INTREPID – Interview – With, Nick J Cook

Spanning almost a decade Starship Intrepid (formerly 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. (Click Image below for article) 

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 have 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.

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In this instalment and conclusion, I wanted to touch more on the operational side of running Trek Geeks along with some other questions about who you guys are and what makes you tick.

Welcome to “Who are the Trek Geeks Part 2″

This is a long one guys, Sit back and enjoy.

Read Part one here….

James) I have a few more get to know who we are questions then we will move on to the parts that ask in more detail what is Trek Geeks and why we decided to do it.

Other than Trek what other TV shows you watch like B5, Walking Dead, the Flash etc

Bill)  A wide variety of things from Reality to Drama. FAR too many to list. LOL

Dan) Arrow (current favourite), The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, The Strain, Big Bang Theory, Penny Dreadful, Bosch.

Previous shows that are on my top list include Lost, Breaking Bad, Stranger Things,

James) Ok so a long list then most of that I watch myself.

Do either of you play any Star Trek games?

Bill) I have just started playing STO on a console. I also play Star Trek Timelines intermittently.

Dan) I love Star Trek Timelines from Disruptor Beam and think it is the first real Star Trek video game hit. I have also played Star Trek Online on my PC and have just started playing it on Xbox 1 and enjoy it, but do not have the time I would like to sit and play something at my desk on my couch for hours at a time.

Additionally, I have played Star Trek Wrath of Gems quite a bit as well as Star Trek Trexels.

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

Bill) I have met far too many to remember. While there was not a “worst,” all of them have been amazingly wonderful–and, in particular, William Shatner.

He has a bad reputation over the years, but he could not have been nicer when I met him at a convention one year.

Dan) Some may say this is not valid, to which I would say they are 100% wrong) we have had the honour of being with the cast of Star Trek Continues while they have been filming an episode.

They are without a doubt the most down to earth and appreciate the group of actors whose love for Star Trek is the only thing driving them to make these episodes. Vic Mignogna and Michele Specht are two Star Trek actors that I have an immeasurable amount of respect for.

James) The guys of STC although I have not met them in person due to residing in the UK are some of the nicest people I have ever chatted with. They also have no issues with being asked questions about STC, Lisa, for example, has been so open about some things even I am shocked at how the people who I have never met interact with me they are so down to earth.

Dan) Additionally, we recently did a podcast regarding the Voyager episode Timeless. This episode holds great personal meaning for me because it reminds me of the difficult times I once had to go through and the demons that I carried for years. Garrett Wang heard the podcast and commented on it personally on Twitter, and in Vegas this past year we went up to him and introduced ourselves. He was so gracious to us regarding the show and our thoughts on it, and it was a moment I will never forget.

I have never come across meeting a Trek actor that I would consider the ‘worst’. All the ones I have met understand how important this show is to us and they always seem happy and appreciate of their fans.

James) SO… guys I now want to move on to get some insight on Trek Geeks.

Before Trek geeks what was your history doing podcasts, is Trek geeks the only one you have done or have you done more?

Bill) I had a very short-lived podcast focusing on American politics, which ran for four episodes. I was not the primary host but it introduced me to the medium and got me thinking. That was a couple of years before Trek geeks, but I had the idea to do a Star Trek based podcast that early on.

James) So Trek geeks was your second one of sorts then Bill what about you Dan?

Dan) Before Trek Geeks I had ever been part of a podcast, listened to a podcast, or had any real idea of what a podcast actually was

James) Bill you mentioned you had the idea for a Trek podcast but why Trek and not random Sci-Fi?

Bill) Because I am passionate about Trek and I am really not about sci-fi in general. In addition, our show is a reflection of our friendship and that is absolutely born out of Star Trek fandom.

James) Cool idea and it allows your friendship to play an important role in what you do. What about you Dan what made you choose Trek?

