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 Message
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com
 Subject: Re: JMS will be writing ABC's "Masters of Science Fiction" series
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 4/7/2006 6:23:10 PM  

Message 1 in thread 

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Kristjan wrote:
> I hope this post goes through moderating process.
>
> As expected, JMS will be involved in ABC's anthology series "Masters of
> Science Fiction". Article only mentions him as writer, so maybe he is
> not fulltime showrunner anymore.
>
> http://www.scifi.com/scifiwire/index.php?category=0&id=35341

A few things here and in the link need to be clarified.

First...I've tried to post here a few times in the past, but it always
got bounced by the software, so I've been basically hanging fire until
it got resolved. With luck, this will get through; I'd hate to have to
retype this all over again.

I've also been up to my ears in work, of which some points follow, and
that has taken me a great deal off the beacon of late.

First, to the matter at hand...and just to get one error out of the
way...Robert Sheckle's "Watchbird" was adapted by me alone; Mike
Cassutt is adapting Varley's "Persistence of Vision." The press
release conflated the two. (I didn't know about the release until Mike
called me, chagrined, but I told him not to sweat it, errors happen.
This is now in the process of being corrected.)

The anthology is a by-invitation deal, it's just me, Mike, Harlan
Ellison, Michael Tolkin, Ray Bradbury and a couple of others who, for
whatever bizarre reason, sombody decided would constitute the scripts
half of the Masters equation (the other half being the original short
story).

Last summer, I was called into a meeting with the MoSF folks and
offered the show runner position. It would be a short order show,
maybe 6-13 episodes, to shoot in the fall. This happened at roughly
the same time that I placed a development deal for my own series with
Touchstone, which would not go to the next level until the next May.
So the timing could not have been better. I would be able to go in,
tackle this, and be done with shooting by the time development moved
ahead on the Touchstone series.

But it took MoSF longer than expected to close the deal with ABC, and
now they're going to be starting production in May, which conflicts
with the Touchstone deal. Because there are contractual limitations
regarding what you can do or develop on show B while you're working on
show A, if I did the former, it would prohibit me from the work and
meetings necessary for the latter, especially since the former is in
Vancouver and the latter is in LA. So it came down to choosing between
a short-order gig running someone else's show, and my own series, and
though it was a painful decision, I have to go with the Touchstone
deal. Everybody understands the situation, and everybody's fine with
it.

So I got the "Watchbird" script in asap, and that will be one of the
first scripts into the production pipeline as soon as they can lock
down a director. I may or may not be able to be up there for filming
because the same time as they shoot *that,* we have to do
post-production and mixing on the 20 episode radio series I'm doing for
the CBC in Toronto, and that *has* to be finished at that time in order
to be available for broadcast in the late spring/summer and it's a huge
amount of work to get done, so I may have to opt to be in Toronto
rather than Vancouver (if this keeps up I may have to change
citizenship).

Then later in May the Touchstone deal kicks in, and that will take up a
huge block of time. I've also been approached by a major director (one
of the biggest in town) who wants to go in and pitch a project of mine
at the networks for a series, and if that that goes into development
I'm going to be up to my ass in alligators for some time...all of that
on top of the comics work, of course.

I also just finished writing a screenplay (historical drama, very
serious, based on a true story) that is getting some serious heat and
name people attached to it, so we'll see where that goes as well.

Point being...with all this work on my plate of late, particularly the
TV stuff, I've been kind of off the radar screens for a while, and may
have to disappear from time to time over the course of the next few
months. But I'm around....

jms
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com
 Subject: Re: JMS will be writing ABC's "Masters of Science Fiction" series
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 4/18/2006 9:19:57 AM  

Message 2 in thread 

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profengs wrote:
> Sorry I never considered Harlan a top notch anything. Michael Tolkin and Ray
> Bardburry, much different. Wouldn't mind seeing you work more with Neil. I
> am hopeing that A, you actually get script control, B. no politically
> correct scripts and C. ABC decides to let this run more than 15 minutes
> before pulling it because of low ratings. I hope everyone remembers Twlight
> Zone, Outer Limits and Original Trek started out with low ratings.
>
> CJW
>

Your considered opinion aside, the facts are the facts, and within the
SF community Harlan is and has always been one of the best in the
business, and he has a slew of Hugo, Writers Guild, Bram Stoker and
other awards to show for it. And this coming month the Science Fiction
Writers of America are giving him the Grand Master award.

So I think you're kind of outnumbered....

jms
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com
 Subject: Re: JMS will be writing ABC's "Masters of Science Fiction" series
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 4/19/2006 3:16:45 PM  

Message 3 in thread 

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LK wrote:
> On Tue, 18 Apr 2006 16:19:57 +0000 (UTC), jmsatb5@aol.com wrote:
>
>
> >Your considered opinion aside, the facts are the facts, and within the
> >SF community Harlan is and has always been one of the best in the
> >business, and he has a slew of Hugo, Writers Guild, Bram Stoker and
> >other awards to show for it. And this coming month the Science Fiction
> >Writers of America are giving him the Grand Master award.
> >
> >So I think you're kind of outnumbered....
> >
> >jms
> >
> >
> Since Mr. Ellison was creative consultant on B5, I'm curious as to how
> that worked. What and how his input worked or influenced the show.
>
> To me he seems to be a rather large entity to be "contained" within
> the "creative consultant" title.
>

Harlan had input wherever he wanted. His job was to be a free-floating
agent of chaos, and keep me clear of the kind of glitches that
afflicted Starlost and other shows. The Ombuds was his idea, as was
the design of the Shadow planet killer.

jms

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