wraithfodder (wraithfodder) wrote,

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Stargate Con (Nov 2006): Casting Seminar & Colin Cunningham

Stargate Creation Con Report

Secaucus, New Jersey

November 3-5, 2006

© 2006 Wraithfodder


Disclaimer: Please note these transcripts were done from shorthand notes, so there may be errors. Also, material is copyright so feel free to link to it but please do not copy and post elsewhere because I will most likely be editing text as folks point out mistakes or add to it. Thanks!



3)       SATURDAY

a)       Casting Seminar with Ivy

b)       Colin Cunningham

c)       Carmen Argenziano

d)       Alex Zahara

i)         Autographs with Alex and Dan

e)       Teryl Rothery

i)         Jason Momoa Photo Op

f)        Jason Momoa

g)       Autographs: Colin, Teryl, Carmen, Jason

h)       Dessert Party








With the exception of the below-mentioned casting seminar, the con did not open until noon, which I found really weird. Every con I’ve done is fully booked with stuff to do.


Anyway, my roomies are East Coasters and used to waking at six a.m., so nobody is throwing pillows at me for taking a shower! Yahoo! We went to the hotel restaurant and man, was that place FREEZING! Did the buffet. It was okay. It was typical hotel food but overpriced too, so I’m like, “this is it for food here.” I’ve got Powerbars and Halloween candy! I’ll survive!


Oh, advice if you do a Creation Con - bring one bottled water, then keep refilling from the water they put out.



a) Ivy Eisenberg’s Casting Seminar: "Shakespeare in Space"


This was the only thing going on until noon, so I’m glad I signed up as I’m an early riser and it would have sucked to have just hung around trying to find people for three hours.


Okay, 30 or so of us signed up and Ivy spent the first hour talking about the process, giving us anecdotes, etc. then we got to work on sides (script segments) from various SG1 episodes (I got to play Carter from the episode where she’s dating Pete Shannon – at least we only got critiqued, not fired off the stage, this time) ;)


She told us all about her job, which is complicated but fascinating. Actors (via agents) negotiate for EVERYTHING. The big thing is the name in the credits – beginning or end. Font size. Font style, size, etc. Really, no kidding. Actors will go “I will not work if the font is too small” etc. And you thought ordering a coffee at Starbucks was complicated!


And in the ‘dirt’ category, without mentioning names, sometimes actors will show up drunk on the set, or late, or anything like that. Or they’ll demand different hotels, or towncars, or limos, or anything truly insane or trivial (I mean, we’ve all heard about prima donna types who want all the brown M&Ms removed from their candy or else). Yes, they exist.


Tidbit. Stargate /MGM chased down Beau Bridges and Louis Gossett Jr. to be on the show, not the other way around.


Okay, let’s say you’re an actor who wants to be on Stargate or any other show. You audition. The studio sends information to the casting agent, who breaks down the script into characters that need to be cast and create the ‘sides’ (many fans know what they are). These are distributed off to agents all over the place and in return, agents submit the resumes/headshots, etc. of people they’d like in the role. Unlike some shows, Stargate is organized. They will do this week sin advance. Ivy said that some people will call up and say at 10 a.m. “we need a 50 year old man” at the 3 p.m. meeting. An hour later, they’ll call and change it to a five year old girl. Stargate was very good about not doing that.


Also, until a contract is signed, an actor can say yes but change their mind up until the point the contract is signed. Actors may back out for a variety of reasons.


Okay, back to Stargate . Over 150 little girls were interviewed in L.A. for the role of Adria; a similar amount was auditioned in Canada. There was one little girl, who was around nine years old but looked a lot younger, and Ivy very humorously mimicked the girl’s very Hollywood-savvy attitude.


Oh, one Stargate audition tidbit. An actor (no, no names were mentioned, so sorry) came in for the Ceetus(?) role, read two lines, stopped then just said ‘nope, can’t do this dialogue’ and left. This was while the camera was running for a demo tape. As mentioned before, others can’t pronounce the scifi lingo of the show, which she called “Shakespeare in Space,” due to its stylized formality. Actors with theater training are best as they know how to prepare, and actors who have already worked on sci-fi shows are great, which is why they’ve cast folk like John Billingsley, Jolene Blalock, etc.


