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Archive for the ‘Dogs’ Category

Oh, damn.  Today, was our first early pre-flight weigh-in.  Bubba tipped the scales at a negotiable 20.4 lbs.  Lulu, however, was a robust 22.4 lbs!  They both have to trim down to an even 20 lbs before they can fly.  Fortunately for us, they have roughly two and a half months to get into shape!

Forget prep, production, and post – THE most stressful part of working on this show is transporting the dogs to B.C. and back.  And we only have two!

A few of you have asked, so I’ll be honest with you.  The day I adopt that third pug is the day I’ve decided to stay put in Vancouver.

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As I told Paul yesterday: “Between the scriptwriting, notes, rewrites, prep, onset production, post, and seemingly interminable email and dropbox approvals, I’m dangerously close to hitting critical mass” – which is why the weekends are so important.  They give me a chance to set Dark Matter aside, however so briefly, and decompress.  Granted, with scripts and cut notes still looming,  the prospect of a totally Dark Matter-less weekend is unlikely for about another month an half, but I’ll take what I can get.

In the case of this particular weekend, it was quality time with Akemi and the dogs –

Bubba visits the dog park, observing the action for the relative safety of the other side of the fence.

Bubba visits the dog park, observing the action for the relative safety of the other side of the fence.

A little local shopping –

Comic books, purple dress shoes, and these ray run cufflinks.  I'm not on the hunt four some Flintstone cuffs.

Comic books, purple dress shoes, and these ray run cufflinks. I’m not on the hunt four some Flintstone cuffs.

A little online shopping –

Got a bunch of these Juanita Nakamura originals

Got a bunch of these Juanita Nakamura originals

(here: http://www.zazzle.com/angelicalcradle/products?sr=250430484475676180&prsnl=False&pg=1&sd=desc&st=date_created)

A nice Saturday dinner at Parcae –

Squid ink risotto with sturgeon marrow.

Squid ink risotto with sturgeon marrow.

A lot of walking –

The weekend would not be complete without a visit to my friend, Tova, at Don't Call Me Cupcake in Kensington Market.

The weekend would not be complete without a visit to my friend, Tova, at Don’t Call Me Cupcake in Kensington Market.

https://www.facebook.com/DCMCbakery/

And dim sum with VFX Supervisor Lawren Bancroft-Wilson and director Jason Priestley who offered a very spirited argument for why I should keep my house in Vancouver despite the prospect that I may spend a good chunk of the next three years here in Toronto, shooting Dark Matter.

Tonight, it’s Walking Dead night with Roger Cross, Jodelle Ferland, and a whack o’ eclairs at which point the respite will be over and I’ll be back at it.

Looking ahead to this week:

MONDAY:

Director Jason Priestley’s final day of main unit on Episode 207 concludes with some infiltration, a discovery, and a rooftop render-vous.

Our last day of prep on Episode 208 with director Andy Mikita.  While John Stead oversees the stunt rehearsal with some surprising guest stars, I’ll be in morning meetings (a timeline review, a tone meeting, the 208 production meeting), and taking a walk-thru the newly built “systems control room”, before sitting down to the cast read-thru.

In the afternoon, once the dust has settled, I’ll make my way over to post where I’ll review the recently completed Android scenes for Episode 205, and the Episode 206 “producer’s cut in progress”.

Notes meeting on the script for Episode 209!

Script work continues on Episode 212!

And, if I remember, I’ll post the poll for our next Episode Title Vote, this one for Episode 206!

TUESDAY:

Prep begins on Episode 209 (written by the lovely Ivon Bartok) with fab director Peter DeLuise!  Location scout.  Set walk-thru.  And another Stargate alum who we haven’t seen since – oh – Episode 14: Kill Them All makes a triumphant return to Toronto.

Production begins on Episode 208 with director Andy Mikita at the helm.  Things get downright messy on the bridge of The Raza.

And I’ll still be working my way through the script for Episode 212.

WEDNESDAY:

Prep continues on Episode 209.  Concept meeting.  Stunts/Special FX meeting.  VFX meeting.  I suspect I’ll also be putting out new script pages to reflect anymore necessary changes.

Production continues on Episode 208 and we’re back on the bridge for some desperate diplomacy before shifting over to the as-yet-unseen Systems Control Room.  Meanwhile…

Jason Priestley returns to direct second unit for his episode, a little bit bar scene and some Marauder in-flight action.

Episode 212?  That script aint gonna write itself.

