Following an exhausting few days – capped by a poor night’s sleep – it was finally time to head into the production offices and kick off the pre-production on the new show.  Now given the circumstances, you’d think that going in to work would be the last thing I’d want to do but, in truth, it was exactly what I needed.  The team convened, got our new offices, checked out the stages, talked budgets and casting, discussed notes and scripts, ate veal and eggplant sandwiches from California Sandwiches, and, generally, just had a really good, really productive day – the first in what feels like a very long time.

 

The new production offices. I know it doesn't look like much now, but just give it a few weeks.

First thing we did was take a tour of the facilities.

 

The big stage.

We did a walk-through of the main stages.  The Silent Hill sequel had just wrapped production and we had the opportunity to walk some of the creepy-looking sets.

 

Alex looking his scary best.

We discussed standing sets, swing sets, and the possibility of shooting a significant portion of the car interior sequences in the smaller stage.  Then, we headed back to pick out our offices –

 

My office. The wireless is a bit slow but, fortunately, I'm able to hardwire as well - something I was unable to do back on Stargate because I apparently had a defective dongle (It's not something I like to talk about).

In no time, I was settled in…

 

And thinking about lunch! What did you think I was imagining? My next script?

Also in attendance on this first day…

 

The lovely Sue Murdoch who came bearing gifts: in the form of myriad budgets.

 

My fellow foodie, Anna, who I suspect will be my partner on many future culinary adventures.

Matt, our driver and Mr. Fixit.

 

Those budgets can wait.  Rob Cooper gets to work on those various take-out menus.

We had a conference call to discuss casting, talked directors and, most important of all –

 

Had lunch. Now THIS is a sandwich!

The afternoon was dedicated to getting everyone up to speed on the budget and notes on the pilot.  About halfway through the process, the jet lag finally caught up with Alex –

Either that or was he was reacting to my pitch for the musical episode.

Finally, the moment we’d all been waiting for: the arrival of our special guest…

 

Look who it is! It's Stargate alum Carl Binder!

More notes discussions.  Some spinning.  We wrapped up at 6:00 p.m.  So how’d we do?

Carl gives us the thumbs up.

We called it a day.

 

Alex has the look of someone satisfied with another job well done.

I picked up my rental car and, with the help of google maps (and the fact that I was following my writing partner in his rental car all the way back into town), I managed to find my way back to my place.  I rested up, then headed out for dinner at a place called Duggan’s Pub where we enjoyed…well, to be honest, we didn’t enjoy much.  The striploin sandwich was chewy and the desserts were pretty awful, but one menu item did stand out –

 

The duck confit poutine. No kidding. French fries, cheese curds, gravy, and duck poutine. Have to admit, it was probably the best version I've ever had.

 

It's not the picture that's fuzzy. It's the Germans.

Got home just in time to miss Top Chef, then spent a good thirty minutes attempting to access the recorded event – to no avail.  The Rogers box says it was recording the show but, for the life of me, I can’t figure out how to play it back.  Whenever I hit the personal video recorder button, a message flashes up onscreen informing me that I don’t have the service – and yet, I WAS able to set it to record the show.  WTF?

Finally, checked in with Fondy.  Both Jelly and Maximus are doing well.  Maximus is still a little freaked out and follows her around everywhere.  Jelly is unwell and is scheduled for a vet visit.

 

Jelly seems to be doing alright.
Maximus and Stewie, best of buddies.

Tomorrow, I’m going to leave the apartment early so that I can check out a couple of doggy daycares.

Meanwhile, the house search continues.  Fondy – on the hunt on my behalf – thinks she may have found the perfect place.  Fingers crossed!

Back in the office tomorrow to discuss the network notes on both scripts and then, finally, start breaking some new stories!

54 thoughts on “March 21, 2011: Conference calls, budget talks, casting, and stage walk-thrus! What a relief!

  1. The secrecy is KILLING ME. When will you be able to reveal the show?? I admit I’ve been trying to do some Google sleuthing…but alas….

  2. Whew! I’m glad that things are finally looking up!

    It’s so nice to see Rob and Carl are on the team with you! I have my fingers crossed for you about the house. Well, not at the moment ’cause I’m typing but I will. I hope Jelly’s okay.

