August 30, 2011: Transporter thank you’s!

Well, hmmm.  Didn’t realize we’d be dropping an official press release this quickly.  I just assumed, one month from now, I’d start posting pics of Akemi and me back in Vancouver enjoying dinner at Refuel and have you connect the dots.  Guess this means I’m going to have to put that blog entry of dinner with Golden Boy Martin Gero on the backburner and dedicate today’s write-up to The Transporter…

After 11+ years working on the Stargate franchise, my plan was to take a year off – go to cooking school, work on a novel, and watch the entire run of Ralph Bakshi’s hallucinogenic Spiderman cartoon in one glorious sitting.  And then, in January, my agent informed me of an opportunity to work on The Transporter t.v. series based, of course, on the successful film franchise.  Being a big fan of the movies, I jumped at the chance and, before I knew it, my writing partner Paul and I were in Toronto, working on scripts, then prepping, then well into production. Like most first year shows, there were challenges.  But there was/is also enormous potential – in the form of an established brand and an incredibly dedicated cast, crew, and production team who will, no doubt, deliver a fantastic series when The Transporter premieres in early 2012.

As I prepare to sail off into the sunset (or, rather, fly back home with four small dogs, my girlfriend, and about a half dozen supervillain statues), I’d like to take a moment to thank a few people.

Thanks to Robert Cooper, one of the smartest, most creative guys in the biz, who helped us get the show off the ground and was always on hand to offer much-appreciated guidance along the way.

Thanks to Klaus Zimmerman and Fred Fuchs for their hard work and unflagging commitment to the production.

Thanks to Sue Murdoch for her tireless efforts on behalf of not only the show, but the people who make it happen.

Thanks to pilot director Stephen Williams, director Bruce McDonald for being such a great shooter and one helluva great guy, and my buddy, director Andy Mikita, for putting sleep on hold to guide this production.

Thanks to the cast and, especially, Chris Vance (our Frank Martin), one of the kindest, most down-to-earth actors I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. Here’s hoping we do it again some day on another show – but, hopefully, not for at least another five years since he’ll be busy on this one.

Thanks to the dedicated crew (Derick, Angela, Simon and countless others) who made every day on set an experience so positive that I’d sadden at the prospect of returning to the production offices.

Thanks to the equally dedicated personnel working in the production offices (Mega, Trevor, Anna, Sonia, Patricia and countless others)who made every day at the office an experience so positive that I’d sadden at the prospect of returning to set.

Thanks to the gang in post and VFX (and a special hats off to the stellar Brendan Taylor).  Catch you on the next go-round!

Thanks to our amazing stunt teams led by Cyril Raffaeli and Michel Julienne who delivered action sequences like no other on television.

Thanks to my friend, Carl Binder, who dropped everything and came to Toronto to support us.

And, chiefest of all, an extra big thanks to the heart and soul of the series, the one guy I’ll miss most of all, Show Runner Alexander M. Ruemelin.  Keep fighting the good fight, buddy!

Finally, hats off to Steve Shill who now takes the reins of The Transporter.  The series is in very good hands and I have no doubt that, with all of the talent backing him up, he’ll deliver a show that will blow everyone away.

As for me?  Well, those 52 episodes of the 1967 Spiderman cartoon aren’t going to watch themselves!

August 15, 2011: Bento Breakfast Binder-Style! Co-workers! A Familiar Guest Star! The Maximus Update!

Akemi occasionally sends me off to work with some pretty amazing breakfasts – tasty and artistically elaborate bento creations that are, apparently, all the rage back in Japan.  I’ve posted pics of these edible masterpieces in recent months…

Well, not to be outdone, Carl’s wife, Karen, sent him off with his own bento box creation this morning.  It was truly a sight to behold.

Properly labeled lest someone else try to lay claim to it.

A trip to the local supermarket yields great deals in the remainder aisle.

Sausage and cereal. A meal fit for a king!

And the main course: Bagel. Lovingly toasted no less!

Carl delights in his Far East feast!

Back at it today with not one but TWO concept meetings, the first for episode #103 (Sharks) and the second for episode #106 (Payback).  We’ll be block shooting them in September (or perhaps earlier if we’re unable to locate corroborative visual evidence of graffiti in Marseilles) and I for one can’t wait.  Mainly because it’ll be a month from now.  Also, will get to work with the fabulous Bruce McDonald, Director par excellence.