THURSDAY:

The Episode 209 Art Department meeting will be followed by the Props meeting before we move on to the Costumes meeting and conclude the day’s festivities with  the Graphics/Playback meeting.

Day 3 of production on Episode 208 continues on our standing sets while the final day of second unit photography on Episode 207 takes place over at Tabor’s swanky bachelor pad.

I’m hoping to be well into the third act of Episode 212 by this point.

FRIDAY:

Off the top of my head, I’m not sure – but I suspect it’ll be Dark Matter-related.

Haven’t been keeping up on the blog?  Pressed for time?  Well check out Tom Gardiner’s Dark Matter digest for the rundown:

http://www.threeifbyspace.net/2016/03/dark-matter-digest-mar-06-smoke/#.Vty-fcdllAY

Finally, the weekend wasn’t all fun.  We learned today that the little pug Akemi had her heart set on adopting (she’d wanted to name her Konatsu), passed away last night.  So, today’s blog entry is dedicated to little Konatsu’s (aka Rodgie’s) memory:

https://www.gofundme.com/Rodgie

http://www.pacificpugrescue.org

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Writing can be a lonely job.  But, there are occasions, when it doesn’t have to be – when you can count on gifted individuals who can lend you the creative support you need to make your script that much better.  I’m talking about the unsung heroes: the idea board bouncers, the pitch spinners, the story breakers, the readers, the revisers, the polishers, and the critiquers…

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After completing a first draft of any script, I always read it aloud to Bubba and Lulu.  They are, without a doubt, my toughest critics.  Bubba is a stickler for dynamic act outs while Lulu is all over the teases and tags.  Also, anything that smells like beef.

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Writer’s Block is nothing to be ashamed of.  It happens to the best of us.  And, when it happens to me, I prefer to set the script aside for a while and revisit it later, with fresh eyes.  Or just hand it over to Lulu who will often stay up into the wee hours, fine-tuning dialogue.

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Defend your vision, but don’t be overly precious with your ideas.  A good editor will let you know when you’re getting in the way of your own writing.  Often with a look.  See above.

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Well, it may have been Saturday but SOME people were very busy at work.  I’m not referring to me of course but to the cast crew, photographer and his crew, Ivon Bartok, and Grand Overseer/Executive Producer Vanessa Piazza who were on set today for the Dark Matter gallery shoot.  I dropped by and caught a brief glimpse of some of the work-in-progress.  Beautiful shots.

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Pictured above, the newest member of our ragtag crew – that lovable rogue Domantre Von Suavington the Third.  Quick!  Update the wiki page!

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Can anyone identify the artist?

Artwork by Juanita Nakamura

This latest script is slooooooow going.  Incredibly, excruciatingly slow going.  In fact, I think it’s taken me longer to write this script than any one hour script I’ve ever written.  Or, at least it feels that way.  Usually, I’ll reach a point in a script where things come together, even briefly, allowing me to tear off a nice little run of 5, 10, sometimes 15 pages in a sitting.  That has yet to happen with this one and I suspect that my conservative ETD (Estimated Time of Delivery) of “End of January” was overly optimistic.

It happens.  Never to this extent, but it does.  And in situations like these, there’s only one recourse: distraction!  Read, eat, surf the net.  The latter is a particularly fine option as it allows you to easily switch up, from script to amusing Star Wars meme, with a single keystroke.

During a recent mini writer’s block (more of an annoying impediment than a block), I happened across a short documentary called Girl’s Best Friend, about a woman and her elderly pug.  We’re introduced to Doreen and Spanky on a beautiful day in the park and we learn that Spanky is 16.  We also learn that the poor old boy suffers from a laundry list of ailments including mobility issues that restrict him to a stroller for his daily outings.  As I watched, I couldn’t help but note parallels between Doreen’s experience with Spanky and my experience with my pugs, Maximus and Jelly.   Whereas some viewers may have thought “So much trouble for a dog!”, I was thinking: “What a great dog mom!”.  At one point, we see Doreen taking the subway with Spanky, struggling to pull the stroller up, step by step, and I thought if I’d been there, I not only would’ve lent a hand but paid for a cab ride home as well.

The parallels to my experience didn’t end there and, inevitably, Doreen makes the hard decision I too had to face twice before.  It was a gut-wrenching watch but empathetically familiar and, ultimately, very touching.  If you’ve got your hankies handy, and want to take a break from YOUR scripts, you can check it out here:

https://youtu.be/Z2nsfSIvbDM

On a somewhat related note, I came across an article that touched on the most common regrets people have at the end of their lives.