Dan) Trek is my life in many ways. It is my passion; it is what makes me hope for a better future. I have watched each episode so many times. I have read so many Trek novels. It is built into my DNA on so many levels so it is not even a question of Trek vs. something else. As Bill is also a passionate fan of Trek, our friendship began because of it and has continued for two decades. The podcast just uses Trek as the topic to enjoy and broadcast our friendship to our listeners.

James) Why Audio Podcast, not a Video 1?

Bill) Because that is largely not how people consume podcasts. 80% of all podcasts are downloaded to mobile devices and usually consumed while people are doing something else like driving or working out and the like.

Most people do not sit down to consume video podcasts, so we do not really work in that medium. Besides, have you seen Dan?

Dan) I am very ugly and Bill could knock a buzzard off a s**t waggon! As Stan Lee would say…’Nuff said.

James) Tell me when did you start Trek geeks?

Bill) January 2015. I knew this show could always work, but it took some convincing with Dan.

Dan) As Bill mentioned we started in January of 2015, but it is something he pitched to me earlier in 2014 after we attended a Creation Star Trek convention in Boston in the summer of 2014. As previously, mentioned, I had no idea what podcasts were all about and I was a little ‘meh’ on the idea. However, after researching and discussion it more, we decided to give it a try.

James) Do you Podcast live?

Bill) No. Thank the Maker. Lol

James) I would imagine the ones that do would require major planning to avoid anything majorly wrong, so what about editing it.

Bill) I typically record the podcast and edit it. We have streamlined our workflow a lot so it is not a very cumbersome process at all. I can usually get an episode out within a couple of hours.

Dan) Bill is smart. He makes things go.

James) Living is separate towns/cities does it make things difficult to podcast together?

Bill)  I do not think so. I mean, there is always a certain energy and vibe you get when you have two people in the same room, but I think we do pretty well give that we are in different states.

Dan)  I actually think it helps with the podcast being in different locations. I mean, if I were in the same location as Bill when we recorded, there would be too many times that I would just have to punch his face.

James) That is hilarious! Sorry but I seriously laughed at that.

Dan) Seriously, the only real challenge is if there are internet or network issues causing problems with the recording, but we have gotten pretty good at making sure we have ways to prevent that from happening.

James) When you decided on Trek Geeks. Did it cost a lot to set up?

Bill) No, not really. We tried to use as many free options as possible with the exception of website hosting and podcast hosting.

Dan) Just my time to try to listen to Bill state an opinion, that actually means anything. Seriously, I have to give all the credit in the world to Bill. He pretty much did all of the setups for this venture and he has done an amazing job keeping costs VERY low.

James) Bit like me than with this, I could have spent a lot of money, but I thought Do I want to spend a lot on something that people might think to err WTF is this.

With the costs being low, how do you fund things? By yourself or ask for donations now and again?

Bill) We self-fund largely. It is not a huge cost every year and we are happy to fund it. There is a small amount offset by our CafePress store–we make a couple of bucks per item and that goes right back into hosting costs. We do not make a tonne of money from that, nor did we really intend to.

James) Goes to check out the store . . .  ok, cool T-Shirts, Mugs and err Thongs lol….

Bill) Hey, CafePress makes it available

Dan) We do not want people to help us fund the show. We only want them to listen and enjoy the conversation. We fund the podcast ourselves and as mentioned previously, it is not very expensive.

We do have a store on our website that offers Trek Geeks items from Cafepress and each sale we get a little something which goes right back into helping pay for the show.

Bill) CafePress and CBS have an agreement for what are called fan portals. All of the merchandise has to meet the rules and CafePress gives CBS their cut, presumably. In addition, ANY fan can set up a shop if they play by the rules.

If you want to grab a Trek geek gift or two here is the link to their shop.: Trek geeks Shop

James) I would like to get some more info on Trek geeks and its history, how many episodes of Trek Geeks have you done?

Bill) Counting Supplemental episodes and special one-off recordings, we have done 89 episodes to date.

James) How hard is it to come up with each podcasts topic does it require a lot of planning.

Bill) It does require planning. We outline every episode to keep us on track. If it is an interview, we jot down a few topics. If it is an episode review, we have notes on the episode in question.

