Today marked the start of production on Stargate: Universe and, while most were down on Stage 3 watching/participating in the action, I was up in the production offices, pacing the corridors as I’m wont to do when working on a script revision. Up and down. Up and down. Up and down. Until, finally, I’ve made the last note on my script and I can return to my office to implement the changes. By the time I handed the memory stick off the Lawren, it was lunch time.
All indications are things are going swimmingly on set. Brad and Rob are very happy with what they saw today and I look forward to checking out the first batch of dailies tomorrow. Special Features Producer Ivon Bartok had a conversation with Robert Carlyle and can’t say enough good things about the man. After lunch, I swung by the trailers to say hello to our guest star. We ended up chatting away until we got the call from set. Just like old times. It made me kind of nostalgic.

Well, everything is still super-secret under-wraps from now until…whenever the studio decides it isn’t. We were all issued official personal copies of the script with our own names emblazoned on every page. Presumably this is to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands but I really feel the need to point out that, from my ten year experience working with the franchise, the problem has never been copies of the script getting out but fans having access to the breakdown services used by casting directors and actors. Still, it’s all very James Bond and fun for some, so who am I to complain? That said, it would have been even cooler had the actual script been delivered in one of those metal briefcases we could handcuff to our wrists. Bonus points if they self-destructed if somebody entered the wrong combination.

All this to say, yes, I’ve got lots of pics but no, I won’t be posting them just yet. Alas, not sure when either. Until then, however, I’m lining up some terrific Stargate-related fan Q&A sessions that I’ll be announcing in the coming weeks

And speaking of coming announcements, many of you are wondering when the hell I’m going to go public with the official press release concerning our female cast members. The answer: I’m not. I have absolutely nothing to do with how or when the studio or network choose to proceed on this one. They may decide to release a simple statement on their official website or could, instead, choose to breaks the news by having one of those barnstorming crop dusters spell the names out in the skies of Los Angeles. I’d personally go with the latter – but that’s why I’m writing scripts and not working in publicity.

Finishing up Infoquake in time for the commencement of our Book of the Month Club discussions next week (check the right sidebar for the date and times in your area!), finally making some headway on the short story, while Cookie Monster and Baron Destructo work their way through this year’s Best Picture nominees, hopefully in time to handicap the race prior to Oscar night.

Tonight, I leave you with the deeply moving planned memorial to the victims of the Folsom Dam Disaster. Video compliments of The Onion News Network:



45 thoughts on “February 18, 2009: First Day of Production

  1. Well, I guess this is for our own good. I used to love the days when there would be a big spoilerific offering in this blog, or from Gateworld, or from whatever other sources that may exist; but then, of course, I go overboard and the surprises disappear by showtime.

    With this show being more serialized, I’m guessing those surprises would have to be kept under wraps even more so. Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to wait.

    Or not. So, where are you guys going on location tomorrow? I promise I will turn off the flash on my camera so as to not disturb filming. 😉

  2. What happened to the 18th?

    And sheesh… you’d think that TPTB would have announced the female cast members by now… especially if production has begun and they’re already hard at work!

  3. Sorry Joe, isn’t it still the 18th in Vancouver?? Also, picked up what I assume is a rogue “the” in your first paragraph:

    By the time I handed the memory stick off the Lawren

    Of course there could be some hidden meaning there that I’m missing, but still.

    You know, I think the secrecy is a clever move in the marketing department because everyone is hanging out for the cast announcements (while I wait quietly to hear about the crew as well). It’s just a pity that people are still hassling you!

  4. Sounds like the first day went well. Can’t wait to see the end results this fall.

  5. I’m pouting right now. I thought we were going to know who the female cast members are by now. Silly network. I can’t wait to see your pics though.

    Good luck with your script.

  6. You could always take pictures of the cast and crew on set and just put a blue dot over people’s faces we’re not supposed to see yet (alternatives include a bunch of RDAs).

    Nice video. We don’t acknowledge our responsibility for the action we’ve yet to not take often enough these days.

  7. Personally I can wait for info…but guest star….ohh wonder who that can be? LOL

    Ok so I can’t wait..although still have to wait to see it until at least Autumn of this year…if Sky buy it of course…LOL

    Kriss 🙂

  8. I’m actually loving the lack of info. Maybe this time I’ll be able to avoid spoilers without unpluging the computer and hiding in my room…

  9. Congratulations! A first day gone well, what more can you hope for?

    Personally, I don’t care if those announcements come next week or next year. Why should I get excited about a TV series I will not get to see before the 2nf half of 2010 (if I want to watch it legally) in my part of the world anyway?

    Honestly. It’s much more fun to read your backstage stories. That’s why I find myself suddenly addicted to this blog.

