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It’s been a while.  Let’s hit the mailbag:

Jessica writes: “Your day-to-day schedule is filled to the brim with tasks, work, activities, etc galore. How do you maintain such a strict schedule of managing your time to accomplish everything, including writing this blog?”

Answer: I get asked this question a lot and the honest answer is: “I just find the time to make it work.”  It’s quite amazing how adaptable human beings can be.  It’s hard to believe that, back in the day, Brad, Robert, Carl, Martin, Paul, Alan and I wrote and produced 40 episodes of television (SG1 and SGA) a year for two years.  And yet we managed to get it done.  It’s no different with Dark Matter.  I have a lot on my plate but the reality is that NOT getting it done isn’t an option.  Also, I’ve yet to miss a day of blogging in 10+ years and, in similar fashion, I feel there are a lot of readers out there depending on me.  I can’t let them down!

“Does it come easy for you (as in, natural planner and organizer) or have you disciplined yourself to maintain such a schedule?”

Answer: Having little choice in the matter helps a lot.  At the end of the day, if a script isn’t delivered, issues aren’t addressed, or a deadline missed, I’d have no one to blame but myself.  Which is why I just can’t allow it to happen. I can’t say it’s ever easy – but certainly very fulfilling when it’s all said and done.

maggmayday writes: “Would you ever have a cat?”

Answer: I love cats too but I love dogs more so I’m much more likely to adopt another dog (or two) before I’d get a cat.

TheOtherOne writes: “Who was your favourite teacher at school? Why? And how did they influence your life?”

Answer: My old high school English (and drama) teacher, John Whitman, inspired my passion for literature and help make me a better writer by pointing out some of the narrative techniques I used to fall back on in high school.

“Have you ever written a character with that person in mind?”

Answer: Never a character, but his lessons continue to influence my daily writing.

“Again, at school (either junior or high) … Were you a sporty or booky person or a bit of both?”

Answer: Oh, definitely booky.  As much as I enjoyed watching NFL Sunday football, my sporting ventures were limited to marathon sessions of D&D.

“What sort of friends did you have and do you still have contact with any of them?”

Answer: I’d say my friends were a varied mix back then and I don’t really keep in touch with many.  A couple of notable exceptions, among them my best friend in high school, Cas Anvar, who is presently tearing it up as Alex Kamal on The Expanse.

“Please could you list 5 of your top/favourite films of all time?”

Answer: Aliens, Blade Runner, A Christmas Story, The Princess Bride, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

“Would Akemi like to do a mailbag for us sometime?”

Answer: I asked Akemi.  Her response: “Depends on the questions.”

Alabaster55 writes: “Is there any way you could get your art department to through together a size comparison chart if the ships in Dark Matter?”

Answer: This would be more a request for VFX Supervisor Lawren Bancroft-Wilson.  I’ll ask him.

MaggieL80 writes: “A favorite expression or quote?”

Answer: Smooooooooth sailing!

“A favorite poet?”

Answer: Sorry.

“A favorite poem?”

Answer: Sorry again.

“Favorite vacation spot?”

Answer: Tokyo of course.

“Favorite go to comfort food?”

Answer: Chocolate!

ivonbartokfans writes: “How long did it take Ivon to write the script for 307?”

Answer: I’ll save this question for Ivon’s mailbag.

“Do you think you could foster dogs or would it be too painful to give them up when a forever home was found?”

Answer: We had intended to try fostering but, upon laying eyes on Suji, Akemi reconsidered and suggested we adopt instead.  I’d be happy to foster, but am reluctant to commit for the reasons you outlined.

“How did the cast photoshoot go?”

Answer: From what I hear, Alison Hepburn did a fantastic job running the show.

Tinyiy writes: “How do you audition for dark matter?”

Answer: Have your agent submit you.  We cast everything from recurring to the occasional one-line parts.

Daniel Watson writes: “Did Eli fix his pod and survive the jump?”

Answer: In my mind, yes, Eli did fix his pod and the Destiny crew is still out there, somewhere, safe in stasis.

darkmatter writes: “when are the answers from that Jodelle Ferland q&a gonna be on here?”

Answer: Whenever she finishes them.  We keep her busy on the show so I told her she didn’t have a deadline on turning them around.

Bailey writes: “1. Do you know when the casts’ photoshoot pictures will be out?”

Answer: I imagine the new cast photos should start hitting the internet approximately a month before the season 3 premiere.  Say May or June?

“2. Will you guys be at San Diego Comic Con?”

Answer: I, personally, will not be at San Diego Comic Con but some of the cast certainly will.

ceresis64 writes: “Did my triptych idea for a contest seem feasible?”

Answer: You’ll have to refresh my memory…

“Is 8 March the most popular birth date that members of the cast/crew celebrate together? If not, what date is? And how many celebrate that day?”

Answer: No idea.

“What’s the latest news about your military sci-fi series?”

Answer: No news really.  There was some interest but it would have required us to go into production immediately which, given my present commitments, would have been impossible.

