March 27, 2017: Dark Matter Season 3 – Day 78 of 91!

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Dark Matter Productions!  Joe speaking.  How may I direct your call? (Photo by Alice Foster.  My new boss?)

These new Apple power adapters are the worst ones yet!

This afternoon, I got to spend a few hours in the editing room with the outrageously talented Nick Wong as he prepares to put the finishing touches on one of my very favorite episodes of the season.  Nick, in his rookie year on Dark Matter, came highly recommended by Blindspot Creator/Showrunner Martin Gero and he has done Marty G. (and the DM production) proud by delivering some of the tightest, most dynamic episodes in the show’s run.  Always a pleasure.

We’re down to The Final Four!  No, not THAT Final Four.  THIS Final Four.  I’m referring to the Dark Matter Ping Pong Tournament.  If you were paying attention today, you got a chance to watch the action live when actor Anthony Lemke took on heavily favored line producer Norman Denver for the final spot in the semi-finals.  Norman, of course, one in three games, setting up a match-up against his right-hand man Brandon Tataryn (who will someday give name to the terrible disease that claimed Sarah’s life).  In the other semi-final match-up, it’ll be red hot Rich Green vs. Jesse “Iceman” Partin.  Check out some of the action:

 


Tagged: #DarkMatter, Dark Matter

March 26, 2016: Toronto Dessert Tour 2017, Part 1

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Mission Objective: Hit five of Toronto’s best dessert spots over the course of an afternoon.

STOP #1

SUD FORNO: Italian pastries.

Seven stalwart eaters joined me on this dessert op.

Mean Jean Brophey starts things off with a double espresso.  She would need the caffeine boost.

On deck: Mini rhum babas, mini chocolate rhum babas, and canolis.

Elliot, Akemi, Ivon, and Alison start their sampling engines.

Kerrington and Breanna = ferocious eaters.  FEROCIOUS!

The highlight: The mini rhum baba.  A perfect boozy bite.

716 Queen Street West (MAPsudforno.com

STOP #2

NADEGE: Chocolates and pastries.

Petit choux (mini cream puffs) of various flavors.  Akemi is a big fan of the praline while Alison swore by the lemon and ginger.

Bailey’s Irish Cream-flavored marshmallows.

The Individual Donut: caramel chantilly, salted caramel cream, crisp praliné wafer and almond shortbread.

Kerrington considers her next move.

Highlights: That donut!

780 Queen Street West (MAPwww.nadege-patisserie.com

STOP #3

PEACE TREATS: Milkshakes

Three different milkshakes.  From left to right: D.R.E.A.M. (Donuts Rule Everything Around Me) – a vanilla milkshake topped with mini donuts, Amusement Park – cotton candy milkshake stacked with cotton candy, and Go Shanty It’s Your Birthday – vanilla milkshake topped with a slice of birthday cake.

I’m in heaven.

Ivon pacing himself.

Elliot and his mysterious floating cap.

I contemplate life.  And that birthday cake milkshake.

Breanne, aka “The Cleaner”.

Highlight: The cotton candy milkshake!

131 Ossington Ave. (MAPPeace Treats

We WERE planning to go for ice cream next, but our intended target wouldn’t open for another fifteen minutes.  And so, rather than wait, we made efficient use of our time by taking a walk up to College Street and getting in another dessert stop.

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STOP #4

BAKE SHOPPE: Baked goods.

The offerings included, among other things, homemade pop tarts!

Nutella brown butter cookie and red velvet cupcake.

Ruffles marshmallow and passion flakie.

Still focused!

Highlight: The unusual sweet and savory Ruffles marshmallow, the passion flakie, and that nutella brown butter cookie.

859 College Street (MAPwww.bakeshoppeto.com

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STOP #5

BANG BANG ICE CREAM: Ice cream.

The final stop on our marathon tour.  Just pick your ice cream flavor, choose a fresh baked cookie and voila!

I went chocolate cookie and toffee ice cream.

Jean and Akemi sugaring it up.

Sugar high! (photo courtesy of Ivon Bartok).

Hong Kong Waffle high.

Highlight: The peanut butter and jelly ice cream!

