Friday, July 19, 2019

Thursday at Comic-Con, Part 2

The autograph line in the Sails Pavilion finished a little while ago. The panel was right before the autograph session. Stargate: Atlantis cast members Torri Higginson, Paul McGillion and Jewel Staite, Gary Jones from Stargate: SG-1 and Producer Joe Mallozzi and Ivy Isenberg Associate Casting Producer for SG-1 and Atlantis, all took the stage to entertain the fans.

The room was absolutely packed! YouTuber Yael Tygiel moderated the panel. Each of the actors talked briefly about how they were cast. We got a special treat in the form of a hilarious video from David Hewlett. We also saw a short sizzle reel from David Read featuring memorable clips, set to music, from Stargate: Atlantis. The panelists also treated the audience to a table-read of the first scene from Stargate: Extinction, the Stargate: Atlantis movie that was written but never made.

Not all of the actors are here so their cast-mates filled in, to the great amusement of the audience. Paul McGillion filled in for Shepard and Torri Higginson and Ivy Isenberg read Tayla in unison because both wanted to play her. Gary Jones stepped up and did an awesome imitation of McKay! Jenny Seelman-Stiven, of Stargate Command, read the stage directions.

Joe Mallozzi also wrote a special scene just for Comic-Con that was not part of the original script. It included the resurrection of Elizabeth Weir, giving Torri Higginson a chance to reprise her much-loved role. I got to read the part of Woolsey onstage with the cast! Best four lines I have ever been given!!!

I'm at the nightclub, Fluxx, right now waiting for the table-read of a longer portion of the script. I'm really excited to see the performance.

More later.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

It is Thursday and I'm LIVE at Comic-Con!!!

Well, here I am sitting in a prep room with the professional press waiting for things to start happening. It should be an exciting day. This is my first time in the back room at a big convention. I have worked on many small cons doing everything from Art Show Coordinator to Photographer. (I've even run Archery contests at numerous Robin Of Sherwood conventions!) But this is a new level and I can't stop grinning.

This is going to be a very full day. The Stargate: Atlantis panel is this morning and the actors have gone through the script for the reading tonight. I had fun watching them greet each other when they arrived. They are all obviously good friends. Lots of big smiles and hugs. I promise to take LOTS of pictures!

Stay tuned here on GateGab.com all weekend Stargate news as it happens at Comic-Con.


Sunday, June 23, 2019

Angel Sewing's contest to win SG Team patches

I know there are a lot of cosplayers out there. Bra Zat shared a link on Facebook for a contest on Angel Sewing's contest to win a set of SG Team patches. I am sharing it here for those who might be interested in entering. Angel Sewing is located in France, so this may be of particular interest to European fans. Here is the link: Angel Sewing on Facebook. The patches look really nice. I will add a photo if I get their permission to share it.

An Interview with Taylor Underwood, The Stargate Guy

This week I interview Stargate Superfan Taylor Underwood, better known as The Stargate Guy. Taylor is from Coos Bay, Oregon in the NorthWestern United States. He has a talent for video production and an encyclopedic knowledge of Stargate. 

Gabby: Hi, Taylor. Thanks for making the time answer my questions. So let's get right down to it. Can you give me the rundown on The Stargate Guy? It must be pretty much a full time job to put your show together every week.

Taylor: It is not a full time job, although I would absolutely love it to be, but I have a YouTube channel The Stargate Guy where I make weekly videos about Stargate. Everything from theories, how things work, character profiles, interviews and more. You can go to it here: https://www.youtube.com/thestargateguy

Gabby: I have been asking all of the Superfans how they first discovered Stargate. What's your "origin story?"

Taylor: Well like a lot of people I discovered Stargate sitting on the couch next to my dad. He worked a lot and when he wasn’t working his full-time job he would be out in the woodshop making cabinets for someone or rebuilding the house for the twelfth time. I was never a big fan of working with my hands, I can do it but it is not my most favorite thing to do. So unlike my brothers who bonded with my dad through working on cars or houses, I bonded with him by watching sci-fi and movies.

Although he was a rather manly man, he loved sci-fi and enjoyed watching any show or movie with “star” in the name. You know the ones I’m talking about. One day he saw that Stargate SG-1 was on and turned it to that channel. I don’t remember the exact episode, but I remember asking what this was because it was so cool. You had guys running around shooting aliens, talking about history and science, it was awesome! Well it turned out that he had the DVD of the original movie and we watched that and whenever Stargate was on we would watch it and talk about it together. We would form theories and discuss battle tactics, archeology, physics, whatever the episode was about.

Gabby: Do you have a favorite Stargate series or episode?

Taylor:  My favorite Stargate series would be SG-1 primarily it’s because that is what my dad and I watched together most. It has a good dynamic between characters, it built the universe, and introduced the basis of everything that we all love.

My favorite episode would be “Wormhole X-tream”. In that episode we not only get a good story about Martin, but also a peak behind the curtain of how Stargate was made. We see the set builders, costume makers, prop people, directors, camera crew, producers, writers, everybody! It is filled with inside jokes and I would re-watch the DVD commentary of that episode a lot. That kind of thing actually helped inspire me to make my own videos.

