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  • 25 Years Ago Today...

    ...was the first day of filming Babylon 5!

    http://jmsnews.com/msg.aspx?id=1-21083

    From: STRACZYNSKI [Joe]
    Subject: I'm sure that at some time in the...
    To: GENIE
    Date: 8/10/1992 7:25:00 PM
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    I'm sure that at some time in the past, I have been more tired than I am
    right now, but I'm darned if I can think of it.

    Got zip sleep last night. Would wake up almost every ten minutes, my
    brain chewing on something or other, wondering if everything's in place,
    worrying over the hair on one of the characters (honest), if it was too
    extreme...constant bedspins.

    Dragged my butt out early this morning and down to the studio by an
    ungodly hour of the morning. Makeup and prosthetics took their usual time,
    and some time was taken up re-rigging some of the video in the set we were
    using today, adjusting some other stuff along the way. (Richard Compton, our
    director, picked one of the most visually difficult scenes to start with,
    figuring that if we could get past this one, the rest would be a piece of
    cake, except for the one big scene toward the end of the shoot.)

    We pulled the trigger and got off the first shot on-camera at about 9:30
    a.m. I tried, where possible, to stay out of the line of fire, since by this
    time I was vibrating enough to slide into another dimension, and didn't want
    to infect anybody else. Went off perfectly.

    The main thing, for me, was that today the whole world came alive at the
    same time (the world of B5). Up until now, it's been pieces...we see the
    actors. We see the sets. We see the costumes. We see the actors in the sets
    but not in costume. We see the actors in costume but not on the sets.
    Finally, there it was at last...all of our characters, in full costume or
    uniform (and the uniforms look DYNAMITE!), on the sets. It was finally,
    fully, completely *real* at last.

    Andreas Katsulas took a great approach to Ambassador G'Kar, which is a
    VERY dynamic looking alien, very intimidating...giving him an educated,
    mellifluous voice, a wonderful counterpoint to his appearance. Peter Jurasik
    was terrific as Londo Mollari, playing even the Advisory Council scenes as
    though half in the bag and trying not to show it. Delenn was exotic and
    mysterious, Tamlyn Tomita was senSATIONAL at Laurel, great strength of
    character and presence...and I cannot begin to tell you what star material
    we've found in Michael O'Hare. He's got a voice and a presence that could
    give Sean Connery or Clint Eastwood a run for their money. Jerry Doyle was
    great as Garibaldi, as was Johnny Sekka as Dr. Kyle. (We've cast two strong
    leading men in Doyle and O'Hare, and they are dynamite together...and there's
    a *very* nice chemistry emerging between Sekka and O'Hare as well.)

    Our Warners liaison came by today for the first time to the set, and he
    couldn't believe the sets, how much we've done, the details, the elaborate
    stuff we've pulled off. He was absolutely blown away.

    Long story short...it went *great*, better than I'd hoped. Richard was
    magnificent behind the camera, coming up with some very difficult and
    challenging shots, great angles...it's going to look wonderful. Very
    cinematic, almost film-noir in its use of textures and shadows.

    Later in the day, I had some friends come over, whose opinion I trust,
    and who are very well versed in SF for television and film. (These included
    Marv Wolfman and Len Wein, known to the comics fans here, and Craig (Mr. SF)
    Miller, who was involved with the first STAR WARS, and is not generally easily
    impressed.) They knew of B5 only peripherally, and were in NO way prepared
    for what they saw on the set. Add to that the new EFX that I showed them
    today...their eyes melted right out of their sockets.

    Got back just a little while ago (it's now about 11:30 p.m. as I type
    this). Got some M,SW work to do before I can crash for the night, and begin
    the whole thing again tomorrow (where I'll finally see the dailies from
    today's filming).

    Day One finished. On time, on schedule, on budget. And it looks spiffy.

    I am a happy man. Exhausted, right down to the marrow, but happy.

    jms
    "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
    Originally posted by Jan View Post
    ...was the first day of filming Babylon 5!

    http://jmsnews.com/msg.aspx?id=1-21083
    Jan, thank You so much for this great, detailed firsthand jms report from "day one".

    And the nightmare hair is that of Londo, no doubt.

    B5-Stefan


    Memo to self: just when the Warehouse 13 rerun will be finished, I definitely must start another B5 rerun - it's time.

    --
    Londo: "Vir, intelligence has nothing to do with politics.
    Here: 'They are tolerant of differences among other cultures.'
    Make that: 'They have no well-defined sense of morality.'
    They'll love that back home." [Point of No Return]

    Comment


    • #3
      I laughed out loud at
      ...constant bedspins.
      It just gave such a vivid mind picture. I swear, that man should become a writer!
      "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

      Comment


      • #4
        I love that Joe went home from the first day of shooting on his pilot...and worked on a Murder, She Wrote script. Typical.

