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The BABYLON 5 Preservation Project - Kickstarter

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  • The BABYLON 5 Preservation Project - Kickstarter

    Many of you know or are at least familiar with Jason Davis. He was involved in many B5 Books products & productions and most recently did the Harlan Ellison Preservation Project. Now it's B5's turn. I've backed the Kickstarter because I've *long* hoped that the B5 legacy would be preserved. Here's the link to find out more from Jason himself:

    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects...r_confirmation
    "Fascism always comes in quietly, holding a flag in one hand and a holy book in the other, inching its way in. The bugles and drums only sound after they've already taken over and believe it's too late to do anything about it." JMS Twitter Dec. 24, 2017

  • #2
    Cool idea. I'l be watching this with interest, and may consider backing it.

    I don't know if Jason can answer questions here, or if indeed he is checking in on the forums? I would have posted a comment / question on the Kickstarter but this is not an option unless you have backed it already.

    Jason, if I may ask, will this also have a focus on the visual side of the show, i.e. people like Ron Thornton and Foundation Imaging? Obviously Ron has passed, but will existing interviews / archival material be used to bulk this out. Will that same kind of approach be applied to those people who are no longer with us, as well as the touted new interviews with those involved who are still alive and kicking?

    I do like the idea of a narrative to cover every aspect, just so long as it isn't too dry or too caught up in minutiae. Will it be more of a flowing narrative incorporating peoples' observations, or will it have Q&A style interviews. I'd be keen to see something like the former, so it's like someone leading you through the production history with one single narrative voice that's informed by all the other material.
    Last edited by Ubik; 05-10-2019, 03:41 PM.
    Captain John Sheridan: I really *hate* it when you do that.

    Kosh: Good!

    Comment


    • #3
      Geez...you go off to spend two and a half years in Harlan Ellison-land, and JMSNews has a complete overhaul and won't let you back in now that it's all fancy and shiny.

      Ubik: I intend to cover EVERY aspect of Babylon 5 that I can. A couple months ago, I spent 20 minutes chatting with a woman who'd done some independent movies with the Richard Compton (director of "The Gathering" and co-producer for the first half of season one) in the 1960s. Today, the daughter of one of Harlan's publishers mentioned to me that she'd been an extra in B5, and I added her to my interview list. These folks may not be able to tell me a lot about production, but the former certainly conveyed the character of the late Richard Compton to me and the latter could be helpful in getting a sense of what the experience of being a background player was like.

      While this is not a book for showcasing production art--someone with far more layout and design skill than I would have to tackle that sort of thing--I very much want to present the whole story. To that end, I've already talked with a number of people including Bear Burge, Luc Mayrand, and John Wheaton. For the folks who are no longer with us, I will attempt to fill the gaps using vintage interviews, within the bounds of fair use. I also have unpublished interviews I did with Jerry Doyle and others over the years. I'm hoping family members will be willing to talk with me.

      As for the overall approach, it will be narrative rather than Q&A, with relevant production data presented in sidebars and that sort of thing. I'll be telling the story, sprinkling relevant quotes when necessary.

      I hope that answers your question. I'll be in and out if you have more.

      Comment


      • #4
        So you're still going to be doing a major editorial job - with some "relevant quotes when necessary". How do you approach something like that. . . . Do the contributors get the opportunity to read over an early draft, so they can see the sprinkling of quotes - and the context in which they are used within your narrative. . . . Personally I prefer a different approach - with as much quoting as possible from the artists while keeping the commentary/questions to a minimum. Certainly not as neat as a continuous narrative set by the author, but horses for courses. Though I do have to wonder how useful talking to someone who worked with Richard Compton thirty years or so before he directed stuff on B5 will be when it comes to proving insights to his character.

        Will be interesting to see who you can get hold of in the timeframe you've given yourself - a year seems barely enough time - pinning the buggers down can be tricky, though you'll know that better than me. : ) Though I heard you and Brandon Klassen (the Creative Director at B5Books) have been approaching folks for a good few months prior to the kickstarter announcement. Funnily enough I was recently approached by Bear Burge offering to provide material for the Scrolls - nice when that happens.
        Last edited by Triple F; 05-10-2019, 09:24 PM.

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        • #5
          Triple F: The bones of the story will be constructed from the production files, an objective base. To that, I'll add the anecdotes and stories I gather in the interviews to give everyone their own subjective voice. The goal is to combine the approaches of books that give an accounting of production details with oral histories, which often lack a precise context. There are benefits to going both ways, as well as combining the approaches. As you say, horses for courses.

          I always try to give my interview subjects an opportunity to review their contributions in situ before publications. I interviewed hundreds of filmmakers when I was a journalist, and with one exception*, they were all pleased with the work. I still have a printout Nick Meyer sent me after a career-spanning interview: "I was delighted to find that I actually sounded like myself..."

          The Compton thing was a chance encounter at a convention where I'd been on a B5 panel. Given some of what I've heard over the years, it was nice to talk to someone who knew him in a context outside B5; it also led down an interesting rabbit hole that provided me with some questions I'll be asking the actors who worked with him on the pilot and in season one.

          Bear's a great guy, with a lot of good stories. We had an interesting time in the parking lot after he interview that will probably end up as an aside in the book.

