Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, A Film Review By Douglas Nary, Jr

Star Trek has always had a reputation for tackling head-on issues that we all face that other entertainment franchises offer an escape from. I have my own pet theory as to why the second Star Trek feature film has withstood the test of time so well that it is still the benchmark by which all of the other films in the series are compared…

In true head-on Trek fashion, it helps us deal with the one reality that even Hollywood cannot offer us an escape from the fact that we are all getting older and will eventually die.

So far, 2015 has been a terrible year for Star Trek’s artists who have brought us such joy. We have lost Leonard Nimoy, Harve Bennett, Grace Lee Whitney, Maurice Hurley, and James Horner. Three of the names I’ve just mentioned were directly involved in the creation of this film and helped make it the classic that it is, and my intention for this review is to remember them one by one.

We begin with the man who began this particular adventure and organised the team that would make the magic happen. That man was Harve Bennett.

Bennett was brought on board by Paramount after critics had undeservedly underrated Star Trek: The Motion Picture and the studio reacted by “promoting” Roddenberry to an Executive Consultant position that would essentially get him out of the way of the second film’s development. One can understand Roddenberry’s resentment. After all, Star Trek was his kid, and after being divorced by the kid’s “mom”, Paramount, “step-dad” Bennett was brought in and was now being praised for bringing up the kid even better than its “real father” did. (Reconciliation would occur 5 years later, however, when Paramount approached Roddenberry to develop a new Star Trek show as series creator. The result would be Star Trek: The Next Generation, another beloved incarnation of the franchise. But that’s another story for another review.)

Bennett, however, was more than deserving of the praise he would eventually receive over this film. He and co-writer Jack B. Sowards would come up with several ideas that would make their way into the film, such as Kirk’s son, the return of Khan, the character of Saavik, and the Omega Device (later renamed Genesis). After no less than five attempts to come up with a satisfactory story for the film, however, Bennett was beginning to despair that he would not be able to come up with a good story himself nor find anyone who could. Being a humble man, Bennett searched high and low for someone who could bring his and Sowards’s ideas into a cohesive narrative. He caught a break when a friend of his recommended a man by the name of Nicholas Meyer.



Bennett became excited. He had seen and loved The Seven Per Cent Solution (for which Meyer had written the screenplay based on his own novel) and was quick to recruit the young and talented author/director. Bennett did exactly what a good leader should do; he hired the very best people possible and let them do great work. Meyer not only got all of Bennett and Sowards’s ideas woven into a great narrative (borrowing heavily from Moby Dick, Paradise Lost, and A Tale of Two Cities), but he did so in only twelve days and without any modifications to his contract that would get him a much-deserved writing credit.

Meyer was only the beginning of assembling the great team that would assemble this great film. In addition to all of the other Star Trek regular actors, Bennett would undergo a couple of major coups in the casting process. The first was the magnificent Ricardo Montalban to reprise what Bennett thought was the greatest villain in the original series. The second… our beloved Vulcan actor Leonard Nimoy, who after a falling out with Paramount and Roddenberry (over a Heineken billboard of all things), was frankly not interested in doing anything more with Star Trek. Bennett was able to entice him into coming back with something almost irresistible to Nimoy…a spectacular death for Spock.

Believing that the Star Trek franchise was running out of steam after the critical reaction to the first film, Nimoy responded to Bennett’s respect for him and thought that ending his tenure as this iconic character, and Star Trek in general, with a blaze of glory, was the way to go.

He agreed to appear in the film and gave it his all. Nimoy’s performance as Spock in this film provided William Shatner’s Kirk with the rock of calm and serenity that the latter character so desperately needed in this film and for which fans fondly remember the character for.



I’ve always found it interesting that this is a Spock that is more comfortable in his own skin than ever before, having acknowledged and finally accepted his human half in the previous film. Kirk’s character is going through the opposite dynamic of the previous film. In both cases, he is going through a mid-life crisis that only assuming command of the Enterprise again can resolve. However, where in the first film he pushes himself into the center seat at the expense of her rightful captain and then has to learn to let go and take responsibility, in this film he starts out as trying to let go and move on from starship command and his friends, Spock and McCoy, are both pushing him back into the center seat. Spock, now being the rightful captain in question, takes advantage of a possible crisis to evoke regulations and give Kirk no choice but to accept his first and best destiny.

