Hallowe'en, what better time for an interview with a professional Ghostfacer than on a sunny morning in the historical and picturesque city of York, reportedly the most haunted city in Europe.
In the UK to take part in the Hell Hounds convention to celebrate the Supernatural spin off Ghostfacers, lead 'Facer AJ Buckley agreed to join us for a chat.
Making ourselves comfortable on the sunny balcony over looking the river, we had to ask if he was looking forward to the weekend.
"I am" AJ replies "This for all of us as a group, as sort of Ghostfacers, our first sort of Supernatural convention was here in England, and then to get to come back for our own Ghostfacer convention its just hard to believe that in 2 episodes its taken such a life of its own. We get to come to England and sort of meet everybody, and some of the best fans are here, the most dedicated so yeah very, very, very excited"
"For Hell House, I loved it" AJ tells us "I thought there was, you know again what I was saying down at the panel, when I read the script I knew that I kind of had this idea of who Ed Zeddmore was, and the casting didn't want to see me they were like 'he can't play this role', I was like no, I know this character, I'm a huge dork so I'm like 'I'm this guy'. Ed is very close to me, so when I read the script I loved it and with the Morton House as well, I could not stop laughing out loud. I thought it was ingenious how and really sort of cutting edge the style and way that they were filming the episode
Ed as a character is involved and passionate about what he is doing, unintentionally funny and is almost a stereotypical dork. These character traits in themselves can sometimes not play out very well, however in this instance, this is not the case.
"I think there's a lot of myself in Ed Zeddmore" AJ confesses when we enquire as to how much of himself he has brought to the role "I think his, I don't know I'd say his friendships like Ed's bond and his care for each one of his fellow team members and what not, and my sense of humour is very much like Ed's, and the banter that whatever way it's worked out with the banter between Travis and I has just been seamless, because his sort of energy and his type of comedy and my type of comedy seem really to go together"
The 2 episodes featuring the Ghostfacers, as well as the handful of videos online bring comedy to the sometimes serious supernatural and paranormal genre. Rather than watching a group of people going around trying to find ghosts, the viewer feels as if they are a part of the journey. This is mostly due to the comedic and almost realistic script that the cast work from, but do they have much input in what they are given to work from?
"Now we do yeah. Eric Kripke has been sort of in the upcoming episodes of like what's going to be happening with the Ghostfacers, Travis and I have been writing the episodes which has been really exciting. As far as on with the Morton House and stuff, the script was amazing to start with and they had allowed us to sort of go off page once we got 2 or 3 takes in the can of the original script, then Phil allowed us to sort of play and improv and come up with chisel chest and all those sort of lines."
Ghostfacers brings, as we said earlier, comedy into an almost serious genre. Emphasised by its unique reality format, which obviously enables the show to have its own personality.
"I think it's because we're kind of blessed in the sense of, our characters have really seen ghosts. We've experienced ghosts. We've lost a person, and so when we play in this sort of tongue-in-cheek comedy arena we're able to build up the scares and stuff with the real ghosts, and actually see ghosts as opposed to these ghost hunting shows where they never see anything and it gets boring. They drag out beats and beats and beats and beats and nothing ever happens, we're going to be able to really drag out those beats and then see a ghost and then have the comedy in-sue after that so high stakes, really scary environment with comedy"
Giving that the show has its own personality in that it makes it more personable to its viewers, it must make it a lot more fun for people to watch as opposed to those other similarly paranormal based shows.
"Yeah I think there's a lot more colours to it. It makes the characters more, there's more dimension. Its not just a note, its not just scary, scary, scary and its not just funny, funny, funny its got a mix of both"
With any great show, there is inevitably a great theme song and the Ghostfacers theme song is no different. In fact it is possibly the most catchy theme song out there at the moment.
"That was all Ben Edlund." AJ nods as we enquire as to who came up with it "He wrote that. He wrote such a great Morton House script. We got to go in and sing it which was cool. We went in to the actual booth and sang, and I can not sing to save my life so it was actually fun. Me and Travis were in the booth together with the headphones on, (sings) 'Ghost, Ghostfacers'."
