BSG nerd wins Emmy, cops open fire (almost)


It was the evening of September 8, 2007 and I was sitting in a taxi on my way to the Emmys.

Dressed as a Colonial Warrior.

We were already halfway to the Shrine Auditorium and there was only one thing on my mind: we weren’t supposed to win.

For almost a decade now, more and more innovative CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) meant that spaceships, once the bread-and-butter of the visual effects industry, just didn’t win Emmys anymore. Sure, “Exodus – Part II” was exciting, and I had the time of my life facing the Pegasus off against three Baseships, but it just never crossed my mind that it would come to this.

Even my friends who were at the final awards voting confirmed it – the shows competing with us (Eureka, Rome and Grey’s Anatomy) simply had more variety and one of them was sure to kick Galactica to the curb.  The fact that we were knee-deep in finishing Razor was the straw that broke the daggit’s back, so Gary [Hutzel, Visual Effects Superivsor], Doug [Drexler, CGI Supervisor] and I jointly decided we wouldn’t even go to the Emmys; there was simply too much work to do.

Especially when we knew we weren’t going to win.

The night of the awards, I asked my friend, Mark Shimer (who was attending with several others from Zoic Studios), to send me a text when they announced the winner. I was really anxious to know which show did beat us!

At 6:41pm, my phone beeped. I flipped it open and saw:

I sat there staring in shock. He had to be joking. I ran into the main office and shared the news with Gary and Doug.

“He must be joking,” said Doug. “Yeah, you’re probably right,” I responded. Then the office phone rang. Every phone.

But he wasn’t joking. As impossible as it seemed, Battlestar Galactica had won the Emmy. As we all stood there dumbfounded, I excitedly suggested we all hop in a cab and at least go to the after-party and celebrate. Gary and Doug decided to hold down the fort, but encouraged me to go forth and raid the open bar.

Before you could say “launch all Vipers,” I was home, looking to change into something more Emmy-worthy. It was too late to rent a tux, but I did have a nice, black suit, or maybe this vest – and then it hit me.

“Wait a second – I just won an Emmy Award for Battlestar Galactica. The show I grew up on, the show that inspired me, the show that everyone at school teased me for liking and the show that is now about to plant a frakking Emmy Award in my hot little nerd hands! Forget the suit, I’m going in style – I’m wearing the uniform!”   [yes, I own a Colonial Warrior costume. Every true nerd, no matter how cool they pretend to be, owns at least one costume, and this is mine]

About 45 minutes later, I hopped out of the taxi across the street from USC (the street was closed off to traffic) and began almost sprinting to the Shrine. I hoofed it past the barricade and got about fifty feet when I saw the beam from a high-power flashlight hit the wall in front of me. A voice from behind shouted “hey you – where are you going?”

I stopped and turned and saw maybe five cops standing by the barricade. One of them had his flashlight trained on me. “I’m going to the Emmys” I explained. The flashlight moved away from my face, to my chest and rested on the laser pistol holstered at my leg.

Uh oh.

“Don’t move” said the officer as he made his way towards me. L.A. cops are known for being a little twitchy and this one wasn’t going to disappoint; as he got closer, he unbottoned his holster and put his hand on his weapon.

Great,” I thought. “The biggest night of my life and I’m going to get gunned down in the street wearing my nerd suit.” The cop was maybe twenty feet away when his partner shone another flashlight on me and shouted, “hey, wait a second – that’s Starbuck from Battlestar Galactica!”

The cop stopped where he was, took his hand off his gun and took a closer look. “Hey, you’re right – you, get over here!”

I walked over to the small crowd of officers. The one who recognized my outfit beamed, “wow, this is so cool – Galactica was my favorite show when I was a kid! What are you doing down here in this getup?” I explained the situation. “Well, you better get to that party! There’s more security closer to the Shrine, let me get on the radio and tell them to let you pass.”

And so I victoriously walked the rest of the block and straight into the party, where I drank, danced, drank some more and explained about a thousand times what I was wearing.

But above all, as I held that sweet little statue in my hands, I was intensely grateful that while we original-series Galactica fans may be few and far between, thank the Lords of Kobol they’re in the right place at the right time!

[Mojo is pictured with Alec McClymont of Atmosphere Visual Effects]

17 Responses to “BSG nerd wins Emmy, cops open fire (almost)”

  1. May 7, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    Congrats DarthMojo! That is incredibly cool. Thanks for letting us see what it’s like from the other side. One geek’s triumph inspires all the rest of us, you know….

    Val, aka ‘Spacepug”
    Head Geek, The 13th Colony

  2. May 7, 2008 at 8:39 pm

    Congratulations! That’s a wonderful story. You guys definitely deserved the Emmy. I love that you showed up in uniform. Congrats again!

  3. May 8, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    Hi, Mojo!

    I watched the very first showing of the original Galactica with Bismo, way back when. You really hit the hot button with your comment about being teased at school. I can relate, except in my case it was for reading comic books. The very same comics that are now the basis for some of the biggest movies going.

    Congrats on your Emmy, and for hanging onto the dream, and for doing what you’re doing! We’re now watching the Galactica DVD’s on a projector, and your handiwork sure does look great up on the big screen.

  4. 4 jeanie beanie
    May 9, 2008 at 5:01 am

    Doug Pratt’s twin sister just dropping in to say I’m happy to see you’ve started a blog! I’m ashamed to say I’ve seen only a few “Battlestars,” but it’s not totally my fault; they don’t play them on our limited cable. Well, there are DVDs! You’re one of the lucky ones who gets paid to do what he does for fun, anyway! Congrats!

  5. 5 Elizabeth
    May 10, 2008 at 11:22 am

    Wow, that is an incredible story. I hope to be in your shoes some day.

  6. 6 Karl Tate
    May 10, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    Congrats! And hey look at that… you linked to my BSG framegrabs to illustrate “laser pistol”. I feel so vicariously famous right now.

  7. May 13, 2008 at 3:54 am

    So okay…geekery aside..am I the only one who’s going to say how hot you look in that uniform?? Congratz on the award chuck!

    Kitty =^..^=

  8. May 13, 2008 at 8:09 am

    Now that rocks, your the coolest dude on the Galactica 1980 set….opps….Hollywood strip.
    Now that rocks, it would look so cool to see you next to my screen used Cylon, and uniform, sporting that trophy. Have suit can travel.

  9. 9 darthmojo
    May 13, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    Thanks for the kind words, everyone. It certainly was a high water mark to be honored for Battlestar Galactica – thank you, Ron Moore! And Glen Larson, Tom DeSanto, Brian Singer and Richard Hatch. All of you kept the flame alive.

    And Kitty, you are so right, I was very hot in that thing. That uniform is several layers of thick material. Oh wait, were you talking about how sexy I look? Hey, everyone loves a guy in Uniform. Colonial Warrior uniform, doubly so. Colonial Warrior holding shiny gold statue: off the charts.

  10. 10 Michael Llaneza
    May 14, 2008 at 9:13 pm

    Dear god Mojo, that rocks so fracking hard.

  11. June 5, 2008 at 9:20 am

    ‘Dear god Mojo that rocks so fracking hard’

    Kitty blushes at thoughts in her head!!!!!


  12. 12 christian
    June 14, 2008 at 7:52 am

    That guy you’re with is CUTE! Is he single? :P

  13. January 28, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    Great Story. What a way to represent the fans!!! I remember freaking out when those vipers launched into the atmosphere. You totally deserved that award!!!

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May 2008

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