Reunited And It Feels So Good: Supernatural DCCon
Last weekend marked the end of one sort of Supernatural hiatus – the US Creation convention one! Not counting Comic Con, the last Creation con in the states was way back in March, so I was one of the people bouncing with excitement to reunite with the cast and with lots and lots of fangirls and fanboys. Driving to a con is a rarity for us, and so is staying at Kathy’s house instead of a hotel, so it was also a con with lots of catching up conversation (only a portion of which touched on Jensen’s sexy bowlegs or Jared’s luscious hair or Misha’s pretty blue eyes. Honest, only a portion.)
There were lots of acafans at this con too, so there was also plenty of spirited debate about canon and fanon and what a ‘text’ (including our favorite tv show) actually is and who gets to decide that. In between all that conversation, there were spectacular martinis, some truly enjoyable cast interviews, a Periscope with Chad Lindberg during which he tried to explain to us what Periscope was while connecting with fans literally all over the world, and so much laughter my stomach ached – some of that was from guest panels and some from our fellow fans. In other words, it was a great con!
We’ll have a comprehensive DCCon post by an insightful guest blogger and con first-timer in a few days (and more photos to go with it), but for now, have some of Lynn’s ramblings about her favorite moments, including Jensen Ackles’ meet and greet. In more or less chronological order…
Richard Speight’s hilarious hosting and banter with Rob Benedict mean that Supernatural cons never have any down time. Sometimes their in between guests shtick is so funny you don’t want them to leave the stage!
It was wonderful having Gabe Tigerman and Chad Lindberg back at a con. They’ve got great chemistry, and play off each other well. Especially when they disagree about something – like Gabe’s adamant NO WAY response to Chad trying to lure him into some ghost hunting. I’m with you, Gabe! They’ve been part of the SPNFamily from the beginning of the cons, and they have clearly developed a keen understanding of fandom.
Gabe: When I want a reaction, I just say Jensen.
Chad told the hysterical story of Jensen teaching him to shotgun a beer for the Dark Side of the Moon episode and Jared and Jensen literally trembling trying not to laugh as it went all over Chad instead.
Gabe told one of the funniest stories I’ve ever heard – and it just doesn’t matter that I’ve heard it more than once – about Gabe and his buddies on a road trip vacation to see the world’s largest groundhog, which ended up with his hapless buddy being attacked by a 5-legged cow. And being pummeled with the mutant fifth leg. Find the video.
Gabe and Chad called themselves the Friday Fluffers and they turned out to be pretty good at it. Warmed up we were in no time.
We’ve been anticipating Kim Rhodes and Briana Buckmaster doing a panel together, and the reality was even more awesome than what we were hoping for. Kim and Briana have the kind of chemistry that Jared and Jensen do, and their mutual affection is a pleasure to see onstage. They also aren’t afraid to tell it like it is, whether they’re taking on cultural rules about what women can and can’t say or television tropes that make female leads hard to come by (Come on, Wayward Daughters!) They also aren’t hesitant to talk about how distracting it is to work opposite Jensen Ackles.
Briana: Outside I was fine, but on the inside… [falls to the floor]
The two women say it feels like they’ve known each other their entire lives, that’s how well they hit it off. (Score another win for Supernatural’s brilliant casting director!)
Almost every single guest talked about how special the Supernatural fandom is, and how grateful they are to have been embraced by the SPNFamily.
Kim on the relationship between fans and the cast and crew: This is some awesome shit.
It is. There was some strange rule that the guests weren’t allowed to touch the fans, which luckily none of the guests paid any attention to, but seriously? One of the best things about this reciprocal relationship we have going in this particular fandom is that those artificial and uncomfortable hierarchical separations aren’t quite as rigid as in other circumstances. In other words, we get to interact human to human – which includes hugs if both parties are up for it. I’m all for respecting someone who doesn’t want to be touched, but if the people on both sides want to express their mutual affection, that’s an important part of this SPNFamily thing we’ve got going. I’m assuming there was some story behind the rule, but I hope it’s been relegated to the ‘rules that didn’t make sense’ box for good.
