By Curt Wagner, @ShowPatrol
3:31 PM CDT, March 22, 2011
Part of the "Stargate Universe" band is getting back together.
"SGU" visual effects superviser Mark Savela and production assistant Ken Kabatoff have rallied "about 80 percent" of the "SGU" crew in Vancouver to work with them on presentation piece that will promote a pilot they've created. With the working title "Echoes," the pilot is a post-apocalyptic tale set in the near future.
"Everybody just loved working together so much and nobody wanted it to end," Savela told me last week. "When we came up with this project, people said 'Oh, we all get to work together again? That's really cool.'
"Everybody jumped on board."
"SGU" fans will recognize several names involved in the project, including director Will Waring, director of photography Michael Blundell, production designer James Robbins and "SGU" music man Joel Goldsmith is doing the score. "SGU" actors Jen Spence and Mike Dopud will star along with Victoria Pratt and Lochlyn Munro.
The team will assemble this weekend in Vancouver to film the presentation piece, a promotional clip that includes about 15 pages of the pilot Savela and Kabatoff have written about humans trying to survive after an alien apocalypse.
Stop rolling your eyes. Yes, that that story has been done to death, but Savela and Kabatoff are offering a nice twist. In their story, two alien races battled each other, not humans, and destroyed our planet in the process.
"We've always seen these aliens-attacking-the-planet [stories], and it's always the aliens attacking the humans," Kabatoff said. "Having aliens against another alien race basically leaves the humans as collateral on their own planet. Many of the Earth's citizens have been wiped out already. It's not us against them, it's them against each other, and we're just trying to stay alive."
Added Savela: "It's kind of like two superpowers fighting in Australia, and destroying the Australians."
Kabatoff said they plan to make the show dark, gritty and action-packed. They are taking cues on pacing from such non sci-fi productions as "Band of Brothers" and "The Pacific."
The action begins two years after the alien war has ravaged Earth. The main character, a woman played by Spence (Dr. Lisa Park on "SGU"), is leading a band of survivors across the U.S. in hopes of figuring out how the war began in the first place.
"It's basically her journey from a shy, unassuming kind of wall flower into a kind of Sarah Connor-type character," Savela said, referencing the heroine of the "Terminator" films and TV show. "We kick off right in the middle of the [bleep], basically."
They currently are working on a show bible, but say that there are endless possibilities for stories as the survivors cross the country meeting other survivors, using futuristic technology and running into the aliens, which, with Savela and Robbins involved—not to mention Emmy-winning Atmosphere Visual Effects and Dark Room Digital—should be pretty cool.
"They are going to be fantastic aliens," Savela said.
Once the presentation is shot, they will add Goldsmith's score and special effects and then begin pitching it to networks. But for now, they're thankful that so many "SGU" friends are onboad and supportive.
"Everybody is getting behind the script like crazy," Savela said. "It's pretty cool."
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