Star Trek Continues: Episode 2 "Lolani"...

Discussion in 'Fan Productions' started by Warped9, Feb 8, 2014.

  1. lurok

    lurok Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^They really should get you in as a script editor/advisor :).

    I've only seen a couple of fanfilms (OGAM, the first Phase II and first STC) and bar the animated Aurora, which is sweet and pitch-perfect, this was a vast improvement on first episode. Clunky...but so was TOS, which is one of things I love about it ;).
     
  2. Joel_Kirk

    Joel_Kirk Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    That may work, as long as it doesn't come off as Uhura being depicted as the only non-white female among 400+ people, being that this is a future where everyone is supposedly equal. We would think that Lolani would not only see female officers or crew who are 'black' or 'half-black,' but also Asian, or visibly half-Asian, etc. Otherwise, we run into the 'first interracial kiss' problem where race comes up only when a black character - Uhura, again, in this case - is involved.
     
  3. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Thanks, but I've stopped banging my head against that particular wall. My experience is that most fanfilm makers who ask for input won't actually implement the notes they're given, especially when the notes aren't glowing. Many of them seem to think they know how to make storytelling decisions just as well as such reviewers, despite having little or no actual experience writing, let alone anything approaching minimal professional standards for same.
     
  4. lurok

    lurok Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^ which is precisely why they should utilise you. :).

    I have some limited experience of producers/notes (but have sold scripts), and all I can say is I think your script evaluations seem really sound :techman:.
     
  5. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Thanks. Be interested to hear where you've sold scripts, but we could take that to a PM so as not to derail this thread.
     
  6. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Agreed.
     
  7. MikeH92467

    MikeH92467 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Agreed on all counts. That was the problem I had with Phase 2's "Blood and Fire". I really felt like Peter Kirk's relationship was portrayed with an extremely heavy hand and the point could have been made with much more subtlety. The product was still quite good in many respects, IMHO and of course everyone's mileage will vary.

    I will quibble a bit with you Maurice. Not because I think you're wrong (I've already said I agree with you) about the ability of fan film makers to accept professional help, but from my own experience with a purely audio series I can honestly that time becomes a real factor. At some point you can work so hard to make a script "perfect" that at some you can suffer paralysis by analysis. At some point every show runner on every show has to say "we're hitting the point of diminishing returns we have to start turning out some product."

    The other side of the coin is that I see nothing wrong with amateurs giving it a go. (I don't think you do, either, it's just that I also agree some folks who say they want and welcome criticism aren't really able or willing to accept it). I think a lot of it goes back to the standard the producers want to meet: if they just want to have some fun and see what they can do that's fine. If they have higher goals (say like the "Polaris" project) then they need to take it on themselves to put the pieces in place to make a more professional project with broader appeal than family and friends.
     
  8. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well, wouldn't connecting with her solely on a female level be considered sexist. if we are going by your way of thinking? This episode was about slavery, among other things, so having Uhura comment on would not be something out of the blue. I agree that Star Trek should not speak for people of color, mainly because it has been white guys who have been making it, but that being said, Trek has been known for social commentary and I think it has had a voice and I would rather they take stands than not at all.

    I don't know if you're assuming things about me or inferring things from what I've written but I don't want Uhura to make a statement and go into the background, but I do think it would've been nice if she had had an expanded role in the episode and could talk about her own people's struggles as a way to empathize with and bond with Lolani. I think the conference room discussion could've had more poignancy if Uhura had been in the room and part of the conversation. Also Uhura being part of the dinner. I found it odd that no one mentioned Earth's history of slavery, either the Enterprise crew or the Orion slaver as a retort.

    I think it was a missed opportunity to not have Uhura say something. It seems like she would have an emotional or vested interest as a black person and as a female, granted, and with the more assertive take on Uhura courtesy of the new films I could see the Continues folks letting that affect how they depict Uhura to some extent going forward.

    One of the cool things-I think-that a series like Continues can do is to expand on characters like Uhura, Sulu, and Chekov that were given short shrift on the original series.
     
  9. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Gonna have to disagree with you a bit about "paralysis by analysis". In my experience such paralysis only happens when you're first trying to create something. By the time you're a few drafts into a script, good analysis actually accelerates the revision process because it clarifies what is good and bad and allows you to focus on fine tuning.

    "Fix it on the page" is almost always the most time efficient solution.

    I'm certainly not saying that beginning writers shouldn't give it a go via fanfilms, as one does learn by doing. But it's an uneasy marriage when beginners solicit pro input since they really cannot speaking as peers.

