INTREPID – Interview – Producer Nick Cook

Spanning almost a decade Starship Intrepid (formally Star Trek: Intrepid) has produced Nine! episodes varying in length and scope, this fan series has been made possible by not only the dedication of all involved but the passion of one man Nick Cook.

Nick originally from London, UK moved to Dundee Scotland where after graduating from university he became a Nurse for the NHS (National Health Service) and is a husband and a father.

In 2007, Starship Intrepid’ first production “Heavy Lies the Crown” debuted.

Watch “Heavy Lies the Crown” below…



Since then Intrepid has featured in many news outlets in such as the UK breakfast show GMTV, CNN, ZDF and Channel 4 News. It has featured in three tabloids, The Guardian, The Scotsman, and The Daily Record.

GMTV Presenter and what some call Day Time TV royalty Lorraine Kelly even had a brief appearance in “Heavy Lies the Crown.”

One person, I wanted to speak to when I founded Trekfanproductions was Nick; over the last twelve months, I have come to admire his outlook on things, where most people have been very negative about the current state of fan productions as a whole. Nick has been a constant beacon of reason and level-headedness and to be honest he is someone a lot should look up to in the way they see things.

I reached out to him and asked if he would be interested in participating in an interview and I am honoured and humbled by his acceptance.



James) Hi Nick, Thank you so much for accepting my invitation to sit and discuss Intrepid with me.

Nick) Hey no worries I am honoured to be asked.

James) So Nick, Tell me more about you, as someone who has been in the thick of a fan production for almost a decade now, what! Does Star Trek mean to you?

Nick) I thought about that quite a lot recently, what with this being the fiftieth anniversary.

There are so many aspects to Star Trek; good storytelling, compelling characters, a rich universe of stories, social commentary, I could go on. Star Trek has been with me for a long time, I grew up with it, and it is almost part of my DNA.

I met so many of my close friends because of Star Trek. I met my wife because of Star Trek, and by extension had my daughter because of Star Trek. In addition, it has taken me places I never thought I would go. I doubt I would have been to California so often, or to Vegas. Yeah, it is just a TV show, but so much of the things that have made my life what it is are in some way linked to that TV show. Besides, I think that is pretty amazing.

James) I have to admit I feel the same I have been thinking just this past few months after everything with not only that lawsuit but with how Beyond was handled.

I guess in a way I am pretty meh about how the 50th has been handled, I love Star Trek but the 50th has sailed past with a whimper it kind of fails if you hold it up to Dr Who but hey ho.

To me and like you Trek is a part of who I am not only in the way I think day-to-day but also I guess in a way I try to lead my life, Acceptance of all things.

Trek REALLY does mean so much to me as if I am sure it does to others.

Nick with FIVE! Live action series and what now 13 movies and even an animated series do you have a favourite episode.

Nick) I have a few, but my all time favourite is probably Who Watches the Watchers. I will not bore you with why, but if you are interested, I wrote an article for Warped Factor on just that topic earlier this year.

http://www.warpedfactor.com/2016/01/star-trek-at-50-next-generation-who.html

James) I love that episode, I think it is one of the highlights of TNG It speaks very much to what in some way we struggle within our daily lives, acceptance that we are all equal no matter how advanced or different in the way we appear.

With this episode being your favourite what hits the other end of the scale as the one “you cannot stand”?

Nick) I know it has its fans, but I cannot stand Spock’s Brain or much of the third season of the Original Series. TNG’s Code of Honour is dreadful, but then so is most of that show’s first season.

Code of Honour probably wins the “Worst Ever” title just for being so racist in its execution. It has always been interesting to me that the Original Series did such a fantastic job with the writing and characterisation in its first season when Next Generation did such a terrible job of it.

James) You know I dislike “Code of Honour”, but I admit I have never seen it in the way you describe, after reading the way you see this episode I am now going to have to re-watch it, even if I cannot stand season one TNG.

As to “Spock’s Brain,” I have yet! To meet anyone who likes that episode lol! In fact, I find 90% of season three of TOS unbearable to watch it seems rather bad in its writing tbh almost a rush job just to push out another season. 

So what about Series, now I find this question tends to go one of two ways, people like them all or there is one series that is an I HATE it! where do you stand here?

Nick) I would have to say Next Generation is my favourite series.

I was a fan of the Original Series from the first time I saw it, but TNG took a while to win me over. It was not helped by the terrible standard of writing in the first season, but Michael Piller really kicked the show into high gear in the third season. So many of my all-time favourite Star Trek episodes are from TNG’s third season, so for that reason alone, I’d have to give the nod to Next Gen. Although Deep Space 9 and TOS are pretty close.

