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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek Movies > Star Trek Movies I-X

Star Trek Movies I-X Discuss the first ten big screen outings in this forum!

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Old September 9 2013, 05:31 AM   #76
Joe_Atari
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

In reference to TMP specifically as a case study for GR's writing prowess, has there ever been an in-depth comparison between GR and Harold Livingston's "dueling drafts" for the film? As related by (I believe) Livingston, in a 1977 meeting with both writers present, Michael Eisner held up both GR's and Livingston's current drafts (color coded to represent the author), proclaiming that (and I'm paraphrasing from memory) "this" (GR's script) is "television" and "this" (Livingston's script) is "a feature." I always thought Livingston came off as rather pompous in those interviews (throwing around the tired "I kept trying to quit but they kept begging me to come back" cliche -- as if he was Coppola instead of a rather obscure TV writer), and I have difficulty believing Eisner would so blatantly denigrate the work of the producer of one of his studio's biggest productions. As much as I love TMP, I agree with most that its story was fundamentally flawed and the screenplay had some really awkward, stilted dialogue. In fact, the TMP dialogue reminds me a lot of that from TNG season 1, which leads me to believe much of the blame for TMP's flaws lay with GR's writing, but I found Livingston's first draft (reprinted in the Reeves-Stevens' Phase II book and summarized here: http://www.orionpressfanzines.com/ar..._thy_image.htm) quite underwhelming. Certainly there was enough of the "petulant child" thing going on on both sides. Unfortunately I've never read any accounts from GR about this period to counter those of Livingston (which do seem to be backed by Shatner and Nimoy). I think Livingston's comments -- along with the books by Shatner and Engel -- came after GR's death.

Since a number of posters here are professional writers (and I certainly am not), I'd be interested to hear thoughts on GR's contributions (and Livingston's for that matter) -- both good and bad -- that survived to the final film. It seems to me that GR's flaws as a manager and producer (probably never more evident than on TMP) have led to undeserved criticism of his writing ability, which based on his early television work seemed to be top-notch.
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Old September 9 2013, 09:09 AM   #77
Maurice
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

Most scripts read badly. Seriously. If you're not experienced at reading between the lines, even the best can seem underwhelming. They're utterly unlike written fiction because they're really more of a very structured sketch minus all the detail that really paints a picture. It's why a lot of very good novelists and short story writers absolutely cannot write them or even critique them well. Very different animals.

That said, the drafts I've read of In Thy Image AND TMP aren't great, but Roddenberry's versions are worse, with lengthy asides that don't matter to the story.'
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Old September 10 2013, 12:10 AM   #78
trevanian
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

You mean like the girl who comes up to Xon and asks about whether his pon farr is coming up soon?

That stuff is bad, but GR's draft does at least represent the approach to vger by Ent in a way that visually was honest and correct ... and I actually like his San Francisco stuff, even if it isn't necessary to the story. Wish I still had that draft.

I really wish somebody had the Robert Collins draft. that is the one nobody seems to have seen, except folks on the show who all seemed to hate it ... yet that is where the ending I like is included, with the lightshow of all the voyager imagery being blasted all over the place.
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Old September 10 2013, 12:19 AM   #79
Harvey
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

trevanian wrote: View Post
I really wish somebody had the Robert Collins draft. that is the one nobody seems to have seen, except folks on the show who all seemed to hate it ... yet that is where the ending I like is included, with the lightshow of all the voyager imagery being blasted all over the place.
If it went out to the actors, it might be in the DeForest Kelley papers at the Academy Library in LA.

http://collections.oscars.org/link/msinvent/542/

From the descriptions, it's hard to tell.
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Old September 10 2013, 04:00 AM   #80
Maurice
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

trevanian wrote: View Post
You mean like the girl who comes up to Xon and asks about whether his pon farr is coming up soon?

That stuff is bad, but GR's draft does at least represent the approach to vger by Ent in a way that visually was honest and correct ... and I actually like his San Francisco stuff, even if it isn't necessary to the story. Wish I still had that draft.
Is that the one with the beach scene with Kirk and Alexandria swimming nude?
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Old September 10 2013, 04:39 PM   #81
Lance
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

Dream wrote: View Post
How was Gene Roddenberry in terms of his treatment of women?
There are many tales to be told. Some of them potentially libellous, I don't doubt.
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Old September 10 2013, 05:24 PM   #82
jpv2000
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

Maurice wrote: View Post
trevanian wrote: View Post
You mean like the girl who comes up to Xon and asks about whether his pon farr is coming up soon?

That stuff is bad, but GR's draft does at least represent the approach to vger by Ent in a way that visually was honest and correct ... and I actually like his San Francisco stuff, even if it isn't necessary to the story. Wish I still had that draft.
Is that the one with the beach scene with Kirk and Alexandria swimming nude?
Say what?
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Old September 11 2013, 12:59 AM   #83
mb22
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

JFK Dies Star Trek Style might have worked as a TV movie or a film in isolation, but not as something mixed in with the TWOK trilogy or any of the other films


This was talked about around 1980 as a followup to TMP, prior to TWOK.
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Old September 11 2013, 01:24 AM   #84
Sran
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

mb22 wrote: View Post
This was talked about around 1980 as a followup to TMP, prior to TWOK.
It was brought up even after TWOK, too. Roddenberry wouldn't let the idea die and submitted revised scripts when it was time for each new movie. He finally stopped at TUC because he was too ill, but not before ripping Nimoy and Meyer for their story idea.

