Exciting stuff today! The Belmont Stakes was run, the third leg in the Triple Crown. Now, normally, I’m not into horse racing but today’s event offered potential history in the making. Big Brown, an American thoroughbred, had a shot to be the first horse in thirty years to win the Triple Crown. That’s the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont! Would history be made? Would the seemingly unstoppable favorite win the race? Or would he be denied by some upset-minded dark horse? I settled in, turned on the t.v., and watched – not the Belmont Stakes, but an onscreen message that read “Please stand by for the satellite signal. Thank You for your patience”. Sure, I’ll admit it was more entertaining than America’s Got Talent, but I kind of had my heart set on watching something else. I phoned up my local cable provider and after spending a good ten minutes negotiating their automated response service, I finally got a real human being. I explained the situation and she ran me through a number of trouble-shooting tips that ranged from restarting my receiver to going outside to make sure someone hadn’t made off with my satellite dish. Nothing worked. Finally, she instructed me to turn on every t.v. in the house. She would send a software update to my receivers within the next fifteen minutes to an hour. “That solves the problem ninety-five percent of the time,”she assured me. “So, is there anything else I can help you with today?” I paused. Anything else? What the hell else could she help me with? We’re getting the floors done on Wednesday. Could she come by and help me move the night tables out of the master bedroom? No? Well, she couldn’t really help me get my satellite up and running either. Three hours later, and it’s still not working. What are the chances? Oh, I’d say about 5%.
Today, I revised my first draft and shaved the script down to a manageable 56 pages. I celebrated by getting online in the mistaken belief that I would be able to book our Asia trip. I juggled schedules, flights, and hotels before finally giving up and making myself a bowl of oatmeal instead. That I can do. I’ll leave the vacation planning to the professionals. Either a travel agent or my wife.
Today’s pics and video: Since I received a number of requests…
PG15 writes: “1. Do shelved stories actually see the light of day ever again? Have there been shelved stories that have been picked up later on?
2. Is Todd still slated for 3 episodes this season?
3. Is Halling going to appear this season?”
Answers: 1. Occasionally although, off the top of my head, I can’t remember one. There’s always a very good reason why a story is shelved. 2. Maybe one more. 3. Nope.
Shawna Bunchanan writes: “I’ve got another casting question for you. When you (or whoever does it) go through the headshots that agents send, how important is the resume?”
Answer: Unless we’re casting for a particular skill (ie. An actor who can juggle chainsaws), it’s not important at all. We hire the best actor.
Shawna Buchanan also writes: “If an actor has little to no experience, or if their resume is comprised largely of school experience, what are the chances of getting called for an audition?”
Answer: We use a casting director who is contact with various talent agencies around town. She’ll send out the call for a certain type and they’ll send back a list of clients who they deem appropriate.
TBA writes: “I noticed you already decided on the stories of episodes 519 and 520 before doing the other ones – does this mean ep 519 and 520 are somewhat linked?”
Answer: Two very different stories, but they’re linked.
Tim the Technician writes: “After reading about the initial outlines of most of season 5, is ‘Monkey in the Control Room’ as you put before us the original title of Ghost in the Machine, The Prodigal or another episode of season 5?”
Answer: Monkey in the Control Room = Ghost in the Machine.
David writes: “Hey Joe…I know I said I wouldn’t ask any question today, but I sent you another e-mail, could you please respond to it!”
Answer: If you’re looking for a quick response, ask your question here. Sometimes, it takes weeks for me to get around to my yahoo account.
Kaite writes: “Will Sheppard not have a focused eppy like the rest of the cast this year?”
Answer: CSI: Atlantis will be Sheppard-focused.
Apk51 writes: “When you type up a script on your laptop, do you use any special software?”
Answer: We use MovieMagic Screenwriter.
Jon K. writes: “How come nobody understands Zelenka then?”
Answer: Because he’s not really Czech. He’s just speaking gibberish.
Narelle from Aus writes: “I see you are reading Ian Watson. I have a few of his books on my Reader but haven’t started any yet. Worthwhile?”
Answer: Too early to tell.
Silian Martreb writes: “That being said: if Teyla is speaking Athosian and understanding what people on planet 123-XYZ are saying (because of the translator nanites), what allows the people on planet 123-XYZ to understand Teyla, if they’ve never stepped through the gate?”
Answer: The fact that Teyla has gone through the gate to meet them.
MysteryMadchen writes: “In a post a few months ago you mentioned that Shep, Mckay and, one other, Ronon I think, would be an equal split for infirmary time, without the Shep whump epi will that still hold true?”
AscendedTauri writes: “Is the Carl episode that takes a dark turn you’re referring to “Prodigal”?”
RangerOne writes: “I thought you or Paul Mullie had final say on casting decisions as showrunners which now I have seen may not be the case.”
Answer: If we really wanted to undermine a casting decision that Carl or Martin had made we could certainly do so. But Carl and Martin are perfectly capable of running their own episodes and while Paul and I will certainly weigh in with our opinions, there has never been a time when we have forced the issue.
RangerOne also writes: “I guess I am more disturbed why a position of importance like the captain of a Travelers’ ship has now been twice portrayed by a young, very attractive female?”
Answer: Truthfully? Joe has long requested a recurring female foil/potential romantic interest for Sheppard. We told him we’d be happy to set up such a character given the right circumstances. The Travelers gave us that opportunity .
RangerOne also writes: “ In regards to my subjective comment about acting, I have seen large differences of opinion by “fans” on the acting skill (or lack there of) of performers. While it may be easy for most people to distinguish between great and terrible performers (Tom Hanks and Pauly Shore, respectively,) there is a lot of ground in the middle that some fans may not be skilled enough to determine nor may not be objective enough to separate between the actor and the role they are portraying.”
Answer: True, however, when you bring someone in for an audition, they are on an even playing field with the other actors. Having worked in this industry long enough, you can’t help but become aware of the tricks used to disguise a poor performance. For instance, if much of an actor’s dialogue is played over another’s reaction, then you know something is up. If the camera can’t sit on an actor for more than five seconds without cutting over to someone else, that’s another bad sign. In the audition room, it’s a straight-up performance with nowhere to hide. Trust me when I say that it’s not that hard to tell the talented performers from the not-so-talented ones.