November 3, 2010: Production Update! Stargate Pics! More of that Q&A with Louis Ferreira!

Finished up the script for the second issue of the comic book.  It was a little tricky getting used to the format – and, truth be told, there are still elements that don’t make sense to me. It took me about a week to write the script for issue #1 (which is comprised of the tease and first two acts of the pilot), then, having got the hang of it, about a day and a half to write the script for issue #2 (comprised of the final three acts of the pilot including the big reveal).  Paul will go over them this weekend and they’ll hopefully be in our editor’s hands by late next week – at which point the search for a suitable artist will kick into high gear.  I’ll also send off to an email to Kevin and Dave and get the official okay to release the details on the future comic/graphic novel/t.v. series and/or movie.

Other interesting projects loom including one that – if all falls into place – will see us re-teamed with an old friend who’ll be BEHIND the camera this time.

On the SGU side, we’re all focused on episode #20, Gauntlet, which starts shooting next week.  This one’ll raise (and singe) a few eyebrows – and set the stage for some major season 3 developments.

I think Ashleigh may be losing her mind.  Today, she insisted Rhianna was better than The Prodigy.  With a straight face no less!  Puleeeze.  The trifecta of Invaders Must Die, Stand Up, and Breathe alone blows away the entire career output of Rhianna, Beyonce, Celine, and those other four clones combined.    I mean, seriously.

Over the past few days, several of you have asked me to dish on some of the stories we had in mind for Stargate: Atlantis’s sixth season.  I actually covered this in a blog entry not long after the show’s cancellation.  In it, I list not one, not two, but twenty of the ideas we had in store:

My Snow Monkeys just completed their first trade, sending WR Lance Moore to the Ken Ga Roo Colts in exchange for RB Brandon Jackson. With Marshawn Lynch floundering behind that weak Seahawk OL, I’ll happily take the Packer running back hosting the woeful Cowboys in Green Bay.  Having Robert Meachem made the trade all that easier. Who needs two Saints receivers anyway?  Especially this season.

Art Department work for episode 203, Awakening.

Destiny docks with the seed ship.

In the room, we kept alternating between calling it a “seed” ship and a “seeder” ship until Paul got fed up with everyone  suggesting this spaceship may actually have been made out of cedar (as opposed to, say, pine) and requested  we stick to “seed ship”.

The lovely Julie McNiven kickin’ back between set-ups for episode…well, an episode you haven’t seen yet.

A wonderful actress and an incredible sweetheart.

That’s what you call a “hull breach”.

They don’t get much breachier.

What secrets lie beyond these doors?

Tune in to next week’s episode to find out.

And if you’re going to bring snacks, make sure you have enough for everyone.

Hey!  HEY!  Where the hell does Atlantis think IT’S going?!!









It’s Wednesday afternoon and that means…


It’s Carl’s turn to play in the magic circle!!!




And more from my sit-down with actor Louis Ferreira, Stargate: Universe’s Colonel Everett Young.

Today’s question: What is your favorite genre to work in and why?

His answer will no doubt surprise.

And confuse.

November 1, 2010: Snow Monkeys, Zombies, and Louis Ferreira!

Curse the Seattle Seahawks’ offensive line and the team’s inability to establish a running game.  Thanks to them – and several other notable underachievers, my Snow Monkeys head into tonight’s Monday night game needing a monster night from both QB Matt Schaub and RB Arian Foster to pull off an unlikely week 8 victory.  At this point, it’s not looking good.  Thanks-for-nothings also go out to WR’s Dez Bryant and  Brandon Marshall.  Also, TE Tony Moeaki.  As the regulation time was ticking down in the KC game, I was cursing myself for having unwittingly started an inactive player only to realize that Moeaki WAS active – but only in the theoretical sense.  I’m hitting the waiver wire hard tomorrow.

Anyone watch the premiere of AMC’s The Walking Dead?  That’s a rhetorical question because, in fact, MANY did.  5.3 million viewers is pretty damn impressive and, frankly, well-deserved.  Beautifully shot and wonderfully written with great performances all around.  And, have to agree with #1 zombie fan Ivon Bartok – those were probably the best-looking zombies I’ve ever seen.  Creepy good!

