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Toronto has been very Hoth-like of late, so I suppose I shouldn’t have been all that surprised to come across the above in the lunch room today.  Could’ve used that nice warm lightsaber while we were shooting in Hamilton last month!

Morning meetings today for episode #106 with director Ron Murphy (or “Murph” as he is affectionately referred to by members of the crew).  This one’s going to be an acting tour de force for Jodelle Ferland (FIVE) who’ll be spending the next couple of weekends in training with our stunt coordinator, John Stead, preparing for her very demanding fight sequences.

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The trench!

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The gun lock-up!

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The infirmary!

Hey, check out a recent interview I did with Joe Julians at Idiotbox.com:

http://www.idiotbox.co.uk/joseph-mallozzi-dark-matter-interview-33747/

“IB: We do have many further Stargate questions we would love to ask at some point but we really want to talk about Dark Matter. First up the obvious question, where did the idea from the show come from?

JM: I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of redemption and wanted to create a show that explored this theme. I wanted it to include elements I’d always been drawn to in the movies, t.v. shows, and books I enjoyed: a team dynamic, a sense of adventure, humor, and a serialized narrative offering continuous set-ups and pay-offs, twists, turns, and surprises. I wanted the pilot, our opening episode, to end on a WTF?! moment that would have viewers counting down the hours to the following week’s episode and so I actually reverse-engineered the original pilot script from its final scene. As we developed the show’s first season, we were always cognizant of working toward those Holy Crap!/WTF?! moments that would cap each episode. And, I’m happy to say, there are some amazing ones to look forward to in season one.”

We talk Dark Matter, Stargate, favorites and, of course, Nathan Fillion.

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I love Dark Matter Costume Designer Noreen Landry and the rest of her crew in wardrobe.  They’re talented, resourceful, and incredibly creative.  Sometimes, I think, maybe a little too creative when it comes to some of the wilder ideas they’ve thrown my way.  Still, I thought I’d done a pretty good job of managing the more inspired pitches, deferring them to the nebulous foreseeable future.  That is until I walked into the costume department the other day and spotted this tacked onto the bulletin board:

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Well there you have it.  Season 2 spoiler alert!  Aliens, color, and wacky/beautiful hats!

Speaking of spoiler alerts and promises – yes, that press release concerning that familiar special guest star was supposed to come out this week…but now looks like it’ll come out Monday instead.  But while you’re waiting, here’s another casting hint.  His character has the distinction of being one of only a handful to appear in all three Stargate shows (SG-1Atlantis, and Universe).

That should narrow things down.

Finally, I came across the following white board message posted at our location set. Wonder if Zoie Palmer is behind this?

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Today marked the final day of Amanda Tapping’s directing gig on Dark Matter episode #104 (pictured above with 1st Assistant Director Brandon Tataryn).

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We’re going to miss her.  And not just because she treated the cast and crew to a mobile coffee, tea, and hot chocolate stand!

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Meanwhile, Assistant Production Coordinator Travis Lowry celebrated his birthday in fine style today with streamers and balloons and a Steel Magnolias-themed cake (featuring him and the ladies).  Pictured above, the birthday boy takes a break from the festivities to pose for an Executive Producer mandated birthday photo.  Note the look in his eyes, a mixture of excitement, delight, and pure terror.

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While Travis was celebrating his birthday on Earth, the rest of the production was on Shaofu 2 for our last day on the space station!

I’m going to miss this place.  After a terrific six days in its atmospherically controlled environs, we capped things off with a visit to the station’s clinic…

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That’s a wrap on #104.  Next week, we’re on to episode #105, moving from space station to space freighter!

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While we wait for the official press release on our recent casting coup (any day now!), how about a little hint in the from of a character breakdown for the latest addition to the Dark Matter family:

“Slick, silver-tongued, and more than a little seedy, Tabor Calchek is the crew’s “handler” and the ultimate agent. For the standard 10% commission, he uses his underworld connections as a broker to secure his clients their lucrative assignments. Tabor is sly, manipulative and opportunistic, and can always be counted on to look out for his client’s best interests…right after his own.”

So, guesses?  Who do you think would be perfect for the role?

