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17 hours ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Predicts 'Babylon... · 0 replies · +2 points

Lrnu, gung'f abg n onq cynpr, rvgure, gubhtu fbzr rkcynangvba znl or arrqrq gb rkcynva jul gur frevrf svanyr jnf svyzrq qhevat frnfba sbhe. Bs pbhefr, V'z fher crbcyr jvyy or gnyxvat nobhg vg va gung cbfg, fb vg'yy trg pbirerq orlbaq gur erdhvfvgr fubeg irefvba va gur fpevcg abgrf.

Sbe gur qrrc qvir vagb WZF'f erzrzoenaprf bs vg arneyl gra lrnef yngre, jnvgvat sbe gur D&N fbhaqf zber nccebcevngr. Naq yvxr V fnvq, V'z tbaan unir n ybg bs fghss gb cbfg.

Tbbq pnyy.

21 hours ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Predicts 'Babylon... · 2 replies · +3 points

Lrnu, V'ir tbg n ybg bs ibyhzr vagebf qrnyvat jvgu gur jubyr frnfba sbhe guvat, naq WZF'f gnxr ba "jung gur uryy unccrarq" orgjrra frnfbaf sbhe naq svir. V srne funevat nyy bs vg jvyy or birejuryzvat naq cbffvoyl fyvtugyl qrenvyl va gur svanyr cbfg -- ohg V nyfb guvax crbcyr jvyy jnag gb ernq fbzr rkcynangvba bs vg nyy, naq gung'f gur fnsrfg cynpr gb gnyx nobhg vg.

(Gubhtugf ba bgure gvzrf gb gnyx nobhg vg?)

21 hours ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Predicts 'Babylon... · 0 replies · +3 points

Ohg ur jvyy or frrvat Fhfna ntnva sbe gur svefg gvzr va n frnfba, fb....

21 hours ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Predicts 'Babylon... · 1 reply · +5 points

Wow! You are... way more hardcore than I thought, and I already thought you were pretty hardcore!

When you were holding the books open, were you concerned about things like creasing the spine? For my own books in general (and the script books in particular), I hate spine creases, which is part of why I didn't like having to hold the book open.

And honestly, hats off to you and everyone else who write episodic reactions; it's a skill I don't have (and haven't worked to gain, to be honest). I really appreciate the time and care you put into it, on top of sharing The Babylon File.

21 hours ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Predicts 'Babylon... · 0 replies · +8 points

I would definitely like to read your thoughts on the S4 finale!

1 day ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Predicts 'Babylon... · 10 replies · +18 points

A few observations and questions regarding Tales from the Scripts

I wanted to talk a little about the future of these, a little about the past, and maybe ask a question or two, not necessarily in that order, and now seems like a good time to do so.

First, a question: I don't think I can share the whole thing (there's a lot), but is there interest in seeing bits from the producer's notebook for Wednesday's movie? There's a whole introduction about it, explaining what everything is, and I can share page excerpts, if y'all want. There's also the

The future of Tales: I mean, obviously I'm gonna keep going with this through the end of B5. I know I've often shared highlights from not only the script introductions, but also the volume introductions; I don't know if anyone's noticed that I haven't shared volume intros in a while. That's because most of them all super spoilery. Once volume introductions stop being spoilery, I'll start sharing those again. As for the ones I've skipped, I'll get to them once they're not spoilery. (I think I've got three volume intros so far, so expect it to be a massive, multi-post thread.)

As for Crusade, well... I started this without any of the Crusade books (four were published). I now have three of the four; whee! Unfortunately, the one I don't have is the one that's got one of the movie scripts and the most information about Crusade's production, so I won't have as much for Crusade. But I have the other books, and another source of Crusade tidbits, so we'll see how it goes. It might not be the full Tales from the Scripts experience, but there will be something.

A note about the process: I'm a fan of process -- which is why I enjoy JMS's introductions so much, he talks about process a lot -- and I thought maybe some of you are also fans of process and might like to know what mine has been. So here's a little bit of it. (Also, I'd love to hear about rukbat3's process for The Babylon File, if she wants to share. And PythosCheetah and Hollywood Babylon!)

I just wanted to share a little of how my process has evolved. I started with typing everything from the book. Pretty basic. But the books are hard to keep open, and I don't have a good desk, which made it even harder to read from the book while typing, so I started taking pictures of the pages with my phone, which are backed up to the cloud. For most volumes, it takes about 45 minutes to take the pictures because I verify after each one that it's legible. This process allows me to view the pages on the computer, side by side with my notes file, making transcribing everything much easier. I did this through Volume 9 ("Conflicts of Interest"), typing everything. Then I remembered that Google Docs has built-in optical character recognition (OCR), and I realized that I could have Google Docs do most of the transcription work for me, leaving me to go in and clean stuff up. Considerably less taxing! I'm still adjusting to the change, but if you've noticed more direct quoting lately, uh... that's why.

