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.
As part of a blog series I am doing on Trekfanproductions, I am hoping to obtain as much participation as possible from as many individuals as I can, so I have constructed this poll to ask people who regularly do or have previously donated to a Star Trek fan production.
The aim of this poll is to gain and insight on this subject in the hopes it will allow me to form a supposition of what the issue maybe surrounding the drop in donations, going towards Star Trek fan films.
This poll has been active on Facebook since April 23rd and the results thus far can be seen > HERE < but in the interests of fairness to all, I have brought it over to Trekfanproductions to enable everyone to see it and participate.
Edit – People have been saying that they do not wish to vote due to the potential of identification, this poll is completely anonymous and not even I can see anything but the vote cast, I do hope this alleviates any concerns.
The harsh reality is we all know crowdfunding is essential to many fan productions continuing to create and complete their projects. Nevertheless, over the last 12 months we have been seeing a big diminish in the donations being achieved, which has resulted in some fan films being cancelled or postponed, for example, Starship Republic only obtained 15% of the $16,000 they needed to progress into pre-production, this, however, has not been the only casualty of diminished donations recently Axanar, which had previously managed to obtain almost $1.6Mil in donations (the most ever crowdfunded in Trek Fan Film history) launched a new crowdfund campaign for Industry studios that they retrofitted with donor funds with the goal of funding the studio for at least the next 7 months, and they had lofty hopes it would allow them to continue seeking funds in this manner for the foreseeable future.
Nonetheless this recent crowdfunding campaign failed to reach anywhere near the goal they hoped or needed to keep the studio open, furthermore this now means the $1.6 mil they raised and put into the studio was for nothing, with the studio now in the hands of the landlord and to add insult to injury this means no film being made (regardless of the lawsuit) at the studio that they said was the justification of the money being spent in the manner it had been, as a result they are now moving across country to pastures new to start again.
So we are left with a big question what has gone wrong? with what was once a non-issue to the various fan films wanting to obtain funds through donations.
Below there are some options as to what I and others think maybe the issue, however, if you feel you have different viewpoints then please use the comment section below.
Please remember this poll is to help! ALL Fan productions and the comments section is not a place to start a flame war and anyone doing so their comments will be removed and further participation will be blocked!.
It is the news we have all been waiting for and for some, it has caused a bit of unexpected controversy, but as they say “you cannot keep a good thing down”
Star Trek Continues has always shown to be the pinnacle of fan films not only of its productions values but in its way that it conducts its self with its fans and the powers at CBS.
The only downside! of this good news is, instead of 13 episodes as previously planned Continues will now wrap after its 11th episode.
Last year in preparation for the last of their planned episodes STC ran what would become their last ever crowdfunding campaign to enable them to fund their last remaining episodes although it fell short of its planned goals on Indiegogo it managed to gain enough money from private donations to secure the amount needed to ensure their plans could carry on. With enough funds to ensure they could meet its planned 11 episode run the cast and crew of Continues went radio silent in regards to what its next steps were, this obviously caused some contention among its donors and fans alike.
Nevertheless, these steps were taken by STC to keep their heads down due to the Axanar lawsuit and the mess that had caused but whatever they planned to do next it would require careful planning but most importantly it had to honour its commitments to their donors. it was not until three days ago that that silence was finally broken with this announcement.
The announcement you’ve all been waiting for! At the beginning of 2016, STAR TREK CONTINUES ran a successful fundraising campaign to produce the final episodes of our fan series. As promised, we’ve spent your hard-earned donations to our non-profit production company exactly as we said we would, and have been working around-the-clock to finish our final four episodes as quickly as possible.
Episodes 9, 10, and 11 are still in post-production and will be released throughout the year as they are completed. Episode 8 — “Still Treads the Shadow” — guest-stars Rekha Sharma (“Battlestar Galactica”) and will premiere at Fan Expo Dallas on Saturday, April 1!
We have even more amazing guest stars in these last episodes, culminating in a thrilling series finale by acclaimed science fiction author Robert J. Sawyer.
We want to thank each of you for your patience while we’ve been busy, and also for your support and encouragement throughout our run. It is our sincere pleasure to be bringing a conclusion to our beloved original series of “Star Trek” at long last. LLAP
Now to me and a lot! Of others, this is not only AMAZING news but certainly news that honestly we all thought would never come.
Even though there has been joy and a lot of celebration among the fans of STC lot of comments on social media seem to be asking the same thing, how can Star Trek Continues, continue?
Well we all know that in June 2016 CBS issued a set of “fan film guidelines” that many feared would spell the end of shows like Continues, and possibly mean that even they could not carry on, it is extremely important to remember these are guidelines, not rules and although for them to continue they would be in essence breaking them what you have to remember is every production regardless of compliance will be judged on a case by case basis so just because you comply with them does not automatically make your safe.
So with the news, STC will drop Episodes 8 – 11 do they have anything to worry about?
Honestly, I do not know, and I do not think even they know for sure, however, the realist in me thinks not STC have always had the utmost respect for CBS and their property and after numerous discussions with members of the cast and crew this viewpoint has not changed and never wavered at all, everyone at STC have always been above reproach in their dealings with CBS and although I cannot speak for the directly I know them well enough to know if CBS asks them to do something they will.
Friday, March 3, 2017
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers about remaining episodes of STAR TREK CONTINUES
How are you getting around the guidelines for fan films?
As CBS/Paramount has made clear, the guidelines are not laws; they are general parameters applied on a case-by-case basis. Since the implementation of the guidelines, we have stopped all crowdfunding activities and have focused strictly on completing the four episodes which had already been funded as of that time by fans’ donations to our 501(c)(3) non-profit. STAR TREK CONTINUES has always followed any and all instructions given to us by CBS regarding our production and will continue to do so.
Does STAR TREK CONTINUES have any type of special and/or official arrangement with CBS/Paramount?
Weren’t you going to make 13 episodes? Did CBS make you stop?
CBS is not responsible for the decision to end the series. We are doing 11 episodes instead of 13 because another fan group took advantage of the good graces of the copyright holders forcing them to protect their property and the interests of their license holders. In deference and gratitude to CBS, we are wrapping up earlier than planned. We always have stood, and continue to stand, with CBS.
Can we get DVDs/Blu-ray discs of the final episodes?
As we do not own STAR TREK, we cannot sell DVDs or Blu-ray discs. In the past, we’ve made a limited number of discs available as crowdfunding perks. However, since we are no longer crowdfunding, providing episodes to the public on DVD and/or Blu-ray discs is not currently feasible for us.
What will happen to the studio/sets? Will set visits/tours be available?
We don’t have a definitive answer on this right now, but we’re considering all our options.
So if you heading to the Fan Expo Dallas on Saturday, April 1! Then be sure to beat the rush to what will be the best seats in town and check out Episode 8: “Still Treads the Shadow”
“Horizon so aptly named both for its majesty and its grand power. 250,000 years ago one race united the entire galaxy, for the first time, in peace. But there is always the separatist one who will not join the whole. The Arioui a race of beings unlike any the Iconians had ever known, sought to lay waste to the galaxy and the Great Alliance, to rebuild it anew. They were cunning. One-by-one, they turned the galaxy against its protectors. And when the races of the Great Alliance turned their attention to destroying the wrongly accused Iconians, the Arioui secretly constructed their greatest weapon…”
Horizon, is simply one of the best Star Trek fan films I have ever seen, back in 2015 when I first saw a trailer for it, I was so excited and apprehensive at the same time as unlike some other fan films I have seen prior to this most of Horizon was shot using green screens and very little physical sets which if done badly makes anything really hard to watch, but there was something about Horizon that just drew me to it. Was it the fact it was a continuation, although a non-canonical one to Enterprise the fifth live action series that was cancelled at the end of season four back in 2005 or was it because it featured the Iconians a race we have never really seen in Star Trek bar two episodes, to be honest, I am not sure but looking back on it I have no regrets about the excitement I felt for this amazing film.
A few things that simply resonate from this film and some of the main factors that make this simply one of the best fan films I have seen is, the film has an experienced cast with all of the actors having done some previous work within the industry, the music was a totally original score which for most Fan Trek is almost unheard of, the look of the film is simply amazing from the uniforms which are almost identical to the ones seen on Enterprise right down to the VFX which could easily be mistaken for the real thing, which is not bad what so ever on the budget of less than $30k.
Back in 2012 when I began the odyssey that would become Horizon, I wanted nothing more than to marry my passion for filmmaking with my love for a show that inspired so many amazing and wonderful changes in my life. I hoped people would like it and I assumed some would watch it, but I never expected the reception the film has received. I can’t thank the fans and viewers of Horizon enough. They’ve literally propelled me into the next stage of my career and my life.” — Tommy Kraft, Exec Producer
” I can’t speak for everyone but there was never any doubt that the film would reach 5 million, and I have no doubt it will double that at some point. Horizon is a complete, stand-alone Star Trek film that can be enjoyed by anyone. When you hear that people watch it over and over you know that the movie has staying power and the viewership will grow. I look forward to more of Tommy’s work reaching these milestones.” — Paul Lang, Captain Hawke
The Story of Horizon…
The Horizon story starts back in 2013 when Tommy Craft first conceived the idea for Horizon, Horizon was to be Tommy’s biggest project to date, and certainly, one that back then was an ambitious one for someone who had experience in filmmaking but not had made one of this magnitude. With a series of blogs posted on his YouTube page the story of Horizon started to take shape for all to see and follow.