Dan) Although we have to plan, what we will discuss for any specific episode, coming up with topics is not hard at all. We have 50 years worth of Star Trek to work with and thousands of possible topics for any given show.

We have worked on a schedule for episodes and have some really unique topics. Once we start working on a specific episode, we keep our own list of thoughts and comments to bring up on the show itself and it always works out rather fluidly. A lot of the time, we do not share our thoughts and comments with each other ahead of time. We do not want to skew or change our opinions based on what the other is thinking.

James) So who out of the two of you decides the topics?

Bill) I think I pick most of the topics, but there have been plenty of times that Dan has picked them. We try to schedule out the topics of every episode a few months in advance to know what is coming.

Dan) I would say that for the most part Bill decides on episode topics and he then shoots them over to me to look over. Almost usually, we are on the same page with what we would like to talk about. For interviews, that has usually fallen on me to try to get in touch with someone and schedule it out.

James) Has there ever been a time you just randomly pick a topic who wins more often and does it ever cause tension if one does not want to cover said topic?

Bill) We do not really have tension, per se. I think there have been a couple of rare occasions where we have disagreed, but it has really been a non-event. Dan will probably say “Bill is the Executive Producer” or some tripe like that, but the topics we cover are ones that interest us regardless of who selected it.

Dan) The good thing about Star Trek is IDIC. Whatever ridiculous topics Bill thinks are awesome; I can work with so that he does not throw a tantrum of any kind.

James) LMAO

Dan) The Podcast is for our listeners so I always try and be cognizant of that so they get the very best from us.  Besides, Bill is the Executive Producer. What he says goes.

James) I am going to throw some random Questions now, stuff that springs to mind about past podcasts and your experiences.

Best place you have done a podcast from?

Bill) Star Trek Las Vegas. 😀

Dan) At my house without having to use the camera to see Bill’s face. 😛  Kidding of course…

Podcasting from Vegas was an amazing experience, and doing a couple of Facebook Live segments was VERY cool

James) Worst place you have done a podcast from?

Bill) I do not think there has been a “worst place” so far.

Dan) My house and Vegas is really the only place I have podcasted from, so I do not have the worst place.

James) Best episode you have done & why?

Bill) Easy–Episode 75. The Trek50 episode celebrating Trek’s 50th anniversary.

It’s emotional) you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll smile–and you’ll appreciate Gene Roddenberry and what he created even more than you did before.

It was a true labour of love on our part. It is an hour’s worth of stories told by fans that called in or sent us messages and it brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it.

James) I am so going to have to listen to that it sounds like one NOT to miss.

Dan) From a Podcast perspective, I would have to agree with Bill and choose our Trek50 episode. To hear the stories from our listeners – their very PERSONAL stories was absolutely amazing. It proved without a doubt how special Star Trek is and how it has formed relationships and brought people closer, and for people to take the time and share these deeply personal stories with us was incredibly humbling

From a Fan perspective, I would have to say the guest appearance of Andrew Robinson was incredible. He is such an amazing actor outside of Star Trek and his character of Garak is one of my all time favourites so to have him on the show to discuss everything from Hellraiser to Dirty Harry to Garak was truly a fan girl moment for me.

James) Worst episode you have done & why?

Bill) Episode 1. LOL, We had no idea what we were doing and at that point, we did not know is our first one at that point and I even forget to introduce myself even though I introduce Dan by name.

James) This is my first endeavour asking people questions like this I have done blogs but not ones asking targeted questions so I get that pain I really do. Was it that same for you Dan or do you have a different OMG podcast?

Dan) At first I would also say Episode 1, but thinking more about it I would say the interviews with Alec Peters.

The debacle of Axanar and the subsequent lawsuit has opened my eyes to what I perceive to be a complete fabrication of facts and information to the fans.  In hindsight, it was an embarrassment to have him on the show because the potential damage that production has done to fan films is irreversible.

