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 Message
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: attn. JMS: A TV writing question...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 6/27/2003 8:09:00 PM  

Message 1 in thread 

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>I was wondering how TV shows do the writing/planning for the next
>season. Is the next season thought up while the current one is in
>production or do they wait until the current season is over? I've always
>wondered about that but have never seen an answer so I thought I'd
>ask...just curious.

Ninety-percent or so of all TV shows work season to season, with a general
sense of where it might go if the show should be renewed. You keep it at arm's
length for the same reason you don't name a baby seal until you know it's gonna
live.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: attn. JMS: A TV writing question...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 6/28/2003 12:02:00 AM  

Message 2 in thread 

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>Hmmm... Do I sense some sort of implied show-business metaphors here?
>Something to do with bloated carnivorous predators or savages with clubs...

Two asides to this discussion...

One, there's a really excellent article by Frank Pierson about the movie and,
by implication, the TV business, at

http://www.moviefone.com/showtimes/closesttheaters.adp?_action=setLocation
csz=91423 submit.x=14 submit.y=12

Two, there's a documentary about comics on the history channel that repeats
Sunday at 10 p.m. Pacific...apparently (I haven't seen it yet, just heard about
it) there's some nice stuff about the 9/11 issue of Amazing that I wrote, plus
a bunch of other good stuff about comics as a form.


jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: attn. JMS: A TV writing question...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 6/28/2003 12:04:00 AM  

Message 3 in thread 

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Correction to my last post: I put up the wrong link (that was my standard link
to movies playing in the LA area).

The correct link is:


http://www.delawareonline.com/newsjournal/opinion/perspective/06082003A.html

jms
jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: attn. JMS: A TV writing question...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 6/28/2003 9:29:00 PM  

Message 4 in thread 

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Okay, two JMS screwups...the comics special on the history channel is tonight,
Saturday, at 10 pst, not Sunday.


jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: attn. JMS: A TV writing question...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 6/29/2003 2:03:00 AM  

Message 5 in thread 

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>Read ASM 54 yesterday. Fun mix of philosophy ("Maybe I worry too much"),
>cynicism ("Ebay") and romance ("...keeping my heart from exploding..") all
>just
>on the first few pages. Good stuff there, thanks.

Thanks...it's just *such* a fun book to write.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: attn. JMS: A TV writing question...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 6/29/2003 2:09:00 AM  

Message 6 in thread 

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>Can anyone seriously conceive of writers or musicians deciding that they
>aren't going to write or perform any longer because the copyright won't last
>more than fifty years beyond their deaths? Writers write because it's what
>they want to do. Musicians compose and perform because they love to.
>Painters paint and sculpters sculpt, again, because it's what they want to
>do. To put the question to JMS -- Joe, would you cease your writing if the
>duration of copyright were only fifteen years, renewable once?
>

No...but you're not getting the crucial point.

Residuals, and royalties, are part of a writer's compensation for the work he
does. They're not a bonus, they're part of his (or her) compensation. It may
take a novelist five years to write a given novel. The money he earns from
that book covers the down-time between that project and the next one.

Writing is a notoriously ill-paying profession, and it is not especially
gracious on aging writers. So a writer's only chance for income past a certain
age is the royalties he's built up on prior works.

If those works become public domain after ten or fifteen years, he can no
longer make a living from those books. Will that writer stop writing when
younger because of that issue? No, of course not.

Will that writer be able to *survive* financially if the rights to public after
a while?

In most cases, the answer to that questino is no.

We're not talking corporations here, we're talkling writers who, in a lifetime,
may turn out maybe five, ten really good books, in the hope that the royalties
from those books will help to keep them alive in their golden years.

So many of those writers may have to take other jobs to survive, limiting their
ability to write, and hence their output. Or, if they cannot take othe work --
writers are notoriously poor employees -- more of them may have to survive in
serious poverty than before.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: attn. JMS: A TV writing question...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 6/30/2003 12:52:00 AM  

Message 7 in thread 

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>Does Hollywood pay writers, actors, dancers and musicians
>royalties on movies made 50 years ago? With tv, VHS cassettes
>and DVD (and replacements) the public is paying to see these
>old films again.

No, because firstly, most of the stuff made 50 years ago were made under
different contracts that allowed for very little participation over a very
short term. It's only been the last few decades that any real progress has
been made.

