The Day the horror died. - How far is too far?
I decided to be yet another asshole who puts my two cents in about the whole 10$ meet & greet scandal that happened this past weekend at HorrorHound.
Quickly for those of you who have been living underneath a rock, it appears that actress Alanna Masterson from The Walking Dead was a guest at this month's HorrorHound weekend in Ohio and pissed off pretty much 99% of the horror community when this photo was snapped of how much she was charging along with the mind blowing request of asking 10$ just to come up and say hi.
Whoa now lady, better get off that high horse there.
It appears Ms. Masterson wasn't the only Walking Dead cast member that was doing this, but her table was the one where the famous photo above was snapped, along with this one which pretty much showed how people felt about it.
Fans in the horror community were outraged by this and said it was the final nail in the coffin for horror conventions. As of lately the topic of the good old days with conventions has been brought up numerous times. Lots of people have been saying they miss the smaller scale shows back when guests charged lower prices or didn't charge at all. As of lately conventions have blown up like there's no tomorrow. Now these things have been going on since the mid 1980's. Over the years shows have come and gone but in the last fifteen years or so they have really taken off. Between the internet and independent film making, magazines, as well as sequels, and fans of all ages flocking to these shows, more and more have popped up. My first convention was back in 2006 at Rock & Shock and I legit had zero idea what I was doing. I still remember everything as if it was yesterday. My mind was blown over the idea of all these actors who appeared in films I grew up watching there in the flesh. For between 10 to 20$ you could meet them, get an autograph, and chat with them. In fact I remember walking by actress Leslie Easterbrook who called me and my friend over and insisted on snapping photo for free since she over heard us talking to Sid Haig. From that moment onward I was hooked and began attending as many conventions as I could every year. To me this was Disney world. For one weekend you could meet and talk to actors from some of your favorite films, snap photos with them, get their autograph, go to the vendor room which had rare merchandise, lobby cards, bootlegs, tapes, prints, posters, toys, and original artwork. On top of that you got to meet fellow fans who shared the same passion as you. Where else could you have a few beers, show off horror tattoos, and argue over running zombies Vs. slow zombies? I have attended shows such as Rock & Shock, Monster Mania, Chiller, Spooky Empire, Terror Con, and of course HorrorHound.
HorrorHound has been my favorite since I've been helping staff the show on and off since 2010. The people behind that show are amazing and good friends of mine and I've always had a blast every weekend I go. Sadly this past show I wasn't able to make it (I was screaming on the inside the entire time over Zach Galligan being there) yet my friends kept me updated over the craziness as well as following the HorrorHound Facebook page. I was floored when the Walking Dead meet and greet photo popped up.
And I'll admit, I was more than a little pissed off.
I've staffed the March shows before and I gotta tell you, it's craziness. In fact, I've even said I rather work the September shows rather than the March ones since the spring season means Walking Dead season. Due to the large masses of fans, they had to move across the street to the convention center, and lines have been out the door. I always gotta hand it to the staff and crew behind the show for doing the best they can, but it's mind blowing to see how much the show has changed. Is this a good or a bad thing? I'm neutral. I remember the last spring/March show I worked in 2011 before The Walking Dead really truly blew up. It was still held at the hotel (something about it being held at the hotel I've always been a fan of. Maybe because it's so cozy, but I understand why they changed it to a bigger venue. I even met Norman at this show to get a Boondock Saints poster signed for my sister and husband. The lines weren't bad at all, and honestly I don't have one mean thing to say about Norman. Nice enough guy, and from what I heard he's great with his fans.
Maybe it's because I'm not a fan of the show. I stopped watching it around last year. I find it highly overrated, and the characters unlikeable. I went into thinking the show was going to be some kind of sweeping Stephen King epic, and instead it just seemed to go rather stale quickly. Nothing against the show at all. I watched for the effects, and enjoyed myself, but let's say for this post I'll set aside the fact I'm not a fan. Trust me, I have spent STUPID amounts of money at conventions. I get it. If you are a true blood fan, money no matter how tight really isn't an option. Hell, if they said Waxwork photo op with the full cast I would toss them my debit card without even a second to think.
