From: BOTTKE@LPL.ARIZONA.EDU (B To: ALL Subject: JMS compiled messages (1/ Datum: 04-13-95 Area: rec.arts.sf.t
0R 34 04/13 16:26 Internet →2 0Usenet Message_ID: firstname.lastname@example.org 0QWKFrom:email@example.com (Bill Bottke )
Not too long ago, I was your typical B5 fan reading the net (i.e. checking out the WWW sites, reading the messages from jms to gain insights on past and future shows, etc.). Then, I got my girlfriend interested in watching the show. Since she does not have access to the internet, I began compiling a file containing many of the more interesting things that I had found on the B5 internet sources. It was easy to do with my workstation and it was a good way to blow off steam while I finished up my dissertation.
Now, since the internet provides free access to everyone, I thought I would post these files so that others could enjoy them. Most regular lurkers will find the following messages redundant, but they may be useful to others who have less time to surf the internet. To any event, I hope you enjoy these files.
Bill Bottke | Tel: (520) 621-1594 Lunar and Planetary Laboratory | Fax: (520) 621-4933 University of Arizona | E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Tucson, AZ 85721
"The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity."
- Harlon Ellison
Robert Lynn Rhodes: in return for your good post, here's a gift:
while we won't see Zathras this season, we will HEAR his name, but not from anyone who was on B4. He's around, but he's not *here*.
Just to clarify…I *think* what I said was that you couldn't GET Kosh on a mug, not that you couldn't FIT Kosh on a mug….
Every episode is cut to varying degrees; I think there's been maybe one out of 42 shot to date that's come out exactly right, without anything having to be cut. (You always err a little on this side because the last thing you want is to come out SHORT, which is a major pain in the butt, and by the time this is known it's often too late to shoot stuff within the timeframe of that episode.) Generally, you WANT an episode to be about 2-4 minutes over, so you can trim and tighten.
Generally speaking, our episodes come in 5-8 minutes over *in the director's cut*. One or two have gone as far as 10 minutes over in that cut. And what's discovered is almost always that there's a lot of air, long lingering shots that slow down the pace…my feeling is that 1) it's better to have more story than time than more time than story, and 2) all our episodes should be edited at a dead run, so tight they scream.
Consequently, while episodes may start out long, and often missing scenes deleted by the director, once John Copeland and I go back in and start tightening the screws, we almost always get all those scenes BACK again, and then I line-cut here and there within scenes. So with very few exceptions, there aren't very many scenes that would've added anything that are missing, even from "Revelations." I think that that was one of our longer ones, and we dropped bits here and there, but in the long run nothing much really of consequence.
Matt, I have never considered that your motives have ever been other than the well being of Babylon 5.
In that respect, we are alike.
One thing to remember is that B5 has developed a very hard-won reputation for square dealing, and for taking care of those viewers who have chosen to support us. This comes from the executive producer's office. On anything that uses the B5 name, or which is connected to B5, we take great pains to make sure everything's on the up and up, that when merchandise goes out, or deals are made, it is done straight-up, done properly, and the quality is assured. Anytime anyone buys anything or supports anything involving B5, they have to *know* that it went through my hands, that it's been checked out, vetted, and approved not by aides but by the people who make the show. Sometimes that's a pain in the ass, but it's the only way of protecting the fans in the long run, and the only way I know how to make this show.
SFRT2 Category 18, Topic 26 Message 311 Sun Mar 26, 1995 NTH.DEGREE [Peter B.] at 03:53 EST
Joe: you mentioned that there were many problems at the Planet Hollywood gig, most of which the fans (including me) weren't aware of. What else besides the lack of a microphone and some problems with the viewing of AAITN went wrong? I think everyone knew that *something* was odd, but the fact that the guests were so charming and approachable made up for it.
