William S. Paley Television Festival 2006 (transcript)
2006 William S. Paley Television Festival
March 4th, 2006
transcribed by la_bond_girl
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Moderator: Hi everyone my name is David Bushman, I’m a television curator at the Museum of Television and Radio and I want to welcome all of you to the Museum’s 23rd annual William Paley Television festival. That clip that you just saw is from Route 66 which is one of the the shows that creator Eric Kripke of Supernatural often cites as one of his influences and that explains why we picked it, that’s part of our collection. We have a 120’000 television and radio programs in our collection and I would encourage all of you to visit the Museum in Beverly Hills and in New York when you’re there.
Tonight we are really excited to be honoring Supernatural which was named one of the top five new series of 2005 by Entertainment Weekly.
Supernatural is a vibrant, fresh, exciting show that combines all sorts of genre elements: family drama, comedy, suspense and on top of that, it just scares the hell out of you.
I really want to thank Warner Bros. for all they did in helping make this night happen, particularly the PR department.
What we’re going to do tonight, we are going to introduce the cast and the creative team, our panels for the evening. To introduce them very briefly, Eric’s going to say a few words about what you’re going to see and we’re going to watch an episode of the program which Eric will talk about. Then we bring the panels back up, I’ll ask some questions and then you guy are on it. So start thinking of questions now, ok?
So let me start with the panel’s intros.
First, one of the producers of Supernatural, please welcome Peter Johnson. Next, we have co-executive producer and director, Kim Manners. Next, we have co-executive producer and writer, John Shiban Next, he plays Dean Winchester, please welcome Jensen Ackles. Next, Sam Winchester, please welcome Jared Padalecki. Next, the executive producer and director, Robert Singer.
Finally, the man whose vision created Supernatural, is the creator, executive producer and writer, please welcome Eric Kripke.
Eric: Hey everybody. Thank you so much for coming. It’s a little overwhelming and amazing, quite frankly. This is, to my knowledge, the first gathering of any Supernatural fans anywhere, so thank you to you and give yourself a round of applause.
Just a quick story from a set of Supernatural ‘cause it’s just happened last night. They were shooting up at Stanley Park, which is a public park up in Vancouver. We were about to start filming when we got a call that there was a man about 100-200 yards from the film company with a handgun. They called Jared and Jensen and said ‘do not come to set’ and they shut down the whole production for two hours. They called in the police. They called in the SWAT team. They stormed the Stanley Park, looking for this man with a gun and it turned out to be a member of our special effects crew.
So, goodtimes from the set of Supernatural.
I supposed to introduce the episode, so let me do that. The episode we’re showing tonight is Scarecrow. Alright, Scarecrow fans in the house.
It was written by a very brilliant John Shiban
And it was directed by a very brilliant Kim Manners.
The reason we chose Scarecrow, we sort of felt it was just a good mix of everything the show is about. We think there is really some good drama between the brothers, some good comedy, good mythology, about Dad and it introduces Meg, which people online had problem with. A scary, damn good episode, based on series of very fine urban legends about scarecrows.
So I stop rattling on, enjoy the Scarecrow, we talk later, thank you.
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Moderator: Are there any X-Files fans there, in the audience? Every time I see this episode, I feel like shaking Dean and asking, “What are you doing, trusting the cigarette smoking man?”
I’m about to bring our panelists back up on stage.
First panelist is a co-executive producer and director of Supernatural, he’s directed nearly 300 hours of television, including 53 episodes of the X-Files which he also produced. Please welcome Kim Manners.
Our second panelist is a co-executive producer and writer on Supernatural, he began his career as the staff writer on the X-Files, writing or co-writing over twenty episodes and eventually serving as executive producer. He was also a co-creator and executive producer of The Lone Gunmen and supervising producer of Harsh Realm and has written for and produced Star Trek Enterprise and Frankenstein, please welcome John Shiban.
Our next panelist portrays Dean, a wise-cracking older Winchester brother. Before Supernatural he was familiar to WB viewers as Jason Teague on Smallville… I do not know if I’m going to get through these intros… he had a recurring role on Dawson’s Creek and was a regular on Dark Angel. He received 3 Daytime Emmy nominations for his role on Days of Our Lives. Please welcome Jensen Ackles.
Our next panelist portrays Sam, the rebellious younger Winchester brother. Before Supernatural, he was best known as Rory’s boyfriend Dean on Gilmore Girls. His film credits include House of Wax, Cheaper By the Dozen, Flight of the Phoenix. Please welcome Jared Padalecki.
Our next panelist, executive producer of Supernatural and director of some episodes of the series, formerly vice-president of NBC drama development team, he produced films and TV-series, including V - The Final Battle. And Steven King’s Kujo. On his own, he has executively produced Midnight Caller, Lois & Clark: the New Adventure of Superman and Reasonable Doubts which he also created. Please welcome Robert Singer.
