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Another day, another story.  This episode, like episodes #7, 9, 10, and 11, was envisioned as a tough one that would take a couple of days to break.  But, like episodes #7, 9, 10, and 11, we ended up breaking it over the course of a single day.  And that leaves us with one final story remaining: episode 13, the big season finale.  As we were heading out to our cars this afternoon, one writer remarked that this one probably WOULD take us a couple of days due to its complex plot. Maybe.  But, then again, maybe not.  I have the tease, tag, all five act breaks, and the major moves in my head.  In fact, I’ve had them in my head for over a year now.  After writing the pilot, THIS was the episode my mind automatically went to whenever I imagined getting the green light on the series.  The big closer, the Holy Sh*t! season finale that will trigger the colossal fan forum meltdown after its eventual airing.  As my buddy would say: “It’s gonna be bananas!”

Alas, as you may have noticed, there was no official announcement at Comic Con. Apparently, they’re still crossing the last t’s, dotting the final i’s, and executing the finishing squiggly flourishes that accompany most official-looking signatures.  So…soon.  Soon.

In the meantime, it’s full speed ahead.  I’d like to see a revised pilot and first drafts of episodes #2, 3, and 4 by end of August, first drafts of episodes #5, 6, and 7 by end of September, and first drafts of #8, 9, and 10 by the time I touch down in Toronto in early November.  We’ve already generated a list of potential directors while, internally, we’ve started talking about casting.  We’ve got quite a few colorful roles to cast and finding the right people isn’t going to be easy – but we do have a few familiar faces we’d like to bring in for an audition.  Or two.  Ultimately, we’ll be looking for actors who are not only good, but good to work with.  And we know a few. :)

Damn, I’m going to miss going into the office to spin stories.  I’d like to say it’s been hard and rewarding work but, the truth is, it’s simply been a hell of a lot of fun.

We HAVE to do this again.  Next season!

Jelly is out like a Chicago White Sox designated hitter.

After an exhausting day of waiting for me to come home, Jelly is out like a Chicago White Sox designated hitter.

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Hey, you know who has a GREAT attitude?  NOT me.  No, I’m easily offended, temperamental, and a notorious grudge-holder.  As one of my friends once put it: “Joe is the type of guy who, years later, will remember that pencil you stole from him in high school – and finally exact his revenge.”  While not exactly true (I’ve always been more of a pen man), the statement is certainly accurate in spirit.  Hey, don’t misunderstand.  I’m incredibly loyal and generous to my friends, but simply (and completely) unforgiving when I feel I’ve been wronged.  Yes, I have a bad attitude.  Admittedly.  On the other hand, my buddy (and former Stargate Special Features Producer), Ivon Bartok, has a GREAT attitude.  Even when life deals him a disappointment, he’ll let it roll right off him and always look on the positive side of things.  He has an ability to step back and consider the big picture, apply logic to a potentially emotional issue and say “Hey, that’s too bad.  But let’s not dwell. Moving on!”.  More often than not, I’m the one who ends up more affronted – on his behalf.  In hindsight, I suppose this is why he was such a great traveling companion on our trip to Japan a few years back.  Despite Air Canada misplacing his luggage and delivering it days later, his losing his subway pass only two days into our trip, our receiving word that our show (Stargate: Universe) had been canceled (Day #10), his spirits never flagged.

ivon

I admire him for it and, while it would be nice to say “I wish I could be more like him.”, the truth is I’m perfectly happy being my acerbic, disgruntled self.  Next to writing and my uncanny ability to instantly offer the numerical counterpart to any randomly-generated letter of the alphabet, complaining and plotting revenge are two things I’m really good at and it seems a shame to just give up on them like I did the clarinet or Mad Men after that “I ate a bad sandwich” episode.

Still, if I can’t have a good attitude, I can have the next best thing: a friend with a good attitude!

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Next to clowns, furry spiders, and old timey pictures of twins, there’s nothing quite as creepy as a porcelain doll.  I discovered this several years ago, on my first trip to San Diego, when I stayed at a turn-of-the-century hotel that thoroughly freaked out my ex.  I attribute her response to a few things: the mysterious rattling in the walls that would awaken us in the dead of night, the “haunted ghost tour” that strolled through the lobby while we were checking in, and, of course, the management’s decision to adorn each floor with a deeply disturbing selection of antique dolls.  Yep, it was mighty eerie, so I can imagine how parents in Orange County may have felt waking up one morning to discover THIS on their doorstep:

Come and play with us.  Forever...and ever...and ever...

