The J. Michael Straczynski Message Archive


JMSNews provides an archive of messages posted
by J. Michael Straczynski (JMS).

  Home      Community Forums      Contest      Links      FAQ      About JMS     

RSS Feed  

 Search all Messages

   Sort by: 

This field searches the text of all messages in the archive.

    From: (Jms at B5)
 Subject:  From JMS re: Big Bang
    Date: 3/30/1995 1:29:00 AM  

  << Newer  : List :  Older >>

No Thread 

Several confusing elements have come out about this whole situation; I
wanted to dive in for a second to (hopefully) straighten out some of them.

To the question of what and when...the Planet Hollywood excursion was
intended as a "dry run" (to use Tom Christofferson's words) so that we could
see how things worked. Prior to that time, we thought everything was fine.
Upon returning from Chicago, all of us had very grave concerns about what we
had seen, in terms of organization and the ability of CMC to pull off the
convention. I took one week to talk to various cast members, think it over,
and then sent a 4-page fax to Tom C. explaining that we were all very
concerned, and delineating how things were going to have to be done in future
if B5 was to cooperate with this operation. He agreed to those points, or
seemed to. I wanted to give Tom a second chance to demonstrate that he could
do things right. It was about a week or so later that we learned about the
pirated merchandise, the copyright infringement, and that promises made to
us, and to me personally, by Tom had not been kept.
Thence commenced a *very* angry phone conversation with Tom, after
initially denying to John Copeland that anything amiss had happened. I told
Tom at that time that after giving him a second chance, he had blown the
whole thing and we were going to pull out. He said that if we said this
publicly, it could kill the convention and hurt him. He then suggested that
he would cancel the convention, no names, no blame; it would let him get out
with some dignity. The few cast members who had been given partial advances
would be allowed to keep them (since the cast, as well as the fans, were the
ones most likely to be harmed). At that time, I went along with it. So I
waited. A week passed. More time passed. It became clear after a while the
he was NOT going to cancel the convention, and he continued to maintain that
everyone was coming when I had made it *absolutely* clear to him over the
phone that this was not going to happen. (So those fans who called and were
told by him that this was all news to him, were not told the truth.) By now
my alarms were going off pretty loud, and I felt it was time to go public.
To the notion, expressed by Tom, that CMC is not the same as the company
that made the pirated material (posters bore the markings T3, for
T-cubed)...again, this is misinformation. To the notion that Tom is not
directly running CMC, and just an employee who messed up...again, not true.
As part of the material I requested from Tom, I wanted a full fiscal
background check. He sent me several pages of information. In his letter of
February 28, to me, he indicated that CMC was working with the merchandising
and licensing aspects; the financial information he gave for CMC was the
financial statement for T3, represented to us in that letter as being the
backing and structure of CMC. He represented to us that financially and
corporately T3 *was* CMC. Tom signed the actors contracts on behalf of CMC,
and in the corporate information provided to us by him lists himself as Vice
President of both CMC and T3. Different names, but all part of the same
company and corporate structure. Further, when we (Michael, me, Mira and
Claudia) met with Tom and his associates at the T3 headquarters, Tom
represented to us in front of T3 staff and executives that T3 was involved in
equal partnership with CMC in running Big Bang.

Further, remember again the full extent of this, and how things
happened. Tom C. requested artwork for B5 patches for a "demo" jacket. Upon
meeting him in Chicago, he made quite a big deal out of the fact that he was
keeping these secret; he pulled them out from under his jacket and hidden in
the trunk of the car, repeated that these were for our eyes only. I repeated
to him, in front of witnesses, what I'd said previously: that these were not
for distribution to ANYone outside the company.
e (Tom) also stated to me that he had PERSONALLY overseen the
production of the patches, and their manufacture. So CMC, in the person of
Tom, *did* make those items (and at the time, Claudia mentioned that she saw
a LOT more than the few he was supposed to show us for approval, and wondered
why). After telling us repeatedly that this was all just for approval, he
then turned around and began selling them without authorization, without
license. There was NO misunderstanding. He told us one thing, repeateddly,
and then did something else. Ditto on the artwork.

He'd requested/bought CGI images to be used as backdrops or banners AT
THE CON. And ONLY for that purpose. That was provided to him. He showed me
prints of the images at Planet Hollywood, indicating that they were having
some problem in blowing them up to the right size. As people noticed them, I
repeated to Tom that these were not to be used for any other purpose. He
said he understood that. And then turned around and made the prints he
showed me (again indicating to me that he was directly responsible for the
artwork) into posters, and began selling them.
The notion that CMC isn't responsible because the posters had T3 on them
is a classic shell-game. He and CMC are directly responsible for their

To the notion that all actors and I are paid and contracted to appear:
again not true. Only a couple of actors had received any kind of small
advance. I had never signed any contract. I have already sent back the
advance with a formal letter stating that I will have nothing to do with this

From the very instant we arrived in Chicago, things with this convention
weren't right. This is only the capper, after having given CMC a second
chance. Matters of trust were constantly violated. Private conversations
were repeated widely (Jerry Doyle had NOT given Tom permission to announce
his engagement, for instance). Dealers promised information and other
material after buying space received nothing. I was *very* worried about the
fact that everything was being paid for by CMC in cash, without any credit
references being used. Advances were paid with *money order*. It created
the impression that money from ticket purchases was being used to pay for all
this, and a con of the size that CMC had discussed would take great resources
to pull off. There were constant foulups on every level...the hotel we'd
been booked into canceled the reservations, and didn't seem to know anything
about it, and we ended up cruising through Chicago near midnight trying to
find a hotel. If you're going to run a convention for thousands of people,
you'd better have your act together if you can't even handle four people.
(The hotel was also canceled because there had been no credit reference
provided.) The logistics at Planet Hollywood were a nightmare, fans couldn't
hear anyone unless they were right next to the person, and there was pirated
material everywhere. I was shown home-made PPGs and links and pins, told
they were working with Tom for eventual licensing from WB...and then, the
next day, at CapriCon, we were put at a table where these items were BEING
SOLD. Time and time, our trust has been betrayed, promises have not been kept,
legalities have not been adhered to, and the clear impression we got upon
coming back from Chicago was that there were *real* problems, that this
convention was never going to come off unless DRASTIC changes were made. We
were in the process of trying to deal with that when the final straw was
finally laid on the camel's back. This is not a case of a simple
misunderstanding, except where CMC are trying to create the false impression
of one to cover their butts in this.

I probably should have gone public with this earlier than I did. But I
was trying to give CMC one last chance to make things right. Which was my
mistake. (Note: anyone wishing to repost this to Internet is free to do so.)


Site © 2015 Midnight Design Productions  -  Message content © 2015 by Synthetic Worlds  -  Privacy Statement