Check it out. Just a part of the prep and planning that went into every episode…
Check it out. Just a part of the prep and planning that went into every episode…
Posted in Film and Television, science fiction, Stargate, Stargate: Atlantis, tagged Atlantis, Remnants, science fiction, Science Fiction Television, scifi, scifi television, SF, SF television, SGA, Stargate, Stargate: Atlantis on September 21, 2013 | 25 Comments »
Seriously. No sooner do I recover from my pulled solar plexus (see previous issues, ed.) than I am now battling a lower back “thing”. Specifically, a lower right hip ache that flares up whenever I shift my weight a certain way – or not. I don’t remember doing anything that could have caused it – outside of those heavy deadlifts – but that’s not really the point. The POINT is that I have never been the type of guy to suffer from back issues. That has always been the “other guy” – you know, the little guy in the office next door who occasionally slips a disc and then either has to sleep on the coffee table or standing up. Not me!
Today, I received a request for some Atlantis blueprints. I explained that my collection of blueprints, part of the various art department packages from past Stargate episodes, are incomplete. Some episodes have plenty of supporting docs, everything from schematics to colorful designs, while others only have a sketch or two. I’ve been meaning to digitize these files for a while now (maybe a year) but just haven’t had the opportunity to get around to doing so. I figure the next best thing is to just scan and upload the various packages for your entertainment and edification.
Would you all happen to remember a little Stargate: Atlantis fifth season episode called Remnants?
A little something from the “How’d they do that?” section of the Stargate vault. Here are some pages from the Trio Art Department package that break down a couple of the episode’s more ambitious stunt sequences…
The episode made use of the gimboled set that was built for Stargate: Continuum:
Let’s kick things off with a little something from a far flung prep week on Stargate: Atlantis’s Quarantine…
Remember the scene? We require a steel for throwing, a tempered glass for breaking. The existing wall has to be re-finished so that it looks convincing on camera and, of course, we need to add the climbing pieces. There’s a note for both Paint and VFX reminding them that green lino will be required on the floor since the long drop down will be a visual effect.
I didn’t recall – until reminded by this handout – that the Stargate: Continuum wrapped perhaps weeks before we went to camera on Quarantine. There’s mention of the cargo hold (where Baal makes his grand entrance) and the Achilles Bridge/Deck that had to be removed, to be replaced by a high stunt climbing wall.
Recalling the Keller/Ronon isolation scenes. Tempered glass (because we don’t want our actors stepping on the real thing). There’s the reference to the 02-cylinder gag and specific placements for the various elements as they are moved around the room.
The “gak box” to the right of the door is, again, a reference to a mass of wires/crystals/general techy innards McKay can fiddle with in an attempt to get the door open. A nod to continuity makes reference to a larger version the hero plant “Rodneyana villosa” from Tabula Rasa. The best prop is, of course, the bag of manure for McKay’s “pillow”. Label to read “100% Organic Manure”. It’s nice to know Rodney was resting his hand on the pure stuff and none of that synthetic crap.
Where Sheppard ends his climb. There is a note to possibly reinforce the rail. The last thing we needed was for our hero to complete the hair-raising climb, go to hop over the rail and have the thing collapse on him and send him plummeting. Tempered glass for breaking – and potted plants for throwing.
The episode’s most unlikely hero, Radek, makes his infamous vent climb, crawl and tumble. Let’s hear it for the Zelenka!
Moving on to the News of Note:
Following yesterday’s blog entry about writing, here is Cracked.com’s tips for punching writers block in the face: http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-tips-punching-writers-block-in-face/
NOW they’re worried? It’s about time. Broadcasters worry about ‘Zero TV’ homes – Yahoo! News
From the “Oh, you noticed” department. Tech upstarts threaten TV broadcast model | Reuters
Teen has eaten nothing but ramen for 13 years! And has the health of an 80-year old! Teen’s Strange Ramen Addiction | Healthy Living – Shine from Yahoo! Canada
My Causes of the Week:
Heather Weiand’s dogs were seized from her home for presumably biting a neighbor while she and her husband were out despite the fact that the dogs were left padlocked in their kennels on their property. From Change.org: “On the date when the alleged incident took place, as well as every other day, the dogs were contained in their crates inside their locked home. When the family is home and the dogs are outside they are leashed or on leads. There is NO possible way they were involved! What is even more shady is that they asked to have bite impression the dogs to prove they weren’t involved, but were told “it’s too late for that the bite has already started to heal. In TWO HOURS?!” Help out these poor dogs by visiting their facebook page: Help Save Kannon, Thunder and Sarge
Facing a similar predicament is PTSD service dog Dutch: Save Dutch
Today’s entry is dedicated to blog regular and birthday boy Jeff W!
