Monday, March 10, 2008

"World Enough and Time"

In reaction to some comments that have been circulating regarding a work nominated for a Nebula award, the creator Marc Scott Zicree sent a letter - at the request of SFWA President Michael Capobianco - to members by way of explanation.

I found this very informative, and so - to help get the word out even more - I recieved permission to post this information. It's rather long, but fascinating:

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I’ve just been informed that there have been some misconceptions relating to the professional status of STAR TREK NEW VOYAGES “World Enough and Time,” starring George Takei and written Michael Reaves and myself, which has just been nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Script.

First off, I just want to say how deeply honored I am to be nominated for the Nebula Award. When I was a teenager and being mentored by Theodore Sturgeon at the beginning of my career (I’d just gotten back from Clarion, having sold my first short story), I remember going to his home and seeing the Nebula on his mantle. With its spiral galaxy held in that gleaming block of Lucite, it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. I was so impressed by Ted having written a work that had won such recognition, and hoped that someday I might create something of such merit it might have a possibility of winning that award.

I am so grateful to my fellow writers in SFWA, and so proud to be part of this community. Michael Reaves is recovering from recent brain surgery and somewhat out of commission, but I know I speak for him when I thank every member of SFWA – and all those who worked on “World Enough and Time” so selflessly and well -- from the bottom of our hearts.

As co-writer, director and executive producer of “World Enough and Time” (and also as someone with a thirty-year career as a writer-producer in network television), I’m glad to clarify things and categorically state that “World Enough and Time” was a professional production that utilized literally hundreds of men and women, many of whom work full-time in film and television, and that it was done entirely with Paramount’s knowledge and approval, and in no way violated their copyright.

First, a little history on STAR TREK NEW VOYAGES. Prior to my arrival on the scene and writing “World Enough and Time” with Michael Reaves (both of us having previously written for STAR TREK – THE NEXT GENERATION), STAR TREK NEW VOYAGES had produced three episodes. Although a number of Industry pros worked on the episodes – including STAR TREK writer D.C. Fontana and STAR TREK actors Walter Koenig, Malachi Throne, William Windom and Barbara Luna – they were primarily episodes produced by the fans and intended for a non-professional fan audience.

When Walter Koenig told me of NEW VOYAGES and I viewed their impressive work, I first got the idea of teaming with the NEW VOYAGES crew to create “World Enough and Time.”

I didn’t want to exclude the STAR TREK fans from the production in any way – many of us who are now professionals in the Industry were inspired to these careers by watching STAR TREK when we were kids and still consider ourselves fans – but I was committed to raising the level of STAR TREK NEW VOYAGES to that of a network show and bringing aboard Industry professionals that I knew personally to augment the already-existing and very-talented NEW VOYAGES personnel to help make that happen.

This is in no way to denigrate or minimize the many in our cast and crew who came from other careers or had day-jobs in other pursuits; I found them as hardworking, dedicated and professional as the Oscar and Emmy winners they were often working shoulder to shoulder with on our production.

In all, “World Enough and Time” took one and a half years to make, and required all the skills and talents I have honed in a career that has included sales of over 100 scripts to all the major networks and studios. Pre-production took six months, we shot nine days in New York, two days in Los Angeles at the Gigapix Production Facility, and one day on the Universal lot in Florida with the effects team at the renowned DAVE (Digital and Visual Effects) School facility. Post-production took a full year. The episode was shot on state-of-the-art Hi-Def and boasts 700 effects shots, far more than any network show would ever be able to afford, and more than most features (made possible in part by my having decades of working relationships with the finest artisans and technicians in the Industry, and by relationships fostered by James Cawley and others on the team).

Additionally, I contractually had final cut as a director, which means that what Michael and I wrote is what got shot and what you will see in the episode. There were no script notes of any kind, and the final version is artistically exactly what we had in mind.

As to any rumors regarding STAR TREK NEW VOYAGES being unpaid and thus unprofessional, in several key and vital areas payments were made. Michael Reaves and I were paid for the script of “World Enough and Time” by James Cawley through his production company, Cawley Entertainment Company, prior to production. We negotiated a contract with James which was under WGA rules, as both Michael and I are members of the Writers Guild, as well as SFWA. In addition, my contract was under DGA guidelines, as I was also the director of the piece.

