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The J. Michael Straczynski Message Archive

 

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by J. Michael Straczynski (JMS).

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 Message
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: Spinoff arc?
      To: CIS  
    Date: 12/16/1996 2:37:00 PM  

Message 1 in thread 

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(blocked) asks:
> If the spinoff deal goes through, would it have an arc like the
> original, or have you even planned for that eventuality yet?

It would have an arc, yes, but not as rigorous as the one in B5;
I've kind of done that now, and would like to try something
different...I don't like to try and walk in the same stream twice, to
borrow a metaphor from Greek philosophy.

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: Spinoff arc?
      To: CIS  
    Date: 12/17/1996 2:18:00 PM  

Message 2 in thread 

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Rebecca Eschliman <76072.2345@compuserve.com> asks:
> Leaving aside the question of *why* you might want to do such a
> thing, barring the sheer novelty of it, could you write
> empty-headed drivel?

"...could you write empty-headed drivel? I mean by that, something
devoid of the psychological depth, cultural allusions and
variously-voiced wit that we currently appreciate in B5."

Never have before, and see no reason to start now. Any time
I've worked on any show, I've tried to bring something special to it.
Even when I was doing animation...the references in "The Real
Ghostbusters" got blindingly obscure and arcane from time to time (we
once referred to a group of eskimos of specific professions gathered to
handle a spiritual problem an "inuit minyan," which I figure about 8
people in the country got.)

One thing that tends to be true of TV writing in general, not
just my case, is that once you know who's running and writing the show,
you have a fairly good idea of the kind of show you're going to be
getting, because shows tend to be direct outgrowths of the personality
of that writer. You can use phrases like "a Chris Carter show," which
calls up one kind of show, or a "Carl Reiner kind of sitcom," or "a Rod
Serling kind of show." A jms show falls into the same category. I
like sharp, witty, in-depth writing; always have, always will. So that
can be counted on as a constant.

The other kind of writing you describe I couldn't do on a bet.

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: Spinoff arc?
      To: CIS  
    Date: 12/19/1996 3:13:00 PM  

Message 3 in thread 

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(blocked) asks:
> But haven't you already done the single episode format on MSW,
> and other series you've been on? What's between the arc and the
> stand alone shows?

Well, basically, all there *is* are either arc shows or
stand-alone shows (or maybe somewhat stand-alones with a slight thread
running through them). My feeling for now is that I just don't want to
do the same thing twice in a row...and maybe find some new approaches
along the way to the next project.

You must understand how hideously difficult and exhausting
telling a 5 year tightly constructed story like this is...basically,
over the course of 4 years, I'll have written 3,000 pages all in one
universe, primarily telling one story. That's the equivilent of 6 or 7
full-size novels in 4 years, telling one story. After something like
that, you want to do something a little different for a bit.

Four years ago, when I started carrying this elephant, I barely
had a grey hair on my head...now it's gone almost entirely grey, I look
as if I've aged 10 years, and people who see me after a gap of a few
years all say the same thing: "What the hell HAPPENED to you?" I tell
them: Babylon 5.

jms

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