Subj: Answers Date: 4/8/97 2:10:54 PM From: RonDMoore <<What goes on in a pitching session? How much time is allotted, how many episode ideas are discussed, etc?>> A freelance writer typically gets about 20-30 minutes to pitch us 3-4 story ideas and maybe a few one-line premises. The stories need to be brief and to the point -- just tell us the story, we don't need a lot of detail or explanations of how the tech works. We're interested in hearing the overall sweep of the story, what the character arcs are, and what the show is really about -- in other words WHY we're doing this episode in the first place, "It's a story about Sisko grappling with X and coming to the realization of Y." <<From what you've said, it seems that it would make sense to be patient and join the WGA. How does one go about doing that? What would the dues be, and where would we write to?>> You can contact the WGA West at 7000 West Third St., Los Angeles, CA 90048 or the WGA East at 555 West 57th St., NY, NY 10019 and they'll send you information on joining the Guild as well as a list of agents who are accredited with the WGA. Joining the Guild requires you to have sold material as a professional to a film or TV company. There are different "points" awarded for different kinds of sales and there is a threshold number of points you need before you can join. There's an initiation fee (I don't know what it is these days) and then you pay dues throughout your writing career of around 2.5% of your earnings to the Guild. You have to join in order to work for any company that's a signatory to the Guild agreement (which is virtually all of them), but the benefits of Guild membership far outweigh the burdens of dues, etc. <<You said before that you started off as a fan submitting an episode. How was it that you came to be a staff writer? Did you apply for the job, or did someone say "My god, this Mr. Moore is an absolute creative genius! We need him on our staff!" and proceed to invite you to join?>> After I wrote "The Defector", one of the Story Editors left TNG and they had an opening on staff that they needed to fill immediately. Michael Piller called me up and said, "We have an opening. Would you like to come down and start work as a staff writer... tomorrow?" I checked my calender, decided I had time, and then showed up for work. My initial contract was week to week, since Michael was taking a chance on hiring me, a freelancer with exactly two credits to my name, and so he didn't want to risk getting stuck with me for the season if things didn't work out. So for the next three months, every Friday I would wonder if they were going to let me go... but nothing formal like "You're still on next week" would be said, so I'd just show up on Monday and hope that no secretary stopped me in the hall and said, "Oh, didn't you get the news...?" Finally, they made me a Story Editor and gave me a real contract, and I've been here ever since. <<As a writer/producer, you writing responsibilities are obvious. What, exactly, do you do as a producer?>> As a producer, I share part of the responsibility for actually producing the show. That means dealing with budgets, schedules, makeup, wardrobe, set design, visual efx, etc. The higher up the food chain the producer is, the greater the authority. <<Do you know the ultimate question of Life, the Universe, and Everything?>> It's either here on my desk somewhere, or I threw it out with the trades. <<do you now consider Voyager to be "the competition"? >> You betcha. <<Do you think that the people at Paramount want to get the next Trek movie out before George Lucas releases the begining of the next Star Wars trilogy so that it's popularity and hype won't over shadow the next Star Trek release? Could this explain why Paramount has begun pre-production so soon?>> I really don't know if this has entered into their release calculus or not, but I haven't heard this brought up in any discussions of the film I've participated in. --------------- Subj: Answers Date: 4/8/97 2:12:34 PM From: RonDMoore <<Given the continued (and welcome) availability of the DS9 recurring guest stars (e.g., Anthony Robinson, Marc Alaimo, Louise Fletcher, Aron Eisenberg, to name a few), have there been occasions when you (or the writing staff) have devised a particular story requiring a recurring guest star, but salary demands or scheduling conflicts have delayed or otherwise prevented the filming of the story?>> We're never cancelled a story for salary problems or scheduling conflicts, but we have had to either pare back the number of guest roles or re-schedule the episode in order to accomodate the schedules of the guest actor.
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