Event Report: Salute to Supernatural - LA, 2008
Numerous sci-fi TV shows have been given their own conventions, but the same can't be said for their horror cousins. Thanks to Creation Entertainment, however, fans of the genre series Supernatural now have a place to congregate to discuss and analyze the show along with meeting its creator and stars.
The LA "Salute to Supernatural" took place this past weekend, March 29 and 30, 2008, at the Marriott Los Angeles Airport with Creation's typical mix of Q&A panels, fast-paced auctions, a vendors' room, autograph and photo ops, evening concerts, and a dessert party with the guests. This time they even offered breakfast with Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles.
Things kicked off Friday night with Jason Manns performing in concert. He also did a panel on Saturday and made everyone's weekend when he confirmed that he and Jensen had recorded the song "Crazy Love" together. Be sure to visit Jason Manns' MySpace page, where you can download "Crazy Love" and get updates on his tour and album. Two semi-regulars from the series, Frederic Lane (the Yellow-Eyed Demon) and Chad Lindberg (Ash), made appearances that day as well. Both are crowd favorites who fielded plenty of questions and were genuinely impressed and moved by the audience's knowledge of and affection for their characters. While it's not related to Supernatural, Lindberg made mention of a very intriguing sounding documentary he's in called My Big Break, which is basically about him and his former roommates (who included Wes Bentley and Brad Rowe) and their quest for success in Hollywood. He claimed it should cause quite a stir, so here's hoping it gets distribution and we can see it for ourselves. I'm always up for some good gossip and intrigue about the industry.
During break times the vendors' room was the place to be. Posters, pictures, banners, t-shirts, and more were on sale for Supernatural as well as all the other shows Creation works with. That's where we met Danie from TeamWinchester.com, a Phoenix-based fansite devoted to promoting Supernatural. "Tell Your Friends to Tell Their Friends" is their motto, and it seems to be working since fan involvement helped convince The CW to renew the series for its fourth season. Speaking of fan involvement, the convention also showcased several homemade music video salutes to the show. Clip montages were backed by songs like Tenacious D's "Tribute" (sung by the person who made the video) and Styx's "Renegade". Two of the best were "Ghostbusters" and a "Spamalot" spoof. They were a fun way to kill some time between panels and would make great DVD extras.
Then it was time for Saturday's main event to commence: Creator Eric Kripke's Q&A. Garnering a standing "o" from the crowd, Kripke proved himself to be a show runner like no other I've ever encountered. He is very much aware of and cares deeply about Supernatural's fanbase. The respect was mutual … except possibly in the case of a certain character named Bela. But not to worry. Kripke was short on spoilers but did promise that ultimately the brothers will finally one-up her and that there will be no sappy redemption type ending for the character. For those who might be concerned about feeling shortchanged due to losing six episodes to the writers' strike, he guaranteed a "bitch of a cliffhanger" for Season 3. Of the four remaining episodes, two will be free-standing and two will relate to the show's overall mythology. He seemed especially pleased with the upcoming "Ghostfacers", which puts Sam and Dean in the middle of a reality show. Additionally, he confirmed his five-season plan despite the crowd urging him to go at least seven.
I'll say one thing about Eric Kripke: He is a true lover of the horror genre and unabashedly unashamed of his passion. When asked about possibly cutting back a bit on the gore next season, he said hell no, absolutely not! Thankfully, most of the audience agreed and cheered his response. It was the type of reaction I was hoping for but didn’t know if I could expect from those in attendance since about 95% of them were female. Granted, I assumed the majority would be women -- Jared and Jensen are pretty darn attractive after all -- but I had no idea it would be by such a large margin. Uncle Creepy and I could just about count all the men on two hands … not that he minded of course! It was indeed a unique and gratifying experience to be surrounded by so many thoughtful and intelligent Supernatural soul sisters, all of whom had really done their homework on the show. A lot of stereotypes fell to the wayside this weekend for sure!
Saturday night there was another concert, this time with The Steve Carlson Band. Steve wrote and performed the song "Night Time" used in Season 1's "Provenance" episode. Be sure to stop by Steve Carlson's official site for more info on him and his band. After that the Gold ticketholders took part in a dessert party with Lane and Lindberg.
Sunday morning came bright and early at 8:00 AM as the Gold ticketholders again got to enjoy a special perk: breakfast with Dean and Sam Winchester themselves -- Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki. But soon they were out mingling with the rest of us for photo ops both individually and together. A Jared panel followed for a little over half an hour. He was asked whether he picked the genre or the genre picked him, and happily he expressed that he's a huge horror fan and is excited about being cast in the new Friday the 13th. As an added bonus for him, since the film's being shot in Austin (Padalecki is Texas-born), he'll be able to visit with his family and friends in the area. Uncle Creepy was poised to ask Jared if he could give us any further details on the storyline, only to be interrupted by Jensen, who was up next and anxious to get his alone time with the group. Curses!
When asked what the craziest thing he'd ever done was, Jensen said it was being there, at this convention. Had someone told him when he was 15 that he would be sitting in a room full of women, all of whom he'd just finished hugging, looking up at him adoringly, he would simply never have believed it because it was absolutely crazy. Jared re-joined Jensen on the stage shortly after that, and the two of them spent the next half hour taking more questions, playing up their rivalry for the fans' attention. Both guys were funny, likable, and a little awed by the enthusiasm directed toward them.
A recurring theme of the weekend was the possibility of a "body switch" between Sam and Dean at some point in the future, and when the question was brought up to Jensen about how he would imitate Jared, he jumped up and brought down the house with a spot-on impersonation of emo-Sam. From the extras on the Supernatural DVD's, it's obvious how great these guys get along, but seeing them in person really emphasizes their camaraderie and affection for one another. We should all be so lucky as to work that closely day in and day out with someone we sincerely like.
After the boys left the stage and signed autographs for a good while, the convention wound down as Steve Carlson and Sandra McCoy (the Crossroads Demon and, as revealed this weekend, Jared's fiancee) participated in the final panels of the day. Everyone I talked to had a wonderful time and left the "Salute to Supernatural" with some much cherished memories. I must include myself in that group as well. After all, what girl doesn't want to be the middle of a Winchester Sandwich?
Attendees to the show came from as close as Newport Beach to as far as England, Australia, and China. If you're kicking yourself for missing it, never fear. You'll have two more chances this year: June 6-8 in Dallas, Texas and November 14-16 in Chicago, Illinois.
And don't forget about the LA Fangoria Weekend of Horrors April 25-27, where you can get you up close and personal with George A. Romero, Clive Barker, Sid Haig, Angus Scrimm, Tony Todd, and others! Click here to enter our contest for a pair of tickets to the show.
A big thanks from me and Uncle Creepy to Monica, Amy, Adam, and the whole Creation team for your help and hospitality. See you all soon!
Click each thumbnail below for full image.
Hunt demons in our Dread Central forums!