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Old February 21 2013, 06:06 AM   #31
Pavonis
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Re: Direct-to-DVD Trek movies?

Why would a streaming format have different budgetary issues than direct-to-DVD? It's not like Netflix will arbitrarily raise their prices to cover a show like Trek. The last time they tried to change their pricing and product, they took so much flak they reversed their decision.

Sci-fi is expensive, no matter what. Spacey's show on Netflix is set in the present day, so no custom made costuming needed - off-the-rack suits and dresses are feasible. No particularly grand special effects are needed for it - how often do people "beam" in and out of D.C.? The sets will be offices and apartments, not spaceship interiors with wildly futuristic technology all over the place.
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Old February 21 2013, 05:58 PM   #32
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Re: Direct-to-DVD Trek movies?

dub wrote: View Post
Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
Star Trek is a poster child for exactly the nichey sort of show that can't find a home on traditional TV anymore, but is custom made for subscription streaming.
I can see it now...a new Trek reality show, "Keeping Up with the Cardassians" -- the flagship series of the new United Paramount Intergalactic Streaming Service (aka UPISS).


That's the BEST thing I've read around here in a while!

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Old February 22 2013, 01:56 AM   #33
Temis the Vorta
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Re: Direct-to-DVD Trek movies?

Why would a streaming format have different budgetary issues than direct-to-DVD?
Direct to DVD is a dying format for one thing, so why invest in it? Also, you have the issues of creating physical media and the costs associated with that. And then where do you sell it? Wal-Mart? Blockbuster is gone. But Netflix is going gangbusters. Why not just sell your product where the customers are?

Netflix doesn't have to convince Wal-Mart to stock its product - it has an in-house database of people who watch Star Trek that it can market to, at minimal cost - just send an email or whatever. Convincing retailers to stock a product is a very pricey proposition compared with what Netflix is doing. Having direct access to customers is a huge benefit vs. having to partner with a brick & mortar store for customers.

I'm discounting the notion of selling DVDs online because if you have the option of streaming, that's obviously superior vs having to press DVDs, pay postage and pay minimum wage (but American minimum wage) workers to ship the stuff out.

If DVD were not a dying format with marketing/distribution drawbacks compared with Netflix, then I wouldn't object to that idea, but its time is past. It's not the budget really so much as, Star Trek needs to be associated with the future, not the past. And from Netflix or Amazon's perspective, Star Trek should be intensely attractive - it's just the brand they need right now, to make a splash and position themselves as king of the hill vs the other guy.

And on top of that, there's no law that says Netflix can't burn some DVDs and send them out to people who insist. It's more expensive for them than streaming, but it's not a deal-breaker. House of Cards might end up on DVD someday- it's a dying format, but not dead yet.

House of Cards is $100M for two 13-episode seasons, not at all a cheap series just because it is set in modern-day. That budget could cover a Star Trek series, especially if someone were thinking about clever ways to keep the budget down, such as setting the action on an Earth colony under attack by mysterious and largely unseen aliens.

Just having heroes in Starfleet uniforms, battling impossible odds and making flowery speeches, goes a long way towards being Trekkish. Doesn't sound pricey to me.

Last edited by Temis the Vorta; February 22 2013 at 02:26 AM.
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Old February 25 2013, 05:47 AM   #34
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Re: Direct-to-DVD Trek movies?

Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
Direct to DVD is a dying format for one thing, so why invest in it? Also, you have the issues of creating physical media and the costs associated with that. And then where do you sell it? Wal-Mart? Blockbuster is gone. But Netflix is going gangbusters. Why not just sell your product where the customers are?
TNG was only financially viable because Paramount pre-sold the international rights for video sell-thru - and made the overseas TV networks wait a year before being allowed to air episodes.

Here in Australia, DVD is still doing well, and gradually being taken over by Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D, but we have nothing like Netflix, as far as I know. Update: yep, Aussies have to "bootleg" it:
http://mixednuts.net.au/netflix-in-a...-the-easy-way/

So any direct-to-Netflix ST product would still have to be available in DVD or Blu-Ray form, at least for some years to come.

