These texts were once available on various websites. The text below is taken directly from USENET postings mid-2000. I don't intend to trample on anyone's copyright by making them available. I post the following simply to let people know what sort of person Ron Moore is and was, and what sort of person Brannon Braga is. I'll leave judgment to the reader. -- Hypatia Kosh, September 2003
PART 1 During the summer of 1999 shock waves rippled through the STAR TREK community as the departure of Ronald D. Moore from the VOYAGER staff and STAR TREK proved to be truth and not rumor. Moore had little to say publicly at the time, leaving this post for one and all to read, all over the Internet, on AOL and other bulletin boards, newsgroups, and websites. The posting read: Subject: Goodnight and Goodbye Date: Thu 08 July 1999 Well, folks it`s true. I`ve left VOYAGER and STAR TREK. I know there`s a lot of speculation out there as to the how`s and why`s of my departure, but I`d really rather not get into the details of what happened. (Dirty laundry and all that.) What I will say is that I realized that it was time for me to move on and that I left more out of sorrow than in anger. I have no bitter feelings over what happened and I wish everyone associated with TREK and with VOYAGER only the best. I`d also like to clear up some odd rumors that have been clogging the net: I did not leave because of the supposedly negative reaction to my sole Voyager script, "Survival Instinct." In fact, the teleplay was well received by everyone and went through a fairly modest rewrite. The same goes for "Barge of the Dead," to which I contributed only a co-story and was actually written by [staff writer] Bryan Fuller. I wanted to specifically put both of these rumors to rest because I think leaving a show over "bad script notes" would be incredibly unprofessional. I`ve been around the block a few times and I`ve had more than my share of nasty notes and even had entire drafts thrown out. It`s not something that would make me head for the exits even if it had occurred (which it did not). All I can tell you is that I felt that I had to leave and that it wasn`t an easy decision to make. Let`s leave it at that. So my personal Trek has come to an end. It`s been a helluva ride, let me tell you. I sold my first professional script to STAR TREK 10 years ago next week and it`s been an amazing experience ever since. I`ve often posted how much this show has meant to me over the years, so I won`t bore you with another nostalgic paean to all things Trek. Let me just express to you that my overwhelming feeling as I leave is one of gratitude. Gratitude for the opportunity to be a part of something that was an integral part of my childhood; for the chance to contribute to a bit of Americana; for the professional rewards that come with being part of an enormously successful series; for the education in learning my craft; for the many, many friendships that I`ve formed. And gratitude to you -- the fans. You`ve been loyal and passionate throughout the years and I`m continually amazed by your thoughtfulness and generosity. Not fifteen minutes ago, a very special package arrived on my doorstep. Inside was a beautifully made scrapbook of thank yous and mementos from the regular users of this board. To say that I was touched would be an understatement. The fact that it arrived at this moment, after all that`s happened means a great deal to me and I will treasure it always. One last anecdote: My last day was Thursday, July 1 and I spent most of it walking around the lot, saying good-bye to various members of the cast and crew, some of whom I`d worked with for a decade. It was a melancholy sort of task and I was eager to be done with it and get outta there. So when Bryan pulled me aside and said that my birthday gift had come in, my first reaction was to put him off for another day, but then I relented and he walked into my office with it hidden behind his back. It was a bat`leth. A genuine, metal, leather-handled, sharp as all hell, bat`leth. Made by our prop department, which is as close as you can get to getting one from Kronos itself. I was touched and I laughed, but it wasn`t until I was on my way home that I realized what Bryan had really given me: an ending to my own STAR TREK story. You see, ten years ago I walked onto the Paramount lot for the first time with a script under my arm and last week I walked off with a bat`leth. I left carrying my sword. There`s a certain poetry to that and it went a long way toward making me feel as if I`d left with my head high and my "honor" intact. Thank you, Bryan. So that`s it -- now I`m just another fan. Which is what I was at the beginning, and what I`ll probably be until I shuffle off to StoVoKor (which better friggin` exist after all the time I spent talking about it.) Take care, and I wish you all well in your personal Treks. Ronald D. Moore Time has gone by, and Moore now feels ready to share more of his thoughts, and talk about what happened to him. Sitting down at his home to begin what will be a long conversation, he says, "Iíve thought about it a lot, and thereís a lot of ground. I am pretty open to discussing any or all of it." First, to place this in context. Ron Moore, a fan of the original series, came on board the writing staff of THE NEXT GENERATION when he managed to get a spec script into the hands of [then