        The script was probably "The Wind Around the Tower," which guest starred Mark Rolston (seen a year later as Karl Mueller in B5's "The Quality of Mercy") and Dakin Matthews (the actor originally cast as the interrogator in "Intersections in Real Time"). Depending on how far ahead of production M,SW was running, I suppose it could have been "Final Curtain," but it's more likely to be (and more poetic to have been) "Tower."

        Comment


        • #5
          Cheers to 25 years.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by JasonDavis View Post
            I love that Joe went home from the first day of shooting on his pilot...and worked on a Murder, She Wrote script. Typical.

            The script was probably "The Wind Around the Tower," which guest starred Mark Rolston (seen a year later as Karl Mueller in B5's "The Quality of Mercy") and Dakin Matthews (the actor originally cast as the interrogator in "Intersections in Real Time"). Depending on how far ahead of production M,SW was running, I suppose it could have been "Final Curtain," but it's more likely to be (and more poetic to have been) "Tower."
            Guy is insane. I wonder what he's working on right now!?
            Captain John Sheridan: I really *hate* it when you do that.

            Kosh: Good!

            Comment


            • #7
              Reading that left me strangely emotional. The contrast between that amazing feeling of a new journey beginning, of something coming together, and the thought that so many people have been lost.
              Jonas Kyratzes | Lands of Dream

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Jonas View Post
                Reading that left me strangely emotional. The contrast between that amazing feeling of a new journey beginning, of something coming together, and the thought that so many people have been lost.
                To be the sentimental one:

                They are'nt lost. They keep on living in all our hearts.

                B5-Stefan


                --
                Lorien: "Only those whose lives are brief can imagine that love is eternal."

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Ubik View Post
                  Guy is insane. I wonder what he's working on right now!?
                  To be the bad one:

                  He's really insane. He's just working on twitter. You know?

                  B5-Stefan


                  --
                  Ivanova: "You're a vicious man"
                  Garibaldi: "I'm Head of Security. It's in the job description"

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Just think, Looney was about to start his Senior year of High School. If he knew then what he knows now we would all likely be better off.

                    But on a serious note it is truly amazing. Think about how all of us who are old enough had no clue. I don't think anyone on this board actually knew Babylon 5 was coming on August 10TH, 1992. If I am wrong please say so, but my guess is that the earliest any of us knew was when promos for The Gathering started to air on TV.
                    Susan Ivanova, "I'll be in the car."

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Looney View Post
                      If I am wrong please say so, but my guess is that the earliest any of us knew was when promos for The Gathering started to air on TV.
                      I didn't even know until a week or so before 'Midnight On the Firing Line' was due. If I hadn't read a quote of JMS' in the TV Guide about the 'novel for television', I probably wouldn't have ever given it a chance because I was tired of shows I'd started to like getting cancelled out from under me.
                      "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

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Back in 1986 I discovered a SoCal public radio Sci-fi show, the first episode of which was Harlan Ellison's first as permanent host after the shows creator passed. Anyway, after Ellison left he was replaced with a revolving cast of hosts including the pair of JMS and Larry DiTillio (sp?).

                        I was listening the night (probably sometime in 1991) when JMS came on the air and announced that he'd been approved to make a science fiction TV pilot called Babylon 5!

                        All I specifically remember now is that JMS repeatedly mentioned wanting to do a Hill Street Blues in space. By which he meant more realistic characters with a continuing storyline.

                        So, I guess you can say I was there "in the beginning".

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          That is great. Wish I could make that claim. Especially would have liked to get in on the early internet, merchandise, and Fan Club stuff. All that on top of seeing every minute from the beginning would have been so awesome.
                          Susan Ivanova, "I'll be in the car."

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Looney View Post
                            That is great. Wish I could make that claim. Especially would have liked to get in on the early internet, merchandise, and Fan Club stuff. All that on top of seeing every minute from the beginning would have been so awesome.
                            Actually, one of my biggest B5 regrets was not being involved in the Usenet discussions with JMS back in the day. Even though I loved B5 from the start my internet activities at the time were almost exclusively Trek related.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by FieryFENIX67 View Post
                              Actually, one of my biggest B5 regrets was not being involved in the Usenet discussions with JMS back in the day.
                              I discovered JMS' interacting with the fans on the AOL boards about...oh, maybe 10 minutes after I fired up my first computer in mid-1996. That feeling of staring at your computer for five minutes the first time JMS answered your question is hard to describe. It wasn't like you didn't know he was a real person but it was both disconcerting and Very Cool to know that the Great Maker actually answered *your* question.
                              "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

                              Comment

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