Television, like life, is just full of surprises. Shows you expect to be huge hits tank while apparent duds become breakout hits. Seemingly average episodes on the page magically come together onscreen while guest characters envisioned for a single episode appearance will pop, surpassing all expectations to develop into fan – if not writer – favorites. Chalk it up to a number of things – the writing, the direction, the onscreen chemistry – but, in the end, you have to give credit to the actors who brought these characters to life and made them so much more. Here are my Top 10 “guest stars to recurring favorites”. Plus one for good luck!
Played by Gary Jones.
First Appearance: Children of the Gods (Stargate: SG-1, Episode #101) as Chevron Guy.
First, he was simply Chevron Guy. Eventually, he got a first name: Norman. And, finally, he got another first name – and a last name: Walter Harriman. In time, Walter became as iconic a part of SG-1 as the gate itself.
Played by Anna-Louise Plowman
First appearance: The Curse (Stargate: SG-1, Episode #413)
There’s something doubly, deliciously evil about a stylish villainess – triply so if she has an English accent. Just too damn good to kill off in her first appearance, she returned for several more outings before her alter-ego, Sarah Gardner, got the happy ending she deserved.
Played by Tom McBeath.
First appearance: Enigma (Stargate: SG-1, Episode #116)
Everyone loves a good rogue, and Harry Maybourne was good as you could get. Sneaky, self-serving, and an incredible pain-in-the-ass, he developed into a perfect foil for Jack O’Neill. A rival worthy of respect and admiration.
Voiced by Trevor Devall
First appearance: The Siege III (Stargate: Atlantis, Episode #201)
The Asgard always had a dry sense of humor, perhaps none more than this acerbic fellow who, I suspect, would have been equally at home on Frasier.
Played by Connor Trinneer (and Brent Stait for one episode)
First appearance: Michael (Stargate: Atlantis, Episode #218)
What made Michael stand out was his complexity and depth. A product of Atlantis’s own creation, he was an outcast at odds with his own identity. Can you blame him for being angry?
Played by Robert Davi
First Appearance: The Storm (Stargate: Atlantis, Episode #110)
Sure, aliens are plenty scary, but none proved quite as fearsome as Acastus Kolya. It’s a testament to the character that he made an appearance even after his presumed death two years earlier.
Played by David Nykl
First appearance: Thirty Eight Minutes (Stargate: Atlantis, Episode #104)
The unassuming Czech scientist first introduced in Thirty Eight Minutes eventually developed into a beloved member of the expedition – and his verbal sparring with Rodney became a regular episode highlight.
Played by Chris Heyerdahl
First appearance: Common Ground (Stargate: Atlantis, Episode #307
Dangerous and inscrutable, yet possessed of an almost palpable nobility. He would develop into Sheppard’s most formidable adversary.
Played by Cliff Simon
First appearance: Summit (Stargate: SG-1, Episode #515)
As far as villains go, you’d be hard-pressed to find one more stylish or possessed of a better sense of humor.
Played by Claudia Black
First appearance: Prometheus Unbound (Stargate: SG-1, Episode #812)
A mercenary with a heart of gold (she would certainly trade in for cash if she could) – and serious trust issues – went from hijacking Daniel Jackson to earning herself a spot on SG-1. Damn, she was fun to write for.
Played by Robert Picardo
First appearance: Heroes II (Stargate: SG-1, Episode #718)
From irritating pencil pusher to lovable Commander in six short years. His road to redemption was a joy to behold. And script.