Gabby: I love that episode too. Who is your favorite character in the franchise and why?

Taylor: Personally, I have to go with Doctor Daniel Jackson. He made history, archeology, and anthropology look cool. Of course he was shooting a gun some of the time, so that helps. I always loved history but that character made me love it more. Later on when thinking about what to study in college I thought about how it would be kind of cool to be like Daniel Jackson. So I went to Utah State University where I earned to Bachelor of Science Degrees in History and Anthropology and a Museum Studies Certificate.

Gabby: That's awesome. I'm constantly impressed by what an incredibly smart group of people Stargate fans are. The Superfans are all very active in Stargate Fandom. Besides the Superfans, what other fan groups or clubs do you belong to?

Taylor: Well currently I'm mainly in the Stargate Fandom, I don’t have too much time for anything else. But I have been active in the Star Trek and Star Wars fandoms a little. Mainly, outside of Stargate I’ve been involved with board game clubs and groups. I love board games and have even designed a few myself. When I have a little free time, I need to blow the dust off of one and sell it to a publisher.

Gabby: What Stargate related activities or hobbies do you enjoy? 

Taylor: I grew up in a small town away from everything so pretty much anything fan related was off of the table. The first time I attended a convention was last year in 2018 when I went to Gatecon The Evasion. I had a chance to interview some of the cast and crew members. For the first time in my life, I was talking to professional actors who I had watched and who were good enough to play roles that impacted my life. That was an amazing experience. Since joining the panel Stargate Command has been generous and helped me get down to Wondercon in 2019. That was my first big convention experience. It amazed me to watch thousands of people dressed up. Booths with absolutely everything, it was incredible.

I only have gotten into cosplay because one of my viewers on YouTube thought I needed a uniform so they sent me one, I have never really had the money or reason to get into it otherwise. I always like talking to people at conventions seeing cosplayers, prop building, and reading fan articles and theories. It amazes me how creative and talented the fandom has become.

Gabby: Well, we had really good role models, didn't we? Stargate is full to the brim with creative and talented characters. How did you hear about the Stargate Superfan Project and what made you want to apply?

Taylor: I heard about it by getting the mass email from Stargatecommand.co and on the same day I had several subscribers send me messages telling me about it and telling me that I should throw my hat in the ring. I ended up making a short video about it for my viewers and asked them what they thought. I had dozens of messages and people from all over the world saying that I should apply. What really pushed me over the edge however, was the support of my fiancĂ© Sarah. She encouraged me to follow my dream and I’m really thankful that she has.

Gabby: Do you have a favorite Stargate-related website that you think other fans would enjoy? What is it?

Taylor: Well, it sounds bad to say it but my YouTube page is my favorite. I’m also working on a website: www.stargateguy.com but it’s still in development. That being said I do really like Gateworld.net Darren, Adam and everyone over there is really professional and they put out some good articles and keep up with Stargate news. Also Stargatecommand.co is really cool now with the upgrade. Honestly, I love that I can watch any episode or movie of Stargate on my phone or computer anywhere I am for $20 a YEAR. Any Stargate fan who isn’t doing that is just missing a great opportunity in my opinion. That is a steal. I’m not paid to advertise for them by the way, I just really like it. Lol

Gabby: Apart from convention appearances, what does MGM have planned for the Superfan group this year?

Taylor: Well, a lot of things are still up in the air and as the line goes, “we are working on it”. With the release of the new Stargatecommand.co website one of the things that we are going to be doing in helping with monitoring and supporting the different factions on the site. That way, fans have someone to go to with simple questions about things and if they have ideas about what the franchise could do to be better, they can come to us and we can relay that message straight to MGM. That is the main reason why we are here, we are the mouthpiece of the fans, not MGM puppets. There are also other possibilities and opportunities that are being talked about. I can’t really say much more, but I’m excited about the future of Stargate.

Gabby: I know MGM plans to join the Stargate fans at a number of conventions this year. I will definitely be attending Comic-Con in San Diego. Will you be going to any conventions, or participating in any events in the next few months as part of the Stargate Superfan Project?

Taylor: I hope too, nothing is confirmed for sure yet. The difficulty with me is that I’m planning a wedding, running a YouTube Channel and working a full-time job. So, in short I’m a wonderful mixture of broke and busy. I would love to attend those events if financing comes through. As far as online, I do drop into the Wormhole Wednesday’s on occasion on the Stargate Command YouTube page, and chat with folks while we rewatch an episode or two. Personally, there is a possibility of a small live gathering with The Stargate Guy clan in Portland, Oregon sometime, but that is in the early stages of development.

Gabby: You definitely have to keep me posted on that, it sounds really fun. Will MGM allow you to share anything about their plans for the fans? 

Taylor: One of the things that they are planning is to have more fan involvement and blur the line between studio and fandom. This is clearly evident by the creation of the Superfan Panel which has never been done before and is really experimental. On the Stargatecommand.co website they have a section in there where they are going to feature different fans who have had Stargate really impact their life. I’m really looking forward to that. With my YouTube channel I have had the opportunity to talk to thousands of fans from around the world and I love hearing their stories of how Stargate has affected them. It really is something that brings all of us together.

