JMS on CompuServe (Jul 28, 1997) *POSSIBLE SPOILERS*

bbarrett at bbarrett at
Mon Jul 28 17:04:14 EDT 1997

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

 Continue at your own risk.

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 [ Summary of subjects in this section: ]
    Sb: #688582-#An Open Letter
    Sb: #688702-#DS9 = Babylon 5
    Sb: #688821-#Claudia Opts Out-JMS
    Sb: #688929-#Claudia Opts Out-JMS
    Sb: #688822-#Claudia Opts Out-JMS
    Sb: #688898-#Claudia C fired!
    Sb: #688765-#Tim's Apology
    Sb: #688945-Your Pasadena payback
    Sb: #689013-Onward and upward

 #: 688582 S5/Babylon 5: General
    26-Jul-97  15:25:56
Sb: #An Open Letter


Dear Joe,

This represents the voice of over 300 people who you don't hear from very
often.  We understand that the last couple of weeks have been particularly
stressful.  We want you to know, though, that there is a large group of fans
who have learned to trust your judgment when it comes to the story, despite
all of the roadblocks you've had to face.

We're members of the John & Delenn Forum and we still look forward to
season five with the greatest of anticipation -- without any reservations.
You get to finish what many thought was impossible -- complete your five
year epic for television.  That is what's important.  The story gets to be
told.  We are particularly thankful to you for bringing us a realistic and
engrossing portrait of a male/female relationship.

It occurred to us that because we usually reside over in our little mailing
list, you never hear the positive and encouraging voices of our members.
We understand and appreciate that a saturation of negativity, as you've
experienced recently, can have a warping effect on your view of on-line
fans.  We wanted you to know that we, and we're sure most of the on-line
community, do not share the negativity of a few, very vocal people.

You have often spoken with pride about how B5 can create communities amongst
its fans.  You helped create ours, a group of diverse individuals from all
walks of life and sixteen different countries who have found a "home"
rallying around your show and, obviously, our favorite couple.

Thank you, Joe.  Thank you for the show.  Thank you for sharing a part of
your wonderfully creative mind with us.  Thanks for one of the most realistic
and engrossing love stories we've ever been fortunate enough to witness.
Thanks for sticking with it and making it a reality.  Thanks for breaking a
tooth and getting gray hairs so that we could all enjoy your story.  Thank
you for being on-line for us.  And, most of all, thanks for doing right by
us.  Rest assured that we will never forget you for all that you've done so
far and for all the wonderful things that are yet to be.


Adrina                       Kathlene Whitmore
Andrea O'Brien               Kelly Matthews
Alison Weinstock             Kimberly West
Alli Tyler                   Kristina Menzel
Amanda                       L. Livingston
Andrea Lawrence              Lara Nicosia
Annette Wells White          Laura Cleveland
B5PDA                        Laura Jorge
Barbara Key                  Lia Marie Danks
Beate Czogalla               Linda Peting
Beatrice Lauzon              Lori
Brenda Jean Carlson          Lynne Buckley
Brent Barrett                Lynne Shandley, Corwin fanatic :-)
Carol Hargreaves             Maggie ("Magdalen") Pragnell
Carol Thompson               Maria Athanasatos
Catherine Riche'             Mary Lou Campbell
Celeste Suliin Burris        Mary M. Turner
Char Stanley                 mary riley
Charles & Carmel DeBruin     Megan Dansie
Chris Grzonka                Miss Cecilia St.John
Chrystie Uckotter            Miss Lydie LaBarthe
Clif Sawyer                  Moyra J. Bligh
Coleen Flanagan              Nerida Bridgford
Connie Anderson              Pat Woods
Corinna Ong                  Patricia Flood
Craig Cheslog                Peggy Wargelin
Debbie                       Penny Rothkopf
Deborah Baudoin              Robbie Knefel
Degan Outridge               Ronit Itzhari
Diana English                Ros Calverley
Diane Banks                  Rosa Smothers
Diane Denesowicz             Roshan Perera
Doreen M. Rymkiewicz         Sally Urquhart
Dr. Anne R. Wells            Sandy Rohrbacher
Elizabeth Angell             Sarah Post
Ellen Caldera                Sharon Ann Campbell
Ellen R. Sullivan            Sharon Graves
Erika S. Hanson              Sharon M. Martin
erin farrell                 Sheryl E. Coe
Florence Butler              Steffen Motzer
Frieda W. Landau             Stephanie Ault-Justus
Gail Wallace                 Steven C Duarte
Genevra Saint Clair          Susan C.
Gwyn Symonds                 Susan Kirn
Heather Henley               Tami Neuthal
Heather Jack                 Teddy Clark
Helen Drake                  Tish
Jan Willekens                Torsten Karsch (Germany)
Janice Schnell             
Jay Sprenkle             
Jennie Furr
Jennifer Bailey
Jennifer Waer
Jill R.
John W. Weiss
Joyce Choiniere
Jude Nethercott
Judi Eathorne-Gould
Julie Watkins

 #: 689020 S5/Babylon 5: General
    27-Jul-97  22:54:21
Sb: #688582-#An Open Letter

      Thanks, to everyone on the J&D mailing list.  There's been quite a bit of
positive feedback lately, which has certainly helped.

