Page 1 of 2Once again, the photos from the convention in this report are courtesy of Julie from Carry On.
Day 2 of the Convention opened with Jim Michaels---or in keeping with Porncouver, Tabitha Susan. This was my first convention with anyone other than actors speaking, so I was eager to hear what types of things he'd talk about. Since he's a producer, he has a different perspective about the show and his role in it. Hearing him talk about everything from budget concerns for various shots to song choice piqued my interest greatly. It made me want to learn even more about how the show and how television in general is made from words on a page to the actual show I see on the screen. If anything, the rest of the convention really ran that way for me---making me thirst for more understanding of how it all works and why.
Jim doesn't view the show from the perspective of one character---instead he has to view the whole. He told us about trying to film a scene with a girl in the water for the episode “Like a Virgin,” and how it wasn't feasible due to the time of year. The water would be much too cold in November for that, after all! I don't know how cold Vancouver gets around that time of year, but for this Minnesotan, I can't imagine getting into the water for any reason at that time of the year! He also talked about having to handle the situation surrounding the birth of Thomas Padalecki and how “Operation Moose Drop” was forcing them to juggle schedules of shooting scenes and episodes.
But what really made his panel a delight was when Russ Hamilton, Kevin Parks, and Tara Larsen showed up to heckle him from the question lines. Apparently Jim had pulled a prank on Russ which left Russ with a pie in the face and now the clock was ticking for pay back. Russ said that they were at about 10 months and counting---so Jim's long overdue! Hearing them banter back and forth showed that what we see between Jared and Jensen in their interactions on and off screen carries throughout a lot of the behind the scenes individuals. Jim also told us that he had already known others that worked on Supernatural before he or they worked on the show---particularly Bob Singer, Phil Sgriccia, and Sebastian Roche. As we've all heard in any job search, it's who you know sometimes that gets you places!
Along with that, Jim told us that it's imperative that you work well with others on projects because it's likely that through them you'll get your next job. I think that's true for most careers---but it was interesting to hear it from a producer's perspective. In Jim's case, he had been working on Everybody Hates Chris before joining Supernatural---and that Bob Singer had offered to take him on as a producer for the show. We often hear from actors about how difficult auditions can be---and that's how they will often get into a role. Hearing it on the other side of things, it really seemed to be about networking and working your way through things. Jim admitted that he had started in other positions on other projects---such as VFX---within TV before becoming a producer.
I also found it hilarious when Jim described his first encounter with Russ, the first Supernatural crew he met, and thought that he was either going to end up in jail or have the best time of his life. So far, it would seem to be the latter, and when Jim went on to describe his connection to the fans of the show he included us in on that. It was nice to hear someone behind the scenes bring us in on that part of it, especially when he bragged about our loyalty to the show. He said that he's never seen any fanbase like ours. It really struck a chord in me to realize that what we consider to be the Supernatural Family really does translate between us the fans and those that make the show. It's really an awe-insipring thing to be a part of and was probably my biggest take away from his panel by far.
To lighten things up and bring some of the porn back to Porncouver, we had Rob Benedict aka Ski Glenwood, Matt Cohen aka Skippy Griffin, and Richard Speight Jr aka Cuddles Saxxon or as he became to be known in this one---“Bite Me Saxxon.” They spent most of the panel teasing and taunting one another in a raunchy banter----mostly at Rob's expense no less. It was a Matt vs. Rob face off and showdown on who would be better with the ladies and it was rip roaring fun. I laughed at how many times Rob managed to set things up---such as answering which Disney Princess he'd be with Tinkerbell and that his marine spirit animal is a shrimp---that would end up with the other two calling him tiny and wondering about his lack of self esteem. It got really crazy when a fan asked how Matt would see his character on the Supernatural novel covers---especially when he invited that fan on stage to pose him as they wished.
What I really love about Matt and Richard on stage is that they don't typically stay on stage. The way they range the room and interact with the crowd while doing so makes their appearances always a delight, and they had a ton of fun walking around near and around the audience while having fun ribbing each other and Rob. So often, the actors appearing tend to stay more or less on stage---which seems reasonable---but these two tend to tear that barrier down and make the audience more participatory rather than spectator. In terms of the Supernatural Family aspect, it shows that they want to be with us and have fun just as much as we'd like to see them there! The mutual thing really strikes me every time I attend one of these things and this was one great example of that.
If I thought that was a great moment, though, I wasn't ready for what was to come! After their hilarious panel ended there was a bit of a lull in the events. I was sitting in the panel room just waiting, trying to catch my second wind for the day after laughing and having so much fun. One of the other con attendees came to tell me that I must go to the lobby right that moment. There was someone super special out there that I must meet. They were right.
