Okay.  I may not love where I’m presently living and I may hate the weather and the Toronto traffic but, boy, am I looking forward to production on Dark Matter‘s first season.  Yes, of course I’m thrilled that I’m about to start prep on my very own show, but experience has taught me that, at the end of the day, it all comes down to the people you work with.  And I’ve got a very good feeling about the people I’ll be working with in the months ahead.  They’re relaxed, friendly, supportive, upbeat, and incredibly talented.  It’s a great vibe and highly reminiscent of the positive tone I experienced on Stargate.  Can’t wait to introduce you to the gang in the coming weeks.

This morning, I settled into my new office, had my green smoothie, and talked t.v. and books with Alison and Caitlin (who promised to recommend me some Scandinavian reads) before getting on the phone with our Casting Director, Lisa Parasyn, who has done a phenomenal job of bringing in an incredible array of acting talent for these auditions.  To be honest, with seven varied roles to cast, I was a little nervous going in but about a week into the process, I’m positively excited by some of the talent.  We have 2-3 solid candidates for each part – and still have more people to see!  With Vancouver and L.A. sessions upcoming, Lisa and I reviewed exactly what we need from each of these characters.  One of the key aspects I emphasized was humor.  I’ve always felt that a sense of humor goes a long way toward humanizing a character and facilitating a viewer connection.  I’m not necessarily talking about laugh-out-loud funny but even a subtle humor is great.  When I think back to Stargate, characters like McKay and O’Neill are the obvious examples, but I’d argue that Daniel, Teal’c, Woolsey, Ronon (and many more) were also funny in their own way.  And the viewers loved them for it.  Well, that’s what I’m looking for in these auditions.  Humor – in addition to depth, range, and an utterly brilliant performance.  And, so far, a surprising number have delivered.

This afternoon, I walked the stages that will soon hold our sets…

October 20, 2014: Early Prep On Dark Matter Begins!

This is where we’ll be building the ship’s infirmary and isolation chamber.

October 20, 2014: Early Prep On Dark Matter Begins!

Future home of The Raza’s bridge.

October 20, 2014: Early Prep On Dark Matter Begins!

Potential home of our shuttle, the Phantom Class Marauder.

I know it doesn’t look like much now but just you wait.

32 thoughts on “October 20, 2014: Early prep on Dark Matter begins!

  1. I remember you and Carl Binder walking the sets, taking us on a tour. Awe, great memories. And many new ones to come.

  2. I’m curious; has Syfy’s HQs switched to Toronto? Is Toronto the new Vancouver? I’m just so used to all Syfy (and most sci-fi) things being filmed in Vancouver, it seems an odd change. And, from what I know about Toronto from HGTV, it’s certainly not cheaper to live there! Are studios cheaper or something?

    If everything starts moving to Toronto, I’m going to miss the mountains and forests I feel like I could navigate, despite never being there before. 😉

  3. Congrats on the start of “Dark Matter”! I am at the tail end of shooting my webseries “Preflight Launch” and have been fighting through recovering from not one, but TWO, concussions that I suffered this summer over a 10 week span. Add to the fray that I am also in school full time, and it’s been a fun challenge! The webseries is a prequel to a TV series I am hoping to get developed here in Winnipeg, knock on wood that it gets off the ground!

    I hope the poochniks are alright, and adapting to the new home. I will admit, my eyes have not been reacting well to the computer monitor so I’ve not been able to keep up with your blog, my time on it has been taken up with the schoolwork and the webseries (not necessarily in that order!) and answering the occasional email. Figured I would put a comment here, hope you don’t mind!

    Oh, and my webseries finaly has a website, it can be found at http://www.preflightlaunchwebseries.com so I hope you don’t mind my incuding this little morsel of info here (hoping some people decide to buy a few tshirts to raise a few funds for it, lol!)

    All the best,
    Jorie

  4. Hey Joe – Hopefully you can reply, but, to me it seems like production(s) take a huge warehouse space, build it out into a set and use that for filming. Is that pretty much the way it is?

  5. Those stages look tiny! I guess I was spoiled with my first experience of sound stages being able to hold two complete sets of Bag End (human and Hobbit scale) plus the Palantir room of Orthanc at the same time. Or the entire Rivendel set. And the “small” stage that easily fitted the Helms Deep miniature. Still, I suppose the interiors of space ships are usually pretty small.

    Exciting times lay ahead!

  6. Blood pasta.. No. Just no.
    Wow y’all have a freaking boatload of stuff to do. You’ll be too busy to notice the cold (okay I know, wishful thinking). Brrrr.

    Can’t wait to find out the actors who are hired. 🙂

  7. @I know it doesn’t look like much now but just you wait.

