- Software Update Pending
- We will be upgrading the software, and some other ancillary items, that run the Battlestar Wiki. We expect the process to be done over the course of this week, since it depends on how much time I Joe B. has at his disposal. We don’t really anticipate any major downtime, but as these things go… [...] [?]
- Updated Registration Process
- For new users of the Wiki, we have upgraded our registration process in order to better protect the Wiki against automated spammers, since OCR and randomly generated image captchas are becoming easier for bots to decode and solve. As of now, our registration process features a question to determine whether or not you are a [...] [?]
- Battlestar Wiki to Go Dark on January 18 to Protest SOPA and PIPA
- This is an official announcement that we will be going dark on after midnight of January 18 2012 to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act (which is now effectively dead) and it “lesser” twin the PROTECT-IP Act (which is still alive and kicking). As of now, the blackout will end afterÂ 12:01 AM Eastern time on [...] [?]
- Galactica Geek Launches September 17th
- If you’ve seen our previous blog post, you likely have a few questions as to what site we’re referring to, its objective, and other questions. The site in question is Galactica Geek, and its objective is nothing less than going above and beyond other fan sites. Structured as a news magazine, Galactica Geek will not [...] [?]
- Looking for Writers to Contribute to BSG News Site
- FrakMedia! Productions LLC is looking for a few people who want to write and contribute artwork, videos, and the like to a new Battlestar Galactica-centric science fiction news site. The general concept of the site is a focus on Battlestar Galactica in all its forms, including the Original Series and the prequels Caprica and Blood [...] [?]
- Sit Rep: Update Progress
- So far, we’ve successfully updated the MediaWiki software to the most recent version (1.16.4). We know of a few cosmetic changes that we need to do to the skins as a result of the update, but we will save those for later Monday as it is 1:30 AM EDT here, and those changes are minor [...] [?]
- April Showers bring April Upgrades
- So, we’re doing something that is a bit overdue, and that is technical upgrades to the Battlestar Wiki software. Please be advised that editing to any Wiki in the Battlestar Wiki network will be disabled beginning Sunday, April 17 at 10 PM EDT, so that we can ensure that we have the most current version [...] [?]
- Press Release From EMP|SFM: Stars and Schedule Announced for Battlestar Galactica: The Exhibition World Premiere Weekend!
- Stars and Schedule Announced for Battlestar Galactica: The Exhibition World Premiere Weekend: Oct. 22-24, 2010 at Seattleâs EMP|SFM New traveling exhibition opening weekend to feature BSG stars, three full-size spaceships, costumes and props from the original and re-imagined series plus VIP preview and panels. SEATTLE, WAâExperience Music Project|Science Fiction Museum (EMP|SFM) is proud to announce [...] [?]
- Frakmedia PR Coordinator Runs Contest for FREE Axis & Allies Minis or War at Sea Booster
- As PR Coordinator for Frakmedia LLC I get to do a lot of cool and fun things. One of these pertains to my personal gaming blog, the CWF Game Cast, where I discuss non-electronic gaming (RPGs, tabletop, historical, miniatures, collectible card/miniatures, etc) and New England/Massachusetts gaming in particular. Today is the first day of a [...] [?]
- BSG Wiki Adopts P2 Theme = Improved Customer Service
- I was reading Matt Mullenweg’s blog recently and saw a post that invigorated me. Matt blogged about the P2 theme for WordPress and how it changed Automattic (the makers of WordPress). At the BSG Wiki, and BSG Forum, we have a myriad of internal communication methods.Â But, like Automattic there has always been a disconnect.Â [...] [?]
- Originally posted on the SciFi.com forum:
I don't want this day to happen.
I want it to be rescheduled, rethought, removed and recalled.
Tomorrow the story will be over, my tale having been told, and never again will there be the sweet anticipation of waiting for the next episode to be shown to fans and friends. The thought of it makes my heart ache even as swells with pride.
All I know is that today there is a show called Battlestar Galactica and tomorrow there was.
There will be joy in that too, I'm sure, touching the thread of memory and feeling it resonate all the way back to soundstages, locations, cutting rooms, writers' rooms, and sound bays where I lived for all these years and being comforted by the knowledge that a part of me will never truly leave those places. There will be reunions and retrospectives, special editions and extended cuts, interviews and seminars. Solace can be found.
