STARSHIP VALIANT: LEGACY -NOW ONLINE

Discussion in 'Fan Productions' started by Phantassm, Jul 5, 2014.

  1. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    First off, congrats on getting a film finished. Never an easy task. Reaching "the end" is always a lot of work.

    I liked that it wasn't a lily white cast. I liked that a lot.

    One question: is there a reason we never see the actors together outside of the opening scene? It's all singles or "dirty" OTS( Over The Shoulder) shots thereafter. We never see any two shots or any other shot where we can see two faces at once, which robs very personal dialogs of their intimacy. Were the actors shot at different times?

    Some of the lighting and shots were very nice, and then some others were weirdly flat by comparison, especially on the bridge.

    The rest is offered as constructive feedback. And some of my reactions reflect some of those in posts above.

    The pacing is far too drawn out. Too many shots of Jack pacing around, looking whistful. There are more effective ways to convey his melancholy and lack of direction that showing him sighing and thinking deep thoughts.

    There's too much dialog. Most of the conversations are overlong and drawn out. Screenwriting requires the illusion of natural speech, but people in film and TV are much more succinct than in the real world.

    The overlong dialogs are not helped by the amount of repetition. We keep being told the same things over and over again in scene after scene. Once the audience knows something, take it as writ and don't repeat it. Example: we should only hear about Jack's father's death once, so when Jack is at the tombstone you could have had zero dialog, then have his daughter reveal what happened when she confronts him. This would add punch to their confrontation because we learn how fresh this is at the same time she is expressing it...it puts us THERE instead of at arm's length.

    re Jack's dilemma: any officer who is showing signs of indecision and remorse and turning down a promotion because of it is a candidate for counseling, not command. The Admiral's insistence even in the face of his concerns makes me think she's not qualified to hold her rank.

    Finally, a note about the opening: when in a life or death emergency and obviously short-handed, the officer in charge should be actively manning a station, not sitting in the big chair where s/he can't do anything but bark orders. It undermines the danger and immediacy of the emergency.

    Again, congrats on finishing!
     
  2. JJTrek4ever!

    JJTrek4ever! Lieutenant Junior Grade

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    Didn't Stanley Kubrick once proclaim that movies are never actually finished but only abandoned? ;)
     
  3. Phantassm

    Phantassm Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Thank you Maurice for the thoughtful comments. We are very open to reading what people think, as it helps us to evaluate and see what works and does not. I was actually looking forward to reading your observations. The Admiral and Jack's relationship was not really expanded on in the film but will be explored in the next episode to some degree. This will provide some insight as to why she was so insistent. Again, thank you for your observations. We appreciate all you guys telling us what you think and hope as time goes on to get better and better at it. To answer your first question, this was the choice of our director as far as camera angles go but being our first film, we were on a learning curve so I am sure as the next episode rolls around our production will get better. Thank you for watching.
     
  4. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Publications attribute this quote to Leonardo da Vinci and Picaso, but there's no actual confirmed origin. But, in Latin it would be something like Ars nunquam perficitur modo relinquitur.
     
  5. Phantassm

    Phantassm Vice Admiral Admiral

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    One question: is this meant to take place close to "The Motion Picture?" I ask in light of the closing credits playing over Goldsmith's iconic score.[/QUOTE]

    Hello,
    Legacy actually takes place around the 4th season of the original series. That particular piece of music was actually chosen by our director in honor of the passing of Jerry Goldsmith as he had meant so much to him and the Executive Producer. We also felt that the theme served as a powerful prelude to the adventure to come.
     
  6. Barbreader

    Barbreader Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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  7. KirkusOveractus

    KirkusOveractus Captain Captain

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    I will finish watching tonight, but I'm really enjoying this! I like how the look of the people in civilian clothes looks like it could be any time, but fitting comfortably in the 23rd Century.

    BTW, is that a Connie I see on the hutch at about 3:00 into the video?
     
