I recall reading somewhere that Stephen King likes to listen to (“rock”) music while he writes.  That’s amazing because I couldn’t imagine a scenario or musical genre (even classical!) that would actually help my in-progress writing process.  I make the distinction because every pilot I work on tends to have a theme, a song that perfectly captures the spirit of the prospective series.  Before sitting down to write, I’ll always slip on my ear buds and listen to the song, once, imagining the opening title sequence or crucial montage or Comic Con trailer.  And that usually puts me in the mood.  Pendelum provides the theme for Dark Matter, Parov Stelar the music for a couple of A.K.A.’s montage sequences, while one of Vitalic’s beats offers offers the frenzied musical accompaniment to that over-the-top SF action pilot I jus completed.

But when it comes time for the actual writing, I need silence.  I NEED silence but subconsciously crave distraction.  Between pages, I am constantly surfing the web or responding to emails, checking my phone messages and generally seeking out something (anything) that will divert my attention from the task at hand.  Whether its approving blog comments, raiding my chocolate drawer, or putting out the recycling bins, it’s all a welcome distraction.  I would be SO much more prolific if I was actually able to exercise a certain amount of self-control.

Sadly, I haven’t been able to find anything that actually helps the writing process. I’m experimenting with bourbon and, while the early trials hold promise, it’s really too early to give it official approval.

So, on the projects front…

Dark Matter has been a roller coaster ride of ups, downs, and a couple of times when I thought we were going to go hurtling off the tracks and land in the carny booth.  There have been plenty of close calls in our attempts to put the financing in place.  I always had a per-episode budget number I wanted to hit – nothing extravagant, simply what I thought would be the bare minimum we would need to produce a great, ship-based SF.  And, when that number proved just-out-of-reach, I reconsidered my drop-dead sum, figuring that we could trade off a slightly lower budget in exchange for more time to craft production-friendly scripts.  But the latest news from our production partner is a downer with the final number falling short of practical expectations.  Everybody loves the script, but they’re reluctant to pony up the $$$ required to do it right.  And it always comes back to the same argument. Why pay more for an expensive space-based scifi series when you can pay half as much for a genre show that is probably going to do just as well in the ratings even if it doesn’t offer all the cool ship-based adventures and otherworldly exploration?  My answer would be: “Because it wouldn’t offer all the cool ship-based adventures and otherworldly exploration!”.  Anyway, we’ll have the final tally sometime next week and, at that point, we’ll make the call.

Development work has been completed on A.K.A.  Everything (the pilot, episode #2 script, and series overview) were delivered to the broadcaster last week and we’ve been told that a decision on the project will be made by the end of next week.

Have been on a couple of calls from production companies interested in the Southern Gothic pilot I co-wrote with my pal Tara in T.O.  Tomorrow, or early next week, I get on the phone with my U.S. agent to talk about possibilities south of the border.

Finally finished a first draft of that over-the-top actioner (as opposed to the over-the-top “auctioneer” this blog’s spell-check keeps prompting me to write).  It’s…pretty crazy, as different from Southern Gothic as SG is from A.K.A. and A.K.A. from Dark Matter.  And, for those wondering, DM is very different from this one as well.  I’ll be sending it off to some of my fellow writers for feedback, and I’m fully prepared for the responses to range from: “This is great!” to “You’re out of your mind!” and anything in between.

And then there are the countless other non self-generated projects out there – pitches and possibilities and sundry longshots that have, to date, offered little beyond endless conference calls. emails, and the oft-expressed desire to “work together soon”.

Back to the bourbon!

17 thoughts on “April 3, 2014: The projects update!

  1. Break a leg Joe!

    And would you mind passing the Bourbon? Kentucky makes great horses and great liquor. That’s for sure.

    It’s so sad SF is so costly. Story of my life! I do love the shiny things. I swear if I ever win the power ball…


  2. Best of luck with A.K.A I hope it comes to something Joe. And about Dark Matter, really I guess it’s just a gamble some studios are hesitant to take. For one if Dark Matter is successful the studio would make back their money and then some. Scifi shows, the successful ones have a habit of attracting a large passionate following, the kind of following that cheap genre shows that might cost less can’t compete with. You only have to look at how successful Stargate was for MGM in general.

    Anyway speaking of anime, I was recently watching Robotics; Notes. It’s based 10 years after the events of Steins Gate, I love this series too. It’s just so well done, when you first watch you’ll notice the 1.048596 Beta world line aka the Steins Gate worldline number appear on the screen before the first episode starts. Several characters are mentioned through passing or directly, such as Daru and Kurisu posting on this online service the main character uses. It’s also the same world line that Daru gets married on and has his daughter Suzuha. Explaining any other references would spoil.