Tommy’s documented journey of Horizon can be watched > HERE <
Horizon to Tommy was not just another fan film project but one that was born from a personal struggle; back in 2012 not long before he began work on Horizon Tommy was fighting with depression and turned to Trek to help him cope, in an interview with Jonathan Lane in February of last year Tommy had this to say about why he set Horizon in the 22nd century a time setting that only one other fan film has done thus far.
“My depression started in 2012, not long before I began working on Horizon. Enterprise, the character of Captain Archer, and working on the film served as huge inspirations and passions for me that helped guide me through that initial episode and find some ways to cope. There was also this huge religious de-conversion to atheism involved that was one of the best things that ever happened to me. Captain Archer, always being the explorer, inspired me to explore beyond my fundamentalist Christian upbringing, and what I found—basically, science; I found I have a huge passion for it—changed my life for the better in a lot of ways.”
Having suffered from depression myself I know that Trek can and does help coping so I can relate to this so much, and I take my hat off to Tommy for not only using trek to battle his inner demons but also making a Film that will no doubt help others in the way Trek helped him.
So fast forward 12 months to April 2014 the team behind this ambitious project launched their Kickstarter with a small target of $10.000 and in less than a month they broke it and raised more than $20.000 and the film was funded and the hard work in getting this project from page to screen began.
Skipping ahead again to February 26th 2016 and the film was released despite a bit of worry from the donors over at Kickstarter as the film had been slated for release in December 2014, but as anyone within the film industry knows delays happen even to the films with the biggest budget but the wait was finally over and it was well worth the wait.
It is no small endeavour to create a 102-minute long feature film that was almost entirely shot and rendered on green screen with such a tiny budget (this is very much fan-level comparison to what was done with Battlestar: Galactica – Blood & Chrome, right down to the camera motion and seamless transitions from location to location). On a technical level alone, the team behind Horizon deserved some massive congrats on pulling this off.
Since Feb 2016 the viewership of Horizon has been fast yet steady and in the space of six months surpassed the numbers accumulated by the controversial fan film “Prelude to Axanar”.
Despite Horizon surpassing what formerly was considered the highest viewed Star Trek fan film made in August of 2016, this event was tarnished by instead of congratulations by Axanar they hit back with claims of brought viewers and none genuine numbers, this was a spiteful move from the team at Axanar and regardless of its intent did nothing to sway the viewers from watching Horizon and as a result Horizon has now become the most viewed Star Trek fan film made to date.
This is a testament to Tommy Kraft and his team behind this truly inspiring fan film as it shows not only dedication but a love for what they did.
In fact, Horizon was so successful it lead Tommy to plan a follow up called FEDERATION RISING, however, due to the Axanar lawsuit we will now not get to see what would have been yet another amazing film.
In April 2016, co-producer Tommy Kraft issued the following regarding a proposed follow-up production.
“Earlier today, executives from CBS reached out to me and advised me that their legal team strongly suggested that we do not move forward with plans to create a sequel to Horizon. While this is a sign of the current climate that we find ourselves in with Star Trek fan films, I want to personally thank CBS for reaching out to me, rather than including us in their ongoing lawsuit against Axanar.
It was conveyed that the reason CBS was reaching out to me was due to the legal troubles stemming from the Axanar case. Again, CBS did not have to reach out personally. The message I received felt more like they were giving me a heads up before we got too involved in another project, rather than a group of angry executives swinging a hammer.
On behalf of myself and Ryan Webber, my co-writer and co-producer on Federation Rising, we appreciate your initial support and are saddened that we cannot bring you what we believe was a fantastic feature film. However, rest assured that Ryan and I are committed to continuing our storytelling partnership with an original project. We also welcome other fan productions and fan film lovers to join us in this new venture.
While we initially planned to debut our Kickstarter for Federation Rising this Saturday, we hope that you will instead stand with us as we announce an original sci-fi project that Ryan and I have been co-developing in addition to Federation Rising. We’re incredibly excited to tell you about this completely original story that follows the ideals set forth by Star Trek that Ryan and I have been such huge fans and admirers of our entire lives.”
So what is the plot of Horizon in a nutshell?