          Comment


          • #6
            I forgot to add my footnote in the preceding message, so here it is:

            * The exception was an executive producer who repeatedly called me after the interview to make sure that he'd given ample credit to his fellow writer-producers. He had, but because it seemed to weigh on him, I made sure his crediting of his colleagues was front and center in the finished article.

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            • #7
              Jason, cheers for the clarification and also cheers for being very upfront about what this IS and ISN"T. I like that it's presented with minimal hyperbole and I dig the general concept. Good luck with it
              Captain John Sheridan: I really *hate* it when you do that.

              Kosh: Good!

              Comment


              • #8
                A question for Jason - you mention the Babylon Podcast. Are you go through the various interviews there and transcribe items of interest or ask Summer,Tim, or Jeffrey to do that?

                Also, I guess that the reason that this is not a B5Books project is because it is not "authorized". Is that correct?

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                • #9
                  nottenst: I was merely paying my respects to people who've documented the history of Babylon 5. I listened to all the Babylon Podcasts when they were originally released, and made various notes to follow up on if the opportunity ever arose to speak with certain people about Babylon 5.

                  This is not a B5 Books project because it was my idea, and I wanted full creative control. That said, everyone at B5 Books has been very supportive.

                  ALL ALONE IN THE NIGHT is not authorized because Warner Bros. owns Babylon 5, and this is not the sort of book a studio backs; it's not designed as a promotional tool for an ongoing series, as were the books Warner licensed to Boxtree and later Del Rey. Though there's much to admire in some authorized, studio-licensed books--The X-Files and Buffy had excellent official companions--those don't represent the kind of book I want to write.

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                  • #10
                    Thanks Jason. I'm looking forward to the final result. It has been quite an impressive amount of support so far.

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                    • #11
                      Comment from JMS when he was asked about it.

                      Click image for larger version

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                      "Fascism always comes in quietly, holding a flag in one hand and a holy book in the other, inching its way in. The bugles and drums only sound after they've already taken over and believe it's too late to do anything about it." JMS Twitter Dec. 24, 2017

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                      • #12
                        I came out of perpetual lurk mode to post about my support for this project. Preservation has always been important to me, both the factual details of events as well as the viewpoints of those who were there to experience it. That this is about a subject I love as much as Babylon 5 makes it that much better.

                        The importance of this was reinforced for me on a very personal level a few years ago, when my mother passed away. I realized how many details and stories, from her life and my own, were only known to her. I began to think of all that we lose every day simply because of questions that are not asked, records that are not kept, and the fallibility of both memory and the mediums we use to store them.

                        That the primary aim of this project is recording the story of the development and history of Babylon 5, from as many sources as possible, and preserving it is enough for me. That I get a physical distillation of this project in book form to treasure is a bonus. I missed out on the script books as well as the other Babylon 5 Books products when they were available due to my finances. Money is not currently a concern for me, so I am glad to be able to part with some of it and have so much to show for it.



                        -Mark Grayson Deel

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                        • #13
                          For personal financial reasons i'm not in a position to back this. I do obsessively collect all things B5 related and am happy to introduce people to the show, discuss it at length, participate in story colleciton etc but for personal reaosns I cannot, at this point justify backing this. Should my situation change I'll do so.
                          "There are no good wars. War is always the worst possible way to resolve differences. It degenerates and corrupts both sides to ever more sordid levels of existence, in their need to gain an advantage over the enemy. Those actively involved in combat are almost always damaged goods for the rest of their lives. If their bodies don't bear scars, their minds do, ofttimes both. Many have said it before, but it can't be said to enough, war is hell. "

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Quarxius View Post
                            I came out of perpetual lurk mode to post about my support for this project. Preservation has always been important to me, both the factual details of events as well as the viewpoints of those who were there to experience it. That this is about a subject I love as much as Babylon 5 makes it that much better.

                            The importance of this was reinforced for me on a very personal level a few years ago, when my mother passed away. I realized how many details and stories, from her life and my own, were only known to her. I began to think of all that we lose every day simply because of questions that are not asked, records that are not kept, and the fallibility of both memory and the mediums we use to store them.

                            That the primary aim of this project is recording the story of the development and history of Babylon 5, from as many sources as possible, and preserving it is enough for me. That I get a physical distillation of this project in book form to treasure is a bonus. I missed out on the script books as well as the other Babylon 5 Books products when they were available due to my finances. Money is not currently a concern for me, so I am glad to be able to part with some of it and have so much to show for it.



                            -Mark Grayson Deel
                            Nice to see you again, and very nicely said! I've long felt that everything about B5 should be preserved and concentrated on scripts and bits of costuming and props and set dressing as money allowed. I jumped at the chance to back this.
                            "Fascism always comes in quietly, holding a flag in one hand and a holy book in the other, inching its way in. The bugles and drums only sound after they've already taken over and believe it's too late to do anything about it." JMS Twitter Dec. 24, 2017

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                            • #15
                              WOW!!!!! Things are going well. I just made my pledge and I could only go as high as what was still available. That is pretty good. The waiting is going to be awful!!!!!
                              Susan Ivanova, "I'll be in the car."

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