Interview: Supernatural: Anteka (Plastic!Winchester Theater)

Today, we’re talking to Anteka, creator of the Supernatural fan parody series Plastic!Winchester Theater [some spoilerage for season five, but not a lot]:

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IFP: Tell us a little about Plastic!Winchester Theater. What’s it all about?

A: Plastic!Winchester Theater (or PWT as it’s also known) is a parody of the CW show Supernatural. I take the basic format of the show – Sam and Dean Winchester ride into a town, discover a monster, fight the monster, save the day, and then ride out of town – and use it for comedy. My Plastic!Sam and Plastic!Dean fight evil Care Bears, photoshopped Chupacabras and even sing and dance to beat zombies in their own version of Shaun of the Dead.

IFP: When and why did you decide to start the series? Why dolls?

A: Originally, PWT started as just two Supernatural Action Figures. I wanted something to put on my computer desk at home that reminded me of Supernatural, and there wasn’t really a lot of merchandise at the time. I went to Goodwill and picked up a couple of Ken dolls, hit eBay for some clothes, and about a week later posted pictures of my creations in my LiveJournal. Someone suggested re-telling an episode of Supernatural with the dolls, but I decided I could do better and come up with an original story. I shot the first episode on a Sunday afternoon and put it up that evening. That was the shortest turn around I ever had for an episode.

IFP: Where do you get the dolls for PWT? How do you prepare them/set them up for scenes?

A: The original dolls came from Goodwill. Most of the secondary cast has been sent in by fans of the show. They raid their childhood trunks and closets and send 3in what they don’t want anymore. The only prep I do with the dolls is to dress them for the episode depending on their character. My friend Theresa handles any hair cutting/coloring/styling that needs to be done and will also sew a doll into a dress if necessary. Another friend, Liz, does some of the most amazing knitting and sewing for the dolls. If I need a specific item of clothing, she’s often who I turn to first.

IFP: Tell us about some of the challenges you have encountered in working on PWT.

A: I think the biggest challenge is keeping the show fresh and interesting. I’ve made over 70 episodes and there is the fear of repeating yourself or putting in a joke you used two years ago. What helps is that the real show keeps changing. When they added the angels last season, that was great for me because it was another storyline to play with.

IFP: What other genre projects (fan or otherwise) have you done? Which was your favourite?

A: This was my first and only foray into a fandom project. I sort of jumped in with both feet and haven’t stopped swimming since.

IFP: You recently went on a set visit to the show. Can you tell us how this came about and how long you have been going on set visits?

A: Back when the campaign started to send postcard to the set of SPN during the summer between seasons two and three, a fan asked if she could make a postcard featuring the Plastic!Boys and send it up. I said “sure”, not really thinking anything of it. A couple of months later, I got an email from a woman in the art department of SPN, saying how much they enjoyed my postcard and how creative they thought PWT was. We emailed back and forth for quite some time and then moved onto talking on the phone. She invited me up to the SPN set and I went up with my friend Tara. We spent the day at the studio in Vancouver visiting all the departments and meeting the crew. We got to sit in one of the Impalas, play around in the hair and make-up trailer, and spend about four hours watching them shoot a motel scene from the season three episode “Dream a Little Dream”. In hindsight, one of the best things that happened while we were on set was the opportunity to meet Kim Manners. He took the time to chat with us about the show, where we were from, how we were liking Vancouver. He was so gracious; I was really impressed by him. Since that first visit, I’ve been in constant contact with the art department and have been invited up a number of times.

IFP: Can you tell us some more about your set visit beyond what you wrote in your Livejournal?

A: The most recent visit was at the beginning of August 2009. We ran around the Greater Vancouver area for a couple of days, finding previous locations they had filmed at, and then stopped by the studio for an afternoon. They were in the middle of shooting 5.04 – “The End” – when we were up there and we watched Jensen Ackles shoot a scene with himself (his body double). We walked through a lot of the sets from previous episodes, like Bobby’s panic room and a motel from 5.03, and met a lot of the crew members. We were also able to walk the streets of the massive post-Apocalyptic set from 05.04. They had re-dressed the city set from “The Watchman” movie to fit their needs. I can’t wait to see that show up on screen because in real life, it was incredibly impressive.

IFP: Who is your favourite character in PWT? The show?

A: I can’t pick a favourite! I love Plastic!Sam for his goofiness and I equally love Plastic!Dean for his snark. Same goes for the show – I love Sam for his righteousness and Dean for his emotional strength.

IFP: What is your favourite episode in PWT? The show? Why?

A: Man, that’s like trying to choose between my kids! I really love all the PWT musical episodes. They are a freakin’ nightmare to shoot and my friend Tara usually has to fly out to help me because it’s such a huge process, but they always1-1 turn out so well that I forget what a pain in the ass they were to shoot. I also love all of my Sweet Charity projects. I love working with a fan to put an episode together – they always bring such great ideas to the episode!

My favourite episode of the show would be “In My Time of Dying”. That episode is so perfectly what the show is about – family and the lengths the Winchesters will go out of love.

IFP: What is your favourite storyline on Supernatural?

A: I really love that they’ve brought angels into the mytharc.

IFP: Who is your favourite writer on Supernatural?

A: I call Ben Edlund my black-fingernail-polish-wearing hero. He wrote most of my favorite episodes – “Simon Said”, “Nightshifter”, “Ghostfacers”, “On the Head of a Pin”.

IFP: What are you anticipating the most about the upcoming season? And how do you intend to commemorate it on PWT?

A: I cannot wait for them to introduce the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. I’ve have some My Little Ponies that I’ve been dying to use and now I finally have the chance!

IFP: Do you have a favourite Lovecraft/Mythos (or Edgar Allen Poe) story? If so, which one is it?

A: I’ll go with Edgar Allen Poe for this question – I remember reading “The Tell Tale Heart” in middle school and it scaring the crap out of me.

IFP: Please tell us about your upcoming projects.

A: I’m getting ready to start PWT S5.

IFP: What is your dream project?

A: PWT the Movie. Fully animated and with voices done by Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki.

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Bio: I live in Madison, WI which is just about the best city on Planet Earth. I have a degree in Chemistry *eye roll*, but you will never, EVER, catch me doing lab work. I have a wonderful job that I love (I like to call myself a Paper-Pushing Scientist) and coworkers for whom I would happily donate a kidney.

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IFPInterview: Supernatural: Anteka (Plastic!Winchester Theater)