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Star Trek XI, Harlan Ellison (spoilers!)

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  • Star Trek XI, Harlan Ellison (spoilers!)

    http://www.iesb.net/index.php?option...3696&Itemid=99

    http://www.aintitcool.com/node/34770

    It looks like the new Star Trek movie might have something to do with the Guardian of Forever. And of course they checked first with Harlan, right?

    --
    HARLAN ELLISON
    - Monday, November 12 2007 10:19:47
    THAT STAR TREK BUSINESS

    MARK GOLDBERG or ANYONE ELSE:

    Would someone go to that site, and suggest to those people there, that "City" and all its elements EXCEPT specific Star Trek characters, belong to Harlan Ellison--author of that much-lauded episode--by terms of the Separation of Rights clause of the Writers Guild's Minimum Basic Agreement (MBA), and if Mr. Abrams--with whom I'm currently on strike--or anyone else, at Paramount or elsewhere, thinks they're going to use MY creations--whether the City, the Guardians, Sister Edith Keeler, or any other elements CREATED BY HARLAN ELLISON...they had damned well better lose the unilateral arrogance, get in touch with me, or my agent, Marty Shapiro, and be prepared to pay for the privilege of mining the lode I own.

    Thank you, and thank Peter David, who just called to alert me, as have you, Mark, to yet another gimmegimme grab by Paramount and the Star trek francchise that makes billions, but withholds recognition or recompense to the artists who labored in that vein.

    Yr. Pal, Harlan
    --

    Edit:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mj5IV23g-fE

    This is so good. "YOU go to the store and buy it motherf#&ker!"


    www.dreamswithsharpteeth.com
    Last edited by vakie; 11-13-2007, 09:08 AM.

  • #2
    Ellison said pretty much the same thing when Pocket Books released these books starting last year:

    http://www.amazon.com/Crucible-McCoy...8/ref=pd_sim_b

    http://www.amazon.com/Crucible-Spock..._bxgy_b_text_b

    http://www.amazon.com/Crucible-Kirk-...5142545&sr=8-1http://www.amazon.com/Crucible-Kirk-...5142545&sr=8-1

    Because of the controversy surrounding it I bought a script book for "City" that he released years ago that had a pretty lengthy intro as to why he's so pissed about how that episode ended up.

    Basically what it boils down to is that the episode he wrote was a much more sophisticated, deeper episode than the one that aired, but certain elements in it conflicted with Rodenberry's ideals for the future, so the episode was rewritten by other writers on the staff and, even though it ended up as arguably the best episode of the series, it was merely a shell of the episode that Ellison wrote (quick aside: the Hugo that Ellison won for that episode was based on his original script, NOT the aired episode).

    The issues do go a little further than that, but I dare not go any further because I don't want to speak for Ellison. If you want to know more, I was able to by the book used off of Amazon and I'm sure anyone interested could do the same. I highly recommend it. Essentially, though, this is something that Ellison has been bitter about for 40 years and, because the episode is so good even as it aired, the issue keeps coming up.

    All that being said, I don't see where he has the grounds to be angry with not only JJ and the current production team of the new movie, but with Pocket Books for releasing those books. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the way I always understood it was that when a writer writes something for a show (let's say Star Trek) that writer owns that script and all of the original creations in that script remain the IP (intellectual property) of the writer, but everything is still owned by the production company (Paramount). If the company wants to use original elements of that script in another script they can do so IF they compensate the original writer for the use of their IPs. (quick aside: this is why Tom Paris wasn't Nick Locarno and why T'Pol wasn't T'Pau because Paramount didn't want to pay the writers of those original episodes for every episode of Voyager and Enterprise, respectively, that those characters appeared in). Also, the original writer CANNOT use the original elements of that script in a script for something completely different (i.e. not Star Trek) because those elements remain the property of the production company (Paramount). I certainly don't see why the production company would need to consult with the original writer for use of his IPs from that script if they didn't want to.

    Again, correct me if I'm wrong, but that's how I have always understood it.
    Last edited by JDSValen; 11-15-2007, 09:42 AM.
    http://www.andrewcardinale.com
    @acardi

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    • #3
      Originally posted by JDSValen View Post
      All that being said, I don't see where he has the grounds to be angry with not only JJ and the current production team of the new movie, but with Pocket Books for releasing those books. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the way I always understood it was that when a writer writes something for a show (let's say Star Trek) that writer owns that script and all of the original creations in that script remain the IP (intellectual property) of the writer, but everything is still owned by the production company (Paramount). If the company wants to use original elements of that script in another script they can do so IF they compensate the original writer for the use of their IPs.
      I think (and I haven't followed it closely) that the issue at the moment is that the movie is planning on using the Guardian of Forever which is proprietary to Harlan. If they've already begun shooting as I understand, they should have contacted Harlan's agent about the reuse of his IP by now.

      Of course, this supposes that the leaked information is correct which it might not be.

