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 Message
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: ATTN JMS: Script writing question...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 7/7/2000 9:09:00 AM  

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>... you are a very evil man. Evil, evil, evil...

It's my job. It pays well and I get to work my own hours.
>Question: A script like "To the Ends of the Earth" -- how long does it/did
>it
>take you to write one? (That script specifically compared to, say, your
>average writing time of B5 scripts for seasons 3 and 4.)

It kind of depends on the script, and how well I've worked it out prior to ever
sitting down at the keyboard. My average writing time for an episode is about
a week, give or take a day or two in either direction. Some I've written in as
little as one day (and, oddly, the ones written in a day tended to be my better
ones, because it all came out in a white heat and I wasn't sitting there
second-guessing myself the whole time).

In the case you cite, it was a while ago so my memory may not be wholly
accurate, but I'm *pretty* sure I wrote both those scripts in about 3-4 days
each.
>I suppose you have a pretty good feel for how long a
>43 minute episode script needs to be. Generally, how accurate are you with
>respect to the time factor now that you've done it so MANY times?

45 pages. I would always hit within a page or so of 45 pages.
>Reading both of the Crusade scripts was a real education for me, especially
>since I'd never actually read any of your writings in script format before.
>You seem to have visualized the entire episode -- camera pans, fly-bys,
>close-ups, "beats"

Yeah, I tend to direct on the page. If you watch an episode and read along
with the script, you see that shot for shot, with few exceptions, it matches.
I write what I see in my head. And I see the whole episode, filmed, before
it's ever actually, well, *filmed*. Then it's just a matter of transcription.
>I noticed you really like to use those "beats"), etc.
>(Would you define a "beat" as a dramatic pause, or is it more than that? Or,
>do you visualize different kinds of "beats" in different scenes...? Not
>exactly sure what I mean there..

A beat is just a pause, allowing for impact or emotional transition or
emphasis.

DAVID
I love you.
(beat)
Mostly.

Sometimes you can parse it a bit and say "He takes half a beat to respond," but
by that point you're getting into dicey terrain.

Sometimes actors can rush a scene through, nor not see where the emphasis of
the story is in the dialogue, so that's just kind of an arrow that points to
important stuff.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
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