Just having heroes in Starfleet uniforms, battling impossible odds and making flowery speeches, goes a long way towards being Trekkish. Doesn't sound pricey to me.
????

No matter the format, most ST fans will still expect state-of-the-art SPFX.

Sounds like you're hanging out until the three hours of extra footage in which characters stand around debating the rescue of the Andorian ambassador from the surface of Sylax IV. Until you just wish everyone was dead. ["The Onion"]
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Old February 25 2013, 05:52 AM   #35
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Re: Direct-to-DVD Trek movies?

Therin of Andor wrote: View Post
I guess Orci and Kurtzman are also full of hot air when they talk about what huge fans they are?
These are the writers that brought us Transformers with wrecking-ball testicles and lines like "Jew-fro". Just because they watched and liked the show doesn't mean they know how to write for it.

Therin of Andor wrote: View Post
How many's "a lot"? Because it's my impression that most ST fans were very happy with JJ's movie.
One of the tragic aspects of Trek fandom is their tendency to eat up whatever is given to them, which is part of what led to the franchise dying in the first place. Doesn't mean they don't bitch about it online.
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Old February 25 2013, 06:16 AM   #36
Therin of Andor
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Re: Direct-to-DVD Trek movies?

mos6507 wrote: View Post
One of the tragic aspects of Trek fandom is their tendency to eat up whatever is given to them, which is part of what led to the franchise dying in the first place.
I don't recall too many US fans "eating up" a film called "Nemesis". They went to see the opening weekend of "Maid in Manhattan" instead. Nor did they "eat up" "Enterprise".

Conversely, most ST fans ate up ST 2009. In fact, so did Leonard Nimoy.

Doesn't mean they don't bitch about it online
About ST 2009? A very tiny percentage.
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Old February 25 2013, 03:53 PM   #37
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Re: Direct-to-DVD Trek movies?

mos6507 wrote: View Post
Therin of Andor wrote: View Post
I guess Orci and Kurtzman are also full of hot air when they talk about what huge fans they are?
These are the writers that brought us Transformers with wrecking-ball testicles and lines like "Jew-fro". Just because they watched and liked the show doesn't mean they know how to write for it.
Because the holy pure Trek writers of the past only ever wrote high-brow gold? Hell, even IN Star Trek I might as well point to "Spock's Brain", "Rascals", "Sub Rosa" or "Take Me Out to the Holosuite" and declare all other works by those writers and producers to be utter garbage.
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Old February 25 2013, 08:06 PM   #38
Temis the Vorta
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Re: Direct-to-DVD Trek movies?

TNG was only financially viable because Paramount pre-sold the international rights for video sell-thru - and made the overseas TV networks wait a year before being allowed to air episodes.
Plus there was a realistic chance of syndication revenue, and a lot less competition from cable and the internet.

Everything's changed too much for the TNG system to ever work again. But there are all new opportunities that could work instead, it just takes someone with the vision and guts to take a chance.

No matter the format, most ST fans will still expect state-of-the-art SPFX.
When the story remands it, the SFX should not be shabby. I'm proposing that the premise be written so that SFX is not demanded so often that it breaks the budget. And I'm optimistic that viewers will appreciate strong writing and acting enough that they won't even realize they're not seeing eye-candy every ten minutes.

Any fans who absolutely require a constant stream of pricey eye-candy are going to have to be happy with movies every three years because that's the format that can pay for the eye-candy. A TV series requires different assumptions, and probably will have a different audience. There will be movie fans, TV/streaming fans and a subset of both groups who appreciate both.

I expect the next TV series to be strikingly different from the movies, since movies and TV are splitting off even more completely into different animals. The future of movies is The Avengers; the future of TV is House of Cards. Star Trek is lucky in being flexible enough to adapt to both.

So any direct-to-Netflix ST product would still have to be available in DVD or Blu-Ray form, at least for some years to come.
Sure why not transfer it in every format that will make money, for as long as that format makes money? But it's not the primary format, that is, it's not how Roberto Orci is going to sell Les Moonves on doing a series in the first place.
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Old February 26 2013, 02:52 AM   #39
Therin of Andor
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Re: Direct-to-DVD Trek movies?

Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
But there are all new opportunities that could work instead, it just takes someone with the vision and guts to take a chance.
I'm sure CBS has very good reasons not to support Netflix with original Star Trek movies. (Unless CBS has shares in Netflix?) And, as I said, Netflix is not an international phenomenon - and external sales have been an essential part of what makes ST viable.

Similarly, in the 60s NBC had financial interests in the then-fledgling color TV industry, hence TOS's use of primary colours to sell TVs.

The model Paramount used with TNG pre-sold the international rights to companies like CIC-Taft, which was the Australian home video arm of Paramount Australia.

I really don't know how you envisage a ST that uses minimal SPFX - and whether much of the fanbase are going to be riveted to a ST series with scripts deliberately written to require little in the way of alien makeups and costuming, expensive sets and things that need CGI work. I also seem to recall lots of fans complaining any time ST scheduled a "bottle show" to save money.

"Vision and guts" is fine, but cheapened-down ST is going to be seen for what it is.
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Old February 26 2013, 03:19 AM   #40
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Re: Direct-to-DVD Trek movies?

I'd love to see Direct to DVD stuff with real Star Trek. Written by people who didn't write Transformers, and in the real universe. Give the budget of a TV episode (or maybe two) and bring some of the actors in (although perferably don't have the writers/producers behind ENT involved, I actually liked a lot of what I saw of ENT, but it was a pretty weak series). Since JJ killed the movie (and probably TV) aspects of Trek, I'd like to see some real live action trek someday. An official Trek live action project with decent actors, a story not written by idiots, and without lensflares would be a dream come true. Unfortunately, at this point, I might as well wish for Godzilla to rise out of the ocean and eat JJ Abrams. Live action Trek now exists for the same reason Transformers movies get made. JJ's Trek is mindless, poorly written action movies with a Star Trek skin on top, and its what live action Trek will stay, since (like Transformers) it makes money, even if a 5 year old could write/direct a better trek movie.
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Old February 26 2013, 04:05 AM   #41
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Re: Direct-to-DVD Trek movies?

"I really don't know how you envisage a ST that uses minimal SPFX"

B5 managed to do SF on the cheap in the relative dark-ages of CG. How much do you think it would cost to do B5 with today's computers? You could probably have a render-farm with 1/10th or fewer computers than were required back in the day. I understand perhaps the main cost of doing FX is manpower, but still, the fact that you have Trek fan films that employ virtual sets and have space shots that are actually better than the standard def stuff we saw in the TNG era should tell you that it doesn't have to cost what you think it has to cost.

I don't know where all the money goes with these big-budget things, but I can tell you that the money just isn't being spent wisely. It's being put into rendering details that are, for the most part, superfluous, doing things digitally that could have been done through compositing live action (like water or blades of grass). Trying to do 3D dolly shots in all virtual alien environments that used to be done with simple 2D matte paintings. All these things are done purely because they can, for the novelty-factor and the bragging rights, not because they are the most cost-effective, but they have the net effect of requiring an army of technicians rather than a small crack team. There is a point of diminishing returns as far as adding more and more visual detail. Because we don't have a lot of modern reference points for things being done on the cheap, one can only speculate, but I believe that you can maybe get to 80% of an optimal entertainment experience with a low budget as you could by spending 10X more to get to 100%.

If you want to say that Trek is still a tired franchise and should only be trotted out as big-budget tentpole films, fine, but I just think the budget argument is bogus.
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Old February 26 2013, 04:30 AM   #42
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Re: Direct-to-DVD Trek movies?

mos6507 wrote: View Post
B5 managed to do SF on the cheap in the relative dark-ages of CG.
Gee, maybe that's why I never became a "Babylon 5" fan?
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Old February 26 2013, 04:35 AM   #43
Temis the Vorta
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Re: Direct-to-DVD Trek movies?

I'm sure CBS has very good reasons not to support Netflix with original Star Trek movies
CBS wouldn't be able to anyway, since Paramount has the movie rights. Paramount has no motive to cheapen their brand with anything but first run tentpole movies that make big profits.

