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Archive for the ‘Stargate’ Category

I was cleaning out my inbox today when I happened across a bunch of old prep schedules and call sheets.

For those of you who are wondering, “prep” is, of course, short for “preparation” and “prepping” an episode involves (in my t.v. producing experience) a little over a week of meetings with director and departments heads in which an episode is detailed, drawn up and discussed.  Here, for example, is the prep schedule for the Stargate: Universe episode “The Hunt” –

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Even though it was prep week on “The Hunt”, early prep work began on later episodes.  There’s a preliminary art department meeting for “Common Descent” and “Epilogue” (suggesting BIG plans for what would turn out to be our final two episodes) followed by a prosthetics life cast with actor Louis Ferreira (to help him achieve that “Old Young” look, as Akemi coined it).

Director Andy Mikita was away and, with the director away, the meetings are pushed to other days.  Note that, while a director begins prep on one episode, another director starts shooting another – in this case, Episode 215, “Seizure”. Also, 2nd unit shoots scenes for Episode 214, “Hope”.  2nd unit usually involves a scaled down crew shooting smaller scenes from a given episode. Also on this day – a casting session!  I remember heading down to the lot and watching auditions in the casting trailer, trying to ignore the trucks that would rumble by at the most inopportune times.

Finally, prep begins early Monday morning with the concept meeting.  With all of the department heads in attendance, we would go through the script, page by page, and break down each scene.  We followed with an art department meeting in which we no doubt discussed the builds for this episode (as I recall, a cave set and a design for the creature)…

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…then headed over to props to discuss what was required from them (besides our standard guns, there’s that makeshift spear one of the character wields late in the episode) –

  • And, oh yeah, that severed arm.

    And, oh yeah, that severed arm.

    …followed by a sit-down with the costumes department (we would need to get our uniforms dirty and, in some instances, torn and bloodstained), and, finally, a field trip to scout out some suitably rough terrain in Lynn Canyon where we planned to shoot some of the exteriors.

  • Nice day for a scout.

    Nice day for a field trip.

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Prep week continued full force on Tuesday with some of our biggest meetings: stunts and SPFX (there was that stunt sequence off the top where our camp is attacked by the creature), a playback (not too many big onscreen elements in this one if I recall correctly), and visual effects (the creature was pure CG as was that space deer we see in the tease).

The following day was the extras meeting (always a number of background players in every episode), and then hair & make-up (cuts, bruises, and general disarray).

That's an ouchy.

That’s an ouchy.

Preliminary budgets from the various departments were due to give us a sense of how the episode was costing out.

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No meeting scheduled for the Friday, but that didn’t mean we weren’t busy having discussions, finalizing the details.  A tech survey in the a.m. to Lynn Canyon during which we all sign off on the location and the director finalizes his visual game plan for the exterior sequences.  

Hmmm.  Seemed a lot warmer and dryer on the scout.

Hmmm. Seemed a lot warmer and dryer on the scout.

And then, finally, the production meeting which is a mirror image of the concept meeting except that, by this point, the director and all of the departments know exactly what they’re doing and are in the process of putting the finishing touches on their work.  And, of course, final budgets are due and we find out where our budget stands on the year (which, of course, has a direct effect on ensuing episodes).

Speaking of prep, prep week kicks off on Dark Matter Episode 204 tomorrow with a 10:00 a.m. concept meeting headed by director John Stead.  It’s gonna be fun!

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“I’m at the back sitting under the Hades mural!” said the message.  I quickened my pace.

I had, in fact, arrived twelve minutes early for dinner.  And as I rolled by a parking spot about a block from the restaurant I thought to myself “Maybe I can find something a little closer.”  Fifteen minutes later, after parking A LOT farther, I finally arrived, fashionably late-ish, meeting Tabor Calchek Rodney McKay David Hewlett (as instructed) beneath the mural of Hades who seemed to be contemplating something.  Maybe the dinner options?

We perused the menu, picked a few plates, then deferred to our waiter – an older Greek man with his pants hiked up past his belly button.  Well, his fashion sense may have been questionable, but his recommendations were spot on!

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Saganaki!  The flaming cheese, presumably laced with ouzo to trigger its blazing entrance, was still bubbling when it hit the table.  Seriously.  It’s fried cheese. What’s not to love?

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A medley of unidentifiable yet no less delicious dips including a tzatziki so strong I had to brush twice before bedtime.

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Delicious octopus – tender and chargrilled.  Wait!  Is that a lemon wedge on the plate?!

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Lamb chops so good, they’d no doubt receive my mom’s seal of approval.

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And honey cake for dessert.  It was complimentary (which was nice) but we only got one piece to share between the two of us (which was odd).  Romantic?

