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  • Babylon 5: No Surrender, No Retreat
  • Written by Jane Killick
  • Format: Trade Paperback | ISBN: 9780345424501
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Babylon 5: No Surrender, No Retreat

Written by Jane KillickAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Jane Killick

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Synopsis

Now in its fifth hit season, Babylon 5--TV's hottest interstellar science fiction phenomenon--has spawned its own series of definitive episode guides! Catch up on all the action, show by show, from the very beginning with the Babylon 5: Season by Season guidebooks.

Filled with stunning revelations and explosive plot twists and turns, Babylon 5: No Surrender, No Retreat sums up the spellbinding fourth season. Culminating in some of the most dramatic events in television history, Captain Sheridan is pronounced missing and presumed dead on Z'ha'dum, while Delenn feverishly rallies support for an all-out offensive against the invading Shadow forces. Internal strife on Centauri erupts in a shocking and violent betrayal. Garibaldi resigns as Security Chief and turns to treachery, plotting against his comrades. And Earth launches a war against Babylon 5.

From "The Hour of the Wolf" through the shattering finale of "The Deconstruction of Falling Stars," B5 expert Jane Killick's episode-by-episode summaries and analyses capture all the action and intrigue of Babylon 5 circa 2261--"the year everything changed."

Veteran viewers or first-time fans, relive the adventure--or find out what you've been missing--with the complete companion volumes to Babylon 5!

Excerpt

Before an actor can step in front of the camera, there must be a story to
tell. There must be words for him to speak, a costume for him to wear, a
set for him to stand in, and a camera crew to film him. All this takes a
great deal of planning and coordination, from putting the first words of a
script down on paper through designing and making costumes, sets, and
alien makeups and organizing the filming schedule. An episode may last
only forty-four minutes, but it is the result of many hundreds of
man-hours.

But before there are individual episodes, there is an overall plan. This
started in the late 1980s as a five-year story plan that has been added to
and changed as the series has developed. The man who created the story
arc, J. Michael Straczynski, keeps his notes in a "hodgepodge" form, which
he refers back to as soon as he knows there will be a new season to plan
for. From there, he develops a set of notes outlining all twenty-two
stories for the season. These are little more than a few sentences
describing the main thrust of an episode, such as "Sheridan returns from
Z'ha'dum and has to deal with reforming the alliance," and occasionally
the major scenes, such as "Sheridan on the bridge talking to people," from
Season Four's "The Summoning." These may sound rather sketchy, but they
are there only as guides. A more detailed plan is locked away in Joe
Straczynski's head. "This is the Scheherazade complex," he says. "They
have to keep you alive because if all of my notes were written down in
clear and concrete form, I would be almost expendable at this point. Those
aren't meant for anyone else. If you picked it up, all you would get would
be the very, very broad strokes of where things are going to go. You
wouldn't know the details--nor should you, because if it should fall into
anybody's hands, it would be all over the computer nets in twenty-four
hours."

From that, he writes an outline for the producer, John Copeland, to
forewarn him and the heads of the main departments of what is to come.
Also at the beginning of the season, they all sit down for what John
describes as a "postmortem" of the previous year. "When we have these
roundtable discussions, we are harsher on ourselves than any critic has
been in print anywhere," he says. "We can be pretty scathing at times, and
that can be good because I think that kind of honesty really has helped us
to excel from season to season."

Work can then really begin on the individual episodes, but before anything
else can swing into action, there has to be a script. Sometimes, Joe
Straczynski has passed on his story ideas to other writers. This happened
particularly in Seasons One and Two where he would write a short outline,
allowing the writer to build on those ideas and, with a certain amount of
consultation, embellish them into a script. On rare occasions, writers
have come up with their own ideas, as D. C. Fontana did for "Legacies" in
the first season, Laurence G. DiTillio did several times in the first two
years, and Neil Gaiman and Harlan Ellison have done for the fifth year.
Most of the time, however, it is executive producer Joe Straczynski who
writes the scripts.

