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Today, I treated the crew to some food truck action.  Minus the food truck because it’s too early.  Instead, Fidel Gastro’s (http://www.fidelgastros.com) set up shop in the lunch room and served up a surprise dinner.

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Sandwiches:

SGT Slather: bbq pulled pork, guacamole, house made corn chips
Diablo’s Right Wing: spicy shredded chicken with carrot aioli Shakshuka: spicy tomato stewed eggplant, zucchini and onions with creamy goats cheese

Sides:
Pad Thai Fries Mixed Green Salad

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“Do you want to leave a message for the cast and crew?”asked Exec Producer’s assistant Alison Hepburn.

At first, I thought I’d pass and then, upon further consideration, decided to go with…

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For dessert, we had cupcakes and cake as our special guest star celebrated her birthday today Dark Matter style: in the ship’s underbelly!

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Another special guest star of sorts visited set today as writer Michael Simpson dropped by to do some interviews for SciFiNow (http://www.scifinow.co.uk).  He brought us a nice bottle of scotch – that got confiscated at customs.  But that didn’t stop him from making him an honorary member of our whisky club and toasting the honour with a 16 year old Langavulin.

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Two down, several more to go before final wrap.  Next up on the shelf: Writers Tears.

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Her name is Mackenzie Lawrence but I just call her Happy because, well, she always is.  Smiling.  Singing.  Dancing.  Even after her recent bout with that flu-like bug that was going around, she was back on set, greeting me with her trademark cheer.  She is, without a doubt, one of the most upbeat, exuberant, positive people I know – forever looking on the bright side of life.  Either that or I’m working with a crazy person.

Anyway, Mackenzie need our support!  She has produced, directed and stars in an online pilot called Press Pause.  What’s it about?  Well…

“Nora and Rose are entering the final year of their Undergraduate Degree when Nora is diagnosed with Early Onset Parkinson’s Disease. While their friendship and convictions are tested they girls find hope in humor.”

Check it out and help support Mackenzie by voting for her pilot.  The top two vote getters will have the opportunity to turn their pilots into a full web series.

http://www.storyhive.com/project/show/id/223

With two months to go before wrap, the excitement is building as our episodes begin to take shape.  I’m looking forward to our summer premiere, but perhaps looking forward to our official pre-premiere rollout even more.  We got A LOT of sneak peeks on deck: ships, cast, behind-the-scene pics.  In the meantime, how about these to tide you over…

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Capturing all of the Alex Mallari Jr. (FOUR) action.  And there’ll be plenty!

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Pendragon Corp: One of the multi-planetaries our crew may have to deal with.

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More mystery boxes.  A running theme in this series.

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A section of the ship’s lower levels.

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Interesting design.  But for what?!

Answers to come!

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A meeting of minds this morning as Director Ron Murphy shot as scene for episode #106, then handed off the bridge to Director Bruce McDonald for episode #107. The shipboard action got heated today in a frantic race against time – while our special guest star reached an understanding with our Android (Zoie Palmer).

Tomorrow, we hit the airlock, corridors and quarters.  Oh, and we finally sit down to

Preeesenting…Dark Matter A Camera Operator Dino Laurenza!  Check him out in action…

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The guy is poetry in motion!

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Always focused.

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Showing off his strength, dexterity – and lovely singing voice.

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The guy is so good at what he does, I suspect he’s a cyborg – half human, half camera.

Hey!  Finally received some audio samples in advance of our big music meeting. Really like what I’ve heard so far.  Tomorrow, we discuss!

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What’s in the weird box?  Find out this summer on Dark Matter!

Another whirlwind day!  Wrote three new scenes, rewrote another, attended a few prep meetings for episode #108 with director T.W. Peacocke, and dropped by set to watch our awesome special guest star kick ass – and look absolutely stunning doing it.  Tomorrow, we hit the bridge for more fiery antics.

