February 16, 2015: Introducing Production Coordinator Alice Foster!  Mailbag!

Sweet, soft-spoken, yoga enthusiastic.  You’d think I was describing myself but, in fact, I’m talking about the wonderful Alice Foster, Dark Matter‘s Production Coordinator.  And coordinate she does, juggling everything from travel and accommodations to – oh, just about everything else – with dextrous aplomb and unflagging cheerfulness.  Who got me this apartment conveniently close to a dog park?  Alice!  Who saw to it that I was picked up from my place and transported to the airport to catch a flight to New York where I met with SyFy and then caught a flight back to Toronto and transported back to my place, all within a 15 hour period?  Alice!  Who arranged the Dark Matter cookie exchange?  Alice!

Above: a shot of the elusive Alice Foster

February 16, 2015: Introducing Production Coordinator Alice Foster!  Mailbag!

Captured in her natural habitat, surrounded by files, notebooks, schedules and tea, Alice Foster is the production’s equivalent of Siri – ever-pleasant and full of answers!


dasndanger writes: “Whatever happened to our Dancing With the Dark Matter Stars?”

Answer: Our resident dancer’s sword has been doing all of the singing and dancing lately.  Go bug him about it: https://twitter.com/AlexMallariJr

gilazaria writes: ” Those “Vegan Peanuts Butter Chocolate” cookies that Akemi made sound delightful. As a full time vegan foodie, would you mind sharing the recipe?”

Answer: According to Akemi, she followed a recipe she found here (http://detoxinista.com/2014/05/no-bake-peanut-butter-cup-bars-vegan/).  Meanwhile, you can check out Akemi’s culinary capers on her youtube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/akemiaota) – like this one of her and the dogs enjoying home made popcorn for the first time:

arcticgoddess writes: “Joe, as the top guy/Show-Runner, you must be very indispensable to the making of the show. What happens if you were to get sick? Would you get wheeled into work, hospital bed and all?”

Answer: Don’t be silly.  Of course not.  Production would simply move to the hospital (for a series of medical-themed episodes) until I’ve fully recovered.

Tam Dixon writes: ” If you’ve completed over 100 episodes…Does that mean you’re five years ahead?”

Answer: Yep.  All done.  I’ve come back in time to relive the first year of Dark Matter‘s immensely successful 10+ season run.  Good times.

Randomness writes: “Could you ever see the crew of the Raza visiting a ridiculously advanced race of aliens?”

Answer: Oh, sure.  Anything is possible.  This is science fiction after all.

Randomness writes: “Will the crew of the Raza face any dangers from the cosmos itself? Similar to how the Destiny faced a binary pulsar.”

Answer: Yes.  In fact, very early in season one.

Randomness writes: “Memory loss stories can be fun, Stargate had a few, mostly caused by a virus of some kind, can we expect similar from Dark Matter?”

Answer: The entire series is, in essence, one long, winding, surprise-filled memory loss story.

Elminster writes: “When would be a good time to drop in to take you for a Hot Chocolate? Perhaps even you and Amanda?”

Answer: Sadly, what with these 12 hour days, our “going out” ventures have been seriously curtailed.

Airelle writes: “question, episode numbering? starts at 101,102 etc, is there a reason, its not 1, 2, etc?”

Answer: It’s just a preference, something we used to do on Stargate as well.  Makes it easier to identify the individual episodes within a particular season.

Ponytail writes: “First 3 episodes and 3 different directors. Now throw in different editors who put it all together. Is this customary and why, and how do you keep the same look, feel, and continuity with different eyes behind the camera?”

Answer: Unless you’re shooting a mini-series, it is customary to use multiple directors and editors.  Production schedules are staggered.  While one director is shooting, another is prepping the next episode and, when the time comes for the prepping director to shoot his/her episode, another director will be starting prep on a new episode.  Everyone involved in the production, from producers through cast to crew members ensure continuity.

Line Noise writes: “How accurate do you have to be with episode lengths? I notice that most shows vary in length by up to a minute or more episode to episode. Do you have much leeway?”

Answer: We have absolutely no leeway and have to be accurate on all episode lengths.  Of course, the final run time will depend on the broadcaster.  In rare instances, say certain shows on HBO, run times can vary.

Line Noise writes: “Roughly how many times will you watch an episode before it’s finished?”

Answer: Between the dailies, various cuts, mixes, and color correct sessions, I’d say roughly a dozen times.

FargateOne writes: “No music in your sci-fi series ????”

Answer: Yes to music.

whoviantrish writes: “What other Stargate alums?”

Answer: Oh, THAT actor and those directors.

Lily writes: “When can we get some Dark Matter swag?”

Answer: Soon!  Soon!

Keith writes: “I don’t know how much you still need to keep under wraps, but can you further define the tone of the show? What will the levels of sex, violence and language be in relation to other shows?”

