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2008 LA Salute to Supernatural, Part 2


2008 LA Salute to Supernatural, Part 2


Okay – on to the main event (well, the main post-Kripke event, anyway!). Sunday of course brought Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki for photos, autographs, and general fun and nonsense. I did not have a Gold ticket, so I missed the breakfast hijinks, but the news of Jared’s formal engagement to Sandra McCoy (a co-star of his on the film Cry Wolf, and the Crossroads Demon Sam summoned and killed in Bedtime Stories) circulated at lightspeed once the breakfast room doors had opened. I’m delighted to say that all of the reactions I saw were happiness for the happy couple. People with sufficient presence of mind were congratulating Jared during their photo ops.


The photos were the first event after breakfast, and yes, I succumbed. Jensen was first up, and wonderfully relaxed for a man in his second hundred photos. When my turn came, just as I walked up, he was blinking furiously after all the camera flashes. “All I can see are spots,” he said plaintively, and jokingly groped in front of him with his right hand as if trying to catch the errant lights. I teasingly said that he could reach in my direction anytime, and he chuckled. He asked me how I was doing, and my enthusiastic response of “Wonderful – especially now!” won a smile. We took the pic, and then I thanked him for making Dean real. He was momentarily surprised, and then focused those lovely eyes on me and thanked me. Those eyes had kilowatt power to rival the camera flash!


The duo shots came up next. As I walked up for my turn, Jensen smiled and said, “Hello again!” I guess my two-toned hair and “Supernatural University Faculty” t-shirt might have been just a little memorable, even in all that press of people … I snuggled in between the two of them, adding Jared into my happy hello, and the pic got snapped. As I was turning to go and thanking them both, Jared spotted the bronze pentacle pendant I was wearing – a lovely cast piece by artist Susan Honeck – and said “Hey – cool necklace.” (Only later, when I picked up my photos from Chris, did he and I discover that he’d cut off the top of Jared’s hair! Oops … the hazards of photographing average height women standing with really tall men! He promised to make up for it if I come to another Creation con; I’ll have to see whether that happens.)


While I was in line for the Jared shot, I missed an opportunity to get a shot of the boys walking past with their security; I got a pic, but it was too blurry for words. And I was actually too close to him to get a shot of Jared walking back! I also caught just a quick glimpse of Jason C. – the guy who does the CW Source interviews and spots – working a distant part of the line, asking how far people had come and what they were most looking forward to, and crowing that he’d be doing an interview with Jared later in the day that would be going up on the CW Source (part one went up this past week …). Funny, but it wasn’t until I saw Jason that it really registered in my head that, yes, we were in LA, home of the network, and might actually attract a bit of CW attention! Not that the suits pay attention to the Source, but hey – it couldn’t hurt!


My photo with Jared is embarrassing: I look like a simpering idiot because just before the camera flashed, Jared had asked how I was and whether I was enjoying myself, and I glanced up at him instead of out at Chris, the photographer. Chris must have figured I was going for the adoring fan look or something, and I didn’t even realize where the flash caught me. Sheesh – I’m old enough to be his mother, but that look comes off like pure 13-year-old-deer-in-the-headlights. That’s the one I wish I could have retaken, because – ouch. So not me … As I started to leave, I thanked Jared for the gift of Sam, and he caught my hand and very earnestly said, “Thank you for watching Sam. Thank you.”


Anyway, with the photo ops behind us, it was time to listen to the boys and get questions answered. The lines formed instantaneously, and I didn’t even bother trying to get into one; looked like a lost cause to me, and I had every confidence that most of the things I might have asked would be covered by others. Jared went first, then Jensen, and then both. (All the photos I've linked to in these two accounts can be found here in my Photobucket album ...)


