Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Supernatural - ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE IV Convention Report

On the first weekend in June I attended the Sydney leg of the All Hell Breaks Loose 4 convention.
Our special guests were Misha, Richard, Matt, Rob, Mark Sheppard and Sebastian. You might as well have called it The Bad Boys of “Supernatural” tour!

The lads had all arrived on various days. Sebastian had been in Sydney for about a week, as his girlfriend is a Sydney girl and he was catching up with family. Rob, Rich, Matt and Misha all arrived on Thursday and caught some of the sights around town and Mr Sheppard arrived Friday…missing his birthday all together, when he crossed the international date line, his birthday simply disappeared!
Officially the convention was Friday night and all day Saturday, but my convention started a little bit earlier…
It was Thursday night and I was just crawling into bed to watch a bit of “Supernatural” (what else) when Sebastian Roche tweeted….

Well crikey. Let’s just say, I laughed out loud, a lot. You see this show is produced where I work! Talk about brilliant!

So I headed off to sleep knowing that the next day there’d be a pretty good chance of having a pretty good day! I was already excited for the convention, now I was excited to be going to work! Who ever heard of such a thing.

Friday morning came and I got to work a bit early, slipped up to the studio at about 9 to accost someone to find out when the lads would be on and walked straight into Ginger Spice! Literally. Geri Halliwell was on the show too. I found out the guys were going to be on just after 10, just Misha and Seb, so I proceed to try and busy myself while I waited…concentration levels were at an all time low!

About 15 minutes before they were due on the show I headed up to the studio with a couple of colleagues, both of whom I’d introduced to “Supernatural”. We slipped into the studio and I could see that Misha and Sebastian were already in there getting mic’d up. I must have been feeling pretty brave, being on home turf and all, so I went straight over to where they were standing. When Seb was by himself I went up and said hi. He shook my hand, said it was nice to see me and then I said how I’d seen him tweeting last night and said, “Are you shitting me? I work there!” He went, “You work here? That’s amazing, are you coming to the convention?” and I told him, yep, I’d be there tonight in fact for cocktails and he said lovely, we could have a drink later. Then someone came and spoke to him so I backed away and turned to face Misha.

Now as most of you know, I’ve been to a few conventions. Misha has got to the point where he recognises me at those events and teases me (for some reason), so I was expecting him to probably recognise me a little…but… he looks up and sees me, looks completely taken by surprise and goes… “Hey…Hi! What are you doing here?” Lunges for me, wraps me in a big hug and plants a massive smooch on my cheek! I smooched his in return! O.M.G. Flail! Weirdly, I stayed collected…on the outside…and said, “I came to see you!” and he said “You came here to see us?” and I said…”Well yeah, up the stairs, I work here!” and Misha goes, “You’re shitting me!” I said, “I am not shitting you and that’s exactly what I just said to Sebastian!” Anyway we stood there for a few minutes chatting, I introduced him to both of my friends and he shook their hands and apologised on my behalf that I’d introduced them to “Supernatural”. He said, “Let me apologise for her, I’m so sorry she did that to you.” Idiot! Then we grabbed a couple of photos and the guys went on set.

I stood in the studio and watched as they did their segment. There were quite a few people in the studio who had come up specifically to see the guys. When they came off set, I said goodbye and they both said they’d see me that night, and then they got grabbed by all the other people wanting pics with them. Which was AWESOME! I stood there watching, as they were absorbed into the small crowd of TV professionals who’d come in specifically to see the hotties from “Supernatural”! I felt super proud. I then went back to work, sort of…after about an hour of running around and gushing to anyone who would listen!

So that’s how my con weekend started!

Later that afternoon, I left work a bit early to head into the city. I was staying in town (even though I live in Sydney), as it’s just easier. I was meeting my convention pals at the hotel and we were going to have some drinks before the evening cocktail function. There ended up being about 12 of us all catching up! It was great to see everyone and I met a couple of new friends too. The friends you meet through conventions really is the best bit!

