Star Trek: The Motion Picture – A film review by Douglas Nary, Jr.

The year was 1979. I was 5 years old, my parents had gotten divorced in June and I had just started Kindergarten feeling lost and confused among all these other strange kids. I still had my biweekly weekend visits with my dad to look forward to, however, and in December of that year, with Christmas on the horizon, he and I would have a special day together; one that would be forever etched into my psyche in a sweet way.

Since my baby brother was sick that day, it was just my dad and I. And we were going into town (from Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, where Dad was stationed and we were living at the time) to go to the movies. The film that he was so excited to take me to see: Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

Now, during the trip, I wasn’t so much excited about what movie we were going to see as much as I was having one-on-one time with my dad. Star Trek at that point didn’t hold a candle to Star Wars in my mind; it was just one of those old shows that my dad liked (along with Lost In Space, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, and Land of the Giants). But it did have spaceships in it and my 5-year-old mind was all over anything with spaceships, plus we were going to Farrell’s for ice cream sundaes after the show, so I had plenty to look forward to.

As the theatre darkened and we moved through the trailers of I-Don’t-Even-Remember upcoming films and moved on to the feature, I instantly recognised the silhouettes of three Klingon ships. I had seen Klingon ships before, but not like this. These Klingon ships were so BIG on the screen, and so real, you could almost touch them. Except you didn’t want to. These were, after all, the bad guys, and both the Klingons and their fate by this mysterious ‘cloud’ filled me with morbid fascination.

Then came the familiar faces. The first was Spock, albeit with long hair, on Vulcan, then Kirk, looking heroic as he stepped off of an immaculately sleek shuttle in an immaculately sleek San Francisco. Then we saw Scotty, looking much as he did on Jason of Star Command, as he took Kirk on what was to be a tour of the newly designed EnterpriseAnd then, we saw the Enterprise. Thus my affinity for Star Trek began, not from the familiar faces of the show that my dad liked, although they were nice to see on the big screen, from that ship in its intricate drydock. She was sleek, she was functional, she was majestic…she was beautiful, and wherever she voyaged, I wanted to be aboard her.

Forget the film’s slow pace. Forget the familiar plot similarities to “The Changeling” (which I had not yet even seen, so my young mind wasn’t even aware of them until years later.) I was completely hooked on the sensory experience. Being on board the Enterprise– whatever the familiar faces of the crew were doing or talking about- was like a Disneyland of functionality and engineering that became my first true appreciation of art. And the morbid fascination with this threat that crew was exploring, while my 5-year-old brain couldn’t really comprehend the plot, I felt like my dad was letting me in on a new level of understanding somehow (though I wouldn’t be able to articulate it to myself until years later), and finally, that last beautiful sweeping shot as we looked ‘up’ to the very big and beautiful Enterprise engage her warp drive to her next voyage.

Needless to say, I had beautiful visions of space technology dancing in my head as we ate our ice cream sundaes at Farrell’s in the same shopping centre that the theatre was at (if I recall correctly). Over the next few visits with Dad, both my brother and I would have car trips listening to Jerry Goldsmith’s wonderfully epic soundtrack, enjoy seeing the model kits that my dad built of the Enterprise, Klingon ship, and Vulcan shuttle which all had these neat looking rainbow effect stickers for the engine and weapon components, and Dad had even augmented the Enterprise kit’s saucer lights with additional lights in the saucer, engineering hull, and the ‘neck’ in between. He also had a picture book (The TMP Photostory. Essentially still pictures of the film with captions that read like a comic book) that he eventually gave me. We even saw the film two additional times at the local drive –in theatre. Our formal education on the original series also began. We shared Star Trek (as well as Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, and sci-fi in general) with our dad the same way other fathers would share sports with their sons.

A fan had been born that day. My ONLY complaint about the film was the lack of ship-to-ship combat action. I really wanted to see the new Enterprise up against one of those new Klingon ships, but I held out faith that we would get some action in a second movie. (And sure enough, we did.)

But enough self-indulgence. Now that you know how I became a Star Trek fan, let’s dive into the first of this series of reviews, where I will analyze and try to figure out why our favorite films are so great, why our not-so-favorite films aren’t, and why people have such a difference of opinion on such things. We begin with that first Star Trek feature.

Star Trek had been around for 13 years at the time of the first film’s release, so a lot of people already had some pre-conceived notions about what a Star Trek movie should be like. Fans craving a new Star Trek adventure in any form went to see it in droves, but they were divided over the film, some considering it a huge disappointment while others thought it was simply epic. (We Nary boys were definitely in the latter category.) Mainstream moviegoers, who were expecting something along the lines of Star Wars instead got something along the lines of 2001: A Space Odyssey and were simply bored with it.

So, what happened that caused this? Well, in 1979, we were on the brink of the space shuttle era. It was to be the first (of many we hoped) reusable space vehicles, and the first such vehicle, named Enterprise, had been successfully test flown on free flight within the atmosphere that tested her guidance and landing systems. I truly believe that these flights and their promise for the future, as much as anything else, led to an escalation of America’s appetite for science fiction. Star Trek: The Motion Picture came out around the same time as Star Wars, Close Encounters, Superman: The Movie and Alien. Also on the small screen, we were being treated to things like Battlestar Galactica, Wonder Woman, The Incredible Hulk, Buck Rogers, The Six Million Dollar Man, and The Bionic Woman. No doubt about it, it was a great time to be a science fiction fan.

While I will concede that the film’s slow pace and cerebral plot may have contributed to its relatively lacklustre performance with critics of the time, when one considers the above conditions, it was actually a quite logical (no pun intended) and perfectly reasonable mistake to make.

Clearly, producer Gene Roddenberry felt that audiences were ready for a more cerebral type of Star Trek adventure that would engage the audience’s minds and get them thinking rather than go with a shoot ‘em up type of scenario. The success of Close Encounters no doubt convinced both him and Paramount that a science fiction adventure need not involve space battles to be successful. They also had every reason to believe that the Star Trek name and characters and their popularity would carry any adventure to success both critically and commercially.

So why didn’t it?

Was it the lack of ship-to-ship combat action? No. I have already admitted that this was my only personal complaint about the film…but I was five and had a child’s taste for excitement and I still loved the film. Also, there are plenty of other Star Trek adventures made before and since that do not involve space battles and were loved by fans.

Was it the plot similarities to past Star Trek episodes? Perhaps. There are similarities to plots from previous Star Trek episodes. “The Changeling” is the most obvious, with the two stories involving machines in search of their “creator”, which turns out to be human. There are also elements of “The Doomsday Machine”, also featuring a mammoth machine threatening to swallow the Enterprise and a character named Decker; and “The Immunity Syndrome”, in which the Enterprise penetrated an outer “cloud” layer to get to the threat facing them.

However, Star Trek borrowing plot elements from other sources or even from itself is hardly unique to this film. The next film in the series, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, borrows heavily from both Moby Dick and A Tale of Two Cities along with other well-known sources and no one complained. So I don’t think recycled plot elements is the problem here. Every plot comes from somewhere, you just have to do variations on the theme not seen before, and The Motion Picture did so spectacularly.

Was it the “odd numbered curse”? In my frank opinion, the so-called “odd numbered curse” on Star Trek films is balderdash! Both this film and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock are not only two of my favourite Star Trek films; they rank among my favourite films of all time. And last I checked, “1” and “3” are both odd numbers. They may not have been as popular with critics as Treks II & IV, but they were just as successful at the box office, which to me means that they were just as popular with fans of the time. Plus, one must consider the box office numbers for the Star Trek films made since 1998. Films number 9 and 11 have outperformed their even numbered counterparts (10 & 12) in terms of both box office and fan reaction. Heck, if anything we’ve been living with an EVEN numbered curse for the last 17 years!

When one looks at how this film has aged gracefully over the last 36 years since its release, how it has grown in esteem with the release of new cuts (one in 1983, and a spectacular Director’s Edition in 2001 that fixed almost all of the second act’s problems), it’s quite clear that Star Trek: The Motion Picture is a film that has withstood the test of time quite well. My theory on why it did not perform as well as it should have…it was simply ahead of its time. It just needed that time to get the recognition it deserved. Lack of plot and characterization? Poppycock! Both Kirk and Spock go through significant character arcs that I for one have been able to identify with at different points of my life. Spock’s especially. As he goes from believing his human half to be a weakness and responsible for his pain to embracing it and finding new strength, we too find strength in embracing new ways of thinking that we have previously been rejecting. This, in turn, can lead to a better understanding of others and even of the universe and our place in it.

In this series, I will rate films on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being at the top. On that scale, I rate Star Trek: The Motion Picture a 9, its slow pace being the ONLY thing keeping it from a 10. I could not have asked for a better introduction to the Star Trek universe, and I predict that our ever-increasing understanding of the universe may prompt future Trek writers to look to this introspective adventure as an example of what to aspire to.


  • Blog Author: Douglas Nary, Jr
  • Blog Layout and Pictures: James Hams
  • Pictures: CBS/Paramount, Google Images. 

Follow, Share and Like

So, let’s talk about Discovery – By Bill Allen

“A minority female lead is a groundbreaking—“
no, plenty of folks are going to cover that.

“The F/X are CLEARY, not pre-TOS Prime—“
Yeah, let’s skip that can of worms.

“The Klingons are—“
I have absolutely no idea, heard thirty theories, will hear thirty more. (Looks cool, though.)

“It’s on a Streaming service instead of—“
no, I will not argue about this…and no, I will not get off your lawn, grandpa.

“the ship looks like—“
that was done, redone, overdone, then done again during the first teaser.

So, a thousand blogs, ten thousand opinions, a hundred thousand fan theories (some of which are good, and some of which…well, folks, please have your homes tested for lead paint.) What can I say about the new Series? There are a lot of folks who are much smarter than me and very clever analyzing all the little details…and there are folks who are not as smart as me but much louder making assertions and assumptions based on no evidence, or two seconds of footage, or tinfoil hats.  How can we write about Star Trek Discovery when we haven’t seen it yet? We can talk about what we know about it: it is Star Trek.  But what does that mean?


The crew of TNG

Let’s go for a little trip down memory lane.

I never Discovered Star Trek. the birth of Star Trek came about a decade before I showed up on the scene. So, unlike a lot of fans, I don’t have a ‘moment’…Star Trek was something my family liked, so it was always on in reruns as I grew up. So, I don’t have a cool story about my first experience with Star Trek. (It wasn’t even the first non-cartoon movie I saw in cinemas…I ended up seeing “Ghostbusters”, and then “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”, and then saw “Search for Spock”.) But there were plenty of firsts.

I remember being 15 minutes late for the Premiere of TNG. I was at my grandmother’s in Texas, and it was Sunday afternoon that it was slated to air (the wonders of a show jumping directly into syndication…) I had gone to church (because that is what you do when you stay at Mamaw’s) and hung around a bit to play with kids my age, let Mamaw kibbitz with the preacher, that sort of thing, and then she said, “well, let’s go home so you can watch that new Star Trek show you keep talking about.”

so, I missed the beginning. My first sighting of the New and ‘improved’ Enterprise, redesigned to be more futuristic and the like, was as it soared majestically in orbit over whatever alien planet they were visiting to see some station called ‘Farpoint’. I liked the lines of the hull and the glowing blue of the nacelles that swept so smoothly and majestically up from the hull…and found that the teeny tiny saucer on the Enterprise looked really out of proportion and stupid. “what have they done to my ship?!?” I cried, aghast…then the Enterprise flew off and reconnected with the saucer section, and suddenly, not only did the ship look MUCH better, it had a cool new feature with the detachable saucer. The lesson here: sometimes we can be hasty with our gut reactions. Not only did the first episode of TNG get better, but over the years, the series as a whole got better.

The crew of DS9 S7

I remember being less than thrilled about Deep Space Nine. This was the golden age of syndicated TV: right before all these new networks popped up and really defined themselves, you had outfits doing all sorts of great sci-fi/fantasy shows: Time Trax, Babylon 5, Kung-Fu the Legend Continues, Hercules….Star Trek deserved a spot in among all the PTEN fare. But…a Space Station instead of a Starship? But then I read the TV guide articles (Sure, internet was around back then, but not exactly commonplace) and they talked about the mysterious wormhole to the other side of the galaxy, and how O’Brien would figure out a way to make the whole space station move….so I thought, ‘ok, they fall in the wormhole, and drift around from place to place in a mobile station, far from home, more resources than a Starship, but less mobile…put the crew to the test beyond the final frontier…’ of course, the actual show played out a bit different than the concept I had in my head, and while I thought *MY* idea was cooler…DS9 ended up doing great, and gave us a fascinating Trek series. The Lesson Here: fans tell great stories….but those are not the ONLY story. Someone else—especially guys whose stories are good enough that they get PAID to tell them—are ALSO going to be good.

I remember Voyager. Back to a Starship now, but on the far side of the galaxy (I guess those network execs listened to my cool idea about how they should have done DS9…?) TNG really shook things up, gave us a DRASTIC shift away from TOS in look and feel…it was still Star Trek, but was definitely a ‘strange new world’. DS9 gave us a different kind of story altogether, again going new, with new life and new civilisations…and it laid the groundwork for building that ephemeral thing called ‘canon’.

The crew of Voyager

Voyager gave us a universe. It took the aspects that created the ‘TNG era’, cemented ‘canon’, took a deeper look at the old standards and went a little more in depth, laying the foundations that changed Star Trek from being just a franchise and bumped it up into…a Legacy? I’m not sure, but whatever Trek had become, ‘franchise’ seemed an inadequate word. It gave us our favourites, it fleshed out details, and still managed to surprise us with new discoveries…even about some of those old favourites. The lesson here: Star Trek lives. It perseveres….it keeps on sailing along the horizon, and often the journey matters even more than the destination. 

