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.
“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]