So the plan was simple enough: dedicate the day to completing the first act of my script.  I’d already hit the twelve page mark and really only envisioned another two or three pages to go before landing on that Dum-Dum-Daaaaah moment that takes us to commercial.  Two or three pages.  And I had an entire day to write them!  How hard could that be?  Well…

No sooner do I get into the office this morning than I’m headed downstairs for a tech tour of the various sets.  On Stage 6, Director Andy Mikita breaks down the shots, offering up a play-by-play of the entries and exits, considerations and confrontations, and, of course, the big reveal.  I find myself standing beside our kick-ass Stunt Coordinator James “Bam Bam” Bamford.

You want a piece of this? That's right. Didn't think so.

After chatting about THE-Next-Big-Action-Star Jason Momoa, he demonstrates a couple of lightning fast wrist locks that threaten to snap my arm like kindling.  The man is dangerous – in a respectable and thoroughly lovable sort of way.  Next time you see him at a con, do ask him to run through his inventory of grabs, holds, and locks.  Make sure to make a special request for a little something I like to call The Pop ‘n Squeal.  Tell ‘im Joe sent you.

Then, it’s the long hike across the lot to Stage 4.

Thirty of us set off that chill winter day, but only twelve of us lived to tell the tale.

There, we climb the stairs up to the second level and check out that inhumanly narrow space.  It’s gonna be tight – but very cool!

So THAT'S where the apple core goes when it's in UP mode.

A walk around the corner into the next room leads to a discussion on lighting and camera placement.  Producer John G. Lenic waves me down with one hand, the other holding the cell phone up to his ear: “Yeah, Joe’s with me.  We’re on our way.”  And we’re trekking back across the lot where the rest of the gang awaits us in Stage 5.

Up another flight of stairs to another second level set: this one the BIG one.

Watch your step! Stage 5.

We discuss paint treatments and windows, effects practical and visual, stopping every so often and falling dead silent whenever the alarm sounds to let us know they are rolling downstairs.  Eventually, everyone is on the same page. And good thing too.  We start shooting in here tomorrow.

We take Remi on an impromptu tour of the other sets –

By the time I get back to my office, I just have time to unpack my laptop and down breakfast before I’m in the conference room for the production meeting. Although the script is a robust 54 pages long, two separate timings have it coming in “to time”.  Compare this to Paul’s script, Intervention, that, at 48 pages in length, ended up coming in six minutes long.  Carl was quick to point out that page count is deceiving.  Paul, like Rob Cooper, tends to write very tight, packing the page.  I, on the other hand, prefer a far more flexible style that sees me giving each prospective shot its own action direction.

For instance, while Paul’s script may look something like this:


Eli is working at a console when he hears something.  He turns.  REVEAL Young standing at the entrance.  He throws Eli a sour look.  Eli redirects his attention back to his console.  ONSCREEN we see an image of the ship’s schematic.  Eli points at – the holo screen that flashes up.  He’s watching Lost.

While mine may look something like this:


Eli is working at a console when he hears something.  He turns.

REVEAL Young standing at the entrance.  He throws Eli a sour look.

Eli redirects his attention back to his console.

ONSCREEN we see an image of the ship’s schematic.

Eli points at –

The holo screen that flashes up.   He’s watching Lost.

This only becomes an issue when it comes time to board the episode.  On the surface, it would seem that my script may take longer to shoot but, in reality, 8 pages of Joe script actually equal about 7 pages of Paul script.

Anyway, we kick off the production meeting with a special birthday announcement and an off-key rendition of Happy Birthday to Kerri after which A.D. Bill Mizel breaks down the shooting schedule.  Then, we go through the script one last time.  Julie reminds the department heads that their final budgets were due and that is that.

Production/Birthday Meeting

I follow Ashleigh’s lead and have a veggie burger for lunch.  The bun is disquietingly chew.  We watch the dailies and, finally, I’m back in my office.  I actually start work on the script, revising the already revised dialogue from the previous scenes and am about to break new ground when Andy poked his head into my office and suggests I join them in the writers’ room for VFX Supervisor Mark Savela’s show-and-tell.