I rushed to the lobby and Robbie Thompson was standing there with a small group of fans. I've met Jared Padalecki three times now and Jensen Ackles twice and a few of the other con guests a couple times. I was never nervous meeting any of them. Meeting Robbie Thompson, however, I was a shaking leaf! I could feel myself tremble, and when I finally introduced myself I managed to muster the boldness I typically get at these cons to say, “Hi, I'm the one that wrote that profile.” He was very pleased by that and we had a very nice chat. He talked about how a lot of Charlie is really him and how he loved the idea of the Winchesters having a long lost little sister. It made me smile when he talked about having to dial back on some of the geek references. He really is a fan of genre like the rest of us, and sometimes he gets a bit carried away. The conversation was easy and genuine from start to finish, and having met him really made the convention worth the trip and money.
This is when the convention went from being a straightforward convention to being something extra special. I was standing in the lobby outside the panel room talking to a Supernatural writer---something I thought would never ever happen. Robbie Thompson was gracious enough to let anyone really start a conversation with him, and I found that he managed to put everyone at ease easily. He was friendly, warm, and a delight to converse with. Even when I wasn't chatting with him, I loved listening to him answer other people's questions. I could sense the longer we talked with him the more we made him feel comfortable with meeting us in person. It was a real sense of the meeting of the minds between one of the Supernatural writer and fans.
I could tell, as he talked about Charlie and how she came to be that he loved what he does on the show and telling stories. He told us that Sera Gamble had put a note on his script for “The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo,” that she wanted Felicia Day and it happened. He hadn't expected that casting but has been pleased to write for her as many times as he has. In fact, he said that she was there---as well as him---because Felicia had been filming his latest episode, 9.04. That made me smile and I told him that it'll be my “birthday” episode. My birthday is 9/4, after all! It's yet another thing to look forward to come the new season. A new Charlie episode, a new Robbie Thompson episode, and the number is my birthday!
Soon enough, though, it was time to go take our seats and get ready to hear Russ Hamilton aka Pinto Garcia speak. Again, what I loved about this panel is how different it was from an actor's. I love hearing actors talk about their craft, but I am really intrigued by the whole process of how a show is made. Supernatural is unique in many ways due to how many different locations they use and how many new ones they need to find. It's Russ's job to find places to do that. Listening to him talk about it here showed just how much he loves his job. He also brought in that family element by having his daughter, Paige, read the warning on his locations binder---though she said that she wouldn't call him the MovieGod as he commanded. The banter between the two was a delight and a treat.
Russ told us about how they will never ever film in some place that is unsafe for the cast and crew, and that there have been places that were difficult. He told us that his department---a 20 member group---are to scout out whatever the script calls for be it a warehouse or park or whatever and then bring back their photographs to the director for selections. Once that's done, Russ informed us that it's up to him to acquire all the licenses and documents that will be required for them to use the location for the duration of filming. One of the best locations Russ discussed was the search for the exterior of the MOL Bunker. He told us that Jerry Wanek wanted something a bit industrial underneath a bridge that would light well at night and Russ found the exact spot that fit the bill. This really interested me and eventually added an entire new layer of the show for me: the locations. Until now they'd largely been that background sensory that my mind picked upon but didn't focus on much. Hearing how passionate Russ is about what he does here (and later again on the Monday Tour) really made me want to sit up and pay attention when I watch the show for sure!
Russ then told us how close the Thursday group got to seeing the actual set on location that day. He said that he had made an ass of himself in the aisle of the bus to distract everyone so they wouldn't look over and see it. If they had, it would have been impossible to miss. He added in great gestures to demonstrate what he did and hinted to those of us on the Monday tour to ignore him and look around if he behaves that way on the Russ Bus. We'll hear more about Russ and everything his job entails in my Monday Tour report!
Next we were entertained by Mark Sheppard, Mark Pellegrino, and James Patrick Stuart---or Sketchy Lord Fiddleston, Frankie Longridge, and James Petted Stuart. What struck me about these three was how easily they fell into conversation with one another like old friends---and we were simply included in on it! Since each of them plays a villain, they were asked what they thought about their characters and their motivations. Someone asked a very poignant question about a parallel universe where their characters would be the good guys and Sam and Dean would be the bad guys. They posited that their characters would already feel they are the good guys.
Each of them went on to say that they enjoy playing the antagonist because they really help drive the story forward. Without them, the protagonists---in this case Sam and Dean---wouldn't have any reason to do anything or have anything to fight against. James said that Sam and Dean simply didn't do what they were told and it's their own fault they ended up in some of the situations they faced during Dick Roman's story arc.
But what was funny was they didn't always get along about who should be in charge of various things. Someone asked Mark Pellegrino how he felt about Crowley being in charge of Hell now and he said he wanted to tear the whole thing down and that he didn't like it. It was funny how they'd banter back and forth playfully here about this topic. Mark Pellegrino quipped that demons suck to which Sheppard retorted, “Vampires suck. Demons blow.” They seemed to get the memo on Porncouver loud and clear, that's for sure!
They also talked about their other projects. Mark Pellegrino is excited about his work on the Tomorrow People and thinks it'll be a great show. Mark Sheppard talked about how he enjoyed working on Firefly and Dr. Who---and hinted that he couldn't trust Robbie Thompson or the other writers about Crowley. He became very vague about anything that might lead to spoilers about how the King of Hell is handling his near cure.
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