Sometimes Joe will sit down at the word processor and produce a script
within three days. The current record is one day to write Season Five's "A
View from the Gallery." The result, however, represents much more than a
day's work, as he will have been thinking about it long before his fingers
ever touched the keyboard. "It's like a dog chewing through a bone," he
says. "The writing process is hardly ever clean and precise. I have a
concept or a story in which X has to happen, but the shape of it is
unclear. It's like looking through a glass of the wrong prescription. If
it's not quite there, then, over the next week, few days, months, whatever
time I have, I'll chew through that subconsciously. Every once in a while
I'll be watching a movie or watching television or half asleep in bed, and
all of a sudden the back of my brain will go ka-ching [like a cash
register] and something will pop up. It can be very disconcerting when
Kathryn [his wife] and I are sitting having a conversation, and in the
middle of a sentence, I'll stop, go into fugue state, reach over, grab a
piece of paper, write something down, then go back to the sentence where
I'd left it off. But it means I suddenly have a piece of dialogue worked
out."

These notes are essential reminders to unlock the ideas in his head. Some
writers carry a notebook with them and diligently jot down any ideas they
have in a neat and orderly fashion. Joe is more of a back-of-an-envelope
kind of guy. "Yeah, unfortunately, I'm not terribly well organized in that
respect," he admits. "My office is covered in Post-it notes and scraps of
paper and crap which you look at and think, 'This guy's office is very
messy,' but all those pages contain a fragment of dialogue or a
description of a scene or a character note and I know where they all are,
I know what every one of them means. I may pick it up, and it'll have just
three words on it which are designed to remind me of an entire long
speech, but I only need those three words. The same way that you only need
to have a few words from the speeches of Shakespeare, and you know the
rest of it automatically."

From there, Joe Straczynski will occasionally write an outline that
consists of no more than a page listing the beats of the episode and
placing them within the six-part structure of an American television
episode--the teaser, four acts, and a tag. This is generally the case with
a more complex episode that has several story threads. With the episode
all set out on one page, it is easier to see that, perhaps, some material
has to be taken out of act 3 and put into act 2. This is the usual format
for writing for television, especially when scripts have to be approved by
producers further up the line. The story will be discussed at outline
stage, then a treatment will be written that breaks it down scene by
scene, and once that has been discussed and approved, the script merely
fills in the details.

Joe rarely works that way, even when writing for people on other shows
because he feels it stifles originality. Instead, he moves from outline to
script--if he bothers to outline at all--preferring to keep the writing
process a journey of discovery. "The saying is, 'The writer must surprise
himself if he has any chance of surprising the audience.' And so I go into
each episode with the notion that no outline ever survives contact with
the enemy--which is the writing of the script. In some cases, the less I
have outlined, the better the script has been, because you leave yourself
open to the characters coming in and making suggestions and taking the
show off in different directions (or that part of your brain that becomes
that character for the purposes of that conversation). In many cases, I'll
sit down with no notes. I'll know this is an interim episode and sometimes
even when it is an arc episode, if it's an important episode in the arc, I
will have gone through it in my head so many times leading up to it that
the actual writing of it happens in five minutes. There were several
episodes this past season [Season Four] where I wrote the script in three
days without any notes or outlines because I'd been thinking about it for
four years."

The result is the writer's draft. "I'll take about a day to look at it,
and I'll think, Can I clarify this? Tighten that? I just go through and
clarify a little bit here and there and tighten all the screws, make sure
the bolts are on straight, and then when it's published as the first-draft
script, that is it. The only things that happen after that are production
changes. My feeling is I wrote it right the first time, and nothing much
is going to be gained by going back and tinkering with it, unless someone
finds a massive logic flaw, which is pretty rare."

The first person to see the script after that is producer John Copeland.
He will occasionally make comments about its creative content, but his
primary role is to cast a production eye over the material and point out
anything that he thinks will be a problem from the production point of
view. "We're a little bit like a Chinese menu," John explains. "We can
take one from column A, one from column B, one from column C, or we can do
two from column A, two from B, or we can do one from A and B and two from
C. We can deal with guest cast and stunts and sets or we can deal with
guest cast, extras, and sets, but we can't deal with all of those four
elements together. That can become very difficult for us because of the
economics. If we've got lots of sets that are moving around, it's hard to
have three hundred extras, because the extras fill the hallways when
they're in between shots. Also, if we've just had an episode that's got a
lot of visual effects in it, it makes it very difficult to have the next
episode be a visual-effects bone crusher because we've only got so many
resources."

