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Chat: Richard Manning & Andrew Prowse

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Chat: Richard Manning & Andrew Prowse

Subject(s): Richard Manning, Farscape Writer/Producer
& Andrew Prowse, Farscape Director/Producer
Dated: 06 January 2000
Source: SciFi.com


Moderator: We're now moderated.
Moderator: Do NOT panic.
Moderator: We're about to start our chat with Richard Manning and Andrew Prowse of Farscape.
Moderator: If you have a question for our guests, send them to me as a private message.

Ricky: G'day, all!

Moderator: Greetings 'Scapers! Welcome to our first of four fabulous Farscape chats. Tonight we're pleased to welcome two unsung heros of Farscape.
Moderator: Hi Ricky!
Moderator: Here's some info about our guests:
Moderator: Richard Manning has penned That Old Black Magic, Throne For A Loss and tomorrow night's eagerly anticipated new episode, Nerve. Richard has also been creative consultant and, if I'm not mistaken, is now handling co-executive producer duties too. Exec Producer David Kemper has called Richard "the man who knows more than anyone else about the Farscape universe." Tonight we'll find out if that's true.
Moderator: Along side Richard is Andrew Prowse, the director responsible for helming the premiere episode, DNA Mad Scientist, Rhapsody in Blue and the as-yet unseen episode 21, Bone To Be Wild. Andrew has overseen the dis-arming of Pilot, the emotional breakdown of Zhaan and the Farscape debut of Mrs. Ben Browder.
Moderator: I hope I got all that right.
Moderator: Welcome gentlemen! Any opening remarks before we start sending questions?

Ricky: I want a raise.

Andrew: I'm just waiting to get paid

Moderator: I'm doing this as the community-service portion of my sentence.
Moderator: let's have a question:
Moderator: <truthseekr> to <Moderator>: Tell us a little about your Non-farscape Background.

Andrew: There was no life before Farscape.

Ricky: I've written for ST:NextGen, Fame, TekWar, Beyond Reality (that thing SciFi Channel's been running for half a century now)...

Andrew: Yawn, here comes the whole CV

Ricky: What's a CV?

Andrew: a small citroen

Ricky: I was hit by one of those once and had to get it removed <rimshot>
Ricky: I see a few names I recognize...
Ricky: Kieriahn, JaneGael -- love your netsites
Ricky: Andrew's just passed out.

Moderator: seems like time for another question
Moderator: <Enigmatic-Scully> to <Moderator>: What is your favorite aspect of the upcoming episodes?

Ricky: The variety. We've got all kind o' things in store.
Ricky: Characters will go through MANY changes.
Ricky: Some fun new folks will appear.
Ricky: Some old favorites will reappear.
Ricky: And maybe Andrew will even show up again.
Ricky: Andrew?
Ricky: Wake up.

Andrew: They're huge and they'll blow you away.

Ricky: He's an Aussie. Lord, can they drink.

Moderator: <Koba> to <Moderator>: Are all of the PK's as insanely obsessive as Crais is, or are we going to see a different side of them?

Ricky: What ARE you talking about, Andrew?

Andrew: Yes we're going to see the pink side of them

Ricky: If you think Crais is obsessive, wait 'til you meet the new guy.

Andrew: The obsession comes from Ricky.

Ricky: BTW, Mr. Ben "Boom Boom" Browder has just entered the lovely Writers' Suite here in Sydney and is staring over my shoulder.

Moderator: <OboeCrazy> to <Moderator>: My question is for Mr. Prowse...are there any technical considerations when it comes to choosing what color and alien will be? I know there's been some confusion with Chiana's color...any colors you have to avoid?

Ricky: Ben says hi to the whole lot of you.

Moderator: pre-emptively, let's just go ahead and say everyone said "hi" back without everyone actually saying "hi"...

Andrew: we avoid black aliens and digital green and are working on invisible ones

Moderator: yup

Andrew: chiana is grey G-R-E-Y

Ricky: Chiana's GRAY! Not GREY! Not BLUE!

