Lately, I’ve been reuniting with old friends, occasionally quite by accident. For instance, yesterday I forgot my phone in the office and when I came back for it, discovered I’d missed a call. I didn’t recognize the number on the all display and curiosity got the best of me, so I called back. “Hi,”I said to the woman who answered the phone. “I think I just missed a call from this number.” A couple of seconds of sustained silence and then an incredulous: “Joe?”. As it turned out, I was speaking to fellow pug owner and jet-setting actress Josephine Jacob who I hadn’t spoken to in years and had dialed me, quite by accident, during a conversation with another friend. She was back in Vancouver for the holidays so we decided to meet for coffee (actually tea, and chamomile for me – it reminds me of Tokyo) and catch up.
A nice, relaxing afternoon chat – followed by several hours of frustration on the script and email front. For some reason, I’m suddenly unable to send emails from my yahoo account. Scratch that. I can send “some” emails. Some others, on the other hand, I can’t. And there seems to be no rhyme or reason to which ones actually make it out! Adding insult to injury, my brand new MacBook is given to bouts of unbearable sluggishness. Yes, as the cold winter days wear on, I’m making the shift from Happy Joe to Angry Joe. Don’t tell me you hadn’t noticed?
So, I’m in a rotten mood. And when I’m in a rotten mood, there are two things I excel at: scriptwriting and answering mailbag questions. So, on to the mailbag…
Paloosa writes: “But wait! Series finale? Isn’t that putting the cart before the horse, or the egg and chicken together?”
Answer: Cart? Horse? Egg? Chicken? What the heck is going on? Well, in answer to your questions – no on the entire barnyard. We simply know where we’re going to end up whenever the series comes to its conclusion. And, hopefully, that won’t be for a while.
Michael writes: “Recently, Mr. Cooper talked about those aliens and how they will look. Was there a temptation to just make them human or was it always in the cards to make them…alien-y?”
Answer: While it made sense for our heroes to encounter human alien civilizations in the Milky Way and Pegasus Galaxy, it didn’t make sense for them to encounter them in this new galaxy. As a result, the plan was to make them truly alien. And it goes without saying that they won’t speak English. To make them truly far out, the aliens will be speaking dutch.
Deni writes: “Hi Joe! What happens now that you’ve re-read the 18 pages you have and hate them? Do you start over or just tweak what you have?”
Answer: I’ll go over what I have, rewrite and polish what I think works, toss out what doesn’t and start again. Eventually, I’ll get a rhythm going and I’ll be able to ride that out to the script’s conclusion. Come the top of the fifth act, it’s smooooooooooooooth sailing.
duneknight writes: “thats why Atlantis ended so early, its because you guys thought of the ending early on…”
Answer: Untrue. Enemy at the Gate was just another episode that ended up being the series finale. It was never intended to be the show’s final episode. If we had known the show was about to end, we’d have ended it with an idea I had long ago: The wraith attack Atlantis, the city is destroyed, our heroes are killed and then…Sheppard, McKay, Teyla, and Ford wake up on the mist planet from season one’s Home and realize they just hallucinated the past four seasons.
duneknight also writes: “but a show like SG-1 never was supposed to have an ending. but you’ll tell me the two shows are very different…”
Answer: They were different in that we received word of the Atlantis cancellation late whereas we received word of the SG-1 cancellation early enough to prepare a proper series finale. Unending was written to cap the series but leave the door open for future adventures. Had we had time to prepare, we would have probably done something similar with Atlantis although, in retrospect, having Atlantis return to Earth was an interesting way to end the show. Going the Dallas route would’ve been good too.
Thornyrose writes: “Would it help to think that “In Japan, you were interesting” really means “over there, you were entertaining in the way that a clumsy but amusing dimwit is?”.”
Answer: No doubt. Back in Tokyo, I was as delightful as a small child playing a ukulele.
Thornyrose also writes: “So, if not the writing, what, besides the paycheck, makes one stay in such a career?”
Answer: Hey, I’m not complaining, simply expressing my frustration. I realize how fortunate I am to be doing what I’m doing; also very lucky to be working with some great people (which, to answer your question, is probably the best thing about this job).
Sparrow_hawk writes: “Are you planning to work on reading as well as conversational Japanese?”
Answer: I’ve been told I should. There are only some 50 characters to learn and being able to read them would certainly make my future Tokyo experiences that much simpler. On the other hand, not enough can be said about asking a cute Tokyoite to translate something for you.
Jmanzione writes: “I simply have to ask. You don’t need to answer of course, but your explanation would go a long way toward satisfying my, and many others, curiosity…”
Answer: Great question. In fact, there is more than one seeder ship – there are several, far ahead of Destiny, seeding galaxies with stargates to allow for future exploration. Hope that clears things up.
Michael A. Burstein writes: “Isaac Asimov always said that he enjoyed writing, and I knew him in passing, so I knew at least one writer who enjoyed writing. In fact, he and his wife even wrote a book called “How to Enjoy Writing.””
Answer: I should pick it up. Does it come with a complimentary bottle of absinthe?
Cryaonbaby writes: “You feel OK about the writing once it’s on the screen though, don’t you? Didn’t Cannell write/produce the A-Team among other things?”
Answer: Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. And, yes, the incredibly prolific Stephen J. Cannell has written and produced hundreds of hours of television including The Rockford Files, The Greatest American Hero, and, yes, The A-Team.
LoveStargateUniverse writes: “Why since season eight of SG-1 has each season had 20 episodes instead of 22?”
Answer: It was a network request to have the series fall in line with most other series orders.
Tammy Dixon writes: “Have you tried Rosetta stone for Japanese Mr. M.?”
Answer: I’ve been using something similar – Pimsleur – and loved it. I’m just disappointed that only 3 levels are available.
Iamza writes: “I hope you (all) get enough notice to put your series finale into play in a way that makes sense. I mean, SGU seems to be relying more on storylines that go over several episodes, so I imagine the finale will need a bit of setting up prior to that final hour/two hour story?”
Answer: The finale will pay off all that has come before.
Poundpuppy29 writes: “Hey Joe just a quick question in the third SG-1 movie do we at least find out why there is no Vala…”
Answer: I’ve yet to read Brad’s rewrite, so I’m not sure if there is a direct reference to Vala’s absence. She was a great character to write for.
Shadow Step writes: “How about writing scripts in Japan?”
Answer: I want to write and produce Assault Girls II. Hook me up.
Shiningwit writes: “Hey Joe, would you be so good as to dedicate Friday’s blog to Suzie’sbluefeather please? its her birthday.”
Answer: No problem. Just do me a favor and remind me tomorrow.