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JULY 30, 2002


SUE:  (Virtual Reality – Part 1) I'm one sensitive chat away from finishing the second rewrite of Act One, so I figured I'd give ya'll a sneak peak. Act Two will be a test of FAITH (which I have all written out, but will show later), Act Three will be HOPE (which we all talked about) and Act Four will be CHARITY (which I'm still thinking on, but it won't take long to write up once I do). That will be the end of the ep with the last four Virtues going on the second episode.

Let me know what you think so far, if you would.



AUGUST 02, 2002


NARRATOR:  Of course, not everything is smooth sailing.


SUE:  (Virtual Reality – Part 1)  Hey, all, I just finished rewriting the rest of act one and all of act two to my satisfaction and to, I hope, yours as well.  The second act is, by necessity, very "visual", so I’m hoping you can tell me if I "got it" right.


MARSHA:   Sue the Callisto part does not really work for me. That issue was dealt with. Xena made a huge sacrifice for Callisto so she could be in a better place. Xena gave up heaven and being with Gab forever so Callisto could be happy. That is the ultimate sacrifice. Knowing this in her mind and knowing Callisto has her family and no real memories of the horror she caused....I really don't believe that would be a problem in her mind. Having her pop up here being bitchy Callisto just doesn't fit. Just MHO.


SUE:  Yeah, I knew there'd be some problems with her. I just added her cause I'd received some emails saying that folks missed evil Callie.  I can just as easily take her out without ruining the rest of the scene.  Aside from that, Mrs. Lincoln, though, how was the rest of the play?


DENISE:  I like the Indiana Jones homage, Sue......works well for the FAITH test.

Do you have someone in mind to replace Callisto?


MARSHA:   Pretty good really. I don't think Xena would do this to find peace within herself. I think you guys helped her come to terms and find peace last season. To help Janos is the kind of thing she does and makes perfect sense. I like having Ares thrown in there too. Really the only thing that threw me was Callisto. I also liked that Gab got to see how Xena sees her...that was very touching.


MISSY:  Sue - I like it - I just have a few things here that are bothering me.


The Callisto thing - I agree with Marsha. Pick someone else from her past that's unexpected - it's too easy.


Ares. I don't have a problem with him messing around, but the card you're playing, with the sexual angle has been played so many, many, many, many times I found myself rolling my eyes at it. If you’re going to use Ares, can you pick a different angle for him to hit her with? There is no jeopardy there because we all know what Xena's choice is going to be because we've seen her make it a half dozen times prior to this one.  Maybe you can use the angle that he's going to interfere because Xena killed most of his family.


The Gab thing. Now, you'd expect me to be the last person to complain about Gab's involvement- but she's so involved that I got the impression that she was the one bringing Xena through this, rather than having Xena do it herself.  You might want to just keep that in mind going forward.


I like the bit about how Xena sees Gab. As a reward for Xena, perhaps you could let her see how Gab sees HER at the end? (g)



AUGUST 03, 2002


NARRATOR:  Some things are beyond words!


SUE:  How does Gabrielle see Xena?





MISSY:  rofl




TNOVAN:  Totally calorie free and good for her figure.


MISSY:  I liked Judi's answer better. (g)



AUGUST 09, 2002


SUE:  (Virtual Reality – Part 1)  Posted to the list by the demand of Denise.



AUGUST 13, 2002


SUE:  (Virtual Reality – Part 1)  Here's the last act of VR, entitled CHARITY. Let me know what you think, please.



AUGUST 14, 2002


SUE:  (Virtual Reality – Part 1)  Here is the attachment of the script for the first part of VR.


LUCIA:  Carol, see if I understood right, I have to have the illustrations done till 8/28 right?


CAROL:  That's right Lucia <g>


LUCIA:  Thanks, I was confused with the production dead line. I believe that one is yours so I needed to be sure.



AUGUST 15, 2002


DENISE:  Sue, on pg 5 (teaser) I need a description of what we are fading in on, please.





AUGUST 16, 2002


MARYD:  After reading the script I thought the title graphic needed tweaking. <g> So I tweaked.



AUGUST 20, 2002


SUE:  (Virtual Reality – Part 2) I have prudence done and ready to be typed out.  I'm finding that I'm needing help for a scenario for temperance


AUGUST 21, 2002


NARRATOR:  Sometimes there is serious disagreement.


DENISE:  I thought about this a while, trying to figure out what was bothering me about it.  It wasn't until late last night, after I'd settled down to sleep, that the specific reason occurred to me.

So much emphasis in the first part of this has focused on the fact that this is XENA's story... her "coming of age."  They were strong examples of each virtue.  The second part, the way it stands now, is just a run-of-the-mill episode... nothing to set it apart.


