On June 13th – 15th, Boston fans of AMC’s The Walking Dead got a hell of a treat when Walker Stalker Con came to the area. You may be asking yourself, “this was, like, almost two months ago, why the fuck is he talking about it now?!?” The answer is simple. Walker-Stalker Con is an ongoing convention that you can still catch even if you didn’t attend the one in Boston (the next one is in Atlanta from October 17th-19th). Other reasons include the fact that writing is a hobby at the moment, working a forty hour work week means that I get to write maybe one paragraph every two hours, and fuck you.
Many of the most popular actors, including Steven Yeun and Lauren Cohen, made an appearance to chat with the public and autograph anything that’s not overly creepy (pictures and DVDs, yes; stolen articles of clothing sprayed with specific colognes or perfume to smell like a specific actor, no). On top of this, it’s the 15 anniversary of The Boondock Saints and who else but Sean Patrick Flannery, David Della Rocca, and
Norman Reedus Brian Mahoney were going to be there! Being a fan of The Boondock Saints, and horror in general, I just had to go!
But I didn’t want to spend any money…
But, ho! I write for a website that puts in a honest effort to bring fans and filmmakers closer together by conducting interviews and reporting on the latest Hollywood bullshit! I mean, news. Hollywood news. Surely they could get me in via some super special media badge, right? The answer is a resounding YES! The Slack Jaw Punks delivered!
“But you have to write an article covering the convention.”
Bub made sure that I understood that since I was a writer, representing their website, at an official event, I’d have to actually do some work to earn my badge. He did this using a plethora of creative curses requiring me to run to Urban Dictionary to figure them out, as well as racial slurs that I don’t believe have been used since the mid 1800s. But in the nicest way possible.
I figured that since I have to report something for the site, and some of you may one day become a journalist for something or other (if it’s porn, email me), so why not give a behind the scenes look at how I (read: asshole with a special badge) covered Walker Stalker Con? Sit back dear reader, this is…
THE DOS AND DON’TS OF ATTENDING THE CONVENTION AS MEDIA
Every media outlet has their own way to report what’s going on. Each individual has their own unique approach to reporting that resonates with their readers. In the end, the personality of the reporter doesn’t matter nearly as much as the content being reported. You might be the suavest motherfucker on planet earth, but if you’re not talking about tentacle fucking at a hentai convention, no one’s going to give a shit. You have to give your audience what they want.
DO: Reason out ahead of time what you’re objective is and plan out the best way to approach it in a way that will interest your readers.
DON’T: Drink all night and lose your notes.
Look, this isn’t my first time dancing at this party (or anal with a friend’s sister, whatever euphemism the kids are using these days); I’ve gone to plenty of Cons and wrote plenty of shit about what I’ve seen. I’m just, you know, a bit rusty.
Before going into the convention, I broke rule number one right away. All the notes I made in preparation for the day were missing, meaning I had to wing it. I’m a clever guy…at least I think I’m a clever guy…so this didn’t seem like a huge hurdle to overcome. Would it be a little awkward coming up with topics and questions on the fly? Yes, but it’s not like I had some huge hinderance limiting my mental capacity.
Interview 1 – Melissa Hutchison
Walking into the first of two designated areas of the Wyatt hotel was a treat. The noise was low, the lights were dim, and everyone and their mother (quite literally) were trying to get autographs from Sean Patrick Flannery, making my first round of the floor an easy experience. This area was mainly reserved for artists showcasing their work. I can’t recall much due to the fact that everything was spinning, but I do remember fantastic busts of the undead, detailed prints of horror art, and a bouncy castle thing where I think you could shoot zombies. I’m pretty sure that’s what it was, though I didn’t stay in the area long since there was some dude getting himself drawn as a zombie that seemed to recognize me, even though I didn’t have the slightest clue who the hell he was. He gave a subdued wave, his face cheery even as mine screwed itself into a look of “who the fuck is this guy and why is he still staring at me?!?”