SFRT2 Category 18, Topic 26 Message 312 Sun Mar 26, 1995 STRACZYNSKI [Joe] at 05:53 EST
Advance work should have been done which would have indicated the huge sound problems involved. When they occured, nobody could hear a word of the teaser. Tom did nothing, and was nowhere to be found. I had to go, repeatedly, to the general manager and yell. Finally, as act one wsa just starting, I was nose to nose with the guy running the sound board, the manager right behind me, screaming bloody murder and making sure it was ABSOLUTELY clear that if the sound wasn't fixed in ten seconds I was leaving and taking the press and cast with me, because the fans out front had paid thirty-bucks a shot to see this thing, and by god they were GOING to see it or somebody was going to be minus a leg.
There wasn't a lack of a microphone, it turns out that the mike was for the whole club, and thus couldn't be used, since we had only a part of the club. Surrounded by hideously sound levels, we had to scream to be heard, and many fans at the periphery of things couldn't hear what was being said or asked.
The plane tickets weren't first class, but were *upgrades*, which generally get bumped and cause massive problems in booking, and I had to shell out the money for the difference (later repaid), but it was still an annoying hassle. The hotel reservations vanished. The tour of the convention facilities, probably the most important reason for going, never happened. No one knew what to expect with the Capricon side-trip, and the actors hadn't been informed about it. At Capricon, we were put at a table *selling other pirated merchandise* including pins, links, patches and other material, which was *extremely* inappropriate. Nobody knew we were coming to Capricon, no advance work had been done, no room set aside. I finally objected, strenuously, to being shoved at an illegal dealer's table, and at the last minute a room was found, which we were only able to use for about 25 minutes before having to leave…and the reason we had to leave was that the car was promised to take care of a children's birthday party. And at every step of the way, everything – the hotel, name it – was paid for in cash only, which always worries me.
And *that* is only a small portion of the hassles encountered; there were others, but I'm hesitant to put them into print because they involve certain breaches of trust with information.
Suffice to say that from the moment we left LA, to the moment we got back, NOTHING in between went right, everything was disorganized, and the more I saw, the more concerned I got.
jms – It is nice to have friends, is it not? Even if only for a little while. - Londo to Garibaldi, in _Acts of Sacrifice_ - Richard Feldman, aka Chats
Thus far, there are licensed caps, shirts, a soundtrack, an LCD game,
Micromachines, the comic, the novels from Dell…and soon to come, trading cards, a screen saver and some other stuff. The most common illegal stuff tends to be fake Links, patches, pins, PPGs, Starfuries and boarding passes. None of this has been licensed, so if you see it, it ain't legit.
I think this should stay within the purview of the fans, rather than sending us constant notification of this. I don't want people to feel obligated to rat this stuff out; that's our problem. Don't support it, but I refuse to turn enjoyable con weekends into exercises in Big Brotherism.
Anne: straight up…do you want me to set aside my beliefs on how conventions should be run and just say "the hell with it?" What if the con turns out, as I suspect it would, as a disaster and a disappointment? Then what happens to the fans?
The fans are not being punished. I'm put in mind of "A Comedy of Terrors," where Vincent Price keeps trying to slip poison into Boris Karloff's soup, saying it's medicine, only to be thwarted by Karloff's daughter, who rips the bottle away…and in response, the addled Boris bemoans the fact that she keeps taking away his medicine. And she gets the rap.
What makes this show special, and the reason you like it, amon others, is that it stems from certain principles and idea. Are you now asking that I set aside that which makes the show what it is? Because that would be the result. One learns a lot about a person by whom one sleeps with.
Selling the blooper reel(s) is something we've discussed, but so far haven't decided one way or another.
"War Doth Make Murderers of Martyrs"
One aspect of JMS that impresses me most is his understanding that history, like math and science, is a universal constant. How many times has Pickett's Charge or Bosnia been repeated in human history? So then, how many times in UNIVERSAL history, on planets unknown and by races yet undreamed of. Just as 2 + 2 always equals 4, we are all, in similar situations capable of making the same mistakes. Life itself is the greatest drama, the greatest comedy, truly the greatest tragedy, constantly playing on a hundred billion stages.