If there are any alterations to be made, they will be included in the
first draft that is then handed out to a select number of people: the
department heads, director, and production manager. If there are any new
characters, costumes, and prosthetics, the design process will get
rolling, as will the production design department if there are any new
sets. All this takes place with reference to Joe Straczynski who is kept
informed and is consulted throughout. It is all part of what he terms "the
utility of one voice," which he tries to maintain by being involved with
every aspect of the production, from the writing to the final edit and the
music.

"If you look at the show and you see a Narn and you hear about the Narn
culture and, eventually, you see the Narn homeworld, the homeworld matches
what you imagine it would look like because I have sat down with everyone
and made sure that the climate matches the clothing they tend to wear,
which matches the skin they would happen to have, which matches the
language they would happen to develop in that place. If you went to the
Narn homeworld, for instance, and it looked like Minbar, your brain would
say that doesn't fit, this doesn't belong with that. If you had diverse
hands working on things without any kind of supervision, you would have
that kind of possibility arising. My job is to work with all the
departments to make sure it's consistent throughout. I try, though, not to
let that go too far and be micromanaging people because nothing is won by
that except to cause frustration."

The various departments work in different ways when preparing an episode.
For Ann Bruice-Aling, who is the costume designer and in charge of
wardrobe, a meeting with Joe is the first step. "I always make a list of
questions based on each episode I read," she says. "Some of them are
purely logistic, like, How many of these guys do you think we're going to
need? Then the ones that are new characters, we'll talk about what he sees
about the character, if there's any input he wants to give me before I
attack. Then I go off and do research from a bunch of sources, period
stuff and different things that I have stashed away. Like with the Drakh
emissary [in Season Four's "Lines of Communication"], that was totally
new, something that we hadn't done. We'd never seen that before, and so I
did a lot of research and compiled that, then I went back and talked to
him about the approach. Then I do a pencil drawing, and sometimes I paint
them."

John Vulich, who designs the prosthetic makeup for the alien characters,
approaches his side of things in a similar way. Like Ann, he starts with
the script. "We try and glean whatever we can from the description of the
character to try and work out what kind of style or demeanor for the
creature or alien would work for this type of scene in the script. On
another level, we try and gauge its longterm position in the script or
within the arc, and that involves meeting with Joe. 'What do you have in
store for this character somewhere down the line?'--it's something we
always have to ask him. It quite frequently happens that Joe will
introduce a character and he will have either a benevolent or an evil
demeanor, and it's very often with his style of writing that by the time
you're done with that character it's always the exact opposite of what you
think he is. Deathwalker in the first season is the prime example of that,
and they were very particular about the design because they wanted a
design that was capable of going in either direction. So it's all kind of
figuring out what kind of design is suitable to this and how it fits into
the context dramatically, because, ultimately, what we're doing is
building something that will support the story and the drama of it all.
And the show's quite tricky in that way, which makes it fun, actually,
because it's challenging when you do those kind of designs. It's easy to
do a monster, but it's harder to do something that could be perceived as a
monster, but later on you realize he's really your friend."

It is much the same with set and prop design, which is part of the art
department, and headed by production designer John Iacovelli. "Usually Joe
is so specific in his descriptions in the script that I don't usually talk
to him first," he says. "Although we usually show him and John either the
concept sketch or the white models before we show them to the director.
Joe has a very open-door policy, and we run every prop by him and every
set decorating spec. He's very involved with the show. It's more rare than
it's frequent that he'll object or change something."

