The Fan Film Guidelines Breakdown – Part Two

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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



RANDY LANDERS – Potemkin Pictures

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

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

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

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

Nick Cook – Intrepid

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

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


 Vance MajorMelbourne

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

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

Justin Burton – Former member of the Lexington production. 

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

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

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

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


Ray Tesi – Republic

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

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

Robin –  Dark Armada: 

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

More Producer Analysis is on its way. 


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

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


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

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



RANDY LANDERS – Potemkin Pictures

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

Yep. No problem with that.

 

Nick Cook – Intrepid

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

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


Vance Major – Melbourne/ Starbase Studios

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

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

Justin Burton – Former member of the Lexington production. 

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

Most fan productions were already doing this before the guidelines


Ray Tesi – Republic

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

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

Robin –  Dark Armada: 

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

( SEE ABOVE STATEMENT )



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


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

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

You will find important information such as:

What is a derivative work?

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

<——

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

<——


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

USEFUL LINKS 


Ref Links 


The Fan Film Guidelines Breakdown – Part One


Follow, Share and Like

The Fan Film Guidelines Breakdown – Part One

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

From the “about section” of Project Small Access

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

Admins and Moderators Of “Project Small Access”

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

An example of the hate directed towards CBS

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


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

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

So why a blog series about the guidelines

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

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

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


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


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

Guidelines for Avoiding Objections:

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



RANDY LANDERS – Potemkin Pictures

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nick Cook – Intrepid

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

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

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

Yes, I do. See above.

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

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


Vance MajorMelbourne

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

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

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

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

Justin Burton – Former member of the Lexington production. 

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

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

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

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

Ray Tesi – Republic

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

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

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

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

Robin –  Dark Armada:

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

More Producer Analysis is on its way. 


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

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



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

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

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

 


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

Some examples are:

Animated Examples:

Live Action Examples:

Potemkin Pictures

INTREPID

DARK ARMADA –

Starship Valiant

Dreadnought Dominion

Melbourne –

Other examples see here –

= So making films within 15 mins IS NOT IMPOSSIBLE =


Ref: Engage Podcast – Full Transcript HERE 

Time Index – 00:35:30 – Time Length

{} Jordan {}

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

{} JVC {}

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

Time index – 00:59:55

{} JVC {}

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

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


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


Ref Links:

 

Follow, Share and Like

TREKLANTA 2017

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

BEST SPECIAL & VISUAL EFFECTS

FINALISTS

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

BEST SOUND DESIGN, EDITING & MIXING

FINALISTS

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

BEST ORIGINAL MUSIC

FINALISTS

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

BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING

FINALISTS

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

BEST COSTUMING

FINALISTS

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

BEST GUEST ACTOR OR ACTRESS

FINALISTS

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

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR OR ACTRESS

FINALISTS

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

BEST LEAD ACTOR OR ACTRESS

FINALISTS

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

BEST DIRECTOR

FINALISTS

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

BEST ORIGINAL STORY OR SCREENPLAY

FINALISTS

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

BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION, SHORT FORM

FINALISTS

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

BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION, LONG FORM

FINALISTS

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

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

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

Follow, Share and Like

Crowdfunding and Fan Films Pt 1

As part of a blog series I am doing on Trekfanproductions, I am hoping to obtain as much participation as possible from as many individuals as I can, so I have constructed this poll to ask people who regularly do or have previously donated to a Star Trek fan production.

The aim of this poll is to gain and insight on this subject in the hopes it will allow me to form a supposition of what the issue maybe surrounding the drop in donations, going towards Star Trek fan films.

This poll has been active on Facebook since April 23rd and the results thus far can be seen > HERE < but in the interests of fairness to all, I have brought it over to Trekfanproductions to enable everyone to see it and participate.


Edit – People have been saying that they do not wish to vote due to the potential of identification, this poll is completely anonymous and not even I can see anything but the vote cast, I do hope this alleviates any concerns.


The harsh reality is we all know crowdfunding is essential to many fan productions continuing to create and complete their projects. Nevertheless, over the last 12 months we have been seeing a big diminish in the donations being achieved, which has resulted in some fan films being cancelled or postponed, for example, Starship Republic only obtained 15% of the $16,000 they needed to progress into pre-production, this, however, has not been the only casualty of diminished donations recently Axanar, which had previously managed to obtain almost $1.6Mil in donations (the most ever crowdfunded in Trek Fan Film history) launched a new crowdfund campaign for Industry studios that they retrofitted with donor funds with the goal of funding the studio for at least the next 7 months, and they had lofty hopes it would allow them to continue seeking funds in this manner for the foreseeable future.

Nonetheless this recent crowdfunding campaign failed to reach anywhere near the goal they hoped or needed to keep the studio open, furthermore this now means the $1.6 mil they raised and put into the studio was for nothing, with the studio now in the hands of the landlord and to add insult to injury this means no film being made (regardless of the lawsuit) at the studio that they said was the justification of the money being spent in the manner it had been, as a result they are now moving across country to pastures new to start again.

So we are left with a big question what has gone wrong? with what was once a non-issue to the various fan films wanting to obtain funds through donations.

Below there are some options as to what I and others think maybe the issue, however, if you feel you have different viewpoints then please use the comment section below.

Please remember this poll is to help! ALL Fan productions and the comments section is not a place to start a flame war and anyone doing so their comments will be removed and further participation will be blocked!.

Thank you.



Follow, Share and Like

The Melbourne Files – Part Nine – Michael Sylvester

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 😛

Martin)

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.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=638237099586647&set=a.104923856251310.6877.100002010885803&type=3&theater

And I have also met Mikki Val who been an extra in a few STNG, she is a wonderful dancer.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=876414912435530&set=a.876414885768866.1073741912.100002010885803&type=3&theater

James) What Fan Films do you watch?

Martin) Too many to list,

James) Do you have a top 5?

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?

Martin)

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.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=883858191691202&set=a.301026949974332.67018.100002010885803&type=3&theater

James) What are you working on now?

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?

Act

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.

James) Co-Produce

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. 

As always 

LLAP everyone.

Follow, Share and Like

The Melbourne Files – Part Seven – Ronald Seipel

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?

Ron)

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?

Ron)

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.

Follow, Share and Like

Starbase Studios – ON THE MOVE Pt 2 – With Dan Reynolds

Starbase Studios moving to its new home in Harrison Arkansas, I wanted to touch base with one of the new owners Dan about how things are progressing. I sent him a quick IM on Facebook and asked if he wanted to write a guest piece to update everyone.

So I now hand over to Dan for him to fill you in on what’s been going on at the studios new home.


