Some truly awesome news to kick off today’s blog entry. Authors Jennifer Pelland and Kage Baker have kindly agreed to come by and field your questions and comments as part of our July Book of the Month Club discussions. Kage will join us the week of June 30th when we’ll be discussing In the Garden of Iden, while Jennifer will be joining us the week of July 14th for our discussion of Unwelcome Bodies. That gives you all plenty of time to track down the books, read them, and come up with some exceptionally brilliant insights to share with the rest of us. So put down the video game console, turn off the t.v. (There’s nothing to watch anyway. Atlantis doesn’t premiere for another month.), and get on it. Past participants have won signed scripts, lifetime subscriptions to Apex SF & Horror Digest, and best wishes for an absolutely swimming weekend.
Well, I was back in the editing suite with detective Mike Banas today, looking to complete my producer’s cut of Whispers. As I mentioned yesterday, the director’s cut was five and a half minutes over, but once the obvious trims were made, it was down to three and a half minutes over. And once the not-so obvious trims were made, it was only one and a half minutes long. At that point, it became a slow-going, incredibly frustrating, agonizingly lengthy process of line-cutting, dialogue shifting, and scene trimming to finally – finally! – get it down to a mere 35 seconds over. And THAT is when things got REALLY tough. Yes, losing that last half minute or so nearly killed me (either my heart would have given out or I suspect Mike would have strangled me with his bare hands), but I did it. The producer’s cut is out. And, I’m very happy with the result. It’s a nice, tight, creepy little episode with a dozen or so great scares. All it needs is an exceptionally horrorific score – and that’s where composer Joel Goldsmith comes in. I have a feeling he’s going to have a blast with this one.
I returned to the production offices late this afternoon – anxious, exhausted, slightly nauseous, and more than a little combative. In other words, I was in a the perfect mood to give a fellow writer notes on his latest script. Today, that writer happened to be Alan McCullough. The script: Outsiders. Alas, I got to do very little screaming/script-throwing/couch-jumping. Alan wrote a solid first draft of what is going to be a really good episode. Damnit! And I’d made it a point to wear my couch-jumping shoes today too.
Today’s photos: Whispers
David: “Are you doing any special features content on SGA S4 or Continuum?”
Answer: I’ll be putting in an appearance on the Whispers feature. I’ll be playing the part of the overdressed on-set producer.
Thornyrose writes: “When the season five dvds come out, is there a decent chance you’ll be able to do the commentary?”
Answer: I’ll definitely be providing commentary for my episodes. And your cousin Martha’s wedding video.
dasNDANGER writes: “But how does it make you feel when fans dump hate on a particular character (which can be also seen as a criticism of the actor)?”
Answer: It used to annoy me but, over time, my reaction to this type of criticism has evolved to a heartfelt “meh”.
Sylvia writes: “Is that Maximus or Lulu? I think Lulu’s ears don’t relax much so guessing it is Maximus?”
Answer: Yes, that’s Maximus.
Christin writes: “His turtles are named Michelle and Jeffrey? Seriously? You’re pulling my leg (the left one, please, as I’m still having a little trouble with my right knee). I hope there’s a good reason for that. “
Hachi writes: “I am wondering about how much actual footage is filmed for each episode in order to provide material for you to work with? There must be hours of film, different shots of mist and smoke, for example, so that you can choose the best ones. What happens to the excess footage?”
Answer: You guessed right – hours of film that is archived for future reference. Just in case.
Narelle from Aus writes: “Was at the book store the other day and saw a new Iain Banks book titled Matter. Read it or heard any reviews?”
Answer: Haven’t read any reviews but I’m a big fan of Banks. I’m presently reading his Feersum Endjinn.
Cathie writes: “Have you read The Day of the Triffids?”
Answer: I have, and I enjoyed it immensely. I have Wyndham’s Chocky and The Chrysalids sitting on my To-Read pile.
AMZ writes: “Did you ask the actual Mike how he’d feel about being made in to a P.I. character?”
Answer: No, but he seemed fine about it this morning. Although he did have some reservations concerning the casting of William Conrad.
Mary writes: “Joe – I know Jennifer Pelland. Do you think that folks would be interested in her coming by to talk about her stories? I can contact her and ask, or send you her email.”
Answer: That’s very kind of you to offer, but I was able to get a hold of Jennifer’s email and send her an invitation. To my delight, she has accepted and will be joining us to discuss Unwelcome Bodies.
Michelle writes: “Not to seem pitifully self-absorbed or anything, but is it possible the names of Carson’s turtles were inspired by the leaders of a certain save-a-character campaign, SaveCarsonBeckett, led by MICHELLE, and Tara JEFFREY?”
Answer: Hmmm. Isn’t that an interesting coincidence? Incidentally, Zelenka has a pet iguana named Kirk.
Jennifer Pelland writes: “Thanks for selecting my book! I’ll be keeping an eye on my Amazon sales rankings over the next few days.”
Answer: Oh, my pleasure. Do you have plans for all the extra cash? I’d suggest investing in a condo, then putting the rest toward a big party for your friends and family.
Mgsmsu writes: “Are you editing “Whispers” because you wrote it, or because it just happened to fall to you in the producing rotation?”
Answer: I’m editing Whispers because I produce my own scripts.
David writes: “One more…who is the “head writer”? Who is above all the other writers???”
Answer: It depends. At the beginning of every week, we compete in a physical challenge – not unlike the ones you see on Survivor – but instead of immunity, it’s the “head writer” title that’s up for grabs. With it come bragging rights, final say on all creative matters, and first choice off the dessert tray. This week, Carl Binder is head writer. The week before, it was Larry from the transport department.
Terry writes: “I’ m curious if you’ve read all three previously or are any of the selections new to you?”
Answer: They’re all new to me.
Linburk writes: “I was wondering, since it will be my first time, when and where you will be having this book discussion with Joe Abercrombie.”
Answer: Right here on the blog the week of May 19th.