As another week draws to a close we inch ever closer to our first day of principal photography. We had the costume fittings on Monday and then the super-secret closed-door invitation-only cast read thru on Tuesday. Yesterday was the stage tech survey for Air #1, #2, and #3 while the production meeting for all three episodes was held today. It was followed by the Safety Meeting which, I‘m disappointed to say, fellow writer/producer did NOT attend on our behalf. Given that we is the writing department’s appointed Safety Representative (in addition to Official Synopsis Writer, Food Taster, and Chairman of our Green Initiative), he really should have been there taking assiduous notes on things like the restriction on open-toe sandals and the indiscriminate use of helium cryogenic-system cooled super magnets on set. What the hell are we supposed to do now? Use our common sense?! The all important Hair and Make-Up Tests tomorrow will be followed by a second cast read thru and, if all goes as planned, the weekend.

So, we’ve got our first three episodes on deck – Air #1, #2, and #3 – and veteran director (and cyrogenic-system cooled super magnet collector) Andy Mikita will be doing the honors. Brad is working on Fire and, from what I hear, is very happy with the way it’s coming along. It’s a great story and, as I’ve already said, right up Brad’s alley. Looking forward to reading the first draft. This episode will see a certain fan favorite retake the director’s chair. Marty G. sent in his revised version of Earth weeks ago, but we have yet to sit down and discuss. Carl, meanwhile, completed his rewrite on Water and awaits word on whether he’ll be doing another pass or handing it off. At 57 pages and given the type of episode it is, Rob feels he’s going to need to trim it down. Rob has had his hands full, dealing with prep issues, but, in the interim, has been spinning episode #7 in his head. This one promises to be a lot of WTF?! fun. Carl also submitted an outline for episode #8, received notes, and is poised to do a rewrite – just as soon as he finishes work on a certain movie script. Paul has landed the polish of episode #9 and I’m presently tinkering with the my completed first draft of episode #10. Episode #11 is still in its initial outline stage, but freelance script and episode #12 is shaping up to be a very interesting dilemma story.

Next week, we welcome another potential freelancer who will be flying in, no doubt armed with ideas and ready to spin. And – we finally start shooting!

Still on track to complete a first draft of my short story by month’s end. I woke up early to work on it this morning but only ended up spinning my wheels. I’m hoping for a late night flash of inspiration that will allow me to strike that precarious balance between subtlety and significance. One of the critiques I tend to hear a lot of with regard to my writing is that it is, at times, cryptic and purposely ambiguous. I’ll admit as much and this stems from three things: a) a desire to challenge the audience, b) my hard-to-shake confidence in the intelligence of the average viewer/reader, c) my general distaste for on-the-nose storytelling that spells out exactly what the character is feeling or thinking in no uncertain terms. And so, I end up second-guessing myself. On the one hand, am I being so understated that the narrative comes off as glib and, ultimately, insubstantial? Or, on the other hand, am I being all too direct and conveying a sense of amateur desperation? Hopefully neither and my prose will elicit a positive reaction, falling somewhere between the two ends of the shifting spectrum: utterly baffling and downright cringeworthy. Although, at the end of the day, I suppose I’d rather err on the side of subtlety and, at the very least, try and fail rather than take the easy out. That said, it does work for some people. In fact, there are a number of popular authors whose prose is so earnest that I find them completely unreadable. And yet, they have an audience.

A terrific dinner with Ivon and Lawren tonight. Will file a proper report – with pics – in the coming days.

 

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Lisa S.

Wow, I had one hell of a time getting ahold of a copy of ‘Powers’ Vol. 1. Thank goodness for ebay!

dasNdanger
dasNdanger

Subtlety can be a good thing…but sometimes a very bad thing.

For as much as I like to speculate about what a certain look or word means, I also need definitive answers (as you can tell by my many questions about your vague episodes wink ). The speculation and mental exercises (nippleless Wraith, for instance grin ) are enjoyable on forums and the like, but not when I’m all alone and have no one to bounce ideas off of.

For me, I like to know what the writer really means to convey. When I feel puzzled about what’s going on, or what the characters are feeling, etc…I become frustrated, and lose interest. I NEED to feel what the characters are feeling, experiencing. I need to make that connection to them, otherwise, they’re flat and uninteresting. And I certainly need to know their motivations, and desires, and goals.

