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Dinner with Kevin and Jill

So, cat's out of the bag...

Tonight I had dinner and drinks with Kevin Parks and his wife Jill at their house in Vancouver.

It was missyjack who got the invitation, and permission to invite one tag along... and she invited me.

Being an informal setting, I did NOT bring my notebook - so I'm not going to recount everything that was said... mainly because I don't remember, and also because there was a lot of wine involved.

I also have to be up early tomorrow, because I got a last minute ticket to the location tour. Yikes! So, seeing as how I'm only going to be getting 6 hours of sleep, I better get on with this post.

Kevin was very interesting to talk to. He showed us his director's script and notes for Trial and Error. It was really interesting to see the way they divide the script, and the little notes that he makes along the way...

Script says:
Dean: I hate you
Horse snorts

Kevin's handwriting beside that section: "maybe snorts, maybe not"

The script had layouts of the houseboat, the MOL bunker, Dean's room, the ranch... things I wished I had copies of basically.

He also had the scripts for Lazarus Rising and Frontierland. Those, of course, were his 1st AD scripts, so the notes were different. It was still interesting to see the little things in all the script that we don't necessarily know about... the bracketed ("fuck you") written in Trial and Error before Dean's line "I'm nesting. Eat." The little paragraph about the Dean+Sam hug in Lazarus Rising that says "This is the moment we've been waiting for. Milk it."

I was interested in the different revisions - the new pages that will be a brand new page, because they want to change "You haven't been doing that ESP stuff?" to "You doing that ESP stuff?" or "I'm not letting you do that" to "You can forget about it." Little tiny revisions that some people might think don't make a difference at all, but obviously they do.

It was also great just to hear Kevin and Jill talk about the industry. Jill worked on Supernatural from S1-S5 as a focus puller and camera operator. She did the shots of the dollhouse in Playthings, for instance... but they met working on X Files. Jill talked about having to fight to get the same wages, or even CLOSE to the same wages as her male counterpart, as well as the trials and triumphs of working on the recent Metallica 3D project (not surprisingly, perhaps, Metallica fans can be a disgusting unruly lot.)

Kevin talked about his influences, and much like Jensen, it really all centered around Kim Manners. Jill had worked under Kim too, of course, and they both agreed that he was exacting and really the top person in the industry. Kevin models his directing around Kim, just like Jensen does... just like I'm starting to think everyone who ever worked with Kim does. As the night progressed, and the scotch and wine disappeared, Kevin stopped referring to Kim in the past tense - and it really drove home how much Kim Manners is still alive in some way in the heart of the SPN set. He's still something that unites and drives the cast and crew.

It was all fascinating... and Kevin really does have a mind for facts, canon, and trivia. He remembers everything, and he's one of only three people from S1 that's still around. He pointed out how in Trial and Error, Sam and Dean shouldn't have been able to hear the hell hounds, but that he had to eventually give up that fight and "drink the kool aid" and just go along with the writers for the sake of the story - and the excuse that at this point Sam and Dean have both been to hell and perhaps the veil has been torn enough that they can hear things through it now.

He wasn't afraid to say which actors were difficult and which weren't - though only if they were brought up in conversation. I'll keep that information to myself though, so as to not ruin anyone's image (and also because I know enough about the industry to know that one man's difficult actor is another man's perfectly reasonable actor.) And when he heard that I did the clothing catalogue, he confirmed that Dean's S7 leather jacket was ditched on Sara's orders because it wasn't "bad boy" enough.

And on top of all that, the food was absolutely delicious!

Nothing, of course, was said about S9. Kevin is about to direct episode 5. We saw the leather binder that had the script in it, but we did not see the script.

Kevin wanted to make sure though, that we knew how much the cast and crew appreciate the fans - especially the international fans. If they had to go by domestic US ratings, the show would have been cancelled years ago... but because Supernatural is sold to so many countries world wide, and has such a large international fanbase, THAT's the reason they keep coming back. It's the longest job Kevin has ever had - and without the longevity of the series, he would never have had a chance to direct, which is something he finds he really enjoys. Needless to say, he is extremely grateful to all the fans, and insisted that the rest of the crew feel the same way.

