ZABRINA MATIRU – Supernatural Beauty

Everyone who watches Supernatural knows who Jensen, Jared, Felicia and Ruth are; but do you know who Zabrina is? This interview is part of the continuing effort by the Lusty Fangirls to bring some much deserved attention to the people working behind the scenes of Supernatural. Zabrina Matiru is the incredibly talented Head of the Makeup Department and because makeup is pretty important to Supernatural, we thought that this must be a very demanding job, indeed. That’s why we approached Zabrina, who very graciously agreed to an interview, if only we could give her some more time, as Season 10 was winding down and it was extremely hectic. After seeing the last few episodes, we can understand why she was so busy! With the season 10 finale finished and Supernatural officially on hiatus, she finally found a few minutes of downtime to answer our questions.

IV: I’ve just introduced you as the makeup girl on Supernatural, but I’m sure there’s much more to your work day than “only” doing makeup. Could you describe your typical work day for us, and what other responsibilities fall to you, if any?

Zab4ZM: My work day does indeed consist of more than solely doing the makeup. Before any makeup is applied there are meetings with the director and producers regarding the script. Discussions happen with other departments about where our jobs could overlap. Sometimes this includes Hair, Costumes, Special FX, Special Makeup FX, and Art Department & Props.

After all the logistics are settled, makeup tests done and approved, we go to camera.

My day starts and ends in the makeup trailer. As a team we are responsible for setting a positive tone for ourselves, as well as for all the actors that come into the trailer every day. We apply the required looks, maintain them throughout the day, change them if necessary and then clean the actors up when they are done for the day.

IV: It’s great to hear that it’s such a collaborative atmosphere, being involved with other departments as well. Hard work though, Zabrina. Then again, there’s probably never a dull moment for you and your colleagues.

Although a bit stereotypical, I guess it is still true that many teenage girls are interested in makeup, but not many want to, or are able to succeed in, making a career in makeup. Was makeup one of your teenage passions? What first got you interested in makeup as a career? Did you want to do beauty makeup, or was special effects always your intended career?

ZM: Well, I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup until I was 15, and my mother bought me a purple Max Factor eye shadow palette. The first thing I did was to give myself a black eye! Maybe that was a sign for things to come, but I didn’t realize it at the time.

I’ve always had an interest in fashion, film and television. However, as a teenager I didn’t think that it was remotely possible to have a career in any of these fields. Eventually, I enrolled in a School of Fashion Design and upon graduation I discovered that there were different avenues I could explore. A friend of mine from the design school encouraged me to attend Makeup School, and it was there that I decided to attempt a career as a makeup artist. I wrestled with the decision to follow a career in fashion, or a career in film. I thought I could do both, but as it turns out, my path has ultimately been film and TV.

IV: I’m sure that every reader agrees that you are doing a great job at Supernatural. You’ve surely found your talent. The last few Seasons makeup and SFX have become ever more important.

I am wondering, with the popularity of the special effects makeup competition “FaceOff” on Syfy Channel, if you have seen any changes, good or bad, to the industry?

ZM: It is wonderful exposure for the industry of Makeup Artistry, which can only be a good thing. I wish I had seen shows like FaceOff when I was growing up.

IV: Yes, I can imagine that it would have helped discover your passion if programs like this had existed earlier. But then again, with or without FaceOff, you probably would have ended up working with makeup on TV and film anyway, if that is where your passion lies.

I don’t suppose this is your first job in the television or movie world, though. Have you worked on any other shows and could you compare them with Supernatural? Are you employed by WB Studios, or are you self-employed? Also, how is it for you, being a woman, working in this male-dominated environment?

ZM: I’ve been working as a MakeUp Artist in film and television for over 15 years — that’s a lot of shows. Supernatural, has been one of my favorite experiences, it is a very unique and wonderful show to be a part of. The cast and crew are one big dysfunctional family — family being the operative word.  

Saying that, the fact that the industry is male dominated is not lost on me. My goals as a film technician are to uphold my identity as a woman, and compete on a level where my professionalism, creativity, and merit speak for itself.

IV: Yes, girl! That’s a mentality we Lusty Fangirls can endorse and admire. That’s why we are trying to give our sisters lots of exposure and support.

There are all kinds of nasty creatures on Supernatural and many people get horribly wounded. I guess they all pass through your department and many start their day in your chair. Does the makeup ever gross you out?

ZM: In an ideal situation, we would get to apply all the makeup in the trailer, with good lighting, mirrors and enough time. However, more often than not, the makeup is applied on the go between takes, or even during the takes with the cameras still rolling for fight sequences. Makeup changes can happen on location due to the trailers being too far away from the set. Makeup is Zab2applied everywhere from in the middle of a forest, to a dark damp dungeon, or an overturned car.

Blood doesn’t really gross me out, however I get squeamish about certain textures.

IV: Talking about getting squeamish, one of our Lusty Ladies commented that many makeup artists moonlight working in funeral homes. Have you ever worked with a real dead body and real blood? I don’t know if this question says something about her imagination… But have you?

ZM: I haven’t worked in a funeral home or had to deal with real blood. I’m sure some makeup artists have, but none of the ones I know.

IV: Good for you, I’m not sure I could manage a job there. I’ve seen too much Supernatural, I guess, to work with dead people. Haha!

Of course you see Jensen and Jared often, a fact that we Lusties are extremely jealous of, green with envy even. WE think the guys look hot being bloody and dirty. What do YOU think is their best look?

ZM: Rugged and dirty, with or without blood.

IV: Yay, girl! But let’s be honest. They look good any way we can get them.

Being guys, I imagine the boys being a bit impatient, sitting in your chair, being turned into “painted whores.”  But maybe I’m completely wrong about this. Are they fussy about their makeup or are they like, “that’s good, let me outta here”?Zab3

ZM: I am very conscious of how much time I take to get the work done. I’m fortunate that Jared and Jensen understand that I’m always attempting to do the best job possible, in as little time as possible.

IV: Yes, I suppose they are very professional, otherwise the series wouldn’t have lasted this long, and I’m sure they probably trust you to give it your best as well.

There are some elaborate makeovers needed for some episodes, judging from what we can see on television. What’s the longest someone has spent in your chair? Who was this and why did that take so long?

ZM: The longest makeups are of the ones that involve the entire body, or multiple areas on the body. The longest makeup that I can recall was the tortured Wiener Boy from season 8 — he had multiple lacerations, bruising, dried blood and dirt. That was about 2hrs.

IV: Oh yes, I remember him. He had an impressive collection of wounds on him. Good job Zabrina!

Have you ever done makeup for any of the major award shows like the Oscars?

ZM: Not yet, but one day.

IV: That would be awesome and I’m sure that would top it all! But if there is one thing that Supernatural has taught us, is that nothing is impossible, right?

Can you recall incidents on Supernatural where makeup had to be redone? I mean, pies have known to be thrown about on set and probably many more pranks we don’t know about and which likely mess up the makeup.  Do the antics bother you, or is it just another day on set for you?

ZM: Having fun on set is one of the delights of working on Supernatural.   Re-setting makeup is part of my job, sometimes it is part of the scene and sometimes it happens to be part of a prank… if a few giggles are involved, it’s worth it!

IV: Talking about pranks, have you ever been fooled by makeup, like “OMG what happened to your eye?” or can you always spot a makeup job?

ZM: If I have been fooled by makeup, it was so good I didn’t realize I was being fooled.

IV: Good point!

Speed round:

Coke or Pepsi Neither, but if I have to choose… Coke

Nails or makeup Makeup

Gabriel or Balthasar Balthasar

USA or Canada Canada

Chocolate or gummi bears Chocolate covered gummi bears

Jensen with freckles or Jensen without freckles Freckles obviously

Dogs or cats DOGS

Saxx or Calvin Klein Saxx forever

Jared – early season shorter hair, or later season long hair? Long but messy

IV: I agree with most of your answers there, but “chocolate covered gummi bears?” ……. We might have to get Jensen to try that new variety!

Speaking of hair, Jared mentioned recently that he was asked if he wanted to dye his hair to cover the gray. The boys have obviously grown up on the show. As they’ve gotten older, has that affected the makeup or techniques you’ve had to use on them? I know as I’ve gotten older, my hair texture has changed. Have they experienced any of these changes, too (that you can admit to)?

ZM: I joined Supernatural in Season 8, so I’ve been working with the boys as “men”. Their grooming needs have definitely changed since the beginning of the show. When I had my initial Zab1discussion with Jared and Jensen, they both wanted a fresh start when it came to technique and product. Shooting in Vancouver, we have mild but seasonal changes throughout the year. One’s requirements in the summer differ from those in the winter, so in addition to an overall progression, there are also seasonal changes too.

IV: Sounds like the Dutch climate you’re describing. Definitely different seasons and therefore different hair problems! I guess I need a hair and makeup artist, too! Focusing on the makeup again, in one of our previous SPN interviews Ruth Connell, aka Rowena, complemented you when asked about the secret of her beautiful skin. So please let us in on this secret. What do you do for Ruth, or any of the Supernatural ladies, to make her skin look flawless? I am sure many of us regular girls are very interested to get a few tips from a pro like you. Maybe you could share some of your favorite makeup brands?

ZM: Good skin is the key to making anyone look “flawless”, male or female, so a good skincare routine is imperative.   I always have the ladies come into the trailer with clean skin; this allows me to see what their skin looks like and what I need to do to prep my “canvas”. I like to use a primer, some of my favorites are, Dermalogica, MakeUp Forever HD and Smashbox. Set the base with powder; again, I like Hourglass, Chantecaille, MAC and Laura Mercier. Blush on the apples of the cheeks gives a youthful glow, and a little bit of highlight on the cheekbones with Kevyn Aucoin “Candle Light”. This gives a subtle sheen to the skin.It seems like a lot of steps, but getting a smooth completion will make the rest of the look come together.

I then use a concealer. One for under the eyes and a different one on blemishes. Laura Mercier is great for both.

Foundation is a must for that flawless look. On Ruth I use Armani or Koh Gen Do. In addition to those, some of my favorites include Chantecaille, Hourglass, MakeUp Forever and Chanel.

IV: Thank you for letting us have a look in your makeup bag, Zabrina! I’m sure many readers will be very grateful for you sharing this information.

Last Lusty Question: What is your personal definition of “lusty?”Zabrina

ZM: A saucy individual full of life, and not afraid to speak his or her mind, especially when it comes to appreciating the finer things in life.

IV: Beautiful last answer Zabrina!

was my pleasure to doing this interview with you. I’ve learned a lot about behind the scenes and makeup on Supernatural. Thank you again for taking the time to answer our questions and I hope that you stay with the series for many years to come (see what I did there?).

@ilseverboven

LittleDutchTreat#LFG

 

It’s Not Over Until Bobby Singer Sings?

Jim Beaver is known among the Supernatural family as surrogate dad Bobby Singer to the Winchester boys. Jim played this role as a regular from 2006 to 2012, but we have seen him return to the series once in a while. His most recent appearance was in season 10 in the episode Inside Man.

For the past few months Jim has been busy with a play he wrote in 1985 called Verdigris. He re-launched the play to the theatre and got many positive reviews for it. Besides being an actor and playwright, Jim is also a screenwriter, director, film historian and writer. He is a single parent of a teenage girl, Maddie, whose wisdom he often shares with us. And on top of that, he is a kind and caring man, as I myself was able to witness at Asylum13 last year.

First of all, let me thank you for agreeing to do this interview for the Lusty Fangirls website. We’re honored.

IV: OK, now let’s get this first question over with. I’m sure every interviewer asks you this one, but our readers are dying to know what it was like for Jensen and Jared to work with you? (question with a twist)

JB: What was it like for J&J to work with me? I’m sure it was the pinnacle of their careers. In fact the one great disappointment of my own career is that I can’t work with me! In truth, I hope they have enjoyed working with me even half as much as I’ve enjoyed working with them. They’re J3great, decent, honest, committed, loyal fellows, and I’m proud of my association with them. I hope they feel something akin to that about me.

