Trekzone.org is Australia’s first Star Trek fan website launching in 2003 Trekzone, was a year 10 High School IT project for its host Matthew Miller, although it sat idle for a few years in 2012 Matthew finally decided to turn it up a notch and really get into producing content for his site.
In February 2012 Matthew launched a short-lived fan series called Eternal Night, but it was in Apr 2013 that things really took off for Trekzone when Matthew attended the red carpet event for Star Trek Into Darkness, where he managed to interview some of the main cast from the film. Since then Matthew has managed to interview some really big names not only from the Trek universe like Doug Drexler, Anthony Montgomery, Alice Krige, Rod Roddenberry and Walter Koenig. But Matthew did not just stop there and in the space of ten years, Matthew has managed to pull in some other big names from the Sci-Fi universe adding the likes of Richard Dean Anderson (SG1) & Joe Flanigan (Stargate Atlantis) to his list.
However, Matthew and Trekzone have not stopped there, and in 2016 Matthew took to the road and produced a mini-series of blogs called Sci-Fi Weekly where he got the chance to meet some of the top scientists in Australia for example Dr Andy Thomas – Australia’s first astronaut, Dr. Anton Wallner, Dr. Geoff Campbell and Dr. Brad Tucker, although a short-lived mini blog series it was one that drew a lot of interest to his site and more recently Matthew was one of the main followers of the Axanar lawsuit producing content that covered, the particulars of the lawsuit and how it has changed the fan film world forever.
James) Hey Matt, tell us a bit more about you.
Matt) I’m a thirty-year-old broadcast engineer in the real world, which sees me working in television making sure people can keep watching our TV signal. I like a good bottle of scotch, a decent TV show (Designated Survivor is a good one right now… I’ve only seen the pilot so far though.) I dislike frauds and people who make huge claims but fail to deliver.
James) Other than Trek, what other TV shows do you like to watch?
Matt) Babylon 5, Stargate are a couple of other Sci-Fi shows I like, also enjoying Dick Wolf’s Chicago series of shows and a few others on TV right now.
James) Well, you should like Stargate lol you have interviewed a few of the main cast :p how awkward would that be if you interviewed someone you had no idea who they were,
As a keen Star Trek fan, do you play any Trek Games, and If not Trek Games then what ones?
Matt) I recently discovered Steam has the entire back catalogue of Age of Empires, man that was a cracking series for its time (and they released a remastered version of number 2!) In the Trek universe, Armada II, Bridge Commander, Birth of the Federation were amongst my ‘lay by’ purchases when I was a junior… I remember waiting for hours for the install and crossing fingers hoping the graphics card was up to spec!
James) So know we know the basics of who you are and some of your likes, because I am nosey lol, what is your day job?
Matt) I work in TV here in Brisbane, they’re good to me and it’s fun to be behind the camera at work – which allows me to not be too burnt out while producing The Trekzone Spotlight (I do feel that they are different sides of the TV business so it’s good fun.)
James) Tell me a bit about your history with Star Trek what does Trek mean to you. What Trek Actors have you met in real life if any?
Matt) Thanks to The Trekzone Spotlight, I’ve met Nana Visitor, Connor Trinneer, Rene Auberjonois, Anthony Montgomery and a few others… also met a few of the guys and girls from Stargate (Richard Dean Anderson was a highlight, so awesome!)
James) I so need! To start doing Cons I think I need to get out more lol. With Trekzone do you go to many Star Trek Conventions?
Matt) One dedicated Trek con when I was 10… we had lunch with Tim Russ! Australia doesn’t get too many dedicated cons, the audience would be there for it though…
James) That is kind of like the UK We have Cons but I think the only Trek-centric one is Destination Europe, everything Trek-centric seems to be states side mostly.
So moving on out of 5 live action series, 1 animated one do you have a favourite Trek Episode and if so why this one?
Matt) That’d be a toss-up between DS9 season 4’s The Visitor, TNG Season 6’s The Inner Light and VOY season 3/4’s Scorpion parts 1 & 2. I love some good character focused eps (and Scorpion because the Borg get their ass kicked!) – OK, you only said episode… but can YOU just pick one from 728!? ;).
James) Erm, I guess not for me though I have my go to episodes which I guess they can be considered “favourites”. Out of all the features do you have a favourite Star Trek Film?
Matt) First Contact.
James) Hmmm That is a good choice but, I think a lot of people pick that one, it is one of my faves but my fave film I think and it is controversial lol is Nemesis, not for the story as such as let’s face it, it does lack in a lot of areas but it is just different enough yet similar to be a good Trek film. Do you have a favourite Trek Actor/Actress?
Matt) Nana Visitor… she went on such a ride with her character that was so rigid in the beginning, striving for independence for herself and her people after the Occupation, but over seven years developed deep friendships with these aliens that came straight after the Cardassian’ and started running the space station… she even fell in love with the shapeshifter.
James) Worst Trek Episode Why?
Matt) VOY’s Threshold. Need I say more?
James) The Jane Paris BABIES! Lol. Favourite Series & Why?
Matt) Tossup between DS9, for its gritty take on Trek and Enterprise for its optimistic vision of our near future (despite an out of character third season.)
James) Worst Series & Why?
Matt) TOS, purely because I grew up on TNG and those 60’s elements are so 60’s. (It’s not bad, it’s just very different… or original.)
