No, I Won’t Get You a Job on Stargate: Universe
Posted on February 24, 2009 Posted by John Scalzi 81 Comments
This is one of those “put up now to refer people to later” pieces:
Dear random people sending me mail on this particular subject:
Yes, I work on Stargate: Universe as its Creative Consultant. No, that does not mean that I will help get you a job on the show. Here are some of the reasons why:
1. I wouldn’t know how. I work on the show, from home, about 2,000 miles away from the studio, and have contact with just a few people on the show, none of whom are the correct people to ask for jobs. I don’t know who you would ask for a job on the show — any job — and I don’t grok it’s my responsibility to find out. Hell, I barely know how I got my job on the show.
2. I suspect me asking people there to find jobs for others would annoy them. I’m pretty sure they’ve got a system set up for intake of writers/actors/crew, although per point one I have no idea what it is. Despite what people might think, generally speaking the best way to get a gig there (or anywhere) is to go through the official channels. Why? Because the official channels are designed to bring people in. Every other way of bringing people in is just extra hassle. And I ask you: Why would I want to be the person to bring extra hassle to the mix? I’m some dude giving notes from half a continent away. I’m not under the impression my job is so secure I can annoy whole bunch of people at SG:U headquarters.
3. Dude, do I know you? I understand why some of you might ask me if I know how to get on the show, since I’m hanging around out here and seem reasonably personable. And that’s fine; I don’t mind that at all (although — see 1 & 2 — in fact I haven’t the slightest idea). But asking me to actually get you in touch with people there, as a couple of you have, seems a bit much:
Hey, Stargate people! I’ve got this random person
I don’t know sending me e-mail saying I should
introduce you to them! So here he is!
He’s your problem now!
Look, it’s nothing personal, but if I can’t get people I know in real life jobs on SG:U, what’s the thinking that suggests I’m going to secure a job for someone who just trundles into my e-mail queue? I’m not that nice, people. Please think these things through a little. The only way I would suggest anyone at all for any job on SG:U is if the producers specifically asked me to (which they have not, nor seem inclined to do), and then I would suggest people I know whose skills I know are in line, not some dude from my inbox.
Also, while we’re on the topic, no, I won’t read your script for the series (or any Stargate series, or any series, or any script) and no, I won’t forward on your script/resume/headshot/whatever. Indeed, I’m sorry to say that whatever it is that you want me to do in reference to Stargate: Universe and making you a part of it (aside from an interested audience member), the answer is going to have to be “no.” It’s not just you — I’m saying “no” to everybody. My job on the show doesn’t include being talent scout.
First the cake and ponies. Now this. What is the world coming to?
It’s a hard world, Doug.
I’ve never seen SGU, but I’m more curious about your work as a creative consultant. Can you tell us what it’s like? Exactly what do you do?
Joe gets this question all the time, but being a producer, he has a little more say in the matter. Haha he tells them to have their agent take care of it: most people who are asking about it don’t have one, so that takes care of that.
srsly? People actually emailed and asked this of you? The mind, she boggles.
I’ll probably talk about it more at a later date.
But but but but you’re John Scalzi! You fart cinammon-scented rainbows and grazz grows at your every footfall! You can do it if you really try and use your Magic Wishing Powers!
Anyone else want some of this cough syrup? It’s really good stuff, tell ya. *hic*
I swear John, between you and GRRM a fella just can’t get a break. Why are famous people so hostile to random blog readers? Where is the love?
On the off chance you missed them, Christian:
“Indeed, I’m sorry to say that whatever it is that you want me to do in reference to Stargate: Universe and making you a part of it (aside from an interested audience member), the answer is going to have to be “no.””
So you can’t seed the pilot when the Pirate Bay gets a hold of it? No?
I’m definitely not sending off pirate copies of anything.
Get you get me on the set so I can pig out at the craft service table at least? I’m not proud.
But you PROMISED!!!!
Actually, I did ask John a question, but only if they might be taking spec scripts.
Given that this is the first season, the “No” was not a big surprise.