While all the designing is going on, the production manager is working out
the filming schedule. Scenes have to be grouped together to form the most
efficient and practical arrangement possible. "I sit and juggle them
around," explains Skip Beaudine, who joined as production manager in
Season Three. "I'll go through and get all the scenes that are shot in a
particular set and put them together, and then I move those around to fill
out a day. I'll take, say, all of the Observation Dome and all of
Sheridan's office scenes, and I'll put them together and that will make a
day's work. Then I've got to determine what cast are in those scenes, and
if I'm starting any guest cast, I'll try to keep all their work within a
couple of days, because once they start, you pay them daily until they are
finished even if they don't work." That becomes the rough draft for the
schedule, which is likely to change when the director comes on board. He
or she may, for example, want to spend more time on one scene than the
production manager had envisaged, or cast an actor who is available only
for certain days in the week.




The director, having had the script for several weeks, comes in seven days
before filming is due to start for his or her official preparation period.
The first job is usually casting. For a typical episode with a couple of
extra characters, this will take only two or three hours, but it could
take longer if they don't find anyone suitable in the first run or if it's
a major character like Cartagia or Dukhat, when actors can be asked back
for a second audition. The rest of the week is taken up with a series of
meetings, both formal and informal. The most important of these are the
art department meeting, the visual-effects meeting, and the main
production meeting, which is attended by all the departments, the
director, the production manager, Joe Straczynski, and producer John
Copeland. "We'll go through the script scene by scene," explains John,
"discuss requirements, extras, stunts, practical effects, the blue
screen's got to be in position, and stuff like that. All of those things
are talked about to make sure everyone's got the lay of the land for that
episode."

When considering an action scene, for example, the costume department will
need to know if a character is going to be shot and, therefore, need a
bullet hole in the costume. The logistics of the scene will also have to
fit onto the set, so John Iacovelli presents at the meeting scale models
of every new set and a pack of scale drawings and notes. "The key here is
information," he says. "One of the hallmarks of the show, that has made it
such a good show to work on, is that everybody knows what's going on, no
one's in the dark, no one shows up and doesn't know what to expect. From
the art department, we really try to show people where walls are going to
be and how things are going to work."

Then the departments turn in their budgets to the production manager,
whose job it is to keep an eye on the money. He may have to negotiate with
several people in order to keep costs in check. "The art department may
design a set that will cost three or four thousand dollars more than we
have in the budget," says Skip, taking an example. "Now if I can't take it
out of somewhere else, I'll go to the art department and say, 'Okay, what
can we do to cut this down?' They tell me, 'The director has told us he
would like these certain requirements.' I'll then go to the director and
say, 'Listen, we're over a little bit. Where can we cut?' I just start
going to the different people, and we whittle it down. You kinda gotta be
a psychologist in this job. You're dealing with a lot of people, and
everybody's working toward the same thing, and you're trying to put the
best possible thing on the screen. My job is to make sure that they don't
go overboard. Sometimes it gets a little hard, sometimes they've got
visions of something really beautiful and big and large scale, and that's
not what we can do sometimes."

John Vulich recalls one of the negotiating rounds in the fourth season
when a host of Minbari extras were needed for an episode. "I thought we'd
do about thirty," he says. "And they go, 'Oh, I thought we'd do forty or
fifty,' and I go, 'Well ...' Then it was, 'How about sixty?' and I go,
'Look, we can do it; we'll do sixty. Twenty of them might look wonderful,
the middle twenty might look fifty-fifty type of thing, where they're done
quickly, and the back twenty will be really slapped together, they won't
be intended for close-ups.' It's always kind of negotiating things, and
then they'll run that by the director, 'Look, can we shoot it this way and
stage it carefully, so the really good ones are up front and the midground
ones in the background?" and he'll figure out how he's shooting that
scene."

One of the advantages of having the script so far ahead of time is that it
allows time for people to consider things and prepare. Babylon 5 generally
circulates its first draft four weeks before shooting, unlike most
productions, which usually manage to bring out a script little more than a
week in advance. Only on the very rarest of occasions will this system
trip itself up, as with the advance work done for the EarthDome corridors
for the fourth season's "Endgame." "That was a big set, so we had to get
started on it early before the budget was approved," remembers John
Iacovelli. "The production manager came to us and said, 'You know, this is
a big set and not much happens in it except people go back and forth, we
want to cut this; we'll just do it as them coming in the doors.' The art
director said, 'We could, but we've actually bought most of that material
and the set's mostly built.' We have to work so fast that we're often
working on things before they get approved, but in that case, we had no
choice. When that set was up and standing, the production manager came to
us, and even though it was over the budget, he came to us--the first time
he's ever done this--and said, 'You know, that set was really worth it.'
That kind of made us feel good on that one."

