Vancon always feels a bit like coming home. Which is odd, since I’ve never lived in Vancouver. But several of the most pivotal and emotional chapters of our story in Fangasm Supernatural Fangirls took place in Vancouver. I met my first other SPN Family members in Vancouver – and, miraculously, six of us from that first group of a few dozen fans were back in Vancouver again last weekend! It was wonderful to reconnect, and amazing to know that so many of us are still fans, almost a decade later. Of course, Vancouver also feels like “home” because it’s home to the Show we were all there to celebrate. It’s a bit more laid back, since the boys don’t have to fly in and out. They’re more relaxed, and that means more time to chat with fans and be creative in photo ops (and oh yes, can fans ever be creative in photo ops!) It also gives the other actors, who aren’t there on Sunday and sometimes don’t get a chance to say hi to Jared and Jensen, the opportunity to reconnect too. I chatted with Gil McKinney recently and he said he hoped he would run into Jared and Jensen soon, since he kept having to fly out before they got to the con on Sunday. Watching Gil and Jensen singing together at the Saturday Night Special, I kept thinking how nice it was that they indeed got a chance to hang out again. And to harmonize!
At Minncon the weekend before, the vast majority of the audience were new fans of Supernatural – which is a wonderful thing! It invests a con with so much energy, and I love seeing fans’ reaction to meeting Jared, Jensen, Misha or whoever they fan for the first time. Vancouver is one of the cons where many of the original con-going fans still congregate, which brings a different kind of energy – it’s a quieter, more sentimental sort of feeling. Many of us have been coming to Vancon since the beginning, and a dinner on the harbor is the comfortable sharing with old friends, with “remember that time…” repeated again and again. I was thrilled to meet up with so many old friends, and equally thrilled to meet so many new fans. Thank you to everyone who came over to tell me that reading Fangasm meant something to you and validated your experience as a Supernatural fan – signing our books is an honor for me, and hearing your stories even better.
We missed karaoke for the first time in forever, so I’m about to start scouring the internet for vids since I hear it was a fabulous one. Instead we headed out to North Van to catch a little Supernatural filming. We joined a small group of fans standing on the corner of a residential neighborhood, craning our necks to see if we could figure out what they were filming a short distance away. [Vague spoilers for episode 11.05 ahead]. I enjoyed watching the TV version of local cops chatting between takes, and the police car for the fictional town coming and going as well. There’s always something interesting to see when you’re obsessed with a television show, because frankly, EVERYTHING is interesting! AD Kevin Parks came over to say hello, which gave me a chance to wish him luck in the charity race he was about to undertake in the morning. Go Kevin! So did locations guy Allan Ross, who also kept busy trying to keep fans from getting run over as trucks full of prop evergreen trees and all sorts of other things came through the intersection. The local residents jogging by or walking their dogs were either mildly confused “What’s going on here?” or joined us after we explained that Supernatural was filming in their neighborhood.
Every now and then we would catch a glimpse of Jared Padalecki, looking mighty damn fine in his Winchester fed suit, walking back and forth as the camera followed him. We chatted with some of the always helpful and friendly crew, and traded SPN-centric stories with other fans as we watched, making sure to stay out of the way. This was an experienced group of fans — every time the PA called for quiet , all conversation stopped until we heard the “Cut!” The relationship between Show and fans felt as easy and comfortable as … well, as one built over a decade and (at least for the most part) constructed with some mutual respect. It was a good feeling.
Jared came over to say hello a little while later, greeting fans warmly and making sure he took a picture with each and every person who wanted one. (If this is you and you don’t want it posted, just let me know – but I think it’s adorable!)
In spite of it being late at night after a long day of shooting in the chilly drizzling rain, Jared made sure he greeted every fan and that he took a picture with everyone who wanted one. He stopped a few times to say, “anyone else? Did everyone get one?”
I was off to the side trying to take pictures, which I mostly failed at.
He turned to me at the end and grabbed me for a Moose hug – anyone who has been hugged by Jared knows what I mean!
