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 Major – Melbourne
What is your interpretation of this guideline?
Is this a guideline that is one that will or could cause issues?
I don’t think anyone should be doing this anyway. No fan film is official. This is one of the guidelines I have no problem with in any way. I think this shows the state of mind of that some fan filmmakers have gotten into, to an extent. Trying to be the next big thing in the Trek universe, and to me that’s sad. I think some have gotten away from what this should all be about. Having fun and telling fun stories. That’s what kinda sucks about things these days, it’s so easy to make things bigger and better and then we can let our egos get out of hand. But, who are we? We’re just kids just playing in someone else’s sandbox. We can’t ever forget that. And I think this rule is there to remind us that no matter how good we can get, it’s not our sandbox
Justin Burton – Former member of the Lexington production.
What is your interpretation of this guideline?
Star Trek Continues gets away with it little unfair we dropped Star Trek From the Lexington title long before this.
Is this a guideline that is one that will or could cause issues?
Only to those who think they are above the guidelines, Star Trek Continues for example and that Voyager fan film. Star Trek First Frontier too
Ray Tesi – Republic
What is your interpretation of this guideline?
Is this a guideline that is one that will or could cause issues?
To me, this is a non-issue. Having a disclaimer is an everyday part of a business and has no bearing on the success or failure of a fan production.
Robin – Dark Armada:
“The guidelines set by CBS are just what they are…….. Guidelines, as it was explained in the podcast they’re not supposed to be rules and CBS isn’t going to inspect every single fan film about these guidelines. The Star Trek Fan Film community used to live by a certain code or ‘unofficial rules’, until some decided to break that code and all hell broke loose. But it’s really just common sense: making a fan film means you play with someone’s intellectual property and in our case, CBS and Paramount have graciously allowed us to do that for over a decade. The risk that they would ask you to stop is always present, so do you think it’s wise to sell DVD’s, ask for money/donations, build a studio, pretend to be official Star Trek? Only a few thought it was. Most fan productions followed a few simple rules: don’t make a profit, don’t sell DVD’s or similar merchandise and make clear it’s a fan production. The only difference today is that these rules are now officially presented as guidelines by CBS. Follow them and you’re safe from any legal action. Most important about these guidelines are that your intentions are good (the common sense stuff I mentioned before), that it’s a production by the fans for the fans out of love for Star Trek (and of course…. don’t pull an Alec). My advice would be not to try to desperately work around the guidelines, but realise that they are a way for CBS to allow us to play with Star Trek as fans. Some of these guidelines weigh heavier than other. I think I don’t have to explain that collecting more money is a worse guideline to ignore than the one about the length of your film. Whether your film is 15, 30 or 45 minutes long, make sure your intentions are good and put a lot effort, a lot of work and a lot of love into it”
More Producer Analysis is on its way.
Why Are There Only 3 Episodes Left of STAR TREK CONTINUES? Vic Mignogna from STC Answers!
8) The fan production must display the following disclaimer in the on-screen credits of the fan productions and on any marketing material including the fan production website or page hosting the fan production:
“Star Trek and all related marks, logos and characters are solely owned by CBS Studios Inc. This fan production is not endorsed by, sponsored by, nor affiliated with CBS, Paramount Pictures, or any other Star Trek franchise, and is a non-commercial fan-made film intended for recreational use. No commercial exhibition or distribution is permitted. No alleged independent rights will be asserted against CBS or Paramount Pictures.”
RANDY LANDERS – Potemkin Pictures
What is your interpretation of this guideline?
Yep. No problem with that.
Nick Cook – Intrepid
What is your interpretation of this guideline?
Again, straight forward. Use the disclaimer as provided. We’ve added it to the opening of all new films since the guidelines dropped. To be honest, I think this is actually a pretty good thing to have, and many fan films already had some sort of disclaimer attached. I rather like the wording of the one we’ve been given.
Vance Major – Melbourne/ Starbase Studios
What is your interpretation of this guideline?
I get why they want us to do it. It’s kind of irritating, for a company that wants us to post so much that we are not affiliated that we have to keep putting disclaimers on there. It’s like there are so many hoops to jump thru just to make a friggin fan film, Lord forbid if you mistype a word lol or if you’re an honest to Gawd newbie that’s never even heard of these guidelines. That’s why I stick by they will go by the spirit of the law, not the letter of the law. If you’re in high school and you make a film on your cell phone, I wouldn’t expect you to have this disclaimer up. Chances are you don’t even know it exists. Yet fan film marks live and die by these things like you’ll lose your house if you dot the wrong I or cross the wrong while I feel they keep people like me safer from certain things, again, no one is going to mistake my film for star trek beyond or discovery. And I’ve been very open, I’m in no way competing.
Justin Burton – Former member of the Lexington production.
What is your interpretation of this guideline?
Most fan productions were already doing this before the guidelines
Ray Tesi – Republic
What is your interpretation of this guideline?
Again, disclaimers are an every-day part of the business world. This is another non-issue in my opinion.
Robin – Dark Armada:
What is your interpretation of this guideline?
( SEE ABOVE STATEMENT )
Everything below is to enable you to understand the reasons for disclaimers and why CBS has asked you to place one on your Fan Production, it is not an indication that you should try to Copyright/Trademark your work as this is not possible for a fan film made by using the Star Trek IP.
Before! you upload to YouTube I would strongly recommend you take the time to visit this page >
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.
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?
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
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…..
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
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.
However, Matthew and Trekzone have not stopped there, and in 2016 Matthew took to the road and produced a mini-series of blogs called Sci-Fi Weekly where he got the chance to meet some of the top scientists in Australia for example Dr Andy Thomas – Australia’s first astronaut, Dr. Anton Wallner, Dr. Geoff Campbell and Dr. Brad Tucker, although a short-lived mini blog series it was one that drew a lot of interest to his site and more recently Matthew was one of the main followers of the Axanar lawsuit producing content that covered, the particulars of the lawsuit and how it has changed the fan film world forever.
James) Hey Matt, tell us a bit more about you.
Matt) I’m a thirty-year-old broadcast engineer in the real world, which sees me working in television making sure people can keep watching our TV signal. I like a good bottle of scotch, a decent TV show (Designated Survivor is a good one right now… I’ve only seen the pilot so far though.) I dislike frauds and people who make huge claims but fail to deliver.
James) Other than Trek, what other TV shows do you like to watch?
Matt) Babylon 5, Stargate are a couple of other Sci-Fi shows I like, also enjoying Dick Wolf’s Chicago series of shows and a few others on TV right now.
James) Well, you should like Stargate lol you have interviewed a few of the main cast :p how awkward would that be if you interviewed someone you had no idea who they were,
As a keen Star Trek fan, do you play any Trek Games, and If not Trek Games then what ones?
Matt) I recently discovered Steam has the entire back catalogue of Age of Empires, man that was a cracking series for its time (and they released a remastered version of number 2!) In the Trek universe, Armada II, Bridge Commander, Birth of the Federation were amongst my ‘lay by’ purchases when I was a junior… I remember waiting for hours for the install and crossing fingers hoping the graphics card was up to spec!
James) So know we know the basics of who you are and some of your likes, because I am nosey lol, what is your day job?
Matt) I work in TV here in Brisbane, they’re good to me and it’s fun to be behind the camera at work – which allows me to not be too burnt out while producing The Trekzone Spotlight (I do feel that they are different sides of the TV business so it’s good fun.)
James) Tell me a bit about your history with Star Trek what does Trek mean to you. What Trek Actors have you met in real life if any?
Matt) Thanks to The Trekzone Spotlight, I’ve met Nana Visitor, Connor Trinneer, Rene Auberjonois, Anthony Montgomery and a few others… also met a few of the guys and girls from Stargate (Richard Dean Anderson was a highlight, so awesome!)
James) I so need! To start doing Cons I think I need to get out more lol. With Trekzone do you go to many Star Trek Conventions?
Matt) One dedicated Trek con when I was 10… we had lunch with Tim Russ! Australia doesn’t get too many dedicated cons, the audience would be there for it though…
James) That is kind of like the UK We have Cons but I think the only Trek-centric one is Destination Europe, everything Trek-centric seems to be states side mostly.
So moving on out of 5 live action series, 1 animated one do you have a favourite Trek Episode and if so why this one?
Matt) That’d be a tossup between DS9 season 4’s The Visitor, TNG Season 6’s The Inner Light and VOY season 3/4’s Scorpion parts 1 & 2. I love some good character focused eps (and Scorpion because the Borg get their ass kicked!) – OK, you only said episode… but can YOU just pick one from 728!? ;).
James) Erm, I guess not for me though I have my go to episodes which I guess they can be considered “favourites”. Out of all the features do you have a favourite Star Trek Film?
Matt) First Contact.
James) Hmmm That is a good choice but, I think a lot of people pick that one, it is one of my faves but my fave film I think and it is controversial lol is Nemesis, not for the story as such as let’s face it, it does lack in a lot of areas but it is just different enough yet similar to be a good trek film. Do you have a favourite Trek Actor/Actress?
Matt) Nana Visitor… she went on such a ride with her character that was so rigid in the beginning, striving for independence for herself and her people after the Occupation, but over seven years developed deep friendships with these aliens that came straight after the Cardassian’ and started running the space station… she even fell in love with the shapeshifter.
James) Worst Trek Episode Why?
Matt) VOY’s Threshold. Need I say more?
James) The Jane Paris BABIES! Lol. Favourite Series & Why?
Matt) Tossup between DS9, for its gritty take on Trek and Enterprise for its optimistic vision of our near future (despite an out of character third season.)
James) Worst Series & Why?
Matt) TOS, purely because I grew up on TNG and those 60’s elements are so 60’s. (It’s not bad, it’s just very different… or original.)
James) You know I am the same, everything seems to be TOS saturated, yes I get it, TOS is what launched 51 years of greatness but like you TNG was my baby but it’s not my fave : -O.
You recently covered a few fan films and you have interviews people like Vic from STC, Do you watch any Fan Films do you watch?
Matt) I’ve caught Hidden Frontier (that series got me excited for my fan series, and then I met Carlos who worked on it!) Continues, New Voyages. Most recently Chance Encounter – good flick.
James) I remember seeing Hidden Frontier YEARS! Ago then I drifted away from fan films it was not until Renegades did I come back and play catch up. Can you rank your top five (if you have them)?
Matt) Chance Encounter, Hidden Frontier, Continues, Intrepid, New Voyages (I haven’t seen much of James’ series.)
James) I have seen all of them you have listed and like you, I have not watched many NV episodes yet, TBH I think once I watched a lot of STC and a few stand alone ones I was TOS’ed out, BUT! I plan to go and watch some of them over the next few weeks as I want to see the ones with some of the TOS cast in.
What other Star Trek fan productions do you watch/listen to etc (Podcasts, YouTube shows etc)
Matt) I’m so short on spare time that I don’t catch very much else.
James) TBH, I am the same with having to “try” to cover as many fan productions as possible, I tend to skim through podcasts to bits that I am keen on hearing, I try to catch Sunday G&T as often as I can, I do watch yours when you interview someone I want to see and Trek Geeks I skim but Dan and Bill do it weekly so I always know I can go to their site and catch up.
As someone who has been involved in the fan community for a lengthy period now, what would you say is favourite parts of the Trek Fandom?
Matt) Meeting strangers with a shared passion the world over.
James) Worst Parts of the Trek Fandom (any bad experiences)?
Matt) Stubborn individuals that believe their way is the only way (to tell a story, to report on facts or even about other people.)
James) Man your diplomatic LOL, do you have any funny stories to tell
Matt) Not necessarily funny, but the spread of Trek fans always surprises me… there are Trekkies in the same suburb as me!
James) What makes you thankful to be a part of this amazing universe
Matt) Finding it tough to be thankful as this universe as thrown a few curve balls at me in the last six months, but I’m in a good place now and cracking on with the podcasts and staying busy for a while.
James) Moving on, we have covered your likes and dislikes in regards to the last 5 live action series, but now I want to tackle DISCOVERY.
I guess the first basic question is, are you looking forward to it?
Matt) Very much so, I’m hoping that The Trekzone Spotlight can help me delve deeper into it.
James) When you first saw the trailer for Discovery were you worried at all?
Matt) I was concerned that they’d be repeating the same ‘mistakes’ as Enterprise (doing a prequel because there is nothing left to explore post VOY)
James) See, I liked Ent a LOT so I get what you mean but I am keen on seeing another new prequel tbh lol. What do you think about the casting choices thus far?
Matt) Very good, it’s another group of relatively unknown / niche actors which are what TNG-era Trek has been about.
James) What are your hopes for Discovery?
Matt) That it survives the first season.
James) Well we know now, that they have ordered another 2 episodes and things do look real good for Season 2.
The departure of Brian Fuller has caused a lot of miss information being floated and a lot of “vocal” fans crying that it now means this series’ days are numbered, are you concerned at all?
Matt) I think Brian should’ve focused on one project at a time. Does anyone know what J. Michael Straczynski is doing?
James) LOL I would prefer some of the old crew to replace him over J. Michael Straczynski tbh but each to their own 😛
What look do you hope they go for, we know its prime time line but do you hope it’s more prime than Kelvin or vice versa?
Matt) Has to prime timeline and character driven – we don’t need a million dollars of special effects to make good Trek.
James) I think with the latest trailer, it is going to upset a lot of people but! I am still excited. What do you hope they do not do with Discovery, as in PLEASE DO NOT GO THERE LOL?
Matt) Avoid the Arcanis sector at all costs.
James) LMFAO! You mean do not Axa it LOL!, another controversial point, that seems to have upset a few people is CBS’ decision to place it on CBS all Access in the states and Netflix worldwide Do you think this move is a good or bad idea?
Matt) It is… interesting. In one way it frees the series from the pressure of rating success, but on the other, there are more accurate viewership figures than broadcast TV’s Nielson boxes.
