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Today saw a wrap on two different directors and their respective episodes – Steve Dimarco (Episode 203) and John Stead (Episode 204).  I dropped in for about an hour in the morning for the alley scene.  Two (more like three) outstanding scenes will find their way into the pre-existing director’s cut of 203, a dynamic episode that the diehard Dark Matter fans will appreciate.  Then, later this week, I’ll receive the director’s cut of our epic western, 204.  Much like Stargate, what I love about this show is the fact that we produce thirteen mini movies a year, each one unique and independent and yet, simultaneously, narratively linked to a greater arc that builds throughout the season.

I gave you all a look at the concept drawing in yesterday’s blog entry.  Today, here’s a glimpse at the set – prior to atmosphere and lighting…

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Had a very Blade Runner-esque feel.  The blue screen off the back will allow VFX Supervisor Lawren Bancroft-Wilson to work his magic.

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A cleaner look.  Production Designer Ian Brock and his team have really wowed this year and, on this day, delivered three exceptional sets.  More on the other two in the coming days.

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A couple of looks from the other side.

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My camera doesn’t do it justice, but the other cameras that were capturing the action certainly will.

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Setting up a stunt.

Production on Dark Matter’s second season is going fast.  In a few short weeks, we’ll be hitting the halfway mark of the schedule.  And we still have scripts to write!  And this blog to update with oodles of stuff, from on set pics to concept art, crew Q&A’s to live periscopes.

You are all in for a treat!

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Ah, finally, the weekend is upon us.  Time for rest, relaxation..and a special second unit Saturday shoot.  Though, in all honesty, these Saturday shoots are becoming less uncommon and, so, not particularly special.  Just saying, guys.

Not that I don’t enjoy my time with my co-workers.  If I was trapped on a space ship millions of light years from home, I couldn’t imagine a better bunch of crew mates.

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But, alas, tomorrow we won’t be sailing through the distant stars.  We’ll, instead, be getting down an dirty in a certain alleyway.

By next week, I’m sure I’ll be looking forward to returning to dark alleys as we’ll be spending three glorious days in a row in The Hammer, shooting in the forest, then over to the hideout before heading underground.  I’ll be taking my heavy coat, boots, gloves and…what else?  What else should I be packing?

IMG_3699 Oh, right.  Melanie Liburd (Nyx) is prepared for the elements – and whatnot.

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But first, a quick stopover.  Through the airlock to Balda-9.

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Please don’t forget your intergalactic visitor passport!

Hey, check out the trailer for Mike Dopud’s new movie, Virtual Revolution:

http://youtu.be/ZoBAjQBBNIk

On a presumably unrelated note, Akemi and I had dinner with the actor who plays Arax Nero on this latest season of Dark Matter.  Great guy.  This will make five different shows I’ve cast him in (playing six different roles).  You’re going to love his character.  Or hate him.  Or love-hate him.  We’ll see how it goes.

Finally, here are the results to yesterday’s poll.  What is your preferred transfer transit destination.  Well, the clear winner was…

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The city of Atlantis.  Okay.  Now all we have to do is either build a transfer transit system or convince MGM to green light a Stargate: Atlantis movie or (better yet!) sixth season.  Not sure which one will be easier…

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Dating Akemi is always an adventure.  Every text is a little treasure offering cultural insights into the land of the rising sun.  Take yesterday, for instance, when I received THIS text:

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My reaction was “Hunh?”.

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Oh, okay, because I was throwing the soy beans BEFORE seeing the demon.

P.S.  I going to assume the demon was the Charlie the superintendent.

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Hey, check out our guest off-screen eyeline for Episode 204: Mortadella Boy!

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The lovely Emily Coutts (a.k.a. Sylvia) welcomes you to transfer transit.  (Photo and hair courtesy of Renee Chan).  Where would you like to travel today?  Your choices below:

Motion Sensors Triggered.  Where?  By who?  Find out in season 2 of Dark Matter. (Graphics c/o artist Victor Mare).

Happy belated birthday to Ganymede and 2 cats!  This blog entry is dedicated to you!

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Spaaaaaaace neeeerd!

Ahem.  Now that I’ve got that out of my system…

With Consulting Producer Ivon Bartok on set, I was able to sit in my office and blaze through seven glorious pages of my latest script (questions, silver ball, impending doom, threats, danger, explosion) bringing me to the top of P.51.  I figure I’ll finish up the fifth act tomorrow and then, it’ll be smooooooooth sailing!

In addition to writing this afternoon, I also found time for the Episode #205 props meeting.  We’ll be bringing out the big guns for this one –

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Literally.  In addition to the heavy firepower, we’ll also be putting out all the stops as this will probably be our biggest visual effects episode to date.

Director Ron Murphy demonstrates improper gun handling…

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This morning, we brought Lulu to see the neurologist.  We were greeted by a young intern who did the preliminary examination before we were joined by the good doctor.  Noting my phone number and the fact that I was out of town, he asked what I was doing in Toronto.  I informed him I was shooting a scifi series called Dark Matter.  At the words Dark Matter, the intern slapped her hands over her mouth, her eyes wide, and gasped.  For a second, I thought “Oh, no.  She left the stove on!”.  Instead, it was: “Dark Matter!”.  Apparently, she’s a fan of the show!