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Old September 11 2013, 02:06 AM   #85
Harvey
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

Were their scripts? I was under the impression that the idea never made it beyond the treatment stage.
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Old September 11 2013, 02:12 AM   #86
nightwind1
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

Christopher wrote: View Post
I've only seen a clip of one Roddenberry-penned HG,WT episode, but I felt it was pretty smart and well-written.
Most of GR's HG,WT episodes were pretty good.

And two of them featured a prison chaplain named Robert April.
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Old September 11 2013, 03:08 AM   #87
trevanian
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

Maurice wrote: View Post
trevanian wrote: View Post
You mean like the girl who comes up to Xon and asks about whether his pon farr is coming up soon?

That stuff is bad, but GR's draft does at least represent the approach to vger by Ent in a way that visually was honest and correct ... and I actually like his San Francisco stuff, even if it isn't necessary to the story. Wish I still had that draft.
Is that the one with the beach scene with Kirk and Alexandria swimming nude?
Yeah. I seem to remember Kirk doing running handstands while racing her back toward SFC (I'm pretty sure they have clothes on again by that point.)

What's weird is that I don't remember McCoy treating a kid's pet cheetah, though I know I read about that elsewhere.
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Old September 11 2013, 03:27 AM   #88
Maurice
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

jpv2000 wrote: View Post
Maurice wrote: View Post
trevanian wrote: View Post
You mean like the girl who comes up to Xon and asks about whether his pon farr is coming up soon?

That stuff is bad, but GR's draft does at least represent the approach to vger by Ent in a way that visually was honest and correct ... and I actually like his San Francisco stuff, even if it isn't necessary to the story. Wish I still had that draft.
Is that the one with the beach scene with Kirk and Alexandria swimming nude?
Say what?
Harvey wrote: View Post
Were their scripts? I was under the impression that the idea never made it beyond the treatment stage.
Here's a sample...
9 EXT. EARTH APPROACH

a point of light directly ahead, rapidly growing in size, taking shape, then becoming planet Earth. CAMERA CONTINUES hurtling toward Earth which grows within seconds from a tiny dot into the familiar blue, clouded globe which then fins the screen. CAMERA CONTINUES, PLUMMETING DOWN toward what we can recognize as the Western coastline of North America -- still travelling toward Earth so fast that the California coastline is already filling the screen, then becoming the San Francisco area coast, then our eye registers oceans and rocky beach.

10 EXT. OCEAN UNDERWATER - SHALLOW ANGLE - DAY 10

PLUNGING EXPLOSIVELY into the water, JAMES KIRK knifes past the air bubbles of a long dive, then he curves gracefully up through the clear blue water toward the surface again.

11 EXT. OCEAN SHORELINE SURFACE - DAY

Kirk coming to the surface, shaking the water from his eyes as he turns in time to see his companion ALEXANDRIA diving into the water from the same rocky coastal ledge which he has just used Our coastline view is this rocky cliff only -- no buildings in view. Kirk and Alexandria are nude -- we limit it to "PG" since we're using nudity merely to illustrate 23rd century mature attitudes.

11 CONTINUED: 11
As Alexandria comes to the surface, they grin at each other in the mood of children at play. But the moment is interrupted by a strange GARBLED SOUND which puzzles Kirk for an instant. But Alexandria recognizes it immediately, and chides:

ALEXANDRIA
You goat! I warned you not to wear it!

She has pointed toward his left forearm, then kicks herself underwater. Understanding her Kirk lifts his left forearm out of the water and the GARBLED SOUND BECOMES THE CALL SIGNAL of the communicator clasped to his wrist.

KIRK
Damn!
(flips switch)
Kirk here...
Kirk's last word becomes bubbles as he is yanked underwater.

12 EXT. OCEAN UNDERWATER - DAY 12

Kirk grabbing at Alexandria who has pulled him under-water. Then an embrace as they drift up toward the surface. All through their SCENES TOGETHER, we'll sense that Kirk and Alexandria are (or are becoming more than us casual lovers or friends.

13 EXT. OCEAN SHORELINE SURFACE - DAY

as Kirk and Alexandria break INTO VIEW, still embracing. This time, Kirk's left arm and communicator are above water and the repeating CALL SIGNAL comes through clearly. Alexandria fights to prevent 'him from answering but he finally breaks free and speaks into the communicator again:

KIRK
Sorry, Benyatta, I was attacked by an underwater creature.

COMMUNICATOR VOICE
Repeat, sir?
(CONTINUED)
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Last edited by Maurice; September 11 2013 at 07:36 AM.
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Old September 11 2013, 03:59 AM   #89
Professor Moriarty
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

FWIW, I'm halfway through volume I of These Are the Voyages (http://www.jacobsbrownmediagroup.com...e-voyages.html) and from the series' own production history and notes it seems plain that Gene Roddenberry was an inveterate meddler in the scripts of other writers and something of a hack in his own "write" (pun very much intended).
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Old September 11 2013, 04:12 AM   #90
Christopher
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Re: Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

^Well, to be fair, it's the job of a showrunner to rewrite others' scripts so that they're consistent in characterization, continuity, and voice.
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