I have a lot of questions to get to. Let’s do this!
Katie Oster: “My question for you is what advice would you give a new writer trying to get into the industry?”
Answer: First and foremost write. A lot. Watch film and television and study the narrative, everything from the character and story arcs to structure. Write two scripts – one an original pilot that demonstrates your ability to create and craft an engaging first hour of television, the other a spec of an existing series that demonstrates your ability to capture an existing show’s tone and character voices. Ask around and find an agent who is willing to read your work. Alternate, you can do what I did and get your foot in the door writing for animation, a side of the industry that is more welcoming to new writers. The time spent in animation will allow you to hone your skills while also getting paid.
Kevin writes: ” If you could take your original cast of Dark Matter and cast them in a new, completely different show, how would you cast them and what kind of show would it be? For example, would you do a sitcom (not your genre, I know…) knowing that the actors are so funny, or would you do something that pushed all of them in different ways?”
Answer: Although I enjoying infusing my scripts with humor, I am not a comedy writer. My preference is, and will continue to be, science fiction – character-driven, occasionally comedic sci-fi but I do have a number of pilots in the drama, thriller, and horror genres. And, yes, I am constantly thinking about my Dark Matter family whenever I get ahead of myself and think about casting a potential new series. It’s always “This role would be perfect for Alex” or “Zoie would be fantastic in this” or “I hope Roger will be available when the time comes…”.
Bob Miller writes: “I was wondering, is “Teal’c” derived from “TLC”, as if trying to phonetically pronounce “TLC”? Which would be amusing, since “TLC” is an acronym for “Tender Loving Care.”
Answer: I wasn’t around for SG-1’s first season but, knowing the guys, I doubt it.
Bob Miller writes: “Why did STARGATE’s producers have a relationship develop between Samantha Carter and Pete Shanahan, then sever it just as they were about to marry? Was there a “real world” complication?”
Answer: No, it was strictly a creative decision. Sometimes, relationships just don’t work. They can be tricky when you’re an intergalactic explorer.
Dr Z writes: “My question is: how many of the DM cast do you catch up with and what are the chances they could all be available IF IF IF you were able to bring a season 4 to air?”
Answer: I keep in touch with all of them. Spoke to Anthony last week. Melissa called me for my birthday. Had dinner with Roger the last time he was in town and will be seeing Jodelle when she comes to town. I exchange messages with both Alex and Zoie on a semi-regular basis. I can’t speak to their availability since there’s not telling IF or WHEN a revival might happen, but I can’t imagine doing the show without them.
ceresis64 writes: “How many main characters are there in your UAP?”
Answer: Four colorful main characters and several recurring characters.
JeffW writes: “Have you and Akemi got an itinerary mapped out for your Japan trip?”
Answer: Usually what we do is book our lunches and dinner, then work around them. I’d love to just hop on the subway, get off at random stations, and explore the neighborhoods. We do have plans to go visit some of our old favorites: the Mori Arts Museum, Harajuku, Akihabara for anime and electronics and Hattendo cream buns!
idontdomondays2day writes: “What’s been your weirdest/creepiest/funniest moment in meeting a fan in person, even if they were just passing and maybe did a double take.”
Answer: Hmmmm. Nothing weird or creepy, but I remember once time, many years ago, I was in Montreal, walking back from dinner with my sister. It was about 9:00 p.m. and we were walking down a fairly empty street, stopped at a corner and had the lone woman standing there, waiting for the streetlight to change, look over and say: “Hey, are you Joseph Mallozzi?” That kind of stuff rarely every happens. My sister was more weirded out than I was.
Jen writes: “So I have a quick question about Lulu. I know how old Suji is and her backstory, but not so much about Lulu. Was she adopted around the same time as Suji (also is she around the same age as well)? Also, with future rescues/adoptions, would you focus on just pugs and frenchies or are you open to other breeds?”
Answer: We actually got Lulu as a puppy back in 2007. If you check out photos and videos from my blog back then, you’d think I’d taken in a jackrabbit. She was relentless. Well, she’s slowed down in her old age, what with the bad hips and all, but still as affectionate and obstinate as ever. As for future adoptions – I love all animals, but would probably focus on pugs, maybe look into The Pacific Pug Rescue when the time comes.
Jim Warner writes: “If you ever want to do something totally different, please write a book, create a course or at least do a YouTube or at the very least do a post or 5 season series on how…You get so much done.”
Answer: I like to keep busy and working on a variety of projects, rather than keeping me unfocused, actually helps by ensuring I never grow tired of one thing. I enjoy mixing it up so, rather than take a break, I just switch off and work on something else.
Line Noise writes: “I asked this a couple of days ago. What does “UF” stand for? Or is it still a secret?
Mailbag: If the planets align and you end up with two, three, or more projects greenlit at the same time would you have to drop any of them? Or will you be able to schedule things so you can work on all of them?”
Answers: Alas, the meaning of UF will have to remain a secret until the official announcement…whenever that is.
When I tell people I’m working on developing various projects, some will invariably ask: “What happens if they all go at the same time?” I’ve been in this business for 20+ years and, in my experience, there has never been an occasion where two projects have been simultaneously green lit. I’d be lucky to have one get the go-ahead. Still, a classy problem to have. I’ll cross that bridge in the most unlikely event I come to it.
Rihannon Frater writes: “I just want to thank you for being so open with how things work behind the scenes. It really helps me have a greater understanding of how the television world works and why sometimes my heart gets broken. (Nope. Not over Dark Matter.) I check out your blog often and I’m never disappointed. Also, CUTE DOGGIES!”
Answer: My pleasure. And thanks for taking the time to join our extended blog/Stargate/Dark Matter family.
Michael writes: “My question is, who decides how many episodes a show gets per season? The standard for most broadcast dramas used to be 22, but a lot of shows are moving to 13 eps, and some shows like True Detective only have 8 episodes. Does it mess with your game plan for the season if the network orders more episodes for a season after production has already started?”
Answer: When a show is initially conceived, the creator should have a sense of how many episodes will comprise the first season. Of course, that may change depending on where the show lands. If it’s picked up by a network, first season order could be substantially more. If it lands as a British co-pro, it will be substantially less. I enjoyed the 20 episode seasons (22 originally) we did on Stargate, but those were fairly episodic stories. Dark Matter walked a fine line between episodic and serialized, so the 13 episode format served it well. I feel the shorter runs lend themselves to the more highly serialized narratives.
Peggy writes: “Since you were so curious about our shower preferences, how about yours? Here in California we are in a drought, so, in the interest of saving water, co-showering or separate?”
Answer: I listed my preferences in the preamble to the polls but with regard to the last question, I’m more of a separate showerer. I don’t like waiting for the hot water.
Kathryn Ball writes: “After reading your comments about Facebook you may be interested to know that the family I use it to keep in touch with is my Stargate family. Friends living all over the UK I met at the chevron conventions dating back 10years now. The last one was 2years ago so this is a good way to keep in touch.”