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The Script Book Read-Along Thread

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  • The Script Book Read-Along Thread

    So, I decided to dig out a Season 5 episode tonight and do a read along with the script book (Vol. 13). I read the intro piece that Joe wrote first, his primer so to speak, then followed the script as I watched.

    I love the way this episode flips our perspective completely, giving us Bester's point of view and an insider's look at the Corps and the way they operate. It's definitely up there with some of the best stand alone episodes. Personally, I think it's a very tight piece of writing.

    I hope this 'read along' is of some interest to other forum dwellers. It's the first time I've done it and I found it pretty illuminating.

    Things I noticed during the read along:

    Harris (the rogue mind shredder) is rated P11 in the script, but has been down graded to a P10 in the episode.

    Walter, and Mike Genovese drop a few lines, or change things up a bit in their delivery. All of their changes are good, and make some of the dialogue sound more natural. This was likely a directorial decision? Or is it normal practice to give actors some wiggle room to make the lines their own?

    So, here's the big thing that stuck out for me...

    I noticed that some lines had been cut completely (I already knew this happened due to Jan's painstakingly detailed Joe's cuts document). What I didn't realise is that there are a fair few small unscripted additions. I've focused on some of the more obvious ones below, and any changes that jumped out at me in general when comparing the script to the episode. Any additions I turned up, i.e. unscripted dialogue, etc are highlighted here in bold.

    In the Mirror scene -

    29. REVERSE. THE MIRROR REFLECTIONS.

    BESTER: Why? Why did you do it?

    HARRIS: Because I could. You know something went wrong, but you don't know what... and you never will.

    I'm curious why this was added and by whom. To make it more weighty perhaps? Or to more clearly set up that there's a mystery to be solved.

    As an aside, one thing that really struck me about this scene is that it's all done in one continuous shot. JMS stipulates that VERY clearly in the script - that the actor playing Harris should be moved behind the mirror and that the mirror should be pulled away during the pan around to reveal him instead of Bester's reflection. I never noticed it, but it's a very creatively shot scene. The continuous shot gives it a surreal dream like quality.

    46 - INT. GUEST QUARTERS - LATER

    Lauren gets some extra lines that aren't in the script when Zack and Bester are trading insults:

    ZACK - Five hours between the time you get here, and the first body shows up on the deck. That's a record even for you.

    LAUREN - That's completely unfair, can't you see he's just trying to help.

    I think maybe here, they're trying to emphasise that Lauren is defending her mentor. It helps to build the closeness of the two characters and her obvious hero worship.

    61 INT. MEDLAB.

    Bester parting words to Franklin: Game, Set, Match.

    The script reads, "game, match and set", which i'm fairly sure is ordered incorrectly, if we're thinking in terms of a tennis match that is. I expect JMS was tired.

    Other notable changes:

    Chen is killed by a PPG in the script, not so here. He's stabbed. I can see the stabbing being easier to shoot, and it makes the 'focus in' on the tattoo more plausible.

    General thoughts:


    The closing scene is brilliant. Those sinister undertones that we are so accustomed to when it comes to the Corps come back to the fore with full when Lauren spaces the mundane. She's described as being 'gleeful' in the script as she unbuckled to do this, but it's downplayed somewhat in the filmed episode. Hats off to Stephen Furst for his subtle, underplayed direction. It makes it even creepier. All in all, a very strong non-arc episode. I want to do more read alongs when I get time.

    (Unintentionally?) hilarious one liner of the episode:


    FRANKLIN: He was murdered from the inside-out.
    Last edited by Ubik; 07-07-2013, 03:47 PM.
    Captain John Sheridan: I really *hate* it when you do that.

    Kosh: Good!

  • #2
    Great idea! I'm sure I'll be chiming in from time to time but mostly from memory. I've already done the Great Script/DVD read/watch.

    One thing to note is that the script in the book is dated 11/13/97. There was a Final Draft dated 11/14/97 and Blue Revisions dated 12/9/97.

    Scene 29 - the additional line was in the Final Draft.

    Scene 46 - Looks like Lauren's line was added in the Final Draft and then Zack's line was changed from 'that's pretty fast' to 'that's a record' in the Blue Revisions.

    Scene 53 - the PPG morphed into a knife in the Blue Revisions.

    Scene 64 - the "Are you sure" is added and the glee is removed in the Blue Revisions.

