The thinkers

My writing partner, Paul, came over for Day #2 of our spinning session for the new pilot script we’re working on.  Next to starting a script and, perhaps, passing a kidney stone, there’s nothing more painful than outlining a story, especially in those first few days.  Ideas are pitched. They’re shot down.  The story is discussed in the vaguest of terms. Plenty of questions are asked; hardly any answers given.  Frustration mounts.  Breaks are taken.  The conversations go off on unusual tangents.  And, all the while, we sit, staring at the big white board.  It looms before us, intimidating in its pristine perfection – unblemished, not a magic markered stroke to mar its clean surface.  We could break the ice by jotting down a title but doing so would necessitate a task even more daunting than breaking the story: actually coming up with a title!

And so we sit.  And think.  And wait.  As if the creativity will eventually get fed up with our procrastination and suddenly manifest itself in a bright, colorful burst of act breaks,  suspenseful beats, and a brilliant end of episode solution to the supernatural manifestation.

Yes, writing is a painful business.  Positively excruciating at the spinning, breaking, outline, script and rewrite stages.  But incredibly satisfying when you complete work on a first draft.  And, to be honest, that satisfaction only lasts as long as it takes you to type in FADE OUT and deliver the script.  Savor it!

But today, we did manage some progress. Three solid acts, albethey peppered with TBD’s (a writerly term for “to be decided”, those annoying little speed bumps that slow down the process and inevitably get shuttled away for later consideration, usually sometime between lights out and REM sleep).  What is our Holy Shit third act break?  I’m sure Paul will come up with something.

Hey, this afternoon I dropped by my local comic book shop to pick up the latest issues of Iron Man, The Ultimates, The Punisher, and an intriguing new title, Rose & Thorn, and noticed THIS sitting amongst the new releases:

Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie, writers on Stargate, from SG1 through to SGU, bring their latest science fiction epic to comics in Dark Matter. The six-person crew of a derelict spaceship awakens from stasis in the farthest reaches of space. Their memories wiped clean, they have no recollection of who they are or how they go on board. The only clue to their identities is a cargo bay full of weaponry and a destination-a remote mining colony that is about to become a war zone! With no idea whose side they are on, they face a deadly decision. Will these amnesiacs turn their backs on history, or will their pasts catch up with them?

Dark Matter Volume 1: Rebirth

Yep, it’s the trade paperback collecting all four issues of the first chapter of SF Dark Matter, our comic book series.  I didn’t expect it to come out until October (Thanks for the heads up, guys!).

Some reviews: Dark Matter: Rebirth Graphic Novel is Solid Sci-Fi Fun – Examiner.comSequel’s Blog: Dark Matter Vol. 1: Rebirth TPB – Review!, and Dark Matter Vol. 1 Review (On the one hand, they spell my name incorrectly; on the other hand, they had nice things to say about the book).

Speaking of Dark Matter, our attempts to get it to the small screen progress.  We have broadcaster interest but now require the money to do it properly.  One of our partners has some meetings lined up at MIPCOM (MIPCOM – The world’s entertainment content market – MIPWorld) and, if they go well (and fingers crossed), we’ll have a solidly budgeted 13-episode first season of our twisty, turny, suspenseful, high-flying, humorous, character-driven, scifi action space opera.

Continuing our trip down Stargate Atlantis memory lane.  Let’s reflect back on:

MIDWAY (417)

Who would win in a fight between Teal’c and Ronon?  Well, if you ask Chris Judge (which I once did) he’d reply: “Ronon.  Teal’c is still doing that wushu shit.”  Still, we weren’t satisfied with that answer and so, Carl Binder put pen to paper finger to keypad and wrote this all-out actioner in which Ronon and Teal’c team up to battle a wraith incursion.  And also throw down.  And who wins?  Why, it’s a draw, natch.

Early in show’s fourth season, we wanted to do a scene with Carter, back at Stargate Command, leaving behind the life she knew for a fresh adventure in the Pegasus Galaxy.  We wanted to scene to be grounded in the world of SG-1 and felt that the best way to accomplish that would be for Sam to have a conversation with one of her SG-1 teammates. I approached Chris Judge about doing it but told him we wouldn’t be able to afford his episode rate for the single scene.  Chris just shrugged in response and happily offered his services for a nominal fee.  I thought that was a stand-up thing to do and this episode was a repayment for that kindness, an episode guest-starring Teal’c.  And, yes, Chris got his full episode rate for this one.