Come and play with us. Forever…and ever…and ever…

These night time deliveries were made even more unsettling by the fact that, in some instances, the dolls actually resembled the little girls living in the recipient households.

I mean…WTF?!  What kind of a warped mind is at work here?!  It’s like something out of a horror movie or the deepest recesses of an asylum for the criminally insane or…a kindly church member clearing out an old toy collection.

Sorry?  What?

http://www.wjla.com/articles/2014/07/california-police-solve-porcelain-doll-mystery-say-woman-responsible-meant-them-as-a-kind-gesture–1.html

“The woman – who police haven’t named – told them that she was only trying to give away toys her own family had outgrown and had tried to match the girls in the neighborhood with dolls that looked like them.
“She tried to pick dolls that resembled girls who lived there,” Hallock said. “In her mind, her motivation was purely kindness. It was meant as

a good-will gesture. In retrospect, I think she wishes she would have left a note.””

Yeah, in retrospect, maybe a heads up would have been a good idea.

A powerful lesson learned.  Always accompany your gift with a note.

Or, in the case of the following toys, avoid the gift altogether and just leave the note…

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pole-dancer-doll

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Wow!  We’re unstoppable!  Five stories in five days brings our grand total to eleven out of thirteen.  And, as one writer pointed out: They’re all great!   There’s not a single episode I’d happily pass on to someone else.  I want to write them all.
They’re a lot of fun, chock full of action, humor, shocking twists and turns, and, of course, terrific character moments for our entire crew.  You’re gonna love ‘em.

And, as we enter the stretch run, it’s time to give credit where credit is due.

Okay, yes, the writing room has been great.  But, really, we’ve ONLY been great because we had the energy to blaze through these story breaking sessions.  And we’ve had the energy to blaze through these story breaking sessions thanks to our secret weapon:

1Yes, I replenished the chocolate storehouses this morning, thereby ensuring we’d have enough power to complete this week’s mission.

Tonight, I celebrated a week’s work well done by updating and distributing the series overviews detailing synopses, character lists, and production requirements for all eleven episodes.

Anyone in San Diego for Comic Con?  Sadly, I’m missing out this year, but I’m keeping updating on all the important happenings.  So far, there was this:

And this:

Anything else to report?

Today’s blog entry is dedicated to birthday boy Shirt’n’Tie!  Happy Birthday, Paul!

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Today, we finished breaking episode #10 of my new SF series.  It’s a little rougher than the preceding stories with a few TBD’s, but it’s great fun and ends with a jaw-dropping sequence that will no doubt have this blog buzzing when it eventually airs.

Can’t wait until next year?  Want a hint as to what to expect?  Well, okay.  Check out the above diagram, lovingly-rendered by one of our writers.  And – spoiler alert! – here are two more:

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Let the speculation begin!

I was informed yesterday that we have the conference room until the second week of August but, at this rate, I doubt we’ll even need it past this Wednesday.

Also, yesterday, we were treated to two surprises:

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Surprise #1: Former Stargate Special Features Producer Ivon Bartok who dropped by to experience our awesome spinning skills.  And eat our chocolate.

Surprise #2: A gift basket of fruit and chocolate from blog regular Gilder (Thanks, Gilder.  Very kind of you.).

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Tomorrow, we reconvene to discuss Episode #11.  Can’t wait to find out what other surprises you guys have in store for us.  Pizza?  Homemade cookies?  Matching macrame vests for the entire writing department?

We’ll see…!

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While we’re on the subject…

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SUPER DIMENSIONAL FORCE MACROSS

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ANDROMEDA ASCENDANT

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STARBUG

firefly-serenity-e1387241089451

SERENITY

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THE BATTLESTAR GALACTICA

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SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO

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VORLON CRUISER

Moya

MOYA

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STAR DESTROYER

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ASGARD SHIPS

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THE BEBOP

500px-Ancient-Aurora-Class-battleship1

ANCIENT AURORA CLASS BATTLESHIP

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THE ARCADIA

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THE USS SULACO

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THE MILLENNIUM FALCON

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THE DESTINY

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USS ENTERPRISE NCC-1701

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THE NOSTROMO

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KLINGON BIRD OF PREY

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ROMULAN WARBIRD

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Another day down, another story done.  That makes 8 out of our 13 first season episodes broken in less than three weeks.  I feared today’s episode would prove tricky, but I got in early this morning and hashed out a rough outline.  My writing partner, Paul (aka Captain Logic) had surprisingly few problems in the early going and we positively breezed through the first three acts.  “Wow,”he marveled.  “We’re moving quickly!”  “Sure,”I said, “but I’m sure that we’ll eventually come to that sticking point.”  And we eventually did, sometime after lunch and somewhere in the fourth act – but, thankfully, it wasn’t one of those “Let’s sleep on it” bumps.  We talked it through, came up with some great scenes, and completed our beat sheet in record time.  Sadly, not quite fast enough for us to roll right into episode 9, but still.