Several people can be offered the same role, and acceptance depends upon availability, interest in the role, etc.


When asked if people are cast in regards to looks over acting skills, Ivy did acknowledge to a degree that looks do count, particularly with women. That is, alas, the way it is in Hollywood. But if I recall correctly, they don’t cast Desperate Housewives skinny actresses on Stargate and don’t plan to, and Wraith are cast more for body type (since you’re under so much makeup).


She did bring up the casting of Arlos(?) who had once had a fling with Vala (“Ties that Bind”). They were entertaining a large (BIG) jolly type actor and then a small actor. In the end, they went with Wallace Shawn, who is small, and it worked out beautifully.


She told us the difference between extras and featured extras and how the latter can escalate up the ladder and get a line or two of dialogue (which in turn can head you toward that coveted SAG card).


She cited one horror story: one actor came in for an audition and stunk to high heaven. Hadn’t been near a bar of soap for who knew how long. Luckily there was only one like that, but some arrive smelling like an ashtray from too much smoking.


In casting, they look for people with ‘spirit’ – a passion that shows through in their work.


She mentioned a specific category of folks – “life’s too short”. In other words, life’s too short to cast utter idiots/jerks who make your life a living hell – demanding people, stupid people, etc. (sort of like that in any business, really).


They’ve had an instance where an actor who had already shot, say, 75% of their role, become suddenly unavailable for the next day’s shoot, but since the shooting location was already booked, the studio eats the $100,000 cost of renting that location.


Okay, someone asked about Rainbow Sun Francks’ departure from Stargate Atlantis. Rainbow came from the VJ/DJ background, which is worlds apart from the harsh pacing of episodic television. While feature films give you time, television is like a job. 9 to 5 (or more like 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.), scripts to learn every week. And the writers weren’t certain what to do with the Ford character and I think I gather it was a semi-mutual decision. Not really sure.


Ah, Jason. They’d put Jason up for the Tyr (tall, black, dreadlocked guy) on the now-defunct sci-fi series Andromeda, but Steve Bacic got the role instead, which probably worked out for the best in a way since Jason got the role of Ronon Dex on Stargate Atlantis later on.


Teyla. Ivy had thought that a friend of hers would be perfect for the role but the network exec folk instead chose Rachel. Her friend has instead, gone on to film a movie with Denzel Washington.


It took several months for Stargate Atlantis to get Robert Patrick, as Robert’s agent was a tough negotiator (car, hotel, etc. etc.) Jolene Blalock negotiated for a specific type of car (towncar, so as not to be conspicuous with tinted windows but only in the rear).



b) Colin Cunningham: "What's that coming out of the back of that cow??"


I’ve never seen any of these actors before, but I had heard that Colin was an energetic performer. Damn, but that man has energy! If he stayed in that hotel, the elevator failure wouldn’t have bothered him. He could probably bound up to the 14th floor in the stairwell! ;)




He was just in New Zealand at a con (the same one that Rachel Luttrell and David Nykl appeared at) and talked about traveling all over the place. He did ‘black water rafting” in a cave that is lit up by bioluminescence. Yes, he went to the Glowworm Caves (http://www.waitomo.com/waitomo-glowworm-caves.aspx) which I instantly knew about as I’d researched them last year when searching for jellyfish stuff. Meanwhile, spiel from top of website is Discover Waitomo - the home of New Zealand's world famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves and legendary Black Water Rafting. Check it out.


He also said when he and his girlfriend were driving along, they went by a field with cows in it and oh wait, are those hooves sticking out of the back of the cow? They went back and saw a calf get born! His girlfriend was squicked out by it.


He said that MGM planned two DVD Stargate movies (more on that later).


He talked about the Canuck cop show DaVinci’s Inquest and his role in it. “Save the planet or sell drugs?” he pondered which role he liked best (the former being Major Davis on SG1). He loved doing both. While he doesn’t like being recognized, he does like acknowledgement of his work. I recall that some boy asked the next question – can’t recall what it was – but the next thing we knew the kid was on the stage, and Colin was back in the audience asking him a question. It was rather funny.