Some more of the people I enjoy working with on Transporter…

VFX Supervisor Brendan Taylor. You may know him from Hanna, Resident Evil Afterlife/Extinction, Silent Hill, and previous pictures of him on this blog.

Michael and Sarah practice their steely staredowns. Them's some pretty good steely staredowns!

And, someone I’m soon to be working with (as a guest star in episode #105 – Harvest), for the fourth show in a row…

The incredible Mike Dopud. Check out the guns, ladies.

A bit of a rough day for Maximus.  Akemi reports he was very slow on his walk and seemed quite sore.  Now, when he sleeps, he seems to be more comfortable resting his chin on something.  Last night, it was a towel.  Today, it’s the new doggy bed I picked up for him.


Hey, Deni – best wishes to Elway!

Today’s blog entry is dedicated to Carl Binder who crossed great distances and made many sacrifices to ride to our rescue!

August 12, 2011: Work! A surprise guest! And more Maximus!

Despite the fact that I was only on set three days this week, I’m more exhausted today than I have been all year.  Yep, one of those weeks.  Expect to have a lot more of these between now and the end of November…

I thought it was something from props. Turns out it's an energy drink.

Apparently, we're not the only kids on this block.

Look at what I'm missing on set. Tara's houndstooth nails. That and the 11:00 p.m. wrap.

The Germans.

Carl having the time of his life.

Today, we were paid a visit by surprise guest…

Brad Wright was in town for all of one day. He's got some projects in the works and will be back in September.

A usually voracious eater, Maximus turned his nose up at breakfast this morning.  I believe it had to do with all of the supplements mixed into his meal (a little over a dozen).  We scaled down his meds to his pain medication and antibiotics and his appetite magically returned.

Maximus. And his eyeballs.

According to Akemi, he slowed down a couple of times during his walk today.  She had to pick him up and carry him part of the way – and only part of the way because she had a hard time lugging the little porker.

August 10, 2011: Back on set!

The ever-upbeat Alexander R. Ruemelin

Back on set today – even though my episode (#102 – 12 Hours) wrapped two days ago.  I’ve been standing in for Paul who has been busy prepping episodes #104-105 (The Switch and Harvest), overseeing the final two outstanding days on the pilot.  Yes, it’s true!  So much awesomeness it couldn’t be contained in one measly production schedule!

Director Bruce McDonald, back in action. He's a machine!

That's my Exec. Producer chair right there beside the garbage bin.

Simon runs a tight ship.

Waiting around for the next shot. And sandwiches.

A little rain fails to spoil Bruce's parade.

Patrick challenging strangers.

Tara takes flight. It was THAT windy!

On my way to the second location, had to stop for traffic.

The second location.

B Camera rides the friendly skies.

Nice day for a picnic

Big day for Maximus tomorrow.  Wish him luck!

August 9, 2011: Snow Monkeys Return! Back on Set!

Even though I’m on the other side of the country, my Snow Monkeys will be making another bid for Fantasy Football supremacy.  This season, they square off against the likes of The New Old Spice Guys, Van Isle Vultures, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, and Ivon Bartok’s The Running Dead (among others).  The League, since renamed to RIP Stargate, gets underway with our live draft: September 4, 2:00 p.m. EDT.  Time to set aside the scriptwriting and producing in favor of far more pressing concerns: Chris Johnson or Arian Foster?  Andre Johnson or Roddy White?  The Packers defense or the Steelers D?

Like I wrote on message board: “This’ll be perfect timing. I’ll wrap season one of The Transporter in December, then be back in Vancouver in time to pick up my winnings.”

I was back on set today – the day AFTER my episode wrapped – sitting in for Paul who was in meetings today.

Ennis Esmer rolls out of bed and strolls right onto set.

Tara Yelland: Sassy Car Model

Joe Kicak - DMT and husky owner.

Visual Effects Supervisor Brendan Taylor on set to supervise coffee and chicken salad sandwiches.

I advised Chris that, before going in, he should remove all metal objects like watches, rings, and fillings.

