J. Michael Straczynski

is creating Movies, TV series, Videos and Audio dramas via Synthetic Worlds

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Supporting the Dream

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Here we go!

Welcome to the party, your support and kindness is appreciated!

Patrons coming in at this level will have both my gratitude, and the ability to read all of my posts made to this tier, as well as viewing the B5 commentaries. 

At this moment we are seeing record numbers of audio projects, podcasts and online radio-dramas being produced by Audible and book publishing companies and streamers. The problem is that unlike TV and movie scripts, it's extremely difficult to find audio drama scripts, and nearly all of those that are available online date back to the 1940s. This makes matters very tough for writers eager to break into this expanding field, and listeners who would like to see how it's all done.

Well, no more! Those who come in at this tier will receive a PDF file of one of my scripts from the CITY OF DREAMS audio drama series that I wrote and executive-produced for SyFy. The half-hour episode, "The Damned are Playing at Godzilla's Tonight" was our debut episode and starred Steve Buscemi. The audio drama is available on Youtube, so you can read the script along with the audio to see how it all comes together.

Thanks for being here at the beginning.

If you want your dream to be
Build it slow and surely
Small beginnings, greater ends
Heartfelt work grows purely

San Damiano Song, Donovan

The Inner Circle

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The thing about being a writer is that sometimes you spend so much time chasing the jobs you have to do to pay the rent, that you don't have the time to tell the stories that you want and need to tell.  Support of Patrons at this level and above have, over the last year, provided me the opportunity to explore and develop passion projects, creating a lasting legacy.  Patrons of this page are an important part of that legacy, and for every project that comes out of this place, each of you has a chunk of rainbow draped around your shoulders.  

The Inner Circle was created to be one-stop-shopping for all things related to my work, as wellas updates about the Harlan and Susan Ellison Foundation.  

This tier will provide inside, behind-the-scenes looks at projects old, new and yet-to-come, covering everything from Babylon 5 to Jeremiah, Sense8 and the many movies and comics that have already been created, to brand new TV series, film projects, audio dramas and animation projects currently on the boards that will be coming out soon, thanks to your support of th is page.

The internet prides itself on inside information about upcoming projects in film, TV, comics and other media. (Also: cat videos.) But what is discussed and revealed in this tier is private and exclusive…giving Patrons a glimpse into what’s coming before anyone else knows the projects even exist.  So what is revealed here, stays here.

In addition to tracking the new creations that come about in part because of the sponsorship of patrons here, there will also be plenty of material from past works past. There’s a ton of stuff from deep inside my closet, material from the many shows, movies and comics that I’ve done, that have never been seen anywhere else. This will be their new home.

The Inner Circle will also get to vote on which commentaries I do next, and provide advice on projects I'm considering.  Fans generally only get to see the work when it's finished; here, patrons will have not only a window into what's coming, but a voice in helping to select those projects. 

And while the Babylon 5 commentaries will be available on all tiers, any and all non-B5 commentaries -- ranging from Sense8 to other TV and film work -- will only be available on this tier and above.

So to recap, this tier includes:

* Sneak peeks at projects that are in the works before they're seen by the world.  You will be the first to know what's coming next, and to have a hand in helping to brings those things into the world through your support.

* Voting power: The ability to help choose commentaries

* Access to behind the scenes content from works past, present and future

Includes Discord benefits

So You Want to Be a Writer

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As mentioned in the introduction, in addition to building a strong foundation for Synthetic Worlds, I want to use this venue to pave the way for the next generation of dreamers, writers, actors, artists and directors in comics, TV, film, print and other media.

The number one peril facing so many new voices is the lack of accurate, useful information about how to write and sell their work, and so many waste months and years chasing bad information.  This is all about teaching new talents how to listen to their own voices, structure scenes, improve their craft and take the first tentative steps on the road to their own successful careers. This tier will allow me to address those issues and gives rising creators the tools they need to take their art to the next level.

So this tier includes the following benefits (in addition to all the cool stuff in the preceding tiers):

* Access to live-streams about writing and the artistic and commercial processes needed to build a career

* Access to live text chats where you can ask anything you want about writing

* Video tutorials about writing. In some of these, I will directly answer writing questions from the chats at greater length, personalizing it. (How often these get done will depend on work and production schedules.)

* Spring of 2021 is the slated publication date for my new book on writing. (What new book on writing, you ask? Well, this tier is where you'll find out more about it.) Patrons who come in at this level will receive a SIGNED copy of the book when it comes out.

* Finally, from time to time, as schedule permits, I will select individuals who I believe have promise, and give a critique of their work either in writing or in a video (with a signed release form for mutual safety).

So for an additional $50 you're getting access to vital information and lessons about writing that normally cost several times that on other online writing platforms.

Includes Discord benefits




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About J. Michael Straczynski

Create New Universes with Synthetic Worlds

If you want to join with me in creating something new, something amazing...if you want unparalleled access to behind the scenes material from shows and other work I've done in the past, and exclusive sneak peeks at series/books/new projects yet to come...if you want to learn the techniques needed to become a writer for TV, film, comics, novels and audio dramas in a workshop environment...if you want to help shape what projects I do next in those arenas, and be directly involved in their development...and even receive credit on some of those forthcoming projects...here's where it all starts.

Over the course of thirty years and almost 90,000 online posts, I’ve given fans a peek into the process of working in movies, TV series, animation, comics and the like. The ups and downs, the false starts, the great triumphs…it’s been quite a ride. But it’s also been a bit one-sided.

So now, for the first time, I’m taking this to the next level and inviting those who’ve followed my work over the years to go from hearing about what’s going on to becoming participants in that process. And along the way, I get to pass along what I know about writing and producing to the next generation of dreamers to encourage them to follow their own creative paths.