We'd called the last season Senior Year and here, today, as I prepare to present the final episode to an audience of friends, colleagues, and family, I find myself feeling the same way I did on Graduation day at Chowchilla Union High, all those years ago. The mosaic of faces I'd grown accustomed to seeing day after day would regroup for one last event, one last celebration of our lives together and what we'd done, and then it would be gone but for the transcendent threads of memory waiting to resonant down through the years. I didn't want that day to happen either and fervently wished for it to be rescheduled, rethought, removed and recalled.
Somehow I get the feeling that today's wish will not be granted either. So this day, like that one, will wax and wane and all I can do is ride the wave and let it carry me where it will.
Thank you, all of you for coming here through the years. The shippers and the haters, and everyone in between; you've watched and you've posted and you've been a touchstone for my experience with the audience ever since that night back in 2003 when we first declared that the Cylons were created by Man and things were going to be different. It's been a genuine pleasure to surf your thoughts, rants, questions, snarks, complaints, praise, and humor as you watched our story play out and rest assured I will be here again tomorrow poring through the posts, laughing, cursing, sometimes just shrugging at what you take away from this crazy show.
It's been an honor to be your storyteller.
Ronald D. Moore
About to be former Executive Producer of Battlestar Galactica [?]
- The Technology that Betrays Me
- Guys, the podcasting has not gone well this year.
As anyone who heard my last session can attest, Iâm having audio problems with my recording set-up. I donât know what the hell that whirring sound was, the only thing I can think of was that it might have picked up the fan on my laptop (??!!) somehow, someway. SciFi.com spotted the problem and did everything they could to minimize it, but ultimately the recording was nearly incomprehensible. In the spirit of wanting to get something out there, we decided to post it anyway.
Last week, I took extra care to check my levels on the mic, position the laptop far away and kept the DVD audio down to a low murmur. All sounded well on my level test, but after Iâd completed the podcast for âThe Hub,â I found, to my horror (and fury) that it still recorded the sound of the DVD too loud and my own voice -- my lips but inches from the mic -- was too buried to be audible.
So itâs been frakked.
Anyway, Iâm going into a recording studio tomorrow, along with some of the writers and editors, and going to record the remaining podcasts in a marathon session so theyâll be available once more after the cliffhanger airs.
Sorry, folks. [?]
- Curse of the Podcast
- Now weâre dealing with server issues at SciFi.com.
What can I tell you?
The good news is there will be a bunch of podcasts waiting for you when they resolve the tech problems, the bad news is, I have no idea when that will be.
Iâll do this weekâs and just keep chugging along and hope you guys can catch up eventually.
Thanks for being patient. [?]
- Podcast Success!
- They said it couldnât be done, but the podcasts for 403, 404, and 405 have been completed and are now safely in the hands of SciFi.com.
In other news, Iâve begun writing the finale. Itâs strange to think that this is the last Galactica script Iâll be writing, but at the moment thatâs overshadowed by the anxiety surrounding the start of any first draft. (Blank pages tend to give writers all sorts of maladies. As in, âIs that a head cold or a brain tumor...?â)
Weâre up in Berkeley for a few days, which has now become my preferred writing retreat. Iâve written three pages of the finale, and Iâm already thinking about rewriting them, so this must be a good start. [?]
- Podcast still no go
- Yep, Iâm still behind.
Canât find the recorder Iâve been using, and the old silver model crapped out on me last night. So.... I got one of the editors to loan me something called the Rode Podcaster, which is the size and shape of a, ahem, marital device which will presumably allow me to record the sessions on 403 and 404 this weekend as well as a wealth of other more stimulating possibilities.
Iâm trying. [?]
- Yes, we have no Podcast
- I know, I know.
I had all this time and I couldâve had the podcast for the first episodes waaaay before now so theyâd be there waiting when the fourth season premiered.
But I didnât.
Somehow, I thought Iâd squeeze in a recording session here in Vancouver while I was directing (and the above photo is a iphone shot from my directing chair looking at one of the video monitors just before I called action) but that proved to be a one of my more foolish notions. So the podcast for Ep 1 of the fourth season will have to wait until I get back to LA, which means yaâll wonât have it until later in the week.
But Iâll be more on time with the rest of them. I promise.
Unless Iâm not.
Iâll also try to pound out a few blogs about the directing experience and update you on all things Galactica and Caprica.
Unless I donât.
- At this moment, informal talks are underway between representatives of the AMPTP and the leadership of the WGA. A news blackout is in effect and there will be precious little, if any, word leaking out from the talks and weâre all going to have to get by with rumor, speculation and the precious bits of information that come from Nikki Finke.
