This morning, fellow Exec. Producer Carl Binder and I threw caution to the wind, jumped into my Q7, and hit the road. We took an impromptu journey guided only by our spontaneity, our sense of adventure, and the directions to the location of Marty G.’s Brain Storm shoot. As it turned out, however, we’d been given a map for people who already knew the way there. I say this because only someone with an intimate knowledge of the area would have known that the Route 7A on the street sign was a.k.a. the St. John’s Street referred to in the directions (“Take a left on St. John’s). Oblivious to this crucial fact, we drove right by it and into off-road territory where Carl followed the guidelines of proper bear safety procedure – and I quote “Never run from a bear! Talk to it, wave your arms, and back away slowly” – by appealing to it’s sense of reason (“Seriously, you don’t want to do this. Devour us, and you’ll just be sinking to our level. You’re better than that.”) while I made a lovely soup out of stinging nettle, birch bark, and a hapless giant centipede. We eventually doubled back, played Carl’s hunch and took a right on Route 7A, and we were right back on track.
We pulled into the parking lot, right behind Special Features Producer Ivon Bartok who was documenting Martin Gero’s foray into the dark side of directing, and followed him into the high school – down a flight of stairs, around a corner, and into the gymnasium that – through the magic of television – had been transformed into the Carl Binder Memorial Theatre. Extras milled about in tuxes and cocktail dresses while Marty G. set up his next shot. Jewel Staite looked, well, nothing short of drop-dead gorgeous in her evening best while David Hewlett exuded the roguish charm of a nerdy James Bond in his flash jacket and pants. Sitting by the monitor was former Kids in the Hall/News Radio alum Dave Foley who, for reasons unknown, had been given a way-too-early call and was good humouredly killing time until his first scene. As we were chatting, I received a call from the production offices informing me that a network employee named Averie was a HUUUUGE Dave Foley fan and would it be possible for me to get him to sign something, anything for her? Hearing this, Dave suggesting going one better. So, I phoned up Claire at SciFi who put me through to Averie’s cell. Unfortunately, I got her voice mail. “Hi, Averie,”I greeted her. “This is Joseph Mallozzi, the show-runner of Stargate Atlantis. I hear you’re a big Dave Foley fan. Well, I have Dave Foley sitting right here.”
At which point, Dave took the phone and left his own message: “Hi, Averie. This is Dave Foley. How are you? Sorry I missed you but if you have time, swing by set. I’m here all day.”
And I capped off the message with: “Doesn’t this just call you? If you leave L.A. right now, it’ll take you maybe three hours to fly, an hour to clear customs, and then another hour traveling time to get here.”
Dave Foley = Class Act.
Equally pleasant and engaging were the sovereigns of science Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye. They turned out to be a lot of fun both in front of and away from the camera, regaling the rest of the cast and crew with stories of their empirical exploits. They seemed to be as happy to be there as we were to have them.
Well, Martin appeared to have everything well in hand so, after a couple of hours of hanging around on set, we hopped back into the Q7 and returned to the studio – but only after dropping the bear off at the Burnaby sky train station because it was on the way.
Thanks to everyone who posted questions for Stargate Atlantis Director of Photography Jim Menard. He is working on them as we speak. And now, on to our next guest blogger…Andromeda’s A.I., SG-1’s Dr. Carolyn Lam, The 4400’s Wendy Paulson, and Michael Shank’s wife, the lovely Lexa Doig will be swinging by to answer your questions next week. So if you have anything you’d like to ask her, start posting. I’ll be gathering your questions through Saturday.
Also – finish up Cordelia’s Honor. Discussion begins on Monday when I’ll start gathering questions for author Lois McMaster Bujold who is the guest of honor at the WorldCon in Denver happening NOW until August 10th. If you’re in the area, go check it out and report back on the Stargate-14 Boot Camp being held on Saturday (http://www.denvention.org/index.php).
Today’s blog entry is dedicated to husband-to-be Kyle Hanson. Best of luck, buddy.
Today’s pics: Brain Storm – A Marty G. Joint.
Today’s video: The Weird Food Purchase of the Day – Shrimp Chips. In case the video below doesn’t play…
Tam_myst writes: “Should you be eating strange foods when your not feeling well?”
Answer: Sometimes, you have to be willing to make sacrifices for your art.
Davidd writes: “I’ve wanted to know for some time now, what made you want to become a producer? Or did it just happen with no prior wish for it?”
Answer: I actually wanted to be an writer and assumed more producer duties over time until, the next thing I knew, I’d earned the title. It’s not at all uncommon for writers to become producers in television. In the feature world, however, it’s much less likely to happen.
Sparrow_hawk writes: “I can’t believe you didn’t like the Wasabi peas — I always have a can in the pantry for snacks.”
Answer: Not a fan. That said, I DO enjoy Wasabi cashews!
Ganymede writes: “Of your list of bad intake choices, I do see a common [if not slightly frayed] thread… All of these things one way or another involve fermentation and or fungi… You might want to talk to someone with a degree in microbiology and/or organic chemistry about this…”
Answer: Where’s Bugguy when you need him?
Cat4444 writes: “Anyway, do you just toss the rest of the failures or do you try to foist them off on Carl somehow so you can get his reaction to your murderous attempts on his life?”
Answer: I think I’ll just bring the leftovers to work.
PG15 writes: “1. Chris Judge recently said that it’s possible that the 3rd movie might start shooting in January of next year. Is there any truth in this?
2. Any new info regarding the Ancients’ war with the Wraith in Season 5?
3. Will the Wraith try to get to Earth again in Season 5?”
Answers: 1) Hey, anything is possible. We’re a long way from an actual production date but I’d be VERY surprised if a third SG-1 movie wasn’t in production in 2009. 2) Off the top of my head – nope. 3) Wouldn’t that be interesting!
Jean writes: “Seems like SciFi is going to air all 20 episodes without a large break as usual after the mid-season cliffhanger. From a producer’s point of view, do you prefer this or rather a longer break between the 2 halves of the season? Do you think it impacts ratings at all?”
Answer: Although it is a bit more work for the production, I think running the show straight through is preferable to taking an extended mid-season hiatus. I find that the hiatus tend to break a show’s momentum. As for how it impacts the ratings – time will tell.
Kdvb1 writes: “*wonders if Joe read her comment about Carl Binder and bday dedications on August 10th*”
Answer: Joe read the comment but needs you to remind him closer to the date as he has a mind like a sieve.
Green writes: “Wait! Wait! I get it! I think you only get a monster icon thingy if you don’t have a pre-existing icon! Right? Maybe?”
Silver_comet writes: “ Do you know all the non-Stargate related guest bloggers personally before you ask them for a guest appearance?”
Answer: I certainly make a point of asking them before announcing their guest appearance.
TBA writes: “When you write scenes for major Wraith characters, do you usually give them names?”
Answer: Not usually. They’re simply referred to as Wraith Commander unless one of our characters names them – as was the case with Kenny.
Drledeboer writes: “Joe – try two consecutive shots of 100 proof vodka before bed.”
Answer: You sound like the heavy-set Russian man who used to walk his dog in my old neighborhood. He claims his dog was feeling unwell so he took him to the vet, only to be told he’d need to pony up $50 a month for meds. Rather than fork over the big bucks, he cured the dog himself by giving the pooch a weekly vodka shot.
Demon Hunter writes: “ I was wondering what your veiws are on salt. Do you take salt in your food, do you add it after or only when cooking?”
Answer: I rarely add salt to anything. My wife, on the other hand, is a salt-aholic.
Moscowchick writes: “I have a question – does the Atlantis expedition have a janitorial staff or does the city magically clean up after its inhabitants?”
Answer: There is a service crew in the city that, among other things, prepares the meals, cleans up after everyone, and, most important of all, keeps a very low-profile which explains why you don’t see them.
Jenny Robin writes: “Joe, you know what would be utterly fascinating for all your readers? I’ll tell you. I should be a guest blogger.”
Answer: A random fan guest blogger. Interesting…
Smiley_face06 writes: “Thanks for answeing my question about Ba’al. It makes me feel better knowing Sam isn’t sulking after being relieved of command in Atlantis.”
Answer: One of the things we wanted to make sure of was that Carter’s being relieved of the Atlantis command isn’t seen as a demotion because, as our team pointed out in The Seed, she was actually a victim of her own success. As such, the next time we see Carter (in episode 20), she’ll have assumed another command position.
Sandra writes: “First question: What would be the Daniel, Mitchell, Vala, Teyla, and Ronon commercials be for “With a Little Stargate Anything is Possible?” Second: If you could write a crossover episode with any other book or TV show what would it be? Third (and this is new): what, in your mind, happened to SG-1 while Sam was on Atlantis? Now that she’s back, will she rejoin the team?”
Answers: 1) Not a clue. 2) Dr. Who. 3) With the Ori dealt with, things were decidedly quiet on the Milky Way front. While not disbanded, SG-1 (made up of Daniel, Teal’c, Mitchell, and Vala) curtailed their off-world exploits.
ElisaD writes: “Now, I was wondering some of the other writers have mentioned who they love writing for or their favorite character on SGA, so I wondering who your favorite character is and who you love writing for.”
Answer: This season, it’s been Ronon and Woolsey.
Anais33 a ecrit: “ 1) Qie préférez le plus dans votre travail?
2)Connaissez vous bien la france?”
Reponses: 1) Les personnes avec qui je travail. 2) Non.
Translation: The best part about my job is the people I work with. And, no, I don’t know the French region very well.