Horizon is set within the same era as Star Trek: Enterprise, picking up where that series concluded. The film centres on the discovery, an NX class ship like Archer’s Enterprise, and its crew. Captain Harrison Hawke leads a principally human crew. The one exception is Lieutenant T’mar, a Romulan defector conveyance vital tactical data to Starfleet. Horizon covers the Romulan war mentioned in Enterprise, and conjointly takes parts of the temporal conflict, bringing that to a conclusion.
The film opens with a prelude that includes the last living members of a race legendary within the Star Trek galaxy, the Iconians. They have been defeated by another race that created an excellent weapon known as Horizon. The two Iconians take and conceal the weapon; therefore, it cannot be used again.
The first scene brings us to 2160 and begins with Discovery heading back to earth to get T’mar and her Romulan secrets to Starfleet Command, however, they are not out of danger with three Romulan warbirds in hot pursuit. The Discovery takes serious injury and suffers many casualties. The Enterprise makes a surprise cameo, swooping in to save them at the last moment, in fact, the Enterprise makes many little cameos throughout the flick, which Enterprise fans will love! Just like they will love Horizon.
With Discovery limping back to space dock to undergo vital repairs and debrief. During their debrief they learn from T’mar that the Romulans are building devastating weapon with-in 2 light-years from Earth. A fleet of Vulcan and Earth ships, as well as the freshly repaired Discovery, head out to seek and find and destroy the weapon, known as Horizon. The fleet comes under fire by Romulans, and it’s left to the discovery to destroy the weapon with their new prototype torpedoes. The torpedoes cause a surprising spatial rift that form and Discovery are forced through.
The crew notice themselves in orbit above the planet Horizon that is that the planet we see being pulled through a gate like structure at the beginning of the film. While investigating a structure on the surface they’re found by Daekon, a Romulan deserter from the twenty-eighth century and a combatant within the temporal cold war. We learn that he’s the mysterious man from the future within the Enterprise series. The crew of Discovery works to defeat him and at last fully destroy the weapon, ending the temporal cold war to a detailed end at long last.
The story of Horizon is a canon-worthy outing for the Trek franchise, official or not this fits right into the universe with little trouble, the script is so tight and the story is so compelling I am sad that we will not get to see a follow up but I am happy that I can always get my fix of the Discovery and her crew when I need it from just loading up Horizon on YouTube.
This weekend my husband and I watched the film Arrival, it was right up our alley as Star Trek fans.
Communication was the focus of this film, the difficulties that we would face meeting aliens without being able to even talk to each other. Deanna Troi brings up this difficulty in The Next Generation:
Deanna: Actually, the fact that any alien race communicates with another is quite remarkable…We are stranded on a planet, we have no language in common, but I want to teach you mine. The disparity, what did I just say?
Deanna: Are you sure? I may have meant liquid, clear, brown, hot. We conceptualise the universe in quite the same way.
Picard: Point taken
Deanna: In your talks, you must be extremely accurate
This idea of how we conceptualise the universe is one of the most significant aspects of how Dr Louis Banks is able to communicate with the aliens in Arrival. The reason Dr Banks has such a hard time communicating with the aliens is that they perceive time differently. Sisko in Deep Space 9 tries to explain time to an alien in the first episode of the series:
Sisko: It can be argued that a human is ultimately the sum of his experiences.
Alien: Experiences? What is this?
Sisko: Memories. Events from my past, like this one.
Alien: The Past?
Sisko: Things that happened before now…You have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about.
Alien: What comes before now is no different than what is now, or what is to come. It is one’s existence.
Sisko: Then, for you, there is no linear time.
Alien: Linear time. What is this?
Sisko: My species lives at one point in time. And once we move beyond that point, it becomes the past. The future, all that is still to come, does not exist yet for us.
Alien: Does not exist yet?
Sisko: That is the nature of linear existence. And if you examine it more closely, you will see that you do not need to fear me. In a linear existence, we can’t go back to the past to get something we left behind, so it’s lost.
Alien: It is inconceivable that any species could exist in such a manner. You are deceiving us.
Sisko: No, this is the truth. This day, this park, it was almost fifteen years ago. Far in the past, It was a day that was very important to me, a day that shaped every day that followed. That is the essence of a linear existence. Each day affects the next.
Star Trek dealt with this issue of linear time differently than Arrival. In Star Trek, the alien is taught to understand linear time in order to deal with humans. In Arrival, the heptapods teach Dr Banks non-linear time in order for humans to be able to deal with them.
Both ways the idea of non-linear time is so foreign to us and difficult to represent therefore it makes sense that Star Trek had to opt out for a more simple depiction, however, Arrival takes advantage of their budget to depict non-linear time in an amazing way. Both these stories are hiding their point in plain sight. The issue of language between cultures even between humans there can be a difference in the conceptualization of the universe caused by culture making communication very difficult. Again, we see the way Star Trek brings cultural issues to our attention in a roundabout way.
