Mailbox quota exceeded? How the hell is that possible? I mean, COME ON! My writing partner Paul hasn’t deleted an email in over three years. His inbox looks like a guest list for an Italian wedding and yet he doesn’t seem to have any problem either sending or receiving. Of course, it may have been the size of the files being sent my way. They were images from Broken Ties that the visual effects department was sending MGM’s way for the official website. For some reason, I have become the middle man in all matters of publicity between the production and either the studio or network. Whether it’s photos, trailers, or episode synopses, they have to go through me before they go public. This because of past instances in which spoilers have been unintentionally revealed (as opposed to the intentional reveals I can do nothing about, ie. Cue network promo: “And in this week’s episode, you won’t believe the last five minutes…” Cut to a shot of Carson Beckett, very much alive. “…unless you happened to watch this promo. Stargate Atlantis! Watch it live – because when you‘re dead, it‘s nowhere near as good! ”).
Yeah, it’s always annoying when a major spoiler gets out. Still, there are so many precautions you can take. The early release of Search and Rescue is a great example. This season, we were faced with a choice: send out press screeners like last year and risk the episode ending up on the net, or hold of on sending out copies of the episode with the press kit. Ultimately, we decided to send out the screeners because we felt that there was more to be gained by getting the show out there to the various media outlets. Will the S&R leak hurt the ratings? Will the positive word of mouth and write-ups help the ratings? Well, we’ll find out in about a month.
Another source of the leaks that have plagued the production is the online system used to distribute sides for upcoming auditions. What happens is the production forwards a final script to the casting director and the casting director posts excerpts of the script at somewhere like showfax, an online resource community for actors. Having learned from the past, we’ve been very careful not to release full scripts or any scenes that we deemed “too spoilery”. So it came as a huge shock a couple of weeks ago when word broke that a major season 5 spoiler had been leaked. I did a little digging and discovered that the source was show fax. I checked with our casting directors and they were quite adamant that they had only posted the scenes directly related to the parts being cast. We were wracking our brains, trying to figure out what had happened, when Marty G. came up with a novel solution. He actually paid the subscription fee and logged onto showfax. As it turned out, the sides for the specific scenes had been posted – along with the transitional scenes that had been helpfully X’d out. Only problem was, those scenes were still readable. Mystery solved.
Now, instead of merely being careful, we’re being extra careful. And, if it comes to it, I suppose we’ll have to be extra extra careful. Still, there’s no guarantee we’ll manage to keep the spoilers in check. Which is why I came up with a spectacularly devious idea late in season 9 of SG-1. I actually wrote a scene that went something like this:
INT. CORRIDOR – SGC – DAY
A somber General Landry heads down the hall with Major Evans.
Evans: How’re you holding up, sir?
Landry: It’s never easy to lose someone under your command, Major.
Evans: How’s the rest of SG-1 holding up?
Landry: As well as can be expected. They’ve just lost a close friend. It’ll take them a while to come to terms with what happened.
In the end, the only thing that kept me from sending it in and sparking an online firestorm the likes of which had never been seen was Rob Cooper who took one look at the scene and informed me: “When the truth gets out about this, the fans are going to kill you.” I laughed. “No, I’m serious,”he said, stonefaced. “They will hunt you down and murder you in cold blood.” Of course I knew he was being sarcastic. Surely, once all was said and done, the fans would see the humor in the hoax and not resort to tracking me down and setting upon me like a pack of wild dingoes.
Yeah, I didn’t think so either. So I scrapped the idea.
Hey, just finished exchanging email with Janina Gavankar – a.k.a. Sergeant “Dusty” Wells from the season 5 episode Whispers, and she has expressed an interest in swinging by and fielding any questions and comments you may have about her on-set experience with us (It was, according to Janina, the most fun she’s ever had on any gig), how she managed to put up with Paul McGillion for so many days, and maybe a little sneak preview and some insight into her colorful character. I’ll start gathering questions for Janina starting tonight, then send them her way over the weekend.
And speaking of questions, start preparing your queries for author Kage Baker who will be joining us next week as well as we discuss her book, In the Garden of Iden.
Today’s pic: Well, since Janina has put me back in a Whispers mood, here’s a creepy little snap from the Whispers shoot.