Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Supernatural And Me - A Supernatural Day Celebration

My first memory of Supernatural was seeing this promo on Channel 10. 

The day before the show kicked off in Australia, in January 2006, I had coffee with my friend Bettina. We’re both big TV watchers and we talked about the show and watching it the next night. We both checked it out and then compared notes. Bettina found it a bit too scary....I was hooked from the get go. I don't know what it was exactly, but something in this show struck a chord deep inside me and I instantly loved it. 

I watched Supernatural from that day on...on my own. never knew anyone who watched it! I patiently put up with Channel 10 starting a season, taking it off for few months, bringing it back again, changing the time before having it disappear for weeks on end. I kept an eye out and never missed it - no matter how much the network bumped it around! When the DVDs were released, I rushed to get them, so I could watch the show with some kind of consistency!

I became a Dean girl, before I even knew what a Dean girl was! But in truth, it was the Winchester brothers that bonded me heart and soul to this show. I love them. Everything about them. I simply loved Sam and Dean.

When Jensen came out here for the first ever All Hell Breaks Loose in 2009, someone I worked with was going to a Warner Bros function that Jensen was attending.  I was the only person at work who knew who Jensen Ackles was! In fact, I was the only person who knew what Supernatural was! I was like WHAT??????? 1. I didn't know Jensen - and Jared and Misha - was coming out. 2. It was Jensen Ackles! JENSEN ACKLES….who I was already silently lost to….

I asked my work colleague if he could get me an autograph. I quickly went online and printed out a photo on a piece of A4 paper and shoved it at him! “PLEASE GET JENSEN TO SIGN THIS FOR ME!!” He got me the autograph. That was my first autograph from Jensen. I still have it.

Tragically I couldn't go to that first All Hell Breaks Loose convention, and I was heartbroken; I was going up to visit family in Queensland, so that was that. But I was determined, if there was another one, I’d be there! 

Meanwhile, I kept on watching the show...without knowing anyone else who watched it! 

It was about this time, out of a hunger to share my passion, that I discovered the CW forums. I discovered that there were loads of people who watched the show and were as dedicated as me! That there were people who also wanted to talk about the show, that they had theories and ideas - just like me! The CW forums were a bit of an odd place to be honest - but it was my first foray into reading other fan's thoughts on Supernatural, and though I didn’t usually join in, I did lurk and read and absorb, and I started to feel part of something bigger.

About this time, I also started playing in the old Supernatural Facebook group, and it was there that I made my first fandom friends. 

One boring Saturday night I was playing guess that Dean quote in the group, when the few of us that were online realised we were all Aussies! We started chatting and eventually got kicked off the site for having a massive conversation in the middle of the quiz! We all made friends on Facebook and started chatting there. Then more friends were made, some from Australia, some from the U.S.. I’d found people to talk to about this thing I loved more and more each day! It was amazeballs! Then, someone suggested we move to Twitter, as there were more fans there, and one of the cast members - Misha Collins - was now on Twitter and apparently he was pretty funny!

It was on Twitter that my world exploded.

On Twitter I not only found fellow Supernatural fans, but fellow TV fans, fellow movie fans, fellow horror fans, genre fans, people who actually dug the same things I did! I’d always loved SciFi and horror. I was raised on Doctor Who. I loved ghost stories and scary movies and Star Wars! But I was pretty much the only person I knew who did! Until Twitter. Until I met what would eventually become, my Supernatural family. 

On Twitter I met friends who wrote about the show and I started following their blogs. I started writing comments each week, voicing my ideas and theories. My comments got longer and longer, and in the end two of my friends, Tiny and Kara, convinced to start my own blog. So on the day before the 100th episode of Supernatural went to air,  sweetondean was born. 

I’d forgotten how much I loved writing. I used to do a lot of it, but as life got in the way, I’d stopped. Now because of the show, I was writing again. 

I started writing up the episodes each week - I think like 10 people read what I was writing! But I was getting my thoughts down and out, and being creatively stimulated all at the same time. It was a revelation!

In 2010 there was a second All Hell Breaks Loose Supernatural convention in Sydney, and I went. The Js didn’t come out and I was desperately disappointed… But I met Misha, Jim, Rob, Julie and Sam Ferris - and a whole bunch of new friends - all of whom are still my friends! This was my first con, and it was fantastic! I couldn't believe how fun it was, and how fun it was to share in something with a whole lot of people that loved it too!