This week we catch up with Lawrence Fleming, the man who plays Science Officer Ray Dora.
Lawrence has enjoyed films and filmmaking since he was young and since then he has had a distinguished career acting in various different genres including many Star Trek fan films and he has produced almost a hundred productions.
Lawrence (Larry), is not only an actor and produced he in his spare time likes to ride motorbikes, go climbing and has been an NRA instructor for many years, with his firearm safety training it adds to his already vast range of experience as this makes him an asset on any set that uses guns for its production.
As part of the Melbourne files, I found myself talking to a wide range of people and when it came to talking to Larry, I found myself thinking about someone with Larry’s experience how do I conduct and interview and not come off and a rank amateur. However, with Larry, I found him extremely approachable and he welcomed my questions like a true gentleman and not what I expected at all from someone with his experience.
Therefore, without further a due let us move on to the interview itself.
We caught up with Larry while he was on set shooting
Jumanji – (YES the one with the Rock)
Therefore, his answers are a little shorter than normal.
“It’s Kind of a sequel. They enter a video game. You know there will be some funny moments with Jack Black also in the film. “
James) Good Afternoon Larry, First, I would like to thank you for your time for agreeing to answer these questions for me.
WOW! I just looked at your IMDB I am a little speechless, I have to admit I am nervous writing up a Q&A for you now lol
Larry) Ha, it just means I have worked a lot no big deal.
James) LOL, Well for anyone who does not know you or has read your IMDB, can you tell me a little about yourself?
Larry) I like doing different things. I get bored doing the same thing repeatedly. During my lifetime, I have flown planes, raced motorbikes, climbed mountains, and repelled down. I go to concerts, rock, jazz, and opera. I am ultimately curious about the world and want to see and experience as much as I can.
I dislike people that are uncaring about others. I also dislike large crowds as if I am stuck in one and cannot get around that also includes being sat in traffic. I do not mind speaking to a crowd just hate being stuck. I guess it is because I am a bit claustrophobic.
James) With your hectic schedule other than Star Trek, what other TV shows you watch if you get the time that is?
Larry) I love the Big Bang Theory mainly because I relate to the characters. I grew up in a house where both parents did not go to High School. I like all hero movies, from any source, Marvel, DC, anything. I also like Detective shows, I love puzzles and like to try to figure out Who Done It.
James) I have to admit that is one of my favourite things about “Detective Shows” the who done it thing is one thing that draws me to watch them, If they are too easy it drives me nuts lol,
With the history you have in Star Trek fan films, tell me a bit about your history with Star Trek what does it mean to you
Do you have a favourite Episode?
Larry) I like the Cage or Menagerie. It was the first and left an impression on me.
It is hard to imagine the world where you cannot tell what really reality is and what imagination is.
James) I have to admit I have only seen the Cage and what I guess what would be called its follow up to it The Menagerie a hand full of times, so I am not up to speed on them. I am going to have to take the time to revisit the TOS I think, TNG onwards I have seen so many times I can tell you the episode name from just the first few seconds. Yes! I am that sad lol.
With those episodes being your favourite ones, do you have one you would class, as your “Worst” episode?
Larry) I do not remember the episode, but they had hippie like characters playing music. They brought too much of reality into the show. I also thought the hippie movement was stupid too.
James) I think that episode is The Way to Eden yes I had to Google it lol. I am feeling rather bad here not knowing my TOS, as I should L
Do you have a “favourite” and “worst” series?
Larry) If we are talking Star Trek, it has to be TOS. I grew up watching this series. I like all the other versions, but I really like the original.
James) A lot of people I think either find the TOS as their fave or are on the fence like me, I like it but for me and like you I guess it is because I grew up with it TNG will always be my fave.
Because you like to go and Cosplay and attend conventions a lot, have you met many Star Trek Actors?
Larry) All the TOS actors except, Deforest Kelly also most of Next Gen crew, I have met most Star Trek actors over the years because I go to as many Cons as I can.
James) That is one thing I wish I had more time to do I have only ever been to one Con and that was years ago the last question in this segment do you play any Star Trek games like STO etc.
James) I have never seen the appeal of WOW many people I know play it. Moving on to your experience in filmmaking, you have been in a lot! Of fan films, can you tell me what ones you have been a part of?
Larry) I have appeared in six or seven different Star Trek fan films. It is amazing being on the set of the Enterprise or whatever the production ship name is.
James) Can you tell me what ones you have been a part of?
