Happy Halloween! A Chat With Supernatural and Blair Witch’s Eduardo Sanchez

 

What could be more perfect for Halloween than talking with the director of some of the scariest projects out there? Eduardo Sanchez burst onto the film scene in 1999 with the innovative and terrifying Blair Witch Project. He has gone on to direct in film and television, including my favorite show of all time, Supernatural.

I am fascinated by every aspect of creating the Show I love, because if there’s one thing that has become very clear to me after researching and writing about that Show for over a decade, it’s that Supernatural is a collaboration. It takes top  notch writing, set dec, locations, cinematography, make-up, special effects, producing, acting and directing (among a multitude of other things) to make Supernatural the special thing it is. So I’m always genuinely interested in the perspectives of all the many people who contribute to that collaboration. I loved hearing the actors’ perspectives when they wrote chapters for Family Don’t End With Blood and the insights of director of photography Serge Ladouceur in Fan Phenomena Supernatural and all the contributions that everyone on the set shared in Fangasm Supernatural Fangirls. I am endlessly fascinated by what it takes to make a show like Supernatural.

So it was with great anticipation that I scheduled a chat with Sanchez, who has done four episodes of Supernatural so far, not to mention the groundbreaking film The Blair Witch Project. And guess what? Our chat was even more fun and more fascinating than I had anticipated! (And not scary at all).  So sit back and relax and enjoy a director’s insights into the diverse episodes of Supernatural he has directed so far.

Lynn: The first episode you directed is one of my all-time favorites, The Chitters. That’s partly because it introduces two of my favorite original characters, Jesse and Cesar (Lee Rumohr and Hugo Ateo), affectionately known in the fandom as the “hunter husbands”.

Warner Bros/The CW

Lynn: Written by Nancy Won, who I wish had stuck around on Supernatural, this episode was groundbreaking in its own quiet way. It was the first time Supernatural told a fully fleshed out story of two gay characters in such an organic and matter-of-fact manner. There were articles after the episode aired praising Supernatural for being “quietly progressive” with an interracial gay couple who are both hunters and heroes. Were you aware that it would be an important episode in that aspect?

Eduardo:  I didn’t know the history of Supernatural. I came in like the tenth or eleventh season, so it was impossible to watch every episode to catch up. But they told me that there hadn’t been this sort of thing in the show before, so we cast it really carefully and wanted to kinda ground it in not being stereotypical and just make these guys as real as possible and make their backgrounds as real as possible. At a certain point, yeah, I started to realize that this was an important episode. It was also just a fun episode for me – it was the first time I had done the show so I was nervous. The crew made me feel very much at home, and the guys were very friendly and welcoming. It was cool that we ended up bringing in these two characters who I know people really loved and I really loved bringing them to life. It was an all around good experience.

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Last Con of 2017! Supernatural Returns to San Francisco

 

The last con of 2017 was once again in San Francisco. It was an emotional con for me, because exactly one year ago, as I was attending this same convention, I got the news that my dad had unexpectedly passed away. I remember being in shock, only telling a few of my closest friends there – but word got around. My friends from Creation made sure I was okay, even walking me to my seat. My fellow fans checked on me all weekend long. And word got out to the cast too, who were incredibly kind. I remember Matt Cohen jumping off the stage in the middle of the Saturday Night Special, enfolding me in a hug and telling me how sorry he was for my loss; Jared and Jensen hugging me for a long time, asking me what I needed. Everyone was just so very kind – fandom and the SPNFamily at its best.

This year, the anniversary brought all that back. I was touched that many people remembered it had been a year, and didn’t hesitate to bring it up. Cons can be therapeutic for a lot of reasons, and this one definitely was. There’s nothing quite like being enfolded in your SPNFamily when you’re feeling emotional, for whatever reason.

It was also Mark Sheppard’s last convention with Creation. He’s been to just about all of them since he started on the show, so it’s just been a given that I’ll see him whenever I’m there. I’ve come to expect that Jared, Jensen, Misha and Mark will of course be there, every single time. Mark will be snarky and will answer one in five questions but will melt every time there’s a baby in the audience, and will suddenly get very real and give a heartfelt testimony about why he loves fandom before he leaves the stage. I don’t like change – I love Mark’s panels. I was tremendously honored that he wrote an essay for Family Don’t End With Blood, with many of those same heartfelt words about his love of fandom. I was lucky enough to spend a bit of time in the green room with him and other cast a few times, and was able to get to know him and his lovely wife Sarah a bit. It’s weird to think he won’t be there again.

Because this fandom can always be counted on to be awesome, Mark’s last con didn’t go unrecognized – just like Alex Calvert’s first con didn’t either. There were signs for all of us to hold up with the line Mark had wanted to say in his last episode, that inexplicably got cut. ‘Even when I lose, I win’ on red signs were held high all over the ballroom when Mark took the stage, and he was clearly moved. He pulled out his phone and started filming, and from where I was sitting, I could tell how much it meant to him. As the panel progressed, Mark was more serious than usual, and there were several times that I could see his eyes were glistening. Or maybe that was mine; it got hard to tell. I didn’t expect to be as emotional as I was, but when Mark left the stage I had already grabbed for the tissues several times. Thank you, Mark, for the amazing job you did bringing Crowley to life, for being a fan yourself and for loving fandom the way you do, and for being a part of Family Don’t End With Blood.

