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Fan Productions Creating our own Trek canon!

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Old February 22 2011, 10:03 PM   #946
MikeH92467
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Re: Whatever happened to Starship Exeter?

Dennis wrote: View Post

WEAT is the only Trek fan production I've seen that meets all of the minimal standards of competence for a professional production across the board - everything. Some parts of it are quite good; the worst parts of it are good enough, IMAO, to actually be on television.

As much as I admire a lot of fan films there's not one besides WEAT I've seen that you can actually say that about - the best fall down in one area or another, and my personal bias is that it's most likely to be in the writing. DS9Sega has a good thread going about addressing a lot of the shortcomings in fan films that I believe is currently focusing really nicely on camera angles and editing.
This pretty much echoes my own feelings. For the sake of discussion if we break a production into three categories, writing, acting and production standards, even the best fan films will come up short in one area or another. I agree that WEAT is the only one I've seen that measures up to professional standards in all three areas.

Not to pick on anyone, but just as examples, while Exeter is an outstanding effort there are places where some of the editing just goes "clunk". There are also a couple of acting performances that don't quite get there either. While Intrepid's writing, acting and video production quality are as good as anything out there, they acknowledge that they have had sound quality issues at times.

There's really no argument that a good script is a sine quo non for a successful project. However, as consumers, we are accustomed to the professional standards of shows we see every night on network and cable productions. The talent pool is incredibly deep in the professional world and even the worst shows will meet standards for acting and production values that if you think about it are incredibly high. You just don't see jump cuts or edits that cross the axis in professionally produced shows. While some actors are better than others, there aren't many times that you see a performance that really spoils a show or makes you suspend your disbelief. But to keep that in perspective remember that the people who make that happen are well trained in an incredibly competitive environment. Trying to match that kind of talent in a volunteer production is so difficult that it's amazing anyone even comes close. It's like comparing a full on Broadway play to community theater.

I know as someone who's been involved in an audio project just how difficult it is to produce a quality project in that medium. Throw in the video aspect and all that entails (SFX, Lightning, Camera Work, Editing, etc) along with the extra talent demands leads me to believe that anyone who tries it is borderline insane, or will be that way at the end of the process.

However, as someone who has gotten a lot of enjoyment out of any number of fan produced projects I'm well pleased that there are people willing to take on the challenge, and at times do it very well.
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Old February 22 2011, 10:06 PM   #947
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Re: Whatever happened to Starship Exeter?

Our actors in Polaris are all absolute gods, BTW.
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Old February 22 2011, 10:29 PM   #948
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Re: Whatever happened to Starship Exeter?

Dennis wrote: View Post
I find the occasionally bruited about idea of "fan film awards" loathsome in every respect.
Amen.

Dennis wrote: View Post
There are groups that start out making fan films, acquire experience and a network of folks who are dedicated to the projects and then start interacting with other independent film makers...and eventually move on to projects in which they have more expansive creators' rights and control.
There comes an interesting problem once you cross that line, though. Once you start making money, typically your "free" fan-film labor stops becoming as free, and the economies of scale change radically.

MikeH92467 wrote: View Post
This pretty much echoes my own feelings. For the sake of discussion if we break a production into three categories, writing, acting and production standards, even the best fan films will come up short in one area or another. I agree that WEAT is the only one I've seen that measures up to professional standards in all three areas.
Personally, I find that WEAT falls down on the writing leg of that particular triad. The story is a puzzle-box gimmick that isn't even thought through logically.
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Old February 22 2011, 10:45 PM   #949
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Re: Whatever happened to Starship Exeter?

I could point out at least a dozen problems with every single piece of video Intrepid has released, from the writing, the editing, the acting, etc, etc, etc. I could also point out a multitude of problems in our production process (which continue to frustrate me to this day). While I'd agree sound is by far our biggest stumbling block, I'd be an arrogant fool not to see the numerous other issues in our efforts.

And yeah, quite a few of those problems fall directly at my door.
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Old February 22 2011, 11:46 PM   #950
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Re: Whatever happened to Starship Exeter?

MikeH92467 wrote: View Post
Not to pick on anyone, but just as examples, while Exeter is an outstanding effort there are places where some of the editing just goes "clunk".
Which production are you referring to, The Savage Empire, or The Tressaurian Intersection?

It's been too long since I've sat through The Savage Empire to comment on it, but in what's been released to date in the The Tressaurian Intersection, I can see only minor problems in its editing.