While all these practical matters are being sorted out, there is a small
meeting that is vital to ensuring that the director is on the same
wavelength as Joe Straczynski and John Copeland in terms of their vision
of the episode. "We discuss each scene, the tone of each scene, scene by
scene," explains director David Eagle. "We talk about stuff like the dark
aspect of either the entire show or the particular scene or the way in
which Joe expects lines to be delivered or the way the look of that scene
should be or the lighting of that scene. All of those kinds of things are
discussed in great detail before I do any of my final preparation."

The director's final preparation is essential if filming is going to go
smoothly. To take David Eagle as an example, he has a meticulous approach
and plans each shot in great detail. He'll write down the moves of the
actors and the camera, and will often draw a diagram, too. Different
directors work in different ways. David always likes to have a couple of
other options up his sleeve for each scene just in case something
unexpected happens--and it often does. "I plan every shot for the entire
show before we shoot the first scene," he says. "The way I plan my script
is, I physically cut my script up with my scissors and place it together
in the shooting schedule format so that my script looks like the shooting
schedule. Then I write on the page next to it--if you have your script
open, the righthand side has your script, the lefthand side is the back of
the previous page and it's blank--and I write all my script notes and shot
lists on each of those pages. And all of that is done before I set foot on
the set the first day."

When it comes to filming, the first unfortunate people in are the actors
who require prosthetic makeup and their makeup artists. This is usually at
four or five o'clock in the morning, although it could be as early as
three a.m. If it is a big day, like in the fourth season where one of the
episodes required sixty Minbari, extra people will be brought in to help
put on the makeup. "It's all planned out like a battle ahead of time,"
says John Vulich, who is in charge of prosthetics at Optic Nerve. "We'll
bring in eight at this time, and then the next hour bring in another
eight. Then we'll bring in six at another hour, and two guys go to the set
to do touch-ups. It's all plotted out, and oftentimes--as overkill as it
might sound--I plan a lot of it on the spreadsheet of the computer. I try
to plan a day out with how many there are at a given hour, how many
makeups they can do, and who can I shift over to a different part of the
set to do touch-ups."

It is a similar story over at costumes, except they don't have to get up
quite so early. There are two people permanently assigned to the set, a
third who helps out if necessary, and an additional group of wardrobe
assistants brought in for the days when there are a lot of extras. "They
have to get everything ready, so when the actors come in, they just go to
their trailers and the clothes for the first thing they are shooting are
there," says Ann Bruice-Aling, who is in charge of costumes. "Then they
keep outer garments with them on set on the rack, so they don't get any
more destroyed than they need be. Then they just keep track of continuity
and making sure if a cuff was unbuttoned in the beginning of the scene
it's still unbuttoned at the end of the scene, or if they go back to do
another take, that everything is in the same position. It's very tedious,
but it's also very crucial. I could never be on set; I would go nuts. You
sit around for a long time doing nothing, then all of a sudden twelve
thousand things need to be done in twelve seconds!"

The biggest days for costumes are when hordes of extras need to be dressed
in the right clothes. Sometimes it can be quite an operation if the extras
start off the day as Drazi and need to be changed halfway through to
security personnel, creating the impression that there are twice as many
people on Babylon 5 as have been hired. Organization on days like these is
crucial, and that's where a voucher system makes life a lot easier. "They
get vouchers from central casting when they come in, and that's how they
get paid at the end of the day," Ann explains. "They have to turn their
vouchers in to wardrobe, and they don't get them back again until they've
come back to wardrobe and wardrobe gets all the pieces back. And the same
thing with props. On the back of the vouchers the staff write what pieces
they've given the extras, so when they come back they can say, 'Excuse me,
but I know that we gave you a Psi Corps pin,' and they don't get their
voucher back unless they give it back."