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

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Jan View Post
        I think (and I haven't followed it closely) that the issue at the moment is that the movie is planning on using the Guardian of Forever which is proprietary to Harlan. If they've already begun shooting as I understand, they should have contacted Harlan's agent about the reuse of his IP by now.
        I understand that. My issue is where Harlan can't use the Guardian in anything else he writes (unless it's something Start Trek related) why does the production team have to get an ok from him to use it? I mean, if I were JJ I would, but that doesn't mean I have to. As long as Harlan gets paid, I don't see anything wrong.
        http://www.andrewcardinale.com
        @acardi

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        • #5
          Having read Harlan's site for some time now, I think that it may be less about when he'll be paid or how much, it's the fact that the choice wasn't given. If you know anything about Harlan at all, you know that he protects what's his fiercely, whether he's currently making money from it or not. The regular posters on his site aid him in this. For all I know, the cost to use the Guardian may be negotiable, too, in which case they'd have to be pretty silly to not have negotiated it before writing and beginning to film the script.

          Just as JMS was upset with Mongoose publishing when they wanted to use his Crusade scripts as 'outlines' for novelizations, there's protocol involved and that means that they needed to extend the courtesy of notifying him that this is what they wanted to do.

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

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          • #6
            I don't think it's so much the money involved (although getting a few bucks is always nice) so much as what I think Ellison believes is the arrogance of using what he believes are his creations without even asking his permission. Hypothetically, is it possible that Ellison would have been much more amenable to the idea if Abrams called him and said he knew that Ellison had been a bit pissed off about the recent Pocket book titles, and would it be possible to maybe grab a cup of coffee to talk about the new Star Trek film? I'm not trying to create a straw man position here, but if that happened with Abrams and Co. being really cool about and Ellison acted like a real jerk, he may still have legally been in the right, but he could well have lost the moral high ground. But once again, he believes that people have been using his creations without permission and as the number of lawsuits he's won in the past will attest, he doesn't usually lose these cases.

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            • #7
              I actually agree with Harlan completely. If I were in his shoes I'd probably be doing the exact same things. I just don't understand where, legally, he can do anything about it because even though they are his IPs, they are the property of Paramount in the same way that B5 is JMS' IP but the property of Warner Brothers. Or am I completely wrong in saying that?
              http://www.andrewcardinale.com
              @acardi

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              • #8
                All I know is that if a show re-uses characters created by a particular writer, that engenders something called 'character payments' (as referenced in the Babylon 5 Writer's Bible).

                What we don't know is whether or not the character payment is something that's a set amount and would be paid automatically or whether the payment has to be negotiated and if the writer can deny approval for the use of that character if, for instance, he doesn't approve of the script. If the latter, I'd say Harlan is within his rights to take legal action.

                Which, as far as I can tell, hasn't happened yet in the case of the Trek movie. From what I've read, he's just wanting to get in touch with them.

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

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Jan View Post
                  What we don't know is whether or not the character payment is something that's a set amount and would be paid automatically or whether the payment has to be negotiated and if the writer can deny approval for the use of that character if, for instance, he doesn't approve of the script. If the latter, I'd say Harlan is within his rights to take legal action.
                  That makes sense. I guess it all depends on the original contract signed with the writer, or even the the CBA between the WGA and the AMPTP (and we all know how that's going right now, lol).

                  I'm all for giving Harlan his due, but I'm excited for this movie and I hope it doesn't get pushed back.
                  http://www.andrewcardinale.com
                  @acardi

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                  • #10
                    SHIT SHIT SHIT!!!

                    I hate this site sometimes. I type a nice, yet somewhat lengthy post for this thread and by the time I get ready to send it the site logs me out and I loose everything I just spent time and thought on!

                    Whatever, here's what I said in a nut-shell:

                    Rumor of "storyline" supposedly leaked by some exec over dinner: CRAP! Not true, never was, use your brains and you'll realize that. Everyone signed non-disclosure agreements! No way some "exec" would even get near leaking this, especially before filming even starts. Harlan should use his brain like everyone else should.

                    Gaurdian of Forever being used: CRAP! If it were, given how ingrained it is in Trek lore, Paramount would've already gone to Harlan. They changed names in two series rather than pay a writer. First of all, that I can understand since you never know how long a series will go and that adds up to a lot. Second...well if you can't get to B from A on your own then why should I spell it out?

                    Paramount, especially Trek, uses things without asking: CRAP! It's called getting sued! Do you really think Paramount is dumb enough to use the Guardian without getting the correct rights? They have put more into this film than any other and are taking more risk with it than any other. They wouldn't blow it all to hell on something so stupid.

                    JJ: Hello! JJ Abrams is a writer himself and has, himself, been on the picket line... probably right along beside Harlan. Duh! JJ and Leonard Nimoy both highly respect Harlan, and Leonard has read this script many times by now. Don't you think he might have mentioned it to Harlan?

                    The ability for people to believe obvious CRAP is beyond me. IGN, et al, have repeatedly been soooo wrong on "sure things" (remember that wonderful casting scoop they had months ago about the big three? LOL). Why do people believe it?