“I’m so tired, hold me up,” he teased, and then proceeded to collapse in my arms – which explains why I’m laughing my head off and look ridiculous in the picture my friend Alicia snapped at that moment. The next day he apologized for leaning on me and I assured him it was no hardship. I mean, obviously, right? In fact, I felt pretty macho for having been able to hold up someone who’s 6’4” or 5 or whatever. He’s a big guy! Then again, his wife can carry him around piggyback and she’s shorter than I am, so clearly she’s the macho one.
It started to rain shortly after Jared went back to work, and we headed back to the condo where we were staying, but the whole experience left me feeling all warm and fuzzy about Show and cast and crew and fandom. (Not all that unusual for me, I know…)
We did NOT miss the Saturday Night Special, since we knew Jensen was probably going to sing; in fact, we were in our seats ridiculously early, bouncing in anticipation already. I’m still not over VegasCon, where Jensen turned into a rockstar before our eyes – damned if he didn’t do it again at Vancon! He said later that he got the idea to perform “Simple Man” from a fan who suggested it, and since he’d always loved the song anyway, he decided on that one. Its connection to Supernatural was icing on the cake.
You’ve all seen it, obviously. Probably a hundred times. Or is that just me?
I’ve said many times that I love the SNS, and this one was no exception. Everyone brought their A game, and everyone was emotional. Rob sings ‘She Waits’ and tears just stream down my face. They all sing ‘Carry On’ and then ‘A Little Help From My Friends’ and fandom sings along and the feeling in the auditorium is sort of indescribable.
It feels remarkably like an organic thing we’ve all built, like we really are all in this together. When Rob holds up his hands and makes a heart, turning to each segment of the audience to be sure everyone knows it includes them, it touches mine.
Jensen’s performance singing ‘Simple Man’ was once again that kind of experience that sort of makes time move in an altered state – pretty sure that I sat there grinning like a fool the entire time, just like at VegasCon. This time he played guitar too, rocking out with Richard and Rob as all three of them lost themselves in the music. Tell me these aren’t rockstars, go ahead. I dare you. This is why our fandom isn’t quite like any others.
Jared the next day, pointing to himself: Who’s regretting not being at the concert?
Jensen: He’s counting on someone posting videos of it for him.
Jared: Anyone take videos? Anyone? No? No?
Jared: [to Jensen] I’ll just have to have you redo it for me.
I think we’d all like to have that kind of do-over!
I talked to Jensen about the concert the next day.
Me: Holy crap, you really are a rockstar!
Jensen: (laughing) I don’t know what happened! I don’t even remember, it was like Ctrl Alt Delete. What happened?
Me: Well whatever happened, you’d better keep doing it, because it was awesome!
It’s clear to anyone watching that whatever altered state he might go into at the time, Ackles absolutely loves singing once he gets going. Look at that face! He gets totally into it, and his enthusiasm feeds into the enthusiasm of the rest of the band until something very special is happening.
Also? Bowlegs. Mmmm. And Mark Sheppard on drums.
After the concert, there were spontaneous hugs all around, much like at VegasCon. Everyone was overwhelmed with the kind of happiness that, frankly, you just don’t get to experience all that often in life. Rockstar!Jensen is right up there with the good stuff.
We piled outside the convention center still grinning and gushing, only to be confronted with yet more pouring rain – and no cabs. Seems like someone could have planned a bit better for a concert of thousands of people to let out and have to wait an hour for a bloody cab. Fifteen minutes in, a big white stretch limo pulled up and offered rides, and a bunch of us said what the hell and piled in. It seemed somehow fitting, as we were chauffeured back up the hill to our condo. We sorta felt like rockstars too for those five minutes.
I sat down with Briana Buckmaster on Saturday for an absolutely lovely chat, which was a highlight of the con weekend. She’s one of those people who I could talk to for hours and never run out of things to say, and I was thrilled to have a chance for some relatively relaxed conversation. I also met her beautiful daughter and wonderful husband Jose, who scoped out the con while we chatted. (waves!) Look for our interview with Briana here soon – she talks thoughtfully about fandom and SPN, and catches us up on what she’s been doing.
We also filmed a segment with Briana for ‘Squee! The Fangirl Documentary’ while we were at Vancon – cannot wait for you all to see Squee! It’s a wonderfully fangirl-positive film that will make you feel good all over. I got a chance to catch up and consult with our Squee Post Producer too, the super talented Adam Williams from SPN’s amazing VFX crew.
