Gatecon 2002

Day Five:

Bridge Studios

Vancouver, B.C. Canada  September 12-15, 2002


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Last Updated 10/22/2010

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Warning! There will be Season 6 and even movie and/or Season 7 spoilers to be found in the guest talks. These reports were written during the convention, for the most part, although I have tweaked them here and there with comments, corrections and/or updates and the like for the web page. In the case of this particular report of my visit to the set, I’ve expanded it quite a bit from the original version that was posted to the lists.

I can't tell you much about the guest panels on Sunday morning of the con because the evening before Leah had surprised me by bidding (and winning) a silent auction for a seat (for me) on the set tour. However, Leah did tell me about a question she asked Alexis Cruz and a couple of things he said. She wrote down some notes at the time and this is what they say.

 Leah asked Alexis about what it was like to work with James Spader (Leah just had to get Spader in there, y'know?) and Kurt Russell versus Michael Shanks and Richard Dean Anderson. He recalled that Spader and Russell were always having political battles in their trailers because they were polar opposites (liberal versus conservative) until it made him (Alexis) feel sick! He bonded with Russell because Alexis felt he was less intellectually aloof than Spader. He said that Michael Shanks came up to him on the set of Children of the Gods in the persona of Daniel and Shanks had the imitation of Spader's Daniel down so well that it was eerie—perfect. Richard Dean Anderson has more of a sense of humor than Kurt Russell playing the role.

Alexis also talked some about how Shanks is a very innocent person when compared to someone like himself who grew up in The Bronx. He found that quality about Shanks very endearing.

So, I was off on the set tour while this was happening. First, the bad. The set tour was, overall, very well organized and what a wonderful treat! However, for those of us who had won the extra seats either through raffles or silent auctions, there was a distinct lack of communication regarding what we were supposed to do, where we were supposed to be and which bus at what time we were supposed to be on. We were told (those of us who asked and were persistent) that our bus assignment would be posted the night before on the bulletin board. It never was and we were then told to simply be in the lobby at 7:30 in the morning. Unfortunately, even then, no attempt had been made to assign all of us to one bus or another and a goodly number of us ended up having to wait for the second bus... which means we didn't need to get up at the crack of dawn and stand around the lobby for several hours! We also didn't have set tour passes. Luckily for me, at least, Michelle Dudley was nice enough to hunt one down and get it to me by the end of the convention when I asked (I wanted one as a souvenir, at least).

Well, once we did all finally get on the bus, we were off to Bridge Studios. When our huge honkin' bus full of fans pulled up at the gate of Bridge Studios, the guard was apparently daydreaming or something. Or else we were invisible. The driver finally had to honk the horn to get his attention! By that time, one of the crew had come to fetch us anyway. Once inside, we were split into two groups.

I was actually fortunate enough to be in the second group, which meant we had to stand around outside in the chilly breeze for a while but our group was smaller than the first one touring through and once we got in there, we were told that since we were the last tour of the day, we could take as long as we wished to run around the sets and basically just play. It was incredible. The bus driver had to eventually send someone to fetch us!

Anyway, while we stood around and waited outside, we wandered around the parking lot. I tried to use up a roll of film so I’d have a fresh roll loaded once we went inside. I had a laugh at Dan Shea’s parking spot which is situated right in front of the Pooper Scooper station! Poor Dan! Who wants to be there are jokes about that? There was a big sign saying: “CAUTION: Kids, Dogs, Actors, Teamsters. I thought that was funny…but then I wondered how serious they were and why they needed to “warn” drivers that there were actors about. Could it be that the actors are wandering around distracted or something? I also keep wanting to misread “Teamsters” to say “Hamsters,” for some strange reason! There was a bicycle leaning up against a truck with a sign saying it was the property of Bridge Studios. It was a “courtesy” bike, apparently, and one of our little group actually rode it around for a few moments. Some of the crew members stood around with us but, sadly, I didn’t ever get any of their names. I know that one of them (the tall gray-haired fellow pictured below) said it was his first year working on the show, I believe. The fellow in the long-sleeved crew shirt ended up giving one of the “tourists” the shirt off his back before we left! If anyone knows the names of the crew pictured below, I’d love to be able to add their names to the photos.


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Crew members

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Crew Member

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Dan Shea’s Parking

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Rick Dean, the head of the lighting department, was our tour guide. He absolutely loves the show. He told us over and over again that he was as much a fan of the show as any of us. Unfortunately, the only photo I managed to get of Rick didn’t come out very good. Sunday was the crew’s day off, but all of the people there had come in to show us around and visit with us. They had obviously gone to great lengths to light the sets and to arrange everything for our visit. Several other crew members (and even someone's daughter) were there to answer our questions and assist us throughout our visit. Every place we went, they would see someone looking at something or exclaiming in glee over something and they would immediately ask if we would like them to take a photo of us with our camera. They just couldn't have been nicer or more obviously delighted at our delight. They repeatedly said that they loved and appreciated the fans and that without us there would be no show.

The first thing we saw when we went through the stage doors, was a big, strange looking prop. It didn’t look familiar to me (see picture below), so I don’t think it’s appeared on the show yet. Have a look and see if you can identify it.

Rick led us a short way into the lab. The room has multiple functions as Jonas' lab, Sam's lab and, of course, it was originally Daniel's lab. You can tell by all of the books and artifacts lining the walls that it was set up as Daniel's lab. They've added some little touches for Jonas like the lava lamps (which was turned on for our visit) and the like. There are also lights in the ceiling that can be lowered and the room becomes the operating room. I was examining some of the shelves and pointed out some hand labeled tapes to Rick and asked "What are these episodes of early seasons of Stargate doing in here?" Rick seemed startled, blinked, and looked twice and then said "I guess they hope that you can't read the labels at home!" Turns out they really were tapes of the show! The room itself was really rather small and narrow. It looks much bigger on the show, no matter whose lab it’s “dressed” as.