    Wishing you many more successful production days, with less pacing and more chatting! 😀

  10. Its like Christmas all over again, presents are under the tree and we’re not allowed to open them yet. Cool! I’m gonna get my Christmas hat on in preparation for the big day.

  11. i still dont understand the reasons for concealing the identities of the female cast while revealing the male cast as soon as they signed on…thats sexist.

  12. I have a wee bit of Infoquake to go, but I have plenty of train rides over the next few days so I should finish in time. I’m also taking my laptop everywhere I go so I can finish my House marathon before I start my Nursing degree on Monday. I will be hella busy.

    Goodbye physics and calculus degree; hello real bleeding, lumpy, sick human beings. I’ve been told that when I’m dealing with patients I should avoid using my current catch phrase “trust me, I’ve been watching House.”

  13. And me, a visual learner, will just have to practice patience on those pictures.


  14. So if you are shooting why haven’t the names of the team babes been released yet? 🙂

  15. Hopefully we’ll find out who the actresses are on the show. You’d think they’d like to let their fans know, wow, we got great gig! Can’t fathom the workings of studio PR people…

  16. I was assuming by now that the female parts would be a) CGI painted in on green screen or b) played by the male cast in drag. To save money, of course, its really amazing what SFX and split screen can do.

    Info Quake picked up for me, so I just might finish by Mon. Book of Joby looks iffy, too big for me to finish in a week.

    Quit pickin on Keanu Reeves. I’ve liked some of his movies a whole lot.

  17. Hey, Joe, since you’re writing for TV, may I ask you what scriptwriting software do you use? thats if you’re not using a typewriter of course.

  18. I’m glad to hear that things are going well with the new show. And since I don’t know most actors/actresses working in television these days, it doesn’t bother me a bit that the names of the female stars haven’t been announced yet. And I prefer to see how the characters developed without having too many preconceived notions about them, anyway.

    re BotM club: Well, Joe, you certainly provided a challenge for the first graphic novel entry. It seems to be out of print and Amazon and my local book stores gave a waiting time of 1 to 4 months. But I’m happy to say that I have snagged a copy of “Who Killed Retro Girl?” from a used book source listed on Amazon.

    @das: I’m so proud of you! You see, regular books can be fun if properly selected! And just because you made the effort to read a book I suggested, I’m reading the graphic novel for the April BotM club.

    @Narelle: I hope things are going better. What is a Zen? Or are you speaking philosophically and I’m just being dense?

  19. Ummmm….guest star? I thought Robert was a series lead/regular? Or am I nit picking?

    I look forward to seeing pics at some point!!!!

    Thanks for blogging,

  20. Hi again Mr M!

    Just popped over to Lou Anders Blog. There is a fantastic write-up in this month’s edition of DEATH RAY ( a UK Scifi Mag) for Lou’s FF2!! Excellent!! Reminds me… you must pop it on the BOTM selection soon!
    Also, listened to the podcast at Adventures in SCFP…very informative. I totally missed Chuck’s reading material.

    Delighted the new show is off to a great start. Break a leg to all!!

    Best to all


  21. A pox on all TPTB for trying to play coy with something as straighforward as the casting of female characters. The scripts I can understand, withholding of pictures I can understand, but what’s the big deal about naming a few cast members so we can look up their screen credits? Then again, we are talking the Sci Fi network, which has managed to make its Friday night lineup all but unwatchable, between their timing of shows’ releases, and their choice of what shows would and would not remain part of the lineup. Still, sounds like you’re having fun. And the promise of some more Q&As is of more interest to me right now than the promise of those pictures.
    Working on the Book of Joby right now. With Sparrow_Hawk’s warning, I’ll be heading out shortly to see if local sources can provide me a copy of next month’s graphic novel selection. Thanks for the daily dose of humor with the Onion link.

  22. @ Perragrin – Steve Walsh, you say? This Steve Walsh?

    Ah, yes…I like him, too. In a kinda odd way, he reminds me of Alan McCullough with a little more meat on him. 🙂

    Amz – Not as bad as Feb. 13th when Ivon and Joe were “wet with the Chocolate and Tonka Bean”… 😕

    @ wolfenm – Glad you enjoyed my little joke at Todd’s expense! 😀

    @ Sparrow_hawk – I just really lucked out with Elric – I liked the character from page one, and that kept me going until the story itself sucked me in. You don’t know how many books (comics included) I’ve tossed aside because the characters did nothing for me, no matter how good the story itself might have been.

    I am very much a character-driven reader (which drives all the fanboys on comic book forums nuts – “Read for the writer and story, not for the character!” they keep yelling at me. But if I don’t like or care about the characters, why read the story?