And speaking of documentaries, we also caught up with Ryan Curtis, who premiered his film ‘The Weirdo Hero’ on Monday evening in Vancouver. I was honored to consult for the film, which deals with the important topics of depression and suicidality – I only wish I could have stayed in Vancouver to see the screening and squee at my name in the credits! Cannot wait to see it!
Briana is one of the stars, along with other Supernatural alums like Ty Olsson and Jared’s stand in Jason Cecchini, who we met in Vancouver last year. Ryan told us he plans on taking the film on the film festival circuit, so be sure to check it out if you can.
One of the highlights of Saturday was having Misha Collins back onstage. We missed having him on onstage at Minncon, and I think the entire fandom was worried about him that entire weekend. I know I was. Being attacked like that, even if you end up physically okay, is a big deal. I don’t care how strong you are or how secure, there’s a sense of vulnerability that comes with a random attack, that changes your world view as well. I chatted briefly with Misha at Minncon, and sent him an email soon after, with my psychologist hat on.
Misha: (smiling) Thanks for the email. It made sense.
I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to see his smile.
And all his other essentially Misha expressions too.
Not to mention those lovely jeans he was wearing at Vancon. He loves to put his leg up on the chair, which for some reason I find appealing. Hmmm. And those blue eyes and long lashes.
Sunday was, of course, J2 Day. But it was also the premiere of another documentary’s trailer – The Supernatural Fandom documentary. Filmmakers Clif and Mitch Kosterman and Supernatural’s Jason Fischer were there to answer questions and introduce the doc, which we were thrilled to contribute an interview for. And hey, we made the trailer! (Though you have to look fast or you’ll miss it. Like lightning fast).
The documentary is a little like the film version of Fangasm Supernatural Fangirls – all about the fandom. Who we are, why this is important to us. At the conclusion of the trailer, the entire ballroom stood up and gave them a standing ovation. Gotta say, for three burly guys, they looked pretty damn emotional at the fandom’s response. Check out the trailer and the indiegogo for more!
Jared and Jensen were in a fabulous mood on Sunday, with the usual shenanigans and laughter. Seriously, sometimes my face aches when I’m at a con, just from this cast being too damn funny. I took so many photos of the boys smiling that I can’t even fit a fraction of them into this post!
Jensen offered to braid Jared’s hair, and did a hip-twitching Magic Winchesters XXL routine that made Jared fan himself (which was entirely understandable).
There was also a hysterical Jensen imitation of Rob climbing a ladder to spy on Jensen (you need to watch the video for context, not that there really was a lot…)
I think this was Jensen acting out the Yellow Fever snake coming over his shoulder, but at any rate…
Jared: Can you do that on the other side, that feels good?
And there was Jensen imitating Jared on set when he fell for Gen, which had Jared in stitches. I’m not sure how they always manage to have so much fun and be so damn funny, but they do.
There were serious moments too. I’m always impressed by how carefully and intently the cast listens to fans’ questions, and how much thought they put into answering them.
Jared and Jensen also looked gorgeous. I wish my photography skills could do them justice.
Jensen’s meet and greet was as laid back as the rest of this con. Of course we all started talking at once about how much we loved his singing at the concert. He said he wasn’t expecting it to be quite so rock and roll, although he allowed that when there are two drum kits on stage, you should expect the rock and roll! Everyone agreed that Mark Sheppard was positively glowing.
Jensen: (laughing) Heh heh heh. Crowley glowing…
There were lots of excellent Show questions. A fan asked what was the most difficult scene for Dean, in the ten years that Jensen has been portraying him.
Jensen: Oh gosh…I feel fortunate to portray a character who can be so many things… heroic to emotional to funny to sometimes goofy, it’s great for me. There’s not a lot we haven’t seen Dean go through.
He said the hardest are the really emotional scenes with a character he hasn’t built a relationship with.
Jensen: I’m comfortable letting raw emotions show with Jared, or with Misha.
He was also asked about his favorite fight scenes, but he also talked about what’s difficult about fight scenes, saying that there are times he’s nearly given himself whiplash. When you throw a fake punch, there’s no contact, so you have to whip your own head around really fast (Jensen got up and helpfully demonstrated). Ouch.
