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During the weekdays, I’d estimate that roughly 90% of my day is spent focused on Dark Matter.  On the weekend, it’s more like 75% – hopefully dropping down to a much more manageable 60% once the season finale has been written.  I’d like to say that remaining 40% is R&R but, in truth, a big chunk of it is spent running errands, dealing with taxes, and trying to set up other projects.  Yes, other projects.  The plan is for Dark Matter to run five glorious seasons after which I will transition onto my next show.  Perhaps that Military SF.  Or the cable drama.  Or maybe, just maybe, it’ll be the adaptation I’ve been mulling over of late.  It took me all of a day to blaze through the novel and I think it’ll make an unbelievable series.  My partner on this one, a certain German from way back, agrees and we are set to have a chat with the author later this week to convince him we’re the right guys for the job.  It’s a brilliant book and I’ll tell you all about it – once we’ve acquired the film & television rights. img_6042The other, oh, 12% of my free time is spent winding down, hanging with the dogs, or going out with friends.  For instance, tonight, Akemi and I had dinner with two of our very favorite people, Adam and Ellen.  Ellen (aka Dark Matter’s Misaki Han) is in town shooting…something.  Well, okay.  It’s Dark Matter.  I was watching her scenes on my laptop yesterday and Akemi, watching over my shoulders, declared: “I’m scared of Ellen!”.  Well, you would be too when you see these scenes – but that really depends on what camp you’re in.  Are you Team Misaki or are you Team Teku?

The rest of the weekend = these guys…

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All hail Director J.B. Sugar, Emperor of Zairon!

Late wrap tonight means a late blog entry!

(Playback by Sumeet Vats and Victor Mare):

Welcome to Taliphus-8

Airlock Alert:

Traugott Command Center:

I leave you with Bubb and Suji…

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Today, while all the action was happening back at the palace, I was juggling writes and rewrites on four different scripts.  Between that, the edits, approvals, and prep, I’m feeling a little…anxious.  And somewhat exhausted.  In fact, the other day, I went to bed at 8 p.m. and slept for 11 hours straight.  But the finish line is within reach.  And by finish line, I’m not talking about the last day of post, or the final day of production.  I’m talking about the day I deliver my final script of the season – and I mean MY final script of the season, not THE final script of the season.  I’ll still have to do the rewrites and meetings and cuts, but having that last original off my plate will be a huge relief.

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Key card for the Ishida research station designed by Roxanne Borris.  Use this card to access the facility…IF you can find it!

The mid-season hiatus fast approaches and when it arrives, that final script will be far behind me.  I’ll have one glorious week to check out Netflix and catch up on the top horror movies of 2016 I missed (Train To Busan put me in the mood).  I’ve heard good things about The Witch, The Invitation, and The Wailing.  Anyone else have some good recommendations?

So, it looks like we’ve intercepted a missile shipment.  But who sent them and where was their intended destination?  Find out when Episode 306 airs.  In the meantime, consider these missile designs c/o the Dark Matter art department’s Victor Mare:

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Fandom has spoken!  Here are the results of our Name Dark Matter Episode 301 poll.

Over 600 votes were cast and the winner is…

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“Being Better Is So Much Harder”

Now the next thing I’m going to need you to do is identify which character said each of the aforementioned lines.  First one to guess all three correctly gets…something!

So, the Canadian Screen Awards nominees were announced yesterday and, for the second year in a row, Dark Matter failed to receive a nomination in the VFX category.  Here’s why I found this totally baffling (make sure to watch in HD):

Suji’s instagram account is blowing up!  Head on over and invest in Sujiko Co.

https://www.instagram.com/newoldpugsuji/

Don’t miss out on this once in a lifetime opportunity!

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She’s dressed as Rerun from What’s Happening!

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Contemplating life.  And the toy.

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Playtime is exhausting.

I need episode titles for Dark Matter’s third season.  And, next to waking up early and looking for parking, there’s nothing I hate more than coming up with episode titles.  So, this is where YOU come in.  Below are three potential choices for our season 3 premiere – the episode where we find out if almost everyone died in the explosion on the EOS-7 space station.

