My writing partner Paul gave me a call this afternoon to go over the game plan for tomorrow’s conference call. As I mentioned in a previous post, Paul and I have an awesome SF series idea (complete with accompanying pilot script) we’ve been dying to go out with but, because of our continuing commitment to the Stargate franchise, have been unable to pursue. So what’s the next best thing to producing your own t.v. series? Why, producing your own comic book series of course. One of the things I’ve always loved about comics is that they afford writers a certain creative latitude denied them in film and television. You tell the story that’s in your head without worrying about things like the visual effects budget or whether the average audience member is going to understand what the hell a “liquid-shifting nanite construct” is. The series runs for as long as it takes you to tell the story. And, hey, if it garners a respectable fan base then, a couple of years down the line, all the more reason to turn it into a t.v. series.
Anyway, Paul and I discussed and agreed that I would lead the pitch. I know the concept backwards and forwards, having run the various arc and character details through my head endlessly over the past couple of years. All the twists, turns, shocks, surprises, exhilarating developments, and bittersweet revelations – ready to go. Paul is really looking forward to it I think, more than anything, for the change of pace after finally completing work on his Stargate Universe, Divided. He’s apparently been going into the office every morning to get in a couple of hours solitary writing time.
“Have you seen Ashleigh?”I was almost afraid to ask. Ashleigh, the show’s executive producer’s assistant just got back from a holiday in Mexico and I’m understandably a little nervous about her spreading any potential germs around the workplace.
“Yeah,”replied Paul. “She’s been around.”
By “around”, I assumed he meant “in her office with the door closed” and didn’t think anything of it. Until later today when I received the following email from our script coordinator, Lawren:
“Just so you know I caught Ashleigh in your office. I don’t know how long it takes to book the CDC to come do a cleanup but you might want to look into it.
Caught? In my office?! I tried to calm myself. How bad could it be? Well, there were pics attached to the email. I clicked on the first one and this came up –
That’s my office! I recognize my supervillain statues! It looks like she’s about to sneeze on my desk! “Calm down,”I told myself. Maybe she’s just meditating. Or chanting. She went into my office to drop something off and no doubt left immediately. I clicked on the next image –
WTF?!!! She took a freakin’ nap! With her face resting on a script! I may need to read that script at some point!! I made a mental note to trash all the documents on my desk and have Lawren print up new copies of everything. Relieved, I clicked on the next pic. Surely, it couldn’t get any worse –
Oh, come on! Not my Gordon Ramsay Sunday Brunch cookbook! And my couch! There are occasions when I sit on that couch!
Fine. Lose everything on the desk. Lose the cookbook. Lose the couch. Guess I’ll have to make do with just my desk and phone.
Forget it. Let’s just move on to the mailbag –
Trish writes: “So only one word titles for season 1. Interesting. Hey… maybe season 2 epis can use two words, season 3 can use three words and so on!”
Answer: If I have my way.
Thornyrose writes: “You’ll have to make your twitter updates a regular feature. and I think I may have to organize an Ashleigh fan club.”
Answer: Don’t encourage her.
And today’s twitter updates –
Lulu’s dog food smells like dog food.
I stopped to get gas today.
They should spell it Wensday, like it sounds.
“Packing cashews” would be more appropriate than “packing peanuts” because they look more like cashews.
Why do so many sun hats have that big honking sunflower on top?
I don’t regret never learning to juggle.
I saved a worm yesterday by flicking it off the dry pavement and onto the grass.
I like mahogany.
PG15 writes: “1. Again, alluding to the past, you once said that you guys were discussing making Rob’s pitch for Episode 17 into the season finale (March 10th entry). Did you guys end up doing that, or is that pitch still for episode 17?
2. How far are you guys along on series planning? How much of Season 2 do you guys have mapped out?”
Answers: 1. The story that formerly occupied the 17 slots is now the season finale.
2. Brad and Rob have a rough idea where they want the series to go, however we won’t start fleshing out season two until we’ve completed script work on this first season.
DasNdanger writes: “Hey – any consideration to my suggestion about inviting Mr. Moorcock into the book of the month suggestion?”
Answer: I’m a big fan of his work (I read the Elric saga ages ago). He seems like a very busy man but, hey, it wouldn’t hurt to send out an invitation. Which of his books are you thinking of?
