Several weeks ago, when SyFy (sic?) and MGM first approached me about becoming the official behind-the-scenes voice for the new Stargate: Universe series and simul-posting on SciFi.com (sic?) I was admittedly leery. As someone who has made it a point to post a daily entry going on 2+ years now, the last thing I need are restrictions as to what I can write about and when, and I made that clear. Even though I do love the show and the people I work with, I really think I’d be hard-pressed to produce a Stargate-themed post every day. Sure, at the beginning it would be all thrilling behind-the-scenes snaps and episode teasers but, three or four months down the line when I’m dedicating entries to what I saw actor Jamil Walker Smith eat for lunch or how director Will Waring has been combing his hair differently, we’d all be sorry.
Some people drop by this blog to get the latest info on the Stargates (SG-1, Atlantis, and Universe) while others stop in for our genre-specific book of the month club discussions and guest author Q&A‘s, while still others visit for the restaurants reviews, Baron Destructo’s inspired correspondence with overseas scammers, and the Weird Food Purchase of the Day video installments. But a thoroughly unscientific study reveals that the vast majority of you frequent this blog for updates on the gastrointestinal issues that plague my dogs on a semi-regular basis. So, how to be fair to all the Stargate fans, literati, foodies, voyeurs, dog-lovers, people with nothing better to do, and those who mistakenly stumble upon this blog while surfing the net for funny pictures of hairless chinchillas? Well, the easiest thing would be for me to do what I’ve been doing – keep this blog’s topics fresh and varied enough to ensure that all of the different target audiences are bored and/or offended in equal amounts. The gang at SyFy suggested a compromise whereby only the posts I categorize as Stargate-related would make an appearance on SciFi.com.
All well and good, but what exactly constitutes a Stargate-related post? I mean, take today’s entry for instance. I’m talking about blogging, specifically about blogging about Stargate, but I’m not really blogging “about” Stargate. If, say, over the course of an entry dedicated to an account of the pleasant evening I spent opening every bottle in my liquor cabinet to sniff their various contents (Hey, root beer schnapps really smells like root beer!) and I happened to mention something like the fact that one of Earth’s battleships will be making an appearance in the SGU series premiere or, just out of the blue, post a picture like this –
– should that entry be deemed worthy of a Stargate categorization? Or what if I spend the entire entry yammering on about how I’m pretty sure they changed the recipe to Fresca because I remember the old Fresca being a lot more bitter even though I admit that my opinion could have been colored by my much younger and more impressionable taste buds and then happen to answer a Stargate-related question in the mailbag, would that warrant a Stargate categorization?
Hard to say, hard to say. Well, one thing’s for certain. Now that my entries are being simul-posted on SciFi.com, all those behind-the-scenes and on-set pics and videos are being fast-tracked through the approval process and, as a result, you’ll soon be treated to sneak peeks of the Destiny set, the shuttle in Stage 2, and footage of actor Brian J. Smith changing his shoes between set-ups.
As for those of you who have been following this blog on a regular basis, continue posting your questions, comments, macadamia nut brownie recipes, and involved conversations amongst yourselves that have nothing to do with me. It’ll be business as usual here. Except for the following slight changes:
1. Instead of our ongoing book of the month club in which we read and discuss selections in the fields of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, we’ll be doing a paranormal occurrence of the month club in which we watch and discuss selections in the fields of Ghost Hunters, Ghost Hunters International, and Unexplained with George Noory.
2. Instead of guest authors, the Q&A’s will now focus on your favorite SyFy Channel network executives. Today, I start taking questions for Junior Chief Financial Officer in Charge of International Salary Disbursement and Accounts Receivable Judith Lepkowtiz. So start posting those questions!!!