93A Ossington Ave. (MAPbangbangicecream.com

We concluded our afternoon in fine style –

STOP #6

Trinity Bellwoods Dog Bowl for the monthly pug meet-up

Thanks to everyone who made this dessert op a success.  Nice work, team!  See you in two weeks for the Toronto Dessert Tour Part 2!


Tagged: Bang Bang Ice Cream, Desserts, Nadege, Peace Treats, Sud-Forno, The Bake Shoppe, Toronto desserts

March 25, 2017: My Girls!

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Why does Suji look so worried?  Well, the results of her latest urinalysis reveal an antibiotic-resistant bug.  Antibiotic-resistant but for a single one we can use to treat her.  The news has Akemi and I very concerned because this is the same road Jelly went down in her final years.  Over time, her frequent UTI’s became increasingly harder to treat to the point that, in the end, we were out of options. In her final days, I was looking into phage therapy as a potential last resort but, unfortunately, ran out of time.  Hopefully, it’s a treatment that will be readily available to us with Suji if the need arises.  In the meantime, Akemi and I are being extra careful with her – and supplementing her diet with cranberry concentrate.

Independent, occasionally aloof Lulu has turned out to be surprisingly sensitive. First after Maximus’s passing, then after Jelly’s, and now following Bubba’s, she has been quiet and increasingly despondent, taken to sitting quietly by herself over interaction.  Akemi and I are giving her a lot of extra attention.  Also, coconut oil for the painfully dry-looking top of her nose.

Akemi, of course, is still missing her special boy.  There are moments when she thinks of him and feels down.  In the past, whenever she experienced moments like these, she could always count on Bubba to cheer her up but, of course, that isn’t possible anymore and the very thought makes her even sadder.  Fortunately, Suji is such a little goofball that she always manages to find a way to brighten her day.  She may be a a little more work than your average dog, but she’s well worth the effort.

With less than a month to go before production wraps on Dark Matter’s third season, I really should start making plans for our return to Vancouver.  I’m thinking of finishing up my final cut at the end of April and getting a few mixes under my belt before leaving Toronto in mid-May.  That will give me about a month to relax and plan the show’s fourth season (Yeah, I’m feeling confident) before convening the writers’ room in mid June for three weeks.

Hey, check it out.  Now available on Blu-ray and DVD: Dark Matter Season 2.  Pre-order it now.  In the meantime, head on over to Netflix to re-binge because the season 3 premiere will be here sooner than you think!


Tagged: #DarkMatter, Dark Matter

March 24, 2017: Dark Matter Season 3 – Day 75 of 91!

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There you have it.  Yet another season 3 episode title…

“Episode 34: Hot Chocolate”

But what does it all mean?  Well, turns out you’ll find out sooner than later as Dark Matter’s third season fast approaches!

Read-thru for Episode 312 today.  Boy, A LOT happens in this episode.  And it’s chock full of surprising revelations.  Not just one or two or even three, but four BIG secrets are revealed!

Today, check out some behind-the-scenes pictures compliments of our second unit director of photography Gregor Hagey:


Tagged: #DarkMatter, Dark Matter

March 23, 2017: Dark Matter Season 3 – Day 74 of 91!

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Hey!  I need a title of Dark Matter Episode 308.  Click on the link below and vote for one.  It only takes a few seconds and would really help me out.  Thanks!

Take Our Poll

P.S. I just got a sneak peek at the director’s cut of Episode 309.  Disguises!  Bikes!  Fresh-baked cookies!  It’s gonna be crazy!

Anya on Janah-12 (photo by Renee Chan).

Anthony Lemke on set.  No, this isn’t from a scene in the episode.  Mine was the only camera on him.
The Dark Matter Whisky Club continues to expand its empty bottle collection.

Finally, I post a lot about dogs on this blog because, well, I have dogs.  Today, I’d like to mention a cat who is in need of our help.  She’s sick and her owner can’t afford the tests.  Read the story and help out if you can by clicking on the following link: Help Gatico


Tagged: #DarkMatter, Dark Matter

March 23, 2017: Dark Matter Season 3 – Day 73 of 91!