SUE:  But, D, this *is* XENA's story.  Gabrielle isn't going to be with her in these. I asked for suggestions more than a month ago.  I got very few.  I am going on the most detailed set of suggestions, which came from Missy.  For Prudence, she stated "Xena turns her back on a fight."  That's what I'm doing.  If you can come up with another set of suggestions that are different than that, fine.  If not, then it's the best I have to go on.



AUGUST 25, 2002


NARRATOR:  In the meantime, we now have two scripts running.  This is cause for LOTS of discussion, which makes for an even better finished product.


SUE:  (Virtual Reality – Part 2)  Ok, this is act one, Prudence. It's a bit on the dry side, but that's ok, cause it's bangers from here on out.  Next up will be FORTITUDE with Gabrielle's big death scene, which will spring into Justice, since Janos was the one manipulating the scenes and "accidentally" caused Gabrielle to fall into the pit and die (we learn later that Gabrielle really didn't die), and then into Temperance and then the end.


MISSY:  (Final Options) Here is the rough story outline for the Ares ep. This is not the full beat sheet - just a general idea of the story. Comments? I don't know what Xena's shocking revelation is going to be yet until I get a word back from her dad.


TNOVAN:  It sounds like the perfect story for fixing a few loose ends...BUT one question...what about the Eye of Hephaestus? Wasn't that supposed to be part of the key for locking Ares in the tomb?


MARYD:  That's cool <g>. I like it.  Now the graphics team will use the first Chakkie from now on <g>


DENISE:  Yep, I am liking this!  Looking forward to seeing this one play out, M!


MISSY:  (G) That could be the trigger if someone will remind me of what the heck the eye is again.


MARYD:  The eye was somehow connected to the vault - you had to hit it with the chakkie. Now here is the bit that could be tricky - a descendant of XENA had to use the chakkie to open it but you have Gab hit the eye to close the tomb.


TNOVAN:  It is somehow the power source for the tomb


MISSY:  I can have Gab trade the tattoo for whatever the trigger is. Do we want to go back to the original chakkie? If not I can rig something so that it morphs back into the conjoined version, but I like the bit at the end where Xena holds the good one now.


JUDI:  Yeah well that is what I am worrying about. <g>  If we go back to the original chakkie I have to be careful with the grabs....


MISSY:  Yes - I think I want Gab to be the one to hit that thing and close it. It's nicely circular.  I knew there was something that was the trigger, but I couldn’t remember what it was.


MARYD:   I thought you would be <g> Well we have more eps with the first chakkie than the second or we can doctor them a bit Judi.


MISSY:  I will go with the graphics team vote or the majority - it doesn't really matter to me, though I do like the old chakkie better. I can work it either way.


MISSY:  Okay - then that will be the trigger - but I will have Gab hit it because she's going to trade her tattoo for it as part of them setting up the trap.


MARYD:  I like the new chakkie and I like the old chakkie...how about having two chakkies with the other chakkie belonging to Gabrielle <g> Now that she can use it....


JUDI:  Oh I don't like that idea...the chakram belongs to Xena....


MISSY:  I agree - there should only be one chakkie.


MARYD:  Well how will it connect with a descendant of Xena hitting the eye in TXS to open and close the tomb on Ares again?


SUE:  That's easy.  They got it wrong.  It could actually be either of them, but "history" only recorded Xena and not Gabrielle's contributions. That's why Janice doesn't think that Gabrielle is worth anything, cause it's all about Xena.


JUDI:  Well since I do try and use mostly close ups it might not matter but all the pics of Gab with the short hair are after the new chakram....so I would prefer to keep the new one


MISSY:  I just like the pattern of having Gabrielle be the one to lock him in, because that makes her a part of the whole cycle. I think it's okay having a rule that a descendant of Xena's has to open it, unless we want to be very subversive and say they just got part of it right, it really has to be a descendant of BOTH of them who have to work together to get the tomb open/closed. 


I think it works much better to have Xena get him into the trap, and rely on Gab's new skill to close the trap - rather than have her have to do it all on her own. 



AUGUST 26, 2002


MISSY:  Okay then I can have the splitting process just 'extract' the old one, and leave the new shape intact.


MARYD:   I can go with that <g> So do we end up with old chakkie or new chakkie?


JUDI:  I like the idea of them having to work together to get the thing closed/open  and tho Xena was the one who ping the eye they really worked together to get the job done....so Gab closing the tomb is fine by me <g>


MISSY:  I think the graphics consensus is that we keep the new chakkie so that caps won't have to be edited for it. 


