It’s been my experience that making a contribution to charity leads to nothing but trouble. A few fleeting seconds of contentment at the prospect of helping out those in need isn’t worth the endless follow-up phone calls from not only the charity in question but the countless other organizations your charity has sold your information to, asking if they can “Put you down for a hundred dollar donation. No? Well, we realize times are tough so why don’t we say fifty? No? Well, we totally understand that the economic downturn has made things difficult for everyone, so why don’t we say twenty-five? No? How about ten dollars? No? How about five dollars and a promise to pick my mother up from Walmart Saturday afternoon?”. It’s reached the point where I don’t even bother answering my home phone anymore.
So I imagine my surprise when I answered my cell phone the other day to receive more or less the same spiel from – all places – the local Arts Club Theatre. No sooner had the word “Hello?” left my mouth than the caller launched into a lengthy ten minute pitch for that season’s show schedule, describing each production in glorious detail. She eventually paused, presumably to catch her breath, and reminded me of the last Arts Club Theatre production I had attended. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that the only reason I’d gone at all was because I’d lost a bet to my good friend Kerry McDowall who had chosen to make me take her to a parody Christian musical in the mistaken belief that I would have a worse time than she would. As it turned out, any misgivings I had about the high-steppin’ production were trumped by the look of utter horror that had descended on Kerry with the first song and dance number and had remained frozen on her face like some death-rictus until the final curtain.
Before that, the sole other Arts Club Theatre show I’d attended was a production of Witness for the Prosecution put on by the local law society. And before that, I’d have to go back some twenty three years to a very low period in my life when I was dating a drama student and, thus, ended up sitting through A LOT of amateur theater. Yes, it’s not something I’m proud of, and I would never do it again, so let this be a warning to anyone out there who is considering dating a drama student. The same applies to anyone thinking about dating closet musicians. You know the kind I’m talking about, the ones who bring their guitars, lutes, and tubular bells to house parties in anticipation of that lull in the festivities – usually between one to two a.m. – when the mood has sufficiently mellowed and everyone is either too drunk or high to protest their launching into a folksy rendition of Justin Timberlake’s Sexy Back.
Next to serial killers, the only worse thing than dating a drama student or closet musician is going out with an amateur singer, the kind who will burst into song at the slightest provocation, creating an instant sense of mortification only slightly less embarrassing than having your underwear stolen right off your ass in the middle of a public space. To this day, the desperately cheerful strains of “Fooood glorious foooood!” is enough to send me into paroxysms of terror.
To any theater students, amateur singers, closet musicians, and serial killers I may have offended over the course of this latest rant, please rest assured that the sleight was wholly intentional.
Anyway, another little something from the Art Department…
I smell barbecue!
Delivered by first draft of The Hunt this afternoon. This one is going to have a bit of everything: exotic locations, tricky builds, cool visual effects, and, of course, one hell of an episode budget.
We called up Rob and gave him notes on his final script of the season, episode #217, Common Descent.
As Brad pointed out, the actor playing the part of Dr. Andrew Covel in episode #213 brings to four the number of guest stars who also appeared in the original Stargate movie.
The crit mixes of #203 are going out. Look forward to reading the reactions.
Another terrific review of Masked over at Bookgasm: http://www.bookgasm.com/reviews/fantasy/masked/
Lisa R writes: “Does anyone in the office listen to country music?”
Answer: No, but Carl, Ashleigh and I watch Friday Night Lights. Does that count?
Shawna writes: “Are online sources like Hulu or iTunes taken into account at all when it comes to ratings (and therefore which shows are likely to get canceled or not)? If not, do you think the ratings system will ever catch up with the way people actually watch TV these days?”
Answer: Technology has far outpaced the existing ratings system. With more and more people time-shifting and downloading their programming, the old ways of gauging audience numbers become just a part of a much bigger picture. Steps are being taken to rectify this, but we’re not catching up fast enough. At present, download numbers are not reflected in a show’s ratings, but that doesn’t mean they’re not important. From what I’ve heard, SGU (as well as SG-1 and Atlantis) performs very well on downloads and this added source of revenue ensures the studio will fight all that harder for the series when the time comes. The shows are also available on Hulu which is owned by NBC (SyFy’s parent company), so those downloads will hopefully play a role in deciding SGU’s future as well.
Laura writes: “There is a million things i would like to ask, but i know that you are a busy men, so i will try to post them here from time to time.”