IV: I’m sure they do feel the same for you, judging from the many positive mentions by Jensen and Jared about you in the press. And as actors of the younger generation they probably will have learned a thing or two from you as well.

When fans are being asked for their favorite Bobby moment, they probably each have a different favorite. Bobby had so many great moments and scenes. I personally love S4.1 Lazarus Rising, in which Bobby doesn’t believe its Dean who’s returned and throws every known demon repellent at him. What was the best or most memorable moment for you, playing on Supernatural?

JB: It’s hard for me to pick a favorite moment, as I have so many of them. It’s a little easier to pick favorite episodes. “Weekend at Bobby’s,” “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid,” and “Death’s Door” are all particular favorites for various reasons. (It’s probably no coincidence that those episodes all focused rather predominantly on my character.) But among my favorite moments were the Bobby&Jodykiss and the near-kiss with Sheriff Mills, having the ear-worm baddie take over Bobby’s body in “And Then There Were None,” and the lecture Bobby gives Dean in the wrecking yard in season 2. But there are dozens more.

IV: The chemistry with Jody Mills was present, indeed. A kickass lady Sheriff together with Bobby; yes I can really see that happening. That would make for some good fireworks. It would be nice to get Kim Rhodes’ take on that idea as well.

A serious question now; How was playing the scenes where Bobby loses his wife? I imagine it brought back some real life emotions, or did you rely completely on your acting skills? I only dared to ask you this, as you’ve been very open about the life and death of your wife Cecily in your book “Life’s That Way.” I thank you for sharing your story, it brought me to tears and helped me with personal issues, as I’m sure is the case for many of your readers.

JB: Playing the scenes in “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid” and “Death’s Door,” where Bobby confronts the reality of the loss of his wife, was not as hard on me in a personal way as it might seem. That’s not to say I didn’t experience deep, painful emotions playing moments that echoed in many ways my own real-life loss. But I think most actors would have felt the same way I did, that being able to draw on the experience of my own tragedy was in a way a real gift, an opportunity to make something more dramatically meaningful and powerful by virtue of really knowing the emotions I was playing. Many people have asked me if I was bothered by scenes in SupernaturalBobby&wife and also in Deadwood, where I had a similar situation to play. Sometimes people think I should have been upset or unhappy at being asked to play such things that were so close to my own unhappiness. But to me, it was a blessing to be able to take something so painful and use it to make something good. We have a saying in the U.S. about “making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear,” meaning taking something unpleasant and making something good out of it. Knowing that I could bring truth and real feeling to these scenes of loss better than someone who hadn’t experienced such things was an enormous gift and blessing, and I’m so happy I was allowed to make a little thing of good out of elements of great sorrow. Of course, in the middle of filming such scenes, it is difficult, simply because an actor’s body doesn’t know he’s pretending. If you’re on the verge of tears all day because the scene calls for you to be (and a 2-minute scene can take all day to shoot), your body is in this perpetual frozen moment of anguish all day, and it doesn’t matter that the tears and pain are for a fictional character. By the end of the day, you just want to collapse on your bed and cry all night. But it makes for great drama!

IV: Awww, and great drama it was! And knowing the background on your thinking and feeling while filming these scenes makes me watch these differently.

You must have had ideas on how Bobby’s character would evolve while you were playing him. If Bobby hadn’t died, where do you think his life would have brought him? It seems like a fun thing to imagine him a few years down the line.

JB: If Bobby hadn’t died, I always imagined he would eventually end up in a relationship with Sheriff Mills and together they would take on both the Big Bads of the world and the ups and downs of a romantic relationship. Bobby would have continued to be the voice of experience and reason for Sam and Dean, and the fight would go on. As dramatic as Bobby’s death was, I confess I really regret that it didn’t work out the way I imagined it would. But the great thing about Supernatural is that death doesn’t end the story for any character. There’s still a chance something like that could happen, because there’s always a chance that ANYTHING can happen on Supernatural!

IV: We are keeping our fingers crossed for Bobby. I personally am convinced that we haven’t seen the last of him. He’s too good a character to lose on the series.

Just something I always wondered: Is Bobby’s accent similar to how you speak when you are among friends and family or was that done purely for the character?

JB: I don’t think there’s a lot of difference between Bobby’s voice and accent and my own. I probably unconsciously pitch him a bit lower in my vocal register than normal, and I may exaggerate a tiny bit my own Texas accent. I don’t sound quite as colloquial or regional in my daily life, but none of it is faked. Bobby and I probably sound almost identical. He’s just grouchier than I am (most of the time).

IV: Maybe grouchy, but just worried about the ones he loves, I guess.

The entire Supernatural family was devastated when Bobby died. Why do you think the writers/producers killed Bobby off and do you think that they’ll ever bring him back? After all, it is Supernatural, nothing is impossible. Would you be in for a return of Bobby?

JB: My understanding of why the producers killed Bobby off was that they wanted to shake up the show and to shake up the characters of Sam and Dean, who had amassed a notable collection of resources in their fight against evil, and the producers thought it would be highly dramatic to deprive them of all of these resources. Speaking as a dramatist myself, I think they were right. Drama IS creating obstacles for, and denying resources to, characters and seeing how they cope. But I’m not convinced that it was the best thing for the show. It was pretty good for me in some ways, because it freed me up to do some of the best work I’ve been allowed to do, on other shows and in movies. But I wouldn’t have been at all unhappy to continue playing Bobby just as I had before “Death’s Door.” And I’d love to go back to that, if the producers ever decide they want to explore the character again in a fuller way than in the past 3 seasons.

IV: I certainly won’t object to Bobby returning, but at the same time I can see you wanting the part in a “fuller way” as you so nicely put it. Supernatural has given you a wider audience I assume, so maybe more doors opening for you to get some interesting work.

I guess that you don’t have much spare time and lots of thing to be done and social obligations to meet. But do you keep in touch with people from Supernatural, cast or crew?

JB: I don’t see many people associated with Supernatural very often, simply because I live in Los Angeles and they film in Vancouver. I see Jared and Jensen and Misha, usually only for brief moments, at various fan events, but we rarely if ever get any time really to catch up or hang out. I love and miss the entire crew of Supernatural, and I’m really happy that social media allows us to stay in touch so easily. But, no, I’m not in touch with any of them nearly as much as I’d like to be.

IV: A shame really that you don’t stay in touch regularly, but that’s life I suppose. We only have so much time and so much to do.

Every television series and movie has their own secrets, some large, some small. Some are dying to get out; some are begging to stay hidden. Could you please share something that we definitely don’t know about Supernatural or the people working on it?

J3 playing Words with FriendsJB: Secrets from Supernatural? I can’t think of anything actually secret that I could (or would) expose. I can tell you a piece of trivia that probably isn’t well known: for at least two seasons, a while back, EVERYBODY on the show, ESPECIALLY Jared and Jensen, was addicted to Words with Friends. Sometimes it was hard to get anyone’s attention, so many people on set were glued to their phones. I think that phase is over, but it was a strange time. I never quite caught the bug, but there were huge contests among the cast and crew at the time.

IV: Hey, I know that game! I play it daily with friends. Didn’t know I had that in common with Jensen and Jared. Fun.

The Supernatural family is a very passionate community. Good things come from it, and less good things, as is most often the case when passions are involved. What are some of the positive and negative things that being a part of the Supernatural Family has brought to your life?

JB: The positives of being part of the Supernatural Family far outweigh the negatives. I’ve been around the world (literally), visiting with fans and meeting extraordinary people and coming to know and love many of them. I’ve learned a great deal about myself from hearing of the lives of people who follow the show. I’ve been able to contribute to the world through charitable activities by involving the fandom in such work far more effectively than I could ever have done on my own. I’ve also gotten kissed and hugged more than a man my age should ever expect! For all this (especially the last), I’m very grateful. The negatives are almost non-existent. Sure, it’s a little tiresome to tweet that I’ve got a headache and to get 3,000 responses suggesting that demons have infested my brain. Sometimes a simple “Feel better, Jim!” is much more welcome. But even that isn’t worth complaining about. I love playing Bobby, and I love being me, and I like people to know the difference. At the same time, for most fans, if I weren’t the guy who plays Bobby, they wouldn’t have much reason to care much about Jim.

IV: So true and so honest Jim. But I must confess that one of the perks of conventions for me is that I can hug handsome and kind men without shame. I was lucky enough to receive a big bear hug from you last year. This turned out to be one of my favorite photos.

Supernatural conventions are immensely popular, both in the US and abroad, and new cons are still emerging. Fans obviously love to visit them. But what is it from your perspective: work or play? Can we surprise the Jim Beaver/Bobby Singer fans; have you been booked for any conventions in the near future?

JB: Conventions are wonderful experiences for me. I LOVE meeting the fans, and having people gather from all over in part to tell you they love your work is an immeasurable gift for which I’m deeply grateful. The cons are great, great fun, but they are also exhausting, far more exhausting than the work of doing the show. So I tend to get worn out and lose my voice and often end up with “con crud” pretty often, but these are petty concerns compared to how much I enjoy them.Jim&Ilse

My upcoming convention appearances include the Jus in Bello convention in Rome in mid-May, the Phoenix (Arizona) Comic-Con in late May, a convention in New Zealand in July, 2015, and the Asylum event in Birmingham, England in spring, 2016. There may be others planned, but I don’t recall them. I just get on a plane whenever my manager tells me to!

IV: I hope to see you again next year in Birmingham. Although not so many as in the US, fortunately there are some good Supernatural conventions over here in Europe. And that might contribute to your Frequent Flyer miles!

Of course we all must work for our money in order to support ourselves and our loved ones. Some are blessed with a job they love, some are less lucky. Apart from money, what does acting bring you? And has there been a moment when you thought of leaving acting and pursuing another career?

JB: Acting is the single most rewarding activity of my life. It has been since I first discovered it at 21. It gives me perspective. It gives me a feeling of intimacy with large groups of people. It gives me a connection to the past and to the future. It reveals truths to me that make my life richer, and it allows me to share those truths with others. It gives me so much fun. And it gives me the feeling that I’m doing something useful and meaningful in the world. I always swore I would never give up acting, that it was the single most sustaining thing in my life. There was a moment in 2002, when I was not getting much work, when I had a wife and new baby to provide for, when I briefly wondered if I might have to find something else to do, as I wasn’t able to bring in enough money to support a family. But then Deadwood fell in my lap and led to the greatest experiences Jim on Deadwoodof my career, in one great show after another, and I’ve never again given any thought to doing anything else. Which is good, because I don’t really know how to do anything else, except write, and that’s way harder work than I want to do regularly!

IV:  Can you let us in on your other plans for the future? Are there any exciting new appointments on your calendar that you can share with us? Also you’ve just brought back Verdigris to the theatre. You have gone to a lot of trouble getting this far, including a Kickstarter campaign. Do you have any plans to share the play, which received a lot of praise and excellent reviews, with people all over the world by filming and distributing it?

JB: I have no immediate career plans, none that are formalized. I took a few months off from looking for or accepting work in order to concentrate on my play Verdigris, which just closed a very successful run at Theatre West in Los Angeles. We are hoping to interest other theatres in doing the play or even taking on our production, but such hopes are just in the earliest planning stages. I would love to make a film of our recent production of Verdigris available to those who weren’t able to attend, but there are vast complications with the various unions that make such an effort difficult to pull off. Nevertheless, we’re working on it. As to film and television, I have nothing coming up, though Guillermo del Toro has indicated he wants me for another film and also for an upcoming TV series he’s producing. But none of this is set. The film I made for Guillermo last year, Crimson Peak, will premiere in October, and I’m very excited about that. The bits and pieces I’ve seen are glorious, and I suspect it’s going to be a huge hit.

IV: Sounds good Jim and I hope those plans work out! I’m certainly keeping my eye on the premiere of Crimson Peak and when the DVD production of Verdigris comes true, you can send me one. No seriously, I wanted to see the play badly, but unfortunately geography wasn’t on my side.

You’ve done a lot already in your professional career, which spans more than 40 years. I know it’s almost impossible to choose, but I’m still going to ask you: What are you most proud of in your professional career?

JB: What am I most proud of in my professional career? That’s so hard to quantify. I think Deadwood was probably the greatest artistic triumph of my career, both as a show and as a forum for my own work. Supernatural seems to have had the widest public acceptance and I’m so proud of the work we do on the show and the effect it has had on so many. Justified brought me the greatest critical acclaim of my career thus far. And there are stage performances (in The Lion in Winter, The Hasty Heart, and my own Verdigris) that give me great pride, even if few people Jim in Verdigrissaw them compared to the audiences for film and television. I’ve been so incredibly fortunate, it’s hard to point to one thing and say, “That’s the one I’m proudest of.” But of everything I’ve done in any professional capacity, I think my book Life’s That Way has had the most meaning, both to myself and to the many people who have read it. I am blessed that my own story has had such a positive effect on people, that so many have gained help or comfort or insight because of what I wrote. The letters I get from readers are among the greatest blessings of my life, and I know with certainty that even if I accomplished nothing else, I have had a positive effect on the world with that book.Cecily&Maddie

IV: Absolutely right, I know for a fact that “Life’s That Way” is hugely appreciated. I’m thinking not only of myself, but I learned at Asylum 13 that lots of people got something out of the book and your story.

Just as we fans have favorite actors, my guess is that actors have favorites as well. After all, they’re almost ordinary people. Haha! I have to admit, and it probably shows that I’m not a spring chicken anymore, that I’ve always had a soft spot for Jimmy Stewart. It’s a shame that his kind of movies aren’t made anymore. They’re always bound to cheer me up. So who is on your bucket “One day I want to act with…” list?

JB: Most of my very favorite actors are long gone, so I can’t say I want to work with any of them someday. But a chance to work with Meryl Streep or George Clooney or Ian McKellen or Benedict Cumberbatch or Robert Duvall would be heavy items on my bucket list. I’ve been in movies with Streep (twice) and Duvall, but never met them, and I almost worked with Cumberbatch before he dropped out of Crimson Peak. So I still look forward to such possibilities. It’s not so much specific people I want to work with, but simply good, committed, decent, human actors who enrich the project and work in splendid collaboration who attract me. Working closely with people like Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, Nick Nolte, Edward Asner, Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane, and other actors perhaps not quite as famous world-wide, but just as dedicated, talented, and human, has made my career utterly joyful. I just hope it continues thusly.

IV: An impressive list there Jim. I’m sure that list will grow, as you must be on other actors bucket list as well.

Now something quite different. Do you support any good causes? The Supernatural family is known to be really supportive to causes that are brought to their attention; e.g. Jared’s Always Keep Fighting campaign and now Jared and Jensen’s joint foundation. I’m sure our readers would love to know what causes are close to your heart.

JB: My charities of choice are principally two: the John Wayne Cancer Foundation (jwcf.org) and the Cherokee Rainbow House (cherokeeelderscouncil.cherokee.org/Cherokee-Rainbow-House). My wife Cecily, a non-smoking health nut, died of lung cancer, a disease that is affecting an increasing number of non-smoking women, and I believe the John Wayne Cancer Foundation is not only in the forefront of the fight against cancer, but also a tribute to the memory of my favorite actor. And as a member of the Elders Council of the Cherokee Nation, I am devoted to Rainbow House, a small organization that provides free food, clothing, and supplies to the poor members of the Cherokee tribe. I’m grateful for the help these organizations have received from my fans, and I hope all of them will consider assisting these charities in their invaluable work.

IV: You read it here Supernatural and Lusty Fangirls Families: two good causes in need of your help. If you would like to help in one way or another, please take a look at these websites and see if you are able to contribute.

You have a very busy life. Teenage daughter Maddie, acting, writing, traveling and more. What do you do to wind down after work? And what else sparks your passion?

JB: What do I do to wind down after work? Well, with a teenage daughter, winding down is usually something I do AT work, which seems to be the only place I can relax from the rigors of getting her to school and keeping her fed and clothed and entertained! But my default relaxation is always either watching movies (preferably older ones) or reading. I insist on reading at least a little bit every single day, and my idea of heaven is a quiet room in a quiet, beautiful place (preferably with an ocean view), and a lot of books and movies. Facebook has eaten into the time I spend with those activities, because I’m way too active there. But I like the opportunity to have virtual conversations with many people around the world, and so social media is probably the third corner of my relaxation triangle.

IV: Yes, social media has brought the world to our doorstep. I’ve made a few very good Lusty friends through it. I’m astonished at how fast the development of internet, social media, etc. goes. Teenagers of today cannot imagine their life without it.

Speaking of teenagers, as a mother of 2 teenage girls, I have one burning question: please let me in on your secret on how to raise a teenage girl? One moment you love them to bits, the other moment you have to leave the room in order not to let the situation escalate. Many parents are searching for the handbook on how to raise kids, I’m sure. Have you found it?

JB: Do I have a handbook on how to raise a teenaged girl? BWAHAHAHAAAA! Yeah, right! I feel like the most incompetent parent ever born. The ONLY thing I know is to give her all the love I can and always be open to anything she wants to talk about. I feel utterly stupid most of the time, and I generally feel like I’ve been asked to pilot an airliner while speaking Croatian. It’s all guesswork to me, and I gaze in wonder at people who seem so competent at it. I’m scarcely the most disciplined person myself, so instilling discipline is an utter mystery to me. But I love my daughter with all my heart, and I let her know it constantly. I may never know or understand the secrets of good parenting, but I know the secret of love. She’ll always have that, whether I manage to teach her anything else or not.

IV: And love is the most important gift you can give Maddie.

I’ve seen some beautiful pictures you took in Ireland last time you were there. My guess is that photography is one of your hobbies. As a regular visitor to the UK and Ireland myself, I understand the beauty of those countries. What is your fascination with the UK and Ireland in particular?

JB: Photography isn’t exactly a hobby, but I have a minor eye for composition, so even my iPhone photos sometimes come out pretty good. Of course, taking pictures in Ireland and the UK is easier than in some places, because the landscape is so richly beautiful. I love history, and the British Isles are awash in history. I suppose every place is, but I’m somewhat more familiar with European history than some of those other places, and I love traveling to places where things I know about occurred. And there’s a poetic mystique to Ireland that increases its appeal. But anyplace I go, I like to dig into what happened there in centuries past. We are what came before us, and I like to know those things and see where they occurred.

IV: That are some nice compliments for our European readers. Enough history over here in Europe indeed. Give us a shout when you’re next in Europe, Holland has got a few nice spots as well.

To conclude this interview I would like to leave you with the signature question of the Lusty Fangirls: What is the most Lusty Moment in your life (in whatever way) up until now? This is a purely subjective question open to interpretation.

JB: The most Lusty Moment in my life? Hmmm. This could go a lot of ways. Well, this will sound like I’m blowing my own horn, and that’s because I guess I am. Aside from a little flirting, I don’t care much for exposing the more personal aspects of my life, especially the “Lusty” ones. But a former girlfriend once said to me, “You sure know your way around a woman.” It’s not exactly an Oscar, but as Lusty Moments go, it’ll do.

JB: Hope this is all good for you!

IV: Well Jim, I enjoyed interviewing you and am impressed with your responses. These really show your writing skills and your personality shines through. Thank you again and we Lusties hope to see you and say “Hi” at one of the US or European conventions.

@ilseverboven

LittleDutchTreat#LFG

 

 

Please Ignore the Men Behind the Curtain…..They Are the Great and Powerful…..VFX Team?

Ryan Curtis is the VFX Coordinator at Supernatural. He’s worked in VFX since 2010 and has had the opportunity to work on several really great shows before he began working on Supernatural. He is a regular contributor to conversations on Twitter and enjoys interacting with the fandom. We reached out to him recently and asked if we could sit down with him and find out a little more about him, the show and other projects he’s been working on. Ryan very graciously consented and the interview proved to be fun as well as educational.

DC: I started with the basics. Will you explain to us exactly what the term VFX encompasses and what you are responsible for in your role as Coordinator?

RC: Firstly VFX (Visual Effects) are the computer generated elements that appear in the show. Our most common effects are black eyes, angel deaths or demon fritzes.  An on-set Coordinator works under the VFX Supervisor and attends set while production is shooting any of the shots that will have VFX elements in them. My job is to make sure that all the data on-set is collected so that the VFX artists will be able to match the setups in CG (computer generated) land. Depending on the shot, I might collect data such as lens size, angle of camera, lighting setup etc. 

 

Often I will supervise the filming of smaller setups while our Supervisor Mark Meloche is working with our artists in finishing an episode. When supervising we work with the director and DP (director of photography) to make sure that we shoot all the elements we need in order to piece together an effect. Sometimes it is as simple as a dot on someone’s face, or it can be a much more elaborate effect using greenscreen and winds, such as Dean escaping purgatory in season 8. 

There are many effects in an episode that people don’t even realize are VFX… if we do our jobs correctly. 

DC:  Kind of ironic that you work to make things appear while at the same time making sure your work isn’t necessarily visible to the naked eye…kind of a paradox! I have to say I kind of thought a black eye would be something that was done in makeup. I think I’ll be watching the episodes a little differently now.

You’ve had the chance to work on some pretty great shows.  I personally loved the first two seasons of The Killing and have been told I’d love Haven as well.  I don’t see any credits for anything earlier than 2010.  Did you do something else before you got into VFX?

RC: Yes, in my former life I was an IT professional and Tech Support. It started out fun, back in the 90’s IT guys got to be cowboys and make their own rules, but the industry changed and it got too stuffy. I am not the biggest fan of corporate politics so it was time to find something else. I started editing video at home and realized that I loved it so I decided (at 34yo) to change careers… somehow. I studied up on editing and learned some techniques. I knew NO ONE in the entertainment business and wasn’t sure how the hell I could get in, but I was determined. I continued to try and pursue editing, little did I know at the time but Vancouver doesn’t do much post production work in regard to online editing, it’s mostly done in LA.

Eventually I came across someone looking for an IT/VFX editor. I used my decades of IT skills to get a job that got me into an editing suite. Turns out I loved VFX. As a VFX Editor, or I/O Coordinator as it is sometimes called, I was responsible for cutting in new versions of the VFX shots and playing back the scenes for everyone to look at. I was basically a glorified file shuttler. But I loved it. And yes, the company I worked for did some cool shows. Haven was the first show I got to touch and it just happened to be one of my favs, so it was very, very exciting for me.

DC: What a great story of reinventing yourself and ending up finding something that you love doing. We all spend so much time at work that it doesn’t make sense to spend day after day in an environment that we don’t enjoy. It takes a brave individual to walk away from an established career and start over. I’ve done it a time or two as well and have encouraged others to try to find their passion.

 So, do you coordinate the physical effects as well?  Do you have a preference?

RC: Physical Effects, practical effects or Special Effects – SFX are a totally different. They are a different breed then us pixel and mouse boys. Typically they do stuff like blow up cars, suspend actors on wires, or rig explosive charges (squibs) in people to make them look like they are getting shot.  That is a very interesting department; you should interview one of them too.

DC: I would love to talk to one of them – will you recommend me? I’m not sure I follow any of them and I think that their job sounds equally as interesting as yours on the VFX side.

Have you or your respective teams ever been asked for an effect that you couldn’t pull off? 

RC: We can do anything with enough time. Our VFX Supervisor, Mark Meloche, loves to push the boundaries of what we can accomplish and he challenges the team to produce bigger and better visuals every season.  Plus, new technologies allow us to accomplish stuff that was only possible by huge budget features just a few years ago. We are always welcoming new and exciting visual effects.

DC: It sounds like you switched fields at a good time. I honestly don’t think we’ve reached the limit of what can be achieved through technology. It will be interesting to take a look back in 15 or 20 years and see how the effects hold up as things change. Think of the original Star Wars or Indiana Jones movies, and yes, I’m dating myself.

Are there instances where you have been able to improve upon the writer/director’s vision for an effect?

RC: Sure, we do that all the time. Our show is pretty cool with allowing departments to add their own touches when it’s appropriate. I guess one example from this season is the truck going off the bridge in 10×13. We had the opportunity and the know how to do a CGI truck, so I suggested the truck flying off the bridge and then into the camera. We mocked up a rough animatic and they liked it. I hoped they would use the truck flying into camera to smash the titles, and they did. I was so happy.

DC: I loved that visual! It was very, very effective particularly with the title card design this season. Totally not sucking up – you can ask the others, I mentioned it on our group re-watch of that episode and again to my sister.

 Do you have a favorite episode(s) out of anything you’ve worked on) in terms of the work you and/or your team did for the episode?  Can you share the episode(s) with us?

RC: Personally I like 8×23 (Sacrifice), the 200th (FanFiction), anything with Jody Mills (and Donna Hanscum), The French Mistake… and I also was the VFX supervisor for 10×13 (Halt & Catch Fire) this year, so that is one of my favs.

 

DC:  So, here’s a total fan girl confession from me, I wept at end of 8×23. The angels falling from heaven while Sam appeared to be dying really affected me. My personal all-time favorite episode though is 3×08 (A Very Supernatural Christmas). I love Sam and Dean’s back story and yes, I cry during that episode as well.

Have you ever appeared as a character or an extra on any of the shows you’ve worked on?  If so, will share the episode names?  We’d love to try to spot you!

RC: I might be somewhere in 10×14 (The Executioner’s Song)…

DC: OK, we (the Lusties) will have to do a re-watch to see if we can spot you!

I imagine like corporate departments everywhere you guys have a budget and that you have to make that money last throughout your shooting year.  How do you determine what percentage of the budget goes into each episode?  

RC: Our VFX Producer Grant Lindsay takes care of the budget stuff. He has been doing it for this show since season 1 so he is an old pro. Ticks along like a Swiss clock.

DC: Supernatural’s been in production for ten years which is remarkable in itself and as I mentioned earlier those ten years have been filled with large and small technological advancements which is equally remarkable. Is there anything you wish your team had access to?

RC: I wish we had a replicator or holodeck.

DC: Those would make things a little easier, wouldn’t they? Ever since I saw the holodeck on TNG I wanted one for my home….dream big and all.

Everyone in the fandom loves the gag reels.  Is any of that planned in advance (outside the short piece Misha did for last season), as in “let’s do this for the gag reel” or is it truly that spontaneous?  Or, as someone else put it, is there really that much screwing around on set and does it get in the way of production?

RC: I don’t think anything is planned out, and I am sure there is a lot that doesn’t get on there too. We just have fun, like most people do at work. I wouldn’t call it screwing around per se, but when you are stuck together for 12 to 15 hours per day, 5 days per week for 10 months you gotta laugh. I have to say Gag reels are my favorites.

DC: Fair enough, we do plenty of ‘screwing around’ where I work as well and many of us have worked together for eleven years now. We just don’t get it on camera (that we know of). I think a good sense of humor is essential for navigating the work place. Without the humor there are situations that could go sideways in a heartbeat. One thing we (the fandom) have heard time and time again is how much fun it is to work on the Supernatural set.  Would you share one of your favorite memories of working on Supernatural?

RC: I remember being on Stage 1, it was August and it was super-hot outside but even hotter in the stage. I was waiting around to do our shots for hours and just sweating. I was pretty miserable and started thinking “Sometimes this job sucks” when just at that moment the craft services guy Mike walked in with a tray of Ice Cream treats for everyone. I then decided that maybe it’s not so bad.  

Another is watching in video village while Jensen and Ty Olsson did the “good bye to Benny scene” in the Alley, and also watching Jared and Mark do the “in the Church” Scenes in 8×23 (Sacrifice). Both contain some epic acting; those were memorable moments to get to experience.

DC: I follow you on Twitter and have seen you tweeting about your project The Weirdo Hero, what would you like to tell people about the project?  Have you enjoyed your stint as director?  Could you see yourself directing again?

RC: Weirdo Hero is a short film I directed this year. It is about a pro-wrestler who is battling depression. It’s pretty intense subject matter, but we tried to make it light hearted too. There will be tears, but way more laughs. We hope to try and spread awareness of depression, and to help to remove the stigma that depression carries, especially among young men.

It’s funny how these projects come along. I remember way back when I started in this biz doing VFX Editing and thinking, I would never want to be on-set… Then, I went to set and loved it… I then thought I would never want to supervise… Again, I did and I loved it as well… I thought I would never want to direct, and found myself calling action on a 30 pages/6 day shoot of a short film.  It was a fantastic experience and I am proud to say I am a pretty good director. I found it very natural and had a lot of fun. Basically I wanted to do it just to see if I could. We made the film for about $5000 and it will run about 30 minutes.

The first day of shooting I told everyone, we are here to meet people in the industry, make new friends and have fun, and as a bonus we get to make a movie. So that’s what we did, we just had fun. I got to cast some friends and some actors that I have worked with before. Everyone volunteered their time and we shot it on weekends. There was a crew of about 18.

Currently I am editing and working on the Post side of it. There is still so much to do; we have to the do voice overs, sound design, musical score, foley, visual effects, color timing and distribution. So if anyone reading would like to donate we sure could use your donations to help complete the film. You can link to our gofundme page from www.theweirdohero.com

As for will I do it again? Most definitely, I am already looking for my next project.

DC: I really admire what both you, Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles are doing to help bring awareness to depression and mental illness. I have suffered from depression and it’s almost conjoined twin, anxiety disorder for as long as I can remember and it is hard to talk about it with people who have had no personal experience with any kind of mental illness. I think you are absolutely correct in your assessment that it is more difficult for young men to seek help for depression and hopefully these projects will help the general public gain a greater understanding of the struggle facing anyone suffering from any form of mental disease. There are so many misconceptions floating around and people are embarrassed to ask questions and/or seek help. I’m looking forward to seeing the film once it’s released.

Imagine that you are given the opportunity to do any film or show that you wanted – no strings, huge budget, what would you choose? 

RC: My Own. Can’t talk about it, but maybe someday you might see it on TV.  

DC: Interesting… I’ll be sure to keep a lookout for that in the future. 

You’re very active on Twitter and quite witty.  What do you like best about this form communication?  What do you see as the drawbacks (if any)? 

RC: I like Twitter very much because it feels like a big conversation you are having with the world. I love that I can follow people I look up to and know what they are thinking about certain things. I love that actors or scientists or whomever interact with each other for everyone to see. I find it very humanizing. Currently I have around 7500 followers, which is a great number, because I always have someone to talk to and I can still read my @replies.

I always feel bad because I only add people on Facebook if I know them in real life; I get a lot of friend requests. Sorry if I didn’t add you… I am trying to keep it for my private life.  

DC: That makes sense and is completely understandable. I have just one more question for you and it’s sort of the signature question of the group, how do you define ‘lusty’? 

RC: I like the idea of Lusty more than the actual form of lustiness. I think everyone wants to be lusted after in theory, but if faced with it outright I am pretty sure it would be unnerving to most people.

Also, whenever I hear the word “Lusty” I think of a well-endowed woman… hmm wonder what 80’s movie imprinted that on my brain? Might be a few. Also I could just be thinking Busty.

DC: I suspect that you are right regarding actually being lusted after….and as far as well-endowed? Well, Lusty does rhyme with Busty, right? In all seriousness I think that each of the LustyFanGirls would have their own definition of what lusty means to them and to me that is one of the greatest aspects of this group. We are all different, but have been able to bond over our common interests, most specifically, Supernatural.

Ryan, thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions. I have truly enjoyed getting to know you and your work a little better. There will be a contingent of LustyFanGirls at Vancon again this year and if you’re there, just look for the girls wearing bright pink t-shirts bearing the Lusty Logo.

If anyone else reading is heading to Vancon this year please be sure to say ‘hi’ to Ryan if you see him and take a minute to thank him for his hard work on our favorite show. Of course you need to let him know you read all about him here at LustyFanGirls.com.

xo DebbiCakes

@debbibach

 

Adam Williams, VFX Never Looked So Sexy!

avatar_9df690af5d40_128The adorably funny and amazing Adam Williams gave us a few minutes out of his crazy VFX life, so we thought we would pick his brain a bit!

LFG: We all see the VFX on the show and  wonder how all that comes together. With that said, what does a day in the life of a VFX I/O Coordinator look like?

AW:  It looks pretty fabulous. A lot of rich blues, deep greens, and a fleck or two of gold.

Really there are some things that occur daily such as backing up camera footage from the previous photography day, eating a chicken and bacon sandwich with extra bacon, getting the dailies (circled takes from the previous day) into my Avid workstation, and drinking copious amounts of coffee; other than those expected affairs of the average day things tend to be fairly variant.

I need to keep our cuts updated and organized, make sure the artists have up to date media, show the Supervisor shots as they are completed, prepare proof-of-concept clips for email, work on demo reels for internal use or upload, finalize and consolidate episodes as they air, and numerous other rewarding tasks.

LFG: What was the driving force that led you to become involved with VFX?

AW: Ever since I was young I have been a big fan of film and mostly the visual effects. I saw Star Wars as a youth and was instantly curious how they managed to make light sabres glow. It wasn’t until I got to meet George Lucas at 12yrs old that anyone could explain a bit of the magic behind the screen. I got to tour his early facility then and as well a few years later when I was 16. By this point I had already been making my own puppets and models of spaceships and other wacky scifi vehicles, and George showed me how they can bring the illusion of internal lighting, laser cannons, and people inside windows.

When I saw Supernatural for the first time in season one I was blown away. I loved how great the visual effects looked and when I found out that it was a local Vancouver company contracted to work the visuals I sought them out. For financial reasons I couldn’t leave my position at NASA just yet, but when the opportunity arrived to join the Supernatural VFX department in Season 4 I jumped on it.

The real twist in the whole story is that none of it is true. I never cared for Star Wars, was not interested in film at all as a youth but rather music, I never met Lucas, and I didn’t join SPN in Season 4. But it makes for a better story.

LFG: You have been with SPN crew for quite some time now, what is so unique about this environment?

AW: For me it is extremely unique because it is my first job in film. How it is unique in comparison to other shows, or in my case other VFX facilities, is totally beyond me. Hopefully it is more awesome so I am not inadvertently missing out on better opportunities simply because I am not aware of them. (I kid)

LFG: What percentage of an episode has VFX work that we, as viewers, may not initially realize is VFX?

AW: It changes episode to episode, but it’s a good 25% easy. The episode that aired prior to my typing this (S10E13) had more than usual with around 40% of all shots we did being totally invisible where the audience has no reason to suspect it is VFX. These are logo removals, equipment paint outs, background paint outs, prop modifications, etc.

LFG: What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

AW: The most challenging aspect for me is to keep track of shots, changes, versions, and making sure all T’s are crossed and I’s are dotted. It’s 90% organization, 9% redundant task, and 1% creative. That 1% consists of the demo reels I upload to vimeo that I get the pleasure of editing and sometimes color grading.

LFG: What other productions have you worked on?

AW: I “worked” on Misha Collins’ TSA project, and that is the only endeavor I am credited with.

LFG: Is there a favorite VFX that you have coordinated that stands out above the rest?

AW: I think burning Abaddon in the church stands out as exemplary TV visual effects, but the credit for that is not mine.

LFG: What has been the most difficult VFX effect coordinated so far?

AW: There really aren’t effects more difficult to coordinate than others, at least in so far as IO coordination, which is aka IO editing. Sometimes it’s challenging but it’s not so much hinged on what effect has to go into a shot, but rather what plates (clips) go into it and how easy they are to understand on sight.

It’s difficult to communicate because the reader would need to see an episode’s timeline and understand how clips are stacked and effected in order to reach a desired look in Avid. Suffice to say sometimes deciphering the clips on a timeline is not as easy as it sounds and can feel more like forensics than editorial.

LFG: What has been the biggest benefit to you working on a show like Supernatural?

AW: The biggest benefit for me is the opportunities I have here to learn from others. Film is a ‘who you know’ thing and I was fortunate enough to know someone to get my foot into this door. But now that I am here I am focused more on ‘what you know’ and learn everything I can. Eventually I will move on and ‘who you know’ will be important again, but until I know enough to be confident in my abilities in a given field I would rather buckle down and use this opportunity to learn.

LFG: Are there any charitable or special causes that you support?

AW: Vancouver Children’s Hospital would be my numero uno, but I also like the Shiner’s Hospitals because they will treat kids from around the world in their facilities.

LFG: Besides driving all your followers insane on Twitter, what are your hobbies or interests outside of your work?

AW: Learning is probably my most permanent hobby. I don’t read quite as much as I used to but I still like to bury my head into something nerdy. These days it is mostly film-industry related. I also enjoy playing music but it’s again something I have not been doing a lot of. Working long days and living in a high rise prevents a lot of noise making, but I hope to get back into it in the future.

I love the sun and being outside and take every opportunity I can to vegetate on a beach in the sun or go for a nice hike in the bush. A lot of my creativity and ideas percolate to the surface of my noggin when I am outside and enjoying the sun, fresh air, and a light inebriation.

A hobby I have recently taken up is designing “fantasy and fandom” wares that I sell through my webstore “Fantomware.com”. It is pretty empty at the moment while I overhaul the site’s format, but in just a couple months my lovely girlfriend Lucy (@SpnUK) and I have done around a dozen designs for it.

And last, but not least in the way of effort, I have been assimilated into the borg-mind known as GISHWHES. I formed a team (Sewshigh) for 2014 with my girl and a few close friends and we kicked ass. It was a lot of fun amidst the hard labor and tears of madness, and I look forward to entering again in 2015 with most of the members we had in 2014. Go Team Sewshigh!

Check out some of the cool stuff Adam has put together by the VFX department!

Follow Adam on all his social media accounts!

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/BullitTheJedi
Twitter – @adamwvfx
Snapchat – adamwvfx
Tumblr – http://theadamwilliams.tumblr.com/
IMDB – http://www.imdb.com/name/nm5244907/
Vimeo (SPN Demo reels) – https://vimeo.com/user18048128
Youtube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrMOJbyfdXks-JXA7y_ndCg
Personal Website (music and poetry) – http://adamw.ca

And You Call Your Mom a Witch…

The producers at Supernatural do a world class job with casting and have done so from the very beginning with Sam and Dean. Now, ten seasons in, with the introduction of Rowena, portrayed by Ruth Connell, they’ve once again hit it out of the park.  We as a fandom are so lucky to have such talented actors on the show.  I know for me it’s a big part of what makes me so very passionate about Supernatural.ruth4

Ruth, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me. I know the fandom is going to love learning a little more about their favorite witch!  It is really so generous of you to let us get to know you a little better.

DC: Rowena comes across as a very complex and very strong woman which I believe is a big part of her appeal to viewers.  Does she have further surprises up her sleeve for us and for her ‘puir, wee boy’? I kind of hope so, she’s kept me guessing from the start and I just love that in a character.

RC: There are surprises for Rowena too – in a lot of ways she is reacting to how her circumstances are changing. The next episode is a big one for her and you see a bit more of how the relationship develops between her and Crowley. If I’m surprised reading the scripts then yes you can be guaranteed there are twists and turns aplenty to come!

DC: Was there anything about this character that especially “spoke” to you when you initially reviewed the script and made the decision to audition?

RC: The last line of the audition sides delighted me and totally informed me of the character – Bob Berens wrote it and I love him for it! The line kinda showed up in the last episode where I said; “Now do you understand why it breaks my heart to see what a colossal ‘numb nut’ you’ve become?” Originally it was ‘pussy’ but that’s tough for sensors to pass so ‘numb nut’ popped out instead.

DC: “Numb nut” sounds more like something someone who’s been around as long as Rowena would say anyway.  It came across brilliantly in the episode.ruth6

Have you been allowed to tweak any of her personality traits once you started working on the character?

RC: I always turn up to set with my take, my imaginative response to what is written. I love what the producers and writers have given me to do – I totally get how lucky I am to have such a brilliant character to play. Anything I offer is only ever to bring as much color and life as possible to Rowena. There is so much scope with her that it’s a gift of a role to play with.

DC: She is an amazing character.  One of the strongest female characters yet.  Seeing her interacting with her son is just so illuminative of Crowley’s own issues and the response to Rowena has been overwhelmingly positive.

You studied dance when you were growing up, is that what drew you to acting as a career or was the dance education in support of a choice you’d already made?  I chose my first career when I was a fairly young child so I believe that some people do know quite early what they’d like to do with their lives.

RC: Dance was my way in to ‘the business’ for sure. I was expressive as a dancer which was the only thing that made me think it might be possible for me to be an actor. It seemed far-fetched to be from where I’m from and say, “I want to be an actor!” The transition was gradual but it was always in my heart to be an actor.

DC: You are a great fit for the mother of the King of Hell.  You seem to convey a lot of Rowena’s ruth2personality through very elegant facial expressions and gestures.  How did you decide which expressions and gestures to use?

RC: I feel Rowena in my bones! I hope I have an understanding of her and I trust what comes out. I rehearse and try things too and go with my instincts about what’s right. I can ask the director when it comes to being on set if I’m in doubt about something perhaps being ‘too big’ shall we say! I want to push the boundaries but not go too far either.

DC:  I think you’ve got a great feel for the character.  What’s been the most rewarding part of playing Rowena and conversely, what has been the most challenging?

RC: The most rewarding part is just getting to play the part – I love it so much. The most important thing for me is to feel I’m doing a good job for the show. Challenges happen all the time – this might sound a bit serious but I think always in life the internal battles we face are the toughest ie doubts, fears and other such nonsense and insecurities!

DC:  I think it is true that no matter what we are doing, we, as humans, are our own worst critics.  Oftentimes finding the way past those internal insecurities is the hardest part of any job we take.

You may not be able to address these next questions but does she (Rowena) have any maternal feelings at all for Fergus or is she as cold and calculating as she seems to convey?ruthmark1

RC: In the last episode I told Fergus I was proud of him being the King of Hell. I believe I meant it. As much as I can perceive anything truthful as Rowena! I also meant the ‘thank you’ I said to him as he killed Gerald for me. I was surprised and touched by that. Genuinely – Mark is such a good actor I was affected in that way in that moment. I need to stop now – it’s getting a bit sentimental! Bah!

DC:  I believe that the Supernatural production and consequently the fandom are blessed with amazingly talented actors.  I don’t think the show would have lasted as long as it has without the incredible talent that can be found both on screen and off.

Is Rowena looking primarily for power or revenge against those who she feels wronged her (including the Winchesters who she feels have emasculated her Fergus)?

RC: When we met Rowena she was all about the Grand Coven. Then other things come into play. Watch and see! I believe it changes.

DC:  We know that Fergus was conceived during a pagan festival, who do you imagine was his father?

RC: If you believe her…lol! I have a few ideas up my sleeve for sure. I think it’s a really important piece of the puzzle.ruthmark

DC:   Oooh – mysterious and interesting.  Now I’ll have to put my thinking cap on.  I have an immediate reaction to that but I’ll keep it to myself.

When I asked Rachel Miner about the sarcasm she brought to the role of Meg she said that as a demon she felt that Meg had seen and done it all and was consequently able to see the humor in things the rest of us might overlook.  Rowena also possesses a very unique sense of humor, would you say that similar to the demon Meg, she is now amused by humanity in general or is she using the humor and sarcasm to cover her bitterness at being thrown out of the Grand Coven?  Using these character traits to deflect her disappointment and anger over the fact that her peers didn’t recognize her greatness?

RC: I think Rowena likes a laugh.

DC:  Trust a fangirl to put so much extra thought into a character! Rowena is a very skilled and powerful witch, one of the spells she created the “Defigere et Depurgare,” vanishes demons.  Will we see this come in to play at all?  I think it would be a phenomenal weapon in the Winchester’s arsenal.

RC: You will see more and more interesting spells I feel!

DC:  The fandom loves your accent!  Do you have to modulate your speech patterns at all?

RC: I play around with it, telephone voice to guttural Scots. Old fashioned to modern. Cheeky to formal. And sometimes just whatever comes oot!

DC:  Rowena is certainly one of the more complex characters on the show.  I love your wardrobe which while old fashioned in some ways it is still very, very sexy and glamorous.  It suits your character quite well.  Is there anything about it that you would change if you could?

RC: I adore my gowns. I’m a very happy bunny.

DC:  How do you like living and working in the US/Canada?  Do you have a favorite thing about the colonies?

RC: It’s so great to work in different countries. Life is an adventure and I’m loving exploring Vancouver for sure. I still feel like a tourist in LA and get a kick from being around all the old-school film era landmarks.ruth1

DC:  I have to wonder if anyone is ever really “at home” in LA since the very foundations of the place is built on dreams and imagination.

If you could choose to live in another time period, would you?  If so, which would you choose and why?

RC: I’m happy to be alive now. Not sure I fancy all that plague and pestilence from the past really…

DC:  Good point!

Two final questions….first, you have the most beautiful skin!  What’s your secret?  Seriously!

RC: Zabrina Matiru head of make-up!

DC:  Damn, not something I could pick up at the local drug store….lol!

And lastly, we call our group Lusty Fangirls so were wondering what your most “lusty” experience has been so far in your life?  If it’s still on your bucket list, will you share?  This is a fun question and not meant to be overly personal at all.

RC: You mean apart from being on set with the two J’s? Ooh I still think I have it all to play for! I’m all for a bit of lust! Can’t wait to see what comes up… 😉 RxRuthie

DC:  And with that one answer you’ve given the entire fandom heart palpitations!

Once again, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to answer our questions.  You are now officially part of the #SPNFamily and I know the fandom will appreciate this opportunity to get to know you a little better.

Speaking strictly for myself, I think that Supernatural S10 has been one of the strongest in recent years.  Each new episode offers new insights into even the characters we’ve known from the beginning and teases us with the multiple ways in which this year’s story arc could play out.  I eagerly anticipate every week’s new episode and then enjoy discussing all the nuances with my ruth3friends on and off line.  While we may not always agree about what direction the story is headed, we do agree that Rowena’s introduction to the story and the cast offers a multitude of new puzzles to solve and conflicts to overcome.  The gods know that the Winchesters can’t survive long without either.  I sincerely hope your character has the opportunity to be a thorn in the sides of Sam, Dean and of course her ‘wee boy’ for some time.

xo DebbiCakes

 

 

There’s a New Sheriff in Town and She’s Cussing Awesome!

Briana Buckmaster joined the cast of Supernatural in S9 as Sheriff Donna Hanscum in a one off MOW episode called “The Purge”.  One of the things I find that the powers-that-be at Supernatural do very, very well is casting, particularly for the guest actor spots, and they haven’t disappointed the viewers with Donna Hanscum (freaking great name too).  Donna’s introduction to us and to Sam and Dean was at the police station over the cliché of donuts and coffee.  This scene was both hilarious and endearing all at the same time.  I still don’t know how Dean briana2managed to get powdered sugar all over his face and none on his Feebie suit….that boy has some mad eating skillz!  I think that Donna comes across as really relatable to almost all women.  She’s a little insecure about her looks, wants to get 15-20 pounds off, is in a profession that is traditionally a male stronghold and was married to a passive-aggressive narcissistic prick.  I’d be willing to bet that most of the female viewership has been in those shoes at least once.

DC:  Have fans been reaching out to you at all?  Donna Hanscum seems like she’d be a great person to hang out with and would be a solid and dependable friend.  I’d love to have her as a neighbor!

BB: Fans have been reaching out to me in many ways. I love it. Writing me letters, making fan-art, or just tweeting me saying they feel like they really connected with Ms. Hanscum. I read every single tweet. It makes my day when someone tells me how Donna has affected them or their experience with the show. I couldn’t have asked for a better response.

DC:  I think it’s a credit to both the writing and the way you portray the character that Sheriff Hanscum makes you feel like you could sit down with her and share life stories.

You have some amazing experience, including writing credits.  Do you think that your writing experience gives you an advantage when interpreting the writer’s vision for the characters you’ve played?  How else has your background in writing helped or hindered your acting? I would think that it would give you an edge, particularly in auditions.  Not everyone can instantly create a character or scene out of a few words!

BB: I don’t know that the writing gives me the edge. I think it’s really the improv experience that gives me the one up at auditions. It makes directors feel at ease when they know an actor can handle anything that is thrown at them. And it has definitely come in handy on the Supernatural set that’s for sure. Improv just makes you a better actor. Period. I wish I continued in my improv career. I have friends who are incredibly talented at it. I envy them when I see them on stage making people roll over in the aisles.

DC:  You’ve been fortunate enough to work in theater, film and television as well as improv.  Do you have a favorite medium?  When you write, do you find yourself gravitating to one genre or is your writing fairly diverse?briana1

BB: My writing generally is comedic writing. I actually am involved as a writer in a new project that should be launching in the next couple weeks that I’m very excited about. Performing wise I like to do a little bit of everything. That way I never take anything for granted and I’m constantly pushing myself to get better. I’ve been working in theatre for most of my life so it’s where I’m comfortable. But it has its challenges. It’s very physically exhausting working 6 nights a week for months on end. Working in TV is so new to me that I learn something every time I’m on set. Since I’ve been an actor for 15 years the acting part comes naturally, but the technical part of TV acting is what is very challenging.

DC:  I hope you let us know when your new project launches. The #SPNFamily is very loyal and would love to support whatever you’re working on.  You’ve been acting for 15 years, when did you know you wanted to act?  I actually chose my first career when I was about five years old, I was a nurse.  (I never played doctor, just nurse!)

BB: I knew I wanted to be an entertainer when I was around 5. I wrote a letter to the Mini Pops (a teeny-bobber music group) to ask if I could be in their singing troupe. But I knew I wanted to be an actor when I was 11 and my mom took me to see Les Miz. From then on my dreams were to be on Broadway. My musical theatre passion still lives on but I’m much more flexible now about where my dreams take me ☺

DC:  I think we all have to learn to be more flexible as we grow up.  I got my degree in nursing, but now work for a bank and write!  So speaking of being flexible…you know I have to ask about the food truck….how did you get involved in that?  What was your specialty?  How long did you run the truck? Is it still running?

BB: When I first moved to Vancouver (from Toronto) my husband and I were BROKE and feeling like we were floundering. He worked as a chef at a very high profile restaurant in TO and neither of us seemed to find our footing. Some acquaintances approached him to become a partner in their food truck right when the city was giving license to serve from a truck. We served one thing- Authentic BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches. We were a hit. Line ups around the block. Selling out every lunch hour. We were even featured on the Food Network show Eat Street. We then opened up our own shop (which was much less weather dependent) and the truck is now used mostly for catered functions. Our business partners run the business now but we are still owners. I’m a hustler. I’ve had a great many different careers while also being an actor: make-up artist, event coordinator, I’ve given out coffee samples at grocery stores, and I’ve sold boat licenses at outdoors shows. Whatever I needed to do I did it.

DC:  It seems to me that the people who end up making it in their chosen field are all pretty willing to do whatever it takes to get them to their ultimate goal.  It’s a lesson that I think needs to be taught to young adults as soon as they get out of university!

I heard a rumor that you were pregnant when you filmed The Purge.  If you were, did it make the filming more difficult?  How did the crew treat you?  Fans have heard for years that everyone working on the production is nice so hopefully they were able to make things easier for you.briana7

BB: Totally preggers. The thing is I had JUST started auditioning for TV a few months prior and was booking quite a bit so I was really worried that I wouldn’t get any work for a long time. So when I auditioned I didn’t say anything. I wasn’t particularly ‘showing’. I just looked THICK. So when the audition breakdown called for ‘pleasantly plump’ I was perfect. Only wardrobe and stunt people knew prior to the shoot. Even Phil (Sigriccia) didn’t know until the second day. He was so worried about how long he had me lying on my tummy for that fat sucking scene. I was totally fine! Everyone treated me like gold. And Jared’s wife was due any day so he and I bonded over child birth techniques and stuff. The boys were so excited for me.

DC:  Was it difficult to master Donna’s heavy Minnesota accent?  You sounded pretty natural – I hope you take that as the compliment it’s meant to be – and I couldn’t help but wonder how much work it was to master that particular cadence.  As a native Chicagoan I know I don’t have any accent at all…..hahaha!

BB: Not difficult for me at all. As everyone knows, Canada has a similar drawl to the folks in Minnesota so I just did a bit more research to be a little more specific. Minnesota has a sing-song sound to their cadence. Not all people of course talk the same in the state. Just as in Canada, accents are different depending on what part you live in, age, class etc. I love briana8studying dialects. It’s fascinating.

DC:  A Chicago accent even varies depending on whether you’re north or south side!  Did you know when you filmed The Purge that there could be an opportunity for Sheriff Donna to make another appearance?  If not, did it come as a welcome surprise?

BB: When I got the part I was just so excited to be working (A), and (B) I was so excited to have a part with more than a few lines. As I mentioned I hadn’t been doing much TV so most of my parts were just 1 liners. But I have a big theatre background so I was used to acting on stage for hours at a time in front of hundreds of people. I found working in TV fascinating but longed to ACT. This gig was exciting in that way. When I wrapped Phil gave me a pin that he has made each season and gives to only the crew. He said “I’m giving this to you because you’re coming back. This isn’t the end for this character.” I was just glad he was happy with my work. Anything beyond that I take with a grain of salt. You know…. Hollywood types. But he was telling the truth!

DC:  Hibbing 911 was a great episode!  You and Kim seemed to work very well together and you both looked like you were having fun despite what must have been long shooting hours. Was it as much fun as it appeared to be?briana5

BB: Everyone had been telling me for months how awesome Kim was and I totally scoped her out on twitter and was like ‘this chick is sassy and I like it’. I remember the first scene we shot was the one where Donna and Jody meet for the first time. I was so nervous (it was my first on camera job since having the baby. And I had 22 scenes and shot every day for that episode. BIG learning curve). I kept swearing and would apologize to Kim and she would kind of giggle and say “Oh I forgot. You don’t know me that well yet.” So we spent the shoot swearing like a couple of truckers. Whenever I had a question about anything from crew members names, to conventions, how to shoot a scene where you cut off someone’s head- she had my back. Sometimes she would come eat dinner in my trailer while I would pump (I was still breastfeeding). She’s a solid chick that one. I’m so lucky to get to be paired up with her. Conventions are going to be mad fun…

DC:  I’m totally looking forward to a panel with the two of you!  A Sheriff Mills and Sheriff Hanscum Supernatural spinoff is one of the more popular spinoff ideas in the fandom.  Would that be something you would be interested in, and what would you envision as the briana6setup/scenario?  How would you pitch the idea to the money guys?

BB: Um Yes I’d be interested. Hell yes. Of Course! Though I would prefer that the basis of the plot did not evolve around romantic relationships with men. It seems that a lot of shows look at women as one dimensional and base most of their story lines round a man. I think women are gloriously complex and I love the idea of NOT having everything be explained and be tied up in a neat little bow at the end of 60 minutes. Love, Pain, Work, existentialism. Imagine the ground we could cover if romance was only PART of the story we told….

DC:  I’d love to see you two battling both human and supernatural baddies and totally kicking ass, and then maybe a little romance for a change of pace!  I’m fairly certain the fandom would want to see you two go all BAMF (bad ass mother…..) every week!

I call myself a LustyFanGirl so totally wave my freak flag with pride.  Is there anyone or anything that you’ve fangirled over?  I swear I won’t tell 😉  Maybe Jensen’s eyes?  Jared’s shoulders? Misha’s sense of humor? (You really don’t have to answer that last, I just couldn’t help myself.)

BB:  Eww. Jared and Jensen are like my brothers. Handsome, sexy brothers…. I’d love to work with Misha. I’ve only hung out with him once but we were killing each other laughing. I think it scared Jensen. In a good way.

DC:  LOL!  Speaking of these guys, the fandom has heard from almost everyone who’s worked with them that they are welcoming, helpful and just darn nice to the guests on the show.  Did you find that to be the case as well?  There are so many people out there who once they achieve a certain level of fame (this isn’t necessarily restricted to actors) adopt an attitude of entitlement and self-absorption.  I love knowing that there are people like you, Nicki, Rachel, Jared, Jensen, Misha, etc. who have managed to remain down to earth and well-adjusted even while being lauded for your career choice.  That is honestly one of the biggest reasons I fangirl over the show and I want others to recognize just how genuine and how very nice all the people associated with Supernatural are.briana4

BB: Jared and Jensen are real gentlemen. When we first met they were polite and very complimentary. After they realized that I had a pretty good sense of humour we then started joking around and teasing each other. The first scene we filmed together was that famous donut scene. After the 3rd day we could not stop trying to make each other laugh. They said to me “Briana! We’re gonna take you to LA for Pilot season and make you famous.” I was happy that they liked working with me. Also, like I said, I was just happy to be working. The thing about that show is that it’s been shooting in Vancouver for so long that sooo many of my actor friends have been on the show. And they ALL say that they’ve had fantastic experiences and the boys are really welcoming even to the day players. That’s very telling. Cause it’s certainly not like that on all the sets I’ve been on.

DC:  I think that hearing things like this is part of what makes the #SPNFamily so special.  If the Js weren’t the way they are I’m not sure they’d have gathered the following they have had for so long.

If you could choose anyone living or dead, to work with on a production, who would it be and why?  What film, play, etc. would you like to do with this person?

BB: I would love to do a movie with Melissa McCarthy and I’d love to do a play with Cate Blanchett. Cate has her own Theatre company in Australia. I admire that as a renowned movie star she still treasures her roots as a theatre performer.

DC: If you were given the opportunity to go back in time and witness a historical event of your choice.  What would you choose?  Why?

BB: The birth of my daughter. I ended up having an emergency C-section after 43 hours of labour so I didn’t get to see the moment she came into the world. It was a very painful experience for me. Physically and emotionally. I feel like I’m still recovering. But would love the opportunity of a do-over.

DC:  I’m sorry to hear that and I can imagine it was difficult.  Maybe we’ll discover the technology to make that happen.

I have just one more question and it is kind of a silly, fun question.  As LustyFanGirls we were wondering if you’d share your most “lusty” experience/memory with us?  We’re even interested if it’s still on your bucket list….of course if you’d prefer to not answer I understand.

BB: I’m not sure what you mean by Lusty and since my husband will probably read this I’m gonna leave this answer blank before I over indulge 😉

DC:  We made the decision to leave the definition of “lusty” up to each person we talk to.  I’m not sure I have an actual definition myself – shhhhh don’t spread it around!