JUDI:  Thank you <g> tho I like the old chakkie better myself...graphics wise I would like to keep the new one <g> plus isn't the old chakkie in the tomb split in half? That could tie in with the reason the new one could be split or not <g> 


MISSY:  I know it was split in half, but it's also buried in the rock so it's hard to tell if it was split in half before it was buried, or as a consequence of it being buried, or what. I will have Ares hurl it at Xena during the fight, and have it miss Xena and bury itself in the rock, then have the rock crack, which breaks the chakkie.


LINDA:  New chakram it is then.


CAROL:  Sounds like a good story and I think it will tie up the Ares storyline really well.  I've always preferred the old chakkie but I think staying with the new one keeps us going forward a bit more.  I do like Gab's and Xena's reaction to her taking the light chakkie though.  Maybe that can still be put in there somehow.


SUE:  I agree, Carol. It was one of my favorite parts of the treatment.  It also ties in very well with my episodes right before it and shows in a graphic way that Xena *is* a good person. I hope we can keep it in there somehow.


MISSY:  It will be there - when the bad chakkie is extracted, that just leaves the good, even though it looks the same. (g)  And fortunately - we can put the 'is he Xena's dad' question to rest. He isn't. At least, Rob doesn't think so. (g)


CAROL:  And I REALLY like that.  It was just too icky for me otherwise...could have dealt with it but it's nice to here it from the source <g>



AUGUST 27, 2002


NARRATOR:  Lucia’s illustrations for the first ep start to roll in, and conversation is both serious and lighthearted.  As soon as the finished version is turned in for editing, Lucia goes to work on producing her drawings.  The exception was Virtual Reality and she worked on that episode while it was in production.


LUCIA:  While the writers are producing their stories and sending them act by act some scenes already catch my eyes at that stage of the development of the works, but the real job starts when the episode is finished in one piece, I read it carefully in order to discover what scene is important to show, sometimes the writer told what she would like to see specially as artwork but most of the time I have the liberty to chose what appeals me more and for that I am forever grateful.


Usually I chose 3 scenes but I always end up doing 4 if I have time. I send to the group a description of what I am planning to make for the episode, if has some problem the group has a chance to give their opinion.

After deciding what scenes to do I have already in mind what I would do on each of them, so the next step is to find the pictures that I will use to make a montage. The montages are pretty rough, just to give the idea of what it will look like. The searching for the pics is the most tiring part, it takes a lot of patience to look several pictures and while looking at them imagining which one will fit perfectly, I search for the right body, right head, right arm. Sometimes the final montage looks like a puzzle with a lot of pieces that are glued together.

The next step is to draw the montage, or making drawings of each part scanned them and assembling them on Photoshop.  Now the real fun begins, with the drawing scanned I paint it using Photoshop 5. When I finish the artwork I send it to the group to have their approval, sometimes I have to fix some details that the group point it out like the wrong expression for that scene and so on.





LUCIA:  Well, here goes Gabby through Xena's eyes. I have to put more details but I intend to do all the fixing in the weekend.


SUE:  (Virtual Reality – Part 2) ACT TWO: FORTITUDE


DENISE:  Okay guys......  There are obviously some serious issues here about this entire ep that need to be resolved before we can put it into play.  I would like to suggest that we back burner this ep until things are ironed out.


SUE:  It's obvious Fortitude will continue to be a sticking point no matter which way I go with it.  And Prudence isn't my strongest either. So, how about this---

Instead of a two parter, let's go back to a one parter.  Janos says he (or the Virtues) will choose which tests Xena must pass to prove Gabrielle's innocence.  Since the last four are pretty much indicative of Xena as she is now, he chooses the first three, which are already written.

The first script has come in short at 47 pages (by my count).

So...I can add "Justice" whereby Xena is told that Janos is manipulating the Virtues toward his own ends (thereby verifying her suspicion of the whole thing) and she is super pissed off at him because of the whole thing with Gabrielle thinking she was dying (in CHARITY), but she winds up deploying true justice and not hacking his head off.

Janos thanks her, and gives her back the Chakram, Ares comes along and steals it, and all's well that ends well.  That should only add another ten or so pages (if that) to the original script, and a tweaking of one or two lines about how many Virtues tests she has to pass, and everyone, more or less, is happy.  Does this work for everyone?


DENISE:  I think you have come up with a viable solution to what was becoming a very convoluted problem.


SUE:  I'm not sure if this was mentioned or not, but in TXS, some of Gabrielle's scrolls were left in the tomb with Ares, which of course is where the series supposedly comes from.

Did you mention that in your beat sheet?  If not, is there a way we can get some of her scrolls in there?  Maybe Gabrielle leaves him with some hot reading material for those long lonely nights without Xena?


MISSY:  Bwaahahaha.  Yes, some scrolls, illustrated by that artist chick they bumped into last season



AUGUST 28, 2002


NARRATOR:  Lucia sends her work for review... .