Initially, when I stepped on and offered my TV studio space as the new home for Starbase Studios, I had no inkling that the day we were loading up the trucks in Oklahoma City that I’d get a call offering to by my building. Which, by the way, had been on the market for 7 years. I was in a compromising position for sure. But, as divine luck would have it, I found a much bigger facility close to my hometown of Harrison, AR and the remaining sets, including the bridge are now housed and erected In the new building.


Glen came down and early Friday morning he and I did the impossible and erected the entire upper, lower consoles, turbo lift section, railing, view screen and captain’s helm and navigation console in just 2 days.

From communications to the end of stocks station.

The upper console work begins. This part was a challenge. For those who know the bridge construction, nothing is square and no piece will stand without falling over.

The upper console work begins. This part was a challenge. For those who know the bridge construction, nothing is square and no piece will stand without falling over.


End of Friday. The captain’s island, turbolift, railing and view screen set for Saturday

Saturday morning starting with the overhanging facade. Forgot about this. Amazingly this took a very long time to complete. Nothing seemed to want to fit although every piece was numbered.

You can see the facade with the iconic red/orange stripe above each console.

Finished and leaving Saturday night. Glen Wolfe and I are tired but exuberant.

And as the last light is turned off, this was so fitting of our last photograph of why we do what we do and why the love of Star Trek continues day after day after day.

GUEST BLOG BY Dan Reynolds

WOW! this is amazing! thank you so much for this, Dan.

If you want to continue to follow the story of the rebuild of one of the most iconic fan film sets out there then follow Starbase Studios on Facebook and I will continue to touch base with Dan and bring you updates as often as I can.

Follow, Share and Like

STARSHIP REPUBLIC – Interview – Ray Tesi

Starship Republic is one of the many fan productions to come from the renowned Starbase Studios, a home where anyone can make a fan film using their sets.

Ray Tesi a fan of Star Trek heads STARSHIP REPUBLIC that in their own words “is a Star Trek fan-film project aimed at recapturing the excitement and morality of Gene Roddenberry’s original vision. Our series follows the intrepid crew of the USS Republic (NCC-1371) in the same timeline as The Original Series. We hope to bring you quality thought-provoking stories with a new set of heroes in the Trek universe.”

Recently I had the privilege to sit and talk to Ray about Republic, what Star Trek means to him and his experiences in the filmmaking world.



James) Hi Ray, Thank you for taking the time to sit with me and answer some questions about not only Republic but allowing me to get to know the man behind this production.

Ray) Thanks again for the opportunity

James) Ray, Tell me a bit about yourself.

Ray) I grew up in the Bronx in the early 1960’s and did not always fit in with the kids in school or the neighbourhood. My parents used TV in place of a babysitter, so I have been in love with television for as long as I can remember. I have wanted to be involved in movie making since I picked up my grandfather’s 8mm Kodak camera and made short films in my backyard way back then. I developed a love of science fiction (not sci-fi), horror, model making and dressing up as my favourite characters (before it was called cosplay).

I have been a fan of Star Trek for all fifty years that it has been on the air. I can tell you where I was 12 on Sept 8, 1966, when “Man Trap” premiered — and I was immediately hooked. No longer were spacemen the “shoot ’em up” Buck Rogers characters, but they were evolving into role models. They were still human, but suddenly they were dealing with human emotions, human frailties, and everyday human problems. In addition, inside of an hour’s time, they taught us how to deal with those problems — and sometimes taught us that problems have no solution except that of acceptance. Big lessons to a small person.

There were not too many fans to be found in those early days, but I eventually found a life-long friend in Don Horan when I heard him talking about Trek in high school with other classmates. They were as knowledgeable as I was, they were as insightful as I was, and we shared the same enthusiasm and engaged in marathon debates. These guys goofed off in school, played baseball, loved the Yankees, lusted over high school girls, knew all the TV action shows I did and had crushes on movie starlets. I had arrived.

In 1972, a group of us went to what would become the first annual Star Trek convention at the Statler Hilton Hotel in Manhattan. It was a different time. Guests were accessible, Memorabilia was not mass-produced, and it was hand-made. Don and I had the opportunity to meet and talk to Gene and Majel and shared an elevator with Isaac Asimov. How many people can say that?

In the 1980’s, Don and I had a brief brush with success, having several TV movies under consideration with William Morris, but never got the brass ring. I guess when an agent suggests a different ending to a story, you say, “Yes, sir, may I have another” instead of writing, a dissertation on your ending is the best ending. Live and learn. I almost pushed myself into the writing staff during the first season of Next Generation with a story entitled “The Human Factor,” but that too never panned out.

I held my own anime and sci-fi conventions in South Florida in 2008 and 2009. They were actually successful, but quickly learned you cannot do it as a hobby. You have to be in it to win it.

However, through it all, I never lost my love for Star Trek and television.

This all makes me a bit older than most folks venturing in the fan film world, but there is no time like the present.

James) I remember what my mum once said to me, “with age comes wisdom and experience” so yeah you may! Be a bit older than some but that brings a viewpoint that many will not see, and one of those will be the entire 50 years of fandom experience you have.

Tell me a bit about your history with Star Trek what does Trek mean to you

Ray) That is about as loaded a question as you could possibly ask me. As I said previously, I was 12 when Trek premiered in living colour on NBC, and I was immediately hooked.

I have lived it and breathed it for 50 years. I have evolved along the way to understand some of the undertones on the episodes and the social mores they reflected. I understood that characters and was able to apply their emotions to my life…and suddenly I did not feel alone. There is too much Star Trek in my history to adequately answer that question here.

So what does Trek mean to me?

It is about a hopeful future. It is about people from a multitude of races, creeds, and colours working together for the betterment of not just humanity, but life itself. It is about duty and responsibility. It about unrequited love.

It is about living with who you are.

All of the things that seem to be missing in today’s society.

Many people have tried to express the philosophy of Trek. Some have written books. I am sure someone somewhere has given this explanation before, but I have never seen it. I believe the philosophy has been right in front of us the whole time in words written by Roddenberry himself.

In “City on the Edge of Forever,” Edith addresses the derelicts of the 21st Street Mission. She tells them: “Now I don’t pretend to tell you how to find happiness and love when everyday is just a struggle to survive, but I do insist that you do survive because the days and the years ahead are worth living for. One day soon, man is going to be able to harness incredible energies, maybe even the atom. Energies that could ultimately hurl us to other worlds in some sort of spaceship.

The men that reach out into space will be able to find ways to feed the hungry millions of the world and to cure their diseases. They will be able to find a way to give each man hope…and a common future, and those are the days worth living for…”

THAT is the philosophy of Trek and what it means to me.

James) Do you have a Favourite Trek Episode & Why?

Ray) I would be hard pressed to list only one episode overall without acknowledging all five series, so I think it’s only fair to list one from each:

TOS: Let us take “City on the Edge of Forever” out of the mix and go with “The Naked Time” – great character development story, great insight on Kirk and Spock, the terrific interaction of the crew, great drama, and music.