Gabby: If the SGC were real, I would want to be the base Librarian so I could examine all of the books and artifacts that the teams brought back. How about you? What would your job be?

Taylor: I would want to be an anthropologist on an SG team. I would love to be on the front lines of exploration and meeting different cultures from around the universe. The only issue is that I would have to drop some weight because if the Goa’uld or Ori are chasing me, I want to get the hell out of there!

Gabby: Lol! Just one more question, and this is perhaps the most important. Jack O’Neill’s favorite color is ‘peridot,’ what is yours?

Taylor:  Green, no question. Hunter or forest green tend to be my favorite, although, I do like a good puce.

That wraps up my interview with Taylor Underwood. Over the next few weeks I will be getting ready for Comic-Con. I am working on my SG-1 cosplay and will be sharing photos of the work I am doing to modify a Blackhawk Medic vest to make it look more like those used on the show. Many people buy two vests and combine them to make a replica, but this Librarian is on a budget! I am using one purchased vest and materials anyone can find at their local fabric store. I also plan to make a foray into 3D printing to see if I can produce a low-cost GDO. 


Sunday, June 9, 2019

An Interview with Yvonne Cahill -- the Stargate Superfan Representing Australia


Yvonne Cahill, Superfan
Yvonne Cahill is the Stargate Superfan representing Australia. She is from Perth, Western Australia, AUS, and more commonly goes by Yvie. Those of you who love fanfiction may know her by her pen name, Freya the Snake Slayer. I immediately liked Yvie when I met her at Wondercon. She was holding a mini Jack O'Neill that she had crocheted and I was holding a mini Daniel Jackson that I had knitted. I love meeting fellow crafters. Let's get to know her a bit better.

Gabby: Hi, Yvie. It's great talking to you again. So, tell me, how did you first discover Stargate?

Yvie: I first discovered Stargate about 7 years ago through my boyfriend (now husband), Adam. He was a fan of the franchise growing-up, but hadn’t rewatched the series in years. He convinced me to join him in a rewatch, although I was hesitant at first! It only took a few episodes to get me completely hooked! My Stargate passion quickly morphed and grew as I discovered fanfiction.

Gabby: Do you have a favorite Stargate series and episode?

Yvie: My favourite Stargate series is unquestionably SG-1 (I know my answer is completely cliche - and Jack HATES cliches, but it’s the honest truth!) My favourite episode is Window of Opportunity (which is also a cliche!) I love the balance of light and dark in this episode - it hits all the right notes (the obvious humour juxtapositioned with Malakai's heartbreaking loss and Jack's
empathy). There’s also “that” kiss in the control room between Jack and Sam! As a MacGyver fan, I also enjoyed watching the on-screen reunion of Richard Dean Anderson and Robin Mossley.

Gabby: What about your favorite character? Who is it and why?

Yvie: My favourite character is definitely Jack - he's just so complex! At first, you think he's this brash, unfeeling military stereotype with a tragic backstory, but as the series progresses you see the witty humour and delicate undertones in his personality (eg: his almost immediate acceptance of Teal'c in spite of "junior," the rapport he has with children, etc).

Gabby: The Superfans are all very active in Stargate Fandom. Besides the Superfans, what other fan groups or clubs do you belong to?

Yvie: I’m not sure if this qualifies, but I’m a registered user of fanfiction.net and AO3

Gabby: Yes, that qualifies. Tell me more.

Yvie: I'm a fanfiction author, but it's just a hobby - my stories aren't supported/endorsed by MGM (they're not approved canon). That said, if any fans would like to read my short stories for a laugh, they can be found on fanfiction.net under the pen name of Freya the Snake Slayer, or on AO3 under the pen name Freya_the_Snake_Slayer

Gabby: What Stargate related activities or hobbies do you enjoy? 

Yvie: As previously mentioned, I’m a fanfiction author. A lot of my free time is spent researching and writing my Stargate stories. I’ve also dabbled in a bit of poetry. I’ve written a few Stargate/Dr Seuss-inspired rhymes and one Stargate/Night Before Christmas-inspired rhyme. I also enjoy crocheting and painting! At the moment, I’m working on a crocheted version of SG-1. So far, I’ve made a Jack and Sam and I’ve just started on Teal’c. I’ve also hand painted two pairs of canvas shoes with a Stargate/Starry Night-inspired montage!

Gabby: I saw your shoes at Wondercon. They're brilliant. Do you have a favorite Stargate-related website that you think other fans would enjoy? What is it? 

Yvie: Other than Stargate Command, I also love Gateworld and Stargate Wiki. I use both of these sites as reference points for my fanfiction writing. I do my best to follow the Stargate lore.

Gabby: How did you hear about the Stargate Superfan Project and what made you want to apply?

Yvie: I first read about the Superfan Project via the Stargate Facebook page. As cheesy as it sounds, it literally made my heart flutter. I knew I had to apply - it felt like kismet! Stargate saw me through some difficult times and I wanted to pay it back - help to build it strong for the future!

Gabby: Apart from convention appearances, what does MGM have planned for the Superfan group this year?

