The Welcome Back wagon
Spending quality time with the dogs = check!

Okay, following twelve glorious days of unbridled eating and a weekend of football-watching, it’s time to buckle down and get back to work.  I’ve got a big January ahead of me…

1. We’ve been told that a decision will be made by early February on a project Paul and I currently have in development.  So, this week, we need to address some notes on the first draft script, make sure it’s a tight and compelling read – y’know, the kind that makes you want to green light it to series – and then deliver it…and hope for the best.

2. I’ve been spinning my wheels on the last few scenes of the southern gothic pilot I’m co-writing with my talented friend, Tara Yelland with the help of my research assistant (and Georgia native), Jeffrey Wilson.  I just have to push through and get it done, hopefully by tomorrow, then send it Tara’s way so that we can both give it a re-read and decide on next steps for the rewrite.  At a whopping 65 pages, it needs some significant tightening-up in addition to a (southern) dialogue polish.  If my 2013 luck carries over into 2014, the reaction to this script will no doubt be: “We love it!  But can we set it in Chicago instead?”

3. Back in October, Paul and I were hired to develop a series pitch for a science fiction novel written by “the dean of science fiction writers”.  We traveled to Toronto in November to pitch it to broadcasters there and, in the third week of January, we’ll be going to L.A. to pitch it there.

4. While in L.A., we’ll be meeting with the team behind a terrific, big-budget period series that needs a show runner, someone to write the pilot, and is looking to shoot in – of all places! – Vancouver.

5. Also, while in L.A., we’ll be starting the meet-and-greets, laying the groundwork for a possible return trip in April-May with an eye to staffing season.

6. I’m about 17 pages into the horror feature I’m co-writing with Alex Levine.  It’s a solid start – creepy, weird, and mysterious.  Ideally, I’d love to hit the 30 page mark before handing it off to Alex who presently has his hands full working on Orphan Black.

7. Stargate Special Features Producer (and runner-up in our Stargate Fantasy Football League this year) Ivon Bartok and I have been talking about co-scripting something for a while but could never quite agree on the right project.  I wanted to write a musical while he had his heart set on a martial arts extravaganza.  Eventually, his people got together with my people (we basically exchanged texts) and decided on a comedy.  So far, it’s only a kernel of an idea – but a pretty damn funny kernel!

8. And, last but not least, visit my doctor to find out why my heart has seemingly migrated to the right side of my chest.

27 thoughts on “January 5, 2014: On tap for January!

  1. Dude! You’ve become Doctor Who!
    Looking forward to more about your projects…they all sound pretty cool.
    And, the puppies are enjoying quality time with you.

  2. Hurray for you and Ivon! At last we will get to see My Two Ninjas! Or is it Sensei and Son? Oh oh, I know, it’s Two and a Half Black Belts! I can’t wait!!!

  3. Good luck with the projects, Joe! Sound like you’ve got some excellent possibilities there. And, for the record, Chicago is a lovely place, a little chilly at the moment, but if you temporarily relocated here to work on a show, there would be plenty of us around to dog-sit, help you find restaurants, go out to said restaurants with you (just so you wouldn’t get lost) and just sort of generally be, ya know, helpful.

  4. “…it needs some significant tightening-up in addition to a (southern) dialogue polish.”

    *raises hand* Volunteering, seriously, to help with the polishing. Bi-dialectical Northern /Southern since birth, both Georgia and Arkansas styles. (Mommy was a Georgia 🍑, Daddy was an Arkansas 💎.) Have also acquired some Texas dialect style.

  5. 1. Fingers crossed!