TNG: “The Inner Light” – Touching story of two men’s lives affected by a doomed man’s planet and the affection he has towards his family and friends, and at losing those people closest to him. Patrick Stewart’s final scene is as touching and moving. (Honourable mention: “Yesterday’s Enterprise”)

VOYAGER: “Year of Hell” – Great sci-fi premise about a man who is seemingly hell-bent of wiping out his enemy, but his real goal is to bring back his wife from the dead. Let us add in a wonderful performance by Kate Mulgrew.

DS9: “Trails and Tribble-actions” – a very nice tribute episode with the same sparks and humour as the original.

ST: ENTERPRISE: Just about all of season three, culminating with “Zero Hour.” I loved having a mission that the actors could sink their teeth into, and the portrayal of the Xindi was well played.

Honourable Mention: “World Enough and Time” by James Cawley and ST: Phase 2. If you have never seen it, watch it! It gives all other Trek episodes a run for their money.

James) What about your worst Trek Episode Why?

Ray) TOS “Way to Eden” – it just sucked.

James) Out of all five! So to be six! Series what is your Favourite & Why?

Ray) TOS, not just, because I grew up with it, but simply put, if it was not for TOS, we would not have everything else.

James) Worst Series?

Ray)  DS9: I know I will get some dissension on this, but my problem was that I would watch three or four great episodes in a row followed by a Quark episode. I just did not buy into that character. Then the whole Sisko / spiritual thing was a bit over the top.

James) What Trek Actors have you met in real life if any?

Ray) Lots and Lots, I met Shatner with my son at an Orlando con at an 80th birthday celebration. Shatner went to every table and spoke with everyone. He was just charming. I told him that growing up, he was my hero. His answer got me too flustered to tell him why. He said to me, “Really…? Why…?” And I just lost it.

Met Nimoy on the street in NYC in the late 1970’s. Nobody else recognised him so I thought maybe I was wrong. However, as he approached me, it was obvious that he knew I knew who he was. He stopped in front of me (probably because of my dumb-founded look) and smiled. All I managed to say was “Weren’t you…?” To which he replied, “I still am” and kept walking.

I first met Nichelle at a con in NYC in the mid-1970’s. I was walking down a crowded aisle in the Huckster’s Room (that what they called the vendor area in those days) when the crowd parted revealing Nichelle at a table just in front of me. I recall that there was bright sunlight streaming in from the windows like heaven. There might as well have been a choir in the background. I stopped dead in my tracks when she looked over a saw me gawking, and smiled at me. She was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. I crapped my pants and ran away!

Also met many people from all of the different series. However, meeting and speaking with Gene and Majel at the first con was priceless. Much much more on that later… 

James) I am jealous, Lenard Nimoy was someone I ALWAYS wanted to meet. 

Do you play any Star Trek Games?

Ray) Ha! I’m a gamer from way back and have played lots of Trek games in my life.

My favourite was Elite Force, so that’ll give you some idea of my ancient past. I think at this point in my life, I need to concentrate on that pesky thing we call reality. Ew! LOL

James) Other than Trek, what other TV shows you watch like B5, Walking Dead, The Flash?

Ray) I am a fan of episodic drama. I was a huge fan of shows like the Galactica reboot, Fringe, LOST and back in the day shows like Millennium and The Night Stalker. Television is different today. I love streaming, but it leads to binge-watching shows like Daredevil and Stranger Things. Network TV has really changed. Used to be you would get 26 episodes a year and reruns in the summer.

Now, you get into a show and it goes on hiatus for 12 or 18 months. Who remembers what it was about when it comes back on? Currently, I watch shows like Pitch, Supergirl and Chicago Fire. I am a huge fan of The Last Ship, but alas, it is on hiatus. I loved The Strain, but it was off the air too long to get back into it, and I AM looking forward to ST Discovery. In addition, new shows like Frequency and Timeless — well, they just do not make sense. And BTW, I’m a huge fan of Whose Line. I could talk about shows all day. LOL



James) What do you feel about entertainment today, I mean gone are the days of 20+ episodic seasons is there anything you feel is missing?

Ray) I have been watching television since the late 1950’s. It was much different then. Just three major channels and a few local stations.

With the advent of cable plus sites streaming content, the choices are too proliferous. There is no way to know what is good and what is bad and what else you could be watching in this new sea of content.

Another issue is originality. There are some very fine original series and movies playing today, but there is a lot of rehashing going on. I am not sure I have ever seen a remake that was better than the original. Just be original.

Lastly, it used to be that you got 26 episodes a year and then reruns in the summer. Now you get 8 or 10 episodes of a series and then it is off the air for a year or more. It is sometimes impossible to get back into it. Just bring it on, dammit!

James) With Discovery showing on CBS all Access in the USA and Netflix elsewhere, do you think this future of televised series and films, just as you use YouTube etc. now? Is TV on the way out?

Ray) I have seen many changes in broadcast television in the last 50+ years that I have been watching. I think network television is in flux because of streaming and on-demand technology. New organisations are finding newer, better and cheaper ways to create and send us content, so it’s impossible to predict what the landscape will be even 2 or 3 years from now.

However, it still needs to be a profitable medium. Yes, TV will change and evolve, but I do not think it will ever die.

James) Ray, what is your history in filmmaking, apart from Republic is there anything you have made or are proud of.

Ray) Two children and a 36-year marriage.

Actually, Starship Republic is my first attempt at filmmaking. I have studied the craft for decades, and always believed if an opportunity came along — take it! Starbase Studios presented that opportunity by allowing Don and me to take a decades-old story of ours and translate it to the screen. In a big way, I have Vance Major and Scott Johnson to thank for guiding two novices through the process.

One thing I have learned from all the years that I have been in business that I was able to carry through to the production of Republic was to surround myself with good people — and I believe that effort is going to make Republic a success! To be successful, I believe you have to become an orchestra leader: you need to assemble the best musicians you can find and then do your damnedest to have them play in sync and make the most moving music that they can. I have not surrounded myself with good people — I have surrounded myself with great people! Every cast member, every crewmember, and every person that cheered us on.

As we begin to release info on Republic, look for names like Gabriel Morgan, Kent Edwards (“Words”) and Jim Von Dolteren amongst a multitude of others. We — they — are making Republic a fantastic Star Trek production! Kudos to them!

James) So Republic… Tell me about it, 

When and why did you decide to create a fan film series based upon Star Trek?

Ray) I always have had a need to be a part of the Trek universe in some way, shape or form, and when the opportunity to film at Starbase Studios presented itself, I had to take advantage of it. That is the “why.” By date, that would have been September 2015 when I would learn about Promenade-action.

James) Before you could move forward, did you have to win over anyone to get the series off the ground?