Just taking what I’ve read so far of the Elric saga, I have to say that Moorcock has a style that really works for me – he’s not vague in conveying what the characters are feeling or experiencing, but at the same time he doesn’t over-explain. It’s a nice balance and makes for a fluid read, where I’m not pausing every other page, trying to figure out what author is conveying.

And that, for me, is key. If the author doesn’t reveal enough, it interferes with the flow of my reading, since I have to stop and re-read and try to figure out what the hell he’s trying to tell me. When that starts happening, I lose interest and stop reading.

However, I LOVE when vague hints and things are given throughout a story, with full revelations to come later on. That works well, and gives me – the reader – the sense of discovery. But if subtle hints are given, and nothing is ever fully explained or revealed, then I feel cheated.

Somewhere, there is a balance.

Just my two pennies.

das

Tim Gaffney
Tim Gaffney

I received the latest Stargate Magazine(#27) in the mail today. There is a great interview in there with everyone’s favorite Wraith. If you don’t have a subscription, you should pick it up at your local bookstore.

chevron7

Do you and Paul get a safety hat as the safety rep? Maybe he’s holding out until you both get hats.

So when a writer is spinning an idea in his head, what does it look like he’s doing to the outside world – sleeping, playing the DS, doing a crossword puzzle?

Hope you’re having a good day….er night. It’s a bit smoky here. I’m staying inside.

Cheers, Chev

chevron7

Looking forward to the dinner review and especially the pictures. smile

Cheers, Chev

p.s. can you give us any initials for the names of the rest of main cast of SGU? Or maybe a very random word hint. That could be fun.

Caryn
Caryn

Hi Joe! Hope you have a great dinner and I can’t wait for the pics! I was watching Iron Chef America as I am reading your post and was wondering if we are ever going to see you as a judge on the show?
I can’t wait for SGU… it is looking veyr interesting so far.
Oh, and I was wondering if you have ever tried the chocolates from Chuao Chocolate? They have some interesting combinations. I have ordered a selection and am waiting for it to arrive.
Have a great weekend!
Caryn

SGAFan
SGAFan

Wow, lots of work on SGU (expected) and from what I can gather, a hint that the SG1 script is almost done.

What about the SGA movie script? smile

Narelle from Aus

I can’t imagine you producing cringeworthy Joe unless you meant to produce cringeworthy. I’ve seen too many of your Stargate eps to know you don’t make me cringe.
And I cringe easily.
Put me in front of any musical episode of a show and I’m cringing for the full 42 minutes (except for the Scrubs one – laughter was the overwhelming feeling with just a tinge of cringe).

At least with downright baffling you can leave the reader questioning their own intellect – speaking as someone with experience in that – rather than them automatically faulting the author.

So while a balance would be great, if you’re finding that difficult, go the option that allows you to point the finger of blame at someone else **nods reassuringly**. Note to Joe, do not follow any of my advice. Although you probably already knew that.

Honestly, if the storyline is moving along well and the character’s actions within the storyline are driving it, I don’t need to know the nitty gritties. Actions speak louder than words so they say, and I enjoy having a little bit of artistic license when reading a book rather than being dictated every detail.

Hope the late night creative juices are flowing.

caitlyanna

So how was Wild Seed? Was it BOTM worthy? It sounds really good so I’m already planning on reading it. Finding time to read has been really difficult lately with the two jobs, but I’m getting through In the Cities of Coin and Spice pretty well. It’s a lot more graphic than In the Night Garden. I wasn’t quite ready for that but like the first, it’s a beautifully written story.

It’s only the 12th and I’m already sick of Valentine’s Day. Do you and Fondy have any plans? I kind of hate the fact that I’m always depressed this time of year, but really would you blame me? I’m turning 27 in two weeks and have never, ever, ever even been on a date and the last time I was asked out, I was 15. I constantly have to apologize to people for hating this holiday. I’ll shut up now. Have fun on Saturday no matter what your plans may be.

