ATTN JMS: Questions About Scriptwriting Book

B5JMS Poster b5jms-owner at
Fri Nov 8 06:38:16 EST 1996

Subject: ATTN JMS: Questions About Scriptwriting Book
 No. | DATE        |  FROM
s  1: Nov  7, 1996: Stephen Frug <sfrug at>
*  2: Nov  8, 1996: jmsatb5 at


From: Stephen Frug <sfrug at>
Lines: 86


	I bought, read, re-read much of, and have loved your
scriptwriting book.  Though I do write (prose), I've never been
much interested in working for TV/Movies; I bought the book for the
B5 script.  (As you must have known people would do.)  Nevertheless,
it's been fun to read A) because one learns about one medium from
thinking about the aesthetic problems of another; and B) as a viewer
of TV/movies.

	I had two questions in particular about your book:

	1. Why not include scripts for comics?  I assume the quick answer
is that comic scripts are not "produced" in the same way, are not
*dramatic*-- there are no actors.  But it also seems to me that stage
plays are quite different from radio/TV/movies as well (in that, e.g.,
there is not one, repeatable finished product, but multiple productions).
And comic writing is writing a *script*, that is, dialog and pictures
for an inherently collaborative medium, and thus has much in common
with TV/movies in that sense.
	Your book seems to me, in many ways, less about scriptwriting
than the *business* of scriptwriting-- most of it is on the history
of the industries invovled, how to set up a script, how to sell one,
what the industry is like.  This is, in many ways, a Good Thing as I
see it: in collaborative mediums which are hard to break into, advice
about the buisness is very important; and the heart of writing, as you
note often-- the passion, the ideas, the talent-- you either have or
you don't.
	*Given* this, it seems to me that comic scripts are quite in
line with your book: they have to be produced for a market with strong
historical forces, in flux, are hard to sell, must be conditioned for
the market in the way that, say, TV has to (and novels much, much less
so).  So why not include them?
	Especially since you have *written* comic scripts as well
as TV, movie, radio, animation and stage scripts.  If you hadn't, I
would undertand that as a simple answer.  But you have-- and "In Darkness
Find Me" was an excellent comic script (I wasn't so fond of the art),
by *far* the best of the comic series.
	Comic scripts seem to me the one major area left out of your
very through book.  So why not include it?
	(I suppose you know the answer I'd love is, I will in the
next edition, good idea...  But baring that, I am quite curious as
to your reasoning.  Is there another book along the lines of yours
on comic's that you'd recomend?)

	2. My second question is less directly about your book than
inspired by it.  I was quite interested in your section on radio dramas,
about which I know far less-- simply as a consumer-- than I do about
the other areas; I believe the only one I'd ever heard was Orson
Wells' "War of the Worlds", the only one I'd ever read was a bit
of the Douglas Adam's Hitchhiker scripts.  But I was intreagued,
and it got me thinking, particularly the part about PBS doing
STAR WARS as a radio series.
	I am *not* going to suggest you re-do B5 as a radio series,
as others have suggested you do it as a novel.  Obviously, it'd be
great, but if you perfect an image as a painting, why redo it as
a photograph?  It seems unnecessary... and, more to the point, it would
take a lot of time, not to mention money, and i doubt you have it.
(Though if you do, I'd be thrilled.)
	Instead, I would suggest-- request-- beg if it'd help-- you
to consider doing *one* one hour radio episode of B5 (in addition
to normal TV shows, of course, not instead).  It could fit into some
section of the arc much as the two hypotehtical TV movies might.
And it would be thrilling to just see (or rather hear) what B5 would
be like as a radio script.  It would also introduce some of your fans
to a medim they are unfamiliar with, and maybe get them to explore it
	Since radio is so much less expensive than TV, I imagine
that one episode might be able to be put together at some point.  You
could probably get some radio to play it... or you could market it to fan
club members (or more generally) as an extra item, as an audiodrama
as you call them in your book.  If you did it during the filming,
you could get the regular actors to be the voices, which would be
essential for it to work for fans of the TV show, I imagine. It would be
*wonderful* to have just a taste of what B5 for radio would be like.
	I know it's unlikely, but I urge you to consider it.  I think
it would make a *GREAT* speciality item, either for broadcast, for sale,
or both.
	(Baring that... anywhere I can get ahold of any of your radio
drama scripts and/or produced episodes?)

	Thank you for your attention, and for the best show on

						Stephen Frug


From: jmsatb5 at
Lines: 11

I debated long and hard about including a section about comics in the
script book, and finally opted against it, on several grounds.  1) I
wanted to specialize in performance-style scriptwriting, involving living
people, and 2) while I've written some comics, I don't feel enough of an
expert yet to set down my poor understanding in book form.


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