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The construction of the “big metal mystery doors” – Dark Matter, season 1.  Just a few of the BTS pics I’ll be uploading on a daily basis over at my dedicated Dark Matter twitter account (here: @DarkMatter_show).  Tell your friends!

Also, bonus pic!  Alex Mallari Jr.’s (FOUR) very first costume fitting:

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All smiles.  Little did he know what he was getting into!

Well, a little over two weeks to go before we wrap production on Dark Matter’s second season (and, from what I hear, about a week to go before they announce our premiere date), and as most thoughts turn to post-production, MY thoughts turn to season 3.  Whereas the show’s first season was a slow-burn mystery, season two promises to be a more action-driven, SF-laden, VFX-studded extravaganza.  As for season 3 – well, as I said from the beginning, I have a 5 year plan and I’m approaching each season as if they were instalments in a book series, with their beginnings, middles, and ends.  Specifically with regard to season 3, I’ve got the season-long arc, the character arcs, the individual narrative arcs, and the 13 episodes.  All that remains is the heavy lifting – sitting in a room for three weeks and beating out the stories.  We’re aiming for mid to late June and, as usual, you’ll get access to all of the behind-the-scenes action: placeholder titles, lunch orders, and all!

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.  We still have a second season to complete!

Here’s a little something from Kelly Diamond and the playback gang – Marcus Boone’s mugshot in the G.A. database:

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Received these from VFX Supervisor Lawren Bancroft-Wilson this morning – two choices on the size of the Reynaud ship.  We’re thinking of going with 01 – bigger, more menacing.  What do you think?

So, my new Dark Matter-centric twitter account (@DarkMatter_show) is off to a rollicking start.  I started it as an alternate account dedicated to live-tweeting the show upon its return but decided to make it a little more interesting by uploading a slew of BTS pics – some old, some new – along with a little comment on each.  For instance…

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Concept design for the space station’s docking arm. We elected to go with hangars instead.

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Preliminary concept designs for The Raza.

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Stasis pod designs.

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Concept design for “the trench” in which our Android takes her spacewalk in Episode 103.

Meanwhile, on set…

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Oh, damn.  Pineapple sighting!

The votes have been tabulated and we have a new episode title!  In the end, this one wasn’t all that close either.  The results…

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“Episode 23: Take The Shot”

Thanks for playing and stay tuned for a chance to weigh in on another Dark Matter episode title.  We have three more to name and less than three weeks to do it in!

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We had a special visitor to set today, all the way from jolly old New York – representing our much-loved Syfy International: Bipasha Ghosh, Vice President International Marketing, NBC Universal!

If you may recall, I’ve mentioned Syfy International in many past blog entries, and gave the team a BIG shout-out at SDCC last year for all their support and genuine love for Dark Matter.  We’re a huge hit overseas and that’s in no small part thanks to the tireless efforts of Bipasha and co. who have been getting the word out and the fans involved.  It was Bipasha who started me Periscoping and she has secured my involvement in plenty more post-episode Periscope chats…along with a slew of fan-friendly reach-outs we’ll be springing on you in the coming months.  And how, pray tell, did she convince me to commit to all these awesome fan giveaways and goodies?  Well…

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Let’s just say she was VERRRY convincing.

Anyway, it was great to finally meet Bipasha, face to face, after so many phone convos, conference calls, emails, and carrier pigeon messages.  Looking forward to working with her in the coming months.  You’re all in for a treat…

Looking ahead to all the live tweeting I’m going to do for Dark Matter’s second season, I’ve decided to go ahead and open a special twitter account for the occasion – and various DM-related sundries.  Follow me here: @DarkMatter_show

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Whaaat?  Dark Matter Supervising Producer Ivon Bartok snapped this impromptu, unrehearsed, totally casual picture of me taking a break from the on-set action yesterday.

So, in preparation for my reddit AMA in late May, I’m opening up the floor to questions.  Post ’em if you got ’em.

