Okay guys. Let's talk about Chicon.
Last wednesday, Summer & I traveled to Chicago to experience the Supernatural Convention. For those of you who don't know, Supernatural is an American tv show currently in it's 10th season on CW! I can honestly say it was the best week-end of my life. Summer & I are so passionate about film & television, we're currently in our second year of studying film and theater at university! So this is something we've been looking forward to for a VERY long time!
*In this post you will see all of the PHOTO-OPS we had with the cast & a couple of pics we took during the panels. Unfortunately our camera doesn't take the best pictures in low light. The reason we're sharing these is because we wanted to show you guys what it was like from our perspective, not just pictures from the front row taken by a professional. *
Just to warn you, this is gonna be a super long post, as we have so much to share! I'll also be giving out information for anyone who is interested in going to ChiCon in the future!
We also want to point out that the reason we don't share the conversations we had with the guests is because we would rather keep it private as it was such a special moment for us.
Day 1 : Friday, October 24th
Our first day. We had no idea what to expect as it was our first ever convention, and as we're told the biggest con Supernatural has ever had. (We believe there were 2000+ fans!) The venue is perfect : we stayed in the Hyatt Regency O'Hare, the lobby of the hotel was connected to where the panels and photo-ops took place, which means we didn't have to go far to get our photos done, and find food! The photo-ops all vary in price, you can purchase them on site or online before the convention. The pictures are all laid out on a table outside the ballroom a few hours later, so sometimes you can get them in time for the autographs! The panels, Q&A's, took place in a huge 'Ballroom' on the ground floor right by the entrance of the hotel. Outside the ballroom there's space for queuing and some merchandise stands, anything from posters, fanart, jewelry, t-shirts, mugs, pictures of the cast!
All of the panels took place in that Ballroom, which seated about 2000 people, and Friday morning kicked off with a presentation by the host Richard Speight Jr, aka The Trickster/Gabriel in the show. He was soon joined by Rob Benedict, who plays Chuck Shurley/Carver Edlund, who is also the singer of the band Louden Swain. The band was always on stage playing music between panels, & I have to say they were so good!
Richard makes such an incredible host, because he effortlessly transitions one panel to the next, and he was so entertaining!
So the first panel was Gil Mckinney's, aka Prince Eric in Once Upon a Time & Henry Winchester in the show. The panels are basically q&a's, about 40-60 mins long, where fans ask questions and the guests answer. It's very interactive, and the whole atmosphere is pretty amazing, you're in a room with people who love the same thing as you, and everyone is so polite. Never at any moment was there an awkward silence or whatever- the whole thing was so much fun. We were lucky enough to have Gold Tickets, which meant we were close to the stage and received complementary autographs. Gil's panel was so great and we decided to buy a photo-op ticket with him, which was a couple of hours after his panel finished. He was so sweet and polite (and very charming) when we took our picture!
The next panel that day was that of Julian Richings, who portrays Death in the show. & wow, he could not be more different then his character! He was so charismatic and happy, his panel was so much fun as he got everyone up dancing. I wish we could have had a picture with him but unfortunately money was running low!
The third panel of the day was with Lauren Tom & Osric Chau, who play Mama Tran (& voice's Amy in Futurama!!) & Kevin Tran in the show. Osric & Lauren were so, so sweet : Osric suggested to everyone a dressing up theme for the day, Pokemon, which explains his cosplay outfit in the picture! Our photo with Osric was an hour after his and Lauren's panel : you basically walk to another side of the hotel (it's all very organised!) and queue up. You only get a couple of seconds with each guest, but we managed to speak a little bit!
After our photo with Osric, we made way for the Ballroom again, where the autograph sessions take place. The Gold Ticket holders are called row by row, and queue up for the autographs, and the first one we got was Gil Mckinney's. (I have to say it again, he was SO NICE & CHARMING. I love Once Upon a Time too so I was so happy). You get a little more time to talk with the guests at this moment, but I was still so nervous and shy most of the time I couldn't get my words out. Summer got the photo-op signed & I asked if he could sign my diary!
The next autographs we got were Lauren & Osric's, and urgh they were both also so kind, they both asked me questions before I could even tell them how awesome I thought they were! We both had lovely conversations with them.
Sadly I didn't get to meet Julian Richings, Richard Speight Jr or Rob Benedict, those were the only people I didn't have photo's with/autographs with. :(
The best thing about Friday night was the Karaoke event. Yes, I saw the cast sing and dance on stage, and it was one of the best most surreal moments of my life? I never expected anything like that to happen. All the front seats had been removed, and it was basically like a concert. The guests sung on stage, some fans who signed up for the karaoke went on and sung with them, all whilst some of the cast were dressed up in Halloween makeup! We had to leave early (well, half 12) because we were so tired and jet lagged, but it ended at half past 1. I took a couple of pictures here, but my camera doesn't do too well in low-light situations!
Day 2 : Saturday, October 25th.
Once again the day kicked off with the host Richard Speight Jr, who welcomed new guests who hadn't been there on Friday. The first panel of the day was that of Gil Mckinney & Osric Chau's, both answering questions together! The second panel was Tahmoh Penikett, who played Gadreel/Ezekiel in the show, and has also starred in many others (Battlestar Galactica, Arrow, Man of Steel..)
After the morning panels, Summer & I made our way to the photo-op room to take a picture with Mark Sheppard, aka Crowley in the show (who also starred in Doctor Who, any so much more!). I love his character so much, and he was so, so much fun, he was joking with us while we took the photo, and we asked if we could all pull an evil face ''Can we pull an evil face? Like we're your evil twin supporters?'' Let's just say I couldn't keep a completely straight face, because I was so damn happy at the time!
Straight after our picture was taken, we thanked him and made our way back to the Ballroom, where he was going to have his Q&A panel, 15 mins later.
Mark was so much fun because he was one of the very few who actually left the stage and walked in the aisles between the audience, randomly talking with seated fans, joking with them and commenting their outfits (why so many Castiels?!) everyone was laughing at this point, he was hilarious. (alot of guests had bodyguards and stayed on stage for security reasons, which I completely get, there are alot of people and their safety is the priority!)
The next thing we did that day was go back to the photo-op room to have our picture taken with Matt Cohen, who plays the young John Winchester in the show. He was in some of my favorite episodes, so I just had to take the opportunity and have a photo with him! I think I went so red, but he was so nice and sweet! Argh, wow. Matt also co-hosted the Karaoke night.
He had a panel a couple of hours later with him, Richard Speight Jr (Trickster), & Rob Benedict (Chuck Shurley), and you could just sense how all get on so well, they were all so entertaining. I know I keep repeating myself, but I WAS SO HAPPY.
Their panel ended, and Misha Collins appeared on stage for his one. I love his character Castiel so so much, so when he appeared I did nearly cry. We had our picture taken with him afterwards, and it was the first time where Summer & I were completely lost for words. It's strange because you see others get their picture taken, you get closer and closer, and then you just shut down. Well I did, anyway. I respect him so much so it was alot to take in! Summer meant to ask for a funny picture but also lost it a little! I'm so proud that I managed to thank all of them when I took pictures, I look so happy in this one :')
After our picture was taken with him, we quickly had dinner in the lobby, a buffet type thing, which was a lot cheaper then the restaurants and really good! It seems weird eating after something like that, something you've looked forward to for so long, I was just walking around in a daze!
We went and queued for our next photo op with Gil Mckinney + Matt Cohen together, and it was so sweet because they both recognized us from the previous photos. Matt : ''Yes! Yeah we're doing this! There are two of them!!'' I was speechless at that moment and I didn't even ask for the hug, but after taking it Matt said : ''Was that awkward? We should do it again'', so we took two pictures, trying to figure out how to take it, and god, I was in such a state of pure happiness at that moment. I can't stop smiling thinking back on it.
|The 1st awkward picture, what is going on with our arms?|
|Gil, Summer, Holly & Matt|
The next event of the night was the autograph sessions with Mark Sheppard and Misha Collins. I kept telling myself, it's okay, don't stutter, tell them what you've been wanting to tell them for so long. We queuing for 10 minutes, maybe more, I was facing Mark Sheppard and we were very lucky here because we managed to have a whole conversation between him, Summer & my mum (she's awesome). He called us cute and he was just all in all amazing.
We queued for Misha's next, and this is where I messed up, I managed to squeek a hello, and said ''It's so nice to meet you!'' to which he jokingly replied, ''it's nice to meet you again, you know we did meet earlier, (turns towards Summer) she's already forgotten, how rude!'' I was so taken aback and didn't even know what to say, I'm gutted I didn't manged to tell him what I wanted to, but he was still so funny and nice, he was smiling and laughing, and he remembered our photo :') wow. Still not over that moment. Summer had a lovely convo with him too, he asked us some questions and just chatted really! The last autograph signing of the day was Tahmoh Penikett's, who is just so awesome, seriously such a cool nice dude!
The last event of that day was the Cabaret at 10.15 in the ballroom. This time everyone kept their seats, while the guests performed some amazing songs. (Yes, they all have amazing musical talent. I was so impressed!). There were alot more people that night, hence the seating! It was quite surreal watching all the cast singing and playing instruments together, (especially when they all performed Carry On My Warward Son!) It was incredible. The Cabaret is complementary for Gold and Silver week-end ticket holders, which meant we didn't have to pay for it since we purchased the gold ticket.
Day 3 : Sunday, October 26th.
We were sitting in the ballroom/theatre with the other Gold patrons, when Jensen Ackles & Jared Padalecki, the main stars of the show (Dean and Sam Winchester), came on stage, for their morning panel with us. I was quite literally holding back the tears at that point, I had been waiting since last year, when my parents bought the tickets, for that moment. That panel was for Gold Patrons only, and only lasted 30 mins, in which they both answered questions by the fans. Summer almost asked a question here, but another fan also stood up, so she let her ask them a question instead! It was so, so much fun, and they really did seem so appreciative of all the support. Like I said earlier, the whole thing is super interactive, and everyone was very respectful and polite.
After their panel, it was time for the photo op with them. Waiting in line for your turn is so nerve wracking, I remember thinking, ''this is it, I'm finally going to meet them''. I've been looking up to these guys since I started watching the show back in 2007, so I never ever thought I'd even get to meet them, and when they saw us and said hello, I was on the verge of tears, but so incredibly happy, I managed to speak to Jared and I got a hug, & Summer spoke to Jensen who was so so nice. They were both so genuine and honestly so nice and polite, I will never forget that moment. Supernatural has always been there when I've had a bad day, it's strange considering we've been watching the show for so long, and looked up to the actors and characters for so long, it was so overwhelming. I thanked Jared after the photo was taken, and once outside suddenly burst into tears. It was just so overwhelming, I was just so grateful for that moment. I then awkwardly walked past a huge line of people who saw me crying and shaking, urgh. (all the fans I met there were so friendly, I've managed to find a few on Tumblr, if you were there let us know!!!)
|Jared, Holly, Summer & Jensen|
The next event that day was our photo with Colin Ford, who currently stars in Under The Dome, he was also in the film We bought a zoo (with Matt Damon, Elle Fanning, Scarlett Johansson), which we love, and he plays the young Sam Winchester on the show. He was so cute and sweet, he was only announced as a guest a couple of weeks before the convention, so it was such a lovely surprise! And again, another genuinely nice person.
He had a panel soon after that, which was his first ever one, and once again great fun!!
Jared & Jensen's 2nd panel was next, and once again they were hilarious. Other guests quickly crashed their panel, and it was so much fun, they had everyone laughing. Mark Sheppard (Crowley) chased Jensen around the stage, & Osric and Misha also appeared on stage briefly! Huge cheers all around.
This was the only time of the convention where there was quite a gap between each event for us, after Jared & Jensen we didn't have another panel to see for a couple of hours, so we managed to sit down and relax a bit. This is only time throughout the whole convention that they were running late (only 20 mins though!) which isn;t bad considering the amount of people there!
Curtis Armstrong was up next, who plays Metatron in the show, and who has starred in so many more things, he is an amazing actor (I love to hate his character so much, he caused so much mayhem in the show ^^) he was great on stage and it was his first ever tour appearance.
The last event of the convention was the autograph sessions with Jared and Jensen, we had more time to speak a little with them. We managed to speak with Jared the most, he asked us questions, and I quickly told him everything I wanted to, he was honestly so genuine, he really thanked me for what I said. Summer also spoke to him for a while, and then our Mum too ( who is also a huge fan of the show! )
We then proceeded to Jensen's autograph line, and it was at that point where I realized just how many bodyguards/security were there. I think he had the most security, he was pretty much encircled by them ( which I totally understand ) Sadly I didn't get much time to speak with him, but he was so nice and polite, and I'm still so, so grateful, & Summer spoke to him during the photo-op which was amazing!
I can honestly say, that the whole experience was absolutely worth the money. (Needless to say I owe my Mum everything, we're so grateful for this!! x ) The Gold Tickets are expensive, but it is totally worth it. All the Creation Entertainment staff and volunteers were so helpful and nice, and there was so much positive energy there. Everyone was so passionate but also very respectful to the stars, not once did I meet someone rude or dare I say crazy.
I have to thank all the guests for being so genuinely nice all the time, they take hundreds of pictures with the fans throughout the week-end yet still remained genuinely polite and nice and sweet, none of it felt 'fake' or manufactured. They just seem like down to earth, incredibly nice human beings.
This experience has had such a positive impact on our lives, and has motivated us to keep on with our studies in film & theater, something we, as you know, are extremely passionate about.
Here are some more random photos we took along the way!
|Super tired Holly still smiling!|
|These photos were on sale on a stall, for the autographs!|
|Mum & Holly!|