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Chicago Convention Report 2011 - Supernatural Wiki

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From the Chicago convention that took place October 21-23, 2011.

I wrote this up mainly for people who have never gone to a convention before...for those who have, I'm sure a lot of it will fall in line with what they experienced. However, some of the things said by the actors onstage are relevant to the current season.

This was my first Supernatural convention and I needed to make it slightly I skipped Friday night and got a general admission ticket for Saturday, a reserved seat for Sunday, and splurged on a photo op with Jared & Jensen...I just want people considering going to know that you can do it and have a great time without doing the gold or silver package.

Anytime I'm quoting what was said by an actor here, it's paraphrased. There's no way I could remember word-for-word! Just a little disclaimer there.

We got there just after noon on Saturday. Since we were not there on Friday night, I missed Chad Linberg (Ash)
onstage and I also missed the Richard Speight Jr. and Matt Cohen's karaoke party. I only mention this because the karaoke party will come up later. I would have missed Alona Tal (Jo) too (she was supposed to appear on Friday night), but she canceled her appearance because she had to do a TV appearance instead.

Getting there at noon on Saturday, I missed Corin Nemec (cousin Christian Campbell) and also Amy Gumenick (young Mary Winchester); they went on earlier that morning. Amy Gumenick did show up while Richard Speight Jr. and Matt Cohen were onstage later for just a minute and she was sweet, but didn't really have time to say much.

Richard Speight Jr. and Matt Cohen

As soon as we got there and checked in, Richard Speight Jr. (RSJ) and Matt Cohen were onstage. They were
entertaining and funny. I was charmed by Matt Cohen who just seemed glad to be there and was very sweet. He was not in many episodes as "young John" so I didn't really have any "feel" for him. He was great! Richard Speight Jr. was really at ease in front of a crowd. Both of them walked right out into the audience to take questions. They spent about 1/3 of their time talking about how karaoke went the night before. Of course those who had been at the karaoke loved that they were talking about it. Apparently there was even some crowd surfing done by several of the stars. Much was made of Sebastian Roche's "crotch-first" stage diving at karaoke the night before.

Matt Cohen said that his favorite part of acting in the series was getting to tell Jared and Jensen to shut up when they were all back in the car in "The Song Remains the Same". He also said that when playing young John, he did watch Jeffery Dean Morgan's portrayal of John, but, interestingly enough, he actually watched Jeffery Dean Morgan's portrayal of the Denny character on Grey's Anatomy (around the same time) who was much more of a soft-hearted character and he decided to make young John more like that and much less hard-edged than John became. I think it was a great idea as you ended up really seeing how all of the experiences with the demon and Mary's death really changed John from what he was when he was young.

While RSJ and Matt were on, Misha Collins walked in from the back of the room (several feet away from where I was sitting in the next-to-last row) to give them a hard time for a few minutes. It was entertaining. There was a girl sitting behind me who was dressed as leviathan Cas (not too many people were in costume; she was one of only a few...); with the trench coat and the black "veins" painted on her face. As Misha left (he was only in the room for a few minutes), he saw her and winked at her...about 3 feet away from where I was was a very endearing wink! All you Cas girls would have died if you had seen it...and I thought the girl behind me was going to have a complete meltdown. She shrieked as he walked by "Oh my God, he WINKED at me!!!!". Kind of funny but also cute.

Someone asked RSJ how he might want Gabriel to come back on Supernatural if he could be brought back. He said he'd rather some back as the Trickster and his theory is that when Gabriel went "undercover" as the Trickster, there must have been a real Trickster whose body he took over and that real Trickster must still be stashed away somewhere and now that Gabriel is dead, perhaps that Trickster (played by him, of course) could come back. He also said he got a huge kick out of putting on the fake mustache and filming the Casa Erotica fake porno when he leaves the message for Sam & Dean after Gabriel's death in "Hammer of the Gods".

Richard Speight Jr. and Matt Cohen really did a good job with everyone.