I remember Enterprise. A reimagining (a ‘reboot’ before it was even a word) going back to the beginning, reStarting everything, giving the tired old 1960s tech an upgrade and facelift, while still holding true to the core of Star Trek. It somehow managed to avoid most of the catastrophic clichés and hackneyed tropes that ruin prequels, staying fresh and imaginative, while simultaneously screwing the pooch with fanservice and getting strung along some lousy storylines because that was what fans really wanted to see. The fanbase lost interest, the show overran its costs, the franchise was fatigued….

The crew of Enterprise

for whatever reason, the show did not do well, and was cut down before its time. When it had a bad episode, it was one of the WORST episodes of any Trek in the 50-year history of the universe…but when it had a good episode, it was some of the absolute BEST Star Trek EVER. The lesson here: don’t listen to fans. Star Trek is not what it is because the fans made something of it; the Fans are what they are because Star Trek made something of THEM.

I remember Kelvin.  Go back to the beginning (the REAL beginning, not some silly prequel story), give us Kirk, Spock and the OG Masters of Sci-Fi. But don’t give us papier Mache Monsters and reused Andy Griffith Sets. We live in a new era, where technology and cinematography allow us to push the envelope visually, create a look that still captured the spirit of Trek, but wrapped it in all the new advances that we had made to make it feel like the future again. (Because, let’s face it, here at the dawn of the 21st century, much of our tech has already greatly surpassed that which TOS envisioned for the future centuries hence…) the heart of Trek is still there, the soul of Trek shines through…Star Trek will not become dated or archaic.  The lesson here: the journey is just beginning.


I remember Discovery…

For all of you who are fans, take a minute and name the five best directors/writers/producers that worked on Trek. No matter who you are, somehow, by some miracle, at least one name from your list is part of the Dream team building the new Star Trek series. The cast is made of A-list actors and B-listers who damn well ought to be A-listers.  The ship…the ships, the aliens, the imagery….they pored over the archives, selected bits and pieces from the greats of Treks VFX history….pulling from TOS, TMP, the Maroon movie era, TNG era, etc etc etc. this is Star Trek, through and through.  The stories, the characters, the actors….all the instruments are in play, and the conductor is about to begin, and a new symphony will resonate through the internet and the rest of the galaxy.

We are going to see some old favourites reborn, revitalised, improved and explored in greater depth. We are going to see new and amazing things. We are going to wax philosophical about sociological and cultural issues through allegory both internal and external and ponder some of the ‘meaning of life stuff’ along the way. We are going to get some of the ‘the world can be a better place’ commentary on contemporary humanity as it contrasts with this vision of a better future. We are going to get some godawful episodes that will leave you wondering if the writers were drunk or if they just lost a bet (if I ever become a successful novelist, I am bound by such a drunken wager to write a story about a worm that poops platinum…I know how painful a bad bet can be) and we are going to get some episodes that will be so magnificently crafted that you say “This. THIS is what Star Trek is.”  We are going to get other things that I can’t even begin to think of….and when all is said and done, we are going to get at the very least two or three Years of Discovery….and we will get another 50 years of Star Trek. (and in five or ten years, I’ll write another blog about Discovery, and be able to fill in this ‘I remember Discovery’ section with all that we have learned, and loved, and hated, about Discovery…but I look forward to watching the show, and discovering whatever it has to offer.)

The lesson here?

who cares? Star Trek IS BACK! LET’S PARTY!!!!!!


  • Blog Author: Bill Allen.
  • Pics and Blog Layout: James Hams.
  • Pics: CBS / Google pictures.

Follow, Share and Like

So as the chimes of midnight draw ever closer – A Star Trek Continues Blog

Four Years and 27 Days ago that’s when Star Trek Continues debuted its first episode “Pilgrim of Eternity” and now we are heading fast towards their final episode, which will be a two-part episode called “To Boldly Go”.

In the course of the last four years, the team at Star Trek Continues have continued to live up to their goal in both making a final season of the original series but also never letting their fans down in producing the content that they have said they would. Over the last 4 years, the money Continues has raised has gone towards making what will total 11 full-length episodes, 3 shorts, expanding the sets and more importantly to any Star Trek fan recreating the feel, look and love of The Original Series.

So as the chimes of midnight draw ever closer to the dreaded finish line that we all knew was coming, but we held out hope that maybe, just maybe would be a long time off, it was on May 26th of this year Star Trek Continues lead Vic Mignogna posted the following on the STC Facebook page



Not much is known about what the final episodes will consist of but what we do know about episode 9 is it will have a very! Familiar face added to the crew in the form of the one and only John de Lancie (AKA Q from TNG, DS9 & VOY), I am so excited to see what his role is in this.

One other key point of episode 9 is that the story will be co-written by Kipleigh Brown, now not only has Kipleigh started in Enterprise back in 2004 as Crewman Jane Taylor (The Forgotten) but anyone who plays Star Trek Online will know that she has a very important role within that universe as well by providing VO work for the character Kuumaarke.

Now, I can hear your minds going HUH! NO FAIR especially after reading the part about John de Lancie being cast in this episode is that not a breach of the guidelines, well here is the kicker, Yes and No!

Back when the guidelines were forged (June 2016) Continues had already done their fundraising to finish up their planned run, although they had planned for 13 episodes that plan had to be changed due to factors outside of their control, in an update to their Indiegogo campaign dated Jun 30, 2016, at 4:09 AM  Linda Thompson made this statement,

“As many of you know, CBS has created a set of guidelines for fan films going forward.  CBS’s John Van Citters mentioned in a recent podcast that existing fan film productions will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis and that each production’s intentions toward Star Trek are key in determining its future”. (Full statement can be found here)

So even though, Continues is yes essentially breaking guideline 1 The fan production must be less than 15 minutes for a single self-contained story, or no more than 2 segments, episodes or parts, not to exceed 30 minutes total, with no additional seasons, episodes, parts, sequels or remakes”

And guideline 5 – “The fan production must be a real “fan” production, i.e., creators, actors and all other participants must be amateurs, cannot be compensated for their services, and cannot be currently or previously employed in any Star Trek series, films, production of DVDs or with any of CBS or Paramount Pictures’ licensees.”

By means of continuing with their production and hiring former Star Trek alumni, there are a few things people do tend to forget when crying, no fair and I feel these 4 points need to be hammered home

1) In essence, STC are covered by the “grandfather clause” which John Van Citters stated

“These guidelines are meant for films on an on a going forward basis”

2) But a lot of people seem to forget that John also said this in the engage podcast

“That’s correct and we have had a  long history with fan  productions and fan initiatives of  various kinds where were very much eager  to have fans involved in Star Trek I’m  not sure what the best way to  elucidate on all this is but we want  fans involved very much so we just want  them all involved in the right way  that’s going to be best for fandom as a  whole is going to be best for Star Trek  as a whole and is going to help us  evolve and bring Star Trek to a to a  bigger and brighter future.

We do treat every use of our IP on a  **case by case**   basis we do not like paint  with a big broad brush and tar and feather everything in a specific way  just because that is the most expedient  we have been in contact with different  fan film groups over the years as well  as recently I’ve had in the past week a couple of groups have reached out to me  looking for clarification hopefully what  I’m able to do today will provide some  of that in answering some of the  questions.”

3) Many people and Vic himself have stated that if told to do so by CBS they would STOP production without hesitation.

4) Alongside the three points I have covered above, there is one crucial thing missing in a lot of people simple understanding of the guidelines, and that is they are just that guidelines, not laws, rules, orders, must abide by or even commandments, so unlike one particular production that is bound to them due to a legal settlement the cast and crew of Star Trek Continues can continue with what they promised the fans and donors back in May 2016 and that is to wrap up their journey.

So I hope that clearing up a few misconceptions that people are buying into, we can now get back to what is important and although tremendously gloomy, is the fact that if you are attending one or all of the following

You are in for a colossal treat and so lucky to get to see what although will no doubt be a sad moment for everyone, not only those who have come to love Star Trek Continues but also for the many people involved in bringing this groundbreaking production to life.

So let’s help these guys go out in style and celebrate what they have done for us all and not get drawn into the mediocrity of other people’s jealousy.


If you haven’t done so already you can get tickets for these conventions at the following links.


Star Trek Continues can be found at the following 


Ref Links: 

Follow, Share and Like

The Fan Film Guidelines Breakdown – Part Two

So we left part one with what I hope was a big shroud lifted on one of the guidelines that many seem to misinterpret or choose to ignore, and that is this guideline,

1) The fan production must be less than 15 minutes for a single self-contained story or no more than 2 segments, episodes or parts, not to exceed 30 minutes total, with no additional seasons, episodes, parts, sequels or remakes.  

Although worded in a way that seems to negate the idea or possibility of producing more than the 2 x 15 episodes It is, in fact, something that you can work with! Not against!

During the last blog, you saw not just one, but 6 different perspectives of this guideline and how those productions have chosen to perceive it and work with it not by shunning the guidelines and saying hey, they are “draconian” but they have retooled their productions accordingly and decided “Hey, yes we can still move forward and carry on making the fan films we love, but with some adjustment.”

Yes the undeniable fact is that the days of the 45min+ long episodes have now gone the way of the dodo, but with some ingenuity, clever thinking and love in doing what you do, you can still produce content that not only you will enjoy making but content that will bring joy to many other Star Trek fans around the globe.

In this blog, we will be dissecting guidelines 2 and 8 and again, it is not only me who will be drawing on information I have found, but I have asked the same producers to help me out once again.

Below you will find commentary from the fan film “experts” and some useful links to information that will, we hope to help you with this guideline.


It should be noted the Fan Film Guidelines DO NOT affect anything but Fan Films, this means Audio Dramas and alike are not bound by them.


2) The title of the fan production or any parts cannot include the name “Star Trek.” However, the title must contain a subtitle with the phrase: “A STAR TREK FAN PRODUCTION” in plain typeface. The fan production cannot use the term “official” in either its title or subtitle or in any marketing, promotions or social media for the fan production.



RANDY LANDERS – Potemkin Pictures

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

Paramount and CBS own Star Trek. We are privileged to play in their universe. If they want us to call them “Title” – a Star Trek fan production, then that’s what we need to do.

  • Is this a guideline that is one that will or could cause issues?

It will end the names “Star Trek Phase II,” “Star Trek New Voyages” and “Star Trek Continues.”

Nick Cook – Intrepid

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?
    • Is this a guideline that is one that will or could cause issues?

I think this is probably the easiest thing to comply with.  I’m not sure what issues could realistically arise other than people wilfully ignoring it.


 Vance MajorMelbourne

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?
    • Is this a guideline that is one that will or could cause issues?

I don’t think anyone should be doing this anyway. No fan film is official. This is one of the guidelines I have no problem with in any way. I think this shows the state of mind of that some fan filmmakers have gotten into, to an extent. Trying to be the next big thing in the Trek universe, and to me that’s sad. I think some have gotten away from what this should all be about. Having fun and telling fun stories. That’s what kinda sucks about things these days, it’s so easy to make things bigger and better and then we can let our egos get out of hand. But, who are we? We’re just kids just playing in someone else’s sandbox. We can’t ever forget that. And I think this rule is there to remind us that no matter how good we can get, it’s not our sandbox

Justin Burton – Former member of the Lexington production. 

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

Star Trek Continues gets away with it little unfair we dropped Star Trek From the Lexington title long before this.   

  • Is this a guideline that is one that will or could cause issues?

Only to those who think they are above the guidelines, Star Trek Continues for example and that Voyager fan film. Star Trek First Frontier too


Ray Tesi – Republic

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?
    • Is this a guideline that is one that will or could cause issues?

To me, this is a non-issue. Having a disclaimer is an everyday part of a business and has no bearing on the success or failure of a fan production.

Robin –  Dark Armada: 

“The guidelines set by CBS are just what they are…….. Guidelines, as it was explained in the podcast they’re not supposed to be rules and CBS isn’t going to inspect every single fan film about these guidelines. The Star Trek Fan Film community used to live by a certain code or ‘unofficial rules’, until some decided to break that code and all hell broke loose. But it’s really just common sense: making a fan film means you play with someone’s intellectual property and in our case, CBS and Paramount have graciously allowed us to do that for over a decade. The risk that they would ask you to stop is always present, so do you think it’s wise to sell DVD’s, ask for money/donations, build a studio, pretend to be official Star Trek? Only a few thought it was. Most fan productions followed a few simple rules: don’t make a profit, don’t sell DVD’s or similar merchandise and make clear it’s a fan production. The only difference today is that these rules are now officially presented as guidelines by CBS. Follow them and you’re safe from any legal action. Most important about these guidelines are that your intentions are good (the common sense stuff I mentioned before), that it’s a production by the fans for the fans out of love for Star Trek (and of course…. don’t pull an Alec). My advice would be not to try to desperately work around the guidelines, but realise that they are a way for CBS to allow us to play with Star Trek as fans. Some of these guidelines weigh heavier than other. I think I don’t have to explain that collecting more money is a worse guideline to ignore than the one about the length of your film. Whether your film is 15, 30 or 45 minutes long, make sure your intentions are good and put a lot effort, a lot of work and a lot of love into it”

More Producer Analysis is on its way. 


Why Are There Only 3 Episodes Left of STAR TREK CONTINUES? Vic Mignogna from STC Answers!

Video Credit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEBLz3w6a7U&feature=share


8) The fan production must display the following disclaimer in the on-screen credits of the fan productions and on any marketing material including the fan production website or page hosting the fan production:

“Star Trek and all related marks, logos and characters are solely owned by CBS Studios Inc. This fan production is not endorsed by, sponsored by, nor affiliated with CBS, Paramount Pictures, or any other Star Trek franchise, and is a non-commercial fan-made film intended for recreational use.  No commercial exhibition or distribution is permitted. No alleged independent rights will be asserted against CBS or Paramount Pictures.” 



RANDY LANDERS – Potemkin Pictures

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

Yep. No problem with that.

