So, I was sitting at one of the press tables in the Chuck press room, waiting for all the video interviews to finish so us print media in the back could get a chance to talk to people, when I looked over in the corner and saw standing by himself of all people Robert Duncan McNeill!  He wasn't part of the panel, and was obviously there as a show of support since he's a Supervising Producer for the show and has directed several episodes. 
 
Who's he you ask?  I of course know this man's career, being a huge Star Trek fan. He played Tom Paris on Star Trek Voyager. Since then he's gone onto a great directing and producing career in TV, doing a good number of shows, including an episode with a brand new show in 2005 on The WB called Supernatural. That episode was a landmark one, "Skin."  
 
I first went over and introduced myself and the hubby as huge fans of his work, ones that are always pointing out to each other when Robert Duncan McNeil is directing another show (not to mention a few of the hubby's geek friends). Then, in a flash of brilliance, I pulled out my audio recorder and identified myself as administrator of The Winchester Family Business with a specific question for the readers of my site. I got a 2 1/2 minute conversation of pure gold. 
 
The hubby and I are still trying to find an plugin that will allow us to stream mp3's, but in the meantime, I'll transcribe the brief interview I had with him regarding his time with Supernatural, especially his direction of that fan favorite episode. 
 
AJ: On my site, one of the most talked about episodes is “Skin.” What was it like to direct that? 
 
Robert Duncan McNeill: Yeah, it was, well that was one of the first few episodes of Supernatural, so it was um,the big thing I remember that we were trying to do at that time was they wanted the show to be scary and funny, which is a hard combination.  And they really wanted the brother's relationship to really have more comedy, banter, and that sort of thing, which they really didn't have in the first few episodes. We were looking for opportunities to really amp that up, which I felt like we did. That was one first one where you really laughed with the boys, and the other thing they wanted it to be scary, so we really took this idea of this shapeshifter and made it like a horror film. I mean we shot some really scary stuff, with very stylized stuff, the mocked up frames, and you know, ripping his skin off his body!
 
AJ: That's an outrageous scene
 
Robert Duncan McNeill: Yeah, it was pretty horrifying. So we got those two things and the last thing was it was budgeted to be shot in 8 days and they hadn't come even close to doing that yet. And we did that. We shot it all in 8 days, we were done, so it was, yeah that would be my quota, I feel like it was a real turning point for that show. We were able to kind of reset the show the way they wanted it and do it on a budget. I'm only saying the budget because my executive from the studio is standing here. 

(Picture with said oppressive executive)

 
AJ: Oh, no, budget has always been an issue for Supernatural.
 
Robert Duncan McNeill: Budget has always been an issue, yes.
 
AJ: Have you followed the show since then, seen how well it's progressed?
 
Robert Duncan McNeill: Yeah, a little bit. I knew Jared Padalecki, no I'm sorry, Jensen, was on Dawson's Creek the year before, so I worked with Jensen a lot and then I came over to Supernatural so I've known Jensen a long time and kind of followed him from time to time. 
 
AJ: Alright, wonderful, thank you so much.
 
Considering I didn't have much time to talk, since I had actual Chuck cast members to interview, I had to make the conversation brief. Robert was so nice though and didn't mind my fangirlish nature one bit. He even got me to take another picture of him without his "executive," which I did, and found his eyes were mostly closed later. Ah well, that's show business. 

Comments  

TheDriverPicks
# TheDriverPicks 2009-07-27 11:45
Fabulous. He is one of my favorite directors... a Kim Manners in the making? This has to be one of your gems from the con.