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Director Steve DiMarco takes a stroll through the pod room (photo by Renee Chan).

The pods – one of three new looks we’ll be featuring in season 3.

I believe the sign is self-explanatory.

Crew blocking.  Or the line-up for today’s oreo cake dessert.

Director Bruce McDonald shows off his mad sword skills.

From the Wayne Gretzky collection.  Brantford Ontario’s smoothest drinking.

Sitting down with the international press.

And finally, I found this sitting on my desk today courtesy of 1st Assistant Art Director Roxanne Borris.  And, inside, a little bedtime reading:


Tagged: #DarkMatter, Dark Matter

March 21, 2017: Dark Matter Season 3 – Day 72 of 91!

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Adorning the triptych on this day: Classic Battlestar!

Director Melanie Orr calls the shots on Janah-12.  Hmmm.  Jana-12.   That rings a bell…

Relaxing between set-ups.

Executive Producer Jay Firestone, keeping things light.  And kinda kooky.

Handicap International Charity winner (and blog regular!) Alisa Scott visits the set.  She got to hang with Anthony Lemke, took the full tour, AND, no doubt the highlight of her trip, had to field 101 questions from yours truly over lunch.  Welcome to Dark Matter, Alisa!

Well, I have John Stead’s director’s cut of Episode 308 downloaded and ready to watch.  I’m really looking forward to this one!


Tagged: #DarkMatter, Dark Matter

March 20, 2017: Dark Matter Season 3 – Day 71 of 91!

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Jodelle Ferland does Goth Chick chic.

Line Producer Norman Denver and Roger Cross strategize over the big screen.

The Ferrous Corp guns are red.  The Mikkei guards are blue.  So who have the green guns?

Blocking on the bridge with director Melanie Orr.

Dr. Shaw’s secret lab.

Wait.  Who’s Dr. Shaw?

What (or who?) resides within this storage unit.  The answer will surprise!

Only four weeks to go before wrap!  This week, Melanie Orr finishes up on Episode 310 while Steve DiMarco helms Episode 311 and Bruce McDonald preps Episode 312.  I’ll be receiving John Stead’s director’s cut of Episode 308 on Tuesday night, then Craig David Wallace’s director’s cut of 309 on Thursday.  Wrote an additional scene for Episode 311 today and received some as-always-wonderful input from Zoie Palmer, did a pass on the Episode 312 script, AND started putting together the game plan for season 4.  Ideally, I’d like to convene the writers’ room in June for  a few weeks.  An early pick-up sure would be great!

Hey!  I make this list twice (although, in all fairness, the all-inclusive “franchise” designation makes it more like four times)!

9 Best Sci-Fi Space Operas To Stream Right Now


March 19, 2017: Mailbag!

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It’s been a while.  Let’s hit the mailbag:

Jessica writes: “Your day-to-day schedule is filled to the brim with tasks, work, activities, etc galore. How do you maintain such a strict schedule of managing your time to accomplish everything, including writing this blog?”

Answer: I get asked this question a lot and the honest answer is: “I just find the time to make it work.”  It’s quite amazing how adaptable human beings can be.  It’s hard to believe that, back in the day, Brad, Robert, Carl, Martin, Paul, Alan and I wrote and produced 40 episodes of television (SG1 and SGA) a year for two years.  And yet we managed to get it done.  It’s no different with Dark Matter.  I have a lot on my plate but the reality is that NOT getting it done isn’t an option.  Also, I’ve yet to miss a day of blogging in 10+ years and, in similar fashion, I feel there are a lot of readers out there depending on me.  I can’t let them down!

“Does it come easy for you (as in, natural planner and organizer) or have you disciplined yourself to maintain such a schedule?”

Answer: Having little choice in the matter helps a lot.  At the end of the day, if a script isn’t delivered, issues aren’t addressed, or a deadline missed, I’d have no one to blame but myself.  Which is why I just can’t allow it to happen. I can’t say it’s ever easy – but certainly very fulfilling when it’s all said and done.

maggmayday writes: “Would you ever have a cat?”

Answer: I love cats too but I love dogs more so I’m much more likely to adopt another dog (or two) before I’d get a cat.