    2. Southern dialogue? All you need to know is “y’all” and “He got a real pretty mouth, ain’t he?”. 😉

    3. Fingers AND toes crossed!

    4. Fingers and toes AND legs crossed!

    5. Whatever you do, when going into these meets and greets make sure you don’t smell like a tramp…or a teamster. Or even worse – a Drakkar Noir-drenched gigolo! That’d be even worse than my fridge. 😛

    6. At least you didn’t say the dreaded ‘smooooooth sailing’…so I’m guessing you’re good to go!

    7. A comedy? Wait. Didn’t one of your buddies say that you had a weird sense of humor, and didn’t find normally funny things funny, but instead found unfunny things hilarious (like Will Ferrell)? Hmmmmm…perhaps you better stick with sci fi and horror. 😉

    8. It’s gas.


  6. Re: Your heart. I hope that turns out to be nothing serious. Most often, I am told, heart issues end up being heart burn. However, with your rather adventurous diet, you may need your cholesterol checked and a test or two for clogged arteries. Good luck with your check-up.

    Also, best of luck with your projects. You are so talented that one of them will definitely have to work out.

  7. Hmmm, I know I have something planned for the third week in January too… But what is it…?? Oh, that’s right, every third Friday of the month is Birthday day when we have cake at work for anybody with a birthday in that month. We are just starting this strategy this year.

    You sound real busy Joe. Let us know if we can help you with anything. If you want to run a script by us, need our Professional Viewer opinion, or just need us to help you decide which project to accept, or whatever. We’re here for ya babe.

    Do you lay on your right side all the time? This might cause your heart to move over there. Gravity. 😉

  8. #2 Where in the south is it set? What strata of society are your characters from?

    #3 But which single novel has series potential? Will you be filtering the sexism out or are you shopping it out to Fox?

    #8 That’s not supposed to happen.

  9. Number four sounds especially promising, though I have mixed feelings about you being distracted from some of your other projects. Still, period series and big budget…. as for number 8. Either you are turning into a Time Lord(could you clue us in on where you encountered the energy source to bring such a change about; I wouldn’t mind a few regenerations), your heart is abandoning your left lung for one with more lobes, or you have no heart, and simply have some alien creature exploring human anatomy(which I guess is still better than the classic anal probes). At any rate, I hope 8 does not signify anything serious going on with you. Thanks for the update, and looking forward to good news in the near future.

  10. I just watched SGU Malice on Space Channel. Regarding the scenes on the planet with Rush, Scott and Greer – were they shot in Drumheller, Alberta?


  11. @Joe:

    Good luck on the trip(s) to L.A.!

    You’ll probably find that #8 is heart-burn, probably due to time-zone shifting, but be sure to get it checked out. I found that I often get heart-burn when traveling, whether due to airplane decompression/compression, time-changes, diet or tap-water content changes (or a combination), I don’t know, but it is definitely correlated with airline travel for me.

    And I seem to remember that one of these was a ship based scifi series (#3?). Is that still the case?

    “We love it! But can we set it in Chicago instead?”

    Well, you’ll have a number of assistants if you do. Let’s see, there’s sylvia, Sparrow_hawk, and Lou Zucaro (although I haven’t seen Lou post in a while). For Chicaga, all youse gotta remember is da dialog, the phrases “over by dhere”, “I knows a guy”, “da Bears”, and to end sentences with “you wanna go with?”. Oh and don’t forget to use the word “Hinky”. 😉


    What part of Georgia was your mom from? Similar to you, my dad was from Georgia and my mom was from Maryland. My cousins and I used to say that my dad’s hometown (Twin City) was “smack dab in the middle of nowhere, then you hang a left”. It’s got some beautiful mangroves though.

    “Bi-dialectical”…I like that! Pretty much describes my youth and growing-up years. My wife makes fun of me when I call the relatives in Georgia, or when we visit there as it only takes me a minute or so to slip back into the rural Georgia accent.

    I’ve lived a lot of places (including England for three years), and so my accent and pronunciation of certain words has gotten muddled over the years, but it seems the dialect(s) that you learn when you are young stick with you for life and are easy to slip back into.

  12. Hello,
    je vous souhaite une bonne et heureuse année 2014 et, enfin, l’aboutissement de vos efforts créatifs dans quelques projets qui iront en production. Si je pense un peu à moi dans mes voeux pour vous je me souhaiterais alors que la prochaine année voit le jour de la série de science-fiction, on est vraiment en manque de bonne série sci-fi, et je vous souhaite d’aller faire une visite à la White Rock Gallery pour y faire la connaissance des sculptures de bronze d’Hélène Labrie à White Rock. Connaissant votre sens de l’humour, ce serait étonnant que ces bronzes ne vous charment pas.

    C’est toujours un plaisir de vous lire, notamment vos critiques culinaires mais particulièrement celles des restaurants de Montréal car j’y ai plus de chances de vérifier la justesse de votre opinion; Québec est plus proche de Montréal que de Tokyo!

    Bons succès, bonne santé et la Paix du coeur à vous ainsi qu’à Akemi.

  13. That’s a crazy schedule! How do you do it all?

    Those food pictures yesterday were killer! How do you keep so healthy? Oh and I hope the Dr finds your heart. 😉

    Das: There is more to be Southern than Ya’ll and complimenting a pretty mouth! 🙄 Don’t forget our love of fried foods, guns and our colorful idioms! “He’s running around like a chicken with his head cut off.” “He fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down.” “She’s so stuck up, she’d drown in a rainstorm.” “This is gooder’n grits.” “I feel like I’ve been chewed up and spit out.” Oh and my favorite pick-up line “Girl, You look so good I’m gonna take you home and sop you up with a biscuit” Now tell me, what lady could resist that?! 😉

    At only 10F (-12C) here in Mississippi, “It’s colder than a well digger’s butt in the winter.” I can’t wait for spring! ‘Dern, it’s as cold as all git out!'”

  14. OH BOY! a ninja musical – just what i (and no doubt the world) ahs been waiting for! you and ivon better get cracking on that 😀

  15. Dang, it’s cold. It’s -15 here in Chicagoland. At least it ain’t snowing for now, but more of that is supposed to be coming…sigh. The furnace can’t keep up…it won’t stop – THANK GOODNESS.

    Never thought I’d say I’m looking forward to the warm up to near zero…LOL.
    I want to go home to my little grass shack in Hawaii and thaw out.

    @Tam….a corruption of one of your idioms, He’s running around like a chickenless head.

  16. Hi Joe.

    Sounds like a busy month. Best of luck!

    Was just catching up on all the recent entries. Crazy to see the top 5 commenters are still mostly the same from 2… 3… 4… dare I say… 5 years ago.

    I am starting to feel very old.

    Miss all of you guys.

    Adam B.

  17. Yay….it’s warming up…now it is -12F.
    I still want to go back to my little grass shack in Hawaii.

  18. Indeed, hopefully 2014 will be the year for movement on at least SOME of these projects. I really like the idea of the ninja romantic comedy musical or whatever it is.

    As someone whose acid reflux has suddenly today returned with a vengeance, I’m voting that the chest pain is that. Ugh. You would have to rip the Gaviscon bottle out of my cold, dead hands.

    This might be a cure for your AR! Or kill you, one or the other:

    I was going to post some pics from my snowshoe hike in our local Rockwood Park, but not quite ready yet. I will tonight if I can.

  19. Hey Joe
    Which of the seven do you think has the best chance?
    I’m hoping for #1 and #4 sounds intriguing!


  20. @Tam Dixon on Southern Sayin’s:

    Let’s keep this going for Joe! In that vein I can add:

    Living high on the hog
    Rarer than hen’s teeth
    He got hit one too many times with the “ugly stick”
    Happier than a pig in slop
    Wore slap out
    I ain’t no hotter than the stove (my grandmother’s favorite)
    Throwin’ a hissy fit


    Yep. It’s been cold today. The salt trucks have been laying salt, but it’s too cold for it to work. Add to that the blowing drifts, and it’s becoming very treacherous! In the 2 mile drive to the Physical Therapist today, I saw 3 cars that had spun out. Most of the roads were snow-tracked. Be safe out there!

  21. Aww,, doggy pictures, thanks, and good luck on the numbers, hope the heart thing is just gas like das said. You are a busy guy.

  22. Are you harvesting another heart as research on an upcoming project?

    Honestly though, is it a burning sensation or an arrhythmia?

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