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Babylon 5 script release news - alternate B5 outline with Sinclair

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Babylon 5 script release news - alternate B5 outline with Sinclair

Old 09-13-05, 05:53 AM
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Babylon 5 script release news - alternate B5 outline with Sinclair

From JMS on the moderated newsgroup:

For years, I've been at conventions and had fans come up with
photocopied scripts they'd purchased from script stores or dealers for
$20 a pop, many times in poor condition...with loose or missing pages,
hard to read, and thought, there has to be a better way for fans to get
these scripts without paying that much for copies that are often
inferior.

So now, at some point in October, we're going to fix this.

All 91 Babylon 5 scripts that I wrote are going to be made available
through an independent publishing firm in trade paperback form. We're
still working out the final details in terms of how to put the scripts
together, but right now the plan is to do 7 scripts per book, each
volume released every two weeks or so, at a cost of about $29 per
volume if ordered in the first week or so it comes online) or $39 per
for those who buy later. That's four bucks per script if purchased
early, about five per script if published later...which saves fans a
HUGE amount of money.

There will be 14 volumes in all, each again containing 7 scripts AND
newly written introductions and commentaries about each episode that
are thus far averaging about 30 pages per book, telling some of the
behind-the-scenes stories that have never been told before (and some
that have), talking about the writing process, how the arc was created
and maintained, anectodes about cast and crew, what went into the
stories...enough so that at the end, at 30 pages over 14 volumes you
get about 420 pages of new material on the making of B5...a book unto
itself.

On top of THAT...some of the books will contain rare b&w photos from my
own personal archives, taken by me on set, which have never before been
seen by anyone else.

The very first book will have the Gathering script, plus 5 additional
scripts (to make up the 7 hours of material) BUT...and this is the cool
part...the script of the Gathering included in this volume will be one
that has NEVER BEEN OFFICIALLY RELEASED BEFORE.

See, when we went to sell Babylon 5, I wrote a pilot screenplay to take
around. When we made the deal, the notes process began...and the
script went through considerable changes. But this is the ORIGINAL
draft, the one only seen by the studio and the other producers on the
show.

What's different? How about Garibaldi trying to get hold of his dying
father back on Mars...how about a shape-shifter instead of a Minbari
assassin with a changeling net...Londo as a part-time pick-pocket...Dr.
Chakri Mendak instead of Dr. Kyle...new scenes between Lyta and Laurel,
Delenn and others that were later cut...a LOT more character scenes
with Sinclair and Garibaldi...a discovery about Delenn's lifestone and
what that means to the Minbari...where Sinclair is NOT put on trial,
but finds a whole different and more interesting way to solve the
mystery of Kosh's assailant...and the introduction of Kosh's life-mate,
Velana, who plays a very important role in the script. (Didn't know
Vorlons had life-mates, did you?)

This script is HUGELY different from the one we filmed -- funnier in
places, with more character moments -- and it has been kept under lock
and key all this time. Now, for the first time, it will be officially
released in the first volume of this set.

And here's the coolest part...as a gift for the fans...a FIFTEENTH
volume will be given FREE to those who pick up the other 14. And what
is IN this 15th volume, you ask?

Remember the lost script for "Soul Hunter," of which only 5 copies
existed before I pulled them back, destroyed all but one copy for my
files, and wrote a brand new script to replace it...all because it felt
too much like a Star Trek script? Well, THAT one is in the free
fifteenth volume. It also features a comic sub-plot concerning B5
being audited.

As if THAT wasn't cool enough...nearly a YEAR before we began writing
episode scripts, before we HAD the series commitment, WB wanted to see
what a typical episode might look like. So I wrote a draft of "And the
Sky, Full of Stars," one of our most important episodes, that is
massively different from what we would later produce...including
fantasy sequences with Knight Two as the proprieter of a dark carnival
of sorts.

It will also contain the Babylon 5 writers bible...the production draft
of "The Gathering" as a companion to the original draft offered in
volume one...and something very special.

For over ten years, fans have asked "What would Babylon 5 have been
like had Sinclair stayed?" Well, that question will be answered in
this volume.

