Brian J. Smith (Lt. Matthew Scott) relaxes on the Icarus set.
Brian J. Smith (Lt. Matthew Scott) relaxes on the Icarus set.


Brian takes a break between set-ups.
Brian takes a break between set-ups.

Breaking a story can go either way. It can be a fast-paced and entertaining exchange of ideas in which all participants contribute to fashion a gripping, tightly plotted, detailed episode breakdown. Or, it can be a frustrating exercise in futility spent arguing story points and running into creative dead-ends resulting in little, if any, progress Usually, it falls somewhere in between.

Earlier in the week, we had an example of the former when we all got together (along with the visiting Martin Gero) to break episode 19. Inside of two and a half hours, we were done: The tease and all five acts . Well, with time ticking down toward the beginning of our summer hiatus, we all gathered again the other day to discuss episode 20. We took an hour to discuss the story, throw out some notions and then, with time running out, put the potential act breaks up on the whiteboard (You know, those tun-tun-TAAA moments right before you cut to commercial – ie. the villain gets the upper hand, our team is trapped, our hero loses his lucky sock.). The plan was for everyone to re-gather today and actually break the story – the tease and all five acts, 4-5 beats per act.

Well, that was the plan anyway but, unfortunately, Rob Cooper had some post-production issues to deal with. And he’d be unavailable next week which meant we had to proceed without him. Normally, the absence of a single individual wouldn’t be that big a deal but, in this case, it was. For a number of reasons. First and foremost is the fact that Rob is the master spinner, ever capable of coming up with a solution to any creative roadblock no matter how wild or wacky the idea. Secondly – and this applies to co-creator and series show runner Brad Wright as well – this is the season finale and if there’s an episode you DON”T want to break without him, it would be this one. At the end of the day, Brad and Rob have the final say and there’s nothing more dispiriting than spending a day outlining an episode, presenting it, and having one of them find fault or creatively disagree with a crucial story element. It happens, of course, but it could be avoided – and would save a whole lot of time and effort – if we were all on the same page from the get-go.

But that wasn’t going to happen today. Paul and Carl were kind enough to offer to spend the morning breaking the episode with me, but I elected to set aside an hour to review what I had and beat out the story myself. Given the choice, more often than not I prefer to work alone.

Sometimes, you can spend days stumped, staring at those varying narrative elements as if they were pieces to completely different puzzles – the corner of a building, a tuft of cloud, the rear hindquarters of a rhinoceros – willing them to magically come together to no avail. Other times, you’ll be struck by a moment of clarity in which the disparate pieces coalesce and crystallize to form a coherent creative vision. You never know how it’s going to go. But, this morning, I was fortunate. I broke down the story, jotting the beats up on the whiteboard, then invited Paul, Carl, and Brad into the room and pitched it to them. They had some great suggestions that I incorporated into the narrative and, half an hour later, I was done. Now all I have to do is put out the beat sheet, get some feedback (hopefully Rob will like what we‘ve got), and I’m done.

Well, practically done. There’s that whole “writing of the script” thing, but that’s the easy part.

It came down to a mad scramble today because we took yesterday off to watch the Day 1 Mix of Air I and II. Composer Joel Goldsmith did a wonderful job with the score (my favorite cue comes near the very end of the second part) and the show itself looks fantastic (and, once the color timing is complete, fantasticker(?)). Even with temp visual effects, you get a sense of the scope of the story and it’s truly awesome. Director Andy Mikita should be very proud. The performances were terrific and I can’t think of a better way to show our appreciation than to invite the entire cast and crew to a private screening of the premiere. The actors are dying to see some of the cuts, but I keep telling them to hold off and wait for the finished version. It’ll blow them away. At this point, I feel like I’ve chipped in and bought them all the most incredible gift and simply can’t wait to see their reactions when they open it.