Louis Ferreira (a.k.a. Stargate: Universe’s Colonel Everett Young) swung by my office today to say hi – giving me the opportunity to throw a few more of your fan questions at him.  Today’s question –

How was it to have Robert Carlyle as a director for one episode of season two?

Great answer – up until he’s interrupted by my cellphone’s Yolandi Vi$$er ringtone…

Oooh, some interesting developments abound.  A tricky first step finally negotiated.  Less cryptic revelations to come!

July 11, 2010: He does it again! Afternoon soccer with the guys! The Pineapple Diaries part III! Mailbag!

The psychic octopus does it again!  Not only does he correctly predict the outcome of every one of Germany’s World Cup matches including both losses AND its final victory over Uruguay, but it correctly picked Spain to triumph over the Netherlands in today’s final match.  Amazing!  Is he on facebook?  If not, he should be.  Unless, of course, he’s already been eaten by irate Germany fans.

I watched the game with friends today: Special Features Producers Ivon Bartok (who cooked), actor Patrick Gilmore (who carried plates and helped clean), and actor Tobias Slezak (who just showed up).

Ivon shows us the chicken.

Ivon's tasty, tasty tacos!

Also in attendance: actor Patrick Gilmore. At one point, he and Ivon got into a spirited debate on the relative merits of their respective hockey teams. At one point, I was afraid they'd come to blows. I was only afraid because I was sitting beside Ivon at the time and didn't want to take an errant punch to the head.

After the game, Ivon suggested we all watch The Boondock Saints, a presumed “cult classic” – and a film that is the focus of one of my very favorite documentaries, Overnight.  The latter tracks the rise and fall of Troy Duffy, a humble bartender once trumpeted as the next Tarantino who impresses Hollywood with his first spec script, is given his first big break, and then proceeds to squander this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity by burning bridges and generally acting like an out-and-out jerk.  As for The Boondock Saints – well, at one point, the blu-ray player froze for about five minutes.  They were, by far, the best five minutes of the movie.

Hey, heard from Rob Cooper yesterday.  He dropped me an email titled “I thought of you”.  It contained the following pic…

In the third installment of The Pineapple Diaries, we pick up our interview with actor Louis Ferreira, conducted on a day when he was called in to work on his day off (Can you tell?).  Here, Louis discusses the challenges of working in those space suits –

Which reminds me of one amusing behind-the-scenes incident from my Atlantis days.  We were shooting the episode Subversion which required our actors to strut around in these enormous, unwieldy underwater suits.  Joe Flanigan’s suit necessitated some repairs and so, while everyone waited, a crew member hopped inside to fix the problem.  We were hurrying to get our day so when the crew member had finished, he hopped out and Joe stepped inside.  Too late did he realize that the crew member was feeling unusually gassy that day.  And by “too late”, I mean “by the time they sealed him inside the airtight suit”. Now THAT would have been one for the blooper reel!


Sean D. writes: “Hi Joe, can you make those videos available in another format or through another source?”

Answer: Hey, Sean – when I have time, I’ll upload them to youtube.  I’ll keep you posted.

Bailey writes: “You know, rereading the mailbag, what I think PG-15 and a few others may have been tactfully trying to ask, without actually asking, is why haven’t you or Paul gone to bat for Extinction as Brad has for Revolution?”

Answer: Hmmm.  I spent the better part of an hour attempting a tactful response to this question before eventually giving up.  Let’s just say that when news of the Atlantis cancellation first came down, I was crushed – as was everyone else associated with the production, from cast and crew to the entire writing staff.  My disappointment was somewhat mitigated, however, by the prospect of continuing Atlantis’s story in the direct-to-dvd format.  Since then, circumstances have tempered that initial enthusiasm.  I still want to see the movie made; I’ve simply adopted a more practical outlook with respect to its (hopefully) eventual production.

Major D. Davis writes: “1. Now I know the SG-1 cast is signed to do the SG-1 movie, but what about the Atlantis cast? When the movie is greenlit, are you worried that it might be to difficult to get the cast back together?”

