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Date: 4/14/97 2:27:42 PM
<<Ron i was just in another BB where a man using RMOORE@MSN posted a spoiler
for a 2 part season finale where worf and dax get married and a couple of
other tid bits that i won't say incase their true. Can you tell me if this
is you, or even is this post is true.>>
That was not me and Worf & Dax do not get married in the finale, nor is it a
<<I was curious how much autonomy Ira Steven Behr has when writing especially
the season openers and finales when he rearranges everything around in the
Alpha Quadrant. How much input does Rick Berman offer in these cases, and in
the overall direction of DS9?>>
Ira is the principal figure guiding the show's creative direction, but Rick
is definitely involved in overseeing that direction. For instance, in the
season finales or premieres, we always sit down with Rick and discuss at
length the story ideas and where we want to take the show. The same goes for
the bigger two-part episodes and the high-profile shows like "Trials &
Tribble-ations" or "Rejoined." Rick reads everything we put out and usually
has notes, comments, and suggestions on everything, but Ira is the one in the
trenches every day and he's the one guiding the writing staff throughout the
Thanks -- very funny and I'll pass it around, but I don't think I'll give you
our "scores" -- we need to keep some mysteries to ourselves.
<<When you sold your first story what was the first thing you asked? And
what did you do? faint? pinch yourself? celebrate?>>
I got the news in a phone call from Michael Piller and I think my first
question was "When are you going to produce it?" I was a little surprised
that it was shooting in just 3 weeks! After the call, I just sat there for a
few minutes in my office (I was a contract administrator at the time for a
tiny film distributor) and told myself, "This is a big moment in your life.
Remember what this is like." It was pretty cool.
<<Were you involved much in the production of The Bonding and The Defector?>>
"The Bonding" was completely out of my hands after I sold the script.
Melinda Snodgrass and Michael both worked on the final draft and did so
without any input from me. I was more involved in "The Defector." I wrote
the 1st draft (which Michael hated) and then I was called in to help
"rebreak" the story with the writing staff. Rebreaking the story meant a
complete restructuring of the tale and it was my first experience with how a
writing staff operates. Fortunately for me, I got along very well with the
staff and was actually able to hold my own in the rebreak, so I was given the
task of writing Teaser and Act One of the 2nd draft while the other Acts were
divided among the other writers. (This is known as a Gang Bang, and is to be
avoided unless the production deadline is so close that the script cannot be
completed in any other way.) Michael liked my Teaser/One and I left a good
enough impression overall that when the slot opened up on staff about 2-3
weeks later that he called me down to start as a full-time staff writer.
I saw one day of shooting on "The Bonding" and it was the first time I met
Patrick Stewart. He was very gracious and friendly when he learned that I
had written the episode and then asked me if I was writing another. I had
just gotten the assignment for "Defector" and so I briefly told him the idea.
He nodded his head, seemed intrigued, then said, "Just remember one thing...
the Captain doesn't do enough screwing or shooting in this series." And then
he turned and walked away. Now, THAT is the Captain of the Enterprise, if
you ask me.
<<Would you consider writing a DS9 novel one day?>>
Possibly, but not in the near future.
<<How does one get the Guild list [of agents]?>>
Call the Writers Guild at (213) 951-4000 or (212) 767-7800 and ask for one.
Date: 4/14/97 2:46:55 PM
<<if Sherri Robb is a good person to submit Trek material to, how does one
contact her? Does one simply send a script directly to her, or does she have
her own submission form?>>
You can contact Sherri's office (which is actually called AFH, I believe) at
(213) 466-3779 and ask them what their procedures are.
<<how old were you when you sold your first episode? As a college student,
under 21, am I at a disadvantage? >>
I had just turned 25 and no, you're at no disadvantage around here.
<<Have you ever had an idea for a story that you thought was really great,
except that it required a regular character to die? (Really die, not the
usual semi-permanent Trek death.) What if such a story was pitched to you,
and the quality of the story was such that you had to seriously consider
I don't recall any story like this that I wanted to do. We would probably
never consider this idea from a freelance writer since killing off a regular
character isn't something we would do just for a good story. It would be the
result of some outside force (the actor wants to leave or we want the actor
to leave) and so it would definitely be developed in-house.
<<Will Q return to DS9?>>
I don't think so.
<<Do actors/actressess have much influence on how their characters are
presented in a show?.... One might think that the actor or actress would know
best, and should have the ultimate say, since *they* live the character.>>
We're always interested in what they have to say and certainly if they have a
problem with doing something, we try to accomodate them as much as possible.
You're right in that the actor playing the part has a different perspective
on the character than we do and that point of view should not be discounted.
However, actors sometimes confuse themselves with their roles and need an
outside agent such as a writer or a director to push them in a direction that
the person playing the character would never do ("But I would never do
that!") but that the CHARACTER they're playing would ("Yes, but
Picard/Janeway/Bashir/Spock/Quark/Worf/Chekov would do that!"). It's a
collaborative effort between actor and writer, and neither party is presumed
to know everything.
<<You said earlier you thought the "Kira lives with O'Brien's" story arc was
awkward and poorly worked out. If the actors involved had felt so too, how
much power do they have to help keep their characters strong and
First of all, I never said this. Second, neither Colm nor Nana felt this way
either. Third, if they had, we would've talked with them both about it and
worked it out.
<<What kind of margin of error is allowed for the length of the various acts?
It does seem to be ambiguous, because in the submission packet, it says that
the teaser should be 3-5 minutes, and that each act should be 10-11 pages,
yet it gives a total range of 55-65 pages. But the range with the given
parameters would be 53-60 pages. What is the minimum acceptible length for
an act, and what is the maximum?>>
This is pretty flexible. I've turned in Acts that are 5 pages and I've
turned in Acts that are 18 pages. Almost anything in between is acceptable
for us -- other shows may be more strict. Total length should be in the
55-60 page ballpark and you exceed 65 at your extreme peril.
<<Is there any significance to the Defiant's registry number, NX-74205? Was
it just chosen at random or is there a secret gag in there somewhere?>>
I'm sure there's a significance, but no one I've asked seems to know.
<< It seems like we haven't been given any new Ferengi Rules of Acquisition
for a while. Is this intentional, and is the staff trying to get away from
the Rules for whatever reason, or is it just a coincidence, and should we be
looking for more soon?>>
There's no particular reason except that we haven't come up with any new good
ones or opportunity to introduce them yet.
Date: 4/14/97 3:27:58 PM
<<I am a Conservative and I take great offense at the recent Risa episode
that featured the Essentialists. I see this as a direct attack on some of my
beliefs. I am troubbled. I love Trek very much, and I have been there
watching when then only current Trek were reruns of TOS. Now, Trek is telling
me that I don't belong here.>>
There are two points I'd like to make here: 1) I don't think the
Essentialists were a direct attack on a particular political party or person.
They were representatives of a philosophical point of view, namely the idea
that pleasure and fun are to be frowned at and discouraged because of "the
dangers out there" and the notion that those hedonistic tendencies will be
the ruin of us all.
2) While Trek is not a political platform, neither is it devoid of politcal
thought and opinion. Right from the beginning, Trek espoused a particular
philosophy of Gene Roddenberry's which was termed "Liberal" back when that
word wasn't thrown around as an epithet by radio talk show hosts. The
Orginal Series' view on things like civil rights, feminism (at least as far
as go-go boots & space babes would allow), social equality, environmentalism,
war & peace, and tolerance were very much influenced by the political thought
of mid-60s American Liberalism.
Granted, Gene's vision also had elements of Conservatism thrown in as well,
like a robust military presence (say Starfleet isn't the military all you
want, it fails the duck test -- looks like, walks like, sounds like, etc.), a
strong keep-the-government-out-of-the-individual's-lives view, and the lack
of women as starship captains (sorry, couldn't resist). But the dominant
philosophy was a more Liberal one and Gene carried that view with him into
the creation of TNG, which is filled with Liberal influences. DS9 is more
complex and its characters have a wider range of philosophies than TOS ever
did, ranging from Odo's latent fascism to Bashir's almost bleeding heart, but
our heritage is in Gene's view of the 23rd/24th centuries, and that means
it's full of the dread "L" word.
As writers, we also have our own views and political leanings and yes, we do
indulge them on occasion (anyone who watches "Rejoined" and thinks I'm a
Conservative isn't paying attention), but again, this isn't a platform for
those views as much as it is a forum for the discussion and debate of ideas.
Sometimes we take a position and sometimes we don't, and that decision is
exclusively ours to make. In the end, it's either entertaining or it isn't,
and to quote a famous maxim of the Business, "If you want to send a message,
use Western Union."
