First, thanks to everyone who provided detailed instructions, talking me through the complicated process of resetting my garage door opener. I, uh, pulled on the little red handle and it works now.
Second, here’s some production art from the back half of Stargate: Universe’s second season:
maria writes: “If you could have one thing to eat before you die, what would it be?”
Answer: The heart of my greatest enemy.
me writes: “Just out of curiousity how much time do you spend on your posts on average?”
Answer: About an hour. Longer for those ultra-rare well thought-out entries.
tidusspear08 writes: “1. How many pages does the average script have?”
Answer: Depends on the show. When we first started working on SG-1 back in the show’s fourth season, the average script clocked in at about 48 pages. By the time we were writing scripts for season ten, the average was more like 51. SGU was around the 51 page mark as well whereas Atlantis scripts tended to come in at a more robust 54-55 pages. Of course, it also depended on the type of script. Dialogue-driven episodes tended to have longer page counts (especially if the characters of Daniel Jackson or Rodney McKay had the lion’s share of the dialogue) whereas action-driven scripts tended to have a lower page count.
“2. Why are you so damn good?”
Answer: Good is subjective. Having said that, I owe my success to the people who make me look good: my fellow writer-producers, the directors, the various post and production departments, the cast, the crew, and Consuela, the woman who does my hair and make-up.
“3. How did you get into the writing business? Any tip?”
Answer: I started in animation and worked my way up from there. Animation is more open to new writers and is a great place to hone your craft AND make money.
As for a tip: Well, someone once said “Write about what you know” – like, in my case, trekking across the universe exploring strange alien worlds battling evil.
max writes: “Could you please one day tell us about the writing process that writers go through if working on a series like SGU?”
Answer: I’ve done so on several occasions but don’t mind repeating myself. But only because it’s you, Max.
At the beginning of the year, we’d get together and throw out ideas: Where did we leave off? How are we going to wrap up this storyline? How about an episode where Brody thinks he’s a pumpkin? We choose the best ideas (ie. the Brody pumpkin notion) and assign scripts based on: a) who came up with the idea, b) who wants to go to script on a particular idea, c) who doesn’t look away quick enough and thus gets handed the Ancient storyline, and d) none of the above. Often, it’s simply a matter of who happens to be free. Then, the writers get together and spin, throwing out ideas and building the story. Armed with these fantastic ideas, the writer heads off to translate them to outline form – basically a blueprint that breaks down the story into a Tease, five acts, and their various scenes. The outline is critiqued and, following a second draft, approved. At which point the writer goes to script. The writer completes a first draft that is put out to the writing department. Notes are given (ie. “Instead of a pumpkin, why don’t we make it a zucchini instead?”) and said notes are incorporated into another draft – the Writer’s Draft. This will go out wide, to the art department, visual effects department, studio and network. More notes are received and are, in turn, incorporated into yet another draft. Eventually, the script goes wide – to all the major departments – in time for the concept meeting that kicks off prep week. As prep week continues, more notes are addressed in subsequent drafts or pages (ie. “The prop department can’t find zucchinis. Can we go back to pumpkin?”). Occasionally, director or actor input will also necessitate changes be made. Eventually, the final change to the script is made – usually a day or two after the episode has been shot – and you move on to the next script. For further insight into the draft-naming process (and pics from Atlantis’s fifth season), go here: http://josephmallozzi.com/2008/03/10/march-10-2008/
Answer: No, although my writing partner Paul and I did meet in a college creative writing workshop.
paloosa writes: “I’ve been wondering how you’ve both been coping emotionally with not getting back into the groove for an upcoming season. I know you’re busy with your own projects, and some post production on SGU, but after so many great years of Stargate and with it’s fate still undetermined, has it affected you?”
Answer: I don’t think so. Usually, around this time, we’re back in the office breaking stories for the new season. I’ve been using the free time to get some stuff done. In a couple of weeks, maybe I’ll start feeling a little stir crazy and want to get out there writing again. But probably not.
Adam writes: “Anyway, i just wanted to know, although you’ve stated that you joined the Stargate writing team during SG-1′s fourth season, did you watch or know of the show before that time? Did you have any input into the first three seasons?”
Answer: No input into the first three seasons of SG-1. In fact, prior to receiving the opportunity to pitch, SG-1 was a show I actively avoided watching on the basis of the sole episode I’d seen, a horrendous little first season entry called Emancipation.
