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Back in October, I informed actress Zoie Palmer that the time had finally come. This season, we were going to give her character, the Android, a name.  And a backstory.  But, more importantly, a name.  And so, the two of us got to work, pitching each other possible monikers via text over the course of three months.

I’d be lying in bed, just about to doze off when – PING!  I’d check my phone: “Iris”.

Zoie would be sitting in trailer, getting her hair done when – PING!  I’d offered “Alice”.

I’d be sitting in a visual effects meeting – PING!  “Blake”.

She’d be doing some weekend shopping – PING! “Sydney”.

Me in the shower, shampooing – PING! “Jules”.

Her on set, rehearsing a scene – PING! “Marie”.

“Cleo”

“Clara”

“Zee”

“Destiny”

“Cal”

“Aloysia”

“Dee”

“Loyloy”

Finally, last night, we narrowed it down to our Top 10 and, over the next half hour, narrowed our choices down through process of elimination.

PING!  She nixed “Lexie”.

PING!  I axed “Tosh”.

She rejected “Amelia”.

I dumped “Elle”.

“Sam” was the next to go followed by –

“Cass”

“Reese”

Then “Kai” until –

Only two remained!  Zoie deliberated and, in the end, decided on…

Eliminating “Evie”.  Which left her with…

The Android’s name I’ll be dropping into Episode 10.

Yay Team Zolozzi!  Is there anything we can’t accomplish?!

Oh, hey, while you’re hear, enjoy this concept artwork by Henry Fong for Dark Matter’s third season:

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What’s this?  Could I have finally given in and granted Jodelle Ferland’s request for a shipboard mascot.

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Director of Photography test tastes the commissary offerings.  Space beer!

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Laying some track for the commissary walk ‘n talk.

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The masterful work of Dark Matter Production Designer Ian Brock and his teams – art and construction departments.

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The early bird catches the wait.  Zoie Palmer arrives on time for the production meeting.  Rookie mistake!

Munitions factory safety graphics by 1st Assistant Art Director Sumeet Vats and 2nd Assistant Art Director Victor Mare.

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 TASTYFACE!!!

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Director Steve DiMarco charges into his final days of production on Episode 303.

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Director of Photography Craig Wright mans the heavy machinery.

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Addressing the troops.

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Daenerys Riley

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Well, look who was in town on business – but took some time out for a little eating pleasure.  If it isn’t our old Stargate fellow writer-producer Carl Binder.

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In town – ONE NIGHT ONLY! – so there was only one real choice: schnitzel dinner at Country Style Hungarian for their massive platter.  We all took a huge shnitz and then, later, Ivon also took a massive crepe!

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Finally – Sujiko braves the winter.  Akemi is convinced she’s actually a mixed breed.  Partly pug, but mostly koala.

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I think I’ll take a little time while I’m waiting for my Episode 301 Producer’s Cut WIP (Work In Progress) to land in my inbox to just go ahead and upload today’s blog entry.  I spent the day at the munitions factory with director Steve DiMarco, the cast, the crew, and my laptop.  While they were shooting, I was tap-tap-tapping away on this latest script.  As always, slow going in the beginning but if recent history has taught me anything it’s that the pace should pick up in about, oh, 50 pages or so.  Pictured above: Steve calling the shots.

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A moment of reflection.  And practice aiming.

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Mayhem under the hot lights.  Who are those men with guns?  Who are those people on the floor?  Who’s that guy behind the camera?

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Suji in her ready-to-go stance.

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Dignified Bubba is the Alastair Cooke of our apartment.

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Lulu flashes her help-me-score-a-treat eyes.

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Suji, the face of the new Cranimals campaign?

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My single day off this weekend happened to be the coldest day of the this winter so far.  Time to break out the big coat, scarf and, dare I say it, hat!

A BIG week ahead on the Dark Matter front.  Production continues on Episode 303 with director Steve DiMarco calling the shots while prep also continues on Episode 305 with director JB Sugar at the helm.  Between set, meetings, and writing, I’ll also be working on my producer’s edit for Episodes 301, 302 AND 304.  And, of course, that means…episode titles are on the horizon!

As you may or may not know, the readers of this blog got to choose the episode titles for Dark Matter’s second season.  And you’ll get to do it again for season 3.

Delving into the mailbag…

katie writes: “Would you be willing to read a spec script and give notes?”

Answer: Between Dark Matter and my work on various other pilots, I unfortunately don’t have much free time to read outside scripts.

livingforcreativity writes: “Do you still have attempts going to get other shows on the air? If so, can you tell us about them?”

Answer: Yes, I have three pilots out, making the rounds.  One is a straight, serialized drama, another a supernatural horror, the third that military SF I mentioned a few months back.

“Do you have elevators in your work or residence, and have you had issues?”

Answer: Nope.

“Does Akemi send you a breakfast bento box?”

Answer: More of an early dinner bento…

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PBMom writes: “How is your knee?”

Answer: Better, but it does stiffen up at night or when I’m seated for extended periods of time.

Greg Long writes: “A lot of published authors say that to be a good writer you must read a lot. Does this hold true for screen writing?”

Answer: It holds true for me.

“Do you have a checklist for each scene to ensure it fulfills a purpose?”

Answer: Each scene should serve a purpose.  If you can remove a scene without it impacting the script, then it never belonged in the script in the first place.

bambamfans writes: “If you create another TV show, who will run Dark Matter?”

Answer: In that best case scenario, I’d oversee both productions.

“What is the theme of Season 3 Dark Matter?”

Answer: The past comes back to haunt.

“Will David Hewlett return as Tabor Calchek?”

Answer: No, he will not.

“Did you return to the same condo in Toronto that you lived in last season?