Yvie: There’s a lot of exciting new projects and initiatives on the horizon for 2019! We’re not at liberty to discuss the finer details, but to quote the old adage - we’re working on it! The Superfan group is basically a Stargate think tank. Our main objective is to breathe new life into the 25 year-old franchise by pooling our unique strengths, resources and ideas. We’ve been brainstorming a lot of exciting new things, so all I can stay is - stay tuned!

Gabby: I know MGM plans to join the Stargate fans at several conventions this year. (Gateway in Chicago in June, Comic-Con in San Diego in July, and Cal Mah in the UK in September.) I will definitely be attending Comic-Con. Will you be going to any conventions as part of the Stargate Superfan Project?

Yvie: I'm planning to attend Cal Mah in the UK in September!

Gabby: If the SGC were real, I would want to be the base Librarian so I could examine all of the books and artifacts that the teams brought back. How about you? If you could have a job there, or anywhere in the Stargate universe, what would your job be?

Yvie: This is a tough question! As a writer and former journalism student, I'd like to be the person responsible for breaking the Stargate news story to the world (it would be the ULTIMATE scoop!!!) If the SGC were real AND the program was revealed to the world, I'd like to run the Stargate Gift Shop. I currently work in customer service and can be quite persuasive!

Gabby: Just one more question, and this is perhaps the most important. Jack O’Neill’s favorite color is ‘peridot,’ what is yours? 

Yvie: My colour preferences vary based on mood, but I’m quite partial to amaranth!

Gabby: Thanks, Yvie. It was great talking to you again. Next week GateGab.com will feature an interview with Superfan Taylor Underwood, TheStargateGuy. I hope you will all tune in then. 


Hanging out at the Stargate Command booth at Wondercon, 2019. Pictured: Jenny Seelman Stiven (MGM), Marcia Middleton, Bra Zat, Nicole Rodriguez Galdo and Yvonne Cahill.

Yvonne Cahill on stage at Wondercon

Sunday, June 2, 2019

An Interview with Marcia Middleton -- the Stargate Superfan Representing Florida in the USA

This week's blog post is an interview with another of our Stargate Superfans. The Superfans were selected by Stargate Command/MGM. You can read more about that in earlier posts on the blog. Marcia Middleton is one of the fans representing the United States.

Gabby: Hi, Marcia. So, what part of the USA are you living in?

Marcia: Currently in Jacksonville, Florida, USA-- but I claim New York City, born and raised!

Gabby: And what is your current involvement in Stargate fandom?

Macia: I am currently a Stargate SuperFan, one of 10 selected throughout the world.  What a thrill!

Gabby: How did you first discover Stargate?

Marcia: I have always had an interest in pyramids and the mysteries surrounding them, as well as science and science fiction in general.  When I heard about the movie Stargate and saw the poster, I was already taken in-- an instant fan.  I will never forget seeing the film in the theater for the first time.  I made certain to sit in my favorite spot in the middle, a huge bucket of popcorn by my side.  The theatre darkened and the incredibly haunting music score created by David Arnold filled my head.  There was Giza, and the raising of the massive circular object.  Then the jump forward to Daniel Jackson’s lecture.  James Spader as Daniel Jackson was brilliant, and quirky and funny.  Kurt Russell as Jack O’Neil broke my heart as he struggled with the tragic death of his son.  When the two met, I knew there were going to be sparks.  In the gateroom, when the chevrons were locked in place for the first time--- my stars---what a dazzling effect!  Kawooosh!  I adored it when Daniel tentatively touching the event horizon then got whisked through to the other side to Abydos. ::sigh::

I saw the movie on the big screens at least, well….many times.  Stargate had burrowed itself deep into my consciousness, where it lies, safe and sound even today.  When it was gone from the theater I waited for the video release and purchased it immediately.  I have every version of the movie that has been released.  I collected most of the movie related items I could find, and yet still hoped for more someday.

Gabby: Do you have a favorite Stargate series and/or episode?

Marcia: Stargate series or episode?  Hey—what about the movie that started it all?!  Without the original movie…well you know the rest of that line.  It is so very true.  Without the original movie, nothing else of our beloved stargate universe would exist.  Stargate the original movie, is my favorite.

 Gabby: You are 100% correct. I shouldn't forget the movie. The movie was how I first fell in love with Stargate as well. Tell me who are your favorite characters and why?

Marcia: Hmmm… favorites are always a tricky question for me. Most of us adore the main characters.

For me, secondary characters, especially adversarial ones bring depth and flesh out storylines.  Through them and their interactions with the main characters, I learned even more about Jack, Daniel, Sam and Teal’c.  Here are some of my fave evil ones:

Ra (Jaye Davidson) - Ra’s youthful look, belied the slithering evil inside.  Where would the Stargate movie story have been without Ra?!

Apophis (Peter Williams) - The first System Lord to really wrangle with the team time and time again.  Apophis set the stage for system lords to come.

Ba’al (Cliff Simon) - In Christian writings, Ba'al is thought of as a demon.  After watching the episode “Abyss”, appropriately the 6th episode of the 6th season, and how Ba’al continuously tortured Jack.…Ahem…yes.  Demon.  Perfectly portrayed.

Anise/Freya, aka Tok’ra Spice (Vanessa Angel) - Is Anise/Freya evil?  Well, perhaps not truly, BUT, she tried to horn in on Jack so….yes!

