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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: 
  1. It was Bob Singer's idea to go the Soulless Sam route.  That's an unexpected revelation. 

  2. Adam's story will get more attention.  Good to know, because people have been wondering.

  3. Samuel will return, and it's not likely to be hugs all around. That is nice continuity from Dean's threat.

  4. 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?)

  5. Lisa and Ben will return in at least one episode, so they're not dead yet.

  6. The civil war in Heaven, and Castiel's role will take more prominence.  That should answer some more questions.

  7. Dean and Sam have another international escapade "“ Alaska & Russia, no less.  Intriguing.

  8. 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..

  1. 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?

  2. 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.

  3.  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. 

  4. 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.      


# Jasminka 2011-01-27 00:51
Thank you, Pragmatic Dreamer for this amazing statement and for a bit of insight to what you do. Touched.

An article like this was necessary. When I look at some of the comments in the thread to the Sera Gamble interview, I can't help but think that a reminder of the issues you mention was important.

Thank you! Jas
# Jillyanne 2011-01-27 02:30
I admire anyone who interviews anyone connected with Supernatural - it must be like putting your head on the chopping block. ;-) Us Supernatural fans are so hard to please, and some of the comments on the Sera Gamble interview were just plain vicious. I think you must need a very thick skin to deal with the backlash. I very much appreciate your taking the time to post this. Thanks :-)
# Karen 2011-01-27 14:48
Hi Pragmatic Dreamer
Thank you for this. I found it very interesting and informative.
# Tigershire 2011-01-28 01:38
Wow, thanks for this article. This is really interesting. You must have some pretty cool days at work (depending on who you are interviewing!). Thanks again Pragmatic Dreamer.
# Suze 2011-01-28 07:17
You can't please everybody, so there would be whinges no matter what she said. I thought it was about right, a few teasers to whet our appetites but no big sloppy spoilers. Just a pity that now we have to hang on 'til next Friday! Grrr ...
Sara P
# Sara P 2011-01-28 12:25
This is one of the most ridiculous things I've ever read, to be honest. I assume it's in response to the criticism Alice Jester has been receiving at several forums and across LiveJournal for her interview with Sera Gamble? When you put something out there, you have to expect to take negative criticism with positive criticism. The interview was weak, and quite obviously colored by Alice Jester's particular bias. That seems to e the opinion of several of the people who commented to it and it certainly seems to be the opinion outside of this forum. The Mo Ryan interview was better, plain and simple. This issue is made even more ludicrous by a pre-screening article that effectively bans negative comments. Way to go to have yourself and this website taken seriously.
# Shelby 2011-01-28 12:57
This posting has made me feel like I must address the "positive attitudes" part of the disclaimer/rule s that apply to commenting here and that Ms. Jester often attaches to many of the articles written at this site. It has been something I have been thinking of for some time now because it often discourages me from posting here-that and some of the supposedly "positive" comments of many of the regulars here. Criticism by it's very definition is and does contain "negative" aspects and connotations, so as passionate fans(not professional interviewers or columnists) while we can try to "maintain a positive attitude", it's not always easy or dare I say it, even possible with this show for some of us-especially when, again as a passionate fan, you feel like your thoughts and feelings are being oppressed, dismissed, and/or overlooked by TPTB on this show(and this while one of the producers of the show has actually solicited us in the past to voice our wants and desires for the show with the promise that they will listen to/hear them, even as we know they could not possibly follow through on granting all of everyone's). It is also difficult when one feels that same way about their fellow fans-and that sometimes their fellow fans even employ undeserved "shunning" w/o knowing it, to achieve the end of keeping only and strictly "positive attitudes" on their site . This is especially troubling on a site that claims to welcome discussion, but the minute something is said that the "regulars" or majority don't like, or don't want to hear, you're told to go away, we don't want your type/kind here, and stop watching the show if you're not happy-basically just leave us alone if you say what we don't want to hear and especially if you don't say it the "right way"-and even if you do say it the right way, go away anyway because we only want "positive" here. I became very curious about something regarding this site after reading Alice's Sera Gamble interview and all the comments that it inspired-ARE fans who really only love one of the brothers and/or the actor who portrays him, welcome here? I'm not talking about those who love both, but have a certain leaning towards one. I'm talking about and wondering if fans who love Dean/Jensen, but don't necessarily love Sam/Jared(or vice versa) are welcome/wanted at this site?-because we DO exist and while some ARE ready to jump ship, others are staying to the bitter or better end-whichever that may be for us. I mean, I would think we would be welcome here as long as every effort is still made to maintain proper decorum and to follow the posting rules as best as we can(keeping in mind that we're all human and not perfect and thus we all make mistakes, and experience off days sometimes) just like any other poster. I ask because, IMO, and at this point in the show's history, it's these fans who experience the highest levels of frustration concerning the writing and the showrunning-and yet we are still fans of the show and want to get some enjoyment out of it and feel that we still can, in spite of what some insist on labelling a "handicap" in us-this only really loving one. It might not be easily understood by those who love both, but please believe me, it IS possible, and it is likewise possible that our viewpoints might not be as colored by this as people who love both might think. It can be very frustrating to feel that one's thoughts are being dismissed because of this; and that their criticisms are dismissed as not having any claim to being real or having any merit because of it. It is also very frustrating if you additionally feel that your concerns/though ts should at least be addressed by the showrunners and TPTB(as was promised by McG in the 100th episode video), even if there is no intention of resolving them or they haven't even been given them much thought-because yes, we get it, that's a known possibility, in this case, too. Honesty is being valued and hoped for more than ever for some of us in the fandom right now, and letting us know that she is at least aware of the discontent in a large portion of the Dean Fandom would have been better than seemingly ignoring it, as Ms. Gamble did in this interview, IMO. And I don't believe for one minute that she doesn't know about the discontent-and it's insulting to the intelligence of this fandom, if that's the card she's going to play regarding it.

