From: STRACZYNSKI [Joe]
Subject: Boy, I'm not sure where to start...
Date: 5/25/1994 4:40:00 PM
: List :
Boy, I'm not sure where to start on all this. So I'll take this in
Tom, I'm not sure I see what your problem is. The situation concerning
O'Hare is one that needed to be approached in a constructive fashion, not to
alarm people, and to set the record as straight as possible. Perhaps I've
sounded like I'm trying too hard to be polite. This is the only way I know
how to react. Perhaps I'm over-thinking the writing. I don't see a problem
with this; it's just who and what I am.
And sometimes I have a tendency to respond to posters in the same tone of
voice in which they address me. I probably should be better about this, but
when someone gets on and leaves an insulting or patronizing message, I fire
back. There is nothing in any agreement with GEnie in which it says I must be
a sitting target. I have never had a problem with constructive criticism --
and there's been a lot of it -- or questions of any sort. People here know
that. And I don't think I have to defend myself on that issue.
The rest of your concerns I really can't suss out from your message
(which got rather pedantic itself in places, btw; be sure your own stuff
doesn't do something before you take someone else to task on it) except that
you don't like people reacting like people.
Now to turn my attention to Wayne's message....
Wayne, I don't mean this to sound harsh. But I could give a flying f'
what your friends think. There is this small faction of SF, and of anime
fans, who simply like to rag on other shows. They sound very much like this
group who will never, ever be satisfied by anything other than the one small
narrow area which they have selected for legitimacy, and in whose relative (in
American terms) obscurity gives them some kind of cachet.
I will not revise this show to appeal to Wayne's friends, and I will most
*certainly* not doing anything as stupid (I'm simply being honest here with
you, not attacking) as using gamers dice to determine who lives or dies in a
show. I'd much rather let the *story* do that.
What your friends don't seem to grasp is that there is a quantum
difference between a live-action series and a cartoon. (Call it anime all you
want, it's still a cartoon.) You can kill off a cartoon character, and it's
not the same as killing a human character, which puts the actor out of work
(whereas a voice actor dubbing someone just takes on another character), and
more intimately violates the relationship between viewer and character. I
will admit that I have not seen as much japanese animation as I probably
should, but I have found it singularly uninvolving and the characters flat,
wrapped mainly around one or two characteristics, making them archetypes
rather than real characters.
Live action and anime/cartoons are separate forms, with very different
requirements. I've worked in both, and the differences are profound. You
might as well start comparing stage plays with movies, and complaining that
there aren't as many sets and exteriors in the stage play, and thus it can't
compete with "world theater." We're talking apples and oranges here.
You (or your friends) think that characters dying makes the show more
real. Wayne, it's *not* real. It's a TeeVee show. It's an illusion.
It's not real. And maybe your friends (who are a touch macabre) think that
dying makes a show real. Well, that's their opinion, and they're entitled to
it -- whacky as it sounds -- but people also live, too, in real life. Police
veterans and soldiers and ordinary folks very often live to a ripe old age.
It's also a question of what the show is *about*. This show is not about
who's going to die next. This show is about how people react to some
monumental changes around them. It's the journey and the process. Death is
a rather abrupt end to the process. Sure, you could've killed Aragon halfway
through Lord of the Rings, but frankly I think that seeing him go all the way,
and seeing his character change, and become the King, is one hell of a lot
more interesting. Dead is dead. Dead is wormfood.
Anyone can kill a character. That's the easiest, and cheapest way to
pump up false drama in a story. For me, it's more interesting to see someone
stay alive and *deal* with problems rather than just die.
They are trying to apply their own arbitrary quotas to this show that
have *nothing* to do with the story that I'm trying to tell. Personally, I
think you're *far* too worried about what your friends think.
Finally, on the ethnic casting question...same thing. You're trying to
apply geopolitical and population survey figures to telling a story. We
don't cast *anyone* based on ethnic background. We cast the best person to
walk in the room. Period. Which has led to just about every romance on the
show being between two different ethnic groups. Further, Wayne, we don't
*cast* out of the Whole World Population. We make our show in Los Angeles,
and our acting pool is drawn out of Los Angeles. And sometimes you go around
looking for an Indian actor, and you find a few good ones, but none of them
are quite right for the part. Now, do you cast someone who's wrong for the
part, or adjust the part to the best actor?
I'm a writer. I tell stories. Your friends, and by proxy you, want to
randomize, politicize, and make arbitrary how a story is done. You (and/or
they) want me to compare my show to Japanese cartoons, and try to play in
their field rather than making our own playing field.
I'm not here to compete with japanese cartoons, or live up to your
friends' notion of what is "World Television." I'm telling my story, my way.
And I encourage them to find a venue where they can tell their story their
way. But it's got nothing to do with me.
I hope this did not sound pedantic, or hostile, it's simply the reality
of the situation.