Always nice to be nicely reviewed

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Deric Hughes, writer-pal on Warehouse 13, alerted me to this a few weeks ago. Robert Berg (Rob Will Review...) was gracious and (be still my heart) observant in his review of the final episode I wrote for Syfy’s Warehouse 13.

Robert says:

Last season, I might never have imagined an episode of Warehouse 13 that involved, as Allison Scagliotti tweeted, “cowboys, gladiators, squawking Farnsworths, and a Snuggie.”  And she didn’t even mention the World War II marines, the gangster, the mad scientist, or the killer, magnetic robot.  ”Beyond Our Control” presents practically every geektastic, B-movie reference one could think of, satirizing everything from their cheeseball, overwrought dialogue to their silly effects, while also managing to add to the series’ Farnsworth mythology–steampunk 3D projector that brings film to life, for the win–not to mention throwing in some excellent meta jokes and references for good measure, my favorite being the act break in which Pete indicates that if someone fast forwards through commercials, it could spell their doom.

“Beyond Our Control” was written as an homage to my television beginnings. Playing with the form and embracing television tropes is always fun and, for a writer working in television, it keeps things fresh. Anyway, thanks Robert.

Warehouse 13: Beyond Our Control

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My latest and last walk down the aisles of Warehouse 13 is available on online.
Catch it here.

Yes, I invented the latest iPhone

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See this? It’s a fictional video telephone I created for Syfy’s WAREHOUSE 13. When I tackled the rewrite that resulted in the show’s pilot and subsequent series I knew that the characters, flung far to the four corners on their pilot mission, would need to stay in visual contact with each other (in series, too). The ubiquitous cell phone was too boring a device. So, since the show dealt with unknown and mysterious tech (occasionally), I chose to gift the characters with a Philo T. Farnsworth (he invented TV) creation called a “Vaudio Device.” Or, “Farnsworth” for short. The show’s art department came up with a fantastic design (including technical blueprints that look so real it’s freaky) and the prop department built it.

(
check out this fan-built prop replica)

Each week Pete, Myka, Artie and Claudia video-gab back and forth about the latest mystery. Oh, okay, so maybe I was inspired a little bit by iChat.

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But I’m still gonna say Steve Jobs ripped off my Farnsworth idea. Of course, I’m kidding. But I feel obliged to take a little credit here.

Click on the (Apple site image) to see their Farnsworth in action.

You’re welcome, Steve. ;-)












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Get teased!

Please to enjoy. The Warehouse 13 Season 2 trailer from Syfy.


Bob and Saul explain it all for you

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Warehouse 13 writer Bob Goodman has written a fantastic essay on the discovery process he discovered working on a hit TV show. It’s about writing and working and fun and imagination and why this job is great. So of course the Writers’ Guild magazine Written By rejected it for publication. io9’s gain. See you at the office, Bob.

And, to get even more Warehousey, check out Saul Rubinek’s (
our Artie) video interview.



Back in the Warehouse

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For the last few days I’ve been slogging away at my first script for the second season of Warehouse 13. The first outline submitted to the network was justifiably returned stamped “Bullshit.” It was a clunky tale of weather gone mad. I’d been saddled with the truth of Toronto’s weather in March (snowy -- when the episode is slated to be shot). Knowing that, writing an episode about, well, snow, seemed... production friendly. And that’s about it. Thankfully, network heads prevailed and booted the yarn into the dumpster. A forced rethink resulted in a story I’m excited about. It’s got hardware, a mad genius (whom you’ve already met, sort of), and my love of tv and old movies amply represented. Enough said. Wait. One more thing. As an homage to a unique individual and a fortunate time in my life, the episode is called “Beyond Our Control.”

And, just because I’m procrastinating (and yet feeling like I’ve earned it) I’m employing
The Pomodoro Technique. 25 minutes on. 5 minutes off. Getting things done. Page by page. You should look into it.

Back to work. I’ve got Pete and Myka in a jam and I’m eager to see how they’re getting out of it.

Warehouse 13 Nom'd for People's Choice Award

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Winners announced in January. Vote!

Update: Well, not quite "nominated." More like nominated to be nominated.

Gearing Up for Season 2

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The Warehouse 13 writers' room is slated to start up on November 2. In addition to many of our returning Season One staff (Jack Kenny, me, Drew Greenberg, Bob Goodman, Deric Hughes, Ben Raab, Tamara Becher) we have some new faces at the table. Mike Fox and Ian Stokes (last season's script coordinator and writers' assistant) have joined the ranks. Also on board are Andrew Kriesberg and Nell Scovell. It's a great group.

The goal is to get as many scripts written as possible before production starts (in Toronto) in early spring. We're trying to avoid the snow. And the cold. And the snow. Did I mention the snow?