Senator Robert Kinsey (Ronny Cox) - We have to have political evil in a story like Stargate, and Senator Kinsey fit the bill nicely.

Gabby: The Superfans are all very active in Stargate Fandom. Besides the Superfans, what other fan groups or clubs do you belong to?

Marcia: Stargate Command, several online groups…I like to keep an overall view and see what is happening all over Stargate fandom!  I like to reach out to the four corners of the earth.

Gabby: What Stargate related activities or hobbies do you enjoy?

Marcia: I continue to look for and collect items from Stargate the movie. Organizing and attending events and conventions, personal interaction with fans…

Gabby: Do you have a favorite Stargate-related website that you think other fans would enjoy? What is it?

Marcia:I have to chat about my website: Stargateguide.com

Dean Devlin created the very first website specifically for a movie with Stargate. I loved it and knew he was on to the future. I was inspired by him to create a Stargate collectibles website, which is still up today. Stargateguide.com is my Stargate collectibles website where every single aspect: graphics, thumbnails, etc, were done by me long before pre-packaged website themes were available. Much of what is on Stargateguide.com is pretty old.  I thought of updating it, but have decided to keep it as it is-- a snapshot of that time and what it took to mount a website back then.

Gabby: How did you hear about the Stargate Superfan Project and what made you want to apply?

Marcia:I cannot remember the single place where I first heard about this unique MGM project, as I am on so many Stargate sites.  LOL.  There has been so much Stargate action in my life, that I felt they would want me!  They HAD to take me.

Here are some of the things I have done to cultivate Stargate fandom:
·       Created and chaired the first Stargate-only fan convention in the United States
·       Created the highly successful Stargate Offworld Track at Dragoncon
·       Director of the Stargate Offworld Track at Dragoncon
·       Produced Stargate fan panels at San Diego Comic con
·       Worked with many SG actors and creators to help them connect with fandom
·       Moderated dozens of panels with actors and creators
·       Assembled Stargate fan printed media – such as fanzines and convention guides
·       Liaison with merchandisers – Comic publishers, card companies, toy companies, etc.
·       Held a memorial service for Don S. Davis for fans and SG stars
·       Produced Stargate literary contests
·       Created the first Don S. Davis Memorial Charity Auction

Gabby: Apart from convention appearances, what does MGM have planned for the Superfan group this year?

Marcia: Plans are being worked on as we speak. There are some really cool things including working all over the world with Stargate fandom…stay tuned!

Gabby: I know MGM plans to join the Stargate fans at both the Gateway anniversary celebration in Chicago in June and at Comic-Con in San Diego in July, this year. I think they will be at Cal Mah in the UK, in September, as well. I will definitely be attending Comic-Con. Will you be going to any conventions, or participating in any events, live or online, this Spring/Summer as part of the Stargate Superfan Project?

Marcia: I, too, will be at San Diego Comic-Con as well as some other events that are still in the planning stage.  In addition, we all will be online every week with new sections of the all-new Stargate Command site, which is going to be unlike anything you have ever seen. (Don’t you love that phrase, especially in sci-fi?)

Gabby: I got my first look at Stargate Command's new look just this week. I stayed up VERY late exploring all of the new features. I'm excited to hear you and the other Superfans will be contributing to it.

Next question: If the SGC were real, I would want to be the base Librarian so I could examine all of the books and artifacts that the teams brought back. How about you? If you could have a job there, or anywhere in the Stargate universe, what would your job be?

Marcia: Nice question!

I would like to lead the team that goes back to some of the planets they visited and see what a mess they made after they left.  We would be the clean up/follow up crew. We have so many questions!

Gabby: Just one more question, and this is perhaps the most important. Jack O’Neill’s favorite color is ‘peridot,’ what is yours?

Marcia: Well, for me answering this question takes more than giving a simple straightforward answer.

When I was Director of the brand new Stargate Offworld Track at DragonCon in Atlanta, Georgia, it was the first celebrity panel and our first day of a four-day weekend We were hosting almost a dozen stargate actors.  I was moderating the very first megapanel (megapanel is a word I coined for the panels where we had every guest on stage at the same time – up to a dozen or so).  Anyway, we had the wonderful Don S. Davis, and about 10 additionally amazing guests gathered and ready to interact with the fans.  It was an incredible start to an entirely new all Stargate adventure, and we were super excited!

When the panel began, I decided to ask some easy, fun, warm up questions of each guest—sort of teen magazine style.  One of my questions was  “What is your favorite color?”  We went down the line, and the color blue kept popping up as a favorite.  Waaaay down the line, by the time it was Kavan Smith’s turn, he took a huge breath, leaned down toward the microphone and in a low, deep, voice bellowed, “DARK blue!” The guests and the entire ballroom of fans roared with laughter.

Over the next 3 days of Stargate panels, when asked a question, Kavan randomly blurted out “Dark blue” as his first answer, then went on to give his true answer.  Soon the audience joined in whenever it was Kavan’s turn. It became one of our inside jokes.

