08
Jul
08

BSG wrap party (aka my canadian adventure) – part one

Some might say it was the most disastrous convention ever; the guest registry at the Sutton Place hotel in downtown Vancouver read like a who’s who of Battlestar Galactica – the writers, producers, cast and many behind-the-scenes artisans were on hand, ready to mingle and reminisce about their experiences on the show.  But where were the fans?

I’m not sure who did the promotion for this “Wrap Party” convention we all went to, but man, they must have lost their shirts.  Admission was free, the food and drinks were complimentary and we were even given some lovely gifts; I would have expected the fans to be lined up around the block!  How could they have not known about this thing?  Oh well, we made the most of it – since everyone was already there, we used the opportunity to get to know each other better and turned this “Wrap Party” convention into a literal cast & crew wrap party for the series.  But I’m getting a little ahead of myself here – the wrap party was on Saturday night (that’s June 28th – as usual I’m writing from the future) but many of Galactica’s all-stars played hooky for a few days, arriving in Great White North a little early for some pre-show adventure…

 

GETTING THERE IS NOT HALF THE FUN

My flight was at 9am Thursday, for which the airport shuttle wanted to pick me up at 5am.  Since I live about half an hour from the airport, I questioned the logic of such an early pickup.  “Well sir,” they tried to explain, “since it’s an international flight you need to be at the airport two hours early, and we also need to take any possible traffic into consideration.”  Whoa, wait a second… Canada?  International?  I told that clown to look at a map.  “Do you see any water in between the Unites States and Canada?  No?   Want to know why?  Because it’s the same damn country!”  How much do they pay these clowns?   And since the only traffic at 5am consists of ravers on the way home and die-hard McDonalds junkies rushing for that first Egg McMuffin  off the grill, I told them I’d take my chances with a 6:30am pickup.  They told me they couldn’t guarantee I wouldn’t miss my flight if I was picked up at that hour, and I informed them I couldn’t guarantee I wouldn’t poop in their van if they tried to pick me up any earlier, so they were cool with the 6:30 thing.

I arrived at LAX at 7:15am, and after the long, arduous process of my “international” check-in (LOL), I had to do some serious sprinting in order to just barely make it to the gate an hour before my flight took off.  Whew, that was close!

The flight itself was mercifully uneventful.  I never understand people who ask “how was your flight?”  I mean, if it didn’t crash, it was fine.  How often is ANY flight different from all the rest?  Ok, I guess there was the time Valerie Bertanelli got me drunk and dragged me into the first class lavatory for a quickie, but chances are you won’t have to ask “how was your flight?” to get information like that out of someone.  From now on, just ask people “was your flight anything out of the ordinary?”  At least that will get something other than “fine” out of them.

 

ARRIVAL

As luck would have it, I got through customs just in time to hitch a ride with a car full of fellow post-production personnel, Jute, Mikey Melissa and Jason.  The first thing we noticed was the cold and rainy weather.  Now I know I shouldn’t be surprised, since Vancouver is very well known for this sort of climate – but I specifically checked the forecast for the few days I would be in town and it said sunny and eighty degrees – thus, I packed no jacket (Jute is convinced the city of Vancouver slips a few bucks to the weather bureau for favorable weather reports when they want an increase in tourism).  Sneaky Canadians!

We soon arrived at the hotel, unpacked, vegged for a few and then made our way across the street for some food.  The hotel recommended a placed called “Joey’s,” but I was a little nervous about noshing at a place named after the ill-fated Friends spin-off.  Luckily the name was just a coincidence – the food and drinks were quite tasty and no one managed to get the hot waitress’ phone number.  Just like home!

                                                              No one got her number

READY, GO, SETS!

Tummies full and brains slightly buzzed, it was time to make our way to what was sure to be one of the highlights of the trip – the sets.  I’ve been working on this frakkin’ show for four years and it was time to finally go sit in a Viper!

From the outside, the studio doesn’t look like much; you’d never guess from staring at those plain, white walls that inside lies the ultimate, soul-satisfying experience (kind of like White Castle).

