Updating FJ's technical manual?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Warped9, May 17, 2013.

  1. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Aridas Sofia, I can't tell you how grateful I am that you addressed this issue, since I assume that's what the moral majority is thinking, too, and you've just provided me with a good reason to elaborate and reply. :luvlove:

    First of all, let me state honestly that I think Franz Joseph Schnaubelt was a great guy. With his pipe and beard he reminds me a lot of a gentle giant (like Santa Claus or a fairy-tale teller which doesn't seem to be entirely inappropriate in this context). Thanks to the Trekplace archives (www.trekplace.com) we have authentic, undisputed original interviews with the man who, by his very own admission, was not a fan of Star Trek and preferred "Lost in Space".
    Therefore, I'm simpling quoting facts, nothing more nothing less and if you have a problem with that, I'm sorry.

    He himself never claimed to be a Star Trek expert or even a fan.

    But apparently fandom has made him into some kind of Star Trek Saint. If his spirit is still following the debates about his work I'm confident, he'd be thinking "Guys, you take it way more seriously than I had ever intended it to be" and he'd be tempted to add a couple of quotes from Bill Shatner and Leonard Nimoy...

    Regarding the amount of knowledge he did or did not have, we can just take a look at a book like his Technical Manual which I consider to be rather self-explanatory, given the many discrepancies between what we saw in the series and how it got reproduced in this book.

    To cut a long story short: I've no issues whatsoever with Mr. Schnaubelt, but the way fandom has adopted his work as gospel at the expense of what's actually on the show: In one of the threads somebody mentioned that Kirk's cabin in "Mudd's Women" couldn't possibly be on Deck 12 and that the producers / creators "didn't know what they were doing". :wtf:

    Obviously this was a result of Franz Joseph's (unintended) conditioning that there'd only be a Deck 12 in the neck dorsal...:rolleyes:

    When conjectural "canon" gets a higher ranking than what's actually in the original series (or could be concluded applying simple logic), there must (still) be something terribly wrong with the current state of treknological TOS research.

    Again, the reproductions that made it into the Technical Manual are self-explanatory to determine "how" extreme (accurate?) these fans actually were. And what was on these countless film clips? Apparently no scene with a type II phaser or an actor in a commodore uniform...

    We don't know the full story behind he publications, but it's the final result that speaks for itself and reveals how accurate it is or not.

    Hmm...looks like you are completely unaware of what I've been actually doing since last November: http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=195496

    Since I'm doing these drafts with paper copies (something that could have been done already in 1973) of the original studio sets (available from Lincoln Enterprises in the 1970's) your criticism is apparently missing its target.

    And as a matter of fact, that's when I started the project I'm trying to finish, now.
    My friend had an early and archaic VCR tape recorder and - expectedly - was always getting nervous when I wanted to rewatch a certain scene or technical detail for my notes. But notes could have been equally taken during the many TOS reruns in the 1970's.

    Bob
     
  2. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    My two cents here.

    It isn't bashing to fairly critique someone's work and note where things aren't as they should be. Also the fact GR signed off on this stuff has to be taken with a measure of cynicism. At least I take it that way because my impression of GR is that he mightn't have really cared how accurate FJ's work was as long as he thought he could make a buck of it. And at this point of time both the Booklet of General Plans and the Starfleet Technical Manual were products that went far beyond what anything even remotely of the kind had ever done before. As such many of us were damned glad to have them even as we soon starting to see some things were off.

    It isn't an indictment to note FJ wasn't a fan because that's not really relevant. What is relevant is his execution and in all fairness the final product is all we really have to assess. Somewhere along the line there was a disconnect. I have to say that there are too many discrepancies between the onscreen filming miniature and the ship FJ actually drew. And I don't want to hear again he was drawing the Constitution because it comes down to it being pitched as blueprints to the Enterprise we saw onscreen. On that point it's a significant miss.

    Granted I don't know all the facts but I do have to wonder if he had the opportunity to actually study the 11 footer. Did he have access to the original construction drawings? I don't think he studied film clips of the shuttlecraft all that well because that's a huge dropping-the-ball in my eyes.

