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Production #V811 - Episode 11

Carol Stephens

Judi Mair

Denise Byrd


Linda (Calli)





DENISE:  Is everybody here?  We need everyone to participate in this Behind the Scenes thing if people are gonna see what really goes on back here.


NARRATOR:  Is there a problem?


DENISE:  Not exactly.  You have to realize though, that this is a worldwide project.



DENISE:  Getting everyone here together at the same time just aint happening.  So we work over the course of days and weeks, sometimes months to get the scripts turned out.  This is pretty much the raw version of what happens on the work list.  Cmon.  Ill show you what I mean.



MARCH 03, 2002


CAROL:  I had a minor brainstorm today before Denise and I got involved in the scheduling of Season 8.  I think that what we need to really show what goes into putting this season together is a "Behind the Making of the Subtext Virtual Season".


I'd like to include:


1) From the conception of the story (beat sheet) to bits and pieces of discussion from the list of an episode with everyone "signing off" on what is used.


2) What it takes for Lucia, Mary and Linda to create their graphics (in other words saving the various versions as you create something and the time and thought behind it).


3) Same thing for Judi, from how she picks the grabs, to the process of taking a raw screen cap and its various stages to the final product.


4) Then onto Denise's and my piece of the puzzle.  Showing the different incarnations of the script as I take it from the raw format from the writers to what is posted on the web, to the PDF, eBook versions etc.


NARRATOR:  Some things just work better with real live conversation.


DENISE:   Speaking of the schedule, pick up the phone.  Its me. <g>


Twelve hours, seven variations and three phone calls later....


CAROL:   I think we finally got it.  Lets put it out to the list and see what they think. (This was the first of many revisions to the schedule.)




Script Due

Graphics Due

Prod. Date

Airing Date





















2 Week Break

1 Week Break



MARCH 16, 2002


NARRATOR:  It all starts with a story idea... and those start early.  The team was still working on Season 7 when discussion about Season 8 began.


TNOVAN:   Is there anything I need to do for the season?


DENISE:  Not for this season, but Ive got a thought about the next one. <g>




DENISE:  We need a good conqueror story.  And I would really like for us to show how Ares got caught in the tomb.


MISSY:  If Sue or TN wants the conqueror one - I'd like to take the Ares one. I know how Rob was going to do it, and that's never going to happen now.



SUE:  I'd like to do an episode with the Conqueror.  Unfortunately, to be true to the show (which we are doing our best to do), we don't have the time to develop any real plotline from the events of Armageddon now.



TNOVAN:  Actually guys, I do have a script that I have been tinkering with for about two months...since we found out we couldn't use LC...It's a Sappho script and since Missy will be taking Ares and Sue wants the Conqueror piece is it okay if I continue to play with this idea?



DENISE:  Ok, so we already have a conqueror script, a Sappho story, and Ares entombment slated for next season.  Anybody up for a musical, or a pirate adventure? <g>



MARCH 28, 2002


NARRATOR:  And sometimes things are discussed and decided more than once, and enhanced in the process.


TNOVAN:  We had been kicking around ideas for season 8 and two stories were mentioned....a piece that explains why Ares got caught in the tomb and a Conqueror piece...Missy made comment that she'd like to do the Ares piece because Rob had a story he had wanted to do...Sue said she'd like to do the Conqueror piece. I mentioned at the time I had been tinkering with a Sappho piece since I found out we couldn't use LC.  The Sappho piece just wrote itself...I did both parts in about 3 days.


Now the script is done and I know that we're kinda sorta behind on a couple pieces so the suggestion was made to slip it in since it's complete and the work can be done for grabs and art.  I am now attaching the files so it can be read...it's in two parts...part 2 runs a little short but I can't really see adding any scenes to it because they would just be filler for the most part.

As for when and where it goes I really don't care one way or they other...use it now, use it later don't use it at all...makes no difference to me.  I just write 'em<G> I don't produce them.



JUNE 26, 2002


NARRATOR:  But communication is key regardless.


DENISE:  I thought Missy was writing the Ares ep to show how he was entombed.  Has that changed?


TNOVAN:  Yeah I remembered that being tossed out when we talked about the new season. I was under the impression that we had three stories, the Sappho piece, Ares in the tomb by Missy and a Conqueror piece by Sue


LUCIA:  As from my part I don't have any problems with Ares, and also I think we could really do an episode with him as a homage to Kevin Smith.


CAROL:  That's what I thought also and I'd actually like to see the episode as a tribute to Kevin.


TNOVAN:  I agree Lucia, we could do two things...close up yet another gaping hole in overall storyline and give tribute to Kevin for all he gave the show and the fandom.


JUDI:  I think it would be a nice gesture to honor Kevin also


MISSY:  Yeap that's the case. I did say I would write that one.


LINDA:  Sounds like a real nice idea <g>.



JULY 03, 2002


NARRATOR:  As questions and ideas for the story come up, they are brought to the floor for discussion.


