I got to the Marriott at around 11 AM and easily checked in. Already about fifty people were in attendance…one of which was another male!
Now let me explain…the Supernatural fandom is predominantly female-based. This means that on all of the groups I’m on, such as LiveJournal and Yahoo, I’m one of the few males in the groups, so I decided to keep a running tally of how many men I saw at the con, so…
11:30 AM – One Male
Around 11am they also opened the dealer’s room…which in my opinion was woefully small. Not the room itself, mind you, but the content within it. One table wasn’t even a dealer, but was set up for the folks at Team Winchester (more on them later). In all there, were maybe a total of five vendors. Now I know our show has a small fanbase and so on, but come on, FIVE vendors for a Creation con? That’s slim pickin’s indeed (even though I did end up later buying a poster and a mini-banner…it had Dean and the Metallicar on it, so I had to have it…).
While in the dealer’s room, I ran into some old friends and started making new ones. Out of all the fandom’s I’ve been in, the Supernatural fandom isn’t only one of the friendliest, it’s also one of the most intelligent (you have to be, really, since there is a lot to keep up with on the show itself), so I found it easy to make new friends. Around noon, I walked over to the ballroom to watch the start of the festivities.
12:00 PM – Three Males
After a brief welcome from one of the co-owners of Creation, we were treated to a couple of music videos, one a Dean-centric video using the country song Kick My Ass which was pretty funny, the other being a montage using The Addams Family theme song. After the videos, it was time for our first guest, the Yellow Eyed Demon himself, Frederick Lehne.
Now any Firefly fan should be familiar with Mr. Lehne, as he appeared in the episode "Heart of Gold" as the main baddie. He always seems to play baddies of late, but more on that later. Lehne walked out on stage with an acoustic guitar and began singing "Sympathy for the Devil" by the Rolling Stones, with many of us filling in the "woo woo" part (which I thought was funny). He also slipped several Supernatural references into the song, making it his own little dang funny parody.
Once he was done singing, he began asking for questions, and it was slow to get started (first guest at a con usually is, I’ve noticed). First off, he didn’t understand the whole Supernatural vs. Lost debacle in fandom (which is due to Lost being moved in to the same Thursday time slot as Supernatural). As an actor on both shows, he said he felt like the "child of a divorce."
In his experiences in Lost, he mentioned that his agent called and asked, "How would you like to lie on a beach in Hawaii for three weeks?" Lehne said "That’s great, no problem, I’ve done that before." However, he said lying STILL on a beach for three weeks covered in muck and getting scorpions picked off of him was hell.
He, then, went on to discuss how he’s been acting for about thirty years now. He thanked his girlfriend as the secret for him being a continually working actor…only to tell us that he stole that speech from Charles Durning. Speaking of which, he discussed the first time he met Charles Durning in a bathroom while they were both at the urinal.
Frederick went on about how much he loves to work, yet has no favorite roles or characters (however, he loved playing the Yellow Eyed Demon). He then went into a story about being directed by Robert Redford in Ordinary People, calling the legendary actor/director an "actor’s director." He also recounted that his favorite moment of being involved with Ordinary People was the premiere, wherein he noticed that little changes in the editing made him (and the rest of the audience) feel uncomfortable.
Then the topic went back to his role as the Yellow Eyed Demon. He discussed how difficult (nearly impossible) it was to see in the yellow contacts, yet they always put him in scenes where he was walking in rocky areas and around trees…this was pretty funny. He said he navigated by focusing on lights, and they had to put a large light on the camera, so that he could see it. Apparently, he now needs glasses due to working with those contacts.
When asked about upcoming work, he said he hasn’t worked much lately due to the writer’s strike. But he recently worked on Criminal Minds, and he discussed filming at an elementary school with a big gun in his hand, and all the kids watching him from the window. Someone then asked him about his name, whether it’s "Lane" or "Lehne," and he said he uses both. Apparently in German, "Lehne" means "arm rest" or "laid back."
Talking about playing the Yellow Eyed Demon, he said the folks at Supernatural picked him s
pecifically for the role. He wrapped up his panel discussing how much fun it is to play a bad guy, the most Supernatural place he’s ever been to (Chester, New Jersey), and how his friend became an actual demon hunter, as a result. Overall, Mr. Lehne was a very fun and entertaining guest and I’m glad I got to see him in person.
1:45 PM – Seven Males
Jason Manns is a musician originally from Bowling Green, Virginia -a town with a population of around 750 people. He met Jensen Ackles while at a Christmas party at his home after being a finalist in a radio contest on local station Star 98.7. He then ended the panel playing a song by the Steve Miller Band. Why is my coverage of this panel so crappy? I admit, I saw a good friend I hadn’t seen since Comic-Con 2007, and ran over to talk to her a spell. Once I was done talking to her, however, the panel was nearly over and I missed most of what was said. Bad journalist [slaps self on wrist], bad.
2:30 PM – 10 Males
Next up was the auction, which I always enjoy. Since attendance was somewhat light today, lots of people walked off with some GREAT deals. This was followed by an ORIGINAL Supernatural fanvid…however, it was a parody of Tenacious D’s "Tribute," so it was only half original…and in my opinion…not as funny. Next up was the Chad Lindberg (Ash) panel…
Like the Lehne panel, this one also got off to a slow start (something I’ll never figure out, but then again I rarely ask questions at these things). Once things got rolling, he first mentioned how much fun he had working on The Fast and the Furious (which I’ve never seen, but I took from his discussion of it that his character died in the movie). Then, people got to the Supernatural related questions.
First off, he thinks that Supernatural has the most loyal fans he’s ever seen. The inspiration for his characterization of Ash, he said, fully came from the mullet, which honestly wasn’t surprising. Apparently, most of the standing sets he shot on (even though Kripke later said there were no standing sets, so there might’ve been some confusion here) were all in warehouses, and that a lot of his time was spent waiting for his next scene (unlike Jared and Jensen, he said, who were always "hopping around quite a bit"). He never victim of any pranks on the set, although there was quite a bit of laughter, and he was unsurprised by Ash’s death.
Then, he spoke of some of his other work, like The Fast and the Furious again, as well as a documentary he’s working on called My Big Break about a bunch of guys trying to make it in Hollywood. He then discussed some of his background (he’s lived in LA for twelve years, for example), and what he did during the strike, which was basically go home and rest. He always wants to be working, and would love to not only work on the stage again, but would love to work with several actors such as Edward Norton, of whom he’s a big fan.
This was followed by talk on some of his previous work, such as the X-Files and (and this came as a surprise to us) Buffy the Vampire Slayer. My photographer and I looked at each other in confusion…"He was on Buffy?" we kept asking ourselves. I looked him up on IMDB, it seems he played Dave in the first-season episode, "I Robot – You Jane". As I’ve only seen the entirety of Buffy once (I know, I know, I need to see it more), I wasn’t surprised I didn’t know this, but my photographer seemed much more surprised than I was at her lack of knowledge on the subject.
Other topics included what would Ash’s song be ("I Wanna Rock" by Twisted Sister), what his demon hunting weapon would be (A bow and arrow), and what he would drive (a Jeep Wrangler, top down and a hot chick in the passenger seat ). He also said that he’s not following Supernatural right now because he’s not on it. Overall, Chad Lindberg was quite a bit of fun, and made us laugh a lot. However, what I think of as the best panel of the entire con, was still to come.