On the last day of the convention, we had a joint Star Trek vs Stargate guests panel with co-moderators, me and Eric Watts, who was the Trek Track Director. I don’t even remember the question Kavan was asked, but his first answer, leaning forward into the microphone was, of course a bellowing “Dark blue!” Spontaneously, Stargate fans made it into a chant.  It was fabulous to hear the wave of “Dark Blue!” echo throughout the room like a rallying call. The Star Trek guests, fans and their moderator thought we were nuts.  It was so much fun to have a collective inside joke going with a great actor!  So….you ask - what is my favorite Stargate color? – All together now - Dark blue!

Gabby: Thank you so much, Marcia, for sharing your stories. I look forward to seeing you at Comic-Con in July. Next week, GateGab.com with have an interview with Australia Superfan Yvonne Cahill. Until then... Dark Blue!
Stargate Superfan, Marcia Middleton on stage at Wondercon

Saturday, May 25, 2019

An Interview with Nicole Saelzle, Germany's Stargate Superfan

 Nicole Saelzle is the Stargate Superfan representing Germany. She is from Bavaria, which is a state located in the SouthEastern area of the country. Nicole is soft-spoken and incredibly intelligent. I really enjoyed talking with her at Wondercon and am very pleased that she granted my request for a longer interview. Read on to see what we talked about.


Gabby: Hi, Nicole. Thank you so much for agreeing to be interviewed. Let's start off simple. Many fans have a nickname or Fandom name that they use online and at conventions. What name do you go by in Stargate Fandom?

Nicole S.: For most of my fandom-related accounts I use the nickname shadow-of-atlantis, which is why people at events also call me Shadow.
Gabby: Do you have a business or job through which you are involved in Fandom?

Nicole S.: Fandom sort of started my freelancing career. Through Stargate-Project.de I got involved in writing articles, doing interviews and creating content for websites. After I did my Masters in Translation and Interpreting in the UK, I started out as a freelancer and this whole Stargate-Project experience somehow led to one job after the other. 

Gabby: How did you first discover Stargate?

Nicole S.: My mum watched the show and at some point I joined her in front of the TV. So there you go… my mum is to blame ^^

Gabby: Do you have a favorite Stargate series and/or episode?

Nicole S.: I love Stargate: SG-1 and Atlantis. Favorite episodes… It would probably be easier to name the ones that I don't like. And Stargate: Universe --- I understand what they tried to do with the show and there are some aspects that I enjoyed / would have liked to see more about, but personally I've never really gotten into SGU.

Gabby: Who are your favorite characters and why?

Nicole S.: Carson Beckett, because he is the heart and soul of Atlantis and a character that you can relate to. He is scared in situations most people would be scared in but also does what needs to be done. And Daniel Jackson because he tries to connect to people before jumping to conclusions and hasty reactions, but – especially in the later seasons – he also realizes in which situations he can be the linguist and explorer and in which situations it is time to act.

Gabby:The Superfans are all very active in Stargate Fandom. Besides the Superfans, what other fan groups or clubs do you belong to?

Nicole S.: I have been part of the Stargate-Project.de team since 2005/06 and of course also part of their (well, nowadays our) community. Unfortunately, most Stargate fans in Germany are spread across various small groups, platforms, etc. and not organized in larger fan groups or clubs. Time to change that ;-)

Gabby: What Stargate related activities or hobbies do you enjoy? 

Nicole S.: I started going to conventions in 2004 (and it was a Stargate convention with Michael Shanks and Christopher Judge). Years ago I was also very active in the fan fiction and fan art community, but when I became the editor in chief at Stargate-Project.de I decided to focus more on that area. But I still love to cosplay and I create most parts of my costumes myself, be it the Atlantis uniform or the Ori soldier. This also takes away time from writing fan fiction or creating fan art.

Gabby: Do you have a favorite Stargate-related website that you think other fans would enjoy? What is it?

Nicole S.: In my case this one is a bit unfair, isn't it? XD But to be honest, I check out Gateworld on a regular basis (who doesn't?). And right from the beginning, when the Stargate Command platform went online, I registered there. I enjoy lurking around there as much as I can.

Gabby: How did you hear about the Stargate Superfan Project and what made you want to apply?

Nicole S.: I think it was one of the other Stargate-Project.de team members who put up a note on our forums, that she would write an article about the whole Stargate Superfan Project campaign. To find out more about it I headed over to the Stargate Command and the Tongal sites and read the details and I really liked the idea. I'm not quite sure what really made me apply. It probably was a mixture of "This is so cool!", "I've been around for so long and know quite a bit", "I would like to make the voices of German fans heard" and "Let's check out what is actually going on there!"

Gabby: Apart from convention appearances, what does MGM have planned for the Superfan group this year?

Nicole S.: We are considered advisors to Stargate Command. We are sort of a link between the fandom and MGM. Through the Superfan panelists fans can make their voices be heard at MGM and we can also provide input on what the fandom expects from Stargate Command and would like or not like to see, hear, read, …

Gabby: I know MGM plans to join the Stargate fans at both the Gateway anniversary celebration in Chicago in June and at Comic-Con in San Diego in July, this year. I will definitely be attending Comic-Con. Will you be going to any conventions, or participating in any events, live or online, this Spring/Summer as part of the Stargate Superfan Project?