Mark Pelligrino and Sebastian Roche

After a bit of a break, Mark Pelligrino and Sebastian Roche were next up. I was really looking forward to
them. Especially Mark Pelligrino because I think he was just an amazing Lucifer. Well, have you ever seen a comedian who isn't that funny but thinks that throwing in lots of swearing and raunchy humor (making many references to one's dick or one's balls) will make him funny...but it doesn't? That's what this was like. It was like Mark Pelligrino was trying too hard. They kept making references to the previous night of karaoke where they sang (among other things) AC/DC's "We've got Big Balls". Okay; this could be funny (and I'm NO PRUDE!), but they ran it into the ground by going back to it a million times and it just wasn't funny. There was lots of swearing that seemed to be done for shock value or in an attempt to be funny. Maybe it was an attempt to try to cover up the fact that they were nervous in front of the crowd? Sebastian Roche tried to answer a few questions about his acting in a serious way, but Mark almost always overtook him and took the conversation right back to the gutter. There were some pretty young kids there and they even acknowledged this by pretty much saying "aren't we being so bad in front of these young children", but it all seemed a bit inappropriate. There were many "questionable" questions asked by audience members too (I started to worry that might be the way the whole thing would go); like if you could die and come back as an object, what would you be (you can involved a vibrator and Modern Family actress Sofia Vergara; was not for kids!). There were some girls sitting behind me who seemed kind of entertained in a scandalized away by all the swearing and references to sex; like they were enjoying the fact that it was kind of scandalous, but it really did nothing for me because Mark Pelligrino really didn't TELL us much of anything! He only answered a couple of the questions seriously and he really didn't seem inclined to take many was more like he just wanted to goof off onstage with Sebastian which would have been fine if it had been entertaining. I really learned nothing from their time onstage.

Misha Collins

Next up after them was Misha Collins. He was GREAT. He was great because he'd take those less-than-insightful questions and answer them in a funny way, or, if they were really inane, he'd kind of throw them right back at the questioner. Like, "Why don't YOU tell ME what kind of appliance YOU'D like to come back as." It's hard to describe WHY he was so good with the questioners...but he called them on it if it was a bad question (without being a jerk about it at all) and gave good answers to the good questions.

He talked about how, when they shot the scene of Cas turning into a leviathan, he was SO SICK that day with food poisoning and it was really hard for him to have his mouth full of this black goo when he had already been throwing up all day. He finally had to quit for the day (joked that they could only finish the scene if he could be sitting on the toilet while they filmed) and they had his body double who looks like him from behind stand in for all the full-body shots (when he's facing Sam & Dean with his back to the camera). The next day when he came back to shoot his scenes, he said he had all these ideas he wanted to incorporate and the director told him he couldn't do them because that's not what his double had done in the other shots the day before; so his ideas didn't get in.

Also, when Cas walks out into the lake and disappears underwater, he said the lake was really only about 4 feet deep all the way across, so he just had to get down on his knees to actually go underwater.

Someone asked him what the strangest gift he ever got from a fan was. He said he felt bad telling us about it because someone probably put a lot of time into making it, but someone gave him a needlepoint pillow with his face needlepointed on it. And he just thought, "Why in the world would I want to wake up and roll over and look at my face right next to my actual face?!".

Someone asked "How did you feel when you got to break all those windows" and he was confused as to what they meant...and they went on to explain when Cas first pulls Dean out of hell and Dean is in the gas station and all the windows blow out, etc....and this led Misha to ask, "Are you asking how Cas felt, or how I felt, or what?". It all got rather confusing for the person asking the question leading Misha to talk a bit about the difference between and actor and a character which was good. Misha was really excellent with the crowd.

Misha has a great deadpan delivery but of course he also smiled & laughed a lot. He was very good at interacting with everyone (though he stayed onstage though and did not walk out into the audience except for one very brief trip about halfway down the aisle).

After Misha, We left the hotel for dinner at a restaurant down the street. As we walked back through the lobby on our way back in, I walked right past Rick Worthy (played the alpha vampire last season) who was talking to another fan in front of the auditorium; just standing right there. It's nice that some of the people from the show basically just hang out and are very accessible. I also got back too late to check out the costume contest which I was kind of curious about.

Later that night they had a cocktail party for the Gold ticket folks only (not me!). I also did not go to the first auction they had (they were auctioning off the banners that decorated the place but I'm not sure what else).

Then it was Sunday morning.

Photo with Jared & Jensen

The photo op. I'm only relating the details of this for people who have never done this before...I'm sure my
experience with the photo op was not unique and was similar to what other people who have done it have experienced. Even so, it was pretty unforgettable for me.

