Wednesday, September 27

Getting ready to premiere. Q & A.

Source: Ron Moore's Blog

Okay, first let's make this clear: OUR TIMESLOT HAS CHANGED. WE'RE ON AT 9:00pm FRIDAY NIGHTS now, not 10:00pm. Those of you with TiVo won't have any trouble, but try to spread the word to everyone else.

We're really happy with the premiere episode and I'm already starting to get feedback from critics and press who've seen it and the consensus seems to be very, very positive, so I hope all of you enjoy it as well.

SciFi.Com recently became aware of the phenomena known as "frak parties" which are being organized out there in the great beyond by Zak Exley and I encourage all of you to go to the link on SciFi.Com and put your own frakking parties together so you can enjoy the frakking show along with a lot of frakking other people. (Maybe even hook-up with a frak-buddy or two.)

Now onto the questions and answers:

"I sincerely apologize if this has been asked before, but I would really like to know:
Was Admiral Cain guilty of murdering her XO and ordering the murder of civilians?
Was Admiral Cain guilty of marooning/stranding the Pegasus RTF?
Was Admiral Cain guilty of "drafting" civlians into the Pegasus crew?"

The answer to all of the above is, yes. While we heard about all these actions second-hand, the intention was that they were all factually correct.

"We've heard that in Season 3, the Centurions will actually be "played" be actual actors in motion capture suits/external rigs (In Season 1 and 2, they'd just stick a cardboard cutout in front of an actor so they'd know where their eye level should be, or have guys wear a shirt that read "CENTURION" on it when running in the woods to let editors know that's where a Centurion would be in post). How has this affected who actors on set interact with/respond to Centurions? Who "plays" the Centurions? (Is is uncredited?) I mean I'm not expecting some CGI Gollum-level performance here, but this sounds fun. Though I hope they've removed the "coctail hour swagger" effect... "

While we did briefly discuss using a new technique of using actors in motion capture suits to portray the centurions, we ultimately decided against it for budgetary and production reasons, and the centurions will be completely CGI once again.

"The BSG books are soon to be out. Do you okay these books, do they fit in your BSG timeline, or is this totally seperate from what you're doing?"

I do consult with the people involved in the books and I generally give them a lot of leeway in their storytelling since it's a completely separate project from the TV show.

"With respect to the Centurians - I feel like they are a bit limited in design. Perhaps TOO limited. For instance - why couldn't a Centurian simply articulate basically 360 degrees at every joint in all axes - so it could simply plop onto the ground and run like a dog perhaps. Or simply rotate its head 180 degrees to look behind it as opposed to having to turn around. It could them simply run backwards as fast or nearly so as it could forwards (its legs would simply swivel around at the hips or pelvis). Couldn't Centurian's exchange parts? If one gets it's hand blown off, and there is another destroyed Centurian with an intact hand near by - could one simply eject it's bad hand and install the functioning hand?"

I think that's a valid criticism and it's certainly something we've discussed among ourselves from time to time. We made a fundamental choice at the outset that the centurions would be an extension of the original Galactica centurions, and therefore would be bipedal and vaguely humanoid in appearance. It's an aesthetic choice, one intended to maintain a sense of humanity even in the mechancial opponents. We've talked about other, more complicated devices and robots, but it seems to veer off into predictable territory rather rapidly, so we've decided to keep it pretty simple for now.

"Hi Ron, love the show. I have a question about the Cylon attack which (according to the podcast) was originally scripted to cap off the Kobol storyline in Home, Part II: Were the live action elements for these scenes ever filmed? If so, is there any possibility of having the finsished sequence reintegrated into the episode? I have always longed to see it in there, because after 7+ episodes of having everyone go their seperate ways, it would've been very moving to see them flee Kobol together."

The scenes were cut before they were shot, unfortunately.

"Why has Adama's midset/attitude/whatever you wish to call it changed so radically during the year in orbit around New Caprica? "

We've actually touched on this story in an episode where we shot a lot of flashback material to some of the events that occured during the "missing year." We're editing the show right now, and hopefully it'll survive into the final cut.

"I am very struck by the story on your IMDb profile of how you got your start on 'Trek, simply slipping a script to the producers, as a recent Cornell grad with no Hollywood insider connections. Can you tell us more about your experiences in Hollywood before you struck gold? What made you want to be a screenwriter? What was your mindset when going for a tour of the TNG set that day? Finally, what advice do you have for people similar to you who are interested in screenwriting, but have no connections whatsoever?"