James) When I first heard of this choice I was not overly happy as tbh Netflix UK, not so good LOL but I think it is the way things are moving now, people in the UK at least tend to watch TV less and less and want to be able to watch things NOW!, I think this is the way things are heading tbh.
Do you think online streaming is the future of televised series and films, just as you use YouTube etc now, is TV on its way out?
Matt) That’s an interesting question, given I work in TV… I think free to air will stick around as long as it has things you can’t get elsewhere (in Australia before broadband internet our prime time was all the American shows, usually on a 6-9 month delay because our TV season is Feb-Nov, but now there is mostly reality TV or sport and news during the day because that’s not available anywhere else.)
That said, in the US it’s different because it is the world premiere of episodes each week… free to air and cable has its niche that way. It is still the most popular medium to reach the masses.
That wraps up part one, in part two I talk to Matt about what his best and worst interviews were, his history in fan productions and what made him stand up and take a stand against that fan production that just doesn’t seem to go away.
Trekzone can be found online at the following links
This week we wrap our current featured blog series about the fan film Melbourne by interviewing Michael Sylvester AKA Captain Nathan Cooper.
Michael, born on September 11th and has lived in Huntsville, AL since 1993. Is a keen photographer who owns his own company http://www.sylvesterphotography.com/ Michaels love for photography started when he was a child and has always dreamt of making a career out of his passion and it was in 2006 when he made that dream a reality.
Since 2006 Michael has enjoyed having his own business as a freelance photographer and has photographed over 100 weddings, over 200 Portraits, 3 military special events, 1 prom dance, 2 local parades, and around 50 non-profit events. In 2013 Michael found out that Star Trek: Renegades needed a photographer for its 3 weeks of filming in LA, he applied and landed a dream job as along with photography Star Trek is another huge passion of his.
Along with his job on the production of Renegades and his acting role on Melbourne Michael has also helped out other productions and was even an extra on the fan series “Starship Tristan”.
“I first met Michael online a few months before the first promenade-acon. He was so excited. I thought he was just another person. Had no idea that he was such an uber fan. But man, had a few phone calls with him and then meet him and I just clicked with him. He had such a warm personality to him, I invited him to the Melbourne dinner we all had that night after the event. As an honorary guest. I think it was a month later I gave him a guest role. He was just so excited, it was infectious. About a month before filming the captain we had planned, stepped away. And Michael had already memorised his lines. To Jeremy and me, it was a no-brainer. And our new captain was born. And honestly, as we were filming, I couldn’t see anyone else in that role. He had played it with such honesty. Hit every note we needed him to. The guy is such a great actor. He’s such a great friend. And he’s just an all out great person”
Vance Owen, Executive Producer, Melbourne.
James) Hi Michael, thank you for taking some time to answer some questions with me about you and your role in Melbourne.
So let’s start with the obvious one tell me a bit about yourself.
Michael) Hi there, my name is Michael Scott Sylvester; I am 46 years old and live in Huntsville Ala. I have been married for more than 10 years and been with her more than 20 years.
James) What do you do when you are not acting or helping out on fan films?
Michael) I am a photographer full time and deliver pizza for Domino’s part-time.
James) What are your likes and dislikes?
Michael) I love cheesecake, esp plain. I dislike people who have no respect for others or stuck up or judgmental.
James) Other than your obvious love for Star Trek, what TV shows do you watch?
Michael) I love pretty much any kind of sci-fi shows, but I also love NCIS series, Bull, Scorpion, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow and Flash. Arrow, hmmm, not sure about them. But what they say is true and what they are going to do, then they will win me back.
James) I love the Dc Universe TV series although like you have yet to really follow Arrow, just seems a bit meh to me.
Are there any Star Trek Games you play?
Michael) I pretty much do not play Trek games, I know. Many of my friends are shock by that. But I do play Cards against Humanity card game.
James) Tell me a bit about your history with Star Trek what does Trek mean to you, did you grow up watching it or was it something you came across later in life?
Michael) I remember when I was about 6 or 7 CBS was doing a marathon run on Star Trek and it was a Saturday night I think. The very first episode I saw was Spock’s Brain. I was hooked. I forced myself to stay up all the way up to 7 am to watch them.
James) “Spocks Brain” lol sorry have to laugh if I saw that one as a starter episode I might have been put off, it is honestly one of the worst ones have seen.
Talking about best and worst Trek Episodes are there any you would run as your “favourite and your worst”?
Michael) I know a lot of people call this one of the worst episodes ever made, but Spock Brain will always be my favourite because that was the very first one I had watched.
James) I get that I guess as the first Star Trek I ever saw was Search for Spock and that is one of my favourite films even though many tend not to like it, so do you have a worst Trek Episode?
Michael) As for what I think is the worst, wow that is pretty hard to choose. I would have to say Enterprise season 4 Storm Front parts 1 and 2. The travel back in time with the Xindi and World War 2, just did not like the story line and I was sitting there thinking, oh god, please do not let the rest of the season go like this. Thankful they did not drag that storyline out. Was happy the rest of the season got better. I really did hate that they only had 4 seasons. Wish they could have gone at least 2 or 3 more showing the building of the Federation, leading up to many of the things we see in TOS series.
James) That covers your favourite episodes, let’s swap that to series what would you class as your best and worst, starting obviously with your favourite series then your worst 😛
Favourite Series & Why?
My favourite series will have to be Voyager. I love the fact that they were lost and trying to make their way home. And the challenged of holding onto their standers of being Starfleet, humanity and spirit. There were a lot of episodes where Janeway had to make some hard choices. And I wonder, would I have done the same thing.
Worst Series & Why?
Worst series, okay this will not make sense at first, but Voyager. LOL I know, I just said this was my favourite series, but there were some things in the show made me think what the frack was they thinking when they wrote this. Chakotay and Seven Relationships was the big one. Was not believable like Torres and Paris, they took their time building up their relationship. Then there were a few episodes right after each other, where the main crew member let Janeway down and she was disappointed in them and hurt, would not be that bad if they spread that out some. And seem a lot of the episodes mostly focused on Seven, which is really not a bad thing, but just seem like there was more of her story than the rest.
James) The whole Seven and Chakotay thing made me cringe like BIG time, I get the holodeck thing as she was experimenting but if you hold her up to his past flings its almost hey I know let’s just shove them together because “reasons” and I agree with the Tom and Torres thing it just was not believable I mean the untold love story of Neelix and Tuvok was more believable lol!!
So, Martin have you ever met any Trek actors in real life?
Martin) Well, that is funny that you asked that.
I had met Chase Masterson, Walter Koenig, Tim Russ, Robert Picador, Robert Beltram, Terry Farrell, Manu Intiraymi, Gary Graham, I also got to meet Clint Carmichael who play the lead Nausicaan and the one who stabbed Picard from behind. There a picture of him choking me on my facebook album.
Martin) No top five, as long the story good and acting is decent I will watch.
James) Some people dislike Fan Films, are there any specific ones or type of fan films that just do not interest you?
Martin) Cannot get into the computer graphic fan films. They just loose me. I tried a few but… yeah had to click on something else.
James) The Last question in this section then moving on, to your experiences and history in filmmaking, What are yours?
Best and worst parts of the Star Trek Fandom, any bad experiences?
Best – Watching something that fans that love the show and come together and do it.
Worst – Yeah, there was one, but not going into details about that. Just I felt I got burned pretty badly and if they do another one, I am going to have a hard time supporting them.
James) WOW! That sounds bad and I won’t pry into it, So we will be moving on now…
What is your experience in Fan Films? – name the productions you have been in if possible.
Martin) I had always love Fan films, esp. the Star Trek ones. And as I had watched them, I kept telling myself, one day I will be in one myself. I have been an extra for Starship Tristan with Randy Landers. There was a lot of sitting around and waiting, but it was fun watching at the same time. I hope to be able to go back and help out again.
Martin) Right now I am part of Shadowstorm Studio, involved with Melbourne.
James) Have you had any other experiences you’d like to share?
Martin) I have done a few acting gigs here and there, not much; I have also done short videos including 2 music videos. Had worked on a Zombie Music video, a horror short video which I got to play a victim and got eaten alive by three witches and I was the primary photographer for the first episode of Star Trek Renegades which is now Renegades the series. But my main love is photography, but I am also hoping to get more involved with films also.
James) When you think about everything you have done and have planned how does it make you feel, do you ever just think oooh hold up it’s too much I need to slow down?
Martin) Sometimes it can get overwhelming with so much going on if you are not careful you can burn out and not know which way is up.
Right now I am working on interview videos myself I have done, working on Melbourne cards, working on a theme shoot script coming up next year. Have a convention coming up in March I am preparing for and have 2 weddings and a few photo shoots photos I need to go through. An Alice in Wonderland music Video, which we just go done filming last week for this young lady 15th birthday. So I am the one who video, edit, produce and direct it. Which, those are getting done first. They paid money.
James) Erm, ok that sounds like a LOT of work planned and I have enough stress just planning everything I need to in real life and maintaining TFP lol,
How would you say your viewpoint on filmmaking has changed in the last 18months if it has, is there anything you have become to love more than you thought you would.
Martin) I am really starting to enjoy the filming aspect and loved been behind the camera, but something happens I got to be in front of the camera with a part and now starting to think, hey I like this
Now I want to do more. Acting, I can see myself laying down the camera and getting the front of it now. And I really do hope it does not end with Melbourne because we are only doing so many episodes.
James) What has made you want to act more?
Martin) That first moment when I said my first lines, I knew this is what I really want to do and love just as much as photography.
James) What would you say grabs your attention when reading a script?
Martin) The story has to be great and grabs my attention. If the story is not that good, then I really cannot get into it. Also when you have a director listen to your ideas even if they might not agree, but they listen.
James) What are you currently working on?
Martin) Right now I have a lot on my plate with my photography business. This year I am doing at least 6 different conventions.
James ) Do you work in multiple areas: film, television, web, or are you focused in one area?
Martin) I was the primary photographer for the first Star Trek Renegades and I love being on set. I hope to be able to do something like this again, rather been the photographer or in front of the camera.
James) How easy has it been for you to move between areas like acting, directing etc?
Martin) Not hard at all, Esp. when you love something.
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?
Martin) Had really never thought about it that much. About 10 years ago I had a chance to perform with Richard Hatch in one of his classes and after the end of the class he came up to me and said I really surprised him that I should look into acting.
I never really gave it that much thought before till Vance and Jeremy asked me to be the Captain of the Melbourne.
James) I am going to fire some questions at you and I want you to just say the first thing that comes to about it…
Martin) OK :-?
James) When did you first realise that you wanted to Act
Martin) The first day in Melbourne
James) What do you like most about being an Actor?
Martin) Helping telling a story
James) What parts of Acting do you not enjoy?
Martin) Have not had one yet.
James) What gives you the most pleasure as an Actor?
Martin) I can be anyone and not be myself.
James) What elements of the craft do you find most difficult?
Martin) Sometimes finding that moment that the producer or director is looking for.
James) Do any famous actors inspire you?
Martin) Too many to list but on top, Robin Williams.
James) The hardest role you have ever played, and why?
Martin) So far Nathan T Cooper, but hoping there will be more in the future.
James) The most fun role you have ever played, and why.
Martin) LOL Nathan T Cooper is the only one so far. Because it is not me, I am someone different.
James) What sort of person is going to love this character?
Martin) Be more like hating him in the first film.
James) How is this role like you is it similar of different?
Martin) He cares for his crew and his friends just as I care for my friends and family
James) Is it easier to play this character or to be you?
Martin) Wow, either one is easy
James) What do you love about this character?
Martin) I will get to see him grow and become a great Captain. Well, I hope he does.
James) What do you hate about this character?
Martin) Oh watch the first film, you will see. LOL
James) What is the biggest challenge about taking on this role?
Martin) Becoming a jerk.
James) Besides yourself, what celebrity would you like to see tackle this character?
Martin) John Barrowman.
James) Without giving anything away, what is your favourite line of dialogue?
Martin) That piece of junk… all I am going to say.
James) Besides you, which actor in this production is going to blow people away?
Martin) Wow, there are a few and some we really have not seen yet.
James) If you could play any other character on this show, who would it be?
Martin) The Doctor.
James) What makes a good scene partner?
Martin) How we play off each other.
James) When inspiration is waning when you feel creatively tapped, what do you do? How do you stay fresh?
Martin) Have not gotten to that step yet.
James) What makes a film great for you? Are there certain qualities that make a film better for you?
Martin) The flow of the story and needs to make sense.
James) What films have been the most inspiring or influential to you and why?
Martin) Nothing really comes to mind right now, mostly have watched for just the entertainment part. But now, when I watch a movie, tv show or fan film, I look at it in a whole new perspective.
James) How do you earn a living and sustain a career doing what you love?
Martin) I do photography and work for Domino’s delivering pizza.
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?
Martin) Oh yes, in fact, we do not have cable, everything is online we watch.
James) Have you ever had a time when you had to deal diplomatically with different personalities?
Martin) A wedding photographer, many many times.
James) When you get angry at a movie, 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?
Martin) When the writers have the actor or actress say or do something that is so stupid and make no sense at all.
James) What is harder: getting started or being able to keep going?
Martin) Hmmm, I really do not know. So far no problems getting started and no prob of keep going.
James) Thanks, I like that kind of questions it tends to reveal more than having time to think.
James) So I know you are keen on photography and that you took a role on Renegades tell me more. What exactly is the role of a Principal Photographer?
Martin) A principal or primary photographer is the one who does all the behind scene shot, promo shots of the stars.
James) What is your experience in Principal Photographer?
Martin) Work on Star Trek Renegades.
James) Describe what it is you look for when doing a photography shoot – Using Renegades as an example?
Martin) The right moment when they are not paying attention and you capture that expression or look.
James) Apart from Renegades what other films have you been the Principal/Secondary Photographer?
Martin) I have work on a few music video’s one with Santiago Carlos from Walking Dead.
James) Where did you study Photography or is this a hobby of yours?
Martin) Started off as a hobby than a business.
James) What is the key of lighting techniques and how to achieve them
Martin) When you are on set doing photos, sometimes flash can be a bad thing.
James) Moving on I would like to ask some more Melbourne-centric questions
Being an actor in Melbourne was this an easy task or did you find the role lead to many challenges in making things fit from script to film?
Martin) There were a few challenges but overall, I seem to fit right in for Cooper.
James) How would you describe your character in Melbourne?
Martin) I really do not know, but my character Nathan T Cooper, there is a whole back story that led him to where he is now and I hope to be able to do some flashback with this character before I get too old.
James) What research did you carry out in the preparation for this role, what challenges and responsibilities did this present in making it something unique?
Martin) Watch a lot of Star Trek and BSG original and Stargate with O’Neil.
James) What other things did you find yourself doing on the set or after shooting Melbourne?
Martin) Mostly spent time on set and preparing for my scene. But I do a lot of the Photoshop for the pictures that were taken.
James) With everything you have done in both Melbourne and your photography do you ever take a step back and appreciate what you have made thus far?
Martin) Well I have not seen any footage yet so I do not know yet, but I have with many of my photos I had taken.
James) As a standard question I ask everyone involved within the Fan Film community with the release of the “Fan Film Guidelines,” how did it make you feel when they came out?
Martin) Upset because I really wanted to do a full 30 min to 45-minute episodes, shoot I would have loved the last one we do be an hour long episode.
James) Do you think they are fair?
Martin) Some yes, some no. Many of the rules have hurt so many fan films. But at the same time, it is sad to see so many fan films stop and say no more.
James) Thanks, Martin, for your frank answers, ok well its time to wrap things up I guess, as we move into the last section, what advice would you give to someone who wants to?
Martin) Do not over do it unless it calls for that, just be normal, if that is possible.
James) Make/Star in their own (fan) film
Martin) Do it do it, then sends me a link or shoot me a message. If possible would love to see or be involved.
Martin) Be careful what you ask for, LOL
James) Become a Principal Photographer
Martin) Be sure to listen to the director and be on hand and ready to at that moment.
James) Ok well I guess that’s it but 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)
Martin) The good part, something you can sit back with your friends and family and enjoy have a good laugh doing it and be proud of it. No matter how the sets look, just make sure the story flows and not jumping everywhere.
Martin) The bad part, if this is your project, listen to people but you have the final say and some will not agree with you.
I think we have lost a lot of good stories out there because of the new rules. I am hoping before we finish our 6 film episode the rules will change.
James) Thanks Martin for your time.
Well there we go folks, we have come to the end of the run of the Melbourne files, we did miss out some crew members that could not free up time to sit and chat with me so we will! Revisit this series when I can pin them down for an hour and get them to answer some questions about Melbourne for me.
Until then I wish to Thank! The cast and crew of Melbourne for being some of the nicest people I have had the opportunity to talk with.
Our next featured blog series starts in April and it is a ten-part series based on the Fan Film Guidelines, trust me it is not going to be boring and it is going to open a lot! of eyes.
Brittany loves to cosplay and can even read Egyptian hieroglyphs, yep that is right she can read those things inside the pyramids and on ancient artefacts… I wonder if she can read Gould lol!
I have been told that she is one of the nicest people I could possibly ever meet by so many who know her, and it is my pleasure to sit down with her today and discuss some aspects of her acting life and her role in Melbourne.
“Brittany is someone who takes acting very seriously. Most ppl in fan films get caught up in the excitement of being in Trek, but with her, there was always a sense of excitement, but professionalism. I’d say that anyone that has the opportunity to work with her, do it. She is honestly so damn talented, I expect high things from this woman in the years to come. And I am fortunate enough to be able to say I knew her before all the glamour”
Vance Owen, Executive Producer, Melbourne.
James) Hi Brittany thank you for talking to me about Melbourne and what your history is with Star Trek.
Firstly you can read Hieroglyphs, can you read Gould from Stargate LOL!
Brittany) I taught myself to read Egyptian when I was in 6th grade. Had a slight obsession with mummies lol I e never tried to read it
James) That is so Awesome! Anyway, I guess we should start with the obvious tell me a bit about yourself.
Brittany) My name is Brittany Wilson and I currently reside in Huntsville Alabama. I really enjoy anything to do with nerd culture. I read manga, watch anime and nerdy shows, as well as play video games. I enjoy the whole experience and meeting others who share the same passions as I do.
James) Tell me a bit about your history with Star Trek what does Trek mean to you, what is your favourite Trek episode and why?
Brittany) One of my favourite Trek episodes is “The Measure of a Man” I really enjoy this episode because it is something that we can relate to in real life. It centres on a great message that I think we can learn from. Especially with all, that’s going on today.
James) That one is one of my favourites as well for me it is more about the message that we are all equal and it does not matter what we are made of we all deserve the same, so that is your fave episode do you have a fave series?
Brittany) My favourite series is Next Generation. Mostly because it was something that I watched after school and remember it fondly.
James) That is the same for me here in the UK, it used to be on every Wednesday at 6 pm :-P, so Do you have a series or episode you do not like?
Brittany) I don’t really have a series or episode that I don’t like. I feel that they all have their place and meaning.
James) What Trek Actors have you met in real life if any?
Brittany) I met Patrick Stewart at Dragon Con a few years ago on accident. I thought he was a cosplayer! Haha…talk about an awkward meeting.
James) Tell me what is your experiences in the Trek fandom everyone’s is different but I am interested in how you see it as you cosplay so you may have a better Idea than the average fan as cosplaying would allow you to have a different outlook on it.
Brittany) My favourite part of the Trek fandom is the people. I have yet to run into someone that I regretted meeting. The culture is so welcoming and nonjudgmental, I adore it. I hope to get more involved in the community as time goes on!!
James) So moving on to your acting experience, tell me a bit about your experiences, when did you realise you wanted to act?
Brittany) I’ve always enjoyed and entertained the thought of acting but never had the guts to do it until this past year.
James) When did you first perform and tell me what you like and enjoy about acting?
Brittany) I had done things a few times before for others, but mostly small parts. I was an extra a few times as well. But have only recently started pursuing and pushing more. I really enjoy telling the story that has been laid out. Putting myself in the shoes of my character and entering their world is the most amazing feeling ever. I appreciate the chances I get to intemperate such things on the screen.
James) What steps did you take to become an actor did you do any formal training etc?
Brittany) While I haven’t had any formal training, I have learned and lot and had to coach from actors I have worked with in the past. I am very fortunate in that sense. Seeing them behind the scene has helped my understanding of the craft.
James) What would you say is the hardest role you have played to date?
Brittany) To date the hardest role I have had to play is Wilma in Melbourne. Mainly because I see a lot of myself in her and I do not want to get lost in the moment. She is a great character though and I can’t wait to see where she goes.
James) Brittany If someone was going to make your life into a movie, who would play you?
Brittany) If someone were to play me in my life…I would want it to be Emma Watson. She has such a great energy and is very skilled. I look up to her a lot as a young actress. Peter Jackson would be my director of choice haha. He’s brilliant!
James) When you have a five-minute break during rehearsal, what do you spend that time doing?
Brittany) I like to have a lot of fun on set. When I get a chance, I love to make people smile and laugh. We all know that set can get stressful and intense with long hours, so I like to keep it fun in the end. I feel as a team we all perform better that way. As a team, we are all funny. I would have to say none of us outshines one another in that sense. Which is good because then I’d have competition in the funny department.
James) What do you do when you are not doing Fan Productions? And How would you describe your acting style?
Brittany) When I am not doing fan productions, I am either at my full-time day job or travelling to conventions. I cosplay throughout the year and attend conventions and charity events. It’s wonderful and keeps me in shape for acting, got to be in character! It helps a lot when I walk onto the set. I am more of an in the moment actress, I take the emotions of the scene and put myself and my character in them.
James) How do you memorise your lines?
Brittany) I practice a lot in front of the mirror, both in and out of costume. This helps memorise my lines and get the emotion that I want to portray.
James) If you had a magic wand, what show would you do next? (Any not just, fan films)
Brittany) I would say that if I could pick my next project, I would want to be in a CW show or a Netflix series. They are doing great right now.
James) How do you stay in the moment when acting out a difficult scene is there any tricks you have so if there is a break in filming you keep your head clear?
Brittany) As odd as it sounds, to stay in the moment and concentrate, I have to keep my hands busy. During Melbourne, in between scenes, I would walk up to a crew or cast member and massage their shoulders. STAY WITH ME, it works. Hahaha, I was a drummer for a long time, so to keep my head clear, my hands have to be busy. It’s strange, I know.
James) So moving on to your time on Melbourne, how a typical shoot played out from your Perspective?
Brittany) Shooting for Melbourne was amazing. It was different being in front of the camera versus behind the scenes. I really enjoyed it. Even though we were a small crew, everything went smoothly and our amazing crew was on point. Out of all of the sets, I have worked with, this one was by far my favourite.
James) Did you research your role and how Jeremy & Vance perceived the part to be so you could make sure your part fitted how they envisioned it to be or was this totally your own style and you made the character your own?
Brittany) Jeremy and Vance were wonderful about giving us our scripts and freedom to play our characters as we saw them this helped a lot with Wilma
James) Do you feel that you are much like the character that you played? (Physically, personality, etc.)
Brittany) She is very similar to me, I feel, in my personal life. She is a very intricate character and there is a lot more to her than meets the eye. I’m eager to grow with her.
James) Can you tell me more from your perspective about the story, and how it is different from other Fan Productions? And What was it that drew you to the role you are playing in Melbourne.
Brittany) Melbourne is very different than any fan film I’ve had the pleasure of working on in the fact that you can take this story, and apply it to any other medium. It isn’t strictly Trek universe. I love that. Because it’s more about the story and characters than anything. It’s something that I feel a lot of people will be able to relate to and take the journey with us.
James) With the release of the “Fan Film Guidelines,” how did they make you feel when you saw them,
Brittany) With the guideline change, I was slightly concerned at what our future would be. There were many productions who quit their productions and went on a hiatus. But, Vance and Jeremy didn’t give up, instead, they adapted. In many ways, I feel our production is better off with that.
James) there has been a LOT! Of negativity surrounding them do you feel that they were needed and what are your feelings on them as someone who is an actor in fan films?
Brittany) As a fan in the community, I can understand why they put things like this into place. Do I like that it pulls our creativity leash tighter? Not at all. But as a fan, I let the passion drive me, and adapt however necessary to continue telling my story. If anything these guidelines are just a test for us as creators.
James) do you think they will stop fan films?
Brittany) No, Melbourne is living proof that you can make something quality while following them.
James) Moving on to other aspects of fandom and not just Trek Fandom do you or have you watched any other fan films?
Brittany) I watch a lot of random YouTube fan films. Especially Star Wars, Star Trek, and Harry Potter. Mainly for the special effects, story, and wardrobe. It’s great to see how others create and collaborate with one another.
James) Do you watch/listen to other Podcasts, YouTube shows?
Brittany) I really only listen to Comic Pop and Pop Culture Philosophers. Haha, they are great to listen to and have great discussions. Go check them out!!!!
James) Brittany we are moving into the last section now, what advice would you give someone who wants to go into the fan film world, be it making them or acting in them?
Brittany) My advice for people wanting to act or go into fan filmmaking, would be to work hard and be passionate. It has to be something that you want to make happen, and you have to work hard. If you have the passion for it, the drive will follow. Not to mention, have faith in yourself and the people around you. Keep moving forward!!!!
James) Lastly is there anything else you would like to tell me from your perspective of someone involved in the fan film world?
Brittany) One thing that I am seeing in the fan film community, is the repetition of plot and the fact that with the story, it is only meant for that fandom Don’t get me wrong, some fandoms have very specific lore and story, but I would personally like to see a wider range. Something I could relate to on a personal level. But, I am super stoked to see more fan films getting made and shared! The time is now and everyone is doing an amazing job! I cannot wait to see and watch more.
James) Well Brittany thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me.
In this week’s Melbourne files we talk to Ronald Seipel, the actor behind Commander Anthony Tate.
Ronald is not only a first-time actor with his role in Melbourne, but he is a keen modeller who builds custom models not just for fun, but also for other people, and his custom models are things of beauty.
Hailing from Colorado, home to Cheyenne Mountain which is not only the home of NORAD, but also the home to the fictitious TV show Stargate SG1.
“Ron Ron Ron…. So many times that’s all you can say lol he’s one of those ppl that knows so much about TREK that he’ll put you to shame lol if I were to go on a trek game show, it would be with him. The dude was the first hire as far as actors and I knew he would fit the part perfectly, and he did.”
Vance Owen, Executive Producer, Melbourne.
James) Hi Ron, thank you for taking the time to sit with me and answer some questions about not only your role in Melbourne but allowing me to discuss your passion for modelling.
So, I guess I will start with the obvious, tell me a bit about yourself.
Ron) My name is Ronald Seipel I’m 54 and live in a small town in western Colorado, I’m retired but not by choice I was injured on the job and now disabled. I am a huge Star Trek fan, I’ve been watching it since its debut in 66 and I always wanted to be in one episode, but that just wasn’t in the stars, I have been collecting Trek items for a long time and have a good size collection. I have model building business RPS Custom Models it is also a Facebook page, it seems that I build a lot of Trek models but I build all genres.
James) I have seen your page it is AMAZING! And if you lived in the same country as me, I would so hit you up to make one for me.
You say you have a passion for Trek, can you expand that for me what makes your passion so great?
Ron) Well like I said above Trek has always been in my life, it taught me not to judge other races and that if we put our minds to it we can achieve anything it also gave me a strong sense of morals. If we really could all live like that the planet would be a much better place.
