Poor Akemi isn’t enjoying Perth.  Following her ten-day vacation in Vancouver (check out what an affable host I was in previous entries), she returned to Tokyo, unpacked, re-packed, then jetted off to Australia for six weeks of intensive English immersion.  Well, one week in and neither the food nor the weather agree with her and she’s considering bailing and finding somewhere else to study English.  Somewhere else like, say…Vancouver?  I suggested she stick it out.  It has only been about a week.  Any of you Aussies have any interesting Perth recommendations for a first time visitor?  An interesting sight or shop or perhaps a place that apparently serves the world’s best pizza: http://www.theage.com.au/travel/home-of-the-worlds-best-pizza–officially-20090212-85q8.html

The other day I was going through some of the art department output that has crossed my desk over the years and wondered if any of you might be interested in catching a glimpse (or in some cases a re-glimpse) of the various sketches and designs put together for Atlantis in its later seasons.  Well, apparently, yes, many of you are very interested.   So, picking up where I left off in that enormous pile…

Headsman’s Axe – Stargate: Atlantis, Season 5, Identity. Note the attention to detail in the description: “…dried, caked blood in grooves and low spots. – some rust”. That’s one mighty nasty looking cleaver.  And the headsman who wielded it was one mighty nasty looking dude.  Still, I kind of felt sorry for him as he ended up shot during the op to save Keller.  I mean, come on!  He was only doing his job!

Production Designer James Robbins comes by the office to show off the early design work.

James Robbins’ close shave with the finished prop.

Cliff Build – Stargate: Atlantis, Season 5, Remnants. One of the sequences called for Sheppard to almost go tumbling off a cliff. We had a Sheppard. All we needed was a cliff. So the Art Department and Construction obliged by building us one. The design calls for a “hero root” which “protrudes from crack in rock” – which Sheppard grabs hold of to stop his fall. The “greens build on deck” refers to the extra vegetation our Greens Department will put in place to make it look a little more natural. Finally, at the bottom, a note that any shots looking down will be greenscreen – calling on the VFX to transform the short fall into a deadly drop.

The actual “cliff”.

Not exactly a death-defying plunge.

Cliff Build, Profile – Stargate: Atlantis, Season 5, Remnants. Side view of our prospective cliff. A note at the top outlines the plan to have our faux greens marry with the existing greenery. The model shop is called on to provide the “hero root” (“hero” a reference to a prop that will play/be used in a specific scene). The Special Effect Department will be responsible for providing the rig cable that will support Sheppard/stunt double, making it appear as though he is dangling precariously from the cliff.

Running through the hero section of the root is 3/8 pencil steel, strong enough to support Sheppard’s body weight.

We shot this sequence at Stokes Pit. This is the location survey, scouting out the area well in advance of production.

Probe Gak Box - Stargate: Atlantis, Season 5, Remnants. This is the alien seeding probe McKay and Zelenka (?) dredge up from the bottom of the ocean and analyze. "Gak" is a term we use to describe the high-tech innards of a device.

The working prop. And by "working", I don't mean it's actually capable of seeding planets. I mean it lights up.

McKay hooks up alligator clips to the filaments to allow us to integrate our technology with theirs.

Yesterday, we did a walk-thru of the new, raised set in Stage 5.  So far, so cool.  Then, this afternoon, we watched the Day 2 Mix of Incursion I.  Action!  Suspense!  Cameos!  And a most atypical death!  Paul has finished a first draft of episode #6 which comes in at a whopping 57 pages.  He’ll spend the weekend trimming.  Carl continues prep on episode #4 (Pathogen), in addition to working on that outline for episode #7.  Rob is off on a “distant location” scout for episode #8, but returns to Vancouver Sunday night. Remi is working on an outline for episode #9 while I begin tackling the freshly-broken story for episode #10.  Linda and Brad, meanwhile, have started mulling over their fledgling stories.  Our first cast read-thru early next week to be followed by our first day of principal photography on Pathogen (Yes, it’s episode #4, but it’s shooting in the #1 slot) and the start of prep on Intervention (Episode #1).

Today’s entry is dedicated to blog regular Deni.  Happy Birthday!

50 thoughts on “March 5, 2010: A possible return visit? More items of interest from the Atlantis vault! And an SGU production update!

