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The J. Michael Straczynski Message Archive

 

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by J. Michael Straczynski (JMS).

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 Message
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: Series Renewal
      To: CIS  
    Date: 6/12/1996 6:42:00 AM  

Message 1 in thread 

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{original post had no questions}

Thanks, we're very pleased.

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: Series Renewal
      To: CIS  
    Date: 6/15/1996 10:06:00 AM  

Message 2 in thread 

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Bruno Melancon <102647.3222@compuserve.com> asks:
> BTW, did you start writing any fourth season episodes?

Yup, I'm writing the first episode now, "The Hour of the Wolf,"
and we should have 6 in hand by the start of filming.

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: Series Renewal
      To: CIS  
    Date: 6/16/1996 4:08:00 AM  

Message 3 in thread 

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Dimitri M LaBarge <71501.3353@compuserve.com> asks:
> Have you a title for this season's episodes yet?

Yes, I have titles for this season's shows, mostly, and the
overall title.

You'll get them in the fullness of time.

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: Series Renewal
      To: CIS  
    Date: 6/23/1996 3:14:00 PM  

Message 4 in thread 

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(blocked) asks:
> Have you started lining up directors yet?
> Is Adam Nimoy slated for any in season 4?

Yes, we've begun lining up directors; will announce more as we
get closer to finalizing stuff.

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: Series Renewal
      To: CIS  
    Date: 6/24/1996 5:05:00 AM  

Message 5 in thread 

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(blocked) asks:
> Will Janet Greek be back?

We'd love to have Janet back, but she apparently just adopted
an infant, and isn't sure she wants to do any work for the coming year.

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: Series Renewal
      To: CIS  
    Date: 6/26/1996 4:55:00 AM  

Message 6 in thread 

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{original post unavailable}

Yes, it's the same casting director.

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: Series Renewal
      To: CIS  
    Date: 6/26/1996 2:50:00 PM  

Message 7 in thread 

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(blocked) asks:
> As an employer, how do you hire for the show in such a way as to
> let your employees know how long they would be under your employ?
> How do the actors deal with this?

Thanks. Basically, you hire actors by the season. You hire
someone for, say, 13 episodes out of 22. That actor has a pay-or-play
*guarantee* of 13 episodes. We may only end up using him in 11, but he
gets paid for all 13 regardless. So that allows the actor to plan his
year effectively. The contract for all actors has an option for the
following year at the producer's discretion. When we get the word on
renewal, we can then choose whether or not to bring an actor back,
assuming we haven't already decided this earlier and killed the
character off.

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: Series Renewal
      To: CIS  
    Date: 6/26/1996 2:50:00 PM  

Message 8 in thread 

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Shane S. Shellenbarger <104305.3404@compuserve.com> asks:
> Joe, Putting aside your total lack of time, are you interested in
> directing?

I go back and forth on this. Basically, no, I'm not interested
in directing. On the other hand, my gut (and my agent) tells me that I
should do it at least once, just so I understand the process (a good
idea), and to add that aspect to my resume. I dunno...we'll see.

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: Series Renewal
      To: CIS  
    Date: 6/26/1996 7:19:00 PM  

Message 9 in thread 

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Michael Studte <100245.2335@compuserve.com> asks:
> Now, when do we start the campaign to get the series renewed for
> its fifth year? And is there any light on the horizon for a
> laserdisk release of the series?

Thanks. There's nothing much happening currently on videos or
disks; in the fullness of time, I suppose....

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: Series Renewal
      To: CIS  
    Date: 6/27/1996 12:51:00 PM  

Message 10 in thread 

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{original post had no questions}

Nice quote, thanks....

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: Series Renewal
      To: CIS  
    Date: 6/27/1996 5:44:00 PM  

Message 11 in thread 

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{original post unavailable}

Of course, there's a substantive difference between killing a
character to serve the plot, or because of real-world events, and
offing somebody without giving the person a fair chance.

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: Series Renewal
      To: CIS  
    Date: 6/29/1996 8:44:00 AM  

Message 12 in thread 

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(blocked) asks:
> Due to the timing of Warner Bros' decision to renew, does this
> give you enough time to assign scripts, and have those authors
> complete the job in time for filming? Or will you just take the
> first few episodes yourself? I can not even begin to understand a
> writer's creative process, but generally how long does it take
> from the time of story assignment to the time the finished script
> is submitted?

Depends on the writer. Freelance writing almost always takes
longer because they don't know, and can't be *expected* to know, the
show as well as you do if you're on staff. You can have several pitch
meetings over the course of weeks before a good story walks in (though
in the case of B5 the stories are generally assigned out by me, saving
that process); then you wait anywhere from 1-3 weeks for the outline;
you have a meeting about it; another week or so for the revised
outline; you have another meeting; then about 2-4 weeks for the first
draft script; then another meeting; then another 1-3 weeks for the
second draft. (These are *optimal* periods, sometimes it's shorter,
but usually it's longer.) And then, on a show as eccentric as B5, you
often end up rewriting large portions of it anyway. So it can take as
much as 2 months or more to produce a shootable script.

I can write a script in 7 days or less, that's ready to go
before the camera as written. Which isn't to say anything qualitative,
only to say that it's easier and faster because I'm inside the bubble.

jms

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