While I slink away from the Eye of Sauron that’s following me, I get a good idea of where the celebrities are going to be. Most booths are empty since Friday is a work day and, like most of us, celebrities can’t just take off early to attend a convention. At least, that’s what I’m guessing. It would be a dick move to forgo fan interaction to watch a censored version of Goodfellas in your hotel room, but I’m giving everyone I didn’t see on Friday the benefit of the doubt.
My first choice was someone whose face I recognized, yet the name didn’t ring a bell. Who the fuck was Meaghan Hutchinson? I whipped out my phone and looked up who she was on IMDB, but there was no mention of her. Was she so humble that she’s gone unlisted all this time? Is she an easter egg of sorts that only the hardcore of hardcore fans would recognize? Nope, I’m just an idiot. In my haze I read the name wrong. Feeling pretty stupid, I packed away my phone and spoke to Melissa Hutchinson, the actress who plays Clementine in Telltale’s The Walking Dead:
SJFB: How do you act like this (a little girl)? What’s your motivation? What do you draw from?
Melissa Hutchison: When I was developing the voice of the character for Clemintine, a lot of it is how I like to think I was as a child, sans the zombie apocalypse, obviously. Coming up with the voice is a mish mosh of things. As a voice actor, I’m constantly listening and cataloguing what I hear. Often times I listen to kids (switches to a kid’s voice) and how they talk and how they breath and how it’s different from an adult. (Normal voice) It’s funny, before Clemintine I’d do the voices of little boys more than little girls.
SJFB: Kinda like what they did on Rugrats…which is probably one of the most dated references I could make, but whatever. I’m tired.
MH: You know what’s sad? I got that reference and if you had mentioned anything recent, I’d say ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about dude’.
SJFB: What, you mean you don’t know about Ben 12, or 13…what the hell ‘Ben’ is it?
MH: (Laughs) Ben 28? Ben 400? What? Anyways…
SJFB: Yeah! Fuck Ben!
PR Person: Ben 10.
MH: Ben 10!
SJFB: I was close. I proved I could count. I’m a professional human being!
MH: But (my voice) couldn’t be something too cartoony because they auditioned real kids.
SJFB: Wait, are you telling me that you beat out little kids?
MH: I stomped them. (Laughs) Just kidding!
SJFB: Gotcha. I’m reporting that you pushed aside children, smashing their dreams, for all this.
MH: (Laughing) That’s what happened! You know, the thing with this game if you’ve played it, or if you know it, it’s based on the world of The Walking Dead…
SJFB: I’m a 29 year old male, of course I’ve played it!
MH: (Laughing) Of course you’ve played it!It’s really deep, and it’s tragic, and there’s a lot of pain and emotion involved. It’s easier using someone a little bit older who’s had more of that under her belt, unlike a 12 year old or an 8 year old kid, who I think would be a little harder to direct because they wouldn’t know how to put themselves into that mindframe.
SJFB: Have you ever let the content get to you? Some of the stuff in there is pretty rough.
MH: Oh yeah. There are definitely those scenes. For the most part, I’m able to say my lines during those horrible moments and snap in and out of character. One minute I’ll be like (playful laughter), and the next I’ll be crying. But there were really emotional moments during season 1 and season 2, and by the end of season 1, those were very real tears. Normally, I’d leave a session like, ‘Bye everyone! It was great working with you!’ But I was very, very bummed out that day. So it did affect me, and it still does.
SJFB: I’ve done a ton of voicework, but they never let me in the room with the other person. Do you get to work off the other actors, or does the director feed you the lines as, say, a 40 year old woman?
MH: Yeah, that’s exactly what it is. In season 2, it’s a little bit different of a set up. A lot of the actors have already recorded their lines and they’re able to play these lines through the headphones for me. But if not, which is also a huge chunk of the time, Julian, who’s our golden director god, line reads with me and he puts a lot of effort into acting with me to get a better result. It would be awesome if I could record with the other actors, but in video games it’s just not possible.