The email message said: “Please check out the following lowlifes at…” and provided me with the appropriate link. At first I thought I’d been put on one of those silly group emails. Then I realized it was from Corinne, our local casting director. Oh, right. The low life! So I headed over and checked out the online auditions. Yep, all in all some pretty wretched lowlifes but, in my opinion, only one stood out as the lowliest of them all. So we’re going to cast this guy and, years from now, some producer will be scanning his credits and note: “Hey, you were the lowlife in that episode of Atlantis. I remember it. You were really pathetic.” “Thanks.”
I received notes on Whispers, worked on the rewrite, and took a tour of some of the new construction on the FX stage. Jason came by the office about a half dozen times today, each time popping up to discuss Broken Ties for all of two minutes before being called back down to set. Then, I rounded out my afternoon by skimming past scripts for appropriate flashback sequences. Alan is off and running on the new episode #9, The Queen, while Paul does a pass on Ghost in the Machine, Carl works on Tracker, and Marty G. gets a head start on the mid-season two-parter. Looking way ahead, I’ve talked myself into the #16 spot with “a very special Stargate Atlantis” (apologies to James Stewart), while we’ve got some other potential stories floating about in search of definitive slot.
Oh, I notice David H. has commented to my comment on a recent special script request, threatening to drop off Baz in the writer’s office while he collates his double-salmon pages. Well, David obviously misunderstood what I wrote because, on principle, I have absolutely no problem with someone collating scripts for the actors. After all, collating is a long and arduous process that demands an inhumanly inordinate amount of time and concentration, not to mention extreme physical exertion. Several years ago, my uncle Lamont put his back out collating a third draft of Diagnosis Murder and, to this day, still complains about a persistent stiffness in his lower spinal column whenever it rains. In fact, I was only responding to the very specific request that scripts be solely distributed on white pages as opposed to the offensive multi-colored sheets that apparently plague the more ocularly sensitive among us. Some of you will accuse me of heartless sarcasm but, truth be told, I can empathize with anyone who has experienced the stomach-churning nausea that comes from skimming a tan page, or the eye-stinging hell that is goldenrod. No, all I want to do is make a couple of things clear –
For starters, as long time readers of this blog well know, the human child is my favorite sub-species of the animal kingdom (followed closely by lemurs, platypuses, and the bob-tailed weaver – in that order) and I would, of course, be delighted to provide babysitting services for any precocious little loose-stooled imp. Time permitting of course.
Secondly, unlike actors, we lowly writers often don’t get it right the first time. It usually takes two, three, or more drafts to bring a script to perfection. With each successive attempt, different colored pages are distributed (blues for the first round of changes, pink for the second, green for the third, and so on). These, of course, serve as a harsh reminder of the writer’s mortal failings and, only incidentally, also serve to apprise the rest of the production of the changes made to the draft they happen to be working off of.
Thirdly, in addition to having them collate their own scripts, members of the production are contractually obligated to amputate their own gangrenous limbs should the need ever arise. These are sad holdovers from the days of vaudeville that I would love to see changed.
A big thank you to Paula for the Mexican candies that gave all of the writers a buzz – and had Alex Levine wandering the halls in a sugar-induced daze.
And good luck to tm on those mid-terms!