Director (and Guest Star) Richard Speight Jr. Brings the Emotions in ‘Unfinished Business’

I am loving the lead up to Supernatural’s Season 13 finale. With four episodes remaining, this week’s ‘Unfinished Business’ kept up the momentum and continued the work of bringing the team together who will try to save the world (from AU Michael or Lucifer or the both of them). We’ve now gotten rid of Asmodeus to clear off the playing field a bit, and by the end of this episode Castiel, Gabriel and Rowena will all be in the bunker with the Winchesters getting ready to save Mary and Jack (oh, and the world).

Richard Speight, Jr. directed this episode, which wouldn’t be OMG AMAZING in itself since he has already directed multiple episodes. What makes it OMG AMAZING is that Richard ended up directing an episode in which he also is the featured guest star! They assign the directing schedule early on, so originally they didn’t know Gabriel would be getting an origin story, or that this would be it. When I sat down with Richard earlier this year after his first directing foray for Season 13, he knew he’d be directing episode 20 but had no idea what it would be. Turns out it’s one that stars his own character, Gabriel! Not one to be easily discouraged, Speight opted to do it anyway. He must have worked his butt off, but he pulled off a tour de force performance as not one guest character, but TWO – Gabriel and Loki!


Two of Speight’s previous directing outings have been favorites of mine, especially Season 11’s ‘Just My Imagination’ and Season 12’s ‘Stuck In The Middle With You’. The latter was beautifully directed and scored, the title and the music and the directing choices a loving tribute to Quentin Tarantino’s films. That was writer Davy Perez who wrote the nod to Tarantino, but Richard told me in an interview at that time that he then knew he could pick up the momentum and roll with it.

Richard: …I decided oh, I can totally go stylized with this, we’re gonna go cinematically stylized, and I can dive in and keep fanning the flames in that direction. So that led to a lot of Western themes that I put in there, and to a Western score that got put in…. I’m a big Sergio Leone fan, and it felt like there was a lot we sort of pulled from that.

‘Unfinished Business’ also lent itself to being cinematically stylized, from some of the filming choices to the set dec to the awesome music score by Jay Gruska that really set the episode apart. Gruska apparently composed original music even for Gabriel’s kazoo solo, which was perfect for the alley fight scene – and also worked as an homage to Supernatural actor and Richard Speight good friend Rob Benedict’s band, Louden Swain (fans who love the band join in with a kazoo chorus on one of their best-loved songs). Gruska’s score was integral to the cinematic styling of this episode, making some of the pivotal scenes more memorable.

In some of the previous episodes he has directed, I’ve been impressed with the beautiful cinematography and lighting and asked Richard about it. His appreciation for director of photography Serge Ladouceur’s talent makes their collaboration a particularly striking one. In War of the Worlds, for example, he said that he’d almost over-shot the sequence with Lucifer in the hanging cage being tormented by Michael because it just looked so cool!
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Supernatural VegasCon 2018!

Vegascon is one of my favorite conventions – it’s four days of craziness, tons of my favorite fangirls and fanboys, a thousand miles of walking, and Jensen Ackles singing at the Saturday Night Special. What’s not to like? (Except maybe the thousand miles of walking part…)

This year was even crazier than before, since I was also working in the vendor room to sell Family Don’t End With Blood and our other books. But in between meeting tons of awesome fellow fans and signing lots of books, I managed to take in a bunch of panels. So I thought I’d share some of my favorite moments and photos below.

Day One: Thursday

I had to work late on Wednesday teaching, so I couldn’t fly in until Thursday afternoon. I was trying very hard to get there in time for Richard and Rob’s kick off, but the shuttle I booked to save money took its sweet old time winding its way through Vegas before finally stopping at the Rio – which was, predictably, the very last stop. That means I missed Gil and Osric onstage together, which made me very sad, and caught only part of Jeffrey Parise’s inaugural con panel. I have to say, I was taken aback by what a nice guy he is – and how attractive! Let’s just say Asmodeus is neither of those on the show, so that was a pleasant surprise. He’s also very amusing. And he spells his name the same way as my son, so of course that’s a point in his favor too. Also, he looks sort of familiar…

@Kreespa: Have you and Tim Omundson ever been seen in the same place?

Hmmmm.

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Behind the Scenes of Supernatural with Director Richard Speight Jr.

I’ve known Richard Speight Jr. for a long time – a decade in fact! I loved his portrayal of the Trickster and Gabriel on Supernatural, and I’ve always loved talking to him. About the show, about the cons, about the fandom, about the business – Richard has always had the most fascinating insights. He wrote a chapter for our third book, Fan Phenomena Supernatural, which I love. And it’s always just plain fun to sit down and chat with him, especially as a wonderful way to end a hectic but fun con weekend. Richard talked about wanting to direct early on, so it’s been truly awesome to watch him pursue that dream and be successful thanks to determination, talent and lots of hard work. We don’t get to sit down and chat at the end of cons nearly as often as we used to, but we did in San Francisco. And yes, Richard still has the most fascinating insights – this time all about directing his most recent episode of Supernatural, and the incredible collaboration with cast and crew that has ensured the show’s success.