Hey, speaking of actors, Brian J. Smith (Lt. Matthew Scott) popped by the production offices yesterday on his way to his cross-fit work-out. Whenever he comes by, he’s always a pleasure to talk to – bright, upbeat, and amazingly down to earth. In some ways, he reminds me of a young Ben Browder in that, like Ben, Brian quickly won the crew and his fellow castmates over with his down-home disposition and good-hearted outlook on all things. And, like Ben, he’s been known to stick around even after he’s wrapped, sitting by to watch the process and lend a hand whenever possible. We’re all excited about working with Brian because he’s young, extremely talented, and is no doubt has a very promising future ahead of him. And, oh yeah, we got him on our show first!

Since he was upstairs, I grabbed my laptop and went through all of the photos I’ve taken of him to date, hoping he could sign off on a few for the blog. Well, he signed off on all of them. Unfortunately, most of them have him on the Destiny set – and the studio wants to hold back on the ship reveal. So, for today, I give you (and especially Brian’s mom who follows this blog) two pics: Brian relaxing on the Icarus set, and Brian taking a break between set-ups.

42 thoughts on “June 26, 2009: 20 Down And 0 To Go! Brian J. Smith!

  1. Sounds like a good and productive day. Congratulations. Now, if TPTB would only make it official when we can expect to see a) the premiere of SGU b) the start of production on the next SG-1 movie, and c) the start of production of the Atlantis movie. Speaking of which, has the script for the last been approved, simply waiting for the wheels to turn so that the movie can be eventually made? Thanks for the update, and thanks to Mr. Smith for being willing to appear here via your blog.

  2. Thanks Joe – very interesting. And I learned something really important…

    I’ve learned that most of my life, I’ve been staring at a rhino’s butt. 😛

    Very busy day…first, doctor (finally getting somewhere with the sinus issue!), then antiquing with mom. WOO! Bought a cool silver snake pinky ring and a bunch of stuff we’ll call…’Melnibonéan’… 😉 , including a rather lovely brass box with turquoise inlay. Also got two more Elric books today in the mail…looking forward to reading them. BUT the best thing was coming home and finding my Prince Nuada mini-bust had finally arrived – ’tis lovely!:

    So…now I put the credit cards away, and enjoy all my treasures. 🙂


  3. Hello there! I’ll try to make it short, I promise!

    I was reading all this Months your blog, though I almost never wrote a comment. Stilll I enjoyed your blog as often as possible. 🙂

    Thank you for the awesome Interview with McGillion yesterday! That was truly gorgeous!!!

    These are very nice pics today! Hopefully we’ll be able to see the rest soon! 😀

    It came to my attention in the past days, that Mr. Kavan Smith may not be in the SGA movie! To be honest, the thought is quite bothersome. Lorne’s the one to fish Team Sheppard out of the sh**ty situations, so? D:
    Are you able to clarify this? Will he be in the movie or not?

    Thank you in advance for your answer!

  4. Joe,

    “Other times, you’ll be struck by a moment of clarity in which the disparate pieces coalesce and crystallize to form a coherent, creative vision.”

    Agreed. As is the case in many a creative effort. Leaves you thinking, damn, how lucky am I?

    I was notified my shipment of the SGA S5 DVD set is in route. Care to offer insight as to the nature of the “extra 2 hours of never before seen footage”? Does this refer to Ivon’s efforts? Or is it footage shot and not used in any of the S5 eps?

    Just asking.

    Carol in New Jersey
    … holding onto my roof and trees as a nasty, hail-flinging thunderstorm whips through the neighborhood. Wonder why the cable Internet still works?

  5. It must be an amazing feeling to come up with something creatively, such as a script or script idea, then hand it over to get made… You see it in your mind’s eye, and then to be able to watch it visually… You have an amazing job Mr. Mallozzi.

    You know now you’ve said that you are the one who has come up with the final story, it has to be good, or we’re going to come knocking… 😀


  6. It’s interesting to note that there’s what looks to be a milky way style dhd on the Icarus base? Is this something temporary or permanent?

  7. Okay. Brian J Smith is hot! I could get use to him. Don’t worry about showing any top secret sets. My eyes are on him only.

  8. @ das – Oooo, love your bust! That’s beautiful!