      I'm considering strongly pulling back from the nets for a while.  What a
number of people don't seem to understand is that amidst all this, with all the
name-calling and dead-catting and tar-and-feathering, I have to launch the
fifth season.  I have to write these first 5-6 episodes, and make them not just
as good as year 4, but better.  The only way I can write is to push away all
the other voices until I can hear the small, still voice at the back of my head
that speaks in the place of the characters.  There has been so much going on
(see above) that this has become difficult at best.

      Come January, if the shows are crap, from crap scripts, and people yell,
"How come the stories suck?" it does no good for me to yell back, "BECAUSE
EVERYBODY WAS YELLING AT ME!"  That is a pretty silly excuse.  The bottom line
is: angry email is ephemeral; the shows will be on the air for a lot longer.
And that is where I have to put my emphasis right now.

      So I'm not yanking the modem out of the wall, but my presence will be
somewhat reduced over the next little bit, because I've fallen *desperately*
behind due to all the turmoil over this.  If people think they're upset over
Claudia leaving, and the grief this has caused, the truth is they have no idea
what those words mean until they've sat behind my keyboard and tried to push
through it to find the words.  And then to get yelled at for things I'm not
responsible for...I can either read it, and get angry, or take a break and get
the show in place.  Even the positive email, welcome as that's been, and
there's been a lot, has been a reminder of the whole situation, so I basically
just have to pull back for a bit.

      I'll be here...but quietly, until I'm caught up.  Similarly, with regrets
(and as soon as I can find the darned email address for them), I'm going to
have to cancel out on RebelCon in Massachusetts in order to try and catch up.
I can't justify the time away when we're so close to the bone.


 [ Summary: (See the quote below from a message in the Trek Conference.) ]

 #: 689026 S3/Star Trek: DS9
    28-Jul-97  00:14:22
Sb: #688702-#DS9 = Babylon 5

"But then I never watched B 5 even if Chekov was on it.  I always thought of it
as a copy of DS9 because DS9 was in the works longer."

      Just to correct: DS9 was not developed until about 1991/1992 (I'll have
to go check which one for sure)...B5 was being shown around town in full
pilot-script and artwork form dating back to 1987.


 [ Summary: "Any way you can conspire to bring back Turhan Bey as a different
   character? [...] Can't tell you how great it was seeing him again, even if
   you killed him off in that episode." ]

 #: 689027 S5/Babylon 5: General
    28-Jul-97  00:14:25
Sb: #688821-#Claudia Opts Out-JMS

      Re: Turhan...yeah, everybody on the set yelled at me when we had to kill
off Turhan's character.  He was one of the genuinely sweetest and nicest
persons to come work on the show, and they all fell in love with him.  If
there's EVER a way I can figure out how to bring him back, I'm up for it.


 [ Summary: More talk about how Claudia could be in England and L.A.
   at the same time. ]

 #: 689028 S5/Babylon 5: General
    28-Jul-97  00:14:28
Sb: #688929-#Claudia Opts Out-JMS

      No...let me stress this again: there was never any meeting here.

      The meeting you *might* be thinking of was the one where we brought in
the actors to explain to them the differences in syndication vs. cable
residuals formula.  That took place some weeks before.

      If it helps, let me break down the dates for you a bit:

      July 9th: the Variety and Reuters pieces appear saying Claudia's has left
the show.  WB wants to know where Claudia stands, and we need to know because
at this point I've finished writing the new 422, and am about to start on 502
(actually the first S5 episode).  I hear about this when Claudia, I and the
rest of the cast are in the UK at Blackpool.  The WB need for urgent
clarification is conveyed to Claudia's agent.

      July 10th: I reinforce to Claudia, at the pub in the DeVere hotel, that
unless she confirms through her agent by noon Friday, the 11th, that she wants
to be on the show, the offer will be withdrawn, that she will have, to all
intents and purposes, passed on the offer.

      July 11th: there was no "final comment," no meeting...again, we are still
in the UK.  For there to be a final comment, she or her agent would have had to
actually *speak* to someone.  But no call came from either Claudia or her
agent.  There was NO response at all.  Thus, the offer was finally and
reluctantly withdrawn because we were simply out of time, and having been told
that silence = a pass on the offer, there was no longer any reason to maintain
the offer.  She passed.

