JMSNews
The J. Michael Straczynski Message Archive

 

JMSNews provides an archive of messages posted
by J. Michael Straczynski (JMS).

  Home      Community Forums      Contest      Links      FAQ      About JMS     

RSS Feed  

 Search all Messages

   Sort by: 

This field searches the text of all messages in the archive.

 Message
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com
 Subject: an update from jms
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 9/12/2005 5:32:38 PM  

Message 1 in thread 

View this message only
 



iplatizky@yahoo.com wrote:
> JMS
>
> There hasn't been a full update in a little while of all things JMS. So
> how about it. Pretty please.
>
> IP

Okay, I've given it some more thought, and there are a couple of things
that I can say...but again, I have to keep some of this close to my
vest for a while in terms of details, at least in the first regard.

I've just had a treatment purchased for series development by a major
studio/network. (This is non-B5.) The cool thing is that this is for
one of the major broadcast networks and, if it ends up going ahead,
would be for a prime-time series. But I have to attach all the usual
caveats: the process is this...you write the treatment, then you write
the pilot, then if the network likes the pilot script, they produce the
pilot, and then if they like the pilot they give you the series. It's
a very, very long process and like 90% of all development deals in town
it can stop at any given point.

But I'm very pleased about it because it's a major studio, major
broadcast network, and that's terrific. More than that I absolutely
can't say because everything about the story being developed is totally
confidential.

Now, that said, there's a little something else....

For years, I've been at conventions and had fans come up with
photocopied scripts they'd purchased from script stores or dealers for
$20 a pop, many times in poor condition...with loose or missing pages,
hard to read, and thought, there has to be a better way for fans to get
these scripts without paying that much for copies that are often
inferior.

So now, at some point in October, we're going to fix this.

All 91 Babylon 5 scripts that I wrote are going to be made available
through an independent publishing firm in trade paperback form. We're
still working out the final details in terms of how to put the scripts
together, but right now the plan is to do 7 scripts per book, each
volume released every two weeks or so, at a cost of about $29 per
volume if ordered in the first week or so it comes online) or $39 per
for those who buy later. That's four bucks per script if purchased
early, about five per script if published later...which saves fans a
HUGE amount of money.

There will be 14 volumes in all, each again containing 7 scripts AND
newly written introductions and commentaries about each episode that
are thus far averaging about 30 pages per book, telling some of the
behind-the-scenes stories that have never been told before (and some
that have), talking about the writing process, how the arc was created
and maintained, anectodes about cast and crew, what went into the
stories...enough so that at the end, at 30 pages over 14 volumes you
get about 420 pages of new material on the making of B5...a book unto
itself.

On top of THAT...some of the books will contain rare b&w photos from my
own personal archives, taken by me on set, which have never before been
seen by anyone else.

The very first book will have the Gathering script, plus 5 additional
scripts (to make up the 7 hours of material) BUT...and this is the cool
part...the script of the Gathering included in this volume will be one
that has NEVER BEEN OFFICIALLY RELEASED BEFORE.

See, when we went to sell Babylon 5, I wrote a pilot screenplay to take
around. When we made the deal, the notes process began...and the
script went through considerable changes. But this is the ORIGINAL
draft, the one only seen by the studio and the other producers on the
show.

What's different? How about Garibaldi trying to get hold of his dying
father back on Mars...how about a shape-shifter instead of a Minbari
assassin with a changeling net...Londo as a part-time pick-pocket...Dr.
Chakri Mendak instead of Dr. Kyle...new scenes between Lyta and Laurel,
Delenn and others that were later cut...a LOT more character scenes
with Sinclair and Garibaldi...a discovery about Delenn's lifestone and
what that means to the Minbari...where Sinclair is NOT put on trial,
but finds a whole different and more interesting way to solve the
mystery of Kosh's assailant...and the introduction of Kosh's life-mate,
Velana, who plays a very important role in the script. (Didn't know
Vorlons had life-mates, did you?)

This script is HUGELY different from the one we filmed -- funnier in
places, with more character moments -- and it has been kept under lock
and key all this time. Now, for the first time, it will be officially
released in the first volume of this set.

And here's the coolest part...as a gift for the fans...a FIFTEENTH
volume will be given FREE to those who pick up the other 14. And what
is IN this 15th volume, you ask?

Remember the lost script for "Soul Hunter," of which only 5 copies
existed before I pulled them back, destroyed all but one copy for my
files, and wrote a brand new script to replace it...all because it felt
too much like a Star Trek script? Well, THAT one is in the free
fifteenth volume. It also features a comic sub-plot concerning B5
being audited.

