If you're a Supernatural fan AND a Supernatural con-goer, you may be familiar with the Kings of Cons - Rob Benedict and Richard Speight.
After a hugely successful IndieGoGo campaign, they are almost ready to release their web series Kings of Con, a satirical look at the Supernatural Convention world, which follows the adventures of Rob and Rich as their fame reaches epic status for around 13 weekends a year.
I got the chance to chat with one half of this dynamic duo, Rob Benedict, to get the story and the latest update on the series.
PW: When did you get involved with the Supernatural conventions?
RB: My first one was in 2009, six years ago, and, ironically, it was right after the episode I did which took place at a convention. So my first my convention was like three days after that episode had aired. So that was kind of surreal. Kind of a show within a show of it. That's where it started and Rich started about a year before that, so he's been doing it about 7 years. At that time we would just come in. I was kind of nervous, so I would stay in my room. I flew in on Friday night and on Saturday and go down and do my thing. I'd go back to my room and fly home and that was it. There was no social aspect to it, but, of course, over the years it just kind of transformed. Backstage, we formed these friendships with each other and then of course bonded with the audience, and it's grown into this whole different experience now. It's almost like a traveling show. My band is there playing, Richard has transformed karaoke into this huge party, and it's always a reunion for us, so it's really cool. It's not quite a convention in a way. Well, it's not your father's convention.
PW: How did your participation in the conventions kind of evolve into the idea for Kings Of Con?
RB: Well, you know, we've taken so much care and time to transform these events into something really special and it's not like anything that I've ever seen or heard of before--what we're doing at these Supernatural conventions and the relationships we have with each other. Richard is my best friend and I didn't even know him before the conventions. We'd never worked together before. So there's something special happening. And then, of course, we travel around the world with these people, so inevitably crazy stories and crazy moments happen. We would always spend time in the green room recounting these crazy stories. So, eventually two years ago, he and I started saying "This should be a show." The shenanigans that are going on backstage, you know, part of our pitch is the craziest people at the conventions are the actors themselves.
So we started writing it down and then we were like, 'Let's try to write a pilot,' so we wrote the pilot. Then we shot it and it started snowballing. It was sort of all of the above and it kind of evolved into what it is now.
PW: Was the original idea to make it a web series or pitch it to the networks?
Originally, our idea was that we were going to pitch it. That's what we're most familiar with. You know, shoot this pilot presentation and than take that into the studio and pitch it like a TV show. But at the same time we really wanted to do it. We had all these great ideas and we wanted to do it, we didn't want to be held up by that. Of course, right as we finished editing ours, we had the idea kind of spurred by the fact that we heard about this other show called The Con Man, which is a kind of similar idea, and they were doing this crowd funding thing. We thought, well at first 'Oh my God, someone has the same idea." I think theirs is different then ours and, you know, it kind of actually motivated us like 'Wow this is fertile ground, people want to be watching this kind of show.' So we thought that maybe we'll do the crowd funding thing and then get everyone aware of it and then just do it ourselves and not wait for the studios--you know they give us the go ahead. That's how that evolved. So that's what we did. We went online and were blown away with crowd funding, which we never even dreamed of doing before. We were blown away with the support we got from the fandom and now it's full on happening as a web series.
PW: The campaign was really successful; were you guys surprised with the success of the campaign, and where are you now in production?
RB: We were blown away. I mean we set our original goal of $100,000. The first thing we thought was, 'I guess we'll raise a couple hundred dollars and we'll be happy and go home.' We had no idea how people would respond and, by day two, we'd made $100,000. It was crazy and we wound up making $300,000, and it was just an amazing thing. We're blown away and this fandom continues to surprise me with just how supportive they are, how strong they are, and how many people there are. It's something we don't take lightly and we don't take for granted. Where that leaves us is that it gives us a lot to bring to the table. We shot the pilot. He and I have been, outside of fulfilling these perks from IndieGoGo, we've been writing. We're almost finished with the first 10 episodes, and we are in talks with a couple of different places that want to be our platform. So we're kind of waiting for that deal to go through; when we know what platform we're on, we'll know how many episodes they want, how long they want them to be, and you what the final budget will be, that kind of thing. While we're ironing that out, we're going to get these shows ready to shoot, ready to go, and ready to view in the fall.
PW: Can you share a real life story that made it into the show?
RB: One that's definitely going into the show is when we were in New Jersey last year and we were both staying on the 9th floor. I was in something like Room 920 and he said he was in room 911. I knew he had written down on a piece of paper what room he was in. So I was calling his room direct to see what he was doing and see if he wanted to get together or whatever, and we had just gotten there. And I called 911 and on the other line the operator picks up and says "911, What's your emergency?" and I thought it was Richard doing it. And I was like 'OK it's funny but are you there, do you want to have a beer?' And they kept saying 'What's your emergency, What's your emergency?' and I was like 'I dialed 911!' I totally forgot you have to dial a 7 and then the room or number normally, so I dialed 911. I said 'I'm sorry, I'm in a hotel and meant to dial 911.' And they were like, "What hotel, sir?' And I just freaked out and hung up the phone. Then I went down to Richard's room and I knocked on the door and was like 'Dude, I really messed up' and I told him the story. And of course he starts videotaping me telling the story because it's hilarious, and then, sure enough, there's a knock on the door and we go to the door and look through the peephole and it's the police. And there was a moment I was thinking that I'm going down! We open the door and the police ask if there's an emergency and I explain that it was a mistake. So they had to go down to my room and check out my room and make sure I had no illegal things happening in my rooms. That was basically the end of the story, but of course in our show, it will spin into something else. I'd been in New Jersey half an hour and already the police were there. That's the kind of thing that happens to us all the time and we're constantly getting ourselves into this mess with my neurosis and his lack of.