Jared Padalecki


The very first question concerned whether the boys had coached the gifted kids who played the young Winchesters in A Very Supernatural Christmas, because their character mannerisms were so spot-on. Jared said that he and Jensen had met the boys, but never did any work with them – the kids nailed the roles purely on their own. He noted that Ridge Canipe, the boy who played Dean, had a little advantage in having done it before, but he said he was floored by the kid who played Sam and really enjoyed some of the things he did. To the delight of the audience, he also reported that the kids developed the same kind of mutually supportive off-screen relationship that he and Jensen had, and that translated right to the camera!


Jared confirmed that Sam’s scream when Bobby burned across the binding link was indeed his, but admitted that it was run through a synthesizer to intensify it and add to the creepiness factor, because he couldn’t have made it sound that bloodcurdling on his own with just a human throat. Or as he put it eloquently, “Ouch!” He added that the punch at the end of the scene hadn’t been in the script, but was Jensen’s idea.


Asked what had been the most challenging thing for him to film this season, he opted instantly for Mystery Spot, saying it was very hard because of the subject matter, and there was a lot to grasp and a lot to play all at once. What made it all the harder was that it was filming close to Christmas, so he himself was feeling very happy – and then went to work and had to put himself in the mindset of his brother dying. It was funny to watch his face as he demonstrated being holiday-happy and then having to flip the switch into emotionally devastated. And in a point that got repeated several times by both boys, he noted that the heavy emotional stuff is always the hardest to do precisely because you as the actor have to put yourself fully into the moment and really feel the emotions your character is supposed to be experiencing, because if they aren’t genuine within you, they won’t be convincing on screen.


A related question concerned whether Jared – well known to be a prankster – had pulled anything or had behaved himself during his death scene in All Hell Breaks Loose, Part 1 and while lying dead on the mattress in the beginning of All Hell Breaks Loose, Part 2. After garnering laughs by proclaiming that he’d behaved himself in bed, he said in all seriousness that he had behaved himself both times, and just did the best he could to really look dead for Jensen, because he understood how hard doing those scenes would be for him. He said that the hardest thing for him in both of those scenes was not reacting to Jensen, because even though his eyes were closed and he couldn’t see Jensen, he could hear him, and it was clear that he was taking himself into a very dark and painful place. Jared couldn’t help him while the scenes were shooting, and didn’t want to make it any harder on him or make him stay there any longer than he had to, because he could hear how badly Jensen was hurting.


Asked about how many takes it had required to nail the scene in the diner in Mystery Spot where Sam and Dean speak the same lines simultaneously, Jared laughed that they actually got it down pretty quickly once the cameras rolled. He explained that he and Jensen get picked up from their homes by the same SUV every day, and that they always use the drive to the set or location to run lines with each other. Since Sam’s ability to perfectly match Dean’s lines was supposed to have been because Sam had heard them delivered as many as a hundred times, he said that he had Jensen simply repeat the lines over and over again while he listened on the drive in that day. He laughed that there was one line that Jensen kept screwing up – he couldn’t remember which one it was, but he said that Jensen sometimes used a contraction and sometimes spoke the full word, changing the rhythm of the line, and that he kept stopping Jensen and laughingly complaining, “You’re killing me, here, man! I can’t get it if you don’t! Which way are you going to say it?” When they actually did it on set, he said that the hardest thing was for them not to break out laughing in self-congratulation somewhere in the middle after they’d successfully nailed part of it.


Jared added that something else made Mystery Spot particularly hard to shoot, and that was that they block-shot it. No television show or movie is ever shot in chronological scene order, because you always save money and time by grouping together the scenes that take place in a particular location or on a particular set, but you generally do shoot a complete scene at a time. Usually that involves beginning with a master shot, one that covers the whole scene and shows the characters in relation to each other and their surroundings, and then taking a short break while the lighting and camera crews reset in order to get detailed coverage on one of the actors. When the technical details are ready, the actors run the scene again, while the cameras focus on one character. Then it’s time to break again to set the lighting and cameras to cover a different actor in the scene. Depending on where the cameras are facing, that may also require moving the “video village” – the multiple-monitor setup that the director uses to see exactly what each camera is recording – to make certain that it won’t be in the shot. (Mary says, if you want a brilliant example of the “video village” winding up where it shouldn’t, watch the season two gag reel for the scene – I think it came from No Exit – where the boys, walking down a corridor, hear voices approaching and duck sideways into a doorway alcove for cover, only to have Jensen crack up in laughter realizing that the Steadicam tracking him is seeing the “video village” through the doorway beyond him!) After all that arranging, the scene is run again, this time recording the second actor. And so it goes, actor by actor, scene by scene.