    Speaking of learning by doing, I posted a nice short video clip about that subject over on the Fan Filmmaker's Primer topic (link).
     
  10. Joel_Kirk

    Joel_Kirk Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Thank you for expanding on your previous comment, Darkush. ;)

    I agree with you that using Uhura on a female level could also come off as sexist if not done right. Yes, I also agree with you that a series could expand on characters like Sulu, Uhura, and Chekov. And yes, I even agree with you on making the connection being Lolani's case and American slave trade - which, again, has to be done right.

    Here is what I was thinking:
    Instead of the counselor - I forget her name - being the liaison, Uhura is the one who connects with Lolani for the episode. We see not only white female crewmembers, but black female crewmembers, and Asian crewmembers. These females work in various capacities, some directing subordinates who could be male or female. Lolani is obviously surprised by this.
     
  11. lurok

    lurok Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Couldn't agree more, esp. BIB. :techman:

    Apologies for thread detours again, but I think these are interesting sidebars re: further evolution of STC.
     
  12. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Joel_Kirk,

    I see what you're saying. And while I do like the counselor I wouldn't have minded if it was Uhura who connected with Lolani. And seeing female crew members of different hues directing male and/or female subordinates could've been a visual way to show Lolani that another way to exist is out there.
     
  13. Barbreader

    Barbreader Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    My Trek TOS credentials are very weak... so I ask this: Wasn't Uhura supposed to be African rather than African-American, and therefore NOT somebody who had the African-American experience of slavery?
     
  14. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yes. In fact, in "The Corbomite Maneuver" there's a deleted line where Uhura indicates English is not her first language.
     
  15. RCAM

    RCAM Commander Red Shirt

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    There's also an episode when Uhura's memory is damaged and she has to be "re-educated." At the beginning of the process, she keeps speaking Swahili. I always inferred that it was her native tongue.
     
  16. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Watching that scene made me very bluey.
     
  17. urbandefault

    urbandefault Commodore Commodore

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    That's what I was thinking.

    Automatically inserting a black character, regardless of heritage, into a story about slave trade comes off as a little bit narrow minded to me. Not all black people are necessarily "African American." That label is something that we Americans have been conditioned to apply by a society determined to avoid offending others.

    As I understood it, the Uhura character was supposed to represent the rise above all that nonsense. I never saw her as "black." I always saw her as a capable officer, and a damn attractive woman.

    Sorry for rambling.
     
  18. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    I think it's all a matter of execution. Uhura isn't just some random guest character of the week. She's a regular that the audience identifies with. She could easily have stepped into the role McKennah serves in "Lolani" and you wouldn't have to insert anything overt into the discussion. She could merely relate to Lolani on a personal "friendly and sympathetic" face sort of way. The poignant juxtaposition would be in the nonverbal symbolism: Uhura as the symbol for what Lolani and others like her long for.

    One quibble I have with Kim Singer as Uhura is she doesn't have Nichelle Nichols' exotic aura for lack a a better term. Uhura was African, not African American, and she spoke English with a touch of accent that added to her aura and distinctiveness. STC's Uhura comes across as American. Now if she thought of it or the STC thought of it, depending on her skill as an actress, maybe Singer could try to evoke a touch of Nichelle Nichols' manner of speech.

    Note that JJtrek's Zoe Seldana doesn't have Nichell Nichols' presence either. Nichols gave Uhura grace and poise and something of a feline demeanor. I've no doubt that's actually part of Nichelle Nichols' personality and it's not an easy thing to capture. But it's unmistakably the TOS Uhura.

    Of course I'm also thinking that Uhura always deserved a little more screen time, and it would have been a strong message back in the day just to see her up front a bit more. Now a production like STC has that opportunity to do something that should have been done back in the day, but wasn't. In "Lolani's" case I believe Kim Singer was available for only one day of shooting so that might pretty well snuff out more of her involvement in this episode. But I would like to see Uhura given some screen time beyond manning the communications board or singing in the rec-room.
     
  19. Ryan Thomas Riddle

    Ryan Thomas Riddle Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    As Maurice has said elsewhere, STAR TREK isn't being made for 23rd century people but for us. Literature often uses symbolism to convey ideas without stating them outright. As I've said on Trekmovie, it's about connotation not having Uhura give some speech about slavery or even speak to it. But, as Warped 9 states, it's the juxtaposition, with what Uhura as a character stands for in the context of STAR TREK, how far blacks have come and how they've made it too into the future, countered with Lolani's situation.

    Here's how I answered how I thought it could be handled on Trekmovie:

    And after further debate:
     
  20. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    ^^ Very well said. :techman: