Thanks Alice and WFB crew for an informative interview with Sera Gamble.
I was really eager to read the interview, because I love spoilers and get extremely curious about what’s going to happen next, and how we’re going to get there. What really fascinated me though are all the comments. And they fascinated me in a professional context, because I make my living doing interviews.
I’ll talk about that process in a minute, but first let’s review what we learned:
- It was Bob Singer’s idea to go the Soulless Sam route. That’s an unexpected revelation.
- Adam’s story will get more attention. Good to know, because people have been wondering.
- Samuel will return, and it’s not likely to be hugs all around. That is nice continuity from Dean’s threat.
- The brothers relationship has likely hit its nadir (no more feed-you-to-the-vampires sized bumps at least), and they’re on the way up, but it won’t be all sunshine and lollipops. (Would it be Supernatural if it were smooth sailing?)
- Lisa and Ben will return in at least one episode, so they’re not dead yet.
- The civil war in Heaven, and Castiel’s role will take more prominence. That should answer some more questions.
- Dean and Sam have another international escapade ““ Alaska & Russia, no less. Intriguing.
- And, Sera Gamble says, when she looks back on the finished product, she’d do something different in each episode.
That is probably one of the most important statements in her interview, and now I’ll explain why.
I spend a large chunk of my working day asking people questions. I’ve interviewed famous people, not-so famous people, and the little old lady from around the corner. And I’ve learned a few important lessons over the years..
- Interviewing is an art. It’s not a science. There is no formula that works 100 per cent of the time. There is no magic question. And it is SO much different when you can’t see people, and read their body language, and hold their gaze. Sometimes people will tell you one thing when you first contact them, and change their answer entirely when you interview them. Are they lying? Who knows, because who know which answer was the right one, the most truthful or accurate one?
- You can not make a person answer a question, especially if they don’t want to. There are techniques I use to increase the likelihood they’ll answer the question, such as keep asking it, rephrase it, or just stare at them. But in the end, you can not make them answer the question. It’s just like leading the proverbial horse to water, but not being able to force it to drink. All you can do is ask. The guest always has the Free Will (sound familiar) to decline to respond.
- Circumstances force some people to be more cautious with their answers. Police officers never say everything they know about the investigation. Athletes almost always give predictable responses because we ask them stupid questions, AND because they don’t want to blame their teammates, insult the coach and end up being benched for the next period, or inadvertently announce the game day strategy. Politicians never answer the question because they know circumstances change, and they don’t want to be held accountable to a quote they made 6 months and one recession ago. And finally, showrunners of a program that thrives on the “what will happen next” vibe aren’t going to spill all the beans. They’re going to tightly control what information they release just like any cop, athlete or politician. They’re going to pick and choose what elements of a question they want to answer.
- Sometimes the answer really lies in how the person phrases their response, or what parts of the question they choose to answer. In my experience, those “non answers” often mean the person has oodles of information they’d like to spill, but can’t, especially not at that time. For example, Sera Gamble doesn’t give a direct answer to the question of what will happen to Dean’s character. She just agrees that it’s the combination of reluctant hero and free spirit (I’d add kick-ass hunter) that makes him so complex and intriguing. Hmmm. Interesting. It’s January, renewal season with all signs pointing to a pick-up for Season 7. If she said he was going to stay the reluctant hero that would dictate one storyline, and the necessity of keeping certain characters around, at least on the periphery or through the occasional mention. If she said he would be back to his fighting spirit (I don’t really think he’s lost it. It’s just evolved and changed a bit.) that means another story path, and likely the exit of certain characters. However, there is another option. Maybe the writers have come up with a totally unexpected storyline for Dean that ties in some of the dropped threads, and that’s where they’re heading for the rest of this season, and next. But she can’t really talk about that either, since nothing is official. The safe path – just agree that he’s a dynamic character. To quote a corny song “You say the most, when you say nothing at all.”
And so back to the issue of why I feel her comment that she’d do things differently on every episode is so significant? Easy. It’s so honest, and real!!. It’s an acknowledgement the job is hard, mistakes are made, not everyone will be happy, many will be highly dissatisfied, and the gift of hindsight would benefit everyone.
It’s an answer that we can all relate to (and in most cases empathize with) because we’d probably say it about our own job. It has the air of authenticity, and it puts the rest of the interview in perspective, and gives it even more credibility. When I get a quote like that, or a real emotional reaction, I figure I’ve had a good day at the office. So, well done.