April 30, 2012: Remembering Joel Goldsmith

April 30, 2012: Remembering Joel Goldsmith

I’m going to interrupt this blog’s scheduled posting to dedicate today’s entry to the memory of Joel Goldsmith.  Joel, who passed away last night, was a much loved and respected member of our extended Stargate family; his considerable contributions to the franchise a key part of its long-running success.  The son of renowned composer Jerry Goldsmith, he was an enormously talented in his own right, scoring all three Stargate incarnations (SG-1, Atlantis, and Universe) as well as the SG movies Continuum and Ark of Truth.  His lengthy list of credits include such varied productions as The Untouchables, The Outer Limits, and Diagnosis Murder, but it was, of course, Stargate that introduced me to his musical genius, indefatigable spirit, and greatly appreciated kindness.

Joel was terrific at what he did.  That goes without saying.  Check out any episode of Stargate and imagine how much poorer it would be without his music: the haunting Ascension theme from the end of SG-1’s Meridian as Daniel Jackson says goodbye to Jack, the stirring theme to Stargate: Atlantis that accompanies visuals of the city rising up out of the ocean’s depths, the melancholy yet beautifully elegant ending theme that accompanied SGU’s closing montage.  As producers, whenever we gave notes to anyone on the production, we always liked to balance our criticisms or requests with some recognition of a job well done.  In Joel’s case, there was never an issue with finding something great to say about his work.  If we had notes, they would be few and far between, and they would always be eclipsed by his tremendous accomplishments on any given mix.

The man was talented, but he was also genuinely gracious and thoughtful. Joel liked to know when we felt something wasn’t working so that he could improve upon it, but he also liked to know what WAS working (which, in all honesty, was about 99% of everything he did). Like any great artist, he appreciated the feedback.  But he was also quick to recognize the hard work of others.  I remember receiving a call from him about six episodes into Atlantis’s fourth season, the year Paul and I took over as show runners.  He had picked up the phone simply to congratulate us on the job we were doing.  He’d read the scripts, loved them, and was looking forward to working on the upcoming episodes.  He was calling to thank us for the great material which I found incredibly touching and, quite frankly, amazing.  And it was something he continued to do – not once or twice or even three times, but throughout those final two seasons.  Joel not only worked on Stargate – he was a fan.  And he sounded very much like a fan, echoing the online sentiment at the time, after learning of Atlantis’s cancellation.  He was outraged and sincerely disappointed that the series had come to what was, in his opinion, a premature end.  I was equally disappointed but the news of SGA cancellation was mitigated by that phone call from Joel.  We’d be moving on to SGU, finding work on a new incarnation of Stargate, but it was a damn shame nevertheless, and he wanted me to know it.

April 30, 2012: Remembering Joel Goldsmith

Joel was a pleasure to work with because he was collaborative.  He didn’t take dictation and yet, on the other hand, was never precious about his work either, ever willing to hear us out, make the necessary adjustments or, if need be, argue a point.  I remember one episode where, in a rare instance, a producer suggested we purchase a song for a scene.  Not all of the producers were onboard with the tune and we were leaning toward having Joel come up with something.  But rather than do so, Joel listened to that song from a little known band and defended it – vehemently so.  It would have been simple enough for him to create something but, instead, he recognized the talent in that song and, more importantly, recognized the opportunity it offered that band.  It seemed such a trivial decision at the time but, in retrospect, says a lot about the man’s character.

Finally, we come to Joel’s last piece for the Stargate franchise, that beautiful closing theme to the SGU finale, Gauntlet.  I have to admit that, at the time the episode was being produced, I wasn’t so sure I wanted Joel to score the montage.  When we received the director’s cut, the sequence had included a gorgeous piece that I felt was nothing short of perfect.  I loved Joel’s work, knew what he was capable of but, I have to admit, I doubted even he could trump the music that accompanied the director’s cut.  But Joel wanted to try.  He did.  And succeeded.  If that original piece was nothing shot of perfect, then the closing piece Joel came up with was beyond perfection.

And, I think, a fitting coda to this blog entry…

June 3, 2009: Scrappy Dogs. Okay, I Think I Got It Right This Time. Well Done, Mr. Goldsmith. Cookie Monster’s Good Turn. The Donutella. And WTF is ha ha hee hee ha ha ho?