TheOtherOne writes: “Who was your favourite teacher at school? Why? And how did they influence your life?”

Answer: My old high school English (and drama) teacher, John Whitman, inspired my passion for literature and help make me a better writer by pointing out some of the narrative techniques I used to fall back on in high school.

“Have you ever written a character with that person in mind?”

Answer: Never a character, but his lessons continue to influence my daily writing.

“Again, at school (either junior or high) … Were you a sporty or booky person or a bit of both?”

Answer: Oh, definitely booky.  As much as I enjoyed watching NFL Sunday football, my sporting ventures were limited to marathon sessions of D&D.

“What sort of friends did you have and do you still have contact with any of them?”

Answer: I’d say my friends were a varied mix back then and I don’t really keep in touch with many.  A couple of notable exceptions, among them my best friend in high school, Cas Anvar, who is presently tearing it up as Alex Kamal on The Expanse.

“Please could you list 5 of your top/favourite films of all time?”

Answer: Aliens, Blade Runner, A Christmas Story, The Princess Bride, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

“Would Akemi like to do a mailbag for us sometime?”

Answer: I asked Akemi.  Her response: “Depends on the questions.”

Alabaster55 writes: “Is there any way you could get your art department to through together a size comparison chart if the ships in Dark Matter?”

Answer: This would be more a request for VFX Supervisor Lawren Bancroft-Wilson.  I’ll ask him.

MaggieL80 writes: “A favorite expression or quote?”

Answer: Smooooooooth sailing!

“A favorite poet?”

Answer: Sorry.

“A favorite poem?”

Answer: Sorry again.

“Favorite vacation spot?”

Answer: Tokyo of course.

“Favorite go to comfort food?”

Answer: Chocolate!

ivonbartokfans writes: “How long did it take Ivon to write the script for 307?”

Answer: I’ll save this question for Ivon’s mailbag.

“Do you think you could foster dogs or would it be too painful to give them up when a forever home was found?”

Answer: We had intended to try fostering but, upon laying eyes on Suji, Akemi reconsidered and suggested we adopt instead.  I’d be happy to foster, but am reluctant to commit for the reasons you outlined.

“How did the cast photoshoot go?”

Answer: From what I hear, Alison Hepburn did a fantastic job running the show.

Tinyiy writes: “How do you audition for dark matter?”

Answer: Have your agent submit you.  We cast everything from recurring to the occasional one-line parts.

Daniel Watson writes: “Did Eli fix his pod and survive the jump?”

Answer: In my mind, yes, Eli did fix his pod and the Destiny crew is still out there, somewhere, safe in stasis.

darkmatter writes: “when are the answers from that Jodelle Ferland q&a gonna be on here?”

Answer: Whenever she finishes them.  We keep her busy on the show so I told her she didn’t have a deadline on turning them around.

Bailey writes: “1. Do you know when the casts’ photoshoot pictures will be out?”

Answer: I imagine the new cast photos should start hitting the internet approximately a month before the season 3 premiere.  Say May or June?

“2. Will you guys be at San Diego Comic Con?”

Answer: I, personally, will not be at San Diego Comic Con but some of the cast certainly will.

ceresis64 writes: “Did my triptych idea for a contest seem feasible?”

Answer: You’ll have to refresh my memory…

“Is 8 March the most popular birth date that members of the cast/crew celebrate together? If not, what date is? And how many celebrate that day?”

Answer: No idea.

“What’s the latest news about your military sci-fi series?”

Answer: No news really.  There was some interest but it would have required us to go into production immediately which, given my present commitments, would have been impossible.

“Would you consider a future contest to make a Season 3 poster?”

Answer: Sure.

Kyle Toth writes: “What is the best way to get a chance to audition for Dark Matter? I know Alex Mallari Jr. attended IMTA; would this be a way to get in front of the right people?”

Answer: As I answered earlier, all you need is an agent who will recommend you for a specific role.  And, no, you don’t have to be a seasoned performer to land an agent.

cat4444 writes: “What does a production do if one of the main cast shows up for work sick? Shooting schedules are set, it’s not as if a main cast member can be replaced, and the rest of the cast getting sick is not a desirable option. So what do you do?”

