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SGU Visual Effects Guru Pitching New Sci-Fi Show

Mark Savela is hoping his new show ‘Echoes’ success


There is no commitment yet, and really not very many pitches. But former “Stargate: Universe” visual effects supervisor Mark Savela says he has a television show concept in mind that will shake up the genre community.

“Echoes” is set on Earth, one ravaged not by humans, but by a pair of warring aliens who decided that Earth was a neutral battlefield. It’s basically a story of humans picking up the pieces, a mess they didn’t even create.

“I’m interested in seeing the journey that someone goes on to become a Sarah Connor or a Ripley,” Savela recently told The Morton Report. “You want a character that an audience can identify with and root for, a little bit like an underdog and someone who the viewers can throw their support behind.”

For “Echoes,” that character is Sonya, played in a spec teaser by Jennifer Spence, who played Lisa Park in Syfy’s “Stargate: Universe.”

The series is being put together by writer and producer Ken Kabatoff, Atmosphere VFX star Andrew Karr, and Darkroom Digital Effects’ Craig VanDenBiggelaar. The concept was born at the beginning of 2011, and both Kabatoff and Savela then wrote a few scenes they were willing to shoot on spec to present the concept to the networks.

It was shot around Vancouver, British Columbia, where SGU was filmed.

“Everyone volunteered to do it, which was outstanding,” Savela said. “When we began writing the pilot, we realized that one of the characters reminded us of Mike Dopus, so we started writing specifically with him in mind.”

Dopus played Varro in SGU, and joined “Echoes” as Nolan.

The spec project also includes the talents of Lochlyn Munro, Victoria Pratt and Jarrod Joseph. Munro is a character actor who has appeared in shows like “Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda” and “Smallville.” Pratt played Shalimar Fox in the syndicated series “Mutant X” while Joseph has appeared in shows like “V” and “Fringe.”

The names don’t stop there, however. Composer Joel Goldsmith — well-known in the science-fiction genre for his music work — is creating a score for the 13-minute teaser. Other work is being done by Redlab in Toronto as well as Atmosphere VFX and Darkroom Digital.

“We’ve … been working hard behind the scenes, pitching and trying to sell the show,” Savela said. “The concept and its players have been well-received out in the market, and we hope to have more announcements very soon.”

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