  8. doubleohfive

    doubleohfive Fleet Admiral

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    I watched "Legacy" last night and have a longer review in the works, but for now I want to start by congratulating Michael L. King and Brady Foster on completing this first film in what I'm sure we all hope will be a long successful line of films in the Starship Valiant series. I do have some quibbles but I enjoyed the show, which is really all I want out of fan films. I'll post more this afternoon, but for now congrats! Looking forward to Episode #2.
     
  9. Phantassm

    Phantassm Vice Admiral Admiral

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    BTW, is that a Connie I see on the hutch at about 3:00 into the video?

    Yes, it was actually a model of the USS Enterprise but Brady manipulated the name and registry number to make it the USS Valiant.
     
  10. Phantassm

    Phantassm Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Thank you sir. This was our fledgling outing and overall we are happy with what we were able to accomplish but as always we do have room to grow and improve. The biggest hindrance for us was of course money as we practically had a zero budget and everything came out of pocket. Looking forward to your thoughts...
     
  11. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I just watched this and it wasn't bad. I thought the production values were nice, especially for the ship. It was an interesting choice to focus on the character building for the captain for the first episode, with only introducing one member of the crew (I'm assuming Ensign Torres will not be a member of the ongoing crew). I could've stood to have more action in the first episode, it got a little solemn at points, but what I saw wasn't a deal breaker. I would watch more of Valiant. I'm curious to see the rest of the crew.
     
  12. MikeH92467

    MikeH92467 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Michael is quite capable of speaking for himself, but I can say as someone who is involved in a fan production that the first episode is absolutely critical. You have to be willing to put yourself out there without nearly as much in the way of resources and skill that would make you comfortable and you have to be willing to take the criticism (constructive or mean spirited as the case may be, although I think everyone in this thread has tried very hard to stay constructive) that comes when you put yourself out there like that. Personally, it looks to me like all the issues that have been pointed out are simply the product of inexperience and the only way to get experience is to keep going and take more risks!
     
  13. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Sure. For beginners I always suggest shooting masters or group shots and singles, since that gives you the most variety to work from in editorial, and you can pick between seeing everyone or just individuals.
     
  14. Duane

    Duane Captain Captain

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    My apologies, but I was referring to the female that is promoted to First Officer at the end of the film. For reasons which Maurice has critiqued in detail, I cannot comment on the performance of Michael King since there was too much repetition in what we were seeing. With a different edit his performance may very well have been outstanding.

    Hats off to you for completing this film. One thing I know for sure is that if I ever complete a scene from my film I will share it with Maurice, Dennis and Double00 privately for their comments.
     
  15. Bixby

    Bixby Captain Captain

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    I really like the new music created for this vignette, it sounds like an electronic flute or something at the end? it's really charming.

    For a first-timer Michael King did a really good job. He gives off plenty of energy and I can easily picture him as the Captain. Though Maurice is right, the Admiral isn't doing her job if she's sending a traumatized person back out into deep space for, I assume, 5 years? She'd better have the ship's doctor keep a close eye on the skipper or they might have another Ron Tracey or Matt Decker...

    This episode was really heavy on the sadness, but it picked up at the end. Maybe a tiny bit of humour by the Captain could have helped to show that this series won't be all sturm und drang? In any case, it might be interesting to explore the kind of man he was before compared to the troubled man he now seems to be...

    Can't wait to see Bishop in a Gold uniform. Maybe even break from tradition and have him wear something other than the famous green wraparound?
     
  16. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Without knowing or seeing any of the characters beforehand, this just comes off as pretty flat. I think it might have worked better within the context of an episode or after some time where we got to know the characters first.

    Technically, it is well done.
     
  17. YJAGG

    YJAGG Commander Red Shirt

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    I liked it a lot, it could be tighter but it was good
     
  18. doubleohfive

    doubleohfive Fleet Admiral

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    With apologies for the delay:

    *I assume King and Brady wrote the script together, given their continued involvement throughout the piece, hence my use of the ampersand.

    **I'm assuming King is the producer on this project as he is clearly the driving force behind it, however no title was included in the short film's actual end credits.

