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Manny Coto chat transcript


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#1 Caretaker

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Posted 24 February 2005 - 10:25 AM

http://www.trekunite...p?showtopic=882

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Tim_Brazeal What does Manny think of Trekunited.com

Manny_Coto I think TrekUnited is an unprecedented effort and a real shot in the arm to all of us at Star Trek Enterprise who are understandably let down by the news. It really validates the work we've done this year and we wish it the best.

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Tim_Brazeal Which period of Trek history would you like to explore more

Manny_Coto Personally, although I wouldn't really recommend doing another prequal, The most interesting would be the period during the Star Trek feature films. However I'd recommend for the next series going to the 25th century because I feel that Star Trek should move forward.

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Tim_Brazeal What plans do you have for season 5

Manny_Coto I have numerous plans. The most interesting that come to mind are
Spoiler: click to show/hide
an arc that would deal with the founding of the first starbase. Also, I want to do a multi-part arc that takes place on the cloud city Stratos. And I really want to visit Denobula and to possibly do a coulple more mirror universe episodes which I invision as almost a series within a series. But the central theme of the season would have been the true founding of The Federation.

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Tim_Brazeal Manny thanks for what you have done in season 3 and especially season 4.. Do you think that Star Trek needs a break?

Manny_Coto I don't for a moment believe Star Trek needs a break. In fact I think we need more Star Trek. There should be a Star Trek night on UPN. I believe there is an audience for the show. I think a lot of it has to do with promotion. I don't know how many times people have told me when I tell them that I'm working on Star Trek, they're response is "Is that still on" Many people don't know we are here. The people who run around saying that Star Trek needs a break are themselves in

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Tim_Brazeal Mr. Coto, do you think the ratings reflect the true ratings of Enterprise

Manny_Coto I do not. I believe Star Trek fans download episodes, they record them and they Tivo them. I believe that are ratings are significantly underrepresented

Tim_Brazeal Mr. Coto, do you have any advice for the Trek United and Save Enterprise campaigns?

Manny_Coto Make as much noise as possible!

And that's just a little bit of what was said.

#2 Christopher

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Posted 24 February 2005 - 11:32 AM

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One of the things I wanted to do for season five is to open the door once again for fan submissions as well as approach sci-fi writers to come up with ideas for story arcs. I envisioned story arcs developed by David Brin, Gregory Benford, and Greg Bear.

Ohh, that would've been so cool!  I hope that when a new Trek series does eventually come back, Coto's available to run it.
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#3 Chakotay

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Posted 24 February 2005 - 12:34 PM

forgive the skeptic mode, but

here's a man who's just lost his job telling a website exactly what they want to hear.

Fan submissions, not a good move. Approach 'proper' SciFi writers for ideas, yes.
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#4 ultraviolet

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Posted 24 February 2005 - 02:04 PM

I wish Enterprise would be back for season 5.   However, I think the Friday slot is doing the major damage to the ratings.  What was UPN smoking when they moved it to Friday?  Also you probably have ratings erosion from the Sci-Fi Friday line-up.

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#5 Christopher

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Posted 24 February 2005 - 02:17 PM

Chakotay, on Feb 24 2005, 12:34 PM, said:

Fan submissions, not a good move.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Why?  It worked for TNG, DS9 and VGR.  Those shows were exceptional in that they allowed unagented script submissions, and they got a lot of positive results out of it.  It's how Ron Moore got his start on TNG -- he was just a fan who sent them a spec script that they liked, and the rest is history.  It's also how I got to pitch for DS9 & VGR, though I didn't have the success Ron Moore and dozens of others did.

ENT was the only modern Trek show not to use that open-submissions policy, and clearly what Coto meant is that he intended to reinstate that policy.
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#6 Chakotay

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Posted 25 February 2005 - 03:28 AM

I thought they shut down fan submissions before Voyager came along.  But you'd know better, so my error.

I'd heard that very few fan ideas are totally original. They were so derivative or at worst 'Mary-Sue' that the studio people tasked with reading them got completely fed up, not to mention buried under mountains of paper.
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#7 DWF

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Posted 25 February 2005 - 09:27 AM

Quote

Tim_Brazeal Mr. Coto, What is your favorite TOS Episode and why?

Manny_Coto My favorite is The Doomsday Machine. It's a perfect mix of action and drama. I wouldn't say it's the best, but it's my favorite. It's the one that made me fall in love with Star Trek. If I had to pick the best episode it would have to be "City on the Edge of Forever"


I like his choice of favorite TOS eps. :cool:

And I liked this bit too.

