I’ve toiled some pretty horrible jobs in my time. There was the high school summer I worked at a chocolate factory. Willy Wonka’s it wasn’t. Armed with high pressure hoses that effectively blasted away hardened caramel, dried syrups, and, interestingly enough, wallpaper and paint, my friend and I spent our weekends bored out of our skulls – aimlessly meandering the warehouse’s empty confines, keeping the place spotless, lunching on a delightful selection of chocolates, candy bars, and whole blocks of marzipan. Then there was the semester I spent tending bar at a student watering hole that had had its liquor license revoked just days prior to my being hired. No Screwdrivers or Fuzzy Navels on my watch, but I did serve up some mighty tasty toasted sausage sandwiches to the one or two patrons that happened by. And, of course, there was the month and a half Paul and I spent working on that Franco-Prussian co-production from Hell in which the partnering studios could never agree on a creative decision, our story editor took great umbrage to the notes we provided on his first script and forever held a grudge, and the co-show runner simply up and quit one week prior to the commencement of principal photography.
On the other hand, I’ve lucked out with some truly wonderful jobs – like my stint on Student Bodies, or the year I spent story-editing part of Nevlana’s CBS Saturday morning block, or my present job at Stargate. I love what I’m doing now and yet, after four straight days of heavy duty lounging about, it’s hard to get all that excited about heading back to work, particularly when there are mixes to watch, producer cuts to screen, notes calls to sit through and, oh yeah, that two-parter to break. Still, once I’d overcome the initial system shock of a 6:00 a.m. wake-up and finally settled into the sea of paper that is my desk, I was actually pleased to be back.
Marty G. and I chatted about this past weekend’s Sopranos and made our fearless predictions. For my part, I’ve always loved The Sopranos’ ability to offer up just the right mix of tragedy and dark humor, and I fear that a downbeat ending (ie. The death of Tony and/or any member of his immediate family) would tip the balance and forever tarnish my impression of the series.
About a half an hour later, Michael Shanks took a break from shooting Continuum to drop in and chat about the great time he had working with Brad Turner on 24, and the Rage of Angels project he and Chris are hoping to move forward on. Michael has been in this business long enough to know that nothing is a sure thing and so he’s approaching this new opportunity with cautious optimism. He and Chris are two genuinely nice guys (in a business with its fair share of the not-so-nice) and I really hope this works out for them.
After being regaled by the other producers’ golf tales (“I used my sand widget to chip it in from the bunker flats!”), we gathered in Robert’s office to watch the producer’s cut of Adrift. Lots going on in this episode with some terrific visual effects sequences, some hard decisions made, and even an opportunity for Dr. Z to shine.
Next up – the Day 1 Mix of Doppelganger. What a difference sound effects and music make! I predict this one will be a fan favorite with plenty of fiendishly creepy sequences, some nice character moments as we delve into each player’s nightmare scenario, and a Sheppard beat-down to beat all Sheppard beat-downs.
Back at my office, someone dropped off a memento from a recent trip to Asia. What show are we working on again?
After lunch, I dropped by the Continuum set where Martin Wood and Peter Woeste were preparing their next shot. A short walk over to the FX stage found Will Waring shooting one of the This Mortal Coil walk and talks. He just finished his director’s cut of Reunion which is timing in at a little over seven minutes. I hate to say it, but it looks like I may have to lose a scene or two. Hopefully I can convince Ivon to do another deleted scenes special feature for this season as well. Another short walk over to Stage 2 and I was just in time to watch them test the gimbaled set for Continuum. As they started her up, I took one giant step over and positioned myself facing a corner of the massive structure, assuming that in the unlikely event the sides dropped off, they would collapse to either side of me and I would be able to walk off relatively unscathed. I know, I know. Silly of me. It was all very safe in Wray Douglas’s infinitely capable hands. Nevertheless, I did experience a few seconds of sheer terror when they decided to test the thing – while I was inside. It tilted. It rocked. It shimmied and shook. My life flashed before my eyes. Martin and Paul, meanwhile, were casually spitballing a story which could make use of the magnificent set once Continuum was done with it.