In keeping with that reciprocal relationship idea, Kim added that Supernatural doesn’t just heal the fans, it heals them (the actors) too. In fact, that’s what the new book I’m working on is all about – how this little show on the CW has changed so many people’s lives. Fans and actors. It really is something special.
Next up was Osric Chau. I hadn’t seen Osric since our epic jaunt through the Gaslamp quarter at Comic Con to help Misha Collins serve up pizza, so it was great to see him again (and hug him again!) Highlights of Osric’s panels were him indulging a fan who wanted to see his martial arts intro (which means he did a flip onstage and just about gave me a heart attack as he landed it just barely) and his awesome cosplay of Kevin’s favorite video game character. I love how much Osric loves Kevin – and I will never EVER not be thrilled that he’s fanboy enough to cosplay at the SPN cons. Never. Or that he shares his passion for cosplay openly and with as much as enthusiasm as any of us do for how we fan.
Os to Rob: You missed my skirt yesterday.
Rob: Damn. You always look so hot. I’m not kidding. It makes me question things…
It makes us all question things, Rob. Sometimes questioning things is good.
Osric talked a bit about the Supernatural Parody, and how his favorite part was getting his hair and makeup done and looking more and more like Jared. Except, Chinese.
And back to Osric looking hot in a skirt… Friday night karaoke was as much fun as ever – maybe a bit more. Osric sang Time Warp dressed as Magenta, which was amazing – all we needed was Mark Pellegrino dressed as Frank N Furter and my life would have been complete. Briana proved she has a kickass voice and stage presence channeling her inner Freddie Mercury. Rich and Matt were adorable as Thing 1 and Thing 2 (though clearly frustrated with their lack of fingers…) Chad danced on chairs like old times and got the crowd pumped. Everyone danced and sang along to Shake It Off, though we were all wishing it was the Parody version and that the Hillywood Show girls were there to join us.
There were touching moments too – our friend Karla of SPN Survivors got onstage and sang to her husband for their anniversary, with their two kids up onstage too and all the SPN cast backing them up.
Tahmoh Penikett kicked off Saturday. He’s a very thoughtful guy, talking about how as an actor, you can’t sit around and wait for the industry to give you what you want to do. You have to make your own stuff. (Sounds a lot like fandom, actually – when canon doesn’t give us what we want, we make our own stuff!)
He also gave us some insight into the process of fleshing out a character who’s part of what he called the C storyline – if you put something extra into your performance anyway, they might just notice and run with it. For example, Gadreel was written rather cold, but Tahmoh made the creative decision to infuse the character with some doubt and warmth. There was no stage direction that Gadreel stands in the corner and looks torn, but when he did that, the character began to evolve. I love hearing those sort of insights into the process of creating a television show.
Tahmoh also talked about how special Supernatural is – it’s incredible that the Show’s numbers have gone up this late in its run. “It’s unheard of,” Tahmoh said. He’s also a fan of the fandom.
Tahmoh: You guys are a very deep and passionate fandom and I’m proud to be a part of it.
Be sure to check out his new web series, Riftworld Chronicles – he laughed that his phone absolutely blew up when Jared and Jensen tweeted about it. I love how the SPNFamily – both fans and cast alike – support each other.
Oh, and in case you haven’t noticed, Tahmoh has a very sexy voice. That explains what might be the best live tweet from his panel:
@Tubular_whitney: Tahmoh is trying to get his French back. Still has the accent. Fortunately not asked to give an example or we’d all be pregnant.
We’ve been trying to coordinate an interview with Tahmoh for what seems like several years now. Kathy and I went through the autograph line with a copy of Fan Phenomena Supernatural to have it autographed for a charity auction.
Me to Tahmoh: I still would like to interview you…
Tahmoh: OMG this is getting ridiculous, isn’t it? Let’s just do it!
Me (silently): Now?! I knew I should have just kept those interview questions with me at all times!
Oh well. Luckily Kathy and I both have had questions bouncing around in our heads for Tahmoh for some time, so stay tuned for lots more about Gadreel, Supernatural and Riftworld Chronicles. We even managed to stay focused despite that sexy voice. Ignore Kathy if she tells you otherwise.