The adventure that follows is exactly the swift, quick kick in the seat of the pants that so many of us who face mid-life crisis need. Khan, representing what we can easily become if we let those feelings of life passing us by getting to us- an embittered old man- tries to take out his frustrations on Kirk…in an extremely deadly way. Along the way, we see the son that Kirk never got to raise, Kirk screaming “KHAAANN!!” in a rage, and then finally expressing even deeper feelings when his voice isn’t much higher than a whisper.



“There’s a man out there I haven’t seen in fifteen years, who’s trying to kill me. You’ve shown me a son that would be happy to help him. My son. My life that could have been…but wasn’t. What am I feeling? Old…worn out.”

Kirk may be feeling old, but this moment in the film never gets old for me, because it speaks to us and reflects how we often feel… at any age.

The battle that follows is, of course, riveting and exciting, but more to the point is the way it ends, with Spock showing us his own solution to the “no-win” scenario, a metaphor for something we all feel as we face life. We learn that earlier in his life, Kirk got around the “no-win” scenario by cheating, or rather changing the conditions of the scenario. This time, he is not being given that option. Spock sacrifices himself for the ship and all of his friends and in doing so gives Kirk what he needs: the opportunity to change and grow further and actually ponder the meaning of his own words, “How we deal with death is at least as important as how we deal with life.” Kirk’s arc closes out with the words, “I feel young”; indicating that growth is exactly what he intends to do with the second half of his life.

After experiencing and acting out these strong character dynamics, Nimoy was starting to have second thoughts about leaving the franchise. Here was a film that offered the character banter that he was craving to play again but never expected that he would. And the film’s themes of death and rebirth had shown that this wasn’t the end of Star Trek at all. In fact…this was shaping up to be a new beginning.

So, Bennett made the wise decision to leave the door open for Spock’s possible return. In doing so, he ensured that the franchise’s future would indeed be a bright one. But where would all of this great drama and action be without the right musical score?

The right music can make all of the difference in how well a film plays with the audience. There was no denying that Jerry Goldsmith’s score for the first film was appropriately epic. Even that film’s harshest critics will admit that TMP at least had that (along with a great visual atmosphere) going for it. But with Goldsmith not available (or not affordable, given the minuscule budget of this film), who could possibly replace this vital component?

Director Meyer found the answer in a young composer named James Horner, who was working his way up from B-movie fare such as Battle Beyond the Stars. Although Horner’s new main title theme would take some getting used to at first, the score for the film was suitably triumphant when our heroes were in a good place and creepy and doom threatening when they were in a not-so-good place. Horner’s main title theme for the film, however, would withstand the test of time and become one of the most beloved in the franchise, and his work would only get better in the next film.

With all of these wonderful artists and team-players now gone (along with half of the film’s cast), the theme of how we face death being at least as important as how we face life becomes even more poignant than ever, even for those of us who were children when this film was released in 1982. Our favourite artists may be growing old and leaving us one by one, but that only means that we must step up to the plate and continue living for the sake of their memory and our future. Look at the generation of kids growing up around us, and realise that life will continue long after we are gone, and we must give them something to remember as Bennett, Nimoy, Horner, and all of their colleagues had given us. 

On a scale of one to ten, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is undeniably a 10! It’s more than just a submarine-inspired riveting space adventure; it’s a story that will continue to resonate with us all through life.


  • Guest Author: Douglas Nary, Jr. is a freelance copywriter and author. His most recent works have included a recently completed short film script entitled “The Cage of Freedom” and the upcoming novel Supralight, for which a script version has also been completed.
  • Blog Layout: James Hams
  • Pictures: http://www.startrek.com/article/remembering-those-we-lost-in-2015 and Google Images.
  • YouTube embeds link to video sources. 

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The Fan Film Guidelines Breakdown – Part Three

In part two of the breakdown we looked at two of the easiest guidelines to adhere to, the simple additions of a disclaimer and the removal of “Star Trek” from the title of each fan production made.

In this part, we are going to break down the third guideline. To enable this guideline to be broken down as complete as possible I have split it into two parts so I will be referring to it as 3A and 3B.

So to start off with let us take a look at 3A.

3A – The content in the fan production must be original, not reproductions, recreations or clips from any Star Trek production.