P.S. I have no doubt that, after the show premieres, you’ll be scouring these past blog entries for clues and teasers.

Hey!  You know who I’ve yet to introduce?  The fun, hardworking, inspired and colorful, hat-loving ladies of the Dark Matter costume department led by Costume Designer Noreen Landry.  They’ve been creating some marvelous outfits for the show (like the stylish yet practical number worn by Wendy, Zoie’s space suit, and team handler Tabor Calchek’s comfy outfits) and I’m sure there’s plenty more to come (Callie in #108, Vons and Tash in #110-111, and Alexander Rook in #112 to name a few).

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Costume Designer Noreen Landry.

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Assistant Costume Designer Anna Dal Farra.

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Head Cutter Anita O’Toole

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Noreen again, overseeing a costumes meeting.

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Anita throwing me the look and flashing the scissors, not-so-subtly letting me know it’s time for me to leave her work.

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Daily Seamstress and Wardrobe Assistant Liz Gregg (Walters).

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On-Set Supervisor Jozie Conte who keeps me lint and relatively dog hair free.

All fantastic to work with.  After this season wraps, I think I’ll get them to revamp my entire wardrobe.  Either that or start casting actors my size in season 2.

“Come on, Alex.  What would Bruce Lee do?  Make it awesome!” – Actor Alex Mallari Jr., all mic’d up in preparation for another big training room sequence.  Dark Matter Episode #107, Day 2.

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More often than not, whenever we seek out Alex’s character, FOUR, we usually find him training.  Originally, I envisioned him working with swords but, after a couple of rehearsal sessions with stunt coordinator John Stead, it became clear that we didn’t have to limit ourselves.  Sure, Alex is dedicated and skillful enough to pull off an astounding double sword sequence in the opener – but his (character’s) expertise extends to other weapons as well.  So far, I believe, we’ve showcased his (character’s) proficiency with four different weapons.  And counting.

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“So, not so irie?”

- VFX Supervisor Lawren Bancroft-Wilson today after Ivon and I complained that the pre-lunch Jamaican patties gave us indigestion.

LBW (and his monitor) save the day at last weekend's Dark Matter gallery shoot.

LBW (and his monitor) save the day at last weekend’s Dark Matter gallery shoot.

Oh, it could’ve been worse.  Much worse.  Four members of the crew were felled by this bug that’s been going around, dropping a cast member and another half dozen crew members last week alone!  Fortunately, I had the foresight to hire Consulting Producer Ivon Bartok for situations such as this.

Out for his birthday dinner (aka - his payment in full for this Dark Matter gig).

Out for his birthday dinner (aka – his payment in full for this Dark Matter gig).

From the hermetically sealed environs of my office, I can just give him orders or receive text message updates like: “Finished blocking scene #35″ or “PB&J sandwiches at the craft table!” or “Anthony Lemke ate the last PB&J sandwich. Again.”

“I think something’s coming down with me.”

– Akemi, this morning, letting me know that her sore throat was the harbinger of a full-blown cold.

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It’s gotten so bad that, unable to speak, she’s had me do a guest intro for her recent Avocado Melt video recipe!

Sock of the Day!  Sock of the Day!

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Had our concept meeting for episode #108 today, and spent much of the day on set.   BIG fight sequence tomorrow with our special guest star who’ll be putting the beatdown on one of the boys.   Note: Dark Matter‘s first season will boast the most ass-kicking women this side of, well…

Finally, everyone seemed to love the new Android scene I wrote yesterday.  I was inspired by the unique talents Zoie Palmer displayed in her callback audition.  She is one diversely talented actress!

“Girls who like Cinderella have nightmare marriage.  Statistics show.  It’s data!”

– Akemi today, on our walk back home from lunch.

I guess it makes sense.

Today also saw us visit the post office so that Akemi could sense her dad a chocolate shipment.  Apparently, his stock is running low.