    So Elric worked out well for me, and – believe it or not – it’s not his looks that hooked me, but his moodiness and introspection. He reminds me so much of Hornblower in this regard, and that’s the same reason I loved that character, too. I guess I just like miserable men! 😀

    No wonder I love Cranky!Todd even moreso than Jocular!Todd. 😀

    Speaking of Todd…

    @ Joe – I know the Atlantis movie is ages off, and mentally you are not in that zone right now (with SGU getting under underway and all), but we Toddophiles are hoping that the future holds something positive for him. Ya know – it’s all we have now, so we hope you won’t be cruel to us.


  23. All ready for Monday, as I just got done with Infoquake, and started on Book of Joby. It’s amazing how much time one finds to read when one has no television, or DVD player, or home computer, or, well, furniture/electronics of any description in the house. 🙂

  24. Is the “guest star” Michael Shanks? He hinted on Gateworld that he had been approached about being in the pilot. Or maybe was that the reason Chris Judge dropped by? Or is that just wishful thinking?

    Hmmmm… Joe, perhaps your next move should be to become one of TPTB and then you could make sure the network and studio doesn’t do silly things like forget to announce the names of the females who have been hired!!!

  25. Cant wait for the end result. But….little disapointed that there is no food piece in here 🙂

  26. I’ll be working on Defying Gravity today at Bridge so, if you hear someone shouting your name from across the lot…it is probably me. If you do a ninja role and duck for cover under the nearest shrubbery, I’ll understand that you are too busy to say hello, otherwise I hope to say hi. 🙂

  27. Hello Joe, will there be a negative affect, from Martin Gero leaving the StarGate family, on the SGA movie?

  28. I watched the video, but am not up to date with what is going on (yes, sometimes I live in a bubble). From what I understood, the dam hasn’t let go yet and they constructed a memorial for those who WILL die. So, why aren’t people leaving before it happens?

  29. As a neighbor to Folsom I thank you for the warning Joe. It’s nice to know that someone in Canada is watching out for disaster in my own backyard. Luckily I am just far enough away I should be good. If not I’ll just have to hope they get my name right on the monument. I’ll have to see if I cannot make it out there to click a few pictures of me with the monument for you.

  30. To the Anonymous Someone(s) who Made My Day:

    The staffer woke me up this afternoon when she delivered a box with an air hole in it. It was from the Vermont Teddy Bear Company and contained my new teddy bear. She wears a white t-shirt with “Marines” in red on the front and “Major Anne Teldy” in black on the back. I sat rocking her and cried like a baby. (Of course, I cry like a baby quite often these days.) I can’t thank you enough for the gift.

    Especially appreciated is the sweet message about wanting me back here. If I can get my thoughts pulled together into a coherent message, I hope to post about Infoquake next week as I enjoyed it quite a bit. The fact is, though, I’m not able to achieve coherency very often these days as my memory is Swiss cheese and my brain in general is foggy. But I’ll try.

    Missing you all greatly and eagerly anticipating the Oscar movie reviews.

    Anne Teldy
    Lise, I’m guessing here that you had something to do with this? The note’s wording seemed like you.

  31. Hey Joe, what are the chances of a couple of candid photos of a scene being shot today?

    Something good we can all nick and stick on our blogs 😉

  32. Exciting times.

    I think you should take pictures of everyone’s shoes and post that. That’d feed the speculation mill. I can imagine obsessive nuts trying to measure and triangulate feet and shoe sizes in an attempt to determine identities.

  33. Good to hear from you Anne Teldy, hope you are doing better. Sounds like you got a cool gift. no sorry I don’t know who sent it.
    —Thanks for the link Joe, The Onion is real wacky at times,,lol. I see now how you get your exercise at work, pacing and all, beats a treadmill. Good luck with the writing..

  34. Hi, I was wondering:

    1: Since both the Chinese and the Russians have commanded a Daedalus-class ship, do you think we will see the Europeans, that is eighter the French or the British, get access to a ship in one way or another?

    2: What happened with the Lucian Alliance after the episode “Bounty”?

    3: How many members of the Atlantis Expedition have so far perished in the war against the Wraith?

    4: What kind of weapons does the F-302 fighter use?

    5:What’s it, the F-302’s, maximum sublight speed?

  35. @sclairef99

    “Ummmm….guest star? I thought Robert was a series lead/regular?
    Or am I nit picking?”

    I got the impression he was talking about someone else, but you may be right – that might explain his saying yes, its just the pilot and then he gets shot and the younger cast have to take over 😉

  36. Dear Joe,

    Just wanted to drop you a quick thank you before the Dam gives way. Since I live in the direct flood zone it was nice to know that we will be remembered. When it finally comes lift a glass at Fuel for us.

    What a fun treat to check in each day to see what you and your crazy cohorts are up to.

    Lori Ann

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