This was my first convention in Indianapolis, though not my first time there since I’ve been to other conferences and business meetings in the city. It’s a quick 1.5 hour flight so I got there on Friday in time to at least catch a few panels – though I was very sad to miss Gabe Tigerman’s panel. I love Gabe and I love his chapter in There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done – I at least got to say hi later that afternoon luckily.
I did catch some of Adam Fergus and David Haydn-Jones panel, which turned out to be delightfully full of all kinds of innuendo and just blatant naughtiness. These are good things imho.
David said he was lucky to get the role of Ketch. He had his final callback for Supernatural after working until 6 am the night before filming a Hallmark movie and he was exhausted. (But apparently not too exhausted to throw on a suit and be perfect for the part!)
Adam agreed, and gave him all the props for his portrayal.
Fan: Sorry David killed off your character, I liked him.
Adam: I liked him too!!
They had some amusing stories to tell, including the one about David and the motorcycle helmet – they couldn’t find one that was big enough to fit his head, so when they put it on it looked like a little kid’s helmet – which apparently was hilarious.
They also had a few serious things to say about their roles on the show. David said that one of his favorite character moments was when Mary told Ketch “this is just a one night” thing. He wanted to show a glimmer of broken heart in Ketch. Near the end, David said that Ketch also felt guilty and wanted to redeem himself.
David: In the hospital, that was the first time he called them ‘friends’.
Adam: Mick and Ketch were brainwashed as kids, but Mick was trying to break out of that.
Both Adam and David had lots of positive things to say about working on Supernatural.
David: The best working experience I’ve ever had is Supernatural. Jared, Jensen and Misha are the best, and the crew that’s been with them since the start and stayed the whole time, that really says something.
Adam talked about the first prank the boys played on him and then about the atmosphere on Supernatural and how special it was.
Adam: It’s so much fun to do what we do, and on Supernatural they are all so nice, and the leads never phoned it in – ever.
A fan asked about shipping Ketch with…. (pause)… Rowena?
David: I thought you were gonna say Ketch and Mick.
Adam: I was hoping!
Jason Manns helped out with the music and the emcee duties on Friday, along with Adam. It’s always nice to have his beautiful voice on stage.
Kim Rhodes and Briana Buckmaster were up next. A fan asked Kim to answer a question about working with the boys on Zach and Cody and Briana attempted to answer – hilariously.
Briana: So Zach and Cody were in the make up trailer…they liked to put on their own rouge and makeup… just like Jared and Jensen!
Someone asked them their favorite words and Briana said “audacious”.
Briana: I love the word audacious. It’s used sometimes to mean that women are being too bold, but I love being told that!
Her favorite quote is by Isadora Duncan: “Darling, don’t let them tame you!”
Kim: I love the word “home”. It means different things to all of us, but we all know what it means.
Kim invariably makes me tear up at some point in the weekend. In a good way.
A fan asked what it was like playing a mother figure to the boys, and Kim had a great answer.
Kim: It’s not my job to tell you how to interpret the characters I play. I thought of Jody more as a friend to the boys, but if that resonates as mom to you, that’s great.
They both talked about the Wayward Sisters sequel that didn’t get picked up, Briana saying that she was looking forward to Donna being turned into a vampire. Kim said she was looking forward to telling the kind of stories that show would have focused on.
Kim: There are stories that haven’t been told because we need queer people and trans people and disabled people to tell them, and I wanted Wayward Sisters to tell those stories.
They also told their favorite prank story from Supernatural – when the two of them pranked Jensen Ackles. Briana wasn’t filming but she was on set since she lived in Vancouver. Kim had the crew and director in on it, so at the end of a scene with Jody and Dean, she turned to him and said off-script “I’ve got a date.” Jensen responded with “with who?” and then Briana walked in and said “ready to go?”. Jensen, however, just totally went with it!
God, I miss that set and the stories and priceless gag reel moments that we got from it – we were so spoiled!
Friday was a quiet dinner in the room with Karla from SPN Survivors and then me passing out fairly early (and then waking up when my roomies came in from karaoke to chat for far too long…)
Saturday I caught some of the ladies panel with Briana, Kim and Samantha Smith, which had a lot of shared wisdom.