It is a very annoyingly catchy song, which will get stuck in your head.
"Yeah" AJ laughs before continuing to sing the next line "We face the ghosts when the others will not"
With a theme song that catchy and characters that are as personable as Ed and Harry, it must come as no surprise to learn that the Ghostfacers have become extremely popular within the Supernatural world.
"Yeah, I wouldn't say its a surprise" AJ replies, "Its very flattering. I knew that we were part of something really special, and it was just cool to see other people respond to it. Like I say this is one of my most favourite characters I've ever played, just because of the freedom and the style of acting that it is ,its just a lot of improv and I truthfully just love working with Brittany and Austin, Dustin and Travis."
As well as appearing in the 2 episodes of Supernatural, the Ghostfacers have been given their own spin off from the show in the form of an online series. Meaning that we're going to be seeing a lot more of them fairly soon, but how did the idea of doing webisodes come about?
"Eric Kripke pulled Travis and I in to his office and he basically said that he wanted to do a spin off with us" AJ explains "He said I really love you guys work and he said he really wanted to develop further a show with us. And Phil Sgriccia he kind of got behind us as well, and its kind of been over the last 2 years really starting to push it and making our own videos and stuff, and kind of keeping contact with the fans and kind of keeping alive, so now its finally starting to see the fruits of the labour that Warner Brothers has signed on and so we'll see but its a very exciting time for all of us."
At present the Ghostfacers website currently has some videos online, will these webisodes be an extension of those?
"It'll be a whole new flack of 10 new episodes, really smart and its not what you expect. We were going to have a little tease today, a little surprise earlier today and we're actually in a sense filming an episode here. The characters as far as Ed and Harry and Maggie and Dustin are concerned, we have been invited to England to speak at the Royal Paranormal Society Convention, so that's why Ed and Harry are here, just to speak on stuff that they've witnessed and show some footage that we've captured. Just before we came here we had a visitor appear to us, which would then in a sense after you see this sort of bit will deepen the mythology of the Ghostfacers and what they represent and what their job is and that sort of stuff."
As for creativity, the show definitely does not lack that. Between the improvisation and the relationships between the actors, the sometimes out there ideas must be difficult to come by.
"Honestly, Travis and I sitting in a room and talking it out and finding the beats and just writing" AJ starts to tell us how the ideas begin.
"Oh look at that" he smiles while pointing to a yellow rowing boat complete with 4 oarsmen going past on the river before continuing, "Just sort of writing the stories. I mean we really truthfully understand how these characters kind of walk, think, talk, laugh and we've this great ability to get in a room and write together and come up with funny bits and scary bits and stuff so yeah, it's been Travis and I really sort of pushing it away."
AJ along with Travis Wester, Brittany Ishibashi and Dustin Milligan have been working on the webisodes and filmed a few scenes while in York. It was mentioned that they hoped to film at other conventions, should it be plausible for them. Which could perhaps give the fans a greater appreciation of the show.
"I hope so" AJ nods when asked about this "I mean we really, we the Ghostfacers sort of represent the fans. We're sort of no different than the fans in a sense because in the Ghostfacers eyes, Supernatural fans are people that believe in the supernatural, are people that believe in the Ghostfacers, and our characters are just sort of there spreading the word that they've seen it that it exists that there's a way to contact this other world. I think that's their job, so I think the job and the show, and if we can pull this off, is that its creating a real interactive [element], so people that have seen ghosts, or maybe we'll show up into that persons town and shoot an episode there but there will be a very interactive feel with it and a very tangible feel to us as characters. I mean we're not these big sort of you know super good looking and hunky guys, we're very relatable. Our characters are very, they're the fans. There's no difference in Ed Zeddmore and Harry Spangler than you or I or anybody else that believes in the supernatural, so there's sort of representation of that in a fictional way."
So what can the fans, the people who can almost relate in some way to the show expect from the webisodes?
