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Continuing our Dark Matter rollout – today, we turn the spotlight to actress Jodelle Ferland and her character, FIVE.

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This was part of the casting breakdown that went out for the role:

“AKA The Kid. THE SHIP’S PIXIE-ISH MASCOT WITH MYSTERIOUS ABILITIES – SHE’S THE KID WITH ALL THE SECRETS. And a propensity for getting into trouble. EASILY BORED, QUICK TO MOUTH OFF, she is nevertheless innocent among her unsavoury company.”

In the comic book, the character is a tomboy and a lot younger (I originally envisioned her as about 12) but production considerations made the casting of a minor very difficult. We would have had to provide schooling in the form of a tutor and limited her hours on set. I suggested we circumvent the problem by hiring a high school dropout, but that brilliant idea was roundly refused. And so, we decided to cast older to play younger.

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I had plenty of requests for the general auditions, actors I’d worked with over the years who I wanted to see read. And, when it came time to find a FIVE, actress Jodelle Ferland was at the top of my wish list. I’d had the pleasure of working with her eight years ago on an episode of Stargate: Atlantis on which she’d played a bratty princess. She was, far and away, one of the greatest guest stars I’d ever worked with. At only 12 years of age, she’d known her dialogue down pat – and even prompted our leads whenever they forgot their lines. She was brilliant.

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So when it came time for the FIVE auditions, Jodelle sent in a self-tape from Vancouver, made the second round, and, ultimately, won the role on the strength of her adorably quirky performance.

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So what is Jodelle Ferland like? Well, surprisingly – or not! – a lot like the character she plays. Cute, perky, wide-eyed and animated, funny, excitable, and suuuuuuper sweet. I sometimes imagine her as an anime character come to life!

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And yet, at the same time, she is professional, focused, and possessed of astounding onscreen instincts. I’m always amazed because I have never walked onto set and asked her to readjust her performance. It’s as if she reads my mind, offering up the perfect interpretation of the character beats EVERY SINGLE TIME. And, I supposed it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise given that, at 20, this former child actor is the most seasoned member of our entire cast! The editors LOVE her because she always delivers great reactions on her off-camera moments, another sign of a wily veteran.

One on one, she’s delightfully normal – but when the camera is on her, she POPS. As more than one person has said: “When she’s onscreen, you can’t take your eyes off her.”

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SyFy offers up a sneak peek of Dark Matter in this awesome video highlighting the show, the crew and – finally! – some of the visual effects: http://www.syfy.com/darkmatter/videos/dark-matter-season-one-sneak-peek

Geo-blocked…but here’s hoping it gets uploaded to youtube soon!

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 2.32.42 PMHey, Canadians!  We finally have an air date!  Dark Matter premieres Friday, June 12th at 10:00 p.m. on Space Channel.

Other Dark Matter premiere dates:

U.S.: Friday, June 12th at 10:00 p.m. on SyFy

Germany: Saturday, June 13th on SyFy Germany

U.K.: Monday, June 15th at 8:00 p.m. on SyFy UK

France: Monday, June 15th at 9:00 p.m. on SyFy France

Spain: Monday, June 15th on SyFy Spain

Ever closer!  Excited?  We sure are!  Yesterday, I attended the mix for #101 and got the chance to watch the near-finished episode on the big screen.  It looked like a feature film – gorgeous, riveting, with dazzling visual effects.  I can’t wait for you to see it.

Probably sooner than later as we’re making plans to offer up a sneak peek of our first episode in the coming week.  Our first teaser trailer was fantastic (https://youtu.be/1TqwBlTQfTg – 151k+ views and counting, thanks!) despite the fact that contained no visual effects.  The scene I have in mind, however, will highlight what you all can look forward to in the months to come: action, adventure, kick-ass visuals, and humor!  Stay tuned.

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The above image adorned the tryptic in the ship’s mess hall compliments of Dark Matter playback operator Greg Whiteside.  Pictured: SIX (Roger Cross) pilots the phantom class marauder.

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Anthony Lemke (THREE) and Melissa O’Neil (TWO) running lines on the bridge.

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Yep.  Creepy.  And perfect.

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Time to tuck in the guns.  It’s way past their bed times!

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Walked onto set the other day to find the above adorning the triptych in the mess hall.  From left to right: Anthony Lemke as Han/THREE, Marc Bendavid as Luke/ONE, Melissa O’Neil as Leia/TWO, Alex Mallari Jr. as Chewbacca/FOUR, Zoie Palmer as C3PO/The Android, and Roger Cross as R2D2/SIX.

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Greg Whiteside, in charge of Futurama and Family Guy triptychs.  Also the Dark Matter playback operator.

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Andy Mikita directs a mess hall scene.

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Actor Anthony Lemke (Dark Matter’s nefarious bad boy, THREE) and actress Melissa O’Neil (Dark Matter’s kick-ass commander) share some downtime.

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The latest meeting of the Dark Matter Whisky/ey Club.  We’ve come a long way from that one guy sitting alone in his office drinking Jameson’s.

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13 bottles down – one for every episode in our first season.  Time to get started on season 2!

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“You’re as busy as a chocolate shop on Valentine’s Day!”

– Akemi this morning after I told her I’d be going to set next Saturday as well.

“Tell Ivon that too much riding bicycle will damage his cincin.”

– Akemi this afternoon after hearing about my friend Ivon’s affinity for spin class.

“No more poppylocky.”

– A disappointed Akemi this afternoon upon discovering the corner shop was out of popsicles.