James) That is so true, especially in the modern world ATM people seem to be going a bit crazy however politics lol so not going there J
You recently went on the Trek Cruise tell me about it, what was it like?
Ron) OK, it was the inaugural Star Trek cruise hosted by Mr Shatner and there were other guests as well like Marina Sirtis Denise Crosby ETC plus it was our 3rd year anniversary and honeymoon and my wife’s birthday all rolled up in one. Only got to see two places due to the weather Cozumel was first, then Nassau which I will never set foot in again. The parties were late starting but fun each night had a different theme Trek style. It was just what the Dr ordered.
James) That is cool, wish my other half would get me tickets to the Trek cruise for my birthday lol. The Cruise lasted several days, do you have any funny stories to tell?
Ron) Well on the first night of the cruise my wife and went to dinner and suddenly around comes Ethan Phillips (Neelix) so I invited him to sit with us and he did which was great, he told us a couple of stories and how long it took to do the makeup which was 5 to 6 hours. After we were done, we said Goodnight and went our own way.
So we are now waiting for the elevator so we can get to our room and the doors open and standing there is my hero William Shatner I’ve always wanted to talk to him and not about Trek so I said hi and asked him about his horses and he started talking away and showed us pictures of a grass and dirt stone that sometimes horses get and it was as big as a Honeydew melon. But he was really nice and we talked about ponies until he got off so that was like the best day ever.
James) That is really cool and I’m jealous as fook lol… Especially the fact you stood and spoke to the legend himself and not just about Trek, but about him as a person, that is so cool!
So with the exception of Ethan and Bill, what other Trek Actors have you met?
Ron) I have met a lot of Trek actors like pretty much all of them but Nimoy, Kelley and Doohan I know Chris Doohan fairly well I met him in Vegas in 2014 while I was waiting to talk with Vic Mignogna about trying to be an extra on their fan film and we just hit it off, I have a pretty extensive autograph collection TOS tunic signed by all but the above three, a TNG uniform signed by everyone from that series a poster from Voyager signed by almost everyone and last year I brought the very first issue of the DS9 magazine signed by almost everyone o now all I have left is the Enterprise series to get signed off. I will have pretty much all of them, plus I have other signatures from other actors that have been on one series or another.
James) OK, so you have met a lot of people in the Trek universe then… LUCKKKY!
Speaking of the universe, when you think of the Trek universe as a whole is there anything that makes you thankful for being a part of this world?
Ron) The people I meet its like we are family, we are all outgoing and happy people, and we do kind of live like we were in the 22nd century where there was no racism and hatred.
James) Sound words, so moving on to your favourite series, out of all the 5 live action series and the one animated one what one would you say is your go-to favourite?
Ron) I will always be a TOS guy it had the stories with characters that showed humanity at its best and its worst, it showed us that we could be a better person and put aside those certain feelings that we humans have about governments and racism, and what could possibly be if we all could get past these petty differences.
James) and do you have a “worst” series?
Ron) I was never a big fan of DS9 even though I watched all of them, I thought that it was just too bland the only discovery, they really made was in the Gamma Quadrant through the wormhole which in the end almost became the end of the Federation because of the Dominion War which basically saved that series otherwise it was just plain boring.
James) I have to admit, I am not sure I agree DS9 had so many layers, yes, there was the War, which was something we never saw in Trek before, but also the religious undertones that you only really get after watching it several times over and over, from the Emissary through to What we Leave Behind it was set up to be a subplot through the entire series.
I will admit though that I am biased since it is the type of story I like lots of layers and you have to watch carefully to get it all.
What about episodes, are there any episodes you love and hate?
My Favourite Trek Episode
My favourite episode is from the Original series, it’s called The Doomsday Machine it brings together two Captains that have totally different command styles, Decker is like shoot first, ask questions later and Kirk is like I need info and facts before I make a decision. Plus, it is one of the few episodes that saw another Starfleet vessel albeit destroyed but there it is.
The Worst Trek Episode
The worst episode that’s a hard one there are several throughout the Trek history Move along Home from DS9 that had to be the worst I mean you are playing a game that can actually harm other contestants by making the wrong decision or move plus it really wasn’t much of a game, to begin with, it was more like a holodeck adventure that some played in your mind it just really
James) yeah that episode is awful and that song is awful lol.
Do you play any Trek games?
Ron) I play Trek Trivia but that’s about all I play in the Trek world.
James) So, Discovery, now we have seen more info leaked on the new series, are you looking forward to it?
Ron) I’m waiting to see it, yes, but they keep pushing it back which is making me less interested. Although a guy I buy my electronics from for the props I build knows the lead modeller and he gave them all my info so I’m waiting to see if they call, that would be way cool.
James) when the first trailer landed there was a LOT of disappointment, were you worried at all at what we saw and what it may mean for the series?
Ron) Oh yeah, it looked bad the CGI was way off and they really had nothing to show but that damned ugly ship. I still keep hoping they will not use it.
James) I have to admit I had my giddy Trek moment, then when I saw it a few times I was like hmm, I am not sure how this ship will fit in with “canon” as even the NX – 01 looked more advanced but I guess we will see.
We have been told who has been cast thus far have the recent castings alleviated your concerns a bit, as we have some damn good actors lined up now?
Ron) Well, I only know of 2, Michelle and that other guy his name eludes me LOL, but you really can’t give an opinion on who they have picked until you watch a couple of episodes.
James) Yeah, this is true, however, with all the actors lined up I do think I am starting to warm up to the idea of Discovery.
Look, everyone, you must have hopes for the series, what are they?
Ron) That it stays with the original timeline and the stories are similar to canon and the Roddenberry concept
James) Well, one thing that worried me from the moment they announced it was what the timeline was it to be set in which I am glad we know now is the Prime timeline.
With the exception of the worries you have over the Discoveries main design are there any other areas you hope they do not touch or should I say DO NOT GO THERE lol.
Ron) Try to bring in much of the Kirk timeline of people in I mean they already are bringing Sarek in and I think it’s too early in the setting for that.
James) Yep, even if I think they try to hard it will just be a mish mash of rebooting meets why bother,
Are you concerned with the sudden yet not surprising departure of Bryan Fuller?
Ron) Yes, now I hope that the others have the passion for Trek and can descent episodes and the filming crew is good.
James) Aye, although I was not overly shocked I have to admit he was one of the main reasons I was excited as he is like the Ron Moore of Voyager, however, I am still curious to see how they follow his vision now he is not around.
Are you as shocked as I was about the sudden move to put it on all access, something that I was not expecting as no Trek has even been on a pay per view channel?
Ron) it’s a bad idea and they know it.
James) Is this from a USA standpoint as it being sold to Netflix around the world means it is already extremely profit-making do you think they should have put it on Netflix in the USA as well?
Ron) I think they should run it on the main channel and quit being greedy. But sure, why not accept that Netflix is pricier
James) I have to admit I am a bit, huh with why Netflix everywhere, but the USA, but hey it’s their show so…
So the last question in this section, then I would like to move on to your Modelling which BTW I am so impressed with they are amazing, With the exception of Trek, are there any other TV shows you watch?
Ron) I really enjoyed BSG Battlestar Galactica I like pretty much all Marvel, superhero movies and I also enjoy disaster movies.
James) Ok, I would like to move on to your role within Melbourne, but first, have you ever done anything apart from this role?
Ron) Until this year I have never been in a film so it was a learning experience I will never forget and I’m looking forward to doing more episodes of Melbourne.
James) Ah ok, so can you tell me more about your role in Melbourne, Describe a typical week at work in Melbourne is it a full-time endeavour of one for the love and fits in around real life?
Ron) Melbourne for me was not a full-time thing as a matter of fact before this happened, I was actually trying to get on the crew of the Farragut, I knew a couple of people who was involved heavily with it and they invited me to the studio in GA in 2014 and it has been almost a complete set just like Cawley’s and it was my first time on a set and when I walked through the door the first thing I saw was the corridor of the Enterprise and right then and there I was a kid fulfilling his dream and I felt like I was back in 1966 it was awesome.
But unfortunately this never happened and I suddenly was disappointed, but later I don’t remember how but I met Vance Major on Facebook and he was going to make a fan film called I think Defiant it’s been awhile, I had asked him if he had anyone designing the insignia and he said no. But later all plans changed and the film had a new name, USS Melbourne and I turned in two designs for the patch and the one that we use was the first one I had drawn and behold, I was part of a fan film then later as we talked, he asked if I would be interested in playing the first officer and of course I said yes and behold first officer CMDR Tony Tate was born and I found myself fully involved with this film I was the first cast member signed for this film as well and very honoured to have been asked to play the role. It never messed with my Real Life at all since I’m retired.
James) That is a shame you could not get a chance to star in Farragut however, as they say, all things happen for a reason and! You got the Melbourne role so it worked out in the end.
So can you tell can you tell me more from your character’s perspective about the story, and how Melbourne is different from other Fan Productions?
Ron) All I can say about the story is that it’s still being written I don’t know any more than anyone else at this time. Melbourne is different from other Trek fan films because we do not follow the usual episode path that everyone else does and it’s more about the people than the Federation. So this is what I can say stay tuned for more Melbourne. Some of us stand on our own… Together.
James) Interesting, and very secretive 😛 What about your Character in general?
Ron) I am the first officer and I’m really very timid or shy, I feel more comfortable with the ship kind of a scared cat. I don’t know why, but Vance thought that I could take and do this character, and I said I like a challenge because if you knew the real me I am nothing like my character by any means.
James) so you’re more of an”I like to be in the thick of things personally” then?
Ron) Yes, I’m also very nosey I have to see and know what’s going on, I like to explore and I will talk with anyone.
James) Did you research your role and how Jeremy & Vance perceived the part to be so you could make sure you’re part fitted how they envisioned it to be or was this totally your own style and you made the character your own?
Ron) There was a little discussion between Vance and me about what he was looking for, something like a Mr Barclay but not totally, so there was my own style. I hope everyone likes the way I portrayed Tate.
James) That sounds an interesting mix! I look forward to seeing it 🙂 How would you describe your acting style?
Ron) I would say that I really don’t have a style I just take it as if it were my real job so I guess you could say natural.
James) That is a really good outlook and a great way of approaching it So, How do you memorise your lines?
Ron) I read the script over and over then have my wife play the parts that I’m involved in and I keep the script close by when doing a scene so I can glance at it.
James) How did your wife feel about doing that for you lol?
Ron) She did not really like doing it.
James) I do not think my other half would be too thrilled either lol, how do you prepare so that you will bring the right amount of realism and emotion to a scene?
Ron) I imagine what it would look like and I also feel the mood of the scene and the other characters.
James) When you have a five-minute break during rehearsal, what do you spend that time doing?
Ron) Getting some water and talk about the next scene with the other actors involved.
James) What other, Star Trek Fan Productions would you like your character to do a cross over with?
Ron) I would like and have talked about being in Starship Valiant and still would love to be in an episode of Starship Farragut, but if any crossovers can happen for me I would not turn them down.
James) Last few in this section now, if someone was going to make your life into a movie, who would play you? & If you had a magic wand, what show would you do next? (Any not just, fan films)
Ron) John Malkovich and Star Trek of course, but I would also do Battlestar Galactica.
James) Oooh quickly can you tell me more about who did the Wardrobe?
Ron) The makeup was done by Danielle Craft and the patches were designed by me and made by Chrissie Harvey along with the tunics except for mine because I have my own uniform to use I just changed the patch and turned it from a Capt to a CMDR and on that note I actually have a total of six uniforms 4 are TOS and 2 TNG. The camera was operated by Matt I don’t know the last name.
James) That is cool, so do you own many Star Trek uniforms then?
Ron) Yes, I do, I own 7. 1 velour for 1st & 2nd season 1 Double Knit for the 3rd season a green wrap around and the Dress green and I’m having the mirror universe Captains vest made as we speak now that was all TOS. I also have the 2nd season command, red tunic from next-gen and the Captains dress whites and that is all at this time.
James) That is so cool, I own a T-shirt lol, Ok moving on, I would like to discuss your passion for making Models, tell me how did that start with you was it just one or two here and there or was this a passion from a young age?
Ron) I started building Models when I was like 7 with my dad, then I just went on my own. But as I got older and was doing stupid things I got away from it for a long time. But when I moved up here in the mountains I started again and found I still haven’t lost the passion for it.
So I built the 34 inch TOS Enterprise with lights it took about six months when I was done I showed it off on Facebook and that’s when people started asking me if I would build for them and bam RPS Custom Models was born.
James) How many models would you say you have built?
Ron) In my life or just here recently?
James) Well, tell me how much you would say in total then tell me the ones you’re most proud of?
Ron) A few hundred lifetimes and 10 I’m most proud of but I’m proud of all my builds because they won’t leave this house until I feel they are perfect.
James) What were the 10 you were most proud of?
Ron) Well when I was like 13 or so I built a Budweiser Tractor with Trailer this was my first attempt at customising a model I put a 70’s pair job on it and I used felt as carpet and really detailed the interior. Then TOS Enterprise then I built a full TOS Enterprise bridge and lit it up and built an exterior dome from scratch it was published in two internet modelling magazines modelgeek.com and modellers miniatures and magic and Starling Technologies these are just a couple I’m not going to write on all.
James) Are you working on a model atm?
Ron) Yes, I am actually working on two rights now and I have my third coming next week. First one is a client build 1/350 scale Enterprise-A with a full start-up sequence and shuttle bay landing lights the next one is a TOS Enterprise for a friend of mine that makes Trek costume as well as Anovos with the same material as well. The third one is a client build USS Voyager with lighting.
James) If you lived in the same country as me, I would so get you to make me a few models, it was one thing I was never very good at lol.
Just out of curiosity, how would someone get in touch with you about models do you have a website?
Ron) You may go to Facebook and go to my page RPS Custom Models and there is contact info there, but it’s either by messenger, email or phone
James) OK, moving on when we spoke a while ago you had a very clear stance on this, but in recent weeks things have changed and I wanted to ask you, how do you feel the fallout from the Axanar lawsuit is going to affect everyone from this point forward both fans and fan Trek?