3. The adorable dog videos I’ve been uploading will be doing the occasional crossover with original SyFy programming. In next week’s episode, my pug Jelly joins the Destination Truth crew in a trip down the Amazon in search of the legendary Crocophantski – part crocodile, part elephant, and part Polish on its mother’s side; while, in an upcoming home video, Eureka’s Colin Ferguson chases my French bulldog Lulu around the backyard for 45 seconds, then stops to eat mud with her.
4. My Weird Food Purchase of the Day video installations will continue, except that instead of trying weird or exotic food and drink, I’ll now be sampling pieces of the weird and exotic monster suits, prosthetics and animatronics featured in the various SyFy original movies. Mega Snake tastes just like chicken! Mansquito, not so much.
5. Less restaurant critiques and more wrestling reviews (ie. The hitherto mundane match was elevated by a hint of suplex, surprisingly subtle in its delivery, that segued into a delightful pumphandle fallaway slam. I was intrigued by the ensuing course, a delightful gorilla press accompanied by generous helpings of arm drags and a soupcon of dragon screw leg whip. Although the spinebuster failed to impress in its artistry, events were topped off by an inspired inverted atomic drop. Service was prompt and courteous.”
And that’s it. Hopefully, these minor changes won’t impact your enjoyment of this blog.
Today’s entry is dedicated to long-time reader and recent graduate Belouchi. Congratulations. Now go get a job!
P.S. My French bulldog Lulu has only vomited a couple of times since I switched her over to that raw food diet.
P.P.S. It’s taking forever for those two Cornish game hens in my fridge to defrost. I’m thinking of moving them into the vegetable crisper.
PG15 writes: “1. What is episode 10 of SGU now?
2. Was “Space” moved because a). one of the episodes before it was expanded into a 2-parter or b). another episode (it could be a whole new one, or one that was later than Space, but was moved ahead of it) was added to the line up before “Space”? or c). none of the above?
3. Has the episode “Justice” been renamed “Judgment” like you wanted, or was that just a typo?
4. With Lawren being the script coordinator, does that mean that he will take over Alex’s duties on the SciFi Stargate blog as well?
Answers: 1. Episode 10 is now Justice.
2. d) one of the above.
3. No, it’s always been Justice. Though, in retrospect, I think Judgment is more appropriate.
4. I believe so.
PG15 also writes: “http://mt-showblogs.scifi.com/stargate/index.php […] I don’t know how to feel abou this. Are they expecting you to be more “formal”?”
Answer: Yep. I now have to wear a tie while composing my blog entries though, interestingly enough, the contract fails to include a pants clause.
Elissa writes: “Can you please tell us if Ben Browder is going to be in the third SG-1 movie? We’ve heard about everyone else already….hell, you’re even holding things up for Amanda Tapping.”
Answer: We are? Heads up – I think you may have dreamt that part. Also, the secret location of the hidden treasure revealed by your neighbor’s cat.
Major D. Davis writes: “1. Will water’s events include young and Scott being stranded somewhere together?
2. Will sgu still have the normal dose of stargate action?
3. Will Martin Wood be directing universe anytime soon?
4 Will there be any crossover races in universe?
5. Have you read Fahrenheit 451 yet? If you did did you like it?
6. Which SGU character are you most interested in so far?”
Answers: 1. Sounds great. I can’t wait to see if this plays out when the episode airs.
2. Yep. Action, adventure, humor, pathos, gravitas, veritas, demi-tasse.
3. Nope. He’s busy on Sanctuary.
4. No plans to have any crossover races in the new show.
5. I have. I preferred The Martian Chronicles.
6. Like any right-minded parent who is asked to choose between their beloved children, I would say that the intensity of my love and order of favorites varies from day to day, dependent upon the show material we happen to be shooting, watching, or reading.
Grace writes: “Speaking of Comic-Con, will you be gracing us with your presence this year?”
Answer: Don’t know. Last year the budget was kind of tight (poor Executive Producer Robert Cooper had to share a hotel room with that monkey from Speed Racer) and I ended up deferring to Martin Gero who did a terrific job as panel moderator (only tasering three fans – down two from last year!). As for this year, in the words of The Jetson’s Astro “rI ruh roh”.
