Today, it gives me great pleasure to turn this blog over to blog regular, tech consultant, and – most important of all – Stargate fan Ryan “Stitch” Nixon.

Enjoy the Q&A and, tomorrow, I’ll be the one answering your questions in a dedicated mailbag (including a couple of outstanding queries – Das, this means you).  So post ’em if you got ’em and, in the meantime, over to Ryan…

Tam Dixon asks: ”I’m excited about Ender’s Game! It’s not being released until later this year though right?”

Answer: Correct, it will not be out in the states till November 1st of this year, the trailer can be seen here…

Tam Dixon asks: “I have a couple of friends that retired from the military (forced out in the downsizing) and they had a devil of a time transitioning into civilian life. One friend was in the Air Force, switched to Marines to fly helicopters. After over 15+ years of flying/mechanics with helicopters, he found a job in home improvement instead of a pilot type job. How did you get involved in “show business?” I’m glad it worked out for you, by the way. ”

Answer: Well I too was forced to retire. I did have my 20 years in so I could retire and was not kicked out. Downsizing has really hurt a lot good careers for a lot men and women! It was tough and the pay cut was pretty bad for me. I struggled for about a year then got phone call one day from old pilot and asked me how would I like chance to work in the F-35, I about dropped the phone! I was only making a third of what I used to and it came on fast! I did a phone interview for BAE Systems (a subcontractor for Lockheed Martin) building the new F-35. That turned into a flight to Ft Worth, TX and 2 and half hour interview with three guys grilling me on my military service and flight gear knowledge. So they start telling me they knew I was experienced, but I’d probably never seen the F-35 gear or know anything about it. I started laughing and they all stopped and stared at me??? I said: ”Well if you wait about two weeks you can see my work on the big screen”. I went on to tell them about Green Lantern and all the research I had to do on the F-35 gear. I had seen a lot of it! “I said I figure if I can FAKE it, I probably can do it for real!”

GLTeam-2

Two weeks later I get call I have been selected and I am their guy! They were just waiting on funding to hire me… I had even quit my part-time job because they wanted me back in TX for training in a few weeks and in place in FL in less than month and half… ya then the defense budget hit congress and the bottom fell out… No job again! So yes I can relate!

So how did I get started in all this?  Well it didn’t happen overnight that’s for sure!… Apollo 13 was a bit of right place – right time. Ron Howard approached the Navy for help and we were only one of three units still flying the H-3 at the time in 1994. Lucky for us the only unit on the west coast and being in San Diego, only few hours south of Hollywood and the shooting of the film. Mr. Howard was a stickler for the details so I was ordered to find all kinds of goodies. I spent hours hunting down old gear from the 60′s and 70′s not used anymore. Was not an easy task. We also were in the middle of transitioning to NEW helmets in the Navy for the pilots. So everyone in the film had to go back to their old helmets which for most part we had torn down for parts and thrown into a storage locker, I never threw anything out and that was one day we got lucky! I remember the night before one shoot it was 5pm, we all were getting ready go home and we got word that EVERY helmet in film had to have new logos to read the actual unit that picked up the astronauts back in April of 1970. It was a long night to say the least! Once in a lifetime, right? Or so I thought! =)

Helmet Work

Flash forward 16 years! I was 6 months from retiring and was starting to let my guys run the show. I would sit back and just make sure they didn’t screw up anything major! It was January of 2010 and  Ijust got in from morning PT and my MMCO walks in with three guys in shorts, polo shirts and ball caps with cameras… Average looking guys. I figured some pilots brother was in town and wanted what we call a “dog and pony show” – show them around, dazzle them with cool stuff and back to work. He introduces me to them and says “If you need to know about flight gear here is your guy.  He is one of the best and is retiring in 6 months we will miss him” and walks out…

I’m still puzzled but I tried to help them.  I could tell by their questions they didn’t have a clue about flight equipment. I was asking what was this for? They were being very vague… They only said they were working on a project… I became concerned about safety issues if they were trying to really fly, but then they told me it was for a movie! I said WOW I LOVE MOVIES! Then proceeded to tell them I did prop and costuming as a hobby with my wife and walked them over to my cork board with two 4×6 pics of me and the wife in full Stargate gear of course!