    All of the above would have been way too small for me to note in the Joe Cuts but it's interesting to see the difference they can make.

    Fun, huh? In general JMS didn't allow much in the way of change to the script although I gather some of the regulars might make small changes as fit their character from time to time - like Peter adding a Londo-ish 'Yes?', for instance. But as you go on, you'll see little edits, usually taking out part of a line that can really change the mood of a scene.

    I'll enjoy see others ones that you or the rest might feel like posting.

    Jan
    "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Jan View Post
      Great idea! I'm sure I'll be chiming in from time to time but mostly from memory. I've already done the Great Script/DVD read/watch.

      One thing to note is that the script in the book is dated 11/13/97. There was a Final Draft dated 11/14/97 and Blue Revisions dated 12/9/97.
      Ahh, that explains a few things.

      Originally posted by Jan View Post

      Scene 64 - the "Are you sure" is added and the glee is removed in the Blue Revisions.
      I’m glad this change was made, it paints Lauren as a little bit more human. She’s obviously eager to please, but it's good to see a (small) shred of hesitation and conscience. The closing scene is still a smack in the face when you’ve gotten a bit more cosy with the Corps during the episode.

      Originally posted by Jan View Post

      All of the above would have been way too small for me to note in the Joe Cuts but it's interesting to see the difference they can make.

      Fun, huh? In general JMS didn't allow much in the way of change to the script although I gather some of the regulars might make small changes as fit their character from time to time - like Peter adding a Londo-ish 'Yes?', for instance. But as you go on, you'll see little edits, usually taking out part of a line that can really change the mood of a scene.

      I'll enjoy other ones that you or the rest might feel like posting.

      Jan
      Yes, absolutely. I’m glad I gave it a go. This is the kind of exercise I might have considered a bit too ‘hardcore fan’ a while back, but since I’ve seen the show a fair few times, it really added a lot to the viewing experience. Also, seeing that subtle evolution from the draft to the final script as documented here is interesting. All those changes are positive ones and I can see exactly why they were made. I will attempt to do this again when time allows. If others want to do something similar, it’s a good way to dive into the script books in a meaningful way.

      There must be plenty of other people here who own the script books, so if they want to post here too, we could always re-title the thread to be something more generic if more people want to contribute.
      Captain John Sheridan: I really *hate* it when you do that.

      Kosh: Good!

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Ubik View Post
        IÆm glad this change was made, it paints Lauren as a little bit more human. SheÆs obviously eager to please, but it's good to see a (small) shred of hesitation and conscience. The closing scene is still a smack in the face when youÆve gotten a bit more cosy with the Corps during the episode.
        Sorry, I wasn't clear in my post. It was Bester who asked "Are you sure?", not Lauren. So he was asking if she really wanted to 'take care' of the mundane; she wasn't asking him if he was sure it was necessary.

        I'll go ahead and take the episode title out of the thread-heading so we can keep this ongoing. I like the idea of keeping it unstructured so anybody can just post about whatever episode strikes their fancy.

        Jan
        "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Jan View Post
          Sorry, I wasn't clear in my post. It was Bester who asked "Are you sure?", not Lauren. So he was asking if she really wanted to 'take care' of the mundane; she wasn't asking him if he was sure it was necessary.

          Jan
          Sorry, I wasn’t entirely clear with my reply either. What I was commenting on was that the final draft downplays the ‘gleeful’ element that was mentioned in the original draft.

          It’s not necessarily just Bester’s additional line that changes the feel of the scene, but it does help matters. I think the original script mentions Lauren ‘Gleefully unbuckling’ to kill the mundane. In the filmed version the scene is played out *slightly* more hesitantly. All subtle things, as you say, but the end result is different for the viewer.

          It's that change I liked. I think the additional line also plays into that feel.
          Last edited by Ubik; 07-08-2013, 06:53 AM.
          Captain John Sheridan: I really *hate* it when you do that.

          Kosh: Good!

          Comment


          • #6
            In the finished episode Lauren looks pretty excited about it to me.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by JoeD80 View Post
              In the finished episode Lauren looks pretty excited about it to me.
              She's still clearly eager to please Bester and be a 'good' Psi Cop, but it's not quite 'Gleeful'. I thought it was a notable difference.
              Captain John Sheridan: I really *hate* it when you do that.

              Kosh: Good!

              Comment

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