We got dressed for it and headed down to the auditorium. Everyone waited while they called several rows at a
time. We were close to the end of the line. When they called our row, we filed out of the auditorium and were led downstairs to stand in line for about another 15 minutes outside the room where they were taking the photo.

We went into the room and there were Jared & Jensen. They are tall, but very fit so they really don't seem huge at all. The line wound its way around the outer edge of the pretty small room so you got to watch all the people ahead of you in line have their picture taken with J & J before it was your turn. That was kinda fun! Some people had to wait before they could go ahead for the photo because they were crying (....only two girls had this issue, but there were a couple of crying girls that had to pull it together in order to have their photo taken with them). Jared and Jensen took the crying girls in stride and were very kind to them. They keep music playing in the room...probably to keep things moving along and to make it hard to really get into a conversation with Jared or Jensen (I totally understand this and agree that there is no way they could get everyone through if everyone had 5 minutes to talk to them). Right before crossing the last 3 feet of distance for the photo, I did get to shake Cliff the bodyguard's hand...I shook his hand and said "I really enjoy the tweets"...he was a bit preoccupied, I mean, he WAS working after all, so didn't say much back; just a small smile.

Now, I stressed over what to say to Jared & Jensen for months. I thought I had it all planned out, but all that
planning really flew out the window when I was actually there in front of them.

I walked up to Jensen (he was closest to me when I came over from the line) and I had decided earlier I'd see if I
could give him a hug (and I could have; they were hugging anyone that wanted to hug them). But when the time
actually came, it just didn't feel right for me to hug a stranger; so I reached out and shook his hand and introduced myself and my partner. He said, "Oh; that's great; it's great to meet you (or he said 'it's a pleasure to
meet you'...can't remember exactly what!)". Then I turned to Jared on the other side of me (they REALLY try to move you along; not the guys; but the folks running everything) and I shook his hand and said hello and he said hello back and gave me a big smile. Jared will kind of lean over to get close to you so even though he's tall; it's not like you're looking straight up at him. I could hear my partner talking to Jensen behind me; but then we all just sort of turned and grouped together and the photo was taken (though we could have organized ourselves however we wanted, it just seemed silly to insist on being in a particular spot - I asked if we could both be in the middle and the person keeping the line moving said 'yes' so it just naturally ended up with my partner and myself in the middle with Jared & Jensen on either side). As we exited I said thanks and they both said "great to meet you" or "thank you" back or something like that! I asked my partner what she had said to Jensen and she said she told him, "Thanks for taking the time to do this" and he said something like, "Sure! Of course!". I believe she also thanked Jared as she walked past him on the way out. And yes, I'm disappointed that I can't recount the experience word-for-exact-word like I swore I'd try to! I was there and it was great and it went so fast and then I spent the rest of the time trying to remember exactly what was said!

I don't know if I can describe this but it was kind of nice that they kept their attention on us and said goodbye as we were if we'd had more of an interaction with them than we really did...before turning their attention to the next person in line. Even though it was SO FAST, it wasn't like they clicked the photo and then Jared & Jensen immediately went to greet the next person; they kind of stuck with us until we turned away from them to go out the door. Does that make any sense? I thought that was nice! It made the whole thing seem fast, but not rushed and I think there's a huge difference.

Yes, they really do look that good in person. Jensen was very gracious (the only way I can really describe him) seemed like, in spite of ALL the people they have to stand next to and smile with; he really does focus on you for that second you're in front of him and you feel you have his full attention. He seemed very laid-back and very polite and like a gentleman. Jared was super-friendly; really seemed to be loving it all. More outgoing than Jensen. As nervous as I was about the photo in the months beforehand, I have to say that when I was actually there, they made me feel completely at ease and I was not nervous in the least.

It was fun to watch them with the people in line in front of girl wanted to hug Jared for the photo and
Jensen (still in the photo) sort of stood to the side with his hand's out like "what the want him and not
me?"; that will be a great photo for her!