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Tim_Brazeal Mr. Coto, if Save Enterprise and Trek United campaigns although they are the same cannot save the show. What are you looking at next? any plans.

Manny_Coto Yes, I'm going to do a reboot of Babylon 5.

:D  :D  :D
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#8 Christopher

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Posted 25 February 2005 - 09:55 AM

Chakotay, on Feb 25 2005, 03:28 AM, said:

I'd heard that very few fan ideas are totally original. They were so derivative or at worst 'Mary-Sue' that the studio people tasked with reading them got completely fed up, not to mention buried under mountains of paper.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Very few ideas from anyone, professional or amateur, end up being workable.  Even on a show that doesn't accept unagented submissions, maybe one pitched idea in a thousand sells.

And yes, when you open it up to unsolicited submissions, you're going to get a ton of derivative ideas, formulaic wish-fulfillment fantasies, scripts written in crayon, etc.  But you're also going to get the occasional worthwhile idea.  All submission processes are much the same -- finding the few promising ideas in the flood.

Anyway, there's some weeding done at the very first step.  For legal reasons, even in an open submissions process you still have to sign a waiver before they can read anything of yours.  Without that waiver, your submission will be returned unopened.  So at the very least you have to understand the process well enough to send in for that waiver and fill it out properly.  Then, you need to be able to write in proper script format -- something the studio's readers can determine with a quick glance, so that if it isn't done professionally they don't need to bother to read it.  So already a lot of the potential junk gets weeded out before anything actually gets read at all.  And there are interns or assistants whose sole job is to read them and decide whether they're worth sending ahead to the show's script coordinator, so that saves the coordinator a lot of work.  And then the script coordinator weeds out those that aren't worth showing to the producers, so that saves the producers a lot of work.

Still, of the people whose spec scripts do get all the way up to the producers, maybe one in a hundred get invited to pitch -- and then maybe one in a thousand pitches sells, as I said (though that's out of an average of maybe 5-6 pitches per session, and you can come back to try again, so it's better than it sounds).

So yes, it is necessary to sift through a great deal of chaff in order to find the wheat.  But that's the way it always is in the storytelling business, and there are mechanisms in place for managing it.
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#9 G-man

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Posted 25 February 2005 - 01:40 PM

Well, let's see now.

Rebooting the system ...

Well, there are stylistic changes that I'd want to see.  I like the mini-arcs that they came up with this season of ENT, and would like to see that continue.  

I'd like to see the humans act more human.  Gene Roddenberry notwithstanding, inside every man is the boy he was, and that's going to influence his interactions with others.  IOW, reintroduce the petty differences that humans would have with each other, and anyone they would meet.

I'd wish the writing would be less clunky, with the heroes operating in gray areas where there are no right answers, there are no morally unambiguous issues, and where there are no speeches delivered to drive home the point of the episode.

I'd like to see the bureaucracy act like a bureaucracy, and the Government act like the Government, complete with head-aches, contradictory directives, in-fighting, and turf-wars.  

And finally, if Star Fleet is military, or even para-military, I'd like to see it act like such an organization, and I'd have our ship *not* be the most important ship in the universe that will always be at all the critical events.  I'd like the vessel to actually have a genuine astrographic area of operations that it stays within, reporting to that area's command.

/s/

Gloriosus
the G-man Himself
Let me strive every moment of my life to make myself better and better, to the best of my ability, so that all may profit by it.
Let me think of the right and lend my assistance to all who may need it, with no regard for anything but justice.
Let me take what comes with a smile, without loss of courage.
Let me be considerate of my country, of my fellow citizens, and my associates in everything I say and do.
Let me do right to all, and wrong no man.
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#10 G-man

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Posted 25 February 2005 - 02:09 PM

Oh, yes.

I'd also like to see a larger cast divided into three parts.  The ship's command staff, the scientific staff, and the ship's support staff.  Thus allowing for an all around view on how the ship is run and operated, as well as highlight the fact that everyone (or at least each staff) has an equally valid viewpoint consistent with their own set of priorities.

Get rid of the techno-babble (TOS actually had little of it, especially when compared to the subsequent series).  The story's focus should be the people and situations they find themselves in, not the faux-technical details that serves to fill air-time.

The series shouldn't be afraid of showing the good guys making mistakes, and then having those mistakes come back to haunt them.

And finally, I'd like at least some work done on the world-building side to at least sketchily lay out a consistent universe against which the stories can unfold.

