Monday, January 6, 2014

Retro Report - On Set: A Supernatural Miracle

In 2012, I went to VanCon. It was my first time in Vancouver and of course, being in Supernatural Mecca, my greatest hope was to see shooting. So often I had read of fans who had watched the guys shooting scenes at various locations in and around Vancouver. I wanted to see that so, so bad. It got to my last day and I'd had no luck...then, there was a miracle. A Supernatural miracle! This is the story of what followed. The episode was 8.05 "Blood Brother" - directed by Guy Bee and written by Ben Edlund.

On Set: A Supernatural Miracle. VanCon 2012

The one thing I was hoping for when going to VanCon was to see Supernatural filming. It was something I so desperately wanted. I wanted to see the boys at work. I wanted to see Jensen as Dean.

My friend, Hazel and I had got to our very last day in Vancouver and still no luck. Some of our friends had managed to find out where Supernatural had been shooting over a couple of days and had seen the crew at work, but unfortunately, not Hazel and I. We could only read about their experiences on twitter and wonder disappointingly, why we weren’t lucky enough to be there too.

It was Friday and Hazel and I were not flying out until 11.45pm that night, so we’d organised to spend the day with our Aussie friends, Kim and Amanda (AKA Encyclopedia Amandica) at Grouse Mountain. I really wanted to see the bears. Kim picked us up in the morning and we headed back to BigGerson’s, AKA Denny’s, for breakfast. We thought, last day, why not have breakfast somewhere iconic! While there we got the chance to go around the back of the motel next door, (which we’d missed out on last time we were there, because it was blocked off as a crime scene!), to re-enact the ridiculous fast walk past the motel window that Jared did in that gag take where he does the stretching (from 7.05). Yes…I power walked, arms flailing, like a nit-wit past the window Jensen had been sitting at, while Hazel took a photo. Ridiculous, but oh so funny! Then it was off to see the Grizzlies.

We spent a lovely morning at Grouse taking photos of the bears lumbering around, the wonderful view and the birds that would feature in the Raptor show. It was after lunch and we were sitting, waiting for the Raptor show to kick off when I got a message from a friend that she’d heard Supernatural may be at the same location as the day before, she wasn’t sure if the info was good or not, but she was passing it on just in case, as she knew how disappointed we’d been to have missed out earlier in the week. The four of us looked at each other and decided, Supernatural was way more important than a bunch of birds, so we headed off back down the mountain in nervous anticipation, to see what we could find.

We got to the location from the day before, but there was nothing and no one there and no sign that they would be returning. We tried a few different spots in the vicinity, but alas, still nothing. The mood in the car went from nervous silence, to sad silence. It seemed, it just wasn’t meant to be.

Then….. a Supernatural miracle happened.

While driving around and considering looking at some old locations, we literally stumbled across the crew at the 2400 Motel, a location previously used in “Born Under A Bad Sign”. Amanda, who had been to many VanCons and seen filming before, thought she recognised the trucks. So we parked the car and went to speak to the P.A. out the front of the location, who confirmed to us that it was indeed, Supernatural shooting there. My heart started racing! 

The P.A. was very nice and told us we were welcome to go and watch, there were already a few fans there and she pointed us in the direction of a grassy walkway in between the motel bungalows that would get us to the back of the set with out us being in the way.

Honestly, I couldn’t believe it!

We walked up the grassy hill and made our way to the car park at the rear of the motel….and were greeted with one of the most beautiful sights I've ever seen. A shiny black trunk, on a shiny black car, sitting there gleaming in the sun. We walked into the car park and the first thing we saw, was Baby. My heart leaped straight into of my mouth and my jaw dropped. Right there in front of me, windows open, casually parked, was the most important object in pretty much the whole Universe…the Impala.

We resisted the urge to run over and throw ourselves across her body and made our way up to where the other fans were standing. We knew a couple of them as VanCon goers, said hi and sussed out what was going on. Jared was shooting interior scenes, with a dog, in one of the motel rooms. They hadn’t seen much. Jensen would be on set later.

We had our own crew member standing with us, calling quiet on set, rolling and cut. We stood there for a while seeing basically nothing, but occasionally hearing Jared’s laughter peeling out from inside the motel room. Janice the P.A. who had been with Russ Hamilton on Monday’s Location Tour popped out and excitedly said hi to those of us that she recognised and a few crew members came over for a chat. It was a very sunny day, so we shuffled to another spot to get out of the sun. Hazel and I then went and spoke to the crew member that seemed to be keeping an eye on the Impala and asked if we could take some photos of her. He said, sure. So we went and grabbed some shots of the car and a guest from the motel, who was going back to his room, was nice enough to get a couple of shots of Hazel and I together with Baby behind us. We had a really good look in the window, being careful not to touch her and then went back to stand with the rest of the fans.

