JMS on CompuServe (Dec 24, 1997) *POSSIBLE SPOILERS*

bbarrett at bbarrett at
Wed Dec 24 16:23:01 EST 1997

 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WARNING !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 The following posts may contain SPOILERS for
 upcoming Babylon 5 episodes.

 Continue at your own risk.

 Note that JMS has expressed his public permission 
 that all of his messages may be reproduced freely.

 I give permission for my summaries to be reposted in
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 the right to revoke this permission at any time.
  Archives of this material may be found at:


 [ Summary of subjects in this section: ]
    Sb: #10625-Last episode #
    Sb: #10319-#Premiere Parties
    Sb: #10536-#Toronto, Canada
    Sb: #10623-Toronto, Canada
    Sb: #10867-#Guide my Gatherings?
    Sb: #10919-#Gathering Additions
    Sb: #Deconstruction of Sol
    Sb: #10792-Deconstruction of Sol

 #: 10625 S2/Bab 5: General
    21-Dec-97  22:29:10
Sb: #10239-#Last episode #

What is dream watch and where do we get it?
A friend(ex's sister had a book dedicated to her(Asimov's Bicential man) she 
is also a writer and a Friend of Fari Ackerman (Naomi Gordon(Magazner) ) 
want's to know if you have any plans of doing anything with Bicentenial man?

 #: 10694 S2/Bab 5: General
    22-Dec-97  12:26:08
Sb: #10625-Last episode #

      Dreamwatch is a magazine in the UK.


 #: 10319 S2/Bab 5: General
    19-Dec-97  20:03:01
Sb: Premiere Parties

Dear JMS,

I don't know if you have any say in this sort of thing, but I guess you know 
TNT is sponsoring these "In the Beginning" premiere parties in many cities 
(info from  Well, the one here in New York 
City will be held at a place called "Australia - The Bar" ... Anyway, I gave 
them a call today (needed to know which street they're located, you know First 
Avenue is really LONG) ... Anyway, because they are a BAR, they will be 
allowing smoking and drinking ... Well, I don't do either of them (though I'm 
just quite old enough to do so), I don't have a problem with people drinking 
(they can destroy their liver for all I care), though smoking is a different 
story (I do believe they have a right to get lung cancer and kill themselves 
if they wish to do so) ... Anyway, since childhood (which wasn't that really 
long ago) ... I am quite susceptible to bronchitis, which I been told, to stay 
away from smoke.  Anyway, sorry for this rambling (which I tend to do often) 
.. Getting to the point, could you like give them a call and ask them to 
repect people who do not wish be in a smoke filled room.  :)  I love Babylon 
5, I think it would be fun to go to a Babylon 5 "In the Beginning" Premiere 
Party (I don't get out much) ... but I really don't care for smokers (even 
though they have the right to kill themselves, though they have no right to 
take others)

Happy Holidays JMS,
ec in nyc

 #: 10602 S2/Bab 5: General
    21-Dec-97  18:04:03
Sb: #10319-#Premiere Parties

      Short answer before the long one...obviously I cannot go into any 
establishment, or have TNT do so, and have them contravene their usual 
policies on smoking or drinking on our behalf...that's not something that's in 
my purview.

      I got the list of places last week that will be part of the series of 
open parties, and I'm pretty sure they're all bars of one sort or another, for 
the primary reason that they all have satellite/TNT feeds, and have the 
resources for a party other than one that is catered.  Most average 
restaurants don't have those kind of facilities.  Jeffrey Willerth advised me 
about this in a memo, because he knows my feelings about alcohol.  So I asked 
hilm (he's the one in touch with the folks at TNT) to try and find some 
additional, non-bar venues.  Whether or not this is possible, especially at 
this late date, remains to be seen, but TNT was nice enough to say they'd try 
and find something.  The problem, as noted above, is finding places that have 
the necessary facilities.


 [ Summary: Asks if JMS will stop by Toronto, Canada, to help promote
   Babylon 5 in Canada. ]

 #: 10603 S2/Bab 5: General
    21-Dec-97  18:04:03
Sb: #10536-#Toronto, Canada

      I'll generally go anywhere to help the show.


 [ Summary: Asks how one would get JMS to come to promote the show. ]

 #: 10695 S2/Bab 5: General
    22-Dec-97  12:26:08
Sb: #10623-Toronto, Canada

      They would go through TNT publicity.


 #: 10867 S2/Bab 5: General
    23-Dec-97  11:40:07
Sb: #Guide my Gatherings?

Hi there!
                 Happy "Holidays" and all that... :-)
I have a question for any of us lucky enough to have obtained the original 
"Gathering" from CH.
Do you recommend viewing it first,before seeing the newer re-edited version 
looming on TNT?


 #: 10925 S2/Bab 5: General
    23-Dec-97  22:33:11
Sb: #10867-#Guide my Gatherings?

"Do you recommend viewing it first,before seeing the newer re-edited version 
looming on TNT?"

      No, see the new one first.


 #: 10919 S2/Bab 5: General
    23-Dec-97  20:26:12
Sb: #Gathering Additions

Can you spare a few words on how you went about the re-edit?  Did you start 
with what you wanted to get back in, or trying to find out how much time you 
could recapture?  I see in the Lurker's Guide you originally had 25 extra 
minutes of material to re-add: did this trim down to 14, or was that all the 
room you could make? (or were the other minutes not on the A-list?)  Of what 
you wanted to do, how much were you able to?


 #: 10926 S2/Bab 5: General
    23-Dec-97  22:33:11
Sb: #10919-#Gathering Additions

"Can you spare a few words on how you went about the re-edit?  Did you start 
with what you wanted to get back in, or trying to find out how much time you 
could recapture?"

