Happy Birthday to Supernatural’s Richard Speight Jr!

 

September 4th is an important day in the SPN Family – it’s the birthday of Supernatural’s own Richard Speight Jr.  As I write this, Richard is hard at work up in Vancouver directing his second episode of Season 14. Today is an important day because, in my opinion, Richard is one of the most influential individuals in terms of Supernatural’s success. He’s been integral to the show not just in one capacity, but in three important ways. His first connection to Supernatural was as a guest star way back in 2007. He’s been on the Show as a guest actor intermittently since then as either The Trickster or the archangel Gabriel, spanning almost the entire run of the show. He made us laugh and fall in love with his character as the Trickster, but most recently as the tortured and traumatized Gabriel, he’s made us feel for the character and mourn his death (and cross our fingers that it doesn’t stick once again).

Acting at its best – Richard v. Richard!

Second, Richard has been directing Supernatural in addition to acting in it for the past several years, including some of my favorite episodes. Along with Jensen Ackles, Misha Collins and Amanda Tapping, Speight is one of the few actors who have also directed the show. In fact, Ackles recently told me that it was wonderful being able to rely on Richard as a director when he had to play a new character this season, Michael. It was a challenge not playing Dean Winchester in the midst of all the familiar people and visual cues that make up the Supernatural set, so Jensen asked Richard to keep an eye on his performance and make sure it was coming across as Michael, not Dean. Richard was able to help him, as Jensen said, “craft the character.” The fact that the cast trusts Speight so much, in both a professional sense and as a result of the friendship forged in over a decade of traveling the world and doing conventions together, make Speight a popular and effective director for the Show – along with the fact that he worked his ass off to perfect his directing skills.

Directing Jensen Ackles in Just My Imagination
With Just My Imagination writer Jenny Klein – Photo Chris Schmelke

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Back To Where It All Began – Supernatural Chicago Con 2018!

 

Chicago Con is always special, because it was my very first Supernatural Creation con. That was now over ten years ago, which is kinda hard to believe because it seems like a second ago, and yet it also seems like a long long time ago. A lot has changed, but a lot has stayed the same. I’m incredibly grateful that so many of the people I met at that very first con – on both sides of the stage – are still there. It says something about the loyalty of both the fans and the cast to this show that continues to inspire us. And more than ten years of cons later? That’s pretty special.

Rob hosted Friday, since Richard was up in Vancouver preparing to direct Supernatural.

Rob: Richard’s not here because he’s in Vancouver directing Supernatural. Which is kinda fun, because I get to tell you that guess what? I love Perth!

The audience roared at the long-standing in joke.

Rob reminisced about doing his very first Supernatural convention right here in Chicago – immediately after filming the convention episode of the show! I still remember how blown away he was that day. He kept exclaiming, “this is so weird, this is so weird”. It was all kinds of adorable. And I love that Rob and Rich are two of the people who can look back on so many years of cons, and on their evolution from simply guest performers doing one panel to the linchpins of the entire convention weekend. I’m 100% sure that one of the reasons the cons have continued for so long is because Richard Speight Jr. is the consummate host and Rob Benedict and Louden Swain are the most kickass “house band” you could ever wish for.

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Hometown Supernatural Con – Burbank Friday and Saturday 2016

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Returning to Burbank for what is, for now at least, the last Supernatural con that Creation has planned there, was both festive and emotional. Many of the actors live there, so that means their families can come see what they do for a dozen or more weekends out of the year, and even actors who aren’t making paid appearances sometimes show up to join in the fun. That means a con in Burbank is usually a very good party.

Even as an East Coaster, I love Burbank too. It’s such a nice little airport and a lovely hotel with a convenient little convention ballroom attached. There’s a handy bar to meet up with fellow fans, and there’s all of Burbank a few minutes away with its great restaurants too. I hated not being there last year, instead stuck at the giant Pasadena convention center, so I was thrilled to be back.

It was the weekend after the election, and emotions were running high for both guests and fans. Somehow the con felt like the best place to be, surrounded by a lot of love and support. There were fliers throughout the hotel letting fans know that this was a safe space, and that they were accepted here. It made me proud to be a fan and a member of this SPN Family – and to sort of want to stay there in that fandom bubble for as long as possible!

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Supernatural Comes to Atlanta!

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Supernatural was new to Atlanta, and so was I – this was my first trip to a city that was warm and welcoming (and had some fabulous food). I’m in the thick of work obligations and pulling together the new book, so this will be a drive by con report, but I wanted to share some of the photos and some of my favorite moments. So here goes!

This is Part 1, Friday and Saturday. Sunday coming up soon!

Briana Buckmaster and Kim Rhodes are always a great way to kick off a con, and this time was no exception. Briana talked seriously about how much she enjoyed playing Donna as a character who looks like her – “so I don’t have to hide”. She’s also not eager to have Donna get involved in another relationship if/when she’s back on the show, never mind how nice Brendan Taylor is. After all, Donna already found love – with Jody. It may not be a romantic love, but it’s definitely love.

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The Saturday Night Special Vancouver 2016

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To be honest, I missed Richard Speight Jr and his country-twang-ballhat-wearin-jammin-on-guitar portion of the concert. And I missed Gil McKinney singing some song that dripped with so much silky sexiness that it makes one feel weak in the knees. Yes, I missed those guys.

But the Saturday Night Special, at any convention, is always about Stephen and Mike and Billy and Rob. And, as always, they delivered one helluva show in Vancouver this year.

They opened the show with “Reunion,” from their Sky Alive album. Then they played for us a new song, called “Present Time,” from their upcoming album. I don’t know who’s more excited for this new album to be released, the band or the fans. I know a few die-hard Swainers who would argue that they are more excited for its release than the band, that they need this new album like they need air to breathe. Yet as I sat there and listened to the guys play this new song, I am pretty sure they too are pretty excited about this new album and can’t wait to share it with us. And if I haven’t used the word pretty enough, then can I just say the boys of Louden Swain are just so freakin pretty? Yep, pretty. (insert sighs here)

(Side note: there is not an official release date yet. So I guess we’ll all just wait here then.)

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