My final panelist today is the creator of Supernatural, in addition to executive producing for these series. His previous TV credits include the WB series Tarzan. He also wrote and co-produced the feature film Boogeyman. Please welcome Eric Kripke.
Moderator: I’ll start out with a few questions before we open it to you guys.
Eric, I’m curious how the idea of these series, the genesis of it and how it evolved from concept to what we see on the screen.
Eric: For really long time I wanted to do a show about American folklore and urban legends. The subject, that even back in elementary school I was sort of obsessed with. As a matter of fact, my very very first TV pitch, when I first started in town when I was 23-24, was an urban legend show. And I kept trying different versions of it and kept getting smacked down. I tried to do it as anthology and I had this idea of a bunch of reporters in a van “Scooby-Doo” style. All these terrible ideas and then I was working with WB and just come off… Tarzan… and they said ‘What show would you wanna do?” and I said, “An urban legend show,” and they said, “What’s the concept?” and I had this long, elaborate storyline that I spent weeks and weeks on, about a reporter who was almost exactly “The Night Stalker” which is hilarious. And they looked at me and they were, “Meh. Any other? What else?” I literally scribbled it in my notebook a day before, “Could be like Route 66 with two guys on a road trip”. And they were, “We love that, do that”. It just came out of nowhere and it developed from there and it turned to be the right way into the show because the boys can just drive in another, different horror movie every week.
Moderator: Did you at this point know in terms of characters who these two guys were? How’s this whole family aspect which is so important to the show?
Eric: You write what you know. I come from a big close knit family and I have a big brother and I have a lot of really great friends. It’s the way the guys talk, the way they communicate without ever really communicating anything. So it grew out of that.
In terms of characters, I knew I wanted the little brother to be conflicted and have a lot of the angst and problems. I wanted a big brother to be a total smartass and that’s how it started.
Eric: With the show like this, with this genre, it needs a grounding influence, to ground the show to family and to the elements of family and the care that these brothers have for each other. Really helps us, ‘cause these two guys, the relationship they have…Sometimes we have good subject matter and sometimes… we do not but, but the relationship of these two brothers, of those two actors always sees us through.
Mod: Eric, were you familiar with their work or did you just bring in a ton of actors to audition for the roles?
Eric: We auditioned everybody in town as you always do on these pilots. My wife is quite a ‘Gilmore Girls’ fan, so…
Eric: So I knew Jared’s work. And Jensen… our director, David Nutter, who directed the Pilot, knew Jensen from Dark Angel. So Jensen is from Dark Angel, come on! (fans cheer) So when we were casting the characters, David Nutter said, “We have to fly down Jensen” who was down shooting Smallville at the time, so he was not in the pilot pool. Thank god we did because Jensen walked in the room and met with us, we looked at him and we were so excited, “We’ve found him! We found Sam!”
Jared: I didn’t get flown down! I had to drive myself.
Eric: And this thing formed like the puzzle pieces coming together. Then we met with Jared and we were, “Well, THAT’s Sam. And Jensen could be Dean!” And it all came together.
Moderator: How about you guys?
Jared: I’ll let Jensen answer.
Jensen: I’ll let you.
Jared: That’s totally you. What was the exact question again?
Jensen: What is this a spelling bee? ‘Would you use it in a sentence?’
Jared: I had a relationship with the people at the WB because of ‘Gilmore Girls’ so I was handed the script and I’ve really enjoyed it and the characters struck me. I remember hearing “It’s kind of supernatural, it is called Supernatural, so I was thinking like ‘Great, Charmed or Buffy’, which are great shows, but not the shows I want to be a part of. I read it and it was really interesting and more than just the scary shows.
Moderator: What appealed to you about it?
Jared: I grew up son of an English teacher, so she was talking about myths and legends, so I was familiar with the mythology. The Joseph Campbell taught…teachings…the taught teachings of Joseph Campbell.
Robert: Didn’t rub off that she was an English teacher.
Jared: It did not. I’m sorry, I worked until 4 o’clock this morning in Vancouver. A bit worse for wear.
Like in Joseph Campbell, there’s so much more than a reluctant hero, one gets into all those archetypes, each scripts is just bursting at the seams with them and last thing these people want to hear is me going into an explanation…
(Jensen pretends to doze off) I love the script, I love the character!
Jared: Hey, we’re doing… I’m giving an answer.
Jensen: I’m awake.
Moderator: So you were auditioning for Sam all along?
Jared: Yes, it sort of was like read the script, do you feel like you can mesh with it? I felt I could so I went and I met some of the guys
Kripke: He came in with such energy and so lived the character and was the guy. It is cliché to say this but he really was. It was an easy choice.
Moderator: Did you feel good about it coming out?
