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 Message
    From: "jmsatb5@aol.com" <jmsatb5@aol.com>
 Subject: Re: JMS: Fugiting Tempus
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 12/7/2007 1:38:18 PM  

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(3 messages)

On Dec 6, 5:28 am, Jan <janmschroe...@aol.com> wrote:
> As the exclamations of "I can't believe it's already/almost
> winter/Christmas/Chanukah/Solstice/Kwanzaa/Hogmanay/Festivus/2008 etc." grow
> daily louder, that means it must be just about time for the Annual JMS Year-End
> State of the Straczynskiverse Post.*
>
> So what can you tell us about what you're doing now, your thoughts on the strike
> (and what it's left hanging), any gossip from the 'Changeling' set and the usual
> laundry list of comics, plays, novels, audio drama, songs, fairy tales, spec.
> scripts or other stuff you might have in process?
>
> No pressure or anything but since Babylon 5 sprang fully formed from your
> forehead during the '88 strike, there's a lot of interest in what's got your
> attention during this one.
>
> Thanks,
> Jan
>

First, it's important to emphasize that I suppport the strike
wholeheartedly, it's necessary and a decade overdue. I wish it
could've come at a different time, but everyone wishes that whenever
it does come.

On the TV project I co-wrote and would produce with the two mega-film
makers (henceforth just "the group"), we took the first three scripts
out to auction in the weeks leading up to the strike. Everybody
wanted to be in business with the group given the massive reps of the
film-makers (and me, I suppose).

The up-side of the project was that everyone agreed that they had
never seen anything like it before. The down-side was that they had
never seen anything like it before. This is a business where people
are comfortable with what they've seen. Some found it too
controversial/weird. Some wanted it and made offers, but only on the
condition that we tone it down a bit and make it more conventional.
At the eleventh hour, one that had passed turned around to say
yes...but by then it was too late and everyone stopped buying things
with the strike about to happen.

So the group conferred, and what we'll probably end up doing is
financing the project ourselves, first as a ten hour miniseries, and
take it from there. There's no question, given the names involved,
that we can turn around and get financing from a studio and/or DVD
distributer and from worldwide television pre-sales. So when the
strike is over, we'll pick up that thread again, write the next 7
episodes, shoot the thing, then sell it to whichever network wants it
the most.

This means we won't have to compromise anything creatively, it'll be
exactly what we want it to be.

On the film front...there are two dream projects I've always wanted to
write (I'm omitting Trek here to eliminate the rumors that might
follow), two things I've wanted to do my whole life. Both of them
fell into my lap right before the strike. But the underlying rights
had to be obtained by the studios in writing, and it took time to do
that...to the point that they finished their negotiations to obtain
the rights the day before the strike, and the day before they could
start negotiations with me.

So again, this is something that, with luck, we can pick up again
after the strike, assuming that their interests don't cool in the
intervening months, which is always a risk on any project.

Paramount is still looking for an a-list director for World War Z, and
the moment they find one who says yes, that will go into production.
These are solid production offers.

Surfer and Sunlight were both turned in long before the strike, so for
now it's a matter of writing comics, catching up on the B5 script
books (we're targeting January for the next one), and writing specs
for myself. (Under the strike you cannot write for, or turn anything
in to, the studios, but you can write for yourself as much as you
want.) I'm writing one spec based on a true story from about 60 years
ago, as well as some others more in line with fictional work.

Because I've known without question for over a year that we'd go on
strike, and that the strike had the potential to last at least six
months, I've been able to arrange my finances so that I should be able
to get by reasonably well for the duration of the unpleasantness.
Others, who kept telling themselves it wasn't going to happen, are
going to have a harder time of it.

But this...this was inevitable.

jms

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