Warning: There are mild spoilers for Season 10 in this report.
Cost and logistics are making it increasingly harder for me to attend the Supernatural New Jersey conventions, especially Q and A sessions with guests, but I was able to go to Jared and Jensen's Meet and Greets again last weekend, and I wanted to share some highlights of both of those events.
Before each session started, those of us gathered in the room heard a new speech - this one telling us that since we were the ones paying the hefty price tag to attend, we should keep most of what was about to happen to ourselves in order to keep it special. Now, I understand verbatim transcripts of the event and any direct quotes from the guests aren’t appropriate, and I won’t post any personal information the guests may tell us about their families either. However, a general report of the event has always been acceptable, and if you allow me a moment to digress, I’ll tell you why I decided to write one up again this year.
I don’t think those of us who attend a Meet and Greet do so to get new, special information from the guests. Instead, we pay for the opportunity to sit in a private setting and have them answer our questions – with the added bonus of getting eye contact and smiles directed at each of us. During these sessions, we often get a peek into the thought process of the guests that a general panel doesn’t always provide. It’s a way to connect, even briefly, with the actors we admire. But there are many, many fans – people who don’t have the money, time, or good health to make it to a convention, much less a Meet and Greet - who appreciate a glance into these events. So, for them, I wrote up this general report.
Jared at NJCon 2013
Jared’s Meet and Greet was first. He bounded through the door in jacket, jeans and hat, all smiles and cheerful waves. He went to questions right away this time, which I appreciated. Even though it’s fun to hear him chat about things, lots of people want to ask him questions directly, so it was nice that he got right to it.
A question was asked regarding the old mission statement of the Winchesters (“Saving people, hunting things – the family business”) and if the mission statement these days was more “do whatever it takes” - as in, the end justifies the means. Jared thought that in some ways this was the philosophy, especially after everything the brothers have gone through, but they still try to do the right thing without causing a lot of collateral damage.
Someone asked about Jared’s shoulder, and it’s getting better, but he still doesn’t appear to have full range of motion (having treated post-shoulder surgery patients as an occupational therapist, I would say he most likely still has some recovering and strength-building to do). Sam being injured had to be written into the show, and though it will be mentioned, we won’t see how it happened, as Jared’s shoulder isn’t good enough to film that kind of scene. It’s possible they may decide to put in a flashback when he’s fully healed.
A fan inquired about Jared and Jensen’s winery, and it’s still happening (especially since they live so close to one another in Texas now), but it was tied up in legal for a while. Apparently there are a lot of hoops they have to jump through, especially with trademarks for the name, but they are moving forward with it.
A question was asked if fans would like the Sam we’ll see this season, despite him going dark to save Dean. Jared felt like this season’s Sam is the one he and the audience will most like to see, that is, one who is resourceful and determined to save his brother. And from the sound of it, though Sam will do a few questionable things, he won’t be going as dark as he did in Season 3’s “Mystery Spot.” For fans that may have been a bit worried, that’s good news.
Someone asked if the things the brothers do simultaneously – closing the impala doors at the same time or walking in sync with one another – are things the writers write into the show. Ironically, those things are specifically not things the writers write but things Jared and Jensen have put in themselves or just ended up doing together unconsciously due to spending so much time together (which is pretty cute).
I asked if Jared felt that (based on the scripts he’s gotten so far) this season was more character driven than in the past, and he definitely felt that it was. He was at a loss to describe the season exactly, because no big bad has really come into the picture yet, but for all four main players (Sam, Dean, Castiel, and Crowley) this season is very much about character journeys. Personally, I love character-driven stories, so I’m very excited about that.
A fan wanted to know if there are scenes that are hard for Jared or his family to watch (just like Jensen’s brother found it difficult to watch Dean getting beaten by Lucifer in “Swan Song”). The gist of the answer was yes, especially for family, with Sam’s experiences in “When the Levee Breaks” being an example of those types of scenes.
Someone asked how being adored by so many fans had possibly changed Jared, and he responded that for him it’s about earning it, not about the fame. He feels so fortunate in his life, and it’s an honor to be able to bring happiness to others.
A fan asked if the studio gave him a hard time about his shoulder or stops him from doing things, but it’s actually the opposite situation. When the studio found out (even before word spread about it) they sent him a small gift with a nice letter saying “get well soon.” Apparently they don’t make many pronouncements about what he and Jensen can’t do.
The time with Jared was over all too quickly, and he blew us kisses as he left the room.
Time with Jensen
Jensen at NJCon 2013
Jensen came in the room with a big smile, looking casual and comfortable in his flannel shirt and dark jeans. He always gets to questions right away so he can answer as many as possible.