    I'm going to take a different approach with this review than I have in the past with others. My experience has been that my comments often get misinterpreted or that my intent is not clearly conveyed the way I mean it to be, so I'll start with the things I liked.

    First, the good stuff:

    For a show that embraces and promotes diversity as one of its universal tenets, I am pleased that we have a fan film that isn't about yet another caucasian male captain. I do hope Torres' will return as well and that we'll get a more diverse crew in Starship Valiant instead of endless troves of white people. The future is a beautiful, rich and diverse place and I love that King and his crew understand this key component of the Star Trek universe.

    The show starts with impressive visual effects work. It's an embarrassment of riches when it comes to CGI in fan films these days... and Valiant is no different. Seeing the bridge on fire and under heavy attack was cool, and apart from some wooden acting here and there in that battle sequence, it's mostly thrilling stuff.

    The music selections were fun too. At various points I could hear samples from Jerry Goldsmith's Star Trek V: The Final Frontier score and other bits from The Original Series. I often go back and forth on the value of original scoring in these fan films, mainly because I feel like using established music definitely helps to further identify and set the tone and mood of these films, but here one of the neat things that I really appreciated was the use of more modern scoring (Goldsmith) juxtaposed with the obviously TOS visuals, which all came to a head at the end of the film with the SMASH TO BLACK and Goldsmith's The Motion Picture fanfare. Brilliantly executed.

    There's also a quiet thoughtfulness to a lof this piece, which I definitely appreciate. It's an element we don't get from most other fan films, and while it sometimes feels a little out of place or haphazard here, it's still refreshing to see.

    Also, as with nearly all fan films set in the TOS era, the use of color on film is vibrant and delicious. Deep reds, golden yellows, and rich blues give way to that nostalgic feeling of watching TOS again, and seeing even more vivid color in the visual effects only helped to accentuate the exotic, space travel elements when compared to the more muted, dour dark greys and browns on Earth when Jack is home or at the cemetary.

    This brings me to another element I thought worked exceedingly well in this episode. For the first time, we see a fan film taking its captain home to deal with his family. He sits in his recliner in his home. It looks lived in. Real. Clever use of props (the Saurian brandy bottle, the Constitution-class model in the background) help to keep the illusion alive but combined with the superb lighting and cinematic approach, these scenes were probably my favorite in the film because they so starkly contrast what we normally get in fan films that just want to be on the bridge or out on exotic planets or futuristic sets. Brady Foster clearly knows what he's doing when it comes to framing his shots and the cinematography is beautiful in these scenes.

    ‚ÄčThe fight with Abigail is also different from anything we've ever seen. In Starship Farragut's "The Price of Anything," we got the end result of a long estrangement between Captain Carter and his father; here we see the beginnings of that same kind of conflict for Jack and his daughter. Here, though, the fight is vicious and I would also have to say somewhat overlong. It's nice to see a fan film show a familial relationship outside the confines of the usual Star Trek-y-ness, and with issues real people deal with, but it could have been tightened up a bit. The performances are solid though and Abigail gets away with a lot here. It's troubling to see no resolution to that conflict here, especially since it's clear by the end that Jack will be shipping out again. But I do appreciate the return to showing not just loners but actual people with families in Starfleet again. I hope we get more of this.


    Now, for the things I felt could be improved:

    To begin, the format of the piece is a short film/vignette. That said, I felt the opening montage of production company logos was just excessively long given the total broadcast time. I certainly appreciate that there was more than one group responsible for producing this short, and the visual effects of each logo were outstanding (particularly the first, with the TOS Starfleet pennant), but my suggestion would be to try to find shorter versions of these if they must be inlcuded at the head of future vignettes.

    Too, it's curious to me that no producer is nominally credited in the piece. A producer's job is incredibly important -- essential, really, and while I've no doubt the job of the proucer was indeed done, it's the kind of thing I'm used to seeing in fan films, whether the personnel making them truly understand what that job entails or not. This isn't meant as an attack on Starship Valiant, just a suggestion: next time, make sure to credit your producer! :)

    As with other fan films, the audio needs work. What's done here is respectable and sound editor Ben Richardson should be commended for how good the sound actually is on the first show, but there's definite room for improvement.There were lots of dropouts and obvious points where sound could be improved. I won't needle it to death but it was worth mentioning for the next episode.

