In space there is no up and down (though I *think* the station was, from
our perspective, right-side up...haven't looked at it in a while).
Well, as of tomorrow, Monday, we are exactly one week from filming. Our
costume designer pointed out that making a project like this is a lot like
making Thanksgiving dinner...you set a dozen different things going at
different times, and hope they all come together at the right moment in the
right way. So far, I think we're on track.
Costumes are almost finished; we'll have all the command uniforms by
Tuesday or so, and the rest by week's end. Most of the on-screen displays
you'll see live on consoles in the observation dome and suchlike are finished
(and are really amazing in their detail)...there's one shot where they do a
navigational location on Kosh's ship that's really quite lovely.
One thing that I haven't mentioned to date is the lighting, because we
were looking at our options; everything else in the show is state of the art,
and we wanted to find something equally innovative. It took a while, but we
found a company that does very different sorts of lighting, and will give the
show a unique look and texture in most every shot.
Construction is finished on most of our primary sets, and now they're
being painted and dressed. We've spent a lot of this past week going over
props...guns and glasses, displays and dice, you name it. There are a number
of things that can actually transfer pretty well to the future without
modification, but a lot more that have to be redesigned or modified.
Prosthetics are in place. The full cast assembles either tomorrow or
Tuesday and we begin rehearsals. The shots have already been blocked out by
the director, A.D. and cinematographer. We were getting a little cramped for
space on the sets, so we've co-opted another soundstage, and now there's a
real spacious feel to some of this stuff.
The miniature of the Garden (with its infamous Death Pizza cap) is about
finished, and most of the other physical items are done.
I'm going through the script tonight, and tomorrow, one last time to
adjust lines, make them stronger, scratch for every possible inch of
characterization. Then we'll lock it down Wednesday, so from that moment on,
there shouldn't be any further changes of substance. Which is great for the
cast, since they don't have to constantly be learning new lines.
Monday is our last major production meeting before filming starts.
After that, it's simply a matter of holding on and hoping for the best... even
under the best of conditinos, something can screw up at the lasat _ last _
moment, and I live in dread of that. And as a writer, you can never be 100%
sure that what works on the page will work on the stage until you get there.
(Just glanced up; contitinos could be conditions four lines up. Sorry for the
typos, long day.)
I try to get very zen about these things. It's like firing the arrow;
you do all you can to line it up, but once you let go of the arrow, you have
to also let go mentally. You've done all you can, now live with it. Our
director has indicated that he's going to spend most of the Sunday before we
begin filming sleeping...on a project of this size, that means a lot of short
night and long days, so that's important. Me, I'll probably spend the whole
night staring up at the ceiling, eyes like poached eyes, looking like a still
from the Ren and Stimpy show or a Tex Avery cartoon.
I'll close with a funny story told to me by one of our crew. He was
working on a project in New York with a producer, and in the producer's office
was this elaborate grid of vertical and horizontal boxes, laid out on a large
sheet of paper. He asked the producer what it was, but the producer only
shrugged, adding that he'd find out in time.
About two weeks later (he *swears* to me that this is true), he was in
the other room when the producer yelled for him to get inside. The producer
was standing at the window, which overlooked a hotel right across the street,
and was very close to this office. Now it became clear...the paperwork grid
corresponded to the rooms in the hotel across the street. "Three up, two
across," the producer said. The guy checked the grid, found the room, and
looked across the streeet at the corresponding room.
In the hotel room, a lone guy had come in, had taken off all of his
clothes, and taken a seat by the window where he was...er...wanking off.
Overlooking the street. The producer gave it just a moment, then checked the
grid, found the room number, called the hotel's front desk, asked for room
311. They could see the guy in the hotel room reach for the phone (with his
In his deepest voice, the producer said, into the phone, "THIS IS GOD!!!
CUT IT OUT!" And hung up.
This, apparently, was how he liked to spend his afternoons....