This guideline was and still is misunderstood by a LOT of people, people seem to think that this guideline means you cannot use established characters, alien races or settings, this, however, could not be further from the truth, this guideline merely means you must come up with original stories and characters and not rehash anything that has already been done. For example,

You cannot

Take an episode of Star Trek and then remake it with your own people.

Reshoot any official Star Trek script you may have.

This would also cover things like NO Stills, Locations, or footage from ANY canon Star Trek Series or Film.

However, the simplest way of understanding this part of the guideline is that It does not! Stop you from borrowing from the established Star Trek universe, by using things like (but not limited to):

Alien races (Klingons, Romulans, Andorian E.t.c.)
Planets, (Vulcan, Andor, Telar Prime, Bajor etc)
Starships, ( NX-01, Reliant, Defiant, Enterprise)
Characters ( 7 of 9, Harry Kim, Kirk, Spock, Scotty)

Moving onto 3B

3B – If non-Star Trek third party content is used, all necessary permissions for any third party content should be obtained in writing.

This part of Guideline 3 is pretty easy to get the meaning behind it, although easy to understand it does have somewhat of a dual meaning.

1 – If you plan to use anything non-Trek such as settings, characters or even a race from another series, such as Star Wars then you had better ask permission otherwise you may just find a DCMA from that IP owner, or worse yet a nice C&D from them.

2 -Music or other items from the Trek Universe that is not owned by CBS & Paramount.

Using Music as an example, a fair few people seem to be under the notion that all Star Trek theme music and soundtracks are owned by CBS and Paramount, this is not correct, and as such if you intend to use anything from the series or films in your production you need to get the permission of the copyright holders, as John Van Citters said in the engage podcast “we may own Star Trek but we don’t own the rights to Star Trek music” so with that said, you can not just lift a snippet of music from a soundtrack and insert it into your film.

To help you out as much as I can, I will try to include as many links as possible to the people who own the rights to the music as with this, it “should” allow you to contact them and ask for their permission.

So now I have broken them down myself let’s get to the info links and the commentary from the same fan producers who have added their voice to this series of blogs thus far and will continue to help me out throughout this blog series.


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.”



Producer commentary is not broken down unless stated so what you see will be either an interpretation of the guideline as a whole or broken into sections 3A and 3B”


Randy Landers – Potemkin Pictures

3A –

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

You must be a creator and can’t use clips from the episodes and create  “new” episodes.  You can’t do a fan edit and create a “fan’s cut” of an episode. You can’t redo an episode’s VFX and place them among clips from the episode. You can’t use the original material as your own. Frankly, I’m not sure those sort of things actually fans films.

3B – 

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

It says 1) if you want to do a crossover with another series, you’d better clear it with them.  And 2) it ain’t our music. You better ask the owners of it before you go co-opting it for your fan film.

  • Are there any links or added commentary you think would be of benefit to add to this section

Potemkin Pictures has had composers create its own original music. While we occasionally will use a homage to the original series or TOS movies in our music, for the majority of the time, you’re listening to original music. This is something  I think separates us from a lot of other fan films.


Nick Cook – Intrepid

3A –

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline? For example
    • This would cover things like NO Stills, Locations, or footage from ANY canon Star Trek Series or Film.
    • However, this does not! Stop you from borrowing from the established Star Trek universe things like but not limited to:
    • Alien races (Klingons, Romulans, Andorian E.t.c.)
    • Planets, (Vulcan, Andor, Telar Prime, Bajor etc)
    • Starships, ( NX-01, Reliant, Defiant, Enterprise)
    • Characters ( 7 of 9, Harry Kim, Kirk, Spock, Scotty)

I think you’ve pretty much nailed it. That said, using characters from the official productions, as long as you’re not using the original actors, would probably be overlooked. That’s entirely personal opinion though.

3B –

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline? For Example
  • This section is aimed at third-party content this would be things like but not limited to: Music scores (CBS & Paramount do not own the copyrights to any music produced for the official Star Trek works), Characters from other works such as races, planets or iconic characters like Han Solo, and Ships E.g. The X-Wing etc and settings from other IP such as Endor from “Return of the Jedi”.
  • Due to CBS and Paramount not owning the music rights to any Star Trek musical works it is advisable you contact the copyright holders for the music you wish to use.

I don’t have anything specific to add to this.


Vance Owen – Melbourne, Starbase Studios.