After we finished the movie, but before we got the series going, WB
asked to see a breakdown on this five-year arc thingie. So I wrote a
six or seven page, single spaced outline of the ENTIRE FIVE YEARS with
Sinclair still in place. The document makes for fascinating reading
when compared with the series as it developed. NOT ONLY THAT, but the
same document has a brief outline for A POTENTIAL BABYLON 5 SEQUEL
SERIES, which would have been entitled BABYLON PRIME.

Again, that's what will go out FREE OF CHARGE to those who pick up the
full set. While obviously all these volumes can be purchased a la
carte for those who don't want all the script, this fifteenth volume
will ONLY be sent out free, it cannot be purchased directly.

So for roughly a quarter of what fans would spend to buy the scripts
individually from dealers, which are often poorly photocopied or
otherwise in bad shape, you get uniform trade (large-ish) very handsome
paperback editions, WITH the introductions, photos, and the bonus book.

(Doing the math more specifically...to purchase all the scripts one at
a time would cost nearly $2,000. Here, if copies are purchased as the
script books first come online, the full set would cost around $420; if
purchased after the discount period, we're talking about $560...which
is, again, for 15 volumes counting the free one, amounting to nearly
FIVE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED PAGES OF MATERIAL.)

I'll post another message when they officially go online at
babylon5scripts.com but in the interim...know that they are coming.

jms
Old 09-13-05, 10:08 AM
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Nice!
Old 09-13-05, 10:14 AM
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I like how he tries to make it sound like he's giving back to the fans when the post is nothing more than an infomercial.

das
Old 09-13-05, 10:41 AM
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But, but....he's saving us $1500!
Old 09-13-05, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by das Monkey
I like how he tries to make it sound like he's giving back to the fans when the post is nothing more than an infomercial.

das
Hater.

Old 09-13-05, 01:17 PM
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To be fair to Das he is a huge B5 fan. Go back and check some older posts on the subject.

Having said that, he's right. While he's "saving" the fans from paying out so much money, he's also taking that right to the bank. However, the extras (some of them) sound terrific!!
Old 09-13-05, 02:17 PM
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I'll probably buy it too. It just amused me how altruistic he tried to make it sound when it's just a product he's selling (albeit a potentially cool one). If he hyped it any more, it would sculpt your abs and julienne fries.

das

P.S. I think Tracer was being sarcastic. If not,
Old 09-13-05, 02:49 PM
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Wow only 420 bucks? Thanks JMS. But can I use flexpay?
Old 09-13-05, 03:23 PM
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I'll pass. I'm a huge fan, but I have no interest in the scripts. I'm sure all the juicy plot points that almost were will be spread around the net eventually.
Old 09-13-05, 03:48 PM
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If you expect to find rumors, secrets and spoilers on the internet, you've got another thin--- oh, wait.
Old 09-13-05, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by das Monkey
P.S. I think Tracer was being sarcastic. If not,
Sure, we'll go with that.
Old 11-03-05, 03:14 PM
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http://www.babylon5scripts.com

The site is live, and the first script book is available to order from Cafepress. Looks like it's been up since Saturday; the first book is "on sale" for $29.99 until Saturday evening.

I'm still sort of on the fence.

On the "get them" side, it looks like there's a lot of information in there that's of interest to the diehard Babylon 5 fan. I've wanted to know what Sinclair's original arc was for the past ten years. This project sounds like the multi-volume "Lord of the Rings" books that painstakingly detail the development of the novels, and that's a treatment I think the series deserves.

On the "pass on them" side, these books are very expensive -- $30 to $40 per trade paperback depending on when you order them -- and in order to get the "meat" I'm really interested in, I have to buy all of JMS's scripts from the entire series. Also, these books are horrendoulsy expensive. Script books of comparable size -- though with less extra content -- were released for the first three seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer at only fifteen dollars per book, and each had six to seven scripts. So by that yardstick, this isn't quite the bargain JMS is touting it to be.

