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 Message
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com
 Subject: Babylon 5 Scripts Site Nearly Ready, And More!
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 10/21/2005 6:39:14 AM  

Message 1 in thread 

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First, an advance word to those who are looking on...as noted here
earlier, all of the B5 scripts that I wrote are going to be published
in book form via www.babylon5scripts.com (a clever and inventive
title), and I just had it confirmed to me that the site will be going
on line right around the 28th of this month, give or take a day or so.

There will be 14 volumes, containing all the episodic scripts that I
wrote, plus "In the Beginning" (in the 14th) and in volume 1 the
ORIGINAL 1989 version of "The Gathering" that was used to sell the show
but which was massively changed prior to production, which features
different characters and gave Kosh a life-mate named Velana.

The 15th volume will be given without charge to those who pick up all
14 volumes...even the shipping charges will be covered. That volume
will contain the lost Soul Hunter script (well, not lost, I recalled it
because I'd unwittingly written a Star Trek style script instead of a
B5 style script), a never-before-seen draft of Midnight on the Firing
Line written a YEAR before we got the go-ahead for the series to show
WB how the series would work, which is *massively* different (and a bit
more surreal) from what was filmed...the original B5 series bible...the
5 year arc overview given to WB before we started filming season one to
show how the series would work (and which followed Sinclair's character
all through those five years on B5)...and the script used in the
now-famous (or infamous) practical joke played on Andreas and Peter
which had G'Kar changing genders and ending up in bed with Londo.

Each volume also has an original introduction from me, and a lengthy
discussion of each episode, averaging about 40 pages per book, with a
lot of behind the scenes information never revealed before, along with
what went into the writing and producing.

There will also be a collection of B&W photos from my private
collection taken behind the scenes, which have never been seen by
anyone before. (Some books will have more photos than others,
depending on how often I made it to set that week.)

As noted before, for the first week or so after each new volume is
released, they'll be knocking ten bucks off the price of each volume to
reward the B5 community for keeping an eye on this. And yes, they do
ship internationally.

Moving on to other topics for a moment....

The same week, the 26th, will also see the publcation of issue one of
"The Book of Lost Souls," the new comic I'm doing with Colleen Doran,
and published by Marvel. This book is not like anything I've ever
written before (the closest would be Midnight Nation), and it's
definitely not like anything else Marvel is doing, and it's just
gorgeous to look at (and not bad to read, either). No spandex, no
costumes...a kind of modern dark fantasy, very adult, sometimes very
dark but ultimately hopeful...and best of all, it has a talking cat
named Mystery who is modeled after Buddy the Miracle Cat, so really,
how can you go wrong?

Finally...and I almost hate to type these words for fear of jinxing
anything...but in addition to the network project in development, I've
been offered show-runner on another series which should, if all goes
according to plan start shooting up in Vancouver in the spring. That's
all I can say about it for now, except that I've accepted the offer and
we're now concluding negotiations. More on this as it develops.

jms

(message content (c) 2005
Synthetic Worlds, Ltd.
Reprint permission specifically
denied to SFX magazine)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com
 Subject: Re: Babylon 5 Scripts Site Nearly Ready, And More!
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 10/21/2005 8:17:36 PM  

Message 2 in thread 

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Jan wrote:
>
>
> This is where I always get confused. At what point of 'in development' would
> the offer to be show-runner happen? From the outside, it seems like there's
> still a good chance that the show in question still won't happen. How tied up
> are you once you've accepted an offer like that? You've mentioned before that
> 'in development' is a long process, but are we talking a matter of months or a
> couple of years?
>

I think the point of confusion is that there are two shows here, one
that's in development for next year, which I created, and the other is
a series wherein the people doing it came to me about running it. This
was similar to the Global Frequency situation last year, which I
would've worked on had the pilot been picked up. In this case, the
folks involved are already doing one series, for which this would be a
companion series, and 99% of the financing is now in place. Should
that last 1% go as planned, the series would prep in January and shoot
starting in March.

> I know, too many questions. I guess what I'm asking for is a 'primer' on How
> Things Work. When you've got a minute, that is...<g>

We learn by doing.

jms
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com
 Subject: Re: Babylon 5 Scripts Site Nearly Ready, And More!
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 10/21/2005 8:20:09 PM  

Message 3 in thread 

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Methuselah Jones wrote:

>
> Well, perhaps this indirectly answers a question which has so far gone
> unanswered. If the volumes are not being released all at once, then
> presumably those who buy them one at a time will still be able to get the
> bonus volume, unless the publisher wants people to wait until they're all
> released before buying, which of course is not likely.