Answer: Usually, the cast member pushes through.  On rare occasions (It’s only happened once on Dark Matter that I can remember) I will write said cast member out of that day’s scenes and send them home to recuperate.

Jackie May writes: “is the dark matter crew going to dragon con this year….i hope so!”

Answer: I’m not privy to the individual cast members’ convention plans but I’d safe it’s a safe bet that at least some of them will be there.

bolo writes: “Any more romantic interludes for 3?”

Answer: Oh, it’s possible.

“Also any Canadian dates for cast?”

Answer: If you mean a premiere date on Space Channel, not yet!

Sandy writes: “Was it always your plan to kill off One?”

Answer: Even the best-laid plans don’t always come to fruition.  Once you start production, you’re no longer working in a bubble and have to contend with numerous unforeseen developments, surprises, and outside influences that may force a course change.

profmadmax writes: “Who is typically in charge of TV season DVD packaging and title menus artwork?”

Answer: In the case of Dark Matter, it’s Funimation.

“What is your least favorite Stargate SG-1 episode?”

Answer: Emancipation, Hathor, Seth.  Hard to choose.

Do you like series crossover characters like Munch(Homicide,X-Files,Law&Order) & have you ever considered a DM/SG scenario? Is it complicated copyright-wise? For instance, if another show wanted to use a character which you created, is it a simple yes/no from you, or do you forfeit the rights to the production company?”

Answer: As much as I’d love to do a crossover, it would be incredibly complicated and extremely unlikely.  The rights to Stargate and all of its characters rest with MGM.

Sandy writes: “Do you already know if you are guaranteed 5 seasons of Dark Matter? Or is it reviewed yearly despite your 5 year story line?”

Answer: Although I do have a 5 year storyline planned, the fate of the show rests with the broadcasters.  Like most every show out there, we await word of a potential pick-up from the moment our new season premieres.

Tinyiy writes: “Will Dark Matter be at Fan Expo Canada or Toronto comicon?”

Answer: Hmmm.  I’m not sure.  If the show was invited, I’m sure we would arrange for cast members to show.

“Where do you film?”

Answer: Mostly in Etobicoke and Hamilton.

“Have you ever come across the town of Richmond Hill?”

Answer: No.  Would you recommend I visit?

TheOtherOne writes: “Joe, how do you choose the ‘Related’ section to the blog? Sometimes it has very recent blog links and sometimes blog links to the distant past – which are a real treat to read  Thanks for these!”

Answer: They’re automatically generated by the blog.  I’m as surprised as you are.

 


March 18, 2017: Thank you’s!

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(illustration by Juanita Nakamura)

Thanks to everyone who took the time to reach out via posts, texts, emails, phone, and personally to offer condolences on Bubba’s passing.  Akemi and I are truly touched by the kind words and gestures of friends, co-workers, and strangers alike. It’s been an exhausting week and it has meant a lot – to hear from you all and then, to get home late last night to find a lovely bouquet awaiting us compliments of Dark Matter Executive Producer Jay Firestone.

Akemi has been surprisingly strong – sad but strengthened by the fact his condition has deteriorated so much that we’d had little choice in the end.  She was telling me that her favorite memories of Bubba included the time he first learned to “shake” (She taught him when he was 10.  The next day, his arm was so sore he could barely lift it).  And his passion for art –

Also the way he would patiently sit down on the sidewalk after crossing a street in full expectation of the treat he would receive for the herculean effort.

For me, it was the time he ate a bag of chocolate-covered almonds sitting on the kitchen table and then had explosive diarrhea.  Having Lulu and Suji around has certainly brightened our spirits.  Lulu clearly misses Bubba and has been quite reserved.  Suji, on the other hand, continues to be her lovable clownish self.

And finally tonight, a get-together with one of my favorite people ever.  Dinner with The Doctor –

Robert Picardo was in town for a con appearance, but nevertheless found time for a little get-together.  Love this guy.

First Star Trek, then Stargate.  And chances are you’ll be seeing him on Dark Matter.  Eventually.