Cast your vote.  You have 24 hours to make your voices heard.  And remember – every vote counts (you can actually see them all counted up when I post the final tally in tomorrow’s entry).

After getting home from work last night, I ate dinner, then wrote five pages of my latest script, watched auditions and made selections for Episode 306, and watched and gave notes on the Episode 301 and 304 cuts.  An early start to the day has me feeling a little…logey.  You know what I need?  Some really boozy mini rum cakes.  Well, guess what Akemi made today?

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Apparently, they were so boozy that she couldn’t eat them.  I plan on eating two of them when I get home tonight and sleeping for 12 hours straight!

Today, Akemi sent me this.  It’s a Buzzfeed video featuring rescue dogs.  And, at the 20 second mark, you’ll find our Suji eating peanut butter!

Buzzfeed contacted Akemi about using the video last month and she couldn’t have been happier.

Check it out.  Over 1 million views.  Suji is famous!  I’m going to see if I can get her for a guest spot on Dark Matter!

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Today was Bring Your Doggy Daughter To Work Day at Dark Matter.  For the morning anyway as I Suji had an early morning appointment with the ophthalmologist.  Alas, more health issues for our new (old) gal.  Like many pugs, she suffers from eye issues caused by corneal abrasions.  They’re recommending micro-surgery to address the problem and I am, as always, torn.  On the one hand, I want to ensure she doesn’t lose her sight but, on the other hand, I always worry about putting older pugs under anesthetic.

photo courtesy of director Gail Harvey

photo courtesy of director Gail Harvey

Photo courtesy of director Gail Harvey

Photo courtesy of director Gail Harvey

Anyway, she came to work after her appointment, got a lot of attention, sat in on a couple of meetings, and even had some great ideas for that Ishida Cruiser fight sequence.

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It’s a fruit plate fit for a king!  Actually, an emperor!  Specifically, Emperor Ishida Ryo of Zairon.  And Akemi is the artist behind the plate.  Props Master Victoria saw her inspired doggy plates and asked her to put something together for tomorrow’s breakfast scene.  Not pictured: the vegetable trays for that heated Misaki-Teku scene!

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Sadly, my inspired creations (pictured above – beady eyes and nose compliments of Akemi) didn’t make the cut. 😦

Whew!  The cuts are coming fast and furious.  I’ve spent three straight days in editing, working Episodes 301, 304, and 302 (in that order) with 303 on deck next week.  And, with the producer’s cut of our first three episodes on the docket, you know what that means…

Yes!  Tomorrow, the polls open in our seasonal Name Our Episodes selection process.  Like last year, YOU will get the chance to choose all 13 of this season’s episode titles.  You’ll be presented with a choice of three potential titles (each of them dialogue snippets pulled from the episode in question) and you’ll be asked to pick one.

Here’s an example, last season’s Episode 207 poll:

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“You’re not alone” were the words our Android used to console Nyx.

“It’s very…snug” was, of course, another Android line – this one a reference to THREE’s sassy transfer transit wear.

“The past has a way of catching up with you”was uttered by Nyx in her one-on-one chat with a distraught Devon.

“She’s one of them now”, our eventual winner, was Devon’s to the Seers, letting them know that Nyx had a new family now.

So, now that you know (or have been reminded) how it works, prep your voting helmets as we head to the polls in tomorrow’s blog entry!

Today, I leave you with a little something from the Art Department.  Commander Nieman’s Quarters concept, hot off the presses.

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Another weekend come and gone.  Between the demands of writing, plotting, chores, and bills, a little on-couch therapy with the new girl.

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Bubba, bundled up, ears tucked in, ready for the winter weather.

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Suji is one tough cookie.

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Any guest to our apartment automatically forfeits all rights to self-respect and become defacto dog beds.

Let’s hit the mailbag!

Alex writes: “How do you decide if an idea (be it for a show or an episode) is worth pursuing? Can you share one that you dropped and tell us why?”