This is a moment of trust.
Trust in the people we elected to represent our interests, to fight for our rights and to safeguard our interests for the future.
The Guild leadership and the members of the Negotiating Committee have put themselves out in front, taken the ill-informed knocks from the media, the calculated slander from the studios, and the cajoling, bickering, and Monday-morning quarterbacking of some elements within the membership itself and yet theyâve never wavered from their goals of trying to achieve the best deal for all of us and for the writers who will follow in our footsteps. The sheer number of arrows these people take on a daily basis on the internet alone rival the incoming fire at the Little Bighorn and itâs something of a miracle that not a single one of them has simply let loose in a tirade of vitriol and bile at their tormentors in some public forum. Iâve heard them accused of everything from seeking personal political gain to seeking to foment communist revolution over the course of the strike, but time and again they just keep coming back to the basic issues of fairness and justice in what theyâre seeking for all of us.
They deserve our trust. And they damned well have earned it.
We can all sit around and bitch about how âweâ wouldâve handled the negotiations or about how âweâ know what to do now, but the bottom line is that âweâ arenât in the hotseat and âweâ havenât spent the time and effort pouring over the endless details of the MBA for the last two years or immersed ourselves in the complexities of the emerging new media. The men and women on the negotiating committee and the board have put in the time, held themselves up to abuse and done the work that needed to be done.
Right now, we need to trust that they know what theyâre doing and that they have the best interests of the membership in mind as they approach the new round of talks. Does that mean we have to rubber-stamp anything they want? Of course not. Theyâll eventually be submitting something for us to vote up or vote down and weâll have ample opportunity to debate the proposal on its merits. But now we need to give them the leeway to maneuver if theyâre to be any real chance to get a good deal at the bargaining table.
The last thing we need is for writers to be bitching anonymously to the media (like Patrick Goldstein claimed in an incredibly slanted column this week) or, worse yet, for high-profile members (like a certain former president of the Guild) to be sending out public âlettersâ saying how the DGA deal is so great and putting public pressure on the negotiators to just take it already at the very moment they need to keep all their cards to themselves. Itâs both foolish and self-destructive and they should all know better.
The leadership of the WGA did not trick us into a strike or stir up passions that did not exist. That 90% strike authorization vote made it abundantly clear that the leadership accurately reflected the very real sentiments of the members and thereâs no call for any of us to suddenly start acting otherwise.
Hang tough. Trust your Guild leadership. And remember who the real opponent is out there. [?]
- The Pencil Campaign Winners
- So here they are, the winners of the Pencils2MediaMoguls campaign. Each of these fans bought boxes of pencils in the names of their favorite actors on Battlestar Galactica:
Aaron DouglasÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Gregory RosychukÂ Â Â Â Â
Jamie BamberÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Mary ClarkÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Kristen HalkolaÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Mary Timm Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Mary McDonnellÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Chris BisgardÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Michael TruccoÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Rene' BurlÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Tricia HelferÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Yair MaimonÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â
Chris, Reneâ and Yair will be getting personal calls from Mary, Michael and Tricia, while Mary C., Kristen and Mary T will be getting towels personalized (weâll just leave it at that) from Jamie and Gregory will actually be going to a Canucks game in Vancouver with Aaron.
Congratulations to all the winners and my great and heartfelt thanks to our cast for being so incredibly generous with their time and for their support during the strike. [?]
- All Eyes on the DGA
- It feels like weâre at a pivotal moment in the history of the WGA strike.
The Directorsâ Guild is in the midst of negotiations with the AMPTP and thereâs widespread speculation that a deal with be cut sooner rather than later. Once that happens, the strike will enter a new, and to my mind, crucial phase as the details of that pact are made public and the AMPTP then turns to the WGA and says, âOkay, this was good enough for the directors and itâs good enough for you too.â
Anything can happen at that moment.
At one end of the spectrum, lies the possibility that the DGA has a deal in place that so closely achieves the WGA position that the writers essentially declare victory and go home. Negotiations resume quickly, the remaining writer-specific provisions are dealt with promptly, a new contract is submitted to the membership for ratification and the strike ends.
At the other end of the spectrum lies the darker possibility that the DGA comes back with a deal that is so far removed from the WGA position that the writers summarily and angrily reject it. Resentment hardens and the writers settle in for an even longer struggle with the certain knowledge that the Screen Actorsâ Guild will support them come June and the industry really shuts down.