The Dark Matter season 2 episode titles you, the fans, have chosen to date:

“Episode 14: Welcome To Your New Home”
“Episode 15: Kill Them All”
“Episode 16: I’ve Seen The Other Side Of You”
“Episode 17: We Were Family”
“Episode 18: We Voted Not To Space You”
“Episode 19: We Should Have Seen This Coming”
“Episode 20: She’s One Of Them Now”
“Episode 21: Stuff to Steal, People to Kill”
“Episode 22: Going Out Fighting”

Now, here are the nominees for Episode 210:

Cast your vote!  Polls close in 24 hours!

Speaking of voting, here’s a look at another little something you all had a hand in selecting – the design of the Reynaud destroyer.  What follows are three different looks, initial models and tweaks:

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To address scaling issues, VFX Supervisor Lawren Bancroft-Wilson and artists Brendon Morfitt and Craig Van Den Biggelaar of Darkroom Digital Effects  textured the ship with a broken-egg-shell look, giving it a nice parallax between layers and offering up the ability to glimpse some of its inner gak.

Pretty cool, no?

“Happy Birthday!”I said, handing my girlfriend, Akemi, her presents.  Then, as she reached for them, I pulled them back.  “You’ll have to wait until Monday to open them.”  And I set them aside.

It was a sad cap to a disappointing birthday weekend that saw our planned Saturday Afternoon Picnic Lunch in the Park to Check Out the Cherry Blossoms go the way of that promised Sunday Afternoon Couples Pottery Class.  Now before you criticize, I feel the need to point out that neither missed opportunities were my fault.  Fortune conspired against us.  Or maybe it was the squid ink risotto. Whatever.  One or the other had Akemi waking up feeling nauseous and dizzy Saturday morning, forcing us to cancel our picnic.  In retrospect, it may have worked out for the best.  We’d failed to locate either a picnic basket or sitting blanket and, by all accounts, the cherry blossoms aren’t even in bloom yet.

“Okay,”said Akemi, throwing a quick glance to her birthday gifts before swinging focus to the task at hand – prepping the dogs for our Sunday outing.  “But you have to wrap them for me.”

Damnit!  Next to driving around looking for parking and fielding Candy Crush invitations, there’s nothing I hate more than wrapping presents.  BUT it was her birthday and even convincing her to let me buy her a new iPad to replace her laboring 5+ year old existing model had been a task and a half.  Unlike myself, Akemi is incredibly low maintenance.  She generally refuses to let me buy her anything, preferring instead to wear the same jacket she brought with her from Tokyo seven years ago, the same dilapidated running shoes she’s been sporting for years.  Despite my insistence, my observation that uninformed passersbys might assume I was dating an escaped mental patient, she has stuck to her guns.  Until her iPad starting crashing at which point she knew – it was time.  Time for a NEW iPad.  AND one of those special pencils for scratching up the screen!

I was able to find some wrapping paper in the back of the upstairs closet and put my little used but unquestionably awesome wrapping skills to good use.  And…voila!

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Pretty impressive, no?  Maybe in my twilight years, I’ll retire to Japan and become one of those professional gift-wrappers.

When Monday rolled around, we celebrated by my getting to set for 7:00 a.m. call, but cutting out a little early (Thanks to Ivon covering for me on set!) so I could put the rest of my plan in motion.

Akemi is a big fan of chouquettes.  They’re basically creamless creampuffs studded with sugar granules (that she likes to pick off before eating).  She used to buy them in bunches, ten at a time, at a nearby patisserie until sometime late last year when the chouquettes found themselves off the menu along, apparently, with their then pastry chef.  I checked online and discovered this place –

http://www.thetemperedroom.com

I called in and they were kind enough to satisfy my request for 100 chouquettes.  I picked them up on my way home and then surprised Akemi.  Note her trademark Akemi-esque excitement:

After inhaling a half dozen delicious chouquettes, Akemi changed and then it was off to her favorite sushi restaurant, Yasu, for dinner.   Yasu sources its fish from all over (Hokkaido, Portugal, Vancouver, Greece!) and offers a very Japanese counter-style omakase dining experience.  Omakase basically means “chef’s choice”.  It’s sort of like that time in early high school when a bunch of us went to my friend Nick’s place for a barbecue.  After soliciting our requests, Nick poked his head out to the backyard where his mom was manning the grill and informed her: “We’ve got orders for two medium-rares, two mediums, and one well done!”.  His mother’s voice was shrill and laced with fury: “You’ll take ’em like you get ’em!”.  Nick ambled back to our table and, without missing a beat: “We’ll take ’em like we get ’em, guys!”.  So, yes.  Sort of like that time at Nick’s, except with fish instead of meat, more rice, and a lot less Dungeon & Dragons.

