Date: 5/2/97 6:36:01 PM
<<What's this I hear about you and Brannon writing the script for a feature
film version of the arcade game Area 51?>>
We have been talking with New Line for several months about this project. It
was a bit of a challenge to come up with an angle to turn the game into an
interesting story, but I think we've got a pretty cool take and New Line is
enthusiastic about our idea, so we're going to do it.
<<What were your aspirations in college? Was it always your ambition to
become a writer?>>
I was a Government major at Cornell with thoughts of becoming a lawyer. At
some point, I realized that I didn't want to be an attorney so much as be
Perry Mason -- a critical distinction. I also got to know some of the law
students on campus and quickly realized that I had no desire to turn myself
into a hollow-eyed zombie as I struggled to master the intricacies of torts.
I was in NROTC, on a full scholarship, but then lost the scholarship in my
senior year due to a combination of falling grades and failed the physical
when I severely reinjured my knee -- literally an old football injury rearing
its ugly head once again. It was devastating and I suddenly had no direction
or prospect for employment.
I hung around the fraternity house for several weeks drinking beer and
watching late night TV until a former room-mate who'd already graduated came
to visit. He was already in LA, struggling to become a writer and I hadn't
seen him in almost a year. We had a great weekend rehashing old times and
then the night before he was to fly back to LA, we found ourselves in Manos
Diner at about 4:00 am eating fries and bo-burgers (if you're not from
upstate NY you've probably been denied the glories of the bo-burger with its
delicately fried egg spewing yolk into the cheese and ketchup of the
otherwise pedestrian burger... but I digress) and we were discussing my (lack
of a) future. He knew I was writer (in fact, our fraternity -- KA -- was a
literary society) and that I'd always been jealous of his aspirations to work
in film & TV, so he just kinda off-handedly said, "Well, why don't you come
to California with me tomorrow and become a writer?" I thought about it as I
munched my next fry... then said okay. I packed my bags and left the next
afternoon for LA. And I've been here ever since.
There are days when I think back about the Naval Doctor who quite literally
took out a big rubber stamp from his desk and pounded the words "Permanently
Medically Disqualified" at the top of my service record -- if I could find
him now, I'd kiss him.
<<Are we going to find out about any of Sisko's past aspirations? Somehow I
don't believe becoming a starfleet officer has always been his goal. And is
Jake's writing career going to be a Jack London type path? In other words,
is he ever going to get a job?>>
Jake is going to get a job by the end of this season. As for Sisko's past
aspirations, we haven't discussed this in detail yet and it may just be
something that comes up during the writing of a particular episode.
<<I thought we were going to see more of Grilka....did something go wrong
here or was it wrong to put her with Quark?>>
We might bring back Grilka next year, but have no plans to do so at present.
<<When you mentioned that there could be physical changes to the station, did
you mean changes to the exterior or changes to the interior?>>
I mentioned this as a possibility only and at the moment, it doesn't look
like we're going to do it.
<<Have you writing guys studied/discussed what that economic system [of the
24th century] might be like? >>
No, because the Roddenberry universe of no money and an abundance of
everything is a baffling concept that tends to have gaping conceptual holes
on closer examination. We prefer to just accept it and move on.
<<Did you make it through the Quake ok?>>
Just fine. Didn't even feel it.
Date: 5/2/97 6:57:51 PM
<<Ron, there is a letter writing campaign on to let Paramount know that there
are many many people who would like to see DS9 make it through at least
season 7. As a writer/producer on the show, do you want to see the show go
on this long? What is the sentiment of the cast and others? >>
I'd like to see us go seven years and I'd say that's true of the whole
writing staff. I don't know about the cast, but I think Paramount wants to
see the show continue as long as they think it's feasible.
<<Was Quark's action figures from "Of Love and Profit" meant to be a spoof
(or a nudge and a wink) of all the Trek collectible merchandise that's
A nudge and a wink. And they were actual figures that had been customized a
bit. (Ira came up with this inspired bit.)
<<Why are some actors given special billing in the credits at the beginning
of each show, such as "Louise Fletcher as Kai Winn" rather than just "Louise
The exact wording of a credit is something that's worked out between the
actor and the studio and it depends on the fame/prestige/power of the actor,
the size of the part and the billing of the other actors in the episode.
<<Just saw the Klingon/Martok episode that you penned. Good story but it
was one screaming for a battle with the jEM hADAR ship. We haven't seen
much in the way of visual effects battles this season. Do we have anything
to look forward in that vein?>>
There's no battle in "Soldiers of the Empire" because the story was over at
that point. Adding a space battle would've just been gratuitous and I wanted
to spend the time with the characters. I think the shot of the Bird of Prey
roaring off into battle with the voices of the Bridge crew singing the
Klingon anthem is much more stirring than anything that we could've done
after that. For exciting space battle action, I suggest you tune into the
<<what do you think of the review _First Contact_ got in June's _The Magazine
of Fantasy and Science Fiction_?>>
To be honest, I haven't seen this one.
<< if... you're average joe who never wrote anything before, wrote a Star
Trek Script, would Someone in the Trek camp ever see it to determine if it
were a plausible script and/or idea for the show?>>
You can learn how to submit spec scripts to the show by calling (213)
<<Whatever happened to the storyline that was going to bring back Ensign
Seeto Jaxsa (sp?)>>
We've abandoned this idea.
<< I purchased the Star Trek: Klingon CD-ROM a few months ago and saw your
name in the credits as "Creative Consultant." Did you play a major role in
the game, what do you think about the interactive movie idea, and will you be
working on any Star Trek CD-ROMs in the future?>>
I consulted with the creators of the game as they developed the project and
tried to help them bring a real sense of the Klingons into what they were
doing. I also suggested Hilary Bader to write the actual script and she
deserves most of the credit for the game. It was a lot of fun, but it also
showed me the limitations of this particular medium. I had a similar role in
the Borg CD-ROM.
<<Obviously Dr. Bashier and the gang disapprove of the Dominion's enslavement
of the Jem Hadar and would like to see the drug addiction ended - but what
about their StarFleet Oath to the Prime Directive. Shouldn't StarFleet
personnel have an obligation to mind their own business? How come the Prime
Directive is seldom mentioned anymore?>>
Our current view of the Prime Directive is that it applies to pre-warp
cultures only which was its original intent in TOS anyway.
<<In the episode "Battle Lines" Kai Opaka gives Chief O'Brien some jewelry
for Molly ( a pendant I think) and tells Sisko that their " P'ahs will cross
paths again. Are you ever going to get back to this?>>
This (like so many things) does come up now and again in our discussions, but
we don't have any plans to follow up on it yet.
Maybe more on the way....