[B5JMS] from jms re: script book info

b5jms at mail.fsl.cs.sunysb.edu b5jms at mail.fsl.cs.sunysb.edu
Thu Nov 10 04:30:31 EST 2005

From: jmsatb5 at aol.com
Date: Fri, 21 Oct 2005 13:39:14 +0000 (UTC)
Lines: 70

First, an advance word to those who are looking on...as noted here
earlier, all of the B5 scripts that I wrote are going to be published
in book form via www.babylon5scripts.com (a clever and inventive
title), and I just had it confirmed to me that the site will be going
on line right around the 28th of this month, give or take a day or so.

There will be 14 volumes, containing all the episodic scripts that I
wrote, plus "In the Beginning" (in the 14th) and in volume 1 the
ORIGINAL 1989 version of "The Gathering" that was used to sell the show
but which was massively changed prior to production, which features
different characters and gave Kosh a life-mate named Velana.

The 15th volume will be given without charge to those who pick up all
14 volumes...even the shipping charges will be covered.  That volume
will contain the lost Soul Hunter script (well, not lost, I recalled it
because I'd unwittingly written a Star Trek style script instead of a
B5 style script), a never-before-seen draft of Midnight on the Firing
Line written a YEAR before we got the go-ahead for the series to show
WB how the series would work, which is *massively* different (and a bit
more surreal) from what was filmed...the original B5 series bible...the
5 year arc overview given to WB before we started filming season one to
show how the series would work (and which followed Sinclair's character
all through those five years on B5)...and the script used in the
now-famous (or infamous) practical joke played on Andreas and Peter
which had G'Kar changing genders and ending up in bed with Londo.

Each volume also has an original introduction from me, and a lengthy
discussion of each episode, averaging about 40 pages per book, with a
lot of behind the scenes information never revealed before, along with
what went into the writing and producing.

There will also be a collection of B&W photos from my private
collection taken behind the scenes, which have never been seen by
anyone before.  (Some books will have more photos than others,
depending on how often I made it to set that week.)

As noted before, for the first week or so after each new volume is
released, they'll be knocking ten bucks off the price of each volume to
reward the B5 community for keeping an eye on this.  And yes, they do
ship internationally.

Moving on to other topics for a moment....

The same week, the 26th, will also see the publcation of issue one of
"The Book of Lost Souls," the new comic I'm doing with Colleen Doran,
and published by Marvel.  This book is not like anything I've ever
written before (the closest would be Midnight Nation), and it's
definitely not like anything else Marvel is doing, and it's just
gorgeous to look at (and not bad to read, either).  No spandex, no
costumes...a kind of modern dark fantasy, very adult, sometimes very
dark but ultimately hopeful...and best of all, it has a talking cat
named Mystery who is modeled after Buddy the Miracle Cat, so really,
how can you go wrong?

Finally...and I almost hate to type these words for fear of jinxing
anything...but in addition to the network project in development, I've
been offered show-runner on another series which should, if all goes
according to plan start shooting up in Vancouver in the spring.  That's
all I can say about it for now, except that I've accepted the offer and
we're now concluding negotiations.  More on this as it develops.


(message content (c) 2005
Synthetic Worlds, Ltd.
Reprint permission specifically
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From: jmsatb5 at aol.com
Date: Wed, 9 Nov 2005 07:58:25 +0000 (UTC)
Lines: 112

Now that the first books have gone out and begun to arrive at their
destinations, I thought I'd jump in with a quick update on all this.

Regarding the delay of two days on the first copies getting out...it's
the B5 tradition.  You can tell someone about B5 folks, but until they
see what follows, it's like trying to tell someone about Hurricane
Katrina coming in...you don't really understand what that means until
it comes to your front door.  So they've been hustling like crazy to
catch up on orders, with a lot of folks being upgraded to next day
shipping without charge.

Now that they know what to expect, they've said that volume two won't
be a problem.

Some have asked about the limited edition aspect of all this, so to
elaborate...over the next six months or thereabouts, we will be
releasing a new volume about every 3-4 weeks (instead of 2-3 weeks to
help ease the burden on the printers and a bit of a refractory period
for B5 folk).  That will take roughly six months.

After the 14th volume goes up, we will keep the site open for an as-yet
undetermined period...most likely about 90 days, give or take, to let
folks jump in and flesh out any volumes they're missing, and put in the
info for the free 15th volume.

At the end of that period...the site comes down.  No more copies will
be made.  There will be no inventory, no back-orders, ONLY the ones
that have been actually bought will exist.  This will help to ensure
that the books have collectible value for the fans who buy them.  We
may do Crusade thereafter, or Twilight Zone, but insofar as the B5
script books...that's the end.

Others have asked why I (and the B5 scripts team) are going through
Cafe Press rather than a major publisher.  The answer is very simple:
over the years, I've had many publishers approach me about publising
the B5 scripts, but they take the same timid line WB has always taken
about the show.  We had to push like hell to get the DVDs released, and
they still insisted on testing the water...putting out one disc first
(same with the VHSs) to "test the waters"....and of course now the DVDs
have grossed half a billion bucks for WB.

So when the publishers approached me, it was with the same, "Well,
let's put out one book now, the 'best of' scripts, then we can think
about doing more down the road, so we can test the waters."  When I
explained that i wante all of the scripts to go out, all 14 volumes,
nearly a hundred scripts...they couldn't even fathom such a thing.
It's never been done, not on this scale.  But with Cafe Press, we CAN
do all 14 volumes.