Nicole S.: Does September still count as Summer? I guess so, depending on where you are on the globe. So, yes, I will be at Cal Mah in Telford, UK. As far as I know, that's it for me as far as the Superfan Project goes, however, you still have a chance to bump into me at some other conventions.

Gabby: If the SGC were real, I would want to be the base Librarian so I could examine all of the books and artifacts that the teams brought back. How about you? If you could have a job there, or anywhere in the Stargate universe, what would your job be?

Nicole S.: Considering my handwriting, I guess, I wouldn't be too bad at translating hieroglyphs XD

Gabby: Just one more question, and this is perhaps the most important. Jack O'Neill's favorite color is 'peridot,' what is yours?

Nicole S.: Sahara beige.

Gabby: Thanks again, for taking the time out to to be interviewed for GateGab.com. It was nice to have the chance to talk more. 

Nicole Saelzle with fellow Stargate Superfan, William Murphy and a member of the MGM team at Wondercon, 2019.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

So I Have This Zat'nik'tel...

I week or so back, I bought a zat'nik'tel -- we'll call it a zat gun -- kit online. I am slowly upgrading my green, SG-1, on base, cosplay and I feel a zat really makes the look. Like the original MacGyver, I am not a fan of guns, and don't want anything that looks real for my cosplay.

So, how come it has taken me 25 years to get my outfit together? Well, college, grad school, student loans, moving cross country multiple times... You get the picture. If I have to choose between actually going to a convention and having a cool outfit? Convention wins.

So, here I am, pulling together entry-level Stargate: SG-1 cosplay in the 25th Anniversary year of SG-1. Anyone who saw me at Wondercon will know that I started very basic. I got plain black t-shirts, in multiples because I can't cope with not having a clean shirt every day at a convention. The t-shirts are Hanes and came in a 3 pack from Target. The green BDU pants and the green over shirt were found on Amazon for not very much money. The green shirt is a "Vietnam" style shirt. It looked the closest to an actual SGC uniform shirt, with the exception of some red stitching on the pockets that was probably meant to be reinforcement. It took only a couple minutes with a seam ripper to get rid of the red thread. I also bought a pair of okay-but-not-perfect replica patches to sew on the shirt and a pair of comfortable black combat boots in my size. The boots were the most expensive part of my cosplay, thus far. The last thing I want at any convention is sore feet or blisters.

My next big convention is likely to be Comic-Con in July. I am still contemplating Gateway, but work commitments mean I would only be able to attend Saturday and Sunday. It will involve a lot of red-eye flights, if I do it. Comic-Con in San Diego is all squared away, though. I have been going to Comic-Con for years and absolutely love the frenetic energy of the event. Hey, I grew up in Salem, Massachusetts, where people walk around dressed like witches all the time. Comic-Con feels like home to me.

I am working on my cosplay with a ready-by-Comic-Con timeframe in mind. I wore my BDUs as they were to Wondercon. I am not terribly tall, though, and both shirt and pants are very long on me. I plan to take about 6 inches off the legs of the pants and also take up the sleeves of the shirt by about the same amount. This will involve removing the cuffs, shortening the sleeves and putting the cuffs back on. All within my capabilities. When I'm ready to have a weekend of sewing, I will photograph the whole thing to post here. I'm sure I'm not the only fan who has needed to make these alterations.

But back to the zat. Like I said, this is the next item I wanted to add. There are two different types of zat kits out there. There is the always closed model and one that opens and closes. I believe there is also a mini zat available but did not look into that option. Since I primarily want to wear my zat in a holster, I went with the less expensive, always closed, option.

I did a bit or research and found an old online post by someone else who had done the same project. I also chatted online with friends on the SG-Command cosplay forum. There is lots of great advice out there on what colors to use and how to prep your zat for painting. I combined what sounded best to me and went shopping.

My zat arrived, as zats do, in a cardboard box with a photo on the lid. Inside, the resin-molded replica was in two pieces: the main body and the top fin, along with a sheet of instructions. The zat is much heavier than I thought it would be. I was expecting it to be hollow, but it is actually solid resin. You can see from the photos at the end of this post that it had some rough edges and mould marks. Now, I am sure I will be scolded by someone, but when I was getting my theatre degree, I was taught to sand everything prior to painting. Paint adheres better to a surface that is slightly rough. I used a heavier sandpaper to gently knock down the mould marks and smooth the seams. Then I lightly rubbed the entire surface with a very fine sandpaper. This was just to take the shine off so the paint will stick better. Be very careful not to take the details off of your zat if you decide to use my technique!

The next step was to wash the zat with a little liquid dish soap and warm water. This removed any oil and all of the grit I created sanding. I let the zat dry overnight before continuing work the next day. Some people I have talked to recommend filling any holes in the zat's surface with putty or something similar prior to painting. I like Mouldable Glue for patching holes in resin. It is easy to work with and dries to a similar hardness to resin. Most of the pits in mine are going to end up under the fin where they won't show, so I did not bother with this step. I went right to spraying it with a basecoat of grey paint with primer included. Be careful when you spray paint not to put too much paint on at once. You don't want to end up with visible drip marks when your zat dries. If you do over-paint, this is not a complete tragedy. You can sand down the drip marks and touch up the paint with a brush or Q-tip. I painted one side of both the fin and the body of the zat, let them dry for an hour and then flipped them over to spray the other side of each.