Anyway, some of the culinary highlights of the night:

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Firefly squid (hotaru-ika) – so-called because, well, here they are lighting up Toyama Bay:

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Wild.

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Sea Urchin – one from Hokkaido (left), the other from Boston (right).

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I did the sake pairing and, of the ones I sampled, this – Wandering Poet – was my favorite.  The little blurb on the label reads: “The poet Rihaku would drink a big bottle of sake and write a hundred poems“.  I, on the other hand, could barely string two sentences together by night’s end.

We returned home where I presented Akemi with not one but TWO glorious birthday cards – the first a pop-up card that played the Happy Birthday theme when opened, the second an inflatable green dinosaur card she actually picked up and gave me to give to her in the event I forgot to get one.

She went upstairs, I watched the season finale of Better Call Saul (or, as Akemi refers to it, Better Coleslaw), and then we called it a night on Akemi’s best birthday celebration ever!

Next year, that couples pottery class!

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Last month, it was Peter DeLuise.  This month, it’s Will Waring, another former Stargate veteran who’s in town to direct an episode of Dark Matter.

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It’s been ages since I’ve seen Will, much less worked with him, and he hasn’t changed a bit.  Still incredibly affable.  Still full of his trademark youthful exuberance.  Still scheming to find a way to place his trademark pineapple in a scene.

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Today was Day #1 of his episode – #212 – and we started off easy, with scenes on our standing sets: Nyx’s quarters, the corridor, and FOUR’s quarters.  Tomorrow, the action shifts to our glorious location for not one, not two, not three, but FOUR straight days.  Ivon has already booked his hotel suite for the sleepover.

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Pictured above: A little something from the props department.  And a certain group from “Episode 19: We Should Have Seen This Coming”.

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In the words of our adorable Android: “So far, so good!”.  Will positively blazed through his first day… 1

And I only had to discipline him once!   Ah, just like old times.

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Because I just can’t get enough of them during our 12 hours workdays, I met up with members of the cast and crew this weekend for the very first Dark Matter Picnic!  Organized by Melissa O’Neil (TWO) and (conspicuously absent) Executive Producer Vanessa Piazza, the event promised  “fun, picnic potluck, and hangs!”, “12:30 onward til sun sets”.  Hmmm.  Since the sun sets at approximately 8:00 p.m., that would give us roughly seven and a half hours to pack in the fun and/or hangs.

“Is that set in stone?”I asked Melissa.  “What if I want to stay past dusk?”

“You can stay as long as you like,”she informed me.

I brought along the family – Akemi, Bubba, Lulu – along with treats: pork buns, curry beef buns, chicken buns, bottled water, a Jodelle Ferland, a Jodelle Ferland’s sister, and a Jodelle Ferland’s dog.  Others brought dessert.

And sporting equipment.  Melissa had it mostly covered: basketballs, a football, frisbees but, sadly, no jai alai pelotas or xisteras. When I asked her about the oversight, she pretended she didn’t know what I was talking about and suggested we play hornussen instead.  Which was cool until stand-in Matt was injured by a faulty shingle and someone’s labrador made off with our nouss.  Should’ve just gone with my second choice: sepak takraw.😦

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To keep from misplacing my keys, I’ve taken to inserting them into the various food items I bring along to the potluck gatherings.  It works!

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Bubs and I scoping the scene.

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Bubba working on his tan.

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Came across this portly black pug, Higgins, that Bubba initially seemed to assume was our late Maximus.  He bounded over, tail wagging and then, as the realization apparently dawned it wasn’t him, he ambled back over to us.  A little heartbreaking.

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Gena let’s it all hang out.

Tomorrow, back to it as we heard into our third to last week of production!

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