One of my Aussie friends, Jo, went to LACon in 2010 and told me how awesome it was. So when it became clear that I was never going to meet Jensen and Jared in Australia, I decided to go to LACon in 2011. It was going to be a one off. Just once. Just so I could see the boys. Just so I could see Jensen. A one time thing. I booked a Gold ticket. I watched vids online. I read convention reports to prepare for my one and only U.S. con. Pfft!

When I heard that there were meet and greets, I decided to go for Jensen’s. I put my bid on, and watched it obsessively. In the day before the auction ended, it just kept going up and up and up! I kept increasing my bid. I thought I was covered. At 4am I woke up to watch it end….and watched my dream disappear…because of $1. That year Jensen’s meet and greet went for $801. My bid was $800. I. Was. Devastated.

It was about this time that my one and only con idea went out the window!

I booked Chicago con for later in the year with one of my online friends, Sue. I was going to damn well get that meet and greet!

A few weeks out from LACon, Creation announced that Jensen would be doing a jam session with his friend Jason Manns. I had already acquired a CD copy of Crazy Love from Jason (who sent me a bunch of other CDs because he’s lovely), and I’d seen Jensen singing online - The Weight at JIB, and with Jason at Asylum online, and. I really, really wanted to go to the jam session…so bad!

All of a sudden, people were messaging me and saying that if I need a loan, if I needed help to buy a ticket they would lend me the money. People I barely knew, people I only knew online, offering to help me because they knew how heartbroken I’d been over missing out on Jensen's meet and greet! This was the first time I experienced the generous and caring nature of the Supernatural Family. I would soon learn, this was who they were.

As it was, because I didn’t get the meet and greet, I could afford the jam session. I guess it was kismet after all. It was an auction. 30 tickets. I bid…using my learnings from my last foray into the world of the Creation auction, and I won a ticket!

That jam session would totally and utterly transform my world.

I went to LACon in 2011. I met a whole lot of friends there that I knew from online. Like my friend Bianca, who was my Rhino Challenge team mate. My friend Jo’s (who couldn’t go last minute), friends Terri and Paige, who are now two of my best friends, a whole mob of Aussies, and…my sister from another mister, Hazel.

Hazel and I had connected on the LACon Facebook site about 2 weeks out from the con when we both found we had tickets to Jensen’s jam. We met the night before the con started and became instant friends. When we had to draw seat numbers out of a lucky dip for the jam session, we actually drew out seats next to each other! Can you believe it?! It was meant to be. 

We became firm friends. She ended up coming to Chicago con too, and over the last 5 years we've travelled the States, chasing Js hugs and R2 hug and good times and frozen cocktails and tattoos and adventures, all via the Supernatural convention circuit.

LACon was amazing and completely transformative. From Pizza with fangirls - watching the show in our hotel room on the Friday night, to the concert with Brian Buckley - where I first clapped eyes on Jared and realised he’s a damn golden god! Holy cow! To the dessert party and teasing Misha and waiting forever for Mark to get to our table as we ate chocolate moose at midnight. Every second was brilliant…all made even more brilliant because of my new friends.

Then came the Sunday. 

When Jensen walked into that breakfast room on the Sunday morning, it was all over for me. I was forever lost. I could barely breath…. Years….years of sitting at home falling in love with Dean Winchester, and then Jensen Ackles…quietly...on my own…no one to share my love with. Now here I was with Jensen right in front of me! I had to try real hard not to cry. There was nothing I could do about the shaking!

My first photo op with Jensen, I could barely get any words out - but he was so sweet, and gracious, and so damn beautiful, my gosh he was beautiful. More beautiful than I could have ever imagined. I later came to understand, that beauty shone out from his beautiful heart, and that this man would become one of the most important people in my life.

I think I floated that Sunday - I don’t think my feet hit the ground once! I remember having a photo op with my friend Tiny - and we literally did a jump for joy as we left the room!

It was a day full of the most wonderful moments with Jensen and Jared and Jim and Misha and Rich and all the cast members I shared the day with, and all the friends I shared photos and precious memories with. 