Adam writes: “Oh and, I read about your recent trip to Tokyo. sounds like it was fun! my suggestion? come down here to Australia next! there’s lots to see and do!”
Answer: Thanks for the invite! The cancellation has given me tons of free time so I’ll take you up on your kind offer and spend March through June at your place. I’ll need a car, a king-size bed with a mattress that’s not too hard but not too soft either, some great restaurant recommendations, and a per diem. Looking forward to seeing you!
Josh writes: “Also, I do have one quick question, has it ever been planned to show the Furlings, either in SGU or in a SG-1 or SGA movie?”
Answer: Outside of SG-1’s 200th episode (titled, appropriately enough, 200), no.
kirk eastment writes: “If one were to use the ancient device at Dakara, which dials all gates simultaneously(ala Season Eight Episode “Threads”), and then decided to step through the gate, on which Planet would they arrive.”
Answer: They’d probably be atomized and dispersed throughout the galaxy.
Joel writes: “Anyway, I may go to Vancouver next summer and I was wondering if you could recommend some sites to visit?”
Answer: Hmmm. I’m not really a guy who checks out the local sights. I’ve been here some twelve years and have yet to check out picturesque Victoria (aka God’s waiting room). I hear Stanley Park is nice. Stevenson, a quaint little fishing community where we shot Nightwalkers (SG-1) is also nice. Also, Bella Gelateria on Cordova Street if you like that sort of delicious thing.
Ava writes: “But, Joe, are you ever going to actually tweet anything?”
Answer: Maybe when I have something interesting to say. For now, I’ll limit my uninteresting thoughts to this blog.
kevin writes: “I wonder what they’ll call us: Gaters, Gaties? What are your thoughts on names, Joe?”
Answer: I like Gate-o-Raiders.
Kenn of WHR writes: “I wish I had more time to read these days. How do you find time?”
Answer: I set aside an hour and a half every night, something I’ve been able to do since giving up training and my dream of attaining a UFC championship belt.
Ken of WHR also writes: “Do you read Gregg Hurwitz suspense novels?”
Answer: Nope. To be honest, I don’t do much suspense.
Merced writes: “I was wondering about when watching a SGU S1 episode on DVD: Why is there no real main theme music?”
Answer: Because the network didn’t want one.
Brandon T. writes: “In SGU, when the Destiny crew connect to the stones in the Pentagon (also, where General O’neill’s office is), is this the Office of Homeworld Command?”
Answer: It is.
Brandon T also writes: “If it is Homeworld Command, why was this chosen to be the Earth location that was used instead of SG Command?”
Answer: I believe the Cheyenne Mountain complex was mothballed. It’s now the world’s biggest JC Penny outlet.
Casey Clubb writes: “Also loved seeing John Scalzi’s “Old Man’s War” being held by Rush’s driver in Subversion, whose idea was that?”
Answer: I believe that was Brad’s idea, a salute to our lovable Creative Consultant John Scalzi.
StellaByStargate writes: “Before my imagination rockets off into the stratosphere…if–hypothetically, of course–there did turn out to be a SG mini-series, would it be exclusively SGU or might it involve several concurrent story-lines that would integrate characters and elements from SGU, SG-1 and SGA into one, epic grand-finale to the franchise…?”
Answer: IF it did turn out to be a mini-series or series of movies then, hypothetically, yes, we could integrate elements from various Stargate shows.
Maria writes: “Dear Mr. Mallozi – did you go to a cooking school? I mean, where did you learn to make all of that?”
Answer: Cook books, Food Network, and sheer inventiveness.
Chem_Is_Try writes: “How is Jelly?”
Answer: Not too heavy. Asleep on my lap.
Zenophite writes: “Did you try releasing the lock (to the main leadscrew) and then locking it back in once the door is seated all the way to the ground?”
Answer: Yes and – oh. It works! How much do I owe ya?
BillieO writes: “By the way, have you seen this? It’s kinda crazy… A BRAND NEW TREND IN FOOD! http://nydn.us/hdQO1v”
Answer: Interesting. Provided you’re not in a hurry.
for the love of Beckett writes: “Please, please, can we have the recipe for the chipotle sweet potato?”
Greg writes: “Nutty Broken Pasta (Vegetarian Dish) Wifes a vegetarian and she bugs me to make this one all the time.”
Answer: Will be trying a variation of this one tomorrow night. Thanks.