Answer: The SG-1 cast has not been signed.

Gategod writes: “What might a fourth stargate series be about/be set?

Would you be the show runner?

Would any of the SG-1/SGA cast members star in a 4th stargate series?”

Answer: No thought has been given to a fourth Stargate series.  We’re wholly focused on the terrific series presently in production.

Deni writes: “Hi Joe, any news regarding Jelly?”

Answer: She heads in for her procedure on Tuesday.  Will keep you posted.

Don writes: “One thing I’ve been curious to see is a story where someone uses the stones to come to Earth and something big is happening there.”

Answer: Like in season two’s Alliances?

Quade writes: “Have you seen Avatar the Last Airbender, the tv series??”

Answer: Nope.  My anime to-view list will probably take me well into 2015 as it stands.

Pol writes: “About how long does it take you and Paul to knock out an episode script? Do you do a solid pass and then give it to Paul (or vice-versa)? Or do you sit in a room and collaborate? How does that process work?”

Answer: Even though we are credited as co-writers, Paul and I haven’t co-written a script since SG-1’s 8th season.

Pol also writes: “But…back to my main question, how long does it take you (’til you’re happy with the script – or at least willing to release it into the wild) to write an hour-long episode?”

Answer: From concept to finished draft, about a month.

dasNdanger writes: “Any chance of a sexy long-locked albino sort finding its way into your story??”

Answer: Not in the short story but quite possibly in the comic book series.

Lewis writes: “Just a quick ? about Gauntlet (ep. 20). Is it already mostly written at this point or do you wait until later in the fall when you find out if SGU has been picked up for Season 3… or is it a matter of plotting out 2 different endings?”

Answer: As was the case in every other season, the script for our season finale will be written by the time a decision is made on a pick-up.  In fact, I suspect that by the time we do hear, we will have already wrapped production on season 2.

Boris writes: “1) Who are the writers of the last episodes you give out in this post:
215: Seizure, 219: Blockade, 219: Blockade, and 220: Gauntlet?
2) What happened to episode 218: Radio that you mentioned some days ago?
3) Will we see many new different species of aliens in season 2 or just a few like in the first season?
4) Will there be a CD of SGU’s first season soundtrack, I will buy it ASAP, the music is just awesome?
and finally just out of curiosity
5) Which episode of SGU is shooting now or will start shooting soon?”

Answers: 1) 215, Seizure – Remi Aubuchon, 216, The Hunt – Joseph Mallozzi, 217 – Robert Cooper script, 218 – Carl Binder script, 219, Blockade – Linda McGibney, 210, Gauntlet – Paul Mullie,

2) That’s still under discussion.

3) We’ll definitely be introducing several new alien life forms in season 2.

4) No idea.  Sorry.

5) We just wrapped on Deliverance (211) and will be moving on to Alliances (213).

Collegeboy8907 writes: “Did SG-1 ever find the Clava Thessara Infinitas that was mentioned In SG-1 Season ten?”

Answer: Nope.

LaWanda writes: “I was wondering about something else when they were fighting those aliens guys on Daedalus variations could they have been a new form of wraith.”

Answer: No, it wasn’t our intention to create any connection between the two alien races.

dioxholster writes: “Joe, is that alien concept art for season 2 or was it something for season one?”

Answer: It’s an alien concept for season 2 – that we won’t be seeing in season 2.

Valaur writes: “1. Does the Destiny have a teleporter similar to that of the goa’uld or the Ori? Seeing as the Goa’uld stole that technology from the Ancients, it would be really cool to see the first or second generation of that technology.
2. I think it was Brad who said he immensely disliked having the Asgard beaming technology as a quick get-away device or a gimmick used by the SGC. Are there any pieces of technology that were imagined, then suggested in the writer’s room but received an unequivocal no? Like the Zat being able to make a body disappear with 3 shots.
3. In ‘Faith’, the marsh looks similar to the one used Battlestar Galactica’s ‘Home Pt. 1 and 2.’ along with ‘Kobol’s Last Gleaming’. I’m only curious if it’s the same location or just really similar.
4. Will the answer to why the environmental suits of the Destiny looks so similar to the ones used by ‘The Lost Tribe’ or was that already answered?
5. Will there be an ascended Ancient sent to the Destiny to help the crew in any shape or form?
6. I really, really enjoy the real science element of the show, like the white dwarf and pulsar in ‘Incursion’. Is there anything coming up that you’re excited for, science-wise?
7. In comparison to SG-1 and SGA, could you give us a rough estimate or figure of how many crew work on the show to give us what we see on the TV? Also, have most of the crew from the two previous franchises moved on to bigger and better things or stuck around for SGU?”