4:05 PM – Still 10 Males
After showing us an hilarious music video from Spamalot using the song "Not Dead Yet" focusing on Dean, the time had come for the panel with the man himself, Supernatural creator Eric Kripke…
This is the panel I was REALLY waiting for. I mean seeing the boys is nice, sure, but being able to delve into the mind of the man BEHIND it all was what I really wanted to see, and I wasn’t disappointed. Now y’all are going to have to forgive me for the length of this portion, but I took seven pages of notes just on this panel, so there’s a lot of ground to cover. Now let’s dive in…
The panel started off with Kripke thanking his fans for making the show as successful as it was and for granting them a season 4. Now let me tell you, Kripke talks fast…very fast, so my notes are kind of all over the place, so rather than give you a somewhat chronological account of the panel, I’ll just hit the main points as best I can, as he said them.
4:05 PM – Still 10 Males
No one dies forever on Supernatural, and no one gets off easy. He also likes to bring out the worst in people on the show. On the topic of the recently revealed uber-demon, Lilith, he said she’s a mix of both biblical and Mesopotamian versions of the mythic figure, and as a spoiler, he revealed that Lilith will indeed be in the finale (but to what degree he, of course, would not say). While on the biblical topic, he said he’s not too keen on showing bright and shiny biblical figures, but would rather show down and dirty figures. Think Angels with swords, not harps. The inspiration for using Lilith was to show a move up in the demon hierarchy, with Lilith just below Lucifer.
In talking about the remainder of season 3, he said it would end in a cliffhanger, but he had intended to end it that way even if they hadn’t been renewed. The upcoming episode "Ghostfacers" was compared to Spinal Tap in its documentary-style of filming, as the episode is shot entirely on video rather than film (and since it was written by Ben Edlund, I can’t WAIT to see it). The third season is also an anomaly because in a usual twenty-two episode season, fifteen or so episodes are self-enclosed and seven or eight are mythology (or arc) episodes. He feels, however, that he did justice to the mythology of the season in the final episodes, which was reassuring to hear.
Another topic on season 3 regarded the lighting. Now, I didn’t notice this until someone mentioned it, but season 3 is a good deal brighter than seasons 1 and 2, and Kripke acknowledged this. He claimed this was an "experiment", in order to give the audience a break from the darkness of the show and allow more lighter moments in, but he’s unsure as to whether it was successful. He was apparently trying to use "light as reality" and make the darker scenes even scarier. Again, how well this worked is up in the air, in his opinion.
Kripke also discussed the controversial topic of Bella. According to a quick poll, most of the audience can’t stand Bella (I like her, but I’m in the minority), and he claimed the overwhelmingly negative reaction to Bella took him by surprise. He understands their dislike, and has some regrets. He regrets that she’s made the boys look stupid too often and he regrets not making her part of the overall mythology. Apparently, that first regret will be addressed, as the boys will show her up in her one final appearance of this season. Also, she will never be redeemed as a character.
A lot of the discussion focused around the music in the show. Apparently, bands like AC/DC and Quiet Riot really like the show and we will hopefully hear music from them soon. And while he would love to use the music of Led Zeppelin, he said it costs in the millions to license their music. He also brought up the issue of a soundtrack. He would LOVE to have a soundtrack, however there are several obstacles to that. First, the licenses of the various songs used on the show belong to different companies. Secondly, WB Music is resistant to the idea because compilations, in their words, don’t sell well. As Kripke is a huge fan of the music of the show (and almost left in the beginning due to a dispute over its usage), one could tell he’s passionate about this topic. The good news is that he is trying to get an album put together on iTunes, to which the crowd seemed quite pleased with.
On some more general topics, Kripke explained that there are certain things he knows in advance and certain things that appear along the way as the show evolves. The idea of demon spirituality, for example, was a new one, but he doesn’t want us knowing too much about the demons (he says they’re scarier that way). He also states that demons are motivated by religion like terrorists, twisting it for their own purposes, which I found interesting. He’s quite resistant to a "body swap" story (though the fans are CLAMORING for one). On bringing some characters back, he said that both Ash and Hendrickson coming back were possibilities, but he doesn’t see Jo or Ellen coming back, sadly. Also, Ben is not Dean’s kid. 😉
Speaking of kids, Kripke really loved the two child actors who played young Dean and Sam in the episode "A Very Supernatural Christmas". The actor who played young Dean they had used before, but they had to get a new actor to play Sam. Thankfully the young actor blew everyone away, putting Kripke’s fears about the him being able to handle the role to rest. In speaking on the characters of the show, Kripke had a lot to say about Dean, who he calls the hero of the show. When asked about how Dean can use crosses to make holy water when he has no faith or religion, Kripke said he believes that such things will work because he has seen them work before. He explains that Dean has no faith, and only believes in what he can see. This explains Dean’s "*censormode* prophecy" attitude that Kripke seems to like so much.
