This script is going swimmingly.  After my traditionally slow start in hammering out the teaser, I got a nice little rhythm going and made some major headway over the past couple of days, hitting the 25 page mark yesterday before coming to a screeching halt this morning.  Tricky scene.  After spinning my wheels for a couple of hours, I elected to take a break, heading downstairs for a workout and the first episode of Spartacus: Gods of the Arena.  As much as I enjoyed Spartacus: Blood and Sand, I had my doubts about a second season: a) prequel and b) without the wonderful Andy Whitfield.  But the premiere of the second season put those doubts to rest.  While I miss Whitfield (and hope he’ll make a triumphant return in the show’s third season), I thought the show was just as smart and engaging as its first year.  Great performances, interesting characters, sex, violence, and a couple of surprises as well.  Very well done.  Anyone else watching?  What did you think?

After showering, I was no closer to cracking the narrative nut, so I decided to extend my break and take the dogs for a walk.  And, it was while I was out for my walk that I began to run dialogue in my head – over and over and over again until I recaptured my rhythm and finally had my scene!  I headed back inside and was halfway through writing it up, nearing the equally tricky scene end, when I received an email from Rob Cooper with a “crazy” suggestion.  Crazy like a FOX (late 80’s comedy)! “Think about it.”he wrote.  And I did. And, immediately, had my scene end AND segue into the next one.  I want to say I was amazed at Rob’s timing but the truth is, over my many years of working with the guy at Stargate, I grew habituated to this kind of out-of-the-blue story-spinning saves.  Whenever he starts a sentence with “What if…?” I’m all ears – provided he doesn’t follow with “…we go for vegetarian instead?”  And, so far, he hasn’t let me down.

So good progress on the script front.  I’ll hit the end of act two tomorrow and am on track to finish a draft this weekend.  Paul, meanwhile, has completed his chunky teaseR and has moved on to the first act of his script.  I’m loving this four act structure.  And I’m also loving the opportunity to write these unique action sequences and fun banter.

If everything goes as planned (and, in this business, it almost never does), I’ll be heading to Toronto next month.  And, to answer the question someone asked me the other day: “Yes, I’m bringing my dogs with me!”.  I mean, come on!  It’s not like they’re lawn equipment you can give to a friend, or kids you can leave with a family member indefinitely.  They’re dogs!  And, provided I don’t do something crazy like charter a jet to fly them cross-country in comfort, chances are I may have to fly them carry-on (which would require two round-trips for me and a friend since passengers are only permitted one dog per person).  The airlines are sticklers however.  The dog and carrier cannot weigh more than 22 lbs.

22 lbs eh?  Hmmmm.  So, today, I broke out the scale and conducted a weigh-in…

Jelly. 17.2 lbs. Not bad. She lost some weight since the surgery to help in her post-op recovery and falls well under the weight limit.
Lulu. 24 lbs. But she's all muscle! The gal is ripped! Still, she eats three times as much as the pugs so losing a tablespoon or two of canned food may help ensure she drops a few pounds before next month's weigh-in.

Maximus. 25 lbs. Believe it or not, this little pot roast has lost five pounds since Fall. A little more exercise and few less between meal snacks should get him down to flyweight by March.
Bubba. 26 lbs. Geez! What happened?!! Well, I can guess. I’ve been so fixated on trying to get Jelly and Maximus to lose weight that I’ve neglected this chunky monkey. I’ve never considered him overweight because he’s always been athletic but, lately, he’s been more George Foreman than Muhammad Ali. He’s on the program too!

For the life of me, I still don’t understand why airlines won’t sell seats to our canine companions.  Think of the money they could make!

Well, barring a dramatic change in airline flight policy, looks like the gang will be flying in-cabin – which means they all start their diet and exercise regimens tomorrow!

Jelly kicks off her kibble and old socks diet.
Max's "Just charter the fucking jet" look.

41 thoughts on “February 9, 2011: Scripts! Spartacus! And Portly Pups!

  1. I can understand any anxiety you might be feeling over a move after you’ve been there so long. I’m in a similar situation.

    I’m contemplating a move to BC from NS for a couple of reasons. I need a change of scenery, and the sun setting on the ocean instead of rising on it would be a pretty big one for starters.

    Added to that, if I do go, I’m going to be travelling very, very light. I’m looking at municipal government job opportunities up that way and they just don’t have the kinda moving expense allowances i’ve had in provincial govt jobs. Even the thought of driving there is a bit daunting, but the thought of being without a car is just…inconceivable.

    I’ve never been in BC before, but the idea is pretty intriguing from everything I’ve been seeing online. Compared to Toronto, I can understand any hesitation you might have over leaving.