Anyway, all good on the Lulu front.  They doubt its neurological and suspect it may be a back issue that won’t require surgery.  We’re going to try her on Metacam for a week and see if that makes a difference.

Finally, let me leave you with this –

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Yeah!  We’re going to Balda-9!

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Huzzah!  We (and I do mean the collective “we” as YOU all helped choose them!) have another episode title for Dark Matter’s second season.  Last week, you all voted and the winner was:

“Episode 14: Welcome To Your New Home”.

This week, you voted again and while the results were much closer, there was a clear winner despite a late rally by the “Hello, Pumpkin” contingent…

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“Episode 15: Kill Them All”

Thanks for taking part and making t.v. history.  Stay tuned to this blog for our Episode 203 title poll.

Hey, check it out!  I invested in a nest cam.  Now, I can keep tabs on both the dogs AND the prisoners on Hyperion-8!

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“Just a little further!”.  Line Producer, Norman Denver, forged ahead, his constitution fortified by boxing and scotch.  “Almost there!”

I scanned the trees to either side, then the winding pathway that dipped up ahead before curving and disappearing behind the dense brush.

“Watch your step!”warned Brandon Tataryn, skirting a deadly patch of ice and then scurrying to keep up.

I gave the frosted path a wide berth, then threw a look back at our two stragglers, Executive Producer’s Assistant Elliot Sokolsky and Director Ron Murphy, both of who seemed to be having second thoughts about this whole forest venture.

It was approximately 3 p.m., the temperature was dropping, and the lunch we’d enjoyed at Hamilton’s premiere Indian restaurant was not sitting pretty.  We’d spent the morning scouting locations for Episode 204, three different warehouses, when Norman suggested we squeeze in a forest stopover.  It seemed like a good idea at the time and when, after a cursory stroll through one area, Ron had suggested we check out another area “just a short walk down”, I’d thought “Why not?”.  In retrospect: “Because it’s cold and dangerous, you fool!”

Norman, our fearless leader, stepped off the path and pointed off in the distance. “There’s the parking lot.”  Sure enough, there it was, our final destination, less than fifty yards away.  And the only thing standing between us and sweet, sweet heat was a treacherously steep forty foot mud-covered slope down, an equally treacherous, equally steep forty foot mud-covered slope up – and the frozen river in between.

“We can always go back,”Ron offered, almost plaintively.  Elliot seemed to be in full support, throwing me a look that said: “Please?”  I turned to gauge Norman but, by way of a response, the wiry Englishman was already heading down the slope, crouched low, like a seasoned wrestler poised for battle .  Brandon, like any good 1st AD, was blindly following his line producer’s lead, arms stretched out for extra balance – or, presumably, to help break his inevitable fall.

I watched their descent, fully prepared to turn and run back the way we came for medical assistance the second one of them toppled – but when they reached the halfway point, I was forced to reconsider.  I glanced back at Ron and Elliot who were, clearly, not convinced, then decided “What the hell” and followed.  Arms out for balance, keeping my center of gravity low, I negotiated the slippery moss-covered rocks and followed them down, ever so thankful I’d decided to switch over to my winter boots that morning.

It was touch and go, but – amazingly – we all made it to the bottom without losing our footing.  Then, we crossed the frozen river.  Norman sat on a fallen tree and sort of scooched his way along to the other side,  Brandon, Elliot, and I jumped for our lives –

Yours truly in mid-flight

Yours truly in mid-flight (photo courtesy of Ron Murphy)

While Ron walked an impromptu bridge.

Careful...(compliments of Elliot Sokolsky)

Careful…(courtesy of Elliot Sokolsky)

Careful!!! (courtesy of Elliot Sokolosky)

Careful!!! (courtesy of Elliot Sokolosky)

After down and over, there was nowhere to go but up!

Deliverance selfie (courtesy of Norman Denver)

I like to call this a Deliverance selfie (courtesy of Norman Denver)

The ascent was only slightly less perilous thanks to the handy saplings lining the slope, perfect for support and balance –

So long, suckers! (courtesy of Brandon Tataryn)

So long, suckers! (courtesy of Brandon Tataryn)

– but hazardous when they become uprooted while using them to pull yourself up…as was Norman’s experience.

I’m happy to report we all made it back to the parking lot – and, subsequently, back from our first location scout uninjured.  Hard to believe.

So as not to tempt fate, I think I’ll skip tomorrow’s “seedy bar” tech survey.

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Last week, you all helped select a name for our season premiere (now titled Episode 14: Welcome To Your New Home).

Today, the voting begins for our second episode title of the young season.  Your choices are…

So, what’s it going to be?  Cast your vote!  Leave your mark on television history!

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Blue screen blues.

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Sample battered metal for…oh…something.

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Design plan for an upcoming build.

Oh, hey!  Welcome to Janah-12!  Let 1st Assistant Art Director Kelly Diamond be your guide!

Or just use this handy directory…

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