“Chasing the Infinite Sky” – Interview – With Albert Martinez

A few months ago I came across this AMAZING, (There is no other word to describe it) little short “Chasing the Infinite Sky” video on YouTube and I was simply blown away, not only in its VFX but also in its concept.

With sharp visuals and great sound effects and even if it is less than 6 minutes long, it has story concept that is interesting and could go in so many ways. “Chasing the Infinite Sky” is not only unique in the fact it is the ONLY Kelvin Timeline based Fan Production (that I know of) but also that in the space of fewer than 6 minutes I found myself wanting MORE!

After I started this site, I made a list of whom I had! To interview and get to know and the guy who made this video was one of them, in fact, he was number three on the list.

So leaving a comment on his YouTube vid not really expecting much back as hey a random comment rarely leads to anything. However, in less than 24 hours I had an email in my inbox from the man responsible for the short his name is Albert Martinez. His Email was what I hope for; he would love to discuss his short with me.

In the last week I have gotten to know the man who made this short and not only is he humble in the way he talks about “Chasing the Infinite Sky” but in the way, he is just like the rest of us a Trek fan. and asking for an interview with him for Trekfanproductions I found that not only was the short really good but the man behind it is just as humble.

This short is one of my all time favourite fan productions to date, and this is coming from someone who is not a major fan of the Kelvin Timeline.


Watch “Chasing the Infinite Sky” Below or click links above 


James) Hi Albert, Thank you very much for giving me some of your time to ask you about your amazing short.

Albert) Anytime Sir!

James) Tell me a bit about yourself I your short is one of a kind in fan films (as far as I know) and It is amazing, introduce yourself to anyone who has not heard about you personally?

Albert) I am just a regular family guy who loves my family, art, music, sci-fi and VFX.

James) You mention you love VFX what is your history in filmmaking?

Albert) I got into amateur video production back in 2004 to try to earn a living between jobs.

I have filmed weddings and making slide shows and such. After getting pretty good at editing, I tried my hand at special effects.

James) If “Chasing the Infinite Sky” and some of your other shorts are any indication, you are very good at what you do.

What else have you produced?

Albert) Just some simple CG animations over the years. I am trying to get better at it.

James) Making a Trek Fan Production What is your history with Star Trek what does Trek mean to you. Do you have a Favourite Trek Episode or a movie?

Albert) Space Seed (TOS). The Wrath of Khan was my favourite Star Trek Movie. I saw it countless times at the movies as a child. I can still act out almost the entire movie from memory.

James) What about a favourite Series

Albert) I liked them all. They all shared the same dream and vision of what makes Star Trek great.

James) Have you ever met any Trek Actors in real life if any?

Albert) Interesting story, many years ago I worked as a valet for a hotel.

One night I remember retrieving a car for Ricardo Montalban and his assistant. His assistant was driving that morning and when they drove off, I said to myself “KHAAAAN!” That was pretty cool.



James) So moving onto your Fan Production, What is “Chasing the Infinite Sky,” Is it a one-off or a planned pilot of sorts for a series of shorts?

Albert) To be honest, I am not sure. With fan film guidelines.

James) So the new Guidelines have influenced how you plan to move forward with a potential series?

Albert) It is hard to say. I would really like to.

James)

“James commentary:

With the short you did being 5:23 long under the new rules you have about 25mins left on this one “story” nothing stops you making more based on this “Pilot” One story, told in a maximum of two 15-min. parts for a total of 30 mins. You can raise up to $50,000 per 15 mins.  

In addition, the important thing to bear in mind is that the guidelines prohibit “series.” That is why it is important for each film (or pair if you are doing 2×15 episodes) to be standalone. That does not mean you cannot re-use characters but it must not feel like a continuation of any story you have done previously. So simply put you cannot make a 90 min film then split it into six parts if that makes sense.

A prime example is another fan series like Potemkin Pictures. They do 15 min per story and feature some of the same and some new cast per episode.

Jon Van Citters (Vice President, Product Development at CBS Consumer Products) was interviewed in the official Star Trek podcast Engage (if you have not listened to it seriously for peace of mind I would).

He said the guidelines are just that and are not rules and they do not form a contract with you and every fan film will be taken on a 1 by 1 basis. so as long as you do not take the piss lol with millions of dollars and setting up a studio with perks etc and keep it low-key not low quality just do not raise eyebrows which your short hasn’t bar being known as totally original”

How do you feel about making more stories following the Albatross now you have read this? 

Albert) It is hard to say. I would love to expand on the story.

James) What are your feelings on them everyone the reaction was different but many people were angry how did it make you feel when they came out?

Albert) Well they rather scared me when I heard about them. Because I was thinking, I was not going to be able to complete and share my mini-movie with anybody without getting in trouble.

James) With the short you did being 5:23 long under the new rules you have about 25mins left on this one “story” nothing stops you making more based on this “Pilot” One story, told in a maximum of two 15-min. parts for a total of 30 mins.

Did you scrap anything you had planned?

Albert) Fearing I would be sued for using Vulcans, Romulans or any Star Trek references.

I decided to make the project about the passion and yearning to answer the calling of the open road, putting the pedal to the metal and push the limits of space travel. In addition, of course, the Quantum warp drive, which is supposed to be a quantum leap in experimental warp capability. It is just part of this story and not actual Star Trek canon. I just wrote it into the storyline

James)

“James commentary:

“From – http://www.startrek.com/fan-films

The content in the fan production must be original, not reproductions, recreations, or clips from any Star Trek production.

 If non-Star Trek third-party content is, used, all necessary permissions for any third party content should be obtained in writing”

I just want to touch on this just to clear some things up, as I want to put your mind at ease on some things. Using Trek species is not going to get you into trouble unless you use “Spock” “Kirk” etc.

That means should you use characters from other IP you need to ask permission and not just use them. 

So now you have, read that does this make you feel more at ease and that you can now add Vulcans, Andorians etc to your fan production?

Albert) Perhaps! 🙂 I would have to get a decent makeup artist.

James) I am sure you would not problems with that, there are so many Trek fans out there that if you asked I am sure they would help you.

Moving away from the subject of the guidelines, Who had the idea of the story for “Chasing the Infinite Sky,”

Albert) I did a couple of years ago. It started with some animations I strung together with sound effects and some music.

James) Even though the cast was small, did it take a take a lot of forwarding planning to get everyone in one place? 

Albert) The cast consisted of my friends and family who were willing to support my project.

For voice over work, I gave each person some lines to say and they would record the lines from their home and send them to me through email or sometimes lines would be recorded at my home. It did take some time to collect all of the voice over recordings.

The green screen work was done the same way. The two characters in the shuttle were played by me and my cousin Dave. He actually speaks Klingon He took classes for Klingon language a long time ago, I believe. I played Captain “Benjamin Storm” due to the fact that my dad and one of my older brothers are both named Benjamin.

James) Even though the cast was small, they delivered their lines with a natural ease that is one thing I liked about it.

Who did the makeup and wardrobe? 

Albert) The two female characters who are good friends of mine did their own makeup. The wardrobe was simple; everyone wore a black shirt with an authentic looking Star Trek badge on it. Yes, very low-budget I know! We did not raise any money for this so it had to be simple.

James) The costumes looked the part to me they did not look out-of-place. You mention costs and you did not raise any funds  Did it cost a lot out of your own pocket, to do your production?

Albert) No, not at all since I was putting it all together myself. It did cost a lot in the way of time spent on putting it together, though. In some cases, it took days to get the look right on some of the CGI shots.

In the way of the music score, YouTube has a creative commons section where artists and composers allow free use of their music as long as they are credited for the music they have created. I searched for months and was lucky enough to find several marvellous musical gems to tell the story through music and give it a certain feel. Almost all of the music I showcased was from YouTube creative commons.

Scott Buckley from Australia is a musical genius. Two of his creative commons tracks were showcased in my mini-film.

 

James) That is cool and something I was not aware of and I think that is a great idea for anyone who wants to get their music heard. Was there any sets made or was this all green career?

Albert) There was no physical set; it was all done using green screen and the CG interior of the 3D shuttle.

Very low-budget, just carefully blended.

James) The Albatross is a good-looking ship along with the Kelvin design of a Miranda class who designed the ships?

Albert) The U.S.S. Texas was an altered model of U.S.S. Reliant 3D model by Ricky Wallace at Madman’s Shipyard.com.

Using the Reliant model as the basic ingredient and inspiration, I made a custom hot rod re-vamp version of it that became the Albatross. Kind of like a reimagined car with a body kit on it. I wanted the Albatross to look simple yet graceful and fast with a massive nacelle to Hull ratio.

James)  Did you do all the VFX or was it a joint effort?

Albert)  I did most of the raw animations in Blender 3D and all of the VFX compositing using Adobe after Effects.

I had some help with some of the visuals from my good friend Ricardo Elliott. A lot of time and attention to detail went into the visuals. I really wanted it to look as good as possible for a fan made attempt. 

James) As I mentioned, “Chasing the Infinite Sky,” is the only Kelvin timeline fan production I know of this timeline, what made you think of this instead of another one from the PRIME timeline?  

Albert) I went with the Kelvin timeline since it has never really done as a fan film and I wanted to put some originality into the mix as well.

James) One thing that many didn’t get was myself included the Warp calculation you used how far did the ship actually travel can you explain this to me and anyone else who was confused lol

Albert) I know it is somewhat funny. I did go overboard with the calculation; it was more of a poetic figure of speech that was meant to relay a push beyond our universe, really, really far, a distant realm almost.

That is why there was rain at the end of the story; some physics did not apply in the last place the Albatross dropped out of warp.

James) Ah I get it now a bit like the episode of TNG where the Enterprise-D goes way beyond the realms of the Milky Way. I think that is another thing that just drew me to “Chasing the Infinite Sky,” it was a true let’s go to explore the final frontier I liked it.



