Shooting in Hamilton today and it’s been c-c-c-cold! Although it could be colder I suppose. The problem with shooting in these warehouses is that it’s actually chillier indoors. The last time we were here for a location scout, we encountered a delay and, instead of sticking around, we elected to wait outside…where it was warmer!
Back in Vancouver, whenever we shot on location, there would be big signs with the production’s name and arrows pointing the way. Plenty of them. Not so here. This morning, I encountered a single sign, a little smaller than a sandwich board, with the name of the production followed by an occasional parking cone. Well, not so occasional. I drove ten minutes up a winding roadway with absolutely no indication that I was traveling the right way before deciding “This can’t be right!” and turning back. As it turned out, I WAS right.
I think we’re going to have to trim our VFX budget in order to increase our sign budget.
Our sock of the day (as always, compliments of the lovely Natalie Cooper):
And our screen grab of the day:
At long last! Time for a mailbag:
Ponytail writes: “Did 1st Assistant Director Brandon Tataryn “come with” Director T.J. Scott or was he just “paired” with him?”
Answer: Nope. Brandon actually came with the building. The fine print in the lease requires us to use him for fully half of our produced episodes.
Ponytail also writes: “He’ll call you out – no matter who YOU are (which I learned firsthand on the first day of production). You got in trouble?? What’d ya do?? Step into his shot to take a picture for your blog? Talking too loud on set? Making faces at the actors, distracting them?”
Answer: In all fairness, I’m probably guilty of all of the aforementioned, but the incident I was referring to occurred while the actors were waiting for the next shot. I approached them to discuss some dialogue variations, then the conversation turned from professional to private, we shared a laugh – at which point Brandon marched over and moved things along. “See, this is the kind of stuff that slows things down,”he said. And then, as an after-thought: “Not that it’s your fault.”
Kathy C. writes: “How do you order scene shooting? Do you shoot all scenes in one location at once, then move to another location, or do you shoot in order? Or some other way? Is it hard on the actors to shoot out of order?”
Answer: When drafting a schedule, the main objective is to make sure the episode can be shot in the days allotted. To achieve that, efficiency is key. Locations dictate the day. So, for example, yesterday saw us shooting a chunk of bridge scenes while this Monday-Wednesday will see us shoot all of our Hamilton location days. This is standard for television productions so it shouldn’t be that hard on the actors – provided they’ve read the scripts!
Whoviantrish writes: ” I recently discovered one of my bestest friends is quite the accomplished musician. I mean I keep begging him for more songs because he’s literally THAT good. My question is, does anyone working on the show have a secret talent that has surprised you? And what about you? Can you speak whale or recite Shakespeare from memory or anything randomly cool?”
Answer: Well, obviously Alex Mallari Jr.’s dance moves are a sight to behold. That came as a surprise. Though not surprising, I’ve heard great things about Melissa O’Neil’s singing voice. According to Alex, she was belting out Ariel’s “Part of Your World” on set the other day. I can neither sing nor dance, but I am incredibly impatient. Does that count?
Purple- Ultra SG Fan and Sci fi nut writes: ” Wondering when the last season of Lost Girls will air in the
Answer: Alas, I’m the wrong guy to ask. Post the question to their official twitter account. I’m sure they’d know.
DP writes: “Is there any chance of a free edition of the Kindle version of Dark Matter being released sometime before or during the release of the Dark Matter TV episodes?”
Answer: That’ll be up to Dark Horse Comics to decide. I do believe we’ll be doing a comic book signing at Comic Con in July.
DP also writes: “How many Dark Matter TV episodes will it take to cover the material presented in the comic?”
Answer: The first two episodes will cover the first four issues (and the full trade paperback). More or less. But much more than less.
Elminster writes: “…what channel do I want to make sure I have up here in Canada?”
Answer: For some reason, our Canadian broadcaster is being a little coy and hasn’t made the official announcement. But fear not. You should be able to watch it here.
Ganymede writes: “so… Will the DANCES-OF-THE-DAY Collection be included in the “Special Features” section when the Season goes to DVD?”