At 7pm the Platinum/VIP cocktail party kicked off. How the parties work here is very different to the Creation parties. This year there wasn’t even any sitting at tables, we just stood or sat on lounge chairs in a small function room. My friends and I all managed to snag a high table and propped ourselves up. The guests come and chat to you, but it’s not timed or anything. They hang out and then move on, sometimes you get a couple of people at once, or they crash each other’s chats, so it’s super laid back and easy, even more so this year.

We got to chat to everyone. Obviously Misha and Seb recognised me from the morning. Misha said to me he was surprised how many people had come up to the studio to see them and get photos with them. Bless. He seemed pretty chuffed. It turns out Seb was staying just around the corner from the studios as his girlfriend’s family is from that area, so he could have walked there that morning, but of course a car came and got him. Mark Sheppard was seriously jetlagged as he’d just arrived but he chatted to us about the show a little bit and about the finale. I asked him his thoughts on the script, specifically the Tet Offensive/Girls speech. He said he loved it and that’s what’s so great about the show, that they can do that kind of thing. Everyone sung him happy birthday at some point. Richard and I chatted about Vegascon and how next year, with it being 4 days, we’re going to have to go into training. Rob remembered he’d seen me recently and I said it was Vegas and he said, “Oh yeah, of course.” We chatted about that and how great it was having the band on stage and how he’s excited to do it all again. Matt told us how terribly jetlagged he was, so much so he felt drunk and so was avoiding alcohol! He said he body was really angry with him! Australia is the end of their tour. These guys had gone from New Jersey to Rome to Birmingham to Germany to Sydney (via LA)! I was surprised any of them were even standing!

For the first year, we had Karaoke! It was Rich and Matt’s idea…or rather their insistence. I think they told the organisers rather than asked! So after the drinks, we headed in to the other room to join the rest of the crowd. I bumped into Sebastian’s girlfriend in the doorway (Alicia) and she said hi because she recognised me from the morning and we got chatting. She happened to go to the same high school as my best friend! She knew her name, which was a bit odd. Small city, man. A few of us chatted to her for a while. She’s totally got Seb’s number by the way, she was pretty hilarious how she spoke about him and when he came over at one point she just teased the crap out of him! Super nice gal…of course, because she’s from Sydney!

Karaoke, as usual, was a blast. The funny thing was, the guys didn’t know half the songs because there were a lot of Aussie songs being sung. But in their usual style, they bounced around with astonishingly high levels of energy! Sebastian, Matt, Richard and Rob put on a great show. Mark hung out in the audience for a while, Misha stayed in the other room chatting to the Platinum and VIP ticket holders, we could drift in and out. The night wrapped up around 10.30 (very early) with a rousing rendition of Carry on Wayward Son. We all said our goodnights and headed off to try and get some sleep before the big day of panels.

The Aussie “Supernatural” con schedules the panels day a bit different to how other conventions work. We get all our photos done in the morning, then all the panels run back to back and then we do all the autographs. The venues are small – less than 500 this year – and in Sydney we were in an auditorium at a University.

Originally Corin Nemec was supposed to act as M.C., but he was unable to attend as he’s still recovering from the injuries caused by his horrific accident. Rob Benedict was a last minute replacement for Corin. So Rob was our host!

While we were all up and down getting various photos and photo combinations, Rob entertained us with Q&A, live commentary on “The Real Ghostbusters” and a couple of Louden Swain songs. Thankfully, he brought his guitar! It was all fantastic! The live commentary was particularly fun! Rob talked about how brilliant he thinks the Js are, that after 8 seasons you can still see them giving everything to every scene where as, in his experience, on other long running shows the stars are phoning it in by that stage. He also talked about how the direction for Emily whilst Chuck was destroying the ghost and Becky was looking at him longingly, was that she “felt hot inside”. It was hilarious watching that scene with Rob. He said it was wonderful to be onset watching Emily do that and knowing it was all for him!

I got photos with all the cast, plus a Misha/Richard double, a Richard/Rob double, which I named the bromance double…yes I said that to them – in their matching blazers. They were wearing nearly identical blazers. Richard said he was a trend-setter and Rob a trend-follower! God love their adorableness. I also got a photo with all the guests, which I shared with 3 of my friends.