Can you list specific examples of the editing going "clunk" in The Tressaurian Intersection?


DS9Sega wrote: View Post
Personally, I find that WEAT falls down on the writing leg of that particular triad. The story is a puzzle-box gimmick that isn't even thought through logically.
I agree with this, and one example is that there is no answer to the question that if Sulu has gone half-mad, why is Alana so sane?

To appreciate WEAT, we have to gloss over its problems.

Many, many professional science fiction productions suffer from the need to gloss over their problems to be able to appreciate their virtues.
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Old February 23 2011, 12:04 AM   #951
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Re: Whatever happened to Starship Exeter?

MikeH92467 wrote: View Post
This pretty much echoes my own feelings. For the sake of discussion if we break a production into three categories, writing, acting and production standards, even the best fan films will come up short in one area or another. I agree that WEAT is the only one I've seen that measures up to professional standards in all three areas.
Personally, I find that WEAT falls down on the writing leg of that particular triad. The story is a puzzle-box gimmick that isn't even thought through logically.[/QUOTE]

To be fair, I think a lot of weekly television writing would fall into that category. The more times we watch any production (pro or fan based) the problems become more obvious. WEAT held up extremely well on first viewing for me as a fan and I think that's a pretty fair standard. YMMV.

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
MikeH92467 wrote: View Post
Not to pick on anyone, but just as examples, while Exeter is an outstanding effort there are places where some of the editing just goes "clunk".
Which production are you referring to, The Savage Empire, or The Tressaurian Intersection?

It's been too long since I've sat through The Savage Empire to comment on it, but in what's been released to date in the The Tressaurian Intersection, I can see only minor problems in its editing.

Can you list specific examples of the editing going "clunk" in The Tressaurian Intersection?
I was referring to TTI and there is nothing serious. Just that there were a few spots on the bridge where the transitions weren't quite as smooth as I would expect. There were a couple of spots where it was obvious that everyone had to either freeze or resume their same positions for camera changes and a couple of spots where the transitions were just a bit slow. Again, nothing serious and those are things that caught my attention and again, everyone is going to view any program with a different eye.

DS9Sega wrote: View Post
Personally, I find that WEAT falls down on the writing leg of that particular triad. The story is a puzzle-box gimmick that isn't even thought through logically.
I agree with this, and one example is that there is no answer to the question that if Sulu has gone half-mad, why is Alana so sane?

To appreciate WEAT, we have to gloss over its problems.

Many, many professional science fiction productions suffer from the need to gloss over their problems to be able to appreciate their virtues.
Again, to me the writing on WEAT was adequate and the problems were not so different from what any weekly episode of just about any series would have. I am a very big fan of TTI and Intrepid and any criticisms are simply meant to point out the difficulties of making them, not as any criticism of anyone's skill, effort or dedication.

Last edited by MikeH92467; February 23 2011 at 12:14 AM.
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Old February 23 2011, 12:47 AM   #952
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Re: Whatever happened to Starship Exeter?

DS9Sega wrote:
The story is a puzzle-box gimmick that isn't even thought through logically.
MikeH92467 wrote: View Post
...the problems were not so different from what any weekly episode of just about any series would have.
Those two observations aren't in contradiction, and I'd agree with both - well, I'd substitute "might" for "would" but that's quibbling.
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Old February 23 2011, 05:20 AM   #953
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Re: Whatever happened to Starship Exeter?

Sticking my nose in here, but on the story front, I really don't think all the professional episodes always stand up either. It's only because they define cannon that people find a way to make them consistent with it. Plenty of the pro stories are internally inconsistent also.

I find many of the fan films may have less smooth writing and technical standards, but for me, the love goes a long way. Some have serious problems with the acting, though. I admit that part of the joy of viewing (and I speak only as an avid viewer, I can't imagine the circumstances that would lead me to make a fan film) is the intimate feeling you get watching it. It gives it a campfire story quality no pro show can match.
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Old February 23 2011, 10:15 AM   #954
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Re: Whatever happened to Starship Exeter?

