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Bundle up, kids!  It’s cold outside.  It’s I’m-not-going-out-unless-I-absolutely-have-to cold.  And it’s going to get even colder.  I mean, come on!  What happened to the promise of global warming?  Spring in winter?  Summer in autumn?  A world safe from runaway icebergs and douchey ski pros.  More of this –

And less of this –

Despite the deep freeze, I did venture out tonight to join my buddy Ivon and actor Jeff Teravainen for dinner.  Some drinks, some burgers, some nice conversation, and we wrapped things up with an apple pie sundae and Jeff going to town on everyone’s fries.  I’m a big fan of the guy, and not just because he picked up the tab.

Tomorrow, it’s an early morning for Lulu and Suji who will be heading over to our new dogsitter’s place where they will be spending the night.  This will mark the first night Suji will be separated from Akemi since we adopted her last year.  She’s in great hands, but I’m very curious how she’s going to react.  She can be a little…testy.

While the dogs are away at the their B&B (Bed and Barkfest), Akemi and I are going to take the opportunity to take a quick trip to Montreal where we will spend tomorrow afternoon and Thursday morning checking out condos.  With my recent move cross-country, I thought it might be nice to have a pied-a-terre in the city of smoked meat and strippers.  Who knows?  Maybe we’ll end up neighbors of actor Anthony Lemke who now calls Montreal home.  Or, at least, Home A.

Only 19 reading days until the year draws to a close and really, when you think about it, it’s actually less than that as I’ll need to post my Best Books of 2017 blog entry before or by the 31st.  This was a pretty good reading year and, given the sheer volume, I suppose it makes sense.  I’m at 232 books on the year and want to hit 250 when all is said and done (A new record by the way).

There’s still time!  Recommend me a great book that was published in 2017.

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And that’s a wrap on Project A 2017 writers’ room.  Over the course of the past five days, we broke the pilot, broad stroked the second episode, bulleted the first episode character arcs, fleshed out the backstory of our aliens, overviewed our five season plan, ate a hell of a lot of breakfast pastries and cookies, and polished off a bottle of delicious Cuban dark rum my buddy Tio sent my way.  Thanks to David Ray, Alex Levine, and Samantha Mastai for their veritable whirlwind of ideas.  I could barely keep up!

May we have the opportunity to do it all over again (x9!) in the not too distant future.

Now, I’m off to write the outline and, soon after, that pilot script.  Some really great character dynamics in this one.  Can’t wait for you all to read see it!

Oh, damn.  Who’s going?  Well, I – for one – will be dropping by to stock up on super villain t-shirts and assorted comic book-related sundries.  I will be cosplaying as the protagonist of the anime series Harried Showrunner Kuromi.  Keep an eye out!

Well, here’s the trailer for the long-awaited Alita: Battle Angel live-action movie.   Hmmm.  Gorgeous visuals but I am unconvinced by the decision to animate the Alita character.

Well, this looks weird and interesting.  Have A Nice Day

A nailbiter!  You Were Never Really Here

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To be perfectly honest, I was looking forward to some time off.  Nothing crazy.  Maybe a month.  Or six.  While a lot of my fellow writers start going stir crazy after a few directionless weeks, I have no problem sleeping in, spending time with my girlfriend and the dogs, and reading into the wee hours.  And that WAS the plan but, prior to leaving Vancouver, my agent arranged for sit-downs with some of the local production companies.  I figured, why not?  If nothing else, I would know what I’d be missing.

Anyway, great meetings all, and one in particular in which I was presented with the opportunity to help develop something.  I liked the project a lot, but especially liked the people involved – and, at this point in my career, that’s what I’m looking for: interesting projects and good collaborators.  As they used to say on Stargate: “LTS” (Life’s Too Short).

And time off, apparently, is even shorter.

So, after reviewing the project and offering my take (and, of course, assuring them I wasn’t THAT crazy), I was hired.  David Ray and I spent about a month fleshing out the world, the backstory, the characters, and arcs.  We delivered the overview, received some input from the broadcaster and production company, and prepared for the writers’ room.

I elected to bring in local-kid-makes-good Alex Levine, a former script coordinator on Stargate (and practicing lawyer before that!) who ended up making quite a name for himself in his days as a writer and Co-Executive Producer on Orphan Black.  Yes, he has an impressive track record.  But, more importantly, he has a great head for story and characters.

Which he has proven over the past two days of spinning.  He, David, Samantha, and I dedicated Monday to waiting for the white board to arrive broad stroking the major story beats.  Then, today, we ate pastries David picked up from the Italian bakery across the street focused on individual character arcs.  I figure tomorrow, we’ll finish up the character arcs, then dedicate Thursday and Friday to fleshing out our first episode.

And, once that’s done, it’ll be smooooooth sailing.  I’ll write an outline, possibly a revised outline, and then go to script.