Briana: People can be not in a sexual relationship and still be life partners. Normalize those platonic relationships.
So true, and an important message in media also.
They all had some funny stories. Briana told the story of how she and Jensen had to keep spitting the donuts they were eating into buckets in Donna’s famous donut scene with Dean.
Briana: Jensen always let me spit first. We were gonna have tee shirts made saying that…
Kim: There was a contest for the most obscure yet graphic euphemism for sex that anyone could come up with in that dinner scene with Jared and Jensen and the girls.
Samantha said the dinner scene with Jared, Jensen and Jeff also devolved into a food fight.
Sam: Everything is a potential toy on Supernatural.
They all refused to answer the loaded question of “Team Sam or Team Dean”?
Briana: They’re both awesome, there’s no choosing.
Sam: I see them both as in need of wrangling…
We then got a real treat – a Rob Benedict solo panel. Not that I don’t love his panels with Rich and Matt, because I do, but we rarely get Rob on his own just answering questions and being his seriously adorable self.
He talked about acting, saying something I’ve heard Jensen and Jared say many times – that you have to know your lines so well, so that you can actively listen to the other person and really be IN the scene. He said he doesn’t actually do method acting, though.
Rob: I try to do some method acting, but I’m not actually God…
He was initially confused by what happened to Chuck in Swan Song.
Rob: I read the script for Swan Song and was like, wait, where did I go? How did I just ‘poof’?? Kripke called me and said yeah you’re God, but let the fans have their own theories about whether you are or not. Then Robbie Thompson had me make that cameo in Fan Fiction (the 200th episode) tipping our that that yes, I might be God.
Rob said that Chuck went from dorky dad to bad dad, and allowed that he was the ultimate narcissist. However, he did like that Sam and Dean’s final battle was so epic – with God himself.
I’m really enjoying Rob and Rich doing the Supernatural Then and Now podcast, and Rob is clearly enjoying it a lot too. In fact, his panel was mostly Rob becoming a total Supernatural fan now that he’s watching the series from the beginning. He was so excited to hear all the iconic lines like ‘saving people, hunting things’.
Rob: I’m kinda watching it like Chuck in Season 1, like aww, those are my boys. Dean is so brave… and Sam…you just wanna hold him! And their relationship??
Rob: You guys were right – it’s great!!
Also I’m not the only one who always thinks of Jared when Rob sings ‘Fare Thee Well’ about ‘there was a man, who’s long and tall…’
Like so many others, Rob said that Supernatural really has changed his life. If you’ve read the powerful story of his life that he wrote in Family Don’t End With Blood, taking you through every moment of the time he had a stroke at a Supernatural convention and lived through it, you know just how much.
We got another David Haydn-Jones and Adam Fergus panel on Saturday, this time with David dressed in his Ketch finery. The pair have great chemistry together and their panels are always fun.
David: We love each other.
Adam: A little too much…
They both shared some real life dad moments, but they also were happy to dip back into the not exactly G rated again.
David: If Ketch was step dad to Sam and Dean? Oh, let the fanfic begin…
(I’m sure it already has…)
They both talked about how their characters were abused and conditioned, and that they could have been different if raised with love.
Adam to David: I tried!
A fan misspoke and asked if Ketch could contain the Mark of Dean…. err, Cain?
David: Mark of Dean? Mmmm, mark me, Dean…. Please Dean, can I have some more?
It was that kind of panel. Yes, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
They also touched on pranks, with David telling the story of the infamous ‘chupacabra’ prank. That was actually a Phil Sgriccia prank, because Jared and Jensen had gotten the giggles over the word the day before, so he filmed David the next day and got him to say it over and over and then spliced it in. The result? Hilarious!
While we waited for the Misha panel, we got a treat that we haven’t been able to enjoy for a while – a true Louden Swain vendor room jam! I was so happy to be able to join the group of fans gathered around the band to listen to a few acoustic songs before hurrying back to my vendor table.
And then it was time for Misha Collins, always a highlight of Saturday.
He talked a little about his new project, Gotham Knights, on which he’s playing Harvey Dent/Two Face. They’re shooting the pilot now, he said, and gave props to their costume designer, who also worked on A Handmaid’s Tale. Misha said he’s Harvey Dent for the whole first season, so something to look forward to!