  3. I admire your energy, Joe! Red-eye flight, doggy and new apartment mayhem, fist day on the job, and you still find time to blog. More power to you! I hope Fondy finds the perfect home, at least for Toronto 😉

  4. Joe,

    Just finished watching tonight’s episode of SGU! It was fantastic. A great episode through and through from start to finish. I really enjoyed the character pieces, especially between Wray and Greer. Great performances by Kathleen Quinlan and French Stewart as well. It amazes me the talent that you were able to attract to the show and saddens me that it won’t go on beyond this season. SGU is hitting it’s stride.

    Over the last week I’ve watched some Atlantis and SG1 and have to applaud the direction you the writting team took with SGU. The kind of story you told tonight on SGU would not have been possible on SG1 or SGA in tone. Again, sad to see the show go.

    It’s good to see Carl on the new production team. I have high expectations for the Transporter series with the you, Carl and Cooper all working together… especially after seeing what you’ve done to make SGU evolve beyond the other two franchise shows. I hope you carry on the same tone with your new show.

    Any updates, good or bad on the movies?

    And I hate to say it, but your new office looks smaller than your old one.

    Thanks again for the great entertainment,

    RFVdevil

  5. Okay so now I feel better because you feel better. I was bemoaning your situation to my daughter who rolled her eyes (well we were on the phone, but a mother knows these things) and said “He’s a big boy, he’ll work it out.” And she was right… you are settling in.

  6. Okay – I’m confused. You say Jelly is well, then unwell, then alright. I hope she’s okay.

    So, this is Transporter then? Or is there another car-oriented show coming out? What channel is it gonna be on, because already I’m getting this ‘I’ll have to pay for premium cable channels’ vibe to get this one…and right now I’m shelling out $15 a month just to watch rugby. Not sure another fancy channel is in my budget. ACK! AND I fell asleep at 8 pm tonight, totally missed Universe, so recording the midnight show.

    I’m all messed up because I had my eyes dilated this evening, thus the whole early to bed thing since I was sleepy and couldn’t see anyway – now it’s nearly midnight and I’m wide awake. 😛

    Anyway, hope Jelly is okay – please clarify if you can.

    das

  7. Joe, for your DVR problem, you can try unplugging it, waiting like a minute, and plugging it back in again. If that doesn’t work, some underpaid tech at the cable company probably didn’t push the right button when setting you up so it’s going to require a call, lots of waiting, and a 2 second wiz bang button push to fix it. At least that’s been my experience.

  8. Alliances…a good episode. Anything after last week was bound to be a letdown, but a nicely done character episode, which I usually don’t like as much as action episodes.

    Spoilers

    Spoilers

    Spoilers

    Spoilers

    Spoilers

    Spoilers

    Great performances by J. Smith and Ming-Na. I thought it was a very bold move putting these two together in a life or death situation given how much they don’t really like each other. And throwing in Telford, who Greer also doesn’t like, and it was a great big dislike fest. I know that they faced some horrific moments down there, but the ending seemed just a bit forced, for them to be talking about their loved ones. If it causes them to be more civil to each other in the future, then maybe it is ok.
    I liked how the Senator seemed to be trying to be friendly to people before she started to bring up her real business. Trying to lull them into a false sense of security. However, she seemed to be all over the place. She didn’t seem like the courageous type, and here she is about to save everyone from a dangerous bomb. It would have been more believable for the Doctor, realizing that he would be going back by force, to at least be the one to disarm it.
    I have to admit, I didn’t see the twist of him disabling the Communication device so that he had the slim chance of surviving in Greer’s body. They did seem to make him out to be more swarmy than Rush, so that his actions would appear to to be more desperate than selfish.
    All in all, a good episode. Not my favorite type of episode, but you can’t have 20 perfect episodes in a season. Next week looks great….Bring on Hope!!!

  9. I bet the dogs are a bit confused understandable.. Will just take them some time.

    Good episode tonight of SGU, enjoyed it. Certainly was a bit of a different story from normal SGU, which was cool.

  10. things are looking up already! Once you get the whole gang together in the new house, then you will feel all better! the new challenge at work will be exciting and in another month, I am sure you will be glad to be there.

  11. Glad you made it safely to Toronto, Joe. Guess you have another round of “Doggy-Smuggling” next weekend?

    And instead of Google-maps, you might want to get a Garmin to get around Toronto while you learn the layout of your new home…

  12. #SGU “Alliances” David Blue tweeted about “game-changer”episodes…for me, this was IT!

    Joe, glad you’re safe. Still would like studio address when you or an assistant have time.