“Would you consider a future contest to make a Season 3 poster?”

Answer: Sure.

Kyle Toth writes: “What is the best way to get a chance to audition for Dark Matter? I know Alex Mallari Jr. attended IMTA; would this be a way to get in front of the right people?”

Answer: As I answered earlier, all you need is an agent who will recommend you for a specific role.  And, no, you don’t have to be a seasoned performer to land an agent.

cat4444 writes: “What does a production do if one of the main cast shows up for work sick? Shooting schedules are set, it’s not as if a main cast member can be replaced, and the rest of the cast getting sick is not a desirable option. So what do you do?”

Answer: Usually, the cast member pushes through.  On rare occasions (It’s only happened once on Dark Matter that I can remember) I will write said cast member out of that day’s scenes and send them home to recuperate.

Jackie May writes: “is the dark matter crew going to dragon con this year….i hope so!”

Answer: I’m not privy to the individual cast members’ convention plans but I’d safe it’s a safe bet that at least some of them will be there.

bolo writes: “Any more romantic interludes for 3?”

Answer: Oh, it’s possible.

“Also any Canadian dates for cast?”

Answer: If you mean a premiere date on Space Channel, not yet!

Sandy writes: “Was it always your plan to kill off One?”

Answer: Even the best-laid plans don’t always come to fruition.  Once you start production, you’re no longer working in a bubble and have to contend with numerous unforeseen developments, surprises, and outside influences that may force a course change.

profmadmax writes: “Who is typically in charge of TV season DVD packaging and title menus artwork?”

Answer: In the case of Dark Matter, it’s Funimation.

“What is your least favorite Stargate SG-1 episode?”

Answer: Emancipation, Hathor, Seth.  Hard to choose.

Do you like series crossover characters like Munch(Homicide,X-Files,Law&Order) & have you ever considered a DM/SG scenario? Is it complicated copyright-wise? For instance, if another show wanted to use a character which you created, is it a simple yes/no from you, or do you forfeit the rights to the production company?”

Answer: As much as I’d love to do a crossover, it would be incredibly complicated and extremely unlikely.  The rights to Stargate and all of its characters rest with MGM.

Sandy writes: “Do you already know if you are guaranteed 5 seasons of Dark Matter? Or is it reviewed yearly despite your 5 year story line?”

Answer: Although I do have a 5 year storyline planned, the fate of the show rests with the broadcasters.  Like most every show out there, we await word of a potential pick-up from the moment our new season premieres.

Tinyiy writes: “Will Dark Matter be at Fan Expo Canada or Toronto comicon?”

Answer: Hmmm.  I’m not sure.  If the show was invited, I’m sure we would arrange for cast members to show.

“Where do you film?”

Answer: Mostly in Etobicoke and Hamilton.

“Have you ever come across the town of Richmond Hill?”

Answer: No.  Would you recommend I visit?

TheOtherOne writes: “Joe, how do you choose the ‘Related’ section to the blog? Sometimes it has very recent blog links and sometimes blog links to the distant past – which are a real treat to read  Thanks for these!”

Answer: They’re automatically generated by the blog.  I’m as surprised as you are.

 

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(illustration by Juanita Nakamura)

Thanks to everyone who took the time to reach out via posts, texts, emails, phone, and personally to offer condolences on Bubba’s passing.  Akemi and I are truly touched by the kind words and gestures of friends, co-workers, and strangers alike. It’s been an exhausting week and it has meant a lot – to hear from you all and then, to get home late last night to find a lovely bouquet awaiting us compliments of Dark Matter Executive Producer Jay Firestone.

Akemi has been surprisingly strong – sad but strengthened by the fact his condition has deteriorated so much that we’d had little choice in the end.  She was telling me that her favorite memories of Bubba included the time he first learned to “shake” (She taught him when he was 10.  The next day, his arm was so sore he could barely lift it).  And his passion for art –

Also the way he would patiently sit down on the sidewalk after crossing a street in full expectation of the treat he would receive for the herculean effort.

For me, it was the time he ate a bag of chocolate-covered almonds sitting on the kitchen table and then had explosive diarrhea.  Having Lulu and Suji around has certainly brightened our spirits.  Lulu clearly misses Bubba and has been quite reserved.  Suji, on the other hand, continues to be her lovable clownish self.

And finally tonight, a get-together with one of my favorite people ever.  Dinner with The Doctor –

Robert Picardo was in town for a con appearance, but nevertheless found time for a little get-together.  Love this guy.

First Star Trek, then Stargate.  And chances are you’ll be seeing him on Dark Matter.  Eventually.

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Ah, there we go.  A totally natural candid shot of Director Melanie Orr in action.  Pictured above: discussing shots with Director of Photography Craig Wright.

On the Raza mess triptych: the ladies.

And the guys.

Keep that fan mail coming!

Hey, as promised, it’s time to vote for a new Dark Matter episode title.  YOU get a say so that I don’t have to wrack my brain to come up with one.

The Episode 306 contenders are…

Polls close in 24 hours.  Cast your ballot and then tell your friends!