Answer: In terms of show ideas, it’s really a personal preference.  If I find the premise fresh and exciting, or if I think it will be fun to write, then that motivates me to develop a concept.  In the case of specific episode ideas, I’m always looking for the heart at the core of the story, the character-centered revelation or moments that make it all worthwhile.  If it’s missing that, then I have a hard time mustering up much interest.

“What is it like to write in collaboration with others? How does that exactly work?”

Answer: Ah, it depends.  In the case of Dark Matter, the writers convene prior to the season and I pitch out where we’re going to go in terms of overall arc and stories, then we sit down and spin ideas and break the stories together.  When the outlines are done, they go through (series co-creator) Paul Mullie and I who will provide notes before sending the writer off to script.  After a first draft, we’ll also provide notes after which, once the writer delivers a second draft, I’ll do my pass, send it to Paul for any tweaks, and then deliver it for production.  When it comes to Paul and I, we simply provide notes on each other’s scripts.  Paul’s scripts are always tightly written, so it’s rare I’ll do a significant pass on them unless there’s a production concern (ie. the estimated run time is short and we need a couple of extra scenes).

“What did you want to become as a child?”

Answer: Detective first, then comedian, and finally writer.

“If you could thank someone who influenced/ helped you regarding your career, who would that be?”

Answer: Hmmmm.  I’d like to say all the writers I read growing up, from novelist to comic book authors.

“Do you have any advice on writing in general?”

Answer: Yes.  Write!  If you don’t feel like writing, force yourself to write!  Try to write every day.  And turn off the t.v. and read.

KathyC writes: “If we want to send you something, where should we mail it to?”

Answer: The production offices would probably be your best bet.

glowyzoey writes: “Did you always want to be a writer?”

Answer: Ever since I was writing those short SF and horror stories in grade 4, yes.

“How young were you when you first wrote fiction and in what form?”

Answer: See above.  I think I worried my mother.

“Do you remember what it was?”

Answer: I was heavily influenced by the works of Ray Bradbury, Roald Dahl, and O. Henry so my work tended toward the macabre with that unforeseen twist.  In 6th grade, I wrote my first attempt at a novel – “The Robot Revolution” – 200+ pages carefully printed in ballpoint on double-sided looseleaf.

“When did you first aspire to be a producer?”

Answer: When it became clear to me that the producers are the decision-makers and the ones with the creative control in television.

Line Noise writes: “Ice cream: Particulates or no particulates?”

Answer: Depends on the particulates.  I like subtle textural additions like shaved chocolates.

Alex writes: “I’m currently an undergrad student aspiring to be a screenwriter and director. What advice would you give to someone like me to be successful? And how can I set myself apart from others?”

Answer: You’ll often hear “Write what you know” but I think a fairer bit of advice would be “Write what you love”.  If you enjoy SF, then that may well be the place for you.  Just be sure to find a fresh take or a spin on a concept that makes it your own.  When I was pitching Dark Matter, some people criticized it as being “too much like Pandora“.  Sure, it has the same basic premise, but it’s the execution that sets it apart.  “Window of Opportunity” remains one of fandom’s favorite Stargate episodes.  Sure, it was very similar to Groundhog Day, but it was the exception, what made the story unique to OUR characters, that made it work.  In both of the aforementioned examples, it was the script that made believers out of the doubters.  And so, the best advice I can give you is to write a kick-ass script that can serve as your calling card.  Even if it doesn’t get produced, like our Pizza Man 2017 script, it will get you noticed.

Tinyiy writes: “Will we see any furry friends in dark matter?”

Answer: Ha.  Melissa O’Neil (TWO) just texted me yesterday, saying her character should get a dog.

Randomness writes: “Would a device similar to the Attero device from SGA be required if Blink drives were ever to be mass produced? And do you think a corporation would research one as a counter measure?”