You might want to mention that one, too, John. How can they take spec scripts when they don’t even know what they want yet?
“Oh, how I wish someone would send me a script where they land on a planet of Amish that’s covered in Velcro! Woe is us! Why, oh Writers Guild, can you not find us these people.”
(Actually, someone did send that to Star Trek: The Next Generation.)
You did indeed ask about spec scripts, but it’s worth noting that a) you didn’t ask me to send your spec script, and b) as I know you a bit in real life, it wasn’t out of line to ask. Small things, but they make a difference.
One of my clients is a close friend of Christopher Columbus, of 1013 Productions, and I haven’t gotten anywhere close to Hollywood glory.
Actually, call me a cynic, but I’d be surprised if this hadn’t started about a minute after you announced the SG:U Creative Consultant gig here on teh Whatever.
The one I’m waiting for is the walk-on part in the OMW universe movie/min-series/series. That’s what I wants, my precious… :)
So how about your own Scalzi, Inc. Are you looking for talented unkowns to manage and or work on or in any of your vast farms either biological or electronic?
Hey John! You responded to a post of mine once so that makes us best buddies. You didn’t cover this in your blog post so I assume it will be no problem:
Go ahead a set me up a date with Alaina Huffman. She’s good-lookin’ and I likes me some good-lookin’ so we’re a perfect match.
I was just thinking that there’s probably sufficient material being sent in on spec to make a “Really Crappy Scripts We Received” reality show.
But then, most of those scripts are probably so bad that nobody would actually believe that any sane person would send them in. (Which is probably true — that sane people are not sending them in.)
odaiwai, please do not give TV execs any ideas on how to spend even less money on television production. Thank you.
Great idea for a reality show! I can see it now “Slushpile Slash” – give slushpile scripts to amateur actors with minimal budgets ($50/actor) and one photographer. Dissect MST3K-style. Ow, I think I broke my own wince-meter just contemplating that.
How about props? Can you get us props?
(Just kidding, John.)
Will we see any media tie in novels? I hear people have opinions about those.
But you gotta bring back Brenda to Stargate 90210. She was the bestest from the original series.
Law & Editor: Special Writers Unit
New! This Fall on Fox!
Jack Whatley, the hard-nosed editor in chief without a sense of humor.
Melissa “Dats” Anjou, fact-checking goddess, hacker, and able to do database magic in 30 seconds that would take a small team of experts six months to accomplish in the real world.
Ang Xhu, forensic layout analyst
Steve McGraw and Jerome Cable, field investigative editors (contractually obligated to be included in one high-speed car chase of a slushpile writer leading to a run through an abandoned building per episode)
Ah, Nerds. God luv ’em when they bathe and aren’t socially autistic . . .
I do have one idea – if you could swing it – make references to Shadow Unit , as a TV show everyone is watching. I’d understand if you couldn’t do anything like that, but don’t you think it’d be cool?
I don’t write actual scripts, Josh.
What about Battlestar Galatica? Can I be cylon hottie?
I know they have like four episodes left, but still you’re totally tight with Michael Hogan, Alessandro Juliani and Kandyse McClure after they read for Metatropolis, right?
Hey – I found your website through googling “Stargate Job”. Can you get me a job?
Well I guess I’ll just delete my email I was going to send you.
You don’t write scripts, and you won’t forward ours. You can’t get us jobs. You won’t swipe a pirate copy or two. And you don’t really seem to know anybody.
What exactly is “Creative Consultant?”
Hollywood: “Here, read this.”
Scalzi: “Whoa, that’s really creative!”
Hollywood: “Thought so, thanks.”
Or are you more like just eye candy?
But if we find something stupid in the show, can we mention it to you, have you evaluate the merits of our dorkiness, and then have you talk with the show’s writers/creators if you deem it suitable?
(I have always liked the SG folks. Fairly good continuity, and then “Wormhole Extreme” made it clear that they were aware of the problems, and that, well, not a lot they could do about some of it. Plus I laughed a lot.)
Re: Spec scripts.