  13. JUst watched the ep – nail-biting!!! And I love Greer all the more now. Damn, I’ma gonna miss him. 🙁

    das

  14. It’s about time someone dug Carl out of that deep dark hole of depression he was in. Word has it that he was spending all his newly acquired free time at bars, casinos, and nail salons.

  15. Joe,

    First glad the day went well for you and hope the dogs continue to adjust to the new surroundings okay. I am really looking forward to what you guys are going to come up with!

    Best of luck!

    Jim

  16. To my fellow commenters:

    I’m sorry, been skipping the comments for a while.

    Das, was it you who was in the hospital? Hope all is well. How’s your father?

    The estate house is almost completely cleared out, due to estate sale and church rummage collection. It’s a bit sad to be there now. We’ll soon put it on the market.

    Still working on socializing Sebastian at the shelter. Poor little spaniel mix still anxious and easily startled, but I’m seeing slow progress.

  17. Wish you the best of luck getting settled. Looking forward to the blog posts coming a few hours earlier. As much as I will miss Stargate, I’m excited to see the new show. Seen the first movie, but I need to catch up on the other two (assuming my sources regarding the franchise are correct. 🙂 ) Good luck !

  18. Stewie’s looking too tough for his name now.

    The lovely Sue Murdoch gifted you with budgets for EXPLOSIONS, right?

  19. No photos of Paul? Is he camera shy? Or are we to assume that this is proof that ‘Paul Mullie’ has always been a figment of your imagination and that everyone else has just been playing along all these years.

    🙂

    BYE

  20. Poor Jelly. Moving is stressful for humans. Multiply that by a thousand for dogs. She’ll settle down soon.

    Nice to see familiar faces, especially Carl’s face. Can’t wait for the “show”. You gotta tell us soon. The suspense is killing us. Well, not exactly killing us, just making us antsy.

  21. Hey Joe,

    Is it true? Your new project is “The Transporter”? Hehehe, if it is ★☆WOW★☆ I actually worked on The Transporter agreement. I can’t get my mind around it yet. OMG cool…what a great job.

    So…I know I’ve been gone. I have been battling a migraine for a month. My life is so upside down at times. I’ll try to be back. *giggles* Ha…I am so excited.

    Best to you Joe,
    Always,
    Cheryl 🙂

    P.S. I cannot believe MY luck that Carl is on the team. So happy!

  22. Hi there Joe!!

    I hope you & urs are feeling very well. Thanks a lot (once again) for sharing the pics, some of them r really funny.
    The one where u r smiling and look upward, may u dream about a land where endless ingredients r composed 2 always new meals especially 4 u – wouldn´t that be fascinating?
    Nice 2 see pics from people behind ur projects.
    Also it´s great 2 read that ya gang made it thru the journey, u will find a good person who take care of them. Now everything is new at ya place, but i´m sure all hurdles will be taken from u and the others.
    Best regards 4 u & all of urs – stay healty and cheerful!

    P.S.: pls don´t forget the most amazing show u´d produced ever – SGU. If there´s a way that this show will not end with a cliffhanger then pls store some energy for this. 😉

    Whining Wolf

  23. That is some artery hardenin’ lookin’ chow. Unappealing. Don’t they have veggies in Toronto?

    Hugs to Jelly. If Fondy has found a good place, that’s excellent. I’m not getting a good vibe this morning, and the empty offices just look sad. You need some art, or some kitsch knick-knacks.

  24. I hope Jelly is ok. I’m so glad Fondy is there for them (and you). Good luck with the possible house!

    How was Mr. Carl’s trip?

    I was back in the country visiting my mom. Wow! She drives me crazy but I’m glad I went. There is no cell phone reception or internet, so I had to go into “town” to look at your blog.

    Someone dumped three puppies at her house, so I had to find someone to take them. Luckily, they have a new humane society that is just starting up. They came and picked up the pups! I’m mailing them out a donation today. Dumping animals is pretty common there and I want to help the humane society get a good start.

    How are things in Japan for Akemi’s family/friends?

    Things will get better for you, Mr. M.!

  25. I wish you the best of luck in your new ‘home’ – good luck at making it feel like home!

    Last night’s episode of SGU was amazing; I have to echo the previous sentiment of a renewed sense of sadness over its cancellation. One of the things I’d been hoping for over the past season was to see more of Wray and this episode was so excellent in that respect. The interaction between Wray and Greer seemed so real, it was truly great.

  26. I was hoping that with the new project getting underway, the oppressiveness of the last few days would start fading. So, it’s good to read your news.