Ytimyona writes: “I’m so intrigued by the whole “shooting on location” thing. Is this a permanent location, where they will be shooting several times a year, or is the NM location for one or two episodes only?”
Answer: For now, it’s a one-time distant location shoot for one episode – Air III.
Ytimyona also writes: “Ashleigh is awesome. She should do a guest blog…”
Answer: What did I say about encouraging her?!
Jarnin writes: “Back when Atlantis first started up and we got to see the new gate, there was always something that bothered me about it: It only had 36 symbols on it, or rather, it could only display 36 symbols when lit up. The gate used in the Milky Way had 39 symbols on it, so I was hoping you could answer a couple questions:
1. Technically speaking, would this cause problems now that Atlantis is on Earth? One would think it would be like trying to use a phone that is missing a few numbers on the keypad.
3. Do you know why the Atlantis gate prop was designed with only 36 symbols? I know they redesigned it from scratch, but was it a symmetry thing or logistics?”
Answers: 1. Good question. The Pegasus symbols are different so the gate and DHD would have to be synced to the Milky Way system. Such an “upgrade” would have to account for the lack of symbols.
2. I’m not sure why it was designed this way.
Tim Molter writes: “How is Stargate Universe going to be different from Battlestar Galactica, Firefly, or the Star Trek series?”
Answer: Let’s see…by being a completely different series.
Major D. Davis writes: “1. Has Fire become a two parter?
2. Is the special project that MGM is creating a trailer? If so when will we get to see it. If not, when will we get to see the next SGU trailer(Its been about a month)?
3. Have you seen West Wing before? Do you like it?
I am still pretty new so bear with this q please
4. When a episode’s credits include You and Paul as writers, does that mean that both you and Paul wrote the episode. If not why are your names always together in writing credits?
5. What SGU episode(besides Air) are you most psyched about?(Its ok if you say Space, You’re a fantastic writer)”
Answers: 1. Boy, not giving up on this one, huh?
2. I have no idea what this is a reference to.
3. Never watched it.
4. No. Paul and I haven’t co-written an episode for years although we did co-write the SGA movie.
5. Right now, I’m psyched about the show in general.
Jenazz writes: “Re the Atlantis gate on earth – given that the gate symbols/constellations on the Pegasus gates are completely different from those on the Milky Way gates, however could it be compatible?”
Answer: As I said above, the Pegasus gate would need to be recalibrated to sync with the Milk Way gate system.
PG15 writes: “Hey Joe, looks like Craig Engler at SciFi beat you to the punch in the “showing new pics of SGU” department.”
Answer: Hey, aint that a kid in the head. Guess he’s got better connections.
Workin’ Hard writes: “Off topic, I was wondering if y’all over at SGU (on the writing staff) use a script formatting software. If so, which one(s)?”
Answer: Movie Magic Screenwriter.
Narelle from Aus writes: “I was wondering, do you enjoy being on the end of the Stargate battering ram?”
Answer: Yep. It offers no end of amusement.
DasNdanger writes: “We know Wraith see such emotions as mercy, fear, compassion, etc., as weaknesses, and will do their best to suppress those feelings. But – in your mind – do you think Wraith still feel such things as guilt, regret, compassion, doubt, and other ‘angsty’ emotions inside, though not allowing them to show on the outside? Or are such emotions totally foreign to them?”
Answer: They certainly do “feel” all those emotions but have matured in a social hierarchy that forces them to suppress them.
Jedi Master writes: “an as far as the “promise” of an Atlantis movie well, its off, its on, it’s a maybe, its off due to financially reason, its back on again !!!”
Answer: It was never “off again”. It’s status never changed from “on”. It’s always been a matter of nailing down a production date. My advice to you is not to jump on every rumor you hear and accept it as fact.
Jedi Master also writes: “An WHY is a SG1 movie being done first!!!”
Answer: Actually, we don’t have a firm production date for that either.
Jedi Master also writes: “An the hype about the SG1 appearing in the show was just that hype, we really are NOT that stupid, this was a desperate attempt to get back lost viewers…”
Answer: It’s interesting to note that those of you who take this view about members of SG-1 appearing in the SGU premiere conveniently forget that both Richard Dean Anderson and Michael Shanks guested in the Atlantis premiere. What’s with that?