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Archive for the ‘Dark Matter’ Category

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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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It feels like mere weeks ago I was planning our trip to Toronto to work start work on Dark Matter.  I’d been developing the series for so long, impatiently awaiting its green light, that when we finally received word we had a go, I couldn’t quite believe it.  And back in the summer of 2014 when we were gearing up to assemble the season one writer’s room (all three of us!), production felt like such a long way off.  Even in December, after the construction had commenced on our standing sets and we had 10 of our 13 episodes scripted, it still felt distantly surreal.  And now…

We’re locking Dark Matter episodes #101 and #102 (directed by T.J. Scott) and I’m editing episode #103 (directed by Paolo Barzman).  The editors are working on their assembly of episode #104, directed by Amanda Tapping.  Director Lee Rose is presently shooting episode #105 and I’m in prep on episode #106 with director Ron Murphy.  We’re almost at the halfway mark!  Holy crap!  Never mind the season finale.  I’ve got to start thinking about season two!

Episode #112 came out today and, hopefully, that will tide the cast and crew over until I’ve had a chance to write #113, the shocking season finale.  I’m seven pages in.  At this rate, I should be done by the time it comes time to shoot it in May.

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Last night, I took a break from the madness for our weekly Walking Dead Night attended by VFX Supervisor Lawren Bancroft-Wilson, Akemi, Jodelle Ferland, Roger Cross, and yours truly.  Our new consulting producer (who arrives on Wednesday) enjoys the show as well and will no doubt be joining us for next week’s instalment.

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Meanwhile, thousands of light years away, the final stragglers (Kyle, Alison, and Trevor) await the transport vessel that will ferry them from Shaofu 2 back to Earth.

Sock of the Day!  Sock of the Day!

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What official announcement?  Oh, THAT official announcement.  Apparently, it had to run through one more proper channel and then all should be good to go.

Oh, and regarding my hint of last week – his CHARACTER (singular) has appeared in all three Stargate shows – narrows it down to only four possibilities I can think of.

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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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The first time I met Jay Firestone was about two years ago, while I was in town working on some nameless production.  My agent called to inform me that he had scheduled me a meeting with a very busy, very successful local producer.  I thought: “Sure, why not?”.  Ninety-nine percent of the time, these meet and greets amount to nothing, but my afternoon was wide open.  This, as it turned out, was in contrast to Jay’s afternoon which was peppered with meetings, phone calls, and pre, post, and production duties.  An average day for him.  I had been squeezed into his frenzied schedule, somewhere between a network conference call and a meeting with another producer and yet, despite the tight window, our sit-down was laid back, unrushed, and surprisingly entertaining.  I say surprisingly because, as anyone who has ever done these kind of meetings will tell you, they’re about as entertaining as your friend’s son’s student film project.  I remember he struck me as smart, enthusiastic, and funny.

I didn’t know whether I’d left an impression one way or the other but, months later, my agent let me know me that Jay wanted to hire my writing partner, Paul, and I to develop a show for him.  We happily signed on and soon started work with him on a delightfully creepy fantasy series.  Going in, I was admittedly leery when Jay made it clear he was going to be creatively involved in the project’s evolution, but my misgivings were put to rest after our first story discussion and subsequent notes call.  There were none of the standard executive requests (We need a ticking clock!  Can our heroine be more proactive?  Can we make the aardvark an anteater?).  Instead, the focus was on making the most of character opportunities. And, best of all, his notes didn’t assume the average viewer had the intellect of Narragansett turkey.  They were good.  Most we agreed with and, those we didn’t agree with he would open to debate.  We had a great time.

Until we went to the network and the project was shelved.  But we came away from the experience with the certainty that we would find a way to work together again in the not too distant future.  That certainty – and our development fees.

Months later, my agent called to say that Jay had read Dark Matter and liked it enough to go out and try to set it up (aka – put together the financial package to get it made).  I remember thinking “If anyone can get it done, it’s Jay.”.  And, as it turned out, I was right.  In fact, in retrospect, I’m fairly certain that the ONLY one who could have gotten it done was Jay.  Fellow producers are still unable to comprehend how he pulled it off.  They can’t believe it.  For my part, I CAN believe it – but that’s only because I know Jay now.  Connected, driven, utterly relentless Jay.

Having wrapped one production (Lost Girl) and rolled straight into another (Dark Matter), you’d think he’d slow down a little.  Think again. In addition to his Exec Producing duties on the show, he’s also tirelessly at work, trying to set up a dozen more.  Two weeks ago he was in London.  Last week it was Berlin.  This week, it’s L.A.  Next week?  Who knows.  New York?  Tokyo?  Bobo Dioulasso?

So, about a month into production on Dark Matter, and having worked with him, on an off, for a couple of years now, I can tell you this about Jay Firestone: He’s creatively ambitious.  He’s incredibly business savvy.  And he owns A LOT of superhero t-shirts.

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