I have tried to work a little ahead, but it's never been more than a couple of posts. I'm always thinking, yes, I will do an entry a night, and get myself ahead pretty quickly that way! and it never sticks. I usually compile the notes the day of the post. The afternoon of the post, even. Case in point: today I've done (most of) the OCR for Wednesday, but I haven't started the bullet points yet. Will I do them before Wednesday? Signs point to no.

Finally: If you've got any questions about the script books, the intros, something I've shared before, or anything else you can think of about this, ask away!

4 days ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Babylon ... · 2 replies · +17 points

  • "When we shot the on-air political discussion designed to emulate Nightline, rather than shooting the experts separately so that we could insert them during post, we had them all come in at the same time and, running three cameras, let them all speak at once so they could argue and overlap each other and give the sequence the feel of a real broadcast."
  • Bruce Boxleitner shared personal photos of himself growing up to be used as Sheridan growing up.
  • The Roman numerals in Brother Alywn's room "signif[y] the writer getting too cute for his own good." With the multiple cameras in the room, JMS thought numbering them Camera One, Camera Two, etc., made sense, and since Brother Alwyn is in a Catholic-style monastery, why not Roman numerals instead of Arabic numbers. " I thought it was funny, but it ended up causing more confusion than anything else."
    [I think Mark figured it out faster than I did; I'm not even sure I noticed them the first time around!]
  • The holographic sequence has a nod to 1984 with the "bureaucratization of language. [...] Daniel, in this episode, replaces such words as truth and lies with truefacts and goodfacts, because after all, who can argue with a good fact? Just because it's not true doesn't mean it's not good."
    [I'm not sure where truthiness fits into this, but I know it does.]
  • A lot of fans have asked JMS why he brought humanity to the Great Burn, asking if that makes the whole thing moot, since we've spent four years watching these characters save the world?
    "The answer, like the question, is two-fold.
    "Yes, our characters saved the world. This time. But the world is entrusted anew to each subsequent generation, which is charged with both defining that world and preserving it for the next bunch. No one saves the world indefinitely. If we allow ourselves to think otherwise, we can get careless, and squander our inheritance.
    "Yes, bad things have happened in the past, are happening now, and will happen in the future. Sheridan created the Alliance, but could do nothing to prevent the Great Burn because it did not happen on his watch. (What he created, however, is still there on the periphery, assisting with the reconstruction of Earth.) We rise and we fall. What matters, as we see with Brother Alwyn, is that humanity still persists. We fall, but we gradually pick ourselves up off the ground. As long as we continue to do that, there is hope, which is the fundamental message of Babylon 5, elucidated here in dialogue: that no matter how awful things are, we must surrender ourselves to the possibility of hope.
    "That's all, just the possibility.
    "Worlds turn on such decisions."

4 days ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Babylon ... · 4 replies · +14 points

Tales from the Scripts: The Deconstruction of Falling Stars

  • No one was really paying attention to what was happening with year four, so JMS took the opportunity to try something a bit experimental.
  • At the time, there was already a lot of talk about the legacy of B5, from fans, academics, and the media. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign had a class on the philosophy of B5, there was a B5 academic conference at the University College of Ripon and York, and JMS had been invited to speak at the MIT Media Lab. TV critics were talking about the show's impact on other SF series, and B5 was showing up everywhere from masters' theses to weekly sermons. So, with all this talk of legacy, it's no wonder that JMS's thoughts turned that direction as well.
  • "Personally, I distrust my own analysis of my work. I think a writer or artist can talk about what went into the work to his or her heart's content, but what came out of those efforts can only truly be evaluated by the audience. Art is what happen between the painting on the wall and the eye that perceives it. Everything else is public relations.
    "So I thought, why not turn the process of deconstruction and analysis away from the show itself, and turn it on the characters? Why not subject them to the rigors of perception, media, academia, history and revisionism? Each generation takes the icons of the one before it and either consigns them to the dustbin of history or revises them in ways more conducive to their current intentions. Villains become post-modern heroes, eccentrics become saints, and heroes are reconsidered, knocked off their marble horses or declared simply irrelevant."
  • Since the intent was to show how the characters are perceived across the years, it made sense to set up the story so that each act was a different time, each further from the source than the next.
  • The title is a nod to academia.
  • Spoilers!! Gur fpevcg WZF choyvfurq urer fgvyy vapyhqrf Vinabin; vg jnf jevggra (jryy, qryvirerq) nobhg n jrrx orsber Pynhqvn yrsg gur fubj.