  2. Glad to hear the Toronto deal may have worked out. Guess you won’t be needing that flocking after all!

    Let me know if you need help with the East/West coast round trip thing for the dogs Joe, I’m always willing to help =)

  3. Aww! Hope they’re not afraid to fly!

    Congrats on getting the script together so well thus far.

  4. Hey Joe,

    Flying with family is always interesting. Do the pups have a favorite in-flight movie? THAT is a lot of hours to fill. I wonder how your entertainment package will vary with each pup. Something about this just makes me smile.

    I flew once with an 8, 6, 5, 3 year old with a 3mo old in tow. My only thought “Thank God this isn’t a road trip!” I am sure you will be ever thankful you did not “drive” instead.

    Best to you & the pups,
    Love seeing pictures of them.
    Cheryl 🙂

  5. I fly with my bichon frise who is all of 17 lbs of white fluff several times a year from Portland, OR to Santa Rosa, CA (Charles Schultz Int Airport to fans of Snoopy!) and boy they do not make it easy! US airlines charge $100 each way OR more per dog, demand a vet certificate which I pay through the nose for ($85 for just a vet tech filling out the form), and then you get to the airport and get heaped with abuse. You have to check in at the counter to get your ticket so they can check the forms, so you end up behind the international traveler arguing whether their final destination exists (“but it’s NOT in the computer!”), gate agents terrified of dogs (“Get that bag away from me! what do i have to do so you’ll leave?!), gate agents sure you are abusing your dog (“can he turn around?”, “well, it’s 5 am and he’s gone to sleep”, “he must turn around for me or he won’t fly”, the dog refuses to wake up and only turns around when i push him in a circle, “that doesn’t count, the top was open”, “I don’t know what to do, he won’t wake up and i can’t make him turn around”, “well, let me think about this”, halfway through the ticketing process, he has turned around without us noticing and is now facing the opposite directions, “look look, he turned around while we weren’t watching”, “fine, i guess he can fly”), or my favorite, watching four TSA agents “pat down” my dog for ten minutes (he enjoyed the massage and I only escaped by pleading that I would miss my flight). Since it’s only a 9 hour drive and the flight is so obnoxious, we’re going to try driving next time!

  6. Joe, could it be a Bourne tv-series, with the name Threadstone maybe? The one in Toronto?

  7. Joe, I have a suggestion for you for the dogs and for you since you’ve never done it before.

    ~ ROAD TRIP~

    Believe me, you will be aghast, amazed and astounded at the beauty that is Canada, even in March. And think of all the time you will have to be with your thoughts. You could bring lots and lots…and lots of books on CD to listen to. You could meet all kinds of interesting people. You’d see Canada from a trucker’s eye view. What could be better? And the dogs would be right there with you, enjoying the ride.

    I’ve driven across Canada 6 times from coast to coast. It’s actually not too bad. Maybe Ivon would even go with you.

    By the way, with your fear of heights, are you ever going to attempt the CN Tower and it’s glass floor?


  8. Minions, Joe! Minions! Sometimes I don’t know why I bother.
    Sounds like you’ve got your writing groove back. Doesn’t make it any easier, but a new and fresh challenge can be reinvigorating.
    It’s been 6 months since my business partner and I sold the business. I don’t count the days anymore to the weekend. Still doing a similar job but with enough new aspects and less responsibility in other areas to make it enjoyable again. You work more than not, it’s important to enjoy the ride.
    Take care and safe travels.

  9. I am also a big fan of Starz’s Spartacus, and I also had my doubts on this prequel series, but it has been great so far. I did want to tell you though that Andy will not be coming back for a second season, it was announced about a month ago. Here is a link on who is replacing him:

    Also, quick question, if the Stargate franchise continues, will you be with it in anyway? Also, if you aren’t will you still be able to post info on here, or will that not be possible?


  10. I saw the 3 prequel Spartacus episodes until now and it’s always so great.
    I like the style it’s clearly for adults show (Violences, sex) but what an amazing story with interesting complots etc…

    Batiatus is excellent lol !

    My god joe, you have so many dogs !! ^^

    Oh I almost forget the most important, I still pray every night for the return of Stargate.

  11. If its Transporter make it like Burn Notice, that show kicks ass. And have a lot of driving? I don’t know much about Transporter but I think its about a wheelman.

  12. Glad things are going well on the script front. When is the Feb. book discussion?

    Have a great day!!

