(Photo courtesy of wolfpup2000)

I attended Vancon 2012, and had a delightful time! I also had crappy internet and extremely full days, so I'm very late getting my con reports in; my apologies for that. But they're starting here, at long last. There really weren't any spoilers in any of the panels; everybody was being very careful not to spill.

I sat in the back of the hall furiously typing notes through most of the sessions, with a few exceptions. I didn't get many notes at all during the Jim Beaver and Misha Collins panel, because any panel with Misha in it inevitably devolves into one-liners and silliness. I love Misha and think Castiel made a fascinating addition to the character roster, but Misha's insistence on never giving straight answers to acting or production questions frustrates production-junkie-me no end. *wry grin* Anyone able to tweet from the hall probably covered the essence of that session. I had similar problems during the Matt Cohen/Richard Speight Jr. panel, especially at the end: when Creation staff told the folk still in line waiting to ask questions to go back to their seats because they were out of time, Dick and Matt insisted on doing a speed Q&A to give everyone their shot, and the hilarity that ensued was impossible to follow. The Mark Sheppard/Mark Pellegrino panel presented its own challenges, as the two Marks played off each other; I think that summary is going to come across a a dialogue between them most of the time!

I also took the Monday location tour, and will provide information from the tour in two installments: the first with no spoilers, and the second with only the spoilers. For the location tour, I have photos. And at some point, I plan on doing a comparison of the backlot from 2009 and the backlot as it exists now, using my photos from both years; there have been significant changes over time, including the fire that destroyed part of the lot last year and reconstruction done by other productions that changed some of its iconic look. 

But for now, it's time to start the con reports, leading off with the first presenter: Kim Rhodes!

Kim Rhodes

Lifting her extremely short skirt to display demure shorts underneath, she reassured the audience that they didn't have to worry about any embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions happening onstage:  “I'm wearing shorts! – It's okay, I came prepared!”

“For those of you who haven't been aware of my blog or missed the latest, I've tried to masturbate in my Prius while on the freeway, it did not go well. Now you're caught up on the blog.”

“If you say my thighs are too fat for this dress, I will hunt you down and cry viciously at you.”

“I have not been notified of any need for Jody Mills this season. Write letters!” 

What is her favorite quote from show?  “Don't make me use my mom voice.”  She said that she wanted the ability to actually follow it up by using the voice, and the director let her ad lib when Sam came back downstairs with “Young man ...”

What was the worst and best advice she was ever given? “Worst advice ever given was by my father when I was16. He said, “Kid, we haven't had The Talk yet.” (I apologize, kids in the audience are going to learn some words mommy and daddy use.)  “Kid, tell him to rap it against the steering wheel.”  That was our sex talk. At least I assume that's what he meant by saying that, that I should do that with the boy's erection ...  Best advice came from a woman who grasped my hands and looked me straight in the eyes and said:  “If it's on the page, you don't need to play it.” That sounds simple, but it turned out to be key. If the script says “I love you,” don't just play “I love you.” Think of a different emotion than love – say, fear.  Play, 'I love you but I'm afraid you're going to leave, or that I'm going to get angry and club you,' or whatever. Play the different emotion against the words, not just the words.”

Asked about the male-heavy atmosphere on set:  “The person in charge of all firearms on set is a woman, so that sets the tone a bit. Set is testosterone-heavy, but not estrogen-hostile.  I do sometimes get distracted staring at Jensen's mouth.  They're just so pretty, so pretty …”

Favorite place you've visited?  “New Zealand. My husband and I visited before getting pregnant. There was a beautiful place there that truly and completely made me believe in reincarnation. I looked at it and said, 'Whoa – my soul has totally been here before.”  

A fan noted that she loved the sweetness of the budding relationship between Jody and Bobby, but we didn't get to see much reaction from Jody dealing with Bobby's death. “They gave me only two moments – first, the comment in the car, then the moment with the bottle of whiskey from Rufus.” She said that the first time around, we had gotten to see Jody dealing with the loss of her family, but said that what she had lost with her family was idealistic experience. She said she felt it was different with Bobby, because she lost even more. She said she thought Bobby was the anti-Jody – that completely against her will, she looked at him and saw another her, the person that completed her, and that losing him gutted her. She wished she'd gotten the chance to portray that. 

When another fan asked if what we had heard in the episode was her real “Mom voice,” she gave a hilarious demonstration of what her real Mom voice would actually sound like, begging (not ordering!) her four-year-old NOT to do something, and ending the monologue with, “Don't bite mommy, your teeth hurt!”

What's it like to know you're writing really personal stuff in your blog and thousands of people are reading?  “I would love to be a writer instead of an actor. I would love to write and put my tongue in Bobby's mouth, because I think it should go there. [That got a good laugh!] Writing is being truthful with myself. To hear from other people that they are broken and scarred the same way as me, even though their circumstances are different, makes me feel better about myself. The blog is artistic practice in learning how to do that, learning what I think is funny and you don't, spiritual practice in connecting with other people.”

Who among the actors on the show is most like and most unlike their characters?   “Steven Williams is pretty much like his character. Unpredictable, completely irreverent.  Jim Beaver is not as crusty as Bobby, but just as lovable. 'Oh, here; you need this? Here's my heart, take it.'   Mark Sheppard isCrowley. The person least like his character is Dick. James is sweet and funny and has a lovely family ...”

Favorite story from off set?  “The boys – I mean Jared and Jensen – are gorgeous. I imagine they probably have a lot of women come in and immediately develop crushes on them, and it's probably uncomfortable for them. I didn't want to do that, so what would I do instead? Walk up to Jared and say, 'Hi, I'm not trying to bug you.' Like THAT was cool. Not! But this was really funny, we were in the makeup trailer, at opposite ends, talking across the whole thing. I said something about being 42, and he mumbled something, then what I'd said sunk in and he turned around, looked at me, and said “WHAT?”  I said, 'I'm 42.” He looked at me, and then said, “Uh, good for you.”  It was all Cougar and Oedipus references from then on in!”

Asked about the difficulty of learning to speak lines in a made-up foreign language for Star Trek: Voyager, she first rhapsodized about one of her experiences on the show. “I played an alien, had 3.5 hours of makeup. The worst part is, when they make a mask of your face, you have to breathe through straws. I'm claustrophobic. Scott, the guy in charge of makeup, held my hand the whole time. Learning a language that's all just sounds is really hard because you can't put pieces in your brain, just sounds. Had to do it twice; other project was mandarin Chinese. They had to feed it to me phonetically.” She laughed that, on Voyager, she couldn't just read the jumbled letters her own way, because if she said “oskdjfsm” someone would tell her, in all seriousness, “No, you can't say it that way:  that belongs to a different alien.”

Favorite people on the show to hang out with?  Jennifer.  And Guy Norman Bee.

A fan asked what we would have seen if Jody had been brought back on the show while Bobby was a ghost. She said she was sorry that hadn't happened, but if it had, she thought Jody would have lost it. “I think Jody, dealing with emotional things, has on a suit of armor, but that would have penetrated it. Dead for her always meant done and gone, finished, over. If she had to confront Bobby after death, I think she couldn't have taken it. Especially after what had happened with her son.”

What made you become actor?  She said she always loved writing and wanted to be an English teacher, and took an acting class just to learn to be able to stand up in front of people. But then she learned that if you were an actor, people clapped for you. However ashamed to admit she loved the attention, she thought it's probably why a lot of people who came to acting stayed in it. For herself, she said she'd now learned acting is more than just getting attention; “it's telling a story with my unique and personal voice.”

Were you happy with the way your character's story progressed on the show? “I WAS, until they didn't bring her back again!” She laughed that she was happy she brought into the mix a female character who wasn't interested in sleeping with the Winchesters, but was instead a character who could blow things up and help without wanting to have sex. “Except with Bobby!”

What was your experience like on CSI?  “Awesome!” She said she had just come back from doing Shakespeare on stage, and had totally forgotten how to do work in front of cameras. Her first scene was with Jorja Fox and involved a huge camera move, with everyone moving every which way, and she suddenly just got lost in it and didn't know what she was doing. She said Jorja came over, took her hand, and said, “We've all been there. Don't worry, take a minute.”  She was flabbergasted by the sweetness, consideration, and courtesy, saying she couldn't believe the star did that, that there was no reason for her to come to the rescue when Kim was just a minor player in to do one scene.

What aspect of Jody were you most thankful to be able to play?  “Kissing Bobby. Really! I loved that emotional connection between two characters when neither one of them was thinking with their brain. They just followed their hearts. And I loved the second moment when they didn'tkiss. There was that long moment – and I'm glad they left it in! – that we played as, we probably should kiss again … but if we do, we'll be committed to something we shouldn't.” She said she really loved the dynamic the characters had, because she thought Jody's feelings for Bobby were very real and very deep, but went against everything Jody believed she should do and should feel. She loved the sense that Jody fell for Bobby totally against her will, after having considered him for so long – before the zombie incident taught her differently – as someone totally inappropriate and unattractive to her. 