A producer for a SWAT show looked at by TNT a few years ago suggested I write something original on the off chance he might be able to convince his more famous fellow showrunners to give me a shot.
However, as writing a script (to me) is about like writing a novel, by the time I had a viable idea, I had a deadline coming up (and since the publisher imploded, I should have ditched the deadline) and the show had been turned down.
Oh, well. One brief shining moment…
Unless someone buys something I wrote for television and thinks, “Hey, let’s get Jim to write a script. It’ll suck (Even David “The Wire” Simon’s first effort was a little wanting on HOMICIDE, and he knew everyone from the squad that inspired the show), but we can pimp it as A Very Special Episode!”
Then I can truly call myself a hack.
Some already do.
Interested audience member, check. You’ve done your part.
What the hell, people?
Is there some trembling in the Force that’s making all you morons demand things of authors, as if authors owe you something? Jumpin’ Jeebus, people! You like to think you’re smarter than the average bear because you read sf. Instead, you’re acting like a three-toothed hick from the sticks looking for a free ride from the latest Lotto winner.
Knock it off, leave the nice authors alone, and go bug your mother. Maybe she’ll give you an allowance for cleaning up your room in the basement.
You know what this makes me think of? George RR Martin.
When he announced that HBO had optioned A Song Of Ice And Fire, people started sending him headshots and such.
You guys are like twins.
Um…I don’t want a job or anything, but you know those guys on that one show that did a show where the space guys landed on a 1930’s gangster planet? And they’re all like “Whoa! This is weird!” And the gangster aliens are all like “Whoa! The dude’s got pointy ears!”
You should do one of those.
Okay, how pathetic does it make me that I’m still giggling over the notion that “SG:U headquarters = SGC”?
Really not so much.
John you have my condolences on this. You working on the show has created a geekgasm rip in the fabric of the geekverse, and fan boys ( and fan girls) are just spilling out everywhere. It sounds like it is getting messy. LOL.
It floors me that anyone could think that by sending one email that could sidestep the whole process and have you do all the heavy lifting getting them a job.
Looking forward to the show in general, and also looking forward to seeing how your spin comes through.
Scalzi and GRRM are like twins, separated by a birth decades apart. I bet that was fun for mom in the delivery room.
I’d rather that you kept writing in your own universes, actually, which are a bit more interesting. I do have a question, though (actually, lots of questions, but this one’s good for this thread): Does this mean that you join the Screen Writer’s Guild (or that you can, or you already have before this, or … that’s totally irrelevant to this task?)
The “submit-spec-scripts-via-agents” policy has come to be ubiquitous in the business because it acts as a filter for all the slushpile-quality efforts by inexperienced writers.
So, with rare exceptions, before you can try to impress the producers of a show, you first have to impress an agent enough for them to take you on as a client.
I was fortunate enough to avoid that. ST:TNG, back in 1990, had a program set up where unagented writers could submit spec scripts to the show. (This was a shout-out from Gene Roddenberry to ST fans, as a thank-you for their support.) I heard about it (thank you, Melinda Snodgrass), decided to take a shot at it, and managed to impress them enough to be asked to pitch other story ideas. Which eventually resulted in “Clues” being bought and produced for the fourth season.
Alas, that was the only script I managed to sell, though I had several more pitching sessions at ST:TNG. For about the next four years, I concentrated on writing and trying to sell movie scripts. (I had an agent by then; it’s a lot easier to get one if you can tell them you’ve already sold a script.) Got called out to meetings with several production companies regarding several of those movie scripts, but no one ever actually put money on the table.
But my experience was highly — HIGHLY — unusual. I’m not sure, but I think I was the only person who ended up writing an actual script for the show via the unagented-writers program; a number of other people managed to sell “story ideas” that were then developed into full scripts by staff writers. (This came in for some well-deserved criticism, since those story ideas were bought for a flat fee, with no screen credit or residuals going to the creator of the idea.)
Since I’m not writing the scripts at the moment, no, I’m not part of the WGA.
Screw Stargate, I want a job with Petmaster.
