from jms: update

 Posted on 7/14/2008 by to

Putting this on a recent thread here where it's more likely to be seen
in a quick fashion....

Several things just to update folks.

First, many thanks to all those who sent along research suggestions
and offerings to be of assistance on the project I can't talk about.
I've been swamped with deadlines and unable to reply to any of the
public notes and private emails, but as soon as I can get my head
above water, be assured that I'll be in touch with many of you.

Second, as noted in the original thread before I hijacked it, yes, the
plan at the moment is that I will be at Comic Con San Diego this year,
primarily doing my thing on Thursday and Saturday afternoons.

There is a *chance* -- mind you, it's just a slim chance but to be
honorable I must mention it -- that a work situation *may* preclude my
appearance there. Or it may not. I'll know more by the end of next
week, and for now as far as I know, everything's on target for me to
be at SDCC. If that changes, I'll be sure to let everyone know as far
in advance as possible.

One final note re: recent discussions on TMoS and more Lost Tales.

B5:TLT was commissioned at a $2 million budget to, yet one more time,
"test the waters" for B5. We did what we could with that, and that
was that. As we did with Rangers, which also suffered from not having
a lot of money because of concerns about "is there really a B5
audience?" Which is, of course, a foolish question from a studio that
has never really understood what it has in B5.

Of late, there have been more discussions from WB about doing more
DVDs, again at a low cost, or a cable thing, again with minimal

So for the last few months, I've been giving this whole subject a lot
of quiet thought. And I've come to a conclusion.

B5 as a five year story stands beautifully on its own. If anything
else is to be continued from that story, it should be something that
adds to the legacy of B5, rather than subtracts from it.

As well intentioned as Rangers and TLT were, as enticing as it was to
return to those familiar waters, in the end I think they did more to
subtract from the legacy than add to it. I don't regret having made
them, because I needed to go through that to get to the point where I
am now psychologically, but from where I sit now, I wouldn't make them

So I've let everyone up here know that I'm not interested in doing any
more low-budget DVDs. I'm not interested in doing any low-budget
cable things or small computer games. The only thing I would be
interested in doing regarding Babylon 5 from this point on is a full-
featured, big-budget feature film.

It's that or nothing.

And if it's nothing, I'm totally cool with that because the original
story stands on its own just fine. I'm not lobbying for it, I'm not
asking fans to write in about it (nor should you) because such
campaigns never really have much impact...that's simply the position
I've taken up here. Lord knows I don't lack for other things to do
these days. I'm busier on more prestige projects with terrific people
and great film-makers than at any other time in my career.

At the end of the day, for me, it's not just a matter of getting more
B5. It's a matter of getting more *good* B5 that respects what came
before it and doesn't have to compromise visually or in terms of
action. The original show deserves better than that, the surviving
cast members deserve better than that, and the fans who have supported
it over the years definitely deserve better than that. A lot better.

So I've drawn that line in the sand, and I'm happy living on whichever
side of that line the universe puts me. Just thought you should know,
'cause it's your show too.


Re: from jms: update

 Posted on 7/22/2008 by to

Just jumping in for a quick follow-up....

1) For those who wondered why $2M for a 2 hour movie was low when we
used to do B5 for $850K/hour...first, that was ten years ago, and
costs across the board have gone way up; second, we could amortize
costs across a season of 22 episodes, which you can't do for a stand-
alone. Meaning, you want a given set that costs $100,000 to build.
You spread that cost across 22 episodes and the hit is small. You can
also spread other hard costs across that period. In a stand-alone you
have to pay for everything out of that one budget. And on top of
that, scale for 2-hour salaries for crew and cast are higher per-hour
than a one-hour production.

2) In regards to Comic Con San was touch-and-go there for a
while, but I'll be able to make it there after all. The schedule for
the con is:

Writing seminar Thursday at 11. May or may not be able to swing by
the Ninja Assassin talk at 6.

Autographs Saturday 1-3 in the main signing area, and my spotlight at

Nothing on Sunday because I have to get back early because of work.