New Jersey is my “home con”. That means I can load a bunch of boxes of books into my car and drive there – and then hope I can find someone to help me get them all up the long long ramp and into the convention center!
I didn’t really need to worry, because as always, fandom comes through. I was on my own in the vendor room officially, but dozens of people came by on a regular basis to check on me and see if I needed a bathroom break (to the ONE bathroom for the entire convention center….don’t get me started about how much I hate this venue…) or a hot dog or another bottle of water. Two of the nicest women ever helped me wrangle a luggage cart from my nearby hotel and load and unload the boxes of books to and from my car. Another lovely woman delivered my photo ops right to my vendor table so I wouldn’t have to go grab them at the end of the con. The entire weekend was full of the best of SPNFamily, honestly. I met so many people who have read Family Don’t End With Blood and been inspired by it. I got to have dinner with my friend Trish from Attitudes in Reverse (one of the charities that the book benefits) and with a fellow acafan who’s teaching a course on leadership and Supernatural and her inspiring student.
As we got ready for the final season of Supernatural to kick off, everyone seemed to want to just relish our time together while we have it.
Friday kicked off with Rachel Miner, who always starts the con off with smiles and sparkles and words that inevitably make me feel better about people and life in general. I love the chapter that Rachel wrote in Family Don’t End With Blood, and the way she looks at the world.
Rachel on what it’s meant to be part of the SPNFamily: Everyone in this group are abnormally good humans.
Rachel advises to keep reminders of whatever it is that inspires you. She keeps pictures on her computer, some of them from fans.
She also talked about the importance of finding community and being able to help each other, something that Random Acts has done for many fans.
Rachel also spoke about the importance of representation onscreen: We need to see onscreen that it’s okay to be different. There’s a stereotype that only people in wheelchairs want to see people in wheelchairs or only people who are deaf want to see that, and NO.
She’d love to come back to Supernatural, but she’d want to be in a wheelchair.
Rachel: Because I love Meg and would want to portray her as a strong character that way.
I love that Rachel is an unabashed Megstiel shipper.
Rachel: They’ve probably both been multiple genders and don’t fit gender roles. You can imagine that relationship however you want, romantic or not. They kinda got each other.
Next Jason Manns gave us a little quoncert, half Q & A and half concert, starting off with the pretty harmonies of Wagon Wheel with Rob and Rich and Louden Swain.
Jason on how Supernatural has changed him: By being able to play conventions, that let me play for people who really wanted to listen. And also this crew got me into producing. This changed my life.
Jason also shared the amusing story that someone hired him to play like fifteen Billy Joel songs for Chris Schmelke’s birthday, because apparently he’s not exactly a fan.
Well done, fandom.
Adam Rose was next – it was a treat to have him, since he hasn’t been to that many Creation conventions.
Adam on having the Gollum: Who wouldn’t want an 8 foot tall clay dude following you around? If we lived together we’d have that Odd Couple vibe. I love the guy who played him, he really is seven feet tall and he’s the nicest guy.
If he could play another character?
Adam: Castiel. I love that trench coat!
He also had something to say about working with Jared and Jensen.
Adam: Jared and Jensen are tall. I didn’t expect that, after them working together for ten years, that they’d be so welcoming. They set the tone on that set. They work hard, and they have fun.
They did prank him once, when it was his coverage and he was talking to Jensen and Jared appeared over his shoulder with a drawing that wasn’t exactly G rated. As in, it looked something like this…
Like so many of the actors who have been on the show, Adam is grateful.
Adam: Meeting this fandom and coming to conventions changed my life. It made me realize stories change lives.
Alaina Huffman was also on stage on Friday, and said something similar about Supernatural.
Alaina: We have this one little tv show that holds us all together and this means the world to me. It has changed my life.
She said she would have really liked to explore the character of Josie more, but enjoyed the day she got to kick Mark Sheppard’s ass.
Alaina: That was a great day. He’s so great to work with, he really went for it. Fell out of the chair even!
What team is she on?
Alaina: Whatever team Cas is on! Or Team Naughty Pants with Rowena!