3A – 

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

Well, it’s hard to be original. Some people just don’t have a creative bone to save their life lol and that’s sad. Those are usually the people mooching off of those who have true talent. I honestly have never understood taking from a show directly. I’ve understood reinterpreting something from a show, but a direct rip off, jeesh. I lose respect so fast I can’t take um seriously after that. Especially when there are so many talented people out there willing to work with ya. It’s just lazy friggin people who want to cut corners and have no understanding of how things are. Using a clip from a show for a poster, that’s so cheap. Especially when you could make something fresh and new do easily. So I don’t hate this at all. This never even entered my mind “what?? I can’t steal someone else’s hard work and claim it in mind?” Get a life lol I can see them saying “don’t have Jim Kirk and Spock jump thru the guardian of forever….like so” to me, ok I get that. But they are not saying you can’t use Kirk and Spock standing at the guardian of forever looking for the next Pokemon go. people stress the wrong things on these guidelines and make um say whatever they want. To me, this makes the most sense. Could be wrong, I’ve been wrong before….ask my wife lol

3B –

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

If non-Star Trek third party content is used, all necessary permissions for any third party content should be obtained in writing. What is your interpretation of this guideline? Well, it’s pretty cut and dry. And in Melbourne, we did that anyway, before this came out. With the band, The Perfect Pursuit, they did our theme for our film. Cbs doesn’t own that. Just as it doesn’t with certain themes that people like to use in their films. I think it is their way to cover their butts in case the people who do own the music get a ticket and say “hey these people are using our music and you’re doing nothing about it.” They won’t be held liable. It’s kinda common sense to me. And sadly, people like to walk in and say “eh no one’s going to mind.” That’s easy to say if it’s not your music being used. As a musician, I’d be pissed if someone used my music without permission. I’m an artist; I have had my art plagiarised. Didn’t like it. People don’t think outside of that thought of what’s good for them, that’s just how some are. I think this is just to protect CBS from that situation

 


Ray Tesi – Republic

3A – 

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

Fan films SHOULD introduce original content and characters. I don’t think anyone wants to see a “low end” Kirk or Spock, and there is plenty of other content to draw on. If nothing else, it forces the fan production to be original. Leave the reproductions to the big boys. Renegades took the high road and dropped the Star Trek moniker so they could continue production. Kudos to them.

3B –

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

The guideline is laudable, but hard to enforce since the content is outside of CBS’ purview. We at Republic used a mix of existing Star Trek scores plus original musical scores. The original music was licensed for our specific use. When we uploaded our vignette to YouTube, the only music that they flagged was our theme, and once we provided the proper license documentation, we were good to go. This is good business sense, but hard to enforce.


Justin Burton – Former member of the Lexington production. 

3A – 

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

Continues once got busted for using a background image from a TOS ep even tho they got away with it, in the end, IT means do not steal others peoples work! same as writing a book when stealing it from someone else’s. 

3B

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

I think this is wise however youtube now lets people use certain star trek music with out getting in too much trouble you just can not monetize your channel. Or use JJ Verse music


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”



  • https://trekfanproductions.com/johnvancittersengagepodcast

{} Jordan {}

So I don’t so what your saying is  there’s not going to be a review board out there saying oh the way your version of Captain Kirk did that he wouldn’t really do with that way that’s not in  his character now you’re not talking that level of uh of review but you know

{} JVC {}

Only if you’re a licensed author as you will be subject to that level of review as and good and thank god you’re there we need you on that wall but I but you know I but having Captain Kirk doing something you know profane and what is profanity is a long conversation but I think we know when we say it doing something that’s totally out of character for some sort of shock value reason that’s and that isn’t parody that correcting from wrong is where you say no these are these are Star Trek characters and we have to protect them

{} JVC {}

If you do something that’s going to be  damaging to the fundamental character of the Star Trek of beloved characters  Captain Kirk Captain Picard Beverly Crusher whoever it may be from across  the pantheon of Star Trek if you’re doing anything that’s going to damage  that it did that’s going to put them or  things like that in an overtly negative light that goes against what we’ve seen and what we know about these elements of Star Trek yeah that  then there will be a problem other otherwise like I said if you’re using it  to comment on societal and social issues yeah we’re not going to look we we’ve  all have a duty to Star Trek whether you’re a fan or an employee of CBS or Paramount in that respect to really honour what that creation is what Rick Berman and Gene Roddenberry and Ron Moore and Bryan Fuller and all  of these amazing creators have done to create this just incredible  thing called Star Trek we’ve got a duty to  respect it and protect it


