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 Message
    From: STRACZYNSKI [Joe]
 Subject: Boy, a lot to cover in just a few...
      To: GENIE  
    Date: 4/21/1992 8:55:00 PM  

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Boy, a lot to cover in just a few hours...before which, a quick
disclaimer...if you've sent a private note to me in the last few days, it may
take me a while to respond (assuming I don't just forget, in which case, if
it's a timely matter, re-message me) since I'm generally logging 15 or so
letters per day in mail.

To the questions, in no particular order....

Do I believe there's life out there? I dunno...it would seem to me
unlikely that there would NOT be some sort of life elsewhere. Intelligent?
Well, that's the $64,000 question, isn't it? The question I hear a lot is,
"If they're intelligent, why haven't they contacted us?"

Frankly, if they were intelligent, they probably *wouldn't*. Keeping in
mind that we're beaming Wally George and Howard Stern and World Federation
Wrestling into the general ether at the speed of starlight, I wouldn't be
surprised if sooner or later Pioneer came across a series of floating orange
cones with yellow tape strung between them reading DO NOT CROSS -- THESE FOLKS
ARE NUTS.

Will we eventually go to the stars?

Do we have a choice?

In another few hundred years, we will outstrip the earth. We must move
on or die. To ask "Will we go to the stars?" is to ask "Will the eagle crack
out of its shell?" Yes...or it will die.

On other topics: yes, I do plan to be at Media*West, though what sorts of
freebies I'll be bringing, if any, is still an open issue. Our first and
foremost concern now is getting the show on the air; most of the goodies will
come later. But I will be giving a B5 presentation there, and maybe appearing
on a couple of panels as well, depending on schedule.

I've had WishCon mentioned to me today; any further information, let me
know and I'll look into it.

Do I get the Warner Bros. Catalog? DO I GET THE WARNER BROS. CATALOG?
Here...look at these cel reproductions lining my hall! Here! Look at this
Flash mug, this Bugs Aviator Flight Jacket, these shirts with the Looney Tunes
characters stitched in...this Acme Products T-Shirt, these pins,
this......YAAAAAGGGHHHHH!

When it comes to the Warners catalog, I'm a doomed man.

Finally, to the education issue...yes, that's something that has
attracted me to this medium and this topic from the beginning. Although
creative *decisions* have to be internal, what this technology allows is the
chance to bring others in and see how that process functions, to make SF fans
a part of that process through the interchange of ideas, by seeing How Things
Work (minus the dull business/contracts/negotiations stuff).

Whether it's been in my writing book, the WD column, or here, I've always
worked from an agenda that says, in essence, Let's be open, and let's get the
process out where people can see it, and thus de-mystify it. When I started
out as a writer, absolutely unaware of the processes involved, I would have
KILLED for this kind of information...and thus figured it could be of value to
others. I think that those who get through the barbed wire and the mine
fields and the machine gun turrets have a rough obligation to at minimum
*inform* those who follow about the traps and hurdles ahead.

If all one gets out of this topic is entertainment, and diversion, that
is sufficient (and more than sufficient). If it actually ends up helping one
or two people down the road, all the better.

So believe me, I will continue to report in here throughout the
process...from set construction through casting, pre-production, shooting,
editing, scoring, dubbing, publicity and finally preparations for broadcast.
The result, I hope, will be a step-by-step documentation, or manual, on how a
show is assembled, from concept to final product.

Which is why the questions here have been so very helpful. Often, when
you're working in a fishbowl, you can't SEE the fishbowl anymore; in this
case, I often don't know what information is most useful to anyone. Also,
some of the questions have been challenging, and have made me think about
things I might not otherwise have considered, so let me assure you that this
has been as helpful to me as to anyone else. Look back and you'll see
discussions of telepathy, biology, religion, fashion, social structure,
language, music, weaponry, on and on...and by putting my feet to the fire on
some of these issues, a great good has been done, and I've come up with
answers I didn't know I had...answers that will now go into the B5 mix. (For
instance, I hadn't given that much thought to how a beam-weapon would sound
until the question was asked here, and I had to sit down and talk to some high-
IQ types, whose background and skills helped me refine a good answer to that
question.)

Anyway, the point being that the process will continue until y'all get
bored with it. For me, it's part of the democratization of television...and
an enjoyable process, at that.

It's tough...as I write this, it's 1 a.m., and I'm exhausted from a long
day of haggling and reading and scriptwriting and meetings and everything
else, but I figure it's probably every bit as tiring at your end of the modem,
and I'm game for as long as you are.

jms

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