Then then whole thing culminated in the jam session. 

It was sitting in that room, next to Hazel, listening to Jensen sing, that I realised, something had shifted in me that weekend… 

I remember walking out of Jensen’s jam, with Hazel and Terri and all of us just crying. It was raw and intimate  and truly amazing…but it was more than that…I felt happier than I had in a really long time - I felt like I was me, and it was okay to be me, because I was amongst people who got me. No more trying to be who I thought everyone wanted me to be, who I thought everyone thought I should be…I could be myself in this place with these people, and it was cool.

I never looked back. After LACon, I was a different person...and I liked me better for it.

This show, these conventions, Jensen and Jared, the friends I've made and the people I've met, have changed my life forever.

My one off Supernatural convention has turned into 13 Creation conventions and counting, plus every Australian Supernatural convention, and multi-fandom convention that feature Supernatural guests.

My lone Supernatural watching has morphed into watching the show with a whole family from all over the world. Passionately sharing our excitement as this magnificent story unfolds and takes us on this crazy ride.

My passion for Sam and Dean has turned into a love for Jared and Jensen, built on incredible memories, and respect, and understanding, and hugs and fun, and a feeling that they are more than just actors in my favourite show, they are my family.

My overly long comments transformed into previews, reviews, theory pieces, convention reports, thousands and thousands and thousands of words written about this show I love. I have written up the show since season 5 episode 18. I have helped run Winchester Daily, I have been a writer and an admin for The Winchester Family Business, and now I have my own website, sweetondean where I share writing duties with the talented Anna, and guest writers who continue to share their stories and passion with us all.

My love of creative writing was rediscovered through fan fiction. 

My love of photography was rediscovered through the conventions. 

My love of painting was rediscovered through fan art.

My desperate need to talk about the show became a podcast.

I have friends in every corner of the globe. People who reached out to me in my saddest time and lifted me up, helping me through the sorrow and bringing me out the other side a stronger person.

I have a whole family of people who understand me and who accept me for who I am.

I have a better acceptance of myself.

My life is bigger and crazier and weirder and wilder and more creative than I could ever have thought it would be.

All because of Supernatural....

I love this little show that could. I love this amazing story. I love Sam and Dean. I love Jensen and Jared and Misha and this beautiful cast who embrace us like friends. I love our wonderful crew who share their work with us. And I love my Supernatural family who offer me friendship and somehow make me a better person.

Happy Supernatural Day guys - thanks for making my world awesome 


Friday, 2 September 2016

Supernatural - On Location With the Js in Vancouver!

-by sweetondean

One of the wonderful things about going to Vancon is being in Supernatural heartland. Vancouver is where the show shoots, and one of the advantages of coming to a convention in Vancouver is that sometimes, if you're lucky, you get to see the people you love, making the show you love!

My first Vancon in 2012, I was lucky enough to see a little of "Blood Brother" filming at the 2400 Motel. It was quite an adventure getting there - which you can read about here!

At my second Vancon in 2014, they were filming the 200th episode the week after the convention and it was very much under wraps! Some fans stayed out at set and chatted to crew, but there was no shooting to be seen, as everything was happening inside the high school auditorium.

This year, my third Vancon, I was very much hoping that I'd be lucky enough to see the show shooting. So I crossed my fingers and toes and kept my ear to the ground!

On Wednesday the word on the street was that the show was shooting downtown. We (I'm travelling with Jules from the Superwiki) heard there might be a chance that the boys would be doing exteriors in the evening. So we headed down to the location where the scenes were scheduled that day. There were plenty of fans already there. They'd been staking out the location all day - but although they had seen the boys in the distance, and the boys' families coming and going, unfortunately the exteriors seemed to be taking place in an undercover carpark out of sight - so we collected a few of our friends who had spent the day at set, and went for dinner and drinks instead! It wasn't to be that night, so we filled our feels with pie!

Today, Thursday, once again the word was the show would be downtown, not far from yesterday's location. And once again, the promise was of exteriors featuring the boys, so Jules and I headed down mid morning.

When we arrived...the first thing we saw...parked all shiny on the street...was BABY!

Guess we were in the right place!

Me and my pal Karen, selfieing with Baby!

