Supernatural‘s Misha Collins (Castiel) is about as far from his stern-faced character as you can get. When he isn’t busy trailing and bailing the Winchester boys through and out of danger, he’s busy organizing and promoting the biggest bucket of international fun ever. Don’t believe me? Just ask Guinness!
G.I.S.H.W.H.E.S., which stands for “Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen,” is a worldwide scavenger hunt, where teams try to check as many items off the list as they can… a list made up of whatever Collins & friends warped minds can think of. Some of the items have been: cover yourself in whipped cream and give out hugs, make a portrait of Jensen Ackles out of Skittles, and dress up in clothing made of food. I recently got to speak with g.i.s.h.w.h.e.s. founder and crazy person, Misha Collins, right after his live Facebook sign-up drive, to talk about his unique event.
Check out the interview and the g.i.s.h.w.h.e.s. trailer below.
GoD: Well first off, how do you pronounce it? That’s my first question.
Misha Collins: I wanna know how YOU pronounce it.
GoD: Well… I wanna say gish-wess, but that sounds awkward.
Collins: That is pretty spot on. So what you’re saying actually is that the appropriate pronunciation of my enterprise just sounds weird. And I think that that’s correct. It’s an accurate assessment of the situation. I was just doing some radio interviews this morning, and spelling it over the air to people who are listening presumably driving in their cars, and thinking there’s no way that anyone who is listening is going to be able to remember this. It’s a nonsense word, and has a consonant cluster that is 4 letters long. It’s just a non-starter from a marketing standpoint. But yeah, it’s different. You nailed it.
GoD: Maybe that’s why it’s been pretty successful. I kinda heard of you doing it before [Stephanie] reached out, and I watch the show, so I was like, “Okay, he’s a celebrity doing something for charity.” But then I read up on it and was like, “Oh. He’s just getting the whole world together to have a bunch of fun.”
Collins: I love that characterization. That is awesome. I wanna use that as our tag line [permission granted]. In a sense that’s kinda true. We have people from over 100 countries participating, and it’s just growing every year. We put people on teams. People can sign up and they can form their own team of 15 people, with 15 of their closest friends. Or one can sign up with just one other friend, and we’ll fill out the rest of the team for them. People can sign up with as many people as they want, or by themselves. There’s a lot of teams just comprised of individuals who don’t know each other, who are scattered all over the world. And they form amazing international friendships. It’s totally awesome to watch how it happens. Because of the nature of the teams, and because of how engaged teams have to be with one another, it’s almost like going to war I think, only in the way that the bonds that are formed there, are truly enduring. We have all these people writing in saying, “We just got together over Christmas with our team,” which means flying from 4 continents to get together in one place, and actually meet each other in person for the first time, which is astonishing. People from all over the world get together to have some fun, and be completely disruptive, and push themselves out of their comfort zone, and do things they’ve never tried before, and make a little art, and embarrass themselves.
GoD: That’s completely insane.
Collins: As I start to delineate all the things that go on in the hunt – scary, embarrassing, but kinda awesome. People love it. I love running it.
GoD: Yeah. This has gotta be a lot of work. I mean, I’m sure you have people, but….
Collins: It is a lot of work, and as it has grown, it’s become more work, and we’ve enlisted more help. There’s a bunch of people that work on putting g.i.s.h.w.h.e.s. together now. It’s definitely not just me. There are people that work full-time year-round on it. It’s a lot of work, but it’s pretty rewarding, looking at the stuff people produce is extremely gratifying. And hearing the testimonials from people about how much they love participating in it, is also rewarding in and of itself. Also, I just like to mess with people. It’s kind of a great resource to have tens of thousands of people who will do whatever I say is my own megalomaniacal need. It’s very exciting to be able to say to people, “Let’s get NASA to do something. We’re gonna get GISHWHES written in space.” That was one of the items that we had 2 years ago. It was utterly amazing to ultimately see NASA posting on their official Twitter feed that they named a mountain on Mars, GISHWHES, officially. Now we can refer to this geological configuration on the surface of Mars as GISHWHES. That’s so cool to be able to do, and it’s just by sheer brute force, all of the people engaging in this and making things happen, that we’ve been able to move mountains or “name” mountains.
GoD: Yeah. Wow. [I’m eloquent.]
Collins: Last year people managed to create land art that was visible from space, so astronauts literally took photos of things people did for the hunt from space. It showed up. Kinda awesome. We’ve got notable personalities like William Shatner participating in the hunt. There’s been a lot about it that’s been very unexpected and very exciting. It all started on a lark and evolved from there.
GoD: Did it start with just you and a few friends?
Collins: It started with just me posting a short list of scavenger hunt items online, sort of a whimsical little scavenger hunt I ran by fans just for fun. I don’t know. I must’ve had too much time on my hands. I had actually been carrying around this list of art projects I wanted to do for a long time, and I noticed that I had not been actually doing any of them. “You know what I’ll do? I’m gonna put this list up so to see if I can get my fans to do these projects.” Not only did they do them, but they came back kind of jaw-droppingly amazing. And people had so much fun doing it. Everybody had an excuse to take a break and do something strange and fun. I get a little hyperbolic when I’m talking about it.
GoD: Besides the people I saw on your live feed, besides Chuck and The Trickster… does anybody else on the show join in?
Collins: Yeah. To varying degrees all of the cast on Supernatural and some of the producers get involved, either wittingly or unwittingly, either by helping to create items or participating in the hunt. For example, Ruth (Rowena), she was on a team last year. It’s been very cool to have. I also create items that are related to the show. Jensen Ackles, who plays Dean, I usually put some item related to him and Jared (Padalecki). One year I had an item which was to make a portrait of Jensen Ackles in Skittles, and it had to be a certain minimum of dimensions, pretty big like 4 feet tall. So he went in an Apple store to buy a charger. He walked in the girl behind the counter opened her mouth and said, “Oh my god. Oh my god.” And he thought it was because he’s Jensen Ackles, so he just smiled at her and nodded and she said, “Turn around.” One of her girlfriends had been working on his Skittle portrait after hours. So he turned around to confront a mosaic of him in hard candy.
GoD: That is so crazy that he walked into that!
Collins: Yeah. I know. I know.
GoD: So I signed up. And I got the call during live, and they were going to put you on the phone, and I was like, “I don’t know. I work for a website. I’ll talk to him next week.”
Collins: I’m glad we got to talk now. So do you have a fully formed team?
GoD: No… I’m gonna see if some of the Geeks of Doom people wanna join, and I’ll make my husband sign up.
Collins: Well, I look forward to seeing that.
Misha Collins was a delight to talk to and just the most chill dude ever. Who better to have fun with?
Why aren’t you signed up yet? Just click here. The winning team gets to party with Misha in Iceland!
From GISHWHES page:
Get Ready, Get Set, GO!
Misha Collins’ Worldwide Scavenger Hunt GISHWHES
To Spread Magnanimous Chaos in Summer 2016
LOS ANGELES, Calif., —The seven-time Guinness World Record-breaking Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen (GISHWHES) is back for its fifth year— and it’s going to be bigger, better, and more bizarre than ever! This year’s hunt will take place July 30th to August 6th, with registration opening today. The winning team of 15 members will go on a once-in-a-lifetime, all-expenses-paid adventure to Iceland with Misha Collins.
The world’s only annual, worldwide scavenger hunt, GISHWHES is hosted by The CW’s Supernatural star Misha Collins. This weeklong extravaganza brings together thousands of participants from over 100 countries to complete creative, kind, and hilarious stunts. Part art, part chaos, part kindness, and all fun, GISHWHES shakes up expectations, taking scavenger hunts out of the realm of childhood games and onto a whole new level!
Teams take on a list of over 200 items, uploading pictures or videos of their completed items to the GISHWHES website. At the end of the hunt a team of shadowy judges analyze the thousands of submissions until the team with the highest overall points is identified and crowned Winner.
Each team is comprised of 15 participants called “Gishers.” Gishers can sign up and invite their friends to build a team or they can be placed on a team with other participants from all over the world. Since the inception of the Hunt 6 years ago, more than 100,000 people have participated worldwide including a few names you might recognize: Chris Pratt, Larry King, William Shatner, William Macy, Tony Hawk, Grant Imahara (Mythbusters), Felicia Day (The Guild), author John Green (The Fault In Our Stars), and Justin Guarini (American Idol), to name a few. Even NASA has joined in on the GISHWHES mayhem, naming a mountain on Mars after the hunt!
Currently, GISHWHES holds seven world records, including, “Largest Scavenger Hunt”, “Largest Online Photo Album of Hugs” with an incredible 108,121 hugs on record, and “Most Pledges Received for a charitable Campaign.”
Previous GISHWHES items include charitable acts like hosting a tea party at a children’s hospital and surprising a stationed soldier with a Skype with their loved ones. Gishers have been challenged to play ping pong underwater using an egg yolk as a ball, create portraits of Taylor Swift out of rice and legumes, build massive dinosaur sculptures out of sanitary napkins, and so much more!
Founded in 2011, GISHWHES stands for the “Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen.” It’s part art, part silliness, part kindness, part adventure— and 100% fun! Contestants in the weeklong global scavenger hunt are challenged to push their personal boundaries to interact with their world in creative and exciting new ways, achieving things they never thought possible. The winning team is taken on the trip of a lifetime with GISHWHES founder Misha Collins to an exotic destination across the globe for a one-of-a-kind adventure. Gishwhes is also the largest single contributor to the non-profit Random Acts, which is dedicated to conquering the world one random act of kindness at a time. To sign up or learn more about GISHWHES, visit www.gishwhes.com.
GISHWHES 2016 – REGISTRATION IS OPEN!
GISHWHES (http://www.gishwhes.com) (which stands for the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen) is a 7-time Guinness World Record breaking scavenger hunt hosted by Misha Collins that you can compete in from anywhere in the world (even from your own home!).