Yes, they will be released one volume at a time, every two or three
weeks. The 15th volume will not be available until after volume 14 has
been put out there. This creates a level playing field between those
who can only pick up one book at a time, and those who'd dive in and
get them all at once.

> Perhaps each volume will be accompanied by a proof-of-purchase
> certificate.
>

That's very close to what they have in mind...this will all be made
clearer once the site goes up.

jms
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com
 Subject: Re: Babylon 5 Scripts Site Nearly Ready, And More!
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 10/21/2005 8:20:36 PM  

Message 4 in thread 

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Trish Crowther wrote:
> Do you have any idea what the shipping charges will be (I'm
> particularly interested in shipping cost to Australia) or will we have
> to wait till the site's got the details to find out?
>

Offhand, I don't know, but it should be pretty standard.

jms
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com
 Subject: Re: Babylon 5 Scripts Site Nearly Ready, And More!
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 10/22/2005 3:07:45 AM  

Message 5 in thread 

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Well, this is cool....

I've been going through my archives for graphics and other stuff we can
use in the B5 script books, and I saw two directories named MEMOS. So
I went into the directory and found literally hundreds of memos that
I'd written during the course of producing and writing B5...from the
first presentation up through Crusade. We've already put the first two
volumes of the script books to bed, but they can certainly be quoted
starting with volume 3 and thereafter, and I may pop some of the most
formative memos concerning season one and the Gathering into volume 15.


The cool thing is that there's stuff in there that I'd competely
forgotten...the list of other actors I put forth for Captain Sheridan,
a new regular character I'd wanted to insert starting with season two
but didn't have the funds for, early discussions about Minbari
culture...it's pretty nifty stuff.

So there's an extra starting with volume 3...quotes and excerpts from
the memos that flew back and forth that led to the design of the B5
universe and the behind-the-scenes production world.

Now I'm going back to read some more of this stuff...boy, talk about a
flashback....

jms
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com
 Subject: Re: Babylon 5 Scripts Site Nearly Ready, And More!
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 10/22/2005 7:17:57 PM  

Message 6 in thread 

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Jan wrote:

>
> I know we've been asking you for all sorts of things to add to the books but
> here's one more...didn't you once say that you'd worked out and written down the
> history and principles of Foundationism and had thought about releasing it?
> These books might be a good place for it?
>

Still debating it...if we do release the Foundation text, it would be
as a separate thing, because even though it was kind of the background
or...well... foundation for much of the philosophy of B5, it's still
its own separate thing, and I would want to keep the show apart from
that.

> Funny...I was just looking around the JMSNews.com archive to try to find the
> post about Foundationism and couldn't locate it. What I *did* find was a post
> from 1998 saying that the first Foundationist meeting would be July 17, 2005.
> Hmmmm...wonder how attendance was.
>

There was cake, and me and Buddy had great fun.

jms
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com
 Subject: Re: Babylon 5 Scripts Site Nearly Ready, And More!
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 10/23/2005 11:36:28 PM  

Message 7 in thread 

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Rob Perkins wrote:
> jmsatb5@aol.com wrote:
>
> > Still debating it...if we do release the Foundation text, it would be
> > as a separate thing, because even though it was kind of the background
> > or...well... foundation for much of the philosophy of B5, it's still
> > its own separate thing, and I would want to keep the show apart from
> > that.
>
> Careful you don't get elroned.
>
> Rob

Which is one of the reasons I've debated this for so long (and the
debate is still continuing).

jms
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com
 Subject: Re: Babylon 5 Scripts Site Nearly Ready, And More!
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 10/25/2005 1:14:36 AM  

Message 8 in thread 

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BTW, in reply to a bunch of private emails I've gotten from folks like
gdeste@comcast.net asking about shipping charges on orders locally and
overseas...I sent an email to inquire, and the fees for shipping are as
low as $4 for US, as low as $6 for Canada, and as low as $7 everywhere
else (depending on how fast one wants it to arrive).

jms
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com
 Subject: Re: Babylon 5 Scripts Site Nearly Ready, And More!
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 10/25/2005 6:18:09 PM  

Message 9 in thread 

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KoshN wrote:
> Ever consider writing the rest of the Crusade scripts and publishing
> them this way, maybe one season per book? You could even make Season 1
> the way you'd like to have done it (minus the TNT notes), *or* if
> that's too much work, just finish Season 1 using the 13 existing
> episodes as-is. The latter would only require 9 or 10 additional
> scripts (3 of which are already done, assuming you can get Fiona's
> "Value Judgements" into the set).
>
> That way, you can get around TNT and WB, and tell the story the way you
> want to tell it, and we fans can get the story and imagine it based
> upon what we got to see in the Crusade (i.e. visualizing those
> characters). It'd be almost as good as having it on TV.
>
> Hey, it's a way for you to tell the story, and a way for us fans to
> read it, and they can't stop you from selling your scripts, right?

