With Supernatural getting the green-light for its third season we asked Sera Gamble, Supernatural writer and the series’ executive story editor, if she’d be willing to answer a few questions; the interview was done via email.
WinchesterBros.com Exclusive – Q&A with Supernatural Writer, Sera Gamble
By: WinchesterBros.com Staff
IMPORTANT: If you haven’t seen Supernatural’s Season 2 finale, proceed at your own risk. The Q&A contains a MAJOR spoiler from the season’s two-part final episode.
We want to thank you for agreeing to do this Q&A with us. We truly appreciate it.
Congratulations on Supernatural getting picked for a third season!
Q: Starting with the most predictable question, when did you know that you wanted to be a writer?
My answer is probably the predictable thing: I’ve been writing since I was a little kid. I wrote stories and poetry for fun when I was in the first grade, then hid them so the other kids wouldn’t think I was a geek. Or—and even bigger geek, more like.
As for when I wanted to be a TV writer—when I first saw the show Six Feet Under.
Q: Eyes. What made you go for the show? [Sera’s episode ‘Shots’ was ranked #21 on The Futon Critic’s ‘The 50 Best Episodes of 2005’ – WB]
I’d read every pilot in development that year, and to me, Eyes was hands-down the best-written. I knew I wanted to work on that show because I’d learn so much about writing television. And I did learn a tremendous amount. I’d never worked that hard on a single page of dialogue. It was awesome.
Q: Is acting something you would want to do again? A guest-starring role on Supernatural, perhaps?
I have to say, I do a pretty fantastic scream of agony… but no, I haven’t really thought about acting on the show. Or acting again, period. Maybe someday—who knows? But for now I’m happy writing full time, then going home and writing.
Q: What aspect of the show (the idea, the other writers, ect?) made you interested in writing for a project like Supernatural?
I dig genre. So that predisposed me towards liking Supernatural. Raelle Tucker and I were writing partners when the show offered us a job. We went to McG’s production company (he has a motorcycle parked in his office, by the way) and watched the pilot. Our response was pretty simple: holy shit, that looks cool. We liked the visual vibe of the show, and we felt it had a strong, confident, clear structure. The show knew what it was. That’s not a given for new shows.
Q: So it’s probably the most asked question, but how is it to write for Supernatural?
No, the most-asked questions are all about Jensen and Jared!
Supernatural’s a low-drama job, day to day. Eric Kripke and Bob Singer keep things well organized. I’m given plenty of time to write scripts, and the hours are unusually humane for television. I pretty much show up at the office, have some tea, and start inventing freaky situations involving monsters. If my door is open, the sounds of some poor day player dying at the top of their lungs will carry down the hall from post-production. Sometimes they’ll be cutting a scene and we’ll all hear the same scream over and over for hours. It’s surreal.
Q: It was mentioned on a recent interview that you write the characters’ desirable reactions in the casting sides. Are there any other inputs you add? Music, for example? Lighting?
Music is one of the first things I play with when I’m writing something new. But I’m useless when it comes to the music on Supernatural. I wish I could take credit for it. But I have to admit that, my deep and abiding love for the hairdos aside, I don’t much listen to the metal. If I wrote songs into the scripts they’d probably be exactly the kind of music Eric hates.
The big exception is “Crossroad Blues;” I wrote Robert Johnson’s music into the script, and I bugged our post-production supervisor daily to find out if we’d scored the rights to use it.
As for lighting, it’s one of the most vital ingredients in cooking up a scary scene. At this point, I certainly don’t have to tell our directors or DP how to make the show look. They’ve got it down. But I do throw in a lot of small descriptions—of the shadowy setting, or single bare light bulb, or what have you—to help the reader envision the scene in all its creepy possibility.
Q: In writing for a new character, do you sometimes have a specific actor/actress in mind whom you want to play the role?
Occasionally I’ll have someone in mind for a role. Usually not. I think when it comes to casting you have to be open to being pleasantly surprised. An actor will walk in who looks and sounds nothing like what you envisioned, but they might bring something cool to the role that you never even thought of.
I also pitch characters using famous actors as references. But it isn’t like I actually expect to land Jack Nicholson or Dakota Fanning for a guest spot! One example is Jake, from the season finale. I described him to Eric as this all-American, likable, Matt Damon kind of guy. That helped us picture him as we worked on the story.
Q: The Roadhouse, and Jo in particular, are the subject of numerous discussions over the internet. What did you think of bringing the Roadhouse into the storyline?
I was pretty neutral about the Roadhouse. It felt a little like cheating, given how alone in the world the brothers were in Season One. But I was all for expanding their world and bringing in more recurring characters.
I think you can infer the general attitude toward place by what we did to it in the finale.
Q: Jo and Dean. Will they or won’t they?
Will they or won’t they what? Just kidding.
Q: The Impala is considered by many as the third regular cast member. Up until now, the car was possessed (Pilot), and later played a major significant part in the beginning of Season 2. Are there any ideas to stress the car’s importance in the future?
Well, if the car is a regular cast member, we have to beat it up, push it to the brink of death and beyond, and take away everyone it ever loved. So, look for lots of Impala torture in season three.
Q: Season 3! Can you give us a sneak peek on what’s going to happen?
I can say this: Dean made a bad deal with that crossroads demon and is totally screwed. We don’t intend to give him an easy way out. And he doesn’t have much time to figure out a solution.
Q: As an answer to questions in two different interviews [on Sequential Tart – WB] you said you’d like to do an episode with whole scenes that take place inside nightmares. Is there any chance of that happening now since Supernatural has been renewed?
I see the Djinn episode, “What Is…”, as covering a lot of the same ground, in that Dean was moving through an alternate reality that turned out to be a dream state created by a monster. But I don’t completely count out the possibility of doing another nightmare episode, just because so many people latched on to that one comment and still ask me about it. So—there’s always a chance.
Q: Have you thought about writing one of the series’ tie-in books?
I don’t have time!
Q: Did you get a chance to read the comic books? If so, what did you think?
I haven’t read them yet; I’m sure they’re waiting on my desk at work. I think focusing on John Winchester’s early years was a great idea.
I did read the galley of a companion guide to the monsters of the Supernatural world. The author impressed me with his research. It includes creatures I’ve never heard of, and I’ve been reading about this stuff for two solid years now.
Q: As far as fandoms go, Supernatural has a rising bunch of dedicated fans. Are you aware of the enthusiasm bubbling throughout the fandom and do you ever participate or lurk on Supernatural sites just to get a feel of things?
Are there writers who actually participate in online fandom? Isn’t that a violation of some cosmic butterfly-effect type law?
I will admit that I sometimes pop online after episodes air to sort of take the fans’ temperature. But I don’t do it often. Fandom is a great real-life illustration of the Buddhist tenet “with praise comes blame.” When fans love you, they really love you. But when they didn’t like your episode, the backlash is no joke.
My feeling about it is that obviously, we’re writing the show to be enjoyed by the viewers, the fans. I want to write episodes that are like delicious ice cream sundaes for the people who really love Sam and Dean. But it’s my job to take risks and move the story in unexpected directions. If I’m thinking about how my idea’s going to sit with critics while I’m writing it, it’s toast. The line between a brilliant idea and a stupid one is paper thin. Some of what I try is going to work, and some isn’t. I’m doing my job properly if the fandom occasionally wants to marry me—and occasionally hates my guts.
Q: Very Hot Jews. Where did the idea come from, and what kind of feedback have you and Simon [Simon Glickman – WB] been getting?
The idea started as a book proposal Simon and I dreamed up over cocktails one night. We wrote a chapter and sent it to my agents. They thought it was funny but probably too narrow in scope to sell. Simon and I discussed rewriting the proposal to expand the book idea past the Jewish. But we liked what we’d written, and we wanted to share it, so we just said “fuck it” and threw it onto a website for our friends to read. We thought it would be fun to see how the blog evolved if we let it be a place to experiment without pressure. Both of us write for a living so we wanted the blog to be the opposite of work. (That’s why it’s updated so erratically.)
The last thing we expected was to attract readers from all over the world. But we have. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, and it’s been much louder than we anticipated. I guess there are a lot of Jewish (and Jew-curious) people out there looking for an amusing blog to read.
Q: Do you have any current or future project(s), other than Supernatural?
I’m always elbow-deep in several projects at once. Veryhotjews.com is ongoing; we recently hosted a big event with RebootLA and Jill Soloway, and hope to produce more like it in the future. I’m writing scripts, of course, and also non-script stuff. I usually remember to put a little announcement up on my website when something new comes out.
Q: Any words you’d like to convey to the fans?
Just—thanks for watching. We’ll be working our asses off to make Season Three rock as hard as it possibly can.
Again, thank you for agreeing to do this Q&A with us.
For more information on Sera Gamble and her work:
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