Ray) No, not really. My writing partner Don Horan and I have been doing this for a long time, so we were in total agreement with the entire written production. We pitched our concept to Vance Major and Scott Johnson at Starbase Studios, and I think it was my enthusiasm that won them over.

James) Where does an idea for an episode usually begin for you?

Ray) Everywhere and nowhere, Most times, it is predicated on current events. We hope to use Republic going forward in the same capacity as Gene did 50 years ago: to reflect social and moral issues going on in our world today. That is not the case with every idea, but many times that is where it starts.

James) So, you are the Writer and Director of Republic was this an easy task or did you find the roles lead to many challenges in making things fit from script to film? 

Ray) Being the writer, I was intimate with the story and dialogue. If I needed to make changes to either, I was able to do that knowing what the eventual outcome would be and make those changes within the confines of the characters’ back-stories. That was the easy part.

Directing was a bit trickier. As I have said previously, I was a novice coming in. I had never directed any production of any kind previously. Having said that, after the first two takes, the butterflies were gone and I seemed to slip right into the role. Good support people (Gabriel Morgan and Kent Edwards) allowed me to do that. There were several scenes along the way that were not going as planned, but I seemed to have the presence of mind to stop and collect not only my thoughts but everyone else’s as well. At one point, I came to the realisation that I could do this and I could do this well.

James) Being the head of Republic, what is the best thing about your role?

Ray) I like being in control to a certain extent. With my experience with Republic, after I settled in and understood my role and the responsibilities of our production staff, I felt right at home and at ease. I was a novice but learned by osmosis from two great people that stood side-by-side with me: Gabriel Morgan and Kent Edwards (aka “Words”).

Gabe came on board as our Director of Photography, but almost immediately became my co-director. He had a great eye for the camera and shared the same vision I had for Republic. When released, you will see that his work is outstanding. Many good things will be coming from Gabe.

Words were our production coordinator. I had no idea what the production process was all about until he stepped in. He immediately gave the set a professional atmosphere and put us on the road to a great production. I get chills when I think about the first time he yelled, “Quiet on the set!” I could not have done it without these two guys!



James) Ray, Can we break down your role in Republic into stages so the guys who read this can get the info on all aspects of your production.

Let us talk about your screenplay experience. When did you first realise that you wanted to become a screenwriter?

Ray) I was a junior in high school in 1970. I took a Creative Writing course and sat next to my friend Don Horan.

Don and I were both Star Trek fans we would remain life-long friends. I went into the class green, but he had written some spec scripts that were really good. I suggested a few changes, he asked me to edit them, and the rest is history!

James) When you started out can you remember what were the main obstacles you faced where? 

Ray) Attitude and sophistication, I had a multitude of ideas but had trouble getting started and my style was rather childish.

I asked the copywriter at the job I was working at to read some material I had written. He gave me the best advice I ever received about dialogue. He said, “Keep it simple and short. Why are you answering a question with 3 sentences when the answer is ‘yes’?” Words to live by!

James) How many scripts have you written? 

Ray) Way! Too many to count, but most have yellowed with time in a dusty file cabinet. No regrets, though. 

James) Where do you write is there any places you find easier to write than others? 

Ray) It depends, I have a small office area that is somewhat cosy, but I write when I feel it. Sometimes it is longhand on a legal pad if that is where I am.

James) Tell me out of all the scripts you have written have you ever been in a position where it could lead to something further? 

Ray) In the 1980’s, Don and I had a brief brush with “potential” success. We had three spec scripts under consideration with The William Morris Agency. They seemed to really like one of our stories in particular called “Tram.” We had three criminals high up the Roosevelt Island Tramway in NYC holding its passengers for ransom.

Trouble was the Tram was dangling over the East River with no apparent way to get our thieves off, so we had seen an exhibition on real jet packs and had our characters escape in an air chase through NYC. The agent hated the ending and suggested alternate ideas. When you are young and arrogant, you need to learn to say “yes” sometimes. We did not.

Don and I also submitted scripts to Barney Miller and to Next Generation, but it never happened.

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

Ray) Author Dorothy Parker once said, “I hate writing, I love having written.” It is kind of like that. When it is going well, it is great. However, when it is not (and most often it is not), the struggle is unbearable. However, when you finally type, “THE END,” it’s all worth it!

James) Which script of yours do you most wish you had a do-over on? 

Ray) None really. I was always happy with the work that I, or Don and I, put forward. It was all good stuff, usually well thought out, good dialogue, plausible situations, and brisk pace.

In the end, we were really writing for ourselves and were happy with the work.

James) If you had to pick one which other writers have inspired you? 

Ray) That is a tough question. I like different genres, so different authors. Asimov, John DF Black, Harlan Ellison come to mind right away. Throw in Stephan King, George Orwell and John Grisham and you have a well-rounded and eclectic group! On the Star Trek front, I am a big fan of Judith and Garfield-Reeves Stevens.

James) So, which one of your scripts and films are you most proud of and why? 

Ray) Starship Republic — our current effort.

It has IMHO all of the elements of a good drama — conflict, tension, character development, action, pathos — and it’s the only one to ever get in front of the camera! I love it!

James) What in your opinion, is the most important aspect of building a great character?

Ray) Depth. A character needs a great back-story, even if it is not apparent on screen. It defines who that character is, how they interact with other characters, and how they react to given situations. If you do not have strong characters, you cannot make good stories. Look at Kirk and Spock.

In season one, we learned all kinds of things about their back-stories and personal lives that lead to great drama. It is you are character’s defining moments that either draw in the viewer or have them change the channel.

James) What is the most enjoyable thing about screenwriting? 

Ray) When dialogue just seems to flow.

Republic is a great example. Don and I had written a terrific treatment. Once we starting putting dialogue to paper, the story took some very different twists that made for a better storyline. It does not always happen, but when it does, it’s gold!

James) What sort of stories excite you (other than Star Trek)? 

Ray) I am a big fan of all types of stories so long as their well-paced and logical. By logical, I mean that there are not elements in the story just to get the characters to do something for no apparent reason. Make the situations real and the solutions believable. It just has to all make sense.

However, I will take science fiction, drama, classics, comedy — I love them all! Two of my favourite movies are classics: Humphrey Bogart in “Casablanca” and John Wayne in “The Horse Soldiers.” Nevertheless, you can give me “Animal House,” “Unstoppable”, “Galaxy Quest” — you name it!

James) When do you write? 

Ray) No good answer to that. It is best when the mood is right and the dialogue and narrative are flowing. Sometimes I write because I have to. Sometimes because I need to. I like it best when I am just writing for myself. Everyone else is a bonus.

James) With your experience in screenplays, did you have any issues in writing the script of Republic? 