 

Today, we set aside an hour to talk stories – specifically, the back half of SGU’s first season. Okay, okay. I think that, this time, I’ve got it right. Space shoots next in the #11 slot, followed by Divided in the #12 slot, and then Faith in the #13 slot (Carl promises to have his pass out before week’s end). #14 is the Rush-centered freelance script that Rob will eventually jump on (as he’ll be assuming directing duties on this one). Marty G. is still working on the outline for #15. #16 is another freelancer script and, after much discussion, we’ve finally hammered out a structure for the story. #17 is the Rob-pitched idea that sounds like a story right up Brad’s alley. Still awaiting word on who’ll be doing the honors on this one. Carl steps into the #18 slot with the story we just discussed today. This one looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun and Carl is looking forward to it. Finally, Paul and I are going to start thinking about #19 and #20 as it now looks like we’ll be the ones to put the capper on SGU’s inaugural season.

Yesterday, we all gathered in the writers’ room to watch the opening credits to the premiere – and, more importantly, listen to Joel Goldsmith’s incredible score. An awe-inspiring effort by Mr. Goldsmith coupled with some kick-ass impressive visuals make for a stirring opening. Hey, Joel, if you‘re reading this – and chances are you just might be – congratulations and well done. Brian, David, and Louis were there to check it out as well and loved it too. Terrific.

So the other day, Director Peter Deluise forwarded me an email that had found its way into his inbox, figuring it might be the sort of thing I’d find interesting. It read:

“Hello,

How are you doing?hope all is well, I”m sorry that i didn’t inform you about my traveling to England for a Seminar.I need a favour from you as soon as you receive this e-mail because i misplaced my wallet on my way to the hotel where my money is and other valuable things were kept, i will like you to assist me with a loan urgently. I will be needing the sum of 1000pounds to sort-out my hotel bills and get myself back home.I will appreciate whatever you can afford to help me with, i’ll pay you back as soon as i return.

Kindly let me know if you can be of help? so that i can send you the details.

Your reply will be greatly appreciated

Lee Ann”

Poor, poor Lee Ann. Unfortunately, I’m not really in a position to provide much help. Fortunately, I know someone who is and forwarded him Lee Ann’s plea. He wrote back:

“Hello Dere,

Cookie Monster not remember where know Lee Ann from. Me tinks it at Grover barBQ last summer but not sure becuz meet lot of prostitoots dat night. Which one you? Eiffel Tower, Reverse Cowgirl, Portugese Breakfast, Hot Buttered Popcorn (Trademark Grover, All Rights Reserved), Romanian Salt Shaker (Trademark Grover, All Rights Reserved), Ricky-Ticky-Turn-Table, Agitated U-Boat Commander Wit Twist of Lime (Trademark Grover, All Rights Reserve), or Peruvian Teeter-Totter? Cookie Monster no can remember.

Me can send money, but maybe better if drive down and give you lift instead. Cookie Monster could use vacation. Where you at? Iz hot? You recommend flipflops and shavedown? Let monster know.

Love,

Cookie Monster”

Cookie anxiously awaits her response.

Hey, I just brainstormed a brilliant food creation driving back from dinner tonight. It’s a doughnut with a nutella center. I’d call it a donutella. I’m looking for investors.

Finally, I’d like to present the award to best ever lyrics to Britney Spears for her song If U Seek Amy: “Ha ha hee hee ha ha ho.”. Seriously. It’s like it would’ve been too much trouble to come up with actual words that rhyme with “oh” and “go” so she just gave up: “Look, forget it. I’m hungry. Let’s just go with ha ha ho ho ha ha hee hee and go to Jack in the Box.”

Oh, and check out today’s video: Brie flushes Lulu out.

P.S. What did you think I was going to talk about?

 

January 16, 2009: Link Issues, Book Discussion, Internet News, and the Mailbag

Yesterday, I received a call from the uber-talented composer Joel Goldsmith who wanted me to know he’s been working hard on those fan questions I sent him and is almost done. Actual work, it would seem, held things up a bit, but he assured me that his responses would be chock full of interesting info and links. I’m alternately pleased and a little nervous, only because I haven’t been having much luck with links of late. I’ll copy and paste a text containing links onto my wordpress page and, once I hit “publish”, there’s no telling what I’m doing to end up with. Sometimes lines and paragraph will be run together. Other times the actual link will disappear from where it should be and end up as an addendum at the bottom of the entry. Still other times, the entire text will be underlined and/or bolded. What gives? Being the non-techy guy I am, my first guess is an ancient Mayan curse. If anyone has a better explanation, I’d love to hear it.

