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  • Status of JMS projects?

    Changeling is done and Ninja Assassin is filiming. What is the status of JMS other scripts/projects (World War Z, David, Lensman etc.) being shopped around?, greenlit?, in pre-production?

  • #2
    This interview tells some of what you're asking:

    http://blogs.amctv.com/scifi-scanner...-interview.php

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

    Comment


    • #3
      "About a month and a half ago I got a call from the Wachowski Brothers. I met with them and they had a draft for this movie called Ninja Assassin, which wasn't at all where they wanted it to be. And they said, "We need a whole new script, and we go to camera in six weeks." So I went home and put on a pot of coffee, and I wrote essentially a whole new script in 53 hours. When a friend calls you and says they're in trouble, you do what you have to."http://blogs.amctv.com/scifi-scanner...-interview.php
      "My first CO once told me, "When someone asks you why you took on a job, the worst answer you can give is: because a friend asked me to." (Capt. Lochley)

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      • #4
        Originally posted by mandragora View Post
        "My first CO once told me, "When someone asks you why you took on a job, the worst answer you can give is: because a friend asked me to." (Capt. Lochley)
        A friend asked me for help. My friends have coin with me, and there is little I can deny them. (JMS)
        ....

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

        Comment


        • #5
          Apparently Max Brooks was at WizardWorld Convention in Philadelphia yesterday and briefly spoke of the World War Z adaptation - he was very positive about the script. More details here:

          http://www.filmbuffonline.com/2008/0...r-z-flick.html

          While he admits that the production process could entail other writers coming in to rewrite Straczynski's script, Brooks stated that he found the first draft "really freaking good!"
          The first part of this quote is what I'm afraid of. I recall that in the distant past JMS has mentioned having a clause in his deals that all revisions are to be done by himself - no idea if that's still in place.

          If I find more about his panel, I'll update on it.
          Last edited by mandragora; 06-01-2008, 10:52 AM.

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          • #6
            Hey Mandragora! Thanks for linking to my site!
            Got movies? www.filmbuffonline.com

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            • #7
              Originally posted by mandragora View Post
              I recall that in the distant past JMS has mentioned having a clause in his deals that all revisions are to be done by himself - no idea if that's still in place.
              The only thing I recall along that vein is that with one screenplay he did he had to be told of any revisions but I don't recall that he had even approval rights. I don't think he had enough power at the time he was hired to do the4 WWZ script to be able to demand that, especially since it wasn't something he'd created.

              Thanks for the link.

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

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Jan View Post
                The only thing I recall along that vein is that with one screenplay he did he had to be told of any revisions but I don't recall that he had even approval rights. I don't think he had enough power at the time he was hired to do the4 WWZ script to be able to demand that, especially since it wasn't something he'd created.

                Thanks for the link.

                Jan
                I just found it - it is on this site in the lower half; I've no idea from when this message dates, or why it's not in the message archive here:

                I have known writers who feel that their work, their scripts, have been fouled up by somebody rewriting them. And it happens. What power do you have? None, really, if you're a freelancer. They can do whatever they want to the script. The only recourse if you REALLY hate what they did is to put on a pseudonym so nobody ever knows it was you.

                I've been very lucky in that I'm generally very careful about who I work for, I check them out thoroughly, and make it clear that I *don't* like being rewritten, and will do as much work as necessary to avoid that. If it's got my name on it, it should reflect my work. I'm responsible and accountable for that, and people have come to expect a certain kind of storytelling from me over the years...if that's going to be changed, I don't want to be put in that situation.

                The main area where you're most vulnerable is in the spec screenplay (or screenplay in general) area. The practice these days is to buy a script from person A, give it to person B to insert more gags, person C to rewrite again for more action, writer D to do clean-up and tweak...and what you get at the end is sausage.

                Now, there are ways to avoid that. My agent has a number of spec scripts that I've written over the years...mostly SF, some mysteries, some comedies, one or two horror scripts. All for feature films. None have yet been produced. But almost all of them have been optioned at one time or another. (99% of all scripts optioned or purchased are never made...scary, ain't it?) But the situation is that in all cases, the producer buying or optioning the script must agree that all revisions will be done by me. If not, then we pass. Does this end up with me not making as much money? Absolutely. There were a number of times when one or the other of these scripts were read, and we were told they'd be fast-tracked into production...but they wanted the freedom to have it tinkered with by others.