More discussion.  A change in approach that will cause me to rethink a scene in my soon-to-be-shot script.  Even more discussion.  A change in the change in approach.  All is well.

I return to my office and have just settled in to do some writing – when Ashleigh walks in and informs me that everyone has gathered to watch the producer’s cut of Intervention.  Fer crying out loud!!!  Ashleigh scurries off, fearful of incurring my wrath.  And I –

Join everyone in the writers’ room for the screening.  Great episode!  I stand up, prepared to head back to my office and finally tackle that first act.

At which point Lawren walks in and hands me Rob’s first draft of Malice.

I head back to my office and read it.  Great script!  It’s going to be one hell of a location shoot!

I respond to some emails, phone mom, and…

Call it a day.

Tomorrow!  Tomorrow, I’ll finally finish that first act.

Well, that’s the plan anyway.

46 thoughts on “April 14, 2010: Okay, this is the plan…

  1. 14th Joe, 14th. First you skip Tuesday, now you skip the 14th. Gotta watch those time warps.

  2. Re-post

    I am re-watching “Divided” again and I know that Joe M will be posting soon, but what I am most waiting to see going forward is not Rush v Young or even Young v Wray, what I want to see is how Chloe and female military leads (TJ for one) relationship will play-out.
    Its funny how Art works, I originally watch this episode I was not that crazy about but now watching it again I really enjoyed and now I can’t wait to get my Blu-ray for the last 10 episodes and yes I will be buying the full -set once it is out. Great job Production Crew!!

  3. Hi Joe!!!

    I was wondering if you could give us a hint and tell us if SGU is going to have a darker tone in season 2 or if the crew is going to be more upbeat?


  4. I think your coworkers plot to keep you from your designated task. Too much coincidence for things to line up like that. Love following your misadventures, and appreciate that you take the time to snap photos for us as wyou wander about the wilderness that is Bridge Studio. Have every confidence that you will come through with flying colors on your story, eventually.

  5. It was also Mr. Robert Carlyle’s birthday today (April 14th). So Happy Birthday to him, too.

    Guess where I will be going on Friday/Saturday? Dallas! For what you may ask? Lou Diamond Phillips is going to be at the Dallas International Film Festival to promote his film, Transparency. And I am going to get to meet him after the film. I am so excited. Got my gray roots colored and my hair trimmed. Of course, it is the first time my husband and I have been away overnight together since 2003. We FINALLY got respite care services. No, I didn’t get my hair colored and cut to look nice for him — just for Lou Diamond Phillips. I guess that is what 18 years does to you. Every time I plan something, however, Murphy’s Law seems to rain down on my parade, so everyone keep good thoughts.

    So a shout out to anyone that lives in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma — Come to Dallas on Friday and support LDP. The film doesn’t show until 10:30 p.m. Just a 4-5 hour drive for us (if you count the stops we’ll likely make for gas, fluids, bathroom).

  6. With all the ‘getting around’ you have to do at the studio…with some obvious distance involved…you should try budgeting for a “segway” in the production budget.

    Alternatively you could get a rickshaw. As for an operator, you just need to tweak a contract here and there, and voila…Ashleigh has a minor new duty to perform in her job description.

    I agree with ‘Thornyrose’, your coworkers may have a plot against you. Just by reading your blog every night, they can find out all the things that Joseph Mallozzi is thinking but is not saying at work everyday. Not hard at all then for them to foil your carefully crafted work plan.

    You might want to think about starting a disinformation campaign with your blog, you can weed out the ‘nice nice’ from the ‘fake nice’ people at work that way,lol.

  7. At the risk of creating more work for yourself, it seems you could fit more story in by following Paul’s space-saving model.

  8. Have been behind in reading the comments, so I don’t know if this was posted yesterday or not.
    Why would they move SGU and Sanctuary to Tuesday for Wrestling? SGU needs a stable timeslot and moving it to a different day may hurt it in the long run. I know it isn’t until October, but it is still a strange decision.

