Thursday, Friday and Saturday at SPNVan….
I love when Vancon is in August, because that means I can head up there a few days early to just have FUN. My first flight was cancelled and it took five hours to get it straightened out and get off the ground, so Wednesday was pretty much a no go, but I did get there in time to have a nice dinner with my friend Betty (who was kind enough to pick me up at the airport). After we’d indulged in lots of good pizza, we drove by the filming location for that evening, a nearby school. Due to our prioritizing of food (okay, it was my prioritizing, tbh) we arrived just as they were wrapping filming for the night – but in time to wave cheerily at the vans and trucks as they pulled out. Oh well.
Betty dropped me off at the Air BnB I was sharing with my friends Alana and Illy, who had spent the day braving the Vancouver rain and searching for past filming locations (all captured on Alana’s @_KingBooks_ Wednesday blog if you’re curious). We had the tiniest little Air BnB ever with a portable air conditioner that required us to leave a window open so its flexible tubing could protrude when we ran it but the shower was lovely and there was a fridge and two beds so we were happy fangirls.
Thursday we got up (relatively) early, walked to the little shopping area a few blocks away to a) get Lynn a latte before she gets too cranky and b) drop off clothes at the laundromat. The laundromat made me picture human!Cas stripping down to do laundry and that made me smile. The latte helped too.
The three of us then piled into the car (Kansas plates, and yes that made us giggle) and hit the road, armed with Alana’s list of past filming locations thanks to a generous fan on LiveJournal who has painstakingly logged them all for going on fifteen years. Fandom, y’all.
We got incredibly lucky at our first attempt, finding the iconic fence by the river where Dean famously told Sam that their father had said that if he couldn’t save Sam, he might have to kill him. If you’ve read ‘Fangasm Supernatural Fangirls’, there’s a chapter in which Kathy and I and some friends also try to find this fence, but have a lot more trouble (without the benefit of any directions). We finally found it at midnight that time, only to be stopped and questioned by flashlight wielding police officers who were sure that a bunch of women scrambling down an overgrown bank in a wooded area at midnight could only be up to no good.
The place has changed a bit – the overgrown banks are now just grass, with a lovely park bench, and there’s now a paved pathway along the fence. The fence itself, which was just a couple of ramshackle boards on posts, is now four new-looking boards. It’s an incredibly beautiful, peaceful spot – which made such a striking contrast when Dean has to say something so horrible to Sam.
The posts were still there so we could use those as a reference as we did what we’d come to do – reenact that iconic moment, of course! Illy set up the camera and she and Alana took their positions while I got to play director.
“You need to be on the other side of the post, Alana. No, I don’t care if there are a bunch of stink bugs there, move over!”
“Lean in more, Illy. Now look at the bridge, be somber. You’re tormented by this. Alana, you look at Illy.”
I kinda liked playing director, can you tell? I think the results speak for themselves.
Alana left her video camera running the entire time we were there, so god knows what other footage she has of us being total idiots – and having the time of our lives. It’s what fandom is all about, after all.
A man and his wife were sitting on a nearby bench and came over to compliment our ‘work’, which was such a Vancouver thing to do. They are the nicest folks!
Our next search missions weren’t quite as successful. We found the field where the gigantic boat from the Wayward Sisters episode is run aground, but it’s on the most forbidding sort of private property you can imagine. I wanted to just get the hell out of there but Alana and Illy are more intrepid, so we got of the car and walked a ways down the gravel road (which WAS a road, so it was technically okay – the private property signs were on the cornfields all around us). But as we passed by a few sketchy looking guys and foreboding looking farmhouses – think The Benders – (were they glaring at us or was that my imagination?) and more signs, I got more and more anxious. Finally we reached a sign that in big letters said “PRIVATE PROPERYY. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.” And then said something about trespassers being violated!
That was it, I was outta there. We later found a vantage point where we could at least see the ship and take a few photos from far away, and that was as close as I was getting!
Next we found the river bank where the Wayward girls skipped stones but – you guessed it – another private property sign. Oh well.
After that we had more success, finding the school where the 200th episode was filmed. The Russ Hamilton set tour earlier that day had been able to go inside to the auditorium and even sing “Carry On” on that same stage, and of course we couldn’t do that, but just seeing where the Impala had been parked and the entrance where the Supernatural sign had been was a thrill. We are nothing if not easily amused.
