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 Message
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com
 Subject: Re: Attn: JMS Adding novel outlines to the 15th script volume.
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 10/3/2005 3:21:58 PM  

Message 1 in thread 

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NIght Marshal wrote:
> I was wondering if you still have the outlines for all the Dell Novels
> 1-9 and the three trilogies and if so would you think about adding them
> to the 15th Vol. I think it would be a great read. It would add some
> insight into why the novels came out the way they did. And it would be
> cool.
>
> Thanks much

In this case, since it impacts the work of others, and goes outside the
separation of rights provision under the WGA into foreign territory,
and it's not a script, which changes the mandate of the collection...I
don't feel it would be correct to do so. Only stuff directly relating
to the produced episodes should go in here.

jms
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com
 Subject: Re: Attn: JMS Adding novel outlines to the 15th script volume.
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 10/3/2005 9:22:18 PM  

Message 2 in thread 

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Jan wrote:
>
> In that case...how about the outline for "In the Beginning" (Or another of the
> TV movies)? 'Cause it'd be educational...'cause it's not the outlining we were
> taught in school and because it's fun to read!
>
> Jan
>

There isn't one. There aren't any for pretty much the whole of Babylon
5, at least in terms of my scripts.

I don't write outlines. Ever, if I can avoid it.

This is for one singular reason: my outlines suck. For me, the
characters aren't the characters until I'm in the script and hearing
them speaking. Otherwise it's all just moving pieces around the
plot-line. I write probably the worst outlines in the history of
really bad outlines.

So I don't write them. I tell the people I work with that I will write
the first draft as the outline for purposes of money and notes (meaning
I won't pull a "well, it's already written, so I can't change it" if
the studio has notes).

They're often a bit nervous about this initially...but very soon they
get on board with the idea. Because a script I write from an outline
is always, ALWAYS inferior to one written on the fly, because I lock
into what I thought of when I was just moving pieces around.

So I think there are a few from the very first season, but just the
most basic, shorthand kind of synopses...a page or two, just saying
what it's about and what the major themes are, not beat-by-beat.

Once they got past the anxiety of not getting outlines, I was free to
fly.

B5, Crusade, Jeremiah, on and on...I just don't write outlines. I sit
down at the computer, type FADE IN..and the rest follows. I've said it
before, I open up a window on that place and that time and just write
down what happens. I blast through to the end...type FADE OUT and out
the script goes, usually with only minor changes thereafter, usually to
accommodate production changes.

So all those scripts you have, Jan, that have FINAL DRAFT was also my
first draft and also the ONLY draft to that point...I would literally
start in on page 1 on a Monday, hit page 48 on a Tuesday or Wednesday,
hand it over to distribution...and what you have, is what came out, as
it came out.

I'm not even in the same state let alone the same ballpark, or even the
same league, or even the same *planet*...but the only time I ever heard
someone describe the creative process the way it is in my head -- for
good or ill -- was the first time I saw Amadeus. There's the part
where you see Mozart composing, and it's all just *there*...he's
writing, and it's playing in his head...he gets interrupted, he looks
up, the music stops, he talks to someone, then goes back to it...and
the music just starts playing again, every note in place. And when he
hit the end, he was done, no revisions. Again, I'm not making a
comparison, I ain't that stupid, but in terms of the *process* that's
identical to the way I work.

So in terms of outlines...there just aren't any.

jms
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com
 Subject: Re: Attn: JMS Adding novel outlines to the 15th script volume.
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 10/6/2005 12:07:26 AM  

Message 3 in thread 

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Wendy of NJ wrote:
> On Tue, 4 Oct 2005 04:22:18 +0000 (UTC), jmsatb5@aol.com wrote:
> >
>
> Be glad you're not Mozart... He was dead at 35...
>
> -Wendy

Yeah...it's the Tom Lehrer joke..."It's sobering to consider that when
Mozart was my age he'd been dead for 15 years...."

jms
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com
 Subject: Re: Attn: JMS Adding novel outlines to the 15th script volume.
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 10/7/2005 12:15:09 AM  

Message 4 in thread 

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Phil M wrote:
> >There's the part
> > where you see Mozart composing, and it's all just *there*...he's
> > writing, and it's playing in his head...he gets interrupted, he looks
> > up, the music stops, he talks to someone, then goes back to it...and
> > the music just starts playing again, every note in place.
>
> Neat. So if you were interrupted during the writing (bathroom, food,
> cats, Martian invasion, etc etc etc) you didn't loose anything? If I
> get interrupted writing a grocery list we end up not having milk that
> week because that's how my brain works. The more I stop in the middle
> of something (like writing this email!) the more I loose.
>
> Okay, this technique works for scripts, is there any variation when
> your doing short stories, novels or music or is it the same for
> everything that you create?
>
> Anyone ever tell you, "too many words?" ; - )
>

The closest I ever came to this...see, in scriptwriting these days,
where no one is supposed to have any remaining attention span, blocks
of dialogue are much to be avoided. Just a couple of sentences per
character and move on. Me, I like monologues. Always have. I like
letting the character build up a nice head of steam and rampage toward
a conclusion. Some don't like to do that. Different strokes, etc.
You're supposed to look at the page and if you see a big block of
dialogue, get rid of it.

So when I was working with Chris Carter on "The World on Fire," and
turned in my first draft, we had a script meeting. One of the first
things Chris said/did was...he looked at the script, looked at me, held
his index and thumb about three inches apart, and said, "Does that
really work for you?"

I said, "Chris, c'mon, you use what you're born with and make the best
of it."

We never discussed it again.

jms

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