Jason Momoa and Christopher Judge had a blast shooting the episode, especially the action sequences.  And there were plenty.  The episode also boasts some terrific guest stars like Bill Dowd, Dean Marshall and Ben Cotton who return to reprise familiar roles.

Today’s entry is dedicated to luvnjack.  Good luck with the adoption caseworker tomorrow.  Hope you land in a good home!

26 thoughts on “September 26, 2012: Spinning our creative wheels! Dark Matters! Days of Stargate Atlantis past! Midway!

  1. Memo to self. Go to comic store and pick up trade paperback.
    As for Midway, overall, fun show. Loved the teaming of the two big fighters from SG1 and Atlantis. And their initial fight, classic testing of age,experience, and exquisite control vs youth, strength, and ferocity. Other than seeing Midway destroyed, my only gripe was the somewhat convenient escape by Sheppard. But that was made up for with his locking himself away in the front of the puddle jumper. Good job by writers, producers, actors, et. al. in producing a nice action episode.

  2. I have failed you, Joe. Had I checked what comics were coming out this week I would have been able to tell you, but alas…I just checked tonight before coming here. I was surprised to see DM out this week, but rest assured, I have ordered my copy! 🙂

    Kind of tired – been home the past two days to catch up on things even though my gut still isn’t 100%. Still, things needed to be done, so over the past two days I’ve mowed the lawn, cleaned the house (including removing old caulk from the shower – blech!), took cat to the vet (my old lady kitty is not doing well 🙁 ), made phone calls to friends who are ailing worse than me, made lemonade :), and basically just got part of my life together. I also took naps. 🙂 On the downside, I seem to be catching a cold, and I still have the monthly bills to tackle, and doctor appointments to make, and closets to purge, but all of that will have to wait because I must go to work tomorrow. Double blech!

    Have a good night, sir!


  3. Hey, Joe!
    If I buy the Dark Matters TPB off of Amazon & leave a positive customer review is it okay to misspell your name? Or better yet mash your name with Paul’s? Don’t worry, I’ll just say in my customer review ..”That Carl Binder writes one heckuva comic!” 🙂

  4. @ LJ – Good luck! Thursday morning! Let us know how it goes.

    Is Princess Lulu 2-timing Ivon by trying to charm Paul?

  5. Awesome news on dark matter i would gladly give a donation to help get the show on the air good luck getting the show financed television is sadly lacking sci fi right now.

  6. Midway was an episode I thought I wouldn’t like. I wasn’t a huge fan of crossovers with SG-1 characters to SGA. I always thought it meant that there wasn’t a lot of faith in Atlantis to be successful on it’s own, especially in light of Carter coming onboard after Weir left.

    With this episode, I was proven oh sooooo wrong! Christopher Judge crushed any doubts I had. The one thing I thought strange though, was Ronon’s antagonism towards Teal’c, especially since Teal’c was trying to be so accommodating. Was Ronon being territorial, resentful? But honestly, after their fight scene, I didn’t care. It was so much fun watching them duke it out with each other, then beat the crap out of the Wraith, and finally become mutually respected friends. And Ronon calling out Teal’c on his “indeed”, had me rolling on the floor.

    There was so much happening on Pegasus, Midway and Earth, involving so many different characters, I was amazed how well it all worked together in just a single episode. And the action was so wonderfully paced with humor and suspense. Sheppard got to be heroic. McKay was hacked, and Ronon and Teal’c saved the day.

    Plus it had one of my favorite scenes in the entire series when Ronon pushed Kavanagh against the jumper bulkhead. It was such a simple thing, but it cracks me up every time I see it.

    This was another episode that felt like a mini-movie for me. From the opening scene to the last note of Joel Goldsmith’s terrific score, it was brilliantly performed, written, and directed.

    And great news about Dark Matter! I’ll be buying the trade paper. I really hope you and Paul can finally get a project going soon. It must be agonizing for you both having to wait on others to green light everything.

  7. @Lewis – laughed at your Carl Binder remark. Good one!

    @Joe – whatever you do, do not try crowdfunding to get the needed $$$ for your project. Crowdfunding as many may know is the latest hot way to raise money for various projects. Companies such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo work only if you are willing to really hype (think 24/7 marketing) it to your prospective funders or, like that middle school grandmotherly aid who was bullied by a few grade 7 boys on a bus, gets enough attention from the media that people throw money your way. Some celebrities get money from it, but those are folks with a huge fan following…hmmm, maybe Shanks or Flanigan might be available to really sell for you if they get the lead?

    I continue to think that it would be a great idea to enlist some of your Stargate fans to toss ideas for a new show at you guys. I’m sure you and Paul and Carl, or course, could come up with a way to make it legal. I’d love to share some ideas with you guys, as I’m sure other readers would as well. I know, I know…law suits a few years from now… That’s the problem with this world. No one trusts anyone any more.

    Re: Midway – I understand why you guys didn’t want a clear winner between Teal’c and Ronon, but I felt a bit let down that there wasn’t a decision regarding who was the best fighter. Loved the fact that the money changing hands was not just U.S bills. Thanks for adding the Canadian money.


  8. “Speaking of Dark Matter, our attempts to get it to the small screen progress…”

    Cool, I hope it goes well! 🙂

  9. I’ve been getting emails one on top of another from Amazon, my pre-order Dark Matter will be here any day now!

  10. Midway was a fun episode. I enjoyed watching it.

    Sorry, I haven’t been around much. Fall baseball is about to kick my ‘you know what’. And apparently, the ragweed is really bad this year. Guess who’s allergic to ragweed. Yep, that’s right, me. Ugh! A running nose really affects the concentration when you’re trying to write. 🙁 Anyway, hope your writing and efforts with Dark Matter are successful. Will be picking up the trade paperback as soon as I can.

    Have a great day!!!!!

  11. Breaking a story sounds a LOT like writting a new piece of music. Empty, lined pages almost daring you to write the first couple of notes. When nothing comes to me – I’ll write an A-flat – and hope the the act will spark SOMETHING.
    I can only imagine that it’s similar to you writing “fade-in….”

  12. come on!!!, Obviously a Jaffa with more than 200 years of training fighting’s skills , genetically modified through centurys to be far stronger than a human couldn’t lost to a human very strong and skillful as Ronon…i would said that you made a mistake, let’s remember an episode from SG-1 with Teal’c lifting an amazing weight, than non human could ever reach, just as a normal training. So the truth is that it was a dissapointment to see the fight ending in a draw. Teal’c is a very trained warrior, over hundreds of battles, not possible for him not to beat Ronon, even if i like Ronon’s character a lot because gives something very different to Atlantis crew.

  13. I really hope your attempts to get Dark Matter on TV work out Joe, probably should be aiming for it to be on cable though. Hopefully you get a few seasons out of it, heres hoping 🙂

    No reason why you can’t be aiming to surpass Stargate should you get the funding and stuff for Dark Matter. Make it the best Scifi show on tv.

    Haven’t commented on here for a few days. Been a little busy and have the flu(Well almost over that lol).

  14. My fingers are crossed for you and Mr. Paul. I would love for your dogs to live the lifestyle they so deserve 😉 . I’m much too hyper to sit and write. Even if I had the talent for it, that is. Hats off to anyone that can create “life” out of thin air.

    I’ve been doing my own SG marathon and every other show I watch and say “That is my favorite episode”. Then another episode comes on and it replaces the last favorite. That is the way it was with Midway as well. It was very good! I read an interview with Chris Judge talking about how sore he was after doing that episode. Unfortunately, we are all getting older. C. J. still looked great though. It was so fun to watch the interaction between characters. The contrast and similarities between the two really came out. “Indeed”. Dr. Lee rocked it as well. He kept his amiability even facing the Wraith. I was hoping Kavanagh would be sucked dry but you can’t have everything.

    Last night I watched 4-5 episodes of SGU. I really enjoyed playing one after the other. The music, acting and writing were all excellent. I can’t wait to watch the rest. (Hubby’s out of town and son is busy with the school band.)

    for the love of Beckett: I really enjoyed your comments yesterday.

    Deni: I can’t imagine adding neck pain to pregnancy. I hope Lauren feels back to “normal” soon. I was remembering my last trimester and how helpless I felt. I was in excellent shape at the start but …could barely get up from a chair near the end. My son was two weeks early and he was 9.4 lbs. AND it was 111F in Memphis that summer. Miserable. Florida should be a little cooler now, right?

    How is Jelly?

  15. That’s great news about Dark Matter! Here’s hoping that everything falls together although, like you say, so many of these deals are pretty fragile and “it ain’t official ’til it’s official.”

    I thought “Midway” was very well done, but then again pretty much all off SGA’s last couple of seasons were pretty consistently excellent. Probably had something to do with the show runners. 😉

    I’m still busy getting ready for my upcoming trip/hike to Grand Canyon next week (via Vancouver!) I might almost be ready by the time I leave!

