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  1. #1
    Captain SG-1ssm's Avatar
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    Default Ron Moore's Essay about Battlestar Galatica - READ THIS

    Ron Moore's Essay on NSF
    The following essay, written by series co-creator Ron D. Moore, details his goals in bringing the Re-imagined Series to life.
    Battlestar Galactica: Naturalistic Science Fiction or Taking the Opera out of Space Opera

    Our goal is nothing less than the reinvention of the science fiction television series. We take as a given the idea that the traditional space opera, with its stock characters, techno-double-talk, bumpy-headed aliens, thespian histrionics, and empty heroics has run its course and a new approach is required. That approach is to introduce realism into what has heretofore been an aggressively unrealistic genre.

    Call it "Naturalistic Science Fiction."

    This idea, the presentation of a fantastical situation in naturalistic terms, will permeate every aspect of our series:

    Visual. The first thing that will leap out at viewers is the dynamic use of the documentary or cinema verite style. Through the extensive use of hand-held cameras, practical lighting, and functional set design, the battlestar Galactica will feel on every level like a real place.

    This shift in tone and look cannot be overemphasized. It is our intention to deliver a show that does not look like any other science fiction series ever produced. A casual viewer should for a moment feel like he or she has accidentally surfed onto a "60 Minutes" documentary piece about life aboard an aircraft carrier until someone starts talking about Cylons and battlestars.

    That is not to say we're shooting on videotape under fluorescent lights, but we will be striving for a verisimilitude that is sorely lacking in virtually every other science fiction series ever attempted. We're looking for filmic truth, not manufactured "pretty pictures" or the "way cool" factor.

    Perhaps nowhere will this be more surprising than in our visual effects shots. Our ships will be treated like real ships that someone had to go out and film with a real camera. That means no 3-D "hero" shots panning and zooming wildly with the touch of a mousepad. The questions we will ask before every VFX shot are things like: "How did we get this shot? Where is the camera? Who's holding it? Is the cameraman in another spacecraft? Is the camera mounted on the wing?" This philosophy will generate images that will present an audience jaded and bored with the same old "Wow -- it's a CGI shot!" with a different texture and a different cinematic language that will force them to re-evaluate their notions of science fiction.

    Another way to challenge the audience visually will be our extensive use of the multi-split screen format. By combining multiple angles during dogfights, for example, we will be able to present an entirely new take on what has become a tired and familiar sequence that has not changed materially since George Lucas established it in the mid 1970s.

    Finally, our visual style will also capitalize on the possibilities inherent in the series concept itself to deliver unusual imagery not typically seen in this genre. That is, the inclusion of a variety of civilian ships each of which will have unique properties and visual references that can be in stark contrast to the military life aboard Galactica. For example, we have a vessel in our rag-tag fleet which was designed to be a space-going marketplace or "City Walk" environment. The juxtaposition of this high-gloss, sexy atmosphere against the gritty reality of a story for survival will give us more textures and levels to play than in typical genre fare.

    Editorial. Our style will avoid the now clichéd MTV fast-cutting while at the same time foregoing Star Trek's somewhat ponderous and lugubrious "master, two-shot, close-up, close-up, two-shot, back to master" pattern. If there is a model here, it would be vaguely Hitchcockian -- that is, a sense of building suspense and dramatic tension through the use of extending takes and long masters which pull the audience into the reality of the action rather than the distract through the use of ostentatious cutting patterns.

    Story. We will eschew the usual stories about parallel universes, time-travel, mind-control, evil twins, God-like powers and all the other clichés of the genre. Our show is first and foremost a drama. It is about people. Real people that the audience can identify with and become engaged in. It is not a show about hardware or bizarre alien cultures. It is a show about us. It is an allegory for our own society, our own people and it should be immediately recognizable to any member of the audience.

    Science. Our spaceships don't make noise because there is no noise in space. Sound will be provided from sources inside the ships -- the whine of an engine audible to the pilot for instance. Our fighters are not airplanes and they will not be shackled by the conventions of WWII dogfights. The speed of light is a law and there will be no moving violations.

    And finally, Character. This is perhaps, the biggest departure from the science fiction norm. We do not have "the cocky guy" "the fast-talker" "the brain" "the wacky alien sidekick" or any of the other usual characters who populate a space series. Our characters are living, breathing people with all the emotional complexity and contradictions present in quality dramas like "The West Wing" or "The Sopranos." In this way, we hope to challenge our audience in ways that other genre pieces do not. We want the audience to connect with the characters of Galactica as people. Our characters are not super-heroes. They are not an elite. They are everyday people caught up in a enormous cataclysm and trying to survive it as best they can.