Lynn: War of the Worlds was a huge episode – It seems like (writers) Eugenie Ross-Leming and Brad Buckner often get these episodes where they tie all these plot lines together.

Richard: Right.

Lynn: What is it like directing an episode like that, with three big reveals and so much plot movement? Does it feel as unmanageable as it sort of seems?

Richard: Well, it’s interesting, there’s a double whammy. I mean, Eugenie and Brad write phenomenal scripts, I think they’re very smart writers and they’ve been doing it a long time, they’re very experienced writers in the field.

Lynn: Which may be why they give them these complicated episodes.

Richard: Yeah, and I dig what they do so I was intimidated by getting one of their scripts. I’m intimidated by all scripts, to be honest…

Lynn: Well you haven’t been doing this that long!

Richard: Exactly, so everything intimidates me. But especially since Bob Singer is a mentor of mine, they’ve been together for a long time doing great work, so that’s intimidating. And the size of the script was huge in terms of what was involved. This was very challenging because every day was chock full and we moved like a freight train, but I felt like the story was in great shape when I got the script. We didn’t have to have a lot of conversations about ‘what about what about what about’. It didn’t need much massaging, it was kinda ready to go, so I could start working right out of the gate on what I thought the show should be from a shooting standpoint.

Lynn: That makes a lot of sense yeah.

Richard: And so to me it was as daunting as anything else is, but I think the thing that was most daunting were the fight scenes, because I had several. I had Castiel in the park and then I had the big fight scene in the bar, so those are the ones I kinda obsessed about alot – especially when I had the boys being thrown around in the bar, and Asmodeus throwing Lucifer and Castiel around in the bar. So those massive moments take a lot of energy and time and stunt work.

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Salute to Supernatural: The Saturday Night Special – Hawaiian Style!

Let me set the scene for you… it is a beautiful evening. The temperature is around 80 degrees, and it might drop to the upper 60’s by the time the sun sets. There is a slight breeze, so I am glad I brought a hoodie.

The Hilton Resort is a beachfront property. White sand, so soft and smooth under your toes. The soothing sound of the ocean as the waves gently cascade onto the beach. Walk with me along this beach, towards the lava-rock pier. Before you get to that pier, there is a lagoon on your right. Behind this lagoon is The Great Lawn, an area of soft green grass flanked by palm trees and hotel towers.

Now picture this lawn filled with round tables, each one with 10 chairs. Rows and rows of tables. And the tables face the stage. And behind the stage are palm trees and that lagoon, and to the right is that pier. Where the sun sets every night, in a glorious haze of blues and yellows and golds.

This is the scene for the Saturday Night Special. In Hawaii. Special. Is. So. Right.

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Salute to Supernatural – Hawaii #Paradise

So, funny story…

I attended my first Supernatural convention in Chicago in 2014, with my husband. At some point, I suggested to him that we take a vacation to Vegas; he enthusiastically agreed… and then I told him there’s a convention in Vegas, to which he replied, “of course there is.” Sometime later, I suggested we take a vacation to Vancouver, and he was very excited about that… and then I told him there’s a convention in Vancouver, to which he replied, “of course there is.”

Hubs then said, “I just really hope they take this convention to Hawaii because obviously that’s the only way I’m ever gonna get there.”

Well, well, well, my sweet hubs, Hawaii it is.

The Salute to Supernatural Convention in Hawaii marked a few milestones for me. It was my 10th convention. It was my birthday. But more than that, it also served as the destination for my second honeymoon as I celebrated 25 years of mostly wedded bliss with my hubs. (Let’s be real, marriage is hard work, it ain’t all chocolate and roses all the time, so when I say mostly wedded bliss, I mean like 99.43% wedded bliss, okay).

Once again, I was not disappointed. Creation Entertainment truly put on a wonderful weekend. The lines moved quickly. Questions were answered with smiles. I am so very impressed by the continued enthusiasm these team members show, even on Sunday evening, even after working crazy-long hours. If you have the chance to attend one of these cons, please make the time to thank these people for making your experience the wonderful thing that it is.

The Hilton Waikiki Resort was massive. I think there were six hotel towers, three pools, countless shops and eateries, and oh yeah – there was a beautiful beach, with the softest sand my toes had ever felt. The water really is that decadent bluish green just like you see on TV. And yes, the water is also crystal clear. And slightly warm, the kind of warm that feels a bit cold for like half a minute but then you remember that you’re in the water in Hawaii so who even cares if it’s a bit chilly because HAWAII.

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