Our final stop of the day was a complete success, and SO much fun – the field where the climactic fight scene of LARP and the Real Girl took place (which, by the way is adjacent to a little swim club). We found the exact place, which is much smaller than it looked in the episode, and decided to reenact that wonderful moment when Dean, painted and bedecked, gives his Braveheart speech – and gets interrupted by a non-LARPer playing Frisbee. You see, the field is a real life Frisbee course. And what happened just as we were setting up the camera to film? A real life guy tossed a Frisbee right onto the field! I was freaking out about how perfect that was, and immediately directed Illy or Alana to go convince the two young guys that they needed to be in our film. (This whole director thing is hard to let go of, tbh…)
They did – and the two nicest guys ever were happy to help. They threw the Frisbee, Illy channeled her inner Dean, Alana her inner Sam, and me my inner Felicia Day – the results are frankly hilarious. If Alana hasn’t posted that video yet, be sure to check it out. Just so you can laugh your ass off at us. We don’t mind.
(Sincere apologies, Felicia Day, if you ever see the video…)
After that we headed to the con hotel for pre-reg, but every so often I’d remember what we just filmed and just burst into laughter.
I met up with my friend Alicia for a late dinner and lots of catching up and reminiscing, and then it was time to get some rest for Friday.
Friday I got to sleep in and have a nice breakfast, then the con kicked off with Rob Benedict holding down the fort (Richard Speight Jr. was busy with directing Supernatural). Poor Rob ended up introducing himself when there was no one else to do it, but all the props because he played all his multiple roles seamlessly.
Rob: (sheepish) Don’t hate me too much, I know I took a turn last season…
Everyone: We could never hate YOU, Rob!
Rachel Miner was first up, and shared the exciting news that Shoshannah Stern has written a script for the two of them!
Rachel: All of us are not really represented accurately as humans in film or TV. That’s got to shift.
Shoshannah replied to my tweet about it and said: I have. It’s a buddy comedy about the strength of female friendship within the spectrum of disability. Now we just need to find a way to get it made!
Come on, Universe!
Rachel said she doesn’t know if Meg will come back for the last season with her scooter, but said she does want to see more representation of people with disabilities for future generations.
I always love Rachel’s ship and let ship attitude. She’s passionate about her own ship but made a plea for there being room for ALL ships in this universe.
Fan: Do you see Meg getting together with her unicorn? (Cas)
Rachel: Do I see it? All the time…in my own head…
She also talked about what a difference the SPNFamily has made in her life. She wrote about it in her chapter of Family Don’t End With Blood too.
Rachel: I was deflated, and this family breathed life back into me.
Jason Manns gave a lovely quoncert and insisted that he loves the West coast and will play there again soon. I’m still bummed that when he played in my hometown of Philly recently, it was while I was on the west coast at Comic Con!
Someone asked him who he’d want to be on Supernatural.
Jason: I think there’s a temptation to say something else to be cool and individual, but if you do you’re lying. I’d want to be a Winchester.
He also reiterated the time that Eric Kripke asked him for a CD of his music so he could put it on the show.
Jason to Kripke: I’m honored, but I think when you listen to it, you’ll see it’s not quite right for the show…
Naturally Kripke found a way though.
Also someone brought up the film ‘The Plight of Clownana’ which Jason and Jensen and several other friends were in, and if you haven’t seen it, OMG. Priceless.
And we were treated to a little Station Breaks, which I always appreciate.
Next up were Jeffrey Vincent Parise and Gabriel Tigerman, who make a great twosome. They both had behind the scenes tales of filming Supernatural.
Jeffrey: Jared did make me measure my hair to be sure it wasn’t longer than his.
Gabe: As I’m trying to do a scene, Jared is just stomping on my foot. And once Jensen decided to show me some inappropriate pictures on his phone. They’re scamps!
Both said that Supernatural gives you the best guest star experience, with a fully fleshed out character even in a few episodes, and that everyone is so supportive. Something I think I’ve heard from every single guest star EVER.
Jeffrey: And this is so special, this community. You guys have found your tribe.
There were of course some amusing references to Asmodeus’ similarity to a certain fast food chicken proprietor.
If Andy met Asmodeus?
Gabe: He’s ask, what herbs and spices do you use?
Jeffrey: (zaps him)
Jeffrey on his evolution on the show: I went from being on top of Gabriel…
Gabe: Whoa, we don’t talk about that…
Jeffrey: From powerful to ZAP, like a burnt piece of chicken!
Gabe: If they do bring Andy back, we need a lot more gay porn references to back up all the slash that’s been written about him.