Friday was a pretty epic day, because we also got the combo of Jeffrey Vincent Parise and Gabe Tigerman, who were a lot of fun together.
Gabe: Here we are, the duo that just makes sense… lol
Gabe said that his first audition for Supernatural was for the guy who reanimated his girlfriend. Then two weeks later he auditioned for Andy and thought he’d never get it because Andy was a stoner and that wasn’t him (unlike everyone else in the audition room).
Jeffrey: I loved my first scene as Asmodeus. The way it was written, I thought I’m part of something special. And I was.
Gabe Tigerman can tell a funny story like nobody else, and we were lucky to get a few (though not my favorite, the 5 legged cow and world’s biggest groundhog story). This time it was about him consuming too many edibles before getting on a plane and being wayyyy too high on his way to a con.
Gabe: I was very surprised the first time they asked me to do a convention. I said, I think you’ve made a mistake!
Favorite thing about all of this?
Gabe: The SPN Family means alot to me. When my family had serious health issues, the support from the actors and the fans meant so much. I’m reminded every time I come to a con.
He also talked about the scene where Dean can’t help but tell the truth.
Gabe: Jensen was so funny! I’m biased that I don’t think that really beautiful people are going to be funny, so I was like, that too??
We then had a ladies panel with Kim Rhodes, Briana Buckmaster and Lisa Berry. I will never get tired of their candor.
Favorite things seen on Tumblr?
Briana: Hey, we see all that, we’re perverts too!
Kim: I enjoy the memes where you put the curse words in that we were probably thinking on Supernatural.
Lisa: I love all the art work, it’s incredible!
There were some show questions, which I always enjoy.
Lisa: I’ve played Billie like she’s been there all along and has seen everything, so when Death was killed, part of her was like, I told ya so! I also tried to find out what was actually written in Dean’s Death Book. I asked Jensen, hey, what’s in there? He said “yeah, I know” and I was like, that’s not an answer!
Briana on meeting Jared and Jensen: I shook hands with Jensen and then thought oh, can’t look at that too long! Then I shook hands with Jared and thought oh, that’s gonna hurt …
Kim: My first impression of Jared and Jensen was: oh no, they’re riding tiny scooters around, I’m so fucked. And then it was my coverage and they were just like, what do you need? And I thought, oh, I’m taken care of. And it’s still that.
A fan asked, what would they do if they were in the Supernatural world?
Kim: What’s our proximity to Sam and Dean?
Briana: And what’s this rated?
Briana also gave stunt coordinator Rob Hayter a shout out, saying that he worked with them for three months doing fight training for Wayward Sisters and she loved it. (I was thrilled to meet Rob on set last year and watch him work with Jared on a fight scene and Briana is right – he’s brilliant!)
Friday night I had dinner with friends, caught a bit of karaoke, and then crashed. While I hate the gigantic concrete-floored plastic-chaired convention center, I LOVE the adjacent Embassy Suites and its lovely rooms and free breakfast buffet. Con life at its best!
Saturday began with Louden Swain doing The Cars’ ‘Shake It Up’ in homage to the recent death of front man Ric Ocasek. One of my favorite songs ever, and I love that Rob and the band always try to pay their respects when one of their favorites is no longer with us.
Team Naughty Pants, Alaina Huffman and Ruth Connell, were first up for Saturday.
I don’t know what Ruth is raising her hand for here, but Billy Moran is highly amused.
Did you know that Alaina is part Scottish too?
Alaina reminisced about the time Ruth cosplayed as Dead Rowena at the con in New Orleans. She stayed in character the whole time (and totally freaked me out as she wandered around karaoke looking like a freaking zombie!)
Alaina also had a shout out for the Hillywood Show girls, who she worked with on the last Supernatural parody: those girls are so talented!
There were some great show insights too, which always makes me happy.
Ruth: When I got the sides for the role on Supernatural, I sat down and watched a bunch of episodes.
Alaina: When I first met Jared and Jensen they were impressed because my ex husband was the choreographer for Ice, Ice, Baby.