Of course,I cannot image how they are able to stand there for literally hours doing this and treat everyone so
incredibly graciously. Before the duo photo we did, each guy had already spent a full hour doing individual photos and doing the meet & greet with a small group of fans for about half an hour each...then they did the duo photo op for about an hour, then onstage for over an hour, then they each signed autographs for people who bought them for about two hours after that. Oh, and first thing in the morning they had to show up for about half an hour at the breakfast for the gold ticket folks. Amazing really. I know they're getting paid for it, but they really don't HAVE to do it at all. I truly hope they enjoy doing it. They seemed to!

The photo was done before their time onstage...I kind of wish it had been the other way around because you really got much more of a feel for what they are like as people while they were onstage together. It would have been nice to get to see the real "them" (i.e. not what you know of them as Sam & Dean) before the photo.

More Richard Speight Jr.

Before J & J went onstage, Richard Speight Jr. came back on for about half an hour by himself. He was good; talked about what it was like to get pseudo-boot-camp training for his work in Band of Brothers and described how he and Matt Cohen started the whole karaoke thing at the was pretty funny. He said the first year that Creation told him he was going to host karaoke, he really didn't want to do it. He had seen it at a previous convention and it was just fans getting up and singing with stars stopping in for one drink and then getting out of there as fast as possible because of how lame it was. Now they wanted him to host it in a larger auditorium, but people could only come up to sing one at a time and everyone had to stay sitting in their assigned seats. He said it was like the worst high school concert you've ever been to as one person would take several minutes to walk up the aisle, get onstage, sing, and then walk back to their seats while everyone else sat motionless and listened. Eventually he got the convention folks to agree that people could stand up and come up near the front and eventually they got rid of the chairs altogether and now he's happy that even stars who aren't slated to come to the karaoke ask if they can come because apparently it's a bit of a free-for-all that sounds like much more fun that what they started with! It sounded like the karaoke on Friday went on until after 2:00am.

Jared and Jensen

Then Jared and Jensen came up to the stage. The place was really full and I was glad I had the reserved seats (and the seats were about in the middle of the hall; closer than I'd been the day before when I chose to watch Misha and the others from just about the very back row which STILL wasn't bad!).

Jared and Jensen were onstage for a bit over an hour. Lots of people lined up in very long lines down each side of the auditorium for a chance to go up and ask them a question with microphones off to each side near the stage. They only got through about 1/3 of the people with questions before the time was up; so they didn't nearly get to everyone...I think some people may have just gotten in line in order to get closer to the stage for better photos, knowing they probably wouldn't get the chance to ask a question. The questions were pretty good this ridiculous questions like some of the ones that had been asked of the other guests. (Jared & Jensen stayed onstage and did not walk out into the audience at all.) But first I should say that Jared was a bit of a ham. A very charming ham. Very sweet and funny and always trying to steal the attention from Jensen. Jensen was also quite funny; but more serious.

At the start of their time onstage, they were talking about how hot the stage lights were which is why someone in the audience handed Jared a paper fan (that's what he's holding in some of the photos).

Chicago Convention Report 2011 - Supernatural Wiki

Chicago Convention Report 2011 - Supernatural Wiki

Some of the things they talked about:

Someone asked them how they are able to eat so much on do you "act" like you're eating. Jared said that since Sam is kind of a salad guy, he never has to eat much onscreen. Jensen has to eat all the time and Jensen said he didn't know why he started playing Dean as a guy who always stuffs his face, but he started it and now he's kind of stuck with it. He described a scene in an upcoming episode where he had to eat this sandwich that was on a ciabatta roll that was really crusty and as he's stuffing the food in (as Dean does; talking with his mouth full and barely swallowing before he takes another bite), he realized this crusty roll was really tearing up his lips; to the point that he had cuts on his lips before they were done shooting and he had to get the makeup dept. to cover it all up for the next few days. (To which Jared chimed in asking if there was anyone out there who would be interested in kissing his lips to make them "all better"; you can imagine the huge response that got.) He did say he usually has to spit the food out because otherwise you'd just be eating way too much. He said it's easier when he has to eat on camera at the end of a take so he can just spit it out when the camera goes off of him. If you start eating at the beginning of a scene, you pretty much have to really eat whatever it is since the camera never cuts away long enough to spit it out.