co-executive producer] Michael Piller. The script, which became "The Bonding," was quickly followed by a script assignment and then a staff position. Moore rose through the ranks to become story editor, executive story editor, co-producer, and producer of THE NEXT GENERATION. He penned many key scripts for TNG, including "Relics," "Tapestry" and "Sins of the Father," which introduced the audience to the Klingon homeworld. He would go on to create much of what fans now know of the Klingon people. He often co-wrote with close friend Brannon Braga. Together they scripted the finale of TNG, "All Good Things..." as well as the first two TNG feature films, GENERATIONS and FIRST CONTACT. After THE NEXT GENERATION finished its run, Moore moved over to DEEP SPACE NINE, where he flourished, ending up as co-executive producer. As DS9 ended, he could not resist the siren call of VOYAGER; he agreed to join the staff as co-executive producer. Things went terribly wrong with executive producer Rick Berman and most especially with executive producer Brannon Braga. Moore explains his use of the term "they," which comes up in much of the conversation. "My use of Ďtheyí here is pretty wide. I`m essentially referring to VOYAGER as a creative whole, but the responsibility for the show and its choices ultimately falls on the Executive Producers [Braga and Berman]." Moore says, "I regret going to the show. I think that was my mistake. I should have known better. I should have been smart enough to know. He and I had been partners and friends for so long; Ďwe can work it out.í You get into that kind of situation, and things change. Things changed, and it was a slap of cold water. I think all the other writers on DS9 knew better. None of them flat out said it. None of them said, ĎYou are making a mistake,í and I am not saying that they should. I wouldnít have listened to it if they did. But I knew at the time that they all thought this was a mistake. I should have left on DEEP SPACE NINE because that was a high point. I could have left the stage with the audience still applauding and feeling good about the performance. You take your curtain call and you get off . Thatís why I didnít do the next movie, for just that reason. Rick asked Brannon and me to make the next movie, and I said no because I was happy to leave FIRST CONTACT as my swan song to the TREK features. I should have been smart enough to do that and not take the VOYAGER gig. But I just didnít want to leave. I loved it so much and I just didnít want to go away from the franchise, and I just really enjoyed it. I was afraid to leave the nest on a certain level. They made it very easy for me. They gave me a lot of money. They let me stay in my own office, just change the business card on the front of the desk.. Then it just turned into this other thing, and it was this bad trip, and it was a bad place to work, and it was an unhappy experience. I was surrounded by people that were unhappy working there, and didnít like their own show, and werenít pleased with the people they were working with. Itís a bad thing to work through. Part of me is hurt, and a bit angry at Brannon on a personal level, as my friend, not as my boss. As my friend, I felt pretty pissed off. I am not angry any more. I am just grateful that I donít have to be there. I am just happy that I am not working on that show every day. I know it hasnít gotten any easier." Moore laughs, "I know that life hasnít gotten better. It hasnít had this epiphany and turned the corner. Itís not a happy ship, the good ship Voyager. If I had not gone there, I think I would have always wondered, ĎMaybe I should have gone. Maybe it would have worked out. Maybe I would have been involved in the new series. Maybe that was a missed opportunity.í Now I know that none of that is true, that I didnít miss out on any opportunities. It wasnít going to be fun." What did exactly push Moore out? Others have said that story meetings were held without Mooreís knowledge, and that things were done behind his back. Most of this he still keeps to himself and to those nearest to him. He will say, "I have very hurt feelings about Brannon. What happened between he and I is just between he and I. It was a breakdown of trust. I would have quit any show where I was not allowed to participate in the process like that. I wasnít allowed to participate in the process, and I wasnít part of the show. I felt like I was freelancing my own show. That was the feeling I had. I wasnít involved in it enough. Part of me said, ĎSo what? Youíve got a baby. You are making a lot of money. Shut up, enjoy it; go home early; go in late; relax. Youíve had a long ten years; take a break.í But I couldnít. It just ate at me. It was an integrity issue. I took a lot of pride in the work. The work matters to me. I took a lot of pride in what I did on TNG and DS9 and the movies. I just couldnít work that way." He adds, "It was happening with Brannon, with a writing partner. You have such a fundamental bedrock trust, that you must have between the two of you. Iíve said this for many years. You have to sit in a room with somebody, and you both have to slug away at a script and say to the other one, ĎThatís stupid; that sucks,í without it being personal. Itís about the work. Neither one of you is trying to get your words in, and neither one of you is trying to put the other one down. Itís a very emotional thing. Itís a very intense experience, and it only works if you trust each other just completely. For many years, we trusted each other. When that trust is broken in such a fundamental way, you just canít go back. I just couldnít go back. You just leave. There are things you can forgive but you canít forget. I couldnít go there any more. I realized what was happening: ĎIím not going to do this.