Beyond this, George Takei was paid to star in the episode. This was under a SAG contract negotiated with George’s manager and agent. Grace Lee Whitney was also paid under a SAG contract. All of our actors who were SAG members were hired under SAG contracts.

At an early stage of pre-production, I founded my own production company, the Magic Time Company, made up of myself, William H. Wallen – formerly Senior Vice President of Marketing for Sony/Columbia-Tristar – and one other partner, an investor in the film and TV industry.

It was clear by that point that “World Enough and Time” would be a huge undertaking in terms of production logistics and would require the full commitment of not only James Cawley’s production company, but mine as well. As a result, “World Enough and Time” became a co-production between Cawley Entertainment Company and the Magic Time Company.

In all, my company invested significant funds, largely for production expenses and key crew salaries. I personally hired my editor, Chris Cronin – a professional who works in Los Angeles on numerous TV shows, features and music videos – full-time for a solid four months, again at Industry rates.

Although “World Enough and Time” was not produced through Paramount, it was done with Paramount’s full knowledge, from Business Affairs on down, including J.J. Abrams, director of the new Star Trek feature, and Bryan Burke, producer of that film. J.J., in fact, advised me during pre-production as I was planning my directorial angle of attack, as did Guillermo del Toro, Frank Darabont, Roxanne Dawson (director of HEROES and LOST), Michael Nankin (director of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA) and Armin Shimerman (Quark on DEEP SPACE NINE).

I consider all of these actors and directors friends and professional compatriots (I accepted Guillermo’s Hugo for PAN’S LABYRINTH at Worldcon when he couldn’t be in attendance) and, in fact, have worked with Armin when I wrote for DEEP SPACE NINE (“Far Beyond the Stars”) and collaborated with Michael Nankin when he and I wrote a pilot for Showtime.

“World Enough and Time” premiered August 23, 2007, at the Fine Arts Theatre in Beverly Hills. The event was extensively covered by the press, including the L.A. Times, CNN, NBC and ABC News and many other radio, TV and print outlets. Since then, the episode has been screened at venues around the world, including Spain and Greece, at Worldcon in Yokohama with George Takei in attendance, at numerous conventions and professional conferences, and at the 2007 Nebula Awards, to standing ovations and rave reviews. In addition, the episode has been streaming online at www.startreknewvoyages.com and been seen by many millions all over the globe.

Which speaks to the core issue at hand. The best way for anyone to be satisfied as to the quality and professionalism of “World Enough and Time” is to simply watch the episode. You can view it real time streaming in Standard Def or Hi-Def by logging onto www.startreknewvoyages.com (or if you’re a SFWA member and would prefer, drop me an email at marc@zicree.com and I’ll be happy to mail you a DVD). The work speaks for itself.

Since its premiere, numerous executives at Paramount/CBS in a number of key divisions in Los Angeles and New York have seen the episode and reacted favorably to it, as have the producers and stars of the new STAR TREK feature.

I should add too that “World Enough and Time” just won the TV Guide Award. The other nominees were all produced by NBC Universal. None of us were considered amateur productions in any way, and I’m proud to say that “World Enough” won the award.

In all, over 300 people worked on “World Enough and Time.” The following list covers only a small percentage of those who labored on the episode – not even most of our major department heads – but gives sense of our professional credits and standing, along with what we did on “World Enough” (and to our cast and crew, if I left you off this list it’s in no way a reflection of anything other than merely trying in a reasonable space to address the concerns that have been voiced by SFWA and others; I urge everyone to read our episode credits fully, and I thank every single person who made the episode what it is):