6 days ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Babylon ... · 4 replies · +7 points

  • Spoilers!! Gung fprar jnf gurer va cneg gb frg hc gur pbzvat gryrcngu jne, "juvpu V ubcrq gb, naq fgvyy ubcr gb trg nebhaq gb gryyvat bar qnl."
  • Spoilers!! WZF nyfb uvtuyvtugf gur "rira dhvrgre cresbeznapr" bs Ovyy Zhzl va Yraavre'f fprar va juvpu ur ercrngf Vinabin'f yvar gung 'Nyy ybir vf haerdhvgrq.' Jr frr va gung cresbeznapr gur svefg rpubrf bs gur gentrql gung vf pbzvat ng uvz shyy ober."
  • Spoilers!! WZF chg va pregnva guvatf gb jenc hc vqrnf, fvapr ur jnf jevgvat jvgubhg n ubcr bs n svsgu frnfba. Ybaqb'f pbzvat ryringvba gb Rzcrebe vf bar bs gurz; Furevqna'f fcrrpu nobhg pubvprf, pbafrdhraprf naq erfcbafvovyvgl jnf nf jryy. "Sbe sbhe lrnef, V'q orra ehaavat nebhaq gryyvat rirelbar V zrg gung O5 jnf nobhg gubfr guerr guvatf, va gung beqre, naq juvyr jr'q frra n ybg bs pubvprf znqr qhevat gubfr lrnef, jr unq abg lrg frra nyy gung jr arrqrq gb frr bs gur ynggre gjb. Jr unq frra Ybaqb znxvat onq pubvprf, unq frra gur pbafrdhraprf bs gubfr pubvprf, ohg ur unqa'g ernyyl gnxra erfcbafvovyvgl sbe gurz nf ur jbhyq va ncbybtvmvat gb T'Xne, be va fnpevsvpvat uvzfrys gb fnir gur jbeyq gung uvf pubvprf raqnatrerq. Abe unq jr lrg frra gur pbafrdhraprf bs Yraavre'f hafcbxra ohg abg haabgvprq ybir sbe Qryraa. Nyy gung unq orra ba gur obneqf sbe lrne svir.
    "Fb jvgu gur yvxryvubbq bs n svsgu frnfba bhgfvqr gur ernyz bs cebonovyvgl ng gur gvzr bs vgf jevgvat, naq gubfr cbvagf yrsg haqenzngvmrq, V sryg gur arrq gb unir fbzrbar npghnyyl fcrnx gurz bhg ybhq. Juvpu vf n ohzzre vs lbh'er n jevgre orpnhfr lbh jnag lbhe fgbel gb or gbyq va rabhtu qrgnvy fb gung lbh qba'g unir gb raq jvgu n zvffvba fgngrzrag bs, 'Jryy, urer'f jung V jnagrq lbh gb trg bhg bs gur fgbel.' Vg'f fhccbfrq gb or vzcyvpvg. Ynpxvat gung, V ghearq gb Furevqna. Fb ur vf fcrnxvat sbe gur nhgube jura ur fnlf, Qhevat zl gvzr ba Onolyba 5, V yrnearq nobhg pubvprf, pbafrdhraprf naq erfcbafvovyvgl. V yrnearq gung jr nyy unir pubvprf, jurgure jr erpbtavmr gurz be abg; gung gubfr pubvprf unir pbafrdhraprf, abg whfg sbe bhefryirf, ohg sbe bguref; naq gung jr zhfg nffhzr erfcbafvovyvgl sbe gubfr pbafrdhraprf."
  • Spoilers!! "Gb cebcreyl rinyhngr guvf rcvfbqr, lbh unir gb fgnaq onpx n ovg sebz jung pnzr va gur svsgu frnfba naq ivrj vg va yvtug bs gur snpg gung jura vg jnf jevggra, vg jnf jvgu gur haqrefgnaqvat gung guvf jnf gb or gur irel ynfg erthyne rcvfbqr bs gur frevrf, gb or sbyybjrq ol 'Fyrrcvat va Yvtug' gur irel arkg jrrx. Pbafrdhragyl, vg abg bayl raqf jvgu n frafr bs svanyvgl, vg frgf hc rirelguvat arrqrq gb whzc gb 'Fyrrcvat va Yvtug' n jrrx yngre: Tnevonyqv vf rfgnoyvfurq ba Znef, ehaavat Rqtnef Vaqhfgevrf, juvpu vf jurer jr svaq uvz arneyl gjragl lrnef yngre, Qe. Senaxyva unf tbar onpx gb Rnegu, jurer jr pna rkgencbyngr uvf yngre cebzbgvba gb jbexvat va krabovbybtl sbe n yngre cerfvqrag; Furevqna vf rzcynprq nf Cerfvqrag bs gur Nyyvnapr; naq Vinabin vf cbfvgvbarq ng Onolyba 5 jvgu n tbbq pnerre lrg nurnq bs ure. Qryraa'f aneengvba ng gur raq bs gur rcvfbqr, abgvat gur arkg gjragl lrnef bs uvfgbel, vf n qverpg frg-hc sbe n gvzr whzc gb Furevqna'f svany qnlf va 'Fyrrcvat va Yvtug.'
    "Fb unq frnfba svir abg unccrarq, gur genafvgvba gb gung svany rcvfbqr jbhyq srry zbgvingrq naq pyrna."
    [Lbh xabj, V'ir arire ernyyl gubhtug zhpu nobhg vg, abe unir V rire whzcrq sebz guvf gb 'Fyrrcvat va Yvtug,' ohg V pna qrsvavgryl frr gur cbvag ur'f znxvat. Zvtug or vagrerfgvat gb gel gung fbzrgvzr.]

