I have to admit that when I first heard Eyecon was sponsoring a Vampire Diaries weekend I thought it might not be for me. How much could they offer us as far as content and access to the talent? Then I read that Ian Somerhalder would be donating whatever proceeds he made from the weekend to his IS Foundation, a cause I support and admire. I am so glad I decided to take a chance to experience what there was to be offered.
For those of you who are not familiar with The Vampire Diaries (TVD), it is a show that airs on the CW network on Thursday nights at 8 PM and is in its second season. The show has developed quite the cult following due to the supernatural content, excellent writing, and dedicated, talented actors. TVD has the Internet abuzz with fan sites, fan fiction, and people thirsting for any information on their favorite stars. It reminds me so much of the buzz shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Charmed generated during their runs.
The story revolves around two brothers, Damon and Stephan Salvadore played by Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesely. They are vampires that were turned centuries ago who have returned to their hometown of Mystic Falls. Stephan has returned in search of a normal life while Damon just wants to find his old love, Catherine but also enjoys antagonizing his brother in the process. Of course there is a love triangle between the brothers, werewolves, witches, and lots of fun stuff going on each week to keep everyone coming back for more.
As I stated, I was worried it would be more about the teen fans and less about interaction. To my surprise, there were really interesting question and answer sessions, fun photo ops, and autograph signings to keep me busy. The question and answer sessions were by far my favorite part of the weekend. I got to learn so much, plus you really got to see the personalities of the cast shine through.
As one would expect, Ian Somerhalder was passionate about world issues but his sense of humor was the most refreshing part of his answers. Whatever money he made from events went directly to the IS Foundation and there were a few items to bid on after his Q&A session that generated quite a frenzy as well as much needed funds to help the cause. During the interview he talked about how social media is a great way to reach out to others to help support causes near and dear to our hearts. He also discussed how he would like to travel back in time to meet Abraham Lincoln, hang out with Carey Grant and Marylin Monroe. He also bragged about how he makes the very best pancakes on the planet when asked whether he prefers pancakes or waffles for breakfast.
Ian kept noting that he was amazed at how much energy he could feel in the room. Truly there was a feeling of admiration and a connection between everyone that was absolutely due to the collective passion for the IS Foundation. I encourage you to visit www.ISFoundation.com to see what all the fuss is about. There is something to ignite every one’s charitable side there.
When Paul Wesley arrived for his Q&A session, he had been shooting scenes until 5:30 AM but was charming and funny. He said that he would like to explore his characters dark side in Season 3. He also discussed how easy it is to get involved with the characters in The Vampire Diaries because he really does care about the story and the people involved in telling it with him. He commended Ian for his foundation work and how he uses social media to reach the fans. Paul also said that he enjoys having his twitter account because he enjoys riffing with his fellow cast members.
Paul explained how the blood used on the show has evolved into something that actually doesn’t make them sick to their stomachs. It is now made of agave syrup and food coloring with other artificial ingredients but the first few versions tasted horrible. He also told us how the fangs they use on the show needed to be made longer because in the first season they had to actually open their mouths wide to show them and then you always knew when they were going to bite someone. The longer fangs allow them to catch the viewer off guard a bit.
When it came time for Michael Trevino and Steven R. McQueen to have their question & answer time, they were given the stage together. It became obvious as soon as they got there, that this was done because they both have a similar sense of humor and play off of each other very well. Steven joked that Michael was his pet wolf and was even petting him at one point. It was nice to see how well they get along in real life, considering that their characters have been at odds pretty much since season one. Lots of good natured teasing went on about each of their Disney movies and who would be able to take who in a fight (characters of course).
The obvious question for Steven was, of course, if he ever gets compared to his grandfather. He told us that since he plays different roles from the ones his grandfather normally played, it doesn’t really happen that often. When asked if he would ever play his grandfather in a movie about his life, he expressed a desire to direct such a movie if it ever came about. He also joked about trying to sing like his brother, Jessarae, but said he was told he should stick to acting. He was very welcoming to the fans and said that the energy he feels from them is the most rewarding part of his job. He also admitted to being a huge comic book fan, which got an enthusiastic response of approval from the audience.
Mike Trevino was a bit more quiet but definitely shares a similar sense of humor with Steven. When asked about his transformation scenes, which are very intense, he said he had to go to some very dark places to prepare for them. He also feels that in season one, his character was less likable but in season two, Tyler shows more of his humanity and his struggles make him easier to sympathize with.
We were also treated to a Q&A session with Robert Pralgo, who played Mayor Lockwood in season one. Although his time on the show was short, he spoke very highly of his fellow cast members, the writers, and everyone involved with The Vampire Diaries. One of the funny stories he shared was that Mayor Lockwood did not have a first name at first but the actress who plays his wife, Susan Walters, decided to add-lib and call him Charles in one scene. Later on the writers decided to give him the first name Richard, since his character was such a “dick.” Robert is currently working on a prequel to The Vampire Diaries which will be in the form of a web series. He discussed the importance of constantly working in the business no matter what medium due to the changing environment of the entertainment industry.
I would also like to point out that the staff at Eyecon was amazing. Extremely helpful, friendly, and accommodating at all times. We were always informed and entertained, especially by Joshua Reid-Davis who was our MC/host for the weekend. I joked that he had more wardrobe changes than Cher but it was hot up there on the stage, especially around all that super talent. Thank you all for such an amazing experience.
As I said before, the one common factor in all the actors was their sense of humor and spirit. It was so nice to see that side of them since the show normally deals with heavy drama. On Saturday night, they even hung out to see Steven’s brother, Jessarae, perform and were just as friendly as could be. We were also treated to the addition of Candice Accola and Matthew W. Davis who came to support Steven’s brother that evening. Candice is absolutely stunning in person as well as extremely gracious. Matthew was just as gracious with fans and could not have been nicer to us all. I would absolutely do it again as well as recommend it to any fan. Check out Eyecon online to find out what they will be doing and where. Worth it for any true fan.
I also encourage you to watch The Vampire Diaries on the CW, Thursday nights at 8PM. Things are always heating up plus they really keep you on the edge of your seat. Make sure you look into all of the amazing things going on at the Ian Somerhalder Foundation as well ( www.ISFoundation.com ). There truly is something to satisfy every one’s passions and most importantly, lots to learn. Together we can change the world.