MARC ZICREE, Co-Writer, Director and Executive Producer: In addition to the 100-plus script sales (including STAR TREK – THE NEXT GENERATION, DEEP SPACE NINE, BABYLON 5, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, THE NEW TWILIGHT ZONE, FOREVER KNIGHT and many others), I’ve served as executive producer on numerous network pilots, producer on SLIDERS and THE LAZARUS MAN, executive story editor on BEYOND REALITY and story editor on FRIDAY THE 13TH – THE SERIES. My work, which includes such bestsellers as THE TWILIGHT ZONE COMPANION and the MAGIC TIME trilogy, has been nominated for the American Book Award, Writers Guild Award, Diane Thomas Award and the Humanitas Prize. Currently, I’m in negotiations to write, direct and executive produce the series MAGIC TIME, based on my bestselling trilogy of novels for HarperCollins, in partnership with executive producers of a hit network show. I’m also in talks with a major Industry writer-producer (who must remain nameless at this time) to have his company come aboard to produce a previously-unfilmed Rod Serling TWILIGHT ZONE pilot, with myself as director.

MICHAEL REAVES, Co-Writer and Executive Producer: Emmy-winner for THE ANIMATED BATMAN, with over 400 script sales to all the major networks and studios. Other credits include STAR TREK – THE NEXT GENERATION, THE NEW TWILIGHT ZONE (WGA Award nomination), SLIDERS, INVASION AMERICA (for Steven Spielberg), GARGOYLES and many more. He’s the only writer I know who’s personally worked with Spielberg, Lucas and Roddenberry. In addition, he’s been on the New York Times bestseller list many times (including twice in the last five months) and was nominated for the British Fantasy Award.

JAMES CAWLEY, Senior Executive Producer and Star: the producer-star who started it all and who has had a decades-long career in the entertainment industry, which includes work on STAR TREK - THE NEXT GENERATION and who will be seen in the new STAR TREK feature film. None of this would have happened or been possible without him.

ELAINE ZICREE, Executive Producer: Numerous network credits as a writer and executive producer, including series and pilots. In pre-production on the feature film, THE VOICELESS ROAR, which she has written and will direct. Actors from THERE WILL BE BLOOD and NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN are attached, as is Ed Asner, with Ed Harris currently reading the script to star.

WILLIAM H. WALLEN, Executive Producer: For seven years, served as Senior Vice President of Marketing for Sony/Columbia Tristar, previously head of Wallen Media, the top marketing and design firm in Hollywood. Credits include the first three STAR WARS films, the Indiana Jones films, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, E.T., POLTERGEIST, MEN IN BLACK (which he discovered and brought to the studio), JERRY McGUIRE, AS GOOD AS IT GETS, STARSHIP TROOPERS, hundreds more.

DOUGLAS DREXLER, Executive Producer: An Oscar and Emmy winner, Doug worked for many years on the STAR TREK franchise series, including THE NEXT GENERATION, DEEP SPACE NINE, VOYAGER and ENTERPRISE, and is currently head of CG Effects on BATTLESTAR GALACTICA.

MAJEL BARRETT RODDENBERRY, Enterprise Computer Voice: Extensive TV credits, including Nurse Chapel and Computer Voice on STAR TREK and Troi’s mother on STAR TREK – THE NEXT GENERATION; is also the widow of STAR TREK creator Gene Roddenberry.

IAIN McCAIG, Character Designer: Lead concept designer on the last three STAR WARS films, designer of Darth Maul and Queen Amidala. Other feature credits include INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE, HARRY POTTER, CHARLOTTE’S WEB, the live action PETER PAN and many others. Most recently, Iain worked on PRINCESS OF MARS for director Jon Favreau.

GABRIEL HARTMAN, Storyboards: Many feature credits, including SPIDERMAN 3, where he worked directly with director Sam Raimi.

LEE STRINGER, RON THORNTON, RON B. MOORE, DAN CURRY, DAREN DOCHTERMAN, JOEL BELLUCCI, Special Effects: Multiple Emmy winners (more than ten among them), with credits that are a who’s who of film and television, including CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, E.T., BABYLON 5, the recent STAR TREK features and TV series, many more. Stringer and Thornton head up the spectacular DAVE School, which did the vast majority of the incredible effects shots.