  16. It took me a long time before I actually commented on this blog years ago. That is because when I had something to say someone would say it before me. Paloosa said exactly what I was going to say…

    When I saw the previews that Teal’c was going to guest star on the next SGA show, I was pretty irritated. I remember saying “Why?! We don’t need him, we’ve got Ronon! I’m tired of all these SG1 guys coming over here like Atlantis can’t stand on it’s own two feet!”

    When I sat down to watch, I was very amused Ronon’s attitude was just like mine. But it didn’t take long before I was smiling and loving Teal’c! The cafeteria scene was great. (Who knew Teal’c liked tater tots?) The fight scene was fantastic! I think Teal’c maybe could have beat Ronon, but he couldn’t if he was going to become his friend. Ronon would have hated him more. Funny watching them watching the 3 Stooges. Taking turns saving each other’s life from the Wraith. Kavanaugh was classic. The story was awesome. The ending with Sheppard sleeping in the jumper was one of the funniest moments in SGA history. And I can’t forget:

    Coolridge: Ronon Dex. Do you feel that you can fulfill the duties of an SG team member with the diligency, integrity, and respect for those in authority over you?

    Ronon: Yes.

    Coolridge: (long pause) Good enough for me.

    Carl Binder out did himself on this one. It is tied for 2nd on my all time favorite list…I’m sure. Thank you Mr. Binder! Awesome ep!

  17. And GOOD LUCK with Dark Matter! That would be great to get that story made into a series. I’d love to see it!

  18. @Joe:

    Midway was one of my favorites. I don’t really keep a “favorite episode” kind of list in my head; I just remember the ones I like, and this was definitely one of them. The banter, the fighting (the betting), the action, and of course the humor were all well played and enjoyable.

    Sheppard’s comment about stunning himself made me laugh out loud. I have two teenage kids in the house and with some of their discussions, I often wished I could stun myself into unconsciousness 😉

    On Dark Matter:

    I put in my order for the TPB. I might even get it before my trip to Vancouver on Tuesday.


    Warm up Vancouver for me and do let me know if you have any fun restaurants to try!


    Bat Car-cutter!

    Speaking of that movie, I always wondered about the scene near the end of the movie where Batman is using his “sonar eyelids” and fighting the Joker (and in the process is getting whomped on the Joker). If the Joker is seeing well enough in that light to hit Batman, why not just turn off the sonar eyelid things and use his own eyes? Seemed like the sonar stuff was just a distraction in that scene.

  19. ROFL!!! Thanks for the support, Joe. So hard to find a family who will indulge my stalking…er, I mean FANGIRLING of you. Alas.

    Thank you EVERYONE for your support and good thoughts today. Our meeting went very well. Here’s hoping! 🙂

  20. I remember thinking as I watched the episode(and have rewatched several times) that Teal’c was toying with Ronon and holding back. Rewatch it and see what I mean. Ronon is coming at him with all he has while Teal’c dodges and had more discipline. He even let Ronan tag him and then shrugs it off while doing more damage with one hammer fist. He even lets go of the sticks to show that he didn’t need them. Either way, It was an excellent fight despite what I think is a clear winner and I would have liked them to interact and/or mention each other more in later episodes. I love how they were like Big/Little brothers by the end:) Anyone checking out my MacGyver and Never Gets Old Podcasts on iTunes/Podomatic and Facebook? Please let me know what you think ok?

  21. This was an interesting episode. It was a cross over having Teal’c introduces in Atlantis. Sam makes a comment about his hair, funny flash back. Of Course the two bulls in the hall had to dual it out. The interesting moment ending the sparing was the betting was being done in Canadian money. No StarTrek “credits”? I like being able to see the CG of the Midway Station. That was some beautiful rendering. I was a bit surprised that when the Wraith stunner rolled through the gate no one reacted. No extra alarm or lock down initiated. The lockdown was taken care of by an off mentioned line, but I was surprised at the frozen stance everyone took. By the way how many rounds did one of those Mags hold? I see Sheppard constantly changing mags. But it seemed while at the SGC one would do. I did read some where that changing magazines out insures that you are not surprised in a heated moment to hear the click. Five guys stuck in a puddle jumper for a week or so, I would not want to be around when that door opened. So which seat flipped up to reveal the Photoshops pot?

  22. I loved this episode. The only thing I thought was a cop-out was not declaring a winner between the two. It felt like the ‘everybody gets a trophy’ way of doing things. I love both characters but the fight in Atlantis should have had a winner. Then maybe later on, while at Midway, the other character could have shown superiority in skill-set. This way you don’t piss off either fan base. But it would have ended up like a tie where 1 person wins one encounter and the other the next, but not having a winner just feels noncommital to me.

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