And somewhere in between those extremes lies the less clear-cut (and unfortunately more probable) outcome where the DGA deal is a murky grab-bag of agreements, some of which are close to what the WGA wants, but others are nowhere near writersâ goals. Then weâre in uncharted territory, the path forward fraught with danger. The single biggest danger in that eventuality, to me, is the risk that the writers then begin to tear themselves apart with vitriolic statements over the relative merits of the DGA compact as people begin to stake out positions of absolutism over whether taking the DGA deal is âselling outâ or refusing it is âmindless suicide.â
The rumblings of both positions are already out there on the periphery of the strike. You can hear them hovering around the edges of casual conversations whenever writers gather and in the hearsay and rumors that fly around the internet of secret cabals being formed or witch-hunts in the offing. None of this is surprising, of course. Itâs a strike, after all. Peopleâs lives are being affected, their homes at risk, their childrenâs futures uncertain -- the stakes are enormous. It would be unreasonable to think that with a membership in the thousands that there would not be crazies on both sides ready to ratchet up the rhetoric at the slightest provocation for no reason other than to raise the decibel level and get people charged up and angry. This is the kind of high-stakes, high-intensity situation that tends to bring out the best and the worst in any group and the WGA is no exception.
I, myself, initially felt the urge to condemn Jay Leno or Conan OâBrien for coming back on the air as undercutting the strike. But on reflection, I realized and acknowledged the very difficult position they found themselves in and even felt that if Jay really wants to take on the entire burden of putting âThe Tonight Showâ on the air himself that he was certainly having to carry a heavy load to do so. Also, his very public statements of support for his writers did count for me and I decided not to add my voice to those calling for his head. Do I think heâs crossing the line by writing his own monolog? Yes. Do I think he should be pilloried for it? No.
Likewise, I was somewhat shocked when Bill Maher, whose show I love and whose politics are somewhat close to my own on many subjects, made a statement on his premiere last week attacking the Guild leadership and making veiled references to witch hunts and being attacked for not supporting the strike strongly enough. As I thought about it, I realized that just as there are currents and eddies that I feel that pull and push at showrunners that are far from the public view, there must also be forces at work on someone like Maher that I can only imagine. The forces willing to demonize anyone, at any time for making some of the very difficult choices all of us have had to make during the strike are always lurking there in the background, ready to attack at a momentâs notice. And Iâm not just talking about pro-strike people attacking those perceived to be âweak sistersâ on the strike, thereâs also a contingent out there ready to attack the Guild leadership as out for themselves or after political office or caught up in some kind of power grab. Iâm talking about the people grumbling about going for âfinancial coreâ status or accusing the membership of being deluded sheep following their leaders over the cliff.
The fact is, this strike was authorized by a 90% vote in favor of going out. Ninety percent. Thatâs not even close. Everyone went into this with their eyes wide open and everyone knew this was going to be difficult and onerous, both financially and personally. We all walked out together and together is the only way we can walk back in.
My hope is that once the DGA deal is made public, that we engage in the inevitable debate that will follow with a civility and decorum that puts the lie to the idea that writers are their own worst enemies. We need to have a spirited debate over the terms weâre willing to accept, yes, but itâs important that we not let things descend into vicious attacks or set up armed camps. Honorable men and women can disagree on the true value of a percentage of internet advertising without it becoming a test of who is the âtoughestâ or who has âdrunk the kool-aid.â
When the deal is announced and the terms of the DGA settlement are there for one and all to see, I urge my fellow scribes to resist the urge to demonize those who disagree with you over its acceptability. Remember that weâre all writers and weâre all in this together and that thereâs really only one entity out there which has an actual interest in preventing us from securing a fair and reasonable contract, and thatâs the AMPTP. [?]
- Look! Up in the Sky!
- Dig this:
The fans over at Fans4Writers have come up with a really interesting and ballsy idea. Theyâre going to hire skywriters to fly over the Rose Parade and aerially type messages supporting the WGA.
Now thatâs creative.
The initial cash is being laid out by an anonymous fan, while the site is holding a silent auction of autographed Galactica scripts and other memorabilia to help with the costs -- so donât let this one brave soul carry the whole burden, go over and see if thereâs a script or two that catches your fancy.
I gotta say, Iâm really impressed with the fans. They come out and join us on the picket lines in the wee hours of the morning, bring doughnuts, buy pencils, now theyâre using the Rose Parade as an opportunity for Guild graffiti.
To all the fans, a great big thank you from me and the entire WGA for your efforts and your moral support, itâs greatly appreciated and believe me, it will be remembered long after this strike is over and done. [?]