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Akemi says that her single big regret about adopting Suji is not getting her earlier in her life.

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Bubba’s condition hasn’t really changed much.  His cough is unchanged and he has his good and bad days.  So, no discernible improvement but, on the other hand, no marked decline either.

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Lulu, meanwhile, continues to sport her cone of shame as her paw heals.

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She is miserable – and not at all shy about letting me know it.  Poor old gal.

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Whew!  I am exhausted today and feeling old.  I actually napped this afternoon like some retired senior – or my longtime writing/producing partner Paul Mullie.  A late night in Hamilton last night saw us wrap a little before 11 p.m.  We are now officially over halfway through (my plan for) our series!  Six weeks left in the shooting schedule for season 3 and then…who knows what the future holds?  (Photo courtesy of Anthony Lemke).

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Some impromptu purchases this afternoon.  Have heard about Few bourbon and have always wanted to sample.  Koval, hailing from Chicago, is one of my very favorites so when I saw it, I had to snap up a bottle – along with a bottle of the single barrel oat which I’ve yet to try.  And, finally, I elected to check out the Suntory Whisky Toki, a blend of grain and malt whiskies from Hakushu, Yamazaki, and Chita, because I have never had a Japanese whisky I didn’t like.  Could this one be the one to break tradition?!  Doubt it.

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I dedicated much of my weekend to sampling the local fare so that I can properly recommend standout items if any of YOU come to town.  After checking into your hotel, head down to Nadege on Queen Street West and order yourself a the Individual Donut (caramel chantilly, salted caramel cream, crisp praliné wafer and almond shortbread).
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Then swing by Nugateau Patisserie for some of the city’s best eclairs.  Today, I went pistachio (as is tradition) while Akemi tried the matcha-yuzu.

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We have a new episode title!

The people have spoken.  And the winner is…

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“Episode 30: All The Time In The World”

Thanks to everyone who voted.  You’ll get another say in another episode-naming poll next week!
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Today marked Bubba’s first day since starting the Palladia treatment and we’re not sure if it’s drug, the cancer, or some other influence but he seemed off today. Slower to eat, reluctant to walk, and, perhaps most alarmingly, no longer interested in his treats.  We’re going to monitor him these next couple of days and, if these presumed side effects persist, we’re going to discontinue the Palladia.  In the end, we’d rather back 2-3 good months with him than 3-5 medium to bad ones.

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Another day, another hot sauce.  This one is a cascabel pepper and yellow bell pepper base with shallots, garlic, salt, apple cider vinegar, pear juice, honey, dehydrated organic Japanese pepper, and dijon mustard.  Surprisingly, a touch hotter than the cayenne pepper-based sauce I made yesterday.  But it will no doubt pale in comparison to tomorrow’s habanero-based hot sauce.

P.S. My new-found appreciation for things spicy comes from reading this book by Finnish author Johanna Sinisalo:

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” Set in an alternative historical present, in a “eusistocracy”—an extreme welfare state—that holds public health and social stability above all else, it follows a young woman whose growing addiction to illegal chili peppers leads her on an adventure into a world where love, sex, and free will are all controlled by the state.”

My favorite read in recent memory.

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Today, we brought Suji in for her first training session.  I know, I know.  She’s 11.  But she has a few bad habits – like barking at other dogs, people, balloons, cars, carrier bags, the occasional light reflection, and poopy bags being blown about by the wind.  In all fairness, she WAS raised in a barn.

Two days into my horror-fest and I’m four movies deep.  Last night it was Hush, about a deaf woman being stalked by a deranged killer (well-directed but there were a suspect character motivations that gave me pause).  This afternoon, it was Under the Shadow, an Iranian movie about a mother and daughter living in an abandoned apartment complex that may be haunted by a djinn (interesting but a little slow).  And then, tonight, it was The Witch, about a 17th century New England family targeted by supernatural forces (eerie and unsettling; the best of the bunch so far).

Thanks to everyone who has sent us well-wishes for Bubba.  He remains in good spirits.  Today, he actually walked the three blocks to the pet shop!

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Then he ran out of steam, so we ubered it back.

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Today…

7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.: On set for Episode 307.

9:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.: Location Scout for Episode 309

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.: Notes session

12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.: Lunch

1:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.: Dealing with VISA who put a block on my credit card after Akemi tried to purchase something from an online shop in Japan.

1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.: Cast read-thru for Episode 308.

2:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.: Departmental approvals for Episodes 308-310.

3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.: Production meeting for Episode 308

4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.: Tone meeting for Episode 308.

5:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.: Drive home.

5:30 p.m. – 11:30 p.m.: Have a routine appointment for Bubba turn into an extended visit with our local vet and a trip to the Animal Emergency Hospital that included: 2 physicals, 2 sets of x-rays, various prognoses ranging from congestive heart failure to not sure, antibiotics, a referral to see a specialist.

11:30 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.: Write blog entry

Pushed to tomorrow’s schedule because there was no time today: Dinner.

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