What I didn’t know was I had the PROP MASTER fresh off the set from TRANSFORMERS and he and his boys were standing in my shop and I just said the magic words! PROPS! He raised an eye and asked for my info and they were gone in a flash! My guys were all excited and kept saying how perfect of a job that would be for me.  I never thought I’d hear another word! That was a Tuesday.  2 hours later my OUTLOOK goes off and they ask if I could come in Sat morning for an interview? So time to get educated on Green Lantern and Hal Jordan! I read and looked up everything I could find.  I even went to Best Buy and bought Green Lantern: First Flight, the animated movie went right home and watched it!

With some good advice from one of my pilots, I typed up a resume with all my military skills and as he put it “that costume stuff you do” and was off to downtown New Orleans. After a non-disclosure agreement and a peek at the story board, I was introduced to all the big wigs. The 2nd asst director came by and my boss introduced me and handed her my resume.  She looked up and said “Where in the world did you find him?” Hire him, whatever it takes!

g-force writes: ”Question for Ryan: In your role as consultant, what exactly do you do? And, do you have input through the whole process, or just at the beginning?”

Answer: I was there originally to just advise and to tell them what to buy, how to make it look and what looked correct or how stuff should appear on camera. I was just hired originally as a prop consultant, then I was working on the actual props, fixing them once they saw my skills and they had 100 other things to do.  He just turned me loose and I was like a kid in a candy store!

So there I was on set my first big day.  I walk into this fake locker room and it’s a mess to be honest. My boss said this doesn’t look like your shop does it? Nope, I said, give me 30 mins, and he left… I started moving stuff and changed a lot of it.. re-hung every garment and moved stuff all around. He came back and loved it, told me stay put.  Next thing, Martin Campbell the director of the entire film is standing there and shaking my hand for first time. My boss is such a pro and the nicest guy in world. I love working for this man… So I am standing in the room.  He shakes my hand and says looks great! Not all of the set guys knew who I was or why I was there. I always felt I was in the way or steppin over cords and trying to stay out the way! First day for me I worked from 3PM till 4AM.  We all were exhausted and I had just gotten back from a trip and was still jet lagged.

A few weeks later I got loaned out to help the costume department with some the flight clothing issues and found myself working for Ngila Dickson academy award winning costume designer for Lord of the Rings. We got into some “discussions”, after all who was I to her? some military meat head… Holy crap and I have to tell her she is doing it wrong? YIKES… She didn’t always like that, but she did listen and I would just offer my advice and how it should be, but it was always her choice. In the end, she did take my advice about 75% of the time, but it was her movie and it was also Hollywood.  Everything did not have to be perfect! She hated it when, in the end, what I said from start looked better, but I had been working with that stuff for 20 years and she started to respect that.

Then, set designers needed my help for staging and how some the aviation rooms should look. Some of the AD’s then wanted me to work with the extras and teach them what to do on camera since I had worked around planes for 20 years… What should they be doing? they always ask me…

UCAVHAngar

Also, for the flight sequences I helped the pilots who were from my unit as well.  I knew them well… They would assist in directing Ryan and Blake on flying and I would make sure the gear looked correct for every shot. I even had to ask Martin to CUT a couple time because of a missed chin strap or something dumb, but they always did it and would re-set!

When we did the ejection shot I had just walked Ryan from his trailer and we talking about the shot.  I was trying to remind him of what he was about to do and all we had taught him over past few weeks.  I had no idea what I was about to walk into! I thought was just going to be a normal day. Martin the director walks up to Ryan and starts to tell him what we are doing.  He looks over says “Yeah Ryan told me on way over!” I was like “Oooh crap…”  “Oooj, ok.  T hat’s good,” he says… So next, Martin walks over to me and says “Ok mate, how should we shoot this?” I looked at my boss and was asking why the director was talking to me? I could only reply: “Isn’t that your job, sir?” LOL He got a good laugh and said: “Well this is why you’re here.  How should we do this?”  I was in shock and the entire crew is looking at me like “Who is this guy?” I could only reply: “Lots of wind?”