When asked if she'd ever been pranked or if she had a favorite prank story from the set, she asked if we were familiar with the way kids – like her four-year-old – always watch the same thing over and over again, and explained that she'd seen Finding Nemo so many times that she'd taken to using the desperate admonition of the starfish trying to hide from the shark – “Find a happy place, find a happy place!” – just as a matter of habit whenever she got stressed. When she used it on set once, Jared asked her what she was doing, and she found herself trying to explain it in an acceptable way:  “I'm playing Allison Janney. [Miming Jared's blank face] You know, the starfish? [Still blank face]  Trying to hide from the shark in Finding Nemo? [Still blank face] Oh, just because I like to do it!”  She said she left it at that, but laughed that it's dangerous to give Jared ammunition, because a little bit later, when she screwed up on a bit of dialogue, he cowered back, flung out his hands, fingers splayed like starfish, and called to her, “Find a happy place, find a happy place!!”   

Asked about how she'd figured out how to play the pain of getting up from her bed after having had an appendectomy when she really was healthy, she laughed that she had cheated a bit because she'd had the operation at 14, so she had some memory of what it felt like.  She said she also deals with chronic abdominal pain and really was hurting at the time, so she joked that when the director told her to pull back a bit because she didn't need to play that much, she hadn't really been playing so much as just using the pain she already had!

You mentioned the best advice you were given, about playing what wasn't on the page rather than the words that were there. Could you give an example of a scene in Supernatural where you did that? “After breaking Rufus out of jail. The words in the script were very brusque, basically saying flatly 'that was enough, don't expect any more,' but the subtext was 'you've got me, I'm on your side; I hate it, but I'm on your side.'  So I got to play that. There was another long pause we used in that scene that Jensen, who was directing that episode, really liked (he said, “I saw what you were doing there, really liked it.”), but it got cut out in the edit.”

Asked about the difference between working for Disney and being on Supernatural, she said, “Going from Disney to Supernatural was like going from eating at McDonald’s to a rare filet mignon.” She said she understood that there was a place for family-friendly programming, but added, “I think kids are smarter than Disney thinks they are.” She said her kids weren't allowed to watch the Suite Life of Zac and Cody because she felt it was too sweet and simple, too far removed from being real. She laughed that while they were flipping channels one day, her son spotted her in an episode and asked if that was her, and when she said yes and let him watch for a little, his conclusion was that seeing her was cool but could they watch Phineas And Ferg instead? She grinned and changed the channel.

That was it for Kim. Next up:  Steve Carlson!



# Melanie 2012-09-04 21:26
I was the one who asked the CSI Question! LOL it was a fantastic panel. I asked that question was going to try to ask it from a bunch of the guests since most if not all have been on a CSI episode.. but only had the nerve for Kim. She was wonderful.
# Bardicvoice 2012-09-05 20:07
Great question with a delightful answer! Mine was the query about what aspect of Jody she was most grateful to play ... *grin*
# suzee51 2012-09-04 21:53
Thanks so much for sharing this with us, Bardicvoice. For those of us who can not attend a con, reports like this are a godsend!

Two things that struck me:
#1) "I do sometimes get distracted staring at Jensen's mouth. " Wow! So it's not just me, eh? I can NOT imagine how much more distracting it would be in person with Jensen standing right in front of you! However I would love to see if I could master that challenge.

#2) "The boys – I mean Jared and Jensen – are gorgeous. I imagine they probably have a lot of women come in and immediately develop crushes on them, and it's probably uncomfortable for them." Never thought of that before but certain it is true. Someone once quipped that Jensen could have onstage chemistry with a potted plant, and while that made me giggle, I decided it was also most likely true.

Can't wait to read your upcoming article on the changes in the backlot. Thanks again!
# Bardicvoice 2012-09-05 20:08
Thank YOU for coming and reading! The backlot comparison article will take a while to do, but some of my observations (and photos!) will appear in the upcoming location tour article, I promise!
# dusk 2012-09-05 02:27
Kim doesn't have a son :) She has one daughter.
# Bardicvoice 2012-09-05 20:06
Whoops! She mentioned her four-year-old; I guess my brain (and fingers!) just jumped immediately to Jody Mills (not Kim!) having a son, not a daughter! My bad! :)
# Sylvie 2012-09-05 14:55
Thanks for sharing Bardicvoice. I had never seen Kim Rhodes before SPN and I liked her instantly as Jodi Mills. Now I really like the actress and will be looking for her name on shows from now on. I'm with her, I want sheriff Mills back on the show, Bobby or no! She said she's distracted by Jensen's lips, I would be fixated on his nose. Yeah you read that right, I have a fixation with noses, and his is freaking perfect!
# Bardicvoice 2012-09-05 20:11
Thanks, Sylvie! I have come to love Kim. If you haven't already, check out her blog at http://rhodeside.vuxe.com/ - you'll love her even more!