Andrew: not blue

Ricky: As I said, Andrew's an Aussie.

Moderator: everyone at home, please adjust your sets accordingly tomorrow night.
Moderator: <JTMarechal> to <Moderator>: Mr. Manning, if you know "everything" about the Farscape universe, what DID Aeryn say to Jack Crichton in "Human Reaction"? Inquiring minds want to know! :-)

Ricky: "Gneep n'watzi glros wlk8 q8hbaisug bvbasoiud."
Ricky: Or words to that effect.

Moderator: <PhantomComputer> to <Moderator>: To both of our guests... Were any of your favorite scenes in Farscape cut from the final version?

Andrew: he's a writer!!

Ricky: Virginia Hey is now looking over Ben's AND my shoulder.
Ricky: All of them.
Ricky: Well, there's usually a couple things in each ep that unfortunately hit the cutting room floor because of time...
Ricky: Andrew and I had a lovely D'Argo/Chiana moment in season 2 ep 2... poof.

Moderator: (everyone says hi to Virginia)

Andrew: yu should have seen the feature length version of DNA MAd Scientist

Moderator: <ceallaig> to <Moderator>: Gentlemen, thank you both for joining us tonight. My question is for Mr. Manning. You wrote the Trek ep, WHO WATCHES THE WATCHERS, one of my favorites, by the way. You also wrote the FS ep THAT OLD BLACK MAGIC. Both eps have a character named Liko. Is there significance in this name, or was it coincidence?

Ricky: Naturally, we usually have to cut around a lot of Andrew's stuff...
Ricky: Wondered if anyone would catch that! Congrats.

Andrew: he has a limited vocabulary!!

Ricky: No real significance to "Liko" as such, other than...
Ricky: ...thinking up alien names takes FOREVER!

Andrew: ..as with the rest of the script!

Ricky: So now and then it's easier to recycle.

Moderator: <JaneGael> to <Moderator>: Mr. Prowse, thank you for directing the premier episode, which got me hooked on Farscape. Are you by any chance related to David Prowse, who played Darth Vader?

Andrew: and it's environmentally conscious
Andrew: that was my pseudonym

Ricky: That's nonsense. Andrew's taller.
Ricky: And nearly as cute.

Andrew: .. and i'm related to juliet who had great legs.
Andrew: and i'm working on my voice.

Moderator: <Kieriahn> to <Moderator>: Question: Will we be able to look forward to multi-part episodes in season two?

Andrew: why not!

Ricky: Who are we to stop you?
Ricky: Actually, the next four eps Plus the first two eps of season 2 do form something of an "arc" --
Ricky: -- not a Bab 5-type arc, but they do (we hope) Progress...

Moderator: you heard it here first -- the "four episode arc" is really a SIX episode arc!
Moderator: <SciFiScribe> to <Moderator>: Mr. Manning, We've noticed that often plot elements are introduced whose significance may only be revealed until many episodes later. How far in advance are the story lines established and who does that?

Ricky: Stuff that's set up in "Nerve" pays off several eps later.
Ricky: In our heads, we know every moment of every episode through Season Twelve.
Ricky: No, I'm lying.

Andrew: we're still not sure of the storyline in rhapsody in blue
Andrew: the storylines are established well in advance and then changed completely before, during and after shooting

Ricky: We (the writers) block out general storylines in advance, under the guidance of the Farscape Gods (Rock O'Bannon and David Kemper, two swell guys to work for -- NOW can I have my raise?)...

Andrew: Now I know how you got your job!!

Ricky: Let me demonstrate a "Hollywood Kiss"...
Ricky: Was it good for you too?

Andrew: It was too much ..

Moderator: <great-lakes> to <Moderator>: "Through The Looking Glass" was one of the most beautiful episodes of season 1. What was the motivation behind the different color sections of the ship as well as the sight, sound and smell effects?

Ricky: David Kemper wrote it and Ian Watson directed it...
Ricky: Neither's here, so we're dodging the question.