Block shooting is different. In block shooting, to save even more time and money, the actors and crew keep the camera and lighting setup in one position and shoot each piece of each scene that requires that specific setup, changing the setup only when it is no longer needed. So for example, in Mystery Spot, there were multiple scenes when Sam woke up and sat up in bed. Instead of shooting each scene as a whole, they shot each of Sam’s wake-up moments one after the other. Then they would have changed the coverage, and shot each of Dean’s rocking-out-to-Asia moments one after the other. Another change, and each of the shared bathroom gargling and toothbrush scenes would run in sequence. Jared said that he was very grateful that director Kim Manners was able to keep track of precisely where in the story they were, and would always start the scene by filling the boys in on exactly where in the timeline they were for this umpteenth repetition of the scene. It didn’t matter that much to Jensen, because his challenge was keeping Dean as much the same from day to day as possible, but it was critical for Jared to be able to figure out where on the continuum of Sam’s growing desperation he was supposed to be, and it was a challenge because he had to ratchet things up appropriately for each repetition constituting a new version of the scene.


Asked about his favorite performance from Jensen this season, Jared said that he really enjoyed The Kids Are Alright. He said that Jensen is always good, but since the brothers had so many scenes apart in that episode, he really got into it because he could watch it almost like a member of the audience, and he really enjoyed the experience. He said that normally he and Jensen are in scenes together and are always working with and playing off of each other, so it was a different and fun experience to just be able to watch Jensen working without having to react to him as Sam.


Asked what he’d like to be doing in ten years, his response was simple:  “In ten years, I’d like to be – working.” That was it; to keep busy, to keep working. Ideally in movies, so he could spend time with his fiancée, soon to be wife! (Movie schedules are much more relaxed than television, and unlike television shooting for an hour-long drama, which runs almost non-stop for nine months of the year to produce 22 hours of episodes, most principal photography on a two-hour film is finished in one to three months, depending on the complexity of the shoot.)


Faced with the trio of James Lipton questions, Jared’s responses were “cookie” for his favorite word, “no” for his least favorite word, and “Starts with ‘s’ and ends with ‘hit’” for his favorite curseword.


Presented with the hypothetical of a body-swap episode in which Sam wound up in Dean and vice versa, and asked how he would play Dean in Sam’s body, Jared laughed, then said earnestly that he would study the more Dean-centric episodes to get Dean’s mannerisms down pat. And then he outright grinned and said, “And then I’d just make all kinds of stupid faces like Jensen does.” He faked a quick look around as if to ensure that Jensen wasn’t hiding out listening, and then nodded his head and said, “Yeah – lots of stupid faces.”


Asked about how he gets into Sam, Jared said that he used a lot of his own experience where it fit – after all, he has an older brother! – but he admitted that when it came down to struggling about your possible demon heritage, it was hard to say that yeah, you’d just draw it from there, from that reservoir of personal experience, or from that piece of training!


Jared said that he loved to play Sammy’s bad side, precisely because it’s against his nature; that he likes seeing that juxtaposition.


Asked what line he’d most like to deliver, he used a Dean trademark without hesitation: “Son of a bitch!” He laughed that he’d like to follow that one up with, “Dean, my ass!”


One fan asked him to deliver the “I lost my shoe” line from Bad Day At Black Rock and he cheerfully complied – only to laugh himself silly as the girl left the microphone, and promptly lost her shoe! She was a good sport and held the errant pump up in the air as she made her way back to her seat.