Answer: I think it should have its dedicated disc.
Carol writes: “Any news on any special guest stars for Dark Matter?”
Answer: As some eagle-eyed blog viewers have already pointed out, guest stars for episodes #101-#102 will include David Richmond Peck, Rob Stewart, Chloe Rose, Amanda Brugel, Pat Mastroianni, and the lovely Torri Higginson.
Ponytail writes: “Is director T.J. Scott responsible for all those fantastic looking shots in your Screen Grab of The Day?”
Answer: Every one.
Tam Dixon writes: “Are you doing a chocolate party this year?”
Answer: I was thinking about it…
jimfromjersey writes: “Joe, IS there a target air date yet?”
Answer: There is, but it has yet to be officially announced.
2cats writes: “Jodelle’s character is supposed to be a kid compared to all other cast, right? IMDB says she is 20 yrs. old. Does she mind playing a kid?”
Answer: In the comic book, “the kid” is around 12 years old. In the series, she’s more like 16. It was highly unlikely we were going to find an 18 year old who could pull off 12 and, since casting anyone under the age of 18 would have resulted in certain complications (a shorter work day, the hiring of a tutor, etc.), and since no one liked my idea of just casting a high school drop-out, we decided to adjust the character’s age. Which, in the end, was perfect since I’ve been wanting to work with Jodelle (again) for years now: https://josephmallozzi.com/2009/06/17/june-17-2009-dear-casting-directors-producers-studio-people-and-network-execs-do-yourself-a-favor-and-hire-these-actors/
Line Noise writes: “Are you shooting in 4K? 4K TVs are getting cheaper and cheaper and Netflix even has a 4K feed now. It would be good if Dark Matter was future proof.”
Answer: Alas no, not shooting in 4K. But the show WILL look awesome.
Line Noise also writes: “As an adjunct to that, I’d be keen to hear about the camera gear being used. Can we get some Q&As with some of the crew?”
Answer: Yes. Once we settle in, I’d like to organize Q&A features with the cast and crew.
Ponytail writes: ” How does it feel to see your ideas made into a television show? Is this the biggest thing you have ever done?”
Answer: Although SGU was a bigger production, I consider Dark Matter “the biggest” because it’s my baby. It feels great – in large part thanks to the infinitely talented people who are making it happen. Makes my job SOOO much easier.
DP writes: “In what year of our Lord do the events of Dark Matter take place?”
Answer: I’d say roughly a couple of hundred years into the future.
dasndanger writes: “Why don’t we ever see SyFy tv actors on late night talk shows? Isn’t it a good way to sell the show to new audiences?”
Answer: The honest answer? Because SF television gets very little respect.
gforce writes: “How did you decide on the actual name “Dark Matter” for the concept? Will that substance actually play some role in the series development sometime? Is it a metaphor for something that has a large influence, but always remains unseen? Or did it just sound cool?”
Answer: It’s more thematic than literal. But…who knows what season 3 will bring.
Mike A. writes: “Have you thought about putting in any kind of easter eggs in the show?”
Answer: Oh, sure. There’ll be a few in Dark Matter‘s first season. Let’s see if you can spot ’em.
Sylvia writes: “I know it’s really early in filming, so it might be premature to ask this, but what the heck: now that your character creations are in the hands (and bodies) of live actors and actresses, has your view of them changed? Have their interactions altered the way you plan to tell their stories?”
Answer: Adjustments will be made, but there will be no major changes to the narrative. We’re approaching our 13-epsiode first season as an extended mini-series. We’ve got our story detailed and most of our scripts (12 of 13) written. It would be much easier to make wholesale changes if we were less prepared, didn’t know where we were going with our story and characters, or writing standalone episodes. Fortunately, that’s not the case.
Sylvia also writes: “Will there be any transition from the original “portrayal” in the Graphic Novel to what we will see on screen?”