      The first thing I did was to sit down with the editor assigned to the 
re-edit, Suzie, and go through the original script for the pilot.  My first 
words to her were, "Put everyhing in that ain't there."  To that end, she 
redigitized all of the footage from missing scenes, and had available all of 
the available footage of the other scenes for digitizing as we went.

      Note that I said all the *available* footage.  The folks at WB who held 
custody of the film (we don't keep that stuff, we're not allowed to by 
contract, they store film, negative, prints, all that stuff) put the negative 
canisters into storage...and at one point in the intervening 4 years, there 
had been water damage, and on another occasion, apparently rats had gotten in 
there and chewed some of the original negatives (and in most cases there 
weren't positive struck of those takes).

      Take your reaction to the foregoing, put it in front of the Hubble 
telescope, and you will have mine.

      However, we lucked out...where there were some takes that are gone, we 
were able to find enough others (masters instead of a two-shot, or a close-up 
instead of an over-shoulder) and B-camera footage that we were able to build 
solid versions of those scenes.  We didn't always have as many choices as 
we're used to but there was more than enough for our needs.

      Suzi then dumped all of the newly edited additional scenes into the 
existing pilot, and that gave us the new running time (we added about 14 
minutes).  So at that point, John and I went in and worked to slice down the 
previously existing scenes, doing what we do with B5: tightening every loose 
screw and nut as much as we could.  One or two incidental, unimportant scenes 
in the original pilot went out, because they added nothing and shouldn't have 
been there in the first place (a total of about 3 minutes).  The remaining 11 
minutes we made up in just tightening scenes, which were *so* lax and slow 
that it's amazing at times.

      In some cases, we substituted one take for another in the pre-existing 
pilot when we had a better reaction, or played scenes closer for more 
intimacy.  (One of the problems with the pilot is that it kept the audience 
far from the action, and the actors far from each other, something we changed 
in our shooting style for the we tried to change it when we 
could and when we had the coverage.)

      Tiny example: when Kosh falls down upon arriving at B5, that sequence 
ends with a big honking wide downshot of a nearly empty docking bay, with Kosh 
far from us, and Sinclair looking down (away from us) when he says "Damn."  
Then we go from that to a wide shot of the medlab.  Same framing. So I had 
Suzie look for a take where we panned up from a close on Kosh, to a close on 
Sinclair for that line, so it's more immediate, more personal, and the jump to 
the next scene doesn't feel like the one before.

      See, directors like to stay wide in their cuts, so you can see their 
nifty camera angles, see the set, the lighting...but after you've established 
where we are, most people want to see the *characters*, not the walls or how 
the camera moves.  That was what we tried to fix where we could.

      We couldn't totally re-edit the pilot, because we hadn't been given the 
money for something that intensive (the main expense is in opening up all the 
audio stems in the sound mix).  But all the stuff I wanted back in, is now in, 
and the scenes I wanted to fix, I fixed.

      I also got the thing back to its original format.  All TV movies are 6 
acts.  Because PTEN wanted more commercial breaks, I had to re-jig the 
structure of the thing into 9 acts, which meant moving some scenes into places 
where they weren't as effective, and frankly after 9 acts you just get tired 
of watching.  Here I was able to move scenes around and get back to the 
original 6 act structure that was intended for the thing, and that alone makes 
a huge difference in how the film feels.

      One of the biggest changes is the one least immediately apparent. After 
we finished the original pilot, some folks at WB felt that Laurel was 
too...strong.  They will rarely put it in terms quite as blatant as that, but 
that was the message...she was "unlikeable, unsympathetic, harsh."  Meaning 
some of the guys felt she was too strong, let's cut to the chase, okay?

      They wanted her to loop her lines, soften their (her) delivery.  I 
fought this tooth and nail.  I fought this until finally I was pulled aside 
and it was communicated to me that B5 was, after all, still an unknown 
property, could be a big failure, and if we ever wanted to see this thing on 
the air, we'd accommodate this note (which was, I have to admit on balance, 
one of the few they had).  The advice was, in essence, "Pick your battles."

      So, reluctantly, I let it get looped by Tamlyn.

      But now, when the re-edit was commissioned, and with the person at the 
studio who insisted on this now no longer AT the studio, I told Suzie, "Screw 
it, put back her original production track and trash the loops."  Instantly, 
Laurel's energy level comes up, the performance is just *feels* 
more natural now.

      So basically, we did a lot...some of it may not be immediately apparent 
(improving a sound here, altering coverage, adding additional sound layers, 
redoing a composite shot of the garden), but over the duration of watching it, 
it's just *better*.  It's still a *tad* slower around the middle than I 
would've liked, but that's a WP (writer problem), nothing that can be fixed in 
an edit.  It's just exposition-dense there, and nothing of a sort that can be 


 [ Summary: States that Sol could not go Nova. ]

 #: 10775 S4/Bab 5: **SPOILERS**
    22-Dec-97  22:26:04
Sb: #Deconstruction of Sol

      And what if you, say, interfered substantially with the mass of the sun 
by, say, causing a series of jump points to open up *inside* the sun across 
several days?


 #: 10792 S4/Bab 5: **SPOILERS**
    23-Dec-97  06:43:02
Sb: #10775-#Deconstruction of Sol


>>  And what if you, say, interfered substantially with the mass of the sun 
by, say, causing a series of jump points to open up *inside* the sun across 
several days? <<

Would that amount to injecting some hefty chunks of hyperspace?  Ouch!!

We should have known you have a good answer.


 #: 10927 S4/Bab 5: **SPOILERS**
    23-Dec-97  22:33:12
Sb: #10792-Deconstruction of Sol

      You'd also substantially decrease the mass of Sol, which as I understand 
it, would result in the sun going nova.



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