In addition to all the eating, we did manage to get some conversation in.  Topics included: Dark Matter, Debug, dogs, family, conventions, Toronto, L.A., England, agents and managers, and, of course, lots and lots of Stargate.  It was a really great time because, even though we’ve talked since Stargate: Atlantis ended, we’ve never had the chance to REALLY TALK.  But we finally did last night and it was a truly great evening.

Next time, it’s 10 oz $300 dollar A5 Black Tajima-Miyazami steaks on him!

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Well, this is interesting.  Apparently, Canadians are HUGE fans of science fiction television:

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“During the 2014-2015 broadcast year Canadian TV sci-fi series Orphan Black on Space (4.3 million viewers*), Dark Matter on Space (3.7 million), Between on City Total and Killjoys on Space (both 3.2 million) each reached roughly 10% of the Canadian population. In addition, these shows performed above their respective channel averages in the very desirable 18-34 demographic.”

That’s 10% of the Canadian population that tuned into our little show.

Tell me more…

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Not bad.  It brings to mind another scifi series that far surpassed expectations when it aired on Canada’s Space Channel several years back.  I’ll give you a hint…

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Speaking of Stargate, the giveaways are enroute.  We sent off the last one this morning.  Akemi, as always, personalized each envelope…

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Pictured above: Canadian bunny, coasters in hand, on his way through the stargate to gforce’s house!

Toronto-bound tomorrow morning!  Hoping I can get some writing done on the flight.

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Feast your eyes upon the glory that is the 10th Anniversary MGM giveaway which includes a gate-framed photo of the team that started it all AND an SG-1 keychain in its original flimsy silver paper and cardboard box!

This can be yours if you are one of the first to correctly answer the following five SG-1-related questions.

Like yesterday, to ensure a level playing field, I will hold off on approving comments…unless I forget and accidentally do so anyway, like last time.

Ready?  Okay, here’s goes…

Actress Jennifer Halley, who played the part of Lt. Tolinev in season 5’s The Tomb, had also been up for (and just missed out on) another role in season 4.  What was that role?

Who does the character Grell, Teal’c t.v. counterpart, quote at the end of Wormhole X-Treme?

What was my one and only onscreen line on Stargate?

What guest star’s scheduling conflict in the episode Summit resulted in a wholesale second draft rewrite?  And who did we replace their character with?

In Fail Safe, what is Jack’s response to Sam’s bomb-defusing instruction: “Now find the wires leading from the timer to the detonator and cut the red one.”

Congratulations to yesterday’s winner of the SG-1 compact, Kathy C!

And good luck to today’s contestants!

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Win this Stargate: SG-1 compact!  All you have to do is be one of the first to correctly answer the following five SG1-related questions!  The quicker you respond with the correct answer, the greater your chance of winning the grand prize!  As per LineNoise’s suggestion, I’ll hold off on approving comments to ensure a level playing field.

On to today’s questions…

Which script had the early working title: Ad Infinitum?

What was the German title for Forever In A Day and what is it’s English translation?

The characters (and one referenced expedition) in season 4’s The Curse were named after what exactly?

What does N.I.D. stand for?

Name two U.S. Air Force Chiefs of Staff who appeared on the show.

Congratulations to the winner of yesterday’s Stargate caps giveaway, Tom C.!

Tune in tomorrow for more!

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Another day, another giveaway!

Up for grabs in today’s blog entry, the above-pictured caps from all three Stargate shows.

I’m posting early so that readers in the U.K. can participate as well.

To win all three caps, all you have to do is be one of the first to correctly answer the following six questions…

Match the Stargate: SG-1 characters with their Farscape parody counterparts from 200.

What were the names of the warring countries in Stargate: Atlantis’s “The Game?”

Which crew member does Eli end up settling down with in Stargate: Universe’s Epilogue?

Where was the Stargate: SG-1 episode Nightwalkers shot?

Which Stargate: Atlantis episode had the place holder title: “The Grapes of Wraith”?

What was our endearing nickname for the Stargate: Universe alien race known as The Nakai?

That’s it!  I’ll announce the winner in tomorrow’s blog entry.  Good luck to all!

The winner of yesterday’s SG-1 coasters is…gforce.  Gary, do I have your mailing address?

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At Akemi’s behest, I am getting moving on those Stargate giveaways I promised a while back.

First up are these lovely matching surprisingly heavy Stargate: SG-1 coasters!

All you have to do is be one of the first to correctly answer the following five skill-testing SG-1-related questions..

What was the first script Paul Mullie and I wrote for the franchise – the one that landed us a staff job on SG-1’s fourth season?

What signature item did director Wil Waring sneak into his episodes as a visual calling card?

Name three of the generals who ran Stargate Command during the SG-1‘s ten year run?

What play does Teal’c unwitting attend at the end of Family Ties?

What parting advice does AU Cameron Mitchell offer our Cam at the end of Ripple Effect?

I’ll answer the winner in tomorrow blog entry.  Good luck!

 

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