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    From: (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: Filming Episodes Out of Or
    Date: 9/30/1993 11:59:00 AM  

Message 1 in thread 

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It never ceases to astonish me how, when there's not a problem, people
insist on fabricating them....

First and foremost, every series shoots its episodes out of order to
varying degrees. Second, it is our decision to shoot 22 early because, as
I stated originally, it's going to require some considerable post
production/CGI, and the sooner that gets started, the better. Also, some
of our actors will be briefly unavailable during the holiday period, so
we're trying to shoot the episodes that use those actors earlier, so that
we can shoot the episodes that don't need those actors when they're off
on vacation, then pick up the last few that involve those actors upon
their return.

And it's not a "finale"'s not designed to tie things up, but
rather to open up a WHOLE lot of questions, kick over some tables, and
make for one hell of a cliffhanger. people get worried by the damndest things sometimes....


| This text is compiled from posts by J. Michael Straczynski on the Usenet
| group This document contains material Copyright 1993
| J. Michael Straczynski. He has given permission for his words to be
| redistributed online, as long as they are marked as being copyright JMS.
| This document, as well as other Babylon-5 related material, is available
| by anonymous FTP at
    From: (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: Filming Episodes Out of Or
    Date: 10/1/1993 1:19:00 PM  

Message 2 in thread 

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There's one thing to remember in all of these discussions; this is
something that came up very early on, when I was almost exclusively on
GEnie, and has been shown to be true over the year-plus that this dialogue
has been going on. Granted that there may be some small publicity value
to my participation in all of this; from my perspective, the chief benefit
is the exchange of information, a demonstration of respect for those who
enjoy SF media, and the goal of providing a real behind-the-scenes look at
how a show is done, for whatever help this may be to others thinking of
working in television.

Consequently, this conversation can't be reduced to puff pieces. If
and when there is a problem, you won't HAVE to hear it on a rumor, you'll
hear it first right here, from me. This happened before, during and
after the pilot's production and broadcast. When there have been hassles,
complications or other troubles, I've tried to address them head-on, and
in so doing, illuminate the process a little for those looking on.

    From: (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: Filming Episodes Out of Or
    Date: 10/2/1993 6:27:00 AM  

Message 3 in thread 

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The reason you don't generally hear about shows shooting episode 22
at number 12 is that most series don't know where they're going for the
length of their season. They're individual stories, rather than an overall
vision for a whole season at a time. That is what makes B5 different, and
what makes what would otherwise be a huge and expensive SF series
manageable from a fiscal point of view.

Because we know what stories we'll be shooting for the whole season,
it lets us budget and adjust in ways no other show really can. If we can
only make a deal with X-actor for a limited period of time because he or
she has to go off and make a movie, but we WANT X-actor because he or she
is best for the part, we can push those episodes together and write and
shoot them together for production purposes, and then air them later in
the correct story sequence. If we know we're going to be using X set --
a very big and expensive set that takes up a lot of room -- in certain
episodes, but not in others, we make it a point to try and shoot them
back to back. We're able to look ahead and match a certain kind of
story with a certain kind of director, rather than being haphazard about
it. (I.e., even though it's not written yet, we know that story 11 will
be a big action piece, and X-director is *great* on action, so we'll slot
him in for that one, and use Y-director, who's good with smaller, more
intimate stories, for episode 10.)

If we're not doing things the way you're accustomed to...then as far
as I'm concerned, we're doing our job. We're trying hard to redefine how
you do a TV series, particularly in SF, if you approach it as a novel
rather than as a series of disconnected stories.

And if I seemed to come down hard, it was to squelch this asap. I've
been on systems long enough to know how this works: person A says, "Gee,
I'm worried, this could be a problem." Then person B reads it, and passes
onto another system, "Some guy over on Internet who knows this stuff says
this could be a problem," after which it turns up on Compuserve as "Word
going around says there's a problem." And suddenly you've got ten zillion
people asking you what the problem is, what you're going to do about it,
when there IS no problem. I've seen this happen again and again. So when
I see it, I figure the best way to handle it is to just come back with the

    From: (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: Filming Episodes Out of Or
    Date: 10/2/1993 2:14:00 PM  

Message 4 in thread 

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Immune from flaming? Hardly. I've been flamed so much, if I even so
much as *touch* a Jiffy-Pop Popcorn shaker it goes off....

    From: (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: Filming Episodes Out of Or
    Date: 10/2/1993 2:21:00 PM  

Message 5 in thread 

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What you say is essentially that the actors can see
where they're going to be by season's end, it definitely colors their
performance, and adds layers of foreshadowing that aren't even scripted,
but which come out almost subliminally. It heightens things nicely, and
adds depth to the portrayals.

    From: (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: Filming Episodes Out of Or
    Date: 10/5/1993 1:58:00 PM  

Message 6 in thread 

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I honestly haven't yet heard the final PR plans for B5. The studio
was up until just a little bit ago mainly concentrating on promoting the
new fall season. They've just finished that, and are drawing a breath
before plunging into the January stuff. I hope to know more soon, though.


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