6 days ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Babylon ... · 8 replies · +13 points

Tales from the Scripts: Rising Star

  • "As much as I like a good space battle, and the eloquent poetry of a final shot made in desperate hope, the cold, hard fact is that while generals come and go, battles are won or lost, and empires rise and fall, bureaucrats, politics and back-room deals go on forever. If B5's mandate was to treat science accurately, then it needed to be just as accurate in showing the political ramifications of taking the kind of stance Sheridan took during the Earth Civil War: morally right but politically inconvenient."
  • "Governing isn't about ethics, it's about convenience, expediency and control. When it gets into other areas it's more about morality ('here's what I think you should do') and not ethics ('this is what I think I should do based on critically evaluating the situation'). Morality can be readily imposed and enforced, ethics less so."
  • JMS says he doesn't have morals; he has ethics, explaining that you can have situational morality but not situational ethics. "You can have paradigm shifts and revelations and realizations, but those are incremental, progressive and lasting, they don't change with your shirt."
    [I'd like to consult Chidi about this idea.]
  • JMS has a little diversion onto a soapbox about "The American Educational System in the 21st Century" and the "lack of emphasis on critical thinking," which does feel relevant to current events. "[T]here can be no question that a republic's ability to survive and make the correct decisions is contingent upon the ability of its citizenry to understand, evaluate and decide between options based upon a critical evaluation of the best available information. If we can examine and understand why we believe something, we have a better chance of explaining it to someone else in ways that do not require small arms fire. Just because an authority figure says something is true doesn't make it true, but too often the opinions that are offered from the halls of power, punditry and the pulpit are accepted unquestioningly. [...] [D]emocracies flourish in the presence of an informed, intelligent electorate."
  • "[F]or the where do you get your ideas? crowd," Delenn's line that the new Interstellar Alliance will "create the peace, not enforce the peace," came from an episode of Nightline that followed a British police unit; it was something one of the officers said about his role on the street.
  • Another where-he-gets-his-ideas-from part of this episode is that JMS used what went through his head after he'd been jumped and nearly beaten to death for Ivanova's speech: "I was lying there, and I felt myself letting go of my body. The last thing I remember was thinking, "I'm going to die now." And it wasn't really so bad. I'd always tried to lead a good life, I never went out of my way to hurt anybody; I had a good ride. I was ready to go."
  • JMS praises Claudia Christian's performance in the scene with Richard Biggs. He explains, "What people often don't understand about crying on television is that it's not just hard because you're being asked to cry on cue; it's hard because you're being asked to cry on cue in take after take after take. By the fifth or sixth take the actor is physically exhausted, and that's just covering one half of the conversation. You have to shoot the master, then Rick's coverage, then hers. We're talking about crying for hours on end."
  • "One of my twitches as a writer/producer is that I cannot be on set when they are shooting a scene I've written that requires tears. Knowing how hard it is, and what it requires, I feel so guilty about the whole thing that I just can't go on set. Otherwise I spend every moment between shots apologizing for having written the damned thing in the first place, which breaks the actor's concentration."
  • JMS also praises Walter Koenig's performance, saying that it's one of Bester's most human moments. "He's human, flawed, smart and deadly all in the same scene, and that's a very hard list for any actor to pull off in such short order. But Walter does it and makes it look effortless."