 The other day, a guest star referring to Tara: “She’s got eyes like…”

“A lemur?”I asked helpfully.

“I was going to say Amanda Seyfried.”


Ole lemur-eyes.

Tara read one of my scripts today.  I hovered around as inconspicuously as possible, strolling by every so often as she leafed through the pages, casting intermittent glances over in an attempt to gauge her reaction.  Glancing up and noticing me, she offered her feedback: “Lots of throat punches.”

“Yeah,”I said.  “It’s my signature move.”

Hoping to make effective use of it in the days to come!

August 3, 2011: Transporter – Episode #2 – 12 Hours – Day 5!

Although we started an hour later this morning, I had to add an hour to my travel time so it was a wash: no extra sleep for me.  5:20 a.m. wake-up, walk the dogs, wash up, then out the door at 6:30 a.m.  By the time I rolled into The Devil’s Punch Bowl at Stoney Creek, Director Bruce McDonald was already talking car stunts with our Car Stunt Coordinator Michel Julienne.  There was some initial concern the recent rainfall could complicate the game plan but, fortunately, it dried up fairly quickly and, eventually, even the sun came out.  And then left later that afternoon, making way for overcast skies and a fine mist for the vineyard scene.

Patrick, Bruce, and Michel discuss the car stunts.

The Lamborghini, in position.

A picnic by the cliff side.

Both of our shooting locations were situated a short walk from the Punch Bowl Market, purveyors of fine foods (pies in particular).  And so, after lunch, I sat down to some blueberry pie.  A la mode of course…

Derek = one piece.

Onno - 1 1/2 pieces.

Robert = 1 1/2 pieces.

Tara = 3 pieces. Probably more because she was still eating when I left to get back to work. Look! She's got something in her eye.

Tara destroys dessert!

Stephan stocks up.

We return to work after lunch. Well, Simon does anyway, wondering where the hell is everyone else?

Cruising the vineyard.

Uber-adorable Erin shows off HER NEW LAMBOGHINI, a reward for her 2+ months of hard work on the production.

Finally completed by rewrite of Payback.  Not the last time I’ll be revisiting the script, I’m sure.  Still, quite relieved it’s finally out of the way.  Now, I can take a break – and work on my rewrite of Sharks.

August 2, 2011: The Transporter – Episode #2 – 12 Hours – Day #4! Thanks from me and Maximus!

Back at it again today, this time in Stouffville for a visit to Geneva and a very unique home plus a healthy dose of action compliments of Fight Choreographer Cyril Raffaelli (pictured above, calling YOU out).

The day was a scorcher!

Flower child Tim Bider makes love not war.

Stephanie's salute to Switzerland.

All revved up and ready to go.

Brendan swings by set for the free coffee, then heads back to the production offices for the free lunch.

David Julienne, aka The Driver, aka 009.

Tara and Robert on an upscale picnic. And then, presumably (check out the hat below), The Kentucky Derby.

Need a lift?

What's in YOUR trunk.

Sweet ride!

The Maestro: Director Bruce McDonald

It was a hot, long day and, as a thank you to my terrific cast and crew, I arranged for a little treat…

Ice cream for everyone!

Tomorrow, I’m Hamilton-bound for a little cliff-side action and some vineyard intrigue.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to send their thoughts, links, and well-wishes for Maximus.  They are greatly appreciated.  My poor little (big) guy is more lethargic, obviously slower, but his appetite remains strong which I take as a good sign.  He also seems to be in relatively good spirits, still demonstrating his typical tail-wagging affection for the neighborhood kids who stop to pet him.

We have an appointment this Thursday to see a specialist at the University of Guelph.  I’ll be going armed with a bunch of the helpful info several of you have provided, along with a slew of questions.

July 29, 2011: The Transporter – Episode #2 – 12 Hours – Day #3!

Check it out! Director Bruce McDonald shows off a new book on his 1996 punk rock "docu" classic: Hardcore Logo.

We were back at TIFF today for the third day of production on episode #102: 12 Hours.  The usual cast of characters were in attendance…

Tara and Robert compare their favorite lines from the script.

Tim Bider was on hand to supervise the tweaking of the signage. Under his watchful eye, TIFF INFO was magically transformed into ROUSSEAU INFO.