    My essential point is FJ got things essentially right and he displayed a lot of good and interesting conceptual thinking, but he flubbed details that shouldn't have happened if he'd carefully scrutinized those film clips. The notion his daughter and friends were fans and were also essentially unpaid research consultants might not have worked in FJ's favour. They could study all the film clips they want but if they haven't got a good eye for detail and how to communicate what they're seeing properly and accurately then there will be a definite limit to the value of their effort.

    We'll never know what we might have gotten if somebody had approached Matt Jefferies with the idea of doing what FJ did (and, of course, getting paid to do it). But fact is that didn't happen and FJ's work basically launched a market likely few suspected was there. For that I'm thankful.


    For many of us interested in this materiel we basically take the approach of accepting what we saw onscreen and then trying to flesh it out without deviating too much or too obviously so as to make it all work. FJ's approach seems to have been to give us the essence of what we saw but deviating in other aspects.

    Also if so many of us we're so totally enamoured with FJ then we wouldn't have dared even consider the thought we could build and improve on what he did.

    His work is what it is. I think now we can just go from there rather than fretting over how he got the end result he gave us.
     
  3. TIN_MAN

    TIN_MAN Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    A few thoughts...

    As far as the "Kirk's cabin can't deck 12" thing goes, I don't think it’s a matter of the writer/producers not knowing what they were doing, but just that they were primarily interested in creating a popular action adventure story, and doing it on a tight schedule, and didn’t sweat the details. What they definitely were NOT trying to do was create and adhere to a realistic deck plan for their fictional starship!

    But for those of us who are –like FJ-trying to come up with a logical, internally consistent set of plans that look like they could be believably designed by a starship engineer and not a drunken time lord transdimensional engineer, then compromises have to be made between contradictory data points.

    The deck 12 reference, the deck 5 references, the size and shape of Kirk’s cabin, the curved hallway seen just outside, and the approximate scale of the ship, are all data points obtainable from viewing the episodes, but only the deck 5 references are consistent with the rest of the data, so something has to give, I say let it be the deck 12 “throwaway line”. The writer/producers didn’t sweat the details and neither should we, they never intended for anyone to take all this so literally and try to make sense of things they gave little or no thought to!

    The way I see it, if the intent of technical fandom is to expand on the “STU” and make it more believable and realistic, and thus (for us tech-heads) more enjoyable; then we need to have a different focus other than slavish adherence to details, and cramming every contradictory thing in there just “because it was on the show” and let common sense and logic be damned in the process! Otherwise, what have we gained? It just seems counter productive to me.


    On a minor note; concerning the commodore rank stripes, I seem to recall reading in one of the interviews that the version FJ chose was an intentional choice made so that the progression of higher ranks would be more consistent with the lower ranks that went before (or below)? As such, while certainly inconsistent with what we saw onscreen, it isn’t really a “mistake” since it was an “informed decision” that was made with full knowledge of what the original design was.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2013
  4. aridas sofia

    aridas sofia Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The problem with the critique being leveled by some in this thread is that it is entirely ahistorical. If Franz Joseph Schnaubelt professed to approach the material he was given not as a documentarian, but as someone willing to snip and rethink, then THAT is what he should be judged on. Given that choice, I will call him on having a deflector with nothing behind it and a distorted hangar copied from TMoST, etc. But the BS being leveled by someone that has never to our knowledge published a thing, never dealt with producers or TV studios, never dealt with reverse schematicizing blurry film clips as the sole way of pleasing a bunch of kids including your own child... The preposterousness of this pomposity is so great as to demand someone say "enough already." I detest bullies. And I detest even more the practice of engaging in unsubstantiated bluster with the hope that just maybe, if you scare enough people with your unveiled vitriol, no one will call you on all the holes in your argument. I don't care how many times this guy says the author of the Technical Manual was a lowly Lost in Space fan. It is irrelevant to the judgement of his work if that work did not depend upon him being a Trek fan. I mean, my God... did William Shirer have to be a fan of the Third Reich to write his masterpiece? I guess Thomas Harris had to be a fan of canibalism to create Hanibal Lechter. It is a nonsense straw man argument that someone that has done nothing like the thing he is criticizing can level, stand back repeatedly with his hands neatly folded across his chest and say, "You see? I was right." We'll no... you weren't.