I stand by my criticism of which questions Ms. Gamble chose to answer, the clipped and terse manner in which she answered the one(?)/few Dean questions(she had more enthusiasm for some of the recurring characters on the show than she did for one of her lead characters, IMO), and this while there was much talk and obvious excitement over the numerous Sam and SoullessSam storyline questions she answered. I'm glad she admitted that she would have done things differently in some instances; an idea of what a few of those things were would have been of far greater interest, however. I also maintain that my criticism that the published questions were lop-sided in one characters favor on a site that claims bi-bro status and left little for the Deanfan to find hope in(and at a time when hope is so desperately looked for by those who wish to continue watching a show that we once loved so passionately, but whose passion has diminished to the point that, as I mentioned, more than few are ready to just throw in the towel-and additionally feel that Ms. Gamble doesn't really care if they do or not. And as silly and nonsensical as that may sound regarding a showrunner and her fandom, the feeling is real and being experienced by more than a few(and this is/has been apparent from many comments and feedback in response to many articles and interviews, not only at this site-which is an oddity in itself-but at many others, too-and for more than some time now-since the end of S5, to be exact and onward through Comic Con, culminating in these last episodes before the hiatus of S6 that we've gotten); so if she does indeed care, perhaps she and/or others BTS, should consider responding to us even if it's just by acknowledging that they know about and are aware of our long-held concerns-becaus e I believe that even this small thing/concessio n would convince many to stay. And tbh, it's not just Deanfans who are disillusioned with the show right now. In my travels(and even here), I've read of more than a few bi-bro fans and yes, even some Samfans, who have admitted to a loss of that deep passion that they used to feel for the show-and that loss having to do with 2 main things-the imbalance in the writing of the lead characters regarding storylines(for some) and/or the SoullessSam storyline, for most-and for more reasons than I have time to list or go into here and now.

Pros and cons, likes and dislikes, positive and negative are part and parcel of discussions, IMO. And anyone who puts something out there on the net for public consumption, from professionals of any kind, to the lowly fan(I say lowly, but I'm still including, the contrast of the BNF or Big Name Fan in this-those fans who have cultivated friendships and relationships with professionals of whose work they're a fan of and whose work/writing they continue to offer opinions on) should expect that some of the reactions to whatever they put out, may just not be to their liking-and yes, it does take especially thick skin to do that, and do it well and in a fair and courteous manner in this particular fandom, but IMO, while one can "edit" their site all they want, the real test of whether you're thick-skinned enough to be putting anything at all out there in this very passionate on-line Supernatural fandom, is if you can take any negative comment, sift through it and decide if there's anything positive/helpfu l at all that you can take away from it, and if not, put it aside in a way that would hopefully not add fuel to the fire that it might create. Editing/censori ng comments has become a necessity for some sites in this fandom-too many really-and for me that's a sad, sad commentary on our discussion and communication skills as decent and civilized human beings-but it would be nice if people would keep in mind that internet editing and censoring has some dangers, too, as it can sometimes breed unconscious favoritism and biases if proper and due thought is not given to everyone's posts and comments. And "shunning" is also a danger. Just my thoughts on this matter and this article-probabl y too long and a little off-topic from what was probably looked for in response to it, I know, but it's what came to my mind. No offense intended.
# Evelyn 2011-01-28 14:48
I appreciate Pragmatic Dreamers comments about the Art of the Interview. I enjoyed Sera's interview and didn't feel slighted one way or another about her lack of clarity in answering questions as to where Dean's character is going. I am a huge Dean!girl and love him and am loyal to him to the utmost. I would have liked to see a few more in-depth tidbits as to what will be happening with him the rest of the season, but I can abide with the vague comments we received. Apparently, saying anything they have in store would probably spill too much about what may be in store for him, and they can't let too much out of the bag.

