TITAN NEWS: Let's start off with our usual question: "So, how's it going?"
DAVID STONE: Here? Or in the world generally?
ROBERT DIRK: David, you promised not to go there!
DAVID STONE: He asked!
TITAN NEWS: Would someone like to explain this please?
LEWIS SCHEUNERMAN: David's still upset about recent events.
TITAN NEWS: The war in Iraq? The US Presidential Election?
DAVID STONE: No! Of course not! Both Candidates got more votes than Reagan did in 1988, and that was the largest majority ever. America is fine, unfathomable in their foreign policy, but far from being a dictatorship.
TITAN NEWS: What then?
DAVID STONE: The Grand Cola Conspiracy that this company won't let me write about!
ROBERT DIRK: Let it go Dave!
DAVID STONE: Coke and Pepsi have both shrunk the size of the small pop bottles down from 600ml to 591ml without a drop in price. They BOTH did it! If that isn't a conspiracy I don't know what is!
LEWIS SCHEUNERMAN: Feel better?
DAVID STONE: Not by half!
TITAN NEWS: OK. Moving on.
LEWIS SCHEUNERMAN: I told you this was a mistake.
TITAN NEWS: Let's get to the burning question that I doubt any of our readers are aware of.
DAVID STONE: Does Gary wear a dress?
LEWIS SCHEUNERMAN: NO! No, he does not!
DAVID STONE: He might! How would you know?
ROBERT DIRK: Because they don't make dresses that large.
TITAN NEWS: This is going to be a long day...
LEWIS SCHEUNERMAN: I told you this was a mistake.
TITAN NEWS: Who is Topper?
DAVID STONE: I am.
LEWIS SCHEUNERMAN: I am.
ROBERT DIRK: I am.
LEWIS SCHEUNERMAN: Really. It's mostly me.
TITAN NEWS: Explain please.
[Lewis looks to David for permission to answer this one]
DAVID STONE: [to Lewis] Go ahead.
[Lewis looks to Robert for the same. Robert just nods]
LEWIS SCHEUNERMAN: Gary's idea was to have one persona for the on-line presence of TITAN-RAINBOW particularly in relation to Finnegan's Squad.
TITAN NEWS: So why TOPPER?
LEWIS SCHEUNERMAN: Topper is a character in Finnegan's Squad. He's the number three at Strategic Intelligence, which is a super secret branch of Information Management that's been engaged in an information war.
TITAN NEWS: What is an "Information War"?
LEWIS SCHEUNERMAN: Finnegan's Squad is set during a period of Cold War which people think of as a war without shots being fired.
ROBERT DIRK: Only that isn't true because both sides are using whatever intelligence they can gather to score points against the other side. To topple unfriendly third party governments and score cheap hits against their oppenent through third parties.
LEWIS SCHEUNERMAN: Except these guys are way more involved manipulating events.
DAVID STONE: And not just to score points against the enemy but for whatever reasons their leadership decides are important.
LEWIS SCHEUNERMAN: Like corporate espionage.
ROBERT DIRK: Or to help secure markets and line friend's pockets.
DAVID STONE: Or to just shrink the size of soda pop bottles without dropping the price so you can get more profit without telling anyone.
LEWIS SCHEUNERMAN: Ugh! Will you stop with the pop thing!
DAVID STONE: I'm just making a point here!
ROBERT DIRK: It's been made already. Move on!
TITAN NEWS: TOPPER?
ROBERT DIRK: Right.
LEWIS SCHEUNERMAN: So the idea was to have Topper be the on-line personality. When we log on to check things on the bulletin board, or answer email, whatever. We do so as Topper to reinforce this idea.
ROBERT DIRK: Most people do this anyway, on-line personalitites.
LEWIS SCHEUNERMAN: But I'm point on the webpage so I end up as Topper most often.
DAVID STONE: Mine is fact checking and putting Gary's ideas down in full sentences.
ROBERT DIRK: And I do most of the drawings.
TITAN NEWS: "Putting Gary's ideas down into full sentences?"
DAVID STONE: Gary speaks in torrents. The man has abnormally large amounts of energy.
LEWIS SCHEUNERMAN: I blame the Slurpees.
TITAN NEWS: So you're saying your lives would be less stressful if he didn't drink Slurpees?
ROBERT DIRK: We'd be out of work if he didn't drink Slurpees! The engine for the economy of this company is caffenated sugar!
DAVID STONE: Which is why some of us take the Grand Cola Conspiracy so personally.
LEWIS SCHEUNERMAN: Oh brother!
DAVID STONE: What?
TITAN NEWS: We're hearing the words "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" around here. Is it safe to say that SHUTTLEDOWN is finally finished?
LEWIS SCHEUNERMAN: Not if you want to be accurate.
ROBERT DIRK: We're still awaiting clearances and one piece of music.
DAVID STONE: The end piece.
ROBERT DIRK: Yeah. And there's always going to be little finesses that someone will want to tinker with until final lock down.
LEWIS SCHEUNERMAN: That someone being Gary.
DAVID STONE: He'll fiddle with it until it moves out the door, and then some.
TITAN NEWS: How can he fiddle with it afterwards?
LEWIS SCHEUNERMAN: "SHUTTLEDOWN: The Special Edition"!
