Back To Where It All Began – Supernatural Chicago 2022!

Chicago was the very first Supernatural convention, way back in 2007. I was there, overcome with anticipation to see both Jared and Jensen together and to be in a room full of my fellow Supernatural fans. Kathy and I, along with our friends Laura and Karen, had stalked the Creation website for weeks to get the best possible seats, and we couldn’t wait to all be together to celebrate the show that was already changing our lives.

It’s 15 years later, and so much has changed. Kathy, my partner in crime who I went to all the early cons with, and to the Supernatural set, and who I wrote the first four books with, passed away unexpectedly several months ago. Going back to Chicago, where this unlikely fifteen years and counting adventure began, without her was emotional. I felt lucky to have so many of my friends there to remind me how much love I have in my life and what incredible friends I have still here with me. I’m so grateful.

Chicago con always seems special because it’s the site of so many memories. Even though this year’s was in the convention center instead of the familiar hotel where so many cons have been held, I still stayed in that hotel so the nostalgia was real. It’s also the con where I met or became closer to some of my best fandom buds, and making new memories with them this year felt extra special.

Also Jared was back and that was something to celebrate for sure – he missed the last convention in New Jersey after his very serious car accident. He’s still on the mend, but it was wonderful to see for ourselves his smiling face and have his banter with Jensen back to normal. It felt healing to all of us, I think.

Chicago had a great line up of guests, and I caught most of their panels since I flew in at a ridiculously early hour. Free shuttle to the hotel, yay!

DJ Qualls was back for the first time in a while – I always enjoy his panels, and he’s incredibly friendly. All weekend long, every time I walked by his autograph table in the vendor room to get to my book table, he was happily chatting and selfie-taking with fans and enjoying it immensely.

DJ: Jensen is good at everything. For the dance number that we did, he had like a 15 minute head start and knew it all.

A fan asked what his craziest dream was, and DJ started to laugh.

DJ: Heh heh, no. I had one after Jared’s accident…I think I was worried about him… and it was like fan fiction…

So no, he didn’t share it!

I enjoy hearing DJ talk openly about things like gender roles and the pressures of masculinity. He said that he got hurt every single time he did some stunt work on Supernatural, but the expectation was that you just “walk it off” so he did.

Next we had what for me was a real treat – a panel with Katie Sarife and Joy Regullano, who played Marie and Maeve in the Supernatural 200th episode, Fan Fiction. It’s one of my favorite episodes and they were brilliant in the parts. I had coffee with Joy in Vancouver years ago and so enjoyed our chat – it’s linked below if you want to get to know her a little.

Joy identifies as a fangirl herself, wanting to represent fans as “smart people with a passion”, and Katie said that her ex-boyfriend was a huge Supernatural fan. He’s the reason she already knew “Carry On”, in fact.

Since they are Vancouver based actors, they knew the show – and Joy had auditioned before.

Joy: The first role I auditioned for was K Tran – which became the character of Kevin!

Both said they loved the episode and the way it ended, except that they would have loved to come back. Understandable.

What was the most fun working on Supernatural?

Joy: Well, Jared is like 6 foot 15, so it was fun being able to boss him around and like, be mean to him.  (In the show!)

She also had a scene in which she adlibbed to Jared (Sam): “Look with your eyes and not your mouth” but unfortunately it got cut. I would like to have seen Jared’s response!

Katie: I learned a cool trick from Jensen, of crossing my eyes and the moving just one of them.

(This made me cringe because Jensen has done that to me to tease me and it’s the only time I have ever run away from him lol)

They also enjoyed the comedy in the episode, right down to the “you can’t spell subtext without S-E-X.” Classic Robbie Thompson.

Joy and Katie were asked if Jared and Jensen pranked them, but they said no.

Katie: I think because we were playing teenagers, there were no pranks. Jared and Jensen were really sweet. And not creepy.

I love that everyone who ever worked on the Supernatural set has nothing but praise for the main cast.

Joy: It was like a master class in acting, watching the experienced actors just snap into character like that.

(I’ve witnessed it too, and to a non-actor it is nothing less than amazing!)

Friday also had a great trio panel of Gil McKinney, Adam Fergus and David Haydn-Jones. They joked that it was the “grumpy old men of letters panel”!  It was Pride month, and David had on his Yasssss Queen shirt given to him by a fan and some truly awesome rainbow socks.

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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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