Answer: Yes.  At the end of the day, it’s far from perfect but better than the other options.

“Does Suji prefer the company of humans or dogs?”

Answer: Humans definitely, women in particular, and Akemi specifically.

“What film that you watched as a child had the largest impact on you?”

Answer: Planet of the Apes, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Star Wars.

“Who do you think will win the Superbowl?”

Answer: The Dallas Cowboys.

gforce writes: “How are Lulu’s spinal issues/walking coming along?”

Answer: Hard to say.  We’ve noticed that she’s been having trouble lately but we’re not sure whether its a physical issue or the fact that she’s wearing booties.

“Also, are those script rewrites that you needed to do all completed by now?”

Answer: Alas, I’ll be in script rewrite mode until we go to camera on our final episode.

Line Noise writes: “What is the knot you were using for your ties?”

Answer: It’s called a Trinity Knot.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMnlYXoCOwc

“How much scope does a Dark Matter writer have when writing an episode?  Do they just have a beginning and end and can do whatever they want in between?”

Answer: Definitely not.  When we gather to break stories for the new season, I already know what the arc of said season will be and most of the stories we’ll tell.  We’ll spin ideas for the individual stories, and then put the beats up on the whiteboard, breaking down the episode scene by scene.  Once we’re done, the writer will flesh out an outline based on the story we’ve broken.  I’ll provide notes on the outline at which point the writer will write a first draft.  Once they’ve incorporated my notes and delivered a second draft, I’ll do my pass on the script.

Randomness writes: “How do you feel about episodes based in the future?”

Answer: Love them.

Answer: More so, have you ever considered doing a Steins Gate type message from the future to one of the crew who is facing a traumatic ordeal and needs some encouragement to push through and overcome it from their future self?

Answer: No, although one of our crew members WILL be receiving a “message from the future” in an early season episode.

profmadmax writes: “Joe, on SG-1: whose call on DVD audio commentary participants?”

Answer: Participants weren’t so much chosen as they were asked.  Whoever was free and interested would take part.

“Do you feel that a writer can plagiarize themself?”

Answer: I suppose so, yes.

“Your least favorite Atlantis episode & why.”

Answer: I hated Sanctuary.  My take: https://josephmallozzi.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/february-17-2014-news-of-note-our-stargate-atlantis-rewatch-continues-withouchsanctuary/

Dupdiang writes: “Just wondering what influence you had or a point to for your finish.”

Answer: As I’ve said from the beginning, I developed Dark Matter as a five season long arc with a definite beginning, middle, and end.  And all those elements are still in play.

TheOtherOne writes: “Please may I ask how you and Akemi first met? Was it love at first sight?”

Answer: We met in Tokyo at the Pierre Marcolini Cafe where she was working – and I was eating daily chocolate parfaits.  Our first date: https://josephmallozzi.wordpress.com/2009/11/30/november-30-2009-tokyo-travel-day-6-ginza-la-tour-michel-troisgros/

“So far, what is the happiest memory you both share?”

Answer: So hard to narrow it down to just one.  Well, there was the day she was accepted as a permanent resident here in Canada.

“Who (and what) was your very own first pet?”

Answer: I had a cat called Smokey growing up.

“Did you grow up with an animal companion?”

Answer: Always.  Growing up I had Smokey, then a poodle named Snoopy, then various cats, then the pugs and Lulu.

“Please would you describe the circumstances you and Paul (Mullie) first met?”

Answer: We met in a college creative writing class of all places.

“And finally …Do you regret having to kill One off in Season 2?”

Answer: Do I miss actor Marc Bendavid?  Absolutely!

That’s all for today.  More answers to come!

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Finally, the weekend is upon us!  After consecutive grueling days on set shooting Episode 305, we got together Saturday and shot another day of same episode.  And while I was at the munitions factory with director Steve DiMarco and co., the dogs were back home enjoying bath time (or in Suji’s case, sink time).

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Behind the scenes on Dark Matter’s third season.  DP Craig Wright paints a picture for director Steve DiMarco who is clearly geared for battle.

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The ever-smiling John Galbraith, key scenic artist.  What is this man hiding?

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Set PA Riley Morrison.  She enjoys memoirs, making sponge toffee, and marrying 18th Century dukes.

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I surprised on set costumes supervisor Jozie Conte with cookies.

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Key SPFX (and Birthday Boy!) Fred Gagnon.

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A Cam Operator Joe Turner feeling the heat of his radioactive camera.

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 Concept design for the Taliphus-8 interior…and one special client.

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Today was long and late.  I started off with first blocking in the munitions factory, then headed over to the production offices for a trifecta of meetings – art department, props, and background.  Following a quick lunch, I jumped on two rewrites and completed the tease of my (second to last?) script of the season.  Just in time to screen the Bruce McDonald’s director’s cut of Episode 302!  I watched it once straight through once, then one more time for notes.  Two hours later, I was done.  At which point Ron Murphy’s director’s cut of Episode 304 appeared in my inbox.  Both GREAT episodes!  I capped off my day by heading back to the munitions factory for more mayhem with director Steve DiMarco – and a 9:00 p.m. wrap.

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Director Steve DiMarco oversees the action.

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1st Assistant Director and suspect liquor aficionado Josh Gray.

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Production Designer Ian Brock.

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Director of Photography Craig Wright strikes a deal with Josh.

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Playback Operator Greg Whiteside runs through the safety graphics.

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Best Boy Andy Gondek.

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Whiskey delivery man and VFX Supervisor Lawren Bancroft-Wilson.

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The Dark Matter Whiskey Club reconvenes with newest member, director J.B. Sugar.

Thank God it’s Friday.  Tomorrow, the weekend is upon us.  And we head back to the munitions factory for a rare Saturday shoot.

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