Answers: 1. Nope.

2. Actually, I’m the one who hated the convenience of the beaming technology.  And, yes, plenty of ideas get bounced from the writers’ room – though none come readily to mind.

3. Sorry.  No idea.  Given that both shows were produced in Vancouver, it’s likely however.

4.  Nope.

5. You’ll have to stay tuned.  For the record, however, I’m not a huge fan of ascended visitors.

6. Yep.

dasNdanger writes: “Joe – you like cool spooky stuff, right? Please tell me what you think of this:

Answer: Love it.  I spent the better part of my after-dinner wind-down watching the entire Daywalt Horror line-up.

July 10, 2010: Proper script planning! Out and around the office pics! Another Masked review! The Pineapple Diaries #2! Mailbag!

Time flies when you’re having fun – or when you’re not prepping that script until September, meaning you don’t have to finish your first draft until well after your return from hiatus.  On the bright side, I finished the Tease and it’s a pretty damn good one, the kind the network loves: Jeopardy!  Jeopardy! Jeopardy! This is going to be one of those episodes (like Malice and Cloverdale) that will be mostly shot on location, meaning there’ll be no ducking back up to the office for a quick break between set-ups.  Guess I’ll be bringing my work – and chocolate – with me.  Also, bug spray may not be a bad idea.  I’m sure the experience will not be unlike that fab week I spent with Will Waring on the set of SGA’s Harmony all the way over at Widgeon Park – except that, in this case, the location under discussion is a much more manageable fifteen minutes or so drive from the studio.  Hmmm.  I’m thinking that for my next script, I might set the episode in a middle-class suburban home.  One with a fairly extensive and somewhat bizarre liquor collection.  And four dogs, specifically three pugs and a french bulldog.  I could wake up five minutes before the first blocking, throw on a bathrobe (note to self: purchase a bathrobe), come downstairs for first team, head back upstairs for a shower and shave, come back downstairs whenever they’re ready to shoot the scene, then head back upstairs and watch my favorite morning shows (note to self: have favorite morning shows) until they’re reading to move on.  Catering could serve lunch right out of my kitchen and, best of all, this time, I can’t get in trouble for walking around in my underwear.  It’ll be win-win-win!

In and around the offices…

Director of Photography Jim Menard on Stage 5's black-out set.

Production Designer James Robbins swings by the office to talk to off-world wildlife.

An early concept drawing that, while brilliantly alien, wasn't quite what I was looking for. Still, let's file this one away for future reference.

Actors Peter Kelamis and Patrick Gilmore head off for some well-deserved R&R.

Terrific review of Masked, that forthcoming superhero anthology I keep talking about, over at io9:  The collection is edited by none other than blog favorite Lou Anders and features contributions from a wonderful array of writers from the worlds of comic books (ie. Matthew Sturges, Bill Willingham, Gail Simone), novels (ie. Marjorie M. Liu, Ian McDonald, Stephen Baxter), and television (ie. Paul Cornell and even yours truly).  Thanks to Morjana and Nadine for the heads up.

Coincidentally, Masked is our September Book of the Month Club pick – so if you’re thinking of picking it up:

The second installment in our Q&A with an already-on-vacation Louis Ferreira.  Here, Louis offers up his thoughts on the flawed Colonel Young…

Finish up House of Suns and start organizing your thoughts!  The July Book of the Month Club discussion begins on Monday.


Zoomeister writes: “1.) Have you seen these?

See? Riley has fans.”

Answer: Oh, we’ll well aware of the fact.  It’s nice to see there’s support for not only the main cast, but our wonderfully talented supporting players as well.