Ray) Actually, none. My friend and writing partner Don Horan conceived the story and almost immediately wrote a treatment for it. After that, the story and dialogue took on a life of its own. There have been several changes along the way, but for the most part, we were very happy with the outcome and stayed with it.

Funny story, back in the late 1970’s, Don, and I had an idea for a TV series we called “The Sea Hawks” loosely based on the classic Errol Flynn movie. We decided we wanted to take Kirk, Spock, and McCoy and put them on a 16th-century frigate as outcasts fighting for Queen and country. We wrote a pilot with 13 subsequent episodes — that of course never sold. When we learned of the opportunity of making fan films at Starbase Studios, we took our characters from “The Sea Hawks” and put them on a starship and the rest is history.

James) What if any research did you carry out in the preparation of writing the Republic script, what challenges and responsibilities did this present in making it something unique?

Ray) Don and I had been writing partners for over forty years, so we just decided to be true to ourselves. While never having a professional credit, we were skilled at the craft and confident in our ability. We knew these characters, we knew the story we wanted to present, and we knew the kind of production we were looking for. The research we did do was finding the right starship for the crew. Two ships that had been mentioned in canon, but never seen.

The USS Constitution and the USS Republic.

We felt the Republic offered a better opportunity and it had a significant back-story in TOS. In the TOS episode “Court Martial,” the USS Republic was a 23rd century Federation starship operated by Starfleet. In 2254, James Kirk served as an ensign aboard the Republic, along with his friend Ben Finney. During a duty shift, Finney accidentally left a circuit open to the atomic matter piles, which could have resulted in the destruction of the ship; Kirk logged the incident, and Finney was denied a promotion — and it became the basis for the episode. The choice was easy.



James) With the release of the “Fan Film Guidelines,” has this influenced how much were you able to write the script you wanted to.

Ray) We actually got pretty lucky. We had a 1-hour script written before the guidelines came out. As our story goes, we take a “right turn” at the end of act 2 and our crew is sent off in a very different direction. Under the new format of no more than two 15-minute parts, it was actually easy to break the story into two 30-minute episodes.

James) Did you have to alter it a lot when they came out or is it pretty much the same?

Ray) Nothing needed to me altered. It is exactly the same as originally written.

James) 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?

Ray) When the guidelines were introduced, I have to admit I threw a hissy fit. However, cooler heads prevailed. I read them at least a half-dozen times to make sure I understood them, and the listened to the Star Trek Engage Podcast with John Van Citters of CBS. I look at it this way: if the 30-minute format worked for “The Twilight Zone,” it’ll work for Republic!

James) Do you think they are fair?

Ray) Absolutely, they allow for crowd funding, perks, original content – all the things that fan films before the guidelines either did or should have been doing. IN ADDITION, THEY STILL ALLOW IS TO PLAY STAR TREK!

James) What another aspect of Filmmaking do you have experience in and can you tell me more about your experiences in these areas? 

Ray) Actually, very little. I have studied the craft for decades, but Republic is my first foray behind the camera.

James) OK so moving on to Directing, What did you love about the Directing of Republic?

Ray) The responsibility and control, and the ability to have to think on my feet.

Sometimes it has to change a scene, sometimes it has to elicit different emotions from the characters, and sometimes it has to move actors around on the set to make the scene more plausible. As an example, our climax scene from the trailer has our captain, played by Jim Von Dolteren, to give a devastating command order (that is all I will say about that!) Gabe and I were not satisfied with the captain’s reaction, so I stopped the scene and said to Jim, “Let’s change your motivation.

Let’s try this.” and boom, we got the shot! What a feeling it was to yell, “That’s a wrap!” Good good stuff!

James) What was the best thing that happened to you while shooting Republic?

Ray) The overall experience, no kidding not just one thing. The ability and privilege of being on a set and filming — filming a quality story with quality actors by quality people and knowing that you had a hand in bringing them all together. It was just great! Exhausting but great!

I could not sleep for days afterwards.

James) In your time as the Director, how did you encourage people and processes to achieve the best?

Ray) Comradery, you need to establish that at the outset and if you do, the rest comes easy.

James) With so many factors shaping a film’s success or failure, and so much required going into a film just to make it, and even more to make it well, what do you do so it does not ever feel not worth the effort?

Ray) The rapport with your cast and crew is the key. Much of the answer to this is “trust your gut.” All of us behind the camera knew we were doing something special. When it was not going quite right, we knew that too and instinctively were able to change it. I think instinct is 90% of the battle.

James) How did you handle being challenged about something that you decide but someone else really disagrees with. Was this something you had to deal with on the Republic shoot?

Ray) No, That did not happen. I welcome input on the process from anyone and everyone, and if it is sound, I take it. If I do not agree, I let people honestly know why not.

However, we have assembled a great group of professions who are passionate about making good cinema, and we hope that it shows.

James) Tell me, from your perspective about the story, and how it is different from other Fan Productions?

Ray) Of all the questions, you have asked so far, this is the most difficult and perhaps the most unfair. Let us put the big guys aside: Phase 2, Continues and Renegades.

There are a plethora of fan films out there and an equal amount of talented people. People like Vance Major, Michael King, David Whitney, John Broughton, Glen Wolfe, Tommy Kraft — just to name a few. I have respect for ANYONE who has a dream and pursues it. Ours happens to be in the world of Star Trek, but kudos to everyone. Some of these fan films are terrific, some are painful. However, they are all made with no less enthusiasm than Republic.

I would have to say that what makes our production is 2-fold: our characters and our vision.

Our characters are deep, complex people. Every one of them. They are heroes with flaws, conflicted, just like all of us. They can fail just as easily as they rise to the occasion, but they persevere. And that makes for great storytelling.

As for vision, we look at this as playing in Roddenberry’s universe. There was not only a definite look and feel to the original series; it was used to reflect the moral issues of the day. You may not see that in the first episode or two as we get off the ground, but trust me — you will.

James) How much influence did you have on the casting of Republic?

Ray) I share the responsibility of casting with my good friend and co-producer Vance Major. I was very green when I first met him and the crew at the studio. Vance pointed me to both several resources for actors and pointed some my way. He is responsible for getting be demo reels of Jim Von Dolteren who was eventually cast as our captain. I also held open auditions online and we ended up with several people cast in various roles such as Greg Teft, Gerald Griffin, and Da’Neille Bishop Roy.

A good team effort.



James) Moving on to other aspects of the production, who did the makeup and wardrobe did they manage to capture the image you had for the film?

Ray) The brilliant Nate Bright did the make-up. I had conceived a look for a new alien. Vance Major who is friends with Nate and used his work of Starship Melbourne and Valiant recommended Nate. I sent Nate some simple sketches and some makeup I had bought for effects and damn if he did not create the most different and realistic, alien I have ever seen! Brilliant! However, Republic would put him to the test. Unfortunately, the actress who was slated to play our alien had a family emergency and had to bow out just hours before the production started. I recast the role as we were powering up the set. Nate took a completely different actor and recreated the look and feel on here to the point where you would never know he had to do it. Frankly, he saved the day.