Posted in Film and Television, Stargate, Stargate: Atlantis, tagged Atlantis, Science Fiction Television, scifi television, SF television, SGA, Stargate, Stargate Atlantis movie, Stargate Extinction, Stargate: Atlantis on March 31, 2013 | 296 Comments »
Late in Atlantis’s fifth year, when we were working on the final few scripts of the season, we had no way of knowing what the future held. A sixth season? A wrap-up movie? Robert Cooper suggested we hedge our bets by preparing for both. His idea was to add an extra month to the production schedule during which we would shoot the sixth season opening two-parter that, in the event the show wasn’t picked up, could become a direct-to-dvd feature. It was a brilliant plan which I, in turn, proposed it to the decision-makers. Given the green light, we could roll right into production on the heels of Enemy at the Gate. We just needed the go-ahead sooner than later in order to make sure we had all the actors on board.
Sadly, we never got the go-ahead and, although we did end up eventually writing the script for the Atlantis movie (Stargate: Extinction), in hindsight, that window of opportunity at the end of the show’s sixth season was our last, best shot at seeing it made. The bottom fell out of the dvd market, the script was shelved and, well, here we are today.
As I already mentioned in past entries, the movie would have opened on a shot that revealed Atlantis’s new home on the lunar surface. We learn that the gate has been offline since its return to Earth but, under pressure from the IOA, the decision is made to bring it back online, have it supersede the Earth gate, and make it a permanent lunar base. The decision isn’t embraced by everyone. Woolsey and McKay, for instance, point out that they still have a responsibility to the people of the Pegasus galaxy. Of course the IOA are hardly moved.
Unfortunately, when the gate is finally brought back online, Zelenka reports a build up of energy in the capacitors. Too late they realize that the Ancients put a failsafe in place in the event Atlantis was moved. McKay realizes – the city will self-destruct unless it returns to the Pegasus galaxy.
Woolsey gets the band back together, transporting John and Ronon up from the hospital emergency room where they are getting fixed up following a bar room brawl (an opportunity to write in the scar actor Jason Momoa had received at the time). John, in turn, pays a visit to Area 51 and, again under the heavy protests of the IOA, springs his buddy, Todd.
The plan is to use the wormhole drive to execute a series of jumps to Pegasus – however, the drive burns out partway through their journey, stranding them in the Triangulum Galaxy, some 300 000 light years from home. They manage to muster up enough power for one, final short range jump, putting them within range of a subspace anomaly they detected.
What follows is a high-flying adventure involving a mysterious civilization tapping the limitless potential of the accretion streams between two stars, time travel, and a race against time to avert not only the destruction of Atlantis but the extinction of an entire race.
Some of the standout sequences that come to mind include one in which Sheppard ends up trapped on an enemy mothership, falling back to a room holding some of the tech the enemy has stolen from Atlantis. Enemy soldiers surround the locked chamber, preparing to storm it when – the door shakes, buckles, and blows outward to reveal Sheppard in one of the Asgard exo-suits. Cue kickass Iron Man sequence.
Another involves Todd risking all to ambush a future version of himself aboard the bridge of the enemy mothership, saving Atlantis from a final, devastating attack. The two battle. “So young and impetuous,”remarks Future Todd. ”So old and foolish,”counters ours. Eventually, Future Todd gets the upper hand and pins his opponent. He raises his dagger for the finishing blow – only to have someone reach in and grab his wrist. Rodney McKay to the rescue. Allowing our Todd seizes the opportunity to turn the tables.
John and Todd make the most unlikeliest of odd couples in this one, forced to work together for the greater good. ”If I had to pick one thing I like best about you,”says Sheppard during one hair-raising moment, “I’d have to say it’s your sense of humor.” A stone-faced Todd informs him: “Yes, back on the hive, I was known as “the funny one”.”
Enemy fighters are scrambled, Beckett takes the chair, the mother ship faces off against Atlantis, the city takes significant damage, Teyla suffers a terrible loss, some wonderful heroic moments for Ronon, McKay, and Teyla as well.
