” I always have a soft spot in my heart for engineers, playing one on STARSHIP VALIANT. I always go out of my way to meet the other engineers from the other fan films and get pics with um. To me, not many can say they were the chief engineer of a starship lol I created the 2 shorts of Penpals as a glorified Q&A for the Melbourne fans that had questions. But I wanted to do a fun little crossover between the two “shows.” Something not many fan films do. When I came to her with the idea, she loved it. I’ve yet to meet a person so eager with so little. But she really helped make penpals a great fun little thing that kinda stands on its own. I’d have to say on the fan film world, Carly is probably one of the first ppl I’d go to if I needed something, she has one of those hearts. Just a great person. And I really respect the hell out of my penpal. “
Vance Owen, Executive Producer, Melbourne
James) Hi Carly, Thank you for agreeing to sit down with me as part of the Melbourne files and answer some questions about not only your time staring in this production but also what Star Trek means to you.
For the people out there that are not lucky enough to know you can you tell me a bit about yourself.
Carly) I like so many things, mostly coffee, cats, Sci-Fi, reading, and music of all kinds. I cannot say I dislike much unless it is hateful and unkind people. I love all things positive and always try to share it.
James) Tell me about what Star Trek means to you, is there anything the sticks out as to why this franchise drew you to it?
Carly) I can imagine that would be hard.
What drew me into Star Trek is the fact that you never saw human barriers. There was no racism, no judgment on another person (minus the villains, of course). It gave me hope that we would keep evolving to reach space, and beyond.
James) In five series, 1 animated and 13 films, can you tell me what your favourite Star Trek Episode is and Why?
Carly) This is not a question I can answer easily I have so many.
One that does stick out is “Death Wish,” which is the first time you see Q on Voyager. The episode deals with the side of depression and suicide that many do not want to address, so it is a very deep one to me.
James) One thing I personally love about Star Trek is the fact it has never been afraid to push boundaries, some may think they push it too far sometimes but not me.
Do you have a Star Trek Episode you regard as bad?
Carly) I do not feel like there were any truly bad episodes of Trek, but there are a few that are not great, either. One that comes to mind is “Threshold” from Voyager; there were a few too many cheesy moments.
James) LOL! Ahhh the Janeway Paris Babies, I wonder what ever happened to them, this episode started out not so bad yet ended as one that I will watch if it is on TV but it is certainly not a “Go To” episode.
We have covered Episodes do you have a “Best” and “Worst” series?
Carly) Voyager was, and always will be my favourite. Not sure why, but I connected to the characters the most.
I used to say Enterprise, but I had not had a chance to enjoy it as I have in these later years.
James) Enterprise, was a good series if you tried not to compare it to the ones that came before, it had many good episodes but some dire! Ones like the rest of Trek.
Star Trek has a vastly expanded universe and one of these are gaming, have you played many Star Trek games?
Carly) I do not play many games, but I have played the Star Trek Trivia game a lot!
James) That is fair I have many Trek games for the PC and a few board games I think gaming is like marmite, you either love it or hate it.
You have starred in Renegades so you must have met some real life Trek Actors can you tell me what ones you have met other than people like Tim Russ and Mr Koenig.
Carly) This list is excessively long so I will name the few I have been the happiest to meet.
Kate Mulgrew, Robert Beltran, Terry Farrell, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, Nana Visitor, George Takei… plus so much more
James) Lastly in this section, other than Star Trek, what other TV shows do you watch?
Carly) I like many shows, mostly Sci-Fi, but usually, watch things like; Doctor Who, Battlestar Galactica, Warehouse 13, X-Files, Venture Bros, OITNB, and much more I cannot think of.
James) I think BSG, OITNB and X-Files are prerequisites for Trek fans lol, So moving on I want to ask you about your acting background. When did you first realise that you wanted to Act?
Carly) I think when I was a little girl, and my dad explained what stage acting was while watching musicals.
James) Can you remember when did you first perform?
Carly) A first actual performance in anything public was in 6th grade, I played a mermaid in Peter Pan.
James) What do you like most about being an Actor?
Carly) I love being able to pretend you are in another world, even if it is only playing a character in another person’s world.
James) What would you say are the parts of acting do you not enjoy?
Carly) I do not enjoy the nervousness that still comes with it, but it is always a part of acting.
James) To some acting is natural and to others, it is something the learn what steps did you take to enter this field?
Carly) I have not had any formal acting courses, but I did take dramatic arts throughout all of Junior High and High School.
James) Other than the fan films you have done what other productions have you acted in?
Carly) Other than the few school productions, I have not been in anything recently until I did a background character in Renegades: The Series.
James) Out of all the productions you have starred in, what would you say is the hardest role they have ever played, and why?
Carly) Hardest role I have played was actually Melbourne, as I had to tap into anger, and that was new for me.
James) The most fun role they have ever played, and why?
Carly) Most fun I have had was working on Renegades, the character had no speaking lines, but it wasn’t easy to play a drunk alien with a large head!
James) That is hilarious lol! I am now going to keep an eye out for that If someone was going to make your life into a movie, who would play you?