LUCIA:  Hi Judi!  I am here in my sister's house and can't get a good connection through my provider so I couldn't send the new artwork. Please send this artwork to the Subtext list. It is an artwork about Gabby and Xena old. It is not good, I need to fix a lot of things, specially Gabby but I have to send it so Carol can work with it. I will be back to my computer on Friday, so I hope, then I can fix everything!



SEPTEMBER 02, 2002


NARRATOR:  Then resends stuff that she or the team was not happy with.  She is her own harshest critic.


LUCIA:  Finally I got the last illustrations done. Sorry for all the waiting, it was a very busy week for me. Here goes 2 illustrations for Charity scenes. Later tonight I will send the fixed versions of the first ones I did.


LUCIA:  Here goes the first illustrations revised. The old couple and Come To Me!  Here goes my suggestion for placing the illustrations.



SEPTEMBER 03, 2002


SUE:  (Virtual Reality) As promised, here is the conclusion to the newly revised one episode Virtual Reality.  Comments welcomed. I'll send the full script to the list after everyone has had their say. 


SUE:  (Virtual Reality)  Attached.


NARRATOR:  Virtual Reality goes into post production, and Judi begins working on the many grabs that grace our scripts.


JUDI:  I first read through the finished script and get a feel for what is going on. I then take the script and go through it page by page. I look for something I can accent using a pic. Once I decide on the line of dialogue I am going to use I then go a-hunting for a pic that will emphasize or help the reader to visualize it.


I have most of the episodes on DVD so if I have a particular scene in mind or someone requests or suggests a specific grab I can go get it. I also have done grabs for all of season 6 because those are what I have to use for Gabrielle unless we have flashbacks.


Once I get the pic I want to use I pulled it into a graphic program and I adjust the brightness and contrast, and add an effect called “Paint: dark strokes” that seems to make the grabs a bit more vivid. I then crop the pic, resize it and save it using the filename for that specific episode. I have found that using close-ups seem to be more effective so that is usually the kind of shots I am looking for.


I at times may create a two shot using a couple of grabs to combine into one pic. I don’t really have a set number of grabs I will do per episode but I try and keep it between 50-70 depending on how the script plays out.


Once I finish the episode I zip up the grabs and send them to Carol. When she is ready we then place the grabs into the episode over the phone.




NARRATOR:  Work is now beginning on another ep.


LINDA:  I'm reading the draft script for the Sappho episode and TN - I was wondering if you had a guest star in mind for Adrienne?


NARRATOR:  Each of our title graphic artists has their own process to get the ideas from their mind to the screen.


LINDA:  Firstly as the script is being posted I jot down ideas as I go so that I have a pretty good idea of what I am going to do and what type pictures I might want to use.


In the case of ”Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Poteidia",  I knew it was a comedy, it was cold/winter, cloaks, sheep, bandits, minstrels, Herc, cat up a tree etc; This gave me really nice range of things to look for and find what would work well and look good together. The biggest job and most tedious is finding the pictures to use.  


I don't have any actual images of the process I used of putting Xena together so I compiled the pictures I used (pic1). The trick is to make it look like it is an original picture as much a possible. The blending and colour balance is very important so that the body and head colouring match. It's a matter of reducing the color in one image and perhaps adding or replacing with the other. The final image of Xena becomes an original as there is no other like it. It was the same with Gabrielle. I needed Gabrielle sitting on Argo so again it is just looking and finding the appropriate pictures to use - a little bit of cutting and pasting and then add a cloak. Backgrounds are very important and sometimes I might have four, five or six different images (layers) all combined and blending. After that it's adding all the extras bits and pieces like the sheep, minstrel, bandits and the cat up the tree. Arranging and balancing the images. It's all just added bit by bit like a painting. I think all up there was approx 50 plus layers for this one title graphic. Could have been more but sometimes I merge the layers. I always put the title on last but always know roughly where it's going to be placed. I nearly had a coronary when Sue kindly told me what the name was for this episode <bg> and I gained a few extra gray hairs along the way but it looks good split top and bottom and  it worked out very well.


The graphic is then sent to the team for approval and for any changes that might be needed.




NARRATOR:  More story ideas are thrown into the mix.


DENISE:  We are now one episode short on our first block.  So if you guys have any ideas to pitch, throw them out there, please.  Btw, did we ever decide if we wanted to do a Toris storyline eventually sometime?


MISSY:  (My Brother’s Keeper) I can do a Toris one, when I am finished with this Ares thing.  Just one thing - you want him dead or alive? he's ancient, but again- I can either do him dead, with Xena trying to find out what happened, or alive, which to me is both more poignant and also gives Xena a tie to this era just as Gabrielle has Lila and Sarah.