Why I'm Joining The Companion
They asked me.
That may seem obvious but honestly, there isn’t a line-up of people outside my door asking me to participate in their things. (I just checked again to be sure. There’s nobody out there.)
You might think I’d get invited to Stargate conventions, for example, but I don’t. Sometimes I run into an actor or director with whom I’ve worked on one of the Stargate shows and they’ll ask if I’d like to join them for a drink after our panels at [exotic international Stargate convention] but I’m forced to tell them I won’t be attending [exotic international Stargate convention] because I wasn’t asked. It really is a prerequisite.
They’ll remark at how odd that is, considering that I’m arguably among the most qualified people to answer the various series questions which ‘Jaffa #3’ or ‘Stunt Performer’ will inevitably be asked at their packed panels. I shrug and tell them to have fun.
For the record, I did speak at one Stargate convention recently and a good time was had by all. Because they asked. Also, it was driving distance from my house.
I’m grateful to The Companion for asking me to participate in something cool and watch it grow. Nick and Lawrence are smart, savvy and experienced. They asked. Had they not, I would have wished they had.
The money. Hahahahaha! Just kidding.
I love science fiction. It’s what I make, watch, and read. 25 or so years ago, while I was happily working in Canadian television on shows which mostly featured horses, teens, or teens riding horses, I heard that MGM was going to be shooting The New Outer Limits in Vancouver, where I live. As much as I enjoyed writing for horses, OL was a show I simply had to work on.
I got a writer/producer gig early in the first season and began writing and rewriting and producing like a madman, working harder than I had ever worked before. As is the nature of anthology, some episodes were sublime; some were dogs. But I was in heaven.
Before the end of the first season, one of my bosses from L.A. (who didn’t seem to do much of anything on the actual show) took me to lunch. At one point he said, “I sense from your work that you believe, as I do, that science fiction is important to humanity.”
I said, “Not really. But it’s cool.” My answer disappointed him. I felt as if I’d failed some sort of test.
What I wish I’d replied was that no genre is inherently important. We, as makers of science fiction television, need to create compelling stories and characters, then execute our vision as best we can. That’s our job. Whether it becomes ‘important’ is for audiences and history to decide.
25 years and several hundred hours of television later, science fiction has defined my writing career. Outer Limits, three Stargate series, Travelers, and hopefully whatever I manage to sell next. I’ve often said science fiction isn’t really one genre, it’s all of them. I’ve never worked on a cop show, medical drama, or comedy – the mainstays of television – but that hasn’t stopped me from writing scenes with doctors on spaceships or cops from the future. Sometimes they’re even funny. It’s the best of all worlds.
The Companion offers me the opportunity to talk and write at length about science fiction, my stuff and others, old and new. My career has been long enough to witness an incredible evolution in science fiction television. Advancements in CGI and filmmaking have made it possible to create scenes and tell stories that would have been impossible on the small screen just a few years ago. I can’t wait to see what comes next, (especially if I get to make it!) and share my thoughts in The Companion.