Atlantis ultimately returns to the Pegasus galaxy where Todd is granted his freedom. ”You did save the city after all,”explains Woolsey. ”Of course I did,”says Todd. ”How else would I have gotten home?”. And, in a moment that demonstrates how far things have come, John gives his former enemy a parting handshake. Woolsey hopes that, some day, their paths will cross under better circumstances. Todd agrees. ”It would be wonderful to have you for dinner sometime,”he says before heading through the gate.
Atlantis re-establishes itself, Beckett gets his turtles back from Rodney and assumes a permanent position as Atlantis’s new head of medical R&D, and John comforts a grieving Teyla now aware – via the revelations of time travel – that they are destined to be together.
And we fade out on a night shot of Atlantis, a jewel on the water…
Yes, it would have been a great movie, but I think it would have been an even better sixth season two-part premiere.
And, yeah, we had long-range plans for that too:
Now that I think about it, I believe 619 and 620, the two-part season finale, would have involved an idea I’d been kicking around involving our team returning from a mission to an AU Atlantis that has been taken over by a mysteriously resurrected Michael, its personnel (Woolsey, Keller, Beckett, even Chuck!) now hybrids in league with their former enemy. Damn. So many opportunities missed!
So, how’s everyone doing? Good, good. Enjoying the long weekend? Great. Here in Vancouver, it looks like we’ve finally put winter behind us. The sun is out, the temperature has risen, and my french bulldog, Lulu, is in full spring mode -
As for me – well, I’m taking the long weekend off. I plan to hit a couple of farmers markets, do a little dim sum, sit in my backyard with the dogs and read – maybe even get around to trying that bottle of Absinthe if I remember to pick up the sugar cubes. Oh, and, of course, update this blog. There are a few subjects I want to hit, some thoughts on the ill-fated Atlantis movie I’d like to post, a Supermovie of the Week review I need to remind Cookie Monster about, and those Art Department packages I’d like to upload. But, for today, let’s just concentrate on one -
Unfortunately, I don’t have the entire Spoils of War package but, or the wraithly inclined, I did come across these pink tech pack revisions…
Ah, this takes me back. In addition to our standing stages at The Bridge Studios, we would also make use of the stage at Norco which housed, among other things: various wraith facilities, hive, Earth, and goa’uld ships. Eventually, we consolidated production so that, in the final few years of the franchise, all of our standing sets were at the Bridge.
Why did we refer to them as chicken legs and mushroom consoles?
“Projector to be hidden behind chair riser”. Well, ideally. I remember watching dailies of one episode where the projectors were exposed for all to see. They were so cool and techy looking that the director (not one of our regulars) assumed it was actually part of the wraithy set dec. Also those “umbilicals strewn across floor in Queen’s lair” and other wraith ships and facilities were the perfect cover for wires and electrical cords.
Greens: “Dense mixed forest green set outside North entrance”. Yep, one of the many talented departments that made up the production was “Greens” who were tasked with creating believable vegetative backdrops. In this case, just a touch of forest greens give a hint of an exterior beyond the entrance way.
From the comfy confines of Stage 1, the puddle jumper would travel throughout the Pegasus Galaxy and back through the magic of that greenscreen out its front window.
I always liked the design of the wraith darts, alternately organic, techy, creepy, and comfy-looking.
Posted in Film and Television, Stargate, Stargate: Atlantis, tagged Adrift, Atlantis, Lifeline, science fiction, scifi, scifi television, SF, SF television, SGA, Stargate, Stargate: Atlantis on March 26, 2013 | 36 Comments »
This week feels like the calm before the storm. Of course, I could be wrong and it may actually be the calm before the calm before the storm. Or, worse, the calm before the storm that never comes. Paul and I are closing on several writing assignments (an action feature, an SF pilot, another SF pilot), and a few projects poised to move forward (development on one, going to camera on another pilot, and a potential series pick-up on a third), but, of course, in this line of work nothing is assured. Things certainly look promising but, in all fairness, they’ve looked promising for some time now as we’ve maintained a holding pattern in expectation of a decision, one way or the other.
I’m considering working on another spec pilot or going the kickstarter route and just shooting that horror script, but I fear that the moment I start on either, one of the aforementioned deals will close and I’ll have to switch gears.