Worst Series

Honestly, I do not have one. I like them all. It is like trying to pick your least favourite child. I just cannot do it.

James) I am the same I love all the series, even Voyager! (YES Bill from Trek geeks lol I LOVE VOYAGER! LOL), Season One of TNG, and Season Three of TOS, erm not so much. 

Apart from Star Trek, what other TV series you watch and enjoy?

Nick) I don’t get to watch as much TV as I used to, but I always make time for Flash, Arrow, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow. I am quite enjoying Westworld just now, and of course, I like Game of Thrones. I am looking forward to the final series of Ripper Street when it hits the BBC.

I love the Ron Moore Battlestar Galactica. Warehouse 13 was a lot of fun. The Original Twilight Zone still holds up very well. 30 Rock and Nurse Jackie are great, though I am way behind on both of them. I do watch The Walking Dead but lost interest a bit in season six. I could go on, but I should probably stop.

James) Like live series, there have been some amazing Star Trek games brought to the market, do you or have you played many? 

Nick) I occasional play Star Trek Online. I used to be an avid Star Trek role player and played a lot of Elite Force when that came out. My favourite game was probably the old 25th Anniversary Game and the sequel Judgment Rites. Starfleet Command was a lot of fun too.

James) OK, the last question in this part of the interview, What Trek Actors have you met in real life. 

Nick) I have met quite a few Trek actors over the years. I do not like to rate people, because good or bad you do not know what their frame of mind is on a particular day and you only really get a snapshot.

I really enjoyed meeting Marina Sirtis, she is very dry and sarcastic (sometimes a little too much) but so am I. Frakes was nice. Garrett Wang was very personable. I really enjoyed chatting to Don Marshall, who played Boma in The Galileo Seven. George Takei was pretty nice when I met him about twenty years ago as well. Scott Bakula was really personable and down to Earth.

James) OK JEALOUS much lol! Marina Sirtis is on my list of MUST meet people.

Moving on tell me about Intrepid! It is ten years old next year but let us rewind and go back to the beginning, what gave you the idea for it? 

Nick) I used to run the local Star Trek club, and for a number of reasons I had decided to wind it down. A few of us chatted a bit about doing an audio novel, but then Dylan Feeney, who wrote our theme, suggested doing a fan film. Steve Hammond later chipped in to say he had a camcorder and the rest is history.

Suffice to say, it turned out to be a hell of a lot more work than any of us thought it would be.

James) But worth it! Otherwise, it would not be ten years old next year.



James) Being one of the longest running fan productions, how do you feel if at all, that Intrepid is different to some of the others out there?

Nick) Perhaps the people who take the time to watch our films are better qualified to answer that question.

For my part, I am not really sure that we are. Most of us who make fan films do so because we want to play in the Star Trek sandbox, and while there are certainly differences in the way the various productions work, and the relative quality of that work, in the end, we are all pretty much-doing variations upon a theme. So I would have to say, apart from being the only Scottish production, I do not really think there is much difference.

Maybe others feel differently.

James) See I feel a tad bias not only because of the fact I am from the UK but I do feel it is you that makes it different, and that is because you tend not to come across as a jerk.

One thing I find about you’re humble and not full of yourself and I find that appealing when watching a film or TV series, many times you watch something and you respect the actor and then you see the person behind the character and it is an instant turn off lol but that is my opinion. 

Anyway, lol. What about the scripts, who writes them is this something you do or? 

Nick) I have written the bulk of them though Brian S. Mathews wrote our third film, The Stone Unturned, and Steve Hammond has written the script for our next film, Destruct Sequence. David Eversole, who contributed many of Potemkin’s scripts, has also written one for us.

James) Cool, so it is very much a group effort then, how long is the turn around on them? 

Nick) There is no set time it takes me to write a script. I have had some that I have churned out in a couple of weeks, to others that I have worked on for months.

It really depends on the idea, and how quickly it comes together in my mind, and on (virtual) paper. It is not unusual for me to be doing rewrites while we are filming, though that is usually a case of troubleshooting. We had to really cut back dialogue on one shoot because we lost time to bad weather and I was literally trimming dialogue between takes (which was not easy on the actors).

James) Ahhh good old UK Weather, Being based in Scotland, How far does the rest of the cast live in comparison to where you tend to shoot? 