Ruth: I met Jensen for the first time when he was directing me in that first episode and I thought OMG actors in America are so nice! Then I ran into Jared at the grocery store with Gen and he remembered that I’d been sick and I thought wow, he remembers me!
Alaina and Ruth: Jensen is so nice, Jared gives great hugs, Misha has helped out everyone. They all set such a great tone on set. Okay, we’re tired of saying nice things about them…
Both love that their characters are so unapologetic.
Ruth: We like women who don’t say ‘sorry’.
If they switched characters, what would happen?
Ruth: I’d just get out of the tub again and again like oooh, look at me…
Alaina: I’d speak Scottish.
Next we had a ladies panel of awesome with Kim Rhodes, Briana Buckmaster, Emily Swallow and Rachel Miner.
On their characters:
Emily: Amara held grudges. That’s why she was cranky all the time.
Rachel: Well, Meg kills more people.
Briana: Donna hasn’t made peace with her body, but Briana has.
Who else would they want to be?
Emily: I’d want to be Dean just to know what it’s like to walk around looking like the best looking man in the world.
Briana: I’d want to be Baby – in every episode!
Who would your character get with?
Briana: I mean, Jody, obviously. (beat) And Dean.
Lisa: Death is an equal opportunist 😉
On a more serious note….
Lisa: I so appreciate the opportunity to be on this show because as a black woman, I didn’t grow up seeing women like me represented in media.
Rachel: You all helped me find my inspiration again. You taught me what strength is.
Kim: What inspires me? You do!
Kim, Briana and Rachel all wrote about how the SPNFamily has inspired them in their chapters in Family Don’t End With Blood.
R2 was next (sans the M, since Matt Cohen wasn’t there). We missed you, Matt! (I love that their theme song was still “Three Is A Magic Number” even though there were only two of them lol)
They still made me laugh until my sides hurt. Richard told the story of the time he was getting his hair cut and blow dried at age eighteen and the stylist leaned in and said “Don’t worry I’m not gonna charge you for the blow job” lol
Rich and Rob also did some imitations of Jared and Jensen. In slow motion. Including Jensen’s comedy elbows doin-a-bit thing that’s become a thing.
On their characters –
Rob: God wanted that big dramatic scene between Dean and Jack to play out. Their bond is real but he sets it all up.
Rob has a soft spot for the drunken hermit that was Season 4 Chuck, and especially loved the episode he did with Curtis Armstrong when he sang Fare Thee Well. He also adorably tried to convince us that God/Chuck still has a sense of humor.
Rob: He’s just having a moment!
Rich: Gabriel never thought God was a good dad, so right now he’d be saying ‘told you so!’
If Gabriel had been in the Season 14 finale?
Rich: There would have been more strippers.
They did get serious for a little bit. Their favorite memory of their friendship is at a con, watching their sons make a movie which consisted of only fight scenes.
Jeffrey Parise did another panel in the afternoon. Everyone complimented him on his mad karaoke skills.
Jeff: I’m contemplating a fourth career as a karaoke host.
On the Supernatural set and playing Asmodeus:
Jeffrey: I loved everything about playing him. And then there’s this, and it’s so awesome! And Supernatural is such a fun set. When I was smiting Misha and Jared, we’d just been talking about hot peppers so they were acting like they’d just eating them.
He did miss his panel partner, Gabe Tigerman, though.
On the Col. Sanders comparison?
Jeffrey: I don’t see it. I mean, he has a black tie…
What was the hardest thing about playing Asmodeus? Going to craft services to have a snack and having to lean wayyyy over to keep the white suit clean!
He also had lots of nice things to say about working with Matt Cohen on “Mama Bear” – which, if you haven’t seen it, really is awesome!
Jeffrey: Matt is a great director. You can always tell when a director has acting experience.
The highlight of the day for many fans was of course Misha Collins’ panel. He reminisced about how New Jersey was actually his very first convention, and asked if anyone was also here.
Me: raises hand
Misha: Oh, you!
You can actually read all about Misha’s experience (and ours) at that first convention in our book ‘Fangasm Supernatural Fangirls’ in which Misha is a main “character”. Everything that happens in that book is absolutely true, but some of it is kinda hard to believe anyway. Misha can verify though!
