Been beyond swamped since getting back from Comic-Con, so I haven't had the chance to post about this until now. The Escape event was incredible - a true obstacle course rather than merely a horror maze, highly physical and filled with proper fitness challenges. It was also not incredibly safe, which was a good part of why it was so much fun IMHO. Of course that means that should it return in 2013 it will probably be fairly sanitized - after the lawyers get done with it - and that would be a damn shame. (I haven't heard of any fallout yet but I'm sure there will be some eventually - someone will wind up with tetanus or something, and they'll see an opportunity for quick cash. It's a sad but true reality in today's culture.)
Despite my earliest Facebook post I wound up in Zone 3, which turned out to be the best of what I saw (I walked most of the course at the end of the night and I think I saw maybe 16 zones or so, out of what I believe was 18). My zone was small, consisting of two sets of chain link fences laid on their sides over low barricades (about 3 feet off bare pavement), and more barricades in-between, arranged to form an abrupt and confined maze of sorts. This is where we walkers were stationed (well, all but one of us, who positioned herself on top of the first chain link fence so she could freak out folks who crawled under - and that, of course, was the point).
Survivors/Runners were directed to crawl under the chain link fences while avoiding us. At their orientation they had been warned that the infection was spread by touch, and that everyone would be tested at the end of the course. Separately, we were told that the infection was actually Tide patted onto the fingers and palms of some walkers, and that a black light would be used at the end of the course to determine which survivors/runners had been infected (I later learned from several survivors that the infected were handed a cap gun and given the option to "do the right thing").
The walkers were also told that some of us were "safe" and positioned for purposes other than to spread infection. This was the point of our particular zone. We couldn't infect anyone but the runners didn't know that, and as they came through we were supposed to freak them out as much as possible so they would rush into Zone 4 without paying attention. Zone 4 was decidedly un-safe, featuring lots of "Tided" zombies and a few ambush points.
We started with five walkers in my zone but wound up with only two by the end (myself and the girl perched on top of the first fence). Apparently I was doing well enough at freaking folks out that the crew felt the other walkers were better placed in other zones, in particular Zone 1 (the freeway), where Crafty_Steve was stationed (his job was to happily munch on the entrails of some actress hired for the evening, which was apparently tons of fun but unfortunately off to the side and mostly decorative).
The makeup crew were amazing and I initially thought the highlight of my evening was going to be meeting SFX genius/executive producer Greg Nicotero (and it's still up there). Turns out, however, that I was personally made up by none other than Joe Giles
(the Windshield Walker
from "Triggerfinger") and Carl Cunningham
(aka the Well Walker
from "Cherokee Rose"). We had a great chat while they were transforming me into the undead, and they explained that many of the most complex walkers on the show are actually SFX crew members. It only makes sense - they know the effects better than anyone and can present them for maximum impact on screen.
Folks who read my Facebook posts probably already saw that I made the G4 floor report about the event - four times, in fact - and I'm all over YouTube as well. This is because we were in the very first run of the course (Thursday night), and the first folks brought through were media and VIPs - including but not limited to Robert Kirkman (creator of the comic), Greg Mazarra (executive producer of the TV show), and of course Candace Bailey, Nando Velasquez, and their crew from Attack of the Show. I couldn't break character to wave or anything, and apparently I was unrecognizable enough that Nando didn't have a clue I was me, even though I lunged within a foot of he and Candace (Nando and I met at WonderCon earlier this year and have stayed in contact since.)
I've got a ton of pics, including a bunch of me as a walker, which I'll be posting to Facebook later this morning. Subscribers will be able to see them as well, so you won't have to be my friend there to enjoy the shots.
UPDATE: Pics are live.