MikeH92467 wrote: View Post
Not to pick on anyone, but just as examples, while Exeter is an outstanding effort there are places where some of the editing just goes "clunk". There are also a couple of acting performances that don't quite get there either. While Intrepid's writing, acting and video production quality are as good as anything out there, they acknowledge that they have had sound quality issues at times.
MikeH92467 wrote: View Post
I was referring to TTI and there is nothing serious. Just that there were a few spots on the bridge where the transitions weren't quite as smooth as I would expect. There were a couple of spots where it was obvious that everyone had to either freeze or resume their same positions for camera changes and a couple of spots where the transitions were just a bit slow. Again, nothing serious and those are things that caught my attention and again, everyone is going to view any program with a different eye.
If anything the problem with Exeter was a lack of sufficient coverage in a lot of scenes, which means jumping through editing hoops to make everything fit together. I'm in the midst of Act 4 right now and, trust me, the biggest problem is almost never continuity when hooking up shots, but rather simply not having enough shots or not enough takes of those shots. I actually went back to previous acts raw footage (unused takes) to find reaction shots because there weren't enough for what the edit requires.

MikeH92467 wrote: View Post
DS9Sega wrote: View Post
Personally, I find that WEAT falls down on the writing leg of that particular triad. The story is a puzzle-box gimmick that isn't even thought through logically.
I agree with this, and one example is that there is no answer to the question that if Sulu has gone half-mad, why is Alana so sane?
My problem is more fundamental than that: it's a puzzle-box only because there's only one possible resolution, and there is no decision to be made which will make any difference except how long to delay the inevitable. As such, it's just a vehicle for histrionics. If Kirk had been put in a position where he was risking his ship and crew on the slim chance of saving one person, then that would have fixed it. As is, there's no changing the outcome ergo there's no drama except of the "melo" variety.
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Old February 23 2011, 03:19 PM   #955
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Re: Whatever happened to Starship Exeter?

I don't disagree with that, and it's a pretty good example of why I don't think that fan films are serious competition on the professional awards level (which I think is where this particular tangent started out). OTOH, what you're pointing out is a bad habit of a lot of episodic television including some of the most popular Star Trek episodes (say, "Yesterday's Enterprise" - yeah, on a logical level Picard might have a choice to make, but there's actually never any question where the story will end up because he has only one choice that gets us back to status quo). If anything, WEAT's writer imitates too well what "the Franchise" gets away with too often. I don't think any of this is inconsistent with my own impression that the least successful aspects of WEAT are as good as some stuff that's produced by Hollywood for commercial television...and there are things about it that I like better than some of what I see on the tube.

On the general subject of what Trek "gets away with," Dave Bischoff remarked to me years ago that Star Trek has become not so much either "modern mythology" or the invention of novel stories as it has become a series of "folk tales:" we know all the characters, we know how the stories go and how they end, they've been told to us over and over...but we want someone to tell them again, someone who tells them good.
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Old February 23 2011, 07:49 PM   #956
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Re: Whatever happened to Starship Exeter?

DS9Sega wrote: View Post
My problem is more fundamental than that: it's a puzzle-box only because there's only one possible resolution, and there is no decision to be made which will make any difference except how long to delay the inevitable. As such, it's just a vehicle for histrionics. If Kirk had been put in a position where he was risking his ship and crew on the slim chance of saving one person, then that would have fixed it. As is, there's no changing the outcome ergo there's no drama except of the "melo" variety.
That's the unfortunate problem with the majority of the NV/PII fanisodes is that the stories often don't hinge on Kirk driving the action or making the tough decisions, and focus more on the guest stars.

In WEAT's case, George Takei.
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Old February 23 2011, 08:34 PM   #957
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Re: Whatever happened to Starship Exeter?

OH ENOUGH OF YOUR THEORIES THAT THING IS HEADING RIGHT TO THE HEART OF OUR GALAXY
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Old February 23 2011, 09:52 PM   #958
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Re: Whatever happened to Starship Exeter?

Lord Garth, FOI wrote: View Post
OH ENOUGH OF YOUR THEORIES THAT THING IS HEADING RIGHT TO THE HEART OF OUR GALAXY
Well, the first thing we're gonna do is get you back to the Enterprise...
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Old February 24 2011, 08:15 AM   #959
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Re: Whatever happened to Starship Exeter?

Since when did this thread suddenly become a re-enactment of The Doomsday Machine?
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Old February 24 2011, 03:53 PM   #960
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Re: Whatever happened to Starship Exeter?

Expo67 wrote: View Post
Since when did this thread suddenly become a re-enactment of The Doomsday Machine?
Ever since TTI contained the line, "Look at that!"
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