- Welcome Back, Dave
- Just saw the news that Lettermanâs World Wide Pants company has signed a side deal with the WGA and will be returning to the air with the entire writing staff.
Good for them and good for the WGA in cutting the deal.
There are some bitchy comments out there in the blogosphere from âunnamedâ feature writers complaining that itâs somehow âunfairâ that Lettermanâs writers are going back to work and theyâre not. The Guild has already stated as a matter of policy that theyâre willing to negotiate deals with individual companies outside the umbrella (butterfly net?) of the AMPTP, so the fact that theyâve been able to pull off one such deal shouldnât be the occasion for whining about how âIâm not working and they are,â it should be a time to celebrate the fact that at least one company doesnât feel the Guildâs demands are ridiculous or particularly onerous. It should also be a time to congratulate the writers of the Late Show and wish them all well as they take back the airwaves and hopefully pepper the show with not-so-subtle digs at CBS, et al for keeping this strike going this long (they walked away from the table, you may recall -- twice, for those of you keeping score).
I know whatâs getting a season pass on my Tivo. [?]
- I like Ike
- âWe were engaged in the defense of a way of life, and the great danger was that in defending this way of life we would find ourselves resorting to methods that endangered this way of life.â
The president noted that the Joint Chiefs of Staff had told him, âwe should do what was necessary even if the result was to change the American way of life. We could lick the whole world... if we were willing to adopt the system of Adolph Hitler.â
-- President Dwight D. Eisenhower, as quoted in the National Security Council declassified minutes of a meeting in Fall 1953, and as published in âLegacy of Ashes - The History of the CIAâ by Tim Weiner, page 75.
(Photo: Eisenhower and John Foster Dulles, 1956/ Wikipedia) [?]
- Yes, there is a Santa Claus
- Just an outstanding day.
(No to put a damper on things, and I do have to check on this, but I think weâve been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.)
(Photo: Joe Rimkus Jr./Miama Herald Staff) [?]
- Pencil Day
- Hereâs what I said:
Hello, Iâm Ronald D. Moore, Writer and Executive Producer of Battlestar Galactica, and member of the WGA since 1989 -- and Iâd like to welcome you to Pencil Day here at Johnny Carson park.
What you see behind me is the culmination of a grassroots effort on the part of thousands of television fans across the United States and in some cases, from overseas. A group of fans, led by Brenda Lawhorn, Chris Bridgesm, and Adam Levemore-Rich, but including many others, were looking for ways in which they could support the WGA during the strike. They put together a website: Fans4writers.com, where fans could come together and talk with each other as well as with the writers from their favorite shows, and these fans came up with what became the Pencils Campaign.
Some of you might remember the famous ânutsâ campaign on behalf of âJerichoâ where fans send packages of nuts to CBS to save the show from cancellation or the âTabascoâ campaign conducted to save âRoswell.â Well, these fans came up with the idea to send pencils to the moguls heading the major studios and networks represented at the bargaining table. Fans were able to buy boxes of pencils in the name of their favorite show for $1, which would then be delivered to each of the six major companies today.
The pencils will be delivered to:
â¨Leslie Moonves, President, CEO/CBS Corporation
Jeffrey Immelt, CEO General Electric (NBC/Universal)
Rupert Murdoch, Chairman, CEO News Corporation (Fox)
Jeffrey L. Bewkes, President, COO Time Warner Inc. (Warner Brothers)â¨Robert Iger, President, CEO Walt Disney Companyâ¨Sumner Redstone, Chairman Viacom
In less than three weeks, the fans bought over a half a million pencils, which you see here today.
Simply put, the message theyâre trying to send by this effort is that members of the audience itself â the market for our shows and films â both understand and sympathize with the position of the Guild and want a return to collective bargaining. Lest this be dismissed as a small group of fans, itâs worth remembering that recent national surveys have shown solid majority support for the writers in this labor dispute.
The WGA is still at the table, waiting for the studios to return to good faith negotiations. While we believe our proposals to be fair and reasonable, the Guild has always been willing to engage in legitimate bargaining on each point of the contract.
But we need a partner to negotiate with.
Issuing ultimatums, staging walk-outs and releasing factually-challenged press statements tinged with manufactured outrage does little to resolve this dispute. There is no reason why the studios cannot return to the bargaining table, sit down, and work out a fair and equitable settlement for everyone involved, and we hope that this symbolic action on the part of the fans will serve to remind the studios and networks that their audience is indeed watching and listening, and they know the difference between posturing and bargaining.
