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Yahoo Chat/TVGen Chat/Prevue Online. September 9, 1998


STARGATE SG-1 LIVE ONLINE CHAT

RICHARD DEAN ANDERSON AND MICHAEL GREENBURG

RDA Greenburg

On September 8th and 9th, the cast and producers of Stargate SG-1 visited the Yahoo Chat Room for a live online chat to answer questions submitted by online fans.

TVGEN:
Welcome to the Prevue Online/TVGEN chat with Stargate SG-1 star Richard Dean Anderson and producing partner Michael Greenburg. Later we'll be joined by Stargate SG-1 producers Jonathan Glassner and Brad Wright. Welcome, guys. Any opening comments?

Richard Dean Anderson:
Has Mark McGwire hit his home run yet? We're pulling for Sammy! It's nice to be here.

Michael Greenburg:
I just want to apologize. It seems to be the thing to do.

Richard Dean Anderson:
My dog is humping my leg now, if that is an opening statement?!?

Question from DEATH_HAWK88:
What show did you like working on the best: MacGyver or Stargate?

Richard Dean Anderson:
Legend. Hands down, it's got to be Legend. Both Mike and I were executive producers on it. For me, it was the most fun I ever had as an actor and as a producer. It was an absolute joy to go to work every day. It still is a sore spot for both of us, in that we still miss it terribly. It was a lot of work, don't get me wrong, but it was the kind of work where the payoff was spectacular and so much fun, we loved it.

Question from mycroft50:
Do you guys do any pranks on each other on the show?

Michael Greenburg:
Sometimes we hand Rick scenes that don't work.

Richard Dean Anderson:
That's no prank, that's normal course of action!

Michael Greenburg:
This hasn't been a very pranky show. I'm trying to think of pranks. Maybe we should go to the next question.

Question from LoriMacPack:
Are we going to see the Stargate in Antarctica again?

Michael Greenburg:
No plans for that right now. Actually, it got moved. We will see the Stargate, that gate that was there, but it no longer is in the glacier in Antarctica.

Richard Dean Anderson:
The gate itself we brought back and put in storage some place. Right now we are doing post production on an episode that deals with that other gate that does exist somewhere. It got put in storage somewhere and now, well, I don't want to give too much away, but yeah, it's around and does come into play soon.

Question from _DayWalker_:
Of all the episodes thus far, which is your favorite and why?

Michael Greenburg:
The two-hour pilot because we had the most money!

Richard Dean Anderson:
Spoken like a true producer!

Michael Greenburg:
Favorite? Hmmm.

Richard Dean Anderson:
I am a little torn on this one, because my favorite one to do as an actor was Brief Candle, when I got to age to 100 years old, and went through all the stages of makeup, etc. The episode itself was never fully realized in my opinion, because we had mistimed it, and basically it got edited down to the point where a lot of that process was not seen.

Michael Greenburg:
We had to cut out 16 minutes, which is a quarter of a 42-minute show.

Richard Dean Anderson:
Cold Lazarus was kind of fun to do as an actor because there was a duality of role that I was able to play, and it also had an emotional story line to it in the discovery and confrontation with O'Neill's lost son that was fun to play. It also had a motion control special effect that allowed me to talk to myself. We've done that a couple of times actually. We've also done a split screen, I forget the title of the episode, where I got to play two different O'Neills. That was fun to do.

Question from mycroft50:
How long does it take to film and complete an episode?

Michael Greenburg:
It takes us 7 1/2 to eight days of principal photography, and then there's anywhere from, oh, one to four days of what we call second unit photography, which is dealing with elements that go into visual effects shots or action sequences, that may or may not utilize our regular cast, like Rick. And that's just photography. Then it goes through anywhere from, depending on how many visual effects in an episode, it goes through anywhere from four to eight weeks of post production to complete an episode.

Question from NutZo13:
Will your show ever make it to broadcast television? I don't have cable, but I love your show.

Michael Greenburg:
I think it starts next week on FOX. I think we're cleared in over 95 percent of the country, through FOX Television. And they'll be starting with the two-hour pilot.

Question from kamui_rikkoan:
Are there any differences between Showtime version and FOX version?

Richard Dean Anderson:
Very slight. Commercial breaks. We're not dealing with broadcast standards on Showtime. It's a cable outlet. So things like language and content can be expanded a little bit. We tend to be fairly cautious. As film makers, we are responsible. We are also very aware of the fact that we do have a syndication outlet with FOX Network, so that has to be tempered a little bit. Anything that might be a little edgy we tend to soften a little bit. It's one of the pitfalls of working on network or syndication television.

