Franz Joseph Blueprints Revisited

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by ZapBrannigan, Mar 8, 2013.

  1. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Studio management and practices change over time. And this was in the first half of the 1970s, before Paramount woke up to the fact that STAR TREK would become a financial goldmine. There was a little window in there when the studio thought STAR TREK reruns would peter out and die soon. Franz Joseph was just very lucky to have such a good product and not be asked to pay any licensing fees on the blueprints.

    After that, when Paramount knew there was money to be made, Ballantine Books used a technicality to avoid legal hassles over the Technical Manual. The book itself never says Star Trek. The words "Star Trek" appear only on a separate card that slides out of a clear plastic pocket on the black slip-cover, which itself is not part of the book.

    This trick somehow evaded the licensing question because the book itself was just about "Star Fleet," and Paramount had not yet registered that as a trademark.
     
  2. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    This is all fascinating information I had no idea about after all these years. I, too, would love to read the entirety of the Matt Jefferies interview. His views at the time of FJ's work are rather illuminating.
     
  3. Marsden

    Marsden Commodore Commodore

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    I don't know if anyone is familiar with Star Fleet Battles, but it was mostly based on the Tech manual and had no agreement with Paramount until much later. The creator of the game actually got the license from Franz Joseph.

    I'm sure if Gene thought he could squeeze any money out of it, he would have demanded it, as is his right for intellectual property.

    Gene was the person who inserted the IDIC into ITITNB so he could sell them through his Lincoln Enterprises.

    BTW, I found the Tech manual in the library and borrowed it and poured over it. I loved it. I didn't even know it existed before that. I think the canon status is irrelevant as most things don't have any consistency between them, so I just enjoy what I like and don't worry about the rest.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2013
  4. Captain Rob

    Captain Rob Commodore Commodore

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    My theatre work experience began in 1983. So my knowledge of what went on with the film companies in the 70's is somewhat limited. However I have read up on and have seen documentaries on the motion picture industry. During the late 60's and 70's all of the major studios unerwent major changes including mergers/acquisitions. This was mainly due to the advent of smaller production companies that were separate from the studios. The "studio system" of film production that had been in place since the 20's basically collapsed.
    I supposed that the sudden profitability of a dormant property belonging to Paramount could have just slipped through the cracks. And Matt Jefferies' coments could be summed up as "Where's my cut?"
     
  5. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    You make it sound as if this were objectionable. How would you feel if somebody else were making a small or big fortune based on your design work and you don't get one meesly dime?

    Besides, I don't think your summary is correct. Matt Jefferies went to great lengths stretching whatever little budget Bob Justman allocated to set construction. And then, you see the Franz Joseph blueprints and suddenly a lot of these sets (e.g. auxiliary control room, emergency manual monitor, herbarium etc.) don't even seem to exist any longer, add to this that the studio sets were not reproduced accurately.
    How was he supposed to react: Enthusiastic excitement? :rolleyes:

    Bob
     
  6. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Good point. And when you study the blueprints FJ even discarded a lot of Jefferies' work such as the sets you mentioned. Hell, the ship FJ drew has similar shape to the ship we saw onscreen yet isn't a reproduction of it in so many ways yet they were promoted as "official."
     
  7. Marsden

    Marsden Commodore Commodore

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    I agree, if anyone did deserve "a cut" it was Matt Jefferies. I don't think his contract included such a cut because this kind of thing wasn't even thought of at the time.
     
  8. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    I said out, dammit!
    Don'tcha love it when somebody derisively says "Oh, he just did it for the money."
    Well, yeah! What do YOU go to work for?
     
  9. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    In a perfect world, the STAR TREK BLUEPRINTS and TECHNICAL MANUAL would have been authored by Matt Jeffries, working with a professional draftsman such as Franz Joseph. Then you'd have seen the Emergency Manual Monitor and all the rest, and there would be no bad vibes vis-a-vis giving credit where it was due.

    That would have been wonderful.
     
  10. SchwEnt

    SchwEnt Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    ^^^ Sure. But after FJ's work came out, and then the rest of the 70s onward when ST hit it big... why didn't MJ go ahead and do it?

    I'll accept his word as the creator. His would be the definitive, and he needn't be limited by actual production costs since it'd be only his illustrated designs, only limited by his imagination.

    Was it a matter of copyright and license fees and all that?

    Jefferies work would have been welcomed by fans, even if off-the-record in an unofficial capacity. He could have shown the whole Enterprise as he envisioned it.

    Why didn't he?
     
  11. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    ^As for why it never happened officially, possibly the knowledge that he'd never make as much money from it as FJ did, since those in charge had since
    realized what money spinners Treknical books and blueprints were and ensured they would get the lion's share of the profit.
     