Speaking of upcoming Q&A’s – A final reminder to get your questions in for actor Mike (Kirkyk) Dopud!

Further thoughts on On Basilisk Station:

First of all, thanks to everyone who has weighed in with thoughts and comments on the book. Clearly, the series has a lot of fans and, judging from the first book, I can see why. One of the things that really appealed to me was the complex and wholly believable world David Weber creates, and one of the main reasons his Honorverse is so credible is because of the details offered on everything from its socio-economic and political structure to its technological achievements. Of course some would argue that it’s a two-edged sword, that these meticulous accounts can actually frustrate the reader. So, I’m curious what those of you who read On Basilisk Station think about this as it applies to the book. Too much, too little, or just right?

Also, in response to my review, Terry posted the following comment: “Joe, I had a question related to your post about “On Basilisk Station.” You mentioned somthing about this book being the first book that you liked as military SF. I’ve heard others describe “Old Man’s War” as military SF and I know you love that book. I’m curious, do you think of “Old Man’s War” more a space opera? How do you define military SF?”

Well, damn that’s a good point. In retrospect, yeah, I SHOULD classify Old Man’s War as military SF (and come to think of it, Armor by John Steakley, another book I loved). However, Weber’s brand of military SF is very different and more in keeping with my long-held notion of the science fiction sub-genre in which the military component drives the story above all else. The emphasis is less on space opera and more on elements like battlefield tactics and the particulars of combat. I honestly don’t have a preference between either version and hadn’t even considered the differences until this question came up.

So, what do you all think? How would you definite military SF? Do books like Old Man’s War fall into that definition? Why or why not?

What’s in YOUR drinking water? If you guessed Naproxen (a painkiller and anti-inflammatory), Estrone (an oestrogen hormone), and Carbamazepine (a drug used to treat bipolar disorder), you are correct! And, in all probability, already read the following article:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn16397-top-11-compounds-in-us-drinking-water.html

Sure they’re closing in on a cloak of invisibility, but can science invent a shampoo with the long-lasting scent of oatmeal cookies?:

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D95NOJL01&show_article=1&catnum=-1

Who, in your opinion, are the lamest super villains in comic book history? Draw up your list and compare. Oh, Asbestos Man. What the hell were you thinking?:

http://www.the-iss.com/2007/07/the_11_lamest_supervillains_in.php

And

http://www.mondomagazine.net/?p=2369

To those of you unfamiliar with Cowboy Bebop, this may be of passing interest. To fans of the brilliant anime series, this new is, well, kinda depressing:

http://www.japanator.com/elephant/post.phtml?pk=9178

Mailbag:

AV Eddy writes: “What does salsify taste like?”

Answer: Like sweet victory but a tad crunchier.

Belouchi writes: “1. How many ZPMS are within our possesion? ( 3 in Atlantis, one in the Odyssey, Does that seem right)
2. Was the Zpm that was given to power the ancient chair of Antartica or might I say Area 51 destroyed along with the chair?
3. Are the ZPMs powering Atlantis nearly depleted?
Also that now that you guys at Bridge Studios have a better grasp of the complexities of Stargate Universe:
4. Do you know roughly, the size and scope of The Destiny? Is it comparable to an Aurora Class ship, or more in the range of a mega ship such as Anubis mothership or Atlantis like ship.
5. Do you know where we can get Pierre Herme Macarons in Montreal?”

Answers: 1) Hmmmm. Seems about right. 2) Time will tell. Unless Paul does first. 3) Again, we’ll find out the next time we meet our intrepid crew. 4) Yet again, I’m going to have to defer on this one. 5) To the best of my knowledge, you can’t.

Blademos writes: “Will there be a Movie comming soon cause rumor has it that there might not be a movie cause none of the real cast has signed…”

Answer: There will definitely be an Atlantis movie.

Sherwood Forest Maiden writes: “Have you read Twilight, or any of the other books in the series?? Or seen the movie??”

Answer: No, I haven’t.

Tori writes: “Awesome series ending…for SG1!”