He also said that one time a guest actor was supposed to throw Dean up against a dresser and practically lift him up onto it, and he slammed his back against it way too hard, and came up saying “Advil!”
Jensen: I can take a punch, but…
His favorite fight scenes (I think we could probably guess both of these) were the ones with Cain – that first epic all-day fight scene in Cain’s kitchen, and the Mark of Cain showdown in S10.
[Mild spoilers below]
The most recent fight scene they filmed – the three way fight in the back seat of Baby – sounds rather epic too. They filmed it the entire day, call to wrap, with virtually no dialogue.
Jensen: (jumping up to illustrate) Just like OOOH EEEEH AAHHHH!!
Me: [silently] That probably should not have been hot…
Jensen: It was fun though, because it was different, and taxing. I earned it that day.
I bet he did! Apparently Dean was getting dragged out the window and then dragged back in. Which, frankly, does not sound like my definition of a fun day. But I’m no Jensen Ackles.
There was one line of dialogue though. Can you guess what it was?
Jensen: “I’m sorry, Baby.”
Of course Dean said that in the middle of a fight scene. Of course he did.
Jensen also mentioned again that apparently epic reverse 180 he pulled off in the Impala. There was a guest star in the front seat who asked with some trepidation, “Um, you have done this before, right?”
Jensen: (smirking) Not a good time to ask.
I hope that person’s reaction is in the gag reel.
Someone asked about the small things that make Supernatural so believable and so powerful, like the clench of a jaw or a subtle change of expression. Jensen talked a little about those “happy accidents” that occur during filming, and how his relationship with Jared facilitates them.
Jensen: Those little moments happen in the moment. Jared and I work well together, we study and get the lines done, but not a definitive way of saying every word. So that allows us to be available to what happens in the moment. It’s organic, it’s not over-rehearsed.
A fan asked Jensen what he’d learned from Jared and what he thought Jared had learned from him, confiding that she’d already asked Jared that question at Minncon.
Jensen: Oh great, what did he say?
Fan: (laughing) It’s like the Newlywed Game!
He said that what he’s learned professionally from Jared is from the energy that Jared brings to set.
Jensen: The energy he brings to set is vital. It comes from the top down. He has an incredible ability to keep everything light and fun but still get work done. When he’s not around, it’s missing.
He said he tries to emulate Jared in that when he’s not there. And, like Jared said, they are different. Complementary.
Jensen: We’re like Sam and Dean, because I’m a worker bee. We balance each other out.
He’s well aware that it’s not like that on most sets, that usually the cast are much more independent of each other.
Jensen: Jared and I are aware that the way we get along isn’t a normal situation. The other is much more common.
And yes, that’s yet another thing that sets our fandom apart – and makes us so very very lucky.
I got to ask the last question, which I was dying to hear Jensen’s take on. I’ve had conversations recently with several SPN crew members, who had said that they were really liking S11 so far, and that it seemed like the Kripke era. At the time, I was so excited to hear that, I just started nodding like a crazy person and saying OOOOH that makes me so happy! Unfortunately that means I didn’t realize that I wasn’t sure exactly what they meant until long after I’d strolled away grinning. So I thought I’d ask Jensen.
Me: So do you agree with that, that S11 so far seems like the Kripke era? And if you do, what exactly does that mean, since I realize I don’t actually know?
Jensen said he did agree, and that what he thought it meant was that this season has a through story. The boys trying to figure out how to fight the Darkness is an overarching story similar to Season 1’s search for John. But in the meantime, the Winchesters are going to help as many people as they can, so there will be some one-offs like there were in the Kripke seasons.
He talked about the energy to the new season, that the early seasons also had that energy, with the two boys in the car, neither of them possessed, with nothing riding them and nothing between them. With the brothers together.
That does sound like the Kripke era, doesn’t it? OMG is it time for S11 yet????
Stay tuned for more photos and coverage from Minncon and Vancon, and more exclusive interviews!
Big thanks to @arkine13 for the photo edits – and her patience.
Read more of our adventures with Jared, Jensen,
Misha and more in Fangasm Supernatural Fangirls!
Click the link at the top of this page