Jared: It was by no means a sure process. Yes, but the script I auditioned from had nothing to do with the show. There were a lot of changes. Even know they’d go, “Here’s the script, memorize it, but we’re going to rewrite it.” They work up to the very last minute to make the script good.
Moderator: Jensen, what was your experience.
Jensen: Pretty much the same.
(Jared pretends to snore this time)
Jensen: Like Eric said, they originally brought me for the role of Sam, and I knew David Nutter really well, I’ve worked on testing for a number of pilots before that, so I felt very comfortable with him and with his recommendation. He gave me a spiel about the script and Sam and I read the script and I thought, (in slightly dreamy voice) “What about Dean? I like Dean. He’s funny.” But I studied for Sam and I went in there but I actually studied for Dean a little bit too, just in case. And they were pleased with it and went home that evening and got a phone call, “Well, there’s this guy Jared Pada..Padasomething and they really are liking him for one of the brothers.” So of course, I look him up online.
Jared: He thought I was hot.
Jensen: This guy is smokin’ hot. I cannot play his brother. And then they said they’d like to bring me back into Dean and I was of course very excited.
Moderator: So by the time you guys actually performed together, you already had the parts?
Eric: They were the only actors we brought in to network.
Jared: It is usually a terrifying process, these guys and gals with whom you audition all year long, five people that you’re very very afraid of sitting in the room with you, going for the same part. But then we got there and it was like, “Hey” – “Hey. Where is everybody? There is nobody.”
Jensen: "Just you and me, pal." That was the first time we actually met and we did a scene together for a room full of executives and that was that. And we’ve hated each other ever since. (he picks up his cup of water)
Jared: I poisoned your water.
(Jensen shrugs and still takes a drink)
Moderator: Kim, how did you became involved with the Supernatural?
Kim: I read for Sam.
Jared: Did everybody read for Sam?!
Kim: David Nutter, who directed the pilot is a good friend, he did Season One of X-Files and he called and asked if I would do a favor and come in and do one episode. Cause I was kind of semi-retired after X-Files. Very semi-retired. And I came in and did a show called Dead in the Water, enjoyed myself. I fell in love with Jan and Dean or is it Sam and Dean? I was driving home and they called me if I wanted to come on as a part of the team and I turned around and here I am.
Eric: I would not know what we’d do without Kim out there
Kim: I know what you’d do. You’d get another guy.
Eric: There is no other guy.
Jared: There is no other guy…named Kim.
Kim: You know if this whole thing fails, you guys can go right into stand-up.
Jensen: I don’t want to stand-up to him… I’d have to stand up on an apple-box.
Jared: I’m pretty lazy, I’d rather sit. Meanwhile, what he does not know about the whole process is that we were immediately on the phone with everyone, saying “This guy is incredible. Who is this guy?” David Nutter just gave us some sort of mysterious, ‘You’ll love Kim” kind of sentence.
Jensen: Very Jedi.
Jared: Who is this guy? ‘You’ll love Kim Manners’. And sure enough. (loses his mike) Can I borrow? So we basically begged and pleaded to get him...
Kim: A job, just a job, that’s all I wanted.
Jared: He was hungry. He kept trying to bite my arm off, I was really worried.
Moderator: I do not want to embarrass Kim but what was so incredible about him?
Jensen: Jared and I responded well to him. He directed in a fashion that we really liked. It’s a set where guys can be guys. He was not someone who directed behind a screen by the telephone somewhere in L.A. like “do it over and over and lets close up and move on to the next set”. He was in there. A story about another episode that he directed, Bugs. This was a scene where we had to get into this tiny, little room with 65,000 bees. And the whole camera crew and the set crew got this full body bee outfits on and it is “Alright, Jared Jensen, hop on in.”
Jared: “And don’t swat them, ‘cause that makes them angry.”
Jensen: And I’ll give it to Kim, he said, “You know what if you guys do not have bee suits on, I’m not either.” And he went in there in shorts and a t-shirt and a monitor and sat down on a box and directed us from inside the room with bees crawling all over our faces. It’s that kind of relationship with Kim.
Moderator: John, how did you get involved?
John: I was going through the annual ritual of staffing season. I had a pilot which did not go, so I was available. Loved the script and met Eric, I loved him.
Eric: John’s my guy.
John: I spent a long time on the X-Files and I’m offered a lot of scary television shows and this one just struck me right away especially when I saw the cut of the pilot, ‘cause it had those two things that you need to have a successful show like this. One is a great franchise which is the engine that runs the show. The idea of the two brothers on a road trip with a very personal agenda is just great and I can see instantly five years of suffering for these guys, episode after episode. And the second thing, honestly, is casting and chemistry. And chemistry is something you cannot manufacture. These guys have it and they are so great to write for.