Travis Aaron Wade was next up, with a panel that was both inspirational and hysterical. He’s had a crash course in learning about fandom and internet fan culture, and he’s clearly starting to really get it – which means his joking about it is priceless.
Travis: I know why some of y’all don’t like me. I got to straddle Jensen and you didn’t.
Fan asks about the sweat lodge scene: How hot was it?
Travis: It was hot! I mean, Jensen’s a good looking dude…
He also managed to re-enact both the sweat lodge straddling scene and Jared pranking him with a grab of the tuckiss. But more seriously, though he was teasing about Jensen he said he respects that many people in the business go down the wrong road, but Jensen “did it right”.
Travis has developed a respect for fandom and an appreciation for what fans can do as well.
Travis: I don’t see you as fans, but as people who can help change the world.
He’s right. The Always Keep Fighting campaign and Random Acts and Travis’ Arm The Animals and Trut4h organizations have proved that, among many other examples. (I was somehow talked into doing GISHWHES this year. Am I crazy? That was pretty much what Misha said when I told him, which increased my trepidation exponentially….)
Mark Sheppard’s two panels were some of the best I’ve seen him do – he was in a good mood, which means he actually answered a few questions, and the rest of the time his snarky humor was spot on. They were also very energetic panels. At one point, Mark stole a stuffed moose from a fan and then raced around the hall with it, the fan chasing after him and Mark giggling the entire time like a little boy. It was kinda cute.
He kept insisting that Crowley was dead, and then tripped himself up talking about his awesome new trailer that has a bathroom. Oops.
There were even glimmers of seriousness.
Mark: The more you dig away at Crowley, the more you find Fergus. There’s a little bit more of Fergus exposed than Crowley would like. He also admitted (grudgingly and adorably) that Crowley does care about Dean.
Mark always makes me emotional when he talks about fandom, because he does so with so much admiration and affection and it’s clearly so genuine.
Mark: People look down on fandom as something less than. I think fandom is the greatest thing ever. It’s a magical thing to see how you guys work to make the world a better place.
With you there, Mr. Sheppard.
He was, however, totally bested by a little girl in the afternoon panel.
Little girl: What did Fergus get for selling his soul?
Mark: (looks gobsmacked and is rendered uncharacteristically speechless)
Little girl: Never mind, I know exactly what he got.
Mark: (completely loses it, doubling over with laughter).
Everyone else: (same)
Little girl wins the con.
Richard, Matt and Rob’s panel was also even more hysterically funny than usual – though it always leaves my sides hurting. Find the video where they talk about the Sebastian (Roche) umbrella from karaoke crowd surfing. I can’t do it justice.
Rob lamented that people don’t like how he looks without his beard (he had to shave for a part in Masters of Sex) because “that’s my actual face!”
Richard confessed that he wanted to hit Matt with a car because “Look at his hair, and his abs, and his tush in those pants!” He settled for caressing them instead.
And then there was the story of Richard going to Dubai with Jensen, Osric and Clif, which inexplicably included all of them posing in a marble bathtub and spending the day at a waterpark like twelve year olds. Where oh where are the photos???
Best tweet of the panel perhaps goes to @catchclaw (I think), quoting Matt as he tried to say something that was actually very sweet about how Rob and Rich have inspired him to be a better husband and father.
Matt: Rob & Rich are my mentors in husbandry. #um #idonotthinkthatmeanswhatyouthinkitmeans
If you haven’t seen the adorable photos Matt has posted with his son, you’re missing out on a whole lot of cute, btw. Clearly those tips he got from Rich and Rob have worked out.
Misha’s panel veered precariously back and forth between the serious, the funny and the just plain awkward. A happily inebriated fan insisted on making a cash donation to Random Acts but wanted to put it in Misha’s pants, which meant he had to walk a fine line between gratitude and maybe-you-should-reconsider-when-you’re-sober. Eventually the fan prevailed and Misha ended up with cash in his trousers, so…. Yay for Random Acts?