    In terms of acting, there's a solid cast here. While none are the next Laurence Olivier or Katharine Hepburn, each brought something to their role which I thought was unique and handled nicely. The actress playing Lisa, I felt, gave the best performance of the bunch, but everyone involved was pretty great for their first outing.

    Regarding the story, my biggest complaints are its meandering nature, Jack's increasing reluctance to take command, and the failure of just about everyone in the picture to recognize this as a very good reason to not thrust that command on him. It'd be one thing if Jack had been traumatized or wounded in battle - which I think, is the main purpose of the dream/flashback we see at the very beginning of the film - but it's never addressed as such. What we get instead is an extreme example of survivor's guilt, and countless scenes of one person after another trying to convince Jack to take command and Jack giving them plenty of (valid) reasons why he shouldn't take it. The most egregious of this lapse in story logic comes in Jack's scene with the admiral. Any flag officer worth their salt would have realized what was going on and retracted the offer.

    This relates to another issue I see popping up in fan films - Starfleet officers or, rather, characters we are supposed to believe are Starfleet officers, who just don't behave like Starfleet officers. At a certain point, officers trained by Starfleet have training kick in. They don't wear their hearts on their sleeves. And certainly, command officers do not. Jack doesn't show any ability to do this througout the film so it's entirely puzzling why Starfleet would give him this command. And while I appreciated the shout out to Finnegan from, I presume, "Shore Leave," the admiral's dismissive attitude about Finnegan also struck me as somewhat out of character. In other words, don't tell me Jack is a great captain-to-be by relating to me what a terrible captain-to-be Finnegan would be. I don't intend this critique to be directed solely at Starship Valiant. I've seen examples of this in Starship Farragut, Star Trek: Phase II, Star Trek Continues, Star Trek: Hidden Frontier ... even the audio dramas fall prey to it, particularly Star Trek: The Section 31 Files and the early episodes of its sequel series, Star Trek: Lost Frontier. Each production has examples of this same kind of fallacy of behavior for their characters.

    We hear a lot about characters we never meet. "Jeff," Valiant's former captain, Torres' dead lover, Jack's dead father. It's hard to sympathize with these characters if we don't actually see why the people they lost are so meaningful to them. There's a lot of "telling" about these characters without actually "showing." Someone above suggested Jack visiting his father's grave and not speaking, just being there, saving the reveal over who passed away for the following altercation with his daughter. I would have much preferred THAT sequence than the one we got, if only for the rising tension it would create and the curiosity in my mind about what was going on as I watched. Here, everything is put out, answered and then put away again. Likewise, Valiant having a "strong legacy" doesn't matter to me if I don't know why. What has the Valiant or her crew done?

    Ultimately though, the story centers on Jack and his journey. If he doesn't want to be commanding Valiant, why do we care if he does? Why do we care if he has a good or bad or nonexistent relationship with his daughter?



    In all, this was a great first outing. There's room for improvement, but I was quite happy with the end result. I love the interaction and general dynamic between Jack and Lisa, and eagerly look forward to seeing more of the two of them in the future. And while "Legacy" doesn't really tell us what Starship Valiant is going to be about, it does do an effective job of introducing its characters and propelling them toward their next adventure. With a little more attention to story logic next time around, there could be a really great, dynamic and entertaining story to be told. I look forward to Episode #2!
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2014
  19. Bixby

    Bixby Captain Captain

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    Lost in the shuffle, but totally deserving of our attention, Starship Valiant has a GoFundMe campaign currently. Michael L. King created a snazzy first vignette some months ago and is trying to bring a full-lengther to life.
     
  20. Barbreader

    Barbreader Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I've given the fundraiser videos for Valiant and Continues as my current Headline at Star Trek Reviewed. They, of course, link to each of their donation cites.