On other general topics, Kripke said that the DVD for season 3 would include a big featurette on the visual effects for the show, as well as "scene specific" commentary, rather than commentary for an entire episode, which I found odd. Also, his favorite scene in the show is near the end of "What is and What Should Never Be," right before Dean stabs himself and takes himself out of the fake world the Djinn has placed him into, stating that the performances were lovely all around and that little camera work was needed to capture the scene.
On the future of the show, Kripke had a lot to say. First off, the budget for season 4 is exactly the same as season 3, which seemed to be a point of frustration. On this topic for a moment, Kripke said that the show is shorter (at around thirty-eight minutes) than most other "hour-long" dramas (normally 44 minutes) due entirely to budgetary problems. The apparently have no deals, standing sets, or monsters to use. He has to fight constantly with the network to keep things w
ithin budget, and often has to trim what started as fifty-page scripts down to roughly forty-six pages.
Getting back to the future, Kripke said he wants to stick with his original five-year plan. This seemed to bother some fans who think the show should go on for at least seven. He said it’s possible to continue, but he would rather go out strong than drag it out past its prime. Mary’s relationship with the Yellow Eyed Demon (and why she recognized him) will also be explained, as will Dean’s "deep dark secret," that allowed Bloody Mary to attack him in season 1. One other thing that will probably be explained is the "mojo" surrounding Dean’s amulet. He also plans to direct again in season 4.
On the topic of fans, he loves the fans because we "force him to make the show better." He also says it is impossible to make the fans fully happy. He claims that Supernatural is a dream come true for him, and he was very thankful to the fans for keeping it alive. Also, probably one of my favorite bits, he loves gore, so fans asking him to turn it down will be severely disappointed. 😉
Once the Kripke panel was over, so was the day. Overall, the first day of the Supernatural convention was excellent despite a smaller turn-out than I would’ve liked. However, the next day held the show everyone truly wanted to see…
My photographer and I got to the Marriott early to score good parking and a good seat.
10:30 – Five males
10:45 – Seven Males (I lost track of the man count after this point for a while)
The dealer room was still pathetic (I thought maybe more dealers would show up for the bigger day, but alas, I was mistaken), so we proceeded to the main ballroom and waited patiently for the show to begin, talking to other fans and having a good time. The show started off with a couple of music videos set to Styx’s "Renegade" and the Ghostbusters theme song, both of which were funny. Finally, the real stars of the show, literally, began to arrive…
I’ve never seen Jared Padalecki in person and…WOW is he tall. I mean HUGE. After the applause died down, Padalecki began talking about the show itself. First off, he really enjoys playing "Dark Sam" (as we like to call him). He enjoyed being a demon in "Born Under a Bad Sign" as well a darker version of himself in "Mystery Spot" as it "goes against his nature." Speaking of which, "Mystery Spot" was his most challenging episode to film this season because it was a lot for him to grasp and was a "weird" episode overall for him. For the famous scene in which he and Jensen Ackles spoke in unison, he listened to Jensen repeat the lines over and over again until he felt he could do it in sync with him.
In other Supernatural tidbits, he said that while they joke around on set, he behaved himself during the emotional scene in "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part 2" in which he had to act dead while Jensen Ackles played his part (and he had a lot of praise to heap on Ackles for this particular scene). He also praised Ackles’ work in "The Kids are Alright," saying that was Ackles’ best work of the season, so far. Also, his scream in "Born Under a Bad Sign" was him with some effects thrown in, which left us all somewhat impressed. Someone also asked him to say "I lost my shoe", which he did, pout and all, to the delight of the audience.