2010-04-22

Next, Martin is barking orders,  the crew is running around and I am freaking out. Next, he wants me in his chair behind the camera and watching all of Ryan’s shots. So we did one take and it was just off— Ryan wasn’t shaking up enough for just punching out of a $143 million dollar airplane, Martin goes over and pulls me with him to give Ryan a pep talk! What most did not know was that Ryan had a skydiving mishap years prior and it scared the crap outta him and he swore never to doit again! http://www.digitalspy.com/celebrity/news/a325707/ryan-reynolds-nearly-died-during-skydive.html It had come up one day when talking with him and I asked him: “Don’t you ask an actor to use real events to get in mind set when acting?  “Yeah, totally,” he said.  So the whole time I’m thinking about this… After Martin gave his pep talk and as we walked away I looked at Ryan and under my breath so only he could hear me said one word! “Skydiving” and winked… He got a huge grin and “Yeah yeah… I got it!” Second take… ACTION! and CUT… Martin looks at me and say “Well?” I said; “1000 times better!”, Martin shouts out “I totally agree.  Lets shoot it again!” Six takes later the bell rings, Martin shakes my hand thanks me and tells me he will see me later! Ryan walks over, puts his hand on my shoulder and says: “Thanks! I needed that!” Then my boss walks up with a huge grin.  “Nice job!”

I just directed a scene in my first Hollywood film.  Holy crap.  I needed to sit down! I was shaking… Later I was talking to one of the prop gals that came on later in the film while were shooting two units and needed more manpower.  She asked me how many movies I had done. I laughed saying: “Oooooh, counting this one? Two…”. Her jaw hits the ground.  She asked: “You’re getting paid, right?” I laughed… “Yes”.  Then she starts telling me how many years she had to work for free as an intern just to get close to a movie of this size. I wasn’t sure if she was just mad or jealous but she made sure to tell me how lucky I was.  And I knew it!

I am still in shock. I did so much and I still didn’t make the credits. I should have been listed as UCAV Operator #3. I guess after the the military and the DoD gave them thumbs down on the original script and said no to helping them, they got nervous about me working on film and still being active duty, afraid they would get in trouble.  They practically hid me under the carpet. I reminded them that I was retiring and no one cared.  It was all run through my chain of command and didn’t interfere with my duties.  Those were disappearing fast. I was pretty much done. I do have to thank my chain of command and the support they gave me until I was on terminal leave and started working full time on set. I was getting ready to move and they even asked me to stay on longer so I had to push my move date back to work on the film longer.  Bummer right? =)

So yeah, g-force I had some input you could say.  What a ride it’s been! Seriously, I feel very fortunate for all the opportunities I have been given and honestly would love to work for Alex and Stephen Kendrick from Sherwood Pictures on a faith based film if ever given the chance! I love their work and would love a chance to use my talents on a movie like that!

Green Lantern cameo.
Green Lantern cameo.

JeffW asks: “For Ryan, my daughter is a big fan of the John Stewart Green Lantern. Was there any thought given to basing the movie on other Green Lanterns, or was it always Hal Jordan?”

Answer: Jeff, as far as I have read there were a few versions of the script, but they ALL were based on Hal Jordan. I recently was talking with a friend and my own opinion is if we see a Green Lantern 2 and it is NOT Ryan Reynolds, I think we may see a part 2 as John Stewart or Guy Gardner, but that is just my take on it.

1

stargateatlantisseasonsix asks “Hey, “Stitch”, long time since we talked last after Propworx’s first live Stargate Auction in Seattle; my mom says ‘Hi.”…anyways, other than Stargate, what other series are you affiliated with doing fan costuming for? STAR WARS? Star Trek? BSG? etc.”

Answer: Well as “baterista9″ so helpfully pointed out LOL I am member of the Rebel Legion- Star Wars costume group, still working on 501st membership, cannot decide what costume I want to do. You can see a couple of my costumes here if you scroll down and click on the pics… http://www.rebellegion.com/forum/profile.php?mode=viewprofile&u=5506

I do want to do Mando Merc Mandalorian type costume with a color shift paint. Like in this thread by “Corbin Dane” http://mercs.firespray.net/forum/index.php?topic=62386.0 So hopefully some day in the near future with time and money allowing me to do so I can get started.

I never got into the BSG costuming.  My wife helped with some the uniforms and they came out great for some close friends of ours, but she was so burnt out after making them and I never had the heart to even ask… I did enjoy Blood and Chrome!