                    And the fact that the site continues to exploit their obvious rumor by stating in the latest article that the new sidekick to "Romulan Nero", etc; ARGH! NO ONE KNOWS HE IS A ROMULAN! The "storyline" is CRAP! The official site has even remarked on the "lies" of these sites recently, stating that only at startrek.com do you get the real and official truth.

                    NO ONE is going to leak anything they don't want leaked about this film until it's supposed to be released to everyone. You all saw what happened to the poor sot to leaked Indy 4's plotlines. That is what happens when anyone leaks info on a film that important that everyone has signed non-disclosure agreements on...even execs.

                    Paramount has too much riding on this to let anything out, especially the plot before cameras even start rolling. Harlan, Harlan, Harlan...I think if this were true, they would've talked to you by now. People are soooo gullible!

                    Never believe anything on the internet about storylines of films or casting or anything. Until it's in a trade or officially released by the studio...it's all CRAP!
                    Anthony Flessas
                    Writer/Producer/Director,
                    SP Pictures


                    I have no avatar! I walk in mystery and need nothing to represent who and what I am!

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                    • #11
                      PS: Never believe anything posted at Ain't It Cool News. They are a bunch of rumor-mongers and that's about all. Wannabes!

                      This is the same "storyline" that ITCN posted some time back and it's still...CRAP!

                      Even if elements of this story are true, Paramount wouldn't, as I said, allow such a major film to be derailed because they forgot to pay Harlan for his clear intellectual rights.

                      Do you really think anyone could leak this story without heads rolling? Besides, none of the casting and characters indicates we would find Kirk as a cadet. Hello...people...it's got all of the original characters. All of them. That means it's at least near the time Kirk takes over the Enterprise. Dude at IESB doesn't even know Trek that well. Puleeeeze! This is so fake.

                      They want to restart the franchise and bring in loads of new fans...I know let's tell a story that revolves completely around facts only fans will know...that'll bring 'em running into the theatres!

                      Pffftttt!

                      Oh and it ain't gettin' pushed anywhere. It's already shooting at full steam. This is a major film for Paramount.
                      Last edited by colonyearth; 11-18-2007, 09:32 PM.
                      Anthony Flessas
                      Writer/Producer/Director,
                      SP Pictures


                      I have no avatar! I walk in mystery and need nothing to represent who and what I am!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hey, hey, cool down bro. What's with all the hostility? Sounds like someone here killed your cat. We're just talking all hypothetical and stuff.

                        Originally posted by colonyearth View Post
                        Rumor of "storyline" supposedly leaked by some exec over dinner: CRAP! Not true, never was, use your brains and you'll realize that. Everyone signed non-disclosure agreements! No way some "exec" would even get near leaking this, especially before filming even starts. Harlan should use his brain like everyone else should.
                        Who said it was an exec, or over dinner? The IESB story never specified who their two, unrelated, previously reliable sources were. Are you saying it's impossible for a movie's plot, or story elements to leak while it's in production? That's just not true, it's happened countless of times. There's just too many people working on it, and despite non-disclosure agreements, who can sue them if they don't know who it was?

                        NO ONE is going to leak anything they don't want leaked about this film until it's supposed to be released to everyone. You all saw what happened to the poor sot to leaked Indy 4's plotlines. That is what happens when anyone leaks info on a film that important that everyone has signed non-disclosure agreements on...even execs.
                        Yes, that's what happens when you're stupid enough to use your own name.

                        Paramount has too much riding on this to let anything out, especially the plot before cameras even start rolling. Harlan, Harlan, Harlan...I think if this were true, they would've talked to you by now. People are soooo gullible!
                        No one ever said this is guaranteed to be 100% true. It's just rumors for now. We're just musing on WHAT IF?

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                        • #13
                          Hey, hey, cool down bro. What's with all the hostility?
                          Tehe, normaly I would say that's what you get when you piss off a Trek fanboy by stating that his religion's leaders (paramount) are doing something wrong, I guess...

                          Suffice to say that not only plotlines but whole copies of other movies (e.g. LotR) which were for made for academy review purposes only have leaked in the past.
                          What's up Drakh?

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                          • #14
                            CE- I appreciate your passion, but I think that it is possible that someone in Paramont's Trek office could have forgotten to contact Harlan over the use of the Guardian. It slipped through the entire approval process for one of the novels last year and Harlan raised a stink then. Granted, it shouldn't have happened again so soon, but there is a precedant. Also, they may feel that they do own the IP of the Guardian and don't need to get Harlan's approval.
                            Got movies? www.filmbuffonline.com

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by colonyearth View Post
                              SHIT SHIT SHIT!!!

                              I hate this site sometimes. I type a nice, yet somewhat lengthy post for this thread and by the time I get ready to send it the site logs me out and I loose everything I just spent time and thought on!
                              {snip}
                              This is a problem that word processing computer programs solve. Write the article in the word processor, copy the article, click on Reply/Quote in JMSNews, paste into the box and click on submit. When and only when the article has been accepted delete the text from the word processor.
                              Andrew Swallow

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