  12. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Technically we'd have to ask him but unfortunately he had passed away. However, I do believe there are good reasons why he didn't:
    • If I recall correctly, Franz Joseph was unemployed at the time while Matt Jefferies was busy in the industry to make a living. As a matter of fact, Jeffries even worked for the TOS production in his spare time on the weekends. I'd say he just didn't have the time.
    • Where and how they wanted to shoot was the director's final decision. Again, I doubt Jefferies would have had the time to collect notes. More likely he would have had to do that at a later time and start from scratch
    • Franz Joseph made it easy on himself by just making the interiors of the Enterprise recognizable but not accurate. To make his deck plans accurate and to distinguish his work from Franz Joseph, Matt Jefferies would have had to compile production stills and re-examine film reels or early 1970's VCR video etc. Again it would have been a time- and cost-intensive research effort, then.
    • And even if he had these means, in trying to make "screen-accurate" deck plans of the Enterprise you constantly find yourself between a rock and a hard place, which I usually describe and illustrate in the "accurate" deck plan project I embarked upon. While something may be accurate it can also look like crap. Trying to resolve this dilemma (this weekend I intend to present the third revised version of the hangar deck) is extremely time-consuming and requires a huge amount of puzzling and trial and error until you arrive at a solution that could be palatable. By avoiding this, Franz Joseph made it very easy for himself.
    • And since Franz Joseph already "stole the thunder" by being the first, one may wonder if a time consuming accurate project would have still made economical sense. Considering the lack of interest in "accurate" TOS Enterprise deck plans (my thread has only three regular Trek BBS visitors, that ask questions and provide much welcome criticism, proposals and other feedback) I think Matt Jefferies was wise not to do that and spare himself the possible frustration that may have come out of it.
    Bob
     
  13. SchwEnt

    SchwEnt Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I see. But still...

    Economics and money aside, I wonder if Jefferies had any personal interest in what was essentially his own creation? He could have worked on an Enterprise project, after he retired, in his spare time, solely as a personal project.

    As far as screen-accurate work, that'd be up to Jefferies. Any research or details would be up to him. He wouldn't be doing it on a television production payroll, so he'd get final say and wouldn't be limited in any way.

    MJ could go for screen-accurate, canon, semi-canon, original design, intended design, or any variation he desired. If fans could accept inaccuracies or variations from FJ, certainly MJ would be allowed similar freedom.

    Plus, being Matt Jefferies, many would take his work as gospel, whatever he produced.
     
  14. alchemist

    alchemist Commander Red Shirt

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    There's no additional info in the interview about Jefferies' views of FJ, but here you go.

    Don't forget that this was done in 1976.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2013
  15. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Thanks. I can't reach that address from work, but I will check it out at home tomorrow night.
     
  16. Marsden

    Marsden Commodore Commodore

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    Did Matt Jefferies own his creations, or were they the property of GR or the network? Maybe he would have had to buy a license or pay a royalty. Just because he created it doesn't mean the people he worked for weren't the legal "owners" of it. The expense of buying a license to use your own work very well could be enough to squelch any urges to do something like you suggest, no matter how well accepted.
     
  17. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Jeffries didn't own the rights to his STAR TREK designs; the legal ownership of STAR TREK was mostly split between Paramount and Gene Roddenberry.

    Joseph beat Jeffries to the punch and scored financially when the getting was good (before anybody realized the value of enforcing certain rights).

    But there's no indication that Jeffries would ever have created a blueprint package, even if there had been no Joseph. If Jeffries had published anything, I think it would have been a sketchbook of his rough set designs as viewed from an angle, like he always drew them, not a set of technical plans and orthographic elevations like (it turns out) the fans really wanted.

    I read that the FJ blueprints would easily have been on the NY Times Bestseller list if they had been a book. But they were classified as a "special product."
     
  18. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Was Mike McMaster's work (Bridge, D7, Romulan BOP) ever licensed?

    What about Geoffrey Mandel's early work (Independence, K-7)?
     
  19. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    You know, it looks to me like McMaster just put his work out there by mail order and waited to see if anybody sued. And as far as I ever heard, he either flew under the studio's radar or they considered him smallfry, being self-published and all.

    Paramount must have seen his classified ads in STARLOG. I don't know if they ever contacted him. And of course he died very young. I love his drawings, especially the bridge.

    Geoffrey Mandel's K-7 looks like the same deal. The K-7 design rights would be complicated because most of it is a direct copy, line for line, of a NASA design for an inflatable, orbital docking target if I recall (and I don't very well).

    There was a recent case on the Internet of some absolutely gorgeous CGI plans and elevations for an enlarged version of the LOST IN SPACE Jupiter II. They poured a large amount of work and loving care into this project and it was a dream to look at. :drool: Then Kevin Burns enforced his rights over the whole LIS property and shut these artists down. They were never going to make a cent, but he was protecting the property from slipping out of his control.
     
  20. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Regardless of how history played out since then dedicated fans have paid homage to Jefferies and far surpassed FJ. Particularly over the past decade or so I've seen work I could never have envisioned back in the day. Fans are creating schematics and deck plans that replicate what we saw onscreen down to the set decor as actual ship fixtures.

    Speaking for myself I'm still not quite wholly satisfied with my own work primarily because I lack first-hand access to original props, sets and/or original construction drawings. That said for decades I cringed seeing the TOS shuttlecraft drawn and illustrated poorly even by "official" sources. Eventually out of dedicated interest and frustration you take a crack at it yourself.

    FJ's work initially fascinated and inspired us and then we went out and did it better several times over.
     

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