    The season 5 SGA DVD is out? Joe! You could have mentioned that. I’ve been waiting patiently. Well, I’m off to order it…

  9. Thanks for the SGU update and the great pics! Icarus base looks nice, with plenty of blinking lights, dialling software, and a DHD. I wonder what ‘Chloe’ is looking at…

  10. Hey Joe!

    (and, once the color timing is complete, fantasticker(?)).

    Congratulations! You made a new word….

    Interview tomorrow with a new pastry shop, wish me luck!

    On a related note, I am attempting to design a cake around
    SGU. Do I remember correctly that Destiny is supposed to be an Ancient class ship? Like the one that Rodney got working on the volcano-riddled planet?

    Also, is the gate to be a Pegasus galaxy gate or, like suggested above by Iamjohn, a milky way gate/DHD?
    Any info you can provide will help, I promise pictures!!

    And if TPTB are really interested, I could make one for you guys…. good excuse to get back to Vancouver.


  11. Damn you Joe Mallozzi.

    That stupid (and awesome) list of disturbing toys on just opened a door of funny and disturbing lists along with other hilarities, which I’ve been reading for the past 2 days. Most useless Transformers, Michael Bay’s storyboard for The Great Gatsby, most awesome places to have sex and why they aren’t so awesome, 4 lists of photos that are real but most people think are photoshopped, most disturbing German Halloween costumes, Michael Bay’s script for Transformers 2, etc. etc. I’m still not done! God, that place is worst than TVTrope and Wikipedia.

    Though, I did get a kick out of the page dedicated to Boobs. Don’t worry, there aren’t any overt nudity…but it ain’t safe for work either, I reckon. Joe, feel free to edit out this paragraph if you wish.

    Click those links, I dare ya.

    So yeah, that’s why I’ve been absent the last few days.

    Anyways, onto today’s topic. I am glad to find out that you are a “loner” when it comes to writing. I’m the same way. It’s just good to follow your mind’s train of thought without having it being broken by someone else; it’s then easy to be on a roll when writing a script. Really, us loners need to stick together.


    Thank you for the update today! So it seems clear to me that you guys have assigned each episode to a specific writer; Paul is writing 19, you are writing 20.


    Are you writing episode 20? Is Paul writing episode 19?

    By the way, for those who are wondering, a few of us have heard back from morjana; she is not 100% but she is getting there. If you guys don’t mind, I’m going to keep the details to myself and let her explain if/when she decides to. However, please keep her in your thoughts for the next little while.

  12. Hmmm…don’t know if my comment went through. No matter, I’ve saved it.

    I wanted to add a thank you for these short “profiles” on the cast members! First Jamil, now Brian. It’s great to get to know them a bit before seeing them on the screen, dazzling us with their talent.

    Can we expect more of these for other cast members?

  13. Thank you for the pictures of Brian. He looks great. And as his mom, I really appreciate your kind words about him. He is a keeper, that’s for sure. I am so proud of him, especially that he continues to be kind and hard working I really appreciate you! Love your blog.
    Thanks again,
    Brians mom 😉

  14. Hi Joe – Great blog! I learn something new every time I stop by.

    Saw a rerun of “Grace Under Pressure” tonight. Great Mckay episode and Amanda was cool as always. Absolutely loved the “whale” scene, at the end.

  15. Hi Joe:

    Loved the interview with Paul McGillion. Paul, if you are reading, thank you. I enjoyed getting to know more about you. Glad that you have a lady in L.A. Her gain is every other lady’s loss. Good on you.

    Joe: Is Martin G helping with scripts? If so, does he get a credit and a pay check? If so to that, very cool gig. Well done Marty G.


  16. @pg15 – thanks for the update on Morjana. I’ve been worried about her.

    Has anyone heard from Anne Teldy lately?

  17. Ponytail wrote: “@ das – Oooo, love your bust!”

    Awww…now you’ve gone and made me blush… 😳


    And, yes…I agree… he is beautiful. Just have to find a decent place for him. I only have two other good statues – a New Avengers’ Wolverine, and a Wolverine ‘Origin’ bust. I’d like to get a small display case – desk size – to keep them in so they won’t get dusty or damaged.