It is somewhat different for the art department because they are dealing
with objects rather than people, although there is always a set dresser,
painter, and prop person on the spot to keep an eye on things. Production
designer John Iacovelli is generally busy working on forthcoming episodes,
but he will visit the set from time to time during filming. "If it's a new
set, I usually try to be there to open up the set in the morning," he
says. "Mornings are really critical with what happens for the rest of the
day because frequently that's the first time that the DP [director of
photography] and the gaffer [in charge of lighting] will have seen the
set. They are so busy shooting the show that they don't often have time to
come see the set ahead of time. Usually, two or three days before, we'll
bring them over with the director, and we'll show them what's going to
happen. Sometimes it's the first time they've ever seen the set so there
can be a lot of changes very quickly."



Filming lasts seven days (or six as of Season Five), and the outcome of
that is several hours of raw footage. The film is given to one of the
show's three editors to produce a first edit, and then the director comes
in a couple of days later to adjust the episode to his vision. "Usually, I
walk in and the show is two or three minutes long," says director David
Eagle. "A lot of what I do is cut and trim. Some of what I do is replacing
entire scenes because I don't like [the version of] the scene the editor
chose and I prefer this other scene, or I want something cut out of a
scene. Occasionally, especially if I'm very long, I will take a shot at
doing line cuts, where I'm actually cutting out lines of dialogue and
trying to make it work even though that's not the way it's scripted. If
I've done a really good job, then Joe will accept it, if I haven't, Joe
will put those lines back in and cut other lines out, and that's happened
both ways with me. If you're very long, if you submit a show that's two or
three or nine minutes long, then Joe and John are going to cut the hell
out of that show, and you kind of leave yourself open. Once you see your
show, it's not going to look much like what you had intended it to look
like. But if you're much closer to time, I have found there's less for
them to cut. If you've done a really good job and thought about the way
Joe Straczynski thinks--and I've tried, and sometimes I succeed and
sometimes I don't--then you're going to be very close to what your cut
was."

It has to be said, however, that most of the directors don't try to cut
their episodes down, preferring to present the producers with their vision
in full. It is then, during the producers' cut, that they agonize over
getting the episode down (or, on rare occasions, up) to time--and it has
to be accurate to the minute, the second, and the frame. Joe Straczynski
and John Copeland will usually spend about a day with the editor of the
episode, making any changes they see fit. This is before the CGI
(computer-generated) effects have been done, and the episode is often
interspersed with sections of blank screen with a special-effects shot
number written on it. The length of these effects shots has to be
determined at this stage, and this is often achieved by Joe reading out
the descriptions in the script while John enacts the moving spaceships
with his hands. It may sound strange, but somehow it gives them a pretty
good idea of how many frames to reserve for computer graphics.

An effects spotting session usually comes next, where all the
postproduction CGI effects are discussed with the supervisor and the chief
animator. This will be followed by an audio spotting session to sort out
the music and sound effects. "The effects editor, the sound supervisor,
and Christopher Franke, our composer, will sit down with Joe and I in the
conference room at Babylonian Productions," says John Copeland. "We'll be
joined by George Johnson [in charge of postproduction up to and including
Season Four], and we'll go through the episode on a start and stop basis,
from the front to the back, and call out the in-point for music and the
out-point for music. Simultaneously, we'll also be calling out specific
needs for sound effects, like if there needs to be a door shut here, if
there needs to be a particular sound of something we need there, and we go
through the show on that basis. If the show has a lot of effects and we
have a lot of slates for missing shots in there, we will wait a bit of
time to allow for the shots to get dumped in."

This is the first time composer Christopher Franke will have seen the
episode, although he will have been thinking about it from having read the
script. He will take this opportunity to speak to Joe Straczynski about
the musical tone for the episode. "We discuss the thematic content, and we
exchange ideas," he says. "Joe typically gives me a lot of freedom so I
can come up with my own ideas. It's like a big plateau for
experimentation. It's like a gigantic playground to search for new sounds
or new interpretations."