(Jared looks at Jensen and leans in to kiss him, but Jensen points to the audience which breaks into cheer and goes wild)
Jared: Worth a try, worth a try.
John: So I said, “Yes I’m coming on”.
Bob: Can I just watch them? They actually made this pilot, I saw the pilot and really liked it a lot and I think what the studio wanted was... the studio probably said to themselves, we…
(Jared and Jensen are doing something distracting off camera)
Eric: You can’t get anything done!
Bob: This is what it’s like to direct them, too. The studio said, “Well, we cannot give a forty plus million dollars to Eric Kripke and let him run wild, so we need you know some…
(Jensen and Jared are still at it)
Bob: …this is so hard… so they thought they needed an experienced hand to guide ‘the young man’ through these rocky waters. The young man of course felt ‘what do I need this old fart for’? Anyway, we met and we met a number of times and finally he got comfortable enough with me for us to join up and partner on this thing. It’s interesting, ‘cause we are sort of different generations and we approach drama in kind of a different way but as we worked together, we found that we’ve arrived to the same place. The methods are a little different of how we get there.
Moderator: Can you explain that?
Bob: Well, there is a generational thing and there’s that I’m very…
Eric: … sober.
Bob: There’s that. I come in from a characters’ point of view, it’s all about characters to me and I let the plot work itself out, given what the characters are gonna do and what I’m interested in the scenes that drive the plot but I’m mostly interested in how the characters react to it. Eric works very hard on the stories and gets the plot done and once the plot is good, the character stuff would come naturally. So we sort of go in a circle when we are in a room together and we arrive at this place where both things are serviced and we are really a one voice now, we rarely disagree on stuff. I worked alone for a long time so it is really cool to have a partner.
Eric: To blow smoke up his ass for a minute, he brings the depth and maturity of character, just depth to the drama that I could not do. Me alone is like Boogeyman. All of a sudden with him, we have a show with all these characters that are psychologically rich and true and Bob is behind a huge amount of that, so the show would not succeed at all without him.
Moderator: This is for the writers, mostly. Eric, you’ve been quoted at saying that the show differs from other suspense and supernatural shows because you do not want to get involved into those long-drawn stories or the mythology so much. That you wanted to focus on just scaring people with urban folklore. But I find that the mythology is the compelling part of the story and I start to see you guys are coming back to that. I wonder how you decide for when it is time to veer away from what the X-Files used to call the monster of the week story and come back to the mythology of the show, so it is really for John and Eric.
John: Two things. A lot of painful, hair-pulling discussions and arguments about when should we and when should not we. But part of it is driven too by the nature of television. You want to save some of your big moments for sweeps. So you work the season around that. We have 5-6 episodes which are not mythology and then we can pull the mythology back and then you want to end the season with something astounding. The mythology is all about character, what the boys are going through and family. That’s where we’re gonna head when we want to do something spectacular.
Eric: We have a mythology plan for Season one. We also have, if the CW is willing to pick us up the mythology plan for Season 2 and 3. We have this plan of where the story goes. On the CW. We have a plan which was really about the first seven episodes. You want them to be self-containing stories, so you could pick up the new viewers and then you could start threading a little bit more of mythology. I think it is a balance and my personal taste. I want a satisfying story every week too. Lost is an untouchable, brilliant and unbelievable show but I find the endless mystery frustrating. If you’re going to give the ongoing mystery, at least give a rollicking badass story apart from it, that can have a beginning, a middle and end and the good guys can win and you can have an experience of being told a story.
Moderator: Do you know where this story ends?
Eric: I do, actually.
Moderator: Does anyone else on this panel know where this story ends?
Bob: Yeah but if we tell you, we’d have to kill you.
Eric: It is hard as you never know when you’re going to get canceled. If you’re gonna go for 37 years like Gunsmoke.
Kim: The boys would be in walkers.
Eric: They’ll finish up the season and then they slowly die. If I could somehow find out what’s the last season is going to be, or a 5-6 year plan, I know the final battle where it all shapes up.
Moderator: We’ll have to wait. Lets take some questions from the audience.
Viewer: I’m originally from Sacramento, so I want to know if there is any significance with Dad John being in Sacramento twice?
John: I do not want to give it away.
Jensen: So yes, there is?
John: I’m not gonna tell you either.
Jensen: I wanna know.
Moderator: So the answer is there is but you’re not going to tell what it is.
Moderator: And speaking of location, is there anything in Lawrence, Kansas?
Eric: I would say that if anyone does…
Jared: In other words, yes.
Eric: YES. We tend to be really research-oriented on our show about American urban legends and there is a very famous urban legend near Lawrence, Kansas. Do google searches and stuff will come up.
Moderator: Do you guys know what it is, Jared and Jensen?
Eric: I do not think I’ve ever told…
Jensen and Jared: Yeah, oh yeah, of course.