For better or worse, things seem to be coming to a head so here’s hoping that, sometime next week, I’ll be able to make a big announcement.
In the meantime, I’ve got this blog to keep me busy – and this entry in particular. As I mentioned in a previous post, I have a slew of Stargate plans – blueprints, schematics, sketches, and designs – from the last few seasons of Atlantis and both seasons of Universe. Most of these are huge, oversized documents that need to be scanned and digitized. About a dozen, however, are part of Art Department packages for specific episodes. Rather than offer them up in order of their air dates, I thought it would be more interesting to just pick them at random and upload them as dedicated, individual blog entries.
And so, since you asked, today’s entry offers up a host of Atlantis designs. From the season 4 two-part opener Adrift/Lifeline:
During prep week, the Art Department assembles a package containing an overview of the various sets and builds for a given episode. As changes are made, the package is tweaked and these progressive stages are reflected in the color of the ensuing drafts. For those of you interested in learning about the various revisions and their corresponding colors, check out my explanation here: March 10, 2008: THE ULTIMATE EXTREME EXTRA SUPERFANTASTIC BEST LUCKY ULTRA NUMBER ONE FINAL FINAL DRAFT
While there was a four month hiatus between production of the third season finale, First Strike, and the fourth season premiere, Adrift, hardly any time had passed onscreen. Thank goodness for our eagle-eyed Art Department who placed little continuity reminders throughout: “One monitor was askew at end of First Strike” and “First Strike continuity – windows OUT throughout/aftermath still in place”. These, of course, a reference to the blast that blew out the windows at the end of the season finale, seriously injuring Elizabeth. A reminder also goes out to the various other departments for a Zelenka leg brace and that nasty-looking piece of glass that embeds itself in Ronon. By the way, there’s a reference to “large piano in deep background”. Obviously, we’re not talking about an actual piano – rather, a control console that resembled one (thus the nickname).
Clearly, the meager two-bed set-up is optimistic. Room for plenty more in the event of some unforeseen catastrophe – like an Asuran attack.
I love the reminder to “check ZPM functioning”. And then, just in case someone actually did check and found it lacking in the expected energy requirements: “one section lights up”. Oh, is that all? Another reference to those darn “pianos” and continuity reminder as per “The Siege”.
Whenever we shot outside, on the balcony, we tended to stay on our characters and relied on lighting, the occasional breeze, and the grey practical backdrop to convey a sense of an overcast day. In scenes where we actually wanted to see the background, we relied on our VFX team to create something convincing – in this case, a beautiful night-time twin-moon view.
That, of course, is the gate at bottom left. The door to Stage 4 (via the productions offices), where the Atlantis set once stood, is corner right.
The layout didn’t really change despite the changes in command although the set dec was a little different. Whereas Elizabeth’s tastes ran to the artistic (ie. Athosian statuettes), Carter added a more personal touch in the various photos that lined the back wall. Woolsey’s office was a little more austere, but he did include a personal touch with the photo of his beloved yorkie, lost to his wife in the divorce.
The layout of the replicator core room looks a lot like the Atlantis gate room. Note the tiny human figure at the bottom left, included for scale.
This being the replicator version of the Atlantis control room, set dec is reminded to strip away all Earth touches like computers, desks, and chairs. Things should be just as they were the last time we were here – in the episode Progeny.
The doors on the right presumably lead out to the infirmary and the area is “dressed” as such – gurneys, equipment – to suggest the operating room adjoins it. Since the doors on the left remain closed, we have no way of knowing what’s on the other side. My guess is the home theater room. On the bottom left is a note to Prosthetics/Make Up re: Weir’s skull/brain swell. I remember seeing the “brain swell” demonstration and being impressed (and slightly nauseated) by the very realistic brain that expanded as air was pumped inside. If I remember correctly, it was the work of Todd Masters and Masters VFX.
This is the area Ronon walks out of to visit Weir and deliver his bedside talk – one of my favorite scenes of the two-parter.