Tara feels she's been getting a bad rap on this blog, so she demonstrates her affable side by offering me a breakfast sandwich. I had to set it aside for a few minutes and, while I was attending to other business, our 4th A.D. Lamont ate it. Curiously, he ended up having to go home, suffering from stomach cramps and explosive diarrhea.

Blocking the fight sequence.

Director Bruce McDonald at the helm.

Director of Photography Derick Underschultz spies on the office girls across the hall.

We were shooting in an actual office building and I came across this awesome note in the company kitchen. I mean, seriously. Who would do that?!

2nd A.D. Patrick, the eternal optimist.

Kaitlin Janisse - our Rachel - all business.

Greg Bryk as the villainous Carson Bernhardt.

Bruce at the wheel.

Sassy Erin Daprato from Costumes - Stargate fan! And a fan of Michael Shanks!

Tireless Tara Yelland. What a work ethic!

I stopped by Soma and picked up chocolates for the gang.

Eventually, we head down to the parking garage for the final sequence of the night…

The car stunt coordinator and his drivers hogged the Lamborghini. When it was finally my turn, they called it a wrap and told me I'd have to wait until next week. And I'd bought a special driving hat and everything!

I also sprung for Booster Juice. The second I walked in the door, they descended on me like a pack of wild dingoes. Pictured above, the head dingo is distracted from her feast.

Director Bruce McDonald on a roll.

Simon, Julia, and Robert celebrate another awesome day's shoot.

Shooting the start of the chase sequence.

The weekend is upon us and, finally, I can relax.

Just as soon as I finish that damn rewrite.

July 28, 2011: The Transporter – Episode #2 – 12 Hours – Day Two!

Let’s kick off today’s entry with a (sort of) pic of Tara Yelland – actress, entertainer, stupendous stand-in, and princess (For real!)…

Tara insists she was defamed in yesterday's entry so I feel the need to post a retraction: While she did call me non-Paul, berated my t.v. viewing choices, listed America's Next Top Model as one of her favorite shows, AND didn't get me a ham sandwich, she wasn't exactly lazy. No, she didn't chop vegetables like Robert, but she did contribute to blocking the Frank and Carla driving scenes and the poolside sit - in the case of the latter, braving a dangerously rickety patio chair in the process.

Rob stocks up in anticipation of THE BIG ONE!

A toast. To the Executive Producer!

We started the morning with the reception area so that we could shoot out Francois Berleand who heads back to France today.  Another great Tarconi scene. Apparently, before leaving, Francois let it be known that he had a terrific time on set, in no small part due to his interaction with Director Bruce McDonald (who seems to be gaining a lot of fans amongst the cast and crew).

Of course you all recognize the Rousseau Electronics logo.

Director Bruce McDonald dreams big!

Robert Morse hits his mark.

Too busy today to get any work done on the Payback rewrite.  Just like yesterday.  So far, I’m 0-2 with ten days to go before I prep my next block.

You do the math.

Anna and Damion discuss...actually, don't recall what they were discussing. May have been red leotards and leather kilts. Really.

Tim tries to steal another sign.

The view out the window offers a taste of Nice.

Stephanie preps the playback. En francais, s'il vous plait.

Hmmm. Bruce considers his next shot.

Director Bruce McDonald and Director of Photography Derick Underschultz arrive at a consensus.

Tara, still refusing to put in a blog reappearance. Sassy, no?

We were about to shoot our first scene in Rousseau’s office when the dulcet strains of a street corner musician rose up to greet our first take.  We waited while someone went downstairs to talk to the guy (pay him to go away?).  It reminded Rob of an experience he had when he was shooting something downtown across from a condom shop. Apparently, the owner of the condom shop was playing some loud music.  The production asked him to turn it down.  He refused. They offered him $50.  He demanded $850.  They refused.  He turned up the music REALLY LOUD.  They caved.

We were shooting at the elevators so these guys had to wait a while before they could go down to the lobby. They were all: "This is an outrage!". And I was like: "Seriously. Where does that guy have to be?"

Another thumbs-up day from Bruce.

We actually finished early today.  Our first early day!  That’s the good news.

The bad news?

I think the production may be haunted.

More on that in the coming days…