Fortunately for us, they were shooting a scene from the finale, so all the sets were fully lit (which means your pictures come out looking like you’re on the show).  It’s funny how even people who work for the series are such fans of it – the minute we hit that very first A-shaped corridor, every last scrap of professionalism went out the airlock; we ran up and down the halls, took turns sitting in Adama’s chair, played with the Vipers and pretended we were pilots getting briefed for a mission.

FROM L-R: Mikey, Melissa, Jute, Jason, Mojo

I’d say we were like kids in a candy store but, to be honest, a handful of gummi bears can’t really compare to sitting in Viper!  For the entire afternoon we basically “lived” on the Galactica and had a chance to meet much of the cast, in full costume and makeup.  Michael Hogan (Colonel Tigh) was kind enough to pose for a group photo:

The Post Production Posse with special guest Michael Hogan

 

ONE BIG, HAPPY FLEET

One of the most unique things about Battlestar Galactica is that just about everyone who works for program also enjoys watching it; believe it or not, this is rare in Hollywood!  All too often, people look at their work as “just a job” and seldom watch the shows they work for; the prevailing attitude is  that professionals are “above” being fans (this was especially true at Star Trek, where being a fan was actually frowned upon). 

On Galactica, everyone is a fan – and proud of it!

As I walked around the sets, meeting the crew and watching people work, there was absolutely an air of joy and enthusiasm about the place – you can just feel  that everyone knows they’re contributing to something special.  A perfect example is what happened during actual shooting – on many productions, after setting up a shot the crew gets bored and goes off to chat or play cards or raid the craft service table while the actors do their thing; on this day, everyone not actually holding up a light was gathered around the monitors, absolutely transfixed as they watched the scene unfold.  It was truly a moving experience to see just how much everyone on this show cares (ok to be fair there were some delicious samosas placed by the monitors but I swear people were drawn to the drama and not just the tantalizing scent of spicy beef and potato).

Watching a scene live on set

 

YES WE HAVE NO TACOS

When shooting wrapped for the day, the post-production posse all saddled up and headed back to the hotel for a little freshening up.  A short while later, we hit the streets in search of dinner, hoofing our way to a small micro-brewery that was rumored to serve up notoriously good suds and top-notch chow.  To be honest, I’m usually not a big fan of pub food (I mean how good can a burger and cheese-fries be?) but much to my surprise and delight I also spotted a curry soup and yakisoba on the menu!

What?  Curry and Yakisoba at a micro-brew?  Had I died and gone to Japan?  Nope – just Vancouver.  See, in Los Angeles, the predominant ethnic population are Mexican, so just about any restaurant you visit has some sort of Mexican fare on the menu (which is of little use when tacos and burritos are pretty far down your favorites  list).  However, Vancouver (aka Hongcouver or Japanada) has a booming Asian population, so even the French restaurants have Ramen Noodles hidden somewhere on the menu.  Score!

 Of course, no one was really paying much attention to the food – we were all too busy comparing photos and sharing star-studded stories.  As it turned out, the other team from post (we split up into two groups) ran into Edward James Olmos, who spent almost an hour talking to them about everything from Blade Runner to BSG (did you know that Harrison Ford was staunchly against the idea of being a Replicant?).  An interesting perspective Olmos shared was not only how grateful he is to have worked on Galactica, but that the role of Adama came to him later in his career; he feels younger actors (“the kids” as he calls them), may not have the  experience to fully appreciate just how special this show is.  Olmos truly loves Galactica; he feels that playing Adama is the highlight of his career and he encourages the rest of cast and crew to  savor the moment – it may never get better than this.

As the hands on the clock both approached twelve, we decided to call it a night.  After all, most of us had been up since about 5am and there were still three days of fun ahead on our little excursion. 

And, of course, the wrap party!

 

(Look for part II real soon)

 


29 Responses to “BSG wrap party (aka my canadian adventure) – part one”


  1. 1 Gep Malakai
    July 8, 2008 at 12:33 am

    Just to be clear–the set tour was NOT part of the opne-to-all-free-to-the-public wrap party…right? Because if it was, I have to go shoot myself now.

