day 3 of a Spotlight Challenge, between the 4 hours the contestants have in the lab and then Final Looks backstage before the judges see their work, all of the models get an hour for dinner. RJ told us that he learned to not do the work around his model's mouth before the model ate dinner because the act of eating meals would mess up whatever work he had already done. In particular he mentioned that any pasta meals that included oil were particularly harmful to any makeup already put on.
  • Some models are fought over by the contestants far more than some others. We had been talking to him about this current season (season finale on Tuesday the 28th!) and how he enjoyed a particular fairy makeup that was made, and when we mentioned how great the model used in that makeup seemed to be a popular one, RJ told us that she was by far one of the most fought over models. We thought that was neat.
  • In the same vein, while it's very obvious on the show that for each week's challenge the contestants have to wait their turn to select whatever character they'll try to do, it's not as obvious that the contestants then go in reverse order to select the model they want to use back in the lab. RJ also joked of a possible conspiracy theory that the "random" order that's drawn out of a hat isn't quite so random as you'd believe.

In lieu of asking for an autograph, we opted to get a photo with RJ, which was the right way to go because he invited us to come behind the table, where his friend snapped this photo for us.

Here we are taking a photo with Face Off Season 2 and Season 5 contestant RJ Haddy, as Season 3
and Season 5 contestant Roy Wooley photobombs us. We love this photo!

- As you can see above, while we were taking a pic with RJ Haddy, his fellow Face Off contestant Roy Wooley took the opportunity to photobomb us. A perfect transition to our brief chat with Roy, who was by far our favorite contestant from the entire show's run. He's funny (as you can see in the pic), he's real, and more than anything he's incredibly creative. Roy may not have necessarily been as good as some other contestants the show has had as far as applying makeup alone, but he has been the show's best fabricator. By that we mean he creates/fabricates costumes and props for his characters that enhance his creations better than anyone else. For example, check out the character he co-created in the first episode of Season 2, a Star Wars-centric episode:

Roy Wooley's creature makeup from Season 2, Episode 1 of SyFy's Face Off that he co-created.

That's an original Star Wars character Roy co-created with another contestant, Rod Maxwell, that had to fit in with the Mos Eisley Cantina from Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, and the duo actually won that week's challenge with their creation. Of note, Roy fabricated the mechanized aspects of the character and the Total Recall-esque body of the creation in the middle. Great stuff.

We weren't able to shoot the breeze with Roy as much as we were able to with Roy simply because he was also offering to apply zombie makeup to adults and children alike for a nominal fee, and he had a customer walk up just as we finished taking the below photo with him.

- After meeting Roy and RJ, Sarah and I basically got in line for the highly-anticipated "Bromance" panel with Andrew Lincoln and Norman Reedus. The below photo is from our place in line outside of the panel hall about 45 minutes BEFORE the panel started.

Believe it or not, we actually had a GOOD spot in line for the Andrew
Lincoln/Norman Reedus panel!

- After the Bromance panel, we decided it was the right time to get in line for one of the only autographs I truly wanted to make sure we got: Greg Nicotero's. As we went over in our post about Nicotero's panel, not only is he the special makeup effects supervisor for The Walking Dead, he's also an occasional director for the show and one of the show's executive producers.

Aside from that, though, Nicotero has a prolific and strong resume of special makeup effects work in films. Nicotero has worked on all but two of Quentin Tarantino's directorial efforts, Scream and Scream 2, the 2005 remake of The Hills Have Eyes, a number of Robert Rodriguez's films, and of note to this post, Eli Roth's Hostel.

Andrew posing with The Walking Dead's zombie maestro, Greg Nicotero!

Photo by Sarah Keck/Two Tickets For...

It took about 40 minutes for us to wait in line to meet Nicotero, but it was absolutely worth it. As we introduced ourselves to Nicotero and shook his hand, he did a double take at Sarah and said, "Haven't we met before?" Happily taken aback, we explained to Nicotero that we had never met him before, to which he replied, "Well then you look just like someone I know," then added that Sarah, "Has a nice face." Needless to say that made Sarah glow for the rest of the day!