- Trek Day at the Paramount Picket
- Definitely one of the more surreal moments of the strike was marching with a sign outside the Melrose Gate, through which Iâd driven for the first decade of my career. The sidewalk was so crowded and jammed with writers, actors, fans, and press yesterday that the biggest problem faced by many of us was finding a place to stand when the light turned red and we were expected to politely get back on the curb and let traffic go through the gate. A Trek-themed blues band, fronted by longtime Trek actor Vaughn Armstrong provided music and there were fans scattered here and there in TOS (thatâs The Original Series for those non-Trekkers among you) uniforms.
But the thing that stuck with me the most was encountering random clutches of writers from my days in the 23rd and 24th centuries in this context. We were all older and grayer, to be sure, except for Ira Behr (above) who is bluer. But there was this common bond we all shared, this underlying sense of weâre all in the same club that I hadnât really expected, perhaps because I hadnât thought about it that much. I knew Iâd be seeing friends and colleagues from days gone by, but I didnât expect the sort of strong, immediate chord of recognition between us all and a sense that we were bound together by something that was both far in the past and yet still vital and alive there standing in the perpetual Hollywood sun. In between exchanging email addresses and catching up in small bursts of talk of family and friends, I found myself wishing that there were semi-regular gatherings -- reunions, really -- for those of us who worked on The Franchise.
We were family once, and itâs a shame that the kin never get together anymore. [?]
- Towel for you?
- No, I havenât turned this into a porn site.
Or at least, not yet. I hear itâs quite lucrative.
Instead of a phone call, Jamie has offered to sign and donate three worn (as in actually worn, not threadbare) towels to the Pencils campaign. The first two will go to the fans who buy the most pencils in Jamieâs name, while the third will be raffled off at random. The towels will be yours to do with as you wish (insert your joke here) but any and all cloning will be subject to the appropriate international treaty restrictions.
- More Pencil Rewards
- The potential rewards for fans buying into the Pencils2MediaMoguls campaign just got bigger:
Mary McDonnell, Tricia Helfer, Michael Hogan, Jamie Bamber, and Michael Trucco have all agreed to make a personal phone call to fans who win the raffles in their names. The way this will work is simple: when you go to the Pencils site, the first box youâll see asks you the name of the show you wish to support. Type in âBattlestar Galacticaâ and then the name of one of these actors, and your name will then be automatically entered into a raffle, with the winner in each category receiving a personal phone call from that actor. You can certainly buy boxes of pencils for more than one actor, but each box can only be assigned one name.
Also, in the event that the winner of the Aaron Douglas raffle is not in Vancouver, or cannot travel there (on their own dime), Aaron has offered to make a personal phone call to that fan and send a piece of signed memorabilia.
This is a really great and generous offer from our cast members and it could be a once in a life-time chance to get to talk to them, so take advantage of the opportunity and help us drown the moguls in pencils! [?]
- Pencils and Rewards
- Okay, this is pretty cool.
How would you like to go to a hockey game with the Chief?
That's right, our own Aaron Douglas will take one fan to a Canucks hockey game, along with another buddy of his up in Vancouver.Â And how can you score this treat?Â Simple.Â By going to Pencils2MediaMoguls.com and buying as many boxes of pencils as you can.Â On the first page (which is a subset of United Hollywood) you'll see a place to identify which show you're supporting.Â Type in "BSG Aaron Douglas" and we'll enter your name into a raffle, with the lucky winner getting to attend the hockey game with Aaron.
In case you haven't heard, the Pencils Campaign is designed to send a huge amount of pencils to the major studios as a symbol of fan support for the strike.Â More information can be found on their website.
Look for other offers from other members of the Galactica cast in the near future -- no idea what the offers will be or how many there may be.Â I'll keep you informed.
- The Trek Journals -- One in an Occasional Series
- For no apparent reason, Iâve been thinking a lot about my early days at Star Trek, back when the Hart Building (above, photo by Ethan Calk) boasted an elevator paneled in faux walnut, and the ghost of Orson Welles was stalking secretaries on the third floor. Maybe itâs because the newest film in the franchise has begun shooting, or maybe itâs because Iâm just getting up there in years and starting to think back on ye olde glory days.
In any case, a blog certainly provides a handy forum for the occasional memory dump, and since there are still a fair number of people out there interested in all things Trek, I thought Iâd put down some of the experiences I had in the Hart Building now rather than saving them all for that fanciful day when I attempt to write the tell-all memoir that rips the lid from the pot of science fiction stew and lets the greasy fat boil to the surface like.... well, you get the idea.