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-23024/the-9-most-common-regrets-people-have-at-the-end-of-life.html

Among the nine in-retrospect wishes: “I wish I had not spent so much time working.”, “I wish I had taken more risks.”, and “I wish I had lived my own dream.”, I’d probably add: “I wish I’d adopted more senior pugs.”.  Which I won’t have to because I’m determined to adopt a couple on my return to Vancouver this summer.

Okay.  Going back to my script now.

Maximus

Maximus

Jelly

Jelly

 

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Recently, someone lamented the fact that I haven’t posted food porn or dog pics for quite a while.  Lately, it’s been nothing but Dark Matter this, Dark Matter that.  So, tonight, I’m going old school with this throwback entry.  Pictured above, Akemi shows off her new sweater purchase at dim sum.

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After coming across the food-themed instagram account of my co-worker, Natalie Cooper (CoopDuJour: https://www.instagram.com/coopdujour/), Akemi was inspired to – ask me to make a reservation at Toronto’s top dim sum restaurant: Lai Wah Heen.

To ensure lunch didn’t conflict with fantasy football, we dined nice and early at 11:00 a.m.  The food was delicious, but it was the presentation that truly impressed.  Check out the lobster dumpling pictured above.

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The deep-fried Berkshire pork dumplings with garlic chip ears.

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Crispy-skin pork belly!

And now, onto the dog pics!

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November 18, 1477: William Caxton prints the first English dated book.

November 18, 1626: St. Peter’s Basilica is completed.

November 18, 1916: The Battle of the Somme ends.

Today: Members of the Dark Matter production team engage in The Great Green Screen Debate of 2015!

We can’t do it!  We CAN do it!  We shouldn’t do it!  We should do it!  We’re not doing it!  We’re ARE doing it after all!

Highlights of the heated discussion included: shooting angles, techno-crane accessibility, plate shots, lock-offs, high angle reveals, low angle reveals, and crowd duplications.

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You’ll be pleased to hear we finally got it all worked out.

Conceptually.

Hey, speaking of concepts, how’d you like to help us choose an Ishida shuttle design?  If you’re keen, and feeling opinionated, I’ll upload the concept sketches as part of tomorrow’s blog entry.  How’s that for audience participation?

P.S. As I mentioned in yesterday’s entry, the kick-ass Melanie Liburd (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm4927489/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1) has been cast in the role of Nyx for the upcoming season of Dark Matter.  She’s on twitter so update your digidexes and follow her here: https://twitter.com/mellyliburd

Finally, a little something to leave you with from Roxanne Borris and the Art Department.

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“DO NOT put any person in this washer”.  Sound advice!

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Uh oh.  Actual real bonafide official prep on Dark Matter’s second season kicks off tomorrow with not one, not two, but THREE big meetings!  First up is our pre-concept meeting during which all the department heads will gather to discuss what they did on hiatus.  And then talk about what’s needed for our first couple of episodes – sets, costumes, props, etc.  We’ll follow that with a general review meeting that will involve generally reviewing everything – which, quite honestly, sounds a lot like what the pre-concept meeting should be.  We’ll end our day with a season 2 budget overview which will give line producer Norman Denver the opportunity to beat us up over our high-flying, awesome set-building, special guest star booking, VFX-ladening ways.

Meanwhile, up to my eyeballs in script work – writing, re-writing, and re-re-writing. I’m hoping to have drafts of at least 9 of our 13 scripts by the time we go to camera December 9th (confirm the date for me, willya?).  We’ll shoot our first episode before the holiday break, then streak through the final 12 when we return, all rested and relaxed and full of eggnog.  My former Stargate associate, the awesome Amanda Tapping, will take the director’s chair for Episode #201. Exciting, no?

A couple of Dark Matter-related links.  Yep, people are still talking about our first season – no doubt because it’s available on U.S. Netflix.  Tell your friends!

Is Dark Matter worth watching?  Dani Wood says…well, I don’t want to give it away.  Just read the article.

http://www.tv.com/shows/dark-matter/community/post/is-syfys-dark-matter-a-space-opera-worth-watching–1447079438/

This reviewer compares the show to an awesome Aussie bacon sandwich! Yeaaaah!  Next season, we’re adding awesomely figurative melted cheese and caramelized onions!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwvsgrJO09I

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