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Bridge Studios Set Visit

Fran and Martine are the organisers of the French City Con, which will take place in Paris, 29-30 November 2003, with Michael Shanks, Amanda Tapping, Christopher Judge and JR Bourne as guests.  They recently visited Vancouver, during which they were invited onto the Stargate SG-1 set.  Our sincere gratitude to Fran and Martine for sharing with Solutions their memories of this wonderful experience.

Alison for Solutions.

Day 1 :

We departed very early, each of us leaving from our home towns of Geneva and Toulouse, to meet up and travel together from Amsterdam.  We found each other as planned, but we were already quite tired as neither Martine nor I could sleep the night before in anticipation of our upcoming adventures. We were soon chatting and laughing as we were together once again.

The plane took off on time and the last but not the easiest part of our journey to Vancouver could begin. Indeed, staying seated for more than eleven hours without moving is a real feat. Sleep was out of the question, so we decided to read some French fanfiction to pass the time, confronting our thoughts on the characters, the scenarios and the credibility of the stories. The other passengers could hear us laughing out loud during the whole flight.

Despite our good mood, we were really happy when the captain finally announced that we were going to land.  Once we got through immigration and we were able to get our luggage, we had finally arrived at our destination : Vancouver.

Day 2 :

Despite the excitement of the previous day, once again we did not sleep very well.  This time it was to the time difference between Europe and Vancouver.  Our hostess had welcomed us in her little house located in one of the suburbs of Vancouver. As we had arrived during mid-week, she had to leave for work.

After a quick shower, we decided to go out and explore. Indeed, we already knew some areas of Vancouver from our first stay during the Gatecon 2001 but we still had a lot of things to discover.

We decided to have breakfast near Richmond in order to find our bearings.   We devoted the whole day to visit the city, and it is a city that we love so much.

Day 3 :

The jetlag was not easy to control and despite our efforts, our nights were still disturbed. Nothing could change our good mood, and as usual we spent most of the time laughing and joking.

We called our contact at the MGM studios to find out the details of our visit to the set, as was planned before our departure, and we agreed on a time for the visit.

Our hearts were beating really fast as one of our dreams was finally going to come true in just a few days.

We went on with our exploration of Vancouver once again and visited one of the biggest shopping malls of the city. Visiting this kind of mall is always a special experience for we Europeans, as we don’t have anything like this in our countries.

Day 4 :

The days passed slowly and we were now feeling completely at home in this city.  With each day, we had our breakfast in a new area of Vancouver and then planned what we would be going to do for the day.

On this Sunday morning we had the chance to see the Vancouver Marathon. 

This discovery was not only visual but also culinary. We had forgotten the size of the plates that they served to you in Vancouver and most of the time we had trouble finishing our meals. It also appeared that Canadians did not have a lot of vegetables except for the salads.

During our travels, we passed by the front of the studios and we tried to imagine how our visit on the set would go.

In the afternoon we went to the ocean, where we witnessed a magnificent sunset.

Day 5 :

Once again our night was relatively sleepless, but this time it was due to the excitement of going to the studios and perhaps meeting some of the actors. I was praying to see Michael and Martine wanted to see Amanda.

We began the day in a state of euphoria and in no time we were ready to go, even though we still had many hours to wait. The only way to pass the time was to laugh like two crazy people. We couldn’t stop joking and imagined the most incredible adventures in order to keep us going. I don’t think we had ever had such big smiles on our faces.

Once all our things were in the car, cameras and presents for the actors, we left for the studios. Our emotions were running high during the journey, and we couldn’t talk on our way, all our thoughts were directed to this moment. How would it be to see the Stargate?  Who would be there?  Would the sets be impressive?  So many of our questions would finally be answered, and in such a short time for us. We drew near to the MGM Studios, and not a sound could be heard from inside the car.

Once at the gate, a charming person asked us who we were going to meet and he let us enter once the formalities were completed.

We were scanning our surroundings to keep it all fixed in our minds. We checked the names on the allotted parking places, and it was strange to see such familiar names as Brad Wight, Peter DeLuise, Joe Mallozzi…

Once out of the car, we were both impressed and a little apprehensive. We found the entrance with the sign "MGM Stargate SG-1".  We went upstairs to look for our contact, but he wasn’t in his office. We met a few people while waiting for him, completely impressed to be there.  After a few minutes, he returned and warmly welcomed us.  As soon as we completed the introductions, he took us onto one of the sets, but we had to leave our cameras in his office.