      July 12th: Jeff goes to Claudia and on his own, tries to convince her to
try and work this out on Monday, that if her agent makes contact first thing,
maybe this can be worked out.  This is not a position that I told him to
advance to her, he did this entirely on his own, hoping that she could still
come back from her decision.  Bruce and other cast members also try to talk to
her about this, concerned about her decision.

      July 14th (Monday): Claudia leaves the convention mid-day, announcing
that she is going to go to a photo shoot.

      The weekend of July 19th-20th: I'm at ComicCon in San Diego, where I
learn that Claudia, at another convention, has announced that she was fired
from B5.  And that, to paraphrase, is where the blitz hit the fans.

      I know you keep trying to find some way that maybe I wasn't there,
perhaps to save me from the situation...but I was there for every bit of it;
having the room 4 doors down from Claudia at the time, I couldn't be *more* in
the thick of it unless I slept on the floor of her room.


 [ Summary: Raymond Feist speaks out and explains (rather well) how the
   business of contract negotiations in the entertainment industry work,
   and why what happened with Claudia probably happened.  Basically, he
   feels that it was a business move in which she or her agent felt that
   WB would come back to them on their terms.  But he goes on to stress
   that this sort of business dealing is very common in the business 
   and that it doesn't reflect one way or the other on any side of the 
   issue. ]

 #: 689029 S5/Babylon 5: General
    28-Jul-97  00:14:32
Sb: #688822-#Claudia Opts Out-JMS

      Ray: extremely, extremely well said.  Better than I could have said it,
and probably better than I *have* said it.

      You really ought to give this writing thing a shot sometime, y'know...?


 #: 688898 S5/Babylon 5: General
    27-Jul-97  15:39:40
Sb: #688672-#Claudia C fired!

Message text written by J. Michael Straczynski
>  It's the medium, not the person, that's the problem.<

Before coming to this forum today I was reading through a ST newsgroup on the
internet. John Ordover was busy defending himself against criticism for things
like ignoring rude messages. I'm sure you don't find this at all surprising.

 #: 689030 S5/Babylon 5: General
    28-Jul-97  00:14:34
Sb: #688898-#Claudia C fired!

"Before coming to this forum today I was reading through a ST newsgroup on the
internet. John Ordover was busy defending himself against criticism for things
like ignoring rude messages. I'm sure you don't find this at all surprising."

      Yeah, well, John also announced *definitively* (and with considerable
joy, I suspect) on AOL that B5 had been canceled, and there would be no fifth
season, so I'm probably the last person to ask about this....


 [ Summary: The person who thought JMS was too smug in his acceptance of
   this person's apology suggests that JMS could have avoided the whole
   problem by not responding to messages in public. ]

 #: 689032 S5/Babylon 5: General
    28-Jul-97  00:14:39
Sb: #688765-#Tim's Apology

"Surely you have the power to not reply to certain messages?"

      Of course I do.  And I do frequently.

      The problem is that the nets are best able to spread complete
misinformation even faster than they can spread real information.  If something
is stated once in error -- like the person who thought the deadline was the
19th rather than the 11th -- others pick it up and within a matter of a day or
two, there are 10,000 people all with the same wrong information, and if you go
back to them to correct it later, they say, "Well, no, that's not what I
heard," even though they may not be able to remember where they got that info

      On the nets, the line between "speculation" and "fact" is very blurry on
the best of days.  My feeling has always been that in that kind of situation,
you put out the facts as best you can, on the theory that the folks interested
in the discussion are sharp enough to suss out the truth, and those not
interested in it wil simply not bother to read the threads.

      Also, bear in mind that there was a request put out to email bomb me by
people concerned about Claudia's situation.  A request put out *by* Claudia and
her people.  Now, I can either spend ten thousand hours a day responding to
each one of those in email, or by public messages put a lot of those concerns
to rest and save a fair amount of hassle when I'm *trying* to put on a show


 #: 688945 S5/Babylon 5: General
    27-Jul-97  17:22:53
Sb: #Your Pasadena payback

        Joe, would you still prefer that people keep fairly quiet on the whole
Pasadena prank and your revenge on Andreas & Peter, or do you figure that Wolf
and the 're-enactment' has taken it as far as it's going?

(p.s., I couldn't resist saying hi to you when you were gathering the flock, as
it were, outside the train in Blackpool station<g>)

 #: 689033 S5/Babylon 5: General
    28-Jul-97  00:14:42
Sb: #688945-Your Pasadena payback

      Well, certainly the more folks retell the story at cons, the less I can
tell it, so there's that...but the joke has gone about as far as it's going to.

      Until I can think of something better.


 [ Summary: (See below.) ]

 #: 689034 S5/Babylon 5: General
    28-Jul-97  00:14:45
Sb: #689013-Onward and upward

      I'd say that the Cavelos book is pretty canonical, yes...I didn't work
with the author as closely as with #9, but I agree with just about all of the
major strokes there.



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