The wife (Katie) and I have done a lot random things as well. A few Harry Potter based things. She made me a Quidditch robe for my Bulgaria Quidditch for the book release in 2007. I even got the opportunity to choke Professor Umbridge …We did the first Hunger Games movie costumes for the premiere in our local town, got some looks for sure, even made the local paper AGAIN.  At least I have stayed out of the police blotter! =)

1

Mike A. asks: “Ryan, what item do you have, from the SG franchise, is your absolute favorite? It can be real(show used), or a recreation/copy. Is it something you bought at that auction or subsequent auctions? Is it something you’ve made or were given? Or if you can’t nail it down to one, what items are your favorite? Are you working on any current/new reproduction SG props? I saw people on the SFH forum were working on a SGA ARG, but I haven’t checked their progress in many months. I remember seeing and handling those AND the “staple gun” Replictaor Neutralizers at the auction. Man, those were cool!!!”

Answer: Wow, I don’t even have a list with everything I have. I bought as much as I could afford from all three auctions and got some great pieces and costumes. I have a small chunk of the SGA gate, an SGA Life Signs Detector, and SGA GDO. I bought vests from ALL three shows to help me with my recreation for my website. We pride ourselves on replicating what the production department and Val Halverson’s people did over the years! I hope to interview her one day for my blog…

1

I have started collecting Indian Jones replica props and I do have a nice hat and even a jacket made by the same company! So far I have a replica of Sir Richard’s shield from The Last Crusade and a nice casting of the Holly Grail! I would have to say two of my favorite pieces are my HOMEWORLD COMMAND sign from SGU and as many of you may not know… because of Stargate my wife and I met… So it will always hold the biggest part in our hearts. Katie LOVES doing Vala and has created her own blog as Joe has seen a few times. http://becomingvala.com/ As a couple of you may know from the auction I even bought her Vala’s real throne from “The Powers That Be”. How many husbands can say they purchased a throne for their wife? =)

1

So that December, she ran out to the storage unit where I had hid it and framed up the COA and placed it under the tree Christmas morning and like a true costumer in 20 degree weather donned her Quetesh costume she made years prior! Yes, even her Harley Boots are screen accurate!

However, wrapping this post up I must say we love doing charity events when we can.  It’s so fun when the kids think you’re real. One event we attended was at the Baton Rouge Zoo. I think it was called “Light the Night”. This was a special event for terminally ill children and their families. So halfway through the night this mother comes up to me almost balling and thanks me for making her child smile for the first time in like 9 months. Its was all I could do to hold it together.  As she walked away, I stood there as tears began to run down my face. You walk 5 steps and pose for another picture. My wife and I often have talked about how maybe we are in some family’s scrapbook or in frame on a mantel in their home and maybe that is the last picture of someone’s child smiling they have to keep. Some of these kids are so brave it breaks your heart! Yes, it’s a blast to run around and act like a kid or be someone else for the day, but it’s days like those that make all the cost and hard work totally worth it and it can be so rewarding too!

1

25
Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
arcticgoddess

Hi Joe:

Can you explain beats in a script. I have researched the term on google and have not found an answer that has been useful. In fact, I am more confused then ever.

gforce

Thanks for the insights, Ryan. That was very interesting, and talk about working on the front lines! So cool that you were able to be involved in production like that so quickly.

Ryan "Stitch" Nixon

Thanks Joe, it was a pleasure!

I can answer few more questions below and ill keep eye on comments if anyone has anymore?

Also, if anyone is interested in getting into Stargate costuming, hit me up via my site! http://www.stitchsloft.com I will make you look like you stepped off the set!

In the famous word of John Sheppard “Doctor. This is why you brought me here.”

DP
DP

Joe,

My husband sometimes uses the words “too rich” as a reason not to finish his dessert. I asked him what “too rich” means and he put all the fingertips of one hand together, put them to his lips, and opened his hand as he said, “too rich”. I don’t understand Greek hand gestures, either, so I still don’t know what it means.

What does “too rich” as a reference to dessert mean to you?

sylvia
sylvia

Re: too rich….YEAH, Joe, agree with that, I do.

Ryan:
What an awesome career and soooo many adventures you’ve had and more to come. THANKS for sharing..

Ponytail
Ponytail

Very interesting Q&A! Thanks to Ryan “Stitch” Nixon for taking the time to answer, in depth, the questions. Sounds like you have a fun life. Apollo 13 was an awesome movie! But, I don’t think I saw this anywhere…how did you get the nickname “Stitch”?

Prayers for Oklahoma again as they get pounded by even more Tornados. The videos of storm chasers driving into a tornado are harrowing!

Ponytail
Ponytail

Joe is Cas still there? What is he up to?

Ryan "Stitch" Nixon

Ponytail asks “how did you get the nickname “Stitch?”

Answer: Well everyone seems to get a nickname or “call sign” in the military often you will get more than one over the years! I’ve had couple “Norm”, “Junior” and being a Parachute Rigger, most the guys in Navy think we just sit around and sew all day. Yes, much of our job is sewing and repairs on flight clothing, but it can get bit derogatory and often we are so colorfully called a “Stitch B!%#$’s”

So a Navy LT thought it would be great nick name if I was called “Stitch”, i hated it at first. Then it kinda grew on me and I went with it! Now I am almost known world wide in the Stargate world as “Stitch” so its kinda fun! I do also love that little blue guy that wrecks havoc on everyone that Disney came up with! So last time I saw him we had to get a pic together! =)
comment image

Tammy Dixon
Tammy Dixon

Thank you for answering my question Stitch! Your story is very interesting. I love the way your hobby helped you into a new career. You said that you keep a lot of things. Do you have a big storage warehouse for all of it?
Oh and I likedd the story about working with terminally ill children (words that should never go together). Anything to help them escape and just be a kid again.

Airelle
Airelle

Thanks to Stitch for doing the Q&A, I love hearing the behind the scenes stuff, make me feel like a part of things I might not otherwise be, How cool is that!! Good thing you had your helmet on for that nasty dino thingy.
~Joe, how are your mom and sister doing? Loved to see moms cooking on the blog, always looks so delicious, and your sister puppies, how are they faring?
,,and June 6th will be here b4 you know it for some smooooooth sailing stuff! Do you still have the exercise regimen going? I know its how you all stay so trim, after eating the stuff you picture on the blog, or maybe you don’t always eat it like I think, and just take wonderful pictures,, more desserts please,.
thanks for sharing. Have a great day!

Ryan "Stitch" Nixon

Tam asks” Do you have a big storage warehouse for all of it?”

Answer: No, I do have large barn that the throne is in now till we get the addition built on our house. I plan to add a media room and room to store and display all of our props and costumes. I will prob be 60 by the time that’s done, but it always fun to dream.

My work shop is currently in my basement for now. I plan to rebuild my barn and the upper hay loft will become “Stitch’s Loft” one day and be a fully finished workshop for my site.

I joked with the wife we should buy some land and open a Stargate panitball/airsoft course. You can walk-in to the SGC get all geared up with your friends and go out run around in woods all day shoot each other!

I also have a close friend David who is a SG fan and a engineer. Him and I have located some pretty high res blueprint from the gate when things were sold off, we have kicked around about building a wooden gate in my back two acres. We build it in sections and make it the full 22ft across. Would love to get some Gunite and have base built to look like rocks at your local zoo. Yes I have done my homework about this… LOL

The wife did blog about it though LOL she wants one too! http://becomingvala.wordpress.com/2012/09/28/updates-boots-new-address/

I just do not have the $30,000.00 for a gear to make it spin like Richard Hudolin production designer did. Trust me I would love to “make it spin”. =)

Randomness
Randomness

@More than likely, your husband just ate too much and is blaming that queasy feeling on the dessert.

Lol Joe. I agree, that said, everyone has done that at some point in their life. When you have had a great meal and want a dessert and not realize that you’ve had too much already.

Randomness
Randomness

Oh and good Q&A, very detailed answers there. I think Ryan has clearly won the award for longest answers on Joes blog award to date smile

JeffW

Opps…messed up the blockquote.

@Ryan (stitch):

Thanks for your answers (and your service)!

I just do not have the $30,000.00 for a gear to make it spin like Richard Hudolin production designer did. Trust me I would love to “make it spin”. =)

All you would need is a 1/2 to 1hp electric A/C motor with a speed control, a small rubber tire (to act as a roller to drive the ring), a microprocessor control board (for the dialing sequences) and some bearings/rollers. I’m a EE (Electronics Engineer) by the way if you need help…just sayin’! wink

Tim G
Tim G

Really disappointing news. Matt Smith is leaving Doctor Who after the 50th anniversary special and the XMas special. After Tennant, I wasn’t initially sold on him, but he has been one of the best Doctors. Don’t know “Who” they could get to replace him.
http://www.tvguide.com/News/Matt-Smith-Exiting-Doctor-Who-1066215.aspx?rss=breakingnews

Ryan "Stitch" Nixon

@JeffW,

How far you from Western NYS? =)

Elminster
Elminster

Hey Joe
How are the prospects of one of your shows getting developed. Or is it still “Smoooooth sailing”?

Elminster

dasndanger
dasndanger

Great Q&A!! Thanks, Ryan!

Sorry I’ve been quiet the last couple days (yer not sorry, I’m sure, Joey wink ), but my sis has been in town and we’ve been busy, and then last night after dinner something superweird happened – instead of being tired and falling asleep watching tv, I had loads of energy and ended up doing all my monthly paperwork and paying all my bills. Sure, I was up until 2am, but I felt GREAT! Dinner was grilled chicken sandwich – without the bread – with lettuce, tomato, and onion, and sides of brown rice and broccoli – and red wine…and chocolate. Nothing special or even different from what I often eat, but for some reason I had more energy than I knew what to do with…and it lasted through today – enough energy and focus (the more important of the two) to get my entire house cleaned! Woo!

NOW I wanna take a nap. razz

[blockquote]I’ll be the one answering your questions in a dedicated mailbag (including a couple of outstanding queries – Das, this means you). [/blockquote]

Translation: Das, stop nagging and get off’a my back already!!

wink

das

dasndanger
dasndanger

OOPS! Oh, you get the idea…no used editing.

das

baterista9
baterista9

@ Stitch:

Are you in touch with Daniel “lostncyber” Kim of scifihero.net? We met at Gatecons some 10 years back. Come to think of it, you & I may also have met in Vancouver. Photos to jog your memory on Facebook: Gilder Anne McCarroll.

baterista9
baterista9

@ Stitch:

Did we meet at GC 2002/3/4? You can see my face at Facebook (of course):
https://m.facebook.com/#!/gilder.mccarroll?__user=674061548

Ryan "Stitch" Nixon

@ baterista,

Yes, I know Dan Kim very well… I am Chief of Stargate operations on http://www.scifihero.net. Dan is the owner of the site. I may have met you in 2006 when Amanda did my re-enlistment for the Navy, Dan was also in Vancouver that year! I

I met Dan in 2005 at Dragon Con and we have been friends ever since. I would say we talk monthly mostly about prop and costume stuff. Mr. Kim is still in TX with his lovely wife Mindy. Dan also has a site like mine other than the forum of SFH.net.

Dan recently started http://www.alchemyarms.com/ he does some great work and helps me with few my items as well! We work together closely on many join projects as well. I finally found you on FB you are listed as Gilder A. McCarroll not with full middle name, took me few tries. =)

PBMom

@Ryan “Stitch” Nixon Cool Q&A; sorry I’m so late catching up. Thank you for your service. My dad’s side of the family has a long line of serving in all branches of the armed forces. My dad was a Navy man (Korean war). My father-in-law served on the Daniel T. Griffin in the Pacific campaign of WW2. He just recently passed in Feb of 2012. Many of my cousins have also served. My foster brother was on a nuclear sub, but I don’t remember what the name of it was (he is not exactly a good communicator shall we say). You have had a very interesting life! Beautiful family, too.

Ryan "Stitch" Nixon

Hey All,

The wife and I are planning to attend the LAST Creation Stargate Con (Aug 15-17th 2014). It will be our anniversary weekend so we will be just relaxing and having fun. Thought about doing the Stitch’s Loft vendor thing, but decided to just go and have fun! Love to meet any of you if your in Chicago area or planning to go!

A BIG list of everyone’s fav’s is already building, more to come I am sure! I will be one con not to be missed! As well as first timers like Jacqueline Samuda (SG-1’s Nirrti) and Jennifer Spence (Dr. Lisa Park) from SGU will also be there!

CON INFO (Very Last Stargate Con for Creation in the USA) =(
http://www.creationent.com/cal/sgchi.htm#tix