Also, I'm not too sure about Cafepress. I've never ordered from them before, so I don't know what kind of service to expect. My primary concern is in how they ship. Are their books shipped well-packed (preferably in boxes), or do they just drop them in a padded envelope and leave in the tender mercies of the USPS? Packages tend to get a lot of abuse before they arrive at my house, so I'm reluctant to spend $34 a pop for a paperback books that's going to come to me bent and dented.

Anyone received their books yet?
Old 11-03-05, 03:23 PM
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I've been on the fence since day one and still sit perched firmly in the middle. I know I'll end up breaking down and buying them, but I'm just trying to maintain my last bit of dignity before I do.

das
Old 11-03-05, 03:35 PM
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I ordered the first one a couple of days ago as a feeler. I have no real desire to own any scripts but I thought I'd check out what the rest of the material in the book is like. If it's worthwhile I'll pick up the rest of the volumes, if not then like others have mentioned I'm sure the key points will end up online anyway.
Old 11-03-05, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by das Monkey
I've been on the fence since day one and still sit perched firmly in the middle. I know I'll end up breaking down and buying them, but I'm just trying to maintain my last bit of dignity before I do.

das

TRANSLATION: das Monkey and I will be placing orders for the first scriptbook Saturday night at 9:57 PST.
Old 11-03-05, 04:11 PM
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$40?!

I'd better make sure I'm home Saturday night, y'know, just in case.
Old 11-18-05, 01:15 AM
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Finally received my copy today. I've read through all of the non-script material and while it's interesting I'm not sure it'll be worth the cost to purchase the remaining volumes. I'll let it settle for a week or so and see how I feel about it then.
Old 11-18-05, 10:54 AM
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I have a feeling I'm going to sit this one out until all 14 of them have come out and then decide what to do. This really looks like a cool set of scripts, but slowly bleeding out $400+ for them sounds painful.
Old 11-18-05, 09:03 PM
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I got my script book (decently padded, shipped UPS), and I'm pretty sure I'll end up buying them all. The non-script stuff is interesting, and the scripts are enteratining enough to flip through. Plus, the relaxed release schedule (one volume a month, vs every two weeks) makes keeping up more manageable. My job involves some down-time for reading and such, and the scripts make an ineresting way to revisit the show while at work.

The books definitely have a low-budget feel, though. Typos, very bland covers, in general the presentation isn't that great. But the content is pretty much worth it for me.
Old 11-19-05, 04:42 AM
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Hrm. If they're just mailing them out in padded envelopes, I'll probably pass. UPS (and even USPS) have lately been beating the fuck out of my packages before I get them. Since these books cost around $35, I'd better get the goddamned things in pristine condition.

The books definitely have a low-budget feel, though. Typos, very bland covers, in general the presentation isn't that great. But the content is pretty much worth it for me.
They look like they do on the website?

I suspect that JMS is forbidden from using any logos or trademarked desgins from the series since this is technically an unauthorized release. Also, the use of publicity shots of the series would probably need permission from/payment to the actors as well as permission from WB.

Even so, they probably could've used public domain space shots or NASA photos (like stuff from the Hubble Space Telescope) for the backgrounds.
Old 11-19-05, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Josh-da-man
Hrm. If they're just mailing them out in padded envelopes, I'll probably pass. UPS (and even USPS) have lately been beating the fuck out of my packages before I get them. Since these books cost around $35, I'd better get the goddamned things in pristine condition.
Oh, no, sorry. Mine did come in a box--it was just a much larger box than the book needed, and needed padding. So it was the book, in a plastic bag, surrounded by a couple of layers of bubblewrap, in a box.


They look like they do on the website?
Exactly like the website, right down to spelling 'parliament' as 'parliment' on the back cover.

The cover just seems sort of imbalanced--it's plain glossy black with text, and the way it's arranged seems to put the emphasis more on "The Scripts of JMS" part than the "Babylon 5" part. I can totally understand not being able to use most of the stuff from the show, but the end product looks more unofficial than the old unauthorized B5 guides. Plus, some sort of background image would make fingerprints less noticable.

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