Jared: I have not decided when I’m going to tell Kripke what it is.
Viewer: I’m from Texas too. *The boys whoop* What urban legend or folklore really does scare you guys?
Kim: Nothing scares me. I do television and if you can live through that, nothing scares you.
John: Late scripts. Where is the damn script? That’s frightening.
Jensen: I’m dealing with them all season, man.
Jared: How about those bees? I’ll say something, my Daddy used to make me watch a show called Shadow Man, about a shadow that lived under a kid’s bed. He was not very popular at school and Shadow Man started getting all those bullies for him and then, one day, came another kid Shadow Man... yes, plain out scary. *embarrassed*
Eric: Someone got to give a straight answer. Hookman freaked me out when I was a kid. A killer with the hook. “Aren’t you glad that you did not turn on the light?” – I thought was really cool. The licked hand.
Viewer: In Pilot, we know that when Sam wanted to go to college, John told him to get lost. Sam says that he has not talked to Dean in two years. Is there any answer to what happened 2 years ago?
Eric: I know you’re supposed to do what John does, ‘You’ll find out’. The fact of the matter is it was a mistake. Jared’s character was supposed to be a junior in college and staring the interviewing process for law school. So he spent his freshman’s year and sophomore’s year and has not seen Dean. And this is fall of junior year. Because of what happened 22 years ago, he is slightly older than a junior should be and no one bought that he was a junior so there is a discussion of these two lost years and I’m like hee hee just a mistake!
But hold on, let me give you a real answer, “You’ll find out.”
Jensen: Now you’re talking.
Viewer: Are there any stories about the show being too scary, like you do trade-off with the network? They say you can have 2 seconds of the bloody face if you do this or that?
Jensen: We’ve run into it a few times this season.
Bob: Nightmare was the first time. We get into strange discussions of “Can we not see the decapitated head roll?” And then you start arguing about “Well, can it do a half a turn?” So, “Ok, you can do a half a turn but… the blood gush cannot be for 2 seconds, it has to be for 1 second.” Actually the network has been great, we really pushed the envelope in every sense and they let us get away with more than I thought they would.
Jensen: Also, the gun rig with me.
Eric: The episode Nightmare is the only time we’ve had issues with standards and practices. So everything else, they were just, “Give us more.” We were shocked by that. There is a scene, it does not really happen, where Dean gets his brains blown out. We rigged it, so the shot goes into his forehead and the blood explodes out the back, onto the wall. We were “Ha ha ha, this is our lead”. And the network was, “No way.”
Jensen: I had this giant backpack, filled with grapes and corn syrup and there was this tube just coming right out the back and from the head on and I had a little button in my hand and they said action and we timed it with a gunshot and I hit the button and gave reaction (he snaps his head back) and the whole wall went splat. It was an awesome rig but then they ended up having to cut to just the splat and back to me with the hole.
Bob: The director of this episode is here tonight, sitting next to my wife as it is.
(they make him stand up)
When I looked at those dailies and called Phil, and he was “How are they, how are they?”. Kim can tell you all those directors are so self-confident, they do not need constant approval or anything. I said, “Great, Phil, but what the hell are you doing?” He said, “Well, they look at that and give me all the rest of the stuff.”
Kim: We actually play a game. When we cut a show, we cut it too violent. So when they come and they say, “You have to cut 4 frames out of that shot.” And you go, “Oh god. Not four frames.” So you take it out but you always knew that you’re not going to need those 4 frames. So we stack the deck.
Viewer: For those of you who are on set regularly, has there ever been a blood splatter or a freaky scarecrow or anything that creeped you out be around, even though you knew it was plastic or carrot syrup?
Jared: I know one and just one time, randomly. We were filming Skin episode where he is a shape shifter and we are inside this house and there is a round clock on the wall just fell off. No one was near it, no one was hammering on the wall outside. Everybody looked around but instead of going, “Who did that?” we all just ‘ignore it and go back to it”. Just decided to not look into it any further, the way real brave people do it.
Jensen: The show Asylum was shot in an actual abandoned mental institute. The halls and the rooms… and we’re all very used to it at one point that the crew says not to go up to the 4th floor and… I remember we broke for lunch and I thought I’d be clever and take a shortcut. I came down a stairwell and went into one door and it was just a long, dark hallway, ‘cause there is no lights on. There are only lights on when the crew puts out. I was like, “Well, it’s not that long. I can make it.” It freaked me out.
Kim: Dean Winchester, ladies and gentlemen. Afraid of nothing.
Viewer: Now that there is a new network that you’d be moving to, the CW, are they going to loosen up and give us more NC-17 like we got the Jensen storyline the other week?
Jensen: I’m confused. What?
Viewers: The sex.
Jensen: Ahhh. Ohhh. How can I forget? Thank you for that, man.