Answer: That was something unique to Stargate so, no, I can’t see that entering the Dark Matter universe. Still, corporations would certainly see mass-produced Blink Drives as a threat if their rivals had sole possession so they probably would seek out counter-measures.

“Although the Code Geass reference likely flew over some peoples heads with the eye thing, you know when Truffaut transferred info to Three about the prison layout(early Season 2). Any plans to progress that technology she’s using some more?”

Answer: The corps will have more than a few tricks up their sleeves this upcoming season.

“Could you ever see Four using a Naginata?”

Answer: Absolutely.  FOUR trained her in both hand to hand combat and blade work.

Das writes: “You’re a writer, so explain to me why I fall for mistreated, misunderstood, and/or abused (male) characters? Mind you, they can’t be snivellers, no, no, no…rather they have to strong and determined to overcome whatever cards life deals them. (This goes back to my childhood, watching A Fistful of Dollars, and the moment Clint Eastwood had to heal and fight back after he was beaten to a pulp. This happened a lot to Eastwood in his various westerns…and I watched a lot of westerns back in the day. lol.) There must be some psychology behind it…one writers are well aware of.”

Answer: It’s the dichotomy of the vulnerable yet capable anti-hero.  In a way, they reflect the very best and worst in us, individuals who must come obstacles greater than we would ever have to face, yet manage to persevere and reach heights greater than we could ever hope to attain.

“I need that guy in Dark Matter. Will I see him? (Three showed promise in this regard last season (2.11) – can we beat him up some more…? lol.)”

Answer, Yes, THREE is definitely your guy.  We’re going to put his through the wringer this season.

“I would like more intrigue and mystery in S3 – will I get it?”

Answer: Oh, yes.  Keeping with Dark Matter’s tradition of twists, turns, shocks, surprises – and some pretty astounding revelations.

“I really miss your more personal, less work-related, entries…especially the funny ones about your misadventures and misfortunes. You make me smile (and laugh!) when I read them, usually right when I need it most. Will we get more of those in the future?”

Answer: Yes.  Weekdays, I’m going to feature the show and, weekends, I’m going to focus on my personal life.  And the dogs.

“Have you ever considered dropping drama to take up writing a comedy show?”

Answer: Nope.  Like StargateDark Matter offers me the best of both worlds: drama with heavy doses of humor.

“How about writing a humorous novel? Perhaps it could be about blogging, and readers coming out of the woodwork to pester you about their personal preferences?”

Answer: I don’t have the patience to write a novel.  “Downfall”, the short story I wrote for Masked, the anthology of superhero fiction edited by Lou Anders, took me 9 months to write – and paid approximately 1% of a script fee.  It was an incredibly satisfying experience but I’m not sure I’m up to a larger commitment.

“Miss me?”

Answer: As a matter of fact – yes!

Annie Wauters writes: “I would like to offer to put on a class for your female cast/crew. ”

Answer: That’s very kind of you to offer.  This is something I would have to take up with them once production wraps.

Keith writes: “Out of the main shows that you’ve worked on (SG-1, SGA, SGU, T———-, DM), which one would you say has given you the most creative freedom from higher up executives (whether or not that’s a bad thing)?”

Answer: Definitely Dark Matter.  Executive Producer and Prodigy Pictures President Jay Firestone has created a dream environment which allows me to tell the stories I want without having to compromise my vision.

“Is this the season where we finally find out more about the mystery guy in the hospital bed from the end of Season One?”

Answer: Check out Episode 310.

bambamfans writes: “Does Toronto have a great taco place?”

Answer.  Yes.  Toronto has the best taco place I’ve ever visited – Campechano.

“I’m not sure if you can say, but are the main characters separated throughout the first episode?”

Answer: It’s a good bet that whoever makes it off that space station will be separated from their fellow crew members -and have to find a way back to The Raza.

“Will me see any costume changes in the main cast for Season 3?”

Answer: Yes.

Len Weaver writes: “You’ve often remarked that Dark Matter has a planned 5 year arc… what if the powers that be ask for a 6th season?”

Answer: Heh.  That would be a question for them.

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