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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old March 4 2013, 02:18 PM   #46
cardinal biggles
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Re: Who were the main characters?

There's an anecdote about the production of Star Trek IV that perfectly illustrates this background actor/extra vs. day player distinction.

From the Memory Alpha article on ST4:

In an interview with about the scene with Koenig and Nichols asking about the location of the naval base, Layla Sarakalo stated that she approached the assistant director about appearing with the other extras and was told not to answer Koenig's and Nichols' questions. To the annoyance of the other extras, she did answer them and had to be inducted into the Screen Actors' Guild as a result, as the production crew found the line too amusing to be cut out.
"They quickly settled on the slender island at the head of the bay, which they called 'Mannahatta', after an old Indian word thought by some to mean 'island of hills', and by others 'place of general inebriation'."
—New York: A Documentary Film
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Old March 4 2013, 04:58 PM   #47
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Re: Who were the main characters?

Regardless, though, characters like Sulu, Uhura, and Chekov -- even Chapel and Rand -- were clearly not extras by any definition of the word.

They were not the stars and I would argue were not "main characters," but they were continuing characters who were regularly written into the script with specific dialogue. Not just some random line a director made up on the set. Sometimes it was just the de rigueur stuff like "hailing frequencies open, sir" and sometimes it was even was more meaty stuff, like Sulu in "The Naked Time" or Uhura in "Mirror, Mirror."

Were they stars or main characters? No. But they were clearly regular supporting characters who could, in no reasonable use of the term, be classified as extras.
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Old March 5 2013, 01:03 AM   #48
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Re: Who were the main characters?

As a little kid watching Star Trek reruns in the 1970s, I assumed that Kirk, Spock, and McCoy were the main characters and Scotty, Uhura, Sulu, Chekov, and Chapel were subordinate characters, as David Gerrold referred to them in "The World of Star Trek."

However, I did expect to see those subordinate characters each episode, at least if their position was used. I couldn't figure out why they paid an actor to be helmsman Hansen or DePaul when they could use Sulu, or why DeSalle beamed down to Omicron radiation spore world instead of Scotty or took command over Uhura in "Catspaw."

I didn't have to get much older, though, before I realized that it would have been stupid for Kirk to beam down with Yeoman Rand instead of a psychologist in "Dagger of the Mind," or that a sociologist like Lindstrom was necessary to the "Return of the Archons" landing party in a way that Sulu was not.

I guess "semiregular" may be the best term technically for the original poster in describing these characters, though you're not wrong as long as you don't call them equal to the three stars or just background characters with lines.
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Old March 5 2013, 02:35 AM   #49
Location: Los Angeles
Re: Who were the main characters?

60s opening credits didn't necessarily include all the long-term contracted actors. e.g. Hayden Rorke and Bill Daily were in the end credits of I Dream of Jeannie even though they appeared in every single episode.

The first season Trek writer's bible says:

"Principal Characters"

James T. Kirk
Mister spock

"Other Running Characters"

Yeoman Janice Rand
Doctor Leonard "Bones" McCoy
Lieutenant Uhura
Engineering Officer Scott

The second season Trek bible says:

Captain James T. Kirk
Mister Spock
Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy

"other running characters"

Engineering Officer Scott
Lieutenant Uhura
Nurse Christine Chapel
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Old March 19 2013, 10:08 PM   #50
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Re: Who were the main characters?

There really isn't much of an official distinction going on between extras and those with one line
Er... no, it's a very explicit distinction, consisting of very rigidly defined job descriptions as established in the pay schedule of SAG/AFTRA in the US, and BAFTA in the UK, and their equivalent unions/guilds/orgs in various nations of the world.

The pay schedules of these groups provide what constitutes the legal definition and criteria of what a particular type of performing job entails, for purposes of everything from payroll, to one's placement in the opening/closing credits of a film or television series, to one's entitlement to residuals, and much, much more. It lays out exact distinctions between a Series Regular, a Recurring Character, a Day Player, an Extra, etc, etc.

The notion that one could get a film or television degree of any kind, without learning about these most basic and fundamental definitions, which must be followed at every level within the industry, is pretty much all the evidence one needs that one has received a very piss-poor education, and should seek some form of legal remedy that involves compensation.
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