Carly) My hope is to find someone who can portray many emotions on their face, so a few come to mind, and are Sci-Fi related. If I were to choose out of 3, it would be Mary McDonnell, Kate Mulgrew, or Gillian Anderson All extremely amazing actresses.
James) I have to agree everyone you have picked there are actresses I love! To watch even in some of the low budget stuff I have seen they excel in the parts they are cast in.
Is there one actor, director or producer that you look up to as someone of inspiration?
Carly) This list is quite large; Kate Mulgrew is always a big icon for me. Some other notables would be, Quentin Tarantino, Tim Burton, Stanley Kubrick, Bette Midler, Tom Hanks, David Tennant… the list goes on.
James) You really do have great taste in people all of them are great examples and a vast array of talent.
When you have a five-minute break during rehearsal, what do you spend that time doing?
Carly) I have not been in this situation in some time, but normally I would try to relax, and go over lines and motions.
James) What do you do when you are not doing Fan Productions?
Carly) Mostly, I work at Overstock as my daily job, but I also love writing, reading, and doing a lot of social media marketing for another fan, and independent films, which now includes helping to run the Melbourne Fan Page.
James) Carly if you had a magic wand, what show would you do next, not just, fan films.
Carly) I would absolutely LOVE to work on the new Star Trek series. Otherwise, I love any new, independent films, I love seeing stories never portrayed before.
James) What is the last thing you do before you step out and the camera starts rolling?
Carly) Take a few deep breaths, and maybe drink some water, so I don’t have to worry about scratchy voice.
James) What gives you the most pleasure as an Actor?
Carly) For me, I love being able to be someone else for a minute and to know I am helping create a new character.
James) Is there any elements of acting you find difficult?
Carly) As I get older, I realise a difficulty I run into is memorization of lines. Otherwise, fighting the giggles is not always easy.
James) How would you describe your acting style?
Carly) Still new and constantly curious I absorb as much as I can because I am definitely not as experienced as I’d like.
James) I would be so bad at this but how do you memorise your lines?
Carly) The only thing that has helped my memorization over the years, is trying to put them into song, or poem form.
James) That is really good advice probably some of the best I have ever heard to remember a script. When are you faced with a scene that maybe challenging how do you prepare so that you will bring the right amount of realism and emotion to a scene?
Carly) Since this is still new to me, I’ve tried to pull emotion from past experiences or memories, to help outwardly display what the scene calls for.
James) How do you stay in the moment?
Carly) I’m still figuring this one out.
James) Ah so you do not pull a Picard in Insurrection then lol :p .
What have you seen lately that has inspired you? – Film or Fan production related?
Carly) I recently watched an independent horror film, done by a friend of mine. The inspiration is seeing how much he could do, with a limited set, and a total cast of 3. If you get a chance to see Occupants, by Russ Emanuel, I highly recommend it.
James) So what was it like working on Renegades? In addition, what character did you play?
Carly) Working on Renegades was a dream come true! It was amazing to see people I have adored for so long in action. The role I played was a small one to cover someone who could not handle the makeup I was Pat the Arachnid.
James) Can you tell me how you got involved with Renegades?
Carly) I had heard about it being filmed through Facebook and had talked to Manu Intiraymi a lot about it, as he is the one I heard about it from specifically.
I had gone to the premiere in Vegas during the Trek convention in 2015. I met Ryan T Husk, who is one of the producers for Renegades, and over the next few months, he asked me to help market the next episode and funding. From there I just continued getting into the films and met Vance, who got me into Melbourne.
James) That is so cool, and it sounds like if it was not for Renegades then you would most likely not have been in Melbourne.
I want to move on to your role in Melbourne, describe to me your role in Melbourne. How a typical shoot played out from your Perspective?
Carly) It’s hard to say, I was running around a lot, and trying to stay cool. Most shoots went about average for a film, some scenes were easier than others.
James) Did you research your role and how Jeremy & Vance perceived the part to be so you could make sure your part fitted how they envisioned it to be or was this totally your own style and you made the character your own?
Carly) I discussed it a lot with Vance over the months leading up to the shoot, and it definitely helped to see things a bit more from the writer’s angle.
James) I have to admit that is why I like talking with Vance he has a way of making you see things from angles you may not have considered. Do you feel that you are much like the character that you played? (Physically, personality, etc.)
Carly) I definitely do. My character has a lot of emotional issues, which I can relate to in more ways than I care to admit, but also the moments she has when it comes to other crew members can be very relatable, too.
James) Tell me more from your perspective about the story, and how it is different from the other fan films you have seen?
Carly) My perspective on this story is still evolving, as the story is going to continue. I think it’s different in the fact that it shows the diversity, and challenges of your ‘not-so-average’ crew.
James) Melbourne is from what I have seen and read it is different than most of the other fan films I have seen, what research did you carry out in preparation acting in Melbourne, what challenges and responsibilities did this present in making it something unique?
Carly) Since there haven’t been many films being done like this one, my research was more limited to how to portray emotions well, by facial gestures alone.