I looked for a long time for a costume that would bring the same look and feel to the uniforms as you saw in the original series. I honestly was not completely happy with some of the fit I saw in some other productions. I found Stephanie Mann who is on the west coast. I explained what I was looking for and what was needed, and she worked with me to get it done just-just in time (like everything else, it seems) and they looked great on camera!

Even some of the production staff admired her work and were going to order costumes from her. It made it all worthwhile. You can find Stephanie on eBay as the username murraymousie. She is really good!

James) Who has the best costume?

Ray) Our characters are all dressed in the TOS uniforms, but I looked high and low for a costume to give us a more authentic look and feel to Roddenberry’s version. I think we found that, so everyone looks great in costume!

James) Who in the show is most like their character?

Ray) Probably Jim Von Dolteren as our captain. He is more Picard than Kirk, but he is in command none-the-less and everyone knows it.

James) Who’s the least?

Ray) Probably Da’Neille, Bishop Roy as our resident alien science officer. Da’Neille was thrown into the mix only hours before filming, and we were trying to go over her character’s back-story, but we were on tight deadlines. While she may not have known all of the motivations that went into her character, she delivered.

James) How does Republic bring something new to the genre of Fan Films?

Ray) From what I have seen, much of what has come out of fan film is Trek first and film second. Sometimes this results in a film that is difficult to watch because of many factors including sound, script acting, visuals, etc. Sometimes it can also result in a hodgepodge of elements put together to create a video for posting. Yes, the film was made with passion and a love of Trek.

In addition, yes, there are many throwaway moments in the production because the production was done without the film experience being a main driver of the process. We are a drama first and Star Trek second. We do take advantage of being in the Trek universe, and our characters, story lines and outcomes hinge on people knowing what we’re talking about, but we are bringing a cinematic edge to our production.

James) How about the score, was this something you handled or did you bring someone else into over sea this. Did you find it easy to score the film?

Ray) Sound is being done by Gabriel. He is a professional and has done a great job of recording and enhancing the spoken word.

The Score: It is and is not easy. With Star Trek, you can sort of look at the scene and hear what music is playing in the background in your head. Comes easy after hearing it over and over for 50 years. However, Gabriel Morgan, my cinematographer and editor, has a real good ear as well. He has previewed some rough cuts for the group with an outstanding score. It is part of what drives the action.

The hardest part for me was finding an appropriate theme that was dramatic, orchestral, dignified, and represented Star Trek. It took several months or searching, but I think we have it.

James) What was the toughest thing about getting Republic done?

Ray) We were on a time constraint, but we had a situation where several of our cast members were unable to join us. One of those people was a principle character, but unfortunately had a family situation that needed her attention. I was firmly convinced — even as close to an hour before we were supposed to start filming — that it was not going to happen.

Nevertheless, there were other cast members and production people that were travelling long ways to do this and there was no way I was going to turn them away. You know: the show must go on. However, frankly, I thought it would go on very badly. VERY badly! I had a young woman, Da’Neille Roy, who fell out of a tree and into my arms out of nowhere.

She was not part of the original cast, I asked her to step in as one of our main characters with no reading time whatsoever, and she rose to the occasion. In addition, she was able to get some other folks to fill in for our other missing actors and they could act! The result was far better than I would have imagined just hours before! And the show DID go on!

James) How do you not waste time? With the time restraint, you were on how you make sure you kept things going?

Ray) You have to keep moving. There is a lot of downtime moving from set to set and redressing sets for a specific scene. It is all is scheduling and taking appropriate breaks. Luckily, perhaps, we were able to use our time efficiently.

James) What do you think the biggest surprise about the process would be to an outsider like myself who has ZERO experience in making films.

Ray) Having been an outsider when I stepped on set, I can tell you that the biggest surprise was the amount of time you need to get quality shots. Yes, I knew there would be several takes before getting the right scene, but Gabe would reset the shot 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 times from different angles with different lenses in order to get a cinematic look to the scene. Lots more work, lots more time, lots more down time for the cast, but in the end, this will be spectacular.

James) How important is social media for promoting your project, do you think you would have had the interest you have had without it?

Ray) In my opinion, it is imperative. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, Tumblr, YouTube, Crowd Funding.

They are immediate. If you can get your word out and have some skilled people get it to go viral, you can have it made! I am good, but I am not skilled enough to manage and distribute content properly. Michelle Guerra is our Marketing Coordinator. She brings to social media what Gabe and Words bring to filmmaking. She is making it happen!

James) What sort of person is going to love Republic?

Ray) Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, and children of all ages! However, seriously, we are trying to create good drama with characters the viewer will care about that just happens to be set in the Star Trek universe. Therefore, we hope this will appeal to both Star Trek fans and non-star Trek fans alike.

James) What’s going to surprise people about this show?

Ray) The professionalism and passion that out cast and crew have for this production. Many of us are NOT professionals and some of us (me included) are novices. However, we are professionals in our own right. We are using film and sound to tell a great story that just happens to reside in the Trek universe.

Fan films are usually divided into 2 groups: the big guys (Phase 2, Continues and Renegades) and everybody else. Big budgets and big talents do not necessarily equate to cinematic greatness. Even with small budgets (or no budgets), fans can still make great cinema. That is our goal with Republic.

James) Last few questions about Republic and then I would like to move on to your experiences in the fandom and other fan production you listen to.

What will the audience be thinking about after they see Republic?

Ray) When can we see the next episode, damn it!

James) Do you ever take a step back and appreciate what you have made thus far?

Ray) Oh yeah, We are still in post-production, but I have watched the rough cuts umpteen times I find it hard to believe that I had a hand in this.

It is an outstanding feeling!

James) What do you know now that you wish you had known in the beginning?

Ray) I am a person who loves immediacy. I was not ready for the time needed from inception to completion. There were many variables to consider: the script, characters, motivation, sets, props, costumes, makeup – to name only a few. Now that I know that, I can live with it.

James) What would you change if you could? 

Ray) After my experience with filming the Republic, trailer: nothing.

James) OK so moving on to the last segment of the interview, What Fan Films do you watch? 

Ray) I watch the big 3 when they have new content: Phase 2, Continues and Renegades. The other fan films either do not have multiple episodes, or have run their course, or were halted because of the fear of not conforming to the guidelines.

But there’s some good content out there. Starship Valiant is well done, I am looking forward to Melbourne, and multiple others by folks like Glen Wolfe, David Whitney and Tommy Kraft.

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

Ray) Quite a lot. Engage, ComicPop Library quite often. 