    Thank goodness for Fondy! It’s wonderful that after all is said and done, you’ve remained good friends – something not everyone can do. Hope you can move into a new place pretty quickly, as such things go. “Get well soon” to Jelly, and best regards to Akemi – I’m sure she’s ready for things to get settled in a nice new home. (My mom really hated moving, especially when temp quarters were involved, so I empathize.)

    What a great feeling, seeing your friends and longtime colleagues’ faces around you.

    I still think Carl needs to get the Canadian equivalent of a SAG card. 🙂

  27. Hello there,

    Je suis très heureux pour vous. Content de vous savoir engagé dans un nouveau show; j’ai haête d’en savoir plus .Dommage que ce ne soit pas de science-fiction.

    BUT any news about SGU ?

  28. That sandwich looks a lot like the veal and eggplant sandwich at Mustachio’s in the St. Lawrence Market. Does it come topped with marinara sauce, hot peppers, and onions? That is my husband’s absolute favourite sandwich. You should try the Mustachio’s version and do a comparison.

    Glad you’re feeling a lot more settled. I don’t know how you have the energy to fly half way across the country, then get up the next morning to work.

    Hope that the house Fondy has in mind for you turns out to be “the one”. Thank goodness she’s there to help with the house hunting, and good luck with that.

  29. That duck/cheese/fries combo looks…if I was a vampire that would be a big juicy neck. Keep forgetting that I should read the blog after lunch, not before.

    Don’t get me started about that beautiful sandwich. I adore fried eggplant in all forms. Not sure about the veal tho, there are some lil’ critters that I just can’t eat; pretty much everything in Bambi, and most of Nemo.

    And thanks for leaving the address up on the wall there in pic 5; I have a long diatriabe about the cancelation of Roswell and my conflicted feelings about killing off Colin Hanks in season 2 that I plan to ship to you.

    I know you had nothing to do with it, but I enjoy standing in lines at the post office; sounds like I have my afternoon planned! 😉

  30. So wait, Homeworld Command is in the Pentagon. A spaceship (aircraft) crashed into the Pentagon. Um… I guess that’s why there were no exteriors reminding the audience of that fact.

  31. Hello Joe.

    Looks like things are coming together at the new office. Glad to hear it.

    You know, I was a little upset by last night’s SGU. I really enjoyed the character moments, and think that two characters who had an uneasy truce, finally buried the hatchet.

    That said… (Spoilers…)
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    I was disturbed when the Alkesh crashed into the Pentagon. For me and many others, that event hit a little close to home and made me think of Sept. 2001. I like that you took a darker path w/ SGU but this episode was too much for me.

    It was a shock to see it in the episode. I had told you in the past (back when the season 1.0 Blu-rays) were released that seeing the episodes again, I enjoyed them more the second time round. I think that will be the case here too. I just wasn’t ready for this one.

    Best wishes,

    Bryan

  32. Hi Joe,

    Although I liked the Alliances episode, there’s something I don’t get. The David Telford that went through the gate to Earth was in a alternative timeline before the alt-Dr. Rush went back in time to the ‘normal’ timeline. The David Telford that died was in the ‘normal’ timeline. Now the alt-David Telford suddenly appears in this timeline. Do I miss some detail?
    BTW, I still do hope there’s going to be at least an SGU movie, next to an SG1 movie.

  33. Hi again Joe, I am glad you got to Toronto okay and I hope you find a better place.

    To echo steph’s comment, I think that the second season of Stargate Universe keeps getting better and better with each passing episode and I am very sad that it was cancelled and I sincerely hope for some sort of resolution to the story.

    An SGU question: Is the reason that things become a projectile when going through a 9-chevron wormhole caused by the fact that Destiny is moving whereas most gates are stationary? Is it due to the inertia of the people travelling from a stationary gate to a moving gate or vice versa? Maybe when it drops out of FTL to accept a nine-chevron dial, it is still decelerating or moving faster than it does when it normally drops out?

  34. How is Paul’s move going? Are you the only cursed one?

    Dongle. Who came up with that name?? It just sounds obscene. We have one at work, and when one of the detectives comes in and asks me if I have his dongle, part of my brains snickers uncontrollably.

    The dongle is part of the hardware for the bait car, which we have been completely unsuccessful in getting anyone to steal. As a matter of fact, last week when the detective was parking the bait car, a car thief drove right past him in his newly acquired vehicle. Of course, the car wasn’t reported stolen until 5 minutes later, but it was too late. Pretty funny, though.