I had an epic fail with Sebastian. I totally forgot I shoved his photo ticket down my bra before I had my photo with Richard. Richard had held on to me after the photo and had a bit of a chat. I walked away all buzzing and totally forgot to get the ticket out of my underwear and suddenly I’m in front of Seb and…yeah…the con volunteer asked for my ticket and…OH CRAP! So I said, “One moment please” and stuck my hand down my top. Sebastian goes, “What are you doing, darling?” and I pulled the ticket out and handed it to the girl and said, “Where else was I going to put it?” and he said, “Oh darling, I can think of plenty of other places to…put it.” By now he has his arms wrapped around me and I’m trying to get my face in order for the camera…but me being me I had to say, “Hmmm, yes, I bet you can” to which he replied, “Oh you naughty, naughty girl!” As I walked away he said, “Thank you darling, you naughty girl.” I was laughing so damn hard I could barely collect myself! Of all people to have that happen in front of!

Anyway, the first panel up was Sebastian and he was his normal, chaotic self. Rob stayed just off to the side of the stage the whole time, shaking his head in amazement, bewilderment and possibly shame! Sebastian answered a few questions (I was quite impressed), but mostly danced, funny walked, told random stories, had us fake orgasm as a crowd, broke out into random French sentences, made his penis talk…I don’t even know. It doesn’t matter how many times I see Seb do his thing, I’m always gleefully astonished by the audacity of him! He had us all in tears with his shenanigans! At one point he called Rob onto stage and said, “Come to daddy” and then grabbed Rob in a hug and preceded to dry-hump him! Rob pulled away going…in that squeaky Rob/Chuck voice…“That is not the relationship I have with my father! I’m going to need therapy!” Funny stuff.

Up next was Mark Sheppard. I adore Mark. He’s a fan boy at heart and he simply gets us. I love how he asks the next person in line for their question. In that cockney brogue of his he goes, “Go on you”. I freakin’ love that! He teased the life out of the people in the audience who hadn’t seen the finale, going back to them every so often and saying, “You really should watch the show.” He said that the scene between Crowley and Sam took 3 days to shoot and was exhausting. There was a lot more of Crowley speaking and changing than we saw. The scene was trimmed purely for timings and hopefully we’ll get to see more of the scene on the DVD because it was all really good.

Mark insisted that Crowley did not kill Sheriff Mills, however, he did skip out on the cheque! He said that we shouldn’t assume that Crowley is a demon just because of the Mrs Tran red eyes thing…you know how Mark loves to imply that Crowley could be something else. We’ve never seen Crowley’s eyes turn as Crowley, so Mark thinks we shouldn’t be so sure.

Someone asked to see the photo of him kissing Jim, which he still has on his phone, so he got it out and showed us a couple of the different versions. Rob was off to the side of the stage and he goes, “Wait, you kissed Beaver?” and Mark said, “Didn’t you know?” at which point Rob came on to stage to have a look and literally fell to the floor laughing! Literally. On the floor. It was a fantastic moment!

Mark ended with a speech about how doing the conventions is akin to the live theatre experience, in that we give back to him while he’s on stage. He told us how thankful he is that he has these opportunities with us and how we’ve enriched his life by being part of it. He told us that he loves us all. His eyes were all watery…mine were crying. I love Mark Sheppard to pieces. He gets us.

Next up were Rich and Matt…and Rob. This was the funniest of the panels. I laughed so hard at one point I had to massage my face because it was aching! These guys are all such good friends and it shows. They have such a wonderful time together. Matt and Rich gave Rob a “sandwich” or a mandwich. It was so cute!

They were all asked to show their dance moves, so Richard did a Cossack dance (he does it well…though he was joking that he may have dislocated a knee), Matt did…yes, the jerk and Rob did… well an eighties kind of thing shuffle thing. I don’t know. Then Rob and Matt danced together…it was all so energetic. Like this onstage frenzy!