  1. Im from Perth lol have you tried going to Kings Park, or staying out at the Casino Complex everything you need is in one spot. Um for shopping i would suggest the Hillary s Boat Complex,Any West-field complex there usually pretty good. But where a small place lol so don’t expect big shopping complexes like they do in the states. As for the weather lol she came right at the end of a drought lol 77 days with no rain longest on record this summer. But the weather should not be so hot now hoping for some more comfortable weather from now on. Has she gone to Scarborough Beach yet?there is Good Accommodation down there and a little shopping place with massage beauty therapies if your into that sort of stuff. For nightlife stay away from Northbridge lol its a bit rough for the first timer try something like Leederville or even Hillarys better class of people hang in these areas. Im sorry she is not enjoying Perth and i hope her visit gets better.And i hope this info helps her in her stay here.
    Gods speed

  2. Joe – I really appreciate the work you do daily in keeping in touch with the fans and I like seeing the “behind-the-scenes” stuff that goes on. There are obviously an awful lot of talented people who we don’t really know about but who keep the project and show alive. Keep on doing what you’re doing… thank you!

  3. Hello Joe.

    Sorry to hear that Akemi is not enjoying Australia. Is she anywhere near Sydney? I know that being a Jerseyite precludes me from having much knowledge on this, but she might enjoy a day soaking up the sites in the city, and I am sure she can also find some good food.

    If she is not comfortable, maybe she can come back to Vancouver, or Das and I can recommend a few good places here.

    So, how are things going in the city, post Olympics? I hope things weren’t too disruptive, and that Ashleigh has calmed down a little. 😉

    Thanks for the concept art. I am curious if you have any concept art or props from the designs of the travelers’ ships, the engine room set with all the junk tangled together was pretty cool in the episode Lost Tribe!

    Best wishes,


  4. I thoroughly enjoy watching an episode of a favorite show and getting totally wrapped up in it to where I forget there are writers or a crew or set (“No! Don’t let go, Sheppard!”). But once I’ve had that experience I really get a kick out of finding out how it was all done. So, thanks for posting these!

  5. Too bad you guys are done with forest locations. I know a place in Ky. where there is a recessed-slope cliff that’s only possible to climb because of all the roots. It drops into something we called the Rock House, a large, natural, but not dank cave that opens into a smooth rock-slide that’s kept slick by a natural spring and you can slide right into a creek. My uncle finished clearing a nice path to it, nicer than the logging roads in the area.

    Can you tell I’m supposed to be doing something else?

  6. Sorry to hear Akemi isn’t enjoying Perth. If she is going to bail then may I humbly suggest Melbourne? We have the best food in the country here and Autumn is the most comfortable season of the year to visit.

    That said, for sightseeing in a capital city I would probably head to Sydney.

    Hopefully Akemi begins to enjoy her stay here soon!

  7. Once again loved the behind the scenes stuff for Remnants.
    That was a terrific episode. Wonder when that gak box is going to show up on the Propworx auctions on Ebay?!
    Re Pathogen, I read that Robert Carlyle is directing and I was wondering why they never let David Hewlett direct an ep? He did A Dogs Breakfast which was wonderful and is currently directing a Syfy movie in Bulgaria (where he met up with Jason Momoa today! – small world, ain’t it?).

  8. Perth? Why on earth did she go to Perth? Melbourne’s the place to go. Best restaurants, plenty to do, hugely multicultural, everything’s laid out in a grid so it’s impossible to get lost.

    Chumpai, outside of the harbour, there’s nothing to do in Sydney. Sydney’s flash, Melbourne’s civilised.

  9. Thanks Joe! I’ve had a wonderful birthday week but sad to see my daughter leaving tomorrow 🙁 Still, tonight’s dinner and bubbly were delish. It was Elway’s birthday today as well (we made that up because we have no idea when his actual birthday is, other than the fact he was about 12 weeks old when we got him ten years ago this June) and he had a blast. He got a Build-a-Bear monkey with 6 sounds (his third Build-a-Bear toy, he loves them), a bunch of other toys, cupcakes (vanilla, no worries) for all, a trip to PetCo to buy 2 large doggie beds for his, ahem, new SUV:) Got some great pics of him tonight, will definitely try to post a couple over the weekend. Anywhoooo, I’m a lightweight drinker and the bubbly I had has made me a wee bit tipsy, so I’m off to bed. Have a great night, and thanks again!

  10. Tammy – not sure about blackening fish but if you want to sear it (more of a nice, crisp browning) – heat a cast iron skillet, then add some grapeseed oil.
    The good people at America’s Test Kitchen say “when sugar is added to the wet surface of fish and is exposed to the heat of the pan, it quickly breaks down to glucose and fructose. Fructose begins to rapidly caramelize at around 200 degrees – a temperature the exterior of the fish easily reaches within a minute or so of hitting the pan.”
    So sprinkle a little sugar atop the fish and, when the oil starts to smoke, add the fish and sear for about a minute a side, then either finish in the oven or in the pan.

  11. That’s true Ellie, though I wish our Fed Square was less, ahem, ‘post-modern’ and a bit more elegant.

  12. “Perth? Why on earth did she go to Perth?

    Yeah. Why not Vancouver?

  13. Chumpai, I quite like the NGV building but they should have made the tiles darker so it stands out more. Bit bland in those colours. The rest of Fed Square is boring. They should have used the same colours as the NGV instead of bricks). Some nice eating places there, though. I think that whacky, very expensive restaurant that had broccoli ice cream and suchlike has closed, though, as I can’t see it in the Fed Square list. Chocolate Buddha’s still open, though.

  14. Thanks Mr. M.! I was talking with the fish guy at the market and he was saying it was easy to blacken fish but….

    He was suggesting flounder and it was nearly ten bucks a pound! It’s so thin, so delicate. I don’t want to experiment with that so I may go with the tilapia to practice with tomorrow. I’ll definitely try the sugar and pick up the grapeseed oil. It has a lower smoking point right?

    Loved the clip yesterday!

    It’s been hectic here. Fourteen year old son put some kind of program on the school computers as a joke. Some kind of shut down program that ran through their network.

    Thankfully, they are just going to suspend (not expel) the little felon! On the bright side, I’ll have a slave for a week. :growl:

    Anyone looking for a used computer? Fourteen yeard old won’t need one for a long while.

  15. I’d also suggest a change in location for Akemi if she’s not enjoying herself. I love WA/Perth, but that’s because I love beach culture. It’s simple and unpretentious.

    Melbourne and Sydney would suit Akemi more from a climate and cultural perspective. There’s plenty of us in Melbourne that would be happy to show her around the laneways of Melbourne. Although speaking of weather, we’re being hammered by a huge thunderstorm at the moment, but it’s fun to watch.

    I haven’t been to Vancouver personally but I always remember my Dad saying that Vancouver was the most “Melbourne” place he’d ever been so maybe the comparison might mean she would be more comfortable here.

    But I’m sure you wouldn’t mind her heading back to Vancouver 🙂

  16. Ellie, I do like the inside of Fed square and I’ve always had really nice food whenever I’ve been there, dunno about the broccoli ice cream, but the time out cafe had some odd menu items, Feddish is great for ambiance and food though.

    I guess its just with Flinders and St. Paul’s next door the exterior just doesn’t fit, its going to be kitsch by 2030. Given that it looks like outdoor rock climbing… if they actually put rock climbing holds on it then maybe I wouldn’t mind so much!

  17. I want the axe, if you looking to give it a new owner 😀
    could do a lot of convinient things with it!!
    Got stuck in a car wash today. It’s a good thing I did not try to put the car on drive when I realized that something was wrong. I would have made serious damage to my car.
    We were 4 pushing on the car , trying to disloge it from its perticular position. Never tought we were actually going to do it.

  18. Hey Joe,

    Great artwork, pictures…stories. I am so loving this. The work and details that go into just one piece of a scene. Such a peek is wonderful indeed. *smiles*

    Big hugs for having such a great blog.

    Best to you Joe,
    Cheryl 🙂

  19. Poor Akemi. 🙁 But are you sure it’s only because she doesn’t like Perth? Maybe it’s really because she’s missing Lulu and the gang. 😉

    Went to bed very early because I was really tired last night – and Joe, I dropped you a note via e-mail, and totally forgot to ask how mom’s doing – hope she’s good! Anyhoo…so now I’m wide awake at nearly 4 am…not my normal waking hour. So, what do I do?? I find THIS:



    I think I’m in love with Christopher Judge! 😆

    Too, too funny!


  20. Salut Joe!

    Comment allez vous?

    Moi très bien, c’est toujours un plaisir de venir sur votre blog 🙂

    J’espere que pour Akemi ça va aller, c’est vrai que la culture autralienne et Japonnaise c’est asser différent. Mais qu’elle se rassure il pourrai y avoir pire, car si elle serait en france elle pourrai attraper le « syndrome de Paris » (Symptômes : dépression, délire de persécution, voire tentative de suicide…)

    ++ d’infos:


    Je vous remerci pour toutes ces photos…lalaalal sga me manque tellement =(.

    Bonne anniversaire à Deni!

    Bisou =)

  21. I just talked to my friend in Sydney and it’s hot… another friend in Melbourne complained it’s stormy!

    Perth today was GORGEOUS.. warm, sunny and dry.

    Akemi just might like Fremantle better. It’s very laid back and full of Italians who know their pizza. I had to laugh because I am a Pizza oven demonstrator and make killer pizzas…

    Tell her to come South of the river. It’s nicer in my opinion.. She might like a bus ride down to Bunbury… or go up to Lancelin and see the Pinnacles.

    Don’t slam Perth, we’re the most isolated city in the world but I can tell you us Fremantle-ites are very easy going and friendly..

  22. PS I just watched SGA season 1’s ‘Before I sleep’.. always moves me to tears.

    Well done on such a tender, warm story… *sniff*

  23. Ok anyone from Perth, let’s make it a ‘date’ to meet Akemi and take her to Deliciozo followed by a drive along the beach road to then park and then wash our feet in the beautiful waters of the WA coast. I know Subiaco. Is that ok with you Joe?

    email me @ mumooshka@gmail.com

    We’ll take piccies of the pizza and the sun setting on Akemi’s face as she stands in the ocean (shark free of course)

  24. Maybe I’m biased, but she could try Adelaide? It’s a 1-2 hour plane trip from Perth. She might prefer it, it’s probably a bit more of a ‘European’ style city.

  25. Shirt’n’Tie, that was such a cool video for Joe,nice. Way to be a hero Joe. mom will like that one. btw, hope she is progressing well at home with Felix and Baby and Sis(*waves to sis and mom*) Be safe on the ice mom.
    Joe I remember seeing those cliff pictures b4 on the blog but always fun to see again, amazing to see behind the scenes. thanks for sharing, and yes Oliver says, Can I have some more please sir? (did I win yet)
    I think maybe you spoiled Akemi and she misses the kitchen cooking and linen duty(fun) she had in Vancouver and the fantastic restaurants you know about. yum..hope she is doing better today.
    – Did Ashleigh have any surprises in store for you when you returned to work,? pranks, bon bons? crisco on the earpiece of the telephone?
    Have a wonderful day!

  26. I have a question about the character that Jason Momoa played on SGA.
    Do you spell his name Ronon or Ronan?

    I ask because I always thought it was spelled ‘Ronon’, but so many fans and others spell it with an A, Ronan.

    What is the correct spelling, please tell me. It really bothers me that some (and perhaps myself) are spelling his name wrong.

  27. Hi Joe,
    I watched SGU last night. It’s been a while since I watched an episode and I realized a) how much I enjoyed the season 1 so far b) how many questions are dangling unanswered c) that SGU has an excellent the show and cast.

    Then I saw the teaser for the second half of the season. All I can say is WOW and it’s only a month away.

  28. Hello Joe,

    Thanks so much for the pictures. I love seeing behind the scenes stuff.

  29. Awwwww, I’m sorry to hear Akemi isn’t enjoying Perth! I was only there once when I was 6 so I can’t really offer suggestions about what to do. :(. But you really should come back to Vancover. Joes right. 🙂 And we’d love to see you back on the blog!!! 🙂

    Pooop!!!!!! Distan location scouts???? Sweet!!!!!!!!!!

    Thanks so much,
    Major D. Davis

  30. Re: Cliff scene

    So, Joe, you’re saying that if I ever fall off the edge of a cliff, and grab a “hero root” on the way down, I’ll want to make sure that it’s reinforced by pencil steel first? Good to keep in mind. What’s pencil steel?

  31. My friend Claire, the most fabulous belly dance instructor, is in Perth, a grad student in … marital counseling, I think. I know Claire is also a free-lance journalist, as in, published, so it counts. The Fabulous Claire can do just about anything I think.

    We should have her cross paths with Akemi.

    This is Claire’s blog, and a pretty good read:


  32. @ Anna – the correct spelling is RONON. Unfortunately, it gets spelled wrong all the time. Even Cooper or Wright (can’t remember which one) spelled it wrong in one of their Q&As.

    The correct spelling of his real last name is MOMOA. That gets spelled wrong all the time too. Poor guy. A double whammy. Makes me just want to hug him. And not let go.

  33. actually joe, your comment about James Robbins and the close shave with the finished prop is incorrect.
    that is a different, smaller axe, from season 4’s MISSING.
    the headsman’s axe is MUCH MUCH bigger (2′ blade)

    I’ll never forget that axe, because of the impromptu fight between Kenny Gibbs and Martin Wood with them (to martin’s sanctuary film crew singing star trek fight music)

  34. Hey Joe:
    Random SG1 question: why didn’t the kawoosh obliterate the iris when the kawoosh happened while the iris was closed.

    We’re watching our way through S 4 😀

  35. HI again Mr M!

    Glad you liked the vid!! Hope Mom was watching!!

    Many thanks all for the kind comments. Can’t take any credit though, those cool Swedes put it together….and also I got the tip off from Ivon Bartok who had created one for our own Carl Binder…..Just sub in the photo… It is compelling on several levels and does bear repeated watching.

    @Anais 33 Bonjor / Bon Soir! Je parles un petit peu Francais. Je visite Paris chaque annee avec ma femme pour faire du leche vitrine, poue des vacances et des choses comme ca. Je lis tous vos comments et je me dis, on doit reponder en francais!! Salut bien!

    @Maggie May Day, I only just read of your loss. Our condolences from here. Cancer affects 1 in 8 of us. It is unforgiving. We need to help each other to beat it. Our best thoughts and prayers to you and yours.

    OK. gotta go! I’ve a new laptop, hence the comment at weekend…..though risking wrath of Her Royal Highness(!)

    best to all


  36. I didn’t spend a long time in Perth (only a few days), so I can’t really provide Akemi with expert advise, but I loved King’s Park. Also Fremantle is a place I’d visit more often if I was in the neighbourhood. For a bit further away, Wave Rock or the Pinnacles are nice to see, and if you really want to make a longer trip, I’d advise the Shark Bay area.

    What I didn’t like about Perth was the absence of night-life in the CBD. I went strolling around, looking for food one night at 8 p.m… nothing! Almost everything was closed, even the Subway, which I was considering as an option if there turned out to be nothing else around…

    Melbourne on the other hand… spent 10 months there, and I loved it. There’s plenty to do, plenty to see, plenty to eat 😉

  37. Ok, I bought tilapia and the grapeseed oil. I misstated earlier, grapeseed oil has a >b>high smoking point. I sprinkled sugar along with some spices on the wet fish and they were great! It’s my new favorite way of cooking fish.

    So sorry that Akemi is not enjoying her stay. I would love Australia! The beach, the food, the atmosphere! An aussie friend said you can buy codeine OTC there! Sounds like my kind of place 😀 . I hope she will find a place to stay soon that she likes.

  38. Some of us felt that axeman deserved a public service medal rather than being shot….but I’m not bitter..ahem……

    Still I love to see the level of planning and detail that goes into making the shows, it really gives you an appreciation of the hard work that goes into making a tv show

  39. Thanks for showing us all this cool production material. I find it really intersting. Jennifer, Orlando, FL

  40. Thank you for the very interesting items for “Remnants”, particularly the pictures which dealt with the cliff fall – I have a great deal of respect for the people who design and make such realistic sets.

  41. I’m a born & bred Perthie! I reckon Akemi is having a rough time cos the weather has been UBER-hot. Suggest time at Scarborough Beach, or Cottesloe Beach…heck, ANY beach will do, cos they’re all pretty nice (if you like white sand & blue ocean! Surf’s great too – best breaks around Scarborough/Trigg for local stuff.

    If she wants to do some exploring (she needs to FLY to most locations, as West Oz is HUGE – bigger’n Texass!) – she’s gotta try a snorkel/dive with the whale sharks in Exmouth, time at Coral Bay is so worth it (turquoise water going out around thigh deep for 70m off shore, then superb reefs to explore – national park stuff, better than the Great Barrier Reef!) She can also see the dolphins at Monkey Mia, ride camels on the beach at Broome and explore the fabulous red gorges of the Karajini national park/Kalbarri/Kimberley regions…

    South, you can do a winery crawl around the Margaret River region, farmstays & luxury ‘retreats’ in the forests near Pemberton, do the treetop walk down in Walpole amid huge karri trees, visit the equally gorgeous turquoise waters near Esperance (albeit COOLER cos it’s the Southern Ocean)…
    how’s that for a quick guide to our huge and beautiful state?


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