Thornyrose
Thornyrose

Is the current plan to shoot Universe through the late summer, then go on hiatus about the time the show premieres in the fall? That will make for a very long summer without any new Stargate material. And any word on the DVD release of season five?
As far as the subtle/blatent argument, I can and do enjoy both. Certain authors are good at doing the ambigious, read-between-the-lines view of character views and motivations. This form of writing does tend to demand a bit more of the reader, but if handled with a modicum of competence makes for a better read. At other times, it’s sometimes nice to just have the author do all the work for me. It’s like any other kind of diet. You become tired of the same food all the time, and crave a change in taste and texture.
Hope the “silent” partner who missed the Safety meeting is doing all right. In the meantime, you can always come up with some faux rules and regs to pass onto him. “Safety glasses are to be worn indoors at all times, but must be the tinted/sunshade variety. Also, all persons indoors must also put on a safety vest with flashing amber lights on the shoulders and around the waist. The wearer will be responsible for ensureing all the lights work, and that dead batteries are replaced promptly.” You might also see if Evil Kenny could come up with a suitably garish and weighty vest to back up the statements.
Then again, you don’t need advise from someone like me when you channel Baron Destructo on your off days. Never mind.

chevron7

Narelle from Aus said:

I can’t imagine you producing cringeworthy Joe unless you meant to produce cringeworthy. I’ve seen too many of your Stargate eps to know you don’t make me cringe.
And I cringe easily.
Put me in front of any musical episode of a show and I’m cringing for the full 42 minutes (except for the Scrubs one – laughter was the overwhelming feeling with just a tinge of cringe).

Oh I don’t know about that (although you could be right that he knew exactly what he was doing) grin

Joe knows exactly how I feel about Moebius and the cringeworthy alt-timeline Sam and Daniel. **shudders** The rest of the ep was great, just difficult to get past those two.

Cheers, Chev

Mackenzie's Momma

So, I know this is *technically* a comment on yesterday’s post but you’ll be happy to know that I have tracked down(but not yet procured) a copy of “The Big Over Easy” for April(though it may well be a bit early, but you never know with public libraries hold systems).

Tried to track down a copy of “Poe” but alas no luck yet. I’m a fan of Poe’s original works so am curious to see the anthology and am hoping to find a copy of it in time.

Dankriss

Hi

Question – please tell me Joe that the new SG Gateroom has not changed beyond recognition?….as that is as much a part of the show as the characters….And I hope that it is explained why it has changed in the upcoming SG1 movie as well.

Kriss smile

PoorOldEdgarDerby
PoorOldEdgarDerby

It can be a pain to lower your bar without feeling like a complete d-bag.

Everybody van dip below the standard, if it pleases. Just not too much with the “innocent blood on your hands…literally!”

And keep in mind that writers don’t need subtlety as much if they implement gratuitous sex and copious swearing. So there’s always that.

paloosa
paloosa

To subtle or significant be? Sounds like you’re strangling your muse. Be both.

suziesbluefeather

Joe, you would have been so proud of me today. It was my best friends birthday so I had to go to town. Went to a new restaurant that is now my new favorite. My best friend loves Sushi and I had only had it one time and hated it. But I tried it again and it was great! The Salmon and Tuna were so light and wonderful. I’ve already made plans to go back. Then we went and saw a movie (which I was freaking out about) but apparently at 4 in the afternoon on a Thursday you get the theater to your self.

Narelle from Aus

Hey Chev,

Actually, there were many moments in that ep I did cringe with, but for me it was a good cringe. I have two types of cringe; a I’m cringing but borderline breaking into laughter cringe and the ‘Oh gad, please stop now before you become the top rated You Tube video’ cringe. The second is the one I don’t enjoy.

Very smoky indeed. Seems to have reached most places now. I’m sitting outside typing this and I’ve got ash falling on me. Bizarre.

Airelle – Your rain dance produced 2mm last time. Go crazy and let’s see what you can do. Thanks muchly.

Amz

Joe, I have a fair bit of faith that whatever your short stroy ends up being, it will be great to read.

When it comes to short stories (or any stories really) I’m reading, I tend to prefer narrative that has a considerable amount of subtext floating around. There are quite a few successful writers (and many less successful ones too) who, like you said, are very earnest in their prose. They are the kind of writers I may read once, but never again.

Something complex on the other hand, like a King or a Gaiman or an anthology by Lou Anders I will keep coming back to, re-reading again and again because I’ll get something new out of the stories every time. If everything in fiction was straightforward and right in front of the readers eyes, then there’s no room left for the unexpected, or the personal interpretation. That’s one of the main things I love about reading, and if you take that away then you almost take out all of the pleasure in discussing a story after you’ve read it.

When you think about speculative fiction (as a super-genre for scifi, fantasy, horror etc), it has to have a lot of things left up to the reader. It’s speculative in nature, so we have to come to at least a few conclusions on our own, at least more so than with general fiction.

You’ve been writing scifi for years now, and I think that your style is inherently complimentary to any audience with an imagination and a desire to think as well as be entertained. As for going over peoples heads, well, even if there is that risk at least it will get the book clubs talking.

Amz

Line Noise

Joe,

Is it normal to start filming while the scripts for so many forthcoming episodes still remain uncompleted? I would have thought that with each episode being filmed in 5-7 days it doesn’t give the writers much time to write the later episodes before production catches up with them. Or is there a break in filming between each episode for rehearsals, set building, etc? Or does filming take longer at the start of a new show while the cast and crew get a feel for it?

I, for one, am eagerly anticipating SGU. Even though I was enjoying SGA and was disappointed to see it go, a 5 year run on TV – particularly for a sci-fi show – is a fantastic achievement.

Shirt'n'Tie
Shirt'n'Tie

Hi there Mr M!

Wow, you guys are busy. And thank you for (inadvertently) answering my questions re: Mr Binder and Marty G.!

Glad to hear all the crew are busy busy busy.

Having been through two other Stargate Productions, do you still get that frisson of excitement as you embark on a new project like this, or is it a case of “been there, done that”?

WRT: Writing : The MAIN reason I have stayed loyal to the Stargate Franchise over the years, is the fact that 99.99% of the time, the audience are treated with a fair dollop of common sense and intelligence (or as we say here in Ireland : “cop on”!). I would much prefer subtlety over “crayon indicators” in any tele-play. Writing has always struck me as quite a lonely business with a lot of self doubt/self belief in equal measure, and I for one couldn’t do it!

And finally, “Sanctuary” aired on Sci-Fi (Europe) last night. It had aired on ITV4 some time back, but finally, I got to see it. GREAT SHOW! Ms Tapping and Mr Heyerdahl really puts in great performances…along with many familiar SG faces…and Dan Shea getting beaten up by a girl is always a pleasure to watch (sorry Dan!)

Best to all

Shirt’n’Tie

Robert
Robert

I have not heard any news on what actresses are in Universe.. when will they be officially named..?

I am actually looking forward to Universe… Its is sounding very interesting…

I have heard Universe will be in full production soon, and after Universe has wrapped, Production on Atlantis and SG1 movies start is that true….?

In the cast read through for The first Episode, Micheal Shanks wasn’t there by any chance?

You guys on Stargate all ways do a superb job… good luck on the production run with Universe……

A Massive Fan, Rob

Sessy
Sessy

Joe, not sure if you can answer this but, here’s my Q:
The last season of Atlantis had shorter introductory sequences – you know the music bit with the actor’s names and videoclips, right? Is Universe going to stick to this model as well? If yes, why, if no, why not?

Paula

Exciting to hear things are going well.

As for safety issues? I work in public health. Never underestimate the stupidity abilities of the common homo sapien.

Kraut

Thanks for the update on your production schedule and safety measures. You should thank whatever powers you believe in that you’re not shooting in Germany with its truly stunning bureaucracy and all-encompassing safety regulations. I don’t think it can be worse than here anywhere else.
Thank you even more for sharing your thoughts about writing. I write mostly non-fiction myself, so I don’t have that dilemma very often (and whenever I had, it was in a different language and culture). But as a reader, I would like to tell you that I like your approach. Please do err on the side of subtlety. It is much more fun ro read a subtle (and even cryptic) story, as long as there’s a satisfactory conclusion to it. Personally, I read a lot of English books because of this subtlety and understatement, which I often miss in contemporary German literature. I like to use my brains and my imagination when I read. Platitudes make me feel insulted.
But then, there are many authors whose earnest (or banal) prose I find unreadable, too, and who are very popular. No one can explain matters of taste.

chevron7

I’ve taken some sunset photos the past few days:

sunset 1

sunset 2

sunset 3

cheers, chev