He also reminisced about the time he took his adventure meet and greet folks out into the woods at the NJ con – and set the woods on fire. Oops.
He always has the best stories, honestly.
Misha: At a convention recently, Richard and I came out of the bathroom together and we were late and the handlers were like “hurry up” and Richard just said, “It’s Misha Collins, he’s not gonna hold his own penis!”
This is why I love Misha panels.
He also told the story of starting Random Acts shortly after getting the part on Supernatural, and why that idea came to him and how the fandom was an inspiration. He tells that whole story in the chapter he wrote in our other book, “Fan Phenomena: Supernatural”. Did you know he’s a fabulous writer? That chapter is every bit as intelligent, inspiring and hilarious as he is.
Misha also shared some funny moments from cons and from set. Like the time Jared took his phone and tweeted “I hate fans” – from Comic Con no less! Or the time that Jared was lying there as an unconscious Sam and Misha was trying to say his lines as Castiel.
Misha: And on my coverage, his foot is right here (in my crotch) – for a very happy ending. Kevin the AD was finally like, get the f—k out of here!
He did get serious too, talking about Supernatural ending and its legacy.
Misha: I don’t want to be too precious talking about this show, but I honestly feel like this fandom is a template for an ideal fandom. It’s a true community. I feel very lucky to be a part of this and I hope this community goes on.
If he could back to the start of this wild ride, he’d tell himself not to worry so much about it ending, so he could just enjoy it.
The Saturday Night Special was incredible as always, with Emily Swallow rocking out to “Heartbreaker”, Lisa Berry crooning “Feel Like Makin’ Love”, Richard Speight on “Copperhead Road” and Jason Manns and Rob singing a gorgeous version of “Hallelujah”. Jeffrey V Parise joined the fun too, playing a hand drum.
Kim Rhodes, Briana Buckmaster and Ruth Connell all sang like rockstars, and Louden Swain brought the house down with an encore of “Born To Run” in honor of New Jersey, and then everyone joined in on “Hey Jude”.
There was birthday cake for a blushing and pleased Rob Benedict, then Louden Swain took a well deserved bow to the applause of the crowd.
Sunday began with Jared and Jensen’s gold panel. I still get nervous on Sundays, and I think I’d be disappointed if that didn’t happen. It always ends up being a rollercoaster of a day, with lots of emotions and everyone in a sort of fragile state hoping our experiences are positive ones. The vast majority of the time, that’s exactly what happens.
Jared and Jensen to the many newbies: We’ve been coming here for ten years, where have you been?
Someone asked about real life gag reel moments.
Jared: Like when I stopped all the trains in Europe? ALL OF THEM.
Jensen: Our whole life is a gag reel…
Jensen talked a little about his trip to the music fest and the bourbon distillery (is that what it’s called?) Apparently at first they said they didn’t have anyone who could do a tour, they were too busy. Then the guy on the phone realized it was Jensen who wanted to come and was suddenly like, never mind, I’ll do the tour myself! He turned out to be the manager and a big Supernatural fan. In fact, he has a Doberman named Jensen, and a “weiner dog” named Misha.
Jensen: No Jared?
Manager: There’s no room for a sheepdog.
Jensen also talked about the Whitecaps charity soccer game that we all so enjoyed watching from afar, and how he decided just to have fun with it.
Jared was amused.
We also got a hilarious re-enactment of yesterday when Jensen and Jared were walking and Jared tripped on a tile and then had to go back to inspect it.
Jared talked a little about his new possible role as Walker, Texas Ranger, but had this to say about Supernatural.
Jared: For the next six months, I’m Sam Winchester.
We had a Ruth Connell panel between the morning and afternoon J2 panels, which was lovely.
Ruth: My first day on set, Jensen was directing, and he took the time to get to know me. He has Scottish grandparents. It’s where he gets his symmetrical freckles.
Ruth: When I was new to the show, I met Jared in the supermarket when I had the flu. Then later I saw him at a network party and he asked, “are you better?” I was so touched that he remembered!