Someone sitting behind me: Yes please.
Gabe is well grounded as far as going to cons.
Gabe: I went to my first convention and thought oh, this is what Tom Cruise feels like all the time! Then you go out in the real world and they’re like who the f—k are you?
Their panel ended with Jeffrey doing an evocative rap. As one does.
Rob: Well, I’m seduced.
It was a jam packed Friday because we also had David Haydn-Jones and Samantha Smith.
Someone asked Sam about Mary and John meeting.
Sam: Well, when Mary met John, he was Matt Cohen. And really, a Venn diagram of Matt and Jeffrey Dean Morgan would have a big section of charm in the middle.
“Asmodeus” surprised “Ketch” during the panel, and they had a shoe switch. I have no idea why, but sometimes con panels are a little out there and you just scratch your head and go with it.
Caption that yourself.
Someone asked Samantha about Mary being an unappealing character at times.
Samantha: Mary was written as very serious. It would have been impossible for me to play her as bubbly.
They were both serious and careful about the sex scene and talked about it beforehand. Mary wore John’s ring on a chain, and they made sure that she took it off for that scene.
David: When Mary was dismissive to Ketch, I played it like Ketch was hurt. Because we cross our arms when we’re hurt to protect our hearts, so I did that.
Side note: I love how much thought and planning and seriousness goes into all the cast as far as their characters. It makes such a difference.
Samantha also showed her W with wings tattoo – which doesn’t stand for Winchester, but was when she got pregnant with her son and it ended up saving her life by finding a disease she didn’t know she had.
David: And what ever happened to Lady Toni’s kid? Let’s say Ketch as a single dad is canon, shall we?
Bottom line, even David Haydn-Jones can’t quibble with Mary and John together.
David: Just look at those boys they made! RAWR!
A panel with Kim, Briana and Lisa Berry rounded out Friday. Lisa showed her fangirl cred by having all the best Star Trek answers, including that she’d be a Klingon and Kim would be a Vulcan.
Briana told the hilarious story of the time Jared and Jensen convinced her to get in the back seat of Baby and to pop up and “say something” and she did and said “who’s next?” and they totally lost it.
One of the best moments of the panel was Briana singing her teenage fangirl ode to Jonathan Taylor Thomas while everyone swooned. Priceless. And yes, she was totally unashamed – as she should be!
Someone asked what their favorite moment was on set?
Briana: No, I never think about those boys….late at night…when I’m alone…
Kim: No. I love every fucking moment on that show.
Lisa talked about her first day on the show – she was so nervous because she had to sing a capella (“Oh Death” no less).
As for the girls ever taking the Impala out for a spin on the show?
Kim: Jensen would KILL me. That’s his Baby!
At some point in here panels ended for the day and I had some delicious crepes with Alicia from the little coffee shop around the corner, and caught a bit of karaoke before crashing.
Saturday kicked off with Rob and Rich and a lot of emotion.
Rob: We’re here celebrating fifteen seasons of Supernatural. There will never be anything like this – it’s a phenomenon.
That it is.
Then we had a Ladies Panel of awesome with Kim, Briana, Rachel, Samantha and Lisa.
Kim waxing eloquent about how much she loves the song ‘Olive Branch’ on Briana’s album.
Briana: OMG I’m dying of embarrassment.
Also a surprise Lisa and Briana duet of “Take Me For What I Am” and finding out that Rachel talked at 9 months, which somehow did not surprise me at all.
Kim to Rachel: That story is who you are.
Also Samantha confessed that her very first fan letter was to Shaun Cassidy. I tweeted him ‘did you know that Mary Winchester had a crush on you and wrote you a fan letter?’ Shaun replied to my tweet with “First I’ve heard of it – Love to Ms. Mary!” I love when my fandoms collide.
The entire panel talked about how special this show and this fandom are, from conventions that can’t be duplicated to making a better world thru charity to the friendships that both cast and fans have made. It’s a phenomenon.
But it wasn’t all serious.
What would Dean and Donna do on a road trip?
Briana: Eat…sing…argue… oh no, you keep those dirty thoughts to yourself!
Briana and Kim also took some time to think about what Jody and Donna would do on a roadtrip. Then some of their mics cut out.
Kim: OMG shut their mics off, the women are telling the truth!
(That was my favorite line of the con btw)
David Haydn-Jones did a solo panel next, all dressed up in his Ketch outfit and looking quite dapper. He shared the exciting news that he’ll be doing the Saturday Night Special at some point in the future, singing George Michael’s ‘Faith’. I can’t wait!