James) Ray, you have a rather wide experience pool to draw from

What are your: 

Favourite parts of the Trek Fandom?

Ray) The history and comradery. As I’ve said, I’ve been there since day one and I’ve seen Trek’s evolution. And now I’m part of it. It’s been a lot of fun!

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

Ray) A few things: the commercialism of the franchise from the fan-based conventions of the 1970’s, but that was bound to happen.

The lost opportunity for CBS and Paramount to do something special for the 50th Anniversary.

That never happened. In addition, some fan films trying to use the medium for personal gain.

James) Ahh Yes that person hmmm.. OK, last few questions Ray, What advice would you give to someone who wants to? Act, Direct, write a script or make their own film?

Ray)

Act: Do not recite your lines from a piece of paper. Believe them! If the ship is going to be hit by a photon torpedo, stop, take a dump, say your line, and look worried!

Make their own (fan) film: It’s harder than you think, but find good actors and support crew. And above all: have fun with it!

Direct: As a first time director, be encouraging but firm. Have a vision and help the actors and crew achieve it. And bring comradery to the set.

Write their own screenplay/script: Belief in it. Tell your story swiftly and succinctly. Read it out loud and see if it flows and make sense, and have some else you trust read it also. And accept criticism.

James) 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)

Ray) Fan films are changing and evolving. Places like Starbase Studios are making sets accessible to many folks who would otherwise have no ability to do this. Video and editing are becoming increasingly easier. Above all, have good content.

Whether it is drama or comedy you want to offer, do it well. Do not have 5 minutes of dialogue and 25 minutes of special effects. Develop a crew. Tell a story. In addition, do it the best you can.

James) Lastly, take yourself back to when you first started out… If there were a piece of advice you could tell your younger self when starting out, what would it be? 

Ray) Concerning writing: do not change anything!

About life: you are going to screw up — a lot! Just roll with it!

James) Ray Thank you so much for your time and I can NOT! Wait to view Republic when it comes out. 

Ray’s enthusiasm for Star Trek is infectious and it has been an honour to interview him for Trekfanproductions.


Follow Republic at Facebook or their Website to keep up to date on their latest news and gossip regarding the production.


REPUBLIC CAST:

  • Jim Von Dolteren as Captain Terrance St. James
  • Greg Teft as First Officer Nuno da Silva
  • Da’Neille Roy as Science Officer Debrya Vr’Nai
  • Martin Bennett as Doctor Jonathan Todd
  • Gerald Griffin as Chief Engineer Baines
  • Pamela Ivy Bell as Communications Officer Kaheel Norah
  • Josh Stientz as Ensign Richard Hawkins
  • April Chamberlain as Yeoman Stania Mitchell
  • Mark Galbraith as Commander Henry Drummond
  • Helen Costas Tesi as Science Officer T’Shar
  • Vance Major as “Minard”

REPUBLIC CREW:

  • Created by Ray Tesi and Don Horan
  • Written by Ray Tesi and Don Horan
  • Supervising Producer: Kent Edwards
  • Associate Producer: Don Horan
  • Executive Producer: Ray Tesi
  • Directed by Ray Tesi and Gabriel Morgan
  • Assistant Director: Kent Edwards
  • Director of Photography: Gabriel Morgan
  • Sound and Editing: Gabriel Morgan
  • Visual Effects: Samuel Cockings
  • Make-Up Artist: Nate Bright
  • Costumes: Stephanie Mann
  • Best Boy: Scott Johnson
  • Gaffer: Kent Edwards
  • Prop Master and Sets: Glen Wolfe
  • Set Design and Construction: Scott Johnson
  • Set Construction: Owen Mills, Kat Spaulding, Robert Serrano, John Hughes
  • Key Grip: Scott Johnson
  • Grips: Kat Spaulding, Robert Serrano, John Hughes
  • Electricians: Kat Spaulding, Robert Serrano, John Hughes
  • Slate: Charley England
  • Boom Operators: Robert Serrano, John Hughes
  • Promotional Art: Michael Schuh
  • Brand and Digital Manager: Michelle Guerra
  • Filmed at Starbase Studios

Follow, Share and Like

Starbase Studios – ON THE MOVE

Starbase Studios are on the move.

Back in October, the guys at Starbase Studios the home of many fans created productions such as Starship Valiant, Starship Ajax, Melbourne, The Federation Files, Starship Republic, Dreadnought Dominion, and Starship Grissom have been asked to move out of their current location and need a new home.

This came as a shock after being in their current location for such a long time however, nothing lasts forever, and now the epic task begins.

After talking to Starbase Studios they have told me apart from moving, they have also restructured their management team in order to become more efficient within the studio and to be more structured when dealing with the productions that will use the studio.

Therefore, the good news is they have narrowed down locations to two possible places to call “home.” However, they require our help to achieve this task; recently they have set up a gofundme to raise enough capital to achieve this task to hire the equipment to facilitate this move such as Trucks, Fuel and manpower to get things moved.

The money raised will not be used to pay for rent, utilities, or construction; this is all about the move this fund-raising drive is to offset the actual moving costs and getting not just the sets but also the lighting, sound equipment, costumes and everything else into its new home.

They have until the end of December to get this move done and dusted so time is not on their side and really do need our help if we are to continue enjoying the productions they have made thus far.

So what can we do, well donate is one thing but if you want to donate some time in helping with the move even if it is to provide some refreshments while the move happens then contact them on the Facebook page



= UPDATE = As things steam ahead with the move, the guys at Starbase Studios are making good headway of moving to their new home in Arkansas, they have dismantled the transporter room and the next step is to dismantle the bridge sets.Starbase Studio

The Gofundme is well over halfway towards their goal it currently stands over $2000 of their $3500 target.

Nevertheless, they still need our help to reach their goal of $3500 to enable them to move hassle free and let us all continue to enjoy what makes them so special.

I caught up with Vance Major quickly today to see how things are progressing with the move.


James) Hey, I want to update the blog on Starbase Studios move, what is new?

Vance) We are having the first big haul today and in 2 weeks the next one.

James) How goes the fundraising is it on track or you still short by a lot?

Vance) We are over half way, but we could be doing better Lol.

James) But it is going OK it is not going to hamper the move?

Vance) ….IDK. Lol, we will figure something out, we always do.

James) Well although I cannot help due to my geographical location I will do what I can to help any way I can.


Therefore, we can all help in a few ways, and it does not just mean parting with your cash.

1) Go help them dismantle the sets and load them up in the trucks.

2) Go down and lend support just helping with refreshments will mean loads to them.

And if! you can

3) Donate.

For us all to continue to enjoy what these guys do for the fan community we need to help them as at STARBASE STUDIOS, they support every fan film that wants to go and film using their sets, no matter the idea this is what makes them so special as they are the only production that allows this.

Please help them get to their new home, either with a donation, a helping hand or by sharing the link, so they can continue to take you to strange new worlds.

Do not forget the links at the below to either Donate or Contact them if you want to give them your time and lend a hand.

No help will go unwanted.

 



Follow, Share and Like

“MY JOURNEY FROM FAN TO FAN FILM ACTOR” By Martin Bennett

Recently Trefanproductions asked fans from various different online Star Trek Fan groups if they would be interested in producing blogs of their own to go on our newly minted website.

Martin was one of the first to show interest and here is his blog, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did.


Thanks for giving me the chance to add something to your site and for the fandom.

One of my earliest memories was of Kirk’s Enterprise in orbit around a green planet. I cannot remember anything past that (the episode name, what was going on…) because I was three in 1980. TOS was in reruns and fans were between movies but my imagination was captivated and has been ever since.

In the late 80’s ST: TNG premiered and my interest in all things Trek spiked once again. Throughout Jr.high and high school, I was known as “that Star Trek geek. Outside of a few close friends, Star Trek wasn’t seen as such a cultural icon as it is now by teens and growing up in Texas conversations tended to gravitate toward football while I just wanted to know more about the specs of the Defiant, more about Worf’s family and so on.

I dreamed of graduating high school, moving to California, and hanging out on the Paramount lot until I got a part on DS9. Needless to say, hat dream never panned out, but in 1991 I found out about the fan club Starfleet which brought about a version of my dream. I joined Starfleet and found a chapter not too far from me. The U.S.S. Joshua based in Irving Texas.

I went to a meeting and immediately felt like part of a bigger family. Shortly after joining I found out the group was performing a play at an upcoming summer convention. Because of my height, I was cast as Worf. I was a bit concerned because I did not have a Next Gen uniform and because I am much lighter skinned than the character but I was quickly introduced to makeup.

Galaxy Fair 91 would have us perform “The Silence of the Romulans” live both days of the weekend event. The Joshua had a table set up at the convention to promote the play and get new members which were all cool…then I found out our table was right next to Majel Barret Roddenberry’s table, and that she’d be in the audience for our play. Talk about stage fright spiking but the show went on and she (along with everyone else) enjoyed it. We had some fans film the live play but this was way before YouTube so distribution was on VHS tapes, as far as I know, based on my searches sadly it’s not online anywhere.

That play fed my desire to be a Trek actor for a long time. It was sometime around 2007-08 that I found there were fan films online. I was immediately hooked. Some had great effects but so-so acting, for some the reverse was true. Some hit it out of the park on all fronts and some were not so great but the one thing they all had was heart. Everyone on my phone screen, while the videos played, was there because they love Star Trek. The passion came through even in the least of the productions. It was amazing to see Kirk and crew once again travelling the galaxy, getting to finish some of the tales that had been on hiatus for 40+ years.

I followed some of these productions online through their different media channels. I found the group Promenade and became friends with Vance Major. I found out he was involved in some fan productions and that there were recreations of some of the TOS sets in Oklahoma City (about a 3-hour drive from where I live) I was amazed.

Here was a chance to one day possibly tour the sets because it was much closer to home than the other sets in the USA. I followed online the events of the productions being filmed there. In 2015 (before all the guidelines), they were doing a fundraiser for the studio to help build new sets and defray the cost of filming. One of the perks was to be a background non-speaking character in an upcoming production.

My eyes lit up and I practically begged my wife to let me donate. She knew this was a life long dream of mine and she said yes. I was hoping for a part on Valiant because I had seen their episode and thought that Michael King and Vance Major nailed it, creating an awesome story. Vance messaged me and said my background role would be in Melbourne, a new fan production of his and his friend Jeremy Minard’s creation. I was excited beyond words. Just being able to stand on the bridge in uniform in a film…my inner Trek geek went into overdrive.


“I was so excited every public piece of information every picture that Vance or Jeremy shared to promote Melbourne I shared. I was an unofficial extra source of promotion for their production.”


In July of 2016, I got a message from Vance asking me for a picture. I thought it was weird but I sent him one, he immediately messaged me back asking for my phone number. Again, I thought it was odd but I figured it had something to do with my background role in Melbourne.

He called me and let me know he appreciated how much I was helping promote Melbourne. I was honoured that he would reach out like that… then came the shock of my life. He told me he had been talking to Ray Tesi, who was creating his own fan film Republic. Because of the guidelines, the person who was originally to play the doctor on Republic had to back out and if I was interested, the part could be mine. I was so shocked and amazed; if I had not already been sitting, I am sure I would have fallen right over from excitement.

My nerves went into overdrive and I was shaking from excitement. I told him I’d have to check with my wife to make sure we could afford to make the commitment to film but I was 95% sure she’d be OK with it. The few hours of me, waiting for her to go on lunch break at her job so I could ask her was agony. Lol, I was still shaking and talking a mile a minute when she was on break and called me to tell me she would help me make my dream come true. I messaged Vance back after her break ended and let him know that he found the Republic’s CMO. I am not sure how much sleep I got that night from all the excitement. A few days later, I got to talk to Ray more about the role and character and the waves of excitement and nervousness came back but he’s so calming, I could hear the excitement in his voice that his vision of Gene Roddenberry’s future was coming together.

My character has a small crossover with Melbourne due to his daughter being assigned to that ship so I had to come up during their filming in September to get my part in. I arrived at the studio, excited but nervous because my dream is coming true but I had never met any of these folks in person. I walked in the door, signed in, and was asked whom I was playing. I said I am Dr.Todd and almost immediately, Reshelle Warren comes running up to me, jumping into my arms and excitedly squealing “Daddy” completely in character. I was surprised because I wasn’t thinking in character yet because everyone else has already been on set, I was the newest member but I was greeted like I’d been there the whole time. It was already feeling like a family and I was the out of town cousin that had been missed.

In October (3 days ago as I am writing this), I made the trip back to OKC, this time for promotional pictures and to film the teaser for Republic. The nerves came back some because I was meeting this cast for the first time but I also felt calm. I had been there before, on set, I had seen the long hours that go into making a film; I had seen the amazing work behind the scenes by people like Scott Johnson. This time the excitement came back but it was also with a big sense of calm. I got to meet more folks who worked in other fan films like Jim van Dolteren (from The Federation Files) as the captain of the Republic.

My journey from a fan, to fan film extra, to fan film actor, has been a long one. I am proud to work with such talented folks both in front of and behind the camera. My only hope is that my love for Trek can show through and that I honour all the past, present, and future fans and dedicated people who bring this amazing universe to life. Always follow your dreams; they could lead you to places you never imagined you would go.


  • The author of Blog: Martin Bennett.  Photos provided by Martin Bennett
  • Photos provided by Martin Bennett
  • Layout: James Hams

Follow, Share and Like