This collection is really the Rosetta Stone of the Babylon 5
universe...and I wanted that to get out there in full, to kind of
finish the job properly.  Here's the scripts, here are the stories
behind the scripts, the arc, the production, here are the photos and
the memos, so that when it's done...it's really done.  Again, we're
talking here over 6,300 pages of material...14 volumes, each nearly an
inch thick...it's just monumental.

A few other places came and said they could do it, but their plan was
to do even FEWER copies, limited edition stuff, hardcover, at a cost of
sixty to two HUNDRED bucks per copy, which I thought was just way, way
beyond the pale.  The whole point of the exercise is to get this into
the hands of as many people who want it as possible.  The way we're
doing it now, for a bit over four hundred bucks, folks can get all 14
volumes, plus the 15th free, which is a heck of a lot more affordable,
given what scripts and the like sell for on Ebay.

For me, on a personal basis, it's been an amazing process to go back in
time, through the memos, scripts and photos, and re-live those years.
Which is one of the reasons why the intros/essays have been ballooning
out in size...from 13,000 words to 15,000 to 18,000 words, not COUNTING
the other material.  I'm putting it all in...all the stuff nobody ever
heard about...it's all going in here.

And then, when it's done, the tale will at last be told in its
entirety...the show, and the show *behind* the show.

I've been very pleased that so many folks who've already received the
first volume have said some great things about the it.  This was our
trial-and-error copy, and we will continue to expand and enhance and
grow from here.

Again, though, bear in mind that there is a ceiling on how long these
will be available at www.babylon5scripts.com so if there's somebody who
doesn't know about the site, you may want to let them know in time to
get in while the Cafe Press price breaks will give them maximum

The volume 2 should be out somewhere around Thanksgiving, which has all
the cool stuff up through "Chrysalis," with volume 3 out sometime in
early December (with all the info about how Michael York almost ended
up as the captain of Babylon 5, the "final four" controversy, several
characters who were going to be in the show as regulars but weren't,
and other cool stuff) since I know a lot of folks were curious about
season two material in particular (that's the 18K intro).  I've also
found a couple dozen one-paragraph to multi-page premises for episodes
that never made it to full script, which will be included starting in
volume 3, such as The Long Night of Susan Ivanova, The World Below, The
Mysterious Mr. Jones, and a bunch of others.

I have to be honest...I'm enjoying the hell out of this.


message copyright (c) 2005
synthetic worlds, ltd.
permission to reprint
specifically denied to sfx magazine

From: Trish Crowther <trix_mine at yahoo.com.au>
Date: Wed, 9 Nov 2005 11:18:57 +0000 (UTC)
Lines: 33

On Wed, 9 Nov 2005 07:58:25 +0000 (UTC), jmsatb5 at aol.com wrote:

>This collection is really the Rosetta Stone of the Babylon 5
>universe...and I wanted that to get out there in full, to kind of
>finish the job properly.  Here's the scripts, here are the stories
>behind the scripts, the arc, the production, here are the photos and
>the memos, so that when it's done...it's really done.  Again, we're
>talking here over 6,300 pages of material...14 volumes, each nearly an
>inch thick...it's just monumental.

"To finish the job properly" ... I've been wondering for a while now
if this exercise has a degree of closure  about it for you. If that's
the case (and I realise it's a big if and I could be completely wrong)
could that mean that you won't play in the B5 universe again - that
it's truly finished? On a purely selfish note, I hope not (I really
would like to see a resolution to Crusade). If you decide it is the
end of B5 though, I'll look forward to other, fresh material from you.
>message copyright (c) 2005
>synthetic worlds, ltd.
>permission to reprint
>specifically denied to sfx magazine

From: jmsatb5 at aol.com
Date: Wed, 9 Nov 2005 12:11:11 +0000 (UTC)
Lines: 42

Trish Crowther wrote:
> "To finish the job properly" ... I've been wondering for a while now
> if this exercise has a degree of closure  about it for you.

Not to be morose -- though being russian that's nearly unavoidable for
me -- but I've been thinking about this since your question, and see,
the thing is...before I did this five year arc thing, nobody else
really had, y'know?  Not quite like this.  And I'd like to leave behind
the blueprints, the bread crumbs that led me through the story, so
somebody else can come along and beat me at my own game someday...do
something even more elaborate, more insane.  I'd love that, more than I
can tell you.  But the thing is, and this is something that's been on
my mind since we lost Richard, and for other reasons of late...none of
us lasts forever.  And I didn't want my notes to just get filed away at
some university, or reconstructed afterward by someone who didn't
really understand what it was all about, who wasn't there, who wouldn't
understand what it all *meant*, in the end, what it *felt like*...so I
wanted to make sure these got out there, while I still could, y'know?

This amazing online conversation, this dialogue, started over twelve
years ago, and the road between there and here has been the most
remarkable of my life; the road has taken me, taken us, to breathtaking
places...through the most important thing I've written to date in my
life, the one thing that they'll put on my obit when the day comes, and
so it seems right to bring that conversation full circle with this,
putting the whole damned thing out there.  It's the closest I will come
to going to everyone's house one night, one at a time, and saying,
"This is what happened, once upon a time...."

I'd even be inclined to try it, but there are far too many of you, and
as noted above, nobody lasts forever.  So these rather massive letters,
tossed into the great unknown, will have to suffice.

And no, don't worry, I'm fine...russian, and therefore fatalistic, but
fine...it's just something that's been on my mind of late, and was one
of the reasons I wanted to do this.  It is closure, in that sense.
That was a good call on your part.


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