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A rare respite from the frenzy of amped up production.  Today was the calm in the eye of the storm, an opportunity to relax and tend to personal matters like bill payments, emails, mail…

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And, of course, the dogs.

Anti-social Bubba on the outside looking in at the local dog park.

Anti-social Bubba on the outside looking in at the local dog park.

Then tomorrow, we do it all over again, starting with three successive location days and culminating in yet another Saturday shoot.

Uh oh.  Enjoy it while you can, kids.  Apparently, in about ten years from now, we’ll be going back to hand-written letters and actually interacting with real live people: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3064915/The-Internet-reach-limit-just-eight-years-warn-engineers.html

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Time flies when you’re having fun.  Today marked our very last read-thru of Dark Matter’s first season.  Pictured above: the cast (with the exception of Zoie Palmer who was excused because she had a note from her mom), EP Vanessa Piazza, Director Andy Mikita, Line Producer Norman Denver, Consulting Producer Ivon Bartok, VFX Supervisor Lawren Bancroft-Wilson, and Story Editor Trevor Finn.  Well be going out with a big bang.

It’s hard to believe it’s been five and a half months since I moved to Toronto, girlfriend and dogs in tow, and now, here I am less than three weeks away from wrap – and a little over six weeks away from our season premiere.  It’s been hard, exhausting work – but, ultimately, incredibly fulfilling.  The cast and crew have been nothing short of awesome and I sincerely hope we get the chance to do it all again next year.

But that, of course, is up to you!

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“I really like Vanessa,”said Consulting Producer Ivon Bartok the other day.

“Oh, me too,”I said.  And, really, what’s not to like.  She worked tirelessly to help EP and Prodigy Pictures President, Jay Firestone, get the show financed and green lit.  She is on set, in meetings, on the phone, supporting the show 24/7.  I can honestly say that I could not have done it without her.  Or, could have possibly done a lot of it – before succumbing to a complete nervous breakdown.

She is awesome at all she does, be it Exec Producing, negotiating deals, or eating one of the croissants left over from that morning’s production meeting.

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Well, if it isn’t my old friend Steve Ermao who covered Stargate for various magazines (online and otherwise) back in the day and now turns his sights on Dark Matter.  Just like old times!

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Director Martin Wood finishes episode #111 in fine style, with windmill kicks, concussive blasts, and gelato!

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Who is this masked man?  You’ll find out when he directs episodes #112 and #113!

I forwarded SyFy the first round of assets – sketches and concept drawings of the airlocks, stasis pods, GA badge, space station, and our phantom class marauder – which should be hitting the net sometime soon.

Oh, hey, did you happen to catch the first Dark Matter trailer?  110 000+ viewers have…and counting!  Share away if you haven’t already and let’s try to hit the quarter mill mark before the season premiere, Friday June 12th and 10 p.m. as part of the new SyFyFriday lineup!

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I had the afterburners on today, casting, getting a new scene out, prepping episodes #112 and #1113, discussing the upcoming VFX show and tell, organizing the concept sketches for the visual roll-out, providing notes on the preliminary ship sounds.  A dinner break with my friend Tara Yelland (Follow her here – https://twitter.com/t_yelland – but be warned: she’s sassy!), then it’s on to a review of the director’s cut of episode #109.

Today…

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She wheels, she deals, she produces…and sews.  Dark Matter Executive Producer Vanessa Piazza does it all!

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But maybe she should just stick to wheeling, dealing, and producing.

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This afternoon, I perused hideous medical saw-induced flesh wounds with the lovely Lynda McCormack.  Who happens to preside over the Dark Matter make-up department.

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Dark Matter Story Editor Trevor Finn models the new uniforms.

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What the heck is the Dark Matter construction up to?

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Your guess is as good as mine.

Finally, came across this today.  It’s a short action film producer by Dark Matter Executive Producer (and President of Prodigy Pictures) Jay Firestone for his then ten 12 year old son, Ross, starring…12 year old son Ross.  With a special cameo by Jay Firestone himself (in the role of Dad).  And guest starring Victoria Pratt and Victor Webster (Mutant X fans)!  Fast-forward to 2015 and Ross will be turning 25 in May!  As far as memorable presents go, this one ranks up there!

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Because you asked, extra nicely, here’s a picture of Dark Matter’s Commander Truffault of the Mikkei Combine (Torri Higginson) standing alongside ONE (Marc Bendavid).  Wait.  Is that  the mess hall?  What is she doing onboard the ship?

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Consulting Producer Ivon Bartok was looking a little piqued so we placed him in quarantine.  Nighty night to our brave little soldier.  See you Monday morning!

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The concept meet for episode #112.  Or was it the concept meeting for episode #113?  Whichever.  Andy Mikita is directing both.

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The request list in the production office kitchen.  I’m checking the fridge first thing next week.

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Production Assistant Kyle Dolphin models the Android look for an upcoming episode.

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A bottle of Vega V whiskey.  And upon closer scrutiny…

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A shoutout to a blog regular and her recent whisky/whiskey rant.  Hey, Ponytail, looks like the Dark Matter crew checks the blog as well.

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Thanks to everyone who was inquiring about my elderly pug, Jelly.  She seemed kind of logy the other night.  But I’m pleased to report that she’s back to her old cantankerous self.  Akemi suspects she just may have eaten too much omelet.

Speaking of Akemi – she’s the birthday girl tomorrow!  We celebrate with couple’s massages, a trip to the sunglass shop, sushi dinner, and the director’s cut of episode #108!

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