  2. 2 ety3
    July 8, 2008 at 1:31 am

    Very nice. Sad to read that being a fan of Trek was actually frowned upon behind the scenes.

    Is it safe to say that the sets will not be struck anytime soon, given the upcoming movie(s)?

  3. July 8, 2008 at 6:51 am

    Wrap party convention? First I’ve heard of it. Who the heck was in charge of promoting that?

  4. 4 Boris
    July 8, 2008 at 7:50 am

    So what is your personal “I read the finale and…” comment about the ending?

  5. July 8, 2008 at 11:02 am

    Glad to hear you enjoyed your time in Vancouver, Mojo! And it’s great to hear that being a fan, even if you are part of the production team, is the norm. It’s a great show, and all the entire team has done a stellar job.

  6. 6 Boris
    July 8, 2008 at 11:39 am

    Gep: Mojo is dripping sarcasm. You don’t actually think they’d risk revealing the finale at this point?

    I’m still waiting for Mojo’s version of “On first looking into Ron Moore’s ender”.

  7. 7 Shawn
    July 8, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    Great stuff, Mojo! It’s always nice to be in Vancouver and always nice to be at the Sutton!
    It was a pleasure meeting you and other members of the “Galactica” team there.

    Looking forward to Part Deux.

  8. 8 Hisham
    July 8, 2008 at 4:31 pm

    Why are there no pictures of said tantalizing and delicious samosas?

    :)

  9. July 8, 2008 at 5:17 pm

    Ok, I just died of jeaulosy.

  10. 10 eudivan
    July 8, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    visite meu blog e deixe um recado tambem obrigado

  11. 11 Lori
    July 8, 2008 at 5:36 pm

    I’m so jealous!! Thanks for sharing this great adventure!

  12. 12 darthmojo
    July 8, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    Just to clear up any confusion, Boris has got it right – my opening to this piece is meant to be ironic. There wasn’t really supposed to be any convention, but many of us joked over the weekend about how the guest list at the hotel would be the greatest BSG con ever assembled – if only the fans knew about it :-) I decided to turn that into a joke about how we all came to town for this big convention but no one showed up. Also, keep in mind it’s highly unlikely that an event like this could have been planned without anyone knowing about it.

    Oh, and “I read the finale and think it’s neat.” There’s my official comment.

  13. 13 matt
    July 8, 2008 at 10:13 pm

    that must have been amazing!! oh, and am I the only one who was a little taken aback by the sight of Michael Hogan smiling?? :)

  14. 14 darthmojo
    July 9, 2008 at 12:37 am

    Michael Hogan smiling and with two eyes! Oh and that reminds me, to all of the folks who take everything in my blog literally: The picture of Mr. Hogan in my post is NOT a spoiler that he gets his eye back in the finale. The actor has two eyes and in this photo his prop eye-patch was not in place.

  15. 15 adallahq
    July 9, 2008 at 12:42 am

    lol I think that’s the second time you get us Mojo lol. First time was when you said the ruins in the last scene of Revelations was Vancouver…ever considered becoming an actor? You’d be really good at it, you are pretty darn convincing :P

    Something I wanted to mention about the BSG set Mojo. I was talking to one of my buddies the other day telling him that if the BSG sets were converted to an a public exhibition of sorts, where you’d have to pay to get in and visit the set, sit and take photos in the Vipers etc, well besides being the best thing that ever happened to BSG fans and making their dreams come true, the motivation for NBC Universal/GE or whoever owns that set, would be money. You’d get BSG fans like not only visiting once, but several times, people from all over the world would come and visit the BSG set like it was a religious shrine to be visited during a pilgrimage.

    My buddy said they probably would lose more money by not using that set space. Anyways, wild idea I know, but I thought I’d throw it out at ya.

