Thankfully, saner heads prevailed and the location scout initially scheduled for 7:15 a.m. this morning was moved to a much more bearable 8:00 a.m. The trip to Stokes Pitt took about 45 minutes and I spent the time chatting food with producer John G. Lenic, and catching up on my emails. You know, I used to hate the very idea of text messages, dismissing it as a tween fad. Why go through all the trouble of texting when it’s so much easier to simply talk to someone? Of course what I failed to fully appreciate at the time was how wonderfully impersonal texting can be. No need for small talk or post-discussion niceties . Just say what need to be said and hit SEND. I am now a text-messaging convert. In fact, if I play my cards right, there will eventually come a point where I’ll be able to enjoy a life thoroughly devoid of human contact.
In the meantime, however, it looks like I’ll be doing things the old-fashioned way – ie. dealing with people face to face. Like today, for instance, when the ten of us hopped out of the transport mini-van like circus clowns and checked out the site of Sheppard’s day in Hell eppy. We needed someplace to park the jumper, and then someplace that would serve as a proper cliff setting. Check and check. The first one will be easy. The latter will require a bit of imagination, a backhoe, an Art Department extension, and some green screen effects, but the ten foot drop-off we sized up should do the trick. We stood around, discussed, took measurements, stood around, traipsed through the forest, stood around, and then, once everyone was satisfied (for my part, I could have done with a little more standing around), we piled back into the clown car and headed back to the studio.
The prep schedule was juggled so that we had only one meeting today: Playback and VFX. For the playback portion, we discussed oscillating energy signatures, scrolling alien script (not to be confused with), and scrolling alien text (it scrolls the opposite direction to help differentiate). We moved on to visual effects and some discussion about that damn bay window in Woolsey’s quarters (what the hell was I thinking?), the visual depiction of physical damage, the scenic cafeteria view, stuns, muzzle flashes, beam downs, and the big reveal.
Which took me to lunch – which we ordered from Rangoli. The usually bitter Carl was unusually extra bitter, renaming the curry chicken dish he’d ordered “curry cartilage” and making a big show of fishing every second piece out of his mouth and loudly lamenting his failure to order butter chicken from that other place.
We capped off the day with a Day 2 Mix of The Daedalus Variations. Usually, I’m sick of an episode by the upteenth viewing but this is one I’m enjoying more with repeat viewings. Great stranded-team script by Alan McCullough, terrific direction by Andy Mikita, and some MAJOR visual effects battle sequences courtesy of Mark Savela and his crew. If you thought Search and Rescue was big, LOOK OUT!
Well, I continue to be impressed by the overall quality of the commentary posted as part of the ongoing book of the month club discussions…
Sylvia writes: “Because of your imagination and ability to explore the things some of us humans fear, you are gifted to be able to unfold these fears in a way that is rather riveting and spell binding.”
Answer: I agree. Even though a number of the stories were unnerving both in terms of subject matter and the writer’s ability to exploit it to full effect, Pelland’s style made reading them a true pleasure. Like I said in my review, even though I thought certain tales worked better than others, they all reflected the skills of a terrific storyteller.
Christin writes: ““Big Sister/Little Sister” was just so deliciously twisted and dark. I couldn’t completely sympathize with either the Big or the Little sister and I loved that.”
Answer: Yes, I found that particularly interesting about this story as well. You would assume the reader would sympathize with the plight of the younger sister and yet it’s very hard not to sympathize with the older sister instead. Despite the tale‘s horrific conclusion, I couldn’t help but think “Okay, at least I can kind of understand where she’s coming from.” Still…
Christin writes: “ “Songs of Lament” made me snicker. It shouldn’t, but it did because I read it and thought “see, even the whales think we’re jerks”. I find that amusing because I think we’re jerks, too.”
Answer: Agreed. Which is why, in the review, I suggested that we were fighting on the wrong side of the impending war for the very survival of this planet.
Thornyrose writes: “Starting with “For the Plague…”. […] But the worst part about this is that I could imagine a significant segment of society reacting just as Teesa and her fellow believers did, working to hasten the end instead of seeking a way to reverse it.”
Answer: I saw it as a means of empowerment, the hitherto helpless victims of the plague deluding themselves into a position that allowed them to take back control.
Thornyrose also writes: “ I felt that the Call was an excellent short piece, and revived my interest in the rest of the book. Not so much that it had many twists, but simply because of how it engaged my imagination, trying to picture the universe where such a choice had to be made.”
Answer: Yes, interesting dilemma but, with all due respect to the human race, not a mission I’d volunteer for. I WOULD help out by recommending some pretty good candidates though.
Iamza writes: “Celebrity is a funny thing, isn’t it? We make ordinary people over into something much greater than they could ever hope to be, and then feel hurt and betrayed when they don’t live up to our expectations.”
Answer: So true. It reminds me of the time I spotted the Pillsbury Dough Boy at Starbucks and asked him for an autograph. He totally blow me off. That guy’s an asshole.
Fsmn36 writes: “For the Plague Thereof Was Exceeding Great…[…]. Replace AIDs with any unknown future virus, the rantings of the priests and doomsayers with those of today and it makes for a truly frightening picture.”
Answer: Interesting you should say that. I wonder how this story would have worked had Pelland elected to go with a mystery virus rather than making it a mutative strain of the AIDS virus. Would the message have been as effective? Would a more subtle approach done a better job of making the point or would it only have served to diffuse the message?
Fsmn36 writes: “While sane people find it hard to understand why anyone would make such a jump as he did with the waitress, reading as the character, it was obvious he was obsessive.”
Answer: Maybe so, but she didn’t even know his name! He seemed obsessive, certainly, but also kind of dumb – which really ran contrary to what we learn about him later in the story.
Fsmn36 writes: “I wondered how you reflected on that story reading it as a maker of a show that attracts a “fan base”. Any further thoughts, Joe?”
Answer: Well, fortunately I’m only a lonely writer-producer so I needn’t worry about obsessive fans. The guy who played wraith warrior #3 in Spoils of War, on the other hand, HE’S got something to worry about.
Antisocial Butterflie writes: ““Brushstrokes” was a spectacular end to the book. I felt that the story was fleshed out nicely with the description of the society, the characterization, and the pacing of the plot. I felt for the characters, how they banded together in the end rather than railing against each other and in that act became a symbol that hopefully would incite change.”
Answer: Even though this was the longest entry in the collection, I found it so richly detailed in terms of its setting and characters that I was almost sorry the author didn’t take advantage and explore it in novel form.
Today’s entry is dedicated to Shawna’s squashed finger, little Emma, and birthday gal Jennie Smith.
Today’s pics: Hey, look at the gifts I received! A special chocolate dedication from Nathan in the front office, and the sequel to David Louis Edelman’s Infoquake, Multireal, compliments of the gang at Pyr. Also, check out my writing partner’s new sweet ride and snaps from our class field trip to Stokes Pitt.
Today’s videos: Two today. Fearless director Will goes cliff-climbing while Lulu discovers the lawn sprinklers.
Eugene from Aus writes: “1] Will Brad Wright and/or Martin Wood drop in for questions on Continuum after the UK release date(UK’ers seem to be getting it last according to Wikipedia) or will it be seemingly near the Aussie release date for Continuum?
2] Has the cover art be officialised yet? (That is, the Gate/Space or the Gate/Ice)
3] Who will actually be doing the Commentary for Continuum?}
and No4] Will we be getting one of your poems anytime soon for whichever Stargate Atlantis season is coming up?”
Answers: 1) Martin is busy working on another show and Brad is equally busy working on a little something I’m calling Project Terzo. 2) It certainly has. 3) I know that Brad and Martin will be providing commentary. Don’t know if there will be additional commentary. 4) I write up a spoiler poem at the beginning of every year. The poem containing references to the back half of season 4 as well as season 5 can be found here: http://josephmallozzi.com/2007/12/31/december-31-2007-poetic-licentiousness/. And in case you weren’t able to figure it out, the line “A mission is snagged by an untimely birth.” is a reference to Search and Rescue, our fifth season premiere.
Nicole Gustas writes: “How do you like WordPress, and what made you decide to switch to it from Blogger?”
Answer: I liked Blogger well enough until their spambots temporarily suspended my account because they suspected it was a spam site (I blame Baron Destructo). Despite repeated assurances that they would have my blog up and running in no time, days went by until, fed up, I switched over to WordPress. In the end, it worked out for the best. WordPress has been a terrific home.
Zoniduck writes: “Which S5 episode is the big Ancient Toilet/Stick Fighting/Arbor Day extravaganza you were teasing us with last year, hmm?”
Answer: Our milestone 100th episode of course.
Katja writes: “Did you catch Joe on Chelsea Lately last night?”
Answer: Nope, but if his wife did I’m sure he got in a lot of trouble.
Paula writes: “I also rather enjoy reading your non-SGA stuff. You’re hilarious and manage to do all sorts of interesting things.”
Answer: True. Today I had a big salad for dinner. Beat THAT!
Alipeeps writes: “So, any news on how things are progressing in your anticipated fight to keep in the darker elements of the story? Were the network okay with the dark stuff or are you having to fight for it?”
Answer: We’ll find out tomorrow morning when we have our notes session.
Drdledeboer writes: “Pretty good ratings start to SGA s5.”
Answer: Actually, a tad better than reported. It was a 1.35 which would have been a 1.4 and not a 1.3. It’ll be interesting to see the DVR numbers.
Les Fez writes: “ I was wondering, with the 100th episode apparently being so huge, what are the chances that MGM/SciFi will let you guys make it an extra-long episode like threads?”
Answer: Most unlikely.
Skypig writes: “An acquaintance of mine owns a pug. It’s every breath is a loud, slurpy snore. Is this normal for pugs?”
Answer: Yep. Try sleeping with three on your bed.
EH-T writes: “All you could come up with was we need “a different skill set”? That’s even more lame than the way Sam was written out of SG1 in season 9.”
Answer: We’ll be touching on the I.O.A.’s reasoning in this week’s episode, The Seed.
Michelle writes: “Hi Joe, the latest Comic Con schedule is out, and it looks like there will be no Stargate autograph sessions this time. Is that for real and final?”
Answer: No idea. I’m out of the loop on the Comic Con front.
Sean writes: “Have you ever read any of Cormac McCarthy’s work? I recently read “The Road” and was wondering what you thought.”
Answer: It was fine. It reminded me a lot of Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower/Parable of the Talents, two books I loved.
Brendan writes: “Do you know which episode Amanda Tapping will be in, in Season 5 and is it still just one episode for her?”
Answer: Provided she is available, we would love to have her appear in our 100th episode.
Kellie writes: “I’m practicing being “politely persistent.” Any word on the script? Hope you’re well!”
Answer: Yes! I’ll email you this weekend!
Wonderingbrit writes: “Will you guys ever go on location to another part of the world?”
Answer: Does Las Vegas count?