The crew were setting up for a shoot in an alley. We all stood opposite and watched. Some of the crew came over to say hi, including Production Designer, Jerry Wanek, who then took a few of us down to see a later location and some of the work that was being done there - I won't tell you what it was or what the scene will be, because it's a whacking big spoiler - but he talked us through how the shot was going to go and we met the artist who was assisting in creating the set.

Jerry explaining the set and shot to us
After that we went back up the street and watched as a scene was shot with 2 guest actors in the alley - I think at least one of the characters may be recurring. I took some shots of this scene - but I won't post those until after the episode in case they are spoilery!

The episode being shot was 12x05 and directed by Nina Lopez-Corrado ‏who directed Red Meat.

Nina chatting with crew

Once the scene with the guest actors had finished - the next scene was with the Js! Eeeee!

Jensen and Jared's stand-ins came out to block the scene, as Nina discussed the shot with Steadicam Operator Brian Rose.

Then....the boys arrived - driven to set by Clif! They waved and blew kisses across the road at us.

Jensen and 1st AD Kevin Parks

The boys saying hi - the police guy is a cast member not a cop!

Jensen and 1st AD Kevin Parks

Jensen and director Nina

After getting their hair etc all checked and mics put on, the boys headed over to the building Baby was parked in front of to rehearse the scene.

Jensen talked over the scene with director Nina.

And then went looking for something in Baby ..... thanks Jensen! ;)

The first rehearsal Jared totally missed his mark which caused a lot of laughter.

Jensen pointing out where Jared should be

Jared looking adorable

The boys were in great moods, laughing and joking and playing around.

The scene we watched involved the boys coming out of the building, seeing another car pull away, realise that someone they wanted was in that car, running to the Impala, jumping in the Impala and speeding off up the road in pursuit of the car.


The first time the boys took off up the road, Jensen laid some serious rubber, fishtailing all over the place! On purpose...for our benefit! Of course!

Jensen was pretty impressed with himself!

We watched this scene being shot several times. The boys running out of the building, into the car and speeding off.  Jensen reversing back down the street, parking, and going again.

Goofing off, in one take they caught up with the car getting away, hopped out and rescued the passenger, taking them back to the Impala!

In another take, when they zoomed off up the road the lights at the intersection were green, so Jensen just kept going! He then did a u-turn up the road and drove back down towards us. He had to u-turn again to get the car back to the correct side of the road for the shot, and nearly turned straight into another car! There was a lot of fangirl gasps! He finally got the car back into position, hopped out and put his hand over his mouth like, "whoops!".

We were moved over to the other side of the street as they changed camera angles on the shot - which actually got us closer to the Js and able to get some better photos!

The boys stood around chatting to the crew, laughing, and generally having a good time. The vibe on the set was light and fun.

Then they were off again...jumping into the car. From where I was, I could get a great shot of Jensen!

The boys drove past us and Jared hung out the car and we all waved - but he was telling us to wave at the cameras as they were shooting us! That's why he's pointing down the road!

Then it was back to running out of the building into the car!

Strike a pose!

And finally, they had the shot and were wrapped on that scene!

That's a wrap!

We stayed until they finished this shot. Then the boys hopped into Clif's van and went back to the circus - where the trailers etc were set up. Waving goodbye as they slowly drove past.

A bunch of us (about 15), headed around the corner to the White Spot - for food, and celebratory drinks and a much needed pee! None of us wanted to do a toilet dash when so much cool action was going on! There were a lot of crossed legs!

All up we were on set for about 4 hours. The crew was amazing;  friendly and happy for us to be there. Several came over to chat on and off through out the day. It was wonderful to watch them working and see that family atmosphere so many of us have heard about. They genuinely look like they're having a good time on the job! The PAs gently and politely guided us to where we would be able to see but be out of shot - taking care of us and their work all in one. The boys goofed off for us, Jensen at one stage commando rolling over the bonnet of Baby for heaven's sake! It was a fabulous experience watching Jensen and Jared in their fed threads do their Sam and Dean thing.

Thanks to all the fans there, who were so great to hangout with and enjoy the day, and to the amazing Supernatural crew for being so welcoming, Nina, and of course the Js for allowing us to watch them making our show. You guys totally rock.