I felt like I’d been running a marathon, and the finish line was finally in sight. Much relieved, I drew strength from the fact that the end was near. I could spend the rest of the afternoon decompressing, choosing my next leisure read, and, of course, counting down the hours to the weekend.
And then I realized it was Tuesday, and not Friday. At which point my hitherto upbeat mood took a decidedly downward turn.
I’ve often mistaken Saturday for Sunday, occasionally mistaken Tuesday and Thursday for Wednesday and vice-versa, even believed Friday was Thursday on an occasion or two, but assuming Tuesday was Friday – well, that’s a first. And I can’t really explain it either. Although two theories come to mind: 1. I’m losing it. 2. We compressed a week’s worth of meetings into that first day of prep and this caused my addled mind to adopt a defense mechanism, convincing itself that the weekend fast-approached as a means to rescuing what remained of my sanity. Personally, I lean toward theory #1.
Despite the fact that I feel as though my brain has been fried (skillet-grilled with sautéed onions until golden-brown, then seasoned with tarragon and garlic powder before being popped into the oven to broil for another twenty minutes), prep week has gone quite well.
We kicked things off with a 90 minute concept meeting during which we went through the script, scene by scene, and adopted a game plan. Two sets of costumes, five stunt people, Porter packs a 9 mill, flying balsa wood can be dangerous, we’re going with mannequins, and glow sticks are go. Our main concern remains the fog. It shouldn’t be as heavy as what we had on stage 6, but it needs to be a lot thicker than what appeared in Morpheus. Hopefully, our late week fog test will allow us to find a happy medium.
We followed the concept meeting with the art department meeting that clocked in at a whopping, soul-sucking 90 minutes as well. Here, we discussed the possibility of tenting certain areas of the FX stage for those heavy fog sequences (ie. the reveals). Where are we playing what? Are we boarding up the windows? Will we need candy glass? We’ll need a forklift to move the well. And how visible will the targets be from the high ground positions?
Next up was the prosthetics meeting. Like I said in a previous entry: the more eerily familiar, the more unsettling.
After lunch, we had the costumes meeting. We need THEIR look to be broken down, but we need his look to be mid-season 3-ish. Teldy’s team will be in their off-world blacks.
And, finally, we finished the day with the props meeting (starring Evil Kenny, natch). We’re going earth tech with the opening PFD, tablets over laptops, and P-90’s in full force. We’re going to try to get the ladies in early so that we can put them through gun school.
Carl, meanwhile, has been running his Tracker prep on a parallel track. He’ll pop his head into my office and inform me: “You’re up!”. I’ll head into the conference room, have my meeting, then stroll by his office and tell him: “You’re turn!” He disappears into the conference room and then, an hour later, tags me in passing. I’m in!
Today, we had our VFX/Playback meeting. Mostly generics for the playback and some split screen translations. On the visual effects, I flagged sections in the script in which we might try some visual enhancement on the fog. Mark Savela, ever the optimist, assured us everything was going to work out with the practical fog and that it would require little, if any, enhancement from his department. More of a pessimist myself, all I really hope for is an episode that finishes on-schedule.
We also had our extras meeting, during which I politely turned down the role of the twitcher.
We spent the afternoon spinning Carl’s idea, a story Alan is calling “The Red Shirt Diaries”.
That’s it. An 8:00 a.m. stunts and SPFX meeting tomorrow, a visual effects spotting session for Broken Ties on Thursday, and we cap things off with a Whispers production meeting on Friday afternoon. And somewhere between now and then, we’ll squeeze in our second fog test, this time in the FX stage.
David writes: “Are all of the books on yur BOTM list of the horror genre?”
Answer: Nope. Every month, three books are selected, each representing one of three genres: science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Last week, we discussed the scifi selection – Gregory Benford’s Timescape. This week, we are discussing the horror selection – F. Paul Wilson’s The Keep. And, next week, we’ll be discussing the fantasy selection – Jeffrey Ford’s The Empire of Ice Cream.
Thornyrose writes: “ But why a woman who has managed to “restrain” her hormones so long should suddenly abandon all restraint escapes me.”
Answer: The romance between the two characters was the one element I had trouble with as well. Magda seemed to fall for him so madly and deeply that I suspected a supernatural attaction at play.
Michelle writes: “I mean, would even an idiot like Kaempffer not get everyone the hell out?”
Answer: Actually, I found Kaempffer’s initial obstinance very believable. He assumed he could solve the problem, thereby raising his stature while, conveniently, diminishing Woermann’s standing. Of course by the time he realizes he has probably bitten off more than he can chew, his sense of logic is overridden by his fierce pride. Abandoning the keep would be an admission of defeat, something that would be tantamount to career suicide for him.
Michelle also writes: “And what was Glenn waiting for?”
Answer: Good question.
Fsmn36 writes: “The Major’s death scene was probably one of the creepiest parts of the book.”
Answer: I’d argue that his after-death was even creepier.
BoomerGoodheart writes: “Where were the shots of Teal’c on the mountains filmed?”
Answer: Save that question for writer/director/producer Robert C. Cooper who’ll be coming by to discuss The Ark of Truth with you the week of April 28th.
Smiley_face06 writes: “Yup. Once the episode has aired, I’ll post the scene we would havee shot had had the decision to keep the dreads gone the other way.”
Dovil writes: “About Whispers the information that was presented was:
1. There was to be an all women team.
2. It was to be a horror episode.
3. Not all of them would survive.
4. Photos of the actresses that arguably did not depict them looking like military “
Answers: 1. Rather than create a recurring character and hope for the best, I opted to go the Summit route. In SG-1’s Summit, I introduced about a half dozen system lords and used the episode as an audition of sorts to find out which of the characters would pop – and have potential to come back. Cliff Simon’s turn as Baal was great and, based on his performance in Summit, we brought him back. Many, many times. This was the thinking with the all-female team. Rather than put all our eggs into one basket, we created a scenario in which one or more of these characters (well, the ones who happen to survive the episode anyway) could return. 2. Is the natural assumption then that these women will be running around screaming, in various states of undress, being pursued by a knife-wielding maniac? 3. Hey, that goes for almost any guest star. 4. But they’re actresses, not actual soldiers. The links I provided lead to the actress’s personal websites so, of course, they’re going to look their very best.
Dovil also writes: “I don’t think it’s completely unreasonable for people to voice concerns.”
Answer: Of course it’s completely reasonable for people to voice concerns, but a lot of what I’m reading isn’t so much “I hope this doesn’t turn out to be…” but more “I know this is what they’re going to do…”
Maddog1995 writes: “I know you’ve commented on it in the past, but I was wondering about your opinion on Ender’s Game.”
Answer: I liked it a lot. I recently lent it to my writing partner, Paul, who really enjoyed it as well.
Michael Hervey wites: “I am interested in writing both books and TV/movie scripts. Would you suggest finding one literary agent who works with both or using two agents that each specialize in one field?”
Answer: I would query agents in both fields.