    It looks humble, but at the end of the day I bet you’ll do a lot with it. While I’m sure you won’t have an SGU type budget for ship building, I bet you’ll come up with something quite special. I’m looking forward to seeing how it comes along.

  8. @When I think back to Stargate, characters like McKay

    Personally I think McKay became one of the most important characters in the show(If not the most). He had so much attention and I couldn’t imagine SGA without him. I thought he was a great character, and easily one of the most unique in the franchise.

  9. Wow! It’s all coming together. Hope it’s fun for Ya! Did you get those blackout curtains? Hope everyone slept well!

    Thanks @PBmom! You can do this with Boomer. I’m praying it all goes well! Heart worm treatment is slower these days but a lot more gentle. We used to treat them with an injectable arsenic derivative. Lots of side effects! The new way is better. Hang in there!

  10. So is this gonna be similar to stargate or it will be something that could also be liked by people who didn’t like stargate ?

  11. So when can we expect to know some of the cast? is it days, weeks or months?

    This will be great!

  12. In Stargate (all), the humor was as important as story and the sci-fi element to me. It’s what the writers always did right.

    On second thought, it looks like there IS a lot of work to be done. I’ll up my offer to include help building the sets. I’m packing my hammer now.

  13. Sounds like you are having a blast. I can feel your excitement just by your words. It is so refreshing to see someone loving there job as much as you do and to share that joy with others.
    Glad that you have a great group of people to work with! All my best to you and your fellow writers on choosing the cast. That sounds like the hardest part of the job.

  14. fsmn36, I think they are moving to Toronto, and Joe can correct me on this if I am wrong, because the studios in Vancouver are losing their tax breaks. So in that sense it is cheaper to now film in Toronto. Although,there are alot of shows still being filmed in Vancouver. 🙂

  15. I’ll be happy if Dark Matter retains some of that classic Stargate mixture of humor and drama, it was what made those shows so wonderful to me. I loved the interactions between Daniel and Jack in particular on SG1 (and Teal’c’s eyebrow) and between Rodney and John on SGA. Yes McKay got the overtly funny lines and dialog and David was brilliant at it, but I can’t help but love JF’s incredible expressions that often said so much more than words, and the beautiful snark between them. I hope you hit the casting jackpot on DM that you were blessed with on SG1 and SGA! 🙂

  16. Trés excitant votre blog ce matin.
    And you say :”One of the key aspects I emphasized was humor…When I think back to Stargate, characters like ”
    May I say Claudia Black a.k.a. Vala among them.

  17. You’re absolutely right about the humor. 🙂
    One thing that has me very curious is the music. 😕
    And for heaven’s sake this time save to disc a digital copy of all production designs do not take up hardly any space and is a fabulous a terrific keepsake. (For you and for us of course). 🙄
    Perhaps in the scene when they search the ship database to find themselves, have some place to put some photos of blog regulars? Is only an crazy idea.
    I can laugh a lot seen the faces of Jeffw or Gary or others even you & Paul in the episode. :mrgreen:

  18. I hope you find a true home soon; if it was me I’d live in Felix’s loft in Orphan Black, that gorgeous house in Panic Room or Andie MacDowall’s rooftop apt in Green Card. Someplace beyond awesome in the city. I hope you find your perfect home. Maybe some great walks sniffing new things will ease the pups stress at their new digs.

  19. man, i wish all this excitement was about a new stargate series…

    i’ve been following you for years, joe. and while i’ve greatly enjoyed the dogs and the scary food pics, it was stargate that brought me to your blog and kept me returning.

    i wish you all the luck in the world, and i hope all your dreams for the series come true, joe. THANK YOU for all the time and patience you’ve given me and the fans.

    *hugs bye*

  20. I was wondering if you have talked to Syfi about more and more people watching tv shows online and not on tv. Do thay have a way of tracking it yet. I know I watch SGU on the computer as I’m shure a lot of other people did and they when and cansaled it. I’m really looking fwored to your new show good luck with it.

  21. It takes a creative mind to look at a space like that and think, “Infirmary”, or “bridge.” Something I totally lack.

  22. It’s pure magic what you guys are able to create out of a big empty space. I’m looking forward to seeing the CG. I would like to see some interesting space sights through the ships windows besides just twinkling stars. Really looking forward to some good space adventures.

  23. Sparrowhawk wrote:

    Thanks for the peak at the pre-construction site!

    Doesn’t take much to get you excited, does it, Sparrow? 😉

    das

  24. Hello. I stumbled across this blog recently, and as someone just starting the SGA series (I’m on season 2), I enjoy the production comments about both that series and the new one. Also: I feel like humor is what’s lacking from most recent sci-fi series. Glad to know Dark Matter will have some humor.

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