í I donít care how much money was involved. It just wasnít worth it. Once I made my decision I never looked back. It was going to be over, and it was over, and I walked away. I was very disappointed that my long-time friend and writing partner acted in that manner, that crossed lines to the point where I felt like I had to walk away from STAR TREK, which was something that meant a lot to me for a very long time, from my childhood right through my entire professional career. But I absolutely was not going to work like that. Coming from him, it carried even more of a weight that just forced my hand. I said, ĎFuck this.í Iím just not going to do it. I wonít do it, and I have no regrets about that. None whatsoever. I feel like I made the right decision. I wish it hadnít happened. I wish that things had not turned out that way. I could have handled it a little differently myself. I donít think it would have changed much. I think I could have, tactically, gone in and been confrontational early and said, ĎThis is bullshit. Letís clean this up.í I think it would have turned out the way it turned out regardless of what I did. It just had to happen. Itís a Hollywood ending to a Cinderella story. I did see the entire chain of events from Hollywood. From the way I got on the show, with the kid tucking the script under the arm and going to the set, and the whole fan dream come true, to leaving with hurt feelings, because of disproportionate power in the relationships. Ira Behr [executive producer, DS9] did say that to me. He said, ĎNow your education is complete. Now you have learned all there is to know about Hollywood from your experiences at STAR TREK." PART 2 The writer-producer discusses his beginnings at TREK and the switch to VOYAGER. Author: Anna L. Kaplan Date: 1/19/00 Letís go back to the beginning for Moore, to get a history lesson as well as an idea about what about VOYAGER upset him so much. He remembers, "When I came aboard in the third season, NEXT GEN was very much the new kid on the block. There was a lot of static from the fans about the old series. ĎYou can never replace Kirk [William Shatner] and Spock [Leonard Nimoy]; itís not the real Enterprise, and this isnít STAR TREK.í People forget that. Now NEXT GEN, everybody holds it up as the greatest thing. But nobody was giving us those plaudits at the beginning. We felt a bit under siege when I was there. There wasnít a lot of support out in the fan community. At conventions people were still selling bumper stickers that said ĎKirk and Spock forever, Picard [Patrick Stewart] and the bunch, to hell with them,í and that kind of stuff. But what we really had was an esprit. We really cared about the show, and we were very proud about what we were doing. We were determined to try to make something good happen. That third season was very difficult for everybody, as I have recounted many times. Michael Piller came aboard; there was warring with the writing staff; [TREK creator] Gene Roddenberry was still around. The politics of the show were still churning a little bit. What Michael brought to the process was this determination to make the show about the characters, about these people that were on the Enterprise, and not just about the alien of the week or the situation of the week. It was that determination on his part that really informed the rest of that series, and consequently DEEP SPACE NINE, and to a large extent, the movies. I think Michael has become the forgotten player in all of this. People now argue about Rickís contribution to the show, and where Rick has taken the show since Gene died, and what is Rickís legacy, and the Gene-versus-Rick thing--whether he has been the good guardian of the franchise ever since Gene passed away. In truth, it was Michael. Michael is the guy who came in and said, ĎThis is the show we are going to do,í and forced the series in that direction. In doing so, what he really did was validate the central premise of STAR TREK, which was always about the characters. It was always about Kirk and Spock and McCoy [DeForest Kelley] in the original series, and how those adventures affected those men, and the relationship between those people. People tend to get caught up in the plot and stories, and what kind of story telling STAR TREK is doing. But at its heart itís a human show about human beings in the future, and using that as a canvas to tell stories about the human experience. I think people mistake the campy-ness of the original series for its appealóthat it has a sort of kitchy value. I have heard Rick say things like, ĎKirk is the prototypical sixties hero. He had a babe in one arm and a phaser in the other.í Thatís kind of his popularized image of Captain Kirk and what that whole series was about. But really it was about Kirk as a man, as a character, as a human being, and what he experienced out in the galaxy, and the way he led that ship. What people remember about that show are not those plot lines. I think the true hard-core fans will recite chapter and verse of the episodes that mean a lot to them, why ĎMirror, Mirror,í was a great show, what ĎCity on the Edge of Forever,í really meant. But in truth, itís really because they fell in love with those people. People ran around dressing up like Kirk and putting on Spock ears. They didnít run around waving signs about the politics the show espoused, or what the sociopolitical commentary of the show was. That was all interesting, good stuff, but it was the people that they were seeing on the screen each week that they cared about. When Michael really forced NEXT GEN to go in that direction, he was really being truer I think to the spirit of what the original series was about. It was about those three men, and less so the supporting characters, because that show really wasnít an ensemble show. It was about those three principles every week, week in and week out, and mostly Kirk, almost entirely Kirk. As NEXT GEN started to really go in those directions, and the writing staff kept changing over the years, we had a sense that we were getting traction, and the show was starting to work for us. The characters were starting to come together. We started enjoying it more. It started being a fun place to work." Moore continues, "TNG was just a happy place to be. It was the kind of place where there were no bad ideas in the room. Michael created an atmosphere where you really felt free to voice your opinions. You could argue with the boss. I argued with Mike a lot, right to the point I thought I should be fired, but he never even came close to that. Thatís a tribute to him. What he really fostered was this sense of, ĎWeíre all in this together, and itís just about the work. Itís just about making the best show that you possibly can.í That was always everybodyís top priority. The last season of TNG was not as much fun as the others had been. Everybody was getting really tired. I think the quality of the show suffered in that last year. I bear some of the responsibility for that, because I think I underestimated the impact that GENERATIONS was going to have on the series. So TNG didnít leave with the best taste in the mouth, as I look back on it. I regret the way the series went off the air, even though, miracle of miracles, the final episode turned out really well. Somehow, someway, it was just one of those nice little pieces of magic that happens. You happen to write a good script, and it happened to be really memorable, and it happened to all click together in ĎAll Good Things...í" Then Moore moved over to DS9. He recalls, "DEEP SPACE NINE took that to another level. We were so tight as a writing staff, we loved the show so much, that we could sit in that room and literally scream at each other. Hans Beimler and I could just go at it, hammer and tongs, yelling and really getting upset. We would just sit there and yell about story points, and then, ĎWhere are we going to lunch today?í We would all go out, and really enjoy each otherís company and have a good time. What I found on VOYAGER was suddenly it wasnít about the work anymore. It wasnít about making the best show that we possibly could; it was about all these other extraneous issues. It was about the politics of the show, and the strange sort of competition of egos within the writing staff and the producing staff and the management of the show. ĎCompetitioní is probably a misleading term. The politics of the show were such that the egos of the people in charge of the series were threatened by the people who worked for them. To be blunt, [writers] Bryan Fuller and Mike Taylor were treated very shabbily, and it pissed me off. They took a lot of crap, and the only reason it was done was to keep the guys on the top of the pyramid feeling good about themselves. It also had the effect of keeping the writing staff from working in concert as a group. The DS9 staff by contrast was very tight. "The fun factor dropped precipitously, and I think that shows on the screen," Moore continues. "I think that the product that you are getting now is also a reflection of the way the show is produced. Certainly the spirit of DEEP SPACE NINE, and what we were trying to do, and what we believed in, informed what we put out. You could say that DEEP SPACE NINE was too inside, and it was too complex. It got too much inside of its own head to be accessible to people who just approached the show for the first time, but that is a reflection of deep passion and commitment to the show. Whereas VOYAGER is so scattered internally, the way itís put together, that in a large measure, the product is very scattered, and doesnít have cohesiveness. In terms of the arc of the relationships and the working environments, it was just like a parabola. It started tense, difficult, but, ĎWe are all in this. Letís just keep the show going somehow, and it does matter. It doesnít matter if Gene likes us or not, it doesnít matter if Michael is mad at us today; we are going to get the show on the air, so come on.í TNG was about learning the craft. We were all trying to do the best thing, and sensing that it was getting better, and watching the ratings go up, and watching more public acclaim, and watching it become its own piece of Americana, and eventually eclipsing the original series to a large extent in the popular imagination. DEEP SPACE NINE was this real sense of, ĎWeíre here. Letís do the best show we possibly can, and letís push the concept as far as we possibly can.