If not Stargate, how about Flight of the Conchords? I assume since it’s on TV you have connections there, too.
Wow, I find that very..unpolite. but then again, maybe that’s how you get ahead in this game, looking for any chink (that’s why I’ll stick to doing websites)
I want you to write solid copy, on deadline, get paid and work within your role to improve the show.
I am outraged you deny this request.
The only question I’d conceive of asking you (were I of a mind to try and write a spec script, which I’m not and anyway, it’s moot if they’re not accepting spec scripts!) is if you have the address details of the official channels.
And I’m not sure I could ever do that because it just comes out as sounding lazy.
What this isn’t craigslist? Where am I?
You guys have no idea how many deluded lunatics are out there. Female editors at writing conferences get manuscripts shoved under the stall door.
Now I grant you, sometime paper would come in handy but I’m pretty the shovee has different expectations for the paper material on offer.
Since you can’t get us random internet fans a job on SGU, will you at least get all of us a puddle jumper from SGA? Pretty please with a “bacon cat and pony” cake on top? If not, will you at least read my novel?
OK, now that I’ve broken all the rules in one post, my job here is done.
OH, and write some more OMW plz!
Now where did I put that /sarcasm tag?
Hollywood: “Here, read this.”
Scalzi: “Not bad. Not Bad.”
Hollywood: “Out with it!”
Scalzi: “I think it could use more cowbell.”
Hollywood: “Brilliant! More cowbell, of course. Why didn’t I think of getting Chris Walken for the lead role in SGU? That’s why you’re a creative consultant, right there, Scalzi.”
Scalzi: “Check please.”
I think less than half of the writers on Atlantis were part of the WGA. Since the show was made in Vancouver, most of the writers are Canadian. They belong to the equivalent Canadian guild instead. I haven’t checked who’s writing for SGU, but I assume it’s a similar mix.
Well, I don’t write for a living, but ideas I have sometimes do make it into the tales of people who do. But “could you put my friends show-that-is-not-a-show into your zillion dollar TV show” is probably a non starter.
*sigh*. It’d still be awfully cool though.
Anyhow, what is is that you do for them? Will you be able to talk much about it here? I’d love to hear about it if you can.
#37, 40, 42:
John, you’d be a dead ringer for GRRM if you wore a hat, grew a long beard, and stood in front of the corner of a castle with a loch in the background. Get some glasses and you’d be perfect. Really.
(Actually, has anybody actually seen GRRM and JS at the same time? H’mm….)
“Actually, has anybody actually seen GRRM and JS at the same time?”
Boskone ’05, when we did a signing together, which is to say, he did a signing and I, a newbie writer whose book had been out a month, sat next to him while he did a signing.
You should do a story where they go through a Stargate to get some mysterious device and have trouble with aliens but overcome with plucky resolve and good ol’ American know-how.
Where should I send the address to send the check to?
Isn’t “Creative Consultant” what Harlan Ellison was on “Babylon 5”? Doesn’t it mostly amount to telling them when their ideas are stupid?
Having a competent SF writer whose sole job is to tell the writers, producers, and directors of a TV SF show when their ideas are stupid would increase the quality of most TV SF at least tenfold.
Having a competent SF writer whose sole job is to tell the writers, producers, and directors of a TV SF show when their ideas are stupid would increase the quality of most TV SF at least tenfold.
Um, I wouldn’t bet on that – remember The Starlost?, speaking of Ellison.
Also if I remember correctly, Niven and Pournelle were creative consultants on “V” – that didn’t work out so good either.
But maybe they’ll listen to Scalzi – the way you’ll know is if the first season of SGU has a certain smokey bacon flavor to it…
My job is to give them notes. Whether they take the notes is up to them.
But…but…if you don’t get me a job, I’m not going to ask you to do my wedding!
Damn! You’ve discovered my weakness!
Hmm, then I guess asking for the winning multi-million dollar powerball ticket is out of the question?? ;)
But… but… but… I’m one of your myspace friends! I thought we meant something to each other!
