August 10th is an important day in Babylon 5 History, in 1992 filming started on the pilot….
From: STRACZYNSKI [Joe]
Subject: I’m sure that at some time in the…
Date: 8/10/1992 7:25:00 PM << Newer : List : Older >>
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.
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