In awe, we followed him, and after passing through the first door, we found ourselves in front of the Goa'uld mothership of Anubis and the exterior of what was the space ship for the episode called “Space Race” which Major Carter will fly. We walked through the Anubis space ship, trying to imagine how it would appear on screen, and then walked onto the small space ship. The first thing we saw was a big engine, or what will be passing for an engine, and a lot of people were making preparations for the shooting of a scene.

We left this set and after passing through another new door we found ourselves in the SGC; the grey hallways and the lines on the floor were a dead give-away. Suddenly, we saw the Stargate and our hearts jumped into our throats. We couldn’t say a word as they were shooting right above us, but we were really impressed by the Stargate. You cannot imagine the impression that you get when you stand in front of it: it’s huge!!!!

Unfortunately, we couldn’t stay there for long and had to follow our guide onwards, only to arrive in the control room, but we could still see the Stargate from there. We were going to take the stairs from the control room to go up to the briefing room, but had to stop as they were shooting a scene with Sam, Hammond, Daniel and an alien. It was really impressive! A big camera was in front of the briefing table filming the actors that were sitting there. Around the table there were a lot of people who did not move at all. It was really curious to see just how many people are involved for filming a scene, and to think that you will only see three or four people on the TV screen. We tried to visualise all the details in order to keep them in mind, for when we would see the episode on TV.

Photo Credit: A Solutions Source

Our guide then took us to the General’s office. After one or two minutes, Michael Shanks then appeared in front of us, a little surprised to meet us and he seemed a little shy. OH MY GOD!!!!! I think that my jaw must have hit the floor at this moment, because I am sure that I was standing there open-mouthed and eyes bulging. (Thinking back, I must have looked completely stupid!!) He was dressed with his green fatigues and a black t-shirt. He did not have his glasses! His bewitching smile left us with dry mouths. We were also joined by Don S. Davis, who came to say hello and who also began to give some advice to Michael so that he could enjoy his upcoming stay in Paris.

Amanda came with a big smile to shake our hands. (Martine’s turn to have a stupid smile on her face!) Amanda was dressed in leather pants and jacket, which suited her, we can assure you. Unfortunately we soon had to leave as they were going to shoot more scenes.

We found ourselves outside in the parking lot amongst all the caravans. We met up with the person who works in the costume department. She showed us the costumes for the main cast and we could also see the costumes for Richard, Amanda, Michael, Don and Christopher. We have seen all the different fatigues and other clothes, as well as the hats and shoes. Christopher’s shoes were just so BIG! The person who showed us everything has to keep all the costumes in good shape for the next episode. We also had the possibility to see the costumes for the extras and met one or two extras who were bringing back their costumes.

She then took us to where the Jaffa’s costumes are kept. Each costume weighed around 20 to 30 kilos, so you can imagine how hard and tiring it is to wear them. After that we went to the department where the costumes are made and we could admire all the hats that were worn by the Goa’ulds, and they were making a belt during our visit there.

To our great regret, our set visit was over and we had to leave. We were allowed to come back two days later when they were filming outside, but we already knew that we were not going to see any more actors during our time.

After a lunch in front of the Bridge Studios, we went to search for some books in Chapters, drinking iced coffee. We talked about our memorable visit to the set and how all the people we met there were so nice to us.

Day 6 :

We decided to go to Horseshoe Bay and visit the area. It was really tempting for us to catch a ferry and go to Nanaimo, but we thought it was best to wait for our next visit.

After a nice meal in front of the bay and a phone call to our families, we took the car and went to Deep Cove. It was quite a long trip (more than one hour) but so much worth it.

It is a small town that we discovered two years ago, that looks so much like the town of Blue Cove in “Murder she wrote”. It is really peaceful and we enjoyed staying there for most of the afternoon.

Day 7 :

That day found us once again in front of the studios for our second visit. Once through the entry gate, we noticed, as expected, that most of the caravans were missing.

Our guide was waiting for us with a few items for our Charity Auction, for which we thank the MGM.  Then our visit could begin.

