Well, even if it isn’t officially summer, my dogs seem to think it is…
Hey, how did you guys end up doing what you’re doing? Back when I was in elementary school, I had my heart set on being a writer. And not just any writer. I wanted to write short stories for a living! When I hit high school, I revised my aspirations. Clearly, I’d be hard-pressed to make a living writing short stories, so I set my sights on the far more lucrative career, that of the novelist. Much to my mother’s horror. She always made it a point to tell me that writing, while wonderful, was not a career. It was more a hobby that people did to pass the time when they weren’t busy with real jobs like those held by doctors, lawyers, and parking lot attendants. After much arguing back and forth, mom and I reached a compromise career, one that was both half-legitimate AND allowed me to continue my writerly pursuit. It was decided that I would be a journalist. Until I actually spent time with some journalists and decided against it. I got off easy. During one of those career day field trips, one of the girls in my class who wanted to be a vet was made to take part in a cat spaying procedure. I believe she’s an accountant now. But I digress. Anyway, after much short story writing and soul searching, I finally decided what I wanted to be – or, more to the point, what I didn’t want to be much less than other things I didn’t want to be: a lawyer. For about two months after which I realized most real lawyers didn’t make the type of money t.v. and movie lawyers made and if that was the case, what was the point? No, I know, there would be the satisfaction of a job well done but, at the end of the day, if I wasn’t going to make any money doing what I was doing, why didn’t I, at the very least, do something I enjoyed. And teaching was it! Until I actually did some teaching.
Eventually, I wrote a terrible novel that a friend suggested would make a great movie. So I picked up a book, learned the craft and, in a few short months, transformed that terrible novel into an equally terrible script. Which was followed my another terrible script. And another one after that. Then, a good one I co-wrote with a friend and fellow creative writing classmate, Paul Mullie. We went to L.A. and pitched it around town. Many people loved the script. Not enough to actually produce it, mind you, but the positive reinforcement fueled us. Like would-be suicides emboldened by supportive “Jump! Jump!” chant of lookers-on, we took the plunge – into the wonderful world of television.
Actually, it was less of a plunge and more of a toe-dipping. I went first. Using our feature and a couple of t.v. spec scripts as my calling card, I secured my first paid writing gig, scripting for animation. I’d found my calling. Finally, a career that allowed me to write AND be immature. I went from freelancing to an actual staff position at what was then Canada’s premiere animation house: Cinar (which took a mighty and spectacular tumble not long after I’d moved on. But that’s a story for another blog entry.). I was their Manager of Animation Development and, in addition to tracking down potential properties, developing shows, writing bibles and pilots, I also wrote scripts and, eventually, story-edited several series. It was stable work, but it wasn’t exactly lucrative – certainly not in comparison to what some of the freelance story editors were making, freelance story editors who, on many occasions, I’d be rewriting for a third of their salary.
So, I quit and became a freelancer. Needless to say, mom and dad were less than thrilled. Their conservative upbringing dictated that the security of a job, no matter how menial, trumped the uncertainty of the unknown. And there was no bigger unknown the wild and wonderfully frightening world of freelance writing, where you could be inundated with work one month, then go years without. Fortunately, I was able to swing a deal with the company I had left, swapping out my full-time office position for that of a writer-for-hire. I store and story-edited for them. And wrote and story-edited for many other animation studios (Toronto’s Nelvana was one of my favorites for the type of shows produced and the people I dealt with on a daily basis). My father wasn’t buying it, until I told him how much I would be making, roughly four times my previous salary. He still didn’t buy it. “You’ll be making more than the Prime Minister?”he challenged. I shrugged back and honestly responded: “It’s not my fault the Prime Minister is underpaid.”
Using those spec scripts and animation work as a stepping stone, Paul and I ended up as writer-producers on a couple of teen sitcoms, then parlayed that into a couple of writing assignments on one hour adventure shows, one featuring mysticism and dinosaurs, another, far more bizarre, featuring strongly-accented foreign actors pretending to be Americans. We used our one hour drama experience to get us an opportunity to pitch for Stargate, wowed ’em (or, maybe I should say “didn’t disappoint ’em!”) with out first script, Scorched Earth, were offered positions on the writing staff, adopted a siege mentality and have been entrenched in the far corner offices ever since. I want to say it’s because we do good work but I suspect it could be because no one knows we’re back there.
Anyway, a two year gig (“The Stargate series will wrap after season five.”) turned into an eleven year run…and counting.
Annie from Freemantle writes: “What do you think of Michael Crichton’s books?”
Answer: Haven’t read any. No particular reason why not. I’m simply inundated with books. Rob Cooper is a big fan though.
Kelsey writes: “So after seeing “Lost” and a close up the Kino Remote, has any consideration bin put in to making a Kino Remote iphone app?”
Answer: It certainly would be cool. Someone at MGM needs to get on that!
Jeremy writes: “Has the idea been discussed of keeping a copy of any long cuts of the show which the director is happy with before it has to be cut down to fit the allotted running time and the DVD being those long versions and not the broadcast ones? Or what are your thoughts about that if it hasn’t?”
Answer: My thought is that the director’s cut, like the subsequent producer’s cut, is one very important part of the overall process.
Tim Lade writes: “Any word on the re-cap music friend?”
Answer: Damn. Remind me on Tuesday.
Arctic Goddess writes: “Please, Joe, photos of bouncing Carl? Can he do air somersaults yet?”
Answer: Can he! During hiatus, Carl attends several Renaissance fairs. His medieval persona is a circus tumbler!
aaroNIGHTS writes: “How was a standard Stargate located at Icarus Base able to locate and dial Destiny? […] How was it possible for a standard Stargate to make these calculations in order to connect to the Stargate aboard Destiny? How could the standard Stargate used possibly begin to know where Destiny could be?”