And that's my very quick recap. Also - their dog is ADORABLE and so damn pretty! :)

What is my life? I don't even know.

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Comments

( 29 comments — Leave a comment )
fannishliss
Aug. 22nd, 2013 10:26 am (UTC)
oh wow, this is so very cool. those annotated scripts would be such a GOLD MINE.

I really love how Kim Manners always comes up. Prior to SPN, XFiles was my hardcore devotion, and it still boggles me that SPN has still not found the widespread success of XFiles, when it is made so meticulously, with such high caliber production, incredible acting, well-handled scripts and story arcs. I just love SPN with such a passion, and Kim's work and his legacy in SPN is kind of a concrete thing we can all point to and say, no really, SPN is a bona fide amazingly good show!!!

It's really true that "Difficulty" between actors and directors is often a matter of personality and communication skills... or sometimes, the actor is inside the character and can't really grasp the director's overall vision to incorporate certain choices. Also, I wonder if some actors might find it difficult to "buy in" to a genre show, to adopt the "suspension of disbelief" that enables them to deliver a heartfelt, emotional portrayals that makes a character real, even though they are dealing with horror/fantasy elements.

I'm glad you had such a great opportunity and such a great time!
hells_half_acre
Aug. 22nd, 2013 02:40 pm (UTC)
I agree on all points!

Yeah, I didn't ask what his specific problems were with certain actors... mainly, he just made a joke about how he'd been happy that certain characters had always been slated for eventual death. :P

I think X Files just hit at the right time in culture or something... I can't really explain it otherwise.
daisychain1957
Aug. 22nd, 2013 12:50 pm (UTC)
Lucky lady, so glad you had this opportunity :D
hells_half_acre
Aug. 22nd, 2013 02:40 pm (UTC)
Thanks, me too! :)
borgmama1of5
Aug. 22nd, 2013 01:18 pm (UTC)
I am thrilled for you! Thanks for sharing with the rest of us!!!
hells_half_acre
Aug. 22nd, 2013 02:40 pm (UTC)
You're welcome! It was a lot of fun. :)
borgmama1of5
Aug. 23rd, 2013 01:42 am (UTC)
Just noticed 'one of 3 people from season 1 still around.' So him and Serge, who's the third? Presumably he's not counting Jared and Jensen...
hells_half_acre
Aug. 23rd, 2013 05:34 am (UTC)
Haha, no, he was strictly talking crew at that point. The third person is Bob Singer. ;)

Technically there are other crew that have been on since S1 - like Russ Hamilton, and others, but he was just talking about people who have the clout to speak up about story points and canon discrepancies.
missyjack
Aug. 22nd, 2013 02:48 pm (UTC)
OH YOU ARE A LEGEND! Thanks so much for this. It captures the evening really well!.
kaybee751
Aug. 22nd, 2013 03:10 pm (UTC)
This is so cool! What a great opportunity for you & missyjack. I think we assumed the same thing about the hellhounds (time in hell = ability to hear them now). To ask something awkward though... I'm guessing the timeline didn't come up?
hells_half_acre
Aug. 23rd, 2013 01:28 am (UTC)
I mentioned that I did the timeline, but that was it. Nothing more was said - which was good! Nothing more needs to be said about it. :) He was actually more interested in the fact that I kept track of the clothes (I think because it sounds like a crazy thing to do.)
tebtosca
Aug. 22nd, 2013 03:28 pm (UTC)
Sounds like a great time! Behind the scenes intel is always so interesting. I admit that I'm cringing at how bluntly the writers seem to disregard basic canon, but I suppose Kevin must be as well lol
hells_half_acre
Aug. 23rd, 2013 01:29 am (UTC)
He is! He says that they went lax for a little bit, but that they're starting to tighten up again about that sort of stuff - and he's happy about that. I certainly feel good knowing that when something IS funky, Kevin DOES bring it up. So us canon-nitpicky fans have a voice on set. ;)
fourtenpm
Aug. 22nd, 2013 03:42 pm (UTC)
that is interesting, how many countries are there that have bought the rights of the show?
hells_half_acre
Aug. 23rd, 2013 01:30 am (UTC)
I have no idea! I wonder if there's a page about it on the SuperWiki?
cordelia_gray
Aug. 22nd, 2013 03:44 pm (UTC)
What a cool thing to happen! Lucky girl :)

The Kim Manners thing is interesting, he had such an influence on that show. Also the thing about overseas fans being the thing which has kept the show on the air this long.

Enjoy the location tour!
hells_half_acre
Aug. 23rd, 2013 01:31 am (UTC)
Thanks! Yeah, it was super awesome.

Location tour report will be up later tonight! I've gotta go get my hair-cut (gotta look nice for the con!) and then register and get my wristband for the weekend! :)
quickreaver
Aug. 22nd, 2013 04:08 pm (UTC)
The behind-the-scenes stuff is endlessly fascinating to me! What a treat! I'm DYING to know who's difficult but I totally get keeping that info out of the public eye. Doesn't serve anyone's interest but my curiosity. Fantastic job, m'dear!
hells_half_acre
Aug. 23rd, 2013 01:32 am (UTC)
If you're really dying, I could always PM you - I trust you not to spread it around. Definitely don't want it in the public eye though, because I can already imagine the ensuing fandom wank. :P
msninacat
Aug. 22nd, 2013 09:03 pm (UTC)
SO AWESOME!! Thanks for sharing with us! Hope you have a great time at Van Con this weekend!
hells_half_acre
Aug. 23rd, 2013 01:33 am (UTC)
Thanks! :)
khek
Aug. 22nd, 2013 11:17 pm (UTC)
You are a lucky woman, and we're lucky that you're so good at sharing!

Anytime anyone mentions Kim Manners on any show, it seems like people just sing his praises. I loved his vision of the show, and I think he must have been such a wonderful person. It's always fun to hear some of the behind-the-scenes stuff, so thank you for sharing!
hells_half_acre
Aug. 23rd, 2013 01:36 am (UTC)
It's funny, because neither Kevin nor Jill hid the fact that Kim was "exacting" - meaning, he told you exactly what he wants, and you better damn well do it! And if you aren't going to do it, you better have a good reason and let him no about it BEFORE shooting rather than after.

Obviously, if you respected him, he would respect you - and everyone got along like a house on fire.
(Deleted comment)
hells_half_acre
Aug. 23rd, 2013 01:38 am (UTC)
Yup, this little spoilerphobe was a good pick to go, because I would have to first decide if I wanted to spoil myself before I even got to the decision about whether I wanted to stick my nose where'd I'd been asked not to stick it. :P

I am VERY lucky to have gone.
kazluvsbooks
Aug. 23rd, 2013 12:38 am (UTC)
Thank you so MUCH for the recount!!
AWESOME!!!

Did Kevin say lovely things about J2? Does he count them as friends?
hells_half_acre
Aug. 23rd, 2013 01:41 am (UTC)
He didn't really talk about J2 at all - besides mentioning how the cast of two made shooting the show particularly challenging, because they're basically in every scene, so there's not really much of a "second unit" and the show really does need to be shot in 8 days and no more.

The only thing I can report is that he referred to them collectively as "The Js/Jays" (I don't know how he spells it in his mind) or "the boys". But there were no details on relationships with the cast or the crew really, besides professional relationships.
sandymg
Aug. 23rd, 2013 01:49 am (UTC)
OMG. I am literally squeeing on your behalf. How lovely to have that experience. Wanna hear something funny? I wish I could meet Missyjack, too. She also seems like a very cool gal.

I adored reading this.

It made me day.
hells_half_acre
Aug. 23rd, 2013 05:31 am (UTC)
Missyjack is very cool! So your suspicions are correct!

I'm glad you liked reading it! :)
( 29 comments — Leave a comment )

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