MARYD:  Missy, just an idea but can you clear up Xena's parentage with the Ares script you are writing?


MISSY:  I can - if we decide who that is. (g) You're not gonna make ME do it. Do you want me to ask?


The Ares ep will have Ares showing up at the end of Sue's second ep and snatching the chakkie - then I was going to have him separate the chakkie in an attempt to get the dark half back to Xena to recapture her for Ares. (Have to get that original chakkie back somehow)


I wanted to have the question 'does Xena lust and love Ares' answered once and for all, preferably with a nice long kiss between X and G in front of him.


Xena decides to entomb Ares because she knows his time is at an end, the gods are all gone, and all he can bring is death and destruction to anyone he approaches. Ares contention is that without him, humans will just slaughter each other willy nilly, which is the absolute truth as it turns out, but Xena doesn't know that.


SUE:  Couple things.  I thought that Ares was going to come upon your antihero/hero from Fallen, see Xena's chakram, and beat the living crud out of him and take it back. That way we can keep the chakkie away from the first two eps, if that works better, with Ares just having it to himself instead of Xena losing her Chakram yet again.  <G>

Also, the show has established that 1. a god of war is needed (TLW) to keep folks from fighting without cause (the way Gabrielle did), and was also needed 2. to keep the balance with Aphrodite on Olympus. Now, it's a given that Ares gets entombed, BUT...I think we're gonna have to come up with a reason why Xena, who is the one who decided both number one and two above (and restored Ares to godhood not once but twice because of it) would take him out of commission.

It has to be the lesser of two great evils.  Something even more important than balance between good and evil.


MISSY:  The Ares beating up whatshisface sounds fine to me.


Ares was needed when the Olympians were around, because there was all kinds of stuff going on with the gods. Now, the Olympians are gone, and that era is over. Ares is a vestige of it, and what he's doing is struggling to return to his glory days.


It's kind of sad, in a way. But he is willing to go to any lengths to get his power (followers, not godhood) back and maybe he does go a little nuts over it. Xena has to put him out of his misery in a way - I want the ep to be both an explanation of why she did it, and also a little tragic, because she had to.


SUE:  This is true, but she sent him back to Olympus, godhood restored, in You Are There because the world still needed a balance between love and war, so it's gonna have to be something big that causes her to deliberately UNDO her giving him the apple.

I'll be interested to see what you think up.


JUDI:  Remember Missy you promised to get rid of the tattoo also <g>.


MISSY:  Yes, but that was before she watched Gab go through Helicon, and before he seduced Varia, and before Xena died in FIN and came back again. She's been giving Ares chances for seven years, and now his attempt to break her chakkie and make her his acolyte again I think is just the straw that breaks the llama's back.


Xena has to realize that as long as Ares is around, he will NEVER let her live in peace. He will never let THEM live in peace. That for me - is enough, a very personal reason for Xena to do what she does to him. I want it to be personal to her - I am not sure I want this to be a question of the greater good. Yes, it will be for the greater good, but I want Xena to be doing it for her and for Gabrielle.


SUE:  You know, I never thought of that.  It's absolutely perfect.


MARYD:  I actually like the tattoo. Why is Missy going to get rid of it?


MISSY:  For me - it is because that tattoo in a way was given to Gabrielle to replace the thing that was her ultimate protection prior to FIN - Xena.  So it annoys me.


I think I was going to find a way for her to trade it in return for Xena's restored chakkie or something.   Maybe I can have Ares set a trap for Xena, have Gab fall into it, and the price for her recovery is to lose the tattoo.  I will see - I do remember I promised to get rid of the darn thing, if for no other reason than to give Lucia a break. (g)



JULY 15, 2002


NARRATOR:  New ideas continue to be brought up.


DENISE:  I kinda threw this idea at Missy this weekend, to see if she'd be willing to write it if ya'll are good to go with it. (She said yes, btw)


Anyway, remembering the theme of Fallen, and how Xena thinks she might have lost a step or two....I would like to see another ep play into this theme, especially since it was never resolved.  Something along the lines of Helicon, but have it be Xena that is in trouble and Gabrielle that has to save her.  It could be something we could use to up the angst between them a bit as well.


Comments?  It might be better if Missy explains what we discussed.  We all know how clear I am sometimes.


MISSY:  (Lifes Little Challenges Take 1) Actually - the story idea came about when we were discussing Helicon, and how much better a story that might have been if Gabrielle had been forced to tie a personal motive to it rather than having her put the Amazons at the castle just because.


For instance - what if her conflict had been that Xena had been taken by B-whatever, since he was a demigod, and could conceivably have overpowered her. What if Gab had to risk the Amazons dying because she had to get into that castle to get Xena?  I thought that this conflict would have produced the soul rending that Rob was looking for with this story idea, and it would be more believable.


