Date: 6/18/97 19:50:34
<<in TNG was there some sort of joke about Worf not bieng able to win at
poker? He's never won as far as I can tell, he always grumbles and folds.>>
This was sort of a small running joke among the TNG writing staff.
<<Ron, is it true that Paramount will no longer be accepting spec scripts
from outside writers, even when agented? If so, why the sudden change in
The policy on both shows is currently under review.
<<God help me, Mr. Moore, but there are DOZENS of Julian/Jadzia fans
screaming for your head (and those of Rick Berman and Michael Dorn) on a
pitch fork. Even more are chanting vodoo spells in their basements.
The POINT: Maybe, just maybe, you could alter DS9's timeline or have or
good friend Mr. De Lancey change things a Little bit. If you think I am a
minority, you are free to look at Dax+ Bashir folder (and watch out for pitch
forks, their waiting for you). Julian Bashir and Jadzia Dax belong
So, the townspeople are gathering huh? I guess they'll have to storm the
castle because Jadzian + Bashir is not something we're going to be playing.
<<Patrick's salary. You know the maner the market will bear and I don't
think he should be criticized for that.
<<Is there a chance before the series is out, that there can be an episode
that revovles around Sisko and Kira working together.>>
It's always possible that we'll do a Sisko/Kira story, but there's not one on
the boards at the moment.
Date: 6/18/97 20:51:15
Okay, this is really getting ridiculous. I cannot believe the volume of
traffic this folder is getting. I'm trying to get caught up, but BirdofPrey
and I are struggling to cull out the questions from the prior folders, so
please be patient. I'll start doing answers to folder 18 now while the Bird
is still hunting for the Qs from folders 16-18.
First up: SpocksGirl since there was evidently some mix up with her
<<Sadly, I've heard that recently one of Voyagers staff writers (Braga) has
been sued or is being sued for plagiarism for swiping ideas from a writer who
pitched to him. I've heard that he has pleaded "no contest" to the charges,
and I've also heard another version in which Paramount was also sued and
pleaded "no contest." Which is true? Both? Neither? Furthermore, I heard
that this was the THIRD time Paramount had to pay in a case like this... is
Has this happened to anyone of the Trek writers before? Has it happened to
Mr. Braga before? What is "normal" procedure in a case like this (if there
is a "normal" procedure)? Does it make everyone less willing to hear pitches?
Is it true that Paramount/Star Trek will be discontinuing the policy of
open script submissions?>>
We get sued all the time. When you consider the HUGE number of spec scripts
submitted to these offices ever since the open submission policy was first
implemented back in season 4 of TNG, it's easy to see how a freelance writer
can see something on the show and become convinced that we've "stolen"
his/her idea. The vast majority of these cases are taken care of without
monetary compensation or even a hearing because the evidence is so clearly in
our favor. A few cases have gone to an arbitration hearing (all decided in
favor of Paramount), and NONE have ever gone to trial, so the whole notion
that Brannon has "pled" to something is incorrect. People tend to assume
that we're not above stealing ideas from the specs (a flat-out falsehood) and
when they see something on screen that resembles their work, they're quick to
But the truth is that some notions are simply common to the franchise -- for
example, I can't tell you how many pitches and scripts were built around the
idea of Troi losing her empathic powers. When we finally did that episode,
the phones were ringing off the hook for a while, but I think you can see
that it's not exactly a unique idea and ultimately that was pointed out to
everyone. Even ideas that may *seem* unique can be pitched or written by
writers totally independent of each other. Many times writers simply come up
with the same idea at nearly the same time -- ask any of the freelancers on
this board who've actually pitched to the show how often we've said, "You'll
never believe this, but somebody actually pitched that same idea last week,"
or, even worse, "We're shooting that story right now."
The bottom line is, we are EAGER to buy stories from freelance writers,
whether from a pitch or from a spec. Hey, it's not our money, why should we
care if Paramount has to eke out some bucks to pay someone for an idea we
want to use? So we can hoard the credit to ourselves and deny it to the poor
unsuspecting freelancer? I have over 35 credits to my name and so does
Brannon. Do either of us really need to screw someone over that we've never
even met in order to see our names in the titles one more time? Come on.
I hate to go on about this lest I get accused of the "methinks he doth
protest too much" line of attack, but our good name is something I value. So
let me make this clear: we have never, in the eight years I have worked on
this franchise, ever used a pitch, a story, or a script from someone without
compensation. We do not do that and we never will.
As for the future of the submission policy, all I can tell you is that it's
under review. There does come a point where the legal costs of dealing with
the various claims (justified or not, they all have to be handled by a
Paramount lawyer)... cont.
Date: 6/18/97 20:51:18
(cont. from last post)... and the paperwork involved, (not to mention the
administrative costs associated with managing such a huge flow of material)
becomes too burdensome for us to continue. I don't know whether we've
reached that point or not, and all I can do right now is promise to let you
know what the final decision is when we reach it.