Another fan started through the litany of lines in Mystery Spot, with Jared tossing in surprised/perplexed/incredulous comments, right up until the last one:

            Fan:  “I know that Sam Winchester wears makeup …”

            Jared:  “He does?”

            Fan:  “And Sam Winchester cries his way through sex …”

            Jared:  “What?!”

            Fan:  “But why does he keep a ruler by his bedside?”

            Jared:  [throws his head back and roars with laughter] “I can’t go there; it’s too risqué!”


Asked if he’d ever had an embarrassing celebrity moment, Jared said that he considers himself an actor, so he doesn’t really get nervous around other actors, although he admitted to a personal “moment” when he saw Tom Hanks. He said that he gets nervous around musicians .


In connection with his decision to play in the upcoming Friday the 13th movie, Jared said that he’s a huge fan of the horror genre, and that he loves it because watching a scary movie or show takes you out of yourself. Beyond the genre, he said that he’d like to do a “drama-drama, maybe a war movie. And definitely a Western.”


Asked about his dogs, Jared said that he has Sadie with him on set, but that Harley is staying with Sandy at the moment, which occasioned yet another “awwww.”


A fan offered up two photographs for Jared to comment on, but I couldn’t really make out what the funnies on those were. Jared shared them with Jensen, though.


Jensen Ackles


Jensen announced his presence with a “Son of a bitch!” through the mike, and after a little teasing, Jared yielded the stage. Jensen swept the hall with a look, with his eyes pausing on the big individual character banners posted along the walls. Looking at Sam, he nodded and said, “Ugly.” Moving on to the Yellow-Eyed Demon, he observed, “Evil.” Ash got the simple acknowledgment, “Chad.” And then came the tuxedo-clad Dean of Red Sky At Morning, and in that supremely contented, smugly satisfied “what a handsome devil” tone of his, he said, as if to himself, “Ah – there he is.” The whole place broke up!


Asked to name his best or favorite episode, Jensen said that he always has an affinity for the pilot, because it started it all. Then he picked What Is And What Should Never Be, “because it took away all the crutches I use to play Dean. It was challenging.”  He said that he really appreciated that, because if you weren’t challenging yourself, you weren’t really alive.


A fan complimented him on his singing and asked if we’d ever get to hear Dean sing again – and on key this time! – because we all know he can do it, and do it well. Jensen demurred, saying that having musician friends really puts his musical talent in its place.


One fan asked what was the craziest thing he’d ever done, and he replied emphatically and without hesitation, gesturing around the room, “This!” But he laughed immediately and said that, seriously, he wouldn’t change this for the world.


Asked about roles or types of projects he would like to do, he opened by saying, “Jared touched on Western, which he totally stole from me. Really, he did.” He continued by saying that he liked the idea of playing characters like John McClane, an average Joe who turns into a hero; those characters really appeal to him. (Mary says, I guess we know why he likes Dean so much and does him so well!)


Questioned about what’s happening with Ten Inch Hero, he admitted that he didn’t know anything, and it was really frustrating to see the film still not in distribution.


Asked what he likes to do in his spare time, he said that fiddling on guitar was fun, and that he liked to play golf. He laughed about that using a joke about a daughter watching her father play golf, and mimicked the father taking a swing and muttering in dissatisfaction at the result, taking another swing and a third and a fourth, getting progressively more angry and wound up (and swearing without actually swearing!) until his daughter asks him why he plays the game, to which he snapped/shouted, “I love golf! It relaxes me!” He laughed and said that was him playing golf, and then laughed again and said that telling the joke without really swearing was really hard.


Characterizing his day, he jerked a finger over his shoulder where Jared had gone and said “It’s me and Goofy all day long.”


Someone asked what he had in his mouth to get the chipmunk cheeks in Tall Tales, and he laughed that they really were caramels, and that he sometimes managed to get around 12 or 15 of them in his mouth at a time. He grimaced that even though he spat them out between takes, the sugar made his mouth fuzzy, and he couldn’t stand the thought of ever eating another one!


Asked about his least favorite scene and his favorite death in Mystery Spot, Jensen said that the gargling scene was his least favorite, because the mouthwash was real Scope and by the end of twelve takes (remember the block shooting business, and think of how often you saw the gargling!), he couldn’t feel his mouth any more! He thought that his favorite death might have been the falling furniture, just because it was so fast and so totally random. He then proceeded to go through liking most of the others as well, starting with the speeding car, but when someone in the audience shouted out “Bad tacos!” he protested, “But you didn’t even get to see me die on that one! It was just the line …” We were all laughing hard by then. He said that he had really enjoyed doing Mystery Spot, that it was a fun episode for him. Not so much for Jared …


One fan asked what he would like to see for his character, and he responded mock-solemnly, “Life on Earth.” Talking about what he likes in the show, he said that he really likes it when the brothers get taken out of their element, when they have to push beyond what they’re comfortable with. He noted that “Sera Gamble writes me great,” and that he enjoys playing the things she writes that take Dean to his limits.


A fan brought up The Berrisford Agenda episode of Dark Angel, in which Jensen’s character Alec, undercover, played Chopin, and asked if that really had been Jensen doing the playing. Jensen confirmed that he did his own keyboard work for the episode, saying he took two weeks of intensive piano lessons for that shoot and doesn’t remember a lick of it!


Asked what he’s afraid of, he said that he’s actually the one afraid of clowns, and that it’s all the fault of that stupid Steven King’s miniseries “It.” He laughed that it was ironic, but he – not Jared – was the one going “man, I’m freaking out here” while they were filming Everybody Loves a Clown. That, and Playthings, with the dolls without the eyes … for that creepiness, he gave a shudder reminiscent of Dean in Croatoan remembering that waitress in Tampa!


Recalling the very beginning of his career, he observed that the soaps were good technical training, schooling him in finding the camera, finding the light, hitting the marks, and knowing the lines. He said that he was grateful for that training because it made everything after easier to handle, making him have the basics down.


Asked what aspect of Dean he finds most challenging and most fun to play, he said that what he really likes is that Dean plays both sides – that he gets very angry, and he lives with a lot of grief and sorrow, but while he isn’t really a happy guy, there are also things that bring him great joy. He said that he loves that slice of life mixture and that it makes Dean a real character. He said that what he most wants is to capture that and do him justice, to play Dean well.


Jared reappeared in that moment, bragging “But not as good as Jared plays Sam!”


Jensen and Jared


When Jared reappeared for their doubles act, there were still quite a few fans in line who had been waiting to ask questions of Jensen, so for a while Jared kept up a running gag miming disappointment at any question not directed at him and rubbing Jensen’s nose in it anytime a fan mentioned Jared first. It was pretty funny, and would have been funnier if some fans hadn’t started taking it seriously.


The boys were asked if they did their own fight scenes and if they’d had any fight training. Jensen’s answer was “Yes and none,” which he quickly amended to say that he and Jared actually were given a lot of training for the fights between them in the Pilot and in Skin, but not for any of the others.


Asked the classic three James Lipton questions, Jensen’s answers were “insatiable” for his favorite word, “milk” for his least-favorite word, and “shit” for his favorite curse word. After saying the last one, he qualified it by saying, “It’s not too harsh, but it gets your point across.” Then he looked abashed and said, “Now my Mom’s gonna call me …”


Both boys were asked to name their favorite weapon in the show. Jensen instantly said, “Ruby’s knife. I’ve gotta get me one of those!” Failing that, he guessed a shotgun. Jared went a different way, choosing Lilith’s white demon eyes, because “then everyone dies.”