He also tried hard to answer a question about Charlie’s death in a way that was both thoughtful and diplomatic, which means the answer ended up sort of vaguely awkward because that’s just difficult to do on the spot. He did say that he loved the fact that Charlie was a gay character and yet that’s not what her character was all about, and that he looks forward to more female and LGBT characters being on the show. He then quoted Aisha Tyler about Supernatural being a show about masculinity and brotherhood, which got a more divided reception.
Other than those two sort of awkward moments, he managed to relate stories about blowjobs, West peeing on his sister, and his first date with Vicky which involved lots of hickies. So, pretty much a Misha panel.
We learned that Misha fangirls over NPR’s All Things Considered, which explains why he was excited to hear our NPR piece on that show about Supernatural when it ran last year. We were beside ourselves to be on NPR too, so I guess we share that with him.
Also? Misha learning the definition of ‘head canon’ was too adorable for words.
Misha: Is it contagious?
Everyone: Hell yes.
He definitely made a fangirl’s day near the end of the panel – and her mother’s too.
The Saturday Night Special, as I’ve said more than once, is one of my favorite parts of a con, and this one was no exception. I had been listening to Louden Swain in the car on the drive down to DC, so I was pumped to hear them play. And as always, some of the guests gave wonderful performances too.
Osric sang a moving rendition of ‘Same Love’ and dedicated it to everyone impacted by the recent Supreme Court decision, including some of his family members and close friends. Matt and Richard and Rob came out and sang back up with just as much emotion as Osric, and many of us in the audience were emotional as well. I can’t even begin to describe how much I love this cast for their support of everyone, and what it means to so many of their fans.
Richard gave an awesome rendition of ‘Take It Easy’, Matt sang like a rockstar and Mark Sheppard kicked ass playing drums. Creation’s Chris Schmelke played bass, Adam Malin played keyboards, and Stephanie Dizon showed off her amazing voice. Tahmoh and Travis joined in for the traditional “A Little Help From My Friends”.
Sunday was, as always, J2 day, preceded by Alaina Huffman. I love her love of fanart and fanfic and she has the best laugh! Pretty sure she’s a fangirl at heart. Which might explain why her panel kept veering off the G rating scale in an entirely amusing way.
Fan: How was it filming the scene where Dean killed you, and Jensen was on top of you?
Alaina: (deadpans) I didn’t mind.
Fan: I liked the whole Abbadean thing.
Alaina: Someone write that fanfic!
(Pretty sure I’ve read that already…)
Another fan got up and confessed that “I have a Crabbadon fantasy. So would Abaddon be sub or dom?”
Alaina (smirking) Dom. Do you guys write porn about that? I wanna read it!
(That I haven’t seen, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t already written!)
She seems to enjoy Tumblr quite a bit; the first fic she read there had Dean in pink panties. Of course it did.
And speaking of Dean…
Jared and Jensen were in a great mood at DCCon, perhaps because they spent the day before playing tourist in DC along with their families – all their parents were also at the con, which always adds an extra touch of SPNFamily to the mix. Creation set up four chairs in the photo op room during the J2 photo ops so the proud parents could sit and watch their sons put smiles on fans’ faces; they sat there beaming. I can’t imagine a much better feeling than watching your children make so many people so happy.
Both Jared and Jensen talked about their appreciation of fandom and the relationship they have with their fans, as well as the good that the SPN Family is doing together.
Jared when he took the stage: It feels good to be with family again.
Jensen: It’s inspiring for us to see how much this community supports each other.
They both talked about being passionate about using whatever platform they have to make the world better.
Panel highlights included fans wishing the Winchesters would wear fewer clothes and the boys agreeing (“not NO clothes…”), fighting about who’s the most considerate and Jensen somehow convincing us that leaving the toilet seat UP was a good idea, and talking about ad libs and admitting that the Sam and Dean fighting scene in Tall Tales went a little differently than it was written (you don’t say…).
This is how Jensen greeted Rob and defended his honor. Pretty sure every single person in the audience wanted to be Rob Benedict at this moment.
I just love to watch their reactions to each other, especially how much they love to make each other laugh. There was a moment when Jared said something that just cracked Jensen up. He threw back his head to laugh, and Jared looked at him grinning, obviously pleased, and asked “You like that?” It made me feel so happy I was a bit concerned that my heart was going to leap out of my chest like something out of Hunter Heroici.