ROBERT DIRK: "The Special Director's Edition!"
DAVID STONE: "SHUTTLEDOWN: Redux!"
TITAN NEWS: OK, that clears this next question. Who directed this piece?
DAVID STONE: Gary Davidson.
TITAN NEWS: But initial reports had Robert MacManus as the director. Was there a problem?
LEWIS SCHEUNERMAN: SHUTTLEDOWN was done in-house. No Government funding, no pre-sales. We paid for it, we own it 100%. The only way to do that was to do it with a small tight crew, between other productions, and very creatively.
TITAN NEWS: You couldn't afford a director?
DAVID STONE: Everyone around here does double duty, sometimes triple.
LEWIS SCHEUNERMAN: Gary was always going to be directing the piece. But he also wrote it and did a lot of other work on it.
ROBERT DIRK: Production design, set construction.
LEWIS SCHEUNERMAN: He dragged a group of us in here one weekend and guided us through the construction of the crashed shuttle.
DAVID STONE: That's no model! That's a full sized set and we shot inside the studio inside the very same set we shot the exteriors out on that frozen lake.
ROBERT DIRK: We would've done the interiors there but logistically that wasn't possible.
LEWIS SCHEUNERMAN: Coldest week of the year, we couldn't get the gear.
ROBERT DIRK: We would've had to redub every line of dialogue because the sound of the generator could be heard for miles.
LEWIS SCHEUNERMAN: Miles?
ROBERT DIRK: Kilometres then! You Canucks, sheesh!
LEWIS SCHEUNERMAN: Anyway... where were we?
TITAN NEWS: Gary Davidson directing instead of Robert MacManus.
DAVID STONE: May I?
[The others nod]
DAVID STONE: Gary doesn't like seeing his name in the credits too often. He created the premise, wrote the script, Executive Produced the piece and directed it.
LEWIS SCHEUNERMAN: Among other things.
DAVID STONE: A hundred other things... Credit for building the crashed shuttle is going in the credits as ANEX ASTRALNAUTICS, which is the futuristic company that builds that make of shuttle.
ROBERT DIRK: Really?
LEWIS SCHEUNERMAN: Yeah, it's in the Finnegan's Squad technical manual.
DAVID STONE: If Gary's name appeared every time it should the end credits would look a lot like that short film "BAMBI vs GODZILLA" by Marv Newland.
DAVID STONE: So he was going to list the piece as Directed by Robert MacManus, a common pseduonym for him.
LEWIS SCHEUNERMAN: No, it's actually the character he played in "SPACE ODDITY".
DAVID STONE: Right. Anyway at the end he decided to drop all the other credits for himself and so he's only listed as "Written and Directed by..."
ROBERT DIRK: Which doesn't do justic to his effort.
LEWIS SCHEUNERMAN: No but he wants the work to speak for itself.
DAVID STONE: He won't even let us talk about how much it cost.
TITAN NEWS: Why not?
LEWIS SCHEUNERMAN: Because we pulled it so far under budget that... Actually why can't we?
ROBERT DIRK: Because we don't know.
DAVID STONE: It's because if people think we could deliver every episode for that price we'd never get the financing we need.
ROBERT DIRK: Why can't we?
DAVID STONE: If we only had to do one episode a year we could probably come pretty close but the rule in production is you can have it CHEAP AND FAST; CHEAP AND GOOD; GOOD AND FAST or GOOD AND CHEAP but you can never have all three at the same time.
LEWIS SCHEUNERMAN: We could never maintain production at this level. The script was specifically written to keep the budget down. It's also a half hour story. An introductory piece.
TITAN NEWS: A prologue.
DAVID STONE: Exactly. The beauty of this is that when we air the pilot, the first episode of the series, we'll be able to do something no other series ever has.
TITAN NEWS: What's that?
LEWIS SCHEUNERMAN: We'll be able to start the first episode of the series with the words "PREVIOUSLY ON FINNEGAN'S SQUAD..."
TITAN NEWS: Very cool.
DAVID STONE: Yeah.
ROBERT DIRK: I've got to attend more meetings. I didn't know anything about that!
TITAN NEWS: So what's next? What are you working on now?
ROBERT DIRK: We're working on a dual pitch for both Finnegan's Squad as well as another series called QUICKSILVER.
DAVID STONE: A bridge series.
TITAN NEWS: Explain please?
DAVID STONE: QUICKSILVER is an idea Gary got during production of SHUTTLEDOWN. It's a very budget friendly Sci-Fi drama set on a pretty cool premise but the limitation is that it would probably only be a one-shot, one-season, 13 episode show. It would however benefit Finnegan's Squad because components built for Quicksilver would be reused for FSQ thereby limiting cost and risk of the second series.
LEWIS SCHEUNERMAN: This is in response to some production partners concerns about what they think the FSQ budget would be.
DAVID STONE: A fact we dispute and hope SHUTTLEDOWN will help shore our point!
TITAN NEWS: Well, I see we're going to have to have you guys back sometime for more of this but for now, our time is up. Thank you David, Lewis, Robert, for your time.
DAVID STONE: It was kind of fun.
LEWIS SCHEUNERMAN: More enjoyable that I thought it would be.
ROBERT DIRK: I've got to attend more meetings.