Answer: As I already said – the script was not intended to be a SERIES finale, but a season finale.

WillySkilly writes: “Any chance that if Atlantis gets a second movie it would be Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow?”

Answer: Most unlikely.

PoorOldEdgarDerby writes: “Is a pinky fracture more likely to be dismissed if the chided has been given fair warning that, if he continues to twist hia arm in such a manner that the laws of momentum will be ultimately responsible for his consequential suffering?”

Answer: Sadly, no.

Scary writes: “ I have read that the SGA movie will air first on SCI-FI and then be released on DVD while others say that it will a straight to DVD like the other Stargate movies. Can you clear this up?”

Answer: From what I hear, it will probably air on SciFi first.

TBA writes: “How story-arc-based (if that’s a word) is SGU going to shape? Are you going with the old SG-1 way and having only the two- and three-parters tie into each other (with the rest being, although fun, fillers that contributed to some stories but could’ve been anywhere in the season), something along the lines of Heroes where every episode directly continues where the previous ep ended (which is very fun to see, imo), or something in between like SGA season 1 where the episodes were kinda stand-alone (except for the two/three-parters, ofc) but also contributed to the overall arc each episode?”

Answer: SGU will definitely be more of an arc-driven series. Although it will have its fair share of stand-alone and multi-parters, the show will have more season-long plot and character threads running through every episode.

Noelm writes: “So, is hitting with an open fist the same as a “slap”?”

Answers: Slaps, cuffs, and karate chops are all acceptable when dealing with a writer who has screwed up your lunch order.

Stephanie writes: “I’m finding that there are several days a week when I just can’t “get it up to write.” When you get that feeling do you have any tricks to get past that?”

Answer: Convince your writing partner to do a Q&A for you! Otherwise – force yourself. Easier said than done, I know, but one of the reasons I update this blog daily is because it forces me to write. Some entries are better than others but, at the end of the day, the important thing is that I’ve produced something that I can foist upon an unassuming public.

Sparrow_hawk writes: “Hey Joe! Are you going to stay carb free or switch to a low-carb diet when your two weeks are up? Or are you just going back to your previous evil ways?”

Answer: I’ll try to be more careful about what I ate – but will nevertheless indulge in the occasional cheat meals.

IamJohn writes: “Joe, do you have any plans on updating spambait?”

Answer: Eventually, yes. I have to take a peek inside Baron Destructo’s inbox.

Fathercrow writes: “FC: Hey wait a minute here, de-molecularized? Wormholes don’t de-molecularize!”

Answer: Actually, it has long been established on Stargate that anything passing through the event horizon is de-molecuralized for transfer and then re-molecularized on the other side. There is a rare glimpse of the start of the process in Ark of Truth.

Mazeykins writes: “What the heck is Scrapple?”

Answer: Boiled pork scraps and cornmeal. Yum.

Arctic Goddess writes: “There is a great deal of discussion among the fans regarding the sets and if people will be able to see the Atlantis set or the SGC gateroom during the tours at the Stargate convention in April. Is there anything you could say to assuage the fans fears that there is nothing left of the sets except what has been built for the new series?”

Answer: Sorry, I can’t. The SG-1 corridors, control and briefing room are no more. The gate room is in the process of being re-done. The Atlantis sets are still standing. That said, the present state of things puts future tours in doubt.

Shirt ‘n Tie writes: “Now that Atlantis Movie / Universe is in the writing phase, are you still travelling in and out every day to The Bridge, or are things a bit more relaxed…ie can you work from home every so often?”

Answer: Brad and Rob, as the show’s creators and show runners, are dealing with prep. Carl, as an Executive Producer, is there on a regular basis. Paul and I, as Consulting Producers, are involved but will have more free time this season. In fact, I’m working from home today.

Dr. Pants writes: “From what I’ve heard, when the final episode was written it wasn’t confirmed it would be the final episode. When the news came through that it would be, were there any rewrites at all to better reflect this and which episode(s?) were filming at the time?”

Answer: At the time, Infection was being shot, Identity was in prep, and Vegas and Enemy at the Gate were finals. There were no significant changes made to either script.

Luvnjack writes: “So, Joe, since it appears you are making your way through the powers that be, are we ever going to have a guest Q&A with Martin Wood?”

Answer: Most unlikely. He has his hands full with Sanctuary.