So - if we continue the Fallen theme a bit, we could do a story where something does happen to Xena, and she does get bushwhacked by a zillion Spartans or whatever it would take to overcome her, and Gab is put into the position of being forced to come to her rescue instead of the other way round.  I would have to come up with a substitute for the Amazons, since we put them in a safe place, but I think it would be an interesting story to have her in a position of having to make the hard choice, for the most personal of reasons.



JULY 16, 2002


TNOVAN:  (Magic in the Air - Take 1) X/G are traveling through a supposedly 'enchanted' forest. It's an old story that none one particularly believes but oh what the hell... So they bed down for the night and when they wake up they are no longer together...

Gabrielle wakes up in a very ornate castle like chamber with all these little monk type dudes bowing and falling all over themselves to do what she asks...one catch...She has NO CLUE as to who she is....

Xena wakes up in a common bed in a small hut in a village...and she knows exactly who she is and that she is without her Butt Kicking Bard and she's none too happy. The elders of the village explain that in the night the 'High Magi" (no they aren't smoking anything, they're called this because they live in the mountains surrounding the village and the woods) have come and taken Gabrielle.

Well, of course, Xena's only plan is to go get the Bard...but the people of the village, who actually are monks...tell her that she can't because the Magi have a mystical force protecting them.

MISSY:  Why not have their connection do something truly funky in regards to switching poles - have them switch bodies. Put Gab's awareness inside Xena, and vice versa.



JULY 17, 2002


NARRATOR:  The season starts early for the staff.


SUE:  (Virtual Reality Part 1) Tentative title Virtual Reality.  I have come up with an idea for the test of the Virtue "Hope", and yes, it does involve Hope.

First things first:

1. The Virtues are testing and they can see into the hearts of men and women. Therefore, Xena can't just play lip service to the correct answer, but has to mean it with her heart, or she fails.

2.  Gabrielle can see what's going on, but can in no way interfere.

3.  Even though the scenarios are conjured, Xena, in the dreamscape passage, thinks they're real.

That will all be explained in the script.



SUE:  (Virtual Reality Part 1) Ok, talking with Carol this evening, we came up with another idea. Carol's idea was that one of the things that Xena needs to regain hope for (or even GAIN hope for) is her hope for the future for her and Gabrielle. As she's said countless times, she doesn't expect to grow old. Warriors never do.

Now, I'm going to try and explain this scenario as best I can and hope it makes sense.



SUE:  (Virtual Reality Part 1) The Charity one made me think of a story.... which is also a love for ones self and a love for one's neighbor, but for Xena's purposes, a love for one's self, which I think she has a real problem with.



TNOVAN:  (Magic in the Air - Take 2) Okay guys, I've been thinking on this long and hard. Trying to figure out how to make this story work. Here's what I've come up with. I was rather fond of the first pitch, but as always I try to find a happy medium that works for everyone. I don't think this one will have the angst of the first pitch, but it very true to the early days. <G>



JULY 18, 2002


NARRATOR:  Title graphics begin to come into play once the artist has a clear idea where the story is headed.


MARYD:  I design the title graphic in my head first after I read the beta sheet or a mini synopsis.  Then when the first acts are starting to come through I have a better idea of what the story is about and how the graphic should look.

I take it from the planning stages to the computer where I go in search of the images that are on my PC. If I can't find them I call up the graphics crew Judi and Calli to see if they have the grab I'm after or I delve into the DVDs that I have and do the grab myself.  If I need a background that isn't available on my PC, graphics crew or DVD, I log into arttoday.com where I have an account and search for it there.  A huge graphics library is always available either on my PC or Judi/Calli and one of us will have the graphic I need.

When I have all the graphics that I need, I take each image, clean it up and then size it down or up to what I need it. I create a new canvas - usually around 800 x 600 (even though it's smaller on the site) and begin doing the background. I like working with a dark canvas but will go light or multicoloured. I then place the images (similar to a jigsaw puzzle) in their places. Sometimes a graphic will need to be altered - hair made more fuller, eyes bluer (heh) or changing the chakram from the new to the old now that Xena has got her old chakkie back.

The process can take anything from 2 hours to 4 hours depending on what I had in mind, how difficult the search was or if I change my mind half way through the process and go another way.

When I'm satisfied with it, I then send a draft version to the group for discussion. If I've inadvertently given Xena the wrong chakkie or I've reversed an image and forgot to change the chakram and sword in their rightful place, I will redo the image to reflect that change. If someone has a suggestion about changing Gabrielle or Xena from one position to another or using another image, then that change is made. Then when the crew is happy with it, it's put to bed.



MARYD:  Prelim - Title graphic: First episode - Mark 1.  This is for the first ep - I need a name for it to put the title on it.


MARYD:  Revised (Virtual Reality Part 1).  Added the title graphic and made some cosmetic changes <g>


SUE:  (Virtual Reality Part 1) Ok, here's the teaser out for ya'll to read and comment on.