Today, we also received some early concept designs.  I love this part of my job: weighing in on space ships.  We had a choice of five sketched variations and then three color models.   They were all terrific, but Paul and I preferred #2.  I’m not a big fan of winged ships in general, but I do love armaments: gun turrets, plasma cannons, etc.  This ship should be bad-ass, retrofitted with all sorts of illegal weaponry, and Bart’s first pass is a huge step in that direction.  Very exciting.

While considering the different looks, I hopped online to do a little research and came across this interesting rundown of The Top 75 Spaceships in Movies and TV. A pretty solid list – but Stargate: Universe’s Destiny is conspicuously absent. Given the fact that this list was published back in July of 2009, however, I’m willing to cut the gang at Den of Geek some slack:

http://www.denofgeek.com/movies/286589/top_75_spaceships_in_movies_and_tv.html#indexmain

SFX came up with their own list, this of The top 51 Sci-Fi Spaceships where Stargate is well-represented:

http://www.sfx.co.uk/2012/12/02/top-51-sci-fi-spaceships/

And if you’re wondering how they all compare, check out this chart by Dirk Loechel comparing vessels from various SF worlds.  Damn impressive!

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http://dirkloechel.deviantart.com/art/Size-Comparison-Science-Fiction-Spaceships-398790051

So many terrific designs.  Which are YOUR favorites?

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Hurrah!  The writers’ room is back on track!  Today, we tackled episode 7 and, while it was touch and go in the early goings, we did manage to finish breaking the entire story (tease, five acts, and a tag, natch), this despite a sluggish morning, an impromptu visit from an old friend and colleague, and a severe allergic reaction to something one of us ate (the suspects included improperly prepared chicken, brie, and the peanut butter-penicillin cookies I brought in).  I’m very pleased because, with this story in place, we have a spotlight episode for each of our crew members.

Next up is a tricky episode – but, if we can hammer it out #8 by Wednesday, I’m confident it’ll be smooooooooooooth sailing through the blustery #9 and the late season two parter before we hit our presently bare bones penultimate episode.

We wrap the room at the end of July and then, while they start designing ships and space stations in Toronto, I’ll be writing here in Vancouver.  I’m aiming to complete two scripts in August and another two in October (with time for a trip to L.A. next month and ten days in Japan in September).  Then, in November, I’m Toronto-bound where I’ll oversee set construction, casting, and the purchase of big down-filled coats.

So, who of you picked up those nifty Lost Tribe suits at auction?

member-lost-tribe

BTW – Just started Joe Abercrombie’s new book last night, Half A King, and it is brilliant.  If you’re looking to splurge on a hardcover, this is the one to pick up.

Mini mailbag:

Bailey writes: Oh and here’s a random bit of analysis of why SGA went off the air in a discussion of today’s slash fandoms: [...] “In other words, since the fanbase was too middle-aged, too female, and too prone to writing slashfic, the whole show had to go.””

Answer: “too prone to writing slashfic”?  Stargate Producer #1: “Forget that director’s cut!  We’ve got more pressing matters to discuss!  Gater1472 has written a story pairing Beckett and Zelenka!”

Deni writes: “How many of these have you had, Joey?”

Answer: I’ve sampled a few – thanks to the generosity and impeccable customer service of The Imperial Hotel.  Some seven years ago, on my first trip to Tokyo, my ex and I walked around for an afternoon and then returned to our hotel room where we placed a recent purchase (a $12 apple) in the refrigerator.  We went out for another stroll and, when we returned, we found an enormous fruit basket awaiting us with a note that read: “The chambermaid dropped your apple on the floor while cleaning the refrigerator.  Please accept this fruit basket in apology.”  Not sure how much it cost but I’m sure it was at least $300.  And it contained the best melon, strawberries and apples I’ve ever eaten.  The bananas were alright.

Sylvia writes: “WHEN will you be able to tell us about the tease for the reason you are building a spaceship, freighter, space suits…??”

Answer: Apparently, as soon as all of the contracts have been signed.

NarellefromAus writes: “Recommended reading? I’ll check out your recommendations in your side bar but is there anything that is a must read? “

Answer: The sidebar is a pretty good list of recent reads I heartily recommend. Tops of that list = Gone Girl, The Glass Castle, and We Are Completely Beside Ourselves.