Hazel was just off to my right when I saw Jared come out of the motel room. I clicked my fingers at her urgently! She rushed over and we stood there trying not to gape as Jared chatted and laughed with Clif and Guy. To say he looked spectaculacular would be an understatement! And of course he was dressed as Sam…which kind of looks like how he normally dresses to be honest! But boy howdy, did he look beautiful! Then Johnny, his driver, whisked him away.

At that stage they set up for the turnaround, so we were moved to a different area to ensure we weren’t in shot. They set up some shrubbery and screens, lit the scene and then Jared must had come back, but unfortunately we didn’t see him again as by now he was out of sight.

It was about this time that it dawned on me, that Hazel and I were not going to get to see Jensen. They were set to break for lunch at 7pm. It was now around 5.30. The way the shots were going, I figured Jensen’s scenes would be after lunch, which I later got confirmed. Guy and Kevin Parks were discussing another shot out the front of another area of the motel, which I assumed would be the next set up. Just looking at the set up for the shot that Jared was currently shooting and then the shot change, I knew there was no way in the world they’d get another scene in before lunch (I work in TV, I know a little about this stuff). Devastation. So close and yet so far.

In actual fact, they broke early, at 6.30pm. Lunch was an hour. Hazel and I had a flight to catch. We went back to Kim’s car to grab our stuff and told Kim and Amanda we’d whizz into town and get our suitcases and come back to stash them in Kim’s car until we had to go to the airport. Somewhere inside us we knew there was little chance that this plan would work out.

It took too long to get a cab….we were running out of time. Luckily though the traffic was good and we got to our hotel more quickly than expected. On the way we’d decided we’d see if the hotel had a car service that could take us back to the 2400 Motel and wait for us. But the car service was finished for the day. It was while I was standing with the Concierge discussing options, that I got a text message from Amanda saying they wouldn’t be shooting Jensen’s scenes until after dark. Damn. I told the Concierge not to worry and went and broke the news to Hazel. We wouldn’t be going back. We wouldn’t be seeing Jensen. We jumped in a cab and instead, headed to the airport.

I couldn’t believe it. We’d been so close. We knew that in little while Jensen would be where we just were, shooting scenes. Our friends would get to see him working, but we wouldn’t. I’ll be honest with you, I might have cried. Hazel sat there patting me while I silently teared up in the back of the cab, behind my sunglasses. I really just couldn’t believe it. I was so happy we saw Jared and I was so happy we saw Baby…but I so wanted to see Jensen.

However, it seems angels were watching over us….but in a good way!

We had really great traffic and got to the airport in excellent time. There were no queues at the Air Canada desk and our check-in went smoothly. We were all sorted with boarding passes and whatnot and it was only about 8pm. Hazel looked at me and said, “We can go back, if you want to, we can go back.” I nearly ran over and hugged her…maybe I did, I can’t remember. We checked what was the latest time we’d have to be through security and it wasn’t until 10.30pm. We figured if we got back between 10 and 10.15pm we’d be golden! We practically sprinted downstairs and put our hand luggage in storage and then went out to grab a cab….but saw the car service first. By this stage I was committed (and probably should be) and didn’t care what I had to do to get back to the location. So we went and talked to one of the car service guys who agreed to take us to the motel, wait for us and then bring us back in time for our flight. He walked us over to a….STRETCH LIMO! We asked if he had another car! But he told us that was all he could do for the deal we’d worked out! We instructed him very sternly, that there was no way on God’s green earth we could be seen getting out of that car at the 2400 Motel! So he agreed, a tad confused, that he’d drop us down the street and wait for us away from the motel! It was one of those disco limos too! All weird flashing lighting in the back! Honestly, you have to laugh!

Are you still with me…or have you left because you’ve realised I’m a little insane?

We got back to the 2400 Motel about 8.45. We told the driver we’d be back around 9.30ish…don’t go anywhere! We headed back to the same, poor P.A. still out the front of the location; there were a few fans out on the street by now. We explained to the P.A. that we’d been there earlier in the day and that our friends were somewhere inside. She told us we could go around the back and showed us where to walk. We scurried over cables and shimmied between cars to arrive back at where we’d been some 2 hours earlier. Kim and Amanda shook their heads when they saw us. We told them we’d checked in to our flight and had a car waiting. I think they laughed at our tenacity. There were probably around 15 or so fans watching. Amanda and Kim kindly gave up their spots on the little wall for us. The same crew member was there calling quiet please. He flashed his little light on his head so we’d all be silent. Hazel and I held our breaths.


Jensen walks out of the motel room, closes the door, pulls out his cell phone and talks to someone as he walks around the Impala and rests against her.