My next step was to attach the fin. Since I'm going to be hauling it around conventions for what I hope will be years to come, I chose to drill a hole through both the fin and body with my dremel and used a long thin screw to secure the fin. I put Super Glue on the underside of the fin before tightening the screw all the way. There is a variety of Super Glue that doesn't dry immediately. I prefer this kind. You can reposition something if needed and it washed off of hands more easily. I always get glue on my hands! As you can see, I chose to countersink the head of the screw. I then filled the hole and covered over the screw head with Mouldable Glue and let it harden before touching up the base paint. This makes my reinforcement more or less invisible to anyone who isn't looking for it.

Now my zat was ready to be made pretty. I bought a metallic bronze-colored paint as the main color of the body. The best way to apply paint to anything is in thin coats that you let dry in between. It takes patience, but always looks best. Also, make sure you always shake or stir any paint before you use it in case it has separated while sitting on a shelf at the store. I painted one side of the zat, waited for it to dry, and then flipped the zat over and painted the other side. Then I repeated until I was happy with the color. It was a rainy day, so the drying between coats of paint took a while. To keep the paint I put on my palette from drying out between coats, I covered the whole palette with plastic wrap, also known as cling film. I also rinsed my brushes off with warm water between coats of paint. I used inexpensive brushes with reasonably stiff nylon bristles.  Despite being cheap, the quality of them isn't bad. I am sure I will find more uses for them in the near future, so I took the time to care for them properly.

With the body of the zat all painted it was time to highlight the details. I got some patina colored paint for this. I also got a pearlescent purple for the feathery looking bit at the bottom of the handle. I used a small brush for the purple and again did several thin coats waiting between each. I then used both a very thin nylon brush for the line-details and some q-tips to smudge the patina color around and get a more realistic oxidized look. I also did a little touch-up after that on some of the bronze areas to soften the detail lines a bit where I got a little carried away with the oxide paint. I plan to let the whole zat dry overnight and then spray it with a coat of clear, matt finish, paint. This will help prevent the decorative coat from getting damaged.

Including the day I went to the craft store for supplies, this project took me parts of four different days to complete. I'm sure you could do it in less time if you wanted to. I really enjoy a good craft project, though, and wasn't in any rush.

Below, you can see photos of each step of the project. If you have any questions about what I did, or why, you can reach me at GateGabber@GateGab.com.

You can find this kit in a number of different places on the Web. Amazon.com and eBay both had them as of this writing.

The zat comes in two pieces. It was slightly oily to the touch from the molding process.

At first glance it looks pretty good.

But closer inspection showed lots of little flaws that needed to be sanded off.

You can clearly see a raised line of resin where the two sides of the mould fit together.

The underside of the fin was rough, too. As it was, the zat would not have fit together tightly enough to be glued securely.

The top of the zat's body was the roughest area. You can also see some small pits where there were air bubbles in the resin. I didn't try to fill these since they were going to end up underneath the fin.

Time for sanding! I used the heaviest grit sandpaper in the multi-pack I bought to remove the mould lines and the roughest areas so the fin would fit tightly against the body.

I used the finest grit sandpaper to roughen the entire surface of the zat. Paint adheres better to a rough surface. Just be careful not to sand out the detail on the zat! Having finished painting, I feel like I could have sanded it a bit more than I did. There are areas of the zat that looked smooth until they were painted.

Sanding made the zat very gritty. A nice warm bath in soapy water was in order.

All washed and ready for a base coat of primer. Be sure you wash off all of the soap. Paint won't stick if your zat is soapy.

If I paint another zat in the future, I will get a very small file to clean up the detail lines with. You can see there are some small raised bubbles in the grooves.
 
This is the type of paint I used as a primer coat.

I like to put a garbage bag under objects I am painting. I can turn the dirty bag inside-out and throw it away to get rid of my mess.

Still wet from the primer coat.

Once the zat had it's base coat, I lined up the fin on the top of the zat and used my dremel to drill a hole through both pieces. Use a drill bit that is slightly smaller than the screw you plan to use. Also make sure your screw is long enough to go through both pieces!

Installing the screw.

You can see that I countersunk the head of the screw. This means I screwed it in until it was below the surface of the zat.

The next step was to fill the hole around the head of the screw with Mouldable Glue. I smoothed it off level with the surface of the zat with the handle of one of my paint brushes.
A dab of primer over the spot of Mouldable Glue, once it had hardened, and you couldn't tell that I had drilled a hole in my zat.

Now the fun part. Shiny paint!

You can see I covered my palette with plastic wrap in between applying thin layers of paint. I also washed my brush each time I stopped to wait for a coat of paint to dry. Washing brushes while the paint is still wet is the best way to make them last.

Bronze done. Ready for purple.

If you smudge the paint, like I did in places, you can use a Q-tip to wipe the smudge off if the paint is still wet. This is part of the reason why I let each coat of paint dry completely before starting the next.

The green patina paint looked way too bright when it was wet. It looked better after it dried.

I'm a bit of a messy painter. I went back later with a bit of the bronze paint on a Q-tip and touched up all the places I smudged my lines.

Now it just needs a clear coat of sealer.