Those were the very emotional parts of this con – there were also parts that were purely fun. (Isn’t that always the case with cons? Half strong emotional reaction and half laughing until I’m needing a tissue for an entirely different reason).

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Salute to Supernatural – Hawaii #Paradise

So, funny story…

I attended my first Supernatural convention in Chicago in 2014, with my husband. At some point, I suggested to him that we take a vacation to Vegas; he enthusiastically agreed… and then I told him there’s a convention in Vegas, to which he replied, “of course there is.” Sometime later, I suggested we take a vacation to Vancouver, and he was very excited about that… and then I told him there’s a convention in Vancouver, to which he replied, “of course there is.”

Hubs then said, “I just really hope they take this convention to Hawaii because obviously that’s the only way I’m ever gonna get there.”

Well, well, well, my sweet hubs, Hawaii it is.

The Salute to Supernatural Convention in Hawaii marked a few milestones for me. It was my 10th convention. It was my birthday. But more than that, it also served as the destination for my second honeymoon as I celebrated 25 years of mostly wedded bliss with my hubs. (Let’s be real, marriage is hard work, it ain’t all chocolate and roses all the time, so when I say mostly wedded bliss, I mean like 99.43% wedded bliss, okay).

Once again, I was not disappointed. Creation Entertainment truly put on a wonderful weekend. The lines moved quickly. Questions were answered with smiles. I am so very impressed by the continued enthusiasm these team members show, even on Sunday evening, even after working crazy-long hours. If you have the chance to attend one of these cons, please make the time to thank these people for making your experience the wonderful thing that it is.

The Hilton Waikiki Resort was massive. I think there were six hotel towers, three pools, countless shops and eateries, and oh yeah – there was a beautiful beach, with the softest sand my toes had ever felt. The water really is that decadent bluish green just like you see on TV. And yes, the water is also crystal clear. And slightly warm, the kind of warm that feels a bit cold for like half a minute but then you remember that you’re in the water in Hawaii so who even cares if it’s a bit chilly because HAWAII.

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Supernatural Comes To The Capital – DC Con 2017

Right now Honcon (aka Conolulu) is in full swing, and it looks like one of the most amazing cons ever, so I’m sad not to be there – though it’s always a surprisingly emotional experience to follow along at home too. I always end up struck by the generosity of fandom, so grateful for very photo shared, every live tweet, every bit of information, and every video clip. I was especially grateful for the live audio feed for Honcon, which made me feel more like I was there – and made me anticipate the visuals that would eventually be shared even more! I knew that Jared was probably going to play guitar at this con, so I was especially grateful to be able to “experience” it live, even if it was mostly audio. It was a moment that was eventful and meaningful for a fandom that lately has been more fractured than family, and that felt really good – and I desperately wanted to be a part of it. Luckily, the generosity of fandom allowed that, and we all felt like we were sharing the moment with Jared, Jensen, Misha and company.

Today is the Sunday of that convention, so while I wait for more panel news from twitter I thought I’d go through my DCCon photos and post some memories of that con – which was only a week ago!

DC is a political place, and this is a cast of strong beliefs, so it wasn’t surprising that Richard started off the con with a shout out to the #metoo message, an admonition to men not to be assholes and to respect women, and a reassurance to the mostly female audience.

Richard: This is the year of women standing up and not taking shit anymore, and we’ve got your back! Let’s make this the new normal.

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Supernatural in The Big Easy – Nolacon 2017!

I love New Orleans. I’ve been there a few times and every time has been memorable for one reason or another. The first time I tried beignets at Café du Monde. Making the entire bus tour stop at Anne Rice’s house because I wanted to fangirl, and all the senior citizens on the bus making sure we stayed there until I’d taken ALL the pictures. Taking Chad Lindberg to Bourbon Street for the first time with the filmmakers of My Big Break and having an absolute blast (and ending up with lots of beads). The vampire tour during which the vampire tour guide took a liking to my young daughter, much to my consternation. But this was the first time I’ve been there for a Supernatural reason – so of course it was amazing!

Richard Speight Jr. and Rob Benedict and Louden Swain kicked off Friday morning, and then Gil McKinney was first up.

Gil’s excited about Wayward Sisters and would definitely be open to making an appearance if the spin-off happens. He also told the story of being in the Impala with Jensen and Jared when Jensen took her for a spin – and did a 180 in the middle of a road that Gil didn’t realize was closed!

Jared: Need some new underwear?

Gil: And I did.

And then there was that time Jared pranked him with a picture of a very large (ahem) naked man on a laptop screen while Gil was on camera. Looked a lot like this…

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