For those who may not recognize the name on this account, there’s a 100% chance that you’ve seen my work or heard of it. In TV I’ve written, produced and created shows ranging from my early work on animated series like He-Man, She-Ra and The Real Ghostbusters before launching into live-action television on The Twilight Zone and Murder She Wrote, then creating and show-running such series as Babylon 5, Jeremiah and most recently, Sense8 for Netflix. My first major movie was Changeling, directed by Clint Eastwood, after which I worked on such films as Underworld Awakening, World War Z and the first Thor movie.

I’ve also worked in comics for twenty years including a six year run on The Amazing Spider-Man, as well as writing for Superman and creating my own books, such as Midnight Nation and Rising Stars. In total, my comics work has sold over 12 million individual copies worldwide, and my graphic novels have often ended up on the New York Times Best-Seller list.

I’ve won the Hugo Award (twice), the Saturn Award, the Eisner Award, the Inkpot Lifetime Achievement Award, two Emmys (courtesy of B5), and literally dozens of others, in addition to being nominated for a BAFTA Award (the British equivalent of an Oscar) for Changeling.

That’s who I am. Now let’s get to what I want to do with Patreon.

Writers in Hollywood are necessary to the production process, but once the script is finished, you have no control over what happens next, or if anything happens with it at all. A new take on Forbidden Planet I wrote in collaboration with James Cameron got caught in internal studio politics and sits on a shelf. Similar circumstances stalled an adaptation of Lensman that I wrote for Ron Howard to direct.

And there can be issues even when thing do go into production, because many studio executives still don’t take science fiction, fantasy or horror seriously. They either think it’s a kid’s genre, or that SF is too complicated for an audience they consider little more than ambulatory meat with wallets.

For this reason, I created and self-funded Studio JMS a few years ago as a place where I could make the kinds of projects I wanted to make, both as a producer and a fan of the genre, with minimal interference. Studio JMS went on to publish the Joe’s Comics imprint from Image Comics, and was one of the studios of record for Sense8.

But self-funding has its limitations, and all too often there weren’t the resources needed to option books, hire line producers to work up budgets, casting directors to line up potential actors, commission artists to produce look-books with illustrations for TV projects under development, rent studio space, hire actors and engineers to record audio dramas, rent camera equipment and hire crews to shoot demos, short films and videos.

So I'm going back to the beginning, to Synthetic Worlds, my company of record that produced Babylon 5.  This is where the dream started, so I'm calling it back to active duty.

And I’ve decided to take on a partner: You. All of you.

Opening the door to a partnership with the fan community will bring Synthetic Worlds to life in new and exciting ways. It's a partnership that will put you right there next to me on the front lines, fighting for quality storytelling and building something that will endure.

Together we can build a library of SF, fantasy and horror projects in every medium, from print to TV, movies, short films, online and audio. Stories for smart audiences free from the tyranny of studios or networks that Simply Don’t Get It.

You will see, and be directly involved with, the past, present and future of my work in ways that I’ve never permitted before in an online capacity. You will learn why things are done the way they are done, how they are done and, for those who go for the writing tier, learn in great detail how TV series, movies, comics and other stories are written, sold and produced.

Which is why there's a special tier for those of you who want to become writers.  

Ever since the original publication of The Complete Book of Scriptwriting, I’ve had writers now working in TV and film tell me that they cut their teeth as writers with that book, which gave them the tools they needed to become working professionals.

That was phase one. This is phase two, and it will be up-close and personal. 

I think it's essential for any artist to pass along what they know about their art to the next bunch coming up the escalator, so for those in the writer's tier this will be an opportunity for me to teach everything I know about writing and producing, not just in lecture form, but in videos and direct interaction and critiquing.  

And for a select few, this is the chance to become a literal part of Synthetic Worlds.  We will video-conference, meet in person (when possible) several times per year, and patrons at tier will receive credit on projects fully or mostly funded by Synthetic Worlds.

Honesty compels me to say that this will take time. This isn’t like Kickstarting one particular project. We are creating something substantial, and that process won’t happen overnight. The whole of the entertainment industry is built on uncertainty. In one universe, we create the next Bad Robot. In another, we get some smaller things produced but done with a level of quality that makes everyone proud to have been involved. And there is always that third universe where we flame out.

Initial funds will be used to option books, develop new projects for TV and film, produce audio dramas and perhaps even some short films. As more funds come in, we can become more ambitious, producing the optioned works, hiring artists to produce concept art for movies and TV series, and hiring cast and crew to make longer films or other media projects. We will grow in direct proportion to our resources; the more ambitious you are, the more adventurous I can be.

Who knows, if enough folks show up, maybe we can finally make a Babylon 5 feature film (for which I control the rights).

In sum: you will be the first to hear about new projects, able to read scripts old and new, see reels and promo art for projects in development, receive valuable lessons about working as a writer in TV, vote on various projects, have your work critiqued, see firsthand the creative process in TV, movies, print and audio, read blog entries that will only appear here, get exclusive peeks into what's coming next, and unparalleled access to behind-the-scenes glimpses into works past, present and future, learn how become published/produced writers yourselves, take part in video chats where it's just me and the collective thee, and for a select few, receive credits on select projects produced by Synthetic Worlds.

You know my work; you know what I’ve done and what I can do. You know that I’ve fought tooth-and-nail for the quality and integrity of the work. This is our chance to create something for the next generation of audiences and storytellers.

I've been with you, and you've been with me, for thirty years. Let's finish together what we began together, and create new universes for a new generation of fans.

That chance, that dream, doesn’t come along every day.

Take my hand.

Let's go.

Joe Straczynski

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