One of my goals for writing this series of interviews is to help focus the fandom’s awareness on with the outstanding female actors who have appeared on Supernatural in the hope that Creation Entertainment here in the US and Rogue in Europe will start inviting you to more conventions.  The women are largely ignored when it comes to these events and I think that’s a shame.  A Donna/Jody (Briana/Kim) panel would be unbelievably fun and probably side-splittingly funny.  I’d buy a dual photo op as well!  Hopefully the articles and all the tweeting we do will eventually reach those in the decision making seats.

BB: Kim and I are booked for 3 conventions together this year so far. Rogue in England, DC and Pasadena. They’ll be more if there is desire so spread the word!

DC:  I’ll definitely be tweeting in support of having you two at Chicon in October!

Thank you very much Briana for taking the time to talk with me and for allowing us to post this on the site.  It was so much fun getting to know you a little bit better.  I know I can’t wait to see Sheriff Hanscum show up again in S11 and I will definitely be looking for your other projects.  Kim is next on my list, I just have to get aroundBriana3 to asking her.

Now that you’ve all had the chance to meet the person behind the awesome Sheriff Donna Hanscum I know you’ll want to see her live at one of the upcoming conventions so start tweeting @creationent and @rogueevents with your requests.  It’s hard for me to imagine anything could be more fun than a panel with Briana and Kim!

xo DebbiCakes

 

Meg Masters Take Two: A Conversation with Rachel Miner

 

Rachel Miner, the actor who portrayed Meg Masters 2.0, recently made time for us here at LustyFanGirls.com and rachel1allowed us to ask her a wide variety of questions.  Most were professional, a couple were personal and then there were a few that we threw in just for fun.  Rachel is beautiful, well-spoken and was generous with her time.  She’d love to be out on the convention circuit getting a chance to meet and get to know the #SPNFamily a little better.  Hopefully after you read through this article you’ll want to meet her just as well and we can all put the pressure on Creation Entertainment to get her to a few cons within the next year.

DC:  Rachel, thank you so much for taking the time to sit down and answer our questions.  While there are definitely people in the fandom who prefer one Meg over the other, I love both iterations of the character and especially loved the fact that the show runner decided to bring her back to screw a little more with our favorite brothers!  So first off, I found Meg Masters to be a very strong and very interesting character.  Both you and Nicki Aycox had the opportunity to bring her to life; keeping some things constant and others more individualized.  Did you talk to Nicki before beginning your run as Meg or was the writing that just consistent?

RM: Actually, Nicki and I had not met until last year at VegasCon- of course we got along instantly (felt like old friends) so I’m guessing there are some natural overlaps that drew us both to Meg (or Meg to us both). When I was first cast I was not even familiar with SPN or Meg’s history (as I am a book nerd who tends not to watch much TV), but I did some quick catch up before we filmed and afterward I had lots of fun catching up on the whole show! The truth is I think it’s just a testament to how good the writing is that I felt like I knew Meg from the first time I read her lines. My guess is that any consistency is due to the great writing and the producers finding two actresses who perhaps were drawn to similar aspects of her.  I know I instantly fell in love with her honesty, strength, intelligence and razor sharp wit. 

DC:  Meg is an amazing character one that I can identify with on more than one level.  She’s damaged and vulnerable, yet so strong and isn’t going to take crap from anyone! You brought a very unique and welcome sense of sarcasm to the role.  It is something that is almost always commented on as a plus by fans of you and of the character in general.  Was this a decision that you made?  If so, what influenced that decision?

RM: Again, I think the writers should get all the credit here. My contribution was simply to see the gems in their writing. I also think that humor and sarcasm was a quintessential part of Meg. The way I see it, because she’d lived such a very, very long and eventful life there was little that could surprise her and much that could amuse. 

DC:  That’s an excellent observation.  It’s easy to forget that the demon would have seen and done it all at least once.  Meg is still missed by her fans.  Is there any possibility that she would return?  Would you be up for taking the role again or do you feel it would be better to have that demon possess another meat suit?

RM: Thank you for saying that, I miss Meg too. Honestly though I couldn’t think of a better exit for her, so I do feel very fulfilled when it comes to the show. And as for the future, I never waste time speculating about what’s to come inRachel2 the land of SPN, I just enjoy the ride! 

DC:  True enough!  Anything can and has happened in the SPN universe. Maybe we’ll put a poll up on the site and see what the fandom thinks.

It is known in the fandom that you left the series prematurely due to illness.  I have heard that you are battling MS, but don’t know if that’s fact or rumor and am not sure it’s something you’d like to talk about, which is fine.  I do want to let you know that you have my best wishes.  I have several close friends who struggle with this disease and know it can be frustrating.  I sincerely hope you are feeling better.

RM: I do have MS (I have no problem with being asked about it) and though I did not officially leave the show because of it, it was certainly becoming increasingly troublesome. Everyone at SPN, producers, writers, cast and crew were incredibly kind and helpful (despite the fact that I didn’t even tell them exactly what was going on) I think that is just who and how they are, I cannot stress that enough, they’re just really really good people. 

As for my parting the show it did come at the perfect time for me because the physical constraints were at the point I that I feared I couldn’t do Meg or the writing justice, I actually was amazed that they continued to bring me back despite the physical changes I was manifesting (yet another testament to their awesomeness). It is possible that the writers wrote that ending because they sensed it was a good time, but nothing was said. As usual with this show everything just fell in to place perfectly.

DC:  One thing that seems to come up time and time again in regard to the people working on SPN is that the cast, crew, etc. feel like family; a family that really cares about each other.  I’m glad that they were able to help you be successful and comfortable while you finished your time as Meg.  The character and the actors who portrayed her haven’t been forgotten by the fandom!rachel5

You’ve had a lot of success as an actor and appeared in television (including daytime dramas) as well as movies.  Is there a medium that you prefer?  Can you tell us why?

RM: I really do love all the artistic mediums in which I have worked. I love Film and TV because of the magic of the lens (it truly does pick up every thought), it allows one to let those watching inside in a way that even personal contact rarely allows for, but I also love the immediacy and volatility of the connection with audiences in the Theater, there is an exchange of energy there that is in many ways unparalleled and unrepeatable. There are many other aspects which vary in the different mediums (amount of time spent with the role, the camaraderie and time spent with the crew and fellow cast members, the magnitude of emotion that can be experienced when you only have that one take, versus the depths one can delve when saying those same words night after night…) so yes in short, I do love it all.

DC:  Is there a role, fictional, biographical, or historical, that you’ve always wanted to play?  What about that person/role attracts you?

RM: I don’t think there is a particular role I’ve always longed to play. I suppose when I have the chance to play a role I either love wearing that skin, so to speak, or I don’t. When I think of roles or characters in the abstract I generally don’t think of them as potentially “mine” because I associate them with whomever I saw embody them already. So I can think of roles I have great affinity for, but then I usually am enchanted by the original actor, which is why the role spoke to me (hehe this logic could send one round and round in circles couldn’t it?). When I was little I definitely wanted to be Alice in Alice in Wonderland, Princess Leia in Star Wars, Kira in The Dark Crystal and The Empress in The NeverEnding Story. As for historical characters, I recall really wanting to play Boudicca (though I don’t think I’m the right type) and I had a lot of affinity for Joan of Arc, Helen Keller, Marie Curie, Margaret Fuller, George Elliot, Jane Goodall (oh I could go on…ok obviously am drawn to many people in history), also if I could choose anyone regardless of type there are many men throughout history I would probably love to play.    

DC:  All the women you’ve mentioned are strong, intelligent and stood out in their respective fields.  I don’t think you’d have any trouble bringing any one of them to life!

You mentioned above that you found everyone on the production to be supportive of you even though you didn’t share your difficulties with them, which seems to be true to form for this group.  The SPN fandom has also heard over and over again about how much fun it is to work on the production.  Did you find that to be the case?  Is there a particular story you can share with us?rachel6

RM: I always had so much fun working on SPN! I really don’t have any specific wacky stories from the set though. A lot of the scenes I shot were in really jam packed episodes and there wasn’t too much down time for tricks and trouble making. There was one time when the all the men in the camera department were wearing dresses (I think that was some bet they were on the losing end of), and in one scene there was a chair which Jared rigged to make farting noises every time he moved. I also never failed to be amused by those tiny little scooters Jensen and Jared ride around on (I’m guessing you know the ones I’m referring to). 

DC:  I do know the scooters and those two big guys riding on those small bikes is amusing! I have to believe it’s even more so in person.

Do you have a particular cause or issue that you are passionate about?  If so, what drew you to this organization/cause?  Is there somewhere I can direct people for more information?

RM: It is very cool that you would ask about causes! I am extremely passionate about basically anything I think will make this world or people’s lives better (as my friends on Facebook probably laughingly know). Because of that there are many many organizations and causes I believe in, especially in the areas of education, women and girl empowerment, caring for environment, caring for children, caring for refugees, caring for…oh just caring period! I also love some of the organization like Kiva in which you can give out loans, and charity crowdsourcing sites like Crowdrise My Aunt is the Executive Director of a CT organization to protect the local environment and water resources called Rivers Alliance and I am so admiring of her work, I do believe that so many of the most important impacting changes happen at that local community level. I am also such a big fan of RandomActs and all they do.

As I have an incurable habit of speaking out about anything I think is important, I’m sure I will always be posting or tweeting about various organizations and causes (as evidenced by the fact that pretty much all that I follow on twitter are charities and news or educational outlets).

DC:  I do try to keep my support more local, but do support Heifer International. What is your favorite downtime activity?  I write 😉

RM: My favorite downtime activity is probably either reading or writing, particularly while sitting in a really beautiful spot. I also really love going out to Museums, the Theater, the Ballet and the Movies (especially to see foreign or art-house films). 

DC:  I honestly have trouble finding time to both read and write these days, never mind getting out to the movies or theater.  I LOVE the ballet, but don’t have many friends who appreciate it as much as I do!

If you could choose to live in a different time, would you?  What time would that be?

RM: I don’t know that I would trade living in this time period for another as one of the great things about this time is that we have such incredible freedoms. I love the abilities we have now to access information from most anywhere and to travel to most any place, even to visit antiquities from almost any time.

I do often think in many respects I would fit in better, even perhaps be happier in Europe during the Enlightenment or possibly the Renaissance or in the Ancient Greek Academy…yet I also idealize Paris during La Belle Époque, New England during the time of Transcendentalists, 12th century Japan (during the hay day of the Samurai), 4th century BCE India and really so many more places and time periods… So yes I really do think I am better off living here and now where I can learn about and dream of all our amazing history.rachel7

DC:  One of the things I’d miss most about our time if I had to leave (and I have written a post-apocalyptic AU novel so have given this some thought) would be our access to antibiotics, which is the one discovery that I feel had the most impact on the 20th century.  I’d also miss easy access to water.

And finally (yes, I do have a stop button!)

We call our group Lusty Fangirls so were wondering what your most “lusty” experience has been so far in your life?  If it’s still on your bucket list, will you share?  This is a fun question and not meant to be overly personal.

RM: I would like to give you some great lusty scenario, but the truth is anything really sensual for me is usually so because of the fact that I store it away as a sweet secret between me and another, so it wouldn’t be lust filled in the telling. Funny, I have often played very overtly sexual characters, but I have a much more private, behind closed doors kind of sexuality. As for any future fantasies, I actually feel very lucky that I have lived quite a fulfilled and fulfilling life in every respect (I don’t mean only the sexual) so I am not now feeling that I am lusting after anything particularly. 

DC:  That makes perfect sense to me.

rachel4

Rachel, I’d like to thank you again for taking the time to “talk” with me and for allowing me to put this interview up on the website.  I truly hope I get a chance to see a double Meg panel and grab a photo op with you or you and Nicki (Chicon!!!! Yes, I live in Chicago).  I love this character so much and you both did a killer job with her.  It has been my privilege to speak with both of you and I am as enamored with the two you as I am with Meg.