StellaByStargate writes: “We know RDA is making a guest appearance on SGU…and we know AT is also making a guest appearance on SGU. Is there any chance that they might actually be appearing in the same episode, or would that be entirely too much to hope for?”
Answer: Far be it for me to crush your hopes and aspirations, so long as those hopes and aspirations don’t involve you making a sequel to Crank 2. Then we’re cool.
Belouchi writes: “1. After the events of Enemy at the gates, all three earth ships were diabled after the battle with the super hive…. however we don’t know what happened to the Sun tzu…. will it be salvaged or written off like the Korolev?
2. Joe, out of all the planets in the Pegasus galaxy with a stargate or mentioned in the Ancient Atlantis database… what would you say the percentage of them visitied by the team through the five seasons?”
Answers: 1. The Sun Tzu is still out there.
2. Roughly…mmm…I don’t know. I’d imagine that, over the course of the expedition’s five year stay in the Pegasus Galaxy, they maybe got around to exploring 10% of the gated worlds “in the Ancient database”. If the show had been picked up for 45 more seasons like we’d planned, then they could’ve explored them all.
Ruffles writes: “ 1. How much time has passed since Enemy at the Gate?
2. Why is the team split up?
3. Any good scenes with Sheppard and Todd or Ronon and Todd?
4. Will our favorite supporting characters (Lorne and Zelenka) be featured?
5. Any Shep whump? (Come on! We’re dying here!)
6. Will any SG-1 or SGU characters be involved?
7. Any details on when production might start?”
Answers: 1. Well, it aired January 9th, so almost three months. Oh, if you’re wondering about in relation to SGU – maybe days. And if you’re wondering in relation to the Atlantis movie – maybe a week.
2. The explanation is too long and involved for this blog. It might be easier if I just sent you a copy of the script.
3. “Good” is such a relative term. For instance, my wife insists that, over the course of her life, she has enjoyed a “good” kiwi – something I find very hard to believe. Do I think there is a good Sheppard and Todd or Ronon and Todd scene (or scenes) in the movie? Yeah, I do.
4. Yep. Both will be making significant contributions.
Airelle writes: “How is the short story coming? ready for proofreading yet? Have you heard back from the astronomer fellows on the Q&A?”
Answer: I plan to complete my first draft of the short story next week, send it off for feedback, work on the re-write, and then send it to my editor by month’s end. He is, no doubt, impatiently awaiting its arrival. Or, more than likely, has forgotten all about it. As for the Q&A with potential-killer-asteroid-co-discoverers Dave Tholen and Roy Tucker – the boys have had their hands full with cosmic matters but will be sending their responses my way in good time.
Shawna Buchanan writes: “Would you ever want to do a “canon” Stargate comic, like Joss Whedon has done with Buffy?”
Answer: No personal interest in doing a Stargate comic although I do have an original series I’ve been kicking around…
Narelle from Aus writes: “Want me to go away again?”
Answer: No, Narelle, I keep telling you – I need you around to scare off the riff-raff and raccoons.
AnneTeldy writes: “1. Did you get my letter?
2. Some time ago, you mentioned a very slight possibility that Major Anne Teldy and team would be in the movie. Will I they be?”
Answers: 1. I did. And I’m on it.
2. Alas, they won’t be in the Atlantis movie. Maybe the next one?
Sandra writes: “have to ask: what kind of camera do you have? How much do you do manually, and how much do you let the camera do automatically? How long do you take setting up a shot? Do you bring your camera with you everywhere you go? Do you have trouble focusing in macro?”
Answer: I use a 60 GB, 10.2 mega pixel, 1080 HD Sony Handycam – although I should everything in SD. I let the camera do everything it can automatically on account of my inherent laziness, but will switch off the flash so as not to distract the actors on set or wake up actor David Blue while he’s sleeping. I take no time setting up a shot (and it shows!). I bring my camera with me almost everywhere. And I have not trouble focusing on macro but this script rewrite is another thing entirely.