On my way back to the office, I ran into Rick. Yup, that Rick. He’s looking great and very excited to be back. As is always the case when we meet up, we spent a good part of the conversation discussing The Simpsons, and the upcoming movie in particular.
Also making a surprise production office appearance was my favorite Texas gentleman, Don S. Davis. It was great to see Don and, yes, we have to get together and do dinner again sometime.
Top the day off with a notes call with Nora from SciFi and Deb from Sony – they liked Be All My Sins Remember’d a lot which made it all that more pleasant – and chalk up another day’s work well done. Tomorrow, I journey into the dark, timeless unknown of…the editing suite. Now where did I put my spelunking helmet?
Dustin writes: “Have you ever tried hungarian food?”
Answer: Yup. My fellow writers and I are big fans of Vancouver’s Budapest Restaurant and their famed Transylvania Platter.
Expendable Crewman writes: “If you read Tanith Lee, too, I’d have to call you, um, my hero. You don’t, do you?”
M writes: “Just wanted to stop by to say that I read the other day about you acquiring some Pratchett novels. How’s that going?”
Answer: I’ve just started Colour of Magic and am enjoying it. It’s a nice change of pace after the brain-blasting Blindsight.
Anonymous #1 writes: “What do you, personally, think happened to all of the viewers who have left the shows? Do you think that the ratings could ever go back up from here?”
Answer: Personally? I think t.v. viewership is down across the board, and cable in particular, because audiences (particularly tech-savvy audiences like ours) have discovered alternate ways of watching their favorite shows, ways that are trickier to gauge when it comes to gathering ratings. Also, I think the 6-month lay-off hurt us. Also, I think there’s an alien conspiracy to undermine scifi television in general.
Silver writes: “In Ties that Bind, where Vala shows up in Daniels’ bedroom. Daniel turns her down then psycho-analyzes her. She becomes upset & talks about being engaged once.
Theres a debate whether one or more of these is true.
A) Daniel’s assessment of her is accurate
B) she blurts out the truth, then tries to cover it up .
C ) She’s pretending to be upset & lying.
D ) She is actually interested in Daniel”
Answer: In my mind when I wrote the scene – all of the above.
Anonymous #2 writes: “When it comes to Chinese food, what is your favorite dish?”
Answer: I like a nice steamed fish with soy, ginger, and green onions.
Anonymous #3 writes: “Having read the Series of Unfortunate Events, which of the children was your favourite?”
Answer: Carmelita Spats, you cake-sniffer! My favorite book: The Carnivorous Carnival.
Anonymous #4 writes: “ Are we ever going to see Atlantis Ancient toilets ?”
Answer: Carl Binder is scripting the big Atlantis Ancient toilets three-parter as we speak.
Nichole writes: “Are you going to celebrating this very important holiday?”
Answer: Yes. On this special day only, after showering I dried off with a towel rather than having my servants air dry me with palm fronds.
Anonymous #5 writes: “Is Bad Guys really the best you can do anymore?”
Answer: Yup, that’s it. After Bad Guys, the last few SG-1 episodes will be comprised up of footage from last year’s on-the-lot beer and barbecue bash. Watch me eat six hot dogs!!!
Confuzzled writes: “Everyone keeps talking about this “soft reset” but I don’t get it.”
Answer: And neither do I.
Alipeeps writes: “Tell me something interesting/exciting/entertaining to cheer me up? Pretty please?”
Answer: Hmmm. Let’s see… We find out something interesting about Lorne (dating back to his childhood) in Doppelganger.
Anonymous #6 writes: “How many fans do you think are left from the first season?”
Answer: It’s funny you should ask because we just completed a study on this very topic. Based on responses to this blog and weighing the various posts on the various fan forums out there, we’ve concluded that there are approximately 11. 12 if you count Minigeek’s dog.
Michelle writes: “I really want Tony and his family to survive, too. Sure Tony’s a sociopath, but hey, no one’s perfect.”
Answer: Too true.