One of the first question was about the mockumentary Misha wrote, and if Jensen and Jared had any input into their “characters.” The gist of it was that Misha basically gave them an outline describing their characters, and they ran with it. Jensen wished they had more time to prepare, because it all happened quickly, but they had a lot of fun filming it.
To digress for a moment, if you haven’t seen the mockumentary, it alone is a reason to go out and buy the Season 9 DVD. It’s that good. I can’t say anything more because half the fun is in being surprised at who shows up and what they say, but it’s brilliant. In fact, if they had extended it and made it the 200th episode, I think most fans would have been ecstatic.
Getting back to the Q & A, someone asked Jensen if the real Dean will be somewhere underneath Demon Dean, trying to exert at least a bit of control over his demon self. Jensen felt that Dean’s characteristics still remain (and it was a challenge to play that), but the humanity of Dean will no longer be there. Sam will try to play to that human side of Dean, but Demon Dean won’t respond to that or to any brotherly relationship.
A question pertained to set design and other production selections, and apparently it’s not random, but instead is a planned effort with constant communication between the design and production teams. Clothing, colors, and set pieces are chosen in a very coordinated way to provide a certain look and tone, based on whatever is being expressed in an episode. So maybe fans don’t overanalyze things after all!
Someone asked if Jensen knew early on that Dean would become a demon last season. He found out when he received the script outline (a 12-15 page summary of the script). He was very surprised when he read it, because it was something the show had never done before.
A reality show actor in the room asked for advice about being on the east coast and in the business. Even though the question didn’t pertain to Dean or Jensen directly, Jensen answered him earnestly, discussing geographic locations in terms of industry opportunities.
I asked Jensen if since he’s directed it’s difficult to take that hat off when he’s just acting again. I actually mimed taking off an invisible hat, and then felt a bit self-conscious about it, but Jensen ran with the analogy and laughing, mimed taking the (imaginary) hat off and throwing it “in a closet and slamming the door.” (That quote doesn’t count!) He’s able to quickly stop looking through directors’ eyes, because he’s very comfortable with acting, but he’s uncomfortable with directing (in the sense that he hasn’t done it that often and has to work hard at it), so once he’s finished directing he goes right back to the clarity of acting. After all this time, he easily memorizes his scripts and easily channels Dean, which allows him to be present in a scene and respond to his fellow actors accordingly.
One fan asked how Jensen is able to show Dean’s vulnerable or funny side when Dean is normally a pretty closed off guy. Jensen tries to emphasize those moments because it adds more depth to his character. Dean might let down his defenses, or put them up, depending on which character he’s with, and he finds that facet of Dean interesting to play.
Jensen talked about an accident he had with a wrench during filming. It was ironic, because earlier in the week he had to do the last part of a stunt that his stunt double had filmed, which was pretty physical (running full on into a thick wooden object), and he hadn’t gotten a scratch. Then, when he was using a wrench in a simple scene, he accidentally hit his finger, and it was gushing so much blood that a young guest star saw it and started yelling. Ah, life on the set of Supernatural.
Someone asked how Jensen achieves a work/life balance. It’s difficult for him being away from family so much, but his wife understands, and someday it will all be gone, so he’s taking advantage of it now and trying to be as present as he can for family and friends. He knows there are many families who are separated by work and distance at times, and everyone just tries to make the best of it.
One question pertained to deleted scenes, but there aren’t very many. Anything deleted is usually to save time and would have just extended a scene (as opposed to something being deleted because it didn’t reflect the purpose of the story). Usually it’s part of a conversation or a bit of a monologue that gets cut. I’m only hoping those cut scenes aren’t of important brother moments!
Jensen was asked the same question as Jared regarding how being adored by so many fans may have changed him. For Jensen, it’s not about ego; He feels grateful to be able to bring people joy. He mentioned that right at NJ con a fan had looked directly at him saying “I’m so happy,” and he said it meant the world to him. When he said that, he put his hand on his heart. Interestingly, when a fan said something very moving during Jared’s Meet and Greet, Jared did the same thing - he put his hand over his heart as he spoke to the fan. That body language coming from both Jared and Jensen says something regarding how they feel about their fans.
And with that, Jensen thanked us and left. Both Jared and Jensen were very open and earnest in answering our questions. Though the time goes by too quickly, Meet and Greet events are always a very satisfying indulgence.
Ultimately, this may have been a bit more than highlights (sshh…). Believe it or not, though, it also wasn’t an exhaustive report. It’s just after all the times I (and other fans) have enjoyed the many tweet summaries, YouTube videos, and convention reports out there, it seemed only right to share as much of my experience as I could as well. To me, that’s what makes it even more special.