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Aug 26th Update from JMS

From: jmsa...@aol.com - view profile
Date: Sat, Aug 26 2006 4:42 am
Email: jmsa...@aol.com
Groups: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated

Boy howdy, has it been a hectic few weeks.

Okay, where to start? The second draft of the script for Ron Howard
will be going to him next week, and sometime in September we'll learn
where this all lands in terms of production schedules. It's looking
very good at the moment.

Hot on the heels of finishing that script, we've closed the deal for me
to write another feature for Universal, the big-budget
historical/action film alluded to earlier. That deal is now set, and
I'll be starting the writing shortly. So that's two firm done-deals
in feature films in the last few months, and if a recent meeting at
Paramount provides the expected results, I may have a third deal in
hand for the coming year, another big-budget film to be based on a
novel coming out in September.

I've also started in on the writing for the first B5: Lost Tales
script, and we've now spoken to several of the original cast members,
who are on board with the idea. It's still going to be a factor of
what deals can be made and with whom, as well as story elements that
are now being worked out, but things are moving ahead. Because some of
the crew and others we wanted won't be available until October, we've
pushed a bit, which is fine, since it gives me a bit more time to get
the script where it needs to be and start laying out my shot list as

The pilot script for "Borrowed Lives" has been very well received by
Touchstone, and with a few minor notes we should be able to get this in
to the network in a few weeks. Then we shall see what we shall see,
but it looks promising for now.

For the comics fans out there...the solicitations went out this week
for the first issue of my miniseries "Bullet Points" for Marvel. I'm
really, really proud of this thing, and I commend it to you highly. So
if you're interested, let your comic store know to set aside copies,
because I think it's gonna sell out fairly quickly.

I should be receiving the approval CDs containing the final versions of
"The Adventures of Apocalypse Al" this week from the CBC. Assuming no
tweaks are needed, that should be it. I think they're talking about
October for an airdate, but that depends on their scheduling windows.
After that, as noted previously, it goes to Sirius and a bunch of
overseas markets.

Finally, I've cleared out a window of time so I can get the next B5
script book out the door on schedule. It's the only thing that I've
had any flexibility on in terms of deadlines, so it got pushed, but I'm
now in a position to come up for air a bit.

As you can guess, the last few weeks have been nonstop meetings and
nonstop writing. This is the busiest I've been since years 4 and 5 of
B5. It's been pretty breathtaking at times, a lot of deadlines that I
wasn't always sure I could make, but in the end it seems to be laying
out pretty clean. The best part, to be honest, has been working with
Ron Howard and the Imagine folks on the script. When I've heard people
say "Each draft got better than the one before it," I've never believed
it because my experience of studio people was that each draft generally
got stupider. Not this time. It really has gotten better with each
iteration, more filmic, for lack of a less moronic term. I like
learning from people, and the learning curve here has been both steep
and deeply satisfying.

So I'm very happy. Tired beyond description just now, but happy


Follow the discussion thread here: http://tinyurl.com/rykha
This reaction to Jan;s question was also quite interesting, on his reasons for directing...

> JMS,
> Back when B5 was being made, you seemed pretty indifferent to ever directing but
> you directed Sleeping in Light, seemingly at the urging of WB. At the time you
> didn't seem to have fallen in love with being a director even though SiL was
> just perfect (IMO, but also many other folks).
> Last month you announced that you told WB that you wanted to direct the Lost
> Tales. I just wondered what might have changed your mind about it?

I directed SIL because...well, I really kind of had to, in order to get
that one last note out just the way I wanted it. I've had no desire to
do any directing since (though I did a little uncredited second-unit
directing on Jeremiah when we ran short of people.)

I'm doing this first one for B5:TLT because it's going to be something
of a redesign in how we shoot B5, nothing major, just the feeling of
the shots and the CGI and to set a tone for the films. It's six years
after B5, and there are a number of tools available to us now that
weren't available then, there's been more openness and experimentation
in television directing, and I'd like to explore those in the capacity
of someone who is also kind of the caretaker of that universe to set
the tone for future installments.

Once that's done, and the tone is set, I'll probably pull back again
and let others pick it up. Again, I have no real desire to direct,
just to set the tone as it impacts the story.


I like the idea of a new tone/ redesign for B5, especially if it can lead into movies... :beer:

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