Eric: Sure. Happy birthday to you, Jensen. You know CW is huge on full frontal male nudity. There is a lot in store. Stay tuned! We’ll give them love interests and love stories as it’s appropriate.
(Jared coughs, Jensen pats his back)
Jensen: We’re gonna need air.
Viewer: If you guys are always like this, can I come work on your set?
Jared: Thank you all guys for being here.
Jensen: Yeah, thank you.
Viewer: So we came into the story so the boys are already adults and I know there is a lot to explore in the future but I was wondering about the past. There is a lot of speculation about what their childhood was like, growing up, moving around, how much Miller time dad was doing, how Sam adjusts. Are you going to explore that?
Eric: We just yesterday cut the episode where boys deal with the creature from their past and there are extensive flashbacks to Sam and Dean and John. As the boys were children and you get to see an element of what their past was like. I’m really happy about how it turned out, we wanted to try this once and I think it will be happening a lot more ‘cause there’s this great 22 year window of what happened and there is a lot of story there that you can flesh out. So we are definitely going to go there. This episode is coming up in April.
Jared: Another positive is when little Sam and little Dean are filming, big Sam and big Dean are sleeping. So keep pushing!
Jared: …very important.
Viewer: Dean always wears a certain necklace. Does it mean anything?
Jensen: You’re gonna hang me out to dry on this one?
Eric: Oh yeah.
Jensen: It does has significance but we can’t talk about it.
John: It’s from Sacramento.
Viewer: I heard you mention on the show that sometimes you do green screen – blue screen – for special effects? Has it got easier for you to fake it? When the DVD set is going to come out, are you guys going to have a lot of behind the scene jokes? Because yeah, this is funny.
Jensen: We actually just had a film crew on set with us this past week doing behind-the-scenes stuff for the DVD, so… (applause) going back to your first question, the green screen, we do do a lot of… I said ‘do do’
Bob: He said ‘do do’.
Jared: He said ‘do do’.
Jensen: Ahm. We do work a lot with…
Kim: ‘Do do’.
Jensen: Jared, you can take this one.
Jared: As Kim and Jensen were saying, we ‘do do’. I guess it was a big learning process for everybody, it is a very interesting task to be given, especially during those crazy emotional sequences and these crazy physical sequences. When they are like, “Alright, you’re in the woods and it’s dark and it’s scary and you’re hearing things” and then you look behind you and there is just this big blue wall with tape and a couple of crew guys standing back, smoking cigarettes, cursing and showing off tattoos. Speaking for myself, I hope I got more of a hang of it.
Jensen: Aside from the actual green screen of it, we can just be in a normal set and the visual effects will be put in. Something like Phantom Traveler, the smoke would come out of the vents, that’s not something we obviously see. So we have to pretend it is there but there is no real green screen going on. Also an episode coming up that Kim directed, Shadows… (crowd cracks up)
Eric: It’s just aired.
Jensen: I did not see it.
Kim: You love my work. We have a shot where Meg did the high fall, they hung her six feet off the ground, she was picked by her hips and we had her looking at the camera doing this and she just laid back and she just laid out and flattened out. And they dropped her visually on the computer, from seven stories. She never went anywhere.
Jensen: And when we ran up to the window, she was not even there, we were actually staring at a big red X.
Eric: So, Jensen, does this mean that you guys actually have to act?
Jared: No, no no. I’m actually not here right now. We’re actually in Canada. This is…
Jensen: This is our body doubles.
Viewer: Jensen, in a past interview, you said you were Christian. Is it hard to do this kind of show and having that background? Another question, in the episode, you gave your phone number when you were trying to reach your Dad but whenever you call, it says, “This is Dean Winchester. Leave your coordinates.” Did you hear that you had a lot of fans leaving you messages? Cause it was not a 555 number. My sister and I, we watched it. She watches at her place and I watch at mine. And I was like “Did you see the number?”
Jared: If you want to actually call him, it’s 800-WET-LEGS. (Jensen leans in) Oh you changed it?
Jensen: I’m lost. What was the question?
Kim: You’re a Christian.
Jensen: Yes, I was raised in a very religious family. What I do, this is acting, we’re telling stories, I portray a character. Does my grandmother cringe sometimes? Yeah. But at the end of the day, it’s something that I’m cool with. And as far as the phone numbers, there is even an e-mail and there has been a huge response to it.
Eric: We could not listen to all of them, there were a couple of thousand voicemail messages. I listened to many 20-30 of them. “Sam and Dean, there is a ghost in my attic. You have to come quick.” Those were my favorites.
Viewer: My son and I are really big fans, you guys are great. I want to know what car you drive.
Jensen: It’s a ’67 Chevy Impala.
Jensen: We just bought our fifth one. We got about 5 of them.