Answer: Given he fact that Destiny has been on the move for as long as it has, dropping in and out of FTL over the course of its lengthy journey, a MUCH greater distance than the effects of stellar drift, it’s clear that the onus on recalibrating the destination gate rests with Destiny once its particular address is dialed. While the address dialed may remain consistent the gates location is not.
AaronNiGHTS writes: “Where do the strange looking glyphs for the ‘prototype’ Stargates come from? Are they a purely abstract symbol? Do these Stargates communicate with each other over subspace to give their position out before dialing? In one of the most recent episodes (UNI:‘Lost’) a dialing remote were shown to know all of the valid Stargates in range – including Destiny. Why do these prototype Stargates have the ability to determine what addresses are viable before dialing? It seems unfeasible that these prototype Stargates would have such advanced features yet subsequent Stargate networks constructed several million years later do not.”
Answer: We’ll be learning more about the gates as the series progresses but to answer your second question – yes, the gates communicate with Destiny. While the remote has the ability to determine what addresses are viable before dialing (those we are capable of securing a connection to), Destiny is also able to determine whether those viable gates should be locked out.
AaronNiGHTS writes: “Why do these prototype Stargates use relatively small handheld touch screen dialing devices, yet the far more modern Stargates in the Pegasus and Milky Way galaxies require far larger ‘Dial Home Devices’?”
Answer: Unlike the Milk Way and Pegasus galaxies, the Ancients weren’t looking to – for lack of a better way of putting it – “set up shop in the neighborhood”. It would appear they weren’t interested in fostering a gate network similar to the Milky Way and Pegasus where DHD’s allow for interplanetary travel. Also, the puddle jumpers were fitted with DHD’s, and I’d say that’s more advanced than any handheld remote.
AaronNiGHTS writes: “Why were Destiny and the seeder ships launched with prototype Stargates? Why would such a great and long mission be placing possibly millions of Stargates that are an inferior, prototype model?”
Answer: Because, clearly, that’s what they were working with at the time.
AaronNiGHTS writes: “It is a fact, then, that the majority of Destiny’s lifetime has existed before the Ancients ascended to a higher plane of existence. So much so that much less than 1% of Destiny’s life has been without the Ancients. If this is the case, then why is Destiny so far out and incapable of dialing home? Has that last 1% of its journey put it past the threshold of a viable solar powered Gate trip home? More over, if Destiny is such an important ship in the Ancients plans, why is it still running outdated technology? Atlantis had been around for Millions of years, but no Ancient ever thought of upgrading the technology aboard Destiny? Did they just abandon it?”
Answer: Yes, they did just abandon it. Destiny was part of a very long-term project that was put in play millions of years ago. What its mission way and why the Ancients abandoned it remains a mystery.
AaronNiGHTS writes: “Do these seeder ships fly into Stars and almost magically construct Stargates out of solar power?”
Answer: It’s safe to assume that they replenish their capacitors in much the same that Destiny does. As for how it constructs Stargates – we’ll have to wait and find out, but it certainly would make sense that the ships possess the capability to source material from the planets it passes.
AaronNiGHTS writes: “Why didn’t the database have any information at all on what Destiny is? Did the Ancients in all their intelligence and glory just not bother to write anything down about it?”
Answer: Either that or the mission was of such a highly sensitive nature that its true aim was a closely guarded secret.
AaronNiGHTS writes: “Why would a race of people so heavily devoted to Science and “The systematic understanding of the physical world through observation and experimentation…[and] most of all, freedom of will” (‘Stargate: The Ark of Truth’) name something ‘Destiny’?”
Answer: Great question – which you’ll have to wait to find out the answer to.
Kevin writes: “I just realized that “Subversion” is airing on SyFy tonight but isn’t running on Space in Canada..we have to wait another week to see it when all along we’ve been watching it at the same time…”
Answer: Since SyFy is taking next week off for Memorial Weekend, I’m guessing Space decided to pre-empt a week early since, here in Canada, we’re celebrating St. Ignatius of Coca-Cola Day. Two weeks from now, I’m sure they’ll all be back on track to simultaneously air the first part of the season one finale.
Joan0001 writes: “If the Destiny is a seeder ship, then presumably it reaches planets that don’t have stargates.”
Answer: Randomness already answered the question but, just in case you missed it – Destiny is not a seed ship. Multiple seed ships were launched well ahead of Destiny and have been seeding planets with stargate in preparation for Destiny’s trailing journey.
ancarofl writes: “where do they get all the stuff that couldn’t have been on board of Destiny? Like leather couches, trainers, make-up, baby clothes?”
Answer: The furniture came with the place. They look like leather but they’re of a highly advanced material that withstands breakdown. Also, Destiny was featured in season two of Home Makeover and the entire place was redesigned. As for the baby jumper Chloe gave T.J. – she made that out of shipboard material. I snapped a pic of it – and the truck Riley made, also out of pieces from the ship. I’ll scour the archives and upload pics of both in the coming days.
BoltBait writes: “When Eli and Chloe are looking at the wrecked ships computer and she points to the symbol that leads to the map, Eli asks her why she chose that symbol and she basically says, “I don’t know.” Why?”
Answer: Why indeed? There’s a reason – and you won’t have to wait quite as long for the answer…
dasNdanger writes: “Since the Wraith don’t dismember their victims or anything (that we know of), why does the Commander’s sword have a serrated edge?”
Answer: It’s more a weapon of incapacitation than a feeding utensil.