In other general tidbits, he said that he’ll be working on a film in Austin, Texas this summer (and that he’s a UT fan, despite the chagrin of some audience members who seemed to be A&M fans). He’s also excited about working in the new Friday the 13th film, and says that horror parts are thrown his way, but he’s a fan of the genre and loves to work so he seems fine with it. In the future he would love to do a western or a drama.
It was time for the actors to swap places on the stage, and Jensen Ackles jumped into things quickly. In discussing his favorite episode, he has an "affinity" for the pilot -since that’s where all the "craziness" began. Another favorite is "What is And What Should Never Be," which is also a fan favorite. In discussing which guest star he misses the most (he said it’s hard working with guest stars because they leave), he said "Jeff" (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is the actor he misses working with the most. His least favorite scene to do, at least the one he mentioned, was gargling over and over in "Mystery Spot" because the gave him real Scope™.
In some other Supernatural tidbits, apparently he’s afraid of clowns while Padalecki isn’t (a reversal of their portrayal on the show), and that the dolls in "Playthings" also gave him the creeps. He said he likes playing Dean because he likes underdogs, and Dean reminds him of someone like John McClane from the Die Hard films. On other topics, Ackles said music is just a hobby, as he has much more talented friends such as Jason Manns to put him in his place.
When asked what the craziest thing he has ever done has been, he looked at the audience and said "this", stating "if you had told me ten years ago that I’d be standing on a stage in front of hundreds of people by myself, I’d have told you you were crazy." This got a good laugh from the audience. Like Padalecki, he would also like to do westerns in the future.
Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles
At this point, Padalecki came back on stage to do a question and answer session with both actors. This is the first time I’d seen them both together in person, and you could tell the two just had amazing chemistry with each other. There were a lot of Supernatural tidbits to go around. Ackles said "Mystery Spot" was fun for him to film because he got to cut loose a little. Ackles’ favorite scene he’s filmed was in "What is And What Should Never Be," wherein Dean first sees Mary, his mother. Also, the scene with Dean and Sam alone in the dining room in this episode was apparently very difficult to shoot because Padalecki would always revert to his usual "Sam" mannerisms, which went against the character in the fantasy world provided by the Djinn. Padalecki’s was the exorcism scene in "Born Under a Bad Sign."
Apparently, they both do most of their own stunts, such as hand-to-hand combat and other lighter moves. For the larger moves, such as being thrown into a table and such, they bring in stunt people. Apparently, they won’t even allow the actors to film these portions of stunts even if they wished to, due to insurance issues.
Now, I have to bring up what was possibly the funniest moment in the entire convention. Someone asked about a "body swap" episode again. This led to Ackles being asked to imitate Padalecki, to which he replied "gladly." He then got up and did what was possibly the best, funniest impersonation of Padalecki/Sam I’ve ever seen. It’s hard to describe, but he walked like his legs were too long, sauntered around with his hands in his pockets and put on a very pouty "emo" face. I think I was CRYING due to laughing so hard. Even Padalecki could barely contain his laughter.
In other Supernatural tidbits, both actors said that it’s gotten progressively easier to play their roles as the characterization becomes "natural" over time. The two also loved playing extreme versions of themselves in "Tall Tales." Ackles said he had a difficult time "yelling at himself" in "Dream a Little Dream," while Padalecki also had difficulties portaying Sam’s darker part in "Mystery Spot."
Finally, in discussing more general topics, Ackles said his favorite acting medium is half-hour sitcoms because you have the best of both worlds…an audience, plus the ability to go back on a scene if you messed it up. And that was that. It seemed as if, as soon as they came on stage, they were leaving again. What was roughly ninety or so minutes felt like five or ten, however, the experience reverberated in me for quite some time.
