One week after starting work on the script, I have a 63 page rough first draft of Remnants! Not bad, not bad at all. Not great either, which is why I’ll be spending the next three days revising, shifting, polishing, and rethinking things. I’m aiming to get it out to the writing department on Monday. There’s no sense in putting it out any sooner as Marty G. is out of town until then, riding the east-coast YPF PR train. He called me yesterday from Montreal where he is practicing his French, doing interviews dans la belle province in advance of the big North America-wide release of his movie (June 13th I believe). I updated him on Stargate happenings including Alan and Carl’s story ideas and our end-of-season plans. “How’s your script going?”he asked. “I’m exhausted,”I told him. “You sound exhausted,”he shot back. Yes, exhausted but relieved now that I have a completed draft. For a while there, I was feeling a tad frustrated. Interestingly enough, that frustration happened to coincide with my return to the office where my hitherto rapidfire progress on the script ground to a halt. As someone pointed out, the production offices are fraught with distractions. From Lawren’s lunch orders to Carl’s delightful fishing tales, it‘s a wonder anything gets done. Yesterday, between all of the end of season hoopla and episodes 17 and 18 yakkity-yak, I ended up writing all of a page – then went home, had dinner, and stayed up past midnight to write a whopping eight pages (including two of the script’s most challenging scenes). This morning – and, yes, it took me all morning – I wrote the last half-page scene to finish the script. As is tradition on such momentous occasions, the first thing I did immediately after typing FADE OUT and hitting SAVE was to email myself a copy just in the event: a) my laptop is stolen and/or b) I drop dead before I’ve had a chance to distribute it, thereby hopefully saving my co-workers the awkwardness of running a frenzied post-memorial search of my laptop.
I phoned up Paul Weber this afternoon and discussed casting for the episode. Apparently, the nefarious one’s deal has closed. Next up, we need to get the ball rolling on T.T. Once that’s done, it’s only a matter of finding a Lieberman and a Conrad. Bob has already offered a casting suggestion for the latter. And, speaking of casting, we’re looking into the availability of the pallid one for Alan’s eppy, and this potential Stargate newbie for Carl’s eppy (which has taken a very dark turn). She’s super!
Next week is shaping up to be a wild one. We’ll need to break three episodes, give notes on Remnants, and hopefully discuss episode #20 and beyond.
Today’s pics: For RangerOne, photos of the very attractive Captain Alicia Vega (Leela Savasta) in action. Enjoy!
Today’s blog is dedicated to birthday boy Jeremy, a recovering GeekBoy, and the legion of the heartbroken led, apparently, by Lt.Col.ErrandBoy.
Mackenzie’s Momma writes: “CSI:Atlantis is that just the working title or the actual title we will see when it airs?”
Answer: Sadly, it won’t be the official title. Instead, we’ll be going with American Idol: Atlantis.
RG25 writes: “And did you writers have to compensate for their fast talking by writing even more dialog than normal?”
Answer: Marty G. wrote extra-long scripts for both episodes.
Paloosa writes: “…as the writer and producer on “Whispers”, where you had some control over your written work, were there story expectations you had that weren’t fulfilled?”
Answer: Whispers is far from a finished episode, but I’m very pleased with everything I’ve seen so far.
RangerOne writes: “I have some questions about your (or any other TV Producer’s) qualifications to make casting choices. Are there books on the subject or classes one can take to give a person the necessary skill to judge on what appears to be a very subjective talent or do you just go by your gut feeling in the casting sessions?”
Answer: Subjective? Back in the mid-90’s, did you feel that Pauly Shore was robbed of the Best Actor Oscar when in went to Tom Hanks? If you didn’t, then you, like most people, can make a pretty fair assessment of an individual’s acting abilities. In addition to their skill as an actor, things like the way in which the actor chooses to play a character or the manner in which he delivers his dialogue can influence a casting decision. Janina Gavankar, for instance, won the role of Dusty in Whispers because her delivery of the dialogue was pretty much how I envisioned the character talking. She was, in my estimation, perfect for the role.
RangerOne writes: “Have you ever regretted your decision on an actor/actress once the episode was shot?”
Answer: It can happen. You cast someone who is terrific in the audition and ends up being a dud in front of the camera. So far this season, however, I’ve been very happy with the choices made.
RangerOne writes: “Also, isn’t a little hypocritical of you saying in the casting of the all-women team (or casting a role in general) in Whispers that it was done strictly on talent and not looks when a casting call for a female role for another episode specifically called for “a very beautiful woman in her 20’s” and never gave an average looking or older actress a chance to audition for the part?”
Answer: Isn’t it a little hypocritical when fans criticize actresses on the basis of their looks without even having seen them perform, then turn around and gush repeatedly over the absolutely dreamy male lead? Yeah, I think so too. I’m not sure what your point is. What do my casting requirements for Whispers have to do with someone else’s casting requirements for a completely different episode? I would assume that the reason a producer sought an attractive young woman for the role was because that was what the script called for. In Whispers, I described Porter as a “cute nerd” because I wanted the character to have chemistry with Beckett and suggest the possibility that something could develop between the two. Now, I could have described her as a “haggard witch” and cast someone else in the role, but I have a feeling that, at the end of the day, it wouldn’t have worked out nearly as well. All that said – even though we produce a science fiction television series, we are ever-mindful of striving for authenticity when casting aliens, androids, and fearless planet-hopping space-explorers. We want to reflect real people in real-life situations, like the doctors of Grey’s Anatomy and the cops on CSI:Miami.
Aimee writes: “You’re turning this show into a soap. Why don’t you change the name to Days of our Stargate and be done with it.”
Answer: Days of our Stargate! Hey, that’s pretty…no, now that I think about it, kinda lame. Days of Our Hives would have, frankly, been a better effort. Also, as the Gate Turns was one I read that I thought was pretty clever. Might I also suggest All My Children of the Gods.
Boston writes: “When you write the first draft of a script do you usually have a decent idea what parts will be edited out or changed later?”
Answer: More often than not, I do know what scenes will need to be trimmed if not lost altogether.
Sandyurbahns writes: “Do you save your original script? The one that you finish before you start cutting it down to fit the 48 or so minutes allowed for filming. I think there would be potential for publication of the original written scripts, after the show has aired of course. I know I’d love to read what your original thoughts were before all the other writers, directors, etc. get their chance to change them.”
Answer: I do save my first drafts. In the past, I have offered up scene-by-scene comparisons between the first drafts and the finished episodes. For season five, I’ll be offering the breakdowns on Broken Ties, Whispers, and Remnants.
Lukas writes: “I was confused with Carson´s return in Kinder, because he was a clone. Michael took his blood in Misbegoten and thanks to it he created this clone, but how can this clone has all Carson´s skills, memories and personality because DNA and clonning doesn´t work this way.”
Answer: It certainly doesn’t. Michael would have had to copy Beckett’s intellect, personality, and memories as well.
Kirsten writes: “Now that you know the line up so to speak..did “Hexed” find a home or was it shelved?”
Answer: Hexed has been shelved.
Cheeky Lil Devil writes: “So can I ask a favour while we’re there on Wednesday? Would you mind if Linz and I said hello to you?”
Answer: Sorry, Cheeky. I check my yahoo account sporadically – and even less than sporadically when I’m working on a script. Sorry, for not getting back to you but, sure, do come by and say hi. If I remember, I’ll come down to set. Let me know how your schedule breaks down closer to the date.
Cheeky Lil Devil also writes: “I meant to ask you, who’s directing Outsiders?”
Answer: The great Will Waring.
David writes: “I wanted to know if you will ever have an actor/actress from the show come and do a guest blog entry?”
Answer: It’s doubtful. The actors who blog are already busy with their own sites.
David also writes: “Thanks, and I really liked the pictures…who is the guy that Jason is punching, or fake-punching?”
Answer: That is special features producer Ivon Bartok.
AlainaRoss writes: “If the Bionic Woman has one SUPER strong arm, how can she lift cars and stuff, becuase her spine wouldn’t be able to support her weight…?”
Answer: Good question.
AlainaRoss also writes: “…if Teyla can speak english, can she read and write it as well?”
Answer: Ah, the great English Alien Debate. This is a buy we inherited from the beginnings of SG-1. I’ve explained that, in my mind, every time someone steps through the gate they take on translator nanites that allow them to understand and be understood by the various off-world races they encounter. By this reasoning, Teyla doesn’t speak English, but in her mind (and in the mind of the Atlantis crew) it’s as if she really does. However, this wouldn’t translate to the written word. That said, there’s no reason that Teyla couldn’t have learned to read some English.