Why Creation Entertainment and the ‘Supernatural’ Cast Produce the Best Conventions
Two years ago, I wrote an article about my first time attending a Creation Entertainment Supernatural convention and how it was destroying the convention competition (in a good way); it was in a whole league of its own. It was right after Orlando, and I was a bit mesmerized about the whole convention. Now, two years later, I attended the Supernatural convention in Jacksonville this month. Believe it or not, I have the same opinion — Creation Entertainment and the cast of Supernatural still put on the best conventions. I’ve been to many big conventions before — the ones who draw in thousands of thousands of people in big cities, located in a big convention center. The ones where actors like Zachary Levi, stars from huge sci-fi shows like Star Trek, and films like Star Wars, and more attend. I’ve also attended other smaller conventions as well — but one thing remains the same, Creation Entertainment and Supernatural is beating them all. It’s a combination of the guests and the layout and way things are run. Follow along as I take you through why I think they’re the best.
On Thursday nights, Creation opens vendor areas and pre-registration times. Vendors include companies like Con*Quest Journals who create incredible fandom journals, planners and more merchandise, artists such as Scout Villegas, creators such as Eldwenne’s Fantasy, Supernatural Specialties, Dark Feather Enterprises, Atomic Bombshells, and many more creative and talented people who are all creating fandom-driven items (support your fandom artists and companies!).
The pre-registration is streamlined for Gold, Silver and Copper ticket holders — the tickets are different tiers of prices based on seat location, autographs included, etc. Each ticket has a different time slot to pre-register, and Creation makes it really easy to get your badges and also validate any photo-ops as necessary. There’s also special events unique to these conventions such as PJ Parties, Bus Tours, and more that occur on Thursday nights. Thursday is a great time to look over the schedule, get an idea of the layout of where everything is, and meet up with friends.
Friday is where the convention really begins. Starting on Friday, panels begin and they’re streamlined in a seamless way: fans get up and ask questions while the guests on stage answer. Questions range from those about Supernatural, to questions like sorting The Avengers cast into their Hogwarts Houses. Guests on Friday usually include Rachel Miner, Jason Manns, Jeffrey Vincent Parise, Chad Lindberg and more (check the schedule to see who is attending a convention near you!). Over the next few days, fans are greeted to the best panels and events that I’ve seen from any convention. The panels are unique, having hosts (Rob Benedict and Richard Speight, Jr.) and a house band (Louden Swain) who are there to welcome you to the day, are there through every panel and every event on stage to introduce the next person, and also to close out the day. It’s great to see Benedict and Speight riff off each other and they, along with Louden Swain, are the soundtrack and backbone of the whole weekend. No other convention has hosts like that; yes, you have moderators, but they feel a bit impersonal. Rob, Rich, and Swain deliver a familiarity that guides you through the entire weekend with their banter and affection towards each other and the fans in the audience.
On Friday Night starts the first of the night events — karaoke. Karaoke is hosted by Matt Cohen, and will feature various guests from the convention like Jeffrey Vincent Parise, Lisa Berry, and Chad Lindberg. During the day on Friday, there’s a designated time in the schedule for karaoke sign-ups. You can go into the main theater and submit yourself and a few friends if needed, alongside a song you’d like to sing. Not everyone will be chosen, but if you are, you’ll have the best time getting to get up on stage, interact with the actors, and sing your heart out with an electric audience. If you’re too shy to sing, being in the audience is just as fun! You make friends instantly with those around you, bonding over songs like “Livin’ On A Prayer”, “Shake It Off” and of course, “Carry On My Wayward Son”. The guests will regularly come down to the audience, and it’s such a fun environment. Cohen’s karaoke is a great way to start off the weekend, and you never know what will happen during the course of the night!
Throughout the weekend, the schedule remains full of panels and other fun events like trivia (hosted by Jason Manns), a costume contest and auctions. Those are just as fun to attend and you get to cheer along your fellow convention attendees as they try for the chance to win some amazing prices.
On Saturday, the panel schedule is consistent and features some great panels like the all ladies panel, which feature actors like Briana Buckmaster, Kim Rhodes, Rachel Miner, Lisa Berry and Emily Swallow (the lineup depends on who is attending which convention.) If you’re a Louden Swain fan, Saturday also brings the Vendors Jam, where the band gets together right before their autographs (check the schedule!) and does a small, 2-3 song acoustic set for fans. It’s a really great atmosphere and make sure you bring your kazoo!
Also on Saturday is Misha Collins, who packs the room, usually for the last panel of the day. For panels like Collins, Padalecki and Ackles, you must submit your name to ask a question in advance, so if you want to ask any of those three a question, make sure you check to see where you have to submit it! It’s usually close to registration and a Creation employee will be able to help you. Right before each of the panels, a list of names will appear on the screens next to the stage of those that are picked, so make sure you check it!
The second night event is of course, Saturday Night Special. It’s a Saturday night rock concert headlined by Louden Swain, who are incredible, poetic musicians. Their concerts are the highlight of the weekend to many, and it’s so easy to see why. Their dedication to their music, to the fans, and the confidence they bring to their friends and fellow actors is awe-inspiring. The concert consists of some Louden Swain originals, and then the band delves into covers with some of the Supernatural actors who are there that weekend. This past SNS at Jacksonville was incredible. If you’re able to line up early to get a chance to stand on the side of the stage in the pits, do so. The pits consist of either being on Billy Moran’s side or Michael Borja’s side (the party side!). They’re both so much fun; you get to stand up with your friends, dance, and be close to the action. It was one of the best memories this weekend getting to stand on Borja’s side and dance with friends, singing at the top of our lungs. Again, it’s something so uniquely Creation and uniquely Louden Swain and it’s an incredible thing to witness.
On Sundays, the convention gets a little more crowded as Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles appear this day. Alongside their gold-only panel in the morning, they do have a panel at the end of the day, which will completely fill the main theater. The Creation staff does an exceptional job making sure that everyone’s concerns are answered and everything runs smoothly, especially when there’s so many people in the theater. The audience really comes alive and lingers on every word of the duo, accompanied by hilarious moments like Padalecki trying to make a joke good enough to get a rimshot from Louden Swain drummer Stephen Norton.
What I love most about Creation’s conventions is the seating. For the majority of most cons, it’s first-come, first-serve, which in turn means hours of lining up just to get a good seat (and potentially missing other panels, photo-ops, etc.) With Creation, your seat is a part of your package (unless you get a GA ticket, then you’re free to sit anywhere in the GA section), so there’s less of a rush of lining up for seats, and more time for fans to be able to do other things with their time like photo-ops and meet and greets. Creation staff is so careful and caring about making sure that you get to do everything you want to do. They’re dedicated to making sure you have a great time — so if you have a photo-op or meet and greet, they’re really accommodating to make sure you don’t miss those and can grab your autographs, too.
Now, you’re going to say, “What about the prices?” There’s quite a few big conventions close to me, where their VIP ticket tops over $450 … with nothing regarding autos or seating included. With Creation’s tickets, you not only get to choose your seat, but you also get various autos included — some even exclusive to Gold or Silver tickets, such as Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles’ autographs. The ease and the convenience of the seats, plus the added extras like autographs and the Saturday Night Special, really make it a worthwhile buy. For Gold specifically, you also get an exclusive Gold-only panel featuring Padalecki and Ackles. Of course, there are other options as well that are budget friendly, such as GA weekend and single day tickets.
Another thing that makes Creation events stand out are the meet and greets. Creation holds auctions (you can read our article about them here!) where you can bid and win experiences to have a 30-minute or 45-minute meet and greet with one (or more) of the actors attending the convention. You’ll be in a room with the actor(s), plus 10-20 other people (depending on the actor), and it really gives you a close look and insight into that person. Imagine getting to sit in a room with an actor you admire, and spend 30-45 minutes being able to ask them questions, and hear about their projects outside of a panel setting. There’s also some non-traditional events as well, such as Misha Collins’ Adventure Meet and Greet (where he’ll take you to various different places locally, versus sitting in a room), and the Louden Swain Jam, where you and 30 other people get an up close and personal acoustic jam where the band plays various older songs and asks the attendees for requests! It’s truly is an experience that is invaluable.
As for photo-ops, while photo-ops aren’t unique to Creation, what is unique is the photographer, Chris Schmelke. The fandom has adopted him into the family and his pure talent and eye make these some of the best photo-ops ever. When you walk into the photo-op room (at sub-zero temperature, thanks to Chris) and hear the music roaring, you get a little bit more comfortable. Schmelke has a unique way to make you feel the most seen, the most accepted and the most beautiful in any photo. His style is all his own, and it’s easy to say his photos are also one of the best parts of the convention. There’s also a great option to order JPEGs for your photos, so you can proudly display your photo online to show all of your family and friends.
Overall, Creation’s events feel more personal. Team members and staff are smiling, genuinely seeming happy to be there. It’s going to sound cliche to say it — but the biggest difference is that Creation’s events feel like a family. You’re not treated as just another person in the door. You’re treated with respect, and with understanding from the staff and fellow attendees of how important this experience can be for some people. Creation events aren’t just about the actors, though. They’re unique in the fact that fans are all there for one subject, Supernatural, therefore it’s easy to make friends and bond with the people next to you in line, waiting with you by autos, or around the vendor room. Since it’s the same, you often see some of the same people traveling around to various conventions, a lot of the same vendors, and you really do leave every Creation convention feeling like you just made a whole new set of friends. When you’re attending a convention, all you really want is to be accepted and to be able to revel in the thing you love the most, among people who also love it, and I can fully say, Creation Entertainment and the cast of Supernatural embodies this fully, and it’s why it’s the best convention around.