Jared: That’s why you cannot find them on eBay.
Jensen: We have them all.
Viewer: So lets talk about the music. I grew up on the seventies, I grew up on the mullet rock, so lets talk about where the inspiration came from.
Eric: That was something that was really important to me, coming into the Pilot. I’m from a small town in Ohio and this is the music I listen to. I was a huge Zeppelin fan. So when it came time to write and produce the Pilot, it was so important to me, with all due respect to my beloved network, not to have music that is usually on that network. I was so rabid about it that in the original draft of the pilot, I even wrote in the script, “Cue music. And you can take your anemic alternative pop and shove it up your ass.” And the reason I wrote the scene in the Pilot, where they’re talking about tapes – AC/DC, Motorhead, Metallica – if we shoot that and it gets in the pilot, then we have to use my music because it’s already in the show. We had a great time in post-production, figuring out these songs and calling in one morning, “Billy Squier, what about Billy Squier?” I think it is a real signature to the show and it is Midwestern, two guys from Kansas and a muscle car and this is the music they listen to. I love it. The other night there was Joe Walsh and I was laughing, “Yay, Rocky Mountain Way on WB.”
Bob: It also spreads. One of the editors, a very hip guy, we were going through songs together and I told him “Do this song” and two days later he walks in and goes, “You know, Bad Company is really good.”
Viewer: Hi, I’m an aspiring actor and…
Bob: We’re sorry.
Viewer: …and I want to know how hard it was for you two to get started acting.
Jensen: Go ahead.
Jared: Alright, I’ll fill this. It is not the first time I heard asking this question and I’m so at a loss at what to tell you. I have an interesting story. When I was in high school, I won a contest to be on a Teen Choice Awards and hold trophies and give them to Freddie Prinze Jr. when he got Best Hottie of The World.
Jensen: You went pretty much downhill since then.
Jared: Yes, I rode in on Freddie Prinze’s coat tails. I met an agent at the show I’m still with to this day and also my girl Sandy over there and we started talking over the phone and he had faith in me and I was going back to high school and I had mommy who was a teacher and a daddy who was an accountant, they were like, “He’s finishing high school,” and I was like “Why can’t I go out?” Anyway, I flew in a week during a pilot season and I booked a pilot and I used that money to go out during the summer. So I really had a kind of crazy interesting story but I have a lot of buddies who are much more talented and more committed than I am that are still struggling to make it. It is a tough industry but just keep working hard and keep making yourself better.
Jensen: Like Jared said, there is really no set formula how we’ve gotten where we’ve gotten. Mine was a sheer luck thing. I was doing theater in Dallas and I happened to have a talent agent from L.A. sitting in. He came up to me afterwards and he gave me his pitch and I said, “Nah, you’re full of crap” and I told him to bugger off and he went off to my folks and gave them a pitch as well and I guess they seemed a little bit more interested than that. So a few years later, after his persistence, I finally said, maybe I go there for a couple of months and check it out. So I came out and started working right away and it was about 8-9 years ago.
Viewer: Shadow was a kickass episode and I want to thank you all, it was awesome. Lets’ get down to what really matters, what alcohol do you guys like to drink.
Jared: What alcohol have you got?
Viewer: Because I see a lot of beers in the episodes, so I was wondering, are you hard guys, light guys?
Jared: Oh my momma kill me.
Jensen: Can we cut the tape right now?
Jared: The funny thing about the beers, our prop master Chris Cooper, he is… the beer labels are always fake labels that usually have to do something with the city we’re filming. Like in Texas, it will be Lone Star Lager, in Minnesota it would be Timberwolf Ale. But we are Texas boys.
Jensen: We probably drink what you imagine a couple of Texas boys would drink.
Jared: Put it in a cup.
Moderator: Can you pick a scene that you either wrote, acted in or directed that is your favorite scene since the show started and tell me why?
Kim: Shadow, when the boys finally saw their father. I’m incredibly proud of it as there were four great scenes. The scene, where the boys were arming up and Dean blows at Sam and says, “Why did you think I got you out of Stanford in the first place? Cause I want us to be family again.” Jensen had a tough time with that and we arm-wrestled over it and to get him there ‘cause Dean always got his walls up and to break down that wall for just a minute, to look at it, to look in Dean’s heart was magical for me. When they met Dad in the apartment and in the alley… we worked very hard and the boys, their game of tennis improved 2000% when they worked with Jeffrey Dean. We found the nuances and acting becomes the craft it is and becomes real life and the words become their own and the emotions become their own and that’s special for me.
Jared: Not just to say this, but having a great director to tell you exactly what to do does not make it hard, so Jensen and I would tell you a thousand times every day that Kim got it.
Moderator: Did you not want to do that scene ‘cause you thought Dean would not say that?