Hey, it was Cat Shirt Thursday today on Shaofu 2!

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Today’s blog entry, brought to you by Solar Soda and Cosmic Tonic.  For a taste truly out of this world!

*A division of Station Shaofun 2 Holdings, Ltd.  CEO of graphics, Roxanne Barris.  President of digital motion, Kelly Diamond.

We now return to our scheduled blog entry, already in progress…

 – haven’t worked together in years, so I’m really looking forward to working with him on Dark Matter. He comes in for his costume fitting sometime next week (or the week after that).  A great bit of casting news, wouldn’t you agree?

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I capture the exact moment that Dark Matter VFX Supervisor, Lawren Bancroft-Wilson, came up with what Stargate Executive Producer Brad Wright would term a “Grinchy Idea”.  This during today’s VFX spotting for Dark Matter episodes #101 and #102.  Editors Paul Day and Wendy Hallam-Martin did tremendous jobs on the cuts.  I can’t tell you how excited I am by the end results.  These two episodes are going to be spectacular and I can’t wait to share them with you…right after the mix, color correct, the visual effects are finished, and we deliver them to SyFy. Oooh, you’re in for a treat.

Speaking of treats, let’s continue our slow reveal of Zoie Palmer’s Android character with another piece of the corporeal puzzle…

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She’s coming together quite nicely, no?

And for rabid fans (We know who you are!) of Natalie Cooper’s Sock of the Day feature, may I present today’s instalment…

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That’s it.  Back on Shaofu 2 with director Amanda Tapping and the gang tomorrow, then one more day before we switch gears and head on over to the Far Horizon.

Also, next week marks the arrival of our new Consulting Producer – and another reunion of sorts.  I’m going to need to find us a good taco joint.  Ah, just like old times.

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Sweet, soft-spoken, yoga enthusiastic.  You’d think I was describing myself but, in fact, I’m talking about the wonderful Alice Foster, Dark Matter‘s Production Coordinator.  And coordinate she does, juggling everything from travel and accommodations to – oh, just about everything else – with dextrous aplomb and unflagging cheerfulness.  Who got me this apartment conveniently close to a dog park?  Alice!  Who saw to it that I was picked up from my place and transported to the airport to catch a flight to New York where I met with SyFy and then caught a flight back to Toronto and transported back to my place, all within a 15 hour period?  Alice!  Who arranged the Dark Matter cookie exchange?  Alice!

Above: a shot of the elusive Alice Foster

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Captured in her natural habitat, surrounded by files, notebooks, schedules and tea, Alice Foster is the production’s equivalent of Siri – ever-pleasant and full of answers!

Mailbag:

dasndanger writes: “Whatever happened to our Dancing With the Dark Matter Stars?”

Answer: Our resident dancer’s sword has been doing all of the singing and dancing lately.  Go bug him about it: https://twitter.com/AlexMallariJr

gilazaria writes: ” Those “Vegan Peanuts Butter Chocolate” cookies that Akemi made sound delightful. As a full time vegan foodie, would you mind sharing the recipe?”

Answer: According to Akemi, she followed a recipe she found here (http://detoxinista.com/2014/05/no-bake-peanut-butter-cup-bars-vegan/).  Meanwhile, you can check out Akemi’s culinary capers on her youtube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/akemiaota) – like this one of her and the dogs enjoying home made popcorn for the first time:

arcticgoddess writes: “Joe, as the top guy/Show-Runner, you must be very indispensable to the making of the show. What happens if you were to get sick? Would you get wheeled into work, hospital bed and all?”

Answer: Don’t be silly.  Of course not.  Production would simply move to the hospital (for a series of medical-themed episodes) until I’ve fully recovered.

Tam Dixon writes: ” If you’ve completed over 100 episodes…Does that mean you’re five years ahead?”

Answer: Yep.  All done.  I’ve come back in time to relive the first year of Dark Matter‘s immensely successful 10+ season run.  Good times.

Randomness writes: “Could you ever see the crew of the Raza visiting a ridiculously advanced race of aliens?”

Answer: Oh, sure.  Anything is possible.  This is science fiction after all.