  13. Hi joe:
    I am a dog lover myself.
    I have a Siberian Husky right now. His name is Rocky!
    Anyways in the past I have had 2 chows and 1 other Siberian.
    I live down in forida, so it is pretty hot during the summer for my dog.
    It sure would be nice in Canada during the summers. I bet it does not get so hot up there.
    I bet moving from the West Coast over to the East side of Canada is going to be a big climate change.
    ‘ Warmer and drier summers, and much colder winters…
    Am I correct ?
    I personally have been to Canada 3 times in my life. Once on the Canadian side of Niagra Falls, One time while touring with a drum and bugle corp we went to Quebec and also Toronto.
    And lastly I went to that town accross from Detroit michigan…Can’t remember the name right now…..
    Anyways, compared to the USA would you rather live up in Canada or would you perfer living in the states ?
    Can you give me your reasons for why you feel the way you do about living in either Canada or the USA ?
    Also bummer today..still no stargate news!I cant wait to hear your anouncement once Brad gets his new deal lined up!!! I have a real good feelig about things!
    Also the news that Starage will be shown in march is great news. What do you think their reasoning will be for this.
    I think it is to see if pairing it with Being human will make the ratings go way up or not and see if it was tuesday that killed the shows nielson ratings. Maybe they are second guessing their decision on cancelling the show..this must be why they had a marathon this week. (Last year they never ran a marathon before the second half of season 1.
    I bet the show is gong to get close to the 2 million mark live + same day.
    Do you think I may be a little off on that ? Being human is getting around 3 million.
    If they were to order a 3rd season are you guys willing and able to do it ? Or are you guys wanting to go with your “new plan ” ..
    I ope you can answer these questions.. I know I asked alot..
    You could always just email me direct.

    Thanks again…
    P.S. your dogs are so cute!!!!

  14. Salut 🙂

    ça va bien?

    Moi oui!!

    Ah ça fait plaisir de revoir tout vos chiens 🙂 je vois qu’ils sont en pleine forme, tant mieux ! Mon chien me manque beaucoup, ça fait 2 mois que je ne l’ai pas vue :'(

    Samedi 1er diffusion de sgu à la tv française, j’ai vu les BA et je dois dire que ça me donne envie de regarder..surtout que c’est en français!

    Passez une bonne journée! Biss!

  15. Hi Joe,

    Congrats on the script progress, I know that any script writing is a huge task, especially when working on the drafts solo.

    Thank you for sharing the photos of your lovely puppies, being a dog person myself, I know how much the four-legged family members mean to a person and how much they miss a person when they’re away.

    I did get my blog up last night, here is the link for it: I mentioned the updates with the SGU Spread the Love campaign as well as the unification between campaigns, and projects that are SGU-related that I know would be of interest to fans, including Jamil Smith’s film premiere, Brian J Smith’s action with “Red Faction”, Patrick Gilmore’s fun on “Riese”, and of course a shout-out to my school and a classmate of mine who is embarking on a web series project of his own.

    Anyhoot, I have to race out the door to school so I hope all’s well with you, and I’ll come back to read your blogs later today!

    All the best,
    Marjorie Roden
    Contributing Writer

  16. Just seen on that this TV series is an adaptation of the Transporter films..

    Sounds pretty good to me, wonder if Statham will be retained or is it being expanded to a fleet of ‘transporters’?

  17. Felt the same way on God’s of the Arena did not think it could work without the talented Andy WhitField. But after watching the Premier all those doubts were put to rest. However I do wish Andy a speedy recovery and hope to have Spartacus back in season 3…Hope you enjoy Toronto be safe.

  18. I want to thank you for your blog a few weeks ago asking what you should read next. Looking over your list, I thought Expiration Date sounded cool, so I ended up ordering it from Amazon (none of my local bookstores had a copy) and finished it off in two days.
    This was quite a page turner, and I never really knew where the story was going until the end. It was a lot of fun, and I’d strongly recommend this book to anyone who likes sci-fi or mystery novels.

  19. I just loved ‘Crazy like a fox’ – great escapism telly at its best.

    I also enjoyed Spartacus: Blood and Sand, I just wish you guy’s had whumped Sheppard like that in SGA!

    Okay, moving away from that delicious thought, I am happy for you Joe, congrats on your new job, and I hope that it works out great for you. Poor dogs though, on an enforced diet and they don’t even know why!

  20. Awwww! Love your baby doggies! 😀 Jelly looks amazing! Such a sweetheart. Lulu is a hot mama! Maximus is adorable! Bubba is a sweetie pie! 🙂

  21. After all the good publicity that the Stargate franchise has give the US air force over the years you would think that they would let you borrow a jet for the pups. Would be flying a US jet into Canadian air space be an act of war?

    😉 🙂

  22. Am loving Gods of the Arena, i was worried to but so far have been impressed it seems that they have gotten even more intricate in their story telling

  23. Hey, Joe – LOOKIE! Gummy sushi!

    Kinda neat…if you like gummies. 🙂

    Joe – why not get 3 friends to go with you and take all the doggies at once? I’m sure with your awesome ninja persuasion skills you can get a few travelling companions to make the doggie transfer trip with you. Although…that may be a bit much for the other passengers. I hate to say it, but I’m with Max on this one – just charter the friggin’ jet! (My language isn’t quite as saucy as his. 😉 )

    Have a good day, sir!