Nick) Most of them are within about twenty miles, though a few are further afield (Glasgow, about eighty miles) some are from England, one is from Germany and another currently lives in Switzerland.

Most of us work full-time and a number of us have families. Scheduling time so we can get together and shoot can be quite a challenge, and we have occasionally had to cut or replace characters in scenes because we have not been able to schedule a particular actor.

James) Ah, So it is not just scripts that come from afar lol your cast do also, That is so cool, if not a logistical nightmare lol.

What about makeup and wardrobe, who runs this area, a lot of other fan productions I have spoken to either have a makeup artist as a part of the crew or they all chip in, Where is Intrepid with this? 

Nick) A number of people have contributed to that over the years. My wife Lucy, who plays Card, David, who plays S’Ceris, Laura who is an actor with the Abbey Theatre and has helped out on a quite a few shoots, and Roísín, who was an actor in a short we shot earlier this year.

The wardrobe is pretty much down to me, I have made at least twenty Starfleet uniforms for Intrepid. Over the years I have also bought some screen-used costumes and more recently some bits and pieces from Anovos. Alec Peters, who most people likely know from Axanar, was also kind enough to donate some distressed costumes from the old Star Trek Experience.

James) WOW! OK even if I dislike him that is VERY! Generous not to mention extremely kind of him to do that for you. Nice one.

What about the Cameraman, Director, and sound person, do you have someone who does this for you?

Nick) Steve Hammond has, for the most part, pulled double duty as director and camera operator. A local actor called J. Scott Murray was our camera operator for another short we shot last year.

James) Out of the episodes you have shot, what one is your favourite? 

Nick) Probably Transitions and Lamentations because of the crazy exterior shoot.

Terrible weather, getting soaked in a cave, and a big group of us camped out in the middle of nowhere. It was horrible, but it was also great fun and an amazing bonding experience.

James) Although I HATE camping, that does honestly sound like fun!



James) Having just told me about the cave location, what other places have you been to shot on location? 

Nick) We have shot in a number of places. Most of the interiors were shot against either green screen or limited set pieces in our home, though we’ve gone on location to Glen Doll, a forest just outside Dunkeld, an abandoned train tunnel, a crumbling limekiln on the coast near Lunan Bay, and technically Los Angeles. Oh, and we recently shot a short in San Francisco, which was a lot of fun.

James) Sweet! In all the places, you have shot what would be your best and worst places you have been? 

Nick) Two best places would be Glen Doll, which is a particularly beautiful and remote location about an hour from Dundee. We shot all the exteriors for our first two films there, and have been back on occasion for others. I also love visiting Los Angeles and working with the Hidden Frontier crew. San Francisco was great too.

In addition, Worst place. Any exterior shoot because it probably rained. A lot.

James) How many Episodes have you done in total. 

Nick) Nine, though only three of those have been thirty minutes or longer.

James) I recently after reading about Intrepid realised you did a few guest spots and crossovers, who would you say was your favourite guest star? 

Nick) I am not sure we really have guest stars, but Hidden Frontier’s Risha Denney is always fun to work with.

James) Yeah, you did do not forget Lorraine Kelly LOL!, talking of crossovers, what production if you could choose one would you like to cross over with? 

Nick) There are so many. I would love to do something with Hidden Frontier again. I would have liked to do something with New Voyages (James Cawley and I did discuss having him appear on Intrepid as Kirk once, though I doubt it would have been practical).

I would also like to work with Farragut. I have recently chatted to a couple of others about maybe doing something, but it has not really gone much beyond that.

James) Interesting! I look forward to a scope on this if it ever pans out :p, going back to the more production side of Intrepid. Running a fan production for as long as you have even if it has been on/off had it been costly? 

Nick) Yes though I have never kept a running total on it. Thousands certainly, and it keeps sucking up money, but then whose hobby doesn’t?

James) A hobby is something that does suck up money but in the end, it is for enjoyment so Intrepid must be a hobby you enjoy! With it costing as much as you said, how are you funded? 

Nick) Mostly we just go out and buy what we need. We were lucky as far as costumes were concerned because, in the beginning, I had already made costumes for most of the cast, so other than time and materials, which was a minimal expense.

Everyone involved with Intrepid has contributed, be it for materials for props, set pieces, fabric, petrol(gas) expenses, food, accommodation, the list goes on.

James) But worth it, Have you ever crowdfunded or plan to do so in the future? 

Nick) We are tentatively planning to crowdfund sometime next year, so watch this space.