Moderator: (if you have a question for the guests -- and god help you if you do -- submit it to Moderator as a private message)
Moderator: <JTMarechal> to <Moderator>: Do we need an agent to submit a Farscape script? Or is there a slush pile? And if so, what's the address?

Ricky: Ben says that David wanted to see Rygel stoned, so he came up with an excuse to make it happen.

Andrew: We had to work out a visual way of representing dimensional dislocation.

Ricky: Alas, no slush pile at the moment... all our Season 2 slots are accounted for, so at present we're not looking at any outside scripts... so sorry.
Ricky: (There's no slash pile either.)

Moderator: <dejoux10> to <Moderator>: Andrew: Could you describe the working atmosphere on set?

Ricky: The atmosphere on Andrew's set is about the only thing that DOES work.

Andrew: Seriously, it's fun, energised, hot
Andrew: We are NOT discussing air conditioning.
Andrew: The atmosphere is as dynamic and positive and creative as any show I've ever worked on.

Moderator: well, Ricky, since you brought up "slash..."
Moderator: <dw-mckim> to <Moderator>: Most people here are, i'm sure, aware that the writers can't read fanfic - but i was wondering if you had any opinions/thoughts on the sudden surge in popularity of Farscape "slash" fanfic?

Ricky: (You'll note he never told us what other shows he HAS worked on...)
Ricky: I think the word "surge" is quite well chosen...
Ricky: I don't quite know what to make of slash, but I have nothing against it either.

Andrew: i like the word "sudden"

Ricky: The Crichton/Rygel stuff, I will admit, makes me all tingly.
Ricky: There's just something about a Hynerian.

Moderator: <starcrossedvagabond> to <Moderator>: for the director - do you find it difficult to direct man (actor) and machine (animatronics) at the same time?

Ricky: I'm waiting for the next chapter, where Crichton gets a Hynerial disease.

Andrew: No, the machines' brains work a lot faster
Andrew: whoops, sorry ben, thought you'd gone.
Andrew: after a while you stop thinking about animatronic characters as machines, and they become just part of the cast

Moderator: <valleyofstags> to <Moderator>: Mr. Manning - Who is the easiest character to write and who it the hardest?

Ricky: Depends on what the character's doing at any given time.
Ricky: They're all great fun.

Moderator: <Gmmas> to <Moderator>: Andrew: can you tell us any good stories about directing DNAMS, about Namtar, dearming Pilot, or the food cubes?

Ricky: It's always a great thrill when the actors improve your words, and that happens all the time on Farscape.

Andrew: I don't think anybody has walked on stilts like that before on film and it damn nearly killed him.
Andrew: De-arming Pilot created a huge debate amongst us as well.

Ricky: Ben says bye; he's being called back to the set (lunch break's over)...

Moderator: (everybody waves bye-bye to Ben)

Andrew: Namtar - tried really hard to make him real, likable, as human as we could

Moderator: <fairy74> to <Moderator>: Hi! Are we going to be seeing any new permanant or semi-permanant character in the second season?

Ricky: Yes.
Ricky: You REALLY don't want me to tell you more, do you?

Moderator: a little?

Ricky: We'd have to Spoiler Warning the entire chat.

Moderator: ok, riddle me this: will we ever see another Luxan, one without a big giant head?

Ricky: You're gonna see a new face tomorrow night on "Nerve"...
Ricky: And you WILL see another Luxan...

Andrew: how many do you want??

Moderator: <Releven> to <Moderator>: Are we going to see another Pilot?

Ricky: What would we do with another Pilot?
Ricky: We've already got one!

Moderator: <truthseekr> to <Moderator>: You've scripted some of Farscape's finest bad guys (the stimulant enhanced Tavleks, the mono-maniac Crais), what experience or research goes into creating a truly EVIL BAD GUY?

Andrew: how many pilots does it take to fly a leviathan?

Ricky: I'm so glad you asked me that. (twirls mustache)
Ricky: The research is grueling, but it's the sacrifice I make.

Andrew: his therapy bills are enornmous!