James) As Everyone! Knows I am no fan of Axanar and for you people, who do not, I share the views of Dan but hey, you live and learn…

However, Dan you but you cannot blame yourself for what you did not know at the time, so do not be embarrassed lol, hey it could have been worse. So bringing up Axanar, I guess we should tackle that subject then move on to something less errrr……

Now I saw you both started out as pro-Axanar and even had Alec on your show and helped drive his crowdfunding. What happened?

Bill) Well, that is the $1.1million question, is it not?

James) $1.5 Mil lol

Bill) It is true) we did have Alec Peters on our show twice.

The first time we invited him and he eventually did show after he blew us off the first time it was scheduled.

The second time he asked if he could come on to promote his crowdfunding, effort and we rearranged our schedule to accommodate that request. Alec was great to us…until after the lawsuit dropped and we started asking questions as donors. After that, we went from hearing, “We love the Trek Geeks,” to “you’re a Drama Queen” and “low-end podcasters.”

James) Oh the Drama Queen thingy I remember that (shakes head)

Bill) At that point, I began to wonder exactly where $1,500,000 went since there was no finished studio, no sets completed, and no film. When I started to ask about that, Axanar blocked me on social media.

I was a 2x donor and I feel like I was taken advantage of by a never-ending series of delays and lies.

James) What you think about it all Dan do you share Bills concern or?

Dan) Prior to the lawsuit, I was 100% pro Axanar. I was very impressed with Prelude, even if it was pretty much all green screen. Several people, I love to see in sci-fi were involved, like JG Hertzler and Richard Hatch. We had Richard on the show in one of our early episodes, and we had Alec on twice – one of which also featured the director/non-director of Axanar Robert Meyer Burnett.

James) Have to admit I have lost count how many times he is then is not anyway…

Dan) During the Alec interviews both Bill and I noticed that everything was I, I, I while with other fan productions, it was never about a single individual. That showed some of the character flaws we started to question. Then the lawsuit dropped and Bill, who as a donor had every right to ask, had some tough questions about the production and where the money had gone.

Instead of getting answers, he was banned from Axanar social media pages – not once but TWICE. People at Axanar started dropping to the level of name-calling by referring to Bill as a “Drama Queen” and a “low-end podcaster” when he started posting questions on Twitter. It was at that time that I had had enough as well. One of the things that I have found so deplorable with Mr Peters and Axanar is the fact that they stoop to name calling, insults and banning from pages instead of answering the questions that fans and donors deserve.

I totally get that some people can be ruthless when posting on social media, but I believe it is their responsibility to be truthful and open about the money that we gave them, and I do not believe that has been the case.

James) Well If all goes well we should have an end or a hopeful end to this entire thing soon, I for one am sick of the drama but I understand exactly where you guys are coming from and share similar experiences but hey hooo.

If anyone wants to know more on the Axanar,

issue the links at the bottom will be of use.

So moving on and away from this subject as well, everywhere you go its Axanar this Axanar that and this interview is about you guys.

Therefore, what is the Best interview you have done and with who?

Bill) We have gotten a lot better at interviewing since we started, but I still think our conversation with Nana Visitor from Deep Space Nine is probably our best interview, even though it happened very early in the run of the show. With our interviews, we try very hard to not ask the standard questions you hear at Star Trek conventions, and I think that our guests appreciate that.

In this one, Nana is candid and engaging and you can hear her smile when he speaks. She was so easy to talk to that she made this the best one we have done in my opinion.

James)((( dreams about doing an interview like that One day James One Day LOL )))

Dan) Andrew Robinson was to me the best interview we have done. It was really great to sit and listen to these stories from such an accomplished actor about a wide variety of topics. Hearing about how he had to handle being the first real serial killer to be in a movie (in Dirty Harry) and how that literally “f***’d me up” for a little while was very moving.

Getting little bits of info about his personal development of Garak and that he envisioned him being bisexual was intriguing, as was his thoughts for his novel “A Stitch in Time”.  To me, Mr. Robinson is a legend of movies and television and to have him so willingly come on the show and talk with us was a moment I will never forget.

James) Have there ever been any cringe-worthy moments where you have cringed at what has been said or a response you have been given?

Dan) As far as cringe moments, having him drop the f-bomb was the first time that had happened for us in a podcast so I wasn’t sure how to handle it, but it all worked out well, and it was perfectly placed. Back in those days’ people had never seen a psycho like Scorpio and as an actor; he had to look in very deep places to make that character worked. Pure genius!

James) What was the worst Interview you have done, What made it so bad and where there any good moments of it even though it was bad?

Bill) I will not give the guest’s name, but it was a total struggle to work with them in the recording. They would tell entire stories that they would ask us to cut out after they got through the whole thing. Lots of editing and they even wanted final approval on the album cover on the episode. There were good moments, but overall it is an episode I do not even like to listen to now.

James) OK I so need to listen to your entire back Cat to try to work this out.

Dan)  Oh, I 100% agree with Bill. I loved having that guest on, but it was definitely one of those ‘Oh my God you are so in love with yourself” moments.

James) I ask this question a lot to people as it is hard to gauge how people feel as the ones who are not so angry and calling boycotts etc rarely speak about it. Nevertheless, I think it is a very important thing to ask all productions since in essence they may or may not affect all of us at one point or another.

When the Guidelines hit were you worried at all about, them affecting you guys as many people not just fan films and series panicked that it was all very much doom for all.

Bill) I was worried that we would be affected somehow at first, but that did not last long. As soon as CBS clarified them, I had no worries, primarily since we talk ABOUT Star Trek–and that type of speech is protected by the First Amendment in the States.

Dan) I was never worried that it would affect our Podcast at all. I have always believed that the guidelines were set up so CBS and Paramount could protect THEIR property after one group decided to poke the bear and ignore the unwritten rule to not earn money off it.

Bill) and I agree 100% that CBS and Paramount are not at fault in any way with releasing these guidelines and will always be thankful that they let ANYONE ‘play in their sandbox’. While I have no concerns whatsoever regarding Trek Geeks, if for any reason we were ever told it was a problem, I would thank them for the opportunity and that would be the end of it. However, I do not ever see that happening.

James) Do you think we will see more or fewer Fan Productions because of them?

Bill) I think there will be fewer fan films at first–but I think that is because some individuals who were planning to do their own series or full-length feature no longer can. Eventually, I think that creative people will tell good stories through the guidelines.

James) while we are on the subject of Fan Films and Productions, What Fan Films do you watch?

Best ones.

Bill) Star Trek Continues is, hands down, the best Star Trek fan film ever made in every aspect. There are some others that are OK, but Continues stands head and shoulders above them.

Dan) Star Trek Continues is without a doubt the best fan production in existence and I don’t think anything will ever be able to top it.  It is literally like watching the continuation of TOS.

Every detail is perfect. Every episode is just awesome. The cast and crew leave their egos at the door (if they have any) and create a product that comes from their deep love of Star Trek. I also have great admiration for what Tommy Kraft did with his fan movie Star Trek Horizon starring Paul Lang. It was a remarkable film! I have watched a couple episodes of New Voyages and it is not bad, but it is not awesome either. My problem is that I will always compare any fan production to STC so they are already at a HUGE disadvantage.

James) What about the ones you would class as the worst or ones that just do not cut it in your opinion.

Bill) The worst ones? Renegades and Prelude to Axanar it is not a fan film. It is a fundraising video it is a big difference.

Dan) As far as the worst, as much as I wanted to like the first episode of Renegades, it was just awful to watch. The sets and costumes were terrible and they seemed to be more concerned with the cast of the show rather than the story.

Other than Manu Intiraymi and Vic Mignogna, I was not impressed at all with anything about Renegades and probably will not even bother with subsequent episodes now that they have stripped Star Trek from the brand due to the Axanar lawsuit.

James) I liked Renegades even if things were not shown spec lol.

Being a part of such a vast community have you worked with many other productions?