 

Nick Cook – Intrepid

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

Again, straight forward. Use the disclaimer as provided. We’ve added it to the opening of all new films since the guidelines dropped. To be honest, I think this is actually a pretty good thing to have, and many fan films already had some sort of disclaimer attached. I rather like the wording of the one we’ve been given.


Vance Major – Melbourne/ Starbase Studios

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

I get why they want us to do it. It’s kind of irritating, for a company that wants us to post so much that we are not affiliated that we have to keep putting disclaimers on there. It’s like there are so many hoops to jump thru just to make a friggin fan film, Lord forbid if you mistype a word lol or if you’re an honest to Gawd newbie that’s never even heard of these guidelines. That’s why I stick by they will go by the spirit of the law, not the letter of the law. If you’re in high school and you make a film on your cell phone, I wouldn’t expect you to have this disclaimer up. Chances are you don’t even know it exists. Yet fan film marks live and die by these things like you’ll lose your house if you dot the wrong I or cross the wrong while I feel they keep people like me safer from certain things, again, no one is going to mistake my film for star trek beyond or discovery. And I’ve been very open, I’m in no way competing.

Justin Burton – Former member of the Lexington production. 

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

Most fan productions were already doing this before the guidelines


Ray Tesi – Republic

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

Again, disclaimers are an every-day part of the business world. This is another non-issue in my opinion.

Robin –  Dark Armada: 

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

( SEE ABOVE STATEMENT )



Everything below is to enable you to understand the reasons for disclaimers and why CBS has asked you to place one on your Fan Production, it is not an indication that you should try to Copyright/Trademark your work as this is not possible for a fan film made by using the Star Trek IP.


Before! you upload to YouTube I would strongly recommend you take the time to visit this page >

https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/2797449?hl=en

You will find important information such as:

What is a derivative work?

You need the copyright owner’s permission to create new works based on their original content. Derivative works may include sequels, translations, spin-offs, adaptations, etc. You’ll probably want to get legal advice from an expert before uploading videos that are based on the characters, storylines, and other elements of copyright-protected material.

<——

Otherwise, you may end up seeing this image when you or others try to watch your film.

<——


The other popular place for Fan Films to be uploaded to is Vimeo, like YouTube it has its own set of rules and regulations in regards to uploading videos and content. To view these click on the images to the left and it will take you to the different sections that will guide you further.

USEFUL LINKS 


Ref Links 


The Fan Film Guidelines Breakdown – Part One


Follow, Share and Like

The Trekzone Interview – Part Two – It’s Time To Take A Stand!

In part one we got to know more about who Matthew Miller is, what he loves about Trek and his hopes for the new Trek series.

In this part, we probe a little deeper into what started Trekzone.org, what is Matthews history with Trek Fan Productions and why he decided to take a stand against Alec Peters and Axanar.



James) Hey Matthew, thank you for taking the time to continue our interview Since Trekzone is not entirely a “podcast” as such, as it features a more video content than audio, I would class it as a Vlog but what would call Trekzone.

Matt) TREKZONE.org is Australia’s first Star Trek fan site, going boldly since 2003.  With that said a lot more effort is going into The TrekZone Spotlight which focuses on science fiction in general to avoid some franchise owners taking offence to me raising advertising revenue (not that it ever has been a concern.)

James) You currently work with Network 10, what would you say is your history with this type of medium?

Matt) I started the video podcast back in 2013 as I geared up for the tenth anniversary of the site, it was very rough in those early days… with a lack of budget and a lack of space in my rental home for a set, but working on TV means I have to create that medium!

Eventually, I bought my own house and decided that I didn’t want a physical set again so I’m renting studio space which has helped make the 2017 season the best yet.

James) Did this start as a hobby or did you have any formal education in video and audio formats?

Matt) I studied film and television for my tertiary education in Perth, I have a diploma of the screen (sound) but a lot of what I know came from volunteering at our local community TV station (aka, public access station)

I worked with a small team on a breakfast show, we were live an hour a day featuring guest interviews and breaking news from overnight feeds, it may not sound like much but for a community TV show, it was revolutionary haha.

James) Trekzone has now spanned over 10 years in total, what else have you done using the knowledge base you have?

Matt) I produced a short-lived fan series called Eternal Night which has a couple of playlists on my YouTube channel.  As I mentioned above, I have a need to produce TV-quality products and I just couldn’t pull it off without a budget so I mothballed the idea… until now. (As River Song would say though, shh! Spoilers.)

James) Dam! I hate it when people tell me they are working on things, but won’t tell me what it is HAHA! I am nosey like that.

Quickly going back to your work experiences in community TV do you think this helped you create Trekzone?

Matt) Yes, My three years with community TV in Perth were key, I think, in my current position to create The Trekzone Spotlight with no crew (I shoot, present, produce and edit all by myself in my studio.)  I’m also a segment producer for a show called The Couch where I make travel segments and other content outside of a Sci-Fi setting.

James) Ok, so about Trekzone, why choose the medium of Video and not a podcast or Blog?

Matt) As I work in TV it has brainwashed me into only being interested in making video.

James) LOL! So What inspired you to create your podcast other than being brainwashed lol

Matt) Trekzone started as a year 10 IT project and sat idle making many grand claims for about 9 years. It wasn’t until 2012 when I was finding my feet in Brisbane full time and settling down for my life that I made a crack at it and am still plugging away with the same basic ideas – the episode reviews are carrying on for just over 4 years now!

James) Why Trek and not random Sci-Fi?

Matt) I started on Trek exclusively, but broadened to general/random SciFi when I realised I was being very niche in my episodes.

James) Funny you say that lol, I have something lined up that if all goes well should be launched in Q4 2017 or Q1 2018 but shhh shhh “spoilers” LOL!

How many episodes of Trekzone have been produced to date?

Matt) There are 13 Trekzone Interviews, 12 SciFi Weekly and 27 Trekzone Spotlights

James) How hard is it to come up with each topic? Since your podcasts vary a lot, does it require a lot of planning in advance?

Matt) In 2017 I’m trying to be a lot more regular than previous years, in November 2013 I was going to be doing monthly but that didn’t work out.  Sci-fi WEEKLY didn’t quite work either, so there may be spurts like this week (3 eps in four days, and I’ve got Carlos coming up next week.)  Not sure yet, see what happens.

James) How is Trekzone funded?

Matt) All me. Google sent me my first AdWords cheque the other month, it took me about four or five months of YouTube ads to reach the payment threshold!

James) Like me then, 100% self-funded, and even IF! I was trying to garnish funds from elsewhere, it would be through Affiliate links like I am doing with CBS All Access.



James) Would you ever try a crowdfund for Trekzone?

Matt) No. I tried a campaign a few years back for Eternal Night and only managed to bring in a couple hundred dollars, then I realised that this is MY hobby and I do it because I want to.

People enjoy watching the episodes, but maybe that’s because it’s free – all they have to do is sit through an ad or two (please.)

Trekzone is only run and funded by me. There is no one else. That’s why I speak in the first person on the social media channels, I think it makes it more personal, and I certainly feel that with several regulars now keeping up with me as I release new content.

James) With you being self-funded and unlike me, as I am in a written format which is cheap as chips lol, how much does an episode cost to produce?

Matt) I’m not going to give away exact figures, but there is studio space for me and the guest at an hourly rate, time on the transcontinental fibre per minute, my subscription to Adobe, my PC (which needs an upgrade now that I’m churning green screen keys out!), my time could also be factored in if we were working ‘in the real world.’

James) So not cheap then :-s I know I couldn’t afford to run my site if it cost me a lot and I am lucky with the package I got from 1 and 1, £5 PCM.

Over the last 5 years since things have moved up a gear in the work you are doing with Trekzone, who have you interviewed?

Matt) That list is really extensive. From Anthony Montgomery, Doug Drexler, Larry Nemecek, Rod Roddenberry, Dominic Keating, Richard Dean Anderson, Grant Imahara, Vic Mignogna, Tim Russ and so much more.

James) Would you say that your interview technique has changed much since your early days?

Matt) You can tell, especially in the early days, who were good talent because of their! Really carried the podcasts…

However, my chat with Alice Krige was one of the very early ones I would not encourage people to watch, sadly, as it was very stiff and very early (in terms of graphics, sets and my abilities.)

James) I have to admit I am still finding my way in how I interview people, I have to work in such a way to get around time zone differences as atm most if not all of the people I interview are based overseas with a big difference in time zones.

Even though you say you were wooden, there had to be some things about it that you look back and think yeah that was really good.

Matt) Learning about Alice Krige’s past and her film project from the Perth film festival was a highlight, it’s just a shame it was my second interview and was delivered with such wooden gusto by me hurts my brain.

James) Do you have a favourite Podcast you have done?

Matt) Dominic Keating was a great talent, Richard Dean Anderson was generous with his time (I was one of two video interviews while he was here) and meeting Australia’s only (so far) astronaut was awesome.

James) If you had to say what podcast you found the most cringe-worthy what would it be?

Matt) Alec Peters springs to mind. The way he turned on a dime when I asked him to explain his finances was incredible and led to the best bit of my series (73,000 other viewers agree.)



James) Ahhh the “Phone a Friend” one LOL! That one I did find a little funny more than cringe worthy but that’s me.

You have done some “location” based podcasts, can you tell me some of the places you have been.

Matt) I’ve followed Oz Comic Con to Perth, Melbourne and Sydney to record interviews with guests.  I’ve been working on a US trip for over a year now (can I get in with Trump closing the borders!?)

James) Ah well the USA sucks LOL! Come to the UK, as a member of the Commonwealth lol I am sure you will have no problem lol.

Out of those places you just mentioned, can you tell me the best and worst places you have been?

Matt) I had to interview Dr Andy Thomas in the middle of the World Science Fair, it was so noisy and crowded, which hurt the interview (especially since they set me up right next to the speakers from a radio station’s OB!)

James) Oh, how nice of them.

No doubt over the last 5 years you have not only altered your interviewing technique, but I am sure your equipment has changed. In all the interviews you have done are there any you wish you could go back and redo because you are watching them now and think a man that looks BAD!

Matt) My worst quality production would be my chat with Tori Higginson (Stargate Atlantis’ Dr Weir) and Grant Imahara (Mythbusters)… I had attempted to use a two camera setup using my Lumia 1020 but it did not work out very well.

James) What made these in your eyes so bad?

Matt) Ellie Goulding claimed to have used the Lumia 1020 exclusively on one of her music videos and it looked very good… when I used it, it was shocking.  Lesson learnt!

James) I am glad I do not have to worry about such things “yet” lol!

We are coming to the last bit of this segment, so a few more questions then I’d like to move on.

Is there anything about Trekzone you are thankful for, such as perks you have gained from connecting with a lot of people around the globe?

Matt) I have made friends with quite a few studios in the US, which allows me to be the only SciFi video podcast that employs satellite links (although they’re deep water transcontinental cables now, that’s not as catchy as a ‘satellite link’!) to chat with my guests and not rely on Skype too often (from this year, I’ll be employing production houses in any state I don’t have studio access… so every podcast will be full high-def goodness.)

James) Looking back on your podcasts, you have new digs as of 2017, what prompted the change?

Matt) I moved house after my Dad passed away and the only space in the new house for the studio was in the garage.  It’s summer in Queensland and I just melt walking from the car into the house, there was no way I was going to be able to build a set in there without modifications like air con and a light grid etc etc etc, and then I would have to look at the packed away set every day and I just thought there had to be a better way.

Thankfully, I worked out a deal with some studio space locally where they have all those things I need and it looks so much better than anything I could’ve whipped up at home. (It’s taken me a few eps of this new season to get the angles, lighting and key right… so have a look at the latest ep with Gary O’Brien which gives you a good sense of how things will be for a while to come.)

James) Moving on, you have produced an Audio Drama but a little birdie told me you were thinking of moving into live action productions, so I would like to touch base on your history within filmmaking.

Have you ever written a screenplay before and if so how many have you completed?

Matt) I wrote a bunch of fanfictions back around 2006/07 under the working title Star Trek: Poseidon… it was basic and never for public consumption again! (Not sure if it’s still out there on the web archive…)  When I got stuck into Eternal Night in 2012/13 I had many concepts, but eventually gutted out several log entries for a ‘first’ season ending with a 40-minute news bulletin to build up some B-plots for season ‘two’ which took a different turn (utilising audio and set in 2406/2386.)

Those B-plots were going to come into play for the third season (live action) but it never eventuated.

James) So this is going to be a semi-continuation of your Audio Drama, cool.

When writing a screenplay, how long does it normally take for you to complete one?

Matt) I got on a roll there at one stage and turned out to 300 pages of script for the ten-episode second season in about two months… it was relatively easy because it was a season-long story arc that wrote itself towards the end, then the hardest part was breaking it up for flow and cliffhangers etc.

James) What aspect of writing a screenplay gives you the most pleasure

Matt) I enjoy building characters from scratch, having some of my dreams imprinted on them and exploring a fictional world in my mind through their eyes.  The challenge for me is believable dialogue; the actors chuckled with some of the more intimate moments I’d scripted.

James) Out of all the screenplays you have written, are there any you wish you do over?

Matt) I wish I could tell that second season better. Heck, I wish it was produced beyond its fourth episode – but I didn’t want to crowd fund so I never had the ability.

James) Crowdfunding does have its perks, but also its drawbacks. Which one of your scripts and films are you most proud of and why?

Matt) From a production standpoint, that honour has to go to the season one finale.  All by myself I wrote, shot and edited the news bulletin – I even starred in it at one point.  I managed to get a guy in a chopper to give me two traffic reports, I had WA Police Media offering feedback on one of the plots, we went to hospitals and filmed pieces to camera – just like a real news hour.

James) When writing a screenplay, have you ever drawn upon other Trek episodes as a guide on how you’d like things to feel or look?

Matt) I love DS9’s emotional episodes, season four’s The Visitor, season six’s In The Pale Moonlight for exampleIra Behr is a talented writer, as to René Echevarria.

James) those are two! My all time favourite episodes 🙂

From an outsider’s point of view looking at, what would you think is the biggest surprise anyone would see when producing a fan production?

Matt) Just… how… long… it… takes.  I mean, seriously! We sat for eight hours reading the dialogue for the ten ep second season. (My lead actors were troopers that day!)

James) I think a lot of people seem to forget it’s not as simple as shooting in order etc, also sometimes you have to do a few takes to get the look you want, I just do not like it when things take 23 takes or more lol.

What is the toughest thing about getting a project completed?

Matt) The budget!

James) Lastly then we must move on so I do not take up much of your time :-p

With you thinking about moving into the live production side of things, How do you feel about the fan film guidelines?

Matt) The guidelines are awesome, and no – I’m not paid to say that – I truly believe that the guidelines will help smaller productions like mine cut through the noise from the ‘big guys’ and we are all on a level playing field now… I still won’t crowdfund, but I can now tell a 15-minute story and it won’t be beaten or looked down on for not being a 50-minute epic shot on built sets.



James) Ok, recently you took a controversial stand towards this subject so I would like to probe into why and your experiences with the yet to be made a project called Axanar.

So I guess the first question is, even though we ALL knew what was going on what made you choose to interview Alec Peters

Matt) With the lawsuit hanging over him and a LOT of loyalists hanging around, it seemed right to interview him to place myself ‘on the radar’ of many more fans… I learnt that from work, where we do things that we know will bring in the ratings – people may not like that, but it’s a fact of the business.

James) That was understandable and at the time it was such a hot topic for so many people. Being totally honest, what was it like to interview Alec Peters, as when the interview came out there were a lot of opinions on it, ranging from you ganged up on him to you hate him.

Matt) I don’t hate the man, despite what he may say.

As I said in my recent chat with Christian Gossett, I wish him every success with Axanar now that he can make the two fifteen-minute films – but history says he won’t / can’t.

James) How much fallout has there been from your interview with him?

Matt) I still see viewer figures for part two (with Bawden & Pedraza) increase, there’ll be the occasional loyalist who’ll post their view on the subject but that’s about it.  Perhaps I’m not as biased as certain other individuals…?

James) I have to admit I tip my hat to you, you do deal with them better than I lol, but with all the mixed feedback on the interview and its follow-ups, one has to ask why! Did you cover the Axanar Lawsuit knowing how certain “followers” would cause issues for you?

Matt) I was chatting with the editor at a larger Trek news site and asked why they weren’t covering it… they said because it’s such a divisive issue and they don’t want to deal with the fallout.  I agree that it has divided Trek fan film fans, but I disagree with the whole backing away from the fallout… it is worthy of coverage because it affects so many people and that fallout is par for the course when it comes to coverage hot button issues.

James) To say they do not want to “deal” with the fallout is shady at best tbh but then again each to their own, I personally have not bothered doing a big coverage of it because this issue has caused a LOT of hassle for so many and I felt if I am honest, I wish this certain person and the production had never hit the fan film scene.

One thing that came out of the interview you did was Alec branded you a hater, how do you feel about that?

Matt) I disagree that I’m a hater, that label was placed on me by Peters (along with ‘immature child’ while asking for a follow-up interview) because I questioned financial records.

James) Ah, OK…

I have to ask as like myself a lot of people were “Pro” Axanar at the start, did you ever class yourself in this way or have you always been a down the line kind of guy?

Matt) I don’t go one way or the other with any fan film, to be honest, I’m just not that invested in them.  That said, I enjoyed Prelude just like I enjoyed Continues, Hidden Frontier, Intrepid, Chance Encounter etc.  It’s good to film sometime.

James) Even though this was settled and in essence should be fading away there is still a very strong vocal minority who still are calling for boycotts, etc., How do you feel the fallout from the Axanar lawsuit is going to affect everyone from this point forward both fans and fan Trek?

Matt) While the loyalists shout from the rooftops of a deserted town saying that it’s all over and things will never be the same, I still believe this has levelled the playing field for everyone… now you don’t need to raise a million dollars to be seen and heard (the reason I believe my crowdfunding for Eternal Night failed.) I’m even considering reviving my series.

James) Do you think the Settlement is the end?

Matt) No. I’m not going to say more than that because of some conversations I’ve had off-the-record

James) How do you feel about the settlement?

Matt) Alec Peters is a very lucky man.

James) Do you wish this went the whole hog and he went to trial?

Matt) Well, I was preparing to go live every day with Carlos to cover the trial… it would’ve been fascinating to watch.

James) IF! This had gone to trial, Do you think he honestly could have won

Matt) No.



James) Ok, so about this podcast, “The Stand” as I call it, WHY! Now, after so long, after the settlement?

Matt) It’s always been there but as an impartial observer. Since Alec and his minions can’t see that, I asked myself why bother tiptoeing the line?  So I speak up for what I believe in.

James) What has been the response to it?

Matt) There has been some murmuring, but mostly quiet… they seem focused on Shawn and Carlos.

James) LOL, WOW! I would have thought people would have been pitchforks at dawn over it lol, Can you tell me what made you take more of a stand on this subject matter and not play the line like you did before?

Matt) I received a long winded email from Mike Bawden when I asked him about the fan production aiding Axanar in the move.  In one sentence we went from amicable professionals to adversaries.

James) Erm, how Public Relations of him, can I ask what was in the email or at least see what he said that changed your mind so drastically…..

Matt) 

James) Erm, ok, not touching that one lol, so moving on, Do you think the coverage that TrekZone and Axamonitor have done is the right thing to do, even after all the grief you guys have gotten and still get from it?

Matt) Absolutely, People deserve the truth, whether they believe it or not is up to them… but Alec can’t just get away with taking people’s money and then not delivering – that’s exactly why St fan films have been turned on their head the way they have. Metaphorically, Alec ran into the common room of fandom with a bomb and blew himself up.

Then again, I have to thank Alec for forcing CBS & Paramount to build guidelines because it will allow my production to be on a level playing field with others out there (speaking of, what big names are still in production?)

I’ll probably be releasing my first post-guidelines fan film before he even gets one frame in the gate…

James) I guess there are some good things that came out of this lol, Hey I have met some really cool people so in a way I am thankful to Alec just like you lol :-p

One last thing on this subject, Do you regret getting involved in this massive cluster f**k?

Matt) No. I believe I’ve provided unbiased coverage where possible, I’ve allowed Alec Peters to speak for 30 minutes before questioning his finances, I gave 70 minutes to PR man Mike Bawden, I gave 44 minutes to Jonathan Lane (a “pro-Axanar, self-proclaimed independent blogger”.)

One thing we know Alec likes to say is how we amount to nothing because of reasons! But how do you define success and how do you measure it?

I define success by what you’ve done. My 52 podcasts in three and a half years speak for my success. How do I measure success? Stop talking about what you’re going to do AND DO IT.

James) I agree, success is different for everyone, I do not measure success in the way he does to me it is just being happy with people I love around me as in this world there are some people with nothing.



James) Ok We are hitting the home stretch now and I would like to wrap things up so only a few more questions promise lol.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to: make their own series, what should the aim for?

Matt) Do what TOS did best, focus on the characters, applies the KISS method – keep it simple stupid.

James) What advice would you give to someone wanting to start their own production like Trek Zone?

Matt) Don’t. You’ll hurt my rating :P. Seriously though, work out what you want to do and how you want to do it, I spent nine years trying to figure that out… and I’m up to year 5 trying to work out Eternal Night.

James) Do you have any regrets in doing Trek Zone?

Matt) Not getting started on it sooner.  Maybe I could be even bigger today then?  But I am happy with how things have played out.

James) Lastly, What would you like to say to the fans of Trek Zone?

Matt) Thanks.  Your kind words – especially in this week on the new stuff – makes me happy to know that there are a few out there that hang out for the next release, and you’re the reason I’m pushing myself to make more content more often.

James) So Matt, that is it I want to thank you deeply for your time as I know the big time difference between us made this a bit tricky, but before we sign off, is there anything else you would like to say?

Matt) I think we’ve covered everything. This was fun!



Trekzone can be found online at the following links

Follow, Share and Like

The Trekzone Interview – Part One – WHO! is Matthew Miller

Trekzone.org is Australia’s first Star Trek fan website launching in 2003 Trekzone, was a year 10 High School IT project for its host Matthew Miller, although it sat idle for a few years in 2012 Matthew finally decided to turn it up a notch and really get into producing content for his site.

In February 2012 Matthew launched a short-lived fan series called Eternal Night, but it was in Apr 2013 that things really took off for Trekzone when Matthew attended the red carpet event for Star Trek Into Darkness, where he managed to interview some of the main cast from the film. Since then Matthew has managed to interview some really big names not only from the Trek universe like Doug Drexler, Anthony Montgomery, Alice Krige, Rod Roddenberry and Walter Koenig. But Matthew did not just stop there and in the space of ten years, Matthew has managed to pull in some other big names from the Sci-Fi universe adding the likes of Richard Dean Anderson (SG1) & Joe Flanigan (Stargate Atlantis) to his list.

However, Matthew and Trekzone have not stopped there, and in 2016 Matthew took to the road and produced a mini-series of blogs called Sci-Fi Weekly where he got the chance to meet some of the top scientists in Australia for example Dr Andy Thomas – Australia’s first astronaut, Dr. Anton Wallner, Dr. Geoff Campbell and Dr. Brad Tucker, although a short-lived mini blog series it was one that drew a lot of interest to his site and more recently Matthew was one of the main followers of the Axanar lawsuit producing content that covered, the particulars of the lawsuit and how it has changed the fan film world forever.



James) Hey Matt, tell us a bit more about you.

Matt) I’m a thirty-year-old broadcast engineer in the real world, which sees me working in television making sure people can keep watching our TV signal.  I like a good bottle of scotch, a decent TV show (Designated Survivor is a good one right now… I’ve only seen the pilot so far though.)  I dislike frauds and people who make huge claims but fail to deliver.

James) Other than Trek, what other TV shows do you like to watch?

Matt) Babylon 5, Stargate are a couple of other Sci-Fi shows I like, also enjoying Dick Wolf’s Chicago series of shows and a few others on TV right now.

James) Well, you should like Stargate lol you have interviewed a few of the main cast :p how awkward would that be if you interviewed someone you had no idea who they were,

As a keen Star Trek fan, do you play any Trek Games, and If not Trek Games then what ones?

Matt) I recently discovered Steam has the entire back catalogue of Age of Empires, man that was a cracking series for its time (and they released a remastered version of number 2!)  In the Trek universe, Armada II, Bridge Commander, Birth of the Federation were amongst my ‘lay by’ purchases when I was a junior… I remember waiting for hours for the install and crossing fingers hoping the graphics card was up to spec!

James) So know we know the basics of who you are and some of your likes, because I am nosey lol, what is your day job?

Matt) I work in TV here in Brisbane, they’re good to me and it’s fun to be behind the camera at work – which allows me to not be too burnt out while producing The Trekzone Spotlight (I do feel that they are different sides of the TV business so it’s good fun.)

James) Tell me a bit about your history with Star Trek what does Trek mean to you. What Trek Actors have you met in real life if any?

Matt) Thanks to The Trekzone Spotlight, I’ve met Nana Visitor, Connor Trinneer, Rene Auberjonois, Anthony Montgomery and a few others… also met a few of the guys and girls from Stargate (Richard Dean Anderson was a highlight, so awesome!)

James) I so need! To start doing Cons I think I need to get out more lol. With Trekzone do you go to many Star Trek Conventions?

Matt) One dedicated Trek con when I was 10… we had lunch with Tim Russ! Australia doesn’t get too many dedicated cons, the audience would be there for it though…

James) That is kind of like the UK We have Cons but I think the only Trek-centric one is Destination Europe, everything Trek-centric seems to be states side mostly.

So moving on out of 5 live action series, 1 animated one do you have a favourite Trek Episode and if so why this one?

Matt) That’d be a tossup between DS9 season 4’s The Visitor, TNG Season 6’s The Inner Light and VOY season 3/4’s Scorpion parts 1 & 2.  I love some good character focused eps (and Scorpion because the Borg get their ass kicked!) – OK, you only said episode… but can YOU just pick one from 728!? ;).

James) Erm, I guess not for me though I have my go to episodes which I guess they can be considered “favourites”. Out of all the features do you have a favourite Star Trek Film?

Matt) First Contact.

James) Hmmm That is a good choice but, I think a lot of people pick that one, it is one of my faves but my fave film I think and it is controversial lol is Nemesis, not for the story as such as let’s face it, it does lack in a lot of areas but it is just different enough yet similar to be a good trek film. Do you have a favourite Trek Actor/Actress?

Matt) Nana Visitor… she went on such a ride with her character that was so rigid in the beginning, striving for independence for herself and her people after the Occupation, but over seven years developed deep friendships with these aliens that came straight after the Cardassian’ and started running the space station… she even fell in love with the shapeshifter.

James) Worst Trek Episode Why?

Matt) VOY’s Threshold. Need I say more?

James) The Jane Paris BABIES! Lol. Favourite Series & Why?

Matt) Tossup between DS9, for its gritty take on Trek and Enterprise for its optimistic vision of our near future (despite an out of character third season.)

James) Worst Series & Why?

Matt) TOS, purely because I grew up on TNG and those 60’s elements are so 60’s. (It’s not bad, it’s just very different… or original.)

James) You know I am the same, everything seems to be TOS saturated, yes I get it, TOS is what launched 51 years of greatness but like you TNG was my baby but it’s not my fave : -O.

You recently covered a few fan films and you have interviews people like Vic from STC, Do you watch any Fan Films do you watch?

Matt) I’ve caught Hidden Frontier (that series got me excited for my fan series, and then I met Carlos who worked on it!) Continues, New Voyages. Most recently Chance Encounter – good flick.

James) I remember seeing Hidden Frontier YEARS! Ago then I drifted away from fan films it was not until Renegades did I come back and play catch up. Can you rank your top five (if you have them)?

Matt) Chance Encounter, Hidden Frontier, Continues, Intrepid, New Voyages (I haven’t seen much of James’ series.)

James) I have seen all of them you have listed and like you, I have not watched many NV episodes yet, TBH I think once I watched a lot of STC and a few stand alone ones I was TOS’ed out, BUT! I plan to go and watch some of them over the next few weeks as I want to see the ones with some of the TOS cast in.

What other Star Trek fan productions do you watch/listen to etc (Podcasts, YouTube shows etc)

Matt) I’m so short on spare time that I don’t catch very much else.

James) TBH, I am the same with having to “try” to cover as many fan productions as possible, I tend to skim through podcasts to bits that I am keen on hearing, I try to catch Sunday G&T as often as I can, I do watch yours when you interview someone I want to see and Trek Geeks I skim but Dan and Bill do it weekly so I always know I can go to their site and catch up.

As someone who has been involved in the fan community for a lengthy period now, what would you say is favourite parts of the Trek Fandom?

Matt) Meeting strangers with a shared passion the world over.

James) Worst Parts of the Trek Fandom (any bad experiences)?

Matt) Stubborn individuals that believe their way is the only way (to tell a story, to report on facts or even about other people.)

James) Man your diplomatic LOL, do you have any funny stories to tell

Matt) Not necessarily funny, but the spread of Trek fans always surprises me… there are Trekkies in the same suburb as me!

James) What makes you thankful to be a part of this amazing universe

Matt) Finding it tough to be thankful as this universe as thrown a few curve balls at me in the last six months, but I’m in a good place now and cracking on with the podcasts and staying busy for a while.



James) Moving on, we have covered your likes and dislikes in regards to the last 5 live action series, but now I want to tackle DISCOVERY.

I guess the first basic question is, are you looking forward to it?

Matt) Very much so, I’m hoping that The Trekzone Spotlight can help me delve deeper into it.

James) When you first saw the trailer for Discovery were you worried at all?

Matt) I was concerned that they’d be repeating the same ‘mistakes’ as Enterprise (doing a prequel because there is nothing left to explore post VOY)

James) See, I liked Ent a LOT so I get what you mean but I am keen on seeing another new prequel tbh lol. What do you think about the casting choices thus far?

Matt) Very good, it’s another group of relatively unknown / niche actors which are what TNG-era Trek has been about.

James) What are your hopes for Discovery?

Matt) That it survives the first season.

James) Well we know now, that they have ordered another 2 episodes and things do look real good for Season 2.

The departure of Brian Fuller has caused a lot of miss information being floated and a lot of “vocal” fans crying that it now means this series’ days are numbered, are you concerned at all?

Matt) I think Brian should’ve focused on one project at a time.  Does anyone know what J. Michael Straczynski is doing?

James) LOL I would prefer some of the old crew to replace him over J. Michael Straczynski tbh but each to their own 😛

What look do you hope they go for, we know its prime time line but do you hope it’s more prime than Kelvin or vice versa?

Matt) Has to prime timeline and character driven – we don’t need a million dollars of special effects to make good Trek.

James) I think with the latest trailer, it is going to upset a lot of people but! I am still excited. What do you hope they do not do with Discovery, as in PLEASE DO NOT GO THERE LOL?

Matt) Avoid the Arcanis sector at all costs.

James) LMFAO! You mean do not Axa it LOL!, another controversial point, that seems to have upset a few people is CBS’ decision to place it on CBS all Access in the states and Netflix worldwide  Do you think this move is a good or bad idea?

Matt) It is… interesting.  In one way it frees the series from the pressure of rating success, but on the other, there are more accurate viewership figures than broadcast TV’s Nielson boxes.

James) When I first heard of this choice I was not overly happy as tbh Netflix UK, not so good LOL but I think it is the way things are moving now, people in the UK at least tend to watch TV less and less and want to be able to watch things NOW!, I think this is the way things are heading tbh.

Do you think online streaming is the future of televised series and films, just as you use YouTube etc now, is TV on its way out?

Matt) That’s an interesting question, given I work in TV… I think free to air will stick around as long as it has things you can’t get elsewhere (in Australia before broadband internet our prime time was all the American shows, usually on a 6-9 month delay because our TV season is Feb-Nov, but now there is mostly reality TV or sport and news during the day because that’s not available anywhere else.)

That said, in the US it’s different because it is the world premiere of episodes each week… free to air and cable has its niche that way.  It is still the most popular medium to reach the masses.



That wraps up part one, in part two I talk to Matt about what his best and worst interviews were, his history in fan productions and what made him stand up and take a stand against that fan production that just doesn’t seem to go away. 

 


Trekzone can be found online at the following links

Follow, Share and Like

Asexuality in Star Trek by Emma Filtness

Hello, my name is Emma and I am a member of Starfleet and the Tactical Officer on the USS Merlin (Region 20). I have identified as Grey-Asexual for roughly a year and as a keen sci-fi fan, I was curious to look into the spectrum of asexuality in the expanded universe. Today I am happy to produce my results.

What is Asexuality?

According to Urban Dictionary, the term asexual is described as “a person who is not interested in or does not desire sexual activity, either within or outside of a relationship. asexuality is not the same as celibacy, which is the willful decision to not act on sexual feelings. asexuals, while not physically sexual-type folks, are none the less quite capable of loving, affectionate, romantic ties to others.” As a spectrum, asexuality is, much like space, yet to be fully explored.

Asexuality in Star Trek

During my research, I was able to find a few different scenarios featuring blatant asexuality as a theme. Throughout these story arcs, there is a recurring driving force which is that sexuality is considered to be a building block of the human psyche. Any species, alien or otherwise, that are currently not sexually active wish to embrace sexuality in order to further discover what it is to become human. The species that I will be using as examples are The Vaalians from The Original Series episode The Apple, Jn’aii or more specifically Soren from the Next Generation episode The Outcast and Data also from Next Gen.

The Vaalians

The Vaalians are discovered by Kirk and the landing party after being attacked by the indigenous flora. The Vaalians do not procreate as it is forbidden and are replaced as needed by the Vaal, who is the driving force behind their community. According to a blog by Women at Warp, which also explores asexuality, “The episode links the Vaalians’ lack of sexuality to the other elements of their society that causes them to stagnate… When the people express concern about how they will survive [after Kirk & co destroy the Vaal who has been operating a sophisticated computer system which is damaging the Enterprise.] Kirk reassures them that they will now be able to lead ‘normal lives’… ‘You’ll learn something about men and women – the way they’re supposed to be.” On a positive note though Spock stands up for the Vaalians by saying that simply because their culture is different to the crew’s expectations does not make it invalid. The episode links the species’ naivety and lack of understanding to the biblical story of Adam and Eve, with the Enterprise away team as the Apple of Knowledge (hence the episode name) and the controlling Vaal as God. I think this is a ‘fascinating’ though relatively insulting look into an asexual society, though the time period must be taken into consideration here as any sexuality other than straight was highly frowned upon. As a result, the fact that there is even a mention of another sexual culture was a step forward.

The J’naii and Soren

The J’naii are introduced to us in the Next Generation episode The Outcast which lies out as follows. The Enterprise is contacted by the genderless J’naii who require assistance finding a missing shuttle which has disappeared into null space. In order to track down the shuttle, Soren, a skilled pilot and Riker are sent out as a search party. However, the craft is damaged and Soren is injured. During her treatment by Dr Crusher, Soren is interested in learning more about the female identity as it turns out that Soren is interested in Riker and wants to pursue a romantic relationship with him. This presents a massive problem as the J’aii forbid any expression of gender or sexuality in any form as they believe that it is primitive and is thus a perversion. “Those… who view themselves as possessing gender are ridiculed, outcast and forced to undergo ‘psychotic therapy’” which is designed to forcefully re-educate the individual in order to bring them back into line. The point of the episode was to highlight LGBT rights and homophobia in line with Gene Roddenberry’s legacy who wished to include more LGBT characters in the show. Which in addition to The Apple shows that despite arguments that Star Trek is only science fiction and therefore not necessarily accessible, it is one of the only shows willing to express the many variations of the human psyche.

Data

In the last of today’s explorations, Data is arguably the most mainstream asexual character in modern culture. As an Android, “Data is not human, though he desperately wants to be.” In order to become more human, he engages in sexual intercourse with Tasha Yar which is a continuation of my larger point. In a blog post from 2009, the author, Elizabeth, herself an asexual, theorises that in the Star Trek universe, “sexuality… is contingent on having emotions… This implies that sexual attraction is itself an emotion… it could be that the emotion Data as experiencing was purely his desire to be human, channelled through a sexual circuit.” Data is in many ways a very good example of an asexual and the wider reactions to this, in that many asexuals face harassment stating that lacking sexuality is in a way inhuman, much like Kirk and McCoy’s reaction to the Vaalian’s lack of sexual activity or leanings.

Conclusion

Summing up, it is clear to me that within the Star Trek mythology, asexuality is treated as a somewhat alien trait, lacking emotion and deeper knowledge which is a cornerstone of humanity. However, I am not attacking the franchise, in fact, I celebrate that Gene Roddenberry was forward-thinking and daring enough to encourage other cultures, ideologies, gender and sexual identities when it is still relatively frowned upon in society. This legacy has continued in the Star Trek pathos, introducing Sulu played by John Cho as gay in the new film ‘Star Trek Beyond’. I hope to see this legacy grow in future series and films and potentially include another asexual character.

Thank you for reading!  


Bibliography


  • Author: Emma Filtness
  • Pictures provided by: Emma Filtness
  • Blog layout, Some Pictures and links: James Hams

Follow, Share and Like

The Fan Film Guidelines Breakdown – Part One

It has been nearly a year since the release of the vaunted “Fan Film Guidelines” and it has taken time for many to be able to fully digest them and dissect them enough to understand what they may mean for fan films.  Furthermore, personally I wanted to understand what the fallout was from them, was this the end to ALL fan films or was this just a hiccup and then things would carry on as normal but with some alterations.  As history has presented us with all big changes to the status quo the landscape does change and there are always some casualties, as a result of their implementation a few fan films decided to shut up shop or retool to remove the Star Trek aspect altogether, however for the vast majority things carried on but as expected they had to alter things to enable the productions to move forward.

From the “about section” of Project Small Access

However, unlike the Borg some fans did not adapt and as a result a very small yet vocal group of fans have banded together to express their dislike for the guidelines, on the same day the guidelines were announced a group on Facebook calling themselves “Project Small Access” popped up with the goal to semi-boycott the new Star Trek series due to air on CBS All Access, they plan to achieve this by hosting “Viewing Parties” to hurt CBS “in the wallet”.

Admins and Moderators Of “Project Small Access”

Nevertheless after looking through the group seeing it’s Admins and reading its post history the group seems to be just another Axanar group due to the Admins being Axanar’ PR rep Mike Bawden, Known Axanar Surrogate Jonathan Lane who is joined by three other very loyal Axanar supporters but the strong pro Axanar vibe you get from its posts it is clear to see that there is an ulterior motive to the group and its goals. the timing of the group’s appearance is extremely suspect as not only is the group run completely by loyal Axanar supporters its inception was less than six months into the Axanar lawsuit.

An example of the hate directed towards CBS

Although the group started out with a somewhat ill-advised ethos in thinking that a disgruntled group of supposed fans (less than 1300) could try to somewhat hold CBS to ransom with the notion that they could influence change to the guidelines by using the tactics they use or they will not sub to All Access is misguided at best, diluted at worst. However, the worst thing is the group now stands, for the most part, as a group that has just descended into a free for all of venom towards other big named fan film productions and a strong dislike towards CBS in general, this is not only worrying but it tarnishes what Star Trek is all about, the acceptance of all things and the ability to adapt and change. Alongside this worrying facebook group there have been several petitions set up and a lot of extremely vocal folk saying on social media saying they will boycott all officially sanctioned CBS work or even pirate it as a result of the guidelines.


So enquiring minds want to know why have the guidelines been met with a very small but strong vocal opposition by fans and not by the fan films themselves, The answer is anyone guess, to date I have spoken to over 60 independent fan film productions about this and other fan production related issues and, while all of them have their own views on the guidelines varying from they love them too, they hate them, one fact that is undeniable is they all respect the need for them and more importantly respect CBS as they own the Star Trek IP and belongs to them so it is up to them how to they choose to protect it. But here is the thing, these guidelines are here to stay and they are not going to change or even go away overnight, and as it stands we have to work with them and show CBS we can play by the rules.

One thing that was passed along to me in so many conversations is until CBS handed them down, no one had any real idea of the boundaries that were acceptable to CBS for a production to operate within, before the guidelines there had always been the “unwritten” rules that pretty much everyone followed and many knew but unfortunately things started to escalate to the point even these unwritten rules were being ignored by a few and by one in particular. It took one production to push CBS & Paramount to the breaking point of what is acceptable even to them and with this the good old days of semi-unrestricted fan film production into the ground to a halt.

So why a blog series about the guidelines

Well, the principal reason I decided to do this is that almost everything you see online regarding them is so negative and, to be honest depressing, YES! They changed the playing field for fan films, but did they kill them NO! And that is important to communicate not only to whoever wants to read this blog series. So with the negativity and calls for action that surrounds the guidelines, I reached out to some fan film producers of varied experiences to see if they would like to take part in forming these blogs with their own views and commentary, I was extremely honoured and excited that the guys I reached out to decided to accept and have their voice added to these blogs. One key thing we all felt is it is very important to share our knowledge with the next gen of fan films.

These blogs will be split into sections as not to overwhelm you all at once and will be released as and when we have pulled our resources together for each section.

So this is part one of what may! Be ten parts, WHY? Ten parts the idea of these blogs is to break these guidelines down in an easy how-to for ALL fans to be able to make their own fan films without the all the negativity and misunderstanding and that is why I have teamed up with various people from different fan productions as these are the people who know more than others on what is involved in bringing a fan film to life.  


It should be noted the Fan Film Guidelines DO NOT effect anything but Fan Films, this means Audios dramas and alike are not bound by them.


CBS and Paramount Pictures are big believers in reasonable fan fiction and fan creativity, and, in particular, want amateur fan filmmakers to showcase their passion for Star Trek.  Therefore, CBS and Paramount Pictures will not object to, or take legal action against, Star Trek fan productions that are non-professional and amateur and meet the following guidelines.

Guidelines for Avoiding Objections:

1) The fan production must be less than 15 minutes for a single self-contained story or no more than 2 segments, episodes or parts, not to exceed 30 minutes total, with no additional seasons, episodes, parts, sequels or remakes.  



RANDY LANDERS – Potemkin Pictures

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

A single, self-contained story cannot exceed 15 mins or 2 15 min segments.  It does NOT prohibit characters or setting from being used to create another single, self-contained story.

  • Do you think that you can make follow up episodes as long as they are “self-contained stories” and not “part 2 or 3” of the same story?

We no longer can refer to them as episodes. They are fan productions. Captain Walker and the crew of the Tristan can appear in any number of self-contained stories/productions providing that they’re not more than 15 mins in length (or two 15 segments).

  • Are there any links you think would be of benefit to add to this section such as lists to strong short stories or links on “how to make a short in 15 – 30 mins”

https://www.youtube.com/user/Potemkin1711/videos

Only 4 of our 48 productions to date are more than 15 mins in length.  You have to be willing to avoid “beauty shots” or lingering on a character’s reaction or melodramatic pauses. Life doesn’t include those anyway. You don’t have to start the story in the beginning. Start it in the middle and let the audience figure it out. For heaven’s sake, they’re not stupid.

I’d recommend not relying on the two-parter as a crutch. Give us a short story!

Nick Cook – Intrepid

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

I think this is very intentionally worded to prevent people trying to market themselves as a series. That said, I also think there’s some room for interpretation. The time limits are pretty black and white but there’s nothing that specifically precludes using recurring settings and characters, as long as you’re not doing story arcs or direct sequels.

  • Do you think that you can make follow up episodes as long as they are “self-contained stories” and not “part 2 or 3” of the same story?

Yes, I do. See above.

  • Are there any links you think would be of benefit to add to this section such as lists to strong short stories or links on “how to make a short in 15 – 30 mins”

Not specifically, but I think if you look at the films Randy Landers’ Potemkin Pictures are producing, or the last couple of films we’ve released, you’ll get a fair idea of what appears to be tolerated. Which is not to say that couldn’t change.


Vance MajorMelbourne

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

Well, honestly I’ve already played the same character over several shorts, and no one’s come knocking at my door or taken down my films. I think ppl can look at the things I’m doing and see that what little bending I am doing is in good faith, these are just guidelines, not rules. It’s the spirit of the law, not the letter. Hell, it’s not even law, like I said it’s a guideline.

  • Do you think that you can make follow up episodes as long as they are “self-contained stories” and not “part 2 or 3” of the same story?

If they are made with passion. You watch um, no one’s going to mistake what I do for what’s on tv or compete with the big guns. If they do, they don’t get out much lol but I do bend that rule to some degree while respecting it somewhat. I had an idea when I started doing my stuff and I’m compromising on it because it is not my franchise. However, it’s my time to do with it how I choose. So I can compromise to some degree and respect the guidelines. But as I said, no one’s going to mistake me for what CBS is doing. And I think I have been very creative with the things I’ve put out, and what I’m waiting to put out. So….spirit of what’s intended. Even if not the letter.

Justin Burton – Former member of the Lexington production. 

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

Just exactly that, however, I would allow for a 30-second intro that would lead into the opening act.  Most Tv shows do not carry long intros anymore

  • Do you think that you can make follow up episodes as long as they are “self-contained stories” and not “part 2 or 3” of the same story?

Yes, But you have to follow the formula exactly and not make it look like a story arc.

Ray Tesi – Republic

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

Having had the opportunity to contact John van Citters and CBS directly, they seem adamite that it’s basically one story and you’re out, meaning no follow-up episodes using the same “crew.” On our Indiegogo page, we stated that we were looking to do a total of 6 episodes of Starship Republic. Of all of the questions I asked CBS about the crowdfunding campaign and its perks, this was the only item they indicated was “out of line.” The good news is that CBS is still allowing fans to play in their sandbox.

  • Do you think that you can make follow up episodes as long as they are “self-contained stories” and not “part 2 or 3” of the same story?

I think there are ways around the guideline, and I don’t think CBS will be “lawsuit happy” if you do, but I think it’s treading a fine line.

Robin –  Dark Armada:

“The guidelines set by CBS are just what they are…….. Guidelines, as it was explained in the podcast they’re not supposed to be rules and CBS, isn’t going to inspect every single fan film about these guidelines. The Star Trek Fan Film community used to live by a certain code or ‘unofficial rules’, until some decided to break that code and all hell broke loose. But it’s really just common sense: making a fan film means you play with someone’s intellectual property and in our case, CBS and Paramount have graciously allowed us to do that for over a decade. The risk that they would ask you to stop is always present, so do you think it’s wise to sell DVD’s, ask for money/donations, build a studio, pretend to be official Star Trek? Only a few thought it was. Most fan productions followed a few simple rules: don’t make a profit, don’t sell DVD’s or similar merchandise and make clear it’s a fan production. The only difference today is that these rules are now officially presented as guidelines by CBS. Follow them and you’re safe from any legal action. Most important about these guidelines are that your intentions are good (the common sense stuff I mentioned before), that it’s a production by the fans for the fans out of love for Star Trek (and of course…. don’t pull an Alec). My advice would be not to try to desperately work around the guidelines, but realise that they are a way for CBS to allow us to play with Star Trek as fans. Some of these guidelines weigh heavier than other. I think I don’t have to explain that collecting more money is a worse guideline to ignore than the one about the length of your film. Whether your film is 15, 30 or 45 minutes long, make sure your intentions are good and put a lot effort, a lot of work and a lot of love into it”

More Producer Analysis is on its way. 


Vic Mignogna from Star Trek Continues on Fan Films and CBS/Paramount

Vid Credit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbjgYZ1kzE8



  • One thing this does not say is you cannot use the same characters to tell further stories. Ref: 

For example, DS9: “In Pale Moonlight”, TNG: “Eye of the Beholder”, TNG: “Face of the Enemy”, ENT: “A Night in Sickbay”, VOY: “Message in a Bottle”, VOY: “Life Line”

All these episodes focus on one! Character from each series, yes there are one or two scenes with other cast members but the story revolves around one centric character.

 


There are so many fan films out there that have managed to stick to the run times as set out in this guideline it has been done and can be done.

Some examples are:

Animated Examples:

Live Action Examples:

Potemkin Pictures

INTREPID

DARK ARMADA –

Starship Valiant

Dreadnought Dominion

Melbourne –

Other examples see here –

= So making films within 15 mins IS NOT IMPOSSIBLE =


Ref: Engage Podcast – Full Transcript HERE 

Time Index – 00:35:30 – Time Length

{} Jordan {}

“There was somebody else that asked  uh 15 minutes for the film does that  include the credits and tell me if the  answer is right the answer is yes but  now like if you’re if it comes to minutes and  seconds  fine but go for  minutes right I mean  like these are doing shave it down”

{} JVC {}

These are guidelines there they are intended to be something that gives structure and lets people know that these the limits they can operate within where they know they’re not going to get a knock on the door well we don’t we don’t go house to house anyway there they’re not going to hear from us they’re not going to get a phone call they’re not going to get an email  they’re not going to get anything that is going to ruin their day one way or another and in and make them you know feel bad or like they’ve done anything wrong that they’re guidelines we’re not we’re not going to be able to provide the level of feedback that’s like you know I got this really great scene but if I include this scene or  this one really cool shot  I don’t want to cut anything else from  it’s going to make the film 15 minutes and 30 seconds what do I do that’s up to you and your you know  creative decisions were not looking to get into that, were not approving any material we don’t want to get involved in your script choices your costume choices”

Time index – 00:59:55

{} JVC {}

and what I’m what I’m honestly  hoping will happen with the with these  guidelines with a  15 minute or 30 minute limit on this and a  fifty thousand dollar crowdfunding limit  I think it’s going to be easier for people to hit their goals quickly and  easily and get their projects underway  I think with the 15 minute limit I think with some of the things that are here is it’s going to make it easier than ever for more people to pick up cameras everybody’s walking around with a  high definition video camera in their pocket now which is it’s amazing  that that’s where we’re at you buy  computers and there’s a capable video editing software preloaded on it’s an amazing time for that what we want to do is we want to drive more films forward more fan voices not fewer we want more we want we want to see more people express their creativity for Star Trek and hopefully out of that will be able to find new ways to take advantage of this and see  Star Trek continue to grow and evolve.

I’ve definitely had people express their concerns about what this means it’s a big adjustment there’s no question people have gotten people have gotten used to full like 1960’s length episodes of you know 50 minutes  plus 90minute feature films but that’s what we do we’re producing full-length episodes within and Paramount’s producing  amazing amounts of I mean they did the  budgets that are involved in a Star Trek motion picture now are beyond  anything I could you know possibly have  believed  years ago that that kind  of budget would be available to Star Trek


How to make a short film in fewer than 15 mins here are some tips on how to make a short film:


Ref Links:

 

Follow, Share and Like

TREKLANTA 2017

Even though this is their third annual Star Trek Convention under the name TREKLANTA, officially Treklanta was launched back in 2011 under the original name, “TrekTrax Atlanta.” it was in late 2014 they changed their name to the easier-to-pronounce, easier-to-remember and less confusing “Treklanta” so while many will only recognise the Treklanta name for the last three years this convention was actually its seventh annual convention.

As always the TREKLANTA Star Trek Convention, kicked off in its normal geek filled style a weekend filled with famous faces and Trek fans alike celebrating the one thing that brings us all together in the mad universe we call Star Trek.

This year’s convention had its normal celeb panels and guest speakers, Miss Klingon pageant and even a Star Trek themed wedding,



Although it is not every day you see a Star Trek themed wedding this was not the only thing that was spectacular to occur this year. The 2017 Treklanta also had something rather unique planned in it being the first time they held their Bjo Awards ceremony.

In 2016 following another successful run of its well known Independent Star Trek Fan Film Awards, which were presented by Carel Struycken, Tracee Lee Cocco and Jack Stauffer but also by the famous husband and wife duo, Bjo Trimble and John Trimble. Bjo and John were responsible for the letter writing a campaign that helped save Star Trek. During her time helping to present the awards, Bjo revealed to Eric L. Watts that she was so overwhelmed with how well the awards went, upon hearing this Eric asked Bjo if she would endorse the awards by allowing them to be renamed in her honour, and she modestly agreed. So going forward the Star Trek Independent Awards will now be known as “The Treklanta Star Trek Fan Film Bjo Awards”.

Although it has only been about a week The Bjo Awards have already earned their own moniker the Bjo’s, however In much the same way that the motion picture industry’s “Academy Awards” are sometimes referred to as the “Oscar Awards” the Independent Star Trek Fan Film Awards has renamed itself as “The Treklanta Star Trek Fan Film Bjo Awards” and the physical item that is presented to each winner will be referred to as “the Bjo Award.” Personally, I have to admit I was brought up to date by Eric himself in the correct terminology for these prestigious awards and the official name is a much more fitting name for such an Important person in Trek history, and I do hope the Bjo’s is not a term that becomes too widespread.

Like previous years the awards are sponsored and this year’s awards were sponsored by none other than Larry Flemming the man behind so many Star Trek Fan Film roles, I reached out to Larry just to ask him how he became involved in sponsoring this year’s awards and he had this to say.

“Hey, NP. I have been a Star Trek fan from the beginning. I have also been in a number of fan films, so I know what they go thru. I met Erik when he was wanting to get a fan group together and helped get Treklanta going. I continue to support him and all the great groups making fan films. In our new era of CBS monitored fan films, it’s even harder. I’m resting up after a long weekend helping Axanar move to Atlanta, so I support everyone making films. LLAP”Larry Fleming

A complete history of Treklanta can be found > HERE < and a complete list of its previous winners can be found > HERE <

In addition, if you want to find out all the goings-on at this year’s Treklanta visit their Facebook and website for a full rundown of its guest and the panels they held.



The 2017 Independent Star Trek Fan Film Awards, a.k.a. The Bjo Awards were presented at and by Treklanta on April 30, 2017, in Atlanta, Georgia.

You can watch the awards ceremony above or skip the video and scroll down to the list of names and categories.

The panel of judges included Diana Dru Botsford, Keith R. A. DeCandido, John DeSentis, Matthew M. Foster, Andrew Greenberg, Robert Greenberger, Cheralyn Lambeth and Archie H. Waugh. The Masters of Ceremonies were Eric L. Watts and Brian Holloway. The presenters included David Gerrold, Gary Graham, J. G. Hertzler and James Horan. The award plaques were sponsored by Lawrence L. Fleming.

BEST SPECIAL & VISUAL EFFECTS

FINALISTS

  • Red Shirt
  • Star Trek Continues “Come Not Between the Dragons”
  • Star Trek Dark Armada “Out of Time”
  • Star Trek: Horizon
  • Star Trek: New Voyages “The Holiest Thing”

BEST SOUND DESIGN, EDITING & MIXING

FINALISTS

  • Star Trek Continues “Come Not Between the Dragons”
  • Star Trek Continues “Embracing the Winds”
  • Star Trek Dark Armada “Out of Time”
  •  Star Trek: Horizon
  • Star Trek: New Voyages “The Holiest Thing”

BEST ORIGINAL MUSIC

FINALISTS

  • Needs of the Many
  • Red Shirt
  • Star Trek Continues “Come Not Between the Dragons”
  • Star Trek Dark Armada “Out of Time”
  • Star Trek: Horizon

BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING

FINALISTS

  • Star Trek Continues “Come Not Between the Dragons”
  • Star Trek Continues “Embracing the Winds”
  •  Star Trek: Horizon
  • Star Trek: New Voyages “The Holiest Thing”
  • Starship Farragut “The Crossing”

BEST COSTUMING

FINALISTS

  • Needs of the Many
  • Star Trek Continues “Come Not Between the Dragons”
  • Star Trek Continues “Embracing the Winds”
  • Star Trek: Horizon
  • Star Trek: New Voyages “The Holiest Thing”
  • Starship Valiant “Crosses to Bear”
  • USS Danubia “Force Contact”

BEST GUEST ACTOR OR ACTRESS

FINALISTS

  • Gigi Edgley as Eliza Taylor – Star Trek Continues “Come Not Between the Dragons”
  • Jacy King as Dr Carol Marcus – Star Trek: New Voyages “The Holiest Thing”
  • Clare Kramer as Commander Garrett – Star Trek Continues “Embracing the Winds”
  • Erin Gray as Commodore Gray – Star Trek Continues “Embracing the Winds”
  • Jason Carter as The Priest – Project: Potemkin “Room Service”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR OR ACTRESS

FINALISTS

  • Matthew Trammell as Dr Matthias – Project: Potemkin “The Last Child”, “The Talinar Incident”
  • Michele Specht as Dr Elise McKennah – Star Trek Continues “Come Not Between the Dragons”, “Embracing the Winds”
  • Grant Imahara as Sulu – Star Trek Continues “Come Not Between the Dragons”, “Embracing the Winds”
  • Cat Roberts as Palmer – Star Trek Continues “Come Not Between the Dragons”, “Embracing the Winds”
  • Kim Stinger as Uhura – Star Trek Continues “Come Not Between the Dragons”, “Embracing the Winds”
  • Tim Kaiser as Admiral Gardner – Star Trek: Horizon

BEST LEAD ACTOR OR ACTRESS

FINALISTS

  • Harriet Fettis as Elisabeth – “Needs of the Many”
  • Aaron Jay as Ben – “Needs of the Many”
  • Christopher Doohan as Mr Scott – Star Trek Continues “Come Not Between the Dragons”, “Embracing the Winds”
  • Vic Mignogna as Captain James T. Kirk – Star Trek Continues “Come Not Between the Dragons”, “Embracing the Winds”
  • Paul Lang as Captain Harrison Hawke – Star Trek: Horizon

BEST DIRECTOR

FINALISTS

  • Aaron Vanderkley – “Needs of the Many”
  • James Kerwin – Star Trek Continues “Embracing the Winds”
  • Julian Higgins – Star Trek Continues “Come Not Between the Dragons”
  • Tommy Kraft – Star Trek: Horizon
  • Wayland Strickland, Scotty Whitehurst – Starship Farragut “The Crossing”

BEST ORIGINAL STORY OR SCREENPLAY

FINALISTS

  • Aaron Vanderkley – “Needs of the Many”
  • Greg Dykstra, James Kerwin, Vic Mignogna – Star Trek Continues “Come Not Between the Dragons”
  • James Kerwin, Vic Mignogna – Star Trek Continues “Embracing the Winds”
  • Tommy Kraft – Star Trek: Horizon
  • Dave Galanter, Paul Sieber – Starship Farragut “The Crossing”

BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION, SHORT FORM

FINALISTS

  • “Needs of the Many”
  • Project: Potemkin “The Last Child”
  • “Red Shirt”
  • Starship Valiant “Crosses to Bear”
  • Trek Isolation “Out of the Fire”

BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION, LONG FORM

FINALISTS

  • Star Trek Continues “Come Not Between the Dragons”
  • Star Trek Continues “Embracing the Winds”
  • Star Trek: Horizon
  • Star Trek: New Voyages “The Holiest Thing”
  • Starship Farragut “The Crossing”

Below you can find a complete rundown of each award and its winner along with a table of all finalists that were considered.

 Release Date & IMDb LinkSeries Name & Web Site LinkEpisode Title & Online Video LinkRun Time
11/17/2016Needs of the Many“Needs of the Many”0:06:28
21/31/2016Star Trek: New Voyages“The Holiest Thing”1:03:53
32/26/2016Star Trek: Horizon“Star Trek: Horizon”1:42:35
43/9/2016Starship Deimos“The Lucky One”0:07:05
53/12/2016Starship Farragut“The Crossing”1:12:37
63/16/2016Red Shirt“Red Shirt”0:24:31
73/28/2016Battlecruiser Kupok“Sanctuary”0:07:56
84/2/2016Star Trek: Natures Hunger“The Darkside of Starfleet Justice”0:15:42
94/3/2016Star Trek: Intrepid“Nemo Me Impune Lacessit”0:11:10
104/10/2016Starship Tristan“Relics and Regrets”0:07:14
114/17/2016Project: Potemkin“The Last Child”0:20:53
124/21/2016Starship Deimos“Aftermath”0:06:09
134/27/2016Project: Potemkin“The Talinar Incident”0:08:11
145/4/2016Project: Potemkin“The Hunt”0:10:31
155/28/2016Star Trek Continues“Come Not Between the Dragons”0:42:20
165/31/2016Project: Potemkin“Inquiry”0:05:39
176/9/2016Star Trek: Revenge“Star Trek: Revenge”0:02:00
186/28/2016Starship Tristan“The Chronicles of Lanclos”0:08:59
197/17/2016Project: Potemkin“All in a Day’s Work”0:08:27
209/1/2016Assignment: Earth“Boredom”0:04:28
219/3/2016Star Trek Continues“Embracing the Winds”0:43:56
229/11/2016Starship Tristan“The Greater Good”0:06:27
239/20/2016Project: Potemkin“Destinies”0:07:37
249/27/2016Trek Isolation“Out of the Fire”0:06:41
2510/12/2016The Federation Files“His Name Is Mudd”0:47:25
2610/18/2016Starship Tristan“Be Careful What You Wish For”0:15:00
2710/21/2016Star Trek: Raven“Voyager Continues”0:32:03
2810/24/2016Project: Potemkin“Room Service”0:07:37
2910/26/2016USS Danubia“Force Contact”0:28:50
3011/3/2016Dreadnought Dominion“Chain of Command”0:07:38
3111/10/2016Starship Deimos“Pas de Trois”0:14:51
3212/9/2016Starship Valiant“Crosses to Bear”0:22:33
3312/10/2016 “Out of Time”0:31:20

Follow, Share and Like

Ambush – Interview with Greg Lock

“Ambush” will introduce you to a new ship and crew that exist in the Star Trek Universe, The USS Ambush. Set just after the events portrayed in “Balance of Terror”, the original series episode. By focusing on a single away mission to rescue a captured Commander, “Ambush” will shed some light on how the Federation ultimately dealt with the Romulans, after the initial incident involving Kirk and The Enterprise. As you’ll discover in the film, the crew of the “Ambush” are a very unique and specialised group of people, who would always be the first choice to deal with a delicate matter such as the Romulans. Although the crew’s existence is well known to the Federation, they’re not keen on their existence being bragged about. The name of their ship is not the only thing controversial about this crew.

“Ambush” is going to be an exciting film and nothing like anything previously shown on Star Trek. It’ll have something for everyone, from the hardcore fans to the casual fans and for those who just like great Sci-Fi films. After a successful Kickstarter in 2014, we’re still working away (Including building sets from scratch) to bring this film to you.

Ref: Facebook page

James) Hey Greg, thank you for taking the time to sit and chat with me about you, Ambush and more.

Tell me about yourself, what is your day job, what you do in your spare time and general interests?

Greg) I’m Greg Lock and I’m the creator of Ambush. My day (and night) job to pay the bills is a Paramedic, with the Ambulance Service. However, I also freelance as a Film Set Builder and Model Maker. I love making models, music and films. I play the guitar, drums, and piano and love synthesisers. In 2008, I graduated from the Arts University of Bournemouth, UK with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Film Production, Specialising as a Production Designer.

James) That is a job I do not think I could do TBH, I hate blood lol. I have seen some of your models and have to admit I am jealous as I really suck at making models, I tried when I was a kid and gave up as they always turned into a gluey mess lol. 

Obviously, you love Trek as you’re as doing your own fan production but what other shows do you like to watch?

Greg) Other than Star Trek, my other favourite TV shows would be The Walking Dead, Dexter, 24, Game of Thrones and Arrow. The usual stuff I guess, though not into The Flash and really struggled with Gotham, which is a shame as I’m a massive Batman fan and that’s mainly because of my love for the Arkham Rogues.

James) Do you play many games a fair few people I talk to within the fan film community do not tend to play many Trek games like STO or if they do play any games they tend to be the older ones like Academy etc, are there any games you like to play?

Greg) I’m not much of a gamer, though I will really get into a game when a good one comes out, such as GTA5 and I’m online with Star Wars: Battlefront (you can like both, ones a Sci-Fi and the other a Fantasy), Really looking forward to Red Dead Redemption 2.

James) Moving on to Trek, Have you managed to meet many Trek actors? 

Greg) What Trek actors have I met in real life? Well… William Shatner, Walter Koenig, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, Michael Dorn, LeVar Burton, Marina Sirtis, Denise Crosby, Wil Wheaton, John DeLancie, Kate Mulgrew, Garrett Wang, Robert Duncan McNeil, Robert Picardo, Jeri Ryan, Colm Meaney, Armin Shimmerman, Rene Auberjonois, Scott Bakula, Domonic Keating, Connor Trinneer, Anthony Montgomery, Jeffery Combs, David Warner, Christopher Lloyd, Greg Grunberg and Karl Urban. Not to forgetting Trek crew, Nicholas Meyer, Ronald D Moore and Ira Steven Behr.

That’s all at conventions, apart from Patrick Stewart whom I met an actor’s Q&A in a West End Theatre and was proud of myself for getting him to talk about TNG in front of all the actors who wanted him to talk about Shakespeare!

James) OK now I feel so unworthy LOL, I have met a total of ZERO so with you meeting pretty much everyone who I want to I am feeling a bit sad now, but then again I am not much of a convention person tbh so maybe that is why I have not met anyone. 

So you have met a lot of “Trek Royalty” as I call them, this next question may be a little hard as I find meeting actors in real life tends to sway your perception of how they act in things, but do you have a favourite Trek episode? 

Greg) My favourite episode is The Enterprise Incident. Love the whole espionage element of it, a great follow up to Balance of Terror and classic Spock romantically stalling for time whilst Kirk steals the cloaking device.

James) Do you have a fave Trek film?

Greg) My favourite Star Trek Film is controversially The Final Frontier, the justification on this can be heard on the Spocklight Podcast about this film where I was the guest speaker. But basically, the film is the best showing of the trinity of Kirk, Spock and McCoy and other things, including being the first ever thing of Star Trek I saw.

Listen to the podcast! My favourite Trek actor is DeForest Kelley, Dr McCoy is my all time favourite character and I wish I could have met DeForest before he passed away. He always seemed really humble and kind in his interviews. But out of the actors, I’ve met its Walter Koenig. Such a humble chap and an absolute joy to speak to, I had a great chat with him about his collection of figurines when he told me with a cheeky smirk that he does own every version of Chekov they’ve made! 

James) Although I can agree with many STV is a bad one, I think TMP and Into Darkness are the “Worst” Trek films ever made TBH, but then one thing I have come to understand is that everyone has a difference of opinion and what I find bad others find enjoyable, this is what makes everyone so interesting, how boring would life be if we were all the same.

Is there an episode you just cannot stand, I may have a feeling about this one for you since your fan production is Enterprise era based but I may be wrong. 

Greg) My worst episode would have to be “These are the Voyages”, Enterprises Finale. You don’t really need a reason.

James) I knew it and TBH that episode although it would not be my worst is a HUGE! Let down it screams “Can’t be fooked” and that is a shame as Enterprise had so many ways it could have ended but I guess when your cancelled midseason you have to come up with a way to end it, I just wish it could have been better.

Greg) My favourite series is again controversially, Enterprise, but followed very closely by The Original Series. I just found Enterprise to be really refreshing and would have loved to have seen it go to 8 seasons. I remember finding the Season 3 Xindi Arc really gripping and thought Enterprise, unfortunately, got axed just as it was getting good.

James) I loved! Enterprise, like you I found it so different it was a totally fresh take on the Trek universe and like you I wanted to see more, you just have to look at the NX-01 Refit to see this series had so much to give us. 

So what about a “worst” series, do you have one? 

Greg) I don’t really have the worst season, I guess TNG is at the bottom of my list. But it’s not rubbish, just preferred the other series.

James) Are there any fan productions you watch and are any you would rank better than others?

Greg) As for the fan films I like to think I watch a fair few. Prelude, Renegades, Exeter, Continues, Phase 2, Intrepid, Horizon. I don’t think it’s fair to rank them though as there’s too much difference with the production value of them.

James) Horizon I LOVE! It is my fave fan film out of them all tbh, and made with such a small budget which makes me respect it so much, what about other fan productions, are there any YouTube shows or podcasts you listen to? 

Greg) The only other Trek-related thing I watch/listen to is Spocklight, which I should give a shout-out to as it’s done by a good friend of mine, who’s also starring in Ambush! I respect YouTube shows like Trek yards, but I just don’t find analysing the ships interesting, I’m into Trek for the stories, characters and escapism. It’s great what they do, just not my cup of tea.

James) I think this next set of Questions may be something you have strong feelings about being you loved Enterprise and this is set just after it, so it’s almost like they have big shoes to fill. 

So, Discovery are you looking forward to it and do you have any feelings on things like the ship design, casting etc? 