Can’t reveal much about this project except to say that it’s a compelling, character-driven SF series chock full of surprises, humor, and warmth.  Every sci-fi show I’ve worked on in the past – SG-1, Atlantis, Universe, and Dark Matter – has been, at its heart, about the family.

I have no doubt – you’re gonna love it!

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A reminder to join us this Wednesday, December 6th, at 10/9c for a Dark Matter/Stargate live tweet event in which I’ll be fielding questions and offering insights on my 15 combined years on all four sci-fi productions.  Tell your friends!

Well, today was Day #1 of the writer’s room for one of the projects (let’s call it Project A) I’ve been working on.  David Ray and I spent the better part of the past month pitching ideas back and forth, rewriting and revising the series overview to the point where we now feel confident moving on to the script stage.  He, Alex, Samantha and I will take the next four days to beat out the tease, five acts, and the tag after which I will head off to hammer out an outline – and, eventually, that pilot!

Project B is another something in the works, the adaptation of an upcoming SF novel.  I pitched my take via email a couple of weeks back and, last Friday, had a follow-up conversation with the main players.  This one looks to start moving quickly in the near year.

Project C is another book to screen adaptation, this one of a pulp classic from the 60’s.  I delivered my take last week and anxiously await feedback.  I pitched it to my old pal, Alexander Ruemelin, who seemed particularly enamored with the idea. Yep, this one would be all sorts of crazy.

Project D is yet another book to screen adaptation, this one in the horror realm.  At this point, just some early conversations with a couple of interested production companies, and some intriguing discussions with the author who I’ve gotten to know over the past two months.  I am (and have always been) a big fan.

Speaking of being a big fan of a certain author, there’s this SF heavyweight I’ve admired for years – and now I may finally get the chance to adapt one of this books.  I was approached a couple of weeks ago by the head of another production company regarding the possibility.  I said yes before I’d even read the book, and was even more emphatic after completing it.  This one would be BIG and nothing short of amazing.  Let’s call it…Project E.

But wait, there’s more!  I’m in early talks to help develop a series based on another sci-fi book.  I loved the author’s last novel and the premise to her latest is insanely intriguing.  Project F.

Project G would be big to small screen adaptation of a movie (some might call it sci-fi, others horror).  I forwarded by vision for the potential series a couple of weeks ago and am still awaiting word.  This one is a bit of a long shot as I’m fairly firm on the approach I want to take here.

Of course there’s Masked, the superhero-themed anthology I’ll be pitching in L.A. come January with my producing partner, Vanessa Piazza, along with those other comic book-related prospects, the live-action treatment of that anime series, and a couple of other development gigs.  Believe it or not, I even turned down a few projects that I felt weren’t a good fit.

It may seem like a lot but, realistically, in this business, you have to have multiple irons in the fire.  Sure things can flounder and fade while long shots have a way of defying the odds.  The plan is still to produce one more 5-season show and then retire and live off Suji’s various endorsement deals.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to post their spooky stories.  I won’t sleep a wink tonight!

Hey, Melissa O’Neil (Dark Matter’s TWO) is auctioning off a couple of her character’s jackets to raise money for local food banks.  If you’d care to own a piece of Dark Matter history, check out the auction here: https://www.32auctions.com/TwoJackets

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We’ve all experienced them at least once in our lives, those inexplicable, unnerving instances that make us wonder whether dark forces are at play, their subtle and sinister hands manipulating our reality from afar.  They leave an impression, an indelible mark at the deepest levels of your subconscious, buried away by overwhelming reason, the steadfast grip of sanity, and a fear of the unknown and explained.  We all have these stories.  This is mine.

It happened so long ago, I can barely remember when, but I do recall it was a quiet night at my childhood home.  The plan had been for a group of us to get together and resume play on a gaming campaign interrupted by an early school night, but a storm front had moved in late that day, washing out some of the local roads, making for treacherous driving conditions.  A couple of my friends had already called to cancel.  The simple fact that I hadn’t heard from the others gave me hope that, perhaps, we would manage to salvage the evening by literally weathering the storm that was battering the area with high winds and a torrential downpour.  My parents were out, stranded at my aunt’s place, my sister visiting a classmate, leaving my friend Paul and I alone in the empty house, seated downstairs, waiting.

The lightning flashed and the basement lights flickered.  I could sense Paul’s unease, his impatience.  It was looking increasingly likely we were going to be rained out.  As both our eyes slowly gravitated to the clock ticking past 8:30 p.m., I was suddenly struck with a thought.  “Hey.  I have an idea.”  Without explanation, I got up and disappeared through the door in the back.

Paul followed me, past the washer dryer, and into the garage where I hunkered down at the foot of a mountain of discarded childhood treasures.  The garage bulb had burnt out long ago and we hadn’t gotten around to replacing it, so I searched in the darkness until I found what I was looking for, retrieving it from the pile and holding it aloft.  “Got it!”.  From where he was standing, he couldn’t tell what it was at first but, once we stepped into the light, he realized – and frowned.  “Seriously?” In my mind, the circumstances couldn’t have been more perfect.

I don’t know how my sister had ended up with the ouija board and, looking back now, I’d think it would have been something my mother, a minister, would have frowned upon.  Then again, she may have simply dismissed it as one of many silly board games along the lines Clue or Sorry which also lay buried, somewhere, in that corner of the garage.  Surely, Hasbro’s recommendation of “Ages 8 and up” was enough to forestall any ominous implications.  And Paul seemed to be of like mind when, after a roll of his eyes, he acquiesced with a shoulder shrug.

We cleared the table of multi-sided dice and hand-painted figures, and set it up – the faux wooden board with its ornate letters and numbers, eerie images in its four corners: a grimacing sun, a frowning moon, practitioners of the dark arts pictured on lower left and right.  At the top, the word OUIJA flanked by the words YES and NO; at the bottom, the word GOODBYE inexplicably, forebodingly, split in two.  We sat down and touched our fingers to the heart-shaped plastic diviner, what the instructions referred to as “the planchette”.  It was surprisingly warm to the touch. Suddenly, a thunderclap jolted us out of our seats.  It was, I thought, as if some supernatural force was warning us off.  But I didn’t give voice to my mounting dread and if Paul had similar concerns, he didn’t speak them either.

“What do you want to ask it?”I said.

Paul briefly considered and then, decided: “Who’s going to win the Super Bowl?”

A fair question.  As we resumed our positions, the tips of our fingers gently resting on the planchette, I voiced the question aloud as if in so doing, I was communicating directly with the spirits.  “Who’s going to win the Super Bowl?”

As we sat and waited, utter silence descended upon us.  Strangely, mysteriously, the thunder and rain had stopped.  I could almost feel my own heart beating through my chest.  The basement lights flickered once again.

Five minutes.  Ten minutes.  Then, a movement, ever so slight, what at first I suspected to be Paul moving the planchette may well have been my own trembling fingers.  I took a breath and refocused.  Five minutes.  Ten.  Fifteen.  Another movement, ever so slight.  I realized, I was holding my breath.  We waited.  And then, Paul broke the silence: “Boy, I hope it’s not trying to spell San Francisco Forty-Niners!”

True story.

Okay.  Your turn!

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There’s a lot to genre programming to look forward to in 2018 (and the end of 2017).  Judge Dredd: Mega City One, Umbrella Academy, Myst – to name but a few.  And then there are the following intriguing candidates, much closer to a screen near you…

Dark (Netflix)

Premieres today

Counterpart (STARZ)

Premieres January 21st, 2018

Altered Carbon (Netflix)

Premieres 2018

Castle Rock (Hulu)

Premieres 2018

Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams (Amazon)

Premieres 2018

Which ones are you looking forward to?

 

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Circle the date and tell your Dark Matter and Stargate-loving fans.  We’ll be meeting up on twitter to talk about a few of our favorite shows.  If you have questions about DM, SG-1, SGA, or SGU, I’ll be online fielding them for the better part of an hour.  What Stargate cast-member binge-watched almost 200 episodes of the franchise of the course of a month?  What character was the inspiration for Dark Matter‘s resident tech-monkey, FIVE?  What was the inspiration for the design of the Mikkei destroyer?  Which actor cracked my rib on the very first day of production?

Let’s reminisce.  Wednesday, December 6th at 10 pm EDT/7 p.m. PDT.

And just so our international fans don’t feel left out, I’ll be doing another one the week following (date and time to be announced!).

Come join us for a trip down memory lane(s) – and, of course, stay tuned for our secret hashtag!

Looking forward to catching up with everyone!

A lot people in the industry do it for the fame, the awards, the accolades.  Others do it for the love of the art.  I do it mostly for the whiskey – like, say, this fine bottle of Jefferson’s bourbon sent my way compliments of Dark Matter fan Trev in Victoria.  Thanks, buddy.

A thank you as well to Tanja in Germany who sent a package of goodies via post: chocolate-covered marzipans (How’d you know???), art work, and toys for the dog. Pictured above: Lulu french kissing her new reindeer pal.

Finally, while yesterday was new comic book day, today was old comic book day on comixology as more classic titles are digitally released.  And so, as a brief follow up to yesterday’s best new covers entry, I give you my favorite classic comic book cover of Thursday, November 30th, 2017:

Action Comics #317 (cover art by George Klein and Kurt Swan)

The rainbow faces of Superman.  My favorite is his purple face.  Oh, shit!  Superman is pissed!

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