James) I will do, Let me know when you plan it and I will run a blog or two to help promote it for you, So if you are planning to fundraise where is intrepid now then, do you have any “In the Can” episodes left to put out?. 

Nick) We have three shorts that are edited and awaiting sound work, effects and scoring. There is another film that is about 20 minutes long that is mostly shot and edited but awaiting one final scene and a lot of effects work.

I am hopeful we might get one of those shorts out the door in the next couple of months.

James) Excellent!, Speaking of editing After they are edited, do you watch your own complete episodes after? 

Nick) Steve Hammond edited our first film, and did the all the chroma keying and some of the effects work. I think he still likes to watch it for nostalgia every now and then.

I have edited more than half of our films, so I have usually seen them to death by the time they’re released, although I tend to watch at least once after that just so I can pick apart all the faults. You would be amazed how much time you spend second-guessing pretty much everything you do.

James) Actually I understand this completely, in the short time I have had this site live I have spent more time redesigning stuff and redoing stuff than I really should have, so I get that train of thought and how painful it can be sometimes lol.



James) So those are in the can episodes, what about new stuff, can we expect a new Intrepid film soon? And what are your plans to fund these? 

Nick) We are shooting Destruct Sequence, which I mentioned earlier, in January. That will probably be about fifteen minutes long. I also have two scripts that will probably be in the thirty-minute range (expect these to be split into two parts) called Echoes (written by me) and Down This Road Before (written by David Eversole).

In addition, we are seriously considering crowdfunding and any funds raised will go to producing these films.

James) That is awesome!, I see you say 5 minutes long I am going to take this as compliance of the new guidelines. With them being a cause of disagreement has this influenced Intrepid much or is it business as usual just with some minor tweaks here and there. 

Nick) It has moved the goalposts a little certainly. David Eversole’s script was written prior to the guidelines dropping, so I have been re-working it to fit within the limits.

The only real road bump for us is running time since David’s script was written as a 45-50 minute story. That said, most of our films have fitted within the thirty-minute range, so we are pretty comfortable working to that running time.

James) It does sound like you have the matter in hand when they dropped did they mean you had to scrap a lot of planned stuff? 

Nick) Not at all. Yes, we have had to work to shorten one script, but that was entirely our choice, and I was perfectly happy to do it. We have had to change our approach a little, but change is not always a bad thing.

James) I have to ask, what are your feelings on them, as I know to start with everyone was WTF boycotts doom, 

I just want to say here, you have been a constant breath of fresh air in not screaming doom and seeing them as an opportunity to push past them and carry on. You are one of a few who has publicly stated your respect for CBS Paramount do you think this is what everyone should feel or do you feel the anger is reasonable but maybe gone that little bit too far. 

Nick) I have no problem with the guidelines whatsoever. Like many, I was worried we might have to shut down, but I found the studio to be understanding of our concerns, and happy to address them. We have always been appreciative of the opportunity to play in the Star Trek sandbox, and we have always understood that we are guests.

The way the studio has handled our concerns has done nothing to change that opinion, and I’m confident we’ll be able to continue to make these films as long as we want.

Do I think the anger towards the studio is reasonable? For me, no. I do understand why people are angry; I just do not share that anger. Ultimately, I have no desire to invalidate anyone else’s feelings or tell them how to react, but I do think in time many people will come to realise just how reasonable the studio is being.

James) Thank you, Nick, for your candour, So moving on to the last question of this segment of the interview, 

Do you have any regrets in doing Intrepid? 

Nick) My only regret is trying to do a story arc. If I could start over, I would never have done that.

Part of me wants to say I regret being too ambitious, but I do not really. I just regret not having the time or resources to realise those ambitions. 

James) I find having regrets can be either good or bad, but you should never have them as they teach us important lessons in life.

Nick, I want to move on to the next segment and in this part, I would like to touch on your fan experiences, what other fan productions you enjoy and any advice you would like to impart on others. 

So, you were lucky enough to go to DSE50, As someone who so wanted to go but couldn’t, what was it like? 

Nick) Bit of a cattle market to be honest, but I enjoyed myself. I have to meet up with some friends and connect with some people I had not physically met yet, and hang around in costume, so I got what I wanted out of it. In addition, I had never been to Birmingham, so it was nice to visit, if only briefly.

James) Going to conventions, producing fan films and knowing a lot of the other fan film producers quite well I would say you have had a certain unique experience with the Star Trek Fandom, What would you say is your favourite part of it you have experienced thus far? 