Ricky: And I didn't think the Tavleks were really BAD guys... did you?
Ricky: And Crais is a sweetie at heart.
Ricky: If he could just get over the dead brother thing, he just might turn out to be a decent bloke.
Ricky: Albeit a decent Peacekeeper bloke.

Moderator: in answer to "what would we do with another pilot," a lot of people are saying:
Moderator: <PhantomComputer> to <Moderator>: But won't Moya's baby need a pilot???
Moderator: <TracicarT> to <Moderator>: For both - how do you like working on the new sound stage? Is it an improvement over the old digs (and no matter what anyone says, I still think of the DRD's as "Droids" <evilgrin>)?
Moderator: ooops, let's take those one at a time...

Andrew: i thought we'd skated over that one ..

Ricky: An excellent question. I'm thrilled to be asked such a percepting and penetrating question. It shows a keen mind.
Ricky: Next question.

Andrew: in order - pass, no and so what

Moderator: ok, take 2: <TracicarT> to <Moderator>: For both - how do you like working on the new sound stage? Is it an improvement over the old digs (and no matter what anyone says, I still think of the DRD's as "Droids" <evilgrin>)?

Ricky: Oh, all right. Ponder this, though: who "designed" Moya's baby?

Moderator: (doh! premature again!)

Ricky: Re new stages... we're right near the Sydney Olympics site, which is handy.

Andrew: the new sound stage has one great advantage - space.

Ricky: We've been able to stretch out a bit.

Andrew: we're building bigger sets

Moderator: <iseolt> to <Moderator>: Mr. Prowse - Welcome - and since the two of you seem to be enjoying yourselves and bantering back and forth - have you had trouble directing anything Mr. Manning has written??? :-)

Ricky: Everything.

Andrew: that was my line!!!
Andrew: i've just directed my first episode written by mr manning and i'd have to say that h's the most brilliant writer in the room

Ricky: He does have to say that.

Andrew: we had a great time doing that ep.

Ricky: Andrew and I never worked "directly" together in season 1;
Ricky: Not by design, just luck of the draw.

Andrew: .. however we frequently met and trashed everybody else's work
Andrew: :-)

Ricky: It was great to trash each other's work directly in season 2.

Moderator: We've been going for about an hour -- can either of you stick around and field a few more questions?

Ricky: I'd rather do this than work.

Andrew: sure

Moderator: super!
Moderator: <Korban> to <Moderator>: What are your favorite FarScape episodes you did *not* direct/write?
Moderator: (if you have a question, submit it as a private message to me by double-clicking Moderator in the names list)

Andrew: good question!
Andrew: Thank God it's Friday, Human Reaction, and the 4 you're about to see

Ricky: I'm still pondering...

Moderator: <grf> to <Moderator>: What can you tell us about the new producer and graphics supplier?

Ricky: Durka Returns was fun 'cause it brought us Chiana...
Ricky: ...Premiere, of course, 'cause that's where it all started...
Ricky: The new CGI I've seen so far is terrific...

Andrew: new producer is strong, positive and very supportive. now can i get paid??
Andrew: the new effects house are settling in incredibly well and i don't think you'll be able to tell the difference from the 1st series

Moderator: one for the 'shippers:
Moderator: <BrownEyedGirl> to <Moderator>: you probably got asked this already but whatever.............Will we see more going on with the John and Aeryn relationship?

Ricky: Sue Milliken, our new producer, has been discovering what a GIGANTIC enterprise (no pun intended) a sci-fi series is...

Andrew: is there something going on???
Andrew: i think it's as inevitable as the sun coming up tomorrow

Ricky: I'm not going to touch THAT straight line...
Ricky: Definitely, you will see More Relationships developing aboard Moya...
Ricky: (But no slash, sorry.)

Moderator: <RygeltheFirst> to <Moderator>: For Mr. Manning: "Froonium" has shown up more than once in shows that you write for. Do you hold the exclusive rights??