We've got a lot of story threads to address and, just like you, we've got plenty of ideas toward ramping things up, keeping things fun and thrilling. We've have spent the hiatus chilling, digging into artifact research and ruminating on Pete, Myka, Artie, Leena, Claudia, Mrs. Frederic and MacPherson. They're a great, dysfunctional family full of hopes, secrets, lies, loyalties and betrayals. Can't wait to dig in.

And if anybody's noticed (probably not) I took myself off Facebook and Twitter. Both venues were weighing on me. Keeping up, keeping clever and keeping my mouth shut was just too difficult. Apparently, I'm in good company: Miley Cyrus also canned Twitter.

To catch season of Warehouse 13, check out
Hulu or Warehouse 13 on Syfy's site.

Thanks for watching. We wouldn't be here without you.

Taking Some Time

Warehouse 13 is on hiatus. What have I been doing on my summer vacation? Well, I dumped Facebook and Twitter from my life. That was an easy decision. I'd been spending way too much time gazing at navels. Sometimes mine. Mostly everybody else's.

Poking around the web here's a couple things that are holding my interest.

Derren Brown. Check out some of his television stunts here. Nice article here at about his astounding lottery number prediction.

Apple's Snow Leopard has been a nice distraction. Tracking its fun and foibles are
John Gruber and Merlin Mann, two excellent writers in the Mac and tech trade.

Season Two!

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Warehouse 13 Ratings Soar

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The Comic Con Warehouse 13 Panel

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Meet Allison. She Delivers Great Ratings.

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After Comic Con

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Warehouse 13

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An Interview with Joanne Kelly from SyFy's WAREHOUSE 13

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Warehouse 13

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Working in T Town

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Toys as Narrative

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Hey, I (Re)Wrote a Pilot!

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Actually, Brent Mote wrote the pilot. Jane Espenson then tackled the material followed by Rockne O’Bannon. I batted writerly clean-up and produced the pilot with Jace Alexander directing. And now... Hey, We’ve Got a Series!

Read the Variety article here.





Writing in a Vacuum

Strange, this writer’s life. The only time I feel like I’m actually writing for television is when I’m on the set, the scene to be shot sucks, bad dialog is actually rearranging the actors’ teeth it’s so clunky and we’re losing the light. Then, when I have to whip out the pencil I never seem to have (“Hey, who’s got a pencil?!”) and grab the back of an envelope to try and work out, untangle, cut and recreate the moment, the nut of the scene that worked so well three, five, ten months prior in a first written-in-the-heat-of-creation draft... where was I? Oh. Right. Short version: I like bad scenes because they give me something to do. They fill me with nostalgia for what might have been.
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They’re like suddenly discovering you’re riding a tiger (that’s been gnawing your leg) when all along you thought you were on a horse and now, hey look, who’s got a tourniquet?! As much as I dread on-set rewrites I also welcome an actor coming to me and saying, “Um... huh?” Once I get past the “how dare they” moment it’s kind of interesting (see tiger). One of the best experiences I’ve had working with an actor was with Paul Blackthorne on THE DRESDEN FILES. Before each week’s work he would call me from Toronto (where the show was shot) and we would go through the script, page by page (and not just his scenes) working out the truth of the moments. Paul was always looking for a way to say less and mean more. What a blessing. I vomit words sometimes just to see if there are any bits of goodness worth the effort. If an actor can come along and keep me from puking by simply making my point with a smile, a look, an eye roll or a drop of the head then please, God, eye roll. Sometimes... well, most times great writing is not writing. Great writing is setting up a thought-circus then opening the gates and letting the audience in to wander at will. Actors are those midway barkers. But they’re not barking if they’re doing their jobs right. They’re winking or hooking a finger. “C’mere. Something to show you. No pressure.” You look. Without comment from the writer, actor or director. You simply see and the real circus happens in your head. Later, if the circus is revealed to be a little flat, someone will come along with the “perfect” score to shove you into phoney-emotionville or wow-wasn’t-that scaryland? But sometimes (see THE WIRE) the circus is perfect. I’ve yet to build the an even close-to-perfect circus but it’s great fun trying.

So, anyway, the vacuum thing. I’ve been working on a pilot for the Sci Fi Channel.
WAREHOUSE 13. And this week, as the cut was being prepared for audience testing (yikes) I’ve been working on a story for a possible episode should the series get ordered. The story hits the beats promised in the pilot’s premise. Characters behave consistently (well, more consistently once the actors wrangle them). And, to toot the horn, I think it’s a pretty good yarn. But I dunno. I never know. For so long now I’ve let other people define what’s good and bad about my writing that I’ve sort of taken my ego out of it. Kind of have to to make a living doing this. Does it fit the container the network is trying to sell or doesn’t it? But for now this outline is finished and it’s been handed in for review and criticism. So it’s time to go get some fresh air.