Last night, I went from the living room couch to a mattress on the floor of my home theater which was the equivalent to being upgraded from a room in a Motel 6 to a room in a Motel 6 with a black-out screen. A little more comfortable, yes, and I did get to sleep in past sunrise. The dogs seemed to prefer the new sleeping arrangement as it allowed them to saunter across my stomach and face at all hours of the night without the hassles of having to jump or scramble onto something first.
Since I did get a good night’s sleep, I had plenty of energy for sitting out on the front steps all afternoon. I rewrote the tease of Remnants (adding Dr. Kiang as per Martin’s suggestion and replacing the tree limb after Rob warned me it wouldn’t work) and made some changes to the first act (I addressed Paul’s note by including an early time-cut, lost McKay’s “I said good day, sir.” because Martin didn’t like it, included Zelenka in the control room scene as per everyone’s request, and changed the final beat to avoid repeating a visual from Broken Ties). I also did some reading.. I’m halfway through John Varley’s The Opiuichi Hotline, an incredibly enjoyable SF novel. If the second half of the book is as strong as the first, it’ll be making my SF Top 10 along the likes of Old Man’s War, Consider Phlebas, and Ender’s Game. Hopefully the rest of my Summer reading list proves equally brilliant and engrossing.
As promised, I’m dedicating this blog entry to my long-neglected mailbag. Alas, I wasn’t able to get through all of the questions and comments I wanted to address, so I’ll see if I can pick up where I left off in tomorrow’s entry.
I’m also woefully behind in my dedications so today’s entry is dedicated to: 1) All of the fans who traveled to DFW to see our favorite Scotsman only to have the con canceled, 2) Narelle’s dinged car.
Cheeky Lil Devil writes: “Contrary to popular belief Mr M is just a big softie as the picture below proves.”
Answer: As opposed to the picture taken right after it that shows me lifting both of your wallets.
Prospero writes: “Can you tell us anything about what Project Twilight is??”
Answer: Nope. It’s Top Secret.
Belouchi writes: “1. When do you think (the earliest possible) we will know of the sixth season pick up.
2. Any new earth ships in the near future?
3. So far Remnants, the eppy you are writing, can be classified under what type of episode? For example: Sateda=action packed, BAMSR=Best special effects, First Strike=Suspenseful, Doppleganger=unique and frightful…..”
Answers: 1. Some time between mid-September and mid- November. 2. Nope. 3. Suspenseful, character-driven.
Marion writes: “Also, how come everytime you come on set I’m busy shushing down the extras or on radio dealing with an emergency ?!”
Answer: Next time I swing by, do introduce yourself.
LibKat writes: “Was Ba’al’s knife of “great sentimental value” because it was one he used on O’Neill in Abyss?”
Answer: It was simply Baal’s weak attempt to save his weapon.
AMZ writes: “From what I can tell visual effects companies and people are often closely connected, but I’m wondering if you have any idea how far this extends? See, I was watching a recent episode of Doctor Who, and the visual effects of a giant library complex looked incredibly similar to the city in Stargate: Atlantis.”
Answer: I believe it’s just coincidental. We have an in-house visual effects department and also make use of local vendors. Dr. Who is shot in the U.K. and I suspect they use local vendors (or an in-house department) as well.
Mrs.B108 writes: “Do Sheppard and Teyla have any personal obstacles between them this year?”
Answer: A certain issue will be addressed in Broken Ties.
Maren Sievert writes: “My question was, whether you’re supporting Italy during the soccer’s european Championship and if so what do think of theirgames so far.”
Answer: I, of course, support Italy in in both European Championship and World Cup play. So far, not so good.
Jenny Robin writes: “…still awaiting tasty tasty ice cream recipes.”
Answer: Baron Destructo and Cookie Monster will be swinging by in the coming days to offer up their favorite ice cream recipes.
Tango writes: “What is a “beat”?”
Answer: A beat is a step or dramatic development in a given script or story. When we break an episode, we divide the story into a teaser and five acts, then come up with scenes (on average 4-5) for each act. Each scene can have anywhere from one to “numerous” beats ranging from “McKay discovers something” to “McKay discovers something”, “Sheppard comes in to check on his progress and gets the update”, “Sheppard decides to launch the attack”.
Dovil writes: “The fact that you’ve decided not to go with that means that I’m going to flounce off right this second to start up a new thread at Gateworld entitled: ‘Death of Urinal Cake: Are the Writers Mad?!’.”
Answer: Fear not. If we get a sixth season pick-up, Urinal Cake will be back in the mix – along with Hexed, The “Replacements episode, and the episode in which Atlantis is stricken with a uncontrollable fever…Dance Fever!
My Name Is Scott writes: “A recent Gateworld news tidbit spoke of Stargate Universe, and how it may or may not trigger the end of Stargate Atlantis. If the problem is stretching out the writing staff, couldn’t new writers be brought on board instead of doubling the work load for the exiting writers?”
Answer: If both shows received a greenlight for next year, then we certainly would have to hire new writers.
Sarcasmo writes: ““Whispers” is a bunch of hot chicks with Paul McGillion and Joe Flanigan. Which originally I heard, when they first started the season, they’re like, “Oh, yeah! It’s going to be a great episode. It’s you, Joe Flanigan, and all these hot chicks!”Man, I love being right.”
Answer: Up until the episode airs of course at which point you’ll be wrong but, by that point, I’m sure you’ll have moved on to criticize other episodes you have yet to watch.
Leesa writes: “As a writer/executive producer, which do you prefer? I guess in an ideal world you’d like all the episodes to come in on time, but in this less than perfect world do you prefer longer or shorter?”
Answer: Most episodes run long and are edited down to time. Any sane writer-producer will tell you they prefer an episode run long rather than short. In the case of the former, it’s simply a matter of tightening up the episode or, at worst, losing some beats. In the case of the latter, you’re more often than not padding.
SkyPig writes: “Do Connor Trineer and other Wraith actors have to ADR all of their dialogue?”
Answer: Yes, those teeth can be a problem. Occasionally, we have actors come in for ADR. We also treat the wraith voices for added unearthliness.
Slian Martreb writes: “Now. If the nanites allow someone who has passed through the ‘gate to understand the spoken and written word of another culture/world/etc, then why do Daniel and Elizabeth have such a hard time doing translations?”
Answer: Again, this is my unofficial theory, but the nanites allow one to understand another’s language and be understood in turn, but this only applies to most verbal communication.