Next he took us into the infirmary where there were three beds set up and all sorts of medical equipment. Being the avowed Danielite that I am, my first thoughts were of how many times Daniel ended up there! Of course, the other characters have all their share of time in Dr. Fraiser’s clutches! Then down some corridors (is it a sign that you're a real fan when just the corridors are thrilling?). He showed us a rather bare room where he says they can set it up to be just about anything they need, such as Teal'c's quarters. Rick let us mill around awhile and take photos in front of labeled doors and the hallways. A number of people were nice enough throughout the visit, including some crew members, to snap pictures of me with my camera.

Mystery prop

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Some of the books in the lab

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More of the multi-purpose lab set

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Close-ups of some lab details

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More close-ups

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Daniel, Sam and Jonas must watch the show!

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Close-up of some of the books

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The lab

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The lab

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The infirmary

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A familiar looking corridor

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I was really there!

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More infirmary. Is that Daniel’s bed?

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We next went through some more corridors and suddenly the big blinking red lights started swirling around and he had a radio message that the gate was activated! He ordered the iris closed. <g> And suddenly we were at a door which opened to reveal... the star of the show! The Stargate, in all its glory, all lit up like Christmas lights. It was an awesome moment for a fan of the show.


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I think we were all kind of stunned for a few moments. I know that my jaw hit the floor. It really was an overwhelming experience, in some ways. Then we happily clambered up the ramp one at a time to have our pictures taken in front of the Stargate. I am so pleased that so many of my photos came out looking good. Turning around finally, we could look up into the control room. At this point, Rick turned us loose and told us to spend as much time as we wished in the gate room, the control room, upstairs in the briefing room and in General Hammond's office. A nice fellow, who was part of our group, took my photo in front of the Stargate. I dubbed him our “official photographer” because he ended up taking not only my photo, but pictures for a number of other people throughout the tour! Climbing up the ramp was rather difficult as it is made of heavy meshed metal and kind of springy. It would be a very hard landing for our intrepid explorers all those times they’ve come through the Gate and landed on their noggins!

Once I could tear myself away from gaping at the Stargate, I went upstairs into the control room, but even there your eyes were just drawn to the Stargate through the window. It was lit from behind the iris and all of the lights on the ring and the ramp were lit up. It really is a “star.” The crew had set it up so that one panel in the viewing window was cracked open so that we could easily take photos of the Stargate without getting glare from the glass.

They had all of the blinky lights on in the control room for us so it all looked completely "real." One of the crew took pictures for us in front of the star map. After wandering around a bit, I climbed the familiar stairs up to the briefing room. Crew members there took photos in front of the big SGC symbol and one invited me to sit in the general's chair at the briefing table and have a photo taken! Once again, the Stargate beckoned from out of the window. In fact, I got so distracted by it that while a roll of film was rewinding, I opened the back of my camera too soon and fogged the front portion of a roll! I have never, in decades of photography, made a stupid mistake like that. I've got my fingers crossed that that wasn't the section with me in front of the Stargate. (When the photos came back from the lab, I hadn’t lost a single picture. I must have only fogged the leader. Whew!) Next, I checked out General Hammond's office and sat in his chair (the one that Daniel thought was so comfortable in Proving Ground) and even picked up the red phone (although it didn't ring through to the president).

The star of the show!

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Wow! I was there!

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Couldn’t resist some close-ups!

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The control room

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More control room

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The briefing room

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The “star” from upstairs

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General Hammond’s office

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Me calling the President!

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Hammond’s decorations

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Finally tearing myself away, I went back downstairs, figuring the tour was just about over. But, no. Rick sent us along some more corridors and out onto a huge soundstage where most of the floor was taken up by some unidentifiable structure. But, first, I got lost because a crewman told me to turn left when he meant turn right. I ended up with another member of the crew and Thomasina. The crewman escorted me back the right direction through a maze of corridors and told me that people who worked there got lost all of the time when they were new! Someone had asked Rick earlier what the lines on the floors meant and he was of the opinion that they were just for show.

Anyway, on the soundstage, all you could see from the outside was plywood shapes. But once you went inside... you were on the Prometheus! We were allowed to wander through all of the gray corridors, into the control room, onto the bridge and to sit in the captain's chair. At the foot of the chair were some scribbled down lines on a scrap of paper. We didn't know if they were really some lines from an upcoming episode or just put there for us. <g> Rick showed some of us right where the scene where Simmons is sucked out an airlock was filmed.


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One of the crew members told us, when asked, that the Gatecon group is the only time all year that they allow a group to tour the studios.

I can only say thank you to Gatecon, to N. John Smith, to Rick Dean, to all of the crew members, and to Bridge Studios. It was an unforgettable morning.

Confusing corridor!

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Prometheus control room

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Inside the Prometheus

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Outside of the Prometheus set

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Board on soundstage

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Bridge Offices

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Day Five – Panels

Or

Return Home

Gatecon 2001

Featuring pictures of Brad Wright, Alexis Cruz, Virginia Hey (from Farscape), Jay Acovone, Jay Brazeau, Tony Amendola, Erick Avari, Gary Jones, Teryl Rothery, Don S. Davis, Dan Shea, Amanda Tapping, Colin Cunningham, JR Bourne and more!

Wolfcon SG-4

Featuring pictures of Michael Shanks, Amanda Tapping, Tom McBeath
and Lexa Doig (from Andromeda)


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