FDR's Lend-Lease Act of WWII, as noble as it sounds, was Britain's burden and America's shame. The LLA was FDR's attempt to sidestep policy in his struggle to get congressional support for US military intervention in Europe, very similar to the situation Sheridan faces with the Narn. But do you really think sanctions and embargoes and a few extra guns can win a war? (Compare the effectiveness of Operation Desert Storm to Desert Shield. Or do you really think sanctions ended apartheid in South Africa?) The only truth here is that there's no force in the universe greater than the power of an idea whose time has come. Minds and thoughts turned into actions win or lose wars.
Until the end of 1941 Britain truly stood alone and the only good that came of it was when Churchill said "This was our finest hour." It truly was THEIR finest hour. How much longer before the Narn can make this same beleaguered boast?
And what about Churchill? Do you actually think you can impose 1990's political correctness on a 1930's figure and find a recognizable hero? We find our idols by viewing history selectively, keeping that which we agree with while discarding that which fails to fit. Sheridan is now finding out that truth is not always a pleasant thing, but a hero is anyone who recognizes the truth in a situation and acts appropriately. War is ugly, horrible, and inhumane. Go back and watch ST:TOS "A Taste of Armageddon" if you need a lesson. Even Shakespeare recognized that war doth make murderers of martyrs. Read Henry V, Act III, scene iii, lines 33-43 to see how even the grandest souls become butchers when war confronts them (these are arguably the most authentic lines uttered by Shakespeare's overly ennobled Hal). You simply can't make war politically correct – don't even try!
Next, I've observed that many people seem to be having trouble with "We/I stand between the shadow and the light/the candle and the star." IMHO the problem comes from taking the whole concept entirely too literally. The Minbari don't stand between the Vorlons and the Shadows in a military or diplomatic sense, but rather in something a bit more Lovecraftian. Like the aliens in Lovecraft's mythos, the Shadows have been cast out, imprisoned perhaps, and the Minbari are their gate. But something happened 2,000 years ago - something that caused a weakening of the Minbari who are the very power holding the Shadows in check. Ever since then the Shadows have been creeping through, biding their time, building their forces, and waiting, waiting for a time when they can again sweep their hand of darkness across the galaxy.
Through all this, one question remains unanswered with no clue ever given. What happened to cause the Minbari souls to take on human form and weaken the crucial balance that has held back the Shadow forces for countless eternities? Perhaps we'll never know, but I'll bet that the answer would tell us much.
Finally, I've heard it commented that the reason why the Earth Alliance hasn't stepped into the war between the Centauri and Narn is because they're still rebuilding following the Minbari War. Sorry, but I don't buy that. With the exception of actual wartime, the periods immediately following a war are historically the most productive for the military and its personnel. POF, the number of military patents issued from 1945-1952 was nearly double that of those issued in the years preceding the war. Military contracts are still being filled and there often remains a general feeling of insecurity that is comforted by a strong military presence. If anything, the Earth Alliance should be considerably stronger and better supported now than before the war. Don't forget, 10 years have passed, plenty of time to rebuild and resupply.
The Earth Alliance simply has too much internal conflict to be bothered with the affairs of other races. It's a narrow view, but sadly a historically correct one. And remember, Kosh told Sinclair to "Let them pass." Perhaps this time keeping out of it is the best course of action. Unfortunately, I get the impression that for the EA another Pearl Harbor is on the way. Perhaps Franklin's father will be at Ground Zero when it hits. That was, after all, a hell of a setup. But ultimately I have no doubt EA will end up in the middle of this conflict, for better or worse. Fortunately, we only have to watch it.
Hakuna Matata, The Big Cat (Melody Womack)
Melody: marry me.
I've never been overly worried about Kosh, because though some have strayed near, no one has entirely *got it*, so it's cool. There have been one or two stories, small ones, that yes, have been scuttled because they've been suggested here, but not too much. Basically, if I were to keep changing directions every time somebody makes a guess, I'd be all over the landscape. You can't tell a story that way.
Is this the New York portion of AbFab? Is it as good as the rest? I wondered if they were going to take the edge off because of the American connection.
(Sadly, I will have to deny every being a fan of AbFab the day the Roseanne Barr version hits TV.)
jms asked for this to be posted on the net: Subj: From JMS re: Big Bang Date: 95-03-30 17:29:34 EST From: Jms at B5
Several confusing elements have come out about this whole situation; I wanted to dive in for a second to (hopefully) straighten out some of them.
