As a kid, I used to hate field trips. Invariably, they consisted of meandering strolls through the quaint streets of Old Montreal or infamously mind-numbing sessions at the Dow Planetarium. As an adult, my aversion to field trips hasn’t really changed – but at least the work-related outings offer up a little more variety. Yes, remote quarries, decrepit warehouses, and abandoned sugar refineries are just a few of the colorful locales you too can visit when you’re scouting locations for an upcoming episode. And such was the case today when Paul popped his head into my office and happily inquired whether I would be up to going on a scout. I pretended I didn’t hear him, feigning deep concentration in the task at hand – deleting old photos from my camera. “I think it would be a good idea if you came along,”he spoke up a little louder. “It’s your script after all.” I glanced up from my camera. “We’re not going to the planetarium, are we?”I asked suspiciously. Thankfully, we weren’t.
We met up outside the offices at 1:00 p.m. – John Smith, the Art Department gang, Paul, Alan, and myself, and piled into the van. “Are we stopping for ice cream?”I asked as we rolled off the lot. I was roundly ignored. Disappointed, I sat back in my seat and tried to enjoy the passing scenery, noting a distant billboard for Wendy’s new Frescata sandwich. “Buddy, you’re Italian,”Paul reminded me. “What’s a Frescata?” Frescata? It’s a vaguely Italian-sounding nonsense word is what it is. As for the actual sandwich – I haven’t a clue but judging from the picture, my guess would be pasta on ciabatta.
After a twenty minute drive in which I was regaled with the sights and sounds of Vancouver I rarely have occasion to experience (auto body shops, outlet malls, auto body shops, rail yards, auto body shops) we pulled up to our destination. We filed out of the van and were immediately greeted by the location representative who welcomed us and then proceeded to take us on the grand tour of the facility.
It’s hard to describe the location. Suffice it to say, the producers of Saw 5 should seriously consider checking it out. It was a serial killer’s dream. On the upside, it offered up plenty of creepy looks. On the downside, the air was so thick with whatever particulates happened to floating around (“Hey, is anybody else’s eyeballs itchy?“) that I could feel my lungs seizing up. Ah, nothing like getting out of those stuffy offices.
As it turned out, it was a very good location but it didn’t meet all of our needs. And so, we are faced with a choice: shoot part of the episode there and build the requisite lab on one of our stages, shoot the episode there and lose the lab scene, or scout out a completely different location. Thankfully, we have time to think about it.
We piled back into the van. “Is everybody back?!”asked the driver. “Close enough!”I replied. And we were off on our return trip to the studio.
We did not stop for ice cream on the way back either.
Kyle: “Would it be possible to put a tank through a Stargate?”
Answer: It would have to be a mighty tiny tank.
Mackenziesmomm writes: “What is your favorite way to spend your down time?”
Answer: I’ve discovered a new appreciation for reading.
M writes: “Do you guys (aka the writers) dictate the uniforms in the screenplay or is this something that’s entirely up to the wardrobe department?”
Answer: The type of outfits required for a scene are usually fairly self-evident. However, there is often room for interpretation and so, during the costumes meeting, Val will come up with designs and/or photos and/or fabric samples and offer up her take on a given scene. We’ll discuss, more often than not tell her “Brilliant!” and off she’ll go.
Anonymous #1 writes: “What’s the bet Hewlett gets a slap on the wrist now for actually telling the fans something??”
Answer: I don’t know. What is the bet?
Anonymous #2 writes: “If the ratings suck, it’s not because of individual actors. It’s because people aren’t happy with the storytelling.”
Answer: It’s possible that is one of the reasons. But this recent article suggests otherwise – http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070601-nielsen-ratings-drop-nonexistent-when-dvrs-are-accounted-for.html
Ruffles writes: “Does that mean that you do not anticipate an S4 start until late October?”
Answer: Probably sooner than that.
Rebecca writes: “Actually, I like Magneto for a dog name.”
Answer: Thought of Magneto but I was worried it would be too close to Maximus and potentially confusing.
Neep writes: “What is that stuffed down the front of Amanda’s top?”
Answer: She has a flashlight in her vest.
Jenny writes: “Do think long & hard re: more doggage. Sometimes they are less special & appreciated when they become legion.”
Answer: That’s my one and only concern.
Anonymous #3 writes: “CBS and other networks who want to bring back their audience in front of the TV will lose the battle , ultimately. They’re just trying to salvage their business model, but you can’t go against progress forever.”
Answer: True. It’s already begun. The internet and DVD are forcing everyone to rethink the existing business models. Given the proliferation of alternate viewing venues, should 1.2 be considered the new 2.0? I don’t know.
Anonymous #4 writes: “Sorry but what did Carter do this season to be a Full Bird Colonel?”
Answer: You mean besides helping to keep the entire galaxy safe from an invading alien army? Not much.
Anonymous #5 writes: “What I would like to know is – have you ever had squid ink pasta before?”
Answer: I have but it was so long ago that I don’t remember what it tasted like. I do, however, remember enjoying it.
Shannon writes: “Do you ever put your pugs in daycare?”
Answer: They do go on occasion and hang out with Don Davis’s bulldog.
Pauline writes: “Okay what did I miss? Was it a time dilation bubble in Liverpool or does your blog say 14th of July on purpose?”
Answer: I’m so loathe to go on hiatus and leave my wonderful work environment that, subconsciously, I’m skipping ahead a month.
Lady Dulcinea writes: “Do your dogs have a “preference” between you and Fondy?”
Answer: Bubba and Maximus are momma’s boys. Jelly is daddy’s girl.
Rebekah writes: “From a rating standpoint, does it matter which showing we watch, or do both count?”
Answer: Both are important but, really, the first showing is the one everyone zeroes in on.
Allison writes: “Since the energy weapons, like ZATs, Ronon’s gun, etc., can be set to ‘stun’ as well as ‘kill’ through theoretical means of changing the power output, would it be possible to set an energy weapon to ‘tickle’?”
Answer: No, but as a quick screening of The Other Side will demonstrate, zats can be set to “unlock door”.
Someday Scientist writes: “Olliebollen is like a donut; dough, deep fried, and then rolled in sugar.”
Answer: I’m in!
Amy writes: “As a writer, do you put one space or two between sentences?”
Answer: I’m a two-spacer.
Gilder writes: “HOW ABOUT THEM SPURS???!!!”
Answer: Oh, yeah. I almost forgot. Maybe that’s what I’ll do this weekend – check out the NBA Finals. Oh. They’re already over?
Anonymous #6 writes: “There have been all the news about Teyla’s pregnancy but what i want to know are we going to see Teyla kicking some bad guy backside and generally putting them back into their slimy, scumey filled place?”
Answer: Missing comes to mind…