Stargate SG-1 feature  
Glassner & Wright: Creating the Gate     Gang of Four: the SG-1 team's key personnel

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selected from TV Zone #123

Having explored The Outer Limits, executive producer Jonathan Glassner now journeys through the Stargate in search of new adventures

Have you seen our Stargate SG-1 coverage in these recent issues of TV Zone?
Richard Dean Anderson interview
TV Zone #117
Teryl Rothery (Dr Fraiser) interview
TV Zone #120
Peter DeLuise (director) interview
TV Zone #118
Don S. Davis
(Gen. Hammond) interview
TV Zone #116
Christopher Judge (Teal'c) interview
TV Zone #115
Season Two guide, six pages
TV Zone #114
Amanda Tapping (Sam Carter) talks
TV Zone #111
Michael Shanks
(Daniel Jackson) interview
TV Zone #109
Jonathan Glassner (Exec. Producer) previous interview
TV Zone #103
Please note: links are to details of each issue. Features are not necessarily on-line

Jonathan Glassner, SG-1 executive producerBeing one of the executive producers of a hit television series such as Stargate SG-1 is like being a quick-change artist. On any given day, Jonathan Glassner must wear several different hats and juggle a number of tasks in order to send the SG-1 team through the Stargate and off on another mission.

“It’s a pretty big job and it starts with the stories,” he says. “Brad Wright [fellow executive producer] and I have story meetings just about every day with our staff writers. We also get written and verbal pitches from writers here in Vancouver [British Columbia, where the series is filmed] and Toronto as well as Los Angeles. Then either me, Brad or another writer will go off and write an outline and then the actual episode.

“While one episode is being shot we’re prepping for another... We’ll have a production meeting where we sit around with the heads of every department and go through the script line-by-line and figure out how we’re going to pull it all off.

“Our longest and most ‘painful’ discussion is usually a five-hour visual effects meeting. We have to go through every effect and say, ‘This has never been done before. Is this possible?' Usually we have at least one effect in every story that nobody’s ever attempted and we have to figure out the mechanics of how to do it. There’s sometimes talk of chickening out,” he laughs, "but usually we try it and, although it may cost us lots of money, it’s fun to see the final product.

“All this is interwoven with post-production,” Glassner adds. “I might be running over to the editing room, or I’m working with the composer and seeing where the music cues go. I’m also usually writing a script or rewriting somebody else’s. Brad, Robert Cooper [series co-producer] or I will run every script through our computer. One of us has written or rewritten every script and that’s what gives the show its consistency.”

Glassner had plenty of training for this marathon schedule. Prior to Stargate SG-1 he served as an executive producer, writer and director for MGM’s and Showtime’s The Outer Limits. It is also where Glassner struck up his friendship and professional association with Brad Wright.

“Brad was originally brought in to work on the show for Canadian content reasons and some of my bosses didn’t have a whole lot of faith in him because of this. They had it in their minds that this was the only reason he was hired and they couldn’t see beyond that. When I read his first script I said, ‘This guy is really talented. Let’s put him on staff.’ So that’s what we did and he became what I used to call our lean, mean writing machine...

The executive producer co-wrote its pilot episode Children of the Gods with Wright and has penned a number of the show’s episodes on his own. His favourite so far is the third season story Forever in a Day in which Daniel Jackson is reunited with his wife Sha’re (Vaitare Bandera). “I’m proud of this one because a lot of people are teary-eyed in it,” he says. “It’s a very emotional episode and not one of what we call our run-and-jump episodes. Although it’s got the largest action sequence we’ve ever done in its opening teaser it’s not so much an action story as it is a good human drama.

Stargate is a tough show to write for,” continues Glassner. “One of the reasons for this is that we want to give something to all of our leads to do in every episode and occasionally that’s a challenge if the plot centres on just one of them. We also have to try to keep things plausible. It’s very easy to wander off into fantasy land on a show like ours...

Steve Eramo

Brad Wright talks here >>>
• Also in this interview: Jonathan Glassner on casting the regulars, hiring production designer Richard Hudolin, directing two episodes and more!

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