I was spurred to comment here because of the comments posted by Shelby. I welcome this site editing comments on an as-needed basis. While they do welcome pros/cons, likes/dislikes and positive/negati ve comments to be made, it is the nasty, mean, hate Sam, hate Dean, hate show comments that are mostly edited, and those kinds of comments have unfortunately made their way over to this site more frequently. If those are the kind of comments you like to read or post, then go over to the IMDB site, I hear they are rampant over there. Sometimes comments can go in the direction of bullying/bashin g, and that is where the line should be drawn, and this site has every right to do so. Some comments, more or less, tend to go beyond the "communication skills as decent and civilized human beings" and more into the indecent, inhuman, bullying sphere, and that kind of verbiage should not be welcome or tolerated by anyone, anywhere. I know when I am reading comments from others, I can take constructive criticism or pro/con comments, but it's when I read comment after comment of hateDean, hateSam, hateShow, bash this, nasty that; then that goes beyond what I enjoy reading and immediately close the window. It has nothing with being "thick-skinned, " it's about just wanting basic humanity and kindness. I don't think it's sad in the least if some of these negative comments are edited, I welcome it.

A little bit more on Sera's interview and some discontent that has arisen from it. We all love spoilers. We love to get any little tidbit we can about upcoming episodes or the mytharc for this season. I long for them and am like a school girl when I see new pics or previews posted. However, sometimes these spoilers can be to our detriment. We see these previews or pics and we start theorizing about what will happen with the rest of the scene or the episode and we get ideas, thoughts and expectations into our mind about what is going to happen, or what should happen. Then, when the show airs and it doesn't match to what or how we thought the episode would or should be, then the expectations we created in our minds isn't met and thus, we have and develop a level of discontent. We want the show to be a certain way, we expect or demand the show to be a certain way, to have certain things, and when that doesn't happen, when it doesn't meet OUR expectations, then again, our level of discontent is met. And that seems to be something very prevalent so far this season. Now, don't get me wrong or shake your head, I agree, everyone is allowed their feelings, perspectives, viewpoints and expectations. And I agree, this season so far has been difficult at times, especially with soulless Sam. But after viewing the whole season again during this hellatus, I was able to view it from a different perspective, with less expectations and I truly enjoyed each and every episode for what they were meant to be. It is my feeling and opinion, that the first 11 episodes have set up what will be happening the rest of the season, and when the whole season is over and we view it as a whole, I think (and hope) that we will have a different feeling and opinion about what transpired. This can relate so much to our real life experiences, while we are in the middle of it, we have a level of discontent for varying reasons, but when we view things after the fact and from hindsight, our perspectives and opinions change and we are less irritated, angry, or annoyed than we were while living through it - and I think that we will be able to apply that here once the season is over.

