Last night, photo sales for Walker Stalker Con London went on sale. And it garnered interest for all the wrong reasons.
This year’s prices have risen by £20-£40, with each photo averaging around £100. Yes, that’s £100 for one photo with one actor at an event you’ve already paid £80 to get in to, and that’s not even considering travel and accommodation costs.
And it showed too: last year, photo ops were sold out for the majority of the main guests in less than ten minutes. This year, there’s tickets available for all guests bar the two big sellers Norman Reedus and Jeffrey Dean Morgan now, almost a full twenty four hours later.
Here’s a comparison of last year’s prices versus this year’s:
It’s extortionate. It is taking advantage of people wanting to meet those they admire, and it is wrong.
Before you state that these are the prices set by the actor’s agents and that there’s nothing one can do about that (which is the excuse FanFest have used themselves), these same guests are doing other cons for as little as £25.
Arguments could be made that it’s down to location: obviously London is a more expensive venue and is just generally a more expensive city to visit or live in. Still, Wales Comic Con will be attracting 10,000 people, compared to Walker Stalker Con’s 7000-9000.
But I think it’s the event, or the agents cashing in on an event where they a have guaranteed audience. If it’s the event planners, the agents should be taking a stand, and visa versa.
Next March will be the third WSC London I will be attending, and I personally have witnessed the increase in prices. In it’s first year in 2016, a photo op with the so called “Abraham’s Army”, consisting of three main cast actors cost £100 in total, and now that’s the price for one glossy print of you standing next to a singular person.
I enjoy conventions. I am all for paying to meet actors I love, who have taken time out of their busy schedules to come to what must be at times an overwhelming event for a day or two. These celebrity guests come from all over the world to gather and meet the people who support them. I think they deserve the money – it must be hugely demanding to be on form for days in a row meeting stranger after stranger who you mean so much to and trying to make it a worthwhile experience for them.
I also understand that prices have to be set higher for larger guests to limit numbers and not cause chaos. I have no issue with paying to meet them. It’s when the price is inflated so obviously year after year internally in one organisation that I have issues with.
Can the actors actually enjoy their weekends knowing this? Knowing that they are taking this much money from people who look up to them and respect them, and most likely will not have that money to throw around? These celebrity guests are the one with money, and can they be comfortable knowing that
Fans are the ones that make shows. Without them, shows would collapse and crumble – and I’m not being idealistic here, television series literally need the viewers in order to keep running the show. And with the Walking Dead, which is a show that has been running for almost eight years, these are really dedicated fans who want to interact with these actors who have become a part of their life.
Walker Stalker Con has always been an amazing time of year for me. It’s where I’ve made so many memories, been able to converse with actors I admire face to face, meet amazing friends I wouldn’t have met otherwise and have an absolute escape of a weekend into an environment where everyone has a common interest. It’s unlike anything else.
But organisers taking advantage of that is wrong. And if this extortion continues for it’s fourth year, then I won’t be going. Because I cannot justify paying a week’s wages to meet someone off television for two and a half seconds.
Celeb Photo Ops, Walker Stalker Con, FanFest or it’s creator James Frazier have yet to make official comments about this increase. I will update if/ when they do.
Price comparison from 2017-2018 by @HLMhannah