Ron) That is a hard one to answer, but I guess it’s really up to how the individual perspective on it might be. And as far as Trek there are so many Trekkies out there that had no idea what Axanar is let knowing about fan films so it will be fine and in time CBS might relax the guidelines.
James) This next one is a recent addition, due to it being something I want to know how people feel on it due to the fact it was something I thought that it is very relevant to the topic of the Axanar fall out
How does this statement make you feel?
Ron) Actually, the fan film industry didn’t turn on each other, but Axanar and Alec Peters did throw a couple of the more established ones under the bus and I know that made those people angry. This all really ends up on Alec’s shoulders, although we all know he doesn’t give a rats ass about anyone else just himself. But there are still plenty of films out there that are going to try and Melbourne is one of them.
James) Thank you for your reply to that.
Ron) You are welcome
James) With the release of the “Fan Film Guidelines” has this influenced how much you want to do fan films?
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?
Ron) On the fan film guidelines that were put out last year I think that CBS and Paramount really shot themselves in the foot with these and let down a lot of loyal fans that have kept Star Trek alive throughout the years, since they came out several fan film productions have gone down in the likes of Star Trek New Voyages/Phase II and several others because they made it to where it was going to be too difficult to make an episode that was only 15 minutes long hen most episodes run around 1 hour, and it was going to be a lot to ask of the people in them to make the trip to make them.
They are just way too restrictive, to begin with I mean most productions run on a very small budget unlike the larger ones like STC and New Voyages and Farragut. I’m very pleased that Vance and Jeremy did not fold under these guidelines and I hope that we can prove to people that you can still make a good episode in two 15 minute sections for not a lot of money I think Melbourne had a budget of maybe a total of $3,000.00 don’t quote me on that. But it is with high hopes that after the deal with the lawsuit is done that they will t more relaxed with them and brings some of the guidelines where they were before.
James) Can you tell me what about them you feel are a hit and miss or is it all of them that make you feel that CBS Paramount went too far with?
Ron) The episode time allotment is the biggest it is hard to ask people to come and film 2 15 minute pieces since most of us don’t live close and have to spend money on hotels and flights or gas. The other is the props and uniforms they say no aftermarket stuff only official. Plus not being able to continue with a story arc you must have a story title for each if I remember that right. Crowdfunding that’s kind of ok except I think that perks should be allowed it gives people incentive to send money for the production and the amount is fine up to 50,000 that’s plenty. I would have to go and read them all again to give you a complete answer.
James) The prop and uniform one.
In the Engage podcast, this one was cleared up and the explanation was expanded this rule is merely saying do not buy counterfeit stuff (from many people online selling them) and if you want to buy official uniforms please do so from Davos or on their licensed company.
Nothing stops you from making your own props, costumes, etc. Just don’t buy knockoff ones from people who knock them out and sell them.
I know you were not the first person to be upset about this one, but now we know you can indeed make your own etc. I find this one not so bad.
Ron) OK, great and the Anovos thing that is, official, but there is a guy I know and actually got my uniforms through that makes them just as good for half the price, Anovos is overpriced on this I mean a green wrap for $600.00 is way too much I had one made for about $165.00 and I forgot about that podcast.
James) Thanks for this, Ron, we are coming into the home stretch of the interview now, and I would like to go back to the fan films you watch if you had to what would you class as your top five?
Ron) I have watched pretty much all of them at some point. But my favourite ones are in this order and I hope it doesn’t make a couple I know well upset.
Star Trek Continues Starship Farragut New Voyages Starship Valiant Starship Exeter
James) And the ones you would class as your bottom five?
Star Trek Odyssey Star Trek Phoenix Star Trek Intrepid Potemkin
I can’t think of a fifth one. These are the worst due to horrible CGI and costumes, plus scripting I mean I know that not everyone can have sets to work with but some of that green screen stuff should not even be allowed to be called Star Trek.
These are the worst due to horrible CGI and costumes, plus scripting I mean I know that not everyone can have sets to work with but some of that green screen stuff should not even be allowed to be called Star Trek.
And the best ones because of the accuracy of the series and script writing, plus they have better budgets than most.
James) You have been to a lot of conventions and even on the cruise, what would you say is the best and worst parts of the Trek fandom from your experiences?
Ron) My favourite part of fandom is the camaraderie of the people and the way they will dress and act when at cons. Plus, it is fun to dress up in uniforms and believe that you are part of Starfleet. I have never had a bad experience in Trek fandom as of yet.
James) Do you have any regrets in doing Fan Films?
Ron) I have no regrets on this at all it was a chance to live out my childhood dream.
James) As someone who has wanted to get into the fan film world for a while now, what advice would you give to someone who wants to do the same?
Ron) Well if you want to get involved with fan films you need to get to know the right people or you can just contact one that you would consider and see what they say like my mum used to say a closed mouth never gets fed. Or if you have the resources to go and make your own, but try to stay in the realm of it and try not to the green screen too much.
James) What would you like to say to the people who think Fan Films are on the way out?
Ron) Well or you fans out there don’t give up on Trek fan films yet they are still being made, and as far as the fan film I’m involved with Melbourne please keep your eyes and ears open the first episode is on its way and there will be more to follow.
James) Well, Ron, that is it and I would like to extend my thanks to you for taking the time to sit down with me and answer some questions.
Ron) Thanks James for having me on your blog and everyone take care LLAP.
Reshelle Warren is a model, actress, and competed to be the 2014 Miss Washington, USA. Reshelle also has a keen interest in modelling and acting.
As a component of the Melbourne file, we talk to Reshelle about her experience and her role in Melbourne the upcoming Star Trek Fan Production.
I met this wonderfully energetic woman on the set of Melbourne and instantly fell in love with her level of professionalism she brought with her. When watching her character, it was truly amazing to see what was on paper come to life in ways I had not imagined. I got to laugh with her a bunch. And we shared a moment or two. Especially in a weekend, things like this are why fan films are so cool, it takes ppl you didn’t really even know existed, and makes them real to you. Oh….and one more thing. The most important thing.
#oatmeal Lol only the Melbourne crew will get it lol good times
Lol only the Melbourne crew will get it lol good times
Vance Owen, Executive Producer, Melbourne.
James) Hey, Reshelle thank you for taking the time to speak to me about your experiences and your role in Melbourne, tell me a bit about yourself, what kind of things do you love?
Reshelle) I’m Reshelle Warren Model and Actress, I was a different kind of person, but at the same time I’m similar to some people. I love to cook, bake, colour, hang out with friends, I love to go camping, swimming, and fishing. I love to do a lot of different things. I have a dark look at life, I guess that’s one of the ways I’m different.
James) Except Star Trek, what other TV shows do you find yourself drawn to?
Reshelle) Other than Star Trek I love watching the walking dead; I mean blood, gore, and zombies what’s not to love!
James) The Walking Dead Was one of my favourite shows, but I find that it has become somewhat a chore to watch now, they seem to re-has ideas every season so I haven’t watched it since Glen went bye-bye…
Being in a Star Trek Fan Production, Can you tell me what Trek means to you, as you must have more than a passing interest in it to be in fan trek?
Reshelle) Star Trek was my first Sci-fi, the reason I became a nerd and loved sci-fi since
James) Do you have a favourite series and episode based within the Trek universe, you know one that you watch more than the rest or one that keeps drawing you back far more than the rest of them?
Reshelle) My favourite episode is The Trouble with Tribbles, why cause Tribbles LOL, my favourite series well The Next Generation, season three is where it gets good but I really connected to the cast more in Next Gen.
James) Do you have an episode or series that you think of as your least favourite one to watch
Reshelle) I can’t really think of one I deem the worst right now, I really like the series, not sure which I could consider the worst episode either.
James) Because I am nosey LOL, I one thing I ask everyone else have you met any real life Trek actors, you know like at conventions or just on the off chance?
Reshelle) Unfortunately not, I haven’t met any Trek Characters in real life unless you count the cast from Melbourne LOL
James) Well to some they would be Trek Actors hell, in fact, they are anyone who has starred in Trek regardless of its “Official” standing.
James) Moving on to your acting experience, what is your history with the dramatic arts and when did you first realise you had been bitten by the acting bug?
Reshelle) I’ve been acting for 6 years now, I first realised I wanted to be an Actress in 14 when it just clicked in my heart when I heard the word actress, I had always been a drama Queen so I was already a natural lol
James) People would call me a “Drama Queen” for other reasons LOL, but it sounds like you have had a keen interest in acting for a long time, so with that what is it you like the most about acting?
Reshelle) What do I like most about an Actress, I love the attention and feeling accomplished and smart when I give the director the character they saw in their head.
James) Are there any parts of acting you have taken a dislike to?
Reshelle) I’m not too fond of memorising the script, memorising has always been difficult for me.
James) I have no idea how people memorise their lines, to be honest, I can remember long
Streams of numbers with relative ease, but things like a script, Ha! No chance LOL. You said you were acting on/off since you were 14, have you taken classes?
Reshelle) I took a few acting classes, but I prefer to learn stuff on set.
James) Cool, cool, so what else have you started with them?
Reshelle) I’ve been in a few shorts YouTube shorts and I’ve helped out in 24, 48 and 8-hour film festival competitions.
James) What gives you the most pleasure about being an actor, is there anyone you love to impress or just enjoy making happy in a production?
Reshelle) I love acting, in general, it pleases me, but I love when the director is happy with what I have done
James) Would you say you are inspired by anyone famous?
Reshelle) I’m not really inspired by any famous actors more just inspired by Tim Burton LOL I love His work and would love to collaborate with him eventually.
James) In your year of acting, what would you say is your hardest role you have played yet?
Reshelle) Alice from Alice in Wonderland for a theatre class in high school, I got the character with the most movements and lines and I was terrible at remembering I did it perfectly and passed the class but it was nerve wrecking lol
James) What role have you done that was the most fun for you?
Reshelle) That would have to be Ali from Star Trek Fan Film Melbourne Or any short film I’m in that involves blood, 1 because I have always wanted to be in Star Trek and I’m a weapons officer and I adore weapons and things that make loud noises anyway lol and 2 because I love blood and I love making my own special effects edible blood lol
James) Ewwwww, LOL! I could not think of anything worse than eating blood, even if it was fake. Back when you started out what was your first performance if you can remember that is.
Reshelle) My first performance was with Josh Lusk in Washington state, My little sister’s friend was in the TV show he was working on in Wenatchee, and I was told they need extras so we drove about 4-5 hours to get there and one of the leads didn’t show he gave a quick audition gave a cameo role and asked me to come back the next day, after the weekend he asked me to come back for season 2 as the main character and I also signed up to start modelling with him. Unfortunately, Some things happened to cast and the Show was cancelled but we have worked together as a model and photographer for more than 6 years now and I love working with him and can’t wait to do another photo shoot 🙂
James) WOW! So you have had some professional experiences, then that is so cool. In the middle of takes and when you get on the set and you those important five-minute breaks what do you find yourself doing?
Reshelle) When you have a five-minute break during rehearsal, what do you spend that time doing? Checking my texts or talking and making relationships with the other cast and crew members on set 🙂
James) What do you do when you are not doing Fan Productions?
Reshelle) Working, Modelling, colouring, Baking, Photography and other stuff lol
James) What tricks do you have for learning your lines?
Reshelle) To be honest, I write them down a thousand times and cross my fingers that I don’t screw up!
James) LOL that is a good trick! If you had a magic wand, what show would you do next? (Any not just, fan films)
Reshelle) Ooh Tough one if it’s just a show It would be a tie between Galvant and Reign love them both so much!
James) What is the last thing you do before you step out and the camera starts rolling, some people do a chant or sing a song is there anything you do?
Reshelle) Take a deep breath, mime pulling out all anxiety or nervousness into a ball and throwing it across the room, I know it sounds weird but it works!
James) That is really cool if it helps then hey why not. How do you prepare so that you will bring the right amount of realism and emotion to a scene?
Reshelle) For me, it’s a little easier being empathic, I read the script and put myself there and then boom, I am that person reliving that scene until we move on, it can get tiring really quick but Is always worth it.
James) Finally, for this bit, then I would like to move on to your role within Melbourne, How do you stay in the moment?
Reshelle) Depends on the character sometimes I step into their shoes and stay there until the end of the shoot
A day or I make sure to constantly remind myself of their situation and how I need to do the script justice, someone wrote it for a reason.
James) So moving on to Melbourne, talk me through a typical day on set, you fulfilled two roles, Actor and adding notes to the script, can you tell me what it was you did on set.
Was fulfilling two roles an easy task or did you find the roles lead to many challenges in making things fit taking on two roles in the production?
Reshelle) Being the Script Noter and Actor in Melbourne was this an easy task or did you find the roles lead to many challenges in making things fit taking on two roles in the production? It was pretty easy since I’ve worked with this Director before and have done more than those two, The only minor thing is when I was getting ready for the scene I felt bad for not being ready already but I knew they were ok with it seeing as I was doing a crew job too.
Script Noter: Describe how this was important to the production and how your notes influenced the script in any way. It’s very important because it makes it so the director remembers what’s already been done and it helps hugely in the editing because I make a note of which scene was the director’s favourite, you would not believe how many hours it saves in general.
James) When you turned up on set what did you find yourself doing first?
Reshelle) I show up fully rested, hopefully with a coffee say hi to everyone, rehearse my lines and work together as a team with the actors and all crew to get this dream accomplished.
James) Did you research the role you were cast in or did you just go with the flow.
Reshelle) Actually the funny thing is I had got one thing from them, pretty much be like the little sister and let people fall in love with you, I decided that I had a best friend based off of the script and they didn’t think of that at all lol
James) Awwww hehe. Looking at that and the role you were cast in, do you see any similarities between you and your character?
