ATTN JMS: How do you create a character

B5JMS Poster b5jms-owner at
Wed Aug 13 07:16:32 EDT 1997

From: scottdj at (Scott Johnson)
Date: 10 Aug 1997 04:04:51 -0400
Lines: 29

Hey Joe,

    I know you have said that one reason you came to the net was to help
shed some light on all the stuff that goes on behind the scenes to make a tv
show.  I've always wondered something ang this seems like the perfect time
to ask:  How do you create a character?

You've said several times that your writing is driven by character, but when
you have to create one, how much detail do you work out ahead of time?  Do
you try to have an actual history for the character, with events and details
that may not end up being used in the show, or do you just figure out
the character's motivation and main personality traits, and work out the
details when they are needed?

Thanks again for such a great show.  

Eagerly awaiting the Final Four and Season 5,

Scott Johnson				Email: scottdj at
Dept. of EECS, Univ. of Michigan
"Do not meddle in the affairs of [techno]mages, for you are crunchy
and good with ketchup."

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From: jmsatb5 at (Jms at B5)
Date: 10 Aug 1997 07:09:26 -0400
Lines: 15

It's never one technique.  If I need a character to do one specific thing,
as a guest star, I work from the Thing backwards to the Person.  What kind
of Person would do this Thing, as opposed what kind of Thing would this
Person do?

The latter approach is more for regular or recurring characters.  There I
ask a series of questions about the character: Who is he?  What does he
want?  How far will he go to get that?  And how far will someone else go
to stop him?

That's the heart of it, to me...the basic Socratic method of asking

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