TV Goodness Reports: Richard Speight Jr. and Rob Benedict Talk Kings of Con
A funny thing happened when Supernatural alums Richard Speight Jr. and Rob Benedict kicked off their crowdfunding campaign for their upcoming comedy series, Kings of Con. The project became fully funded in under two days. That means their fans raised $100,000 in a short amount of time. Of course, it should come as no surprise, considering the SPN Family is incrediblyÂ passionate, loyal, vocal and supportive.
The end of the Indiegogo effort is still weeks away. What’s next? How much do the guys want to ultimately raise? Will Matt Cohen really streak naked through the streets should they raise $200,000? We recently talked to Speight Jr. and Benedict to find out.
TV GOODNESS: I donâ€™t think you needed the reminder, but the power of the Supernatural fandom is kind of mind-blowing at times. What were your first thoughts when you found out your project was fully funded so quickly?
Richard Speight Jr.: Well, honestly, we were surprised and not surprised at the same time, because we have witnessed the power of people time and time again. But what was surprising and flattering is when that power was turned towards the project that mattered the most to us. And it’s very flattering and it’s awesome…an awesome thing to behold.
Rob Benedict: Yeah. And it made it very real. We thought, wow. This is really happening. We’re doing this and it was so exciting. And it really is. I mean, [the fans] have been so supportive.
Richard: Rob and I dropped the campaign on Thursday morning (Mar. 26, 2015) and by 1Â p.m.Â Thursday afternoon we were in Seattle prepping for a three-day Supernatural convention, so we essentially crowdfunded this thing while hanging with a crowd and that was super unique and interesting, because we were bothâ€¦we were getting reports online.Â And fan art started coming at us from all angles.
â€” Brooke (@BrookeTM) March 28, 2015
It’s amazing. I mean, the thing hadnâ€™t been out five hours, but we had some unbelievable works of art dedicated to the Kings of Con, either cartoons or photos of us. It was amazing.
TV GOODNESS: That is incredible. You guys even created a video for your campaign in Seattle on stage with the crowd behind you, and Matt Cohen promised to run through the streets naked if you guys get to $200,000. Is that serious and which streets are we talking about?
Richard: Well, let me tell you something. There are some scripted elements in our show and some improv-ing in our show. It’s also the common truth there are some scripted elements in our update videos and some improv elements and that was an improv element. Matt threw that at us live on the video, but after we were done shooting we were like, ‘You know what, Matt, you game?’ He was like, ‘I’m in.’ I’m like, ‘Well, hell yeah. Let’s do this thing then.’ So it is not a joke. We’re going to pull this off.
Rob: Yeah. We’re going to do it. It’s happening. We’ve got it on film so we know it’s happening.
Richard: Now as far as the street goes, we are not sure yet, so this is not an official announcement, but we will probably put it out as a perk to make it be your street. So we may have that as part of the fundraising campaign.
Rob: Subject to whatever city lawsâ€¦
TV GOODNESS: You guys have been doing these conventions for a while. What is it about the experiences that made you want to turn it into a comedy?
Rob: Because the entire experience has been larger than the life we knew before. I mean, it’s a crazy world to get involved with and when you donâ€™t know anything about it, and if you go on these adventures together, which is what these are — we’ve assembled these crazy stories of things that have actually happened to us. We keep going like this is a show. These storiesâ€¦you can’t write this. This is good stuff. So we tell them on stage and people really love them and we had that idea that we were like…well…let’s turn it into a show.
Richard: And there was also the rapport that Rob and I have developed over our run as convention hosts and co-hosts. I mean, we entered this world not knowing each other and we were soon basically attached at the hip both due to our assignments and due to our pretty much in lockstep sense of humor. We play off each other well and aside from us enjoying our downtime together and making each other crack up, we also knew that that’s a tough recipe to find. So from a business perspective, we also wanted to tap into it professionally; so it’s a great way of taking our personal experiences that are oftentimes ridiculous and translating them into a show in which we can share them with other people. And, of course, they’re exaggerated and, of course, they’re fictionalized and, of course, our characters are larger than life and exaggerated versions of real situations. This is not a reality show and it’s not a documentary, but it’s certainly enough wackiness each time to fuel the beast and get the ideas going.
TV GOODNESS: So where are you in the production process? Are you guys shooting stuff as you go to each convention? Are you waiting until the campaign is over and all the money is in? Where are you guys now production wise?
Richard: We’re going to wait to actually go into production until the campaign’s over. We shot a teaser over a series of months at various cities. I think the cities included Jersey, Dallas, LA, Vegas and maybe one or two others. We’d just do little snippets, little scenes, little moments to sort of show the talent and style and camaraderie, and the original plan was just to go the traditional route. We really hadnâ€™t thought about doing the crowdfunding route until we did, so it was more built as a traditional pitch video with a truncated episode of the show. Now that we are going the crowdfunding route, we are going to hold off on actually shooting the show until we know what budget we’re working with and how big our arc should be and that kind of thing so we can steer it through what we have access to.
Rob: Yeah. And now we actually have a little bit of a break from the conventions to see this film through and then start going into preproduction and then start shootingâ€¦
Richard: And we have a lot of t-shirts to mail out too, as it turns out. Yeah, the campaign becomes a huge blessing and a full time commitment as well, because in exchange for helping you make your show you’re giving out stuff and you got to get that sent out there.
Rob: And then we’ll go into preproduction and then we’ll start actually shooting again here probably later in the summer. And it’ll be shot here in LA and going on the road with these conventions shooting little snippets there as well.
TV GOODNESS: And so will everybody be a part of the series? You know everybody from Jensen to Jared to whoever is at these conventions?
Richard: Pending their availability and willingness, and so far everybody’s been on board. So it’s pretty remarkable the enthusiasm we’ve experienced on the part of our co-stars. We’re all buddies at this point and everybody has their own shows they’re doing and their projects they’re doing, but this is one that has sort of rallied the troops a little bit, because we all know the world, we all live the world and we all find it fascinating, so I think the idea of teeing up together on something has peaked everybody’s interest. So the idea, the goal, will be to involve as many people as possible to the process.
TV GOODNESS: Awesome. And what’s next for you guys in this campaign? What’s your next goal that you’re hoping to reach and what’s your ultimate goal? Do you have one in mind?
Rob: Yeah. So our next goal is 150 (thousand) at which point we’ll announce one of the guest stars that’s promised to be in the series and we have gotten commitments from a few people. We want to announce that, and then at 200, Matt Cohen runs naked through the streets…but our ultimate goal is $300,000, in which case we can do our full vision of what the show is, which is ten episodes and we go into production at that point.
TV GOODNESS: Do you guys want to say anything to the fans that have supported your campaign so far?
Richard: A thousand thanks. It’s impossible to express our gratitude enough. We are thrilled and flattered and promise on the other side of this whole campaign, we’ll deliver to you a really fun show that we’ll be proud to be a part of and you’ll enjoy watching.
Rob: Seriously, Richard and I, we do not take any of this for granted. And we are incredibly blown away by the support that fandom gives usâ€¦
Richard: Yeah. Rob makes a good point, because without the fandom, Rob and I donâ€™t know each other, we donâ€™t have this idea for a show, we haven’t the camaraderie that can support the show, and we donâ€™t have access to create the funding for the show. It’s really completely dependent on how fan-effing-tastic our fan base and fandom is and how fervently they support the members of the cast of Supernatural. So we are reaping the rewards of all of their positive energy and it’s an awesome thing to be a part of.
Where to Find the Kings of Con
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