Someone asked them if the way religion has been worked into the show has changed their own religious views at all. They started out saying that they thought they were just signing on to a show about guys that hunt monsters and then it turned into this show with all these religious story lines. Jensen said his grandmother loves the show and watches it all the time. She is extremely religious and he has to tell her that it's all in fun and not real. Jared gave a more in-depth answer about how he is more spiritual than religious and as long as you are living a good life and you are making other's lives better then that's what's important. He said he feels spirituality brings people together whereas religion can sometimes divide people and it doesn't matter what you call it (Christianity, Buddism, Judaism...), as long as you have something that keeps you going in the right direction and on the right path, that's what important. At that point I decided I'd be quite willing to join Jared's religion (I totally agreed personally with all he said). It was a really long answer and Jensen just kind of looked at him and said something about how that's probably the deepest thing he's heard him talk about in all the time they've known each other.

Chicago Convention Report 2011 - Supernatural Wiki

Chicago Convention Report 2011 - Supernatural Wiki

Someone asked about filming in bad weather. They told a story about how, early on, it was pouring rain and they
never stop filming for weather, so the director told someone to go get umbrellas for Sam & Dean. They said that was the last time umbrellas were ever used because the editor back in California told them never to do that again; that these guys who hunt and kill things would never suddenly be afraid of a little rain; so they never used them again.

There were several moments where they were sort of talking behind their hands to each other (trying to figure
out if they could or could not say something about an upcoming episode etc.).

Chicago Convention Report 2011 - Supernatural Wiki

They were asked about what they'd like to do if Supernatural were a show on HBO or Showtime instead of network TV. Jensen said he'd love for Dean to do a bit of actual swearing and it kills him to say "friggin' " when he knows Dean would never say that. He said they are never allowed to show shooting someone in the head on network TV. It all has to be done off-screen & implied. If it were not on network TV, they'd love to have more gore. They said that if we (the fans) would like to see Supernatural in a more "uncensored" form, we ought to push for a Supernatural movie where they would not be restricted by TV's "standards and practices" rules.

They were asked which weapons they'd like Sam & Dean to be able to use. Jensen said he's definitely like to use the rocket launcher that's been in the back of the Impala all this time...but (he said) apparently "fake greneades are hard to find" or that's what he's been told on set. He was happy they got to use the sniper rifles this season. Someone in the audience yelled out "throwing stars" which made Jared laugh.

Jensen was asked about this most recent episode he directed. He said the clerk at the end that got the nacho cheese sauce poured over him was really a friend of his who's not really even an actor; he just asked him to come up and do this and he agreed. The cheese sauce was not real cheese sauce (of course) was more like colored vanilla pudding. He said they shot a great scene of the sauce actually going over the guys face and just blanketing him and that scene ended up being cut. Even if Jensen directs, it sounds like he really doesn't have control over the editing...but said maybe that shot would eventually appear in a director's cut on DVD someday and he said he'd like to do the DVD commentary on that episode as the director.

When talking about filming in adverse weather they talked about a scene where Bobby and Dean are looking at a map on the hood of the car in the rain. Jensen argued with the director about this because he wanted to know why the hell anyone in real life would get out of the car with a map to look at it while it's raining...they'd just look at it inside the car! The director said that would not fit into the beautiful shot he had in mind so they did the map on the hood of the car in the rain even though it made no sense to Jensen whatsoever.

One of the best moments had to be when someone asked if Sam will get to show some more emotion this
season. Jared said, "So, you're saying you want me to cry?" and Jensen said, "Wow; all the cameras (out in the
audience) just went up in the air" and Jensen started pretending to be someone in the audience saying, "Is he going to do it? Is he going to cry? Can he really just do that...I thought it took preparation". Jensen's imitation of the imaginary audience member was hilarious.

Someone asked, "What was the best advice you've gotten on how to maintain a good marriage". Jensen said basically, "capitulate - give in and apologize" all the time. Jared said you must remember why you fell in love and keep the communication open and let your partner know you love them even while you are fighting. So true.

Someone asked them who they would like to have play Sam & Dean if, for some reason, they no longer could. There was much joking about Taylor Lautner and Justin Bieber. Jared said, "Oh; can Justin Bieber be me?" and Jensen said, "I thought that was obvious" and kind of tossed his hair (or pretended to) like Justin Bieber would.