This was shot in the VFX stage, the biggest on the lot. This is where we shot the space jump. There’s a note: for the greenscreens and “Atlantian floor treatment, bordered by green” because the view of the devastation below is a visual effect. Up top, construction is asked to pockmark the wall with “asteroid” (meteorite) hits. Wonder where they got the meteorites?
This, the VFX stage, was so massive it actually held several sets simultaneously including, at one point or other, the village, the hive ship, and the various Earth ships.
And before we took over the space, it was the set of one of the Blade movies – which is why we would occasionally refer to it as The Blade set. Love the attention to detail on the snowflake design bordering the chair.
There’s a note regarding “Gurney will roll into McKay’s Lab/Infirmary & Operating Room”. This is, of course, part of the frenetic opening sequence in which a badly injured Elizabeth is wheeled through the halls and into the infirmary. So frenzied, in fact, that we didn’t notice that part of the medical equipment being wheeled through the shot off the top wasn’t medical equipment at all but actually a camera.
Again, similarities to the real Atlantis are intentional on the part of the Asurans – but certain visual cues suggest a different location. SPFX/PROPS are reminded what they need to bring to the party for the scenes in which the replicators hit the AR fields: weapons and, of course, aluminum shavings.
An interesting set. While there was certainly enough space between the bars to accommodate our cameras, one could argue there was also enough space for a determined prisoner to slip through. Which is why there were always guards posted on duty. Still, I would argue you wouldn’t need guards if that cell would have been just a little more secure. What were the Ancients thinking?
The south wall was presumably an issue so we just got rid of it. Bless the set’s modular design.
I always preferred the coziness of the jumpers over the roomier Universe shuttle or utilitarian SG-1 cargo ship. As I mentioned in a previous post, “gak” refers to the exposed inner-workings/guts of some high-tech device – in this case the ARG.
It’s amazing the amount of work and detail that went into shots that would last mere seconds onscreen. But they went such a long way toward creating this world. None of this: “Hey, we parked the jumper up on the roof. You’ll just have to trust us!”.
One of three different looks outside our parked jumper.
It wouldn’t be until much later, in the aptly titled Midway, that we would actually get a tour of the place. Check out more floor plans of the station here: March 15, 2013: Things Stargate! Note: “All objects in this area must appear to be strapped or bolted down to sell zero-gravity”. Check out Carter’s zero-g ballet, compliments of VFX Supervisor Mark Savela and his crew, here: September 4, 2012: Days of Stargate Atlantis Past! SGA’s Fourth Season! Adrift!
Yes, now that you mention it, it DOES look very similar to the bridge of the Orion, the Prometheus, and the Daedalus. Oh, and the Korolev and Sun Tzu if you must know. But that’s because Earth built them on the same designs. Of course you know you’re on the Apollo thanks to the “dimensional brass Apollo plaque”.
And, since some of you asked, the Art Department packages also contained gate addresses when appropriate. Point of Origin: Atlantis = Subido.
Always wanted to dial Earth from Atlantis? Well, here ya go.
Posted in Film and Television, science fiction, Stargate, Stargate Universe, Stargate: Atlantis, Stargate: SG-1, Uncategorized, tagged Atlantis, film & television, science fiction, Science Fiction Television, scifi, scifi television, SF, SF television, SG-1, SGA, SGU, Stargate, Stargate Universe, Stargate: Atlantis, Stargate: SG-1, Universe on March 14, 2013 | 68 Comments »
This was the question many Stargate fans were asking themselves yesterday after news broke of the astounding success of the Veronica Mars kickstarter campaign.
For those of you who haven’t heard, series creator Rob Thomas approached Warner Bros. about making a Veronica Mars movie. According to Thomas: “Their reaction was, if you can show there’s enough fan interest to warrant a movie, we’re on board.” Well, the fans stepped up and demonstrated their interest, pledging $1 million dollars (in a record 4 hours and 24 minutes) to the project’s kickstarter campaign [http://money.cnn.com/2013/03/13/technology/veronica-mars-kickstarter/index.html]. And, last time I checked, over 47000 backers had pledged close to 3 million dollars, about a million dollars over their goal – and this is only day #2 of their month-long drive! [http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/559914737/the-veronica-mars-movie-project].