<<Why is it that the Romulans haven't really been used since the
Klingon/Romulan conflict episodes of early TNG (i.e. third season, or around
We just haven't integrated them into our storytelling. No particular reason
except maybe we have too many races on our hands to deal with as it is.
<<Can you confirm the title of the DS9 season finale as "A Call To Arms?"
We're itching to get a folder going. :-)>>
That's the title.
<<Is there any possibility that Cyia Batten (sp?) will return as Ziyal?>>
I don't think so. Our current Ziyal is Melanie Smith.
<<A few messages back, you mentioned that Sisko had come to grips with the
fact that he may never make admiral. Why is it he thinks that?>>
This was something touched on in "The Search Pt 1" when Sisko was ruminating
on a recent visit to SF Command. He used to picture himself there with
Admiral's stars, but now he's realized that he'd rather be out here on the
frontier in the thick of the action. Dax also observed that Curzon had never
thought Sisko was cut out to be an Admiral in the first place.
Date: 4/14/97 6:28:56 PM
<<will Sisko's role as the Bajoran Emmissary cause anymore friction between
him and Starfleet next season?>>
Possibly, but this is undecided.
<<Why was the decision made to reintroduce the character even though there
were no plans to use her after that? I for one was glad to see her return
and not just written off like so many other romantic interests. Did you feel
that her having her in Rapture added enough to the plot to justify her
noticable absence the rest of the season?>>
The use of Kasidy is complicated by Penny Johnson's availability since she
also works as a regular on "The Larry Sanders Show." We intended to feature
Kasidy more this year, but scheduling conflicts precluded her from a couple
of episodes (I don't remember which) and then other shows just grew too large
and complicated to still fit her in. I hope we can use her more effectively
<<Any chance we'll see Spock's reunification thread picked up (or at least
mentioned) on DS9 or maybe a future movie?>>
We have no plans for this.
<<Is the Defiant supposed to be as powerful as a Galaxy Class (only packed in
a smaller package) or is more or less powerful. I don't need any specifics,
but I am curious as to how you view it when trying to stage the space
I can honestly say that I've never really thought about this question and the
answer is probably, "It depends on who's in the Captain's chair." The
Defiant is supposed to be one tough little ship and could probably hold its
own and perhaps demolish a Galaxy-class ship, but it's hard to say. The real
question is could Superman beat up Captain Marvel?
<<When DS9 goes off the air, is there a possibility that the story could
continue in TV movies, miniseries, or on the direct-to-video market?>>
There's been no discussion of this that I know of, so it's hard to say at
<<Why is it that the last two episodes of DS9's season are always held over
into mid-June so that two more reruns can be shown??>>
That is a very good question and one that really frustrates/annoys the entire
writing staff. The last two episodes are always "lost" out there by
themselves and half the audience thinks the show's wrapped for the year!
<<Why haven't we seen [the Romulans] really go after the Founders and the
J'hem H'dar (sp?) in a extremely sneaky and big way.>>
Theydid participate in the combined Romulan/Cardie fleet back in Improbable
Cause/Die is Cast, and I imagine the Roms aren't going to make the same
mistake twice, so they're probably biding their time and thinking out their
next move before jumping into the fray again.
<<Any chance of seeing our old pals The Borg wade into the Founders and their
The Borg are now the provence of Voyager.
<<What kind of script really seems to demand your attention on the writing
It's just gotta be a compelling story -- it's hard to break it down into
something more specific than that. Good character work, interesting plot,
snappy dialog -- there're a lot of things we look for, but good writing will
come through every time.
<<If Picard felt as though he had lived 40+ years in the TNG episode "The
Inner Light", wouldn't that have screwed up his life a little more?>>
You're probably right. I've always felt that the experience in "Inner Light"
would've been the most profound experience in Picard's life and changed him
irrevocably. However, that wasn't our intention when we were creating the
episode. We were after a good hour of TV, and the larger implications of how
this would really screw somebody up didn't hit home with us until later
(that's sometimes a danger in TV -- you're so focused on just getting the
show produced every week that sometimes you suffer from the "can't see the
forest for the trees" syndrome). We never intended the show to completely
upend his character and force a radical change in the series, so we contented
ourselves with a single follow-up in "Lessons."