But even then, and this would be the secondly, the guilds didn't think much
would come of the VHS market, and gave away all but a few pennies here and
there to the producers. So you literally get about a penny or two off each VHS
sold, and this formula is being applied to DVDs as well.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: attn. JMS: A TV writing question...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 6/30/2003 1:13:00 AM  

Message 8 in thread 

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>Why shouldn't I receive royalties when an appellate brief which I've
>drafted is cited in case law or in pleadings?

There's a flaw in your logic. Are you making a point-for-point comparison to
your brief and, say, Godel-Escher-Bach? Or The World According to Garp?

There is, and should be, a special category for works of art, and for artists.
The only way that your scenario works is if no one piece of writing is better
than any other piece, and thus they all deserve to be treated the same. But
that's fallacious reasoning.

(And there's a difference between a brief being *cited* and a work being
completely reproduced. Any good lawyer, or paralegal, would know that.)

>I'll concede that there are some folks who write one bestseller or one
>musical hit, and then never make it back into the limelight. Nevertheless,
>the same can be said for most other areas of life.

Apples and oranges. There's art, and there's everything else.

>People engage in a single
>amazing act of heroism and then vanish into obscurity.

Heroism isn't a book, isn't a painting, isn't something that one *created*.
It's an incident. There are no two contiguous points of comparison between,
say, writing a novel and dragging somebody out of the lake before they freeze.
They're simply two different activities, and don't belong on the same playing
fields. An inappropriate comparison.

(And some *do* make livings off their brave acts by selling their stories.)

>Others make a
>suggestion or two that results in a complete change for an entire industry
>and are never heard from again.

Once again, an inappropriate comparison. A suggestion, something spoken, or
even written, isn't the same thing as a painting or a musical. Your reasoning
is specious.

(And in some cases, people who contribute something to a patent may, on filing
suit, be able to secure a portion of that, so again your argument falls apart
on the facts.)

>Why should entertainment be a special case?

It's plain you dont think it *should* be a special place. But artists are (or
can be) special people...we have lots of very nice, good people who work in
assembly lines making widgets...but we've only had one Beethoven, one Bach, one
Spielberg, one Whedon.

You may want everybody to be treated the same way, but society simply doesn't
do that. Not with politicians, entertainers, priests, and a number of other
categories.

>The constitutional provision for copyright law was "to promote the Progress
>of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited times to Authors ... the
>exclusive Right to their respective Writings..." There's nothing in there
>about providing long-term income to them or to their heir

At that time, there wasn't really an entertainment industry as it exists today.
Nor could they have forseen it. For that matter, the average lifespan was
about fifty years if you were lucky, so long term retirement plans weren't
often an issue. Lots of things have changed since the constitution was
written, why shouldn't this one? Further, unless I'm misreading things or
you've left something out, there's no definition as to what comprises a
"limited time." If it's five years, ten years, fifty years, or a hundred
years, it's still a limited time, is it not? Only if it were infinite would it
be unlimited. So if it's fifty years plus, guess what, it's still a limited
time.

>In fact, the use of "limited" would suggest that it was never the
>intent of the Founding Fathers to offer lifetime income

That's your inference, but that's not what it says. The provision is there
because the Founding Fathers knew that allowing writers the exclusive rights to
their works WAS what was needed to "promote the progress of Science and Useful
Arts." The whole idea of the provision as stated isn't to say "no, no, you're
limited to this period," it was to CREATE THE IDEA that they were entitled to
such rights in the first place. It was the ability to earn a living from one's
writings that would create and encourage these useful arts.

You're totally misreading and misusing that provision to try and make it say
something it didn't and wasn't intended to say. They felt that such rights
were essential to creating these arts.

>Promoting the
>"Progress of ... the useful Arts..." is sometimes done better by the absence
>of copyright protection.

But that's not what the provision is there for. You're arguing at
cross-purpsoes to yourself.

>For example, if I wanted to watch "Song of the
>South," I'm just plain out of luck because Disney owns the copyright and has
>decided to keep it locked up and inaccessible. Without copyright, each of us
>could decide for ourselves if the film has offensive stereotypes and could
>base our viewing decisions on our beliefs rather than letting the
>corporation decide for us.

First: tough. Private property is private property. They don't want to
release their property, it's their call. If they don't want you to see
something they own, it's their call. If you don't feel the same way, then I
suggest you put a web cam in your house so we can all see whatever we want of
your possessions.

