The book you're waiting for...

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Warped9, Sep 2, 2013.

  1. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    I said out, dammit!
    This!

    I'd actually sketched up a concept many years ago, but never knew who to send it to.

    I'm talking a LARGE book with new photos of each ship model, one full page (landscape format) side view, full page top view, full page bottom, etc etc. Then pages of angles and then pages of detail closeups. No 2-page spreads with a damn fold in the middle of the ship.

    Of course it's too late now that the models have been sold off, and there are plenty of pictures online now anyway.
     
  2. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    that's pretty much what my 1992 proposal for THE ART OF STAR TREK: Designing the 23rd Century for Film & TV, consisted of, along with EXTENSIVE interviews with the art dept & VFX designers. My mockup for the book filled a good-sized notebook (even the detailed outline of chapters and subchapters ran to several pages), and it traced each aspect of Trek from origin through to TUC, so you'd see the evolution of the bridge from CAGE onward, look of starbases evolving, etc.

    Once I started cutting up mags and books (boy do I wish i had NOT done that now!), I noticed that you'd often find pics of any given ship shot from the same angle in different decades (e and refit, kllngon battle cruiser and Ktinga, etc.), so there was some pleasant layout possibilities.

    I spent months on that thing, and I'm still pretty proud of it (used it as a writing sample a few times to good effect, almost got me an X-Files NF out of it.) The Ronald Moore who was the VFX guy on GENERATIONS, TNG and VOYAGER liked it too, because he and Dan Curry had been thinking for years of doing some print volume showing the storyboard-to-screen aspect of doing the series.

    but the main thing for me was getting to do comprehensive interviews with designers before they all started dying off. As is, we got just a taste of what I'd hoped for in the CFQ 30th anniversary issue, but every time I read through that, I wind up with more questions than when I started, though at least they got Richard Datin's contributions into print!

    Naturally, I rather despise the book Pocket wound up doing, not just for how it wastes pages and pages on movie posters and Abel storyboards for TMP bridge live-action that look like a boring comic strip, but because it just squandered the opportunity to do this right. If they had done TOS justice, you could have done dedicated followup volumes on TNG and the rest. I even put in an addendum showing how you could repurpose the interviews for a CD-ROM or laserdisc edition of the book, which would offer the bonus of film segments.



    I'd second the idea of somebody doing something with PLANET OF THE TITANS, though my preference would have been to use it for a standalone Trek film, with the characters changed so you'd have Capt April and crew becoming the TITANS.
     
  3. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    I was reading a review on amazon.com regarding These Are The Voyages. This reviewer said something interesting. He thinks The Making Of Star Trek needs to be re-issued and preferably in hardcover. I agree. I'd go for it although a softcover would be fine. But make it larger than a mass market paperback so the photos and images can be printed larger.

    But other than re-issuing in a larger format I wouldn't change a thing in it. It's pretty much an historical document.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2013
  4. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    Maybe they could take GR's comments out of CAPS. It seems to offend a lot of people when they see whole paragraphs WRITTEN LIKE THIS nowadays.

    Having said that, I absolutely still love that book. Together with the FIRST version of WORLD OF STAR TREK and the book on the making of TRIBBLES, I wore several copies of each out in the 70s.
     
  5. Mario de Monti

    Mario de Monti Captain Captain

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    @ trevenian

    That book you put together sounds like it could have been a fan´s dream come true. You say it was your proposal for "The Art of Star Trek" - how were you involved with that project?

    Mario
     
  6. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    You know they had to do concept sketches of pretty much everything before it was built or made. Is all that material lost? I think we've only seen a small portion of it.

    A book like this could also be done in tandem with material about TOS' f/x suggested earlier upthread.
     
  7. Mario de Monti

    Mario de Monti Captain Captain

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    A lot of TOS concept art and sketches can be found in "The Star Trek Sketchbook".
     
  8. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, we know. I have that book since it was first released. But I supect they were selective about what they put in there. MJ and the rest of the creative time have been referenced as making countless drawings. What is in the Sketchbook is scratching the surface.
     
  9. Borjis

    Borjis Commodore Commodore

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    I would totally buy a book on the EFX.

    They could start with when the plans were recieved to the building of the enterprise and the daily journals of the efx employees (if they even existed) They could cover the different tests they did and when an optical printer got jammed on a deadline.

    hells ya!
     
  10. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    In 1989 I sent a very brief unsolicited proposal to Pocket, which was never acknowledged in any way. By the end of 1991, I had started selling my writing, and had written an extensive article on TUC's VFX. At that time, I talked with an ILM guy, plus TUC producer Jaffe, about my idea for the book, which had by then become a about 30 pages of notes. Jaffe gave me a contact at Paramount named Paula and wrote up a nice intro, and she in turn told me to contact Kevin Ryan at Pocket. (the guy who edited the trek magazine back then also was in some of this correspondence, as I was hoping to sell a hunk of my article -- a couple thousand unused words -- for publication there.)

    Anyway, had a brief conversation with Ryan, who said he hadn't heard of this idea before, and to send a proposal to him.