Jensen as Dean. Jensen. As. Dean.


We watched Jensen do this scene numerous times and then do the same scene, but a tighter version. But what was really amazing, was in between takes, he didn’t go and hide, he didn’t go and sit in the crowd of crew, he didn’t go sit on his chair, he didn’t go back to the motel room, he sat on the Impala in plain sight of all the fans. He chatted to the crew. He did some kind of golf swing. He did some kind of fake shooting at something in the sky. He laughed and talked. He blew bubbles with his gum. He sat on the trunk of the Impala with his feet dangling over the edge while he played with his phone. Then….like some kind of fan-girl fantasy….he lay back across the trunk! Jensen, sprawled and lolling across the trunk of the Impala! I think every fan there watching, moaned! At one point he kind of commando rolled off and jumped up giving us a hearty wave. BLESS HIM. He was obviously in a great mood and we got to watch it all. Got to watch Jensen being Jensen and then putting on Dean. Got to see how his entire body changes, his stance, the way he moves. Even typing this now, I find it hard to believe.

At some point when he went back to the motel door, I realised Jared was there. So the scene involved Sam at the motel doorway, Dean coming out of the room and closing the door behind him, before making a call and resting on the Impala.

Time was ticking by. Our flight was getting closer and closer. We were just about to leave when Jensen and Jared walked out of the motel room together. The crew all milled around as they discussed the next shot. We then watched as Jensen and Jared rehearsed a scene over the roof of the Impala. We could hear Jensen…so there’s a bit of yelling involved. Also some pointing. We watched them rehearse the scene a few of times. The crew then started to set up for the change of shot. Hazel whispered for about the 10th time, “We really need to go.” We turned around and gave Kim and Amanda big hugs, they were such great company on our trip and I was so thrilled to share this night with them and just as we were leaving our other Aussie friends, known as The Posse, arrived. They were so excited to see me there! They were all… “But we thought you’d gone!” I explained that technically I have! They couldn’t have been happier for me that I got to see Jensen filming. I gave them all a squeeze…whispering to them to enjoy the night with “my boy” and Hazel and I took a deep breath, one last look at the Js and sprinted back to our LIMO, jumped in and hightailed it back to the airport. I may have cried again…but this time out of joy.

I had to leave before the night was done, but that was okay, because…. I saw Jensen being Dean. I saw Jared being Sam. I saw Guy Bee directing a Ben Edlund script. I saw Guy and Serge and Kevin working up shots. Jerry Wanek came and said goodbye and wished us all a good weekend. I got to have my photo taken with the Impala. And I saw Jensen and Jared work up a scene together. I saw them doing their jobs, putting on their characters. I saw Jared and Jensen being Sam and Dean. It was all I wanted, it was more than I could have hoped for. It was just simple dumb luck, but somehow, I felt like it was meant to be. I wasn’t meant to be at those other locations on those other days, because I was meant to see Jensen and Jared working together. To see Jensen hanging out and having a good time. To be able to have a really good look at Baby inside and out and have my photo taken with her. And to see Jensen and Jared doing a scene together, over the roof of the Impala. Iconic. It was unbelievable. It really was a Supernatural miracle.

Hazel and I got on our plane with a fifteen and a half hour flight ahead of us, grinning like idiots. I don’t think we could even process it. I don’t know that I’ve even processed it now. I still tear up a bit just thinking about it! I am rather emotional when it comes to Dean Winchester…

It made my holiday complete. VanCon was a brilliant experience and seeing the boys making the show I love more than I can put into words…well, saying it was the icing on the cake just doesn’t do it justice.

I managed to get a couple of shots. The crew were nice enough to let us get some photos in between takes, but it was very dark and so they aren’t very good…bit shaky and I didn't take many, because I wasn't comfortable doing it, but here are a few for you all to enjoy! (Please don't publish them anywhere else).

I also want to say how wonderful the crew were to all us fans. They were welcoming and friendly. There was never a moment when we felt we were intruding. Later, Jared, Guy and Kevin all tweeted thanking the fans who turned up at the 2400 for hanging out and supporting them. Classy. Classy bunch.

It was a crazy, crazy night....but oh so worth it!


So that's the story of how I got to see Jensen and Jared shooting a scene. Of course, it was the scene where Dean comes out of the motel room and talks to Benny on the phone. Then the scene where Sam follows Dean out and they have an argument over the Impala about Dean taking some time for personal business. I believe the scene Jared was shooting with the dog, was when Sam spoke to the young kid who ran the motel.

I'm going to VanCon this year! Of course, I hope like crazy that I get to see shooting again. But if I don't, I'll be cool with it, because though this was fleeting, it was a brilliant and crazy experience and it'd be hard to top!

Thanks for indulging my reminisces!