Jensen: Yeah, sometimes I guess I can be a little protective of Dean and him showing emotions. As an actor, when you grow along with the character on the series, you become close to it, you protect it. I guess that’s probably why I was not real sure how much of the layers to peel away in that scene. I guess in that confusion I put up my own barrier and if there was anybody to get me through, it was Kim. So I’m glad he was there.
John: There was a moment in Skin that I’m proud of. It says something about how we tell our stories. We’re always saying, “Ok, we want to do this type of episode, we want to do this monster”. But how does Supernatural do it? How is it special for this show? I remember being in Kripke’s palatial office in Warner Bros. …
John: … talking through the story of Skin and the shape shifter and there are all kinds of shape shifting that’s been done on television, movies etc. We got to find our own. We kicked it around and we came up with that scene where the shape shifter Dean goes down in a sewer and I remember reading some online posting that some friend sent me. A fan was watching the show and giving her impressions as she watched it, “Oh my god, Dean’s taking his shirt off!” And followed immediately by, “Oh my god, he’s taking his skin off!” I knew then that we had it. I was very pleased with that.
Jensen: Oh the things we do.
Jensen: One of my favorite… It is not really a full scene, it’s more of a shot, it was in Dead In The Water that Kim directed, where I saved a little boy out of the lake and coming up out of the water. It was a slow motion shot, it was very emotional, coming out of the water and the build up to shooting that was really… I had this 10 year old boy in my hands and keeping both of us afloat with one arm because I cannot move my feet because I have two divers holding my feet below, who were about to pull me under. I’m fine, I grew up swimming in lakes all my life but to have this sensation of somebody pulling under water, especially when you’ve got the life of a 10 year old boy, the little actor, in your hand and you’re trying to keep him afloat and he’s got to play dead. It was a little overwhelming and it was definitely unforgettable. But we got through it and it turned out to be an awesome shot.
Moderator: That’s a great story… Jared?
Jared: I had some time to think while they’ve answered their questions and I want to go back to a scene in Wendigo, the second episode of the year. There was such a long period of time between the Pilot and Wendigo, from March-April till July. There were so many questions in my head when I found we were picked up – what’s gonna happen, where’re we gonna start, how we continue this story that we started in the Pilot with so many things going down, how we keep the momentum going. There was one particular scene Jensen and I did on stage where he’s got Dad’s journal, he’s saying, “This is what it’s about,” and Sam is saying, “I got to find Dad.” I remember we had a huge day that day, we had 8 or 9 pages of dialogue and Jensen and I realized we got to do this scene and we were, “Oh crap.” And I was like, “Lets go memorize it in my trailer”. We sat down in my trailer and there was an acting coach that I’ve worked with and he pushed and prodded me a little bit and I don’t know what he did to Jensen…
Jensen: I don’t wanna talk about it.
Jared: It was noisy.
Jensen: Never again.
Jared: That’s between y'all and the wall. Anyway, we ended up getting the scene and putting something there and it was one of the first times that I felt that I was hopefully doing what Kripke wanted, what Eric was envisioning. For some reasons, this was one of those times you finish the scene and you’re like, “Wow, I do not know where it came from but…”
Eric: I remember seeing the dailies on that too, we were just through the roof, it was incredible.
Bob: My favorite scene is a really quiet scene. It’s in the end of Faith episode. That whole episode was really topical for today, about what’s real faith. Julie Benz. Comes in, has a scene with Jensen and Jensen says to her, “I’m not much for praying but I’ll pray for you.” And she said, “Well, that’s a miracle right there.” I thought it was really sweet, it was incredibly well acted by both Julie and Jensen. If people were listening, that probably was our finest moment to say something semi-political and be on the right side of that. I just hope it would affect the people the way it affected me.
Eric: I agree with all of those, all of those are incredible scenes but I would also add a scene where Dean first calls his father at home and tells him “Come to Lawrence.” The way that Jensen was able to put up those walls but the walls kept breaking down and that was amazing but all those amazing scenes aside, everyone was giving such classy answers, I have to say when the dude stuck his hand in the disposal and then the monkey starts clapping and we had this shot and we had this shot beneath the sink you get to see all the goo come out and we shot in dailies and we said they’d never let us use that and we used that. It is more … than any other scary sequences in the show. People watch and they cannot even keep their eyes on the screen, to me that is the fun getting that effect out of the audience. I want to say the garbage disposal scene in Home.
Moderator: That explains what Bob was talking before about two different cultures. I want to thank you guys, you guys’ve been a great audience. Eric wants something to say.
Eric: I just want to say, we have a lot the people who work on Supernatural in the audience and I want a round of applause for them, for this unbelievable season. They’ve all murdered themselves to bring you this show and we could not do it without any of them so thank you to them.
Moderator: I also want to thank all of you guys not just for being here tonight but also for the great work that you do.