He also showed us some of his moves for a video for his classic song ‘Makin’ Bacon’. Ahem.
David said that Ketch wouldn’t mess with Baby either – he’s alone in the world and he’s actually envious of what the Winchesters have. Awww.
He also said that the whole first season he just wanted to stay in the Ketch accent, so he did, even between takes. And apparently the entire cast was fooled into thinking that was how he talked without him intending to do that.
David had my second favorite line of the con, talking about his unabashed love of dance.
David: If we had more gettin’ down and less beatin’ down we’d have better men (and perhaps less toxic masculinity)
The R2M panel was next, beginning with Matt Cohen’s traditional chair jump – I swear, it really does look like he can fly!
I kinda hold my breath every time it happens, but he always pops right back up again, A-okay.
Someone asked what the inspiration was for Matt’s character on Kings of Con.
Rob: The exact opposite of Matt.
Rich: Because sometimes people who look like Matt can be assholes.
Matt related the time they were filming a scene for Kings of Con at an actual convention in the green room with his character yelling at his agent on the phone, and Misha (who didn’t realize they were doing it for KoC) said “wow, I didn’t know you had that kinda balls!”
Rich told the hilarious story of ripping his pants onstage and then having to introduce Jared and Jensen, and being terrified that Jared would see and then tear them right off him! Billy Moran laughing his head off was all of us.
Matt also parodied his own (not) smooth dating moves.
Rob joked that he (as God) was inspired by the real life Misha Collins to write the story of the AU cult leader Misha. Gotta say, Chuck, that was a great story.
Ruth Connell and Felicia Day did a panel together next – double the ginger fun! Felicia surprised Ruth with a signed copy of her new book “Embrace Your Weird” – signing it to “the fire goddess.”
There was a lot of laughing and mutual admiration and speculation about that Rowena and Charlie roadtrip that we heard about but never saw.
Felicia: Can we just say we had intercourse? But it wasn’t good? OMG now I have to retcon that…
On a more serious note, they both have so much love for their characters.
Ruth: I love that the writers have made Rowena such a multi faceted character. Sometimes I’ve thought things about Rowena as backstory and then they wrote them!
She also loves some of Rowena’s clothes, and in fact has come up with a way to try to influence her wardrobe.
Ruth: When I like a wardrobe item, I pose like this in it.
Also Ruth: When I don’t, I pose like this…
Ruth said that the week before, Jared finally broke her (as far as making her laugh while filming).
Ruth: I was laughing so hard I was crying – and overheating! Jensen was like, there’s heat coming off you! Also I was trying to say something in Latin and accidentally said vulva… and Jared, Jensen and Misha were like what?
You can’t make this stuff up.
When Richard and Rob came out to end the panel, Felicia looked shocked.
Felicia: Are you sure we had 45 minutes?
Time flies when you’re having fun.
We ran out to the vendor room to catch the Louden Swain vendor room jam, which Ruth also joined in on with tambourine. I love everyone singing (and kazoo-ing) to Medicated, crowded into stairways and escalators and filling the floor. And it’s clear from their expressions that the band loves it too!
Then it was time for a late lunch with Supernatural alum and gifted artist Mary Manchin, current SPN post coordinator Casey Hammons, and some of my cherished fellow fangirls. Vancouver is so beautiful everywhere you turn, and just sitting by the window watching people stroll by was lovely. (And of course so was the chance for some real talk conversation about this little show we all have in common).
The final Saturday panel, per tradition, is Misha Collins. He and Rob had some sort of odd ritual greeting that happened, which mostly consisted of both of them bowing so low they ended up just rolling around on the floor together. As you do.
Misha always comes out and walks to the edge of the stage and greets fans, which is adorable. This time he happened to catch sight of the screen behind him where the lucky people who got picked to ask him questions are listed, and he was flabbergasted.
Misha: Does this always happen?? How do you get picked? Is it sexual favors?
Misha had some great family stories and some great behind the scenes stories too.
Misha on Jared sweating a lot: At one point Jensen and I just took over hair and makeup’s job and started sopping up Jared’s flop sweat. It could be a whole gag reel.
Everyone: Yes please!
He also said he really enjoyed his birthday on set, which included his trailer filled with balloons.
Misha: Then Jared and I spent 15 minutes popping all of them.
He was also asked about Castiel driving the Impala.
