Jensen Ackles Meet and Greet from Nashcon – The Evolution of a Rockstar!
I love Nashcon for a few reasons. One, it’s at the Gaylord Opryland, which is like Disney World smashed together with Under The Dome, complete with a river running through the hotel, waterfalls and a boat ride. Not to mention whole town squares full of shops and bars and restaurants – all INSIDE the giant dome of the resort. It’s pretty amazing, and it means that walking back to your room even at 2 am is perfectly lovely.
I also love Nashcon because I have very fond memories of the first two cons there. Jensen doing a live singing performance for one of the very first times, which was (as you can imagine) unbelievable – Kathy and I were in the green room later that day doing interviews and Jensen came over to ask how he did, which blew my mind. He seriously wanted to know. I see the confidence he has now when he comes out onstage at the Saturday Night Special and am blown away by the evolution of Jensen ‘Rockstar’ Ackles. Nashcon also reminds me of Brian Buckley, since we spent a lot of time with him at one of the early Nashcons; I found myself thinking of him at random moments, with fondness. Good memories.
This Nashcon brought memories of its own. The panels were all wonderful, without exception, and the Saturday Night Special was even more special than usual with guest performances by Tim Omundson and of course Jensen. I will never get over him singing onstage, never. It’s like a mind altering experience, just puts people in a haze of OMG life is wonderful. I wish I could bottle that feeling and make it last!
The con was also a bit like a chapter of Fangasm Supernatural Fangirls, in which Kathy and I continually became confused as to who we were at any given moment – fangirls or researchers? We were never quite sure, which landed us in a ridiculous number of embarrassing situations. And got us into trouble more than once. At Nashcon I was nearly late for the Jared and Jensen panel because I was trying to answer an email from Jared about the chapter he’s writing for the new book – when his email said ‘I’m in the car and almost there’ I realized I was clear on the other end of the mile-long hotel and he was about to go onstage! I’m sure all the lovely laid back Nashvilleans didn’t appreciate nearly being bowled over by a sprinting fangirl in an AKF tee shirt, but there was no way I was missing the start of that panel!
I didn’t get to go to Jared’s meet and greet, but I heard he talked about his chapter there – if anyone was there and would like to share, let me know! Jensen made sure I knew just how hard Jared has been working on it (which I never doubted for an instant), and I did get a chance to actually talk to Jared later instead of just trading emails back and forth — and then saying hi at a photo op ten minutes later! I’m so blown away by what he’s writing. Just….so blown away. I feel immeasurably lucky that this is the Show that I fell for, with the best cast ever. By far. BY FAR.
So Nashcon was wonderful. Friend and fellow fangirl (and talented photographer) Kim Prior took photos for Fangasm, and she’s writing a guest blog too, so stay tuned for her report. We stayed up far too late every night looking at her thousands of photos on her laptop and giggling (or gasping) at all the pretty.
In the meantime, here are a few tidbits from Jensen’s meet and greet. Not a transcript, just a few bits and pieces from my fallible memory, yada yada, you know the drill. He started out the panel reading his text conversation with Jared from the night before, because Jared had made it sound like Jensen dragged him out to a bar when really it was more like Jared luring Jensen. The entire conversation was hysterical, because he read it line by line, every now and then adding some editorial commentary.
Jensen: Are there kids in here? There’s a lot of language….we tend to use a lot of language…
Everyone: Oh please do.
I don’t know why it’s so appealing to hear him talk like you’d expect a guy in his thirties to talk, or to hear his text conversation with Jared be so colorful, but it is. There was a lot more to the conversation, but it eventually boils down to this:
Jared says okay, and Jensen suggests they just raid the mini fridge.
Jared: There is no f—king mini fridge!
Jensen: (searches the room in vain for a mini fridge) F—k. Sh-t.
Jensen: Okay. Call Clif or alone?
So off they went in search of adventure, like two teenagers who just want to have some fun, like Sam and Dean looking for a good time. I love that they just want to hang out, that they’re fine on their own, that they want to experience the city they’re in. Jensen said later that people recognized them since they didn’t have hats on or anything. They heard some guy exclaim “That’s Dean and Sam!” but just kept walking, disappearing down a smoke filled alley like characters in some movie.
The entire retelling was uncensored – and priceless. Poor Jared was feeling the effects the next morning. As he said, “Nashville one, Jared zero.”
We did get a few Show related questions, though I didn’t get to ask mine since I was stuck wayyyyy on one side and the people in the center were quite talkative.
Fan: Dean was adorable in the last episode.
Jensen: (laughing) Adorable? That’s one word for it…
The fan wanted to know if he’d had any martial arts training, since he looks like he can fight. Jensen said that Jesse, who used to be his stand-in, had left and opened his own dojo, and that he sometimes works with Jensen on hand to hand. Jesse also comes back and consults sometimes, and works with Jensen’s current stand in too.