                No, and in case it wasn't clear the first time...no. Money's never really meant that much to me. You can only sleep in one bed at a time, eat one meal at a time, live in one house at a time. I do okay. I'd rather wait for someone to do the story right -- which was why I wrote it in the first place -- than take the cash and watch it get messed up.

                The problem, I think, is that a number of writers are too quick to take the deal and worry about the rewriting or changes later.

                jms
                ETA: So frulad, have you by any chance been there, or do you via other people know more about this Brooks panel?
                Last edited by mandragora; 06-01-2008, 01:34 PM.

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                • #9
                  I was there, but it was really a last minute thing, so I didn't have my tape recorder with me. I scribbled notes when he was talking about the movie, but just sat back and enjoyed the rest of his panel. He did a signing later in the afternoon and I got to chat with him a bit. Totally cool guy.
                  Got movies? www.filmbuffonline.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by frulad View Post
                    I was there, but it was really a last minute thing, so I didn't have my tape recorder with me. I scribbled notes when he was talking about the movie, but just sat back and enjoyed the rest of his panel. He did a signing later in the afternoon and I got to chat with him a bit. Totally cool guy.
                    I'd rather talk to his father, he's a lot more interesting.
                    ---
                    Co-host of The Second Time Around podcast
                    www.benedictfamily.org/podcast

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                    • #11
                      Being hired by a studio to write a screenplay based on someone else's book is a completely different ball game to JMS' own spec scripts. I imagine there are very few cases where a studio would agree to revisions only being done by JMS in those circumstances. When it is his own story and his own creation, I can see it, but not when he is working on someone else's material.
                      The Optimist: The glass is half full
                      The Pessimist: The glass is half empty
                      The Engineer: The glass is twice as big as it needs to be

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by AaronB View Post
                        I'd rather talk to his father, he's a lot more interesting.
                        Well, when I chatted with him, I told him how my friends have a saying that there's no situation you can find yourself in that you can't get out of through the use of a quote from Blazing Saddles.
                        Got movies? www.filmbuffonline.com

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by frulad View Post
                          Well, when I chatted with him, I told him how my friends have a saying that there's no situation you can find yourself in that you can't get out of through the use of a quote from Blazing Saddles.
                          I absolutely agree. Now pardon me while I whip this out....
                          ---
                          Co-host of The Second Time Around podcast
                          www.benedictfamily.org/podcast

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Thanks for the link Jan!

                            Among other things, this thread taught me that Max Brooks is Mel Brooks' kid. I had no idea.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by mandragora View Post
                              I recall that in the distant past JMS has mentioned having a clause in his deals that all revisions are to be done by himself - no idea if that's still in place.
                              Since JMS seems to be back for the moment, I asked him about this:

                              Title: Re: JMS: Rewrite policy
                              Author: "[email protected]" <[email protected]>
                              Date: Tue, 10 Jun 2008 00:44:47 -0700 (PDT)
                              Message-ID: <[email protected]m>


                              On Jun 9, 4:29 am, Jan <[email protected]> wrote:
                              > JMS,
                              >
                              > Over on another forum, one of the posters (Mandragora) quoted an undated post of
                              > yours discussing screenplays which said in part:
                              >
                              > >But the situation is that in all cases, the producer buying or optioning the
                              > >>script must agree that all revisions will be done by me. If not, then we pass.
                              >
                              > Assuming that this is still your policy, is it easier to get producers to agree
                              > to it these days?
                              >
                              > Thanks,
                              >

                              They tend not to want to agree to it in writing, but in private, yes,
                              and thus far that has been honored in all of the scripts I'm currently
                              writing and have been for the last year or so. Changeling changed a
                              lot of things.

                              jms
                              Congratulations, Mandragora, you just asked JMS your first question by proxy.

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

                              Comment

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