Misha: My character doesn’t totally wear a trenchcoat, but I’m like, can it be even LESS like a trenchcoat, because I’m trying to branch out… lol
He gave a few bts tidbits too, like the fact that he stole the Empty voice from the officer in A Clockwork Orange! Also after his first day, Kim Manners asked him to be “less spooky”. He understands the enduring appeal of his character.
Misha: My character was an outsider and a weirdo, and he didn’t belong, but that’s what made him appealing.
By the time the show was ending, Misha said, Cas finally felt like he did belong, and Misha himself also went from insecure to feeling like maybe he has something to offer.
Misha talked about how he’s tried to do good in the world through Random Acts and GISH. He’s written about that in several of our books, including Fan Phenomena Supernatural and Family Don’t End With Blood.
Misha: This all started with the creativity of the SPNFamily, that inspired me.
Misha also talked about how much all of them were enjoying doing conventions again.
Misha: To us, this feels like a family reunion, and we’re still really excited about it.
Us too, Misha!
Someone asked what his favorite Cas look was, and he said “Oh I know the correct answer – it’s Misha!” As in the Misha in The French Mistake. Apparently he had a reputation for wearing these unusual vibrant sweaters to work, so they wrote that right in.
Also there was a deleted scene that Phil Sgriccia filmed during Piece of Mind with Misha and Jared where Phil just kept filming for 15 minutes while “it got really weird… there was a lot of licking…” Phil had intended to put some in the gag reel, but after he saw them he deleted them all lol. Damn!
Like everyone, Misha had all kinds of positive things to say about Supernatural. His favorite thing about it?
Misha: The laughter and the camaraderie. I hope to find that again.
I sort of think that set was one of a kind, but I hope they all find that kind of work environment again too.
Misha’s panel ended with a discussion of fanfic tropes with Rob.
Misha: I thought, I shouldn’t go down that road…
Rob: Let’s go down together.
Misha: Now THAT’s slash fic…
I had to miss most of Jim Beaver’s panel, which is a shame because I LOVE Jim Beaver! He told the story of how he ended up acting, saying that he was so grateful for the opportunity that ended up introducing him to acting. Us too, Jim!
He also shared some parenting advice – to make sure that kids go to bed every night feeling loved – which I think is why Bobby is one of our favorite Winchester father figures.
I also caught some of Mark Pellegrino’s panel. He had his dog Frankie with him, and said that Frankie also went with him to an overseas con recently. Now he is a bit confused about time zones, wanting to go out at 3 am. Oops.
Mark showed the little devil emoji he has on his fingernail – a little character bleed there!
Mark: I have a very religious aunt who thinks I’m gonna burn in Hell. But not because I play Lucifer…
Though he did say he quite enjoyed playing a psychopathic five year old.
Mark said he was never pranked by Jared and Jensen, which I’m not sure if he’s upset or grateful about. He said they tended to talk about more serious things between takes. Like everyone else, Mark talked about how special Supernatural was.
Mark: Supernatural was like going to work with your friends and family, like going home. As an orphan who never really had that, it was the best part for me.
After all those great panels, a bunch of us had dinner in the room that my friend and roomie Tedra had decorated as quintessential SPN. It was very Jerry Wanek-esque and made put me in a good mood every time I looked around. It was so nice to just hang out and talk about some of our favorite things, including, of course, Supernatural. Also, the fried chicken at the hotel restaurant was to die for, and so was the cornbread. YUM.
Our friend Laurena and her husband joined us for the great dinner and we all had a chance to catch up – so much of what makes cons so special. I get to see all my favorite people!
And then it was Saturday Night Special time! This was a Louden Swain focused show, in celebration of their new album release – if you haven’t picked it up yet, go get it!
David Haydn Jones joined the band to sing George Michaels’ ‘Faith’ – still in his Ketch suit!
And Kim Rhodes sang her favorite Swain song in an awesome Borja & Borja & Borja & Borja tee shirt.
Jason Manns joined Rob and Billy for a beautiful rendition of ‘Hallelujah’, always a highlight for me – specially when they’re so thrilled when we all sing along.