Actually, they could...writing new material would require a license
from WB. Existing scripts are a different matter. Also, I wouldn't
write scripts unless I knew they were going to be produced, otherwise
there's no point to the script format, prose is better for that...but
again, that would require a license, and I don't think WB would go with
that.

BTW, I mis-spoke myself in an earlier note...I meant to say that volume
15 has the alternate "Sky Full of Stars" script, not "Midnight on the
Firing Line." I had a senior moment....

jms
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com
 Subject: Re: Babylon 5 Scripts Site Nearly Ready, And More!
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 10/26/2005 2:38:59 AM  

Message 10 in thread 

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Okay, though we're right down to the wire, I managed to get seven of
the most crucial memos into the first volume of script books...the ones
that define the B5 universe in terms of casting, sets, CGI, the
background of the various races, prosthetics, directing, wardrobe,
ranks and so on. These are the actual memos written at the time, which
had the problem of a) creating the universe as we first find it, b)
setting up stuff for years down the road, while c) keeping some
information secret for fears it would leak.

It's pretty compelling stuff, to be honest...I'd forgotten about a lot
of it, and the sense of immediacy and the show being created as we went
is pretty cool.

jms
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com
 Subject: Re: Babylon 5 Scripts Site Nearly Ready, And More!
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 10/27/2005 7:26:20 PM  

Message 11 in thread 

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The process has really been an interesting one...this was originally going to be just a chance to publish the scripts and get them all out there, but it's grown much past that. I don't think there has ever been this detailed an examination of the making of the show from the inside before, as brought out now through the general introductions and episodic discussions in the books. There's stuff in here nobody's ever heard about before, all the real behind-the-scenes stuff.

I'm now three books into this thing, and the volume one intro is now almost 14,000 words in length, volume two is over 15,000 words, and the intro I'm currently writing to volume three is already at 13,000 words and I'm still only about two-thirds through the darned thing. Given that the average book is 80K to 100K in length, by the time I'm finished writing intros for all these books there will be almost enough for two volumes just on the making of B5.

I'd always originally intended to one day write the Making of B5 as its own book...but now it looks like I'm close to writing that book now, on the installment plan....

jms
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com
 Subject: Re: Babylon 5 Scripts Site Nearly Ready, And More!
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 10/28/2005 12:24:35 AM  

Message 12 in thread 

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Keith Jones wrote:
> I'm guessing I'm going to have to ditch my silly theory that Sinclair
> was always going to go back with Babylon-4.
>


Actually, that question has a far more interesting answer than you
might suspect....

jms
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com
 Subject: Re: Babylon 5 Scripts Site Nearly Ready, And More!
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 10/29/2005 5:18:55 PM  

Message 13 in thread 

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Cornholio wrote:
> I really do not want to sound greedy, but... what happened with the
> production draft for "The Gathering"? Wasn't it supposed to be included
> in the 15th volume too? Did you simply forget to mention it, or was it
> dropped to include something else?
>

It's there, I simply forgot to mention it.

> And wasn't the S1-script included in the 15th volume supposed to be
> "And the sky, full of stars"?
>

Yeah, another brain-glitch.

> Anyway, great news, I'm really looking forward to it, and I think it's
> really great that the publisher will even SHIP the 15th volume for
> free. Can't wait until the site goes online and I'm able to order the
> first volume.
>

I'm told it may all go on-line later tonight at some point.

The full length on the first book has just continued to balloon, it's
now about 454 pages all in, with about 52 pages of intro, 28 pages of
memos that were written before, during and after "The Gathering" that
establish the rules of the B5 universe, costumes, prosthetics, set
design, the history of various alien races, production elements, CGI,
on and on, and a clutch of photos on top of that.

The first few volumes are more writing-oriented, I wasn't planning on
this being a real Making Of series of books, but that's what they're
turning into, so I've given into it and we start getting even more real
hard-core "making of" stuff starting with the third book. As it is,
there's lots of stuff in the first volume alone on production, casting
(the other choices we were considering for Sheridan, for instance), my
initial casting notes on The Gathering, who my prototypes were, how the
show was sold, the reason Lyta was in "The Gathering" but not the first
couple of seasons, the day B5 almost died...it's crammed with
behind-the-scenes stuff.

Interestingly, in my memos, I discovered the premise-notes that I gave
to WB at the start of the first few seasons. I told them that I don't
do outlines, but they still wanted some sense of what the stories would
be, so I'd write out about eight or nine stories for them in one- or
two-paragraph form, and some of those were never written into full
episodes, so it's been fun to read these lost (if rather short) B5
stories (which will be included starting around volume 3).

This is going to be pretty much THE definitive story of the making of
B5, told from the inside, with all the stuff nobody's ever heard
before.

jms
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com
 Subject: Re: Babylon 5 Scripts Site Nearly Ready, And More!
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 10/29/2005 5:30:37 PM  

Message 14 in thread 

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Stefan wrote:
> Concerning completely forgotten stories...
>
> You wrote in a rastb5m posting (09-08-2000):
>
> "When Claudia left, I roundfiled (trashed) the few scripts I had been
> working on with her character because they could not be used. They
> were first and in some cases second drafts, or partial scripts."
>

Not thus far, no...I've come across a few script fragments that I
started and abandoned ("Festival!" which I think is about halfway
written, before being totally set aside and reworked as "The Parliament
of Dreams"), and a couple of others, but thus far not the fifty season
stuff, which I think I actually may have erased, given how upset I was
at the time. But I'm still going through it all...there's just
hundreds of memos, mostly private or of no real outside interest, but a
lot of them have some pretty cool stuff.

In terms of the premises written, I found the original premises for
"The Long Night of Susan Ivanova," "The Commander's Hour," and a bunch
of others, as well as the Season 5 Christmas letter I sent to the crew,
which I'd forgotten about but is very moving, as well as the letter
sent to all of the cast and crew when the script for "Sleeping in
Light" came out, which spells out our options for the future...if there
were to be one.

There's also stuff in the memos and in my intros about characters we
were going to introduce in the series but ultimately couldn't fit in,
including an ISN reporter I wanted to embed on B5 full time...the
mysterious Mr. Jones...others.

As far as the script fragments are concerned, though, I'm not sure if
they're worth including or not, except as oddities...still thinking
about that one. At this point I'm inclined to leave them out.

jms
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com
 Subject: Re: Babylon 5 Scripts Site Nearly Ready, And More!
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 10/29/2005 5:33:06 PM  

Message 15 in thread 

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That should be FIFTH season, not FIFTY season. That would've killed me
for sure.

jms
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com
 Subject: Re: Babylon 5 Scripts Site Nearly Ready, And More!
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 10/29/2005 6:49:19 PM  

Message 16 in thread 

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Jan wrote:
> >
> Wasn't there supposed to be an environment tech at one point?

I think so...haven't come across that yet.

> And is that Mr. Jones the same sort as we met in Crusade?
>

Oh, no...very, very different kind of person...more in the mold of Mr.
Morden, but much darker.

jms
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com
 Subject: Re: Babylon 5 Scripts Site Nearly Ready, And More!
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 10/30/2005 12:02:22 AM  

Message 17 in thread 

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Wendy of NJ wrote:
> >I'm told it may all go on-line later tonight at some point.
>
> Not yet :-/
>
>

It's up now!!!

jms
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com
 Subject: Re: Babylon 5 Scripts Site Nearly Ready, And More!
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 10/30/2005 1:09:37 AM  

Message 18 in thread 

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I got an email saying that about 80% of the notifications went through,
others hit walls of one sort or another. They may go ahead and re-send
the things.

jms
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com
 Subject: Re: Babylon 5 Scripts Site Nearly Ready, And More!
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 10/30/2005 4:38:02 PM  

Message 19 in thread 

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Wendy of NJ wrote:

>
> I've already ordered the first book, BTW. But I didn't recieve a
> notification email. (Maybe it was me that made the server crash? I
> used to have a reputation for "breaking" software...) I guess I'll
> just sign up again...
>

Not necessary...everyone's email who signed up the fisrt time is
already on file. They may go to a different service company to send
out new updates and re-send the first batch.

One other note from the scripts team doing this...they're sending out
personalized responses to every email they receive with a question via
the feedback window. But as part of that, they've asked me to let
folks on AOL know to check their spam filters in case the responses get
stuck there (as some have).

jms
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com
 Subject: Re: Babylon 5 Scripts Site Nearly Ready, And More!
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 10/30/2005 11:54:03 PM  

Message 20 in thread 

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jmsatb5@aol.com wrote:
>
> I'm now three books into this thing, and the volume one intro is now
> almost 14,000 words in length, volume two is over 15,000 words, and the
> intro I'm currently writing to volume three is already at 13,000 words
> and I'm still only about two-thirds through the darned thing. Given
> that the average book is 80K to 100K in length, by the time I'm
> finished writing intros for all these books there will be almost enough
> for two volumes just on the making of B5.
>

Just finished the volume 3 intro...it's almost 19,000 words.
Fortunately, 14,723 of them are "wubble."

This is getting completely out of control....

jms

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