    They are you and me.
    from http://www.battlestarwiki.org/wiki/N...cience_fiction
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  2. #2
    General the fifth man's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ron Moore's Essay about Battlestar Galatica - READ THIS

    Thanks for posting that. Definitely a very nice read.

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  3. #3
    Major General Trek_Girl42's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ron Moore's Essay about Battlestar Galatica - READ THIS

    Thanks, there were some great points made in there.

  4. #4
    Carson’s Wrestling Mat yaaayoubetcha's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ron Moore's Essay about Battlestar Galatica - READ THIS

    good read.

    thanks!
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  5. #5
    First Lieutenant
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    Default Re: Ron Moore's Essay about Battlestar Galatica - READ THIS

    As expected from Ron, a well articulated document.
    The very young, do not always do what they are told.

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  6. #6
    Captain SG-1ssm's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ron Moore's Essay about Battlestar Galatica - READ THIS

    Ya the was from the BSGwiki...I'm not sure where they got it though.
    I'm from Iowa, United States

  7. #7
    Chief Master Sergeant techjunkie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ron Moore's Essay about Battlestar Galatica - READ THIS

    It's not an essay, but was the outline for the reimaigined series. Not quite the series bible - there really isn't one in the classic trek sense - but this served as a mantra for the writing staff.

    Wicked insight into a most unlikely series start.

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  8. #8
    Colonel ToasterOnFire's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ron Moore's Essay about Battlestar Galatica - READ THIS

    Most fascinating and well-written. Though I am confused by:
    Our style will avoid the now clichéd MTV fast-cutting while at the same time foregoing Star Trek's somewhat ponderous and lugubrious "master, two-shot, close-up, close-up, two-shot, back to master" pattern.
    Could someone please explain these styles of filming to me? I can take a guess at them, but I'd rather have someone in the know fill me in.

  9. #9
    Captain SG-1ssm's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ron Moore's Essay about Battlestar Galatica - READ THIS

    Quote Originally Posted by ToasterOnFire
    Most fascinating and well-written. Though I am confused by:

    Could someone please explain these styles of filming to me? I can take a guess at them, but I'd rather have someone in the know fill me in.
    Ok, on MTV, they way they shoot their show's is in lots of fast, unorganized shots. On Star Trek, it was always wide shot, shot of just the characters, close-up, close-up, shot of just the characters, wide shot.
    I'm from Iowa, United States

  10. #10
    Major Hatcheter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ron Moore's Essay about Battlestar Galatica - READ THIS

    This was probably a sort of outline/pitch before the series began, generally describing what he had in mind. One piece obviously didn't make it: [quoteoAnother way to challenge the audience visually will be our extensive use of the multi-split screen format. By combining multiple angles during dogfights, for example, we will be able to present an entirely new take on what has become a tired and familiar sequence that has not changed materially since George Lucas established it in the mid 1970s.]/quote]

    The thing reads rather like this pitch by J. Michael Straczynski made for a re-booted Star Trek.

  11. #11
    Captain SG-1ssm's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ron Moore's Essay about Battlestar Galatica - READ THIS

    I think he wanted to shoot parts of it "24" split screen style. I bet Scifi overrode him.
    I'm from Iowa, United States

  12. #12
    First Lieutenant
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    Default Re: Ron Moore's Essay about Battlestar Galatica - READ THIS

    Quote Originally Posted by ToasterOnFire
    Most fascinating and well-written. Though I am confused by:

    Could someone please explain these styles of filming to me? I can take a guess at them, but I'd rather have someone in the know fill me in.

    My .02

    Rather positions the camera will take during a film of actors in action/dialog then a style.

    If our doing comedy there are three cameras; perhaps a forth for special coverage. But three is the norm. Helps in the speed of filming a sitcom, since there are 200 people sitting there watching every mistake you make as director, actor, and writer. Yep, even the writer is blasted during a taping since they get to hear the bad jokes never making it to televised broadcast.

    Master is the main shot involving one/many actors. Little movement of actors is key. Since lighting, focus and such are important.

    Two-Shot would be the two/three actors in focus, lighting, etc for the dialog.

    Close-up is standard, “I’m ready for my close-up darling”. Either an actor or object would be involved. Biggest continuity issues happen here, as the actor is often too expensive to hold the object during this part and stand-in is used. Examples are watches, rings, etc that don’t match actor from other shots.

    Based on these the idea would be: Group of actors at table, say five. Then a close shot of two giving looks to each other responding to third actor. Queue the two shot subtext. A close-up of one actor. Then return the uncomfortable master showing five actors with two looking elsewhere to confirm sub text.
    The very young, do not always do what they are told.

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  13. #13
    Captain SG-1ssm's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ron Moore's Essay about Battlestar Galatica - READ THIS

    Are you in the film business?
    I'm from Iowa, United States

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