It was a special treat that Rob sang ‘Fare Thee Well’, the song he sang on the show, which always makes me emotional.
Some fans had given out glow sticks for ‘She Waits’ and ‘Amazing’ and the ballroom looked gorgeous, lit by the glow of the swaying purple lights.
And then we got a blast from the past – Medicated! Kazoo time!
Thanks for the amazing show, Louden Swain! (Grab that new album if you haven’t already)
My roomie and I relaxed with a glass of Baileys on the rocks after a wonderful day – and looked forward to Sunday. Which was, as always, J2 day!
Jared and Jensen were in a good mood and mostly wide awake even for their gold panel, and the fandom was largely VERY pleased with their wardrobe choices too. Just sayin. Me included.
We had already seen them out and about on what are apparently Indianapolis’ famous electric scooters the night before, so when they joked that they don’t recommend selfies on scooters, we at least knew what they were referring to – though I’m sure there were a lot of shenanigans that we’ll never know about!
There were lots of Supernatural stories, which made me very happy indeed. Like the time Frank, the Impala wrangler, crashed her into a ditch unintentionally. Jared and Jensen both came running – their Baby!
They also reminisced about some of the times when one of them ‘broke’ and it ended up in the episode.
Jensen: Sometimes you can see a little break. When Dean said “sonofabitch” when Bela drove off, that response was Jared. And he turned away because that’s what you have to do when you break.
(Favorite moment for the fandom because of it).
Someone suggested that Sam and Dean could have just doused themselves with salt to be immune to demons or something.
Jensen: Why didn’t we think of that, dousing Dean with salt?
Jared: Because he’s already so sweet…
They both talked about how much they enjoyed working together – it seems like they miss it, unsurprisingly, though they’re also excited about their new projects. They still have a text thread with their Supernatural crew, and speak so warmly of them.
Jared: He and I know that we’re only the tip of the iceberg that you can see (and there are all the other crew and cast beneath, making it work).
They are always so humble, making sure to give credit to the collaborative team that made Supernatural so special.
Jared on working with Jensen: It’s easier to be vulnerable with someone you trust. Between takes, we always tease around.
Jensen on working with Jared: He and I know what each other need to get to an emotional place, and we can give it to each other.
Jensen recalled how when they were filming ‘Heart’, Jared got to that emotional place by thinking about his dog Sadie dying, and he was really sad and stayed in it all day.
Jensen: You were so upset, and I felt so bad for you! I think that’s the last time you tried that.
Someone asked what they would be, if they weren’t actors. Jared said that he would be a teacher – like his mother. I could totally see that – he’s a great explainer, very patient.
There were of course some amusing moments, like when Jensen called on someone and said ‘the one with the red band…’ That turned out to be the covid band that every single person in the audience was wearing, much to Jensen’s dismay.
Jensen: Oh great, that’s the covid band….that everyone has…
Jensen also learned the apparent tradition of when someone says “OH” everyone yells ‘IO”, much to Jared’s amusement.
They talked a bit about the finale too.
Jensen: I was genuinely emotional about Dean saying goodbye to Sam in the finale – that wasn’t all acting.
After the gold panel, Samantha Smith had a panel, talking about what she loved about Mary.
Samantha: I loved that Mary was so fearless. I loved that line, “I always wanted to punch the devil in the face.”
She said she enjoyed those scenes with Mark Pellegrino, and that she chose to play Mary as not afraid of the devil, but annoyed.
Samantha also talked about the many fight scenes on Supernatural.
Sam: The person that got hit most often was Jensen, because he was always having to fight with guest stars. If you miss your mark at all… (wham)
Samantha is also excited about her role in an upcoming 911 episode, in full firefighter gear.
Samantha: It was a sea of cute boys!
Before we had the Jared and Jensen afternoon panel, we also got some Alex Calvert, who always entertains me. He came onstage and accused Rob of blaming him for Dean’s death, much to Rob’s amusement.
Alex: Actually Dean ran out of lives, like a cat… like a really handsome cat…
His favorite scene to film on Supernatural was Jack watching the video recorded by his mom and reacting to what was a beautiful message from actress Courtney Ford. (Though I seem to remember that Jared and Jensen did some pranking during that scene too)
He enjoyed playing Belphagor, he said, because he finally got to snark back at the guys.