Zoomeister writes: “2.) Have you seen this, BTW?

Pretty interesting. What’s your take on it?”

Answer: Some I agree with; some I don’t; some we’re already working on in season 2.  We’re definitely “fleshing out the main characters” (and those “side characters” as well) in the show’s second season and, with that, demonstrating that these people are far from perfect.  And, as Brad already alluded to in a recent interview, we will be taking advantage of the gritty realism to go to some pretty dark places in the coming season.  There’ll be plenty of “crazy” to go around in SGU’s second year and, yes, many of those questions will be answered or, at the very least, explanations will be hinted at as we use them to build some bigger arcs.  We’ll be doing more exploring and more adventuring, both on and off Destiny.  I don’t agree that we need to kill off the cook or “this guy” to raise the stakes or convey a sense of loss.  Anyone remember Senator Armstrong or Sgt. Spencer or Franklin?  More exploration?  Check.  More monsters? Oh, yeah.  Check.  More of that back half of season one humor.  Also check.  Lose the music montages.  Nyet.  Meredith may not like them, but I love ’em.  They offer a nice, succinct way of wrapping up the episode’s various storylines and furthering ongoing character arcs.

Zoomeister also writes: “Will you have an alien join the cast (and no, I don’t mean a Jaffa, Tok’ra or Lucien Alliance member)?”

Answer: Great idea.  All we’ll need is an extra 3 million dollars an episode and we can work one of those blue aliens into the show as a recurring crew member, maybe the new cook.

PG15 writes: “I’m glad to hear that Brad is having talks with MGM about Revolution. That’s a good start. I wonder what the impetus for these talks were (unless they’ve been happening since the beginning), and why that’s not happening with Extinction?”

Answer: As I mentioned previously, Brad is co-writing and Exec. Producing Revolution, not Extinction.

E writes: “Can we expect some AU SGU stories to come? I’m dying to see what would have become of the character had they not gotten stranded on the Destiny.”

Answer: Hmmm.  Wouldn’t that be interesting…

Juergen writes: ”

1. I believe SG-1 Movie will be produced soon. Hope, Hope, Hope! You guys had a lot of time now. Did you have improved some things from time to time or is the script untouched for long time?

2. Assuming the next stargate movie works fine and MGM wants more stuff. Do you think, it is possible, that we will see an entirely Stand-Alone-Movie with new characters and new stories? A new series is often a risk. But making a movie with a completed story would maybe safe money (new characters) and gives the chance to reinvent the Franchise. I want to see more about Stargate. Why no movie with from the perspective of the Jaffa, Tokra, any other people. A complete detached story. I thought long about it. That’s the kind of way, I would go. Hope, sometime we will see such a movie.

3. Does the SGC still exist or is the Stargate being moved to Homeworld Command?

4. If it has been moved….has this to do with Atlantis staying on Earth?

5. The moon base, which Sam speaks about in Continuum…Are we going to see it in the next movie? Has the Earth Gate beeing moved to the moon?”

Answers: 1. Paul and I haven’t revisited the script since submitting it some time ago.

2. No.  When we move ahead with the movies, the first one up will be Revolution, featuring SG-1.

3. More on that in Stargate: Revolution.

4. Not necessarily.

5. Stay tuned.

Daniel writes: “1) Will we learn more about the Lucien Alliance in future episodes? I’m curious to know if it’s only this group led by Kiva that is pursuing Destiny or if it’s an obsession for the whole Alliance?

2) In the Writer’s room have you pinned down what Destiny can and can’t do, in order too stop each Writer adding something new every script to solve a plot point until there is nothing it can’t do.

3) Given the tight running time every episode has too keep too, and the shows aim to treat the audience with more respect was there any talk of dropping the “previously” segments? Or is it something the network simply won’t let you drop?”

Answers: Hey, Daniel, thanks for the insightful comments.  And welcome to the blog.

1) We will definitely be learning more about the Lucian Alliance in season two.

2) We are all on the same page with regard to what the ship can and can’t do.  In fact, all the writers are present when a story is broken, ensuring a consistency in series logic.

