This was the first sight to greet me when I walked into the office this morning -
Yes, that’s Executive Producers’ Assistant Ashleigh showing off the new jacket she bought with her winnings from the NCAA March Madness office pool. “Couldn’t you find one with bigger buttons?”asked my writing partner Paul, dampening her moment of glory and providing a slim silver lining for the rest of us. Paul was also quick to note that this is the second office jackpot Ashleigh has won in a row. And that, “coincidentally”, she was in charge of organizing both pools. For her part, Ashleigh dismissed the intimation and announced she would start organizing a pool for the upcoming FIFA World Cup. I fear she’s caught the gambling bug. It’s time for an intervention.
Director Will Waring started shooting episode #2, Aftermath, today – which meant it was time to begin prep on my script, episode #3, Awakening. We kicked things off with the Concept Meeting, Director Andy Mikita presiding over the gathered department heads as we spent an hour going through the script, discussing the various sets-in-progress, scheduling, the repercussions of a character switch, and the surprisingly complicated orchestrations required for a simple photo shoot. We followed that up with a much lengthier get-together with the Art Department and Construction in which we, once again, discussed the various sets-in-progress and scheduling – but in much more detail. Rounding out the day, a quickie Costume Meeting with the lovely Val Halverson, and an equally brief sit-down with Props Master Evil Kenny Gibbs (pictured below).
A little later, a bunch of us headed downstairs to check out one of the sets being built for the episode. My first reaction upon laying eyes on it was “OMG!”. That was my internal dialogue. I can’t remember what it was I actually said, but it was more or less the same sentiment expressed in much more colorful terms. Director Andy Mikita assured me he looked forward to the challenge of pulling it off. While everyone else was measuring and chatting lighting issues with Director of Photography Jim Menard (who, earlier that morning, had contested my interpretation of several Stargate-related issues in my recent blog mailbags), I talked builds with Scott from Construction. Specifically, we talked about the BIG build going on right next door. Everyone who has seen it has declared it the most impressive set we’ve built to date. Scott, a veteran of the business, agreed, saying it equaled the craftmanship of another awe-inspiring set: the X-Jet from X2.
Back upstairs, the writers gathered to debate a script issue with episode #6, Trial and Error. After the rewrite, the script was a robust 56 pages. Considering Paul’s last script, Intervention (episode #1) was 48 pages and, at last count, the episode was timing five minutes long, it was obvious that Trial and Error needed a trim. Paul’s solution? Lose the first scene. Carl hated the idea and argued for keeping the scene. Brad, Remi, and Linda made the argument for losing it. It didn’t end happily for Carl.
I took the opportunity to float my idea for a little character thru-line that I felt needed to pay off following the events of recent episodes. Thankfully all were on board and I’ll be able to move forward with the scene as planned. Episode #10, Resurgence. Still early in Act I.
We capped off the day by watching a Producer’s Cut of episode #4, Pathogen. A great script by Carl Binder, wonderfully directed by Robert Carlyle.
Today’s meetings were a breeze compared to tomorrow’s daunting line-up -
9:00 a.m.: Stunts/SPFX Meeting
10:00 a.m.: Playback Meeting
11:00 a.m.: VSFX Meeting
1:00 p.m.: Extras Meeting
I predict we’ll be working through lunch.
Simon writes: “When do you expect to have that Q&A with Jamil Smith put up?”
Answer: Jamil assures me he’s still working on it. Soon! Soon!
Sylvia writes: “Did Aunt Grace share her fitness routines?”
Answer: One hour of brisk walking followed by a thirty minute weight training routine. Every morning.
JenniferC writes: “I’ve recently heard a few rumors that the SGA movie, Stargate Extinction has been canceled. I was just curious =)”
Answer: No word on a green light, but definitely no word on it being cancelled either.
Kymm writes: “This brings me to the liquid foie gras. What do you do with it?”
Answer: You pop the cromesquis in your mouth, chew, and swallow. The liquid center is a bonus!
arcticbook writes: “I know its still early in the series but do you have any plans on having anyone or more specifically any race make an appearance from SG1 or SGA?”
Answer: You can look forward to appearances by Jack O’Neill and Daniel Jackson later this season.
PG15 writes: “Since Rush and Chloe managed to bring back one of those alien pods, will we see the crew examine/use it in the future?”
Answer: The crew will be getting around to the alien pod next episode.
David writes: “I was thinking that the ship retreated to easily after Rush & Chloe left the ship. If they really wanted Destiny and all of her secrets then I thought they would have fought harder since Destiny didn’t seem to be able to do much damage. Could it be that they have brainwashed Chloe into subconsciously becoming a mole for them and didn’t want to take a chance in loosing her as an asset? Am I close or way off?”
Answer: I’d say you have to tune in to find out.
Kymm writes: “I must be missing something, so I am going to ask a stupid question (be kind) – since the alien ship can track Destiny through hyper space (they were attached to the ship in Air and have located them again in Space). We have found out that the aliens want the ship. Why did they not just take it before the Earth people boarded it?”
Answer: We don’t know for sure, but it would seem they haven’t been able to board Destiny (although the pod that flew away at the end of Air III would seem to indicate they’ve been keeping tabs on the ship for some time now). As I mentioned in yesterday’s mailbag, prior to our coming aboard, all of the ship’s energy was used for its automated defenses – and, specifically, ensuring the ship’s shield remains strong and impenetrable. Since we came aboard, however, the ship’s power has been diverted to other areas like life support and weapons, diverting power away from the shields, weakening them, and making them more vulnerable in certain areas (which is what we saw happen in Space).
Kymm also writes: “OR when they caught them in Space episode why didn’t the small ships all clamp on and have boarding parties take over the ship.”
Answer: That may well have been the plan. Or, maybe, they had another as-yet-to-be-revealed plan in the works.