{} Jordan {}

What about the music I know that there were some questions about you know people wanting to use music in their fan films

{} JVC {}

Well when it would I talk about fan films being a complex landscape this is this is one of the things that  immediately comes to mind because it  comes to mind on an on a daily basis for  us and projects that we’re working on  we may own Star Trek but we don’t own the rights to Star Trek music and we can’t grant those rights to fan films as  much as we might want to you know use  that opening theme whether it’s from TNG or from the original series all over the  place and get that music out there I was  listening to Star Trek music on my way here because that’s the kind of guy I am and in when we when we mentioned in the  guidelines things like new with needing  to clear any third-party rights for  content in writing in the guidelines this is why we don’t control those  rights we can’t give you the rights to  the music it’s likely fans may want to utilize stuff that we can’t grant rights  to because we don’t own those rights Star Trek music is very much included in  that if you want to use Jerry Goldsmith’s Klingon themes because you  got this amazing Klingon attack that  you’re planning in your film or the  opening four tones from the TOS theme song or anything else from all the great Star Trek music you should contact the music publisher for that and secure those rights because we don’t have them  and we can grant them


Time Index – 01:12:00 – I just really hoping that these guidelines will help spur additional creativity

{} JVC {}

I’m incredibly excited about what’s to come I love Star Trek and everything associated with it as much if not more than the so many fans do and it’s been an incredible part of my life it’s helped shape who I am as it has for many fans and I absolutely want to do what is best for four Star Trek as a whole both now and for the long-term health of Star Trek and I want to do the best that we possibly can be Star Trek fans who Star Trek there’s no question shows a lot to the I would put Star Trek fans against any other fan base anytime I think our fans are terrific they’re amazing and I just really hoping that these guidelines will help spur additional creativity it’s going to be different creativity but again it’s the first time that anything has existed officially like this it’s a brave new frontier and I’m looking forward to seeing what that brings it’s going to change is hard initially but I’m very excited about what’s to come I love Star Trek in all of its forms I love the technobabble I love everything about it and me just I can’t wait to see what’s next



= MUSIC INFO =


 

  1. http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Category:Soundtracks
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Star_Trek_composers_and_music

Information related to the following soundtracks was taken from http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Soundtrack

  1. https://www.varesesarabande.com/ Nemesis, Star Trek 09, Into Darkness and Beyond.
  2. http://gnpcrescendo.com/wp/ – Insurrection, First Contact, Generations, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, The Best of Both Worlds (expanded soundtrack), The Best of Star Trek (soundtracks)
  3. https://www.discogs.com/label/878-MCA-RecordsStar Trek – VI and IV
  4. https://www.epicrecords.com/ – Star Trek V
  5. http://www.columbiarecords.com/Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
  6. http://www.lalalandrecords.com/ – Voyager, DS9, Enterprise, Star Trek: The Original Series Soundtrack Collection, Star Trek: 50th Anniversary Collection, Star Trek: The Next Generation Collection, Volume Two, Star Trek: The Next Generation Collection, Volume One
  7. https://www.filmscoremonthly.com/daily/index.cfm?CFID=92566692&CFTOKEN=88973315  – Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Ron Jones Project

Other Links

http://www.startrek.com/licensees

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Star Trek: Discovery, boldly go where no Star Trek series has gone before – By Raymond James H Dale.

Ever since Star Trek first aired on television sets back in 1966 with the Original Series, we have been exposed to diversity. Lieutenant Nyota Uhura portrayed by Nichelle Nichols was a large progressive step for man and a giant leap for humankind. A woman on the bridge of a fictional starship was already progress, but Uhura was more than that. She was a symbol of African-American representation on television in a non-domestic role. She was not the ship’s maid. She was not shown cooking for the crew. Instead, she was shown similar to and about arguably as equal to the men aboard the starship Enterprise. Lieutenant Uhura accompanied Captain Kirk on others on landing party missions from time to time. She was also shown as a capable technician making repairs to ship’s systems and was once even mentioned having command of the Bridge while Kirk and others were busy elsewhere. Likewise, the Original Series had diversity in Hikaru Sulu and Pavel Chekov. Gene Roddenberry set the stepping stones for representation of minorities at a time when it was risky business to do so. (Read about the first TV Interacial Kiss)

