It was a thrill to interview Colin Ferguson recently at the Alabama Phoenix Festival, which was his first appearance at the convention, as well as his first-ever visit to the city of Birmingham. After we spoke, he hosted an absolutely hilarious Eureka panel, which was probably the highlight of the weekend. I had no idea he was such a comedian! He had the entire audience in stitches while recounting vivid behind-the-scenes stories. Ferguson discusses a possible future for Eureka, working on Ghost Hunters and making an odd discovery while living in an actual haunted house.
What is the status of Eureka?
– “We’re done. The show is wrapped. We did 80 episodes. What’s funny about it now, is that back in the day, once the show was done; it was done. But people don’t watch the show — any show — live anymore. You have the crew and the cast and we finish the show when we stop making it. Then you have the audience who watches the show, about a year later. Then you have the people who watch it on Netflix. They finish watching the show a year later. It’s sort of this long, prolonged end to a show, which is nice. It really informs how people are watching television these days. It takes a while for the market saturation to happen. The show is oddly more popular now that it was three or four years ago, because it takes a long time for people to find it. There’s so much content out there. Thank God for Netflix.”
Has Syfy thought about renewing Eureka?
– “I’m sure they’ve thought about it. They haven’t told us, but they keep their cards pretty close to their chest — as well they should. We’ve told them that we would love to do it, we’d all jump on it in a heartbeat. For our show, it makes more sense to do a miniseries than a one-off movie. Because the start-up costs are X, you might as well bang out a couple of episodes.”
What direction would you like to take Eureka?
– “There’s so many. I was never really involved in that side of things. The writer’s room — tragically — was in Los Angeles, and we shot in Vancouver. So, there was a real disconnect between those two worlds. I know they’d broken a 13-episode season when we ended and they’d also broken a six-episode finale, when we ended. They’ve got more than enough stories in their back pocket, ready to go.”
You’ve also worked on Ghost Hunters. How did you get involved with that show?
– “I got to know Jay and Grant through all the press and promo events that we did with Syfy. I got to meet them in New York. We’d hang out and all that jazz. So, we were just chatting, and they said, ‘Why don’t you come and do an episode?’ I said, ‘I’d love to.’ They said, ‘We don’t have a lot of money to do it, so we’ll let you know when we’re on the West Coast.’ They called me up when they were in San Francisco, so I drove up. I spent two nights on the USS Hornet with them, searching for and finding ghosts all over the place. It was really, really fun. It was great. You’re in such a priveledged position. What did you do this weekend? I went and hung out on the USS Hornet with Jay and Grant, looking for ghosts and we found some. What did you do? Top that, everybody else. It affords you a lot of opportunities and I’ve been lucky enough to capitalize on them.”
After the episode aired, did you get any feedback from it?
– “When it aired, it was one of the highest-rated things that they’d done. Because the cross-over stuff is always a little more interesting. It’s the normal thing that you love, plus a monkey wrench. It’s pretty good.”
How long were you filming on location?
– “You’re there all night long. You show up after dusk and you’re there till dawn. There’s no corners cut. The best thing is that Jay and Grant are so true to what they do. It’s not about the cameras. It’s not about the producers. It’s not about the show. They’re there to investigate the ship, full stop. And the cameras have to catch up to that. It was funny to watch them take off, and they’re outrunning the cameras. They’re doing their thing and I really respect that.”
What was one scary or odd thing to happen, while investigating?
– “Probably when I took off, on my own. Walking around the ship, with all the lights off, when you don’t know the layout and it’s however-many stories tall… that’s nerve-wracking, because it’ll take forever for you to make it back, if you get lost. And you get lost. The oddest thing was we had a long conversation with something in the kitchen. That was really interesting. There was an apparition, which was in the show, but I really enjoyed the interaction.”
Outside the TV show, have you ever experienced anything haunted or unexplained?
– “Sure. Well, I lived in a house that had some activity in it. Whatever was there was pretty protective of us, but definitely there. Everyone who came and spent the night would say they saw something or were woken up. My girlfriend’s son, at the time, would talk about things that would happen in the house. It was a pretty crazy house to live in, but whatever was there, it liked me just fine. We got along great. I always felt very protected.”
How old was the house?
– “It was probably from the 1920s or a little before. I remember one time I was alone in the house and there was a noise. So, I was like, ‘What is this? What is going on? Where do you want me to go?’ There was a noise upstairs, so I went upstairs. And I say, ‘Where do you want me to go now?’ There was a crawlspace and I heard a noise from the crawlspace. So, I’m crawling through this crawlspace — a space I’ve been through a hundred times — and all the lights were off. I put my hand on this board and the board flips. Underneath the board was an old ’20s Yahtzee dice container and a bunch of old matchbooks, which said Pete Pontrelli and his swing band, which was weird. I looked it up and he owned the house in the ’20s. So, I went downstairs and downloaded some music and put it on. I figured you’ve got to do what you’re being asked, so that was fun for me. Whatever was there, we got along great.”
Had any tragic events occurred in that house?
– “Nothing that was reported. No one got killed — or anything like that — that was ever found. I loved it. It was such a great house. I really liked living there.”
You worked on both Eureka and The Outer Limits, were were filmed in Vancouver. It seems like the city is sci-fi central.
– “It is sci-fi central. The crews are so good and so educated on how to shoot sci-fi fast. It requires a specific skill-set: How to shoot visual effects, what you need, what you don’t need. It’s tough when you get a director in, who hasn’t shot a lot of sci-fi. They usually overdo it, because you just don’t need certain things. That group is phenomenal. I’d put them up against anyone in the world. I love my Vancouver crew.”
What are your current projects?
– “I’m working on Haven. It’s a show on Syfy Channel, as well. I’m doing eight episodes with them this summer, which is going to be really fun. We’re shooting that in early to mid June.”
For More Information:
– Colin Ferguson’s Twitter