    @ pg15 – Wise decision. When Morjana is up to it, she can share if she wants to. Just glad she’s still with us.

    @ Sherry Harris – You have a good-looking young man there, you do. I wish him the best on the new show.


  18. I really like your descriptions of everything that goes into having a script, especially when you’re part of a team — the things that need to be done together, those that you’d rather work on alone, and so on. From what you’ve said here and before, it sounds like the Stargate writing/producing crew is a very well-balanced mix of personalities, able to sort matters when there’s conflict (I still laugh over your phrase “tearful recriminations”), and sometimes clicking right through a script the first time. Having worked in a somewhat similar framework with nonfiction and a couple of plays, I’m tantalized by how you go from preliminary script ideas to something that’s going to be awesome when a good cast and all the FX are added. Even though it must be a pressure-cooker at times, it sounds like you’ve got one very cool career there.

    The actors are dying to see some of the cuts, but I keep telling them to hold off and wait for the finished version. It’ll blow them away. At this point, I feel like I’ve chipped in and bought them all the most incredible gift and simply can’t wait to see their reactions when they open it.

    Now that’s impressive, and touching besides. Really. I’ve seen cast & crew in community theater get blown away by the finished product, but somehow I thought that once you’ve made it to the majors, you’re used to it all. Guess I was wrong. It’s nice to know that for a lot of people in your business, seeing the final product never gets old. And your own enthusiasm — well, it just really is very cool. (I don’t want to gush.) Nice image there, the gift and all the anticipation. – Hope everything goes well when Rob looks over your beat sheet.

  19. Hey Joe,

    I enjoy these little stories and impressions about the new cast members. One of the Gateworld guys made a comment that kind of stuck with me: he was talking about how this was the first interview (it was one with Brian Smith) they’d been able to do with a cast member *before* we (the fans) ever met the character, and how it only seems to add to the anticipation of the show.
    And I definitely agree.. It really makes me look forward to SGU even more as it seems like this is a cast that (from the stories) really get along with one another… I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. 😀

    Hey, here’s an idea: you could do a screening of the pilot like you’d usually do with a movie! You could open it to Vancouver fans 😀 (I know, I know, not exactly feasible)

    I was driving over Burrard Bridge yesterday and they have a big sign over the north-most lane (the one closest to the mountains) saying “Bike Lane – coming soon!”. I just groaned. I bet the person who came up with that petitioned for the Olympics…


  20. Has anyone else ever noticed that when things go wrong with technology, they go *really, really* wrong?

    I’ve had no trouble with my Blackberry since I got it in December, then it just crashed last night. Picture the Blue Screen of Death, but white, and that’s what my phone looked like. Worst part: I hadn’t made a back-up. The worst part was losing all my contacts. I did manage to fix it, after a frustrating day. Grrrrr

    Anyone else got screwy-tech stories?

  21. 2cats said:

    I was notified my shipment of the SGA S5 DVD set is in route.

    Can I ask, where did you order your box set? It’s not supposed to be released until June 30. I’ve got an order in at B&N and I checked this morning and it hasn’t started shipping. Sounds like one company has jumped the gun.

    I want my DVD set too. 🙁

    Cheers, Chev

  22. I’m a day late, but thanks to Paul McGillion for answering all our questions, that has got to be a time consuming task and for him and the other actors to take the time to answer our questions – means a lot and I appreciate it.

    Of course it gives Joe a break too, to catch up on weird food purchases and SGU updates.

    Thanks again

  23. Thanks for the pics and updates. I will be at a camp for the next week but will try to log on as much as I can. And Joe, my B-day’s July second. Do you still do those blog dedication thingys for peoples birthday’s?

    Thanks so much,
    Major D. Davis

  24. Oh and a few questions if you don’t mind

    1. You already know my reasoning, so is episode 19’s title is hope?

    2. Is Will Waring directing Faith?

    3. Is there a chance that MGM will release it’s uber cool super secret project during Comic con this summer?

    4. Are the VFX temps like those non-colored greyish fake looking Visuals that eventually turn into those shiny Visuals we see in the final cut?

    Thanks so much,
    Major D. Davis

  25. Hey Joe,

    I was wondering if you’ve seen Virtuality on Syfy last night and could comment on if this is shot similar to what we can expect to see on SGU?

    Thanks for your time,

  26. Hey Joe, thanks for the sneak previews at the cast, am really thinking that I’m going to like the series, but its still going on the ‘three and out’ plan (Ie- any show has 3 episodes to ‘sell’ me and if it can’t well, it doesn’t get onto the ‘must watch’ list).

    I have a feeling that should I pick up the show, Brian will have a very good chance at sneaking to the top of my “favorite Stargate actors” list. 😀

    @Sherry Harris- From all appearances you have raised a very respectable young man, and I can only hope that I am as lucky with my dear daughter.

  27. @ Nadine – my son, a Computer Science graduate, decided to reformat my computer, He got out an external hard drive and “copied” all of my stuff to it. Then he wiped the computer of everything and reformatted it. When he went to replace all my files, he discovered that the external hard drive had nothing on it. I fired him on the spot.

    @ Chevron 7 – some companies that mail out orders know how long a shipment will normally take to reach it’s destination so that people who order are not left waiting for something with a specific release date (and then shop locally instead of buying from the on line company). The item is shipped so that it reaches the customer on the same day of release. Pretty clever, really.


  28. So I just noticed that the Icarus Base patch on Lt. Scott’s sleeve is a feather. Seems a little soon to be making light of the guy’s death, don’t you think?

  29. Last I heard, the premiere of SGU was scheduled for October 2. Joe – any idea when we’ll get a firm date here for the first part of Air?

  30. @chevron7 — I pre-ordered the SGA S5 DVD set from

    Check the site for all delivery options (standard shipping is FREE in all 50 US states).

    Hey! I just took delivery of my SGA S5 DVD set! The insert advertisement is for Stargate SG-1: Children of the Gods Final Cut.
    It states:
    “The iconic pilot episode of television’s longest-running sci-fi series, Stargate SG-1, has been masterfully fine-tuned by Co-creator Brad Wright to include:
    — New Edit with Never-Viewed Scenes
    — New and Enhanced Visual Effects
    — Revoiced performance by Teal’c
    — New Musical Score”

    Whoo-hoo!! If I can pre-order this one too, I will.

    in New Jersey

  31. YES-S-S! I just checked the site and they have the Region 1 DVD available for pre-order for $18.71 US. It will ship to arrive on or about 7/21.

    Guess who’s hitting up the old Visa card again?!

    Cheers all!

    in New Jersey

  32. @Arctic Goddess: Oh, man… no wonder you fired him 😛 Did you have a bunch of important documents, etc.? I guess I was a bit lucky ’cause the only thing I *really* lost was the contact list (which sucks)… The rest of the stuff just takes time and effort to rebuild, really.
    But man, losing all you computer data…

  33. Hi Joe, long time lurker and reader.

    Was wondering if we’ll ever find out what happened to Ba’al host after the extraction? I enjoyed the Carter/Baal scenes in Quest and Insiders. Any chance of seeing some interaction between Carter/Baal again in a future movie?

  34. @Birddiemac: I was wondering what happened to Ba’al after the extraction as well!

    @Morjana: Be well, we’re all thinking of you!

    Me, lousy cold/flu thing here – Mr. Deni too. I’m going back to bed. Have a good Sunday, everybody!

  35. Mr Smith is quite the handsome chap, not surprised he has fans already! Nice to know more about him 🙂

    Have to give love again for Atlantis seasons 5 First Contact/Lost Tribe have recently purhased volume three and relived those fantasic episodes again. Would you kindly remind Mr Gero that he is Awesome.

    Something odd I noticed but you may not know anything about it.. the volumes were sold at different prices i.e. volume 1 & 2 were more expensive than 3 & 4 but contained the same amount of episodes.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.