In fact a few years back I spent 200$ to get a photo with the two Supernatural brothers. (More for Jensen since I'm a massive My Bloody Valentine fan.) I remember working a Supernatural fan and truly hating it. I love the first five seasons, but watching all these girls go nuts was truly unsettling. Trust me, I'm a huge fan girl (Galligan/Raimi) but I sorta found the whole thing kinda sad. Nevertheless, I saw tickets were selling out, I had flown out to Chicago to visit a friend where the show was being held, and really wasn't enjoying staffing it. I at the time didn't have student loans, or any big bills and had brought a pretty good chunk of change with me on this trip. I decided to say fuck it, and slapped down my cash and got a pretty epic photo. Was it worth 200$ Fuck no! But still, I enjoyed myself and could afford it. My same friend who lives in Chicago asked if I would ever go to the convention again and meet them and I said no. Hell, they have even done shows in Boston and I have no interest. I met them once, spent my money, and that's that. So mind you, I have spent my money like a total asshole before so I really can't judge these fans for slapping their money down.
In fact I once even defended to a friend who felt a convention guest I'm a huge fan of overcharged me and I simply said I didn't need to explain myself. I traveled knowing I was going to spend the money, and it made me feel great getting the autographs. It's my money, I can do what I want with it. I have been known in the past to be called Stacy Wallbucks since I always bring a fair amount of money with me to shows. I've always been a good saver, take care of my bills first, but when I can afford to attend these, I want to have a good time. I always save up extra money, and as of the last few years the list of people I've wanted to meet has gotten smaller and smaller. In fact there are only a small handful of people I would still dish out the cash to meet. In the beginning I was that person that just needed an 8X10 autograph of an actor. Now I only do that if I'm a big fan. In fact I've gotten more creative over the years with getting items signed by the entire cast, or having them sign VHS tapes or laserdiscs. It's pretty much either if your on that very small list of epic people I've still yet to meet (John D LeMay or Sam Raimi.), a cast member I'm having sign an item that's been signed by other cast members (my Freddy sneakers), or a person I've met person but I'm a huge fan of and just have to either have them sign something new or say hi (Galligan). I really only go to these things now just to have fun. I mostly walk around, hunt for tapes, artwork, or bootlegs at the vendor rooms, and get drunk catching up with friends I mostly just see at these shows.
In fact I thank conventions since I've met so many amazing people over the years due to shows.
I understand it wasn't this actress who made up the high prices (even tho I do believe they might of had something to say in it.) but it's mind blowing honestly for the 10$ meet and greet. I disagree with the 50-100$ price for just a photo and autograph. I think it's over priced. I mean maybe if you were Norman or even the lead (the sheriff) from the show maybe due to the long times and demand for this person's name. But for an actress who's just been on less than two seasons? Sad…
I understand their agents control this, and they can't just "work" for free since they are having an appearance and many say they need to make back the money on the travel and hotel stay. Still, how can you explain this weekend's guests AJ Bowen and Pat Healy not charging at all? In fact from what I heard if you brought your own item it was fee as well as a photo taken with them. If you bought a photo or poster at their table it was just 10$. Really? I guess these guys were beyond easy going and a blast to have around, starting they were here to meet their fans. That they wouldn't be anywhere without their fans. Director Adam Green does the same thing. I attended the Hatchet III screening a few years back in Boston and the whole cast signed autographs outside for free (including actor Joel David Moore from Avatar). I met Adam at last year's Rock & Shock and he signed my Hatchet blu-ray for free and even chatted with me for a bit and seemed touched I was such a fan from his home state. Years back at Monster Mania I met the Monster Squad cast (the kids) and all were so humbled to have met me they signed a mass photo for free.) People like this are legit.
Sid Haig has even stated that even tho he's been doing the horror convention circuit for years, he will NEVER raise his prices no matter what. I'm not saying everything should be free, but just fucking keep the prices between 10 and 20$. A few HorrorHound shows ago I overheard two actors from a Friday the 13th film. These two guys are out of work actors who have a regular 9-5 job like the rest of us, and I heard them asking each other if they made decent money. One of them shrugged and said not really but they had fun, and loved meeting the fans. People like this I don't mind giving 10-20$ for at all.
The whole extra for a selfie thing makes me want to screen as well as extra for a photo being taken at the table because of photo ops. I agree, charge extras for photo ops. Is it overrated? Eh, sorta. I've gotten a few done in the past and really liked how they turned out. + Having a glossy nice professional photo of you and that actor always looks great in a frame. But to over charge because they are doing that? Bullshit. Somebody wants to pay extra that's fine but to charge a regular Joe that just wants to snap a quick photo at the table. Horrible.