Ricky: (laughing) I'm amazed you caught THAT.
Ricky: BUT you haven't heard it on Farscape...
Ricky: ...yet.
Ricky: It was something Hans Beimler and I always used as a generic term on Next Gen when discussing technobabble --
Ricky: "okay, the communicators don't work on this planet because of the high froonium level in the rocks..."
Ricky: But I don't think we ever DID get it into a Next Gen ep.
Ricky: So I've been making up for it ever since.

Moderator: <Gmmas> to <Moderator>: Andrew: so how was it working with Ben's wife in episode 21? Did Ben have advice for you? (or did she have advice about Ben?)

Andrew: Ben has left the room so i can be completely frank.
Andrew: She is a superb actor in her own right and I think you'll be stunned by the performance she gives in ep 21. As far as advice goes, she and Ben used to go into a huddle occasionally. As for her advice about Ben, no comment!!
Andrew: :-)

Moderator: <Relayer> to <Moderator>: Like Ricky, I go ga ga over Farscape! Will we ever get to see the homeworlds of any of the other crewmates aboard Moya?

Ricky: We don't have any IMMEDIATE plans for that...

Andrew: Ben was extarordinarily supportive of Fran's work and kept away - he had complete trust in her talent.

Ricky: As you can imagine, going to a world full of Hynerians or Delvians or Luxans would be a production nightmare.
Ricky: Unless we said they were all at the movies or something.
Ricky: And I don't think you folks would let us get away with that.
Ricky: Even the Delvian bunch we visited in "Rhapsody" took EIGHT makeup artists to create.
Ricky: Besides, going home for any of our characters MIGHT mean that they'd leave Moya... and you wouldn't want that to happen, would you?

Moderator: <great-lakes> to <Moderator>: When will we get to see Rygel swim? He is from an aquatic world?

Andrew: jan 28th - rygel gets wet!!

Moderator: <dw-mckim> to <Moderator>: Season 1 saw such fun explanations as translator microbes and dentics - do we discover in Season 2 how John stays so clean shaven, tanned, and perfectly cropped?

Andrew: the answer is Sheldon!

Ricky: You will see the Dentics again.

Andrew: we've thought about having fun with malfunctions in the translator microbes

Ricky: John stays clean shaven, of course, using Froonium Shave.
Ricky: (See how useful the word is?)
Ricky: (Better than Spatial Anomaly!)

Moderator: <JTMarechal> to <Moderator>: Have either of you done a walk-on on the show?

Andrew: no i haven't done a walk-on, but i have to walk out of the chat now!!! bye all, it was great talking to you.

Moderator: Thanks for stopping by, Andrew.

Ricky: You remember all those handsome hunks on Acquara in "Jeremiah Crichton"?

Andrew: Thank you everyone, and Moderator

Ricky: Well, I wasn't one of 'em... but... but... I COULDA been!

Moderator: Ricky, can you stick around for a couple more?

Ricky: Thanks, Andrew, and get back to work!

Andrew: see you all later

Ricky: I'm in.
Ricky: Now we can talk about Andrew.

Moderator: <Casila> to <Moderator>: Hi!! Glad youre here!! :) Just wanted to know...what do you say about all the critism Chiana recieves?--i personally love the character, i think shes great! :)

Ricky: I think she's great, too.
Ricky: The character definitely takes a little getting used to.
Ricky: But you'll see some of her more outrageous traits changing as she spends more time with our Moya crew.
Ricky: (One of our Moya crew in particular...)
Ricky: (Note I said "changing", not "improving"...)

Moderator: <PhantomComputer> to <Moderator>: Will we ever see a "holiday" episode on Farscape? Holidays, such as Christmas, New Years, Thanksgiving... Maybe even Arbor Day :-)

Ricky: Anzac Day!
Ricky: And I don't even know what that is.
Ricky: Ben Browder has suggested we do an ep where John attempts to set up a little Christmas celebration
Ricky: which, natch, makes no sense to the others...
Ricky: Crichton realizes that he's completely lost track of what "day" it's supposed to be...
Ricky: ...doesn't know when to celebrate his own birthday, etc.