  35. Whew hoo! Leap in quantum computing!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12811199

    I’m still not convinced we’ll do away with our current processors as I can’t wrap my head around how a quantum processor could handle the task of searching through data better, but, for calculations, this is HUGE.

    I’m also thinking the utopia for Finite Element Analysis, the ability to use finer and finer mesh sizes, won’t happen through this technology. If you’re limited by how long you can preserve the quantum states, you can’t just load in however many numbers you want. There’ll be a limit.

    This is a breakthrough for certain types of problems, like decryption, not every type of problem. (or so it appears with my limited amount of time to mull this over)

    But the leap for the right type of problem is HUGE!

    NOW can we do Simon Singh’s The Code Book for the book club?

    Move over bitcoin! It’s time for the qubitcoin! (We can work around that pesky limit on how long a state can be preserved. It’ll give the bitcoin node hosts some real work to do.)

  36. Enjoyed last night episode….and it was great to see French Stewart on. So that makes 3 alums from the original movie to be in the show(s): French, Alexis Cruz and Eric Avari? I can’t think of any others….

    Poor Jelly, how is she? and Maximus seems so buddied up already…

    Yes those offices look sparse and barren, hope you all liven up the place…

  37. Can’t really saying I was a fan of this episode, just wasn’t enjoyable for me.

    Odd that the only episode since Life that I found pretty bad was this one and it happened to be written by a newcomer to the Stargate francise. Don’t get me wrong, I tried to like this episode but I just couldn’t.

    Some of the dialogue and the situations just didn’t work for me.

    I know, don’t get me wrong you’l have pretty much everyone saying they love every episode on here Joe, so it makes a change to have someone saying something different :3

    That said I liked the fact Mike Dopud was used more, I hope you cast him in your new show, well if you have the authority too, you can tell he works really well in serious scenes, such as when he had a very very short time to explain how to difuse the bomb lol

  38. I hope by the time you read this you will have found the perfect place to live and the perfect spot to board the pups during the day! Much luck!

    And Rob C is a busy boy, isn’t he? Just saw this announcement at TV By The Numbers:

    Three Inches – In Three Inches, professional daydreamer and underachiever Walter Spackman is struck by lightning and develops a unique “super” power — the ability to move any object using just his mind… but only a distance of three inches. He’s soon immersed in a world of extraordinarily ordinary people like himself and learns that “super” is just a state of mind. The pilot is written by Harley Peyton (Twin Peaks), who also serves as executive producer. Fox Television Studios is producing with executive producer Robert Cooper, through his company Landscape Entertainment.

    http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2011/03/22/syfy-unveils-largest-original-programming-slate-in-its-history-featuring-14-new-series-and-events/86700

  39. Glad you’re feeling better today!

    And I’m desperate to know what the show is, but I think I may have an idea…would it be a spin off from a certain series of films starrting Jason Streatham?

    I know I probably spelt that wrong – apologies, but its getting late here and I’m tired!

    If it is, and the casting is right, then it should be a winner. I don’t know if you are looking for anyone from this side of the pond, but I think Richard Armitage ( of Spooks ) would be a great choice if he was available. Don’t know if he’d want to lose the hair though!

  40. Speaking of French Stewart he’s so amazing, loved him in 3rd Rock from the Sun, however he looks so old now. Still a great actor.

    Kinda expected him to go *Incoming message from the Big Giant Head* with that funky pose he does, and William Shatner(Big Giant Head) to appear randomly LOL

    So Joe, did you ever watch 3rd Rock from the Sun before casting him? Did that show ever come up when discussing him for that role?

  41. @Tammy

    Richard Kind played Lucius in SGA and Gary Myers in the movie. He was the guy who did the bad translation, and Catherine NEEDED Daniel to fix it.

    BTW thanks. I thought that guy looked like Ferretti.

    Best Wishes.

    Bryan

  42. This gosh dog website just deleted my gosh dog comment! It was pretty gosh dog good! Well, I’m not going to gosh dog redo it! Gosh dog it!
    Dog!
    Dog!
    Dog!

  43. Yes, please, please, clarify the Jelly situation immediately. You said well and then unwell. Worried.

    It is great to get back into a routine to start making things feel normalized again. Great to have a team from Stargate together again so soon (Binder, Cooper, Mallozzi and Mullie). Hopefully we’ll see more.

    Oh yes, and the “car interior” totally confirmed, if there was still any doubt, that it is definitely The Transporter. Out of all the 3 of the movies, I still like the original the best.

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