Nick) Honestly, the acceptance and common ground you find with so many fans. It really feels like home, and for the most part, I have found the fan film community to be one of the best examples of that.

James) And what about the not so nice parts as like many in your position you must have had a fair share of not so nice experiences.

Nick) People who really believe having a fictional rank in a fictional fleet, or some other perceived status, gives them the right to boss other people around. I have met a few fans like that over the years, I am sad to say, and it never sits well.

James) Being within the fan production world, do you listen to or watch any others? 

Nick) There are just far too many to keep up with these days, but over the years I have enjoyed Exeter, Hidden Frontier, Farragut, Secret Voyage, Aurora, Continues, Phase II, Osiris, Dark Armada, the list goes on.

James) Do you have any you particularly like or dislike, I am not asking you to slate any as that would be wrong but in your opinion how would you compare them IF! At all? 

Nick) While I have favourites, I think there is something to learnt and enjoyed about all these productions.

I might not watch them all, I might not even like them all, but I do not think it is fair for me to compare them. They all come from different places, from people with different skill levels, talents, resources, and ideas, so I prefer not to play favourites.

James) And that is very fair, I like you have ones I just cannot watch for whatever reason but I am never vocal about it as it is not fair for me to do so. 

Well we are almost at the end only a few more to go, with your experience what advice would you give to someone wanting to make their own series, what should the aim for? 

Nick) Start small. Do not try to do complex story arcs with casts of thousands.

Make a short film say five minutes. Read about filmmaking, and writing, and editing. However, most importantly, just go do it and learn from your mistakes.

James) Lastly Nick, What would you like to say to the fans of Intrepid? 

Nick) Thank you for taking the time to watch, and for telling us when you liked or even did not like something. In addition, thank you for sticking with us all these years. We have always known we are not one of the “big guys” but we have fun doing what we do and we hope that comes through in our films even if they are not as polished as we would like.

James) Nick, Thank you so! Much of your time, it has been a pleasure and I am so grateful to you for giving me this opportunity. 

Nick) It has been My pleasure.



There we have it guys, keep an eye out on Starship Intrepid Facebook page for regular updates about their upcoming releases and I hope you have enjoyed reading this as much as I did talking to one of the finest people I have had the chance to talk to.

We will, of course, bring you updates alongside anything Nick and co-post on their page on our Facebook page and within the Star Trek Fan Productions Group.


Follow, Share and Like

TREK GEEKS – INTERVIEW – Part One

Bill and Dan produce a weekly podcast that covers all different aspects of Star Trek which recently included a run down on Beyond, their trip to STLV50 and recasting the roles of DS9.

One thing I enjoy about Bill and Dan is their sense of humour and their long friendship shows in every episode of their podcast.

It is one thing that makes their production worth the time to check out as they never fail to deliver not only in their Trek geekness but in the guests they have and they have a had a lot of big names such as Nana Visitor (Kira DS9), Andrew Robinson (Garak DS9) and so many more.

I have known Bill now for almost a year (time fly’s when you are taking the p**s out of certain things LOL) but I wanted to know more about their production as I have to admit I am new to it and due to commitments in real life I have not had the chance to check out every episode yet.. “badddd me I know”

After sending Bill a Facebook message asking if, he and Dan would like a chance to tell not only me but also you guys as well more about their podcast he accepted as its one of the many things he and Dan like doing.

To avoid being boring and doing just another general Q&A about Trek Geeks I decided to get a little geekier and personal with my questions (no, not that personal) I wanted to know what makes them love doing a Trek based podcast and also get to know what makes their friendship so great.



James) So where to start… I guess I should start with the most obvious Question tell me and others a bit about yourselves how long have you two been friends and how did you meet one another?

Bill) We have been friends for just over 20 years. We were both hired by the same company to do telephone-based support for their Windows-based stock trading software. Dan had been hired a couple of months before I was as part of an effort to build out the department from scratch and he was one of the first people I trained with. He had Star Trek stuff in his cubicle and it immediately struck up a conversation and friendship.

Dan)  We both used to work for the same company over 20 years ago. It was a new department and I was in the first class for training. I had been ‘on the floor’ for a couple months when Bill came out of training and was assigned to sit with me. I always had Trek memorabilia at my desk and as he was a Trek fan, we really hit it off doing impersonations and trivia all the time in between calls. My impersonations have been usually better, although he does an amazing Riker walk, and I usually mopped the floor with him regarding trivia.

James) Bill what is the Riker walk lol?