There you have it Rachel (Meg) fangirls (and boys)!  I hope you feel like you got to know Rachel and Nicki a little better through these interviews.  Now let’s get the word out and campaign for Creation Entertainment to invite these two awesome actors to the upcoming conventions in 2015 so we can have a double Meg panel!

xo DebbiCakes

Bad Girl, Good Music – Catching up with Nicki Aycox

nicki aycoxI recently had the opportunity to “talk” to Nicki Aycox, who was the first incarnation of Meg Masters, about her time on Supernatural as well as her latest project, which is meeting and playing music with fans.  Her first song dropped recently and can be found at https://soundcloud.com/nickiaycox.  The project is as ambitious as it is fun.

I sent Nicki my questions and she responded over coffee, hence “talk”!  She is kind and energetic.  I’d love to see her get invited to cons in the US (hint, hint Creation)!

DC: Folk music, while never completely out of style isn’t at its peak right now.  What led you to choose this genre and this song in particular?

NA: Folk music is a genre of music that has been around for centuries. Every country has old community songs they play at the town fair, the local parade, etc.  People have been singing folk music for years, keeping songs as traditions that create bonds for a community.  Folk music is written for us all to sing together and lift our spirits.  Folk music put simply, is fun.  I’d like to have a part of my life here on earth that I truly let go, do what I want to do, and have fun.  To look back and say, “Wow I really had a great time in those years.” Playing folk music does that for me.

DC: That’s a great goal, everyone should be able to look back at their lives and find few regrets. Your Twitter feed says you’re looking to record with fans, which is really cool. What gave you the idea to reach out to fans?  Do you have additional plans to include fans in your music in the future?

NA: I played live at Asylum in the U.K. last year.  It was the first time I had played in that type of situation.  I was nervous and scared.  I met a fan named Dave Hornberger who told me he loved my voice and performance.  He really made me feel wonderful.  He then tweeted me and said he would like to play his cello with me in a song.  When I heard a clip of him playing I knew I had to have him in one of my songs.  I took it further and came up with the idea to include fans in my recordings.  What made better sense than creating folk music within the fandom community? Nothing really. I intend to continue this, and eventually visit each fan in their hometown with a camera crew, documenting their stories as an artist in their community.  A full documentary in this style is in the horizon.

DC: That does sound like fun! You’re right that Folk music is the music of “the people” for a lack of a better description. It makes perfect sense to share it with others, which I think has always been one of the basic tenets of the genre.

What types of music do you enjoy listening to? Do you have a favorite musician, band, or singer, and what about their music speaks to you? Is there anyone out there you’d particularly like to do a song with?

NA: I have so many contrasting songs in my iPod.  I listen to everything.  I find myself always going back in time with music though.  A vintage Edith Piaf waltz, or an old town drinking rhyme, I’m in heaven (Wail’in Crow) anyone? “Party till the fire burns low” :)  I’m a die-hard Leonard Cohen fan.  His sense of humor mixed with his darkness can lift me up at any moment.  He reminds me not to take myself too seriously.

He has made jokes about having a woman wearing a little nurse uniform being on stage with him.

I want to be that woman :) Not sure what that says about me :)

DC: I think musical diversity is fun. I too have a wide variety on my iPod. In an interesting parallel, I played piano as a teen and young adult and lost my piano to family debt as well.  I didn’t recover as nicely as you did!  Do you still play piano?  Other than guitar, are there other instruments you play?

NA: It is very sad when one loses their piano.  The piano should be free to all children.  Playing the piano certainly helped me in terms of learning the guitar.  I understood practice would make my experience much easier.  I will practice for hours on end.  I can play some things on the piano, but nothing like when I was a kid.  If I tried again I’m sure I could.  That’s the great thing about instruments.  If you practice you can do it.  I also play the drums, and I am fiddling around on a Mandolin right now.

DC: I love the sound of a mandolin. I fooled around with a hammered dulcimer and a bass guitar, but never got proficient at either one and am in the same piano boat. I could pick it up again if I applied myself but way out of practice.

I loved you on Cold Case.  Your character, as damaged as she was, was so real that it was easy to identify with her.  I am not a huge TV watcher and generally follow only one or two shows at a time.  I did watch X-Files, saw the movie, watched Cold Case and of course Supernatural.  You’ve had a chance to play a variety of roles, both dramatic and comedic.  Do you have a preference, and why?

NC: I loved playing comedic roles.  Unfortunately, when you play numerous dramatic roles, there seems to be this notion that you are unable to perform comedy.  It’s silly to me.  The thought that one believes you can’t be funny if you are capable of being sad.  That’s why they call it acting.  You pretend to be many things.

At this point in my life, I’ll play anything if I feel it is written well.meg3

DC: There’s a quote from an actor that I can’t find right now that says “the best roles are the ones you’ve been offered!” 😉

I love the character Meg Masters as well (in both her incarnations). Another damaged girl, I wonder what that says about me?  When you first appeared on Supernatural it was clearly too coincidental that you showed up at the same place on the road as Sam, but you seemed so sweet.  I freaked out when you made that first call home in the truck!

Many actors say that they enjoy playing the villain, and I’ve always thought it would be fun to play evil.  Did you enjoy playing Meg?  Is there anything you wish they’d done differently with the character?

NA: Well, if you liking “damaged” characters says anything remotely negative about your personality, then we are in the same boat my friend. :) I play them!  No, it’s fun to be the villain, the “damaged” woman.  Every episode you have no idea what you’ll be doing.  If you’re the “good” girl you can pretty much guess what every script has to offer.  Not the “bad” girl though. You’re kept guessing what you will be doing next. I love Meg Masters for this reason.  The only thing I would have changed about the character is to never have been killed off :) Yeah I’ll say it!

DC: LOL, she was an awesome character, why wouldn’t you have wanted to keep her!  Is there anything you wish you’d done differently with Meg? Would you return if they could figure out a way to write you back in?

NA: Nothing differently, I love Meg Masters the way she is. Of course, I would return.  I need to, the fans want it, and I have some new pranks to play on the guys!  Age made me wiser.

(Hear that Supernatural Meg Masters fans…..start those campaigns now!!!!)

DC: Anyone who’s been to a con or two hears from other actors that the cast and crew of Supernatural are great to work with.  Did you find this to be true as well?

NA: Yes, they are all wonderful.  I always tell the story of playing the infamous “exorcist” scene while Jared held my Doritos in his lap. I can always say Jared Padalecki held my Doritos while I died in his arms.  So romantic. :)

DC: What a sweetheart! At least he didn’t eat them!  Can you name one thing that sets Supernatural’s production apart from others you’ve worked on?  If you could have chosen a character on Supernatural, other than Meg to play, who would you choose?

NA: There is a huge air of positivity on that set.  That is unique. It comes fmeg1rom Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles. The positivity that is.  I couldn’t say I would want to be another character.  I am Meg Masters along with Rachel Miner.  I absolutely have no qualms sharing Meg with Rachel. :)

DC: I really think our fandom is lucky to have ‘gotten’ Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles as leads on our favorite show. I’ve never heard a negative word about either one, and after ten years if there were skeletons in the closet someone would have exposed them by now.

Nicki, thank you so much for taking the time to ‘chat’ with me! You are kind, generous and funny. Hopefully the fandom’s campaign to get more female actors at the cons will work and I’ll bump into you for a photo op! I will be watching for more of your songs and certainly your documentary once that project wraps up. If the LustyFanGirls can help you just give us a shout out and we’ll do what we can.

xo DebbiCakes (@DebbiBach)

 

Black Powder County

Supernatural Music? Survey says: YES!

It’s a small world – quite the cliché, yes? But when you sit down and actually think about it, it’s become reality for families, businesses and of course for the SPN fandom. Any SPN fan worth their Twitter cred saw the massive campaign rolled out by fans in the UK to get Supernatural back on TV after one of the channels canceled it last year. The campaign was picked up by fans across the globe and as a result Season 9 will soon air across the UK.

IMG_20150116_225832The global impact of Supernatural doesn’t stop there. About a month ago I followed a link on my Twitter timeline to a video for a song called “When the Devil Knows Your Name” by Black Powder County. I liked it so well I downloaded their EP and have been listening to it since (hint – it’s awesome!). When the Lusties sat down to sketch out what we wanted to include on our website for its official launch, things that might set us apart, I mentioned the video and everyone immediately clicked to check it out. BPC gained a few new fans and I became more curious about them in general. I reached out to them and asked about the band and that video/song in particular. It turns out the members of BPC are hardcore SPN fans and wrote “When the Devil Knows Your Name” as an homage to Supernatural!

I asked Decoy, Lead Guitar, if the band would be interested in being spotlighted on the site for our launch and he was more than helpful in providing me with a band bio and links to videos, their music, and some reviews. I’ll let him do the talking for a bit:

IMG_20150116_225753Black Powder County has been opening for major national & international acts for the last two years, as well as playing many festivals, fairs & concert events, some of which have included: The Guessing Game, Collective Soul, Blue Oyster Cult, The Marshall Tucker Band, Kansas, Grand Funk Railroad and Lita Ford, to name a few. Our song ‘Blackberry Wine’ is hitting the shelves globally as a single on a compilation CD in The Classic Rock Magazine, along with a write-up on how a small town Aussie band [that] relocated to Oregon is making some waves nationally. We also will be performing at the acclaimed Rockin’ The Rivers 3-day concert in Montana next year alongside many major artists, and our new full album is set for release in Spring with a breakout tour starting in the summer.

Here is a quick Bio on the band:

Black Powder County is everything the band’s name suggests and more. They have an undoubtedly explosive modern rock feel, while returning to roots of the hard hitting, punchy, raw sounds made famous by bands like Aerosmith, AC/DC, Metallica, Black Sabbath, and Rose Tattoo. They have a sense of danger and that untamed beauty that was synonymous [with] bands like Guns n’ Roses and Velvet Revolver, and in Black Powder County’s opinion has been the sound and energy missing for far too long. Their explosive rock sound marks the spot for a new beginning and revitalization from a band of rock & roll brothers united by an unbridled desire and passion toward a suddenly brighter future.

Formed in early 2012 Black Powder County is entering its second year with a bang! The band has literally been there and back musically in that short time, and through dedication and perseverance this charged foursome has morphed into a well-oiled, fast moving hard rock machine with an incredibly slick sound; the band has come out of it all as a durable and entertaining act in the area. Their Debut Album “The BPC Syndicate”, is available now and it is an electrifying compilation of their rock roots with the irresistible guitar riffs, and life relating lyrics. The band has reached new heights, both artistically and commercially, so be watching closely for this rebirth of Rock….Are you ready for Black Powder County’s explosive sound?

IMG_20150116_225724You can hardly get more global than that, right? BPC would love to have the chance to play at one of the SPN cons – maybe opening for Louden Swain? (Chicon, Chicon, Chicon) If you’re interested follow the links Decoy so generously provided and I urge all of you reading to check out the video for “When the Devil Knows Your Name” even if you do nothing else. The song rocks and the video is very well made. Can our fandom help these Aussie/Oregonian fans achieve their dream? I think so, and I’d like to be proven right, so let’s see if we can get BPC a con gig sometime in the next year or so – I know you guys can do this!

Many thanks to Decoy and the band for providing the information and the links to help us launch www.lustyfangirls.com!

xo DebbiCakes, aka @debbibach

Social Media

www.blackpowdercounty.com

www.facebook.com/blackpowdercounty

www.reverbnation.com/blackpowdercounty

www.twitter.com/BPCSyndicate

Posted Music

www.soundcloud.com/blackpowdercounty

Live Video’s & Music Video’s/Slides/Audio

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XE5vICPXZYI – SPN Made Video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oM2X2UZxMOI – SPN Slideshow Video

Media Reviews:

http://innocentwords.com/black-powder-county-bpc-syndicate/

http://www.northwestmusicscene.com/2014/12/75-bands-75-days-day-58-black-powder-county/