Misha: I want Cas to drive the impala like a stunt driver and Dean is like, I didn’t know she could do that! Actually the line between Dean and Jensen is increasingly blurring so he might not let me…
He also told the same story Ruth did about her saying the wrong word and other hijinks.
Misha: Yesterday Jared slammed the door on me and Ruth said vulva by accident and Alex kept saying ‘hell’ in all his lines. We have a new camera operator and he was like what is going on??
There really will never be another show like this.
Misha was at a convention that Sebastian Stan was also at a few weeks ago.
Misha: People were like get a picture with Sebastian Stan and I was like okay, who’s that? Then I asked if he was more famous than me and got a resounding YES
Someone asked his favorite Season 7 “Dick” joke.
Misha: The boys need Cas to get Dick. I guess he was the boys’ wingman…
He was serious a few times too though.
Misha: I think Castiel’s version of a happy ending is making a sacrifice that makes a difference.
Oh Season 15, are we ready at all? I doubt it.
Misha: It’s going to be hard to give up Cas. I think we’re all going to go through a real mourning period.
That’s for sure. He also had a few sweet stories about his kids.
Maison: sometimes I’m a tomboy and sometimes a princess.
Misha: And I said same for me.
He also shared a bittersweet story about struggling with what to tell West about elves being real – and then Santa Claus! West finally asked, “then is magic real?”
Misha: I couldn’t take it. I said yes.
And that’s why we love him.
Oh, and I tweeted what I thought was a cute little video of Misha attempting a “sassy Z snap” – which somehow attracted dozens of porn bots to reply to my tweet! I really should share that story with Misha…
Saturday night was dinner with some of my favorite people, including Lucy (who wrote a chapter in Family Don’t End With Blood with Supernatural VFX guru Adam Williams on their unconventional love story) and some of my other favorite fellow fangirls. Then it was time for SNS!
On my way I stopped by the H bar in the hotel to say hello to Supernatural production office’s Jason Fischer, who we first interviewed about a decade ago for an article in Supernatural Magazine (!), documentarian Mitch Kosterman and SPN alum (and Alpha Vamp) Rick Worthy. Rick is also on my other favorite show, The Magicians, and I hadn’t seen him since he came to the book release party for Family Don’t End With Blood, so that was lovely.
Then it was SNS time! Matt Cohen, Ruth Connell, Kim Rhodes, Briana Buckmaster, Lisa Berry, Jason Manns and Richard Speight Jr. all took the mic and kicked ass.
Louden Swain, as always, rocked the house down.
Vancon is special because Jensen Ackles usually sings too, and this year was no exception. He did a beautiful version of “Heaven”, which he has said he sings for the SPN Family. He was clearly emotional as he sang and looked out over the crowd, eyes glistening.
They are all well aware that this is a phenomenon that won’t happen again, and that there’s now an end point in sight, and the impact of that isn’t lost on either cast or fans.
His harmonies with Rob were gorgeous, and he seemed to be thoroughly enjoying himself as he roamed the stage and sang his heart out.
I’m not a big fan of Jensen in hats (he clearly is, so more power to him) but I have to admit that this hat makes for some striking photos, even for a non-photographer like me.
Of course, the man wearing the hat is part of the equation too. Okay, a big big part.
Then he had some fun with “Sonofabitch” and so did we, Rockstar Ackles out in full force.
After an emotional “She Waits” and “Amazing” with the ballroom lit up in solidarity with Rob and the band, and a triumphant “Mama’s Jam”, it was encore time.
The encore was ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’ and EVERYONE came out to join in – that included Jensen and the other cast still there, but it also included about 40 crew members who had come to the con. We were all aware that that will not happen again, because although there will be a convention in Vancouver next year, the show will no longer be filming and the crew will have scattered.
Rob gave a little speech about how special this all has been and so did Rich, and I needed tissues before I could keep taking some photos.
Jensen clearly wanted to capture the moment too as he went from side to side on the stage with his phone held high, filming the crew and cast and band singing together for himself to keep and remember.
Here’s my video of the emotional encore…
When Louden Swain took a bow, they were all emotional, and so were we, after a passionate applause and standing ovation for the cast and crew who have made this show great for 15 seasons.
That’s a wrap on the first few days of Vancon. I used up alot of tissues!
Stay tuned for post number two from Vancouver, SPNVan Sunday with Jared, Jensen, Rob, Rich and Ruth!
You can read the chapters the actors wrote in
Family Don’t End With Blood, links on the