    Anyone that has actually read those Trekplace interviews, or other material online, or, hell, actually ever TALKED to the guy, would know the problem with his phaser 2 drawing stemmed from shadows in his source photo. The commodore rank? As Tin Man points out, Schnaubelt was trying to rationalize the rank system much as he was trying to rationalize the ship layout. I frankly think Schnaubelt was mistaken in his conclusions about the ranks-- but because his changes were unnecessary given the fact the TOS producers were drawing upon WW2 naval experience and not because they didn't fit the US Navy practice of the 1970s.

    In short, this bluster only serves to obscure the stated purpose of this thread- to find the legitimate flaws in the work and correct them. I hate to see people that actually have something worthwhile to say drowned out by the din of, what was it? Oh yeah... cognitive dissonance. :rolleyes:
     
  5. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Precisely.
     
  6. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Likely one of the first things I's be inclined to do is update the ship schematics. The current drawings are simplistic representation of the various ship class, and while a lack of detail could be excused for the sake of reprinting such small drawings the shapes and proportions could definitely be improved.

    I'd also toss out the Microgamma font for ships' registries since that's definitely not what we saw onscreen. All the existing drawings of interior facilities and equipment would also have to be revised. For the hangar area has anyone seen MGagen's 3D work on Hobbytalk? I highly recommend checking it out. He takes the pylon support structure into account and yet still renders a flight deck that looks very much like what we saw onscreen---really nice work.

    There are a number of really good efforts at fleshing out the deck plans of the Enterprise around the web over the years. For myself I'd be inclined to ask permission to mine the best of each. I've also seen some fabulous croos-sections including aridas'.

    The uniforms section would have to be expanded to include Cage era uniforms. And then we get into an area left blank by FJ, alien ships and equipment and uniforms.
     
  7. SonicRanger

    SonicRanger Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Fleet Headquarters is an anachronism even in the TOS universe. Centripetal force rather than artificial gravity (which even 1990s ships apparently had), wires holding ships in place inside spheres with goofy doors, etc.
     
  8. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Why is "only" the Deck 5 reference consistent with the rest of the data?

    It is consistent with The Making of Star Trek and "Journey to Babel", but there are noticable differences outside Kirk's cabin in the corridors ("The Enemy Within" vs. "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" vs. "Journey to Babel" vs. "The Mark of Gideon").

    Maybe changing cabins is one of Kirk's hobbies, maybe he had to take provisional quarters in the beginning of the first season because Deck 5 was being upgraded along with other internal parts of the ship after "Where No Man Has Gone Before". We simply don't know.

    Fact: The Making of Star Trek clearly refers to a saucer-engineering hull separation other than for emergencies (saucer and engineering hull can operate as separate entities), only the deck numbers for the saucer are spelled out, the engineering hull had 16 decks.

    There's no reason not to assume that the numbering of engineering decks starts at the top of the neck dorsal (especially considering the turbo lift ride to "Deck 2" in "The Enterprise Incident"...:rolleyes:).
    This would put (Engineering) Deck 12 right below the shuttlebay flight deck level, and the curvature of the hull is compatible with the cabin back wall angle and the windows (according to the 1966 Desilu studio plans these were "windows"!). I don't believe we are looking at a coincidence, this rather looks like a deliberate intention of the early TOS.

    Apparently, there was the romantic idea in the beginning of TOS ("Hornblower Effect") that the captain should of course have a cabin with windows but there weren't that many suitable locations for it and it turned out to be Deck 12 before somebody intervened and demanded that the captain's cabin be moved closer to the Bridge.

    And there are plenty of other examples where we saw circular corridors in the engineering hull. Heck, I don't like them either but as a matter of fact they are there, and IMHO impossible to ignore. In my deck plan project I tried to rationalize these as good as I thought possible.

    If Franz Joseph had heralded his work as accurate (Ballantine Books labelled the deck plans as "authentic"), which he didn't to my knowledge and is therefore excused, it would be a mistake.

