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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Rob Benedict Talks Family Don’t End With Blood, Louden Swain and Kings of Con!

One day last week, I was driving my niece to school with the Louden Swain ‘Saturday Night Special’ cd playing. My niece has a developmental disability and is not very verbal and that can make life extra challenging. It was early, but when Eskimo came on, without thinking I turned it up a bit and maybe started singing. And maybe started drumming on my steering wheel a little. (Hey, it’s one of my favorite songs, so…) Suddenly I heard a noise to my right and noticed movement. I turned my head, and my niece was not only humming along but was air drumming enthusiastically. With the BIGGEST smile on her face. I grinned back and we rocked the hell out of the rest of that song, and then put it on repeat. It was one of the most fun drives I’ve ever had at 8:00 in the morning.

A few days later, I had a chance to catch up with Rob Benedict and I shared that story.

Rob: Awww, that’s so sweet, I love that.

Lynn: Your music is pretty special, obviously.

Rob: That’s so great.

Lynn: it was. So thanks for that. Okay, so questions. First I wanted to ask you about the chapter you wrote for Family Don’t End With Blood. You really did write a very personal and very powerful chapter, all about having a stroke at the Toronto convention several years ago. So many fans who have read it have told me how moved they were by your chapter. What kind of feedback have you gotten, and how does it feel now to have written such a personal unguarded chapter?

Rob: It’s been absolutely overwhelming, the response. There are still a number of people who didn’t really know that happened to me. So it varies, from people feeling empathy to people saying a similar thing happened to someone that they know, or just that the sentiment was something that they recognized. People say the nicest things, about it being one of their favorite chapters in the book, and all sorts of unbelievably gracious and complimentary things. I wind up signing as many books as I do head shots of myself. I think it means a lot to people. And I don’t think you automatically get my autograph with your ticket to the con or whatever.

Lynn: No, you hardly ever do. Unfortunately.

Rob: Right, so people are buying that so I can sign their book, which I think is the biggest compliment to you and the effect that Family Don’t End With Blood has had on people.

Lynn: And to you, because your chapter is one of the ones that really made an impact! I’ve gotten such incredible reactions to the book. It had the exact effect that we were all hoping for – as support and inspiration for people when they’re struggling. I’ve heard stories of people sharing the book with their parent, saying this is what’s helping me not cut anymore. I’ve heard people say that this makes all the difference – that they’ve been ready to give up, and then went back and read one of the chapters about people they admire having their own life and death struggles – and decided to keep going.

Rob: Ah that’s amazing, that’s what I mean about it being overwhelming. It’s like, you almost can’t even fathom how much it means to people and how life saving it’s been. I’ve experienced that with our music as well. It’s something about this fandom that I don’t think people really comprehend. How deep it really goes.

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PittCon – The Saturday Night Special

Post and Photos by Kim Prior

I have written several articles about the Saturday Night Special and my love for these events. I don’t think I could find the words to say it any differently this time – I simply love Rob and Billy and Mike and Stephen. I love to watch Mike play that guitar. I love to watch Stephen as he passionately pounds the drums. I love to watch Billy pour his heart and soul into his guitar. And I love to watch Rob sing, and dance, and smile as he commands the center of the stage. Simply put, Louden Swain gives me joy. This concert gives me joy. I have said it before, and I know that I will say it many more times to come… the Saturday Night Special is special because of Louden Swain.

The concert in Pittsburgh apparently had some technical issues – mics not working properly, guitar issues, and so on. But let’s be honest, I didn’t care, not even a little. These guys could come on stage and sing the phone book completely a capella and I’d be so okay with that.

So without further ado, and without a lot of commentary, here’s a recap of PittCon’s Saturday Night Special.

The night got off to a rockin’ start as Jake Abel introduced the band.

The first song of the night was “Present Time.”

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