Of course no overseas shipment would be complete without the appropriate cartoon commentary that the post office employee must take great pains to avoid covering with the appropriate stamps.

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“Hey, it’s a french bulldog!”I said.

“It’s not a french bulldog,”Akemi informed me, clearly disappointed.  “It’s a rabbit.”

Upon closer scrutiny, yes, of course.  A rabbit.

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I couldn’t help but take a picture of this.  It would seem certain customers are obsessive ringers.

Hey, spoke to the gang at SyFy this week and the plan is to target April for the big Dark Matter roll-out.  So, in a couple of weeks, you’ll finally get a first look at all OF the Dark Matter concept art, designs, set and cast pics I’ve been sitting on for the past couple of months.  As for that awesome guest casting announcement, I urged them make it official this week.

But who knows?

Sunny day today!  Got the dogs out and even worked on a  new Android scene with Zoie Palmer.  Great fun.  That’s why we call her The Wizardress.  Much to her surprise as you can sense from the following text exchange:

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 Mailbag!

Spacelog writes: “What can you tell us about that planned Stargate Extinction comic book that never was.”

Answer: Alas, not much.  Last year, I was contacted by a publisher about the possibility of writing some stories for a planned Stargate comic book series.  I loved the idea – but my creative plate was full with the various projects I had in development.  HOWEVER, I did tell them that I’d be very interested if I could translate Stargate: Extinction, that unproduced Stargate: Atlantis movie script, into a four-part comic book one-off.  They loved the idea and approached MGM about the idea.  And that was the last I heard of it.  Maybe they felt it would get the way of the planned reboot?  Too bad.  I think it would have been great fun for long-standing fans of the series.

Debra writes: “Any idea yet on when the series will be shown?”

Answer: Dark Matter will premiere this summer.  And maybe sooner than you think!  Official announcement still to come.

dasndanger writes: “What (if any) is the relationship between the world in Dark Matter, and our earth?”

Answer: Dark Matter is set in a distance future in which multi-corps have gone out and colonized other worlds in order to exploit their planetary resources.  These multi-planetaries are the big interstellar power players while the G.A. (Galactic Authority) ensures that law and order is maintained.  A smattering of independent worlds exist as well, former colonies and powerful family-run republics.  Earth is Homeworld Alpha.

Ponytail writes: “Have any of your visits to Tokyo (Robot Restaurant) influenced some of your writing/vision/color in Dark Matter?”

Answer: There’s a definite anime influence running through Dark Matter.  Some quite obvious; some less so.

Scott writes: “Will there be any epic space battles, with lasers and missiles and stuff?”

Answer: Yep.  Epic space battles.  Missiles, yes.  Lasers, not so much.

JustLookAtTheFlowers writes: “1. Will the episodes be serialized or stand-alone type episodes?”

Answer: The show will be heavily serialized.  Stuff happens EVERY EPISODE.  Twists, turns, ongoing character arcs.  Perfect for binge-watching.  Or viewing the night it airs to avoid potential office and online spoilers!

“2. When can we expect Syfy to start promoting this show with an updated website, interviews, trailers?!”

Answer: Yes.  April’s the month!

ivonbartokfans writes: “1. Is Zoie’s cat still around?”

1. Yep, Zoie’s cat, Cloverblob, is most definitely around.  As I mentioned in a previous blog post, my date with her did not exactly go as planned.  I sent Zoie the following text not long afterwards:

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And we had the following exchange:

Screen Shot 2015-03-15 at 4.55.56 PM

“2. How many cat t-shirts does everyone own? Who has the record?”

Answer: No idea.  But I’ve seen a varied bunch!

“3. Is Robert Cooper a possibility to direct an episode?”

Answer: Nope, but he did write one – the episode we’re presently shooting now, #107.

“4. Are you and Ivon doing March Madness this year?”

Answer: It’ll be tough since we’ll be on set – but we’ll definitely try to catch a few games.  Go Cyclones!

BoltBait writes: “I see that Terry Pratchett passed away today. I’ve never read any of his book but am inspired to. Where should I start?”

Answer: I started with Guards! Guards!  But the entire Discworld series is great.

PBMom writes: “And I too want to know if Jelly had her butt in the water bowl for any particular reasons?”

Answer: Because it was comfy?

JT writes: “Was wondering if you could write about how you select the directors for each episode, what they bring to it, what you’re looking for from them etc.”

Answer: We’ve selected directors based on our past experience with them (Paolo, Ron, John, and Lee through their past work with Jay and Vanessa), (Amanda, Bruce, Martin, John, and Andy through their past work with me), and whole-hearted recommendations (T.J. and T.W.).

mylhibug writes: “I’m rewatching all the SGU episodes and am reminded that I love the music from the show. My questions are as follows: Who picked the music for that show? Will Dark Matter have a similar feel when it comes to music? Is there a SGU soundtrack out there that can be purchased?”

Answer: The late great Joel Goldsmith was our music composer through all three Stargate shows.  Dark Matter will have a different feel when it comes to its music.  As far as I know, an SGU soundtrack was never released.

Tam Dixon writes: “How many seasons does the series bible outline?”

Answer: The series bible is in my head.  And it covers the entire journey of the ship’s crew.  Ideally, five season’s worth.

“How do you make chili oil and how do you eat it?”

Answer: Not sure but my guess is you drop a few chilis in some oil along with the appropriate herbs and let it all sit for a week so as to allow the flavours to infuse.

“Is the new guy David Hewlett?”

Answer: Wouldn’t that be awesome?!

anas bensidi writes: “Hi Mr Mallozzi, I just wanted to know if dark matter will be more like a guardians of the galaxy meets battlestar galactica thing with a more serialized tone to it or is it gonna be fun and light all the way as was SG1 for example or any show with the adventure of the week thing?”

Answer: Hmmmm.  Guardians of the Galaxy meets BSG sounds like fun!  Dark Matter will definitely be more serialized that SG-1 – but it will maintain a sense of humor.

Randomness writes: “Will we see any heart warming or memorable bonding moments between certain members of the ship’s crew this season?”

Answer: Yes.  Lots of nice bonding moments.  Also lots of nice antagonistic moments as well.

“Offworld, on a space station anywhere really, will we see moments where a crew member is interacting with someone who isn’t a member of the crew on their own in any significant capacity?”

Answer: Yep, plenty of those moments as well as we explore the individual backstories.

“Can we expect disagreements between the crew as to what direction a mission should take, or how a important decision should go?”

Answer: The crew aint one big happy family to start.  There WILL be some heated disagreements.

“When the crew aren’t doing anything important, we will see what they like doing in their downtime, like hobbies, or just refinement of skills, things like that?”

Answer: Yes, we’ll explore what they do on the ship on their off-time.  Also what they do for a little R&R when they hit the local space stations.

“Has to be asked, in terms of fight scenes, who do you think gets the most action?”

Answer: They all see action but, if I had to pick the crew’s top fighters, I’d definitely go with the ladies.

“Do you believe time travel stories have a place on Dark Matter?”

Answer: Sure, eventually.

“Which member of the crew would you say is the most diplomatic in a crisis situation?”

Answer: Definitely Two and Six.  They walk a fine line between the rest of our more opinionated crew members.

shaneac1 writes: “well Joe my question is has a trailer been put together to be viewed by the syfy channel and if so what was there reaction.”

Answer: Reaction to the prod cuts of episodes #101 and #102 has been overwhelmingly positive.  SyFy is working on the first trailers as I write this.

dasndanger writes: “Are any of the episodes completely done, and if so, have you watched them through, and if so, what do you think?”

Answer: We have a few locked cuts, but are still months away from finished episodes.  Music, color timing, and VFX take time.  I absolutely love everything I’ve seen – and am really looking forward to the fan response.  It’s gonna be huge!

Scott writes: “Will Dark Matter have an opening theme song and intro for each episode, similar to SG-1 and Atlantis, or will it be like SGU and many of the newer shows these days, with just a 5-second title clip and no music (hopefully not)?”

Answer: The latter.  Alas, most productions are moving away from those big opening theme songs in favor of shorter intros (that allow for more story screen time).

no1zoieplamerfan writes: “Any idea when we’ll finally get to see an image of the lovely Zoie Palmer the way she’ll appear as the Android?”

Answer: I expect we’ll start seeing those cast pics sometime in April.

Sparrow_hawk writes: “I’ll add my plaintive voice to Sylvia’s” Dark Matter swag would be really nice – will there be some available and when?”

Answer: Executive Producer Jay Firestone has already talked to me about the possibility of Dark Matter swag, from posters and t-shirts to exclusive models of ships and weaponry.  Stay tuned!

livingforcreativity writes: “When production wraps on Season 1, will you move back to Vancouver for the summer?”

Answer: Most definitely.  Akemi and I (and the dogs) head back to Vancouver in June.  I’ll hopefully be spinning stories for season 2 though July in August and then back here for production on Dark Matter‘s second season in winter of 2015.

“Are any of the other shows you were pitching still in development (with a real possibility of actually getting a ‘go’ order?)”

Answer: Yes.  I still keep hearing rumblings about A.K.A.

Lowriders95s10 writes: “Any idea when you will be releasing episode titles?”

Answer: I’ve been releasing episode titles all along: #101, #102, #103, #1o4, #105, #106, #107, #108, #109, #110, #111, #112, and #113!

bambamfans writes: “Good to hear Ron’s cutting the directorial mustard. I wish I could see dailies. They sound like fun. Do you have a viewing room or just watch on a laptop or TV?”

Answer: I watch the dailies on my laptop whenever I can pop back into my office between meetings.

Ponytail writes: “The correct spelling of whisky is W-H-I-S-K-E-Y! Whiskey! Whiskey, whiskey, whiskey!! The other way makes me think of cat hairs, whiskers!”

Answer: Depends what you’re drinking: http://www.thekitchn.com/whiskey-vs-whisky-whats-the-di-100476

Sylvia writes: “Please, what was name of realllllly smooth whiskey from Washington?”

Answer: Dry Fly Washington Wheat Whiskey: http://www.dryflydistilling.com/whiskey/

Holy crap!  Just finished my first draft of episode #113, the big season finale.  It comes in at a robust 57 pages and it is tremendous fun!  Twist after turn after surprise leading to the final shocker that will positively blow your minds.  Back when I first started developing the show, the show evolved around two colossal bombshell moments: the first being the final scene of episode #101, and the last being the final scene of episode #113.  Lots of mini-bombshells along the way but these particular reveals are going to stun and stagger, not only our main characters, but the cast – and, hopefully, you viewers who come along for what promises to be a wild and very enjoyable the ride.

Coincidentally, as I was in the midst of scripting #113, I received some surprise gifts from a couple of cast members:

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Whisky marmalade from the notoriously camera-shy Melissa O’Neil.

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And these delightfully decadent brownies from Alex Mallari Jr.

Wonder what Anthony Lemke is going to get me?  I bet it’s going to be amazing.  I can’t wait!

I’ll do another pass on #113 this week, then send it Paul’s way so he can do his pass.  After that, it’s in Jay’s hands and, after we implement his notes, the script will finally go out.  And I’ll be able to breathe a sigh of relief and focus on other things: editing, prepping, producing, rewriting…and plotting out season 2.  Fear not!  I know exactly where we’re headed!

Feeling very good.  Off to prep some potatoes for tonight’s dinner and, time permitting, maybe even get some reading in.  These are titles I’ve been dying to get around to…

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So, whatcha reading?

In the case of our cast and crew, it’ll be #113 very soon…

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