Greg) Yes, I’m looking forward to Discovery, Star Trek is always best as an episodic show. I wasn’t impressed with the trailer. I think (and hope) that the VFX will be better, they were just desperate to get something out for Comic Con.

I am not too keen on the ship design. I get their reasons for it, just don’t find it believable as a ship that precursors the Constitution Class. I think the casting choices are great, Michelle Yeoh is always great and the idea of James Frain as Sarek is awesome.

James) From what I have seen in various interviews regarding the ship design, they have said it has changed and there is even a rumour that we will see why it has its design, something to do with the Shenzhou being destroyed and repurposed into what we will see as the Discovery. However, I am very sceptical about that, I guess we will see when Discovery airs. 

If you had one hope for Discovery, what would you say it would be?

Greg) I simply hope that Discovery is great, gets Star Trek back on the map and has plenty of references for us Trekkies. Be nice to see some bridging the gap between Enterprise and The Original Series.

James) By now we all know Bryan Fuller has left the production like many this caused me some concern how did you take this news? 

Greg) I wouldn’t say I’m concerned with the departure of Brian Fuller, yeah he’s great and liked Star Trek, but Star Trek did service a long time without him, it’s not the end of the world, we still have Nicholas Meyer I think, who I rate more!

James) Yep, Nick like it or not was the saviour of the TMP era films, I feel if they got TWOK wrong then we would not have had 4 more films based in that era. 

Because, DSC, is going to be set in a previously unknown period of Trek history, is there anything you are hoping for in the look and feel that we see on screen? We know its prime time line but do you hope it’s more prime than Kelvin or vice versa?

Greg) I hope the look is all reminiscent of The Original Series. This is where the JJ films went wrong. I get that The Original Series is very dated and more of a period piece, but that’s what happens when you set your show in the future. Even Enterprise is showing its age in areas. But I strongly think you just need to make subtle changes and shoot and light it in a contemporary way.

This is exactly what we’ve done with Ambush and I really like the look I have. It looks more modern than The Original Series, but my characters and ships won’t look out of place next to characters and ships from The Original Series, well that’s my opinion anyway. 

James) What do you hope they do not do with Discovery, as in PLEASE DO NOT GO THERE? 

Greg) No more rebooting, that’s all I ask. And no forgetting about the 50 years of Trek that have already been.

James) the Last question on this subject then I want to move on, Do you think the move to put it on All Access is a good or bad idea? 

Greg) The All Access thing was a disappointment to hear about at first, however being in the UK I believe we’re getting it on Netflix, which I have. Yeah, terrestrial TV as we know it is going. Hence why in the UK you now need a TV License even if you don’t own a TV but use iPlayer. I think they’ve recognised that we want to binge watch a series now.

James) Moving on to your experience, what other productions and films have you either starred in or work with?

Greg) I have plenty of experience at youth theatre and acted in countless plays with that. Also back during my Film Degree, I would happily act in all films being made by my friends and they would in mine, back before we could pay actors or know any actors who would show up for free.

James) I always enjoy watching things with unknown actors in as to me personally it gives you the chance to see “new” talent and it makes you realise that even the best actors in the started somewhere. 

If you had to pick a “favourite” performance of yours what would you say it was? 

Greg) One of my favourites roles I’ve acted in which you can all see is the main part in the short film “The Shift”



It was a film made by good friend David Trumble and co-wrote with me, it’s based on many of my experiences as a Paramedic so has sentimental value. It was a hard film to make as it was all done throughout the nights but fun at the same time.

James) Is there anything you find hard exceptionally hard to achieve as an actor? 

Greg) In terms of what I find hard as an actor? I can’t cry on cue and I’m not great at accents.

James) Accents, er never ask me to do anything but Irish (I am English with Irish heritage) lol I like you cannot do them as they all sound the same. 

Moving onto other aspects of Filmmaking experience, how many screenplays would you say you have written? 

Greg) I’ve lost count of a number of scripts I’ve written but I can tell you I’ve written 3 feature length screenplays. One of them was written as a sequel to “The Shift” and featured a lot more of my experiences as a Paramedic, as by that point I had worked long enough to accumulate enough stories for a feature length.

James) How long would you say it takes you to complete a screenplay? 

Greg) How long it takes me varies a lot. A feature-length can take me a month on an off to present the first draft, the first draft of Ambush was done in about a week, but has gone through many revisions before we started shooting.

James) What gives you the most pleasure when writing, and what elements of the craft do you find most difficult? 

Greg) I enjoy writing dialogue and that’s what I find easiest to write, I like to think of myself like Kevin Smith in that sense as he’s first to admit that he’s not great at writing action.

James) Lastly as I am keen to move on to Ambush, Which one of you scripts and films are you most proud of and why? 

Greg) The script I’m most proud of is the sequel to “The Shift”, called “Blue Call” (the term used in London, where I worked for blue lighting a patient into the hospital).

James) Sooo, Greg let’s talk about Ambush, 

Describe your role in the production of Ambush and how a typical shoot played out from your Perspective? 

Greg) My role in Ambush is the Writer, Director, Producer, Production Designer, Set Builder, Actor and general organiser of everything!

James) So, you have your fingers in all the pies so to speak, which is a great thing to see such a hands-on approach. 

How is/was Ambush funded? 

Greg) Ambush has been funded through a successful Kickstarter campaign raising £4,600 approximately.

James) Why a “Star Trek” fan film, When and why did you decide to create a Fan series based upon Star Trek? 

Greg) I had always wanted to set something in Star Trek as it’s the world I’ve loved from a young age. Due to the amount of work involved in making a film and a number of people involved. It’s getting harder and harder to get everyone together from my film degree days to make a film, we all have lives and actual jobs to live and have to earn real money to pay our bills. The truth is I’m probably only able to make one more film with my old friends and if I was to do a swan song it would have to be Star Trek as that’s what inspired me, to begin with.

James) That is awesome that you choose Trek to be your swan song but also sad that it means you most likely will not be able to film with these guys again. 

What year/ century is Ambush set in? 

Greg) Ambush is set in the 23rd Century, 2266 to be precise, right in the middle of TOS Season 1. The main difference we have compared to other fan films is real sets and not replicas of original series sets (which I have no problem with), we also don’t have any starship action. The whole film is set during an away mission and no time is spent on the actual ship. We haven’t used a single bit of green screen, every background you see on screen is really there! It’s just a 1 episode affair but formatted like a pilot for a series we won’t make. I had an idea for a ship and crew and am using this film as an opportunity to show them off.

James) That is kind of sad that we may not see further adventures of this cast and crew. So real background means you must have shot on location a lot where in the UK did you go to shoot? 

Greg) We shot the film on locations around Dorset, UK and on sets in some warehouse space that kindly donated to us. The most impressive location we shot in were some caves and cliffs on the Dorset coast, they were so alien looking it turned out that episodes of old school Doctor Who was shot there. When the BBC needed a location for Skaro during the Tom Baker era of Doctor Who they shot where we have shot Ambush.

James) Was there any drawbacks or issues surround shooting in that location, as you know the UK weather is not stellar for outdoor shoots? 

Greg) The only issue we had was the weather. It rained on every day we shot outside and had to postpone one shoot day, but got there in the end.

James) If you had the chance to do a “crossover” with any other Fan Film Production, who would you like to do this with? 

Greg) I’d be up for crossing over with any other fan production, there’s not many UK Based ones set when we’re set, so the story would have incorporated some time travel or extreme flashbacks. But I’d be really up for collaborating with any UK production as we do have a lot to offer.

James) Yeah, this is true off the top of my head there are around 6 or 7 UK based Fan Productions and all bar yours I am sorry to say have set their productions in mid to late 24th century, which does not get me wrong is cool as many fan films tend to opt for TOS era, it, unfortunately, means productions like ambush are kind of stuck for this potential. 

Do you think social media plays an important part in any Fan production?

Greg) I think social media is integral now with any fan production. A lot of the really successful crowdfunded projects had massive social media following before launching their funding campaign and it’s obvious that that’s how they were able to amass a lot of money.

With Ambush, we launched our social media campaign the same time as our Kickstarter campaign. We were doing okay and managed to raise the minimum amount in 2 days, but we really got noticed when Axanar shared our Facebook page and ended raising 4 times what we set out to raise.

James) I have to say that is a great result, and I take my hat off to the followers of Axanar for helping you out, 

Moving on to the cast and crew of Ambush, Who in the show is most like their character? 

Greg) The person who’s most like their character? Simple, Me! I play First Officer Eugene Gibson, he’s immature, rebellious and easily offended just like me. I basically when writing this character based him on me knowing I’d be playing him. It’s a cop-out I know, but I’m not as well trained in acting as others in Ambush, so took the easy route.

James) There is nothing wrong with writing what you know; in fact, I find the most believable characters in anything I watch tend to be ones that mirror the writers in some way. 

With the UK is not a huge country, unlike the US, do your entire cast live close by or does it take a lot of forwarding planning to get everybody in one place. 

Greg) There are about 150 miles in total between the cast and crew of Ambush, so it does take a fair bit of planning as we have to consider travel and accommodation.

James) For Ambush, who does the makeup and wardrobe?

Greg) It’s a family affair as my sister, Amber Lock who works as a freelance makeup artist did the makeup for Ambush, including the Romulan ears and eyebrows. My mum, Jane Mearns who trained as a seamstress made the costumes, mainly the Romulan ones which had to be made from scratch and the Ambush jackets which had to be heavily customised.

James) I bet you owe them some favours now then for doing all that work for you.

You said before you are working closely with some film school buddies, are these people involved in more than the acting side of things?

Greg) My Director of Photography is also my co-producer, Tom Saville. To be frank I couldn’t be making the film without him. He works full time in post production in the industry, so his time is precious. But he doesn’t only film Ambush, he’s been editing away and doing all the VFX. I’m also fortunate to have Ricky Wallace of MadMan Shipyard who has kindly been making the CG models of the ships for Ambush.

James) Moving on to a subject that like it or not has impacted many fan productions I would like to get your view on the Fan Film guidelines, we are now almost a year from their inception but they controversy doesn’t seem to be going away and there is still a very vocal yet small band of people who are still trying to get these changed. 

How have these changed your production in terms of the premise of the film and has it had any impact on the script? 

Greg) In terms of content the script isn’t going to change much. We had characters and ships like Kirk, Spock and Enterprise being mentioned by name, but that’s being cut. Most people know by now that our film happens after the episode “Balance of Terror” so we now make subtle references to that event, without being obvious.

James) What about any plans you had to either continue Ambush or impede the plans you had for Ambush? 

Greg) Ambush was always going to be 1 episode, so we’re not worried about not being able to continue it.

James) What are your feelings on them, as everyone has had different reactions to them, how did it make you feel when they came out? 

Greg) Initially I did think the guidelines were extreme, but that’s Paramount’s right. The more I thought about it though, I realised that it gave me some creative restrictions and the fun would be getting Ambush to fit in those guidelines. If the guidelines mean that fan films in the future can potentially be exhibited at endorsed Star Trek events, I’m all for it.

James) Do any of them have you worried or concerned at all?

Greg) The guideline that I’m most worried about though is the no physical perks. But at the end of the day, I have an obligation to our loyal backers before the guidelines came out. Since the guidelines, I’ve noticed much larger and more well-known productions ignoring the guidelines completely and not being shut down, so hopefully, my little British film will be okay by giving the gifts to my backers.

James) Do you think they are actually going to negatively impact further Star Trek fan films? 

Greg) I don’t think the guidelines will negatively impact Trek Fan Films, just put us on the same playing field, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

James) How do you feel the fallout from the Axanar lawsuit is going to affect everyone from this point forward both fans and fan Trek?

Greg) The fallout from Axanar is just the guidelines, which were probably going to come sooner or later.

James) Thanks for that Greg, we are now moving into the last segment of the interview. 

What are your experiences within the “Star Trek” fandom as a whole? 

Do you have any good and bad experiences? 

Greg) I think the best part of Trek fandom is just the universal love and respect that making a fan film gets. It truly is amazing.

The worst part is, unfortunately, all the hate that can easily come your way. Last year I simply acknowledged the support that I had from Axanar and Alec Peters, because of that I was immediately branded and stereotyped. People started judging me and my film without knowing anything about either. Ambush even appeared in a “Hitler Rant” video! That bit I just found funny and humbled!

But the general hate and backlash I got were ridiculous. As apparently you’re allowed to acknowledge support one receives, who figures? Then when I stated that I would happily comply with the guidelines that came out you start seeing posts like “surprise surprise” and you’re branded as a turncoat, even though you always stated you’d follow any guidelines that came. Confusing, but it is just a small group of people in the grand scheme of things. Rant over.

James) I was not aware you were in one of “those” videos, man that’s bad, but hey things have moved on now and I am “hoping” people are starting to move on from all the drama surrounding that “issue”. 

In your experiences, in making films and from having a degree in the film what advice would you give to anyone wanting to make a film? 

Greg) Work with what you have. I knew that I’d never have space or resources to build a full-size bridge set. So I purposely made sure the story of Ambush did not need one. Work out what you have and make the best you can with what you have. You can actually achieve a lot if you scale things down.

James) that is a great bit of advice and one that many should follow, with Ambush do you have any Regrets?

Greg) The only regret I have is taking so long.

James) Lastly Greg is there anything you want to say to the fans of Ambush, who are watching and waiting for you to release your film?

Greg) Bear with us. The film is coming this year. I know we’ve taken a lot longer than anticipated and that’s mainly due to me, getting married, buying a house and going through a career change took a great deal of time. Plus many of the professionals we had got more actual paid work, which is great for them but does mean that Ambush has had to be on the back burner for a while. This project has been a massive learning experience on so many levels.

Thank you for sticking with us, we’re getting there and hopefully, you won’t be disappointed with what we release.

James) Thank you so much, Greg, for taking the time to sit and talk to me.

 

Follow Ambush on their social media to get updates and inside info on this amazing production. 

Follow, Share and Like