Answer: In terms of tone, I’d liken it to Cowboy Bebop, Stargate, Firefly.  Sex and violence will be no more predominant than they were in the aforementioned shows.

Keith writes: “Also, are you aiming for a very “grounded” series, or are farther afield concepts such as time travel, alternate dimensions, higher beings, magic, etc fair game?”

Answer: Well, on the one hand the show is set in a future where a space-faring humanity has gone out and colonized distant worlds.  No aliens – yet.  No time travel or alternate dimensions – but who knows.  Definitely no higher beings or magic.

livingforcreativity writes: “How many former co-workers moved to Toronto (full time for the duration) to work on Dark Matter?”

Answer: One – our VFX Supervisor Lawren Bancroft-Wilson.  Oh, and one more on the way!

livingforcreativity writes: “Do we have a US TV premiere date? Do we have a second season pickup?”

Answer: SyFy has yet to announce an official premiere date for the series.  As for a second season, we won’t hear about that until the Fall. 🙁

Ponytail writes: “Is Akemi watching The Bachelor?”

Answer: Alas, no.  She says she’s not watching because she can’t pronounce it.

Jenny Horn writes: “where does Natalie get her socks?”

Answer: I believe she’s part of some weird Sock of the Week club.

Ponytail writes: “What are the chances of getting Jason Momoa to guest star in an episode?”

Answer: Would love to have Jason on the show but, from what I hear, he’s been kind of busy lately.

JeffW writes: “Every show seems to have their characteristic FTL jump styles, so is there anything your can tell us about your planned FTL jump effects?”

Answer: They’re differ from the ones we used to do on Stargate.  In fact, they’re markedly different from anything I’ve seen on live action SF.

JeffW writes: “And what is that half-moon gazing ball that Lawren is holding used for?”

Answer: The ball is used to measure the lighting of a scene so that the VFX team can match it later in their work.

baterista9 writes: “Will we see any other fan-inspired names in DM, or names inspired by Toronto neighborhoods?”

Answer: No names inspired by Toronto neighborhoods?  But fan-inspired names?  Maybe.

Anas Ben writes: “my question is plz do u think the visuals re gonna be great?”

Answer: Yes, the show’s visual effects will be awesome!

Airelle writes: “Are you tired of winter?
May we have the bourbon cookie recipe?(thanks Akemi)
How are Jelly,Bubba and Lulu? love the videos!!
What if anything are you doing for Valentines day?
Welcome to Lawren!! silver balls,,hmmmm…
How is Baron Destructo? Have not heard from him in a while.”

Answer: Yes, very tired of winter.  I posted the bourbon cookie recipe here:


The dogs are great.  They’re too are hating the winter.  What did we do for Valentine’s Day?  Check yesterday’s entry.  Baron Destructo is fine.  He’s been busy.  World domination is hard work.

gforce writes: “I was wondering how Jelly is doing with her paw and if you’ve heard any more about the “mass” or whatever it was that the imaging showed. Also, was Lulu’s bed-stealing behaviour something she just picked up since you were in TO?”

Answer: Jelly’s paw is better.  I believe Lulu’s bed-stealing behavior is fairly recent.

Chad writes: “Will there be any online streaming options for your show?”

Answer: Oh, definitely.  Yes.

Mike A. writes: “Are you finding that you’re enjoying the differences and liberties you’re taking with the DM show canon versus that of the DM comic?”

Answer: Dark Matter was always developed as a t.v. series first, so the comic book followed the show concept, not vice-versa.  Ultimately, the comic and the t.v. series both follow the premise, characters, and story arcs conceived several years ago.  So far, no divergence.

Mike A. writes: “Is it something you looked forward to in eagerness, or just realized would need to happen anyway and never really worried about it?”

Answer: I certainly looked forward to it with eagerness when it was in development, then assumed it was dead, then regained my enthusiasm when Exec Producer Jay Firestone put together the deal that made the show a reality.

Mike A. writes: “How’s Vanessa?”

Answer: Great.  Last I heard she was snow shoeing in -45 weather.

SpaceFreakMicha writes: “Do you have any photo of Editor Brad Rines in your collection?”

Answer: Hmmm.  Maybe back in Vancouver.  But if you google him, a couple of photos will come up – including some from his own blog site.

shinyhula writes: “Is this weeks announcement going to include the trailer?”

Answer: The trailer?  We’re still working on the edits of episodes 101 and 102 and are still several months away from finished VFX!   Patience, patience…

Alex Felix writes: “Will Dark Matter have any alien civilizations and if so, will they play a major part on the show?”

Answer: Not for its first season – but who knows what the future holds?

22 thoughts on “February 16, 2015: Introducing Production Coordinator Alice Foster! Mailbag!

  1. I’m waiting for you to blur out an entire office and you leave the person sitting there in, what looks like, complete fog.

  2. Akemi’s youtube channel is fantastic! I’m going to be making that Pasta e Ceci recipe this week, and probably also those eggplant sandwiches. BTW — in your trips to St. Lawrence Market, have you tried the cheese at the Monforte Dairy booth? Highly recommended!