    As for meeting all the cast and crew, I sincerely hope sometimes before the end of the series, the fans are included in a big wrap up party also. Till then, we got some Blogs to keep us going ;)

    ~Adalla

  16. 16 Boris
    July 9, 2008 at 5:15 am

    What’s wrong with Michael Hogan smiling? Off the top of my head:

    1) “Paper shortage.”
    2) “I slept with Lee.”
    3) “Oh, ho, well, there you go, pure water. A couple of lemons, we could make lemonade. Oh-hoo-hoo-hoo. …”
    4) “And just for that, you have to skip this round.”

    ???

  17. July 9, 2008 at 10:00 am

    I’m way jealous of being able to play on lit sets, I cant even imagine what pictures I would take first. I just don’t get the big deal about Asian food, you live in LA there’s great asian food everywhere, hell its half the reason I moved :D

    Adalla, there’s no way enough people would go to cover the storage costs for a set like that.

  18. 18 Ken D
    July 9, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    Two comments since just now got onto your blog from Digital Bits:
    1)The arrows on flight map are from Toronto/Winnipeg? across Canada, but you state LAX as Airport. Guess that “International” meant you crossed “secure” border from US over Canadian dotted lined border(secure except for those “pot” tunnels under it). US keeps complaining “terrorists” get in and out over this unfenced, lax security border. VC is Hollywood Canada, now VC Washington, USA.
    2) What’s going to happen to the sets you roamed in. Kept intact at the warehouse as a VC tourist mega sight, dismantled and thrown out, moved to Arizona like London Bridge, moved to backlot at a “sister” studio without government tax break refund to Canada, auctioned off on e-bay.ca or turned into Las Vegas casino and show? Did you actually sit in a viper, or is it just a metric model/CG item cockpit blend? Wouldn’t it make great entry at TomorrowLand rocket blaster ride or Universal studio/Six Flags attraction?

    thanks and goodbye.

  19. 19 Boris
    July 9, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    Ken D: surely, if Mojo had wanted to depict his flight, he would’ve created an “Indiana Jones”-style flight tracker video, complete with John Williams’s score and a 1930s map of North America, so that can’t be it.

  20. 20 Locutus
    July 9, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    Damn I am so jealous you got to walk around the sets.
    I would love to sit in a Viper.

    Oh and the waitress was cute. Should have got her number lol

  21. 21 samspock
    July 10, 2008 at 8:39 am

    The pic with Michael Hogan was a minor spoiler: he is in uniform.

  22. 22 Seijornec
    July 10, 2008 at 11:23 am

    Where’s the viper pic? I’ve wanted to sit in one of those since I was 9 yrs. old I’m 35 now.

  23. 23 Boris
    July 10, 2008 at 11:56 am

    The briefing room set is lit, meaning it appears in the finale and intact. Also, some time ago, Mojo said that the landing bay was totally relit by the time of show 419.

  24. 24 darthmojo
    July 10, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    BORIS: All the sets were lit, even ones that were not being currently shot, which means the briefing room may – or may not be – in the finale.

    KEN: No one can really say for sure what the future holds for the sets. There are rumors of anything from one to three DVD movies on the horizon, plus it was said yesterday (Galactica Sitrep had a quote) that the production would be digitally cataloging the sets for possible re-creation as a virtual stage. So many possibilities the future holds!

  25. 25 Boris
    July 10, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    So it’s just a matter of switching on a standard configuration of lights, then? No fancy setups involved?

  26. July 14, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    Man, if there was a wrap party, and I hadn’t heard about it, I’d find out who the promoter was, and have something to say! It’s too bad there wasn’t a meet and greet the cast though. I would have loved to be a part of something like that!

  27. July 14, 2008 at 3:46 pm

    I had heard that the sets had been dismantled and photographed so they could be rendered digitally if needed. How would that work?

  28. July 14, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    Ah, I see the problem with the hot waitress… You should have told her you worked on Battlestar Galactica. It works for me every time just saying I WATCH Battlestar Galactica. After they’ve had that 7 or 8th brewski, they’re like putty in my hands.

  29. August 22, 2008 at 1:15 am

    BSG: The Experience. The Star Trek one lasted a decade, didn’t it? :)

    Psst: Michael–after 7 or 8 they’re probably just putty on the floor, right? :P


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: