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Chat: Justin Monjo

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Chat: Justin Monjo

Subject(s): Justin Monjo, Farscape Writer/Producer
Dated: February 08, 2001
Source: SciFi.com


Moderator: Hi everyone, thanks for joining us here. I'm Ben Trumble for SCIFI. How do the Farscape writers do that voodoo that they do so well?
Moderator: Tonight our guest is Justin Monjo, one of the brilliant young writers who seem to...well, just love to tear out your heartstrings, and send your head around the room for a vertiginous spin. Justin Monjo is the author behind some of Farscape's more memorable (and crucial) episodes, including "A Human Reaction," "Crackers Don't Matter" and others that form part of our upcoming Farscape Primer.
Moderator: First question
Moderator: <SurfWidow> to <Moderator>: Mr. Monjo, you seem to have a healthy rivalry brewing with Ricky Manning. Do you always try to "out do" each other with each episode you write?

JustinMonjo: Hi everyone, I'm here with two other writers, Ben Browder and Lil Taylor.....yes Ladies and Gentlemen, Ben Browder! Commander John Crichton is writing episode 308 called Green Eyed Monster.
JustinMonjo: Ricky, why are you asking questions here? Aren't you supposed to be writing?
JustinMonjo: No No No there is no rivalry between me and Ricky, I just hate his frelling guts.

Moderator: <ChicagoKid> to <Moderator>: Justin, was A Human Reaction a 'dream' ep? and why do you writers hurt 'our heroes'--especially Crichton--so much?

JustinMonjo: Well, we are not actually trying to hurt Crichton we are trying to hurt Ben, and if you knew him the way we know him, you'd understand. Because Ben is the type of guy he is, he likes to hurt himself too.
JustinMonjo: Human Reaction was real but everyone in it was created from Crichton's memories other than, Aeryn, D'Argo and Rygel.
JustinMonjo: The world was created for Crichton and his crew to test a theory by the ancients, to see if they could cohabitate earth.

Moderator: <RhayleRihannsu> to <Moderator>: How much input do the writers with the title "executive producers" have in each ep if they are not credited with the authorship?

JustinMonjo: Well, it depends whether they like the first draft. If they like the first draft then you are pretty much left alone, if they don't then well.....you're not. Before we start writing all the stories are broken by the staff in toto.

Moderator: <ArcaneáDeath ŕ> to <Moderator>: Would Farscape be different show if it was shot in the US or Canada instead of Australia?

JustinMonjo: Yeah, a lot of the guest cast wouldn't have aussie accents. The local's would be different, more pine tree worlds and Ben says we wouldn't have the sense of irony sarcasm and wit.

Moderator: <Emzilla> to <Moderator>: How do you come up with all of the cool alien names of places,people,planets,etc.?

JustinMonjo: There are certain things you have to do. First you get really drunk. Then add as few vowels as possible, or a lot of vowels, sometimes use '. Ricky loves X's and K's and David Kemper takes inspiration from the things around him.

Moderator: <Lyme> to <Moderator>: Okie. Now, I remember it being said, at some point, that each season of farscape was planned to have a different 'look and feel'... like, season 1 is lighter, and more often has happy endings. Season 2 was darker, and more tragic *coffDMDcoffcoff*. Can you give us any hints as to what Season 3 will be like?

JustinMonjo: Re: Ricky's first episode, season three is the Season of Death
JustinMonjo: It's full of surprises and we are all very excited about it. I would say its bigger and better than ever.

Moderator: <Rygel-Estrogen-Brigade> to <Moderator>: We heard that there was recently a fire on the set, and that it got close to one of the puppets. Is everything all right? The fans were all pretty concerned.

JustinMonjo: Ben was a little scorched and except for his butt is fine now, and he no longer needs to shave his legs for three months...but seriously everything is fine and production is continuing on schedule. We haven't missed a day shooting.

Moderator: <jag> to <Moderator>: Crackers Don't Matter is my Favorite Ep. Have a Klondike bar. What was your favorite part about the Crackers Don't matter Episode, hardest part to make/write?

JustinMonjo: Thanks! The hardest part was that we had to write it in a week, and it was just one of those episodes that came out well.

Moderator: <EnochF> to <Moderator>: Question concerning my favorite character, Zhaan: Are we going to see Delvia this season? Are we ever? (And what's going on there? Wasn't it conquered by the Peacekeepers or something?)

JustinMonjo: The Peacekeepers did not take over Delvia, they were paid to take Zhaan away because she killed the high priest/lover.
JustinMonjo: So far we don't have plans to visit Delvia, but what a great idea.

Moderator: <Zhaansacolyte> to <Moderator>: Hey Justin! Which of the mercenaries did you enjoy writing dialogue for most in "A Simple Plan" and why?

JustinMonjo: There were way too many mercenaries in A Simple Plan, 27 in all, far to many to accommodate them all. I liked Bekesh, the most to write

Moderator: <kiwiseyes> to <Moderator>: Hi Justin. We have heard about one new cast member at least. Without giving too much away, of course, how have the new cast settled in?

JustinMonjo: They are settling in great, we can hear the screams from here.

Moderator: <solovaye> to <Moderator>: : My husband and I watch the show religiously. We love the writing, directing, and everything else about the show. We especially thrilled with how developed the characters have been throuoghout and how they have grown individually and collectively. Tell me, has anyone other than fandom recognized and rewarded your efforts?

JustinMonjo: No, I'm underappreciated and I deserve much, much more money.
JustinMonjo: But no, the critical reaction has been great, and all we really need is more people to watch.

Moderator: <jester> to <Moderator>: what character do you enjoy writing for the most?

JustinMonjo: Rygel Rygel Rygel Rygel and because Ben's in the room, I'll say him too but he's a close second to the DRD's.

Moderator: <Cush> to <Moderator>: Question for Ben: How was the Scorpy makeup?

JustinMonjo: Ben wants me to answer for him, I think it looked great and was great. If you wear scorpy make up people freak out all around you. Keep him in mind for next Halloween or when the boss won't give you a raise.

Moderator: Genetic> to <Moderator>: Mr.Monjo, Sir, during the devlopment of 'FarScape', there have been many communities/cults/societies/colonies forming and I've noticed many of them are devoted to you. Do you in anyway, consider yourself a God, perhaps a Diety or Savior?

JustinMonjo: My child, I don't consider myself a god, but my wife isn't complaining

Moderator: <fairy74> to <Moderator>: Hi, Justin! Thank you for taking the time to chat with us. My question is how far ahead do you writers plan the future of the characters and also their development? Thank you for your talented work in Farscape! ;)

JustinMonjo: We are usually six to seven episodes ahead in the writing, sometiimes it gets a little tighter than that, but , that's the good thing about +Farscape, we often have ideas at the last minute and they work.
JustinMonjo: ......or not

Moderator: <RyeGuy> to <Moderator>: Just wondering if you could divulge any info about the upcoming ep "Self Inflicted Wounds: Part 1" No specifics but is it a two parter? Another trilogy?

JustinMonjo: This episode is written by David Kemper, and under threat of death I'm unable to reveal anything.

Moderator: <Rygel-Estrogen-Brigade> to <Moderator>: Stark seems to come and go based on Paul Goddard's availability. Are we going to see more of him in season 3?

JustinMonjo: Yes, he is a permanent member of our crew and has a new outfit, you'll be seeing *much* more of him.

Moderator: <stargatetravler> to <Moderator>: Which type of ep do you like to wirte best - a "shippy" ep (The Locket), an action ep (LGM3, "plan B") or a crazy one (Crackers Don't Matter)?

JustinMonjo: Oh, I have to say its either a crazy one or a shippy rather than an action, to be honest. I love the crazy ones
JustinMonjo: I do love to do stuff like the Locket.
JustinMonjo: Action ones are more of a technical exercise.

Moderator: <MarryMeAeryn> to <Moderator>: Will we ever see the Terrace again? And could it be the setting for a little shippiness as it is in all of the fanfics?

JustinMonjo: Unfortunately not, its 180degrees CGI and cost about a million bucks to shoot there.

Moderator: <Emzilla> to <Moderator>: You do a wonderful job in Farscape!But why dont you put more physical action in the show?

JustinMonjo: Well physical action is hard for TV, its expensive and hard to shoot. We love the interplay of the characters more dramatically interesting. I think Farscape has a ton of action....Ben keeps complaining about being beat up all the time.

Moderator: From Trager:are you guys over there ever going to introduce an ally to Crichton and the others who is as powerful, and influencial as Scorpy?

JustinMonjo: Good question, not yet.....

Moderator: <UndeadScottsman> to <Moderator>: Mr. Monjo, have you seen the Farscape game yet, and if so, what did you think of it?

JustinMonjo: No, I have not seen it. Ben hasn't seen it. Lil hasn't seen it. Have you seen it? Is it cool?

Moderator: <Evan> to <Moderator>: Justin, thank you SO much for being here! What is the chance of a Chiana/John relationship developing during the coming seasons?

JustinMonjo: Well............ wouldn't we all love to see that........we'll keep it in mind

Moderator: <PKRulzes> to <Moderator>: Justin, I know you're probably not able to answer this but I have to know. Aeryn Sun is undoubtly one of most popular characters on the show and a lot of fans were greatly upset by the finale. Are there plans for Aeryn that figure in Season Three?

JustinMonjo: Aeryn is dead...and when you are dead...you're dead.

Moderator: <FourGOM> to <Moderator>: What happened to Stark's ship from A Not So Simple Plan?

JustinMonjo: I don't know I'll go down to the maintenance bay and check...right now.

Moderator: <Gmmas> to <Moderator>: Justin: Taking the Stone looked into Chiana's grief and her need for self-confidence- but do you feel some of the emotion got lost among the stoned teens?

JustinMonjo: Yes I do think some of the emotion got lost.

Moderator: <Sorlk-Lewis> to <Moderator>: DK has mentioned that you were the one responsible for the end result in 'Out of Their Minds'. When "working on the kinks" in it, how did you balance out the original freelancers script, yet let it "be more" than it originally was?

JustinMonjo: Because it was a script that really needed someone that knew our characters inside out, most of the work went into getting the voices of the chracters right.

Moderator: <RyeGuy> to <Moderator>: Could you tell the name of Natira's race and if we will see any more of her kinf? Thanks!

JustinMonjo: No, we don't have a name, we are taking suggestions right now.
JustinMonjo: We might see Natira herself again one day........you never know.

Moderator: Justin, I know you have to leave for a meeting. Thanks for joining us. You've been a great guest. Final question, many people have asked how you became a writer, and how you started writing for Farscape in particular?

JustinMonjo: I started out as an actor and my dad was a writer. I always did write on the side, and then about five years ago the side became the front. (Ben says, yeah basically he's a front for someone else)
JustinMonjo: Lil got me the job on Farscape.

Moderator: Justin, thanks for the taking the time out of your afternoon to join us. We can't wait to see what you done with Season Three.

JustinMonjo: Thanks guys, bye..... it's been great, terrific questions, thanks

Moderator: I want to thank our great audience this evening.
Moderator: You literally sent hundreds of questions
Moderator: We'll open the floor now