3) Given the somewhat serialized nature of the show, I think it’s a good idea dedicated a little time to catching potential first-time viewers up on what has come before.

Ponytail writes: “Would you ever consider doing a sort of live Q&A with someone on your blog. Lets say one evening you let us ask this person questions (in your comments section) and they answer them right away (in your comments section). You could have rules like, only one question per person per 1/2 hour or something like that, and every 10 minutes or so, you post everything so far. That sounds like fun to me! Can we, can we!”

Answer: It’s possible but unlikely.  The whole point of doing the Q&A’s the way I do (gathering the questions, sending them off, then giving the guest how ever much time they need to get back to me) is to ensure the process is a painless as possible for those taking part.

dasNdanger writes: “If you get a lot of good feedback from your story, do you think you might try to tackle a novel?”

Answer: I’ve been kicking around an idea for a novel.  It’s just a matter of finding the time to sit down and write it.

SG-UNIVERSE writes: “Can we see a SGU trailer 2.0 in Comic Con 2010 ?”

Answer: You will.

PG15 also writes: “1. Are all the Season 2 episode slots filled at this point?

2. In your opinion, would you say Season 2 is more serialized than season 1, or less serialized?”

Answers: 201: Intervention, 202: Aftermath, 203: Awakening, 204: Pathogen, 205: Cloverdale, 206: Trial and Error, 207: The Greater Good, 208: Malice, 209: Visitation, 210: Resurgence, 211: Deliverance, 212: Twin Destinies, 213: Alliances, 214: Hope, 215: Seizure, 216: The Hunt, 217: (Rob’s script), 218: (Carl’s script), 219: Blockade, 220: Gauntlet.  Yep.  All we need are a couple of titles.

2. I’d say it’s about the same as season 1 although there will be  a much bigger build in some of the individual story arcs, particularly in the front half.

Chevron7 writes: “Do you mind if I borrow your photos for a little project I’m working on?”

Answer: Sure, knock yourself out.

July 9, 2010: Greek Day! Two Emmy Nominations for Mark Savela and our Visual Effects Department! Holiday-mode Louis Ferreira Starts Answering Your Questions!

Yesterday, we hit the annual Greek Fest on Boundary Road…

Headed to the Greek fest: Ashleigh, a jubilant Remi, and some border guard we picked up along the way.

From right to left: Kerry, Carl, and extra special guest star Ming-Na!

Gyros up front, spit-roasted lamb in the back.

Kerry, just delighted to be in the company of friends. Carl, just interested in his food.

For real?!

Remi and Linda, ready for some power eating.

Ashleigh sweeps down on dessert like a seagull on french fries.

Ming loving her new iPhone. They were inseparable throughout the outing.

Lawren is soooooooo excited about that gryo.

I ended up scoring a half kilo of pure Athens Gold.

The sweetest dessert known to man: baklava! I finished it off and then was dizzy for the rest of the afternoon.

Loukamades, the Greek version of doughnut hole treats! Aristophanes used to love 'em.

It was a welcome warm and sunny respite from the dank and dark environs of the editing suit where I had spent most of the day, working on my producer’s cut of Resurgence with ace editor Mike “Marverick” Banas (see last issue, ed.).  It’s going to be a terrific episode, especially once Mark Savela and co. deliver the finished visual effects.

Speaking of Mark and our brilliant VFX team – congratulations go out to them on not one but TWO Emmy Nominations, one for Air, the other for Space. Read all about it here:

and here:

So, I gathered up your questions for Louis and sent them his way.  The next day, he emailed me back something along the lines of “Holy crap!  There’s a lot of ’em!”.  He suggested swinging by my office and fielding the questions while I transcribed his responses.  I offered up an even better idea: he swings by the office and I’ll just videotape his answers.  Well, a scheduling snafu resulted in Louis having to come in today, a day into his hiatus, something he was more than happy to do despite the fact that he was already in holiday mode…

This is what you get when you make an actor come in on his day off.

After shooting his scene, he dropped by the production offices to spread some summer cheer…

At this point, I think he was already on his third pina colada.

…and, of course, answer some questions.  So here we go with the first installment of an interview series I’m calling The Pineapple Diaries: