First thing I did when I got in this morning was pop my head into my writing partner’s office and chime: “Who wants to go to a playback meeting?!”
Paul sat back in his chair and looked skyward as if considering. A few seconds of not-so-serious contemplation and then: “No, I don’t think so.”
“I hear they’re bringing cookies,”I said.
But he wasn’t convinced. And so, I had to go it alone: an early stunts and special effects meeting that blew by, a laborious hour and a half long playback meeting, and an equally long and involved visual effects meeting. When VFX Supervisor Mark Savela presented us with the visual effects budget for the episode, I thought Producer John Lenic was going to pass out on the spot. My buddy (and Exec. Producer) Carl wasn’t fazed when he heard the number. He merely shrugged and said: “Hey, we knew it was going to be big.” Well, yes. Big. Not BIG! And so, to ensure we have enough money left to make the remaining fourteen episodes (or alleviate the need to make that special clip show three-parter), Director Andy Mikita and I spent an hour going through the script, tightening up here and there, trimming where we could, and shaving down that number. As a result, the VFX budget for Awakening now falls somewhere between big and BIG. BIg I guess. But what an episode it’ll be!
Later that afternoon, Director of Photography Jim Menard invited us down for a little show and tell. Would love to dial you guys in, but I’ve been sworn to secrecy. Which means I can’t tell – but no one said anything about not showing…
I left Andy, Jim, and the rest of the gang to their animated discussion of gobo’s and headed next door where watched Director Will Waring work his magic. Three of the actors flagged me down to tell me how much they loved Trial and Error. Especially scene 61! I thanked them, but told them that episode 6 was all Paul. And I have to agree with their assessment. Trial and Error is, in my (and Carl’s) opinion, the best script Paul has ever written. And, to date, he’s written some damn terrific ones for Stargate: Universe = a significant pass on Justice, then Divided (one of my personal favorites), Subversion, Intervention, and Trial and Error. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that Paul is at the top of his game. I’ll be interested to hear what you all think when Divided airs this Friday on SyFy and Space.
Also ran into Exec. Producer Robert Cooper who took me to task for not providing the correct answer to the question: “How were the aliens able to penetrate the shield?” in episode 11, Space. The correct answer: They were able to penetrate the shield because the area they land on is unshielded. Moments earlier, Lieutenant James cuts power to that section in order to save the lives of those trapped in the corridor, unwittingly giving the aliens their opening. So there ya go.
Tonight, at Ashleigh’s insistence, Carl, Lawren, the Girl Wonder, and I had dinner at a vegan restaurant. For those who don’t know, veganism is to vegetarianism as lobotomizing is to trepanning. The benefits derived from submitting to either is highly debatable.
Carl and I got there early. Lawren stumbled upon us quite by accident, walking in to what he assumed was “some warehouse” to ask for directions and discovering the warehouse WAS the restaurant. Finally, Ashleigh arrived and the festivities were underway!
We perused the menus…
After enjoying some very good vegan cocktails (a.k.a. protein shakes), we were served our appetizers…
It was unlike any bruschetta I’ve ever eaten (or care to eat ever again). Carl likened it to eating pressed cork. The medley, the waiter explained, offered a tasting of the various stages in the life of an olive – which seemed from young to mummified.
Carl scooped up a spoonful just as the waiter came by and parked himself, tableside. Carl paused, waited for him to move on. He didn’t. Instead, he grinned widely, looked on expectantly, and waited. No doubt his internal monologue went something like: “Put it in your mouth. That’s it. Now swallow. Swallow!” Carl finally did, and managed a brave face. Satisfied, the waiter left us, allowing Carl the freedom to proclaim my chilled veloute “terrible”. But that didn’t stop him from suggesting Ashleigh sample some “before it gets cold. Or colder.”
Moving on to the mains…
Despite everyone else’s protests, I insisted we order dessert. “After all,”I said, “when’s the next time come back?” I could have answered that question after the appetizers – but, anyway, for dessert we had a so-so apple cinnamon torte, an alright chocolate-cashew cheesecake, and a surprisingly great ganache…
My only other complaint about this place (besides the food and ambiance) was the caustic atmosphere that had our eyes watering throughout the meal. It was as though, as Carl put it, someone was slicing a giant onion at our table. Ashleigh suspected it was a byproduct of the dehydration process the restaurant put much of their ingredients – including onions – through, which I suppose is more plausible than my “the place next door is a chemical factory” theory.
All in all, pretty bad. Short of force-feeding us potting soil and balsa wood shavings, I can’t imagine Ashleigh doing any worse by us. Of course, in all fairness, I’ve yet to sample her home cooking.
Today’s blog entry is dedicated to our friend Deni.