I am in Exeter Trek too. It is stuck in post hell trying to get finished. It has been so long I forgot.
James) OK a lot then lol, Is there anything you are currently working on?
🙂 I retired from all the hard work jobs and am only acting.
James) From your IMDB, you have worked in multiple areas: film, television, web, what is it that makes you pick the projects?
Larry) I work in all three. Mainly whatever script idea I like.
James) How easy has it been for you to move between areas?
Larry) They are all the same as far as filming goes. It is just the format that changes.
James) What do you see as the appeal of the various formats?
Larry) Everyone has a method of watching. We try to offer what people want.
Fan films cannot make money, so free sites like YouTube work best.
James) Was there a particular event or time that you recognised that filmmaking was not just a hobby, but that it would be your life and your living?
Larry) When I was young, I grew up in Hollywood and wanted to be a part of it.
When my family moved away, I thought I was through with that dream but I found that I could raise funds as a producer from anywhere and started doing that over 15 years ago. Then when Georgia passed the film-friendly tax laws, filming began moving here. I prefer acting to anything I have been involved in thus far.
James) What makes a film great for you? Are there certain qualities that make a film better for you personally?
Larry) Empathy for the characters if you care about them, then their conflicts in the film seem more real.
James) What films have been the most inspiring or influential to you and how do you feel about Hollywood atm as they seem to reboot or rehash a LOT Of work.
Larry) I love old movies even black and whites. There were not so many films back then so I think they had to be better. We have become cookie cutter in the industry now, remake after remake.
James) I have to agree, I have been saying it for years that all these reboots just seem lost to me gone are the days of the new films that inspire many, it seems to reboot or just a rework of a classic that ends up being rubbish (YES! Ghostbusters I am looking at you)
When watching a film and you get angry at it, what sets you off? Are there common qualities in cinema today that you dislike? Is there something you try to subvert, avoid, or rebel against in your work?
Larry) I like drama and suspense. I hate when they use standard methods to create the suspense. Like “Let’s split up”. Be creative and come up with something unexpected.
James) When inspiration is waning, like when you feel creatively sapped, what do you do? How do you stay fresh?
Larry) I watch movies I choose a film for the way it will make me feel. I love happy conclusions or at least when the heroes save the day and all seems good.
James) What is harder: getting started or being able to keep going?
Larry) I find keeping going is harder. Starting is easy.
There are so many distractions along the way that can interrupt your progress. Stay focused.
James) How do you know when your story has finished and when to walk away?
Larry) It has never finished. You try to get it to a stopping point where the conflict seems to stop. That is why we have sequels.
James) That is so true, going back to the reboot and rehash in Hollywood at the moment, we all hear so often about the lack of original stories in the world. How do you stay fresh in the face of an idea like that?
Larry) You have to really look for fresh ideas and have the courage to work with them. It seems that the money people and controlling content. If it worked before, we will try it repeatedly and again.
James) Have you done your own stunts in many films? In addition, were they hard to do?
Larry) I have a Black Belt in TAEKWONDO, so basic stunts are easy. I like doing them. I have only done stunts in my independent films.
The Big guys want you in SAG so that their insurance will cover you.
James) I am going to quick fire some questions at you about your acting history and experience, tell me the first thing you think of
When did you first realise that you wanted to Act
Larry) When we had, the main character hurt (offset) and needed to be replaced. I stepped in and had a blast.
James) What do you like most about being an Actor?
Larry) I get to be someone different all the time. I get to be on set and once I know my lines, the rest is a simple direction.
James) What parts of Acting do you not enjoy?
Larry) Being on camera
James) What steps did you take to enter this field? – Training etc
Larry) I took some classes; the rest was just getting in there and learning. I learn best by doing.
James) Tell me about your experience as an Actor?
Larry) I tend to take now leading parts. I like helping the scene take place with only moments of leading it. It takes a team to pull it off and I enjoy watching the Teamwork.
James) What gives you the most pleasure as an Actor?
Larry) Completing my scene and hearing wrap a great job. 🙂
James) What elements of the craft do you find most difficult?
Larry) Emotions When you method act you have to become the character.
James) The hardest role you have ever played, and why
Larry) Working is a sub-freezing environment and trying to act like its warm.
James) The most fun role you have ever played and why.
Larry) Getting to have something (not real) explode in front of you and act hurt and injured.
James) What sort of person is going to love this character?
Larry) I hope someone that likes what I like. I try to imagine the character and perform the way I would like to see it.
James) Is it easier to play this character or to be you?
Larry) All characters are I, in a way.
James) What makes a good scene partner?
Larry) Someone that can connect as an actor we are not all working by ourselves.