Both were asked to name their favorite scenes to shoot so far. Jared opted for Sam’s exorcism in Born Under A Bad Sign, because he got to do so much with it. The comedy act was in full swing when Jared concluded with a teasing mention of “that little punch in the end of the scene” and Jensen squared off with him and said, mock-outraged, “Little?”


Jensen picked the scene in What Is And What Should Never Be when Mom opened the door, because he had to convey so many different things all at once. He said that he also really liked the scene between the brothers in the dining room, because it was so different from the norm that it was like the first time he ever had to do a scene with Jared, because Sam wasn’t who he is. He said that to play against someone with whom you normally have such a dynamic and to get nothing back was really hard. Jared chimed in saying that being a different Sam had been really hard for him, and that Kripke, directing the episode, constantly had to stop him from falling back into the usual Sam/Dean pattern, saying “No, no, you’re acting like his brother again. You don’t know this guy! I mean, you don’t hate him or anything, but you don’t know him, and you think he’s a loser, and he always annoyed you and took your stuff and you don’t know him!”


Noting that Jared had been asked how he would play Dean in Sam’s body if there were to be a body-swap episode, a fan asked Jensen if he could show how he would play Sam in Dean’s body. Jensen got a wicked gleam in his eye and said, “You want me to show you how I’d play Jumbo here? Gladly!” He stood up, set his mike down on the stool, and then hunched his shoulders, shoved his hands in his pockets, and looked grumpily from side to side as he proceeded to exaggerate his stride into a mockery of Jared’s ground-lope as he sauntered across the stage and then stepped off onto an autograph table before turning around and making his pouting way back. I was laughing too hard to get a decent photo! Jared was practically tipping over in his chair, laughing.


The very next question, addressed to Jared, was whether he would consider doing live theater, as Jensen did last year with A Few Good Men. Still laughing, he answered, “Not if I looked like that!” He sobered up to say that he might try it sometime, but that it was daunting to think about having to do a performance from start to finish with no chance for retakes. Jensen agreed that was the scary thing about theater – two solid hours of being in character with no margin for error, and having to deliver all of those lines – but added that the fear was part of the exhilaration, and that the instant audience feedback had been great.


Asked about which format he prefers, since he’s recently done live theater, films, and television, Jensen said that he would love the half-hour sitcom format – rehearsal all week, followed by live filming in front of an audience – because it would be the best of all worlds: theater for the live audience experience, combined with the ability to get a second take if you screw up. And he grinned that the hours would be a lot shorter than shooting an hour-long dramatic show like Supernatural.


One fan asked what their favorite snack foods were, and Jensen promptly pointed to Jared and said, “Sugar.” Jared protested, “Don’t point at me when you say ‘sugar’!”, and things rapidly devolved into both of them doing the “da-da-da” thing to the tune of “Sugar, Sugar.” We got a little taste of what they must be like on set!


With everyone knowing that Jared was signed to appear in the remake of Friday the 13th, Jensen was asked if he had anything coming up during the summer hiatus. He said that there were a couple of possibilities, but he really couldn’t say anything yet, given the current status of things – but we should stay tuned for news soon. (And so we just found out about him landing the lead in the remake of My Bloody Valentine – in 3-D!)


Asked what was the hardest facet of Dean to play, Jensen deadpanned that the hardest facet was undoubtedly his affection for his brother, and that he struggled with it daily. After the laughter, he responded seriously that the emotional stuff is always tough, but he noted and Jared agreed that it was easier for both of them now to get into an emotional state when necessary. He said that when they first started, they would have to imagine something from their own lives in order to get there, something that would make them feel the grief or the pain, but that because of the relationship they’ve formed between them, they can now just use each other to get there.


Lightening up, he said that the snappy, sarcastic, and cranky aspects of Dean are always fun to play.