STEPHEN LES, Post-Production Supervisor: Numerous film credits, the most recent being ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS for Rhythm and Hues.

TASHA HARDY, Line Producer: Many professional credits on features and music videos. Currently producing the feature film HUMANITY’S END.

DON BALDERAMOS, Co-producer and Unit Production Manager: Currently serving in that capacity for Gigapix, a noted soundstage and production facility serving the film and television Industry in Los Angeles.

SCOTTY MOODY, Producer: Works full-time in production at the CBS affiliate in Burlington, Vermont.

ERIC GOODRICH, Producer: Works full-time in production at the CBS affiliate in Burlington, Vermont.

CRYSTAL ANN TAYLOR, script supervisor: Has worked in that capacity on numerous network shows, most recently JOAN OF ARCADIA.

NEIL JOHNSON, Post Production: Editor and Director of thousands of music videos and nine feature films.

ALAN DERIAN, composer: Has composed scores for over fifty feature films.

LESLIE HOFFMAN, Stunt Coordinator: Stunt woman on many features and TV series, including DEEP SPACE NINE.

JOHN VULICH & OPTIC NERVE, Special Effects Makeup: Multiple Emmy and Oscar winner, credits include BABYLON 5, X-FILES, BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and BATMAN.

JACOB PINGER, Director of Photography: Cinematographer for many years on numerous network shows, including REAL STORY, the pilot Elaine and I wrote and executive produced in association with Executive Producer Tom Fontana (HOMICIDE, OZ).

JOHN LINDAUER, Camera Operator: Emmy-winning director of PEEWEE’S PLAYHOUSE, currently writing the sequel to 300.

And on and on.

All of which goes to show the enormous amount of time and effort and manpower it takes to create a piece such as “World Enough and Time.” I consider it my masterwork, of all the many shows and books I’ve done, and it pretty much sums up everything I have to say about why we’re alive and what makes the journey worth the candle.

And finally, of all the accolades we’ve received, for me the greatest lies in the many people who have gone out of their way to tell me how profoundly the episode has moved them, that they’ve found themselves in tears at the end of the episode. It’s true for me, too. I still cry when I watch it.

Again, thanks for all the many kind words that have been said, and for this wonderful science fiction community that has given me not only a rewarding career, but such a rich, full life.

All good wishes,
Marc Scott Zicree

STAR TREK NEW VOYAGES “WORLD ENOUGH AND TIME” BLURBS


“It’s just great!” RAY BRADBURY

“Great production values and an insightful, emotionally resonant script.” JOSS WHEDON, creator BUFFY, THE VAMPIRE SLAYER

“A major accomplishment. It’s a knockout.” JOSEPH DOUGHERTY, Emmy-winning writer-producer, THIRTYSOMETHING, SAVING GRACE

“It was cracking! I loved it!” PAUL CORNELL, writer, DR. WHO

“Enormously entertaining, and beautifully done.” MEL GILDEN, STAR TREK novelist

“Wow… a major turning point in the history of mass communication! I teach a mass communications class at my college and you’re now part of the curriculum.” PROF. SANFORD FRIES, Chicago

“It really is one of the best classic Treks, not a ‘fan’ film as the others have been, but a real episode -- and the best Sulu one done.” MARV WOLFMAN, creator BLADE

“The final product is very impressive indeed… An emotional story that focuses on a parallel life lived by Sulu following an away mission, it has a genuine feel of classic sci-fi and Trek” STAR TREK.com

“Despite low production costs (in comparison to a studio episode) the NEW VOYAGES production team has brought passion, meaning and good storytelling back to STAR TREK. Thanks for keeping the dream alive.” EUGENE “ROD” RODDENBERRY

“J.J. watch out! Wow. I felt like I was 9 years old again, sitting at the TV and watching Star Trek. Great job!” MARK ROSMAN, director

“Trek now has an 80th episode...well done.” MARK ALTMAN, writer-producer, FREE ENTERPRISE

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:03 PM

    This was James Cawley's response to Marc's letter:

    I am very dis appointed in Marc Zicree. He has made several statements regarding the production of "WEAT'"
    that are "mis-leading". He has one singular quest, that of winning his Nebula award and thus he seems to have no concern for the people who actually made this episode. So below please read my letter of more than two weeks ago To the Board of Directors of the Science Fiction Writers of America:

    I am the Executive Producer of Star Trek New Voyages. I apologize for
    any confusion created by Marc Scott Zicree's efforts on behalf of the
    "World Enough And Time" episode of Star Trek New Voyages. It does not
    come from my offices nor does it reflect my wishes.