Patricia Lee writes: “Will you be doing any more WFPoTD and what ever happened to the tasting of the weird alcohols you and Carl and Ivon were going spend a weekend demonstrating for the amusement of your faithful blog readers?”
Answer: When the opportunity presents itself, I’ll be doing both. Right now, I’m still recovering from a chocolate hangover.
Ascended Tauri writes: “How much has Mr.Scalzi been contributing the Universe progress? Has he stopped back in Vancouver since he was there originally?”
Answer: While he hasn’t been back in Vancouver, John has been reading and supplying notes on all the scripts to date.
Davidd writes: “Do you ever watch the TV show called “Entourage”?”
Answer: I watched the first three seasons.
Kaycee writes: “What sort of areas would you direct someone to look to for starting to write their first screenplay?”
Answer: Pick up one of Syd Field’s book and learn the craft, then read a bunch of existing scripts and screenplays. If you’re thinking of writing for television, watch a lot of t.v. If you’re thinking of writing for movies, watch a lot of movies.
Narcissus writes: “The Vancouver Set Tour 2009 included a visit to the set of the U.S.S. General Hammond, does that mean it’ll make an appearance in Stargate Universe?”
Answer: It’ll certainly be making an appearance somewhere.
TBA writes: “Regarding the SGA movie: is there any chance the Genii and Ladon Radim might pop up?”
TBA also writes: “How much backstory do the Universe characters have?”
Answer: They vary with each character, but we’re making it a point to explore all of their backstories over the course of the show’s first season.
Trish writes: “How are the doggies doing? Has Brie been visiting more?”
Answer: The doggies are fine – except for Jelly’s hip, Lulu’s sensitive stomach, Maximus’s paw infection, and Bubba’s recent limping. Brie hasn’t been by in a while. She’s been laid up since polishing off a stick of fertilizer.
Anais33 a ecrit: “ 1)Dans SGU vera t’on des Jumpers?
2)Dans SGU vera t”on des méchants de sga ou sg1?
3) Pensez vous que les macarons de Ladurée son les meilleurs du monde?”
Reponses: 1) Non.
3) Je prefere les macarons Pierre Hermes.
Translation: 1) No puddle jumpers in SGU.
2) No SG-1 or SGA villains either.
3) And I prefer Pierre Hermes macarons over those of Laduree.
Angelus writes: “It’s been said SG-U is going to be filmed like a sort of documentary. (Cloverfield style). My question is, Does that mean we’ll get lots of shaking and out of focus camera shots like what was done in the Cloverfield movie?”
Answer: No. In fact, I believe Rob made it a point of stressing that we won’t be doing a lot of shaky cam.
AV Eddy writes: ““Santa ClausE” Really? Say it ain’t so, Joe!”
Answer: My bad. It’s the lawyer in me.
David writes: “David writes: “ (1)Is there anything at all that you can say about the destiny ship, like official size, type or number of engines, the ship colour, the smallest of info would be great full.
(2)Have all the season episodes been filled.
(3)One thing that annoyed me about Star trek voyager was that the background characters extras kept on changing. Just wondering if anyone keeping a list of extras for the show so that random actors do not just appear out of know where.
(4)Will the Destiny have drones as it only weapons system or will the be other weapons onboard.”
Answers: 1) Not yet.
2) Nope. There is one slot still open.
3) Yes, we’re trying to remain consistent, seeding in characters earlier in the series run ahead of potential storylines and payoffs.
4) No drones. But the ship will possess an alternate defense systems.”
DasNDanger writes: “And speaking of that jumpsuit…back in Enemy at the Gate, was Todd allowed to change in private, or did Sheppard watch??”
Answer: Are you kidding? Sheppard actually helped him change!