Reshelle) I feel like I and Ali could be twins, we are very similar in a lot of ways 🙂
James) That is really cool, and probably easier to play her than if you had to be angry etc all the time, Can you tell me more from your perspective about the story is there anything about it you think makes it distinctly different to other fan productions?
Reshelle) I can already tell that this is going to be a different kind of fan films, my gut tells me things are gonna happen that we don’t expect.
James) What drew you to the role you are playing in Melbourne.
Reshelle) I really wanted to be in Star Trek and I knew I could do this role justice.
James) Lastly for this bit, who is the funniest person in the cast in real life?
Reshelle) Fador for sure, he is super fun to talk to also.
James) So with everyone I interview I get nosey lol! I have a few questions about some interesting things I found out about you hehe, do not worry they aren’t bad.
You model as well how did that come about and is this a hobby or something you do for more than fun?
Reshelle) It’s more like a stepping stone I’m just good at it, it’s a stepping Stone to acting because models end up doing commercials and then used in acting.
James) Cool so you are in this for the long haul then, I also found this hehe, I see you entered miss Washington 2014 tell me about that?
Reshelle) I overheard the announcement that they were having auditions for that Contest and I was bored and entered to run to become Miss Washington for the Miss United State Pageant, I didn’t win, but it was fun but yes I Competed in a pageant because I was bored, they are expensive apparently lol
James) That is cool, Yeah from seeing some of the shows on them the parents, etc. do seem to spend a small fortune on them. So do you have anything lined up acting wise?
Reshelle) Yeah, my parents said I’m on my own next time lol. Acting wise not yet, just Melbourne for now
James) The last question, what advice would you give someone who wanted to become an actor?
Reshelle) Make sure it’s what you want to do, it’s a lot of hard work and dedication also release the actor can be replaced it’s important to be kind to everyone, also you won’t be famous overnight lol
James) Well that is it, Thank you very much for taking the time doing this for me
Reshelle) you are welcome.
So this is this part six, of the Melbourne Files.
The next blog will be out at some point next weekend as I am away from Tuesday until Friday.
From Salt Lake City, Utah Carly is new to the fan film scene; however, in this short time she has already starred in not just Melbourne but also had a small role in Renegades.
” I always have a soft spot in my heart for engineers, playing one on STARSHIP VALIANT. I always go out of my way to meet the other engineers from the other fan films and get pics with um. To me, not many can say they were the chief engineer of a starship lol I created the 2 shorts of Penpals as a glorified Q&A for the Melbourne fans that had questions. But I wanted to do a fun little crossover between the two “shows.” Something not many fan films do. When I came to her with the idea, she loved it. I’ve yet to meet a person so eager with so little. But she really helped make penpals a great fun little thing that kinda stands on its own. I’d have to say on the fan film world, Carly is probably one of the first ppl I’d go to if I needed something, she has one of those hearts. Just a great person. And I really respect the hell out of my penpal. “
Vance Owen, Executive Producer, Melbourne
James) Hi Carly, Thank you for agreeing to sit down with me as part of the Melbourne files and answer some questions about not only your time staring in this production but also what Star Trek means to you.
For the people out there that are not lucky enough to know you can you tell me a bit about yourself.
Carly) I like so many things, mostly coffee, cats, Sci-Fi, reading, and music of all kinds. I cannot say I dislike much unless it is hateful and unkind people. I love all things positive and always try to share it.
James) Tell me about what Star Trek means to you, is there anything the sticks out as to why this franchise drew you to it?
Carly) I can imagine that would be hard.
What drew me into Star Trek is the fact that you never saw human barriers. There was no racism, no judgment on another person (minus the villains, of course). It gave me hope that we would keep evolving to reach space, and beyond.
James) In five series, 1 animated and 13 films, can you tell me what your favourite Star Trek Episode is and Why?
Carly) This is not a question I can answer easily I have so many.
One that does stick out is “Death Wish,” which is the first time you see Q on Voyager. The episode deals with the side of depression and suicide that many do not want to address, so it is a very deep one to me.
James) One thing I personally love about Star Trek is the fact it has never been afraid to push boundaries, some may think they push it too far sometimes but not me.
Do you have a Star Trek Episode you regard as bad?
Carly) I do not feel like there were any truly bad episodes of Trek, but there are a few that are not great, either. One that comes to mind is “Threshold” from Voyager; there were a few too many cheesy moments.
James) LOL! Ahhh the Janeway Paris Babies, I wonder what ever happened to them, this episode started out not so bad yet ended as one that I will watch if it is on TV but it is certainly not a “Go To” episode.
We have covered Episodes do you have a “Best” and “Worst” series?
Carly) Voyager was, and always will be my favourite. Not sure why, but I connected to the characters the most.
I used to say Enterprise, but I had not had a chance to enjoy it as I have in these later years.
James) Enterprise, was a good series if you tried not to compare it to the ones that came before, it had many good episodes but some dire! Ones like the rest of Trek.
Star Trek has a vastly expanded universe and one of these are gaming, have you played many Star Trek games?
Carly) I do not play many games, but I have played the Star Trek Trivia game a lot!
James) That is fair I have many Trek games for the PC and a few board games I think gaming is like marmite, you either love it or hate it.
You have starred in Renegades so you must have met some real life Trek Actors can you tell me what ones you have met other than people like Tim Russ and Mr Koenig.
Carly) This list is excessively long so I will name the few I have been the happiest to meet.
Kate Mulgrew, Robert Beltran, Terry Farrell, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, Nana Visitor, George Takei… plus so much more
James) Lastly in this section, other than Star Trek, what other TV shows do you watch?
Carly) I like many shows, mostly Sci-Fi, but usually, watch things like; Doctor Who, Battlestar Galactica, Warehouse 13, X-Files, Venture Bros, OITNB, and much more I cannot think of.
James) I think BSG, OITNB and X-Files are prerequisites for Trek fans lol, So moving on I want to ask you about your acting background. When did you first realise that you wanted to Act?
Carly) I think when I was a little girl, and my dad explained what stage acting was while watching musicals.
James) Can you remember when did you first perform?
Carly) A first actual performance in anything public was in 6th grade, I played a mermaid in Peter Pan.
James) What do you like most about being an Actor?
Carly) I love being able to pretend you are in another world, even if it is only playing a character in another person’s world.
James) What would you say are the parts of acting do you not enjoy?
Carly) I do not enjoy the nervousness that still comes with it, but it is always a part of acting.
James) To some acting is natural and to others, it is something the learn what steps did you take to enter this field?
Carly) I have not had any formal acting courses, but I did take dramatic arts throughout all of Junior High and High School.
James) Other than the fan films you have done what other productions have you acted in?
Carly) Other than the few school productions, I have not been in anything recently until I did a background character in Renegades: The Series.
James) Out of all the productions you have starred in, what would you say is the hardest role they have ever played, and why?
Carly) Hardest role I have played was actually Melbourne, as I had to tap into anger, and that was new for me.
James) The most fun role they have ever played, and why?
Carly) Most fun I have had was working on Renegades, the character had no speaking lines, but it wasn’t easy to play a drunk alien with a large head!
James) That is hilarious lol! I am now going to keep an eye out for that If someone was going to make your life into a movie, who would play you?
Carly) My hope is to find someone who can portray many emotions on their face, so a few come to mind, and are Sci-Fi related. If I were to choose out of 3, it would be Mary McDonnell, Kate Mulgrew, or Gillian Anderson All extremely amazing actresses.
James) I have to agree everyone you have picked there are actresses I love! To watch even in some of the low budget stuff I have seen they excel in the parts they are cast in.
Is there one actor, director or producer that you look up to as someone of inspiration?
Carly) This list is quite large; Kate Mulgrew is always a big icon for me. Some other notables would be, Quentin Tarantino, Tim Burton, Stanley Kubrick, Bette Midler, Tom Hanks, David Tennant… the list goes on.
James) You really do have great taste in people all of them are great examples and a vast array of talent.
When you have a five-minute break during rehearsal, what do you spend that time doing?
Carly) I have not been in this situation in some time, but normally I would try to relax, and go over lines and motions.
James) What do you do when you are not doing Fan Productions?
Carly) Mostly, I work at Overstock as my daily job, but I also love writing, reading, and doing a lot of social media marketing for another fan, and independent films, which now includes helping to run the Melbourne Fan Page.
James) Carly if you had a magic wand, what show would you do next, not just, fan films.
Carly) I would absolutely LOVE to work on the new Star Trek series. Otherwise, I love any new, independent films, I love seeing stories never portrayed before.
James) What is the last thing you do before you step out and the camera starts rolling?
Carly) Take a few deep breaths, and maybe drink some water, so I don’t have to worry about scratchy voice.
James) What gives you the most pleasure as an Actor?
Carly) For me, I love being able to be someone else for a minute and to know I am helping create a new character.
James) Is there any elements of acting you find difficult?
Carly) As I get older, I realise a difficulty I run into is memorization of lines. Otherwise, fighting the giggles is not always easy.
James) How would you describe your acting style?
Carly) Still new and constantly curious I absorb as much as I can because I am definitely not as experienced as I’d like.
James) I would be so bad at this but how do you memorise your lines?
Carly) The only thing that has helped my memorization over the years, is trying to put them into song, or poem form.
James) That is really good advice probably some of the best I have ever heard to remember a script. When are you faced with a scene that maybe challenging how do you prepare so that you will bring the right amount of realism and emotion to a scene?
Carly) Since this is still new to me, I’ve tried to pull emotion from past experiences or memories, to help outwardly display what the scene calls for.
James) How do you stay in the moment?
Carly) I’m still figuring this one out.
James) Ah so you do not pull a Picard in Insurrection then lol :p .
What have you seen lately that has inspired you? – Film or Fan production related?
Carly) I recently watched an independent horror film, done by a friend of mine. The inspiration is seeing how much he could do, with a limited set, and a total cast of 3. If you get a chance to see Occupants, by Russ Emanuel, I highly recommend it.
James) So what was it like working on Renegades? In addition, what character did you play?
Carly) Working on Renegades was a dream come true! It was amazing to see people I have adored for so long in action. The role I played was a small one to cover someone who could not handle the makeup I was Pat the Arachnid.
James) Can you tell me how you got involved with Renegades?
Carly) I had heard about it being filmed through Facebook and had talked to Manu Intiraymi a lot about it, as he is the one I heard about it from specifically.
I had gone to the premiere in Vegas during the Trek convention in 2015. I met Ryan T Husk, who is one of the producers for Renegades, and over the next few months, he asked me to help market the next episode and funding. From there I just continued getting into the films and met Vance, who got me into Melbourne.
James) That is so cool, and it sounds like if it was not for Renegades then you would most likely not have been in Melbourne.
I want to move on to your role in Melbourne, describe to me your role in Melbourne. How a typical shoot played out from your Perspective?
Carly) It’s hard to say, I was running around a lot, and trying to stay cool. Most shoots went about average for a film, some scenes were easier than others.
James) Did you research your role and how Jeremy & Vance perceived the part to be so you could make sure your part fitted how they envisioned it to be or was this totally your own style and you made the character your own?
Carly) I discussed it a lot with Vance over the months leading up to the shoot, and it definitely helped to see things a bit more from the writer’s angle.
James) I have to admit that is why I like talking with Vance he has a way of making you see things from angles you may not have considered. Do you feel that you are much like the character that you played? (Physically, personality, etc.)
Carly) I definitely do. My character has a lot of emotional issues, which I can relate to in more ways than I care to admit, but also the moments she has when it comes to other crew members can be very relatable, too.
James) Tell me more from your perspective about the story, and how it is different from the other fan films you have seen?
Carly) My perspective on this story is still evolving, as the story is going to continue. I think it’s different in the fact that it shows the diversity, and challenges of your ‘not-so-average’ crew.
James) Melbourne is from what I have seen and read it is different than most of the other fan films I have seen, what research did you carry out in preparation acting in Melbourne, what challenges and responsibilities did this present in making it something unique?
Carly) Since there haven’t been many films being done like this one, my research was more limited to how to portray emotions well, by facial gestures alone.
James) What drew you to the role you are playing in Melbourne?
Carly) Vance told me about the role before I had gotten it, due to possible casting issues with the previous woman they had chosen. When he described the role to me, I was immediately intrigued, the character has a lot of deeper issues than what she shows.
James) Lastly, Who is the funniest person in the cast in real life?
Carly) Hard to say, so many of them are just silly, but Vance and Jeremy can really make you giggle sometimes.
James) June 2016, was a month that many in fan films see as a black month, with the “guidelines” being released has this influenced the way you feel towards making any Star Trek Fan Productions?
Carly) It definitely has, the ability to tell a true fan story has been taken away from the fans who had such passion.
Seeing Renegades make it through the first day of shooting as Star Trek, was amazing, and just as quickly, I saw a lot of the passion and light go right out of the shoot after that news. It was depressing, especially for Walter Koenig, who wanted to tell his final story of Chekov.
James) “It was depressing, especially for Walter Koenig, who wanted to tell his final story of Chekov”
Can you tell me more about this did you interact with him when you saw this?
Carly) Yeah, I feel bad that he was cut down; he wanted Chekov to have a glorious ending.
I did get to talk with him during the shoot, but it was all on the first day before the guidelines came out. From what I I heard on set, I gathered he was not happy about the changes but still wanted the story told.
James) How did they make you! Feel when they came out?
Carly) Just plain angry and sad that it had to come to this conclusion
James) Do you think they are fair – if not what ones and why.
Carly) I do not think they are completely fair. I get why they were made, but taking so many possibilities away from the fans, made things so much less enjoyable.
James) Have you seen this regarding the “guidelines” I think this is a great reference tool regarding the guidelines,
I am not asking you to change your viewpoint I just want to see if they affect how you see them is all.
Carly) I have already read the interview with Van Citters and the guidelines.
I have some solid views on the guidelines so most of what I said would stand, regardless.