/s/

Gloriosus
the G-man Himself
Let me strive every moment of my life to make myself better and better, to the best of my ability, so that all may profit by it.
Let me think of the right and lend my assistance to all who may need it, with no regard for anything but justice.
Let me take what comes with a smile, without loss of courage.
Let me be considerate of my country, of my fellow citizens, and my associates in everything I say and do.
Let me do right to all, and wrong no man.
-- Doc Savage

Few people want to be moderated, most people see the need for everyone else to be moderated. -- Orpheus

#11 Rhys

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Posted 25 February 2005 - 02:18 PM

G-man, on Feb 25 2005, 01:40 PM, said:

I'd have our ship *not* be the most important ship in the universe

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


But if another ship is more important, why wouldn't you write the story about that one?

The ship/character isn't important because it happens to be the one you're writing about, you're writing about it because it's important.

Rhys
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#12 RommieSG

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Posted 25 February 2005 - 02:31 PM

Caretaker, on Feb 24 2005, 07:25 AM, said:

Quote

Tim_Brazeal What does Manny think of Trekunited.com

Manny_Coto I think TrekUnited is an unprecedented effort and a real shot in the arm to all of us at Star Trek Enterprise who are understandably let down by the news. It really validates the work we've done this year and we wish it the best.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Unprecedented? He must not have heard about SaveFarscape. And those who worked to Save Firefly. :rolleyes:

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#13 Atavus

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Posted 25 February 2005 - 03:08 PM

RommieSG, on Feb 25 2005, 07:31 PM, said:

Unprecedented? He must not have heard about SaveFarscape. And those who worked to Save Firefly. :rolleyes:

Rommie :cylon:

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

My understanding of both above mentioned campaigns was that they organized letter writing campaigns, protests and gathered money to donate DVD's of both shows to libraries, all to raise awareness of the show. Trek United actually hopes to raise the money to fund a fifth Season, independent from Paramount.
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#14 G-man

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Posted 25 February 2005 - 03:19 PM

Rhys, on Feb 25 2005, 07:18 PM, said:

G-man, on Feb 25 2005, 01:40 PM, said:

I'd have our ship *not* be the most important ship in the universe

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


But if another ship is more important, why wouldn't you write the story about that one?

The ship/character isn't important because it happens to be the one you're writing about, you're writing about it because it's important.

Rhys

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


That's easy to answer.  The Fleet has more than one ship in it.  

At any given time any given ship in a given territory suddenly becomes the most important ship because it happens to be in that place at that time.  However, in other cases, something important will be happening that our ship will only hear about second or third hand because it is out of position to effect the outcome of that situation.

Thus in this situation, it is very much a case of a ship being important because it is the one being written about.  It is its adventures, trials, and tribulations that are being detailed, and its crew that we come to know.

/s/

Gloriosus
the G-man Himself
Let me strive every moment of my life to make myself better and better, to the best of my ability, so that all may profit by it.
Let me think of the right and lend my assistance to all who may need it, with no regard for anything but justice.
Let me take what comes with a smile, without loss of courage.
Let me be considerate of my country, of my fellow citizens, and my associates in everything I say and do.
Let me do right to all, and wrong no man.
-- Doc Savage

Few people want to be moderated, most people see the need for everyone else to be moderated. -- Orpheus

#15 Dev F

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Posted 25 February 2005 - 03:22 PM

Rhys, on Feb 25 2005, 02:18 PM, said:

G-man, on Feb 25 2005, 01:40 PM, said:

I'd have our ship *not* be the most important ship in the universe

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


But if another ship is more important, why wouldn't you write the story about that one?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

The same reason police procedurals don't have to be about the most important police officers in the world, and coming-of-age dramas don't have to be about the most important teenagers in the world. Because anyone's life can be the stuff of drama, whether he's the smartest and the best or just one hard-working guy among many.

#16 G-man

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Posted 25 February 2005 - 03:37 PM

^^^ Thank you.

/s/

Gloriosus
the G-man Himself
Let me strive every moment of my life to make myself better and better, to the best of my ability, so that all may profit by it.
Let me think of the right and lend my assistance to all who may need it, with no regard for anything but justice.
Let me take what comes with a smile, without loss of courage.
Let me be considerate of my country, of my fellow citizens, and my associates in everything I say and do.
Let me do right to all, and wrong no man.
-- Doc Savage

Few people want to be moderated, most people see the need for everyone else to be moderated. -- Orpheus

#17 Christopher

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Posted 25 February 2005 - 04:00 PM

^^Umm, the "reboot" discussion was going on in the other thread.  I think you jumped a track.... :suspect:
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#18 DWF

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Posted 25 February 2005 - 04:04 PM

^^^Aren't they both related on that score? :eh:
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