James) Being in the fan production community do you watch or listen to any other Fan Productions?

Albert) I have watched and I would say some of my favourite ones are:, New Voyages, Star Trek Horizon, Prelude to Axanar and a Star Wars one called Kylo Ren-The awakening,

And I really like Trekyards, those guys are very devoted to all things Trek. I truly appreciate that.

James) Do you have any you have seen that are not as good?

Albert) I think they are all good. Seeing how much work goes into one. I will not judge. I think it is awesome that people are having fun and showing appreciation for something they love.

James) Could not agree more some of them are not as flashy as others but the dedications and love that goes into them show on-screen.

Do you have any Favourite parts of the Trek Fandom so many have good and bad experiences what would you say are yours?

Albert) Alec Peters from Axanar contacted me and commended me for the work on my project.

Tobias Richter who is a VFX hero of mine commented on my work and said that it was exceptionally done. Getting to correspond with Ricky Wallace from Madman’s shipyard has also meant a lot to me.

James) I know this may be somewhat of a controversial question, but because some people have not had this experience with Alec could you expand on what he said to you?

Albert) He said that my project was a masterpiece and wanted to congratulate me on my effort. He was also kind enough to share my mini film on his website.

James) That was a nice thing for him to say and offering to put it on his site was a nice gesture from him to get it seen by a lot of people.

What would you say is the worst Parts of the Trek Fandom?

Albert) The guidelines CBS and Paramount which are very strict. I guess they have their reasons. I am still a trek fan anyway.

James) That is a shame that something like this had such a negative impact on you, what ones do you think are so strict? Obviously, some people do not like the time limits or the fundraising limits what are the ones you think are too strict?

Albert) The time restrictions seem to be the worst. Time is often needed for character and story development.

James) Yeah that one is one I have to admit is not ideal L, are there any others you do not care for?

Albert) Having to buy official merchandise. Some people cannot afford to buy costumes for an entire crew. People should not be forced to buy something in order to make something they love.

Fans should have the right to make homemade uniforms if they simply cannot afford official ones, it should not have to be about money.

James) This one was cleared up and the explanation was expanded a bit In the Engage podcast, many now see this guideline is merely saying do not buy counterfeit stuff (from many people online selling them) and if you want to buy official uniforms please do so from Anovos their license.

Nothing stops you from making your own props, costumes etc. I know you were not the first person to be upset about this one but now we know you can indeed make your own this guideline is one many have no problems with now.

Does that help you feel a bit more at ease with that particular guideline?

Albert) Wow, that’s sounds pretty good to me! Making the uniforms would be more affordable! Thank you for taking the time to explain that one a bit more.

James) You are very welcome, I feel that there is still a lot of misconception about many of the rules. I have to ask many people who have expressed a dislike for the guidelines have called for boycotts how do you feel about that will you be joining them?

Albert) No, I am too curious to see what the new series will be like.

I think boycotts are sometimes necessary for something’s in life, but not Trek. I think that eventually, the studios will realise that fan films help expand the universe of the franchise and spark curiosity for new fans.films help expand the universe of the franchise and spark curiosity for new fans.

James) I could not have said it better myself, Boycotts do not work unless you have the power to effect mass change, and I like you cannot! Wait for the new series to drop, Roll on May 2017 😛

We are now coming to the end of the interview only a few more questions to ask, do you have any regrets in doing “Chasing the Infinite Sky,”

Albert) Yes, spell checking. After realising the errors, I decided to leave as is since video already had several hundred views and comments.

I did not want to discredit any comments that had already been posted by viewers. Another regret, with no real money for official uniforms or sets story, was way too short.

James) With the fact you can raise $50k per 15mins does this make you think we will see the Albatross again?

Albert) Well since this was my first attempt at something like this, I do not know the first thing about raising money for a fan film.

However, since this was my first attempt at a short film and was a learning experience for me. It gave me some confidence to continue and possibly expand on the journey of the Albatross. I would like to get some money together for some nice uniforms and maybe build a small set. You never know.

James) Is there advice would you give to someone who wanted to create something like your short or even specialises in VFX work?

Albert) I would say follow your passion, heart, and dream. Fan films are an awesome way of expressing one’s love for a franchise.

If you want to specialise in VFX, with a little practice, it is always possible. There are plenty of awesome tutorials on YouTube one can learn from.



James) the Last Question and it is a shame as I have enjoyed chatting with you. Is there anything else you would like to tell me from your perspective of someone involved in the fan film world? (The good, the bad, how you see the current world of fan productions)

Albert) It feels pretty good to have a lot of positive feedback from fellow fans. This was my first attempt at something like this. I am overwhelmed sometimes and surprised with the number of views it has received. Of course, there are some negative comments as well too. I am just thankful either way.

James) I want to thank you for this Albert, You are not only humble in what you have done but you are a really nice person and talking to you has been a pleasure.

Albert) Thank you for taking the time to do this James! Your willingness to do this for us is very much appreciated! Live long and prosper!


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