Yesterday, Akemi had her first good night’s sleep in a long time. The news that she’d been approved for an extension of her visitor’s visa had wiped away months of anxiety. Until early this morning when, while showering, she suddenly wondered if I’d made a mistake. Had Immigration Canada’s automated call center really informed me that Akemi’s recent application had been approved – or were they simply reconfirming the approval of her initial application made in 2010? My first thought was “Don’t be ridiculous.” My second thought was: “Where’s my phone?!!”. I called and was much relieved to hear that, indeed, her application made in June of this year had been approved September 9th. Now, provided “approved” means what I think it does (to judge favorably; to confirm or sanction formally; ratify) then I think we’re okay. Still, I anxiously await that official letter…
Okay. As promised, allow me to continue my trip down memory lane. When I last left off, we were just getting into SG-1 tenth and final season…
One of the great things about working on Stargate was the relative ease of the production. I’ve always likened the it to a well-oiled machine replete with checks and balances in place to ensure that any bumps experienced along the way would be minor and quickly addressed. Chalk it up to the hundreds of supremely talented and experienced individuals who did their jobs so well. Careful planning also helped in the form of early preparation in the lead-up to each season. We would usually wrap in October and then, while most of the production headed off for hiatus, we – the writers/producers – would spend a month dealing with post-production and planning the next season. In the case of the SG-1’s tenth season, we ended up breaking/outlining about eight stories before going our separate ways in December for a much-deserved break (which always involved writing).
I remember sitting down to start work on my first script – what would be Morpheus – and finishing a first draft in less than a week. No procrastination, no first act second-guessing, no third act delays – I wrote, straight through, from FADE IN to FADE OUT. A first! I was amazed – and so emboldened, I jumped on my next script right away. Counterstrike also went exceedingly well. So exceedingly well, in fact, that I decided “What the hell” and jumped on the third script, Memento Mori. I ended up writing all three solid drafts in two weeks, gave my writing partner the hiatus off, and gave the production a great head start on the show’s tenth season.
The original idea for this story was actually ship-based. I pitched out an episode in which the Odyssey, on its way back to Earth following an off-world op, encounters a seemingly derelict ship floating in space. SG-1 and some members of the Odyssey team investigate and discover the crew long-dead. As they search through the mystery ship’s database, they fall victim to the “sleeping sickness”. One by one, they drift off until, eventually, only SG-1 remains to put together the pieces before it’s too late. The location was changed to a planet and we ended up using our standing village set in the VFX stage (the sight of such memorable sequences as the interior hive ships, the Atlantis cafeteria balcony, and the big Sheppard/Zelenka space jump in SGA’s Adrift), shot to creepy effect by the fabulous Andy Mikita. I loved a lot about this episode: Teal’c saving the day, Daniel and Sam slowly succumbing late in the episode, the slow-mo funeral-like montage and, of course, the B-story which focuses on Vala’s attempts to cheat her way through a psych evaluation. Claudia Black and Ben Ratner (who, coincidentally, I had drinks with the other night as he’s in town promoting his new movie, Sisters and Brothers) were a joy to watch. Their comic timing was impeccable – quick, restrained, and hilarious.
Hmmm. Finishing up this blog entry on Akemi’s laptop. I took a break from working on today’s entry to upload some pics. For some reason, I couldn’t transfer photos from my camera so I decided to restart my Mac. It came back to life with the beautiful Japanese background. And nothing else. No desktop icons, no docks, nothing. It won’t even turn off and, unlike a PC, I can’t just pull the battery. I have no choice but to leave it on and drain the battery in the hopes that the next restart will restore everything.
Clearly, you Mac users have this problem all the time. Nothing to worry about, right?