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Fan Productions Creating our own Trek canon!

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Old March 26 2014, 03:13 AM   #1
OpenMaw's Avatar
Location: Everett, Washington
U.S.S. Vixen and other long "lost" fan-film history.

"Space... The Endless Frontier. It's protection is the mission of the starship Vixen. A five year assignment to patrol the galaxy. To defend the citizens of the United Federation. To courageously journey where no one has gone before."
- Captain David Billingsly. 2247.

It's almost painful to look at these images now.

For all those projects out there that succeed, there are many more that for better or worse... fail.

Back in 2003 I had an idea for an animated Star Trek series based on the exploits of a crew aboard a smaller, bulkier ship patrolling the fringe of space. Before Captain Kirk, and before the USS Enterprise had become legends. Back when space was full of mystery, wonder, and excitement.

A few months after toying with the idea, I met Jim Champlin. He was working on a project called "Star Trek : Constellation." It was an ambitious project, initially pitched as a "what if there was a movie in the 1950's called Star Trek?" It followed the exploits of a young Captain Matthew Decker aboard a Lancaster Class USS Constellation. The film dealt with Klingons, some of the backdrop around the Federation and Klingon relations, Axanar, a huge all out action-adventure on an alien planet, and a lot of love for the golden age of science fiction. (Tips of the hat to Forbidden Planet abound. )

(Years later, with the help of Jim and friends, I built up a fairly accurate version of what Constellation was intended to look like)

Of course, creating a live action film is no small undertaking. You need set designers, construction crews, location and talent scouting, people with camera and lighting experience, extras, actors... A veritable army of people to create something of high quality. That was the aim then.

So at the time, while the loftier and harder-to-reach goal of creating an all out theatrical quality Star Trek film was still in it's early stages, our little group started working on converting my Vixen idea into a genuine series set within that same "storyverse." Two years after the events of the film.

We produced one episode entitled "Coyotes and Vixens" of which those blurry, low-res, stills are from. It suffers from being quite awful. The reasons are many: lack of experience, lack of patience, and lack of understanding. We did not talent scout voice work at all, it was all done by friends and family, and it shows. The editing was all done within Windows Movie Maker, which if anyone remembers what it was like in those days, it crashed, and crashed, and crashed...

So, we rushed through and completed the one episode, it went out and enjoyed almost no success. No surprise in hindsight. The episode was poorly written, with every idea being underdeveloped, and poorly realized. A lot of that was my fault. I was very young, and impatient at the time. I wrote the script myself, I edited the entire thing myself, and I (poorly) animated the entire thing in a program called Milkshape 3D. (For those who don't know, it's a low-poly 3D animation package with no camera system, no ability to light, no animated textures. It's as unorthodox a method as any.)

So, we recouped and decided to rework everything. We came up with a second story called "Tall Ship." Essentially a ghost story with ties to Star Trek history. We then spent roughly a year in development Hell writing, rewriting, reworking, redesigning, and unfortunately getting worn out with the project. We had great ideas, we loved Vixen, we loved Trek, but it was apparent at that time things were in trouble.

Not long after that Enterprise was cancelled, and with it, our last bit of energy went too. We were honestly teary eyed that day. It felt like a funeral. We were no fans of Enterprise, but we all pretty much agreed that Star Trek was dead. Things actually became quite hostile between the small group as we lost our way completely. Which was unfortunate. We have since mended relations. Still, It was a very depressing time.

Constellation became something of a comic/manga concept, and then to my knowledge faded out completely to make way for other projects. Jim and I have communicated on and off over the years, and I have hoped that we could, now that we're both older, and wiser... Well, you know how it is with those old flames.

Vixen is my baby. The characters we developed, the design, the era. I love it all. In the words of a certain Romulan from an episode of Next Generation.... "Perhaps... One day."

Constitution and Vixen side-by-side.

Orthographic designs are based on/borrowed from the works of captshade

Original Lancaster Class by Masao Okazaki

I hope this has been insightful and enjoyable. This thread may turn into something more going forward. We shall see.
"Paradise protests too much." SFDebris
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Old March 26 2014, 03:47 AM   #2
Fleet Captain
Location: New York, New York
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Re: U.S.S. Vixen and other long "lost" fan-film history.

As I understand this post, you film is not on You Tube, except the little snip you linked to. Therefore, I am going to post this as a film I can't offer a way to see at Star Trek Reviewed. You are (B) here:
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Old March 26 2014, 03:48 AM   #3
Captain Shade
Lieutenant Commander
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Location: Spokane, WA
Re: U.S.S. Vixen and other long "lost" fan-film history.

Looks groovie to me.
Wondrous and Adorable Nyssa's Knight-Errant Regiment
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Old March 28 2014, 05:49 PM   #4
OpenMaw's Avatar
Location: Everett, Washington
Re: U.S.S. Vixen and other long "lost" fan-film history.

Barbreader wrote: View Post
As I understand this post, you film is not on You Tube, except the little snip you linked to. Therefore, I am going to post this as a film I can't offer a way to see at Star Trek Reviewed. You are (B) here:
Thanks! And yes, at this time the episode is not available anywhere. It was some years ago, but I decided to take it down. I'm contemplating a remake of it, fleshing out all the ideas and doing it with a much higher fidelity.

I've been working on giving Vixen an updated model. At this stage it's an almost totally new Vixen!

The 3D views are rendered in flat-shade. The ortho views are rendered with smooth-shading, and it's all grouped up so it looks a little off right now. Once all the modeling is done, everything will be grouped properly and look much more tidy.
"Paradise protests too much." SFDebris
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Old March 29 2014, 02:54 PM   #5
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Location: Rutland UK
Re: U.S.S. Vixen and other long "lost" fan-film history.

My favourite lost fan film that I followed religiously was 'Star Trek: Das Vermachtnis [The Legacy]' from Germany - it was to be a 90min feature film; Denise Crosby visited the set in Trekkies 2.

This was planned to be a full-blown crossover between The Original Series and The Next Generation, as you can see the production values were STUNNING with many proper sets, not just green screen. Enterprise-D bridge, Klingon ship and TNG Shuttle included.

This was all filmed however the director believes 'by the Grace of God' the film will never be finished.

i'm hoping all the raw footage was kept so one day it can be picked up like Yorktown: A Time To Heal.

Here's some footage at around 2.52
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constellation, fan film, machinima, resurrection, vixen

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