Great news! It looks like I won’t be asked to pack up my office and escorted off the lot for the time being. Rob, who has been spending his days on set since the start of production, called this afternoon to tell me he liked my script. Always good to hear, but especially so given that: a) It’s my first script for a new series with all new characters, b) It’s the all-important first part of the mid-season two-parter, and c) Rob is a pretty tough critic. Then again, maybe I shouldn’t be so quick to order that new bookshelf since the other producers have yet to weigh in, among them Brad, an equally tough critic who also happens to be the second half of the team that created the show.

You never can tell. Sometimes, you may feel unsatisfied with a script, only to have the response come back surprisingly positive. Other times, you’ll feel great about a script only to have the response come back overwhelmingly negative. I was having this discussion with Carl today and told him that it never fails – always, halfway through your latest script, those same thoughts crop up in the back of your mind: “This isn’t working!”, “I peaked with my last script and it’s all downhill from there!”, and “Well, it was a good ride while it lasted I guess I can use whatever money I‘ve saved up to buy a bar in a Belize and play out the rest of the string in Central America.”. And, even when you finish the script and you do end up liking what you’ve written, there’s always that smidgen of doubt that leaves you wondering whether you like it because it’s good or whether you like it because you’ve re-read it so many times that what you’re responding to is not so much the quality of the writing as it is its internal rhythm imprinting on you. But you polish it and hand it in anyway, not because you’re eager for feedback, but on the off-chance that you may drop dead of a heart attack or get creamed by a bus before you even get the chance to deliver it, meaning your last script (and final two week’s of your life) would sit forgotten on your laptop amid the countless food pictures, blog drafts, and admittedly hilarious emails cluttering your inbox.

Production Day #3 was again away on location. Monday sees a return to the lot and Stage 5: Icarus Base!

Finally, a reminder to finish up Info quake (David Louis Edelman) because discussion on the book begins on Monday. And start on The Book of Joby (Mark J. Ferrari). And line up copies of Dogs (Nancy Kress), Powers: Who Killed Retro Girl? (Brian Michael Bendis), The Big Over Easy: A Nursery Crime (Jasper Fforde), and Poe: 19 New Tales Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe (edited by Ellen Datlow) for the weeks ahead. We’ve got guest authors coming by, so don’t miss out!

Let’s play catch-up with the mailbag:

Belouchi writes: “1.) Can we expect more brillant space ship battles for the upcoming Stargate Atlantis movie?
2.) Will We get to see you making a Cameo appearance in the movie?
3.) Will the Wraith still exist beyond project twilight?
4.) What did John Sheppard mean when he told Todd the Wraith in the Enemy at the gates: “let’s make sure it won’t happen again…”

Answers: 1) I wouldn’t expect anything. That way, you’ll be delightfully surprised. 2) No. 3) Now why would I answer a question like that and deny fans like Das the fun of agonizing over the awful possibilities? 4) Maybe we’ll find out in the movie.

Shirt ’N Tie writes: “Keep meaning to ask, Mr M… what’s the latest on your short story? So, Retirement Home scene done, Brow beating hotel room scene done, what next?”

Answer: I’m past the hotel room browbeating, went for a drive, and have pulled up outside the science center. Big reunion scene upcoming. Then, it’s a startling impromptu visit, a return to the scene, all hell breaks loose, and the revelatory conclusion. Thanks for asking.

Belouchi also writes: “ 1. I was wondering if the Alternate Nanite made Atlantis Team from this Mortal Coil were all killed at the end of the episode?

2. In the Episode Midway, if all the wraith were eliminated would that mean that their Cruiser is still left on that barren pegasus planet that is connected to the Mckay-Carter intergalactic gate system?

3. I was wondering after seeing Enemy at the Gate, Todd says he stole more than three ZPMS, but in Spoils of War we saw that wraith carrying a pouch containing exactly three ZPMS. We assumed three were used and destroyed in the cloning facility, one was used and destroyed on the Super Hive and two were gifted to Atlantis. This doesnt make sense can please explain”

Answers: 1) Yes, they were. 2) If they were all eliminated and didn’t leave anyone behind to man the cruiser then, yes, it’s still out there. 3) You assume that there was only one case, the one you saw.

Les Ferris writes: “According to a couple of sites, Alaina Huffman has been cast as Tamara Jon. Is this true?”

Answer: I followed the links to the sites in question and some of them have posted pictures of Alaina. I think she’s beautiful.

Duneknight writes: “Hey, Joe, since you’re writing for TV, may I ask you what scriptwriting software do you use?”

Answer: Movie Magic Screenwriter.