My passion and love for this show is as strong as ever and while I did feel a small level of discontent about the season thus far while watching it, I have a renewed love and respect for this show, for the work that is being done and for the progression and developments in the characters of Dean and Sam Winchester. I hope that those who still feel a little discontent and disillusioned in regards to the show, will get their happy feelings back soon. Please do not let your current disillusioned feelings keep you from watching the rest of the season. You have invested so much already into this show, why give up now? Keep the faith and hope. There is still a lot of story to be told, so don't give up on the boys now.
# Shelby 2011-01-28 15:54
"Apparently, saying anything they have in store would probably spill too much about what may be in store for him, and they can't let too much out of the bag."
I'm sorry , but I don't feel this is apparent at all and I'm not even sure Sera has anything other than caretaker for Sam in mind for him yet again. A simple "Don't worry, Deanfans, we have something exciting/new/an y adjective that would have given us hope and the desire to keep watching coming up for Dean, too, would have sufficed and perhaps then the word "apparent" might have worked, and I get that she owes us nothing really, but could it have hurt?
# Ardeospina 2011-01-28 16:47
Thanks for writing this, Pragmatic Dreamer. Your insights into the interview process were very interesting and welcome. And what a fascinating job you have! At least, it seems so from the outside. I'm sure it has its bad moments, too, but still!
# Shelby 2011-01-28 18:15
I guess I was just looking for a little understanding of my frustration and compassion for it. I tried to be positive and that was the best I could do. I try to hope that my posts will only stimulate thought. I know that they are often dissenting ones, but that's because I have been very unhappy and disappointed with the writing for the last season and half. And it's been tough for me to be as positive as I used to be concerning the show. So yes, I'll move along for now, but I still feel that by limiting yourself to only "positive attitudes" here, you're not getting a real feel for what's going on in the entire fandom. And I get that you might not be concerned with that, but Ms. Gamble should be, and it's been implied that folks from the show read what you write here and the comments attached. I know that this is fan run site and to set the record straight, I don't like to read or post hateful comments and I never said I did. My point was to bring up the dangers of censorship, not to tell you how to run your site, which I would never presume to do-and if I didn't say that in my original post, I should have and I meant to.

"Where is the mass outrage over our show being bumped a week?"
Where indeed. Two seasons ago I would have been devastated by something like this, but now I have no real problem waiting. Just something else to think about...
# Shelby 2011-01-29 10:17
"Online really represents a small chunk of the fandom and the network knows that. Online fandoms aren't well received by many, and I'm not talking Supernatural. Most producers and networks think online fans are nutjobs. They know statistically online makes up about 5 or 10% of their audience. Supernatural has been the most receptive to online fans out of any show I've seen"

I really WOULD hope that TPTB behind Supernatural don't generalize and/or lump this fandom into that one negative category the way you say other producers do, because while there are, of course, some definitive "nutjobs" out there, there are also some incredibly talented people in this fandom doing their thing online-I'd even call some of them artists in their own right. And I think TPTB at Supernatural do pay attention a bit more considering that many of the happenings in S5 and 6 have been delivering on things many online fans have been asking for-even delivering to the fans many items on a laundry list of things I saw posted at another site that I'm sure you never visit. And I'd bet $ to donuts that Cas' "profound bond" speech to Dean from this season was prompted by an outpouring of online fan wishes for some confirmation of this. And then there are the meta episodes. So I think I'll keep on plugging away for some things in regards to Dean's role that would make me happier and hopefully bring my old love for the show back, just in case. And with it looking pretty good for a S7 now, I figure it can't hurt to keep asking.

"Fair enough Shelby, you make your point well here. You are more than welcome to keep sharing your frustrations. I honestly think a lot of your posts have given great arguments. I can't make you happy about the show, none of us can, but if it helps to vent once in a while, feel free. We do vent."

It's probably for the best that I just continue to pop in and out. So til next time... :-)
# Melanie 2011-01-29 10:20
Thanks for this insight.

One thing I took particular notice of too, her comment that it was Bob Singer that came up with the idea for soul-less Sam.
Especially in light of the fantastic essay posted about Robo!Sam's role in the story - I think that's very interesting. I have always been of the opinion that Sam being split that way was a clever plot device. Sam's soul - our Sammy, a protagonist whom we care deeply about, remained in serious jepardy, like a kidnapping victim. But instead of Sam tied to a chair while Bobby and Dean try to rescue him - we had Robo!Sam participating in the rescue AND throwing a serious monkey-wrench into the effort. I liked it.
That the clever, yet simple plot device could also be used as described in Bookdal's insightful essay to illuminate both the brothers' bond(or lack thereof) and the human condition, to me is amazing.
Clearly, to me anyway, Supernatural's writers know exactly what they are doing and they are doing it extremely well.
Like S6 or don't aside -- what other show on TV has this kind of layered storytelling? Not many.
Like S6 or don't -- what other TV show has a showrunner willing to interact at all w/ fans in the manner that SPN always has? Again, not many -- the guys from Chuck, Kurt Sutter from Sons of Anarchy come to mind.
# Annabeth 2011-01-30 14:07
I feel this article incredibles overstates things. Sorry but Sera admitting that the writers make mistakes is not some new amazing truth you managed to uncover. It has been said by Kripke and other writers many times before at conferences or in interviews. Also in Meta episodes - where Chuck apologises for making them live through the Ghost ship.

Im sorry i really dont see that this article holds up by saying you discovered some wonderful moment of truth.