I can barely remember what was going on during this panel because I was pretty much crying throughout. The funniest part was when a girl in the audience asked Rich and Matt if they had their own show, what would it be and she said, Rob could be a guest star. They preceded to improv a sitcom called “Damn You, Matt!” Basically everything that could go wrong was Matt’s fault and the catch phase yelled during the show would be, DAMN YOU, MATT! Matt pretended he was walking around half naked and rubbing oil over his body, Rob knocked on the fake door and came in (he was the hi-ho neighbour guy) and because of Matt’s oil habit, Rob slides all the way across the stage yelling, “DAMN YOU, MATT”. It was BRILLIANT! They improv’d a whole bunch of damn you, Matt scenarios…one of which Rob was dying because he was impaled on something, like a pole or something and no-one could work out why and they all started losing it on stage because it was so ridiculous. Oh gosh. They should have their own show. They really should.

Last but of course, in no way least was Mr Collins. He came on when the three guys were auctioning off t-shirts they’d decorated for charity. Misha did the auction. It was ridiculously disorganised! But somehow he managed to figure out who got which t-shirt. He then stayed on stage until one of the convention reps said they hadn’t played his intro tape and so he went, “Shit” and ran off the stage and hid while they played his intro, then he ran back on stage pretending he’d not already been there for 10 minutes!

I was in the front row and he looked down and saw me snapping away and kind of pulled this frowny face at me and then grinned like crazy (we can only take photos for the first 5 minutes) and so I pulled my camera away and gave him a cheesy grin back to which he said, “I’m just kidding, go on” and then totally struck a pose for me! Agh. I love Misha!

Somehow we ended up talking about the Easter bunny and Santa Claus with him. We yelled out about how we have the Easter Bilby (a small marsupial) and kangaroos pull our Santa’s sled and he thought we were teasing him so the audience gave him a quick rendition of an Aussie Christmas song called “Six White Boomers” (a boomer is a roo). He said it was one of the more bizarre conversations he’d had at a convention! I think we all felt proud!

By the way, a fan made Misha’s sock monkey tie. She gave it to him at AECON4 and then started seeing the photos of him wearing it at the Aussie con and was SO EXCITED!

Of course, one of the big things that came out of Misha’s panel was that Ben Edlund was not returning for season 9. It was a CLANGER! I’m pretty sure he wasn’t supposed to tell us and I’m pretty sure the minute he did he regretted it because the gasp from the audience was shocking. He was standing almost in front of me when he told us and I gasped and put my hand on my heart. He saw me and then looked around at the rest of the audience, with their faces ashen and their jaws agape and said, “Oh shit, you didn’t know that? Oh shit.” To be honest, it took me a fair amount of time to regain my equilibrium. I nearly burst into tears! 

The panel got back on track (though I never quite did) and ended in the normal Misha wrongness style when he had to decorate a t-shirt and, well, let’s just say he drew a used feminine hygiene product on it…why? I do not know. Seb drew a naked effigy of himself…that made perfect sense!

Then the panels were over. After that it was autographs and our last chance to thank the guys for a totally great day.

The Aussie convention is an exhausting and frenetic affair, being all crammed into one day. After Sydney, the guys all got on a plane that night to head to Melbourne where they had to do the whole thing again on the Sunday. I have to say; I always love the Aussie con because in many ways, it’s so relaxed. That’s just kind of us though and the guests all role with it and seem to enjoy that laidback thing we have going on.

So, I said goodbye to all my friends on Sunday morning as we all headed off to various parts of Australia. Hilariously, my friends Shelley and Scott live only an hour flight away up north, but we were like…”Hey see you in a few months in Texas!” because our next stop is DallasCon!

If you’d like to listen to Jules from SuperWiki and I chat about All Hell Breaks Loose 4, it’s the subject of this week’s Women Of Letters Half Hour podcast. Jules attended the Melbourne day, so she has some extra stories to tell, like the Misha/Sasha switcheroo! The link is here.

Thanks for reading! I hope hellatus is being kind to you!


sweetondean is Chief Editor and a writer for The Winchester Family Business
For all the latest Supernatural info and article links, follow The Winchester Family Business on Twitter at @WinFamBusiness

All photos (c) sweetondean 2013