News broke surrounding the upcoming Star Trek series Star Trek: Discovery that it would boldly go where no Star Trek series has gone before…at least not fully. The news of a confirmed homosexual character being part of the franchise (excluding that of the Kelvin universe Hikaru Sulu) is fairly groundbreaking for the franchise. At this point, I think it is pretty safe to say that gay, straight, bisexual, male, female, or whatever, we are all on the edge of our seat waiting for Star Trek: Discovery to actually come to fruition. With behind the scene changes happening and premiere dates being pushed back, we have been left waiting to meet the new crew and see the new starship in action.

When it comes to the Trek fandom and examining the fraction who are also part of the LGBTQ community, the news of an established homosexual character is both anticipated and welcomed yet also disconcerting and potentially problematic. This is not unexplored territory for the Science Fiction genre, but it is still vastly unexplored territory to one of the most beloved franchises in the genre. The truth is this is probably a Kobayashi Maru for the writers and their pens could very well feel like wielding double edged swords. You cannot please everyone and you definitely are not going to be able to please all LGBTQ-identifying (or allies) fans of Star Trek when it comes to the introduction and potential development of Lieutenant Stamets portrayed by Anthony Rapp.

At this point, we do not know how the crew involved with the new series will handle their identified gay character of Stamets. However, with openly gay former showrunner Bryan Fuller taking a bit of a step-down, it has made some wonder if the character will be in good hands. From what we do know about the character, Rapp’s character will be a science officer with a speciality in astromycology (the study of fungi in space). So, it does not appear that he’s going to be a Department Head and probably won’t be a member of the senior staff. We can only imagine his character will come in handy studying fungi on alien planets or growing samples and various culture aboard the starship. There’s no telling how prominent the character will or will not be. Clearly, from characters like Kes and Neelix we have seen that you can be a civilian or hold a minor position aboard and still be pretty important.

Will he or will he not be open about his sexuality? How will his sexuality be handled? These are definitely questions that I and others have. Will the character have a boyfriend, husband, or a love interest at all? It is possible to have an openly gay character and handle it simply by showing the character off duty in the mess having a meal with a member of the same sex and imply that it’s a date. You could show him holding hands with a member of the same sex. For some fans, this will be enough to make us as LGBTQ fans looking for representation quite happy. Of course, there are others who may want the character to lock lips on screen with a member of the same sex or be the Kirk, Riker, or Tom Paris of the show by romantically or sexually pursuing shipmates or aliens on the various planets we see. However, if they take the character down the sexually liberal or promiscuous route, they risk alienating a good portion of fans and taking the character down a dangerously stereotypical route.

When we examine what we already know or can deduce, we are already seeing some potentially questionable decisions. The character will be a science officer. These are usually highly intelligent individuals that tend to avoid conflict and combat. Be it Spock, Jadzia Dax, or T’Pol they had their moments where they were not to be toiled with, but often offered the more analytic or philosophical support. A bolder approach may have been to put the first openly gay character in a Star Trek series in a more combat position such as Security or Tactical as was the case in the Star Trek: Titan series novels with the character Ranul Keru, an unjoined male Trill who served as Chief of Security (though the character’s past explains he transitioned from being a science officer). The casting of Anthony Rapp is also questionable in a way. It’s no secret that Rapp is a well-known stage and film actor/singer who starred in Rent both the Broadway production and film. He’s also a self-identified ‘queer’ individual. Of course, there is a decent argument to make that who better to properly portray a gay character than an actor who has been in love and in relationships with someone of the same sex. However, this particular casting could unintentionally hinder the progress some in the targeted community (LGBTQ) are looking for. All in all, it is too early to really judge without seeing Star Trek: Discovery in action. We can only hope for the best as we continue standing by.


  • Guest Author: Raymond James H Dale.
  • Blog Layout: James Hams
  • Images: Google Images.

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Star Trek: The Motion Picture – A Fan 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 bi-weekly 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. 

 

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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 analysing 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, the 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 fan service and getting strung along some lousy storylines because that was what fans really wanted to see. The fan base 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 god awful 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.

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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.


In case you have missed their previous episodes here they are, sit back and enjoy….


Ref Links: 

 

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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”

 


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 everyday 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 


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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

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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. 

 


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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

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