To the question of what and when…the Planet Hollywood excursion was intended as a "dry run" (to use Tom Christofferson's words) so that we could see how things worked. Prior to that time, we thought everything was fine. Upon returning from Chicago, all of us had very grave concerns about what we had seen, in terms of organization and the ability of CMC to pull off the convention. I took one week to talk to various cast members, think it over, and then sent a 4-page fax to Tom C. explaining that we were all very concerned, and delineating how things were going to have to be done in future if B5 was to cooperate with this operation. He agreed to those points, or seemed to. I wanted to give Tom a second chance to demonstrate that he could do things right. It was about a week or so later that we learned about the pirated merchandise, the copyright infringement, and that promises made to us, and to me personally, by Tom had not been kept.
Thence commenced a *very* angry phone conversation with Tom, after initially denying to John Copeland that anything amiss had happened. I told Tom at that time that after giving him a second chance, he had blown the whole thing and we were going to pull out. He said that if we said this publicly, it could kill the convention and hurt him. He then suggested that he would cancel the convention, no names, no blame; it would let him get out with some dignity. The few cast members who had been given partial advances would be allowed to keep them (since the cast, as well as the fans, were the ones most likely to be harmed). At that time, I went along with it. So I waited. A week passed. More time passed. It became clear after a while the he was NOT going to cancel the convention, and he continued to maintain that everyone was coming when I had made it *absolutely* clear to him over the phone that this was not going to happen. (So those fans who called and were told by him that this was all news to him, were not told the truth.) By now my alarms were going off pretty loud, and I felt it was time to go public.
To the notion, expressed by Tom, that CMC is not the same as the company that made the pirated material (posters bore the markings T3, for T-cubed)…again, this is misinformation. To the notion that Tom is not directly running CMC, and just an employee who messed up…again, not true. As part of the material I requested from Tom, I wanted a full fiscal background check. He sent me several pages of information. In his letter of February 28, to me, he indicated that CMC was working with the merchandising and licensing aspects; the financial information he gave for CMC was the financial statement for T3, represented to us in that letter as being the backing and structure of CMC. He represented to us that financially and corporately T3 *was* CMC. Tom signed the actors contracts on behalf of CMC, and in the corporate information provided to us by him lists himself as Vice President of both CMC and T3. Different names, but all part of the same company and corporate structure. Further, when we (Michael, me, Mira and Claudia) met with Tom and his associates at the T3 headquarters, Tom represented to us in front of T3 staff and executives that T3 was involved in equal partnership with CMC in running Big Bang.
Further, remember again the full extent of this, and how things happened. Tom C. requested artwork for B5 patches for a "demo" jacket. Upon meeting him in Chicago, he made quite a big deal out of the fact that he was keeping these secret; he pulled them out from under his jacket and hidden in the trunk of the car, repeated that these were for our eyes only. I repeated to him, in front of witnesses, what I'd said previously: that these were not for distribution to ANYone outside the company. e (Tom) also stated to me that he had PERSONALLY overseen the production of the patches, and their manufacture. So CMC, in the person of Tom, *did* make those items (and at the time, Claudia mentioned that she saw a LOT more than the few he was supposed to show us for approval, and wondered why). After telling us repeatedly that this was all just for approval, he then turned around and began selling them without authorization, without license. There was NO misunderstanding. He told us one thing, repeateddly, and then did something else. Ditto on the artwork.
He'd requested/bought CGI images to be used as backdrops or banners AT THE CON. And ONLY for that purpose. That was provided to him. He showed me prints of the images at Planet Hollywood, indicating that they were having some problem in blowing them up to the right size. As people noticed them, I repeated to Tom that these were not to be used for any other purpose. He said he understood that. And then turned around and made the prints he showed me (again indicating to me that he was directly responsible for the artwork) into posters, and began selling them. The notion that CMC isn't responsible because the posters had T3 on them is a classic shell-game. He and CMC are directly responsible for their manufacture.
To the notion that all actors and I are paid and contracted to appear: again not true. Only a couple of actors had received any kind of small advance. I had never signed any contract. I have already sent back the advance with a formal letter stating that I will have nothing to do with this operation.
From the very instant we arrived in Chicago, things with this convention
weren't right. This is only the capper, after having given CMC a second chance. Matters of trust were constantly violated. Private conversations were repeated widely (Jerry Doyle had NOT given Tom permission to announce his engagement, for instance). Dealers promised information and other material after buying space received nothing. I was *very* worried about the fact that everything was being paid for by CMC in cash, without any credit references being used. Advances were paid with *money order*. It created the impression that money from ticket purchases was being used to pay for all this, and a con of the size that CMC had discussed would take great resources to pull off. There were constant foulups on every level…the hotel we'd been booked into canceled the reservations, and didn't seem to know anything about it, and we ended up cruising through Chicago near midnight trying to find a hotel. If you're going to run a convention for thousands of people, you'd better have your act together if you can't even handle four people. (The hotel was also canceled because there had been no credit reference provided.) The logistics at Planet Hollywood were a nightmare, fans couldn't hear anyone unless they were right next to the person, and there was pirated material everywhere. I was shown home-made PPGs and links and pins, told they were working with Tom for eventual licensing from WB…and then, the next day, at CapriCon, we were put at a table where these items were BEING SOLD. Time and time, our trust has been betrayed, promises have not been kept, legalities have not been adhered to, and the clear impression we got upon coming back from Chicago was that there were *real* problems, that this convention was never going to come off unless DRASTIC changes were made. We were in the process of trying to deal with that when the final straw was finally laid on the camel's back. This is not a case of a simple misunderstanding, except where CMC are trying to create the false impression of one to cover their butts in this.
I probably should have gone public with this earlier than I did. But I was trying to give CMC one last chance to make things right. Which was my mistake. (Note: anyone wishing to repost this to Internet is free to do so.)
Bloopers still use the likenesses of the actors, ARE the actors, shot
on our sets, using our costumes…one can't take that and sell it around town without giving something back to the actors, I think. If we should end up ever selling the blooper, or scripts, we would find some formula to give back to those involved.
I'd expect to hear more on the CD Rom after the 3rd year pickup.
Yeah, I'd love to see the C4 ratings; if you think it'd be better email, that's fine, or public, either way. I understand we're doing VERY well at C4, one of their higher-rated American shows, but I haven't been given the hard-and-crunchies by WB International.
It is nowhere stated that the messages to Garibaldi or Delenn is the first communication they've had from Sinclair; only the first that WE've seen.
My notes, alas, are very free-form, jumping back and forth; so you can't just peel off the year 1-2 notes without substantial editing. I.e., "Have Kosh say X because we'll need this in year 2 when X does Y."
I was reading your book OTHERSYDE this past week (thank The Great Maker for libraries, huh?), when I came across the paragraph where one of the characters praises the "only decent SF show on television." While I tend to agree with this statement, I had to look at the date of publication on the novel: 1990? Was this an attempt at self-fulfilling prophecy? Here it is, 5 years later and we DO have a show of the same name that IS the best SF on TV. What gives?
I enjoyed the book a lot, especially the resonances with the B5 arc. Why have your novels gone out of print?
I slipped the reference to B5 into OtherSyde to see if it would become
a self-fulfilling prophecy or just a fictional reference. Just for fun.
My books are out of print because I guess I haven't actively pursued keeping them IN print. When I finish my next novel, I'll probably be able to get them back into print, but that won't be until B5 is done, since the next book – a contemporary dark fantasy – is targeted at about 1,000 manuscript pages, and I won't really be able to get into it until then.
This file contains messages posted by J. Michael Straczynski on GEnie from Feb 1 - Feb 28th, 1995. Postings are copyright 1995 by J. Michael Straczynski with compilation copyright by GEnie.
Topic 1 Mon Oct 26, 1992 SF-MARSHALL [Dave ] at 18:50 EST Sub: Babylon 5 - The Series (Non-Spoiler)
Welcome to the Babylon 5 General category. This is the main topic for the hit SF series. We discuss all general information on the series in this topic. Topic 2 is for SPOILERS! DO NOT POST STORY IDEAS!
571 message(s) total.
Category 18, Topic 1 Message 360 Mon Feb 06, 1995 STRACZYNSKI [Joe] at 16:46 EST
The VO at the end of all the PTEN shows has been dropped.
———— Category 18, Topic 1 Message 374 Tue Feb 07, 1995 STRACZYNSKI [Joe] at 00:51 EST
Sean: if you could send me a copy of that TV Guide piece asap, I would be
Slowly, we're starting to get noticed. Break Magazine, out of North
Carolina, just did a very good three-page review that says B5 "has set the SF TV world on end with the quality of its writing…stories that are gripping and speculative…if you haven't checked out Babylon 5 you owe it to yourself to do so. This is, without doubt, the best science fiction series ever produced. Give it the next six weeks. You'll be hooked." (Reviewed by staffer Tom Poston.)
———— Category 18, Topic 1 Message 404 Wed Feb 08, 1995 STRACZYNSKI [Joe] at 00:53 EST
Well, after nudzhing them for the last two years, finally SFWA has given
in to Harlan's insistence about changing the Grand Master Nebula awards rules, since we were and are on the verge of losing many of those deserving of the honor, and why the hell can't we amend one bitty rule to give out a couple at a time rather than once every two years? Granted it doesn't go all the way (and of course it wasn't in the LEAST due to outside pressure), but at least now it'll be once a year rather than once every two years…and this comes on a day when R.A. Lafferty has a stroke, I'm told.
BTW, and totally unrelated (well, mostly)...Harlan will be on the Tom
Snyder show on the 17th of this month.
———— Category 18, Topic 1 Message 428 Thu Feb 09, 1995 STRACZYNSKI [Joe] at 05:52 EST
The copy of the Canadian TV Guide commentary should be sent to me at
14431 Ventura Boulevard, Suite 260, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423.
———— Category 18, Topic 1 Message 487 Sat Feb 11, 1995 STRACZYNSKI [Joe] at 22:23 EST
BTW, Harlan Ellison will be signing tomorrow at Golden Apple book store
in LA tomorrow from 2-4 p.m. I'll probably be tagging along.
———— Category 18, Topic 1 Message 509 Mon Feb 13, 1995 STRACZYNSKI [Joe] at 04:06 EST
I thought the size of your hands was indicative of the size of your
The comics and novels are within B5 continuity in general, but bear in
mind you've got a LOT of different people working on these things, so some of the finer points may vary. In general, we're keeping it as much within our universe as possible; but as an adjunct, not required reading, since that's unfair to viewers.
I'm pretty sure the pilot wings are uniform across the board.
———— Category 18, Topic 1 Message 517 Mon Feb 13, 1995 STRACZYNSKI [Joe] at 21:12 EST
Yeah, Jerry called me about the Rush mention. We've now been mentioned
on the Howard Stern Show and Rush Limbaugh…talk about your wide demographics….
———— Category 18, Topic 1 Message 306 Sun Feb 19, 1995 STRACZYNSKI [Joe] at 23:59 EST
Two different Minbari, yes.
———— Category 18, Topic 1 Message 342 Wed Feb 22, 1995 STRACZYNSKI [Joe] at 02:50 EST
It's my understanding that, for instance, while the navy does not salute
uncovered, the army and air force can or do. So we've tried to vary our salutes (Colonel Ben Zayn and General Franklin, both army or marine types, got salutes uncovered, for instance, while others may not).
Funny ad in this week's BATMAN comic, for a company called French Toast,
their French Toast Profile, showing a kid and a (probably bogus) bio, listing his name as Michael O'Heir, whose biggest wish is to meet an alien from another galaxy, and whose goal in life is to become a Commander at NASA.
———— Category 18, Topic 1 Message 356 Thu Feb 23, 1995 STRACZYNSKI [Joe] at 01:42 EST
November would be the start of year three, so it makes sense that that
would be the end of this next contract; you don't contract for a show beyond the current season until it's been renewed.