Bill) If you watch the first couple of seasons of TNG, Frakes has this really exaggerated walk for Riker, where her cocks one shoulder higher than the other and he’d walk in this overly dramatic fashion. It’s pretty hilarious if you go back and watch. Lol.

James) That is hilarious, If or when I ever get the chance to come across the pond to a convention you guys are at I HAVE to see that?

Bill) Awesome!

James) OK, moving on, you guys love Trek! So tell me what are your favourite Trek Episode & Why?

Bill)  DS9: In the Pale Moonlight. Sisko must mortgage everything he believes in and everything a Starfleet Captain stands for in order to bring the Romulans into the Dominion War. Perfectly acted by Avery Brooks and Andy Robinson.

James) The Captains log in, that is what I love not to mention the fact Garak commits murder but not in the sense of just killing someone for the sake of it, but the fact he did it for what I think is a just and very good reason?

Dan) Bill and I usually agree on a lot of things. For me, In the Pale Moonlight is the perfect episode and is one of the three that I consider being my favourite, except, it does not exist! Sisko erased the entire personal log, so how can we even see it? LOL Sisko is willing to sacrifice everything he stands for to achieve his goal.

In some ways, his actions are similar to Admiral Pressman in another favourite of mine, TNG’s “The Pegasus”. Pressman’s views on doing whatever it takes to regain an advantage over the Romulans allows him to throw out all his ethics and scruples in order to achieve his goal. How is Sisko any different? It is a very interesting conversation.

I would also say that “Far Beyond the Stars” and “Corbomite Maneuver” are two other episodes that I always see myself listing as my all time fave and they can switch around depending on my mood and what I am looking forward to watching at any given moment.

James) that episode spoke to me in so many ways not only because it was about retro SciFi which I kind of love (within reason I love the old “War of the Worlds“) but also the fact it was about acceptance which is something I have had experiences with.

However, in this episode to me it seemed Sisko as a “Black” writer was not seen the same way as his “White” co-workers and his ideas we someone dismissed. Well to me it seemed that way, but I guess others may have seen it differently.



James) OK so now tell me what you think is the worst Trek episode and why?

Bill) TNG: “Aquiel“. It is an uninteresting episode with a terrible conclusion. The script is weak, the direction is terrible. FAR worse than Shades of Gray–the one everyone like to beat on.

James) Yep it’s a filler episode which some are ok but some you can skip and not notice they were even there lol.

Dan) TNG: “Code of Honour“. When one of the stars of the show calls this episode a ‘racist piece of shit’, then it’s pretty bad.  And I agree.  Shades of Grey and Aquiel are Emmy award winners when compared this piece of garbage.

James) Shudders Code of honour…. That is hands down one of the worst of Season one and that is saying something. The other one from that series that is the worst TNG episode ever to me is the “Naked Now” it is just plain awful.

Still, on the subject of Trek, we know your favourite and worst episodes but what about your favourite series?

Bill)  Deep Space 9. Because, like life, not everything is resolved in 48 minutes and you do not always get along with everyone 100% of the time. Compelling characters portrayed by exceptional actors. The best stories and character development in all of Star Trek.

Dan) Deep Space 9. The writing for the show for a couple of episodes in Season 1 and Season 2 and then the entire Dominion Arc starting with “The Jem Hadar” is, to me, the best writing in all of Star Trek. I went through a very dark time back in the early 2000’s and if it were not for my VHS copies of DS9 to watch when I was at my lowest point, I would have committed suicide. DS9 saved my life. Literally!

James) Wow… I am not sure what to say. Star Trek has a different meaning for everyone but I have to say, Dan, I am so glad for you it had this effect and I think it pays homage to its writers and cast that it had that bigger impact on your life as it did.

Worst Series & Why (Will I know you hate Voyager tut tut)?

Bill)  Voyager. The worst writing of all the Star Trek series with the weakest characters.

Dan) Voyager. Don’t get me wrong, there are some very good episodes but Voyagers largest weakness was the writing. It was if the writers had, a great story going and all of a sudden realised there were only four or five minutes left in the episode to wrap things up. Again, do not get me wrong. It is not a knock on the actors. They did great with what they were given, which usually was not very good.

James) We are closing in on the winter months and December, Now a little birdie told me you like to celebrate in style but I have to ask What the H**L is Shatnermas LOL!

Bill) I did…years before there was a Trek Geeks. It was a way to celebrate Shatner’s incredibly diverse career that was fun. I’m fairly certain he DOESN’T know about it. LOL.

James) He may do if he reads this blog lol.