When it came time for his autograph, I handed Nicotero my personal Hostel DVD I've owned since it originally came out on home video. He instinctively took the cover out of the jewel case and signed it, whereas I had completely been expecting him to just sign the plastic on the outside. So now I have my autographed copy of Hostel proudly on display on our movie shelf.

Our Greg Nicotero autographed copy of
Eli Roth's Hostel.

Another neat part about getting Nicotero's autograph, as we waited in line we got to check out some of his work from the show. He had some zombie faces on display, along with the rack of human ribs the Terminus cannibals had been grilling in the penultimate episode of Season 4. We grabbed some pics of those to share with y'all!

A few examples of zombie makeup masks Nicotero routinely makes for The Walking Dead. Two lucky fans with Greg Nicotero VIP passes even got to take one home after he had signed it for them!

Photo by Sarah Keck/Two Tickets For...

Closer shot of a traditional looking zombie makeup

Photo by Sarah Keck/Two Tickets For...

A closer look at a zombie that appears to have moss growing on its face.

Photo by Sarah Keck/Two Tickets For...

Andrew sampling the cooking of the Terminus crew. Nicotero brought this ribcage that was used in the second-to-last
episode of The Walking Dead Season 4 when some of the characters first arrived at Terminus.

Photo by Sarah Keck/Two Tickets For...

- While waiting in line for Nicotero, since we had some time to kill, Sarah went off and took some pictures of other stars from The Walking Dead. Funny enough, taking pictures like Sarah did was against the rules at Walker Stalker Con, but we didn't know this until well after the fact! So if anyone from Walker Stalker Con is reading this, we apologize! Please don't ban us from future events!

Sarah's private eye shot of Scott Wilson, a.k.a. The Walking Dead's Hershel Greene!

Photo by Sarah Keck/Two Tickets For...

Sarah's less sneaky shot of Laurie Holden, a.k.a. The Walking Dead's Andrea. Her shot was easier to get because her autograph booth was right next to Greg Nicotero's.

Photo by Sarah Keck/Two Tickets For...

- Last but not least, even though Walker Stalker Con is primarily focused on The Walking Dead, as we mentioned in our intro it's also a horror/sci-fi convention. So along with the zombie focus, there were plenty of general horror film and sci-fi vendors. While we didn't end up buying any zombie-related items from any vendors, we did buy some Star Wars stuff that we saw and just HAD to have - a print of one of the original Star Wars: Episode IV posters, and a 12x16 print of a charcoal-sketched probe droid from Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back. We absolutely LOVE these additions to our household!

A Star Wars poster that will be going in our movie room.

A probe droid charcoal-sketch print. Sarah saw it
and immediately fell in love with it.

A: And with that we conclude our coverage of our trip to Walker Stalker Con Atlanta 2014! We had a blast attending the convention and we really enjoyed recapping our exploits on the blog for you guys to read. We hope you enjoyed it even a fraction as much as we did. Hopefully Sarah and I will get the chance to attend not just another Walker Stalker Con, but Atlanta's annual Dragon Con and maybe someday even the grand-daddy of them all, San Diego Comic Con. If and when we do, we'll definitely share those exploits as well.

In the meantime, if you missed any of our older coverage from this week regarding the different panels we attended, you can find links to those below. We'd also love for you to share any stories you might have about attending any conventions! Share stories, photos, funny things that happened, whatever you'd like! We'd love to share in the fandom with you! And as always, thank you for reading!

More Coverage from Two Tickets For…'s Trip to Walker Stalker Con:
 - Walker Stalker Con Introduction
 - Greg Nicotero Panel, Part 1
 - Greg Nicotero Panel, Part 2
 - Andrew Lincoln & Norman Reedus Panel
 - Michael Cudlitz, Josh McDermitt, Christian Serratos Panel

Photo Courtesies: Walker Stalker Con, SyFy

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