James) You know I am the same, everything seems to be TOS saturated, yes I get it, TOS is what launched 51 years of greatness but like you TNG was my baby but it’s not my fave : -O.
You recently covered a few fan films and you have interviews people like Vic from STC, Do you watch any Fan Films do you watch?
Matt) I’ve caught Hidden Frontier (that series got me excited for my fan series, and then I met Carlos who worked on it!) Continues, New Voyages. Most recently Chance Encounter – good flick.
James) I remember seeing Hidden Frontier YEARS! Ago then I drifted away from fan films it was not until Renegades did I come back and play catch up. Can you rank your top five (if you have them)?
Matt) Chance Encounter, Hidden Frontier, Continues, Intrepid, New Voyages (I haven’t seen much of James’ series.)
James) I have seen all of them you have listed and like you, I have not watched many NV episodes yet, TBH I think once I watched a lot of STC and a few stand alone ones I was TOS’ed out, BUT! I plan to go and watch some of them over the next few weeks as I want to see the ones with some of the TOS cast in.
What other Star Trek fan productions do you watch/listen to etc (Podcasts, YouTube shows etc)
Matt) I’m so short on spare time that I don’t catch very much else.
James) TBH, I am the same with having to “try” to cover as many fan productions as possible, I tend to skim through podcasts to bits that I am keen on hearing, I try to catch Sunday G&T as often as I can, I do watch yours when you interview someone I want to see and Trek Geeks I skim but Dan and Bill do it weekly so I always know I can go to their site and catch up.
As someone who has been involved in the fan community for a long period now, what would you say is favourite parts of the Trek Fandom?
Matt) Meeting strangers with a shared passion the world over.
James) Worst Parts of the Trek Fandom (any bad experiences)?
Matt) Stubborn individuals that believe their way is the only way (to tell a story, to report on facts or even about other people.)
James) Man your diplomatic LOL, do you have any funny stories to tell
Matt) Not necessarily funny, but the spread of Trek fans always surprises me… there are Trekkies in the same suburb as me!
James) What makes you thankful to be a part of this amazing universe
Matt) Finding it tough to be thankful as this universe as thrown a few curve balls at me in the last six months, but I’m in a good place now and cracking on with the podcasts and staying busy for a while.
James) Moving on, we have covered your likes and dislikes in regards to the last 5 live action series, but now I want to tackle DISCOVERY.
I guess the first basic question is, are you looking forward to it?
Matt) Very much so, I’m hoping that The Trekzone Spotlight can help me delve deeper into it.
James) When you first saw the trailer for Discovery were you worried at all?
Matt) I was concerned that they’d be repeating the same ‘mistakes’ as Enterprise (doing a prequel because there is nothing left to explore post VOY)
James) See, I liked Ent a LOT so I get what you mean but I am keen on seeing another new prequel tbh lol. What do you think about the casting choices thus far?
Matt) Very good, it’s another group of relatively unknown / niche actors which are what TNG-era Trek has been about.
James) What are your hopes for Discovery?
Matt) That it survives the first season.
James) Well we know now, that they have ordered another 2 episodes and things do look real good for Season 2.
The departure of Brian Fuller has caused a lot of miss information being floated and a lot of “vocal” fans crying that it now means this series’ days are numbered, are you concerned at all?
Matt) I think Brian should’ve focused on one project at a time. Does anyone know what J. Michael Straczynski is doing?
James) LOL I would prefer some of the old crew to replace him over J. Michael Straczynski tbh but each to their own 😛
What look do you hope they go for, we know its prime time line but do you hope it’s more prime than Kelvin or vice versa?
Matt) Has to prime timeline and character driven – we don’t need a million dollars of special effects to make good Trek.
James) I think with the latest trailer, it is going to upset a lot of people but! I am still excited. What do you hope they do not do with Discovery, as in PLEASE DO NOT GO THERE LOL?
Matt) Avoid the Arcanis sector at all costs.
James) LMFAO! You mean do not Axa it LOL!, another controversial point, that seems to have upset a few people is CBS’ decision to place it on CBS all Access in the states and Netflix worldwide Do you think this move is a good or bad idea?
Matt) It is… interesting. In one way it frees the series from the pressure of rating success, but on the other, there are more accurate viewership figures than broadcast TV’s Nielson boxes.
James) When I first heard of this choice I was not overly happy as tbh Netflix UK, not so good LOL but I think it is the way things are moving now, people in the UK at least tend to watch TV less and less and want to be able to watch things NOW!, I think this is the way things are heading tbh.
Do you think online streaming is the future of televised series and films, just as you use YouTube etc now, is TV on its way out?
Matt) That’s an interesting question, given I work in TV… I think free to air will stick around as long as it has things you can’t get elsewhere (in Australia before broadband internet our prime time was all the American shows, usually on a 6-9 month delay because our TV season is Feb-Nov, but now there is mostly reality TV or sport and news during the day because that’s not available anywhere else.)
That said, in the US it’s different because it is the world premiere of episodes each week… free to air and cable has its niche that way. It is still the most popular medium to reach the masses.
That wraps up part one, in part two I talk to Matt about what his best and worst interviews were, his history in fan productions and what made him stand up and take a stand against that fan production that just doesn’t seem to go away.