Boy, another long day, and lots of questions here. I think I'll tackle
the questions first, then some news.
Yes, there will be classes of ships, and we've come up with some
interesting ideas on how to play some of that. You will *definitely* see some
of those variations in the 2-hour pilot.
And yes, more than one-on-one. That's all I can say for the moment on
those two topics.
I imagine, down the road, we'll be more flexible on the forehead
issue...it's just that, to start, we want something that's consistently
different. One of the most important aspects to all of this is that we
establish a completely different identity to anything else around. So we
make some concessions to that. But over time, we'll be flexible.
Re: a B5 roleplaying game...if someone at a roleplaying company wants to
license one, or for that matter if ANY licenser (toys, games, whatever) wants
to license B5 stuff, they should go through the Licensing Company of America,
Warners' in-house licensing company.
Yes, I was adjacent to the Penguin's Lair set, which was across from my
office at Universal. Got to hang around the set and stuff. My (then)
secretary stopped appearing at her desk after a while, and could almost
invariably be found down at the penguin tank, feeding the birds.
The budget is, natch, classified. At least for the time being. But we
are absolutely staying within the budget allocated. The difference between
any other SF show and this one is that we're doing things in a very different
way, looking at ways of making sets or using our resources such that we get
more bang for our buck. There's an *awful* lot of waste in TV. We're putting
every dollar up there on the screen, and our people have found some
wonderfully ingenious ways to make everything bigger, better, and more
flexible. In addition, most times a budget gets out of control is when you
back into your set design, you start making changes, throw out one thing or
We've had four years to plan this out. And that advance planning is
showing in every aspect of the show, including set design, production, EFX,
prosthetics, you name it. We've already locked down the blueprints for all of
our sets. That's well in advance of where most shows are at this point. We
already know in advance roughly how many episodes in the first season we will
be using various characters, so that helps us set the acting budget. Why pay
an actor for 22 episodes if you're only planning to use him for 11? Most
times, nobody KNOWS how many shows an actor is going to appear in, and pay him
for the run of the show, only to use him for half the episodes. Happens all
Most shows are not run terribly responsibly. I believe right down to my
socks that if someone is going to give me several million dollars to go make
something, it behooves me to use that money *responsibly*. And in this case,
because *so* much is known ahead of time about the requirements of the show,
it's eminently easy to work to a budget, and yet wind up with something that's
not simply acceptable, but which will simply blow your socks off.
On to the news:
More casting today. Saw a *dynamite* Sinclair. And, for the first time,
a *really* good Lyta. (Oh, and by the way...since the actors all come in with
different pronunciations, I figured it might not be generally known...it's
pronounced "Leeta.") Also had a meeting with the publicity people at Warners,
who're starting to gear up for the B5 publicity campaign. Not much has been
done until now because we don't hit the air until February, and nobody wants
to blow the momentum ahead of time.
Managed to get a copy of the short B5 promo film with interviews, and
will add that to the convention tape I bring around.
And now, as for the newsletter: it's now a go, having checked with
Warners to be sure we didn't overlap. No working title yet. (Hmm...how about
this: the person who comes up with the best title for the BABYLON 5 newsletter
gets one of the rare, early B5 color portfoios? If you decide to go for it,
post the stuff here, but try to put several into one message, rather than a
bunch of separate ones.)
The editor/writer of the XXXX, The Official Newsletter of Babylon 5, is
Katherine Lawrence (known to locals as sf-lawrence).
I'll have her get the current mailing list of folks who've gotten t-
shirts from the B5 offices. We plan on adding as many of the convention
programmers from around the country as possible. How she wants to add other
names from here is up to her...whether she wants them now, via email, or
later, or what. (KL: don't have 'em come via the B5 offices, we'd be
Target date for Issue #1 is August 1st.
That said...it's now out of my hair. I'll let Katherine handle any and
all inquiries about the newsletter. I don't wanna know from it for a while;
I'm up to my ears in production at the moment.
There's a lot more news breaking, but I'll save some of it for another
One kind of fun thing...I was playing with the set models today at the
office, and found that if you pick them up, and peer through the plastic
portholes and/or entrances, you can sort of get a camera's eye view of the
thing...like actually being on set in miniature. Talk about a thrill...I
can't *imagine* what it's gonna be like to actually stand on the set of the B5
observation dome when it's finished. (These sets, by the way, are *big*, boys
and girls; I'm talking BIG.)