Will you at least give us a heads up when they release the cute little teddy bears dressed up in Stargate Universe uniforms? ;)
Heh. My best friend’s sister is a casting director over at Nickelodeon and used to work in Animation Casting at Disney. When she was at Disney people would ask her if she could get them a voice-over job. Her reply: “I can’t get my own father cast – why do you think I can get you cast?”
Since her father is a talented ventriloquist whose mentor was Paul Winchell and who used to have his own children’s show in Canada, it’s not surprising she thought getting Random Joe a voice-over job over her father wasn’t going to happen.
I’m actual real-life friends with a NYT best seller authoress and I couldn’t imagine bothering her with professional favors. Do people really do this?
Hmm….how about Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader? Any chance you can get me a page in the next one?
Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader includes noncladian geometries leading to the Dungeon Dimensions.
You can be in the next one if you want, but it will be in the literal sense. We’ll see you screaming against the papyrus wall, as the subsentientities feed on your ever-screaming soul.
I mean, yeah, cool – but do you really wanna?
Re #45: The WGA screenwriting credit system affects writers’ eligibility for membership in the union, which is determined on a point system awarded on what a writer has done with what signatory studio or production company. This seriously affects future income. So many points for co-authorship of a half-hour TV episode. So many points for sole authorship of a low budget short feature film. See the WGA “bible” for details.
I’m the last guy to ask. The last time I worked as Technical Advisor (Philadelphia Experiment 2) it was at the recommendation of Dr. Thomas D. McDonough, who’d been Technical Advisor (Philadelphia Experiment). After all those story conferences, I neither got paid nor credit, as the producers (so listed on the cassette boxes) denied that they were the producers. Not yet being in WGA, I had NWU arbitrate, and the NWU guy lost the folder of smoking gun documents. Really, I’m not the guy to ask. And no way can I get anyone a job in Hollyweird.
John – can you get me a job at a school with better resources, fewer kids per teacher, and closer to home?
Jim Wright @# 61: OK, I assumed that if the producers hired someone to tell them and the writers and directors when they were being stupid, they’d actually listen.
At least I didn’t hire someone to tell me when I was being stupid and then ignore them
I’m again falling down a spiral of meta.
Cumon. This is Stargate. You never die because something will resurrect the body. Magic, Cloning, Ancients, Sarcophagus, dreaming, or whatever.
They is no way they listen to people on stuff like that.
At best John will get to point out .. hey a K class star is Red Giant but the script says it is blue. Ya need to fix that.
Sure they will fix that. But something else?
This person died 2 episodes ago and was blow into itty bitty pieces! You cannot bring him back.
No Problemo! We have the magic vacuum cleaner that sucked up all the pieces and put him back together. There was one missing piece though so in episode 12 the person is going to go nuts until we find the missing piece and get back too. Don’t worry we gots it covered!
(Yeah talking out of my ass but that way people don’t notice when I am farting because they are focused on “Wow its a talking ass!”)
Howsabout some racy pics of Amanda Tapping? :)
DG Lewison@60: Having a competent SF writer whose sole job is to tell the writers, producers, and directors of a TV SF show when their ideas are stupid would increase the quality of most TV SF at least tenfold.
Let’s not over-reach there, DG.
Stargate: Atlantis would have been vastly improved by writers and producers who knew — or cared — when an idea had been used six years ago on the other show. Perpetual deja vu is not high on my wish list for television shows.
Well, I’m not going to ask for me, but if you by chance get Wheaton a guest spot, can you creatively suggest that wardrobe include a scratchy sweater? Clown optional.
I’d get up at 4:00 am to be on Stargate… Actually I’d do a hell of a lot more than that to be on the show. Unlike this chick… Btw she is hot but does not really seem to care much about Stargate. http://www.koldcast.tv/video/2384
All I need from you, Mr. Scalzi, is the occasional pimp-your-stuff thread. I’ll take it from there.
find an ascended ancient living in part of the ship frozen in stasis. Great way to introduce an alien member of the ship like teal’c was in sg-1