  9. Geez, no wonder you couldn’t get any writing done. How do you deal with the interruptions or is writing at home easier?

    Thanks for posting how your writing a scene compares to Paul. Paul lumps all the action in the scene in one paragraph while you break each action down into its own line. Interesting. Does blocking the scene out work a little easier for the director in how you write or Paul’s? Obviously it works no matter what. Just interested in the different styles.

  10. I had a plan to finish a story yesterday. Google Desktop decided to install and screw up my laptop.

    Oh, but, guess what? I keep my stuff all on Google Docs so I just switched computers, wrote while I rebooted the laptop over and over until I regained control (took hours), beat the deadline, and knocked it out of the park.

    Ha! Me: 1, Dumb luck: 0. Does anyone else get an ominous feeling like the Wood Sprites are listening in to your hubris and will make you pay when you make a statement flaunting your victory over dumb luck? I usually don’t dare, but I don’t think they read Joe’s blog’s comments.

  11. Oh come on, it was a beautiful day today, i was almost sweating outside it was so warm. Summer is finally here, after the last 8 months of fall.

  12. Throwing Stones

    With regard to Young’s theory about how it was that he ended up connecting with the alien, sorry, but I don’t buy it.

    The communication base has places for five stones – one on each corner and one in the center – and the case has storage spots for five stones. When Young was attempting to contact Earth, he had one stone and the other four remained in the case.

    If Rush had pilfered one of the stones, there would have been an empty spot. But, you say, there was a spare located underneath the foam or the base in the case and that’s the one Rush took. Again, nope, not buying it. Want to know why? Okay, since you asked so nicely: It doesn’t make sense.

    The purpose of the stones is long-distance communication through connecting with a stone that has been attuned to the one being used, and it would be:

    1. Too coincidental that the stone Young picked just happened to be the one attuned to the stone Rush swiped.

    2. Highly unlikely that the stone Young picked hadn’t been used during any of the other “trips” to Earth, which would mean that Rush’s deception would have been discovered considerably earlier when someone expecting to go to Earth ended up in Rush instead and certainly would have been discovered before he wound up on the alien ship.

    Furthermore, why would Rush even think to look under the foam? The base, sure, simply by taking it out of the case, but not the foam. If an extra stone was placed in the case in a way so as to hide it, putting it under the base would be a bad choice of location.

    Also, what would be the point of having two stones attuned to each other in the same case? To travel across the room without having to walk there? Couch potato city.

    Rush’s non-denial of Young’s accusation doesn’t mean anything, either. I think his response falls into the same category as his response, or lack thereof, to Young’s accusation about him either knowing or suspecting that Destiny wouldn’t be destroyed when it flew into the sun in Light. Rush’s expectation there seems to very clearly have been to “go out in a blaze of glory” as Greer put it as evidenced by his reaction to the discovery that they were actually going to survive.

    Anyway, the non-denial amounts to:

    1. I don’t care what you think.
    2. You’re going to believe what you want to believe regardless of what I say, so I’m not going to say anything. And 😛 to you.

    So, how did Young’s stone end up connecting to the alien if it didn’t get a stone from Rush? Simple, the aliens got a stone from one of the seeder ships, and it doesn’t function like the usual run-of-the-mill stones. Nope, nope, nope. The stones on the seeder ships are very special stones.

    See, this is what really happened (at least in my world until you folks give some other plausible explanation 😉 ):

    1. A seeder ship just got too damaged and/or worn out and either crashed or became a derelict floating through space.

    2. The aliens found the crashed/derelict seeder ship and went exploring. During the exploration, the stone was found, but, of course, they had no idea what it was or what it did. It was simply an unusual artifact with no discernable purpose, but they knew it had one, so they kept it in order to study it.

    3. The alien Young ended up inhabiting was the last one to touch the stone. Thus, when Rush killed it, the connection couldn’t be reestablished. Pretty basic assumption here.