James) It is the comments by Patty White that I saw as useful but as I said, I am not trying to alter your views etc I am just seeing who has read it and who has not and what they think of it.
Carly) Ah, yeah I looked at the comments. I mostly try to keep an even balance with the fan film knowledge, as I am involved in Renegades, too.
I am really in the middle in my views, I see who guidelines must be set, but they were never an issue until the lawsuit happened.
I have serious misgivings towards CBS/Para for the hammer they threw down, but I also see why they felt the need to do so.
James) So with what you just said do you think Axanar is to blame?
Carly) I think they were the catalyst, for sure, but “blame” can go to a few people I’m sure, it’s just not my place to say, only my opinions.
James) I have to admit I think things were heading this way but it is hard to tell if that button would have been pushed had it not been for one production.
James) So moving on to more Fan-centric questions, do you watch other fan films, do you have a top 5?
Carly) I cannot rank them, as I haven’t seen all of the series of films yet, but I have enjoyed Farragut, Valiant, Continues, and New Voyages.
James) What other Star Trek fan productions do you watch/listen to etc (Podcasts, YouTube shows etc)
Carly) It’s all random mostly; I catch anything I can when available.
James) Favourite parts of the Trek Fandom.
Carly) The fact that Trek can open minds, and show people a better way of life
James) Worst Parts of the Trek Fandom have you had any bad experiences.
Carly) I have not had much in the way of negative with Trek; the only situation I can think of was meeting Michael Dorn, who was not as nice as you would hope him to be.
James) REALLY! He always seems so nice, what happened when you met him?
Carly) A few years back at the Vegas con, we (my best friend and I) had a photo op with him and Terry. We were excited, as we have been big fans of both of them. When we got to them finally, Terry was a sweetheart and talked to us for a minute. Dorn only looked at us, and said, “Can we take the photo, now?” Even Terry looked at him oddly just a very cold and negative interaction.
James) Wow that is not good.
Carly) Yeah, it felt like a slap in the face Ruined Worf a bit for me.
James) I am not surprised, I do not know how I would react if that were me, well Carly we are moving into the last leg of the interview now, in this bit I ask people to part with some advice on people who wish to pursue making their own fan films.
So what advice would you give to someone who wants to?
Carly) Don’t be afraid. It is one thing I still fight with and it can keep anyone from achieving their dreams.
James) Make their own fan film – from your perspective as someone in the fan film community.
Carly) Again, don’t be afraid is the biggest thing I can say. Past that, in filmmaking, the one thing I’ve seen that helps, always keeps your word, and choose your cast and crew wisely.
James) And Lastly, Is there anything else you would like to tell me from your perspective of someone involved in the fan film world? The good, the bad, how you see the current world of fan productions
Carly) I can’t think of anything I haven’t already said, and yet there is so much I could say from my opinion.
The biggest thing I can say is, I’ve loved getting into fan films and would suggest it to anyone who has the passion for joining in. No matter what, keep yourself focused, and don’t get over excited about any one detail, as things change so frequently. Patience is an extremely important virtue in this world. My hopes now are that the current chaos involving the lawsuit and guideline changes will come to an end, swiftly, and justly, without killing off fan films altogether.
James) Thank you, Carly, for your time and sharing your experiences with us.
The ConCarolinas Short Film Festival is dedicated to the art of the short films and the expression of independent filmmakers. 2017 will be its seventh year; the ConCarolinas Short Film Festival has created a location for filmmakers local and international to highlight artists from various different genres such as Science Fiction, Fandom, Fantasy, and Adventure.
Dreadnought Dominions Fan Film Blog can be found > HERE <
I grabbed Gary and Randy for a quick interview about their entries and just a general catch up….
James) Hey guys can you tell me a bit more about the entry into the film festival, what does the entry en tale I would love to hear more about it. 🙂
Gary) It is a GREAT convention they hold and they a film festival.
James) Was this something that “Chain of Command” was picked up and entered for you or did you enter it?
Gary) I entered it.
Randy) Last year I entered “Haunted” which won “Best” Set “Haunted” the first episode we released of “Dreadnought Dominion”
This year we have entered a general sci-fi anthology series called “Long Harvest” but we decided to both enter separately…
James) Which set was it that you used that won “Best Set”?
Randy) It was the same sets that they use in “Star Trek Continues” although we only used the Bridge, the captain’s quarters, the shuttlecraft, and the corridor from the shuttle bay hanger to the turbo lift.
James) Cool! Are you planning to enter anything else this year?
Gary) We are entering the third entry a Zombie Film! Therefore, we will have a Star Trek, Sci-Fi, and Zombie film all from Dominion Media
James) That is brilliant, obviously, I know what “Chain of Command” is about but can you give me a snippet of what each one is about, is there an underlying story to them or ??
Gary) Randy would you describe What Lies Beyond as:
A Sci-Fi Anthology Series in the style of “Twilight Zone” and “Outer Limits”
The “story” evolves and by the end, you get the “A-HA” moment
Randy) Absolutely It is anthology series, each episode will be Sci-Fi, or Fantasy or Horror usually with a twist at the end.
The “story” evolves and by the end, you get the “A-HA” moment
Gary) The Zombie 1 is told in “Blair Witch” style format the “hero” is running from Zombies and holes up in an abandoned trailer His cell phone is recording his last words waiting for the battery to end as Zombies are searching for him it is pretty cool.
James) I loved the twilight zone some of them were a tad strange button they were still fun, where can we see these are they already or are they still in production?
Gary) Well, The Sci-Fi one is in post-production they will be releasing on YouTube VERY shortly
It is done, but he has not released it yet.
Randy) We will be releasing “Long Harvest” on February 7th
Gary) And The Zombie 1 was fun It is done and ready to go
James) So “Long Harvest” is this a planned series or a one off?
Randy) It is a little confusing, but Long Harvest is the first episode of “What Lies Beyond”.
Yes. I plan to release many episodes of “What Lies Beyond” eventually I am working on the script for the second episode now.
James) What is the premise of the show to be a running story arc or separate stories per episode?
Randy) “What Lies Beyond” is an anthology, so every episode is a completely separate story.
James) As a writer that must be easier to write for than having to keep story lines consistent almost like a blank page per episode.
Randy) It is a lot easier. In addition, we do not have to worry about stepping on any corporate toes, or getting called out for messing with canon…. (As Trekkies will happily do)
James) Lol well original IP is always a better direction to go as it means you do not have to worry about such issues.
You guys are still planning on continuing with the Trek Fan Films though yeah?
Randy) No matter where this leads us, we will always have a warm spot in our heart for Star Trek Fan Films. And we plan to keep doing them as long as we’re allowed.
We have no plans to stop.
Gary) Well… At least we’re not shut down entirely and they keep stressing GUIDELINES, not RULES.
James) Exactly, they aren’t Rules which is what so many just keep saying you can’t break them blah blah blah CBS are Evil lol you guys are some of the few who have just closed up shop and that is so nice to see tbh
So going back to the film festival what are the potential prizes if you were to win?
Randy) Well, Concarolinas awards prizes for Best Script Best Leading Man Best Leading Woman Best Horror Best Suspense Best Animation.
*Additional awards may be given at the discretion of the Film Festival Judging Committee*
I think our “Best Sets” award last year must have been one that they added on especially for us… “At their discretion”
I feel like between all our entries we could sweep the awards… but then, I am slightly biased.
James) you have three entries across the genres so I would say you have a good stab at it.
Gary, how would you feel if you won for letting us say Dreadnought Dominions short?
Gary) Winning this would be a great honour. However, overall it’s all about just being there amongst all the fellow filmmakers. Just to have our production shown and considered is a great honour.
Randy) Creating something is always a reward in itself, but when you get recognition from somewhere else, it gives you a sense accomplishment beyond that.
And it never hurts to be able to add the words “Award-winning” in front of your film. LOL
James) Thanks guys for the catch-up and I wish you both luck with your entries I have my fingers crossed.
Watch the trailers for the entries
What Lies Beyond – Episode 1 – The Long Harvest > HERE<
This week as part of the Melbourne files, we speak to Forrest Nelson about his time role in Melbourne.
Not only does Forrest share his experiences about his double roles in Melbourne in both playing the role of QELLAR but his role as the productions CGI artist.
Along with finding out about Melbourne, We also find dig deeper into his background in the filmmaking world as he tells us about some of his experiences in being a CGI artist and what it is like being an actor.
I remember meeting Forrest at the first Promenade-acon I hosted. We took pictures of some of the cast and crew of the Melbourne on the bridge there and gave everyone a first look at the ship that day. Everyone thought, from his “Heath Ledger Joker” cosplay, that we were going to have the joker in our film. Lol, I loved that it got people talking, but more than that, I loved that this was a cat that really got into being a geek as much as I am. In addition, this was just as my CGI guy lol months later when I needed to recast my main villain, I could think of no one better than him, because I knew he could act, and I knew he threw himself into the roles of cosplay, he would be great. In addition, boy was he. He was perfect for the main villain in the film. This person is honestly a good catch for whatever you need him for and a really good friend.
Vance Major, Executive Producer, Melbourne
James) Hey Forrest, Firstly I would like to thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions about your role in the Star Trek fan film Melbourne.
Forrest) Hi James thanks for taking the time to interview us all.
James) It is my pleasure to do so. Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
Forrest) My name is Forrest and I am not a Star Trek fan. Well, not in the traditional sense. I have seen all the films at least once, from the original motion picture through the latest JJ films, but that is the extent of my Trekkiness. Vance and Jeremy are being very patient as they explain their universe to me.
James) Hey no one is perfect hahaha, but one thing I have learnt about Vance and Jeremy is that you could not want for better teachers in all things Trek, they are pretty knowledgeable guys on the subject.
So what else would you like to tell us about yourself? Where did you grow up and if you do not watch much Trek what else do you find time to watch?
Forrest) I was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest and grew up on other classics like Back to the Future, Terminator, Blade Runner, and of course Star Wars. Recently, I have loved the superhero streak with the Marvel films and several of the shows, both Marvel and DC. Gotham is one of my favourites right now, but I am also working through Agents of Shield, Flash, Arrow, and a few others.
In addition, I kind of an anime fan. Still new to that scene, but I have found a few that I really enjoy like Sword Art Online, Full Metal Alchemist, and Ergo Proxy.
James) Agents of shield, I watched the first few episode of that but never went back to it but I find the Marvel TV universe lacking in comparison to DC I have no idea why as I prefer Marvel films to DC go figure.
Do you play any Star Trek related games?
Forrest) As far as games go, I have never once played a Star Trek game. I have heard of Star Trek Online, but that is it. I have the Starfarers of Cataan if that counts. Most of the games I play are single player, story rich, often sci-fi and open world.
James) So taking into account that you are not someone who lives and breathes Trek, what does it mean to you, is there any other Sci-Fi shows and movies that you prefer?
Forrest) Honestly, it really does not have any meaning to me, as I have never considered myself a fan. Not that it was bad, necessarily, just did not catch my attention as much as Star Wars or Battlestar: Galactica.
I do however really respect those it does have meaning for and I believe that Jeremy and Vance can really touch those people with this story. They know this universe and they know how to make it work and the team they have selected can make it powerful for people who have that deeper connection with Trek.
James) Star Trek does have vast meaning to people myself included, but I see the same in other fandom’s I am a part of like Star Wars, Transformers, and so on.
Forrest, you not only act in Melbourne but you did the VFX for it, when did you first realise that you wanted to become a CGI artist or at least work within that field?
Forrest) I guess you could say my interest in CGI goes back to Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Now, before you judge me, the story itself had nothing to do with the inspiration. I know I am dating myself here a bit, but I was about seven years old when that movie came out and I had developed an understanding that movies were not, in fact, real.
That got me wondering how they put the actors in places that did not exist. How did they blow things up without hurting people? Namely, how did Darth Maul stab Qui-Gon Gin and not actually kill Liam Neeson? After all, we see the red lightsaber pierce his sternum quite clearly.
It was then that I decided I would discover the secrets, which eventually lead me to Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) and Visual Effects (VFX).
James) One thing the “prequels” are known for, other than the dire story lol (sorry personal opinion) is the VFX, I remember reading ages ago that Ewan McGregorhated the whole green screen aspect of it, however, I can see why it inspired you one thing I love about the Star Wars franchise is its VFX it is outstanding.
What is it you like most about being a CGI artist?
Forrest) What I like most really is the ability to make the impossible merely absurd or even, if very briefly, believable. Being able to create imaginary locations or objects that would otherwise be grossly expensive or unrealistic to create in real life is really what completes it for me.
Do not get me wrong, I really do appreciate practical effects (objects and locations in the physical world), but when budget and skill are an issue, CGI really comes in handy, for low-budget films especially.
James) You said that you got bitten by the bug at a young age, what steps did you take to enter this field?
Forrest) My training and experience come from a great community of users called the internet. I actually have no formal training to date, just the creative application of tutorials from knowledgeable users and professionals like BlenderGuru and VideoCopilot. I have spent countless hours watching, learning, and recreating their projects and applying it to the necessary projects.
James) I am like that, I have taught myself a lot of applications, as I honestly do not find the need to go and get a bit of paper to say you can use it. I am not knocking those who do but personal opinion is you learn best doing it yourself.
So when you started out in what were the main obstacles you faced?
Forrest) When I first began my journey into the CGI/VFX world, it was difficult because I had no idea what I was doing. I was just a teenager with an interest in film, a cheap laptop, and no one to teach me. I had done several free trials of every program I could find, but I could never afford the full versions. Then, one day, a family friend introduced me to Linux and open source software. It is one of those programs I still use to this day Blender 3D.
James) What is Blender 3D for those who have no idea what it is (people like me LOL, I have no idea what it is)
Forrest) The software I use is called Blender 3D it is free and open sourced bit of software which is always being updated and improved on.
