So, what’ve you all been up to? Besides reading this blog of course. Watching anything good? Reading anything great? Do tell.
I’m watching some t.v. I know, I know, I really should watch more but I’m a busy guy! I’ve got scripts to write, books to read, and dogs to walk. I have, of course, been watching Top Chef Seattle. Also the final seasons of both The Office (which took a bizarrely downbeat turn in its last episode) and 30 Rock (funniest comedy on television). I’ve recorded The Following (having heard good things about the pilot script). Other than that, I’m checking out Louie, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s 7th season (Fat Mac!) and looking forward to Breaking Bad’s final episodes. Is there something I’m missing?
Excitement on the book front as I’ve discovered two series I’m quite enjoying. It’s rare enough to find one but two! I’m about to start on the fourth book of George McDonald Fraser’s Flashman series, and my third Preston/Child Pendergast novel (I know, I know. What took me so long?). Am also loving Hickman’s run on both Avengers titles. Thoughts?
Spoke to my former cohorts Carl Binder, Robert Cooper, and Martin Gero today (my writing partner Paul doesn’t count because we happen to be on the same conference call). Lots of exciting things brewing with them. Stay tuned!
Continuing our trip down SGA memory lane with…
Pitching for an established series can be a daunting task at the best of times, but imagine trying to pitch to a mythologically complex production that already has some 300 stories under its belt? This was the uphill battle that faced every freelancer interested in writing for Stargate. It seemed that whenever someone pitched to us, it would invariably be an idea that we had done, had considered doing and discounted, or were in process of doing. Under those circumstances, it’s hard to imagine a scenario whereby any outsider could land a story. But while the odds were always stacked against them, a few prevailed – due in large part to Executive Producers Robert Cooper and Brad Wright ability to seize on even the most insubstantial of notions and spin them into a workable episode.
I don’t think I can remember a time that someone came in and landed a contract based on an idea they pitched. More often than not, they would pitch an idea which would give Brad or Robert another idea that would be spun into something workable – BUT because that initial idea gave them the actual idea they used, the freelancer would be given credit for inspiring the whole process. In the case of Tracker, it was one step even further removed in that that the episode was based on an idea that wasn’t even borne out of the original idea pitched. What happened was that during the pitch, Robert Cooper seized on the word “tracker” to spin out a completely different story about a fellow runner. Only problem was no one had said the word “tracker”. Rob had misheard “track her” and taken it from there.
Still, at the end of the day, if that freelancer hadn’t come in to pitch, it’s safe to say that Tracker (or, at the very least, the episode as we know it) would have never been made. So kudos to all – especially Executive Producer Carl Binder who ended up writing one of the most entertaining scripts of the show’s final season.
Speaking of Carl: Little known fact about this episode: Exec. Producer Carl Binder was originally cast in the role of the virile and ruggedly handsome Kiryk but had to bow out after sustaining a groin injury while racing for the lunch truck. As a result, we had to go with our second choice, the equally great Mike Dopud. Here are some shots of Carl from that initial costume fitting…