Moderator: The Hynerian Who Stole Christmas?

Ricky: Sounds like a spinoff!
Ricky: You read it here first, folks.

Moderator: <Gmmas> to <Moderator>: Richard: was it hard as a writer to tap into Zhaan's dark side in TOBM? Impressive and scary, that part of her.

Ricky: It WAS hard, in a sense, as I'm such a fan of Zhaan's character...
Ricky: When you're fond of a character, it can take some effort to "darken" that character (that was part of the debate we all had about the Pilot arm-chopping)...
Ricky: But we (Virginia Hey AND the writers) always thought of Zhaan having many, many levels.
Ricky: It's rewarding to push ALL our characters further than you thought they might go.
Ricky: And I hope we can continue to do so without pushing anyone completely over the edge.
Ricky: I mean, even Rygel has his moments...

Moderator: <honk-if-you-like-farscape> to <Moderator>: is john ever going to run out of earth clothing?

Ricky: I think that was one of the scenes we cut out of a season 1 ep, the show where John learns to sew his own.
Ricky: Or are you telling me you'd LIKE to see him run out of clothing? Tsk, tsk.

Moderator: <starcrossedvagabond> to <Moderator>: for the writer - how far in advance are episodes written? How many revisions will one ep go through before completion?

Ricky: 1. Never far in advance enough. 2. Several.
Ricky: No set rule...
Ricky: Some eps get written relatively quickly, some go through more changes.
Ricky: This being television, of course, there's NEVER enough time...

Moderator: <Gharlane> to <Moderator>: I'm curious about the length of "post" time you guys have to get an episode glued together for airing... is there an average number of weeks?

Ricky: Relatively long post... about 12 weeks all in...
Ricky: CGI is time-intensive, of course...

Moderator: <dw-mckim> to <Moderator>: Do we see any non-Peacekeeper Sebaceans in season 2 (or for that matter non-Sebacean Peacekeepers?)

Ricky: Yes to the first (in a big ep that David Kemper is writing even as I type -- get back to work, David). A half yes to the second, and you'll understand why after Friday night.

Moderator: <TracicarT> to <Moderator>: For both - Since we've wrangled birthday info from most of the actors, would you mind sharing yours (you're guaranteed an excellent BB bash in return)?
Moderator: (do you know Andrew's birthday?)

Ricky: Actually, WE don't even know Andrew's birthday.
Ricky: We think we have it pinned down to the right century, but that's as close as we can go.
Ricky: Me, I'm Oct 3. (What do I win?)

Moderator: Our final question for the evening comes from two of our chatters:
Moderator: <Xedrethor> to <Moderator>: How do you think the show will end (God forbid)?
Moderator: <JTMarechal> to <Moderator>: In a few years, if you were given the job of writing the series finale, how would you end the series?

Ricky: Oh, good, end on a REALLY tough one!

Moderator: two tough ones, actually. :)

Ricky: I don't have a quick answer 'cause, frankly, if there's a Grand Plan for the series as a whole, I don't know what it is.
Ricky: We're kinda letting the characters tell US where they want to go...
Ricky: Hmmm... right now I couldn't even tell you if I (if it were completely up to me, which ((fortunately)) it isn't) would have John get back to Earth...
Ricky: because by the time the series ends, he MIGHT just be happier in Moya's corner of the universe.
Ricky: I know I'M in no hurry to leave it...

Moderator: Thanks for spending well over an hour and a half answering questions from the fans. I know I don't have to remind anyone, but don't forget to tune in tomorrow night at 8pm ET and PT for an all-new Farscape episode.
Moderator: any final pre-Nerve thoughts?

Ricky: And be sure and write Sci-Fi Channel and tell them how brilliant the writing was, so I can get my raise.

Moderator: If you can stand the heat, we're about to unmoderate the room.

Ricky: That's Bonnie Hammer, Sci-Fi Channel, New York.
Ricky: (Hi, Bonnie!)
Ricky: Thanks for coming, everybody, and enjoy the new eps!