Someone played Jared the Jared Padalecki Song, much to Jensen’s feigned annoyance. When they weren’t mock competing with each other, they were talking seriously about their relationship and what the Always Keep Fighting campaign means to them.
Jensen: It isn’t just a work investment we’ve put into each other, it’s an emotional investment too. It’s our families, all of us.
Everyone else in the business must be dumbfounded by the way in which Jared and Jensen have managed to turn their friendship into a family affair. Their parents had just spent the day touring the city together with the boys. Their wives are a constant support to each other. Their kids are playmates. They really are all a family.
Jensen noted that he was looking forward to teaching his daughter sports, and is already planning on teaching Tom to golf too. “Right after I teach his father.”
The boys were careful with spoilers, but Jensen made the provocative comment, “The thing is, we never see Dean kill Cain…”
I tweeted that, and Tim Omundson responded with a “BOOM!”
Oh my, how my wheels are turning now. Is it season 11 yet????
I was able to spend a few minutes talking to Jared about the Always Keep Fighting campaign and the tremendous impact it has had on so many people. When I talk with other psychologists about the stigma that surrounds depression and anxiety and mental health challenges, we always talk about the power of normalizing. That’s what the Always Keep Fighting campaign has done, more successfully than articles in the New York Times or public service announcements on television.
It took a tremendous amount of courage for Jared to speak so openly about his own challenges, and a tremendous amount of commitment for both Jared and Jensen to continue to do so and to create a forum that allows fans to help each other. They both have credited Misha with inspiring them and setting an example with his years of work with Random Acts, and all three of them together have made a real difference. That’s a very different legacy than most actors leave, and I hope they all can feel its importance.
Btw, I love that the other actors all wore AKF shirts on Sunday.
Jensen’s meet and greet was with a lovely bunch of fellow fans. We amused ourselves while waiting for his arrival by making jokes that I wish I could remember, because some of them were pretty damn funny. I think Jensen always wonders what the hell we were all giggling about before he walks in and everybody suddenly falls ominously silent.
Here are a few tidbits from the panel, not verbatim, just from (my feeble) memory…
The first question was about the finale of Season 10, which most of us are still pondering. (I guess that’s a good thing for a season finale).
Fan: I was really surprised that Dean killed Death.
Jensen: Me too!
He went on to speculate about whether or not you really can kill Death, or will poor Sam and Dean have to deal with both The Darkness and a pissed off Death? [Not a spoiler, just speculation]. Jensen also said that he, like all of us, loves the character and the way Julian Richings plays him. Our Show has the best Death, seriously.
Another fan commented on Dean’s emotional intensity this past season, and wondered how Jensen dealt with playing that.
Jensen: (nodding at his dad in the back of the room) I got that from him.
Randomly, another fan (apparently struck by the fact, which I can totally relate to): You have such pretty eyes…
Jensen: (nodding at his mom at the back of the room) I got that from her.
He said he’s pretty good at snapping in and out of Dean at this point, but that it does take a toll. Sometimes playing the guitar in the dark is therapeutic after a stressful day, or a game of golf (since it’s essentially like a 5 hour walk in the park!)
I asked him about directing again this season. Since he’s now directed quite a few times, is it getting easier, or was there something about this particular Season 11 episode that made it challenging?
Jensen said that what’s getting easier is his sense of confidence. He’s more confident now, and that means he doesn’t need as much prep as he did before. That said, it still sounds like he puts a ton of work into being prepared. Partly, he said, because that’s what Kim Manners taught him – that the most important thing about directing is to do your homework. And partly because everything has to be planned out ahead of time so that he can concentrate on also acting the part of Dean. He has to be able to trust the crew – the director of photography (the incredible Serge Ladouceur), Kevin Parks his indispensable AD, and the camera operators Rosie and Brad. When he’s acting as Dean, he depends on them to tell him whether or not they got the shot, whether it turned out the way they planned.
