Archive for the ‘science fiction’ Category

You know what I hate?  Apple updates.  As soon as I get comfortable with something, they change it.  One day, it’s the swipe/lock features of my phone; the next, it’s the iPhotos layout.  I wouldn’t mind so much if said changes were actual improvements but the frustrating thing is they’re always so damn counter-intuitive.  I’m about one or two more annoying updates a way from seeking out a more stable alternate for my cellular and computing needs.

And, while I’m in complaint mode, I have to say that the worst thing about shooting in Toronto – besides the winters – is the catering.  Back in Vancouver, we’d get our lunch from the food truck that would prepare the meals on location, offering varied high-quality options.  Here in Toronto, the caterers ship their pre-pared slop to the various productions, their quality varying from edible to abysmal. Today’s jerk chicken tasted like it was seasoned with rosemary and Vick’s Vaporub. The chowder we were served yesterday was a fish, quivering, gelatinous mass. Last season, someone found a raw chicken wing in the vegetarian lasagne.  I’m thinking of starting a new daily feature here on this blog titled “You Wouldn’t Believe What They Served Up Today”.  Watch for it!

Do you like puzzles?  If the answer is yes, then you maybe, this weekend, you can help me break down 93 production hours down into seven 11 hour days.

A few preliminary “sketches of interest” via Dark Matter Production Designer Ian Brock:





What have we here?

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With a little less than a month to go before the commencement of principal photography on Dark Matter’s third season (Season 3!  Already!), it’s all about the prep.  In the way of advance locations, set discussions, director/editor meetings, and, of course, casting!  Last night, I went over the auditions for Episodes 301 and 304 which we’ll be block-shooting under the direction of one of my favorite people, Ron Murphy (who you may remember from Episodes 106, 109, 205, and 213).  Some smaller – but no less important – roles with some great candidates for each (thanks to our fabulous casting director, Lisa Parasyn).  Ash is an especially fun role and I’m torn between two terrific auditions.


Hey, look who’s back in the office, working on that Ishida family tree.  None other than 1st Assistant Art Director Roxanne Borris.  Can’t wait to see what other goodies she’s got in store for us this season.


A photo of elusive Production Coordinator Alice Foster pictured here in her natural habitat, by the photocopier.

Tomorrow, it’s more meetings!  And I finish the tease of my next script.

Speaking of scripts –


Hey, I received the following in the mail the other day with no accompanying note:


Birthday gifts?  Bribes?  Sent to wrong address?


Meanwhile, back on the homefront, Bubba and Lulu get in some hardcore snoozing.


And snacking.

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This morning, we hopped in the transport van and headed to The Hammer (aka lovely Hamilton where we shoot most of our exteriors) to scout locations for some of the early season 3 episodes: a munitions facility, an abandoned warehouse with lots of room for hide ‘n seek ‘n run ‘n jump, an internment camp, and, possibly, a clearing for a forest rendez-vous.


Akemi’s new thing is making granola and, since it WAS a morning scout, she sent me off with baggies for some of the gang upstairs (the gang downstairs shouldn’t feel left out as they’ll be getting theirs in the weeks to come).


 Co-Executive Producer Robbie David is truly touched by the surprise granola.


The Dark Matter Scout Troop.


Every time I go to a location scout in Hamilton, I feel like I’m a character in a horror movie.  First stop – right through this door.


Atmospheric.  A great place to shoot an episode of t.v.  Or murder an unsuspecting film crew.


It’s Birthday Boy Norman Denver!  Let’s pick up the pace.  He’s got cake to get to!


Next stop – another sketchy-looking potential murder scene.


Hmmm.  Instead of spending all that money on a place in downtown Toronto, actor Roger Cross may want to consider more modest accommodations.  Pros: 1. It may cut down on travel time for Episode 303.  2. That is all.


Always sound advice.  Wait.  Is that scrawled in blood?


Not even the picto-man on the bathroom is happy to be here.


This one is a bit of a fixer-upper.


The entrance for the end of 301.  You’ll know what I’m talking about when the episode airs.


Offers some nice visuals but, at the end of the day, not what we’re looking for.

They don’t look like much now, but when Production Designer Ian Brock and the Art Department get through with them, they’ll be otherworldly.

Or, we’ll just shoot somewhere else.

More than likely, we’re going somewhere else.

Which means, next week – Another location scout!

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Hard to believe we’re already back in the production offices, prepping Dark Matter’s third season.

Even harder to believe we’re about a month away from the start of principal photography on Year 3.  But here’s proof.  Swinging by the office today…


Lead Set Dresser Frank Consiglio.


Costume Designer Noreen Landry.

We’re getting the band back together!

Well, most of the band.  We lost sax and oboe to Star Trek and percussion to Designated Survivor.

Over the last couple of days, I’ve been working with our casting director, the lovely Lisa Parasyn, on preparing the breakdowns for Episodes 1-4.  We’ve got a call-back for the Solara Shockley character next week, then first round auditions for Teku Fonsei, Adrian Maro, and a couple of guest stars including one we haven’t seen since season 1.

On a show biz-related note – don’t you hate it when people don’t get back to you? It’s especially galling when THEY work for YOU.  Makes you somewhat…less inclined to dial them in to any decision-making – and more inclined to wash your hands of them when the times comes.


It’s amazing how quickly my interest in football has waned alongside the fortunes of my fantasy team, the Snow Monkeys.  Thanks for next-to-nothing to my 2016 draft picks: Carson Palmer, Dez Bryant, DeAndre Hopkins, Demaryius Thomas, Golden Tate, Devante Parker, Thomas Rawls, and TJ Yeldon.