Chicago Convention Report 2011 - Supernatural Wiki

At one point during the question & answer period, someone got up to the microphone and said that she had not been able to ask Jared her question last year because Jensen had interrupted her. She told him he should be careful where he pointed his face, which confused him. She then said, "Because you're so should be careful where you point your face" (I guess she got distracted by him last year when trying to ask her question). He looked at Jared and Jared said, "Don't point it at me, man." A good laugh was had by all.

Chicago Convention Report 2011 - Supernatural Wiki

Jared talked a little bit about playing "soulless Sam" and he said that when he first read the script, he thought to
himself, " in the world do you even ACT that?!" He said it was really difficult to not be able to react to Jensen/Dean in the same way they always had; to be so emotionless. But he said that ultimately,
because it was a challenge to figure out how to play that, it's some of his work on the show that he's most proud of and Jensen sat next to him nodding yes; like he knew it was hard to Jared to do and thought Jared did a great job with what he was given in the script.

Jared let on that Sam is, in season 7, really not 100% okay and that his time in hell is going to follow him this season.

Right before they left the stage, Jensen said there was something he wanted to do. He had a jar full of the anti-demon salt used on set. He had scooped a bunch up after it had been used in a scene and asked the prop dept. to put it in a jar and make a label for it. Jensen, Jared, and Jim Beaver signed two of these. One was auctioned off at the Toronto convention for $3,500 for a charity that raised money for research for people with the disease Hunter's Syndrome. He wanted to auction this last and second jar off here and the money was to go to Down's Syndrome research because his nephew, Levi, was born with Down's Syndrome. Jensen talked for awhile about how this child is the most loving and beautiful and happy child and he was very glad he was going to visit him after the convention. But he wanted to auction off the jar of salt from the set for his sister-in-law's fund raising efforts for Down's Syndrome. It was pretty exciting as it went for around $5,300 and Jensen seemed genuinely touched and blown away by how high the bidding went. Jensen got a good laugh out of the audience when Jared was holding the jar; show it off, and Jensen said, "Thank you, Vanna."

Chicago Convention Report 2011 - Supernatural Wiki

Chicago Convention Report 2011 - Supernatural Wiki

As we all do, Jensen obviously feels very deeply about his family. It was really touching to see him this way. He
tried to show the audience a cell-phone photo of his nephew Levi, but the camera just couldn't focus in on it (the
camera that was putting the images up on the large screens on either side of the stage). Jensen was reluctant to go out into the audience, closer to where the camera was, so we never really got to see the photo; he said he'd send it to Jared so Jared could tweet it to everyone.

At the end they said they loved us all (their fans) and that they will keep doing this show (Jensen said this) as long as we keep it on the air. They said they both tried doing a movie one year (different movies) while Supernatural was on break but it was just too hard to do 9 months of Supernatural, then 9 months of a movie with no break; so they realized they are pretty much only going to work on Supernatural (without any or many other large projects) while it is on the air.

How they are not like Sam & Dean (just my opinion):
Jared is definitely not moody like Sam! He's really REALLY happy and very funny and always joking. You'll be relieved to know that he appears not to be tortured in any way. :) I remembered some of the early episodes where Sam & Dean are playing pranks on each other and that seems more like Jared's real personality (as if I got any kind of feel for what his "real personality" is just by watching him on stage for an hour!). Jensen was not a smart ass. He's also funny in a more subtle way (okay, that's kinda like Dean) but he seems to be pretty thoughtful and laid back and takes his work seriously. They are both extremely well-spoken and it was great fun to hear them talk about making the show. They do seem like great guys. They are not Sam & Dean (of course!). But it is clear that they love playing Sam & Dean and love working with each other and the guest stars and the directors and everyone involved.

Chicago Convention Report 2011 - Supernatural Wiki

I did not stay for director Guy Norman Bee (who most recently directed the Frontierland episode)...after Jared and Jensen were onstage, they signed autographs for people who bought those for almost two hours, then Guy Norman Bee wasn't going to be on until 6:30 pm followed by an auction of the remaining banners, but I just couldn't stay that late. It would have been interesting to hear from a director after hearing from all the actors, but we had a long drive home.