It’s awesome news for Veronica Mars fans that has also energized fandom in general. Already, loyal viewers are asking about their own favorite shows ['Veronica Mars' Movie Funded...Could a 'Chuck' Movie be Next?! (Poll)]. Could a similar strategy work for us? Well, I suppose it depends.
Over at Forbes.com, Paul Tassi asks: “How did a show that’s been off the air for eight years raise two million dollars in barely half a day?”, and then proceeds to break down exactly how they pulled it off [http://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2013/03/14/how-exactly-did-veronica-mars-fund-a-movie-in-ten-hours/]. It offers great insight – and food for thought.
So how successful could a Stargate movie campaign prove if it attempted to follow the successful five-step strategy he outlines? Well, according to Paul, “There are a number of factors at work here, and they’re worth exploring in order to understand if this kind of thing can or will happen again…”
1. The fanbase must be religiously devoted
Check. There’s no doubt the Stargate fanbase is still strong and more than willing to support the franchise as evidenced by their continued involvement on fansites like Save Stargate Universe | Facebook, GateWorld | Your Complete Guide to Stargate!, and Stargate Solutions.
2. Get everyone on board ahead of time
Okay, proper planning is key but, in this case, it requires MUCH consideration. In the case of Veronica Mars, Rob Thomas and Kristen Bell approached the studio and cast first, and THEN started their campaign. Which is, of course, what would be required here. So, how interested would MGM be in a Stargate movie? That’s the biggest question. And the answer all comes down to economics. Would it be worth their while (aka – not only financially feasible but lucrative)? Will the potential rewards outweigh the risks? Five years ago, the answer would have been a resounding “Yes!” given the fact that Ark of Truth and Continuum surpassed expectations. But, of course, that was before the bottom fell out of the DVD market. Could alternate viewing platforms make up the shortfall? Streaming? Broadcasters? Maybe the big screen treatment?
Which brings us to another question – “What does MGM have planned for Stargate? – because, let’s face it, as one of their most successful franchises, it’s not going to lie fallow for long. Do they already have something in the works?
But, for the sake of argument, let’s say, it’s a best case scenario for fans of SG-1, Atlantis, and Universe. The studio proves amenable to the idea. Next up is ensuring we have a cast in place. So, which cast? SG-1? Atlantis? Universe? Or would it be a selective amalgamation of all three (which was Brad Wright’s original idea for an SGU movie)?
3. Offer rewards people want
Now this one is much easier to deliver on. I, for one, would be more than happy to send you a signed script, arrange a set visit, or deck you out in prosthetics before blasting you out an airlock if it would ensure your support.
4. Leverage social media
Are you kidding? Stargate fans are the kings (and queens) of social media. We’ll get word to them and they’ll get word to EVERYONE.
And finally 5. Understand that not everyone will be able to do this
Why not? Well, some former cast members may well be too busy to participate (Robert Carlyle now stars on Once Upon A Time while Jason Momoa has been burning up Hollywood post-SGA) while others may have simply moved on. Still, provided we manage to cross this particular bridge as well, there’s the question of money. To put it bluntly, we would need A LOT more money to produce a Stargate movie. A LOT more to pay for the construction of new sets (alas, the Destiny, Atlantis, and Stargate Command are no more and would have to be rebuilt from scratch) and visual effects (I haven’t read the script, but it’s unlikely the Veronica Mars movie will feature much in the way of space battles), not to mention other related costs like cast, crew, and the onset aerobics instructor for my pug, Bubba.
So, conservatively, three out of five aint bad – unless you’re looking to make a Stargate movie in which case it aint good either. Even if you could convince MGM to get onboard – and that’s a mighty big IF – there’s still the matter of the amount of money that would be required to produce a scifi movie. How much? Well, ballpark, I’d say significantly more than the 3 million dollars the Veronica Mars campaign has raised to date, but somewhat less than the $39 million dollars the Forbes article claims Serenity cost.
Certainly not impossible but, damn, them’s long odds!
