Supernatural Season 12 - Here We Go Again

2016-08-08 - Burnaby/New Westminster, BC

New season of Supernatural, new cast, and a LOT of new crew, unfortunately.  I went to a set for Episode 1 for the pick up of where they left off with Dean reuniting with 'Mom' (Samantha Smith who will be herein called 'Mom' in order to avoid 'Sam' confusion).  My bucket list for this season has been set to meet Mom and also get Jared to sign a photo for me (I kind of fell into personalized photos from Jensen and Misha so now I need to complete the set).  I heard that they were filming at the Executive Inn in Burnaby in the morning so I packed up my bag and headed out.  I waited until later into the morning as I didn't want to get stuck in the terrible, TERRIBLE morning commute though Richmond, New Westminster AND Burnaby so I didn't arrive at set until a little after 11.  I parked in the next complex and walked down to see but found quickly that it looked like they weren't doing anything outside.  I walked up to the PA that was standing across the driveway from where the trucks and the hotel were and asked if it was all interiors.  He confirmed that they had done exteriors earlier but now have moved inside.  Damn traffic. Okay, no worries.  I mentioned that I was pretty sure that I'd passed by their next location on my way there.   I didn't tell him where it was and he didn't volunteer anything other than that they had three locations and that they had another 2 hours or so there.
I don't like watching the outside of buildings so I thanked him and headed across to the mall nearby to grab a coffee and meet a friend. Pretty much right on 2 hours later we were ready to go and heading not far up the hill to Cumberland Auto.  I was really excited about this location for a few reasons.  First of all it was on a pretty residential street.  Not a whole lot of traffic to deal with.  Also, it was across from an open field, great place to stand and watch and take photos.  It wasn't raining (which is always a win in set-stalking) and it was daylight.  Usually I can only go to sets at night because I work during the day but summer holidays allows me to FINALLY see some sets during the day and take some daytime photos.

Driving up we saw the Impala and not a whole lot else.  There was some gear, some police officers and a couple of PA's wandering around but it sure didn't look like they were going to be here anytime soon.  We parked a ways up the block and then walked back, finding two girls sitting on the grass across the street from the car.  We chatted with them for a while and they wondered aloud if they might be able to get a photo with the car.  I encouraged them saying that this is the time, they aren't going to be filming anytime soon, they should go ask the PA.  They went across the street and the PA was happy to allow them, and then us, to take photos of the car from the sidewalk.  Awesome.  With everyone happy we returned to our spot directly across the street, waited and chatted.  It felt like a while but the big vans started showing up with crewbies, some of them still eating lunch out of little boxes.  I guess that explains the delay: Crew's gotta eat.  They started disappearing all over the place to do their jobs setting up the filming.

We continued to wait and also noticed that more people were starting to show up.  Somehow word maybe got out? It wasn't me. Anyway, the others that showed up were staying closer to the corner, many of them had young (noisy) children.  I started to wonder if we were supposed to be over there but we'd already talked to a PA and told him what we were about.  We figured they'd move us if they wanted us to be somewhere else.  We were just sitting and chatting on the grass.  I looked over and noticed the smoke machines going, must be getting close to go time.

Not long after I noticed the cameras set up one of the white Ford cast SUV's pulled up right in front of where we were sitting.  As it pulled in I nudged my friend and said 'hey, isn't that Mary?'  Before either of us could process she was out of the SUV onto the sidewalk right in front of us and crossing the street to set.  Wow, missed opportunity much?  She was right in front of us but we weren't quick enough to say anything.

Everyone on the set seemed pretty happy to see her and she seems to be a hugger.  There were a few exchanged while she puttered around waiting for the filming to start and the rest of the cast to get there.  She wandered around chatting and seeming to have a good time while what appeared to be the on-set photographer took photos of the car.  Not gonna lie, I was jealous. ;)   From across the street we tried to be subtle about taking photos as we didn't want to be terribly obvious, even though they knew we were fans already.

It felt like about half an hour after Mom showed up the boys arrived in typical fashion, in the SUV right in front of set and they hopped out with their phones in hand.  Almost right away my friend said that Jared had tweeted and sure enough when I pulled my phone out the notification had just come in that he had tweeted the video of them playing around on the Arrow set the day before. He seemed to be enjoying it on his phone and was watching something before going over to Jensen who was already at his mark by the convenience store.  They laughed a little and chatted there for a few minutes before Jared headed over to the back end of Baby to pump gas. I laughed that it feels a little like going through the looking glass when you're watching someone on their phone and you get a tweet notification from them.

Even though they had used stand in's for the boys earlier they double checked everything, Mom sitting in the passenger seat, Sam behind pumping gas and Dean approaching from the convenience store behind the car.  Getting Jared in the right angle, the director (I believe) started telling Jared, 'lower' as he leaned on the Impala and (didn't) pump gas.  Jared got lower, and then he said lower, over and over as Jared found himself crouching behind the Impala and laughing knowing he'd been had.  He then pretended to crawl up the trunk of the car making the people around him laugh.

Jensen was going to be carrying a shopping bag in the scene and later on I noticed that there was beef jerky in it.  I thought it was kind of funny that until he absolutely had to, Jensen wasn't handed the bag. Instead a crew member carried it around between takes.

The first angle was from the front of the car, I'm assuming a wide shot of Mary sitting in the passenger side of the car and Dean walking up from the store.  Sam pumps gas while Dean gets in the drivers' seat and has a short conversation with Mary, probably assessing what he bought.  Sam hangs up the gas pump and gets in as well where they continue the conversation and then cut the take.  They only did the wide shot twice before they changed the angle to close up on Dean's side of the car.

During this time the PA near the biggest group of fans (who had moved over to where we were sitting) asked people not to take photos.  In my experience this is unusual for Supernatural and somewhat disturbing.  I understand on important episodes why they wouldn't want photos out there floating around but this is a pretty innocuous scene, conversation with the Winchesters, all looking healthy and not really any spoilers to be seen.  Not even a city.  I'll respect wishes of the production, however and I stuffed my camera back in my bag to much disappointment.  An older lady asked the PA kindly why we weren't allowed to take photos and the answer she got wasn't terribly polite or logical.  The PA simply answered, 'Well it's obvious.' When the woman didn't seem to have any recognition as to why this was 'obvious' she just snapped, 'Its property of Warner Brothers.'.  O-kay.  Well, we happened to be standing across the street on a church lot, which isn't property of Warner Brothers, but whatever.  Again, I'm not trying to be a dick here but I don't like seeing people treated poorly for no reason.

In any event I got down to watching the scene and the time in between.  The boys seemed loose and relaxed and to be having a good time.  A few things we saw:
-Between set ups Jared and Jensen stayed on set this time (which is not terribly usual for them - although I don't know how far away the circus was)
-While they changed set ups at one point, Jensen joined Jared in the back of the car where they hung out and did their thing.
-At times the boys were on their phones so late before they actually had to start acting I was shocked they can get into character that quick.  There's usually a little space between when they start rolling on a shot and when 'action' is called.  Sometimes it's longer than others but sometimes it can be very short.  There were shots where they called 'Rolling' and Jared wasn't at his mark and still was on his phone.  He would keep it out almost right up until when they called action.  I mean granted this isn't a heavy scene for him but wow, that's cutting it close.
-At one point Jensen walked up behind Jared bent over the Impala and smacked him in the ass with the shopping bag causing Jared to laugh and wince
-Jared and Jensen both waved to fans on the other side of the street.
-They filmed the wide shot, then over Jensen's shoulder into the car and then they went to move the car a little further from the pumps to go from the other side, over Mary's shoulder.
-At one point Jared was half-sitting on the back of the Impala with one leg stretched out down the line of the trunk.
-Also caught Jensen picking lint and dirt from around the emblems on the trunk where they key hole is.
-While we watched the crowd grew and shrunk throughout the time we were there. Not to harp on this but first of all, the PA that asked people not to take photos then didn't enforce that rule or tell the new people that showed up to watch.  She was busy sitting on the grass, talking to people or petting dogs while she watched the filming and so people that showed up later were free to take photos, often times right in front of the PA that wasn't paying attention.  Then once or twice people were told again but there were all kinds of people taking photos and video right in front of them.  In the past what's seemed to have worked well is that they ask fans not to post until the episode but allow them to take photos.
-Also when this PA went on a spell off, the new person wasn't told so he let people that whatever photos they wanted.  My sense of being told what not to do kicked in so I left my camera in my bag still even though I was becoming more and more angry about this.  I really enjoy taking photos at sets and sharing them once the episode airs.  It also helps me remember what I saw when I can look back and see.
-The crew moved us a little further down to get the angle towards Dean so the fans were moved down the street a little but we still had great vantage of the scene.

Once they finished that angle and then loaded everyone in the car to do a take of the Winchesters driving away.  With Jensen in the drivers' seat and the Impala fired up, cameras and phones came out everywhere for people to take video of this.  Again, no one said anything so I handed my phone to a friend that had just arrived.  We were there when they 'told us not to take photos' but this other friend wasn't.  I don't have a problem with rules, but they need to be enforced and equitable. How is it fair that some people get video when others don't?
Jensen was ready and raring to get the Impala going.  With it fired up he revved it a few times for the benefit of the crowd.  He looked over his shoulder and I was standing on the edge of the crowd closest to them but back a little further on the curve, still in clear view.  When he looked back at us I gave him a big thumbs up and he looked at me and then gave a huge goofy thumbs up to the crowd.  Everyone was all excited and I just laughed.  Ha, I started that.

In the scene where they pull out in the car there's an extra that is supposed to walk on the sidewalk. She also walked behind the car in the earlier scenes.  When they called action the first time she started to walk and Jensen, possibly showboating a bit for the fans, pushed Baby a little hard and fishtailed the back end as he pulled out of the driveway.  They had held traffic so he didn't have to worry about that but I can tell you on the 2nd take the extra walked a little slower.

The 2nd take they did Jensen took it a little slower and managed to get out without squealing the tires.  However on the way back someone pulling out of a side road didn't look and came within inches of getting into an accident with Baby.  The crewbie on set that was outside the gas station in charge of telling the PA's when to hold traffic gave a little yell and I saw just enough of a beige sedan pull out close to them.

When they got back, Jensen pulled the car back in (perfectly for the shot, I might add) and when Jared got out he put his arms up and had everyone applaud Jensen for his driving. It looked like they were done filming so many cameras came out in the fans.  Jared was puttering around and eventually got into a Ford SUV instead of Clif's car leaving Jensen and Mom at the set. They did have another scene to do which was fun.

Jensen came out of the convenience store and started walking toward the Impala. There was a camera set up across the street as well as one between the Impala and the store.  The first take he came out at the same time as the female extra on the sidewalk and walked, paused to look at a motorbike and kept going.  The second take they gave Jensen a head start so it was a little more natural looking.  He still only had eyes for the motorbike and not the pretty extra which I thought was kind of funny.

They only did this take twice before loading Jensen into the usual car he goes in and starting to drive away.  As he got in I looked down to my phone and I saw it start to roll in my peripheral vision.  I didn't look as it stopped but I recognized his voice right away when I heard him say 'Bye guys!'  I looked up and he was sitting on the window and yelling over top of the SUV.  I yelled back 'Bye Jensen' as I was looking up from my phone and he told us all to have a good day.  We waved and off he went.

At this point most of the crowd took off figuring they were finished.  I wasn't wanting to go anywhere until Mom left as I really wanted to get a photo with her.  There were only a handful of people left and they just filmed one quick one take with Mom in the car before they were done.  They wrapped out of it very quickly started to take down.

A fan had started walking home already and stayed on the fan side of the sidewalk as she walked, but Mom crossed the street right near where she had been dropped off to the fan side.  She got the car and the fan with her own daughter saw what was materializing, paused and turned.  She found herself about 6 feet away from Mom.  I don't know what she said but Mom was happy to stop and take a photo.  Seeing this there were a few of us that then went over to her to take the opportunity.  I felt a little hesitant, I like to let them come to us, but you gotta take the chances when they're there.

There were a group of girls that were ahead and she happily turned and took a photo with them.  I would have liked an individual but beggars can't be choosers.  I asked if she had time for another and she said sure.  I handed my phone off to one of the girls that had just gotten a photo with her and me and my two friends moved in.  I went the long way around and as I did thanked her for taking the time with us.  We snapped the photo and I apologized for accosting her on the way to her car.  She said it was fine and she seemed genuinely okay with it.  We took off letting her go and went to go find some dinner before the next location which we had picked up on Twitter.

Queens Park, New Westminster

Through Twitter my friends I discovered that they were moving to Queens Park in New West after dark.  We went for dinner and then went back to check it out figuring it would be after dark. We had a little bit of a fiasco trying to figure out exactly where in the rather large park they were.  We saw the trucks on one side but ended up walking in a few different directions and eventually located them not too far from a picnic area and the band shell.  There were a few PA's off in the bushes that saw us but we sat on the picnic bench and watched the scene.

Sam and Dean were up to what looked like a good old salt and burn with some conversation.  From what we picked up they were talking about Mom and her fitting in (or not fitting in).  Dean seemed to be the one that is worried but Sam is reassuring and trying to talk Dean down.

It didn't take them too long to film the scene and it was a long way away in varying light so photos were not so good.  Interesting to note that the 'fire' in the 'grave' was controlled somewhere away from the boys and would extinguish itself after each take when someone, somewhere, flipped the switch.  The boys were speaking quietly but a couple of times they had trouble holding their laughter in, especially one take where we could hear Jared getting increasingly louder and then finally breaking into laughing before the director called them back to try and get it together.

Once they wrapped they were moving the Impala out we were heading out. The crew had a little bit of a problem getting the car onto the plywood and get it out of there in the pitch black.  We were trying to stay out of the way.  It was interesting to watch, that's for sure. :)

On to the next set...

Click here for photos:

Supernatural 12x03


  1. Thank you for the write up. It was interesting to read. And for the pictures, too!



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