Dan) There has to be some level of IP theft here somewhere!!!  😛

James) HAHA!

Bill) Not if you’re just reposting things the man himself has already put out there! Lol..


“So now we know Bill and Dan a bit better tune in for the next part where I ask about their podcast history, Axanar, If they were worried about the new Guidelines and some more geeky Questions. “

Follow, Share and Like

Starbase Studios – Richard Wells Interview

Starbase Studios est. 2013 based in Oklahoma is the only TOS themed studio opened up to the public for them to shoot their own non-commercial Star Trek Fan Productions.

The story of Starbase Studios starts back in 2010 when a man called John Hughes from Oklahoma City decided to produce his own fan film Starship Ajax.

Producing and making your own sets is an expensive and time-consuming task, John had an idea to try to cut down on the time and expense it would take by starting from scratch his plan: to seek out and find the now unused sets that were a part the production Exeter.

After tracking them down in Austin, Tx USA, John found that the set dismantled and stored in various locations and some of it was in a shape.

John was lucky not only in finding the sets but the producer of Exeter Jimm Johnson decided to donate the entire thing to John free to help him in his quest to make the dream of Ajax a reality.

John’s next task was to get the sets back to Oklahoma so several moving trailers later the sets were brought over 400 miles from Austin to Oklahoma.

However, restoring it would be a full-time job alone so with the help of some other fan producers they set to work to restore the sets to their former beauty and bring back its former glory.

With a mammoth task ahead of them, John placed an advert on Craig’s list for some help; enter the current co-owners Richard Wells and Scott Johnson as volunteers to help.

Originally stored in a hangar at the El Reno Regional Airport this was to be the home of the sets and the project of their restoration.

Unfortunately, some time later issues arose this meant they again had the task of moving the sets and finding a new home.

After moving into their new premises at 2821 SW 27th St, the restoration continued.

Therefore, as they say, they the rest they say is history…

So wanting to know more about Starbase Studios I reached out to Starbase Studios on Facebook and asked if they wanted to do a quick Q&A for our new site.

Yesterday I managed to catch up with Richard Wells the co-owner of Starbase Studios in a Quick Q&A.


James) Richard, Tell me a bit about your history with Star Trek what does it mean to you.

Richard) I have always been a Star Trek fan starting with the reruns of the original series. I used to watch them after school back in the 70s. I have also enjoyed every franchise since. I never considered myself a Trekkie before and although I’m referred to as being one quite a bit these days I still don’t consider myself one. I have met so many other fans whose lives are so much more intertwined with Trek than mine is.

James) How did the idea for Starbase Studios come about.

Richard) The studio was started with the sets left over from the fan film Starship Exeter shot in Austin, Texas. John Hughes brought them to Oklahoma to make his own fan film.

Scott (the other studio owner) and I started as volunteers on that show.

Eventually, it was decided that we would focus on completing the studio so others could be making their films while Hughes focused on his.

James) In addition, can you tell me more about what it is you do here?

Richard) Starbase Studios is now the only open to the public fan film studio we know of.

Anyone is invited to use the facilities for any non-commercial projects. In addition, it is free. We do ask productions to donate at least enough to cover their expenses but we do not charge a fee.

We currently have a full, 360-degree bridge set.  All the console displays are as screen accurate as they can be thanks to the work of www.tosgraphics.com. They have spent years recreating the graphics by watching and matching them to the original show.

We also have a full transporter room and a sick bay and are currently building a briefing room that can double as the rec room, crew quarters and more.

James) How are Starbase Studios funded.

Richard) By donations everyone at the studio is a volunteer and everything is funded by donations.

To date, all the films that have shot here have donated generously as well as getting donations from many fans.

James) At Starbase Studios you run an educational program at the studio can you tell what kind of educational programs you offer and how that came about.

Richard) Our first educational venture is with a series called Starship Grissom. A fan film was written by teachers and is has been designed to be downloaded to be used in classrooms.

The teachers chose a cadet for the lead character so the students we are trying to reach could relate to her.

In the first series, Planet L-197, Cadet Strong earns a spot on the crew for a mission to explore a new planet for colonisation. On the way, they encounter a supernova, space viruses, and Klingons among other things.

The teachers try to fill each episode with all the drama and excitement of the original series while still packing in lessons in a way that student might not realise they just learned something new.

Planet L-197 is based on Kepler 186f, the first planet found by NASA to be in the habitable zone of another star.  All the information gives on the planet during the episode is real information on 186f so there are current lessons contained within the episode.