Bill) We have had both John Champion and Ken Ray from Mission Log on our show, as well as Jeff Hull and Heather Barker from The Tricorder Transmissions. I have also been a guest on several other podcasts like Frak Stars, Synthaholics, and The Admiral’s Table

Dan) As Bill said, John Champion and Ken Ray from Mission Log have both been on our show. Additionally, Heather Barker and Jeff Hulit from Shoreleave have joined us on different occasions.  I have been a guest on Shore Leave and have plans to be on Synthabholics at some point in the near future.

James) Not forgetting you were a part of the 24Hrs of G&T just this past week, do you listen to any other podcasts other than your own?

Bill) (regularly) Mission Log, The Tricorder Transmissions, The G&T Show, Two Guys One Trek, The Feed from Libsyn, Women at Warp…and a bunch of others infrequently.

Dan) Bill tries to make people believe that I don’t listen to my own podcast but he would be very wrong.  In addition to TG, I listen to Mission Log, G&T and Shore Leave mostly.

James) Being that you guys are so intertwined in the fandom what are your Favourite parts of the Trek Fandom and do you have any aspects you deem the worst Parts of the Trek Fandom.

Bill) I have the same answer for both parts) Social Media. It has been an amazing way to get to know people online and spread the word about our show. However, there are a lot of self-appointed “gatekeepers” in fandom and social media seems to give them their voice. The good parts far outweigh the bad parts, though.

Dan) I think one of my favourite parts of Fandom is Cosplay.  Seeing people create these amazing costumes to show their love of the franchise is something I am always amazed by.  The dedication into making these costumes is something that I appreciate so very much.

I think the worst part of fandom is social media. I think some of the things that actual fans post on social media is deplorable and makes me wonder why they even watch Star Trek. How people treat the Kelvin timeline movies is a perfect example of this. In addition, when the first trailer for Beyond was released; people were just atrocious with their posts, same with the announcement of Star Trek Discovery.

It is amazing that we can love something so much, yet as soon as any information is released, the worst things can be said. It makes me sad that there are those out there who consider themselves fans can be so hateful and disgusting with comments made for the whole world to see.

James) I have to admit I was a very strong ANTI Kelvin timeline person but having seen Beyond I have been swayed that film although was not the best ever it is now in my top 5, It had the feels which the previous two missed.

So, guys, it has been a pleasure talking to you and asking you these questions but our time is coming to an end I have a couple of more things to ask before we part ways….

Now you have become what I would call seasoned podcaster I mean hey you have done some amazing interviews so you guys have any Tips and Tricks on how to become a podcaster for people who are thinking about it?

Bill) Know clearly what your show is (and is not) and do the same show you would do for two people as you would do for 2,000. So many podcasts I have listened to do not do this and I think it is why many podcasts fail before their 10th episode.

Dan) I would defer that question to Bill. ))

James) Lastly Do you have any regrets in doing Trek Geeks?

Bill) Aside from the fact, I have to talk to Dan every day now, no. I have not a single regret in the world, nor could I have.

Dan) As I have said many times on the Podcast, I can never thank Bill enough for starting this whole adventure. It has been life changing on so many levels. I could never have imagined meeting so many of these idols that I had growing up watching Star Trek and talking to them about their experiences.

I never dreamed I would have been welcomed into such a vast family as fandom and met so many amazing people that I love dearly. I would never have dreamed of actually sitting in THE captain’s chair of THE original Enterprise when visiting the set of Star Trek Continues, which was literally a “Jesus’ moment for me. I have no regrets at all and I do not think I ever will. This has been an experience unlike any other and I will always be eternally grateful to my podcast partner and best friend Bill Smith for making it a reality. I think Bill may regret his comment now, but hey, that’s him.

Bill) Nah…not so much.

James) Well Thank you so many guys doing this with me has meant a lot and is an honour to even get the chance to sit and ask these questions.

I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I did doing it than reading through and editing it all together these guys are so funny and I feel that I now know them a whole lot better.

If you want to follow the Axanar lawsuit use these links.


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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.

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