Question from Pearls_59:
Michael, what's it been like working with Richard for so long?

Michael Greenburg:
It's great. I mean we know each other so well, when it comes to film, that it's a reason that the partnership has lasted so long. We are in sync about how we see shows being developed, first of all, and then how we see them being shot and executed, and we are very similar in how we like to see shows finished, edited, etc. So, for me, it's a great situation because we are so in sync in that area. And plus he catches a lot of things that I miss.

Question from sarao_1998:
This is for Richard. First of all let me say congratulations on the birth of your daughter. Now, for my question. Will we be looking into Jack's past at all? I guess what I mean is will we be meeting any of his family?

Richard Dean Anderson:
Hopefully. We are in a position now where we have been extended to 88 episodes for Showtime. And of course, with the syndication package, who knows how long that will go on? Now that we have the liberty and freedom to delve into one of the earthbound elements of our earthbound character's past, we can go home with him. What was established in the movie was the fact that Jack O'Neill had lost his son, so we had dealt with the emotional side of that, and how O'Neill confronted his own sense in a kind of science fiction manner. So obviously the door is open to us to do that for all our characters. And to address things like what happens to O'Neill when he goes home at night, when he disappears from Cheyenne Mountain, who is he with and where does he go. Those kinds of stories we'll have the ability to explore from this point forward, which in my opinion will be a lot of fun, because of all of the special effects involved.

Question from mycroft50:
How is the Stargate hockey team doing?

Richard Dean Anderson:
Well, we have great uniforms! What's good about our shooting schedule up here in Vancouver, is that we shoot through the summers up here in Canada, which are beautiful.

Question from Volcano_Lady:
How is it different making Stargate SG-1 from making MacGyver?

Richard Dean Anderson:
Well a couple of different elements. Both start with production. It has to become a well ordered machine to get what you are after. MacGyver is a thinking man's action adventure show, if you will. Stargate is a more science fiction genred show. Therefore, we lean a little heavier on special effects. Mike is far more learned about that than I am. But in dealing with special effects you have to deal with a lot more technical elements to do what we do, blue screen, etc. MacGyver was pretty straightforward. It differed in that when the character saw a problem, the solving of that problem started from scratch. This is one man seeing a problem, seeing the elements of solution, and then seeing him put it all together to solve the problem. Stargate obviously involves a lot more in the making of what we do visually, and also conceptually. We go to other places in the galaxies, so there is a little more involved. Instead of getting in a jeep and saving the damsel in distress, I go into the Stargate and save a planet.

Michael Greenburg:
So our transportation budget is much higher!

Question from rda23:
I love the humor in Stargate. Is some of it ad libbed?

Michael Greenburg:
There's humor? Yeah, I would say it is. Rick does a lot of that. He has a great flair for humor, as you could see in Legend.

Richard Dean Anderson:
What happened when Mike and I signed on to be part of the project, we had a couple of important meetings with the brass at MGM. We were essentially being asked to be a part of the project. I had done my research, having seen the movie a couple of times, and realized in order to portray the character of Jack O'Neill, there was no way I was going to be able to replicate what Kurt Russell had done. First of all, my hair would not do that, he actually has a jaw, and the character as portrayed by him really didn't have much of a sense of humor. So for me to be entering into a project that had a future of four years or so, I had to make sure that MGM was amenable to my bringing my sense of humor to the role because life is just too short to be serious for that long. And so, a lot of, some of, the written dialogue gets a little manipulated. I know the voice of the character better than anyone, and bless Jonathan Glassner and Brad Wright, Mike, and the other writers, for allowing me the freedom to bring some humor and a slant on the character that I need. Because it's not easy to be around me sometimes when the process is taking place, basically, because I tend to try and find things as we are rehearsing.

Question from Psilady:
How's it been being part of the producing team in addition to being an actor, Richard?

Richard Dean Anderson:
It sure facilitates that last answer, regarding the rewriting and such. I've actually been on the coattails of Mike regarding the producing end of things. I've learned more about behind the camera from Mike than from anyone. It helps things a lot, because Mike and I are in sync in a lot of aspects of total production, we can pretty much usher ideas through. Mike has the technical background, the schooling and the experience.

Michael Greenburg:
Rick has the good ideas!