"A lot of surprises." he reveals "What you think you're going to see is a whole other, the surprise and the reveal that we have at the end of season 1 for us is really big, and when we went to pitch to [Eric] Kripke what we thought the reveal and the surprise should be, he signed off on it and we're like yes! So its exciting."
"Well CSI has been really amazing to let me go off and do this show. Right before I went under contract at CSI I was already recurring on Supernatural so my managers worked out a deal that I could go and finish this." he explains to us "We didn't know that Ghostfacers was going to be as big as it's kind of turned into, but they've been really great and I've been really blessed and lucky that I've been able to go and do both. And it's kind of unheard of that you're allowed to go and do 2 shows at once so yeah, I count my lucky stars."
CSI is a world renowned show, and to the prospective actor a seemingly daunting thing to step into. However the results of being a part of something so big can be beneficial, so how did AJ feel when he was told he had won the part of Adam?
"It was kind of a life changing sort of thing" he tells us "I've said this a bunch before in interviews and whatnot, but I was really at what financially was the lowest point, emotionally and sort of spiritually I was in a great place you know, but financially I had 32bucks left to my name I was just struggling. I was living out of my car, but I was totally happy. I wasn't at all worried that it wasn't going to work out, I just kind of, I just had a feeling that everything was going to be all right and that was a test to my friends and my family and the support of everybody around me."
Season 6 of CSI: New York started in America at the end of September.
"This year?" AJ asks as we enquire where he sees Adam going this season "Have you guys, has this season started? Oh it hasn't?" he questions before continuing "So this season starts of pretty strong for Adam. I think its just an evolution of him, he's getting to grow and grow and grow further and further and you know I mean having CSI as a gig, I love the fact that I'm on that show, its such a great show to be a part of."
Like AJ said Season 6 starts off very strong for Adam, and there are a few surprises in the opening episode, that nobody saw coming and no one expected to see happen. But did he?
"No, I didn't" he admits when we ask about the shock of the opening episode and the scene between Adam and Stella "I think its a great sort of character beat for Adam and Stella, he's always kind of had a crush on her and I think she's always found him interesting and stuff so I think the circumstances of Angell dying and not knowing how you'll react in those situations when you're grieving a loss. I think that leant us to to be able to go there when Pam wrote that episode, but yeah I think at first when I first read it I was like 'wow okay', we're just in bed together but I mean it was fun, it was fun to film."
So is there a potential relationship developing between the two that we might see blossom as the season progresses?
"It could potentially." AJ nods "Potentially there's always room, as long as I was good you know" he smiles
It was definitely a scene that had people stunned and sitting there thinking 'what?'
"Yeah" AJ agrees "Everyone, everyone had that experience. Everyone was like what? What??" he emphasises "Yeah so it got people talking, so that's great"
With Adam starting off strong in the new season, we've noticed him grow throughout his time at CSI.
"You know I think its been a real slow sort of growth which I like" AJ explains as he reveals how he thinks Adam has developed "To sort of seeing him kind of come into his own, become a real sort of full fledged CSI member. And I think sort of as this season goes you sort of peel back the layers of his character, he's going to have more of a voice, more confidence, be able to make bigger decisions and become kind of a more of a presence on the team. Not that he isn't a presence now but I just think his confidence will come across more."
With this new found confidence and stronger storyline, Adam is appearing in the show more and more, no doubt its something that AJ enjoys.
"Love it" he states right off when we question if he enjoys getting out and involved "Prefer it. I wish they would do it more, and I think when you're not the star of the show you kind of know what your role is and stuff, but the writers have been really great to sort of facilitate giving me an arc and giving me some really cool beats and stuff. I love it and its such a great show to work on."
"I'm a dork" AJ announces as he tells us which of his personal traits he has brought to the character "I'm a big dork. So I kind of bring that and my light heartedness, I'm always kind of cracking jokes and making funny situations happen out of not so funny situations, just because that's kind of who I am. There's a lot of Adam" He pauses "There's a lot of AJ in Adam."