2:00 PM – 13 Males
At this point, my photographer and I had to leave the Supernatural convention to go cover the Slither panel with Nathan Fillion (which is covered here), so these next tidbits are taken from the notes of my wonderfully-smart editor-in-chief, who had the presence of mind to take notes while I wasn’t there.
Steve Carlson is a musician who is not only friends with Jensen Ackles, but is also in the band Kane with Angel alum Christian Kane. We’ll start off with the personal tidbits. First, he’s seeing someone, so calm down ladies. 😉 He wrote his first song when he was very young (which was called "Suzanne", about an aunt that had died), but his first "good" song was written in high school. Several of his inspirations include The Beatles (his favorite songs being "Something in the Way She Moves" and "In My Life"), James Taylor, Jackson Brown, Stevie Wonder and Cat Stevens. When he’s inspired he’ll sing into his phone, which sometimes gets him funny looks. He’s also a self-taught musician.
Onto his music with Kane, apparently they have some tours coming up, and he’s "expecting a call soon." The first single off their upcoming album will be called "More Than I Deserve." Apparently, now that they’ve signed with RCA, RCA didn’t allow them to release more albums, just to write more songs, for some reason. This means they have about three albums worth of songs currently waiting to be used. Their next studio album will be coming out in about a month from this writing, as the artwork is currently being worked upon.
People also asked for information about specific songs or lines from songs. When asked about how he comes up with his lyrics, like "The weight of the air in the room when you’re there", for example he said he just gets into a zone when he’s writing and sometimes doesn’t even remember writing the words. The song "Night Time," which was used in Supernatural was created initially as jingle for a fictitious beer commercial inspired by a friend of his "dancing" with a drink. The ending in the song "She Loves" came originally from a woman singing Spanish in the background, and was then changed to a opera-like arrangement.
Please note that this panel was not covered by me, personally, but I’m going off the notes of my editor-in-chief, who had the presence of mind to take notes in my absence. With that being said…
Sandra McCoy is a ball of energy. Throughout the panel she was in constant motion. And she had some difficulty with the height of the chair provided and the shortness of her skirt. She didn’t stay in the chair long, however. Once she was comfy on stage, she said to ask her anything because she is "incapable of lying." Apparently, she wasn’t worried about Jared Padalecki (her recently announced fiancé) because he wasn’t there and he could "kill her later."
So with that, the questions began, and of course most of the questions revolved around Jared Padalecki. Apparently she hadn’t noticed Jared’s eyebrows getting thinner, as one fan indicated. The two of them play "Cry Wolf" at home, and she never has remorse over "killing" him. On the question of whether he’s a good kisser…that was the one question she said she wouldn’t answer. She says he also has no bad habits, and doesn’t think he’s a big guy (he’s 6’4", but his brother is 6’7"…they grow ’em big in Texas, don’t they?). Also, his biggest fear is losing anyone, especially her, apparently. 😉
Onto other matters, she said in regard to her scenes with Jared as the Crossroads Demon that she had no problem being antagonistic, because they’re like that normally. 😉 She also watched the performances of the other Crossroads Demon actresses with Jared to get a feel for the role. When asked about her role as the N’Sync "Pop" Girl, she said it was her "most exciting booking ever." She’s currently working on three commercials, but other than that she’d been traveling with Jared during the writer’s strike. When asked whether she prefers acting or dancing, she said dancing is her love. She’s not as comfortable acting as she is dancing, but believes you should do things you are afraid of. Then her panel ended as abruptly as it began, to her dismay (and the audience’s, I’m sure). With that, they concluded the last panel of the convention.
Wow, that was a heck of a convention (and a heck of an article to write). I hope you’ve enjoyed our coverage of Creation’s Salute to Supernatural as much as we enjoyed attending the convention itself. I personally learned a lot of things about the show, mostly from Eric Kripke, and his panel was truly the highlight of my weekend.