In fact I really like how they are trying to jazz up photo ops with people appearing in original makeup or have props. (The Mad Monster Evil Ed one I'm drooling over.) I think this sorta makes it worth it in the end.
But 10 fucking dollars just to walk over, say you are a fan and not even snap a photo. Hell I could even defend saying well you did take a photo…10$ seems worth it. But just to walk over and say hi? I feel this actress needs a slice of humble pie. You wouldn't be anywhere without your fans, ANYWHERE. I'm sure hard core Walking Dead fans did in fact meet her and the others who were doing this, but from what I saw in photo, her line stayed empty most of the weekend. In fact, I heard several posters on Facebook say mixed things about even meeting her. One person that dropped serious cash getting an autograph and photo with her said it was like pulling teeth to meet her. I understand people have off days and moments, but if you are charging that much money…
See, he gets it.
It's a double edge sword, and really sad to see this dishearten so many horror fans that now don't want to attend shows anymore. Like anything else it's a business. I know HorrorHound had nothing to do with this, and it was the agent and actress. Sean Clark (agent of Norman) even went on record saying they have kept their set prices and would never charge for him just to talk to a fan. From what I saw the guy is legit and goes above and beyond for his fans. Another person I heard was Elijah Wood who is this huge actor. I guess he goes the extra mile for photo ops and always makes it a fun meeting. Do I think his prices are crazy? Eh, I can't judge. I just feel that if you charge 50$ for Robert Englund it's worth it. First of all he's an icon, second he talks, and talks, and talks with you. That's why his line is so long. I mean I met him twice and he was amazing both times. In fact the last time I met him we talked about 976 Evil 2 for a good solid ten minutes. He also signs skin (tattoos for free which I think is beyond decent, in fact it makes sense.) People should be honored or at least humbled. I meet Zach Galligan several times with piles of stuff and he always gives me a big break, talks my ear off, and snaps as many photos as I want. Still, people always have mixed stories depending on the person. If you are a huge fan, some prices are worth it. I draw the line at 50$ truly depending on the person. I don't think it's taking advantage but somebody like Englund or Bruce Campbell…they earned the right. If you are an asshole, then your an asshole.
To quote Rob Zombie "I remember everyone I ever met at a convention. I remember who was nice, and who was an asshole. For that guest, the encounter lasts a few minutes, and more than likely that person forgets as soon as the fan walks away. For that fan on the other hand, that meeting will stay in their mind forever. They want to meet this person or spend the money for a reason. They are a huge fan of whatever this person was in and more than likely look up to them. If the person is an asshole or cold, or takes advantage the fan will remember it forever and it will always put a sour taste in their mouths over it. Whenever they watch whatever this person was in or on…they will remember what an asshole they were."
Sounds good enough to meet.
Sadly these things are a business and thanks to The Walking Dead the whole convention business is getting a little out of control. Prices for almost everyone is going up, and assholes like this girl get away with it since fans keep coming back for more. It's sad since the people who run the convention get a bad name when they don't really have anything to do with it. It's the greeting actors and the people who represent them. If it was up to me, prices would stay at 10-20$. I mean I was charged 35 when I met Robert back in 08.
But as long as The Walking Dead guests keep coming, the shit will continue to hit the fan and more and more fans will get pissed off. This summer I'm attempting to attend a Walker Stalker convention (I heard these conventions are shit shows, they brought fucking babies as a guest once who appeared on the show. Babies…fucking babies. And a horse that was seen as an extra.) Crazy you say? Yep. I'm going for several different reasons but NONE are for the Walking Dead. In fact, I'll be busy watching and laughing as the shit hits the fan.
So my final thoughts?
This lady is a huge bitch as is her agent for being such assholes. It isn't the show's fault, but sadly people are getting fed up. If you wanna spend major cash if you are a big enough fan, go for it. But sadly I feel this is just going to keep getting worse and worse and us fans will continue talking about the good old days. Props to the actors to keep set prices or sign for free. Those are the real down the earth guys who deserve respect. As for these stars on this show that think they are rock stars. They need a slice of humble pie.