Randomness writes: “Will the crew of the Raza face any dangers from the cosmos itself? Similar to how the Destiny faced a binary pulsar.”

Answer: Yes.  In fact, very early in season one.

Randomness writes: “Memory loss stories can be fun, Stargate had a few, mostly caused by a virus of some kind, can we expect similar from Dark Matter?”

Answer: The entire series is, in essence, one long, winding, surprise-filled memory loss story.

Elminster writes: “When would be a good time to drop in to take you for a Hot Chocolate? Perhaps even you and Amanda?”

Answer: Sadly, what with these 12 hour days, our “going out” ventures have been seriously curtailed.

Airelle writes: “question, episode numbering? starts at 101,102 etc, is there a reason, its not 1, 2, etc?”

Answer: It’s just a preference, something we used to do on Stargate as well.  Makes it easier to identify the individual episodes within a particular season.

Ponytail writes: “First 3 episodes and 3 different directors. Now throw in different editors who put it all together. Is this customary and why, and how do you keep the same look, feel, and continuity with different eyes behind the camera?”

Answer: Unless you’re shooting a mini-series, it is customary to use multiple directors and editors.  Production schedules are staggered.  While one director is shooting, another is prepping the next episode and, when the time comes for the prepping director to shoot his/her episode, another director will be starting prep on a new episode.  Everyone involved in the production, from producers through cast to crew members ensure continuity.

Line Noise writes: “How accurate do you have to be with episode lengths? I notice that most shows vary in length by up to a minute or more episode to episode. Do you have much leeway?”

Answer: We have absolutely no leeway and have to be accurate on all episode lengths.  Of course, the final run time will depend on the broadcaster.  In rare instances, say certain shows on HBO, run times can vary.

Line Noise writes: “Roughly how many times will you watch an episode before it’s finished?”

Answer: Between the dailies, various cuts, mixes, and color correct sessions, I’d say roughly a dozen times.

FargateOne writes: “No music in your sci-fi series ????”

Answer: Yes to music.

whoviantrish writes: “What other Stargate alums?”

Answer: Oh, THAT actor and those directors.

Lily writes: “When can we get some Dark Matter swag?”

Answer: Soon!  Soon!

Keith writes: “I don’t know how much you still need to keep under wraps, but can you further define the tone of the show? What will the levels of sex, violence and language be in relation to other shows?”

Answer: In terms of tone, I’d liken it to Cowboy Bebop, Stargate, Firefly.  Sex and violence will be no more predominant than they were in the aforementioned shows.

Keith writes: “Also, are you aiming for a very “grounded” series, or are farther afield concepts such as time travel, alternate dimensions, higher beings, magic, etc fair game?”

Answer: Well, on the one hand the show is set in a future where a space-faring humanity has gone out and colonized distant worlds.  No aliens – yet.  No time travel or alternate dimensions – but who knows.  Definitely no higher beings or magic.

livingforcreativity writes: “How many former co-workers moved to Toronto (full time for the duration) to work on Dark Matter?”

Answer: One – our VFX Supervisor Lawren Bancroft-Wilson.  Oh, and one more on the way!

livingforcreativity writes: “Do we have a US TV premiere date? Do we have a second season pickup?”

Answer: SyFy has yet to announce an official premiere date for the series.  As for a second season, we won’t hear about that until the Fall. :(

Ponytail writes: “Is Akemi watching The Bachelor?”

Answer: Alas, no.  She says she’s not watching because she can’t pronounce it.

Jenny Horn writes: “where does Natalie get her socks?”

Answer: I believe she’s part of some weird Sock of the Week club.

Ponytail writes: “What are the chances of getting Jason Momoa to guest star in an episode?”

Answer: Would love to have Jason on the show but, from what I hear, he’s been kind of busy lately.

JeffW writes: “Every show seems to have their characteristic FTL jump styles, so is there anything your can tell us about your planned FTL jump effects?”

Answer: They’re differ from the ones we used to do on Stargate.  In fact, they’re markedly different from anything I’ve seen on live action SF.

JeffW writes: “And what is that half-moon gazing ball that Lawren is holding used for?”