    The opening music is pretty cool too.

  3. Bourbon, yes. I enjoy some Jim Beam 8 years or Bullet and soda. Coke would be just profane.

  4. I used to turn off the Wi-Fi when I’d write and if something came up that was an excuse for research, I’d put it in brackets so I could search for all the brackets and do all the research later.

    Bourbon? I can get you the short list of what else you could include in your trials. I know someone who has immersed himself in the topic along with others for decades.

  5. Drinkey poo? Yes, sure…I think I will – a nice nite cap!
    Thanks for the idea.

  6. For the next week you need a good luck checklist:

    – Maneki Neko (a gold one)
    – Rabbit’s foot (Plush One, not be cruel with animals)
    – Four-leaf clover (I can not advise you here. Just ask an Irish)
    – Horseshoe (You can replace it with an Indianapolis Colts Hat)
    – An San Pancrazio Martire statuette ( I dont know but my mother says it works – well if you put a sprig of parsley in her hand)

    Break a leg.

  7. Hello,
    remarquables similitudes dans le douloureux travail de rédaction. Je ne suis incapable d’écrire 3 lignes de suite au bureau, que ce soit pour un texte légal ou une opinion !! Je fais exactement comme vous à la seule exception que je ne peux absolument pas mettre de la musique sinon, j’arrête de travailler et j’écoute la musique !
    Que vos projets aboutissent enfin!
    Et, je vous en supplie, tenez votre bout pour Dark Matter: do not lower the budget, make it right or do not make it at all.

  8. I would be SO much more prolific if I was actually able to exercise a certain amount of self-control. So true for me to!!!

    I’m experimenting with bourbon and, while the early trials hold promise, it’s really too early to give it official approval. Let us know how that works out. Personally, I would love a margarita while working. I would be happier while working, that’s for sure!

    Fingers crossed on the projects you’ve been juggling!

    I’m exhausted and it’s only 10:00 a.m.….. We had a big storm last night and the electricity kept going on/off. I need a nap AND a margarita. Oh and chocolate, lots and lots of chocolate!

  9. @Joe on songs:

    I’m a background noise person; I guess that comes from the craziness that goes on around here with the two kids, dog, pet rats, fish, car and airplane projects, and, oh yeah, work!

    I’ve got a friend who works for Slacker Radio, and so to honor him, I set up an account and defined a few “stations”. One of them is a mix of all the various artists I have liked over the years, and the others are things, like “Exercise Music”, or “Work in the Garage” music.

    I’m most productive when there is low-level music in the background…at least until I hit some fast paced older heavy metal and then spend a minute or two on “air guitar” or “air drums”! 😀

    Anyway, I’m hoping something shakes out for you on Dark Matter, A.K.A., or Southern Gothic soon. Don’t you have a trip to L.A. scheduled this month?

    I guess I should get back to work…AC/DC came on so I may need a minute or so of “air guitar” transition time. 😉

  10. I think you should try Ambien. Imagine it. Ambien Sleep Writing. You take one and wake up with a positively perfect script with zero notes that everyone keeps upping the price for you to sell it to them because they HAVE to be the ones to make it a reality.

    Good thoughts for you on all your projects out there. I don’t know if I could be a writer or an actor or anything like that. Pet sitting is sometimes hit or miss (like better bank some money because no one goes away in January outside of the people who use you to walk their dogs while they are working).

  11. Like you Joe, I cannot do any kind of work which requires mental concentration and have music playing. The music immediately consumes my attention and I get nothing done. However, if it is something that I can do by rote or is mundane (most stuff at work, nowadays) I don’t mind it at all.

    I’m disappointed to hear that Dark Matter is looking a bit shakier, but as you’ve said, things can turn on a dime with this stuff, so I’m keeping up hope. Looking forward to AKA!

    I’m off tomorrow afternoon to my Spring trip to Grand Canyon, but up until Tuesday I’ll still be on line occasionally so I’ll hopefully get to at least briefly give my thoughts on Annihilation. I’m really looking forward to this trip – it’s been a long Winter!

  12. Speaking of projects you’re currently working on, have you heard that Boom! Comics might be turning Stargate: Extinction’s script into a comic series this year? Do you know anything about that?

  13. Good luck Joe. But, maybe you could do something out of the box. Begin that travel memoirs book. Or put together a cookbook. Or, my favorite, start writing a children’s book or series of stories from the viewpoint of a pug dog and his friends/siblings. Call it “My Life Down Here” or “It’s a Pugs Life”, etc. It would be about all his adventures and home life. Just put on that Peanuts theme song and let it flow!

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