Jensen: I’ll look at Rosie or Brad and be like, how was it? I trust Kevin to have my back too so I can still have fun like usual. I should be more authoritative, but I don’t want to! We have a lot of fun on set.
Anyone who’s ever visited the Supernatural set knows that’s true!
If he wasn’t prepared, that would all be harder. Plus, he said, you need to be as prepared as you can be in case something changes and goes a different direction.
Me: What would make that happen? Like why would you have to veer off in a slightly different direction than you planned out?
Jensen: Sometimes an actor wants to do something different, make a different choice. Or sometimes there’s a “happy accident” and we want to capture it. I depend on the crew, and they have my back. They just hand it to me wrapped up with a bow and say “you’re welcome”.
Jensen: Also (vague spoiler alert) there’s a six year old in that episode, so…
Me: Say no more, I have two children.
Jensen: I thought you’d get that.
From the back of the room, I’m pretty sure Mama and Papa Ackles were also nodding in agreement.
Another fan asked how the relationship between Dean and Cas was, considering Dean’s beat-down of Castiel at the end of Season 10. She prefaced her question with a disclaimer about not reading anything into the question, which is an interesting comment on the complexity of fandom and reciprocal relationships, since it was an entirely appropriate question. Jensen said (spoilers ahead once again) that Dean and Cas manage to work things out, in the way that boys sometimes do, and that they’re then okay. This also led to a funny story about Misha not quite pulling his punch enough and popping Jensen in the jaw.
Jensen: keep going, keep going!
When they finished the scene, Jensen turned to one of the camera operators and asked “did that sell?” meaning did the punch look real on film.
Jensen: I beg to differ!
He talked a bit about the challenges of stage fighting and how different it is from real fighting.
Jensen: Jared and I are so comfortable together that we can come this close [mimes a punch stopping an inch short of his face], and it looks good.
I guess that says something about how many times the Winchesters have gotten into it with each other, doesn’t it? But they always have each other’s backs, just like Jared and Jensen do.
These are just a few show-related excerpts from the meet and greet, which also touched on more personal topics that I don’t usually blog about. He told a story about how he developed a love of music when his father played the guitar (and then his dad put it in his luggage when he left home at 18 for California, aww). There was one little tidbit that’s not very personal, but which amused me.
Jensen: Danneel is very comfortable introducing herself to people. Even waiters. And I’m like, they don’t care! Then the waiter will be like, Dannn… Danielle? Danneee…what?
When they finally get her name explained, the waiter inevitably turns to him.
Waiter: And you are?
Jensen: Um, Jensen…
I imagine that’s an exchange that happens quite a bit. No wonder they named their daughter JJ.
As Jared and Jensen closed out their panel, they expressed their appreciation once again to the crowd of fans, standing side by side with Jared’s elbow resting on Jensen’s shoulder. I couldn’t help but think about this season, Sam and Dean fighting side by side, together again too.
Jared encouraged Jensen to do a bit of singing also, with a pat on the shoulder to send him over to the mic with Rob to sing a few stanzas of ‘Your Love’.
Sunday closed out with a second Mark Sheppard panel, crashed by Jensen and Jared, and then an epic autograph session. Here’s Jensen sweetly asking Mark who his favorite director is.
Kathy and I hugged lots and lots of fangirls goodbye and then drove back to her house, thoroughly exhausted but marveling at what a great con it was. (No, of course we didn’t go to bed right away like smart people would have…)
I think this tweet by our friend Emmie sums up what makes these cons and the entire SPN Family so special.
@EmmieMears: The bartender at the con just told me she can see how loving and special our #SPNFamily is by our kindness to her and each other.
That says it all, doesn’t it?
Stay tuned for our interviews with Chad Lindberg, Tahmoh Penikett, and hopefully Gabe Tigerman, whose schedule refused to mesh with ours at the actual con.
And check back soon for a DC Con guest blogger chronicling her experience as a first time Supernatural congoer — with more pretty pictures!
(Photos by me, edits by the talented Tami Dotter – thank you!)
To read more of our Supernatural adventures and interviews,
Check out ‘Fangasm Supernatural Fangirls’ and ‘Fan Phenomena
Supernatural’, at the links at the top of the page!