Answer: The ball is used to measure the lighting of a scene so that the VFX team can match it later in their work.

baterista9 writes: “Will we see any other fan-inspired names in DM, or names inspired by Toronto neighborhoods?”

Answer: No names inspired by Toronto neighborhoods?  But fan-inspired names?  Maybe.

Anas Ben writes: “my question is plz do u think the visuals re gonna be great?”

Answer: Yes, the show’s visual effects will be awesome!

Airelle writes: “Are you tired of winter?
May we have the bourbon cookie recipe?(thanks Akemi)
How are Jelly,Bubba and Lulu? love the videos!!
What if anything are you doing for Valentines day?
Welcome to Lawren!! silver balls,,hmmmm…
How is Baron Destructo? Have not heard from him in a while.”

Answer: Yes, very tired of winter.  I posted the bourbon cookie recipe here:

https://josephmallozzi.wordpress.com/2014/12/21/december-21-2014-drunken-southern-uncles-that-bourbon-and-brown-butter-cookie-with-white-chocolate-chunks-recipe/

The dogs are great.  They’re too are hating the winter.  What did we do for Valentine’s Day?  Check yesterday’s entry.  Baron Destructo is fine.  He’s been busy.  World domination is hard work.

gforce writes: “I was wondering how Jelly is doing with her paw and if you’ve heard any more about the “mass” or whatever it was that the imaging showed. Also, was Lulu’s bed-stealing behaviour something she just picked up since you were in TO?”

Answer: Jelly’s paw is better.  I believe Lulu’s bed-stealing behavior is fairly recent.

Chad writes: “Will there be any online streaming options for your show?”

Answer: Oh, definitely.  Yes.

Mike A. writes: “Are you finding that you’re enjoying the differences and liberties you’re taking with the DM show canon versus that of the DM comic?”

Answer: Dark Matter was always developed as a t.v. series first, so the comic book followed the show concept, not vice-versa.  Ultimately, the comic and the t.v. series both follow the premise, characters, and story arcs conceived several years ago.  So far, no divergence.

Mike A. writes: “Is it something you looked forward to in eagerness, or just realized would need to happen anyway and never really worried about it?”

Answer: I certainly looked forward to it with eagerness when it was in development, then assumed it was dead, then regained my enthusiasm when Exec Producer Jay Firestone put together the deal that made the show a reality.

Mike A. writes: “How’s Vanessa?”

Answer: Great.  Last I heard she was snow shoeing in -45 weather.

SpaceFreakMicha writes: “Do you have any photo of Editor Brad Rines in your collection?”

Answer: Hmmm.  Maybe back in Vancouver.  But if you google him, a couple of photos will come up – including some from his own blog site.

shinyhula writes: “Is this weeks announcement going to include the trailer?”

Answer: The trailer?  We’re still working on the edits of episodes 101 and 102 and are still several months away from finished VFX!   Patience, patience…

Alex Felix writes: “Will Dark Matter have any alien civilizations and if so, will they play a major part on the show?”

Answer: Not for its first season – but who knows what the future holds?

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Well, how cool is this?  I returned from my two days of location shooting in Hamilton to discover this sitting in my office.  While in London, Jay picked me up this box of customized Dark Matter marshmallows:

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Pretty cool, no?  They’re so awesome, I can’t bring myself to eat them.

Of course I’m sure Akemi won’t have similar qualms.

In addition to the Dark Mallows, I found the following awaiting me as well:

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This poster comes care of Elana Nova Zatzman, President and Creative Director of EZ Designs, who was attending Otakon in Vegas when she spotted it and thought of me.  As many of you know, if I was to name one series that most influenced the creation and development of Dark Matter, it would be Cowboy Bebop.  It’s ultra-cool SF fun and if you haven’t seen it, you should definitely check it out.  You still have several months before our premiere.

Okay, as promised, I’ll be getting around to that mailbag – hopefully tomorrow.

And, looking ahead to his week – production continues on episode #104 with director Amanda Tapping, prep continues on episode #105 with director Lee Rose, and we’ll be welcoming another familiar face to the Dark Matter recurring roster. We closed the deal on Friday and, this week, comes the official announcement. Any guesses?

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