When someone asks me about the projects I’m presently working on, I’ll give them a brief rundown to which they’ll invariably respond: “But what if they all go?”  Yes, theoretically, it’s possible that, say, multiple projects could receive a simultaneous green light but, realistically, it’s more likely that none of them receive the go-ahead.  Which is why you really need to hedge your bets and be a bit of a creative multi-tasker.  In truth, the number of projects I have on deck may seem like a lot, but scheduling and prioritizing certainly mak things easier…


Ah, now these are the projects that are completely self-generated, from concept to completion.  It may be a verbal pitch or a one page overview or, in some instances, even a finished pilot script.  Over the last few months, I’ve verbally pitched four originals, one of which advanced to the “further exploration” stage before being turned down.  At present, I have two out for consideration.  The first is that SF military pilot I mentioned this past summer.  The other presently exists as a one page overview and is my favorite, a spiritual successor to Dark Matter that offers a similar ship-based, action-adventure approach with colorful characters and an underlying sense of humor.


In this case, you were working off someone else’s idea, be it a simple pitch or an adaptation.  Usually, the material has gone out to multiple writers and it’s your job to come up with the best possible vision for a potential television series.  What differentiates it from the source material?  Where will you take it?  What’s the first season plan?  And how do you see the series progressing past that first season? I’ve got a little over a half-dozen of these takes in the works – a comic book, a contemporary SF novel, a contemporary horror novel, a classic SF novel, a Korean drama series, and an anime series – and, if any of them spark some interest, we move onto…


A broadcaster or production company is investing in you and an idea.  It’s your job to prove to them that their faith in you and said idea has not been misplaced by delivering a phenomenal series overview, bible, and/or pilot script.  I am presently one series overview and 17 pages of a script into one of these.  I have a soft spot for this sci-fi project and the people involved, so I’m really hoping my efforts pay off with a straight to series order sometime this summer.


And then there are times when you need the assistance of a proven professional like, say, an experienced showrunner, to help reassure a potential broadcaster, lock up a sale, and/or hit the ground running when the green light is given.  Since Dark Matter’s cancellation, I’ve been lucky enough to have been approached about three such opportunities.  Ultimately, none were quite the right fit, but a new project – a brilliant hard SF series that came my way recently – is all sorts of intriguing and, I have no doubt, will be fantastic – with or without my involvement.

Well, as I said, I’m already an act deep into this pilot.  The trickiest scene is behind me, we’ve made planet fall, and we’re about to explore our new surroundings.  I suspect it’ll be smoooooth sailing from there.  Tonight, I switch gears to watch the final five episodes that anime series as I have a call on Tuesday to present my take for a t.v. adaptation (as well as my take for an adaptation of that awesome Korean drama).  And then, it’s an anxious wait to hear word back on my pitches.

I will, of course, keep you posted…

20 thoughts on “Projects on the go!

  1. Out of all those, I’m most curious about the development work that is on the table. Of course, you know my first choice would be a miracle that something happened to allow you to finish season 4 and 5 of Dark Matter in regular episodes or a wrap-up miniseries if we couldn’t get the first choice. I won’t ever give up that hope. Look at the X-Files! All these years later it got revived for two limited season events.

  2. Fingers crossed you get at least one of them picked up. I’m intrigued with the “spiritual successor” to Dark Matter.

  3. A-a-a-w, Joe, I remember way back when, when you were pitching, and then the build up for dark matter. Things can turn around in a second and I hope it doesn’t take too long a wait for you and us…

    The question I have is, given that you are really talented in being able to write up a storm of potential series and whatever, I can’t imagine you tossing these finished proposals into file 13. Do you save them and re-pitch at a
    later time? I gather it’s a very fluid business and people in charge come and go, flavours of the month change, etc…

    PBMOM – I saw the new X-files and wasn’t too impressed. They didn’t seem to take the subject matter too seriously. It seemed more silly than any thing else. I prefer the old series. But maybe other shows are better in this new series.

    1. @Joan001 – the new X Files season has me bummed. One minute they desperately need to find William! The next ep they’re ambling about, son forgotten.

  4. Joe, any word on if the Studio has decided on the winners of the letter writing contest, and if they are mailing out stuff to the winners yet? Thanks.

  5. I’m glad you’re working on further projects and we’re probably in for a surprise soon. Ofcourse I’ll never forget Dark Matter neither will give up on it’s revival, speaking of it I was wondering WHAT IF we make some Dark Matter Memes and get them viral. Think about it Joseph ! Maybe it’d get enough recognition. Is that possible ?

  6. Thanks for the catch up overview Jo. It was an eye-opener and an education. Until I started reading your blog, at the end of DM I had no ideal what a showrunner did. I thought maybe someone who, physically, did all the running about.. checking equipment, lunch, that sort of thing. Thanks for the invite to your world, both sides of it.

  7. I really like the sound of that last entry in “Originals”, but I’ll be curious to hear more too about the one that’s moving ahead. You know that whatever path things take, you’ll have lots of support!

  8. So cool to hear the process and hurdles to jump to get the goodness to the screen. If you ever need random vizdev / concept inspiration, I’m so down to brainstorm. Also wanted to recommend the anime Knights of Sidonia if you haven’t NetflixandChilled it already.

  9. Trying to catch up on your blog entries…been in Key West for a few days where time slows down. My first time here and truly an incredible experience.

    I’m excited that you have so many potential projects in the mix. I’m hoping more than one is green lit…will keep you busy and us happy to have another Mallozzi project to watch!

  10. Thanks for a look behind the scenes. I never knew it was so involved. It’s been an education reading your posts, Sir.

    As the for the video of Suji sitting yesterday, that’s me getting out of chair, after the Advil has worn off and I’ve been stationary for a while. Getting old is not for sissies. “Snap, crackle and pop”.

    We re-watched an older movie yesterday and laughed all the way through it. Is anyone else a big fan of “Evolution”? It has a lot of familiar faces.

    1. I totally agree with your “getting old” thing. I just found out I have 5 actual herniated disks in my spine. Two years ago they just said “bulging” on the MRI and when I looked on the internet there seemed to be a difference, but when I went back to ask about possible herniation of one of my disk bulges, the doctor said, “Mrs. Bowen you have herniated disks already.” I said, “oh, okay….well there seemed to be a bigger problem with the 3 in the lumbar area now.” He’s going to get a new MRI. Can’t do epidural steroid injections. Can’t take anti-inflammatories. Won’t do surgery unless I am bedridden and can’t manage my day, so this definitely sucks. Now I don’t feel like such a wuss when my back is hurting. LOL.

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