Sfclaire99 writes: “Ummmm….guest star? I thought Robert was a series lead/regular? Or am I nit picking?”

Answer: Not nitpicking but assuming – that the guest star I’m referring to is Robert. He’s a regular.

33 thoughts on “Febrary 20, 2009: Early Returns Are Positive!

  1. It’s a good week then. Production is rolling, you won’t be moving to South America in the near future(thus possibly depriving your regular readers of your daily input) and the BotM club is about to post again. Have an enjoyable weekend, and here’s hoping for two thumbs up on the script.

  2. Les Ferris writes: “According to a couple of sites, Alaina Huffman has been cast as Tamara Jon. Is this true?”

    Answer: I followed the links to the sites in question and some of them have posted pictures of Alaina. I think she’s beautiful.

    Haha! I love how that in no way answers the question.

    Personally, I don’t understand all this excitement about casting and trying to jump the gun with guessing about it. This is largely because I’m fairly sure that, when casting is revealed, my response will probably be, “Huh. Okay, well, I’ve never heard of them.” I mean, if this was a character we were familiar with who was being cast, or even one in some way related to someone we knew… If the casting was for Sheppard’s secret illegitimate daughter or something, I might care more, but since these are characters we don’t yet know from a setting we’re not yet familiar with, I don’t see what benefit there would be in knowing who was cast. Unless the casting was someone I was familiar with, but I’m pretty sure that’s not the case (as the one part that called for a “name” actor has been filled). I, for one, am perfectly content to wait to see the show to find out who’s in it.

  3. we didnt ask if u found her attractive joe…we want answers about the cast! lol but seriously why does everyone think carlyle is a guest star all of a sudden?its been said over and over that hes a regular

  4. Dear Joe,

    thanks for taking the time and answering all my questions… much appreciated.

  5. @Shawna,
    I think the idea of having Sheppard’s illegitimate daughter on the ship would be good – she’d probably have a super strong ATA gene (and spiky hair!).

  6. I think for us blog regulars it’s fairly obvious what Joe is REALLY saying sometimes.

    For something like cast decisions or any kind of behind-the-scenes “technical” stuff, it’s a dodge or no. If Huffman isn’t cast, then Joe would have nothing to lose to tell us that, no, she’s not cast. Thus, the fact that he didn’t deny it says to me that she is indeed cast.

    Logic. It’s awesome. 😀

    Hey, I just noticed Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban on Baron Destructo’s book montage. Heh, it’s so…different than the usual.

    Anyways…I FOUND YOOOOOOUUUU. Hahaha. My uncle was driving around town today and saw a filming sign with “SGU” on it. Of course, I assumed that it was for SGU. Apparently, you guys are filming near Point Gray High School, Arbutus and 37th, perhaps at the St. Mary’s church or something? Am I close? 😉

    Too bad that you guys are going back indoors come Monday; it would’ve surely added a spark to my morning if I saw some SGU shooting on my way to UBC.

    @ Major Teldy: Sorry, but it wasn’t me. The “mild-mannered student” part of my life has so far eclipsed every other part of my life, including Gift Giving Man. Still, I’m glad that somebody gave you such a thoughtful gift! Enjoy it! You deserve it and so much more! 🙂

  7. Answer: I followed the links to the sites in question and some of them have posted pictures of Alaina. I think she’s beautiful.

    Nice evasive

    Sorry the restaurant smelled of cheese. I dislike it when places smell funky.

  8. I haven’t kept up with the day to day announcements/guesses on who has been cast and what is their character name so, although I probaly won’t know who they are, it would be nice to see a complete list when it can be released.

  9. Since my question was ignored last time I’ll assume it was just way too long.

    1. Do you ever worry that Stargate Universe is going to turn into Star-Trek: Voyager like many fans do?

    2. Can we see a reduced number of characters with psychic powers, time travel plots and alternate timelines?

    3. Did you feel awkward when you watched the episode where they mentioned “the 10% myth” (that you only use 10% of your brain. This one time, I saw a guy use 100% of his brain, but I don’t consider epileptic seizures to be a superpower)

    4. How can you like pugs? They are so ugly.

  10. You. Are. EVIL. EVIL, I say!

    But of course, you knew that already. 😉

    @ Anne Teldy – Alas, ’twas not me. Very sweet of whoever sent it, though.

    @ shiningwit – HEY! 😡 You should join up with Joe – the two of you make a great team! 😉


  11. so its Alaina Huffman then, thats Joes’s way of saying yes people. i thought tamara was supposed be asian.

    you know Joe you guys could do a viral site for SGU where people try and solve riddles to find out who the female cast are.

  12. I disagree, I’m at the point where I like to research a cast before watching them in a new show. Very rarely is an adult cast in a debut role for TV and unless they only did stage, there’s something to look at and get a feel for. While I hate to say past performance is an indicator of how an actor will be in a new TV show, in my experience the actometer has been pretty accurate 93% of the time.

    Lets use Dollhouse as an example since I did give it one more shot. I tried not to hold Eliza D’s previous performances up as a comparison, but its absolutely unavoidable. The still Buffy-wanna be’s form hasn’t changed one bit, and the show is coming off as bad as Tru Calling was. I’m not finding any chemistry at all with the cast- disconnected mess and the plotlines are transparently pathetic so far. To make one more comparison- Fringe is equally a mess, but at least I like the cast.

    Speaking of Michael Shanks, I was happy to see him guest cast in the next episodes of my current fave TV show, Burn Notice. Keep giving that man something Stargate to do.

  13. Hey Joe,
    Glad to hear production is going well. I just got back from a trip to europe. I ate at some Amazing restaurants in France. The French really know how to cook good food. I even got to climb in some of the old German bunkers from WW2 on the French coast near Calais. Anyways, I Have a couple questions.

    1. This is you guys’ crew filming, right?

    2. Is that Justin Louis in the middle of the second picture with the sunglasses?

    3. How is the atlantis movie script going so far?

    Thanks and have a great day
    Major D.(for Disaster) Davis

  14. I appreciate it when you give us a glimpse into the mind of a writer. I think it’s easy to forget that just because someone produces stories for a living does not mean that they’ve completely overcome the doubts and frustrations that are part of the process. But the fact that you keep at it, and continue to produce good work, speaks in your favor. I suppose that most people, regardless of career, have to deal with similar issues regarding continued “production”, but it’s good to be reminded that within more artistic endeavors it doesn’t just happen – it takes effort and time. So thanks for continuing to plug away. I’m glad to hear things are going well on SGU. I’m looking forward to seeing it!

  15. haha only three days into production and you are already sucking up to the actors.

    Joe is SGU still on schedule for a spring/summer pilot premiere with the rest of the season to follow in october??
    Also you wouldn’t happen to know the status of Children Of The Gods do you?

  16. Hey Joe,

    I was rereading Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow and was wondering if Vala’s jeweled coin had some significance (ie, her finding it had some impact on the future) or was it just that one, singular, identical event that occurs in all time events?


  17. I got half way through my comment, then hit the wrong key, and poof!, it was gone. Maybe that is the gods telling me, “don’t bother”. Screw it, I’ll try one more time…

    Joe, as I was reading some of your old travel blogs, I was thinking about you stuggling to write your short story. I was wondering if you have ever considered stepping out of your fantasy, horror, scifi (safe) work zone, and writing a totally different kind of book? All your blogs about your travels are hilarious! I think you should write a fun, comical book about your travels. Something like a travel diary. Maybe if you wrote about what you love to do, (eat and travel) instead of what is everyday work for you, it would come easier. “Travels With Fondy” or “Eating Your Way Through Japan” or “In Search Of The World’s Best Chocolate”. Just think of the possibilities. I think you are missing your calling (for your side job anyway – keep up the excellent work on Stargate). Go for it!!!

  18. I think the moment I will have realized that I’m to be an actual, real life, writer is when I can get past the point when my brain taps me on the figurative shoulder and whispers “it’s crap” in my ear and I ignore it and keep going.

    Not only keep going, but keep going to the goal of getting it published.


  19. Hey Joseph Excellent work I might have a pitch for a store if you are interested! Ms my blog if you want to hear it.

  20. By the way Joe, your Pugs are not ugly!! They have just been blessed with more visual character than most dogs! All dogs are beautiful to me. Dogs rule!

  21. Hey Joe did ya miss me? It’s been awhile. I’ve been away due to very bad news. My WONDERFUL mother-in law passed away last week(she was a gem!!!) , so we’ve been dealing with that and my father – in law. I,m really gonna miss her. But We all have to keep going. I’m having all kinds of stargate withdrawles. ( spelling?) Whad I miss? Who gave anne teldy what? Davidd, have ya come down here to Fla. yet? Isn’t there supposed to be at least 2 females in the SGU cast ? I only count 1, ok enough questions for now. Hi everyone, glad to be back, Sheryl

  22. I just finished my first John Scalzi novel, Old Man’s War. In short, I thought it was terrific! It was my first sci-fi novel, so now I’m eager to read more. When the semester’s over, I’ll try to get the books to participate in the BOTM club.

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