Richard Dean Anderson:
I kind of bounce off the walls, and Mike has a strong vision line.

Michael Greenburg:
I spend the whole day going, "Yeah, that IS better!"

Richard Dean Anderson:
But as far as the process of making the show goes, and being in that position, it facilitates it. Because all modesty aside, we do have some fairly good ideas. And it is nice to be able to make a decision on the spot. But I want to be very clear about what we'll call the collaborative effort, because Jonathan and Brad are pretty much the nucleus or hub of the script writing. They took the franchise concept and expanded it to what it is becoming. So it's a wonderful relationship actually, and it's rare that four extremely experienced and talented people can get together and agree. And that's what we have. Basically our philosophy among the four of us is: The best idea wins.

Question from capt_carter:
So what do you make of all the fan pages dedicated to the show?

Michael Greenburg:
Confusing!

Richard Dean Anderson:
First of all, I am such a neophyte computer potential geek, that sometimes I know they exist, because Jonathan Glassner is an absolute computerphile. So I'll stow away in my office at night and just try and find them, first of all.

Michael Greenburg:
I need everything bookmarked. My assistant does it.

Richard Dean Anderson:
But I think they are great. I don't know if I've seen them all. But my answer is, the more the merrier, basically. Mostly because I like the idea of communication in general. So any information, collaboration, any idea that comes from or facilitates the exchange of ideas is great with me, so if that's a Web page, more power to them.

Question from mdbfan:
Are you using any new writers this season on Stargate?

Michael Greenburg:
Yes, we have a new writer named Tor Valenza.

Richard Dean Anderson:
And Robert Cooper, who was with us last year, is back. And then there's some that just haven't made the cut, basically. It's not an easy gig, let's put it that way. Part of what makes it so difficult is that it's such a volatile genre. But you have to, in something like Stargate, that has a franchise concept to it and characters that are established and voices to those characters, it is hard to fit in, to get in there, to get your idea fully realized, because Jonathan and Brad ride herd on the whole process, the whole story-to-script process. And then of course, Mike and I are fairly strict taskmasters when it comes to script and all elements of production. So we've lost a couple of writers along the way. We've kind of had to send them off on their own little spaceships. I think it's the toughest job in the whole process actually, writing. I respect those guys a lot.

Question from Narf15:
Are there any new permanent characters coming this season?

Michael Greenburg:
There are recurring roles that have been beefed up this year, that are becoming more and more recurring. Like Janet Fraiser, our resident doctor.

Richard Dean Anderson:
Who also seems to be an optometrist, a psychologist, I think she's a bridge champion too! Again, we have the luxury of expanding virtually endlessly. Jonathan and Brad are the guys to tap into for this answer, really. We already know of some "bad guys," and the impending doom of all that, we know. Daa, daa, daa, daa!

Michael Greenburg:
But in 42 minutes, we're already trying to service five regulars, so... It's an ensemble cast and trying to spread the wealth around is tough in such a short amount of time.

Richard Dean Anderson:
Which is why you might eventually start seeing more two-parters, some extended story lines, that will bridge over a couple of episodes.

Question from judyofhamburg:
Will you ever visit the Nox again?

Michael Greenburg:
I hope so, I like them.

Richard Dean Anderson:
The Nox were cute.

Michael Greenburg:
They have great hair!

Richard Dean Anderson:
We had fun with the Nox. It was actually directed by one of our favorite people and directors, Charlie Correll. So yeah, we would like to go back there. They will recur, let's put it that way -- maybe. All of this is untrue!

First of all, I've gotten a lot of written mail, a lot of responses congratulating me on the birth of my new baby, and nothing has made me happier than the arrival of Wylie Quinn. So thanks to everybody for your notes!

Michael Greenburg:
Big thanks to all the fans! And sorry we couldn't answer all the questions!

TVGEN:
Thanks for participating in our chat. Stay tuned for Stargate SG-1 producers Jonathan Glassner and Brad Wright, the guys that Rick and Michael said to ask all the other questions to.

____________________
Online chat held at Yahoo Chat in conjunction with TVGEN and Prevue Online. September 9, 1998.

ADDITIONAL STARGATE SG-1 ONLINE CHATS
Jonathan Glassner / Brad Wright Chat Transcript
Amanda Tapping Chat Transcript
Don S. Davis Chat Transcript
Christopher Judge Chat Transcript
Michael Shanks Chat Transcript
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