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Old December 22 2011, 10:37 PM   #73
USS Intrepid
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Location: Dundee, Scotland, UK
Re: Fan Film Writer's Primer

Comet and Cupid wrote: View Post
Here's my stab at critiquing the drama. The end of the opening segment of Heavy Lies the Crown is one of the finer moments I've seen in Star Trek fan films. I guess what Maurice is getting at is that, in the context of the episode then, fallout from that decision should have made another, later choice more agonizing.

Here are three opportunities that I've identified in the story to do that:

1. The first is in the decision to go down on the away mission in order to avoid bombarding the site. From a dramatic perspective, perhaps the problem here is that it was not really Hunter's idea to go down to the surface; it was Stiles'. It's fine to have competent officers, but this should be Hunter's story. If it had been wholly Hunter's idea, then it could have been framed as Hunter trying to avoid directly repeating what he had to do to Captain Talath in the teaser, by risking his own life to give those whom he might need to bombard more of a chance. The point is more or less made, but Hunter is reacting rather than driving the action (another common complaint in fan films, I believe). But even at this point, the story still has a long way to go (ETA: i.e., it is far from over).
Now you see that doesn't work for me dramatically. Hunter may be the Captain, but Stiles is the science officer. That sort of thing should come from her, IMO. She made the suggestion, as CO Hunter ran with it. That's the way it should be. Indeed, he goes on to do exactly what you then suggest, insisting he lead the Away Team, and pushing Prentice to let him do it (against another officers objections). Which, to my mind, is pretty proactive.

Comet and Cupid wrote: View Post

2. I apologize if you did this in the episode, but I don't remember exactly, but making it so that the phaser modifications to cut through the dampening field only worked for kill settings on the phasers would have made things much more dramatic when Hunter and S'Ceris are pinned down by the pair of obstinate colonists. Again Hunter should be the one to reason with the pair, and Hunter should be faced again with a decision of whether to kill them in order to carry out the mission.
In fact, that is in there, specifically in the transporter room scene, IIRC, but I realise a lot of stuff gets lost in the awful audio track. Also, I'd say Hunter gets his moment here by pretty much doing the Security Chief's job for him.

I agree Hunter probably should have been the one to reason with the pair, however that's not dramatically what I was going for in this scene. I realise it won't work for everyone, but one of the points of that scene was for Hunter to learn that maybe he needed to adopt a cooler head with the colonists. Having S'Ceris, who he'd already butted heads with be the one to teach him just appealed to my sense of humour. Plus, I like screwing with peoples' preconceptions. So having Hunter, who was CO acting like the security officer, and the security officer acting like the CO was just fun for me.

Comet and Cupid wrote: View Post
3. Finally, the decision to home in on the communicator to target phasers should have been Hunter's. Hunter himself should have had to run closer to the target area, before throwing his combadge, because it was that far.
That's a fair point, but there were two reasons I didn't do that. Firstly, I really wanted to have S'Ceris prove his worth to Hunter. Secondly, I desperately wanted to avoid making Hunter a Mary Sue. Having Hunter come up with all the solutions, then implementing them himself, and being the one to make the big run, then drag Cole to safety would have been just too much to my mind.

Comet and Cupid wrote: View Post
A common thread here is to make Hunter less of a bystander and more a driving force in the action. Constantly weighing decisions of life and death, whether to kill others, whether to risk their lives, and whether to risk his own, fits in with the theme suggested by the title, "Heavy Lies the Crown". It lies heavy, not just because of what he did to assume command, but from the decisions he must make continually while in command.

In summary, my suggestions revolve around the idea that the away mission is the setting for the drama to unfold. Finally, trimming the running time to focus more specifically on the story of the hero, Hunter, and the away mission in particular, might be indicated.
The thing is I don't see Hunter as a bystander here. He's fairly proactive where it matters. What we needed was more time to get under his skin, so see what he's thinking and what he's going through, and why he does what he does. We get a bit of that in the early scene with Prentice, then again in the final scenes with Caed, then in the office with S'Ceris, but not enough to make his journey as satisfying as it could be.

As ever, your mileage may vary.

Comet and Cupid wrote: View Post
I'm out till the New Year probably. Season's Greetings to all.
And to you.

Comet and Cupid wrote: View Post
P.S. Oh, and last but not least, thanks, Nick, for being so gracious, in encouraging discussion of your work.
My pleasure. And my thanks to you, I'm enjoying it.
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Last edited by USS Intrepid; December 22 2011 at 11:01 PM.
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