More on the whole thing overall if you think you might want to go to a convention, especially one in Chicago:

I would say that, with all the references made to the karaoke party, if you're going to go, it sounds like you should get there Friday night and go to that. Just to witness it if nothing else. It sounds like it's Richard Speight Jr. and Matt Cohen's "thing" and they seem to love hosting it. RSJ said that it's totally free; meaning you don't even have to have a ticket to the convention to go to it....and he has fought hard with Creation to keep it that way; he
really wants it to be free and open to any fan. I had a hard time believing the folks at Creation would make anything free (and I don't begrudge anyone making money off this; everyone needs their cut...the event is put together to easily separate you from your money...but at least you get the choice of what you want to pay autograph vs. a photo op, etc.), but that's what RSJ said.

I was waiting in line for the bathroom before Jared and Jensen's appearance and there was a woman behind me who cracked me up saying, "I hope the questions for Jared and Jensen are better...I mean asking someone 'if you died and came back as a rock, what kind of rock would you be?'...what the hell kind of question is that?!". I
started laughing at that and turned around to talk with her; saying I totally agreed with her. She had a silver ticket
pass around her neck so I asked her if the silver tickets were worth the extra since you get to have autographs
included...she said she felt it really was; that she was able to get the different actors to sign all of her boxed DVD's and she thought that was great.

The hotel in Chicago was nice (it should be for almost $150 a night); nice and modern and kinda stylish. I think they hold it at the Westin hotel near O'Hare airport year after year, at least so far. They did put out a buffet line for convention-goers (of course you had to buy the food; it wasn't free) so if you didn't want to leave the hotel between people onstage you didn't have to...they also have a hotel restaurant. None of the room refrigerators worked though. Or I couldn't figure out how to turn them on (others complained about this too). And, while wi-fi was free in the lobby, you had to pay for it if you wanted it in your room and that was irritating!

The "vendor's room" was a huge disappointment. I pictured a large room (like you see photos of from Comic Con) full of "stuff" for sale. It was a tiny room with only about 4 vendors in it and some of what they were selling was not Supernatural-related (they have stuff related to other Sci-Fi shows). NOT impressed. You can get much better stuff online through Creation or or Cafe Press (the fan-created stuff)! This was strange: when I tried to go into the vendor's room on Saturday, they were making you show your convention pass or wristband in order to get in. Really?!?! I mean, they're there to sell stuff, right? Why do they care if they sell something to someone at the convention or someone just staying in the hotel who happens to wander in there?

I saw online that this hotel has another auditorium - probably for business meetings - with stadium seating and a stage with a screen; much smaller than the ballroom where the actual convention was; but I wished that they would have been showing episodes of Supernatural in there for people who weren't gold ticket folks going to the cocktail party because it would be such a kick to watch episodes on a huge screen with other people as into the show as you are.

Update; I asked Creation about this and they said they are not allowed/licensed to show episodes at the convention. This is a bit odd since they can obviously print and sell banners with images of the actors from the show on them...but they are not allowed to show episodes. I think that calls for bringing one's own laptop and some DVD's! It really WOULD be fun to watch some episodes with other fans.

I also wish Creation could rent a black '67 Impala for people to take photos around....hundreds of people had their friends take photos of them in front of a large banner/picture of the Impala. Having an actual car would be fun.

Amazingly, they are able to pass out many of the photo op photos before the convention ends. But the photos with Jared & Jensen weren't going to be ready until 9:00pmon Sunday and I could not stay that late. So, I probably won't see the photo (mailed to me) until a couple weeks into November. But I figured it would be huge fun to get it in the mail & look forward to it. Honestly, I have no idea if I was even looking at the camera! Guess I'll find out!

I'd love it if someone who had the gold ticket package in Chicago would post something about their experiences...all the stuff the rest of us could not do (like the breakfast and the cocktail party).

Update: this video popped up on the net and it's a full 30 minutes long taken at the gold ticket breakfast (they told us that you weren't allowed any video or sound recording, so don't know if this person had permission or not...there are also some poor-quality videos on YouTube of clips from the main J&J appearance; I'm sure that person did it without permission!). Here's the full 30 minutes of Jared & Jensen at the gold ticket breakfast (I was not there for that):

The actors were very appreciative of and nice to all of the fans. If you want to get more of an idea of what the people are like who play these characters we love, it's worth going. I'd love it if others who were there could post there experiences.

Chicago Convention Report 2011 - Supernatural Wiki

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