James) What drew you to the role you are playing in Melbourne?
Carly) Vance told me about the role before I had gotten it, due to possible casting issues with the previous woman they had chosen. When he described the role to me, I was immediately intrigued, the character has a lot of deeper issues than what she shows.
James) Lastly, Who is the funniest person in the cast in real life?
Carly) Hard to say, so many of them are just silly, but Vance and Jeremy can really make you giggle sometimes.
James) June 2016, was a month that many in fan films see as a black month, with the “guidelines” being released has this influenced the way you feel towards making any Star Trek Fan Productions?
Carly) It definitely has, the ability to tell a true fan story has been taken away from the fans who had such passion.
Seeing Renegades make it through the first day of shooting as Star Trek, was amazing, and just as quickly, I saw a lot of the passion and light go right out of the shoot after that news. It was depressing, especially for Walter Koenig, who wanted to tell his final story of Chekov.
James) “It was depressing, especially for Walter Koenig, who wanted to tell his final story of Chekov”
Can you tell me more about this did you interact with him when you saw this?
Carly) Yeah, I feel bad that he was cut down; he wanted Chekov to have a glorious ending.
I did get to talk with him during the shoot, but it was all on the first day before the guidelines came out. From what I I heard on set, I gathered he was not happy about the changes but still wanted the story told.
James) How did they make you! Feel when they came out?
Carly) Just plain angry and sad that it had to come to this conclusion
James) Do you think they are fair – if not what ones and why.
Carly) I do not think they are completely fair. I get why they were made, but taking so many possibilities away from the fans, made things so much less enjoyable.
James) Have you seen this regarding the “guidelines” I think this is a great reference tool regarding the guidelines,
I am not asking you to change your viewpoint I just want to see if they affect how you see them is all.
Carly) I have already read the interview with Van Citters and the guidelines.
I have some solid views on the guidelines so most of what I said would stand, regardless.
James) It is the comments by Patty White that I saw as useful but as I said, I am not trying to alter your views etc I am just seeing who has read it and who has not and what they think of it.
Carly) Ah, yeah I looked at the comments. I mostly try to keep an even balance with the fan film knowledge, as I am involved in Renegades, too.
I am really in the middle in my views, I see who guidelines must be set, but they were never an issue until the lawsuit happened.
I have serious misgivings towards CBS/Para for the hammer they threw down, but I also see why they felt the need to do so.
James) So with what you just said do you think Axanar is to blame?
Carly) I think they were the catalyst, for sure, but “blame” can go to a few people I’m sure, it’s just not my place to say, only my opinions.
James) I have to admit I think things were heading this way but it is hard to tell if that button would have been pushed had it not been for one production.
James) So moving on to more Fan-centric questions, do you watch other fan films, do you have a top 5?
Carly) I cannot rank them, as I haven’t seen all of the series of films yet, but I have enjoyed Farragut, Valiant, Continues, and New Voyages.
James) What other Star Trek fan productions do you watch/listen to etc (Podcasts, YouTube shows etc)
Carly) It’s all random mostly; I catch anything I can when available.
James) Favourite parts of the Trek Fandom.
Carly) The fact that Trek can open minds, and show people a better way of life
James) Worst Parts of the Trek Fandom have you had any bad experiences.
Carly) I have not had much in the way of negative with Trek; the only situation I can think of was meeting Michael Dorn, who was not as nice as you would hope him to be.
James) REALLY! He always seems so nice, what happened when you met him?
Carly) A few years back at the Vegas con, we (my best friend and I) had a photo op with him and Terry. We were excited, as we have been big fans of both of them. When we got to them finally, Terry was a sweetheart and talked to us for a minute. Dorn only looked at us, and said, “Can we take the photo, now?” Even Terry looked at him oddly just a very cold and negative interaction.
James) Wow that is not good.
Carly) Yeah, it felt like a slap in the face Ruined Worf a bit for me.
James) I am not surprised, I do not know how I would react if that were me, well Carly we are moving into the last leg of the interview now, in this bit I ask people to part with some advice on people who wish to pursue making their own fan films.
So what advice would you give to someone who wants to?
Carly) Don’t be afraid. It is one thing I still fight with and it can keep anyone from achieving their dreams.
James) Make their own fan film – from your perspective as someone in the fan film community.
Carly) Again, don’t be afraid is the biggest thing I can say. Past that, in filmmaking, the one thing I’ve seen that helps, always keeps your word, and choose your cast and crew wisely.
James) And Lastly, 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
Carly) I can’t think of anything I haven’t already said, and yet there is so much I could say from my opinion.
The biggest thing I can say is, I’ve loved getting into fan films and would suggest it to anyone who has the passion for joining in. No matter what, keep yourself focused, and don’t get over excited about any one detail, as things change so frequently. Patience is an extremely important virtue in this world. My hopes now are that the current chaos involving the lawsuit and guideline changes will come to an end, swiftly, and justly, without killing off fan films altogether.
James) Thank you, Carly, for your time and sharing your experiences with us.