As if THAT wasn't cool enough...nearly a YEAR before we began writing
episode scripts, before we HAD the series commitment, WB wanted to see
what a typical episode might look like. So I wrote a draft of "And the
Sky, Full of Stars," one of our most important episodes, that is
massively different from what we would later produce...including
fantasy sequences with Knight Two as the proprieter of a dark carnival
of sorts.

It will also contain the Babylon 5 writers bible...the production draft
of "The Gathering" as a companion to the original draft offered in
volume one...and something very special.

For over ten years, fans have asked "What would Babylon 5 have been
like had Sinclair stayed?" Well, that question will be answered in
this volume.

After we finished the movie, but before we got the series going, WB
asked to see a breakdown on this five-year arc thingie. So I wrote a
six or seven page, single spaced outline of the ENTIRE FIVE YEARS with
Sinclair still in place. The document makes for fascinating reading
when compared with the series as it developed. NOT ONLY THAT, but the
same document has a brief outline for A POTENTIAL BABYLON 5 SEQUEL
SERIES, which would have been entitled BABYLON PRIME.

Again, that's what will go out FREE OF CHARGE to those who pick up the
full set. While obviously all these volumes can be purchased a la
carte for those who don't want all the script, this fifteenth volume
will ONLY be sent out free, it cannot be purchased directly.

So for roughly a quarter of what fans would spend to buy the scripts
individually from dealers, which are often poorly photocopied or
otherwise in bad shape, you get uniform trade (large-ish) very handsome
paperback editions, WITH the introductions, photos, and the bonus book.

(Doing the math more specifically...to purchase all the scripts one at
a time would cost nearly $2,000. Here, if copies are purchased as the
script books first come online, the full set would cost around $420; if
purchased after the discount period, we're talking about $560...which
is, again, for 15 volumes counting the free one, amounting to nearly
FIVE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED PAGES OF MATERIAL.)

I'll post another message when they officially go online at
babylon5scripts.com but in the interim...know that they are coming.

jms
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com
 Subject: Re: an update from jms
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 9/12/2005 7:51:16 PM  

Message 2 in thread 

View this message only
 



Amy Guskin wrote:

>
> I notice that the only main series character in The Gathering but not
> mentioned in this list is G'Kar. Is that because nothing changed in G'Kar's
> storyline?
>

There are some differences there as well, but not as significant (he
goes to Delenn in part because he thinks the assassin may be after him
as well).

jms
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com
 Subject: Re: an update from jms
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 9/12/2005 8:22:02 PM  

Message 3 in thread 

View this message only
 



Andrew Swallow wrote:
> jmsatb5@aol.com wrote:
> [snip]
> >
> > The very first book will have the Gathering script, plus 5 additional
> > scripts (to make up the 7 hours of material) BUT...and this is the cool
> > part...the script of the Gathering included in this volume will be one
> > that has NEVER BEEN OFFICIALLY RELEASED BEFORE.
> >
> > See, when we went to sell Babylon 5, I wrote a pilot screenplay to take
> > around. When we made the deal, the notes process began...and the
> > script went through considerable changes. But this is the ORIGINAL
> > draft, the one only seen by the studio and the other producers on the
> > show.
> >
> > What's different? How about Garibaldi trying to get hold of his dying
> > father back on Mars...how about a shape-shifter instead of a Minbari
> > assassin with a changeling net...Londo as a part-time pick-pocket...Dr.
> > Chakri Mendak instead of Dr. Kyle...new scenes between Lyta and Laurel,
> > Delenn and others that were later cut...a LOT more character scenes
> > with Sinclair and Garibaldi...a discovery about Delenn's lifestone and
> > what that means to the Minbari...where Sinclair is NOT put on trial,
> > but finds a whole different and more interesting way to solve the
> > mystery of Kosh's assailant...and the introduction of Kosh's life-mate,
> > Velana, who plays a very important role in the script. (Didn't know
> > Vorlons had life-mates, did you?)
> >
> > This script is HUGELY different from the one we filmed -- funnier in
> > places, with more character moments -- and it has been kept under lock
> > and key all this time. Now, for the first time, it will be officially
> > released in the first volume of this set.
>
> What are the rules about the actors doing the deleted scenes at conventions?
>

None.

One thing...just to reinforce, these are just my own scripts. Under
the WGA Separation of Rights provision, I own the copies of my own
scripts but not those of other writers. So I can only do this with my
own; going out and making separate deals with everybody else would be a
major pain in the butt just given the logistics.

jms
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com
 Subject: Re: an update from jms
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 9/12/2005 9:55:27 PM  

Message 4 in thread 

View this message only
 



Amy Guskin wrote:

>
> Oh. Yeah. Meant to ask: will you be including the version of "The Exercise
> of Vital Powers" with the, uh, alternate B-story?
>
> Amy
>

Y'know...I totally forgot about that one...I don't even know if I still
have it. Let me look around. If so, I'll drop it into the bonus book.

jms
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com
 Subject: Re: an update from jms
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 9/12/2005 10:47:45 PM  

Message 5 in thread 

View this message only
 


Found it.

jms
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com
 Subject: Re: an update from jms
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 9/13/2005 4:35:51 PM  

Message 6 in thread 

View this message only
 



Richard Pertwee wrote:
> Excellent news! Will this retailer be able to ship to those of us
> outside the US...such as the UK? I really don't want to miss out on
> this, just because I happen to live on the "wrong" side of the pond.
>
> --

Yup, as I understand it there's no problem shipping overseas.

jms
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com
 Subject: Re: an update from jms
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 9/15/2005 1:14:20 AM  

Message 7 in thread 

View this message only
 



> While we're on this subject of scripts, I apologize if this has been
> addressed before, but... Any chance of also doing the 'Crusade' scripts at
> some point, including the "Unmade" episodes a few of us were fortunate
> enough to read on the late, lamented bookshelf.com?
>

Should these first volumes go as planned, then we will look to release
more down the road, including "Crusade."

The site has now gone up, at least insofar as it now has a page there
where folks can sign in their email addresses in order to be notified
when it goes fuly online. It's both babylon5scripts.com and
b5scripts.com

It would be great if all the folks seeing this could pass along the
word to the various other websites and newsgroups where Our People are
still hanging out, to get the word out...though the funny thing is that
when the sign-up page went up for 30 seconds just for a test, 5 people
signed in within 30 seconds....

jms
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com
 Subject: Re: an update from jms
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 9/16/2005 4:33:38 PM  

Message 8 in thread 

View this message only
 



> >
> >It would be great if all the folks seeing this could pass along the
> >word to the various other websites and newsgroups where Our People are
> >still hanging out, to get the word out...though the funny thing is that
> >when the sign-up page went up for 30 seconds just for a test, 5 people
> >signed in within 30 seconds....
> >
> >jms
>
> Your people are coming...
>

And then some...the number of folks imputting their email addresses to
be notified when the site goes on line blew out the system. I received
a number of emails from folks who got error messages because the
database was full, so if anyone else has gotten that message, they'll
be fixing the system this evening so it can handle a bigger load.

Forty-eight hours in, and we blew out the system...amazing....

jms
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com
 Subject: Re: an update from jms
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 9/16/2005 6:15:19 PM  

Message 9 in thread 

View this message only
 



Jan wrote:

> After all the auditoriums filled to standing room only, all the extra signings
> and spotlights you've had to squeeze in to accomodate fans, you're still
> surprised?
>
> Curiosity's rampant as to how many it took to fill the database...care to share?
>

I don't know the figure...I know that by the end of the first day it
passed the one thousand mark, but where it cracked the mainframe beyond
that I don't yet know. Also, the main one to use for email addresses
is the babylon5scripts.com address, the b5scripts.com should not be
used for now to help their system handle it all.

The other good thing about getting folks in early is that we've
discussed internally the idea of limiting the period during which these
scripts will be available. We've talked about doing this for just one
year so that they have value as limited editions so that they can be a
real investment, vs. a two-year window, vs. an open-ended situation.
We're still backing-and-forthing on this one. We've also discussed
limiting this to a 5,000 or 10,000 print run, but I don't know if
that's practical since some will want the full set and some won't and
we might get some lopsided results. Either way, if we do go for a short
window of one sort or another, it's best to get everybody in sooner
rather than later.

(As noted, we're doing 7 scripts per book, so it starts with the
original draft of "The Gathering" plus 5 episodes, through "Mind
War"...continues cleanly until the end of the series, where there are
only 5 episodic scripts remaining, so we'll be putting in "In the
Beginning" to round it back up to 7 again.)

jms

Site © 2008 Midnight Design Productions  -  Message content © 2008 by Synthetic Worlds  -  Privacy Statement