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It’s all fun and games until an Executive Producer gets hurt.  And that’s what almost happened today when I was visiting set to check in on the construction of our bridge and corridor sets, and the walnut finish customized jacuzzi for my office. As usual, I was accompanied by Executive Producers’ Assistant Alison Hepburn and Story Editor/Script Coordinator Trevor Finn who are always on hand in case of public emergencies (ie. fending off the undead and giving me the opportunity to flee in the event of a zombie attack; double-anchoring me should a tornado set down in the neighbourhood, etc.).  I mean, sure, they’ve got their “official job descriptions”, but my safety and well-being is at the top of their priority list.  So imagine my surprise this afternoon when I was strolling through set and I slipped on a patch of sawdust.  As I felt my feet slide out from underneath me, I fully expected to feel the reassuring/supportive hands of Alison Hepburn at my back, averting certain disaster.  But it turned out I had to avert my own disaster.  No, instead of Alison sweeping in to the rescue, I had to windmill my arms as my right foot streaked forward like I was sliding into second base, capturing my weight on my shaky left foot.  I glanced back to see how close Alison had come to missing me – only to discover she hadn’t kept the requisite two paces behind me.  Instead, I found her thus -

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Happily snapping away, totally oblivious to the catastrophe forestalled.  I mean, seriously!  I had to catch myself!  What’s next?  Will I have to hole-punch my own photocopies?  Throw out my own recyclables?  Be expected to chew my own lunch?!!

Anyway, I consulted the hidden camera I had placed on set to catch construction personnel taking unauthorized bathroom breaks and came across these snaps:

IMG_0539

IMG_0537

I mean, honestly.  This is a place of work, not tomfoolery and horseplay.  While they’re running around set, drilling holes in load-bearing hat stands and generally not catching me, fellow Executive Producer Vanessa Piazza and I are hard at work prepping the show and testing the structural integrity of a four can high-rise -

Screen Shot 2014-11-14 at 8.10.11 PM

Which may seem like tomfoolery and horseplay but is actual important research for an upcoming episode of the show.

I mean – come on!

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I woke up this morning and it was snowing.

Snowing!!!

And the temperature has dropped about 20 degrees in a day.

It’s so cold that Akemi refuses to go out.  She has vowed to never leave our apartment until spring.

I feel terribly, for her and for the dogs, especially Lulu and her super-sensitive paws.  As much as it pains me to do so, I think we’re going to have to pick up doggy boots.  Yes, we’ve become THOSE people.

So, hey, we did that live stream Skype audition session the other day and, as expected, it went poorly.  As Trevor pointed out, for an application software that specializes in video chats, Skype video quality is surprisingly…um, what’s the word? Oh, yeah.  Shit.  And I feel “shit” is really too kind a description of the picture and audio quality we had to sit through – this despite upping to unlimited bandwidth. The video was so choppy I felt like  I was playing Mario Bros. on my Commodore 64.  If any of you have stock in Skype, I advise you to sell now.  We ended up switching to FaceTime and things went much more smoothly after that.  So, to break down the pros of each application:

Facetime: Better video and audio quality, easier to use.

Skype: Only one syllable and perhaps easier to pronounce.

Our trusty Story Editor/Script Coordinator/Annoying Noisy Lunch Chewer Trevor Finn alerted me to the following big news story:

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http://www.theonion.com/articles/astronomers-discover-planet-identical-to-earth-wit,37437/

Amazing, no?

In other science-related news, I’m sure you’re all aware by now that the Philae probe scored a bullseye landing.  At some point, I suspect, they will trigger the charge that will disport the asteroid’s earth-bound trajectory, saving our planet from certain doom.

I’ll be in a casting session for most of the day so, today, I hand things over to Akemi and her very first popcorn-making experience…

Two down, one to go.  The Toronto and Vancouver second round casting sessions are in the books and only the L.A. session remains.  Be Vanessa and I won’t be able to attend, we’re going to live stream it to the production offices.  Theoretically anyway.  I imagine it’ll be sort of like those interactive video conferences that look so cool in the movies but never quite work out the way you want them to in real life, with participants dropping out, losing audio, losing video, the whole punctuated by the background caterwaul of children or dogs in desperate need of feeding.  Still, we’re going to give it the ole college try (let’s say more Devry than Harvard).  Festivities get underway at noon PST, which means we’ll be watching well into the twilight hours.  Guess we’ll be ordering pizza!

The plan is to have our selects, Top 3 for each of the seven roles, by early next week.  And that’s when the decision-making will get REALLY tough…

Paul delivered his first draft of episode #10, the first part of our late season two-parter.  He promises to have #11 to us before his weekend arrival – which means I’ll be able to do my pass on #12 (already written) have that out by early next week.  Leaving us with…only the grand (season one) finale to write.  Or, rather, finish since I’m already 15 pages in.

Meanwhile, no rest for our awesome construction crew who have been working their little tool belts off -

Right this way, step right up...

Right this way, step right up…

On our way to the bridge.

On our way to the bridge.

The crew of The Raza = Alison Hepburn and Trevor Finn

The crew of The Raza = Alison Hepburn and Trevor Finn. 

The bridge in its infancy.

The bridge in its infancy.

Corridor going one way.

Corridor going one way.

And the other.

And the other.

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And facebook: https://www.facebook.com/darkmatterseries

And twitter:  https://twitter.com/dark_matterTV

Tell your friends!

November 10, 2014:

It seems I spoke to soon.  It certainly looked like my Snow Monkeys were certain to go down in defeat to Ivon Bartok’s team, The Running Dead.  But then the Green Bay Packers took the field and, 100+ fantasy points later, my Snow Monkeys came roaring back to win the weekend!

And so while, technically, Ivon WAS in breach of the non-compete clause in his contract by virtue of the fact that he was, in fact, VERY competitive this weekend in fantasy football league play, he ultimately wasn’t competitive enough to beat me and so…

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Boop bop meep!

Daniel Day-Lewis is out and Ivon is back in!

Second round call-backs today in Toronto and Vancouver, L.A. on Wednesday.  We draw ever closer to our final cast.  And you’ll be the first to know!

Meanwhile, Akemi seems to be making the most of her time here in Toronto…

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And finding a creative outlet in feeding the dogs…

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Well, no sooner do I make the grand announcement, letting the world know that my good friend Ivon Bartok had won the role of The Android on my new series, Dark Matterthan I have to recast the role – this the result of Ivon contravening the strict non-compete clause in his contract.  The provision actually has nothing to do with our actors getting jobs on other shows but specifically prohibits them from being competitive against me in my fantasy football league. This weekend, Ivon and his team, The Running Dead, were in breach of contract when they beat my Snow Monkeys, dropping them to .500.

As a result, we’re recasting the role of The Android.  Although acting ability is important, preference will be given to candidates who already have their own robot costume since the production already blew its Android wardrobe budget on Ivon’s outfit -

Beep meep boop!

Beep meep boop!

Which he apparently took home with him along with the lemon squares from tomorrow’s catered lunch and Roxanne, one of our set PA’s.

Since word got out that we were recasting the role, we’ve had many great performers throw their (spring-loaded boots and motorized) hats into the ring:

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Mandy Patinkin!

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Annette Benning!

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Javier Bardem!

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Anne Hathaway!

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Daniel Day-Lewis!

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Morgan Freeman!

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Dame Judi Dench!

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So many great possibilities.  And the actors to go with them!

I’m very close to losing my voice.  That’s what fifty phone conversation over two days gets you – fifty being the number of actors who took me up on my offer to get on the phone with them to discuss their character, the show, what we responded to in their first audition, and  most importantly, help put these new scenes in context in advance of their second round auditions.  BIG casting week on the horizon!

But, of course, one role has already been filled!  The part of The Android on Dark Matter will be played by my long-time buddy Ivon Bartok who you may remember from such roles as Blinky Cadet in the Stargate: SG-1 episode “Prodigy”.

"Did you say TEN dimensions?"

“Did you say TEN dimensions?”

 

Anyway, here he is at Friday’s costume fitting…

Meep bop meep

“Meep bop meep!”

He’s sort of a cross between R2D2, Oscar the Grouch, and raver Gazoo.

Well, if you weren’t excited about the show before, I’m sure you are now with this HUGE casting announcement!

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