Further B5:TLT update from jms

 Posted on 10/12/2006 by jmsatb5@aol.com to rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated

Just a quick follow-up...I'm in Vancouver (coming back in 24 hours)
finishing up a round of final staff interviews for B5:TLT. Thus far,
we've hired two other producers, a script supervisor, a post
supervisor, the editor, a production manager, a conceptual
artist/storyboard guy, an art director/production designer, a first
assistant director, and closed several cast deals, with the rest
probably to be closed next week, at which time I may be able to say who
they are. Pending final negotiations, Chris Franke has agreed to come
on board to do the music. We're interviewing CGI houses up here to
decide which to go with. The three scripts have been completed, and
are now being storyboarded. We've narrowed down the director of
photography options to just a few last guys, and should have that
decided by week's end. We've also locked down the stage and have
started putting together our package (camera, lights, grip and

By this time next week, about 80% of our crew will be in hand, the rest
coming aboard during the start of prep.


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Re: Further B5:TLT update from jms

 Posted on 10/14/2006 by jmsatb5@aol.com to rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated

Fast follow-up....

Just got back tonight from Vancouver, and we've now nailed down/hired
nearly all of our key department heads and the Director of Photography
who I'll be working with closely during production. We spent today in
the first informal production meeting going over how we're going to
shoot this, reviewing the storyboards, determining what's going to be
green screen and what's going to be practical set...this should be a
pretty cool looking project, with some sights we haven't really seen
before as well as some more familiar sights.

What I can say about the three episodes is that we go to Mars, Minbar
and of course B5, we introduce a new kind of Minbari cruiser, and
there's a rather startling sequence on Earth. I've decided to shoot
each segment a little differently from each other, so they each have
their own visual style that complements that particular story. On
Monday the B5 team up north will be checking out the stages, and about
a week or so from now the actual B5 offices will open up and folks will
start moving in.

It's starting to feel a lot like fun.

We'll also be working with WB to put together a special reel from the
shoot that we can bring to debut at San Diego Comic Con next year.

Meanwhile, not only has the Universal feature deal noted in another
thread been finalized, so I'm writing that now, but the Paramount
feature deal has *also* been closed, so now there are two big-budget
feature screenplay assignments that I have to write, the first due by
late November/early December, the second one sometime to be delivered
shortly after the first of the year. A third assignment is kind of
nibbling around the edges which could be very cool, even though I
couldn't start writing it until I finish the other two, which means
it'd have to be spring 2007 to turn in the script if the assignment
comes in.

Finally, now that Ron has said it's okay to bring in other directors on
Changeling, there's been a small flood of a-list directors coming
around to try and pick up the assignment. Part of the attraction is
not just the script, but the acting talent involved...as noted in the
LA Times piece, Reece Witherspoon (and two other oscar-winning leading
female actors) are extremely interested in the lead role. I imagine
we'll start having meetings in the next few weeks to narrow down the
list of directors.

It's crazy-busy, but good.


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Further B5:TLT update from jms

 Posted on 10/26/2006 by jmsatb5@aol.com to rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated

Well, tomorrow I head back to LA for meetings on other projects for two
days, then it's back to Vancouver again on Sunday to continue prep. So
far everything's laying out very cleanly. We have an EFX house on
board now, which was the last big step to be undertaken. It wasn't
until the last day or so that we could really get into the CGI issues,
which are huge on these stories.

And in regard to that...the initial goal was to try and do three big
stories in one DVD. So I wrote three scripts, featuring Sheridan,
Lochley, Galen and Garibaldi. (I wanted to focus on the human
characters initially so we'd have more time for prosthetics R&D for the
next one.) The stories, as noted previously, were huge...all over the
map, from Minbar, to Earth, Mars, the future, the distant past, as well
as B5 itself obviously. We're also going to be trying some new
production technologies, again trying to stay ahead of the tech curve,
the way B5 has always stayed ahead on these things.

And over the last few days, as we began to bring on crew and lay out
the production, looking at just how complicated these mini-movies were
going to be, the idea of making three of these monsters began to become
a bit much for us to pull off on out first time out the gate,
especially since I'm still kind of new as a director. So we decided to
postpone one of the three to the next DVD, and lengthen the other two
to make up the difference. GIven that the Garibaldi story was the most
complicated visually and technically, also the most difficult from a
CGi perspective, that's the one that got pushed until, potentially,
next time.

And if the sales are anywhere near what WB expects, and I think they
will be, there's no question that there will be more of these down the
road. So we're gong to focus in on those two stories and knock them
out of the park. Same length, same running time, and now even bigger
than at first anticipated since the budget on number three will now be
applied to the other two.

Part of what we're doing is to re-think the look of B5 to some degree.
The show was created using 1993 technology, video toasters and amigas,
and was to some extent limited by the paradigms and production methods
we used in that. But it's now 13 years later, and while I will keep
the feel of the show the same, and the silhouettes and designs, there's
no reason to limit the look of the feel to what we could do six years
ago (from when we stopped). So we're going to invest a lot of time,
effort and money into really re-imagining some of the visuals at the
present level -- looking at shows like Battlestar and the like -- and
bringing those tools into B5 while still maintaining the feel of the

I also managed to work in a nice nod to Andreas and Richard in the two

So with that...the team is now in place, the last personnel have been
hired, and as soon as I get back to Vancouver, I get to take off the
producer's hat and put on the director's hat.


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