On the bright side, Akemi is absolutely thrilled at the prospect of spending Sundays with me again.

Hey, NFL, see you in December.


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Last night, Akemi and I had dinner with Melissa O’Neil and Vanessa Piazza.  We went for sushi and I over-ordered.  Even more than usual because I mistakenly assumed I was only ordering single pieces of sushi.  Halfway through our meal, when Akemi asked the waitress what else was coming, the waitress replied: “Tuna, eel, and more.”  Uh, yeah.  Thanks for clarifying.  The same waitress seemed utterly perplexed later on when Melissa ordered the cantaloupe sorbet, bouncing a look of utter incomprehension between Melissa and the dessert menu.  Cantaloupe sorbet?  No one’s ever ordered the cantaloupe sorbet!!!


Too much sushi, a bowl of matcha ice cream, and a couple of carafes of sake later, I headed home for a good night’s sleep.  Because our frenchie, Lulu, is still recuperating from spinal surgery, we’ve taken to sequestering her in a little pen downstairs to ensure she doesn’t exert herself by climbing stairs, jumping off the bed or practicing her tae kwon do unsupervised.  I’ll turn off all the lights and work at my laptop until late, then hop into her playpen and pet her until she drifts off (roughly 1100 pets) before slipping quietly upstairs.

Nest cam view of my demonic frenchie

Nest cam view of one demonic frenchie

I fell asleep at about 1 a.m.  I was awakened an hour later by the sound of Lulu coming up the stairs.  Somehow, the little Houdini had managed to slip out.  I picked her up to bring her downstairs and, upon our arrival, realized she wasn’t feeling well.  She had messed her blanket, two dog beds, and the floor.  So I cleaned her, then the floor, then rinsed down the dog beds and blanket in the bathtub before popping them in for a double wash, then took a nice hot shower.  I rejoined her downstairs and repeated the bedtime process, patting her until she eventually drifted off.  By the time I got back to sleep, it was a little after 5 a.m.

Surprisingly, I got shit done today despite the lack of sleep.  Finished a pass on one script.  Tossed around some ideas with Jay.  Sat in on an Art Department budget meeting (so far, so good!).


And reconnected with some of the old gang.  Pictured above: Props Master Victoria Klein presents Akemi with a frenchie-themed tote bag.  What a sweetheart.

Hmmmm.  Apparently the new Star Trek series is in town shooting for, oh, ever, which has cost us some crew and construction personnel.  Anyone out there have any experience building corporate guard garrisons or diabolical research laboratories?  Lemme know!


Status: Worried?

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The Dark Matter Whisky/ey Club is back in session!


Line Producer Norman Denver and Executive in Charge of Production Robbie David – all chummy and smiles.  For now.


Script Coordinator Alison Hepburn got me a bottle of hot sauce from Barbados!


Fantasy Football Consultant/Exec Producer’s Assistant Elliot Sokolsky stays hydrated and caffeinated.


The Locations meeting!  Next week, we check out old warehouses and a place that manufactures anchors.  Ah, show business.  Living the dream!


I assume this won’t be the last time we see Robbie adopt this look of sheer terror.


Norman: A) Ordering a pizza, B) Playing Angry Birds, C) Has forgotten his passcode

Well, we’re back at it.  Today, we kicked prep off with the customary “Raising of the Red Flags” as we prepare for yet another challenging year of making the most of our budget.  Fortunately, we have a plan that involves – but isn’t limited to – shipboard mayhem, intrigue at the Ishida court, nefarious labs, time jumping, some pre-mindwipe flashbacks, and a few colorful guest stars.

Had a great lunch with Executive Producer Jay Firestone over which we discussed arcs big and small, character moments, production efficiencies, and directors.

Locations! Locations!  Locations meeting at 3:00 p.m. was well-attended.  We discussed the general game plan, the attack on those first three episodes (Looks like we may block shoot Episodes 1 and 4 first, shoot 2 in the three-spot, then come back from the holidays and shoot 3 in the four spot), Art Department builds, and recurring characters (Hello Commanders Truffault and Nieman in addition to…others).

Tonight, it’s dinner with actress Melissa O’Neil (Dark Matter’s TWO) and then back at it, juggling seven scripts simultaneously.  Whew.  I’ll be glad when production starts so I can finally relax.

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Alright Fandroids, 2Crew, 5Hive, 4Clan, 6Pack, 3’sCompany – prep on Dark Matter’s 3rd season officially gets underway tomorrow!


We kick things off with a 10 a.m. Season 3 Overview meeting which will, I suspect, consist of our line producer sounding the alarm on how overbudget we are on our first three episodes.  Fortunately, the back half of the season will basically be a massive 5-parter in which our crew sit around the ship and discuss their feelings.

At noon, I have a lunch meeting with Jay to discuss the season 3 creative. Whereas season 1 was all about uncovering backstories and the mystery of who wiped their memories (among many other things), and season 2 was all about the Blink Drive and our crew taking a more active role (among many other things), season 3 will be all about the Corporate War, the conflict with their former crew mate Ryo Ishida, and a certain little conspiracy we’ve been quietly building for two year now (among many other things).

Then, at 3:00 p.m. (That’s gonna be some lunch!), we sit down for a locations meeting to discuss the season as a whole (the Ishida palace, the cruiser, the lab, the munitions factory) and Episodes 303 and 305 in particular.

Okay, I’ve got my bottle of sake on standby as I attempt to get some work done on this script tonight.  Wish me luck!

screen-shot-2016-10-12-at-6-34-29-pmBubba’s on vacation!

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