James) That was great thanks, Along with acting, I see you have produced many films. Can you tell me more about that?
What does an Assistant/Exec Producer do?
Larry) Exec Producers are money getters. If the name is big, people want to be a part. If you are lesser know, then you have to knock on doors, so to speak.
James) Describe to me, how you’d run a project from beginning to end.
Larry) Each project has basic steps. I could write a book on the exact steps.
Find a script – I am always reading scripts
Put a production team together – get with friends
The cast for the film – find a ringer to attract funds.
Start raising money – which and be from day one and last throughout
Put together a filming schedule
Put the pieces together – Post-production
Market and release
James) With your resume being as extensive as it is, have you ever had a time when you had to deal diplomatically with different personalities?
Larry) Every time we film. Creative people are a different breed, need to be encouraged, and complimented all the time no favouritism either…
James) Do you ever take a step back and appreciate what you have made thus far?
Larry) For a short while, it is soon on to the next project.
James) Has there ever been a time where you needed to change your producer-style to accommodate a team or team member have you ever been really challenged by a cast member?
Larry) Early on when I was getting started I was not leading, but letting the project lead me. We ran out of funds a few times and everything would stop.
I prefer to lead now.
James) What kind of routines do you tend to keep for filmmaking to keep you organised or do you even have one.
Larry) I keep folders of past work that aid in the next one. Budget plans, lists of equipment and workers location ideas etc.
James) Many people either have a main job or never stop working on new films all the time with like no time to enjoy what they are doing. How do you earn a living and sustain the career you love,
Larry) I had a Day job working as a consultant in IT. I never really liked that work, but I was good at it. I am retired now and my basic needs are met from retirement funds.
James) Do you think social media is the future of televised series and films, just as you use YouTube etc now is TV on its way out.
Larry) In some form, yes, but we have too many options right now and it is harder to make money.
The pool is too diluted.
James) How do you find the right music for a scene?
Larry) I leave that to the creative sound producers. It is amazing what they can do.
James) What do you know now that you wish you had known at the beginning?
Larry) You can do this on your own. It is not a weakness to get help. It is actually more fun working with those you know.
James) How do you handle being challenged about something that you decide but someone else really disagrees with it?
Larry) Choose your battles. It is not always important to win. If it is wrong, let them fail and learn. I liked helping young filmmakers get started. They all started with grand ideas that I knew would not work. Let them learn.
James) How do you not waste time. How do you get everything you need to get done, done in an allotted time scale?
Larry) It is OK to waste time sometimes. We all need to take a break. Once the project is underway, you just keep at it. The harder you work, the greater the reward.
James) How do you encourage people and get them achieve the best they are capable of?
Larry) Compliment them. Listen a lot. It is like having a spouse or children – Especially children.
James) How do you encourage people and processes to move faster when on a tight time scale?
Larry) Help them to stay focused and be prepared. Downtime is time to go over your lines, not to always socialise.
With so many factors shaping a film’s success or failure, and so much required going into a film just to make it, and even more to make it well, what do you do so it does not ever feel not worth the effort?
James) How does a typical day (for you) begin when you are in full swing production?
Larry) Arrive on set and check the schedule, if you do not already have the updated copy. Exec producers do not do the daily work once the funds are raised.
James) Moving on now to Melbourne, Being an actor in many other fan productions was Melbourne an easy task or did you find the role lead to many challenges in making things fit from script to film?
Larry) I enjoyed the role from start to finish. The direction was well thought out and helpful.
James) Describe your role in the production, how did a typical shoot play out from your perspective?
Larry) I did not produce this film but would have treated it like any other production. Let us get this done.
James) Can you tell me more from your perspective about the story. How is it different from other Fan Productions you have been in?
Larry) It has a Star Trek feel, which makes it the same, but the story was unique. The writing was great and that is what made it work and fun to do.
James) What research did you carry out in the preparation of this role, what challenges and responsibilities did this present in making it something unique?
Larry) Memorise the lines, read the script multiple times standard procedures for this really. I already had years watching Star Trek under my belt.
James) So with your experience in the Star Trek Fan Film world, I want to ask you about the “Fan Film Guidelines,”
What are your feelings on them, as I know to start with everyone the reaction was different but many people were angry how did it make you feel when they came out?
Larry) CBS is running scared they want the franchise, but do not understand it as well. When they saw a production as good as they could make for a lot less, well it is hard to swallow. I hope reason will win out.
James) Can you expand on that a bit? We have seen in recent court filings that the guidelines are a result of Axanar; do you want to see Axanar made?
Larry) I want to see all fan films made including Axanar.