    What makes the stones on the seeder ships special, though, is that they operate based on proximity rather than on being attuned to a particular stone, and, when used properly (i.e., with the proper equipment, not some cobbled together Earth adaptation of Alteran tech), allow a physical transfer, not simply a mental one, or, alternatively, there is something on board the seeder ships that the consciousness of the stone’s user on Destiny could transfer into. They also supercede the normal operation of the attuned stones unless that function is specifically disabled, again with the proper tech.

    Operating based on proximity rather than attunement would make sense since the seeder ships were sent out ahead of Destiny and were unmanned. However, since Destiny was following, for simple maintenance of the seeder ships, a proximity stone was placed aboard in order that someone could board the ship to carry out any necessary maintenance or repair tasks that might be required. All Destiny had to do in order to effect the transfer was to get close to the seeder ship, which is what happened when the aliens arrived on Destiny’s doorstep. Operating based on proximity would also mean that a plethora of attuned stones (one for each seeder ship) was not required to be kept on Destiny.

    So now we have:

    1. A stone that operates based on proximity in the hands of the aliens, whose ship is, surprise, now in proximity to Destiny.

    2. Young attempting to use the stones to contact Earth but, because of the operation of the stone on the alien ship, he ends up there instead.

    3. Rush getting blamed – again – for something he didn’t do and responding with a “whatever” to the accusation. Honestly, that man gets himself into more trouble by not responding than if he actually deigned to reply.

    And don’t try to convince me that the stone technology postdates Destiny because they exist in the Ori galaxy as evidenced by the little problem Daniel and Vala inadvertently caused and, since the Alterans were originally from the Ori galaxy, it makes sense for the stone tech to have been brought with them to the Milky Way when they left.

    How’d I do? Pretty good, huh? Got it all figured out. 😀

  13. What is the purpose of those endless red beams that cover the spaces between seemingly all the buildings at The Bridge?

  14. Hi Joe:

    We had the awesomest party EVAH! Peter Kelamis and David Gilmour were lots of fun. They chatted with all the fans and participated in our games. A particularly goofy one involved them getting up on stage with Dan Payne and Aleks Paunovic to play paddle ball. Patrick won. Then we auctioned of the autographed paddle balls for Burnaby Victims Services.

    Joe, Patrick and Peter had nothing but good things to say about you. They said they spend lots of time in your office chatting with you and the other writers and really love being part of SGU. They really enjoy working in Vancouver with the Bridge Studios team. It wasn’t them just being polite either. I could tell by their enthusiasm that they meant every word.

    @Gilder: I hugged him for you. Hopefully he remembers. LOL.

    Joe, I promise that I will ask Brian, David and Elyse about you as well. But, so far, so good.


  15. A simple solution: Get a lock for your office door and turn off all phones. Turn off Internet access. Write.

    Your day sounds like what happens during my planning period when I’m trying to grade papers or write a test. The more work I have to do the more interruptions I have.

    I try to lock my door, but every other faculty member can unlock it. Sometimes I’ll hide in my chemistry lab chemical storage room for some peace and quiet.

    Good luck with getting the first act done today.

  16. Coucou Joseph!!!

    ça va bien? moi oui il fait très beau et chaud today :)!!!

    Merci pour ces photos et cette mini visite des studio^^! c’est plutôt sympa pour se promener^^!

    54 pages O_O, c’est beaucoup!! Moi à chaque fois que je veux écrire je suis trop impatiente, donc j’arrive trop vite à la fin de mon histoireXD

    Gros bisou!!
    A plus tard.

  17. “After chatting about THE-Next-Big-Action-Star Jason Momoa, he demonstrates a couple of lightning fast wrist locks that threaten to snap my arm like kindling.”

    Given your propensity for accidents, I would not stand so close to Bam Bam if I were you. You’re just tempting fate.

    Can’t wait for Jason’s new movie!

  18. At least you found time in your busy day to eat, must keep up your strength to fight off colds and the like, and it appears you got some walking exercise. thank you for sharing photos.
    Don’t be all growly with Ashleigh, mind your manners,,lol..