  24. So is the show going to be on Fox?? I’m looking for clues my man. How about traveling with 4 friends instead of 1? Fly first class and make it a party and challenge each other to find the best airport meal possible, then do an in flight meal challenge.

  25. The prequel “Gods of the Arena” is technically a miniseries, as I understand it, and not officially the 2nd season, and… you may not like hearing this… but last I heard they were/are working on recasting the role of Spartacus for the “real 2nd season”, which will apparently go into production after this Gods of the Arena miniseries concludes. (Blood and Sand was 13 episodes; Gods of the Arena is only 6 episodes.) So, it’s bad news if indeed Whitfield won’t be able to return. Hopefully he fully recovers and the cancer doesn’t come back again (I think it already has at least once). 🙁 Though, the good news is, they’re actually pulling it off and still providing a good show, or prequel. I have mixed feelings about if/when they get the go ahead for the 2nd “full” season (the part that takes place after the slave revolt began at the end of Blood and Sand)… because, well, if they actually replace Whitfield’s part it’ll be very difficult to accept. But what can be done when the lead is fighting cancer? It absolutely sucks.


    Sean D.

  26. You going to tell us the mystery show and if it’s going to be shown in the USA?
    If you have to buy 4 rt tickets, why not get 3 friends and make one trip do it. Makes sense. What about Denise and Akemi. Btw, is Akemi going to Toronto with you?

  27. We have 3 to 4 inches of snow today. Which is normal if you live in the North but I live in Mississippi! Anyway, check out my snow day activity with son:

    Good luck with the doggie diets! (I don’t envy you facing those big brown eyes begging for food)

  28. @Das and Debra: Most airlines have a limit on how many animals can be onboard any given flight (at least in the US), and it’s usually two.

    Hi Joe, I agree with Maximus, by the way. Diet SCHMIET.

  29. Oh, that doesn’t include service dogs, by the way. Hey Joe, you could get them all little jackets on ebay… I kid you not, one of Elway’s doctors (when he had his spleen removed) suggested I buy one on ebay and that way I could take Elway everywhere with me. I would have, but yikes, I have a conscience! Now, if it meant he could be on a flight in the cabin with me, who knows? 🙂

  30. It’s carmel popcorn!

    Like Das, I agree with Bubba: just charter the friggin’ jet.

  31. Yeah, charter the jet. Hey, possibly split the fees with other people, possibly Paul? I’m thinking that the losing weight thing with the dogs probably won’t work out in time. You think they will not want their treats?

  32. Spartacus: Gods of the Arena is f*cking awesome. Unfortunately Andy Whitfield pulled out of Season 3, due to a relapse in his cancer treatment, and they are currently re-casting the role. You should try out, get out from behind the camera and infront of it!!

    My favorite things on TV;
    Stargate SG-1
    Stargate Universe
    Battlestar Galactica (Season 1&2 ONLY)
    Top Gear
    Avatar: The Last Airbender (anime/cartoon)

  33. ah yeah, the Transporter films are awesome. I like over the top movies that act like movies. I hate it when they take over the top movies and try to make them realistic. Any idea what channel will pick up the series?

  34. Hey Joe – a friend used this to transport a dog a few states:

    Not sure if they support Canada, but perhaps you can find some dog-friendly people through it that can help transport your pooches.


  35. I still have the new Spartacus prequel on hold haven’t got to it yet, but I guess I will soon!

    For the cost of 2 round trips I think you could get charter space 1 way MINUS time wasted & hassle. Need to ask your actor friends!

  36. Speaking of Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, it’s a shame that Starz didn’t pick up Legend of the Seeker, though that being said Spartacus was made by the same production team/exec producers as Seeker, and has some ex Legend of the Seeker cast members in it. Well those that elected to stay in New Zealand, so I guess it’s all good.

    Anyway speaking of The Transporter, considering its budget I can imagine it being aimed at a *Bigger* network, as it costs more than a show like Stargate Universe to produce.

    I’m kinda excited to hear who gets casted in what role. Though I guess news of that won’t be public for months yet *Sigh*.

  37. Are you hinting your new show will be on Fox? Glad your kids will be flying with you. They will probably charm all the passengers. (Either that or have to go poop and stink up the entire plane).

  38. If your show is going to be on Fox, I have since become a Fox VIP and that means I will get previews, swag, etc. That would very kind of awesome.

  39. FYI people:

    “Spartacus: Gods of the Arena” is a 6 part prequel to “Blood and Sand”. It isn’t season 2 of “Blood and Sand”.

    Andy Whitfield will not be returning to the role for season 2 due to his health.

    Season 2 is tentatively titled “Spartacus: Vengeance” and will be filming soon with Aussie actor Liam McIntyre as Spartacus. Starz announced McIntyre as Spartacus last month.

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