James) Do you feel they crossed any lines?
Larry) I think that CBS thinks they crossed the so-called line. CBS kept quiet for years and only complained when they wanted to make a new series. It is unfortunate that they picked the anniversary of Star Trek to cause problems.
James) Do you feel that the guidelines are a direct result to Axanar and Alec Peters?
Larry) I think that the suit and guidelines are a direct link to Axanar, BUT if it were not them, CBS would have picked on someone else. They are flexing their muscle and are trying to eliminate all work better than their own. CBS should have purchased/bought into the fan film (s) of choice and put their logo on them. Go with a winner instead of an unknown that their new series will be.
James) Do you think they are fair?
Larry) No – The guidelines are stupid and CBS painted themselves into a corner. I hope that reason wins out, but I am a Star Trek fan regardless of who makes what…
James) Thanks for that, I appreciate your view on this since you have been involved in as many fan films as you have, so moving on What Fan Films do you watch?
James) What would you say are yours? Best and worst parts of the Star Trek Fandom,
The best part – The people
The worst part – CBS/Paramount
James) lastly Larry, What advice would you give to someone who wants to?
Larry) Get out there and do it. Learn and get better each performance.
James) Make their own fan film.
Larry) Get help for the first one or two, mistakes cost money.
Larry) Enjoy what you do the rewards are often missing.
James) Larry, Is there anything else you would like to tell me from your perspective of someone involved in the fan film world? (The good, the bad, how you see the current world of fan productions)
Larry) To summarily, Enjoy what you do, that may be your best reward. Do not be afraid to ask for help, we all need it from time to time. Do not be too proud to take a lesser role. Do not get discouraged.
You will be turned down after your best audition, simply because you do not fit the role in the eyes of the casting team. Make and act the way you would enjoy watching.
James) Thank you, Larry, for taking the time to answer these for me.
Larry) Thank you and my best.
So, guys, that is part three, and although I started off scared with the prospect of interviewing Larry BUT! I enjoyed it a lot, I feel I have gotten to know the man who has acted in so many Fan Films a lot better, and it makes me want to watch Melbourne even more!
Hurry up Vance lol 😛
As always thank you for reading and your continued support with the blog.
What would you do if you were bestowed with the honour of the title of “The Ultimate Trekker?” we ask Gary O’Brien who recently won The UK’s Ultimate Trekker Boldly Goes as he is Awarded The Best Job In The Universe
Recently Manpower, UK in association with PARAMOUNT HOME MEDIA DISTRIBUTION held a recruitment event in LONDON, the UK asking Trekkers nationwide to apply for what they touted as the “Best Job in the Universe” that best job was to become the Vice Admiral of Yorktown (The amazing Starbase in Star Trek Beyond).
Watch the original job advert >HERE< or read about it >HERE<
A temporary Starfleet Outpost popped up at Manpower’s Liverpool Street, offices in London, and over 300 applicants applied for the position with the hope of beating out the competition and winning the prize of being named the “The Ultimate Trekker.”
Not only is the winner granted the title of “the Ultimate Trekker” but they take command of Starbase Yorktown, will receive an official uniform recently used in the production of Star Trek Beyond and a VIP visit to Paramount Studio Lot in Los Angeles.
Well, we are so pleased to announce that the winner of this amazing prize is none other than Gary O’Brien, Gary answered toughies like listing the full registration numbers, classes and captains of all seven ships to have bared the name Enterprise; as well as recalling the lengthy Borg name of Voyager’s Seven of Nine.
As you know, we recently interviewed Gary about his upcoming fan production “Chance Encounter.”
So we would like to say Gary congratulations this is truly amazing.
We reached out to Gary yesterday to wish him our best and ask what winning this prize meant to him.
“Yeah, it is a pretty cool prize. I feel very lucky!
There were a lot of very smart people at the interview – I’m very fortunate to have got “the job”. I am sure there were many others there that it could have gone to – I just got lucky on the day I think! A friend of mine, David Combe who kindly helped with some 3D modelling advice on Chance Encounter is also a powerhouse of Star Trek knowledge and makes great work himself.
Like me, he also got his work featured in the 2016 Ships Of The Line Calendar. He is a really nice guy, and how he didn’t win over me I’ll never know! Check out some of his great work over at Deviant Art:
Anyway – I suppose now that I have been awarded the symbolic “Ultimate Trekker” title, no-one can question whether Chance Encounter has been made by a true fan or not!
The early part of 2017 should be an exciting time for me, as we will be aiming to release Chance Encounter, and I will get a trip to Paramount studio and a tour! Stay tuned to startrekshortfilm.com as our release date is getting ever closer!”