  3. Great mailbag Joe. I feel silly asking that memory loss question now. I can be a bit forgetful lol.

  4. Hi Alice! You clearly do great work!

    Great mailbag. Good to hear about Jelly’s foot. So the Dark Matter swag is soon? Can’t wait!

  5. Airelle writes: “question, episode numbering? starts at 101,102 etc, is there a reason, its not 1, 2, etc?”

    Answer: It’s just a preference, something we used to do on Stargate as well. Makes it easier to identify the individual episodes within a particular season.

    i could be wrong, but i think a lot of shows do that.

  6. Following up–

    If you “borrow” only one of a person’s monikers (ex. only “Dean” of “Richard Dean Anderson”), is name clearance required?

    (I assume that, should the name be easily identified to an individual of note, like “Richard Dean” or “Richard Anderson”, clearance would be mandatory.)

    Do place names have to be cleared?
    “baterista9 writes: “Will we see any other fan-inspired names in DM, or names inspired by Toronto neighborhoods?”

    Answer: No names inspired by Toronto neighborhoods? But fan-inspired names? Maybe.”

  7. Thanks for answering questions and the cookie recipe. I remember now that you said it, you posted it, but thanks for the reminder. Going to try it real soon.
    ~Nice to meet Alice, and glad you have her to help you, makes the sailing much smoother….

  8. Thanks for the mailbag Joe!
    And the recipe links.

    Dark Matter swag! Fan tribute names! Dancing swords! woohoo!

    Okay. That was all I had left. G’night.

  9. Hello Alice! Nice to meet you. Glad to know you are taking good care of Joe.

    Glad to hear Jelly is doing better.

    I send my thoughts to everyone with all this bad weather. I’m getting a bit tired of the 80 to 32 degree weather changes. But I would dread all that snow and ice. Be careful.

  10. Hi Alice *waves*

    Good to hear Jelly’s paw is better.

    Thanks for the mailbag. 😀

  11. WOW…
    CASE 39 (2009), in which Jodelle Ferland co-starred, is on Syfy (USA) tonight. Her performance amazed me…very obvious talent as a child performer. Now anticipating DM and Five even more!

  12. for a future mail bag Joe can you tell us about any other networks that you presented the show too I ask because I have always felt HBO was a good choice for you and Dark Matter and now it seems HBO is getting into hard sci-fi game with the development of a foundation series with Jonathan Nolan behind the series.

  13. Alice sounds like a powerhouse! Welcome Alice!

    Thanks for the mailbag. Also, thanks for reposting cookie link.

    We are iced in today. I can’t help singing Ice Ice Baby for some reason. Hope you keep warm. How do you keep the pups warm in these temps? I’m sure Jelly has a hard time. 🙁

  14. Hi Alice!

    Thanks for the mailbag. No higher beings, most excellent. I used to grit my teeth and clench my jaw at certain Stargate episodes, and some seasons, that was a damn lot. Maybe why the toothbed under my back molar fractured and I had to have that tooth pulled even though it had had a root canal and a crown for ages. Upside: I now have a lovely pendant set with a gold crown which looks to be a gold nugget.

    Whew, I feel better, haven’t told a rambling off tangent story for some time now. Have I? Is memory loss contagious?

  15. Airelle writes: “question, episode numbering? starts at 101,102 etc, is there a reason, its not 1, 2, etc?”
    Answer: 102,102 would be Season 1, Episodes 1, 2, etc.
    201, 203 would represent Season 2, Episodes 1, 2, etc.
    301, 401, and so forth.

  16. “Don’t be silly. Of course not. Production would simply move to the hospital (for a series of medical-themed episodes)”

    Hahaha! Like a boss!

  17. I’m actually pretty psyched about Dark Matter, after reading all of the posts up till now. In this day and age, there’s a lack of good space-based science-fiction television shows out there. I always loved all of the Star Trek and Stargate television series, because they managed to blend a mixture of humor and seriousness together into a family-type sci-fi show. Oh, and the epic space battles, with lasers and all. Can’t forget about those — yay for VFX. 🙂

    That’s what got me into sci-fi in the first place, and it’s what’s sorely lacking in today’s modern sci-fi programs, which seem to place more of an emphasis on “realistic drama/soap opera” than on actual light-hearted family-friendly science fiction.

    New people to the sci-fi business don’t seem to understand what true sci-fi is all about — only the veterans like Joseph and Paul (those who’ve had the experience of producing great family-oriented sci-fi series like Stargate, etc.) know how to appeal to the core fans of the genre.

    All that being said, I’m highly looking forward to Dark Matter. There hasn’t been a single good weekly space-based television series on the air since Universe ended and without staples like Star Trek or Stargate, it feels like something is missing in our lives. Very much hoping that Dark Matter can fill this void.

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