The writers have also made lesson plans in 7 subjects that go along with each episode along with “Mission Briefing” videos. All the videos and lessons are available to download and use at no charge.

James) So do any schools or educational bodies make use of your educational facilities.

Richard) We have had High Schools, Vo-Teachers, and Colleges take advantage of the facilities by bringing in their film and multimedia classes.  Students gain firsthand experience at filming on real sets.

These classes have proven popular with the student and we hope to host much more in the future.

James) That is amazing, so who’s Idea was it to offer educational programs.

Richard) Since we have such a unique facility I always thought we should be more community involved. I talked to my cousin, who is a teacher, about this and her and fellow teacher friends came up with the idea of Starship Grissom.

The “off-site classroom” simply came from schools that heard about the studio and contacted me about using it.

James) Describe a typical week at Starbase Studios.

Richard) It all depends on which week you choose.

We are most busy during the spring and fall. The building we are currently in has no climate control. It is excessively hot to be inside in the summer and miserable trying to film in the winter although we have filmed in both seasons.

Otherwise, it would depend on if there were projects going on or not. If we have a project coming in that needs a certain set, we generally will have all the volunteers we can get, every night the week before getting it built. Other than that, it is usually just me or a couple of other guys going in to mow and doing maintenance.

Filming weekends tend to get crazy. We will not be at the set much while planning the shoot but starting the night before we will all ascend for prep work. That is usually just cleaning and repairs but sometimes we will decide something that needs to be repainted before filming or computers will be acting up.

Once filming starts, it is all hands on deck, morning, noon, and night.

Filming always starts early in the morning and goes until what was planned for that day is done. Much of the time we are into the next day before wrapping, then it’s up early the next morning and does it all again.

James) Moving on to a subject of some contention among many fan films at the moment, with the release of the “Fan Film Guidelines” has this influenced the studio much or is it business as usual just with some minor tweaks here and there.

Richard) We had several shows scheduled to film that cancelled once the guidelines came out.

Starship Grissom has been on hiatus, hoping to get some questions answered, but we recently decided to continue as planned.

The guidelines are for films so they do not affect the studio’s operations at all, other than trying to make sure anyone who films here stays in compliance. Ultimately, we have no control over what a production does with their film but we do what we can.

James) Other than, the productions based at Starbase Studios what other fan productions do you watch/listen to.

Richard) I never knew about any of these fan productions before starting the studio but now I am amazed at how many are out there. I will, of course, watch the regulars, Phase 2 and Continues. I also would watch The Red Shirt Diaries when it was still filming. Occasionally I will find something I never heard of one Star Trek Reviewed and try it.

http://startrekreviewed.blogspot.com/

I will also listen to podcast from time to time such as Tribbles in Ecstasy or Trek geeks.

James) What is the best piece of advice you can give anyone who is thinking of building his or her own sets?

Think of the long-term, not just, what you are doing right now.

Have a plan for how the sets are to be arranged where to store set pieces and props when they are not being used. Are you working on something you will be able to do yourself if no volunteers show up?

James) I have heard you are looking for new premises due to being asked to move out of your current one can you tell me how this came about.

Richard) We have been in our current location for almost 5 years. The original agreement was for 1 year so it was a time that the owner got his space back.

We are now trying to crowdfund for a new place to move into, hopefully with climate control.

A lease in Oklahoma is quite a bit cheaper than in many other parts of the country so I think we have a pretty good shot of finding a location, if not, the studio will close. There have been some offers to take over the sets but that will mean an end to most of the fan films and all of the educational activities we provide.

James) That would be extremely sad if that were to happen, Is there anything you need from us the fans?

Richard) I will be launching this fundraiser shortly after completing this interview. Several thousand Star Trek fans follow us and/or the shows that we produce here. If we can get enough of them to pledge, we can continue to make more Star Trek for everyone to enjoy.

James) Lastly, is there anything you would like to say to the fans of Starbase Studios.

Richard) The fans have been great and are obviously, what keeps the studio running?

We are all volunteers because we are fans. We create shows because of the feedback we get from other fans. The fans in the Star Trek universe are phenomenal and there are more of them out there than anyone could ever realise.

My hope is to be able to work alongside and produce films for the fans for many years to come.

James) Well thank you to Richard for taking the time out of his day to answer some questions for me, I wish you all the luck in the world and hope you can sort something out in regards to finding a new home for Starbase Studios.

Some of the other great productions made out of Starbase Studios include


Follow, Share and Like