í I was hearing stuff about VOYAGER all along. Then to go to VOYAGER and just to find out that on a personal level that the environment was not conducive to doing good work. The environment was chaotic and fraught with other issues that just didnít have anything to do with the work. It just became another job. Thatís never what I had experienced, and it was very disappointing. Weíre talking just about the work environment. Thatís aside from all the reasons that I left." Moore went over to VOYAGER expecting to do his job as a writer and co-executive producer. He studied the episodes of VOYAGER, asked questions, and tried to familiarize himself with the showís characters. This did little to allay his underlying doubts about the show. He says, "I can only criticize VOYAGER so much. I only worked on it for a given amount of time, but I do have a lot of experience at STAR TREK. I did work on it for a couple of months, and I did study it intensely for a few months leading up to that, trying to get my head inside of it. Writing an episode forces you to kind of get your hands dirty and see where the flaws in the show are." In fact, Moore is very qualified to comment on VOYAGER, knowing TREK inside out and having worked on all of the last three incarnations of TREK. Moore knows TREK as well as anyone can. He recalls early impressions. "I would see things from the outside, and I would just pick up things from talking with Brannon, and his frustration. He wasnít happy a good chunk of the time either. I think VOYAGER has always had a certain rocky, internal structure. Thatís not to say you canít produce a quality product out of that. If you can put it on the screen and make it work, the internal politics donít matter. But when whatís on the screen isnít working, then the whole equation gets thrown into question." Who judges if VOYAGER is working? Moore answers, "The audience is still watching VOYAGER. The ratings are down, but the ratings are down across television, in every category, on every network, and every program. As long as the studio believes that the franchise can make money, and that there is an audience there, they will continue to produce it. If they believe that it is seriously in great difficulty, Paramount will make changes. But each of us has to make our own judgement on what is good and bad. I know what I like in the series, and what I donít like in the series. I donít really care for where the franchise is now, where itís going. Itís not about anything. It feels to me that it is a very content-free show. Itís not really speaking to the audience on any real level anymore. Whatís happening is that itís very superficial. It talks a good game. It talks about how itís about deep social problems, and how itís about sociological issues, and that itís very relevant. Itís about exploration, and itís about the unknown, and all these cute catch phrases, but scratch the surface of that and there is really not much underneath it all. VOYAGER doesnít really believe in anything. The show doesnít have a point of view that I can discern. It doesnít have anything really to say. I truly believe it simply is just wandering around the galaxy. It doesnít even really believe in its own central premise, which is to me its greatest flaw." Moore notes, "Iíve said this to Brannon for years, because he and I would talk about the show when it was first invented. I just donít understand why it doesnít even believe in itself. Examine the fundamental premise of VOYAGER. A starship chases a bunch of renegades. Both ships are flung to the opposite side of the galaxy. The renegades are forced to come aboard Voyager. They all have to live together on their way home, which is going to take a century or whatever they set up in the beginning. I thought, This is a good premise. Thatís interesting. Get them away from all the familiar STAR TREK aliens, throw them out into a whole new section of space where anything can happen. Lots of situations for conflict among the crew. The premise has a lot of possibilities. Before it aired, I was at a convention in Pasadena, and [scenic illustrator, technical consultant Rick] Sternbach and [scenic art supervisor, technical consultant Michael] Okuda were on stage, and they were answering questions from the audience about the new ship. It was all very technical, and they were talking about the fact that in the premise this ship was going to have problems. It wasnít going to have unlimited sources of energy. It wasnít going to have all the doodads of the Enterprise. It was going to be rougher, fending for themselves more, having to trade to get supplies that they want. That didnít happen. It doesnít happen at all, and itís a lie to the audience. I think the audience intuitively knows when something is true and something is not true. VOYAGER is not true. If it were true, the ship would not look spick-and-span every week, after all these battles it goes through. How many times has the bridge been destroyed? How many shuttlecrafts have vanished, and another one just comes out of the oven? That kind of bullshitting the audience I think takes its toll. At some point the audience stops taking it seriously, because they know that this is not really the way this would happen. These people wouldnít act like this."