    Here is what you need to know about our situation:

    Paramount Pictures owns the copyright to Star Trek. The relationship
    of Star Trek New Voyages with Paramount Pictures is very strictly
    defined.

    We are not allowed to sell tickets to screenings of our episodes. We
    are not allowed to sell advertising for our episodes. We are not allowed to sell DVD copies of our episodes. We
    are not allowed in any way to produce or distribute our episodes for
    profit. These are the rules by which Paramount allows us to continue.
    We will not allow anyone connected with STNV to violate those
    guidelines or misrepresent our efforts.

    Legally, we are a fan-based production. We exist solely because we
    maintain our amateur status and good faith relationship with Paramount/CBS.

    Contrary to anything stated anywhere else, we have not sold tickets
    for any public exhibition of any of our episodes nor have we
    authorized anyone else to do so.

    Yes, many of the people who have worked in our episodes are
    professionals in their respective fields. We have been privileged to
    have Walter Koenig, George Takei, Denise Crosby, Bill Blair, Bobby
    Quinn Rice, Kim Stinger, Ben Tolpin and other professionals
    play key roles in our episodes. We have been privileged to have
    produced scripts by DC Fontana, J. Michael Reaves, and David Gerrold.
    We have been privileged to have technical experts like Ron Moore, Doug
    Drexler, Ron Thornton, Brian Kelley, and others, working behind the
    scenes as well. Yes, we have paid some of our performers, those who
    are SAG members; but always with the understanding that we are a
    fan-based production.

    Speaking for myself, it has been enormously gratifying to tap into
    such a wellspring of enthusiasm for classic Star Trek. All of us on
    STNV aspire to produce episodes that meet or surpass the standards of
    excellence established by the original Star Trek series and I believe
    the Nebula consideration of "World Enough And Time" is an
    acknowledgment that we are starting to achieve that goal.

    But I must stress this as strongly as I can. We are committed to
    maintaining our relationship with Paramount Pictures. We are a
    fan-based production. Legally, our episodes are AMATEUR. Marc Scott
    Zicree's claims otherwise are notwithstanding.

    I certainly understand and respect Marc Scott Zicree's desire to have
    "World Enough And Time" on the Nebula ballot. The script that he and
    Michael Reaves wrote was one of the best we've ever seen and George
    Takei's performance was stunning. We are all very proud of the
    episode and we believe it does deserve consideration.

    As I understand the situation, as it was explained to me by Rules
    Committee Chair, Jeff Carver, the award requirements specify that only
    PROFESSIONAL productions are eligible for consideration. Therefore,
    by the rules of the SFWA, the episode is not eligible. I understand
    this and I respect and agree with that position. The SFWA is a highly
    regarded professional organization and your awards are intended to
    acknowledge professional excellence.

    But it is also my understanding that the Board of Directors of the
    Science Fiction Writers of America has the authority to waive the
    professional production requirement in this case or reinterpret it to
    include Internet productions. This is new territory for everyone and
    I hope we can find a solution that serves us all. Our next episode,
    David Gerrold's "Blood and Fire" is nearing completion and I expect it
    to be even better than "World Enough And Time."

    Speaking on behalf of everyone who worked on "World Enough And Time"
    we would be honored to see the episode on the Nebula awards ballot.
    We are all grateful that you are taking time to consider the
    eligibility of the episode. I look forward to your decision.
    Whatever you decide, I hope that the SFWA has a wonderful and exciting
    Awards Ceremony.

    Sincerely yours,
    James M. Cawley
    Senior Executive Producer/Creator New Voyages

    ReplyDelete

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