The Hart Building was the only place where the writers of Next Gen were housed (or confined, depending on how you looked at it). No other production offices were located in the building, which loomed over the Paramount dining room and commissary, nor were any other members of the production especially eager to enter the premise since the comings and goings into our building were easily monitored from the windows and balcony of the vaguely Stalinistic structure of the facing Cooper Building directly across the way, and visiting the writers was something that was very much frowned upon from on high.
Cooper housed the central offices for the production, and was the place everyone eventually made pilgrimage to seek additional monies or approvals. There was something about climbing the steep staircase to the second floor of Cooper that seemed to suck the joy out of your day as you prepared to do battle of one form or another upon entering the soulless conference room or the corner office of the Executive Producer. Cooper was a battlefield, plain and simple and the people who lived and worked there day after day tended to have their version of the thousand meter stare peeking out from eyes eternally red-rimmed from too many late nights spent trying to get shooting wrapped before going into overtime.
In the Hart Building, we tended to view the denizens of Cooper as the People Most Likely To Get In The Way of the Story. Scripts were inevitably labeled as too expensive and too long, and production meetings were essentially exercises in finding creative ways of saying that any given set could not be built in the time and budget allowed and why couldnât the action be moved into the Ready Room? Not to mention, the dread process of giving script notes was also doled out in Cooper, and thus the entire structure soon became the focal point of our collective psychic loathing. Many were the days when the third season writing staff would look out the windows from the fourth floor corner office of the writing team of Hans Biemler and Richard Manning (later to become my own office) and gaze down on Cooper with bitter recriminations and sometimes outright hatred for what had been done to one of âourâ scripts âover there.â
At some point, Hans and Ricky discovered that it was possible to actually tell which page of a script was being discussed in Rick Bermanâs office with a pair of binoculars and this led to covert gatherings whenever we knew that Michael Piller had been summoned for a âRick Meeting.â We would crowd the window and trade the two pair of binocs usually at hand to get the perfect view of the script in question, which would invariably be on the coffee table in front of Rickâs chair, while Michaelâs sneaker shod feet would just be visible. Rickâs script notes were sometimes visible in his thick red pencil and we would follow along with our copies as he would point to a line of dialog and begin gesticulating with varying degrees of animation, depending on the severity of the note. This went on for some months, until Rick remodeled his office and added shutters to the windows, which brought an end to regular surveillance.
The Hart Building itself was one of the older structures on campus and it certainly showed its age in ways large and small. One of the more charming leftovers from the golden era of the studios was the fact that at least four of the offices had full-blown wet bars still in them. We often marveled at the idea that the three martini lunch was not only countenanced, but also brought back and continued in oneâs office. Unfortunately, the big offices with the bars werenât ours to stock, and we had to make due with single bottles of Chinaco tequila or Jack Daniels hidden away in drawers and were, in truth, more talked about than consumed. The elevator was its own horror; a tiny cubicle, barely able to accommodate four adults, paneled in something godawful, and featuring a slow, noisy, clanking as it chugged its way through the vertical plane and gave everyone a fit of claustrophobia whenever the de rigueur comment about being trapped there during an earthquake was made. (Years later, the elevator was replaced with a newer and presumably, safer model, but during construction it was learned that the entire fourth floor was a hasty add-on slapped atop the building some time in the distant past. As one of the workers observed, âDuring a real quake, the entire fourth floor would probably slide right the hell off.â)
In that first year, I occupied the smallest and least desirable office: fourth floor, hard by the stairs, a space quite literally the size of a walk-in closet, with a lovely view of a rooftop and back alley. One desk, one guest chair and a small bookcase cramped the space to the point where few ever came to visit for more than ten minutes. My computer was a dinosaur even by the standards of 1989, with amber letters glaring out from a black screen, and a double-bank of 5 1/2 inch floppy drives. Printing could be had down on the first floor but required walking said floppy down there and waiting on a printer to free up. Phones were thankfully push-button, but still in the generic Ma Bell set-up with a red hold button and five white lines, only two of which actually worked. While the typing pool was still technically in business at Paramount, its days were clearly numbered and few writers were actively using its services. Some writers on staff were still hand writing scripts on yellow legal pads and handing them off to secretaries (âassistantsâ then only just coming into vogue) but most of us were using Microsoft Word with a Scriptor Style sheet to write our episodes. The many intricacies of the Style sheet eluded me, but basically it was a way to format all the scripts in a uniform way and yet still required a Script Coordinator to sort through all the various bugs and errors that would crop up in every script.
