The quarantine that the global coronavirus pandemic has forced us into has changed a lot about our lives. Instead of working at an office in business attire, we’re working from our couches in sweatpants… and instead of actors being busy making shows and fans preparing to travel for in-person fan conventions we have… HomeCon!
Billed as the first of its kind, HomeCon is a virtual fan convention conceived of by Paul Amos and Rachel Skarsten, stars of SyFy’s cult hit Lost Girl. With coronavirus shutting down entertainment productions and forcing the cancellation or postponement of several fan conventions, Amos (Darken: Before the Dark) and Skarsten (Batwoman, Reign) thought it would be uplifting for actors and fans alike if they could still connect somehow. So, with help, Amos and Skarsten in two weeks built HomeCon, which used the gaming platform Twitch to broadcast panels featuring actors videoing in from their living rooms, and Zoom for ticketed 5-minute one-on-one video calls with actors. (10 percent of sales are going to the charity First Responders First).
The two-day con launched Friday with a Lost Girl panel, and later came one of the convention’s most buzzed about events: a panel on SyFy’s current hit Wynonna Earp. Stars Katherine Barrell, Dominique Provost-Chalkley, Tim Rozon, and Megan Follows — just four of the approximately 30 actors who participated in HomeCon — virtually convened for a panel. The thousands of fans who tuned in from around the world were not disappointed. Technical difficulties and interruption from Barrell’s dog Bernie only added to the fun. Fans were also treated to Provost-Chalkley and Rozon briefly speaking as their characters, and Tim dropping some big news: he became a father in December!
Here’s a dive into what else unfolded during this virtual HomeCon Wynonna Earp panel.
Moderator Jacki Jing asked the cast about their quarantine lives. Rozon, who sported a black cowboy hat worthy of his Earp character Doc Holliday, said he “selfishly” is enjoying quarantine because he’s spending time with his new baby boy. Follows, who wore a black sweater and her hair in a bun and was eating soup the whole time, seemed a little less Zen, as quarantine halted a new acting gig (with which Rozon was also involved), and she’s stuck in her childhood home “surrounded by [her] entire f—in’ life.” But she said she’s biding her time cooking and cleaning.
Provost-Chalkley, who was dressed in a T-shirt and ball cap, said just before quarantine, the cast had gone home for a regular shooting break (they were halfway through filming season four), so quarantine just feels like an extended vacation. However, she’s anxious that the show had only just gotten back on track after a year hiatus (production company financial woes threatened the show but a ferocious fight from the fans helped fix things). Barrell, though content at home (she said her and Provost-Chalkley being only children prepared them for this) echoed Provost-Chalkley’s concern.
But Barrell — who wore a baby blue top and her beloved dyed-red hair down — and Provost-Chalkley remain optimistic, citing excitement about season four and lessons learned from quarantine.
“Talking with people all over the world [in the one-on-ones] it really did give me a sense of ‘WOW, this is everywhere, everyone is feeling the same things,’ and it was sort of comforting in a way,” said Barrell.
Reflecting on their Earp roots
Fans went wild over cast audition snippets shown during a SyFy Wynonna Earp marathon the day before the panel, so Jing asked the cast to reflect on their auditions.
Follows said she struggled with hers, but her daughter pushed her on it. Follows added that when she directs projects, she gives actors second chances, to see how they take direction and to let them overcome nerves. Rozon said his initial audition for the role of Dolls didn’t go well, but when he auditioned for Doc, it felt right. Similarly, Barrell initially auditioned for Waverly and Wynonna. Those experiences made her feel more prepared for her Nicole audition, but she considered herself too “ingénue” to play a cop so she didn’t think she’d get the part.
Jing then asked about their characters’ introduction scenes.
“It was just perfect, it felt so right and it was a big moment for me in terms of finding who this character was,” said Provost-Chalkley, whose first scene was Waverly kicking down a door holding a shotgun. “The writers obviously wanted that to be the first impression — for Waverly to have that… fire in her that came through really strong.”
Barrell, whose first scene was Officer Nicole Haught meeting and flirting with Waverly Earp (aka the beginning of the “Wayhaught” same-sex relationship that propelled the show and actresses to icon status), was excited about being the pursuer, which she and women in general don’t often get to do.
“That scene was so direct and forward and has a perfect amount of bravery and going for what she wants, but also there’s a sensitivity and sweetness, too,” said Barrell. “It just has all the elements. I’m such a huge fan of the way that scene was written.”
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