Richard decided to sing a new song called “They Poop” all about where Jared and Jensen were, and then implicated Ruth in it too, much to her mock shock.
J2 did eventually arrive for their afternoon panel.
Jared: We’re a third of the way through filming the final season.
Jensen told the Jared tripping walking through the airport in sunglasses again and then going back to blame the floor tile because it definitely warranted two tellings lol.
They also (hilariously) explained turbulence for some reason I can’t recall, and then pitched a show ala The Walking Dead except with very slow zombies called The Strolling Deceased.
There was also an innuendo filled back and forth conversation about Jensen’s “growing awareness”. Ahem.
At one point, Jensen mentioned Demon Dean.
Jared: Also hot.
Every single person in the place: YES
Jared attempted to get a rim shot from Stephen Norton with lots of dad jokes to no avail. (Which Jensen then stole and got one). Poor Jared.
He finally just went back and told Norton whatever joke was too dirty to say out loud. Norton’s expression says it all.
He got a “Who are you, Chuck Norris?” tease from Jensen though. Apparently the jokes are flying on set already.
Someone asked if they’d consider doing another DVD extra like they did in the first season, ‘A Day In The Life of Jared and Jensen’ and they said yes, the like the idea of doing another one for the Season 15 DVD. Fingers crossed!
Another fan asked if Jared would ever sing, and if Jensen has heard him sing.
Jensen: I have heard Jared sing. Voice of an angel. Pearl Jam comes on and he loses all muscle control to not sing.
They got some good questions about the show, thankfully. One was about whether they ever give input about what their characters would or wouldn’t say.
Jared: We have a rule on set, best idea wins.
Once they knew there was something off about their dialogue, then Jared had the idea to read each other’s lines and then realized that now made sense. They went to Bob Singer, and he listened and then gruffly said, “Yeah, okay.” Lol
Jared: The writers trust us to know Sam and Dean. We’ve protected these characters for over fourteen years. Not Jared and Jensen, but Sam and Dean. And I have six months left with him, and I’m doing that. Whether or not Walker gets picked up, for the next six months, I’m Sam Fucking Winchester. I’m committed to that and to this guy here [Jensen].
The two were supportive of each other as always, consoling each other (and getting hugs from Mike Borja) after a fan said she was born in 2004 right before the show began.
They gave their traditional fist bump at the end of the panel, then hugged as they said goodbye to the fans.
I needed my tissues.
Richard Speight Jr. closed out the con with the last panel.
Someone asked him if he was a fan of anyone.
Richard: When I was a kid, I wanted to be Brian Jones. I just didn’t want to be dead. Who do you fan?
Fan: Dylan O’Brien.
Richard: Well, I don’t know who that is, so if we ever meet him together, don’t worry I’ll have your back!
Richard also did some reminiscing about his time on Supernatural.
Richard: My first episode to direct was Sam heavy, and I’ll always be grateful for Jared’s patience and his artistic generosity.
Mystery Spot is also special to him because he got to work with the brilliant Kim Manners.
He was thrilled when Andrew Dabb told him he was coming back – in fact, he thought Andrew meant to direct, so it was a thrill to do six episodes as Gabriel/Loki.
Richard: Jared and Jensen are great team leaders. They love those characters, they love each other, and they love the fans. That’s why all of you love the show. That lightning in a bottle that is Jared and Jensen is very rare.
He ended with a sense of humor.
Richard: I’m getting real tired of shows I love directing going away!
Me too, Richard.
We had the traditional singalong rendition of ‘It’s The End Of The Con As We Know It’ and then the con was over.
I packed up my vendor table after autographs and once again was grateful for help from my fellow fans to load up my car so I could drive home and go to work the next day. I’m thrilled that the gang is coming back to my “home con” one more time in 2020 – at a new venue too!
Hope to see some of you there!
You can read the actors’ chapters in Family
Don’t End With Blood, and all about Misha’s
Early adventures in Fangasm Supernatural
Fangirls and Fan Phenomena Supernatural.
Links to all on the home page!