Answer: Fire away. And welcome to the blog.
Michael writes: “In light of Vince Kwan in today’s blog, did every character that ended up on Destiny have a name or does the staff come up with them on a need-to basis?”
Answer: The latter. Characters with dialogue will almost always have a name.
hyperion writes: “1) How are the chances of a Q&A with Robert Carlyle?
2) When´ll you release the other part´s of the Louis interview?
3) What are your favorite SGU characters?
4) Can you give us a little hint what´s in store for Dr. Rush next season?
5) Will we the a bit Rush/McKay interaction (head banging?) as well on the crossover episode, or just Eli/McKay?”
Answers: 1) It’s possible, but since he’s one of the busiest actors on the show, I don’t want to impose too much on what little downtime he has.
2) I plan to ask him more questions as the season progresses.
3) I love ‘em all, but I’m particularly partial to those with a sense of humor.
4) Oh, Rush is going to make some decisions he may live to regret in the show’s second…
5) Remains to be seen.
airelle writes: “Oh yeah, Can Carl dance??”
Answer: Carl dances every chance he gets!
Mel writes: “Unfortunately you are not speaking for all of TPTB.
“Answer: To this day, I still don’t know exactly why the show was cancelled but I do know it certainly wasn’t a case of us being tired and wanting to try something new.”
Answer: Hi, Mel. You’re making a big leap here, assuming that Rob and Brad wanting to try something new meant they wanted to kill Atlantis. It’s an incorrect assumption for a number of reasons. 1) As Rob states “Neither one of us really wanted to do the same thing again.” True. They’d decided that years earlier when they left after Atlantis’s third season. They didn’t have to orchestrate SGA’s cancellation in order step away, not “do the same thing again”, or create a new show. 2) Internally, we knew that SGU had received the greenlight but had yet to hear word of Atlantis’s fate. An “either/or” (SGU or SGA) scenario was never presented to us. If it had been presented to us, then we would have known about the Atlantis cancellation much earlier – specifically, the second SGU was greenlit. 3) Rob and Carl share a common characteristic that has earned them my respect: they are straight shooters who don’t waste time with bullshit or concerns of “letting someone down easy”. If Rob knew Atlantis was cancelled, he would have told us. 4) This is supported by the fact that – amid all the talk about preparations for the new show – Paul and I, frustrated as we waited out a decision on SGA, went to Rob and asked him whether he’d heard any rumors. He responded by picking up the phone, calling one of the major players, and putting us on speaker phone while he grilled them about Atlantis. IF, as you’re inferring, SGA was cancelled to make room for SGU – and since SGU had already been picked up – then Atlantis’s fate would have already been decided. The person on the other end of the phone, rather than discussing potential scenarios, and pros and cons, would have simply said the decision had already been made (and, if Rob had known, said something like: “What the hell are you asking for? You already know!”). If there’s one thing I’m damn sure, it’s that: a) A decision on that sixth season pick-up had yet to be made well after SGU was greenlit for production meaning it was NOT an either/or scenario, and b) No way did Robert Cooper have a hand in Atlantis’s demise. Absolutely, positively, no f&%king way.
Mel also writes: “““Do you still maintain that Stargate Atlantis was not canceled in favor of Stargate Universe?”
BW: My preference would have been another season of Atlantis, alongside two new movies, then Universe. I wholeheartedly admit that I had no desire to make two series at once again.”
Answer: Again, he’s stating a preference. The bottom line is, has always been, and will always be the almighty dollar. If the financials of keeping Atlantis on the air for another season had made overwhelming sense to the decision-makers, then you can bet someone would have forced the issue. Also, keep in mind that while Brad may not have been keen on the idea of running a double production, the lion’s share of the coordination and script work on an Atlantis sixth season would have been assumed by our team: Paul and I show running, Carl, and Martin and Alan (who I guarantee would have been there had Atlantis received that sixth season pick up).
Sean Grisham writes: “I know that stargate usually sells props to the public, (and I’m assuming that show designers and staff usualy recieve the royalties) but I’m wondering, would you ever do the same for the 3d models? (such as the Hive Ships/Ori Ships/Stargates). That way the designers who made them would get the $$ love that they deserve and gamers would get a priceless piece of SG History to fool around with/photoshop.”
Answer: Doubtful, but I can’t say for certain. I don’t play a role in deciding what goes up for auction.