All the music is specially written for Babylon 5 on an episode-by-episode
basis. This is the method that has been adapted by most U.S. television
shows, which have evolved a more cinematic look in recent years.
Television drama previously made sparse use of incidental music, quite
often using a selection of prerecorded pieces, so every time there was a
chase scene, for example, the same music would recur. Music is now much
more an integral part of a show, and Babylon 5 uses more music than most.
The progress of technology has also helped composers, enabling them to use
a time-coded videotape to make their music inserts accurate to a thirtieth
of a second.

"The whole music studio is totally in sync with the picture," says Chris
Franke. "Within the scene you've hundreds of little timing adjustments and
ideas, and it's probably more detailed than the viewer can imagine,
otherwise the effect isn't there. If you want to do an accent, probably
you think it would be at the same time as you see it, but the head works
differently. I think the brain works a little bit quicker than it listens
because sometimes you feel it's in sync even though the sound is a
fraction of a second later. Sometimes the sound is effective if it's
forewarning you, so it's a whole experience level of psycho-sounds,
psychological hearing. A composer learns it by instinct. One day you
cannot explain anymore why you do it, it just feels so right."

Part of the music is played by Chris Franke himself on electronic
keyboards in his studio; the rest is recorded by the Berlin Symphonic Film
Orchestra. It might seem a little extreme to go all the way to Europe for
the music, but it is surprisingly efficient. First, Chris has a good
working relationship with the people, but more important, it is easier to
book the orchestra for short periods of time at short notice. In contrast,
Los Angeles-based orchestras tend to be booked up way in advance because
of all the work provided by the Hollywood film industry. They also want to
be paid for at least a three-hour session, even when the work may take
only a third of that time.

The next step is to mix the episode on a dubbing stage, in order to blend
all the music, dialogue, and sound effects. "That's always fun," says John
Copeland. "It sounds so good in the mix room--big nasty speakers and we
play it really loud. We mix a really dynamic sound track that is probably
the most dynamic track on American television at the moment. We're barely
legal, we're so loud. But it's still fun. I like it when things make me
vibrate!"

At the same time, the finishing touches are being put to the visual
aspects of the show. The special effects have been added by this point and
the episode is put through a digital color-balancing process. This makes
the episode look uniform from scene to scene and allows for any subtle
color changes that need to be made for dramatic purposes, like changing a
scene from day to night.

The title sequence and credits are added, then the audio track is laid on
the color master. Babylonian Productions makes two copies, one for
themselves and another for Warner Bros., which is sent off with the
original ready to be broadcast.

Once that has been done twenty-two times, the season is complete.
Jane Killick

About Jane Killick

Jane Killick - Babylon 5: No Surrender, No Retreat
J. Michael Straczynski is one of the most prolific and highly regarded writers currently working in the television industry. In 1995 he was selected by Newsweek magazine as one of their Fifty for the Future, described as innovators who will shape our lives as we move into the 21st century. His work spans every conceivable genre--from historical dramas and adaptations of famous works of literature (The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) to mystery series (Murder, She Wrote), cop shows (Jake and the Fatman), anthology series (The Twilight Zone), and science fiction (Babylon 5). He writes ten hours a day, seven days a week, except for his birthday, New Year's, and Christmas.

Peter David is the New York Times bestelling author of several popular Star Trek: The Next Generation novels including Q-Squared, Rock and a Hard Place,Vendetta, Imzadi, and Q-In-Law. In addition, he has written nearly two dozen novels and hundreds of comic books including such titles as The Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man, Star Trek, and Aquaman. He has written two episodes of the acclaimed TV series Babylon 5 and is the screenwriter of the award-winning SF film spoof Oblivion and the co-creator of the Nickelodeon science fiction series Space Cases. David lives in New York with his three children: Shana, Guinevere, and Ariel.

  • Babylon 5: No Surrender, No Retreat by Jane Killick
  • September 22, 1998
  • Fiction - Science Fiction
  • Del Rey
  • $15.00
  • 9780345424501

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