  19. It’s fascinating to see those little bit of sample scripts, as they do show the difference in style among writers.

    So is Eli really going to be watching Lost at some point? That would be delightful, amusing, and perfectly in character.

  20. James “Bam Bam” Bamford looks great post surgery!

    When you show down time on Destiny, I think it would be cool to show people doing some kind of yoga or martial art forms. Plus, with all the spare time they have on the ship, they could train (language, yoga, science, etc.) with someone using the stones.

  21. Taking a liberty if Joe approves. Well, Joe did assign us a task.

    “Next time you see him at a con, do ask him to run through his inventory of grabs, holds, and locks. Make sure to make a special request for a little something I like to call The Pop ‘n Squeal. Tell ‘im Joe sent you.”

    Please allow me to report that we will follow through on the assigned task.

    We are delighted to announce James Bamford as accepted our invitation to the Legendary Gathering – Legend of Atlantis Charity Convention – July 28-31, 2011 in the Bahamas.

    The Pop ‘n Squeal will be on the list of requested demonstrations as directed by Joe. But, not on me….I bruise very easily. At my age…I am in a “no injuries” mindset; takes tooooo long to heal/recover.

  22. Kerry with a ‘Y’ – WITH A ‘Y’!!!!

    Joe, how long have we known each other? 7… almost 8 years? It’s KERRY WITH A ‘Y’!

  23. @ Tim Gaffney – Well…THAT totally sucks. Tuesdays is my NCIS night, and that comes before all else! What a stupid idea, because then they’re also putting it up against their programming on USA, which I also watch (White Collar, for instance). Mebbe they’re trying to kill the show, who the hell knows. If they’re gonna switch it, Sunday night would be better (well, better for me… 🙂 ).

    @ Ganymede – Congrats to mom & dad! My folks celebrate their 54th on April 21st! Must’ve been a good month, and a good year! 🙂



  24. Wow! Busy day! Wait, do you think the 6 extra minutes of intervention will be on the DVD special features for season 2. It sounds like an explosive episode and I’d hate to miss any of it!

    And ya, bambam looks pretty buff for just getting done with surgery! How does he do it?

  25. At the end of the last episode, Divided, Young is laying on a nice leather couch. Um… where’d that come from? (Please don’t say “the crates”.)

  26. Kerry wrote, “Kerry with a ‘Y’ – WITH A ‘Y’!!!!”

    Joe. How many times must you be told? Don’t ever ask a girl her age, or how much she weighs, and for gosh sakes, don’t spell her name wrong! It’s like you don’t care and she is not that important. Your gonna have to give her a gift now.

  27. Cat-vacuuming is bad enough, but when you have collusion and Officially Sanctioned (if not Mandated) cat-vacuuming, it’s a wonder you ever get any writing done at all!

  28. Hi, Joe…

    This is the first time I’ve written on this blog, but I’ve been coming here periodically to see what’s going on with you and all of the SGU happenings…So that’s all I have to say for now (I’m basically written this to see if my post actually get through). I’ll be back Joe….

  29. Well Europe is pretty much closed [to air traffic at least] because of a volcano in Iceland going off so I’m stuck covering for my boss who is stuck somewhere in France. Luckily it’s not busy so I’ll probably watch a film… though not Stargate related… don’t have any of them with me.

    I can certainly empathise with having ‘one of those days’ where you end up being really busy… but don’t actually get anything done… The past few months for me have been filled with them.