Second, there are plenty of books out there with long excerpts, and quotes, and
pictures, more than enough for an educated person to make that decision for
themselves.

>A similar argument can be made regarding the
>Bettmann Archives, now owned by Bill Gates. Millions of items of American
>history are under the umbrella of his corporate copyright, and he now can
>decide what we can and cannot see, and will continue to have absolute
>control over them for the better part of this century.

I don't know enough about this one to comment intelligently, so I'll pass.

The bottom line of the internet is that everything should be available to
everybody else, that no ownership of property can be allowed, that no one
should have to pay for anything, that it should all be free.

Which is great for the deadbeats who don't want to pony up the money for
anything, but it will eventually kill the goose and step on the golden egg,
because it will destroy the ability of authors and artists and comoposers to
make a living doing what they do, which is to create extraordinary works that
reflect our society in one-of-a-kind ways.


jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: attn. JMS: A TV writing question...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 6/30/2003 4:51:00 PM  

Message 9 in thread 

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>I've read statements by some successful (defined here solely as "making a
>living from their art)" artists (Janis Ian, Mercedes Lackey) who have
>experienced only positive results from having their work available for free
>on
>the Internet. The theory on their part seems to be that, by having an item
>available to the casual browser, there are actually *more* sales once the
>consumer knows what product s/he's buying. Music stores have allowed
>customers
>to listen to records for decades without it harming sales. Why shouldn't
>books
>and videos be available to sample as well? I mean, really - one is supposed
>to
>trust 'reviews' and 'critics'?

Well, those are really a whole passle of very different issues, ownership vs.
review copies, samples vs. whole works, choics vs. compulsion....

If a person wants to put up samples of his/her work, that's terrific. It's
when someone takes the work and puts it up, or removes ownership, that's the
issue, when choice is removed.

>I can understand that artists seem to feel threatened by the 'free' Internet
>and possible theft of their work but in the long run isn't it better to have
>something available to be sampled and increase sales to casual browsers than
>to
>clutch each item to your chest and insist that each and every item be paid
>for
>by a blind consumer?

But the issue isn't samples, it's whole works. There are some usenet groups,
for instance, that have put up every story an author has ever published. Whole
books have been uploaded.

Remembering that the average novelist makes less per year than the average
grade school teacher, if 2000 copies of a book are read or downloaded online
instead of purchased, that loss of $2-3,000 can make a huge impact on the
writer's financial life.


jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: attn. JMS: A TV writing question...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 6/30/2003 4:56:00 PM  

Message 10 in thread 

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>Frankly, I
>think that particular segment would have been quite a bit more weighty
>if they had focused on Joe's work in ASM, instead.

At the same time, though, the documentary did a great job of introducing a lot
of people to the history of comics, and that was what it was mainly intended to
do. So I wasn't overmuch bothered by that, I thought it was nicely done
overall.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: attn. JMS: A TV writing question...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 6/30/2003 9:49:00 PM  

Message 11 in thread 

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>If by "makers" you mean the creative artists, the reason they often do
>not retain ownership in their copyrights is money.
...........
>I'm sure there are similar examples in other fields of the entertainment
>industry.

Here's the great irony of the whole situation, as it relates to TV and film.

The Berne Convention was put together to protect the rights of writers, to
secure for them, by international convention, a piece of the final film or tv
series.

The studios responded by insisting that any writer who works for them must sign
an agreement which stipulates that -- as you will see on endless movie credits
-- "for purposes of the Berne Convention, Universal (or whatever studio) shall
be considered the author of this work."

Cute, eh?

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: attn. JMS: A TV writing question...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 6/30/2003 9:50:00 PM  

Message 12 in thread 

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>> When the creatators
>> (who are dead now btw)
>> originally made the works they obviously were happy enough with the laws
>of
>> the time to create the works.

Well, that's a pretty absurb bit of reasoning. Writers, real ones, can't not
write. But that doesn't mean you're happy with the circumstances that attend
the publication and protection of your work.

If anything, this has been the single most unifying theme in the daily lives of
all writers, how to protect their work. It was Mark Twain who lamented, "Every
time a copyright law is to be made or amended, the idiots assemble."

There was a man unhappy with the laws, but who continued to produce.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: attn. JMS: A TV writing question...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 6/30/2003 9:53:00 PM  

Message 13 in thread 

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>BTW, please don't try to infer that I'm unacquainted with the arts. I was
>formerly a music major (bassoon performance with voice minor)
........
>While being processed for
>discharge, I cross-trained as an illustrator, producing posters, cover art,
>illustrations for training materials
..............
>I'm able to perform
>with a local choral society and lead the music at my synagogue, so I do have
>an inkling of what creative work is about.

That's as may be. Nonetheless: you do not have to and are not in the process
of making your living as a writer (or singer or artist).

In other words...and don't take this the wrong way, but it's the fact...you've
been to the zoo, but you've never had to be the monkey in the cage. Your
understanding and empathy for the situation is delineated by which side of the
cage you're standing on.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: attn. JMS: A TV writing question...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 6/30/2003 11:43:00 PM  

Message 14 in thread 

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>But honestly, has a library ever had a negative effect on people buying
>books? I've read CS Lewis, Stephen King, Jean Auel and others as a kid
>for free, yet I ended up buying the books later as an adult.

Unless you had a very different library association than mine, all the books in
the library were purchased by the library, and the writers received royalties.

>For music,
>has radio had a negative or positive impact? HBO for movies?

HBO pays residuals; radio also pays for the rights to broadcast music.

Apples and oranges.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: attn. JMS: A TV writing question...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 7/1/2003 12:17:00 AM  

Message 15 in thread 

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>This is an over-narrow view of what defines a creative work. I wouldn't call
>a textbook "art", per se, but it's no less worthy of copyright. The author
>puts effort into condensing material and spends time working on the clarity
>of
>the presentation.

And textbooks are indeed protected by copyright.


jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: attn. JMS: A TV writing question...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 7/1/2003 9:14:00 PM  

Message 16 in thread 

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>Maybe. But consider this: The "final work" in these cases is *not* the
>script, it is the collaborative effort of *dozens* of people from the
>writer to the grips, all of whom work for the studio, and all of whom
>are using the studio's money to produce the *actual* "final work"

That's as may be. But the Berne convention was specifically put into place to
protect *writers* as the authors of the story. A grip is essential to the
making of the movie; a grip is not the author and makes no claims in that
regard.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: attn. JMS: A TV writing question...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 7/1/2003 9:16:00 PM  

Message 17 in thread 

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>OK, so forgive an ignorant question on my part. Who owns the script of, for
>instance, "Value Judgements" (which was never produced) or "Grey 17 is
>Missing," (which, AFAIK, has never been published), or "Day of the Dead"
>(which has been published on its own) or "The Coming of Shadows" (which has
>been published in multiple books)? Do JMS or Neil Gaiman or Fiona Avery own
>the scripts they wrote for the show or does Warners?
>

Under the WGA Separation of Rights provision, the studio owns the characters
and the concept, but the writer owns the physical script and can do with it
whatever he/she wishes, so long as in doing so no copyrighted images are used
on the cover of, for instance, books containing those scripts.

>> Granted it would be better if the rest of the folk who worked on the
>> picture got a *share* of the actual copyright, rather than a diminishing
>> residual, but this is not exactly the same situation as an author's
>> relationship with a publisher.
>
>And who gets residuals? Producers? Writers? Star actors? Guest stars? Any of
>the production staff?

Residuals are not a part of ownership or copyright; they are deferred
compensation, if the film or tv series does well, they benefit, if not, they
lose. Everyone on your list gets residuals except production staff.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: attn. JMS: A TV writing question...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 7/2/2003 11:41:00 AM  

Message 18 in thread 

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>Joe, I saw Babylon 5 for free

Yes, and no. Technically, yes, you saw the show for free...in that *you*
didn't have to pay for it directly.

But the show WAS being paid for, by the advertisers (and subjecting you to the
commercials is the price *you* pay for the show.)

The actors are being compensated every time that show runs, via residuals, as
opposed to somebody putting up episodes on the net.

(In point of fact, I saw a post recently where somebody was talking about
uploading and downloading B5 episodes, and why it was okay to do because the
studio had made their money on it, why give the money grubbing guys any more?
Except, of course, that the actors, writers and directors don't get the big
bucks, they get residuals when the show plays. Which makes me ask...if you
like the show, and the characters, and the actors who *played* those
characters, why would you take away the few bucks they make in residuals by
putting their eps on the net?)

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: attn. JMS: A TV writing question...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 7/2/2003 11:02:00 PM  

Message 19 in thread 

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>> Remembering that the average novelist makes less per year than the average
>> grade school teacher, if 2000 copies of a book are read or downloaded
>online
>> instead of purchased, that loss of $2-3,000 can make a huge impact on the
>> writer's financial life.
>>
>
>I agree that you should not be posting or copying peoples works without
>permission. However, I am curious how you made the above statistic.

This is hardly news; this has been covered in any number of magazine articles
and books about writing, from Publisher's Weekly on up and down the line. And
it's not limited to prose writers; the Writers Guild of America noted recently
in a report that only about 2% of its members earn $100,000 or more per year;
most earn maybe $15-30,000 a year, meaning only about one or two sales at tops,
and sometimes not that.

Prose advances on fiction (and nonfiction) have not even kept up with
inflation. Where they were about $3,000 for a first novel about 10 years ago,
they're still at or near that number.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: attn. JMS: A TV writing question...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 7/2/2003 11:10:00 PM  

Message 20 in thread 

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>> In other words...and don't take this the wrong way, but it's the
>fact...you've
>> been to the zoo, but you've never had to be the monkey in the cage. Your
>> understanding and empathy for the situation is delineated by which side of
>the
>> cage you're standing on.
>>
>
>With all due respect, Joe, your reply to Lyle is both profoundly arrogant
>and *wrong*.
>
>To suggest that someone who holds a "day job" to survive (like probably 90%
>of all the artists, actors and writers in the world) while pursuing their
>creative endeavor in the precious hours outside of 9-5, is somehow less of
>an artist than someone who has been fortunate enough to turn their art into
>a paying profession (with, I might point out, the concomitant compromises
>that come along with commercial success) is both fallacious and
>condescending.

Yes, it would be, if that was what I had said. Or even what I had suggested.

Let me read that over again...hmm..."less of an artist"...wait, let me scroll
back a second, and go back to the original message, because I'd hate to be
wrong about something as monumental as this, and check again...hmmmm.....nope,
nope, it ain't there.

This is what's called "reading something that wasn't ever said or implied into
what someone else said."

My point, which everybody else here seems to have gotten but you, is that a
person who does something as a hobby, has a different perspective on that
practice than someone who makes a living at it. Are you saying this is not so?
I don't think you'd find anyone north of Papua, New Guinea who would go along
with that premise.

So: no, I didn't say it, didn't imply it, didn't suggest it. And pretty much
all the other replies I've seen here tend to bolster the sense that you're the
*only* person who came up with this one. Because you have a tendency to do
that, and to try and hammer me with stuff, usually unprovoked.

I hope that you will be as enthusiastic in your retraction of your accusation
as you were in the making of it.

It would certainly be a refreshing change of pace.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: attn. JMS: A TV writing question...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 7/3/2003 7:56:00 PM  

Message 21 in thread 

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>And when B5 went only to one cable station (TNT followed by Sci-Fi)
>instead of multiple syndicated stations did this not lower the revenue
>potential of residuals?

Not in the way you mean it, but it would take WAY too long to explain the
details.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: attn. JMS: A TV writing question...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 7/7/2003 2:20:00 AM  

Message 22 in thread 

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>I meant that only as the difference between potential and reality.
>Potential would have had B5 only 4 seasons long and maybe syndicated
>scattershot across the countries various TV station. The reality had it
>being 5 seasons long and continually syndicated since 1998 on an
>individual superstation that is seen by a wider audience.
>
>The critics would latch on to the "potential" revenue lost to actors
>residuals by B5 only having exclusive rights to one station. The reality
>means B5 has had continual exposure with occasional efforts to add in new
>blood. This could mean when it is given to the open market, more
>stations will latch onto it for broadcast.
>
>Of course, this was my interpretation of the matter. The writers and
>actors have a better position to form an opinion on the matter since the
>results affect their livelyhoods.

It doesn't really work that way.

You're paid on the rerun qua rerun, not on the number of stations carrying it.
WB makes a deal with whomever...a syndicator, a cable network, somebody...and
that organization pays X-dollars per episode for the right to show it for the
length of that contract (usually about 3-5 years).

There's a slightly different residual formula for cable vs. syndication, but
rather than get bogged down in that, let me get to the point.

If an episode runs on a thousand stations or twenty, the residual is the same,
a percentage of the purchase price of the episode. So the number of stations
really doesn't matter.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)

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