Alex does get some odd questions. A fan asked what was the weirdest thing that happened between him and Misha.
Alex: What do you guys think happened? Like, he was naked under the trenchcoat??
He seemed as unhappy with the rarity of Winchester hugs as most of us were.
Alex: The Winchesters only hug when something really really bad has happened. Someone gets stabbed and then it’s “c’mere Sammy”
On a more serious note, Alex said that he learned a lot from Supernatural. Including how you can make a lot of people happy if you’re happy, especially if you’re the boss. (So many actors have talked about how the leads on SPN made the set such a happy place to be).
And then it was time for J2!
Jared came rolling up to the stage on his electric scooter, pleased as punch with himself – until he looked around for Jensen. No Jensen!
Jared looked around, a bit lost without his partner in crime. Finally Jensen walked onstage, looking truly dejected that his scooter had refused to function.
Then they did the traditional jump along with Rob and kicked off their panel.
I don’t remember what prompted it, but Jensen told the story of how special his 40th birthday party was. Clif and Jared took him out for a birthday dinner and when he walked in, it was a surprise party in Vancouver with all his cast and crew friends. Danneel is a sneaky planner!
There was, as always, a lot of laughter and joking around – and some terrible dad jokes.
Jensen: The best thing about Jared’s jokes is that no one laughs more than him!
He then imitated Jared’s laugh perfectly, which set both of them off laughing (and all of us too).
I may have laughed the hardest when a fan kept screaming in gleeful excitement every time Jared or Jensen said anything at all to her, which was adorable. Then she finally asked her question, which was “What’s your favorite stunt?”
Jensen: My favorite STUD?
Jared (not missing a beat and pointing at Jensen): He’s my favorite stud!
I’m always grateful when there are Supernatural questions, because as much as I love both of their new projects, I will ALWAYS want to talk about Supernatural. I’m so glad they still want to talk about it too, and still talk about it with so much affection and enthusiasm.
Someone asked about the pranks on set, and the most elaborate one, and Jensen and Jared both agreed.
J2: We weren’t elaborate pranksters, we just created an environment where we could all laugh and have fun.
From what I experienced when I was on set, that atmosphere was priceless, putting guest stars at ease and keeping everyone in a good mood and able to work together seamlessly.
Jensen said they both loved that their crew also pranked them. He did an imitation of their B camera operator suddenly standing there in his undies and a ball gag lol.
Jared told the hilarious story of when the two of them and Kerr Smith went to see My Bloody Valentine, which Jensen and Kerr were in, in a movie theater. Imagine the people behind them surprise when they commented on the 3D and Jensen turned around and made it 4D!
Jensen: 4D bitch!
Someone asked what Sam did after Dean died, and Jared said that Sam did what Dean wanted for him – he spent a lot of time with his son and his family, and he carried on.
Jensen: I like to think he was a temp guy…
Jensen said that Dean’s death is both a favorite scene and a least favorite scene.
Jensen: It was so hard for both of us, but I’m so proud of it.
Rightly so, it’s an acting master class imho.
We had a little Robsen with the last question song, of course.
The last question fan was treated to some J2 silliness as they both put their mics up for her, but she also was an astute observer of the obvious.
Fan: You two are beautiful…
I mean, she’s not wrong.
We finished out the day and the con, as we usually do, with a small group of friends in our room and some good food and drinks, debriefing our con experience and inevitably dissolving into hilarity sooner or later (this time it had to do with how long twitter videos can be and never mind who had it completely wrong…)
It was a feel-good con in more ways than one, and I’m so grateful to have been there. To everyone who came by to tell me that they enjoyed or were inspired by Family Don’t End With Blood and There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done, thank you so much. That’s exactly why we all wrote it.
Stay tuned for coverage from my “home con”, NJCon. Welcome back, Mark Sheppard – but we really missed you, Jared!
Thanks to Alana King for enriching this post with some of her gorgeous photos from this con!
You can read the Supernatural actor’s thoughts
about the show and the fandom in their own words
In Family Don’t End With Blood and There’ll Be
Peace When You Are Done – links on the home page or at: