Exclusive-Q&A with Jim Michaels, Supernatural Co-Executive Producer

We asked Jim Michaels, Supernatural Co-Executive Producer, if he would be willing to answer a few questions; the interview was done via E-mail. 

Click here for interview.

 Jim Michaels helped start and run the first in-house computer graphics department at a major studio for MCA/Universal. He then moved into television production and eventually earned his first producer stripes on the NBC series, Midnight Caller, starring Gary Cole. Jim’s next producing assignment was Reasonable Doubts, starring fellow John Hersey High School Alumnus, Marlee Matlin, Mark Harmon and Supernatural’s own Jim Beaver.

Other series Jim has worked on include Airwolf, Miami Vice, Amazing Stories and Murder, She Wrote (Visual Effects Producer), The Guardian and Odyssey 5 (Producer), Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (Co-Producer), Everybody Hates Chris and Supernatural (Producer, 2009-2010, Co-Executive Producer, 2010-present).

Jim is currently a member of the Producer’s Guild of America, Directors Guild of America, Screen Actors Guild, The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and the American Film Institute and has guest lectured at many film schools, including the Academy of Art, UCLA and NYU. Exclusive – Q&A with Supernatural Co-Executive Producer, Jim Michaels.

By: Staff

1. How and where did you get your start in the business? How did you go from Visual Effects to Producing?  

I started at Universal Studios as an assistant. I noticed that many of the TV series were spending a bunch of money with outside companies for their CGI requirements.  I pitched the idea of starting our own in-house Computer Graphics Department to the Vice President of TV post at the time, Jim Watters (who is now President and General Manager, NBC Universal Operations group), and he supported the proposal as it made its way all the way to the top of the infamous black tower of Universal Studios and Lew Wasserman. I demonstrated that with some funding, I could deliver a better end product, faster and at considerably less expense.  After 6 features and hundreds of episodes of television under my belt, I felt that I had done all I could do with the CGI world, but I enjoyed working with the Producers and Directors.  So, why not be the producer and director!
2. How did you become Supernatural’s co-executive producer?

I worked with Executive Producer, Bob Singer (and Executive Producer Phil Sgriccia), at one point during my career for almost 10 years in a row; our professional paths just had not lined up in some time though.  I was already Co-Executive Producer on another CW series, Everybody Hates Chris, and met Eric Kripke, with Bob, at several press tours during my time on that show.  When Bob & Phil knew Everybody Hates Chris was not renewed for a 5th season and a position just became available on Supernatural, I jumped at the chance to join the Supernatural team!        

3. As co-executive producer, what are your duties?  What is a typical work day like? 

I spend the majority of my time prepping the upcoming episode with our directors, while keeping an eye on the shooting crew.  My days are very busy scouting locations, casting, budget meetings, departmental meetings, working with our first class publicity department, etc.  My typical day starts with the crew call and ends with the wrap. The hours are long, but you have to love it to keep doing it.         

4. What is the hardest part about your job, and what is your favorite part? 

My time away from Los Angeles is the hardest part. I think the most rewarding is watching a great script come to life. 

5. How is it different working on Supernatural than other shows you have produced? 

Not having any real permanent sets to shoot or run to help make a schedule, makes sure you are wearing the proverbial “Track Shoes” every day.  The sheer size of our art department rivals most feature films, as we are constantly creating new sets, new location augmentations etc. I should point out that this one does have the best in-house band I have ever played with—we are called “The Impalas”—lead singers are Jensen and Bob Singer!  

6. Can you tell us what the cast and crew’s response was when they heard about the Supernatural TV Guide cover? 

There was a real sense of arrival in the TV world—we were the first show to win a Fan Favorite cover and we are thankful to fans for making it happen. 

7.  What is your favorite episode?  What has been your favorite Supernatural monster? 

This season, I would have to say I really enjoyed the Caged Heat, Frontierland and the French Mistake episodes.  Best monster — I miss the “Trickster!” 

8. How is working on a TV show different now than it was when you began? 

We live in a world of instant gratification.  This show was lucky enough to find a very loyal fan base fast.  It seems without some high ratings early, you are destined for the busted series graveyard… 

9. You’ve been to at least two Supernatural conventions.  What do you think of the cons?  Is there anything that you’d like to say to the fans? 

I have stopped by three conventions now, and found our fan base to be a source of great, warm enthusiasts for our show. This really helps make it all worthwhile.  To our fans, I say thank you very much for your loyal support!  You continually find us when our time slot has changed and that takes dedication.  It is no secret that without you, there would not have been a TV Guide cover and a People’s Choice award for our show!  

Thank you very much to Jim Michaels for taking the time from his very busy Supernatural schedule to answer our questions—we really appreciate it!