There are plenty of add-ons and downloads that make some of the work much easier and more practical. In addition, it has a great community of people sharing their work and knowledge to help and teach each other. My favourite part, other than it being completely free, is that it really can stand with programs like 3DS Max3DS Max or Maya and hold its own.
Blender was not always the program that it is now but it was a good thing to use when I started. Growing up and getting familiar with the features and changes, following the best instructors on YouTube, I would blow people away with my creations while I was still in high school. I used it on one of my earliest (now completely lost) Star Wars fan films. I created an A-Wing fighter, made it fly to a planet, and land on the ground. My TV Productions teacher was very impressed. My best application to date, though, is probably a virtual set I built for a BioShock short that I made called BioShock: Origins. The entire scene takes place in a virtual office room, overlooking the city of Rapture.
James) Tell me about your experiences as a CGI artist what gives you the most pleasure when rendering ships, environments, and such.
Forrest) The most rewarding part would have to be when it all works properly. Ships themselves are not super difficult, as long as you have good reference images or concept art, but there are so many factors in general that go into the final render, anyone gone wrong can ruin the image.
However, if you place a texture wrong, the animation is jarred and awkward, the mesh is not deforming properly, the subdivision count is too high, the program crashes…elements and atmospherics are the worst. However, when it all comes together and you get a sharp, photorealistic image or animation, it can really make your day.
James) What elements of VFX/CGI do you find the most difficult?
Forrest) The most difficult part of the job is the waiting. When you are modelling, designing, or working out kinks, you are actively involved with the project and you are making things happen, and you can feel proud of that. However, when you are baking a simulation, or you are rendering a final image or animation, there is nothing you can do except make sure the program does not crash halfway through. Depending on the scene, it could take anywhere from a few minutes to several days.
James) What other VFX/CGI Artists out there have inspired your work?
Forrest) I cannot really name a specific CGI artist that I admire, but I know what I like in movies. I like to see how directors approach the subject and what their final results look like. As much as I protest to paying to watch any Michael Bay film, he really pushes his CGI teams to the limit and his films look absolutely breathtaking and I always strive to get my work to that level. Alternatively, close to it, anyway.
James) Michael Bay is responsible for a custom built the BAYHEM which is ”the lightest, most advanced handheld motion picture camera in the world”, according to
So I can see why many see him as a leader in the field and an example to follow.
If you had to choose one which one of your CGI Renders which one are you most proud of and why?
Forrest) Currently, other than Melbourne (as I am still working on it and am always improving it), I would have to say my virtual set from BioShock: Origins. It was simple, but it was the first time I really grasped and applied the concept of photorealism, and it was the first time I had used CGI in a film like that since high school. It was also the first time anyone had utilised the green screen in my college film course because they did not have a CGI/VFX program.
James) Apart from CGI what other aspects of Filmmaking do you have experience in and can you tell me more about your experiences in these areas.
Forrest) I have a fair share of experience in all fields of filmmaking, really. Except maybe in producing things. In high school, I took TV Productions, where I learned how a green screen works and how to edit (more or less), and then in college, I studied everything I could get my hands on.
Such as Screenwriting, acting, directing, digital filmmaking, all while teaching myself CGI and VFX at home.
Mostly, though, my focus was acting. I starred in several scene studies and had roles indie short films shot here in the Seattle area. I’ve done competitions, I’ve had voice acting training, I’ve done a few stage productions…it’s really been my life goal to do this for a living, so I try to take every opportunity I could find.
James) Talking of Acting, you have a role in Melbourne, When did you first realise that you wanted to Act?
Forrest) Acting is a similar story, but maybe not quite as exciting. From my first church Easter play in grade school, I thought how much fun it is to pretend and to be someone else. Growing up, my sister and I were notorious for role playing and creating our own characters and stories in the backyard, on our own or with friends; it did not matter to us.
When our family got our first video camera, we created all sorts of scenes and funny shorts that are now lost to the ages. I also joined the drama club in high school, where I found a natural talent for acting. Many of my classmates and even the instructor mentioned at least once, how natural I looked on stage and how believable my characters were.
James) What is it you like most about being an Actor?
Forrest) I enjoy acting for many reasons, but mostly because I get to be someone else for a while. I get to live in another world in another life; I often find it very cathartic. As a person, as Forrest Nelson, I do not often emote anything other than happiness, except around my closest friends, because I know it spreads and people enjoy being around happy people. Nevertheless, when I act, I can let out anger or sadness or arrogance any other array of emotions and it feels good to let it out.
James) Are there any parts of Acting do you not enjoy?
Forrest) There are only downs to acting if you’re working on a crap project. You have a poor director, other actors are putting in their two cents on your scene or your performance, or you just cannot seem to get into the moment for whatever reasons. Sometimes, too, you can let your mind get into a set idea about a scene and it is hard to change it up.
For Melbourne, shooting my scene, it took me a moment to get past the fact that I did not know Trek. It prevented me from making the character my own as if it were in any other universe, but that is why it is important to have a good director. I talked to him, he helped me look past it, and we were able to get something that he really enjoyed.
James) Like CGI was there any formal training you partook in to enter the field?
Forrest) The best way to get into any field is to pursue it every chance you get on every level. For acting, it was stage plays in church, then drama club and stage production in high school, a community play, or two, and finally acting for the camera in college. It saddens me to know that many of these programs are being taken away from schools, too. If I had not had a drama club or stage production team in school, I doubt I would have had the courage to pursue it as I have.
James) Is Melbourne your fist time in front of the camera, if not can you tell me what other productions have you acted in?
Forrest) My biggest film productions include “Ugly Life,” written and directed by Eduardo Gonzalez, I played a bully named Fergus, and in “Family Tied”, written by Christina Bonney and directed by Aaron Williams, I played a mobster named Tony. I also have several scene studies, both original and “re-imagined.” I was even cast in a few short films that were either never completed or my character was cut entirely. Each time it happened, it was by the same director.
I have done so many stage performances; I do not even remember all of them. The one that sticks out in my mind most was George Gibbs in “Our Town.”
James) Tell me, when you audition for a role how does it make you feel when you land the part you want?
Forrest) I have always gotten a great response as an actor. It is not always easy, having to compete with other people for a role, but it is real. And! When you do land a role that you want, it is probably the most satisfying feeling ever. In addition, when you get to perform with other very talented actors, you really get to feel in the moment, and the rest of the world melts away for a while. It is a beautiful thing.
James) I have heard many things from people about being an actor/actress what makes the whole experience worth it from your point of view?
Forrest) I often get pleasure from playing roles I do not get very often, like the antagonist or nerdy support character. For a long while, I was usually cast as a hero type or the lead protagonist.
I auditioned for the antagonist/villain role in Family Tied (and very nearly got it), which is something I have always wanted to try. I was glad to hear that I had been chosen to play the villain in Melbourne because it was different. Nevertheless, I think the most pleasure I get is after the director calls cut and, if it was a good take or everyone was just so engrossed in the moment, that people actually start applauding. That is a real morale booster.
James) What elements of acting do you personally find most difficult or things that make you think is it worth it?
Forrest) Sometimes getting into character is rather challenging. The director may want a specific emotion or mannerism that you are not used to, and that can make things difficult because the director is not getting what he needs and now you have to work harder.
James) Lastly then I would like to move on to more Melbourne-centric questions, Are you inspired by any famous actors?
Forrest) I am inspired by many actors and actresses at any given time. I will always be a fan of Ewan McGregor, Will Smith, Emma Stone, Johnny Depp, Ron Perlman, and a myriad of others.
James) That is a wide variety do you fancy narrowing it down for me :p
Forrest) If I had to narrow it down, though, I would have to say, Ewan McGregor and Johnny Depp. Both are excellent actors, if for different reasons. Ewan does really well with gritty realism and performs with a quiet strength in his characters. Johnny Depp’s strength, however, lies in the mystical and far-fetched.
I love the whimsy in his characters. However dark they may appear, there’s always a sense of other-worldliness to them.
James) OK moving on I mentioned before that you are the CGI artist and have a role in Melbourne was this an easy task or did you find the roles lead to many challenges in making things fit taking on two roles in the production?
Forrest) The nice thing about my two roles in Melbourne is that they exist in separate stages of production. There are three stages in the production process, Pre-production, Production, and Post- Production.
Acting exists only in Production, and CGI/VFX exists only in Post-Production, so it is actually very easy to separate and balance the two. That said, being on set during Production does help me consult with the director on Post-Production issues, and it does mean my job never really stops. It just changes.
James) Having that “joint” role in the production of Melbourne and how a typical shoot played out from your perspective?
Forrest) Shooting is not unlike a lot of other jobs. You show up on time, you are where you need to be when you need to be there and in the right uniform, and you do what you are told by your superiors. Sometimes there is a good deal of waiting around if the director is discussing things with the producer or the director of photography, or if you are an actor and you’re not in the scene it’s a good time to take a quick nap. Alternatively, a long one.
James) ahh sound like my dream job lol sleep I love it HAHA!, sorry go on. . .
Forrest) However if you are the director, boom operator, director of photography/camera operator, or a production assistant (PA), your job never really stops. Since we were a small production, and my character was absent for most of the episode, I was often running sound or running errands. They were long days, but they were fun.
James) Can you tell me more from your perspective about the story. How is it in your opinion different from other Fan Productions?
Forrest) I like the story so far, and I think it has a lot of promise. I have not watched many Trek fan films, but Vance was sharing a few with me some of his favourites and least favourites. Ones he used for inspiration and ones he used as a warning label, and I think this is definitely going to change the game. The crew that Jeremy brought on board has skill beyond anything that Vance shared with me, and the cast that Vance put together has a passion for making it hit home for Trekkies everywhere.
James) You were a part of the team who designed the Melbourne Did you have any issues in designing the Melbourne?
Forrest) Absolutely! I had one reference photo to work with, and could not tell the difference between a Romulan and a Klingon (let alone the different ship classes), so Vance was actually very much against bringing me onto the production.
Especially after, I sent him some concept images. We have hence referred to the original designs as the “Doomsday Machine.” It was awful. However, Jeremy vouched for me, and Vance gave me another shot. They broke down the terminology for me and sent more reference photos, and we slowly built the Melbourne you know and love today.
James) Every Star Trek ship has its own look (well 90% of the time) How did you design the look and can you tell me more about the inspiration behind it?
Forrest) The look and the design, honestly that is really more a question for Vance and Jeremy.
They knew, more or less, what they wanted coming into the project. I would send them progress images from time-to-time, and they would suggest a change or two rinses and repeat for two or three months. Once I got the feel for what they wanted, it was a lot easier to understand what they wanted, but I had very little actual contributions to the design of the ship itself.
James) I ask everyone this as I think it is very! Important to gauge as much feedback on this as possible from the variety of people who work in fan films what are your feelings on the new “Fan Film Guidelines”?
Forrest) The fan film guidelines caused a lot of hate and discontent throughout the Trek community.
My initial thoughts were that it sucked, but that is what happens when you abuse someone else’s intellectual property. Then I started reading the rules and I was worried that Melbourne might not get made. Luckily, it hasn’t changed much. Vance and Jeremy have done their research and I think even got legal advice regarding their story, so I think we’re set.
James) Do you think they are fair?
Forrest) I do believe that some of the rules are fair and should not need listing, but there you have it. A couple of the rules, however (such as limiting character use to two 15 minute episodes maximum, and putting a time limit on episodes), are a bit absurd and unfair.
James) Being involved in Melbourne I am sure you have seen some of the other stuff to come out of Starbase Studios, What other Star Trek fan productions do you watch/listen to etc (Podcasts, YouTube shows etc)
Alternatively, as you mentioned above your not all that into Trek, are there any other Fan films out there you have seen.
Forrest) I do not watch many fan films, but there are a few I have really enjoyed. The Brother’s Rapture was a BioShock short that somewhat inspired my short script and is absolutely fantastic. Another of my favourites is Portal: No Escape. Probably my introduction to fan films, it is a silent film with excellent visuals and cinematography.
More recently, too, a really good Star Wars fan film called Hoshino was released. The brilliant story very focused and flowed like the Force through a Master Jedi. The worst fan film I have ever seen (other than my own Star Wars short that was mysteriously destroyed) was a certain Super Girl fan film. I have since blocked the name from my memory. Ask Jeremy about it, he will know what I am talking about.
However, Star Trek-wise, I do not watch, listen to, or otherwise follow anything Star Trek, save for Melbourne. Not out or spite or some fully founded belief of being “better” than they are, I have just never had the interest.
James) Just a couple of more questions then, unfortunately, we are done L but, you have a wide range of experience what advice would you give to others who are looking to enter the filmmaking world, be it acting, CGI etc.
Forrest) If you want to make movies, do it. Research how to do what you want to do. If it is your passion, you will know it when you do your first Google search. How because you will keep coming back.
Find ways to meet people with similar interests and collaborate. If you want to act, make it known. Practice do not be afraid of critiques, they can help you if you let them. If you want to be a CGI/VFX artist, research it. There are plenty of free resources just waiting to help you make the creatures and environments you always dreamed of.
If fan films are your thing great! However, do not be afraid to create something entirely new. If you have trouble creating, maybe a fan film is a good place to start. How you go about it is largely up to you, just so long as you go.
James) Lastly is there anything else you would like to tell me from your perspective with someone of your experiences.
Forrest) Fan films are fun. I am enjoying being a part of Melbourne, and I have a Star Wars fan film or two planned and I am very excited for it. They give people a chance to be a part of something they love in a unique way and they can help inspire creativity, and they’re excellent practice for budding filmmakers.
Nevertheless, I think people put too much weight into them sometimes and forget that they are not allowed to make money that way. Some people hope they are noticed with their fan films, and sometimes they do, but I feel like I watch so much more original short films on YouTube and Vimeo than fan films of any genre.
James) Well Forrest, I want to thank you again for your time and hope that your plans for your Star Wars Fan films go according to plan and you have to let me know if and when you release them.