Being a science-based show it does get technical, what with the sometimes complex and large words that the actors find themselves saying. We got curious about the most difficult thing AJ had been given to say.
"Methoxydicapropylotryptemine" he throws out before we can even blink (or possibly even spell correctly). A difficult word "Exactly" he smiles when we say that "Yeah, really hard"
With words like this being thrown around, it must need a few takes.
"A lot" he states "A lot of takes. And its hard on those takes too because it'll be like the word, wont be the first word you say its like right in the middle of all this other language and stuff that you have to remember, so you're just" he pauses "And you get to the word and you're like Mmehlluhlafoxibutida" he explains before admitting to cheating on occasion "Every once in a while if its too tough I'll hide it somewhere and be like take a look"
Aside from the lengthy language, there are bound to be things that the actors learn that they never knew before.
"I've learned a lot man" AJ nods when we ask "I've learnt a lot about science and just sort of the cutting edge technology and how truthfully hard it is to catch a criminal, or even to commit a crime and get away with it. Its just its really tough. But yeah I've learnt a lot, learnt a lot of things about science."
But surely re-enacting the experiments must be difficult?
"We get a great support team on CSI" We're informed "Like a lot of the writers are forensic pathologists or former detectives of some sort, so they're there to sort of walk us through the proper process"
Aside from working on CSI and Ghostfacers, AJ also runs his own production company called FourFront Productions.
"Just four friends that all sort of are different personalities and creatively operate in a different way" he explains as he tells us how he got involved with it "And we all were working individually on our own projects, and we just decided that it might be better and more strength in numbers and bring those guys together so we ended up doing that"
There must have been some investment or interest in working in production.
"That's my real passion" he nods "Not just acting, its behind the scenes, camera, directing and stuff like that so I love that"
Production is generally difficult to get into.
"Its all really hard." AJ replies when we ask if he finds it is a hard area to get involved in "But you know everything in life is hard, its just how bad do you want it. And I want it"
FourFront have been involved in many different projects from commercials and pilots, through scripts and varying other media, but we were curious about his personal favourite venture with the company
"I would have to say the stuff with the production company" AJ pauses "I would say Ghostfacers. And we've written a couple of different pilots and stuff. We're a new company so I think the more years that go on we'll have more things under our belt, but its just great to be able to go to work and be with your friends, and you know creatively work on things with your friends. Which is always a good experience."
The company specialise in TV, film and digital media content, handling all aspects of production 'from inspiration to creation': writing, directing, production and post-production, but does AJ have a favourite area he likes to work within?
"Directing" he says almost instantly "Yeah definitely directing." Directing is definitely a fun area to be doing "Yeah" he laughs "Its really good".
"I've got a movie coming out" AJ tells us when we enquire about his upcoming projects "Skateland, which comes out January next year, which I'm really excited about. And then the Ghostfacers stuff and CSI"
What is Skateland about?
"Ashley Greene from Twilight's in it, myself, Shiloh Fernandez, Heath Freeman. Its a coming of age story set in 1982 in Texas, set around a roller rink and my character owns the roller rink, and is sort of this older guy at the rink that hasn't really left this small town. Its a really beautiful simple story"
A light hearted story?
"Yeah" he nods "Yeah very light hearted, a light hearted drama."
Did he enjoy working on the film?
"Great time" AJ informs us "I love to roller-skate so it was really fun to go do it" the UK doesn't have many roller rinks but we should have "Yeah" he laughs "It'd be fun"
Having worked on films before and now working on this, would AJ like to do more work on films in the future?
"Yeah, I mean I'm really lucky to be working to have a job, especially in this economy and stuff" he explains almost philosophically "So yeah I've been pretty blessed with my career. I mean I'm excited just to work whether its just in television or film, I'm excited to find projects and material that I feel like, where I can really challenge myself and stuff so, you know there's a couple of projects coming down the pipe right now that I'm excited about and to be a part of. But I don't know, I can't really explain it. I just, I feel lucky."