Well, I'm certainly glad that you admire the writing on the episode, and we did have pretty specific goals in terms of professional construction, etc. - some of which were met, some perhaps not so successfully. That said, we looked a lot at particular events, types of scenes, subplots and so on from TOS as parallels to what we were doing (a delicate way of saying we copied).
I always looked at what we were doing on that outing as largely pastiche (and I admired that about "The Savage Empire"), at least with respect to the writing. If there's one thing that does trouble me about fan films it's maybe the tendency to inflate the importance and influence of what we're doing while not consistently hitting some basic professional targets. As Brad Warner opined in another context, the world is full of folks who want to save the environment but who aren't keen on cleaning their toilets.
P.S. - You're not wrong about our intent with regard to Ensign Richards, I guess. We did want to do a bit of a turn on that one - which we may some day
see the payoff to
- and I was fairly insistent that she have rank beyond the generic "yeoman."