Series Renewal

 Posted on 6/29/1996 by J. Michael Straczynski <> to CIS

(blocked) asks:
> Due to the timing of Warner Bros' decision to renew, does this
> give you enough time to assign scripts, and have those authors
> complete the job in time for filming? Or will you just take the
> first few episodes yourself? I can not even begin to understand a
> writer's creative process, but generally how long does it take
> from the time of story assignment to the time the finished script
> is submitted?

Depends on the writer. Freelance writing almost always takes
longer because they don't know, and can't be *expected* to know, the
show as well as you do if you're on staff. You can have several pitch
meetings over the course of weeks before a good story walks in (though
in the case of B5 the stories are generally assigned out by me, saving
that process); then you wait anywhere from 1-3 weeks for the outline;
you have a meeting about it; another week or so for the revised
outline; you have another meeting; then about 2-4 weeks for the first
draft script; then another meeting; then another 1-3 weeks for the
second draft. (These are *optimal* periods, sometimes it's shorter,
but usually it's longer.) And then, on a show as eccentric as B5, you
often end up rewriting large portions of it anyway. So it can take as
much as 2 months or more to produce a shootable script.

I can write a script in 7 days or less, that's ready to go
before the camera as written. Which isn't to say anything qualitative,
only to say that it's easier and faster because I'm inside the bubble.