I'd been living in LA for three years, working a variety of odd jobs before I got the break at Trek --messenger, contract administator, personnel director, even animal hospital receptionist. I was sleeping on the floor of my ex-college roomate, who'd come to LA a year before me and who was also trying to break into the business. I was starting my life over, having just been politely asked to leave Cornell after I'd neglected to go to class for several... months. I was studying political science and history, with an eye toward going to law school, but by the time I left, I'd already realized that I didn't want to be a real attorney, I wanted to be Perry Mason and there was a fundamental difference between the two.

I'd always written stories growing up -- my mother still has a small "book" I wrote in the third grade -- and I'd written a play in high school and joined a literary society in college, but I'd never seriously considered writing as a profession until I literally had nothing left. So, I left Ithaca and moved in with my buddy and decided to become a screenwriter.

I wasn't that diligent, in all honesty. I started and stopped a dozen or more screenplays, took half-hearted stabs at writing spec scripts for television, but in general I didn't really focus on the craft or improve the horrendously undisciplined methods which had been my undoing at Cornell. I drifted from job to job on the periphery of the film business and felt my life slowly going nowhere.

It wasn't until I knew I was going to visit the sets of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" that I dimly perceived what would turn out to be a golden opportunity staring me in the face. With three or four weeks lead time, I did something I'd never done: I sat down and wrote an episode. Looking back, it's amazing I never even attempted to write one before. I was an avid fan of Trek, watched every episode of "Next Gen" without fail, and intuitively knew the format, the structure, and the voice of the show. But, at that point in my life, I needed something right in front of me, a real deadline to get off the couch and actually do something.

I remember that when I took the script with me to the Paramount lot, I just assumed that I could give it to the guy giving me the set tour and that he'd be willing to read it for no reason except that I asked him to. In truth he was reluctant to accept yet another unsolicited script from a fan (he got this kind of request everyday) and he politely turned me down at first. As we left his office and headed to the set, I left the script behind, but determined not to take no for an answer.

They were shooting scenes for the second season episode "Time Squared" down on Stage 9, where the Sickby, Corridors, Engineering and Shuttle Bay sets were located. We walked through the Engineering set, which was covered in plastic tarps, and then found a dark, out of the way place to watch Patrick and his photo-double rehearse a scene where two Captain Picarcds are in the same shot next to an Enterprise shuttlepod. It was exciting and thrilling to actually stand on the starship Enterprise after all those years of imagining it, but there was this other part of me that felt like I'd finally come home. Usually, when I'm experiencing a singular event, there's a strong part of me that is constantly whispering, "Look around, enjoy this while it lasts, you won't be here again." The fleeting nature of life and our experiences is something I've always been hyperaware of, ever since childhood, and it usually feeds into my innately sentimental streak, prompting me to try and imprint the moment into my fallable memory with some kind of permanance.

But on that day, I wasn't looking around with the idea of trying to memorize it all before it vanished, I was actually looking around thinking, "Don't worry, you'll be back." Somehow, I just knew this wasn't the last time I'd be on these sets, wouldn't be the last time I'd stand on a starship, that I'd get another chance to meet Patrick. I remember walking out of the soundstage without any covetous looks over my shoulder or secret swiping of souveniers -- I just assumed I was coming back, without any plausible reason for feeling that way.

On the way back to my tour guide's office, I again pressed the case for him to read my script, and in the end, he must've liked my naivete or chutzpah, or both and agreed to read it. Turned out that he liked it and put me in contact with my first agent, who submitted it to the show and about seven months later, I was back on those sets, watching them shoot scenes from the very script I'd brought on that first visit.

To say I was lucky would be an understatement. To this day, I still can't believe the series of events and how they happened at the same time I found the writing discipline and initiative that I'd so studiously avoided for three years. I have little advice for people wishing to break in to the business. No one else broke in the way I did, indeed, every writer I know has a unique tale to tell of how they got their break. The only lesson I draw from my experience is that I think everyone gets their break in this industry, but the question is whether you're ready, willing and able to take advantage of that break when it happens. I was, and so I made it, but I've known many others who have had their break, only to watch it pass them by for one reason or another. It's the kind of business that will discourage you if you can be discouraged, and you need to know that about yourself right from the beginning.

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