The girl with the glasses snapped her cellphone shut and excitedly informed the room: “She’s on her way!” The birthday girl was enroute! “Lily is going to be so surprised,”Glasses assured us.
“Doubt it,”I murmured, checking the battery life on my camera.
She threw me a look. “Why not?”
“Well, for starters there’re all the balloons and streamers decorating the room. Then there’s that Happy Birthday banner hanging over there.” Oh, and there was also the fact that the building’s glass-walled party room was a giant fishbowl allowing anyone at street level a clear view of the milling revelers.
“Somebody help me with the balloons!”came the panicked cry.
“You might also want to hide the artichoke dip,”I suggested. “That’s always a dead giveaway.”
“Somebody help me move the dip!”
I grabbed a bowl and the guests were ushered around the corner and into the media room where a dozen individuals were already gathered, watching Jim Carrey deliver a remarkably restrained and nuanced performance as The Riddler. “You better go back for the olive platter,”I warned another girl. “Normally, it wouldn’t be a big deal, but that one’s a party mix.” Uncertain as to whether I was kidding or not, she hesitated and then, perhaps not wanting to chance it, hurried back to retrieve the platter.
“Okay, I need everybody to be quiet,”we were warned by the guy with the big camera and the unbearably white tennis shoes. “When I give the signal, you guys go rushing around that corner.” He quickly turned and peered through a crack in the doorway.
So we waited. And waited. And waited some more. White Shoes kept his eye on the door while, onscreen, Carrey pranced around like an eager-to-impress understudy in H.M.S. Pinafore. “You know what would really surprise her?” I’d thrown it out to the room, but no one rose up to take the bait. Undeterred, I continued: “If we waited for her to go to the bathroom and then all came rushing out of the stalls. I bet THAT would surprise her.”
“GO!GO!GO!”whispered White Shoes and the next thing I knew I was in the midst of the surging crowd, rushing around the corner and charging into the room like the Allied troops storming the beaches of Normandy except that in this case instead of M1 Garands and .45’s, we were armed with presents, cameras, and a half-eaten bowl of artichoke dip.
Lily did a masterful job of feigning surprise.
All quiet on the home front as Fondy and I try to catch-up on all of the shows we missed while she was away. Despite its incredibly off-the-wall nature and potentially offensive subject matter, I was blown away by Aachi & Ssipak, a 2006 South Korean movie that somebody in the visual effects department lent me last week. Visceral, violent, scatological, sexual – but an incredible-looking movie! MTV apparently picked up the rights to adapt it to an animated series. I wish ’em luck.
CMDragonia writes: “My brother is also a huge SG1/SGA fan, and when he saw the season finale, he was enamored not only by the episode itself, but of the picture of the Prometheus/Odyssey/Daedalus/Apollo/Phoenix used in the McKay/General Lorne scene. Any chance it will be printed and sold to the adoring fans??:
Answer: I don’t know if MGM has plans for that particular pic. I’ll certainly make a special request on your brother’s behalf.
Alipeeps writes: “So what show did you write your first sample script for?”
Answer: I wrote a Seinfeld spec, but it was our scifi feature that won us the right to pitch for Stargate.
Jedi43 writes: “My 44th Birthday is coming up this Tuesday. Could you dedicate that days blog to me?”
Answer: I’d be happy to do so if I remember. Remind me!
Penny writes: “If you hadn’t got your break would you have continued?? Did you have a back up plan?? Was there someone who took you under their arm that you feel indebted to?”
Answer: I don’t know what I would have done if things had not panned out. I could have been a professional banjo player, I suppose. Of course, that would have necessitated my learning to play the banjo, but I’m always up for a challenge. As for those who helped me out over the course of my career – I dedicated a past blog entry to them: http://josephmallozzi.com/2007/05/31/may-30-2007/
Anne Teldy’s Little Sister writes: “I have just spent an hour on the phone with Anne reading Mr. M’s posts and most of the comments that have posted since she went into the hospital.”
Answer: Tell Anne we’re thinking about her and wishing her all the best for a speedy recovery.
Jenny Robin writes: “Ronon hosts a cotillion in celebration of Arbor Day.”
Answer: Thanks for ruining the surprise. That’s the premise for our 100th episode.
PG15 writes: “do you ever think up multi-season arcs for Stargate in your spare time, like an “Eureka!” moment? Or do you just consider 1 season at a time?
Answer: We take it one season at a time.
Tiger’s Eyes writes: “Your exposition of useful approaches for entry-level TV writers is indirectly very helpful as well for someone who’s still learning the ropes in publications, but who sits on the other side of the desk, and needs to learn how to work well with aspiring writers.”
Answer: I’m intrigued. Tell us about your work.
Moms2398 writes: “When pitching ideas, should a potential writer have an agent as well?”
Answer: You will need an agent to find out what shows are open to pitches, send your writing samples to the various productions, and hopefully get you in to pitch.
LostCityGuardian writes: “…do new ideas for what you are writing come in spontaneous flashes or do they appear from trying to hammer out storylines in a structured, disciplined way?”
Answer: Spontaneous flashes are rare. More often than not, stories grow out of a kernel of an idea that is pitched out in the room, then considered, critiqued, and ultimately crafted in to something workable.
AMZ writes: “Could you please explain the process a writer goes through to get a pitch?”
Answer: This is where your agent comes in. If there’s a particular show you’re interested in pitching to, mention it to your agent and they’ll find it if the production is accepting freelance pitches. If they are and like your writing samples, you may receive an invitation to pitch.
Paul William Tenny writes: “I remember Alex Epstein telling me that Stargate was virtually impossible to get an invite for (pitching), and that his agent had tried a couple of times over the years with no success.”
Answer: Alex may not have pitched Stargate, but he’s done pretty damn well for himself. That said, a lot of the time, getting in to pitch has less to do with perceived talent than it does with timing. There have been some years when we have been closed to pitches simply because we had more than enough stories in play. In other years, we’ve invited writers to pitch early on in the season while we still had plenty of open slots. The way it usually works is a agent will contact the production offices and ask us whether we’d be open to pitches. If we are, we’ll give the agent the go-ahead to send in the candidate’s writing samples. If we like what we read, that writer will be invited to pitch.