Monday, May 6, 2013

Russ Hamilton, God of the Fandoms

This week, I was lucky enough to be in touch with Russ Hamilton, the location manager for the CW's Supernatural, and ask him some questions about the fans of the show. Fans who want to be heard, who want their opinions to matter- people with whom Russ is in touch via Twitter and Tumblr on a daily basis. 

One of my main platforms, as a writer and as a fan of television, is that the fans matter. Furthermore, the people who are involved in the show- the creators, the writers the executive producers, the actors- need to acknowledge that they matter. Fans, or fandoms, can make all the difference. It began when the Browncoats, fans of Joss Whedon's Firefly, organized themselves on the Internet after the show's cancellation in 2003. As a result, Serenity, the movie that wrapped up the show, was produced and released three years later. 

Since then, fans have stormed onto the scene and made a lasting impression. In its last season, after killing off a core character, the writers of Alias had to rethink, and then re-write, the rest of the season. Why? Because the fans stopped watching. Doctor Who, a show that was off the air for fifteen years, was rebooted in 2005 and succeeded because of its loyal fanbase. The entire Whedonverse fandom takes part in a weblog on a daily basis- posting news, photos, and well-wishes in reference to anyone who's ever been in a Joss Whedon project. Ten years after Firefly spawned a revolution that its characters would be proud of, Arrested Development is coming out with a new season on Netflix and the fans of Veronica Mars raised almost $6 million for a movie of the ill-fated TV show. 

The cast and crew of Supernatural operate on a whole different level. Many of them interact with the fans on Twitter on a consistent basis, and they show up to cons (Supernatural conventions) that take place around the world at least once a month. I've previously mentioned the Supernatural Harlem Shake that Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles put together, and the Eye of the Tiger sequence that was at the end of "Yellow Fever" (4x06). Misha Collins also values his fans, tweeting to us fairly often and calling us his minions.

Then there's the above-mentioned Russ Hamilton, the god of crew interaction with fans. Not a day goes by without Russ speaking to us and making us feel important and included. Out of everyone in the SPN Family, Russ talks to us as if there is no difference between the crew and the fans, and in our Q&A below, he talks about how Supernatural bridges that gap. Read on for the illuminating, and highly entertaining, words of Russ Hamilton.

Dear TV | Why do you do what you do, interacting with us? Why do you think it's important?

I interact with the fans (Fandamily) because I enjoy it, and it's important to me, because I like to know what people think, what they see in a scene, and what they take away after it. I enjoy knowing what they (you) want, and whether or not I agree is of no matter. We all hold valid opinions and beliefs.

Dear TV | How did you start interacting with us? Are we, as a fandom, ever frustrating?

I started interacting at the first VanCon. It went from there to me eventually being convinced to join Twitter last year, and on my own decided I wanted to jump into the Tumblr Nation. I love it. Getting to interact is great fun, but we all must walk a fine line. There is only so much we can share after all. I try not to get frustrated, but sadly I am human and it does happen. There is a line, and even I am known to cross it from time to time. But I refuse to take any of it too personal. We all have a common bond, and that is this show. 

Dear TV | Do you think every show could have a crew member who does this, or do you think it's specific to Supernatural and the SPN Family?

I think that any interaction from anybody on any show is subject to the individual. I am sure that some do it for attention, some for personal gain. I can only speak for myself when I say that I feel very connected to this Fandamily, and when I say I love you all, I genuinely mean it. I fully believe the SPN Family has set the mark for all other shows- past, present, and future- for fan interaction, because we all care and know in our hearts, that without all of you, there is no us.

Dear TV | I'm sorry if this is a sensitive question, but do you ever get hate? How would you react if you did?

Do I get hate, GAWD YES!!! Last year, I had a death threat that was dealt with, without getting the authorities involved, because in the end, even she was and is a member of my Fandamily. She crossed that line that we spoke about and had a hard time not pursuing what she wanted. And besides that, there is still much hate. I try to drown it down with Love, as I put it. The hate is just someone that wants to be heard, and more often than not it can be resolved easily. Of course, I am not an actor, and that is a whole new world. I have been attacked on Twitter, and all in all I accept most of it. I have only ever decided to block two people.

Dear TV | What do you think of organized events like Misha Love Day, aka the Mishapocalypse? Pointless fun or significant?

Organized events are gggggrreat. It is highly significant in my eyes. To get the Fandamily and cast and crew involved is, in my opinion, hugely important. The wall of "us and them" has always bothered me. I do not often understand why or how our show has become such a great way to bridge that gap, but I am glad that we have, and that we have people on our show who seek out ways to interact. It speaks volumes of the genuine dedication and love we have.

Dear TV | Do you think the fandom had anything to do with Charlie Bradbury surviving "Pac-Man Fever" (8x20)? Were the writers ever planning on killing her off?

I genuinely do not know. I am, as much as I hate to phrase it this way, just a Location Manager. We get the scripts, we break them down, have the scouts look for a location to film that work for the script, and then put it all together. Do I believe that the writers know who the fans love? Yes, of course. But in the end it is all about the storyline and how it can be made.

You can follow Russ on Twitter @RUSS_MOVIEGOD. His Tumblr URL is


  1. That was a very nice interview! Thanks to both of you for taking time to do it and post it.

    Russ, I can safely say that SO many of your fandamily truly love you too! I know I do. Thank you for being such a stellar person.

  2. Congrats on this interview--it's awesome and totally made my day :)

  3. Russ, you're my MOVIEGOD for life...

  4. Wow, great interview! The questions were excellent, and the answers really insightful. I'm so thankful that Russ Hamilton has such a strong connection to the fans of SPN -- that man deserves jumbo-sized kudos for maintaining his positive attitude. (b'_')b

    Thank you, DearTV, for taking the time to do the interview and putting it up here. :)

    1. You're very welcome! Russ is a delight :) Thank you for reading!