Answer: Yes, there will be some transition from the graphic novel to the screen. Casting, locations, budget, and specific production concerns have lead us to make changes that have, frankly, improved the material.
lise writes: “When was the decision made to gender swap the android? How did you come to cast Zoie Palmer in particular, I’m a big fan of hers from stuff like Cold Blooded, so I’m really curious about her version of the character.”
Answer: Early in the casting process, we opened the roles up to all ethnicities and in a couple of cases – the role of FOUR and the role of the Android – all genders. We wanted to stray a little from the source material and offer a more balanced crew. There were some terrific auditions for The Android but there was something about Zoie’s take that really resonated – composed and decisive yet, at the same time, displaying flashes of innocence, insolence, and humor. Very hard to do in a couple of three minute auditions
JustLookAtTheFlowers writes:”You mentioned before that if you were to choose a series Dark Matter is similar to, it would be Cowboy Bebop. That show was well-known for the great music. Can you give any hints about the music of Dark Matter? Has a composer been chosen yet? Will there be a theme song that plays during the opening credits, or will it just be a quick flash of the title? One thing missing in a lot of shows is a proper opening title credits — long enough to get the song in your head and get you amped up for the show.”
Answer: While I couldn’t agree more about the series’ theme song getting viewers amped up, I’m in the minority as, increasingly, shows are moving away from extended opening titles in favour of short, ten second intros. Which is the way we’ll probably end up going. In terms of music – there has been some discussion and I’m awaiting samples which were apparently sent to the office weeks ago…but never found their way to my desk. Yet.
Patricia Bertrand writes: ” You will obviously need special effects for Dark Matter. Do you have a company in mind for this?”
Answer: By special effects, I assume you mean visual effects. And, yes, we’re already working with our old friends at Atmosphere, among them former Stargate VFX Supervisor Mark Savela, and present Dark Matter VFX Supervisor Lawren Bancroft-Wilson.
Duptiang writes: “In a unrelated episode of a unrelated series the stage setting was dark which had a focusing effect of the character’s story setting. Your stage settings seem to be reminiscent of a previous series. How did you and your fellow creators come to decide on a state setting?And, How do the DP and Directors feel about its effects in filming compared to other types of background colorization?”
Answer: I wanted the show’s sets and lighting to reflect its theme and that was something I made clear from the get-go. The Art Department and our Director or Photography used that idea as a springboard to creating what is a fantastic-looking show.
Pennylynn writes: “1) What has been the hardest part about the last few days (not your rib, that’s a given)”
Answer: No question. Waking up at 5:30 a.m.
“2) What has been the biggest surprise or something that worked out that you were not expecting.”
Answer: I’m amazed that there have been so few hiccups early in the process. And that’s due to the enormously talented people who are working on the production.
“3) Can I get a Q&A with you eventually for my blog?”
Answer: Of course.
2 cats writes: “#1 – Will the guest cast list possibly include anyone from SG-1, ST Atlantis or SGU?”
Answer: Yep. Torri Higginson will be appearing early in the show…and possibly later.
“#2 – Do any of your fuzzy kids come to work with you on a regular basis?”
Answer: Nope. I wouldn’t trust them on set.
Mark Bennett writes: “I commented a while back on weather you had any information regarding the Stargate address used to dial Destiny from Icarus base – anymore info on that?”
Answer: Hey Mark – unfortunately I couldn’t find anything in my files.
Stacy writes: “I was wondering if the network has figured out a way to acount for all the online viewing of a show.”
Answer: You think they would have by this point.
mylhibug writes: “Also, I’m sure you’ve answered this somewhere, but were you ever going to write any more Dark Matter comics?”
Answer: I’d love to continue the comic book series but, for the foreseeable future, I’ll be busy – producing a t.v. show! 🙂
paloosa writes: ” Since you were involved in practically every aspect of Stargate throughout its many years, are you finding it easier to produce Dark Matter? Are you a little more relaxed?”
Answer: In the case of Stargate, we joined a show in its fourth year, one that had already worked out all the bugs and was, as we so often liked to put it, a “well-oiled machine”. Starting off a brand new production is definitely NOT easier to produce nor more relaxing. Pressure’s on!