    I spent the next couple months carving up all those books I referenced earlier and building that big-ass proposal. I mailed it with all the necessary 'solicited proposal' wordage scrawled on the package (which was huge) ... and never heard another word. Sent 4 or 5 letters over the next year, w/o any acknowledgement, and then when I read about THE ART OF STAR TREK a couple years later being done by the Reeves-Stevenses, I was pretty righteously pissed off. I called and left phone messages on Ryan's number, and eventually, the one time somebody picked up the phone, it was John Ordover, who had inherited Ryan's number. He seemed a nice enough guy, but had no info on any of this (since then, we have actually had exchanges on this subject on this BBS, about 10 years back.)

    The editor of the mag I was still freelancing for told me to not try any legal stuff because it would just make me persona non grata as a writer for a lot of other parties (the subtext was it would make me persona non grata for his magazine, which at that point was I think my sole source of income.) So I let it go, and the last nail on the chalkboard was when a friend saw the book in stores and called me to ask, 'hey, the book is dedicated to Kevin -- is this some kind of dig at you?' I told him I was sure the Kevin in question was Kevin Ryan.

    Believe me, there is NOTHING of my proposal in their published version. I loved PRIME DIRECTIVE and a few other early novels of the Reeves-Stevenses, but based on this and their MAKING OF DS9 book and especially their PHASE TWO book -- which has some real howlers, like a caption showing the full VGER craft that identifies it as a rejected design concept ... I'd list more, but I don't have a copy), TREK NonFic isn't their strong suite (to their credit, that CONTINUING MISSION book was pretty good, and had a lot fewer errors.) They used maybe 20 of the same pics I had in my proposal, but that's coincidence. There's more text in my proposal than in their whole book.
     
  11. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    What don't you like about their Making of Deep Space Nine book? I read it a few months ago for the first time and was surprised by the level of detail and candidness (especially for an officially licensed book for a series still in production).
     
  12. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    I wanted what we eventually got with the DS9 companion, which, except for the way the binding self destructs in five seconds, is plum-perfect. (Plus the MAKING OF DS9 book kept having weird goofs, like spelling the name of the compositing system wrong (HARRI instead of HARRY.)

    It's one of the only 'making of' books I can recall reading just once (VOYAGER's was another.)

    For 'candid' I would recommend THE MAKING OF EXORCIST II, which is very honest and insightful, and also makes you wonder if John Boorman had lost his mind for awhile.
     
  13. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    It is an odd "making of" book, since it's mostly about the pilot episode (and, to a lesser extent, the first two seasons) -- when it's generally accepted that the series didn't take off until the third year. But I think it's unusually detailed for a book of it's type (it's probably the only book to reference the work of Joan Pearce Research Associates, which inherited the work of de Forest Research on the franchise during NextGen and did every additional series and movie until 2005).

    Of course, The Companion is better.

    Having seen The Exorcist II, I'm not sure I could invest the time in a book about it's making. Just a colossal mess.
     
  14. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    I'm just always interested in how bad ideas survive and prosper into bad movies (or how good ideas get messed up into bad movies.) In the case of EXORCIST 2 you have a lot of factors sabotaging things. Lee J. Cobb dying was a huge hit on the project, and then the studio rejecting the idea of a young priest in the Jon Voigt/Christopher Walken mode, insisting on Burton.

    But then you have the director insisting on eliminating blue jeans and all blue to make the film look weird, and ... well, it gets worse.
     
  15. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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  16. davejames

    davejames Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Not really TOS-centric, but one book I really liked as a kid was that Worlds of the Federation book. The drawings were obviously crude as hell, but I still loved the idea of it, and think a newer, updated version would be pretty cool.

    With better drawings and graphics, of course (and not like those DW Encyclopedias which just slap in a bunch of photos from the show).

    Wow, that's surprising. I thought I had every TOS book out there, but somehow that one completely slipped me by! D'oh.
     
  17. SpHeRe31459

    SpHeRe31459 Captain Captain

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    Ditto, I loved that book as a kid, I still have my very worn out copy in storage somewhere.
     
  18. Mario de Monti

    Mario de Monti Captain Captain

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    @ trevenian

    Thanks a lot for your extensive reply to my question. It is always very sad to hear, when such great (fan) effort goes not only un-rewarded but outright ignored - and that after you had already made contact with the proper people. With that background I can understand, why you´re not very fond of "The Art of Star Trek" as published. OTOH it may be better that they didn´t use any of your material, since they probably wouldn´t have given proper credit and/or a share of the profits.

    I agree with your take on the PHASE II book - I mostly own it for the pictures it contains :)

    Mario

    PS: Did you ever get your proposal-book back, or is it lost forever?
     
  19. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Speaking of Making of books, two of the best and are the infamous The Studio, which maps Fox's near implosion in the late 60s at the time of Doctor Doolittle, and The Devil's Candy: The Anatomy Of A Hollywood Fiasco about the making of the wretched The Bonfire of the Vanities. The latter is terrific because you can see, step by step, how each of the tweaks they make to accommodate a bankable actor, etc., add up until into disaster. But both are great because the authors were given free reign and there's no studio spin here. Recommended reading if you're at all interested in film production.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2013
  20. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    It's never been published, but The Making of Star Trek: Insurrection is a pretty good look at what can go wrong when stars have a say-so over how their characters are written. :techman: