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Old September 13th 05, 10:44   #1
Chilli
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Damn you JMS!

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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.)
14 * 29 = 406

How DARE he release pretty cool things that I'd so want but don't really have the money for?

Oh well .. unless I get a huge payraise sometime soon (which isn't too likely considering that I don't really have a proper job ), can always hope it will be on ebay at some point - but aargh!
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Old September 13th 05, 11:04   #2
vacantlook
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Re: Damn you JMS!

It is a rather large chunk of change, but I so totally want it all. The original "The Gathering" screenplay and details of how the story would have gone had Sinclair remained in the show: I gotta have that. Now, where to find the money. I imagine I'm gonna have to do some begging, but I'm determined to find a way somehow!

I'm eager to find out more information on this once that website goes up and running. Ooo, it's so exciting!
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Old September 13th 05, 12:00   #3
Jan
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Re: Damn you JMS!

And it looks like the First Draft of 'Exercise of Vital Powers' will be in the bonus book, too...also known as the Joke Script. As for the cost, if I thought about it, I imagine I'd find that I squander $30 every two weeks without even noticing so I'm definitely getting them all.

Jan
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Old September 13th 05, 12:22   #4
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Re: Damn you JMS!

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And it looks like the First Draft of 'Exercise of Vital Powers' will be in the bonus book, too...also known as the Joke Script. As for the cost, if I thought about it, I imagine I'd find that I squander $30 every two weeks without even noticing so I'm definitely getting them all.

Jan
Hell yes. That is totally worth it. I'm just praying they can ship to jolly old England!
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Old September 13th 05, 12:32   #5
sleepy_shadow
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Re: Damn you JMS!

I will certainly be highly interested in reading those scripts.

It is a sizable chunk, but should spread out nicely over time. Besides, if they get decent, predictable sales volume, they might consider dropping the price. Printing in half-decent volume shouldn't cost that much.
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Old September 13th 05, 12:40   #6
Jan
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Re: Damn you JMS!

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I'm just praying they can ship to jolly old England!
I'd be very surprised if they wouldn't. He's generally tried to return the loyalty of the UK and overseas fans, I think. Overseas shipping wasn't an issue with the Fan Club that I recall.

Jan
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Old September 13th 05, 12:48   #7
sleepy_shadow
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Re: Damn you JMS!

No worry. They'll surely ship to everyone who expresses willingness to buy.

Besides, given the notable desirability of the material, even an export restriction by Vorlon Empire would not prevent me from getting it.
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Old September 13th 05, 12:59   #8
darth_librarian
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Re: Damn you JMS!

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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.
Wow. Almost popped a semi there. So much cool fan stuff to want, even if it is pricey. Glad to see Jan is picking it up alongside her script collection..

My only beef, as a completist by both personality and profession, is that its only JMS's scripts. It would be great to get all of them in there, but legally much more of a nightmare, I imagine.

This is also the kind of thing that could benefit from a multi-media release, a DVD of PDFs' at the very least.
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Old September 13th 05, 13:08   #9
sleepy_shadow
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Re: Damn you JMS!

For a multimedia release, we'd need a convenient form of digital paper -- notably more readable than TFT screens.

Unfortunately, none is widespread yet... and for my picky criteria... none actually exists yet.
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Old September 13th 05, 13:13   #10
darth_librarian
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Re: Damn you JMS!

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For a multimedia release, we'd need a convenient form of digital paper -- notably more readable than TFT screens.

Unfortunately, none is widespread yet... and for my picky criteria... none actually exists yet.
Yes, until we get a cheap good display that uses only reflected light, us book stackers will be in a jobs for a while...
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