Posted in Film and Television, science fiction, Stargate: Atlantis, tagged Atlantis, Days of Stargate Atlantis Past, Enemy at the Gate, film & television, science fiction, scifi television, SF, SF television, SGA, Stargate: Atlantis on February 26, 2013 | 32 Comments »
Look familiar? Well, it should. This is the massive VFX Stage at The Bridge Studios that once housed sections of Atlantis, the village set, various hive ships, and the Daedalus/Apollo/Odyssey/Korolev. Yesterday, Paul and I were joined by an old friend, former Stargate Producer/Production Manager John G. Lenic as we took a trip down memory lane, revisiting our old stomping grounds. Once Upon A Time is now using Stage 4 (that once held the Destiny set), Stage 5 (the SGC gate room, control room, conference room, Hammond’s office, the infirmary, and surrounding corridors as well as the Alpha site corridors, control room, and gate room), and Stage 6 (the Atlantis gate room, control room, conference room, infirmary, and surrounding corridors) but there is plenty of stage space still available including the aforementioned monster VFX Stage. While walking the grounds, we ran into a bunch of familiar faces – Ron, Graham, former Stargate Construction Coordinator Scott Wellenbrink, the gals in accounting. Earlier in the day, we’d paid a visit to Atmosphere Visual Effects where we spent some time with former Stargate VFX Supervisor Mark Savela and our former script coordinator Lawren Bancroft-Wilson. Yep, just like old times. Sort of.
And what, pray tell, were we doing reconnecting with our former colleagues? Had we become wistful for times of yore and wanted to relive past memories? Sure. Let’s say that. Also, our production partners on the shows we’ve been developing were in town and keen to see what Vancouver had to offer. Just in case, say, we get that/those pick-ups.
My heart is with Vancouver and, given the choice, I would love to shoot here but, realistically, Toronto may make more financial sense. At least, I suspect, until the ruling provincial liberal party gets booted from office this May (despite spending 11 million dollars for the rights to host the Indian equivalent of the Golden Globes). Still, all options are on the table and being explored. I hear that if we shoot in Germany, we’d get even more bang for our buck. And there’s the added cost-effective bonus of being able to move in with our former colleagues – and recent newlyweds – Alex and Sarah while we’re there. I’m sure they’d love to host us – for the eight months to five years that the series will run!
Well, since we’re on the subject, what say we (almost) conclude our trips down SGA memory lane with the show’s final episode…
Five years, 100 episodes, and it all came down to a group farewell from the balcony of the City of Atlantis, overlooking San Francisco Bay. Originally, we had planned to land Atlantis off New York but my writing partner. Paul, vehemently objected on grounds of scale. So we changed it to a west coast location. And thus ended the series. Although, if things had worked out differently, the trip to Earth would have just been a stop on their return journey back to the Pegasus Galaxy. Oh, what fun we’d planned. Well, more than planned. We’d actually written a script. But more on that in another blog entry.
After five seasons, Atlantis had come to an end but, unlike SG-1, it lacked a true sense of finality. I mean, sure, that last shot of our heroes, all together, finally back on Earth worked as a series ender but that was never the intent. By the time we got word of the cancelation, the finale was already in prep. Still, I had no doubt we’d be given the opportunity to truly wrap things up with a movie that would return our heroes to Pegasus and, like the SG-1 finale, suggest that they were still out there and that their adventures continued.
To be honest, news of the cancellation came as a bit of shock. I’ve already discussed the specifics in previous entries but, suffice it to say, up to a few days before receiving final word, various sources had informed me we WERE coming back for a sixth (and probably final) season. The story that was eventually turned into the script, Stargate: Extinction, was originally slated to be the following season’s two-parter opener. But, of course, things changed.
Paul and I found out, walked down the hall and broke the news to a disappointed Carl Binder, Martin Gero, and Alan McCullough, then headed down to the trailers were we informed the cast. A sad day.
As for the this final episode, while, in hindsight, there were a few things I’d have done differently (ie. introduce the idea of the wormhole drive earlier in the season. Ironically, it was it was originally conceived, not as a payoff in this episode, but in the “return journey” storyline) it nevertheless worked well in that it closed a chapter while opening the door to endless possibilities.