GRIFFIN, Ga. - This season of ‘The Walking Dead’ is turning into arguable the best one and even better is the news the shows has been renewed for a seventh season. And the diehard fans are being joined every week with new fans that are catching up on the AMC series.
Even though last season, Rick, Carl, Daryl, Glenn, Maggie, and Michonne headed closer to Washington, D.C., the filming of the show continued in Georgia, as it has since day one. The show continues to be one of the crown jewels of the filming industry in the state and draws scores of fans to checkout places portrayed on the show like King County, Woodbury, and now Alexandria. Even Grady Memorial Hospital and the Cobb Energy Center, which filled in for the CDC headquarters in season one, have seen out-of-town fans snapping pictures. But the little town of Senoia, located about 50 miles southwest of the heart of Atlanta, that is Walker Stalker central.
Walker Stalkers, the affectionate name given to fans that just cannot wait until Sunday night to view a piece of the action and even glimpse their favorite star, have given the small town a boon. The community has even opened specialized shops have been opened like The Woodbury Shoppe and even the Walking Dead Museum to capitalize on the fandom. Buses, ferrying Walker Stalkers from one location seen in the show to another, pass through the town daily, sometimes hourly.
About 20 miles east of Senoia, in the city of Griffin, Mark Rosenthal, who could be called the ultimate fan, is more than happy to show off his hundreds of trophies, photos and other memorabilia covering the walls and counter space in his office. Rosenthal wrote the book, well, website and Facebook page on being a Walker Stalker. MarksWalkerStalkers.com and his “Walking Dead Fans.” Facebook page offer tips and recent sightings related to all things Walking Dead. This season has had a lot of Griffin sightings.
“Our main goal is to go out and follow clues to know where to sit to try to get a photo,” Rosenthal said. “Right now, the ‘Do Not Mow’ sign, that’s a clue that they are going to be walking by scene. Anywhere you see ‘Do Not Mow’ you know they are going to be walking by.”
Rosenthal offered up several tips for those who are just starting their Walker Stalker phase of their fandom:
Be nice: An autograph or selfie is a reward for good behavior. The Golden Rule is the best rule! “If you just behave, a lot of times they’ll stop,” Rosenthal said.
Keep the phone holstered: The Walking Dead stars love their fans. Anyone who has been to one of the conventions will tell you that. They will be more than willing to take a selfie or pose for a photo with you, but the decorum is to ask first.
Remember to double tap: The phone that is… Once you do get your chance, remember to take two in a row because time is of the essence and you won’t have time to check to make sure you got it.
Obey the law: What would Rick Grimes do? He’d obey the law! So, don’t hassle the security guard at the set, don’t stand somewhere where you are not supposed to stand, and don’t run out into traffic. Endangering your (or someone else’s) safety and freedom is not worth it. “If you go out there acting like a fool and do not do what they tell you to do, they are going to tell them not to stop for you,” Rosenthal said.
Prepare to stand around for hours: Sometimes filming lasts the entire day and even into the night. Your favorite stars might be hanging around the set longer than they even want.
Be prepared for changes in the weather: Georgia weather varies from hot and humid, when filming first begins, to cold and rainy, when filming generally wraps up. Be prepared for the weather to change. You also might want to have a local weather app like the FOX 5 Storm Team app to keep you updated. And don’t forget the sunscreen!
Filming locations aren’t always the best locations: Some Walker Stalkers will hangout near places where their favorite stars were spotted buying things or eating. A group of fans are known to frequent a gas station down the road from the filming because Norman Reedus has stopped for cigarettes there in the past. Fan sites will have places mapped out for you.
The stars aren’t always in front of the camera: Diehard fans will just as easily appreciate a picture with Scott Gimple, the current show runner, or Greg Nicotero, who oversees the makeup and special effects in the show.
You will make fast friends: A lot of Walker Stalkers have struck up long-lasting friendships from just one day meeting up to get a glimpse of the stars.
Above all remember to have fun!
Get more "The Walking Dead" insights from Mark Rosenthal on his website by click here.
BONUS: Take a brief tour of Mark Rosenthal's office as he shows off his hundred of photos from 'The Walking Dead'.