We found ourselves back on Anubis' mothership and you will immediately notice on screen that the walls are all black. We had the surprise of meeting with Peter DeLuise, who, after greeting us, explained a few things about the Goa'uld vessel and how it worked when they were filming (the fans coming to the French City Convention will have a surprise). He also showed us a trap from which Daniel Jackson will jump during one of the episodes. We said goodbye to Peter and went to the new space ship, built for the episode “Space Race” .

Martine wanted to fly the vessel and immediately jumped on the seat in front of the instrument panel. We laughed a lot, seeing that our friendly guide was trying to clean the windows during our flight.  We left the vessel regretfully and went to admire more decors : a black panel with hieroglyphs from Anubis’ vessel, a gold one from another vessel, the M.A.L.P., the engine from the new vessel. Our guide kindly explained to us some of the details.

After having left this set, we went to the main one and found ourselves once again in front of the Stargate. Martine and I could go through the Gate but unfortunately it must have malfunctioned has we never left Earth and Martine was badly injured. I had to reanimate her with an electro shock. She hardly survived the adventure as I mistakenly shocked her ears :)

Our guide then showed us how to activate the door closing the Gate Room, but I wasn’t very good at it when I tried to do it…

We went to the control room and could play with the control panel. We were worse than kids.  Then up the stairs to the Briefing Room where once again Martine jumped on Carter’s seat (do you see a pattern here?). We could take some photos here and then we moved to General Hammond’s office.

I didn’t have the time to blink my eyes before Martine was seated at the general's desk, red phone in hand, calling a briefing with SG-1 and in the meantime we checked the next missions for our heroes.

I was admiring the glass panel with the planets on it and I could imagine the scene in the episode “Solitudes” when Daniel finally found out where Jack and Sam could be. Martine and I did not agree on the destination for the next mission.

We saw a few more decors such as the infirmary, which counts only two beds, Daniel’s office with just a desk and some books, and Sam’s lab with an electrical panel.

Photo Credit: A Solutions Source

The visit was finished too soon for us as we could have stayed there the whole day. It was so funny and we want to thank once again our guide who made this visit so lively.

After the visit, we wanted to drink something at O’Malleys but unfortunately there must have been a problem with the gate as we found ourselves in Upgrades fighting the Goa’uld's. We had to leave in a hurry and decided to go to Tollana to try to locate the last survivors and maybe find Narim amongst them. Unfortunately, we didn’t find any Tollan and after a last glance on the bench where Sam and Narim talked together in “Between two Fires”, we left.

Our next destination was Kheb to see Oma Desala and Shifu and maybe have a little chat with them. We passed some time at the monastery, enjoying the peace that seems to reign here, but we had some difficulties to see a likeness from what we remembered. Oma Desala and Shifu had already left the place so we continued our journey.

I think that we must have misdialled because suddenly we were fighting against the BIG HONKIN' BUGS from Bane.
We had to run for our life and found refuge in the building where Sam, Teal’c and Daniel received their medals during “2010”.

The Aschen must have taken the Stargate because we could not find it.  We tried to find the rings but instead of going back home, we found ourselves in front of the observatory in “1969”.  We had to fight for our lives the biggest Replicator we had ever seen before being able to reach our hostess’ home.

After so many adventures, we finally fell asleep completely exhausted.

Day 8 :

We chose that day to do some more shopping and went to MetroTown. We spent most of our afternoon there before returning home for a calm evening watching some episodes from Stargate in front of the fire.

Day 9 :

That afternoon, after a quiet morning, we got stuck on the Game Keeper’s planet and after having evaded his machines, we could admire the beautiful gardens that surround the Dome.

Later, we took a long walk along the ocean discussing about our future projects, the convention and of Vancouver. We promised ourselves to come back soon.

Day 10 :

We were really sad to leave Vancouver and our nice hostess. We had to catch our flight back. With a heavy heart we said our goodbyes to our hostess and left for Amsterdam.

We did not laugh as much during our flight back, but we were also anxious to arrive home in order to continue our preparations for the convention.

We hope to meet many of you in Paris.

Fran and Martine
French City Con

(c) Fran and Martine for Stargate SG-1 Solutions, 2003.  All rights reserved.  The text and photos may not be copied in full or in part.  You are welcome to link to this article.
(c) Additional photo credits: Stargate SG-1 Solutions, 2003, with thanks to our source.

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