Asked if they would be interested in writing or directing, Jensen admitted that he is interested in directing, but he noted that it would be a lot harder for Supernatural to allow one of them to direct an episode than it was for the Smallville production team to let Tom Welling direct an episode, precisely because he and Jared are the only two principals in the show and are in practically every scene, while Smallville has an ensemble cast that can carry the focus of an episode or two. For an actor to be able to direct, his acting load has to be lightened for at least two episodes, first to give him time to prepare his shoot while the episode ahead of it films, and then to be able to spend time actually directing the episode he’s shooting. Jensen said he didn’t think that would be possible on Supernatural because neither his nor Jared’s acting load could be lightened enough, given the brother-oriented format of the show.


The boys were asked whether they had enjoyed playing the exaggerated versions of themselves in the bar scene in Tall Tales, and they both agreed that they did. Jared said that they really enjoy all the lighter moments.


Someone asked about the scene in Dream A Little Dream Of Me in which Dean confronted his demon self, and Jensen responded that Dean yelling at himself had been a really hard scene to do. He said that episode director Steve Boyum had very solid ideas on exactly how he wanted to shoot it, so it was very organized. He said that his stand-in – who mirrored Dean while Jensen was playing the demon version, and mirrored the demon while Jensen did Dean – knew all of his lines, but that he had to remember how he intended to deliver those lines and react to that imagined delivery, not to what he was hearing from his stand-in. For the takes with him as the demon, he had to get into the demon makeup and blood, and then go back to being Dean. Given how complex the shooting design and direction had been, he laughed that he’d told Boyum, “Steve, this better win you an Emmy.”


Asked about Lisa from The Kids Are Alright being in Dean’s dream, Jensen said that family is something Dean longs for – just look at all he’s done to try to keep his own little family together – and that there was envy there, but that he knows he could never settle down to that kind of normal life. He said that what he was trying for was more a longing sadness rather than really yearning, if that made any sense.


Responding to another question about Mystery Spot, Jared volunteered that the scenes of life without Dean were really hard, that it had been like having a whole new character to play because of how different Sam became. He said that it had been hard to put himself into the whole place of “my brother’s dead, this is Supernatural without Dean,” and it was hard. (He pretty much ran out of adjectives and just reverted to adding emphasis …). On a practical level, he said that the scene of Sam pulling the bullet out of himself was hard in a different way, because he was fitted with a chest appliance covering his own skin, and it felt weird to look in the mirror and poke into it to pull the bullet out and then sew it up.


That pretty much brought the programmed talks to an end, and the autographs with the boys came next. One of the bodyguards commented on my necklace and on the Supernatural University tote bag I was getting signed, saying that he really liked both of them, and I explained to him what I never got to explain to the boys or Kripke about doing analytical meta essays on the psychological and philosophical aspects of the show. I can’t remember my exact words to Jensen, but they were more along the lines of how grateful I was for the work he did every week bringing to life a character so complex that he made you think. He thanked me right back. Whatever I had planned on saying to Jared went right out of my head as I approached him, because he was thanking the person ahead of me in line for her compliments on how vividly he played Sam in Mystery Spot, and he said that he was glad to hear that because he’d been worried about whether what he’d done had really worked or not, and he hadn’t actually seen it yet. I just looked at him and said, “You haven’t seen it? Really, you have to – she’s right. You nailed it, you really did. You were great. Watch it!” He laughed and thanked me, and said that he would, and then I had my signed bag in hand and the moment was gone.


Sandra McCoy


After the boys were on their way out of the con and back to Vancouver, Sandy McCoy took the stage for her very first formal con appearance. She was obviously nervous both about this kind of performance and about what reception she might have, but she needn’t have worried: the audience loved her, jitters, fast speech, nervous giggles, and all. She was just too genuinely sweet to resist!


The very first question for her was how she had managed the antagonistic edge she displayed as the Crossroads Demon, given her relationship with Jared, and she laughed that having to be antagonistic with Jared wasn’t hard, since it was a lot like their real life!