He said he had originally auditioned for the Daniel Jackson role but didn’t get it, and I think he made mention of any other role he’d like and said “Either that or Teal’c ‘cuz he gets to wear the emblem on the head.”


Said he’s been very busy this past season – working on Psych (USA Network), Saved (TNT), and Master of Horrors (Showtime, but he said HBO by mistake). In the latter, he was in the episode “We All Scream for Ice Cream” (A group of kids play a prank on the ice cream man way back when, and he ends up getting killed. Now the kids are all grown up, and someone or something is killing them and their children off, one by one. The Ice Cream man has come back from the dead and is now reaping his vengeance.) His character melts. They covered him in this stuff, couldn’t catch the name, but it’s gooey, gelatinous and is not water soluble and jokingly said it’s the same stuff they use to thicken cherry pies at MacDonald’s. He spent 40 minutes in the shower to remove the stuff.


He said he shot a pilot for a show, but I missed where that was. Auckland? Um, er???


Alas, he didn’t bring along his saxophone or guitar to play, much to the dismay of fans who knew he played those instruments. He said when he was younger and in drama school/college, he used to play the sax on the street for money. One other student said why was he doing that? Colin said he had student loans to pay and the other guy was like, ‘what about your scholarship?’ and Colin discovered he was the only person who seemed to be paying for his classes as the rest were on welfare or something and the state was paying.


Someone asked him if he could have a memory removed (such as Spock did to Kirk in a classic Star Trek episode), what would it be? He thought about it briefly, but said he’d keep them all. “The worst things helped build me even better than the best of things.”

There will be a DaVinci’s Inquest TV movie.


A character he played in the movie Elektra had his head chopped off, but the scene was deleted due to the beheadings in Iraq, etc., but he discovered that his ‘head’ ended up in a Halloween display on a street when a friend pointed it out.


He said that people actually mistake him for Pauly Shore, so he said jokingly then he could act like a jerk ;)


He talked about his 10-second role in the movie Best of Show. Said it “still ranks as one of his greatest accomplishments in his life.” The casting director didn’t want to see him. Nope, not at all. Get out. Go away. He kept trying to get an audition. Tried to call in a personal favor. Nope, even though he’d with the guy on and off for a decade. He was told to not consider the project. So, he suddenly found out that the casting director got the flu and was home sick in bed. He crashed the audition, said that the casting director said it was okay. When the casting director found out, he was livid, but… Colin got the part.


His favorite SG1 episode is the first one he appeared in, then “Foothold,” although he said he hung around for 12 hours from the ceiling, then “Prometheus.”


When asked if there were any unfinished storylines he’d like to see finished, he jokingly said “The gay love affair [between Davis] with Teal’c.”


He enjoyed working on the episode “Descent,” although there was a scene where Davis and others had to run back and forth up and down this hallway and they kept doing it over and over and then they noticed the crew snickering and it appeared they’d stopped rolling the camera a while back.


When asked if he could be on any series? He said “anything of quality,” citing Law & Order, CSI (which he was already on – the Miami version). He mentioned the audition, in which he showed up in a blue shirt, and was told to ditch the blue shirt, but wore it anyway, ticking off the casting person (think that was in) but he got the part anyway.


He told how he got the part of Brian Curtis, the sleazy long-haired drug dealer on DaVinci’s Inquest. He didn’t look the part so, he made him up to look like that. He’s talented in doing in his own makeup, and has no qualms about shaving his hair (so if it looks like his hairline is receding, it’s not – he simply shaved it back!)


He then did a slide show …

§         An Elektra ‘head’ shot

§         His dog with a pacifier in its mouth

§         His ‘head’ in a box

§         Colin as a hillbilly type – did his own makeup

§         As a woman!

§         His character melting in the Masters of Horror show

§         And others


Below are some, not all, of the slides. Blast, that dog make-up is good, isn’t it?? ;)




I think that’s where his talk ended. Definitely entertaining. He was in a black t-shirt and jeans.



Tags: colin cunningham, stargate sg-1
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