Someone also asked if Jensen had fun driving the impala out on the open road when filming Baby, which I’m fairly certain was a rhetorical question.
Jensen: I’m more conservative with the car than Jared is.
He said that at one point they were doing a drive by scene and he had to pull into a parking lot. The lot was part of the filming set that day, and it was all loose dirt, so Jensen pulled in and started doing donuts.
Jensen: I’m laughing, and Jared’s hanging on and he’s laughing, and I see the crew diving out of the way, like diving for their lives and I realize it’s pea gravel!
They were apparently getting hit by stones and running for their lives.
Jensen also tends to drive the car very very fast after they’ve hit the mark and are returning back.
Kevin Parks: Jensen, must you top out?
Jensen: Yes Kevin, I must.
You get the feeling when you watch them together, whether on stage or on the set, that when Jensen and Jared are together, there’s usually fun to be had. Jensen filmed a happy birthday message for his mother at the afternoon panel, with Jared helping out.
Okay, back to the meet and greet.
The next question was hysterically random.
Fan: So was that you being beaten up by a dildo in ‘The Plight of Clownana’?
Jensen: (deadpans) I’m so sorry.
About half the room had seen the short film by Jensen’s pal Chris Dowling and half were just utterly confused about why someone was being beaten up by a giant dildo. And soon to be rushing to the internet.
Jensen said no, that was Christian Kane on the ground getting beat up. He also said that Chris Dowling has a new film out called ‘Produce’ which is excellent. It’s about people with Downs Syndrome, and it’s “beautiful….heartwarming.” Check that out in addition to Clownana, and be impressed with Dowling’s versatility!
Someone else asked about how well the writers “get” Dean. Jensen said that Ben Edlund spoke the language of Dean, and now some of Ben almost seems to be channeled through Jenny. He also shared that Robbie Thompson tries to get the dialogue right by voicing it out loud with a friend, to get the right cadence. That’s one of the first things I learned as a fiction writer, to say the words out loud to be sure someone in real life would actually SAY that! I think all the writers would be the first to say that nobody “gets” Dean like Jensen gets him, at any rate.
The meet and greet had its emotional moments too. A fan thanked Jensen for the Always Keep Fighting and YANA charitable campaigns, talking about how special they are, and how special this Show and this fandom is.
Jensen: It’s because of you guys, the connection we have with you. It’s a rare thing, a unique thing.
He said that the night before at the Saturday Night Special, Kimberly Williams (who is married to Brad Paisley) was backstage, since she’s a friend of Rob’s. She was struck by how unusual the relationship that the Supernatural cast has with their fans is, since actors don’t usually have that kind of close relationship with fans. As he talked about the closeness the cast has with the fandom, Jensen gave props to Jared for starting AKF.
Jensen: Jared was the pioneer, he started this. He’s been through stuff and we’ve helped, and we’ve all been through stuff – but it was really brave of him.
Me: Why oh why do I never bring tissues…
I love how Jensen looks up to Jared. Literally.
Of course, I don’t really mean physically. They look up to each other. I love how they listen to each other and respect each other, always.
Fans: Thank you, thank you for all you do for us.
Jensen: It’s reciprocal. I get fuel from you – from my family, and from you guys.
Fans: You care about us and you don’t have to.
Jensen: You care about me and you don’t have to either!
He’s right. And the fact that he knows it and says it – and that fandom knows it and says it too – maybe that’s the most unusual part of all. Jensen talked for quite a while about that, about how he can have actual conversation with Supernatural fans, get to know them, get to see them and talk to them. That every two weeks sometimes he spends with fans. That’s a pretty unique thing, especially for actors on a television show. Musicians see their fans in person more often, actors usually do not – but Supernatural broke that mold long ago.
Near the end of the meet and greet, a fan went to ask a question and barely had any voice at all after the Saturday Night Special.
Fan: Sorry, too much screaming for you.
Jensen: Sorry, too much screaming for YOU.
The fan went on to say that Jensen now seems to have gained so much confidence as a ‘rockstar’.
Jensen: That’s because of you. I used to have major nerves, or anxiety, even singing in front of one other person. Even my mom! I just didn’t wanna mess up. But this whole thing…There’s just such a comfortability with you guys. It’s….it’s acceptance. That’s what it is. Knowing you’re accepted, so you’re not scared to fail.
So he can sing like this, cocky flippin’ mic flip and all…
That brought me back full circle to that first Nashville con when he was so worried about his singing not being good enough, about all of us being disappointed. I reassured him then that was SO not the case, but I doubt he believed me. I think he believes the many voices who have now urged him to sing and appreciated it when he has, though.
That he gives us – the fandom – credit for that evolution is pretty damn special.
Have I mentioned I feel lucky?
Stay tuned for more from Nashcon and Houscon, and more behind the scenes interviews!
Catch up on the Fangasm Supernatural books before the new
one comes out – click the links on this page for more info!