Asked to share a funny story about Jared, she told us about the day he proposed. They were on a trip in France, and she said that he was just really nervous all day – she didn’t know why – and kept pacing around, holding his chest. She said that she was starting to get worried about him, with the way he was clutching at his chest making her think of heartburn or a heart attack or something, so she started asking him if he was all right, if he felt okay. He evidently grasped for the first reassuring explanation he could think of, which was that he’d been working out a lot lately, and wanted to see if he’d gotten any bigger!


Laughing at someone comparing their sizes, Sandy said that Jared “acts a lot tougher than he is; I could take him!”


Asked the James Lipton questions, Sandy offered “scrumptrilescent” as her favorite word (she attributed it to someone else, but I didn’t catch whom, and I can’t vouch for the spelling, either!); “recommend” as her least favorite word (“Because I can’t spell it! I never know whether it’s two “c’s” or two “m’s” or – whatever!”); and broke everyone up with her dismayed response to the curse word question:  “I don’t know any! I’d have to say … darn!”  And the absolutely hilarious thing was that you couldn’t help but believe her!


In terms of her current and recent activities, Sandy said that she was working on three commercials, and that during the writers’ strike, she had spent three months just traveling with Jared, wanting to get a sense of what their future will be. She said that she really enjoyed being at the convention with him because she loves seeing how charismatic Jared can be with the fans, and just loves watching him with people.


Inevitably, someone asked whether Jared was a good kisser, and her response was hilarious. She said that’s the one question that he’d asked her not to answer, and she giggled that she didn’t think he knew what her answer would be. Someone from the audience suggested, “He doesn’t suck!” and she just lost it laughing.


Asked about her acting career plans, she admitted with a little embarrassment that she hadn’t really made the decision to be an actress – that it had just come about as a way to pay the bills and be with people. She said that she’d like to get a PhD in psychology, and was going back now to pursue her Masters. And far more than an actress, she said that she truly was a dancer. She first got noticed in music videos, and dancing is what she truly enjoys. She said that when she’s dancing, she’s never nervous; that when she’s dancing, she’s confident in herself. “I breathe easier than when I’m off the stage and not dancing,” she said. She’d like to teach dance. She said that she hadn’t really been able to get Jared dancing, but that she’d get there.


She also said that if we thought Jared was tall, we should see his brother – who stands six feet, seven inches!


Asked what Jared is afraid of, she quipped, “Losing me!”, but quickly sobered and amended that to “Experiencing loss.” She said that he’s been very lucky with his family and his friends and hasn’t experienced much loss in his life, and that losing anyone close to him, anyone he cares about, is what he’s most afraid of.


That ended the question and answer session, and folk who’d purchased autograph tickets queued up for signatures. I’d bought one just for the chance to give her good welcome, compliment her on her turn as the Crossroads Demon, and tell her congratulations. She was gentle, delightful, and sweet, and so happy and relieved to have survived the con experience; I hope she’ll continue to be well treated.


That pretty much finished off the con for me. I missed most of Steve Carlson’s question and answer session, so I can’t provide any details on that (sorry, Rap!). A bunch of us had dinner that night before scattering to the four winds, and all I can say is, we all had a blast.


Before I sign off, though, I realize that I had left out a couple of things from day one. The first was a comment from Chad Lindberg that he definitely believes in ghosts; he said he’s seen many, and has stories to tell if anyone ever asks when there’s time.


Finally, I was happy with one thing I managed to say to Kripke: I told him that what he had done with Supernatural transcends genre, because I hate horror movies, but I absolutely love Supernatural. He said that made him feel good, so I guess I achieved my goal, even if he still has no idea who I am. (Sigh. Maybe someday …)


And that ends my tale of the 2008 LA Salute to Supernatural. I hope you enjoyed it, and that if you were there, this helped you relive some of the joy.


Tune in Thursday night for the replay of Dream A Little Dream Of Me, knowing a bit more about what went into making it!

Tags: cons, eric kripke, jared padalecki, jensen ackles, real life, supernatural, supernatural university, television production

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