  30. HA! I just had a day today like you had on the 14th Joe!
    Good golly, every time today that I tried to park myself at my desk and write (deadline looming), this happened:

    * someone calls me to come look at this or that
    * then I have to go elsewhere to review a presentation
    * heading back to my desk,I am hijacked into a team meeting
    * (bathroom break)
    * next I’m running down a hallway chasing after the mail cart
    * then, as lunchtime passes by, I grab a sugar bun off a table in the cafeteria, (yeah, yeah, not nutritious, I know…)
    * eat it walking the hallways, on my way to yet another meeting
    * answer the damn Blackberry vibrating off my hip
    * (another bathroom break)
    * answer emails as I balance my laptop on a corridor railing, (yes, daring, yet stupid, nearly dropped it a full story)
    * then nearly killed myself running up a staircase holding said laptop, water bottle, notepad and wireless mouse (I made it but the mouse fell and broke), late to another meeting
    * more Blackberry nonsense
    * update my boss on my daily progress
    * sat in on a training class, as I answer/send emails while trying to look interested in the class
    * looked at my watch sometime in the afternoon and realized I had only 2 hours to write a 10 page training guide before deadline
    * I did it.

    Now I’m home, exhausted, hungry, cats cuddling near and I can’t complain one bit, well, okay maybe a bit.
    At least I have a job and I’m grateful for that.

    If I have another day like today anytime soon though… I may not survive, I’m no spring chicken as they say.

    G’night and happy birthday to Mr. Carlyle,


  31. Be careful with “Bam Bam” ; i wouldn’t be surprised if he’s now bionic. 😀

    Fearful days ahead for us. Daughter now has official paper saying she can operate a moving motor vehicle.

    Are you participating in the Creation Con? Don’t forget to take some pics. 😀

  32. Really liked your “Day in the Life” present-tense narrative. (Yeah, I know the song is in past tense. Sue me. – No, wait, you’re not American.) It sounds as if, in your biz, the unpredictable constitutes a normal day. That’s very much like working on a psych ward. Not that I’m suggesting a comparison, but you did seem to take on a different persona when commenting on James B.’s various talents. – Great pic, BTW, and hope Bam-Bam is fully recovered from surgery.

    Thirty of us set off that chill winter day, but only twelve of us lived to tell the tale. — LOL.

  33. Hey Joe

    Was just wondering about a comment made by Eli last night On Divied. I believe he said something along the lines of Destiny’s automated defences protecting the ship over the years, keeping the Aliens off the ship. If this is correct, how could the Destiny have protected itself all those years when the weapons systems seem to be so severly damaged, causing power surges all over the ship, and draining large amounts of power from the shield at the same time? Also, is there a reason the “Main Weapon” on the Destiny in Space was lowered down from bellow the ship, and the 2 large side mounted cannons that we have seen were not used?

    Loved Divided as well by the way. My favorite episode so far by far!

  34. …veggie burger for lunch

    Veggie burger … it only makes it feel as if you are living longer…

  35. Hi Joe, finally caught up with SGU! Good stuff, really enjoyed “Divided, but still wondering what all this has to do with Stargate. Doesn’t matter, I suppose, it’s a good show on its own.

    Exchanged the queen size mattress for the king, and the living room camping with Elway continues 🙂 Have a good night, and kisses to the dogs!

  36. Hi Joe,

    This is are re posted question in you are gonna do the mailbag:

    1. Is it true that the destiny will travel a different galaxy in each season?

    2. When, meaning by which episode will we know some more details concerning the elusive FTL drive? You know some specific specs such as the difference between hyperspace and the speed.

    3. Can we consider subversion and season 2 aftermath as part of the two part incursion and season 2 intervention arc?

    4. You dont have to answer this one sir: Are you still married with Fondy?


  37. Joe, thank you. I had a day that was devoured by inconvenient events that prevented me from taking care of several items I wanted to knock off the old to-do list. Reading this made me feel much better about it.

  38. Sounds like you’re having a busy time of things this week, but I’m sure you can get Act I finished up (if you haven’t already).

    Meanwhile I’m curious to hear more about “The Love We Share Without Knowing”, which I managed to not read. One day I’ll get back into the BOTMC, really.



  39. “Julie reminds the department heads that their final budgets were due and that is that.”

    Sounds like our Chimaeracon program book deadline.

  40. Joe,

    I had a question about Faith. Did anyone stay behind on the planet at the end?

    Thanks! Great episode!

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