CBS does has a motive to work with Netflix or Amazon on TV series in genres that couldn't survive on broadcast and may not appeal to premium cable, but might thrive on streaming. That motive is that the TV business is changing and smart companies need to get out in front of that change by figuring out how they are going to stay in business when the current ad supported TV system vanishes or evolves beyond recognition.

CBS is partnering with Amazon to do a test with Under the Dome, and it's no surprise that that is a sci fi series, just the type that struggles on broadcast but could thrive on streaming.

And, as I said, Netflix is not an international phenomenon - and external sales have been an essential part of what makes ST viable.
The TV industry is evolving so much that what was true in the past is irrelevant. Netflix came up with $100m for 26 episodes of House of Cards, so they don't need to be international to afford pricey original series as long as their subscribers value it. According to Netflix, that experiment was a success (though the real test will come in April when they release their financials since they aren't providing details now.)

Keep in mind that in a subscription based service, one viewer is worth more than in an ad-based system, where Star Trek has always been. A Netflix Star Trek series could justify its existence with a smaller audience than on broadcast.

Which is okay because the TV business is headed for greater niche-ification, where shows need to cater to the specific tastes of subscribers anyway. It's the opposite trend from movies, which is all about blanding everything down to broad tastes (which is what kirk55555 is talking about.) the movies aren't going to be any different from what we're seeing now, but a TV series could be distinctly different in its approach.

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Old February 26 2013, 08:45 AM   #44
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Re: Direct-to-DVD Trek movies?

Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
I'm sure CBS has very good reasons not to support Netflix with original Star Trek movies
CBS wouldn't be able to anyway, since Paramount has the movie rights. Paramount has no motive to cheapen their brand with anything but first run tentpole movies that make big profits.
But CBS can make episodes. You were talking about Netflix for a TV series, were you not?

The TV industry is evolving so much that what was true in the past is irrelevant.
No matter what they decide to do within USA, they still need to consider their international markets. Everyone predicted Australia to follow USA's lead with cable TV, albeit about a decade behind, but we didn't really. Our population is too small.

Netflix came up with $100m for 26 episodes of House of Cards, so they don't need to be international to afford pricey original series as long as their subscribers value it. According to Netflix, that experiment was a success (though the real test will come in April when they release their financials since they aren't providing details now.)
http://thecheapshot.com.au/tv-review-house-of-cards/

Ummm, one quick glance: "House of Cards" doesn't appear to be science fiction, by the look of those clothes and that set. $100m wouldn't go that far starting up a new ST series.

Keep in mind that in a subscription based service, one viewer is worth more than in an ad-based system, where Star Trek has always been. A Netflix Star Trek series could justify its existence with a smaller audience than on broadcast.
Okay, be greedy. Keep "Star Trek" in the USA.

but a TV series could be distinctly different in its approach.
Sure: and Majel Barrett wanted Gene Roddenberry to write a Mrs Troi sitcom, no SPFX needed, set on Earth, and guest-starring Marina Sirtis and perhaps Michael Dorn. She was serious.

But would that be Star Trekky enough for most fans? I doubt it.
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Old February 26 2013, 09:03 AM   #45
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Re: Direct-to-DVD Trek movies?

Therin of Andor wrote: View Post
Majel Barrett wanted Gene Roddenberry to write a Mrs Troi sitcom, no SPFX needed, set on Earth, and guest-starring Marina Sirtis and perhaps Michael Dorn. She was serious.

But would that be Star Trekky enough for most fans? I doubt it.
(It also would have guest starred Majel as her mother, of course.)

I would watch it, but I'm weird that way. It would need to have natural comedic moments within the Trek universe rather than turning the Trek universe into an a farce. There are plenty of examples of humor within Trek that struck the right chord.

The problem with the TNG-era shows is each one was hyped as breaking the mold, but none of them really fell that far from the tree. I guess DS9 came the closest, but I found the characters patently unlikeable, starting with Avery Brooks' robotic attempt at Shakespearean delivery. So I don't buy the idea that everything that could be tried, has been tried.

There are still other ways to refresh the franchise besides comic-bookizing it the way JJ did.
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