Reams of paper floated about the building and clogged every office. Each script would go through multiple revisions, from story outline to final shooting draft and keeping the pages of your script current was a daily chore until you rated a share of some secretary/assistantâs time. Added to the sometimes hourly delivery of colored script pages were call sheets, shooting schedules, story memos, production memos, budget memos, and various other documents that may or may not have been delivered to the right office with cryptic titles like âActor Day Out of Days,â all of which meant that every writerâs office was covered in a perpetual blanket of paper.
I began the habit early on of collecting and saving every last scrap of Trek related paper that came into my possession, on the theory that I may not be around these offices for very long and I should hold onto everything I could get my hands on. Ten years later, this impulse would result in very large fire hazard in my garage and my casting about for some institution to take this material off my hands and thatâs how it came to be in the possession of the University of Southern Californiaâs Film and Television Library where it resides to this day. Iâve often thought of going down there and going through those old three-ring binders to refresh my memory of those early days, but, of course, I never have. Iâm not sure if itâs because itâs too much time and too much of a hassle or itâs because Iâm afraid of having to read my own early drafts.
Probably both. [?]
- The True Fan
- My brother Mike and my long-time friend Naren Shankar (of CSI fame) had the same comment on the above photo:
âIâm impressed. It takes a lot of guts, integrity and inner strength to go out there and wear a Miami Dolphins hat.â
To which I can only reply that itâs easy to support the team in the fat years, itâs the lean years that provide the true test of the fan.
Go âFins. 6-10 is still possible.
Yes it is. Believe.
- The Razor Featurettes
- Just so thereâs no confusion, Iâd like to make the distinctions clear between the two minute âfeaturettesâ (or whatever weâre calling them these days) from âRazorâ and last yearâs âResistanceâ webisodes that preceded the Season Three launch. Iâve given several interviews regarding the history of the webisodes and how the studio initially wanted to call them promotional material and not pay anyone, then finally relented on payment, only to refuse to provide credits in the end and forcing me to post them on my blog at SciFi.com.
The distinction between the two is that webisodes were new material created specifically for the internet, while the featurettes are really little more than deleted scenes from âRazor.â In the first instance, we were being asked to write and produce new material without compensation or credit, while in the second we simply repurposed existing material that would otherwise end up on the cutting room floor. Thatâs not to say that the featurettes werenât subject to a great deal of haggling and negotiation with the studio over issues of reuse and credits -- they were. But in the end, I agreed to go with the featurettes while still refusing to produce more webisodes because I felt that using existing scenes in this format was different than creating new stories. Hopefully, the new contract that gets hammered out between the studios and the writersâ guild will clear up all of this and provide enough clarity so that showrunners like myself wonât have to be in the position of making these calls on a case by case basis. [?]
- Galactica wraps
- Production wrapped on episode 413 late last night, and thereâs no certain date to resume shooting. No more scripts exist. My office staff has been laid off. My cast has been suspended, without pay.
I refuse to believe that we wonât finish, that we wonât be back to film our final stories, but I know and accept there is that possibility. The strike will be a seminal event for many of us in this business as itâs put literally everything we care about in the balance (if only for a short time so far) for something we all believe is important.
Writers talk a lot about the strike, about the reasons weâre out on the picket lines and our feelings and experiences in the business. Itâs been an interesting three weeks. Iâve connected with more scribes in the last few weeks than in many months before and I come away from it to date with a sense of optimism about the solidarity of the membership and admiration for my peers.
Galacticaâs coming back, I frakking promise you that. But I am ready to put the rest of the story on the table and take the risk that Iâll never be able to tell it, in support of this strike.
Like Adama says, you make your choices and then you live with them.
A helluva gamble. [?]
- The Razor Podcast
- Instead of the customary podcast commentary for next weekâs showing of âRazor,â there will be a recording I made of the original break session where the writers first pitched me the story. The podcast was recorded at my house with the entire writing staff, minus Mrs. Ron, who opted not to know anything about the story until it was completed. A separate commentary track will be available on the DVD version that Michael Taylor and I recorded in the studio. (Donât worry, I brought along the obligatory bottle of scotch.)
So far, the response to âRazorâ has been very positive from both the critics and from the few screenings that weâve had, so Iâm hopeful that itâll be well received by one and all.