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Tired of the same old apples and bananas?  Looking to top your corn flakes with something really special?  Well, cash in that 401k and fly on over to Japan to sample these unique fruit:

1YUBARI KING MELONS

A hybrid of two cantaloupes (Earl’s Favorite and Burpee’s Spicy), the Yubari King Melon hails from Hokkaido, Japan where they are grown in special greenhouses, each fruit (one to a vine – the rest are pruned) is outfitted with a  special hat to guard them from the sun.  They are usually sold in pairs but you can snag a single for a mere $100.

most-expensive-fruit-grapes-ruby-romanRUBY ROMAN GRAPES

Grown in Ishikawa prefecture, these ping-pong-sized grapes are sold under strict conditions.  Each must weigh over 20 grams and have a sugar content of over 18%.  Instead of splurging on a bunch, start with a solitary grape – that will set you back about $250.

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EGG OF THE SUN MANGOES

Earlier this year, a pair of these prized mangoes sold for a record $3000 at auction and then were promptly airlifted from Miyazaki in southern Japan to a department store in Fukoaka where they went on sale.  The average person can pick up one of these mangoes – that must weigh in at a minimum 350 grams and possess a sugar content of over 15% – for about $50.

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DEKOPON

These orange/mandarin hybrids were only available in Japan until several years ago.  They are grown in large greenhouses and then left to sit for 20-40 days after harvesting to mellow their citric character while allowing their sweetness to build. A half dozen will set you back about $80.

enhanced-buzz-1424-1370898298-1SEKAI-ICHI APPLES

Sekai-Ichi Apples translates to “World’s Best Apples”.  They are pollinated by hand and washed with honey.  In comparison to the other fruit on this list, a single apple is a steal at a little over $20.

1SQUARE WATERMELON

Grown in tempered glass boxes to ensure their perfectly cubic form, they are incredibly practical: easily stackable and an easy fit for small Japanese refrigerators.  Recent alternate versions include heart-shaped and pyramid varieties.  Get your own for $200 a pop.

densukeDENSUKE BLACK WATERMELON

Also grown in Hokkaido where a mere 100 are farmed each year, they are renown for their crispness and sweetness.   They go for as much as $5000 but, if you’re lucky, you may be able to find one at your local Sembikya fruit store for the rock bottom price of $200.

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WHITE STRAWBERRIES

Referred to as “Hatsukoi no kaori” (Scent of First Love), these beautiful strawberries are possessed of a high sugar content and run about $5 each.

japan-saga-honoka-strawberries

HONOKA STRAWBERRIES

Or, you can settle for a box of plump red strawberries from Saga, Japan.  Get your friends to chip in and pick up a box for $30.

iroiewremwsyuku1wywbGOKUSEN BANANAS

These $6 bananas weigh in at a hefty 200 grams and come packaged with serial numbers in their own special boxes.

106405110_470OKAYAMA WHITE PEACHES

$40 will get you one of these luscious, premium peaches grown in Okayama Prefecture in western Japan (a.k.a. The Land of Sunshine).

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To those asking: Yes, you’ll be able to watch my new show when it premieres in 2015.  Unless you live on the moon of course.  Which, I suspect, some of you do. But fear not.  I’m sure they’ll have found a way to stream it to your base by then.

Today, I finished a revision of the pilot episode – and spent my last full day with my old high school buddy, Cas, and his lovely girlfriend Su.  He’s here shooting a few days on a series and she was here for a photo shoot.  Also, both were here to spend quality time with Akemi and the dogs.  And eat A LOT.

1Last night, we got together with my writing partner, Paul, for dinner and drinks. Oh, and I got to practice my phoney photo laugh.  Look at how much fun I’m having!  Pictured from left to right: Paul, Cas, and me – or, as as we used to be known in the old D&D days Kato the Monk, Altov the Druid, and Delfoss the goblin thief.

1 Su and Cas took us out for dinner.  As is customary when I’m being treated, I ate to bursting, then stuffed my plastic wrap-lined pockets with the leftovers.

1We stopped off at this little corner bakery that makes these delicious coffee buns that, quite frankly, taste like uber-light pancakes (http://papparoti.ca).

1Last night, we visited Bella Gelateria for the best gelato in the world.  And a cup of strawberries.  Pictured above, Akemi and Gelato Master James Coleridge.

1Space suits.  Who’s up for a little EVA?

1My writing partner, Paul.  That’s who!

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