    But please... "Informed descision"? It's the same thing Mike Okuda did with the Romulan Crest from "The Enterprise Incident".
    The moment such "expert" decides to let personal preference get in the way and ignore such facts, I reserve the right do doubt whether such a person is really suitable for the job of treknological research, which should be unbiased, first. That's my personal opinion and you may feel free to disagree with it (yet, I don't see why this makes me a detestible bully). ;)

    Bob
     
  9. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Stop putting words in my mouth I didn't say. If you think "Lost in Space" is "lowly" that is apparently your opinion, I didn't use the word.

    However, I feel if someone is more passionate about "Lost in Space" than Star Trek, then such a person is probably better suited to do something for "Lost in Space" than Star Trek.

    Bob
     
  10. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Ah. So, in order to be qualified to work on Star Trek, a person can't enjoy something else more. Got it.
     
  11. feek61

    feek61 Captain Captain

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    Really? It's a frickin' TV show with deadlines and this line just slipped through. I'm sorry but to believe that the production had a grand scheme with Kirk having multiple quarters for the saucer separation and that it was factored into the earliest episodes is a little crazy. I love Star Trek as much as anyone here and probably more crazy about it then most but not everything on the show makes sense because it was a SHOW!!!! :)
     
  12. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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    Star Trek is a fictional universe, it is open to interpretation by different artists working on it...it's a malleable thing, and in the scheme of things not a religious experience, therefore if the studio chosen producers choose to change the warp scale then that's how it goes...no matter how much you want to bury your head in the sand.

    RAMA
     
  13. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Oh, thank you, that was most helpful and constructive.
     
  14. Irishman

    Irishman Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    There's so much territory ripe in what you're asking here. There still does not exist a definitive and comprehensive Tech Manual for Star Trek - Original Series. After all these DECADES. LOL

    It wouldn't take much. Maintain the vibe that FJ created in his work, but make it more closely align with, and respect, that which we saw on-screen. Antigravs? Put them in there? The salt-shaker medical scanner? The device I dubbed the Test Ray Generator? Put it in there! Correct the bridge and deck layouts. Provide high-res orthos of the USS Enterprise of Kirk, Pike, the Shuttlecraft, K7 space station, Harry Mudd's ship, the Botany Bay. The cricket phaser, phaser pistol, laser pistol, laser rifle. Medical tricorder, communicator.

    So much fun to imagine! So much fortune and glory for whoever puts it together right!
     
  15. Irishman

    Irishman Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    There you go! It seems out of place in terms of the interiors. Maybe they could keep the swollen external profile and integrate it into a precursor to the STIII space dock?
     
  16. TIN_MAN

    TIN_MAN Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I have no problem rationalizing the deck 12 reference, but let’s be honest, anything we come up with is exactly that, a rationalization of an inconsistency. Sure, it makes sense that the captain would have a cabin in the secondary hull in addition to his other one, regardless of which deck we assume it’s on, but that doesn’t change the fact that the deck 12 reference was just a “placeholder” of sorts and used at a time when the writer/producers hadn’t even begun to think this stuff through. And when they did begin to give it some thought they chose deck 5 as the location of the captains quarters, which by the way, is also unequivocally stated in TMoST, and once decided upon was consistently adhered to and referenced multiple times.

    Anyway, to get back on topic, the consensus of opinion seems to be to change and correct almost everything in FJ’s tech manual, which leaves very little of the original intact? This is why I think a distinction should be made between “updating” and “reimagining” or whatever terms one prefers. As I see it, updating and expanding on FJ’s universe would just involve a respectful tweaking of a few things here or there, whereas for those who want a more faithful tech manual based on what we saw in TOS/TAS then only the format, but not necessarily the contents, need be used? Personally I’d like to see both approaches realized.
     
  17. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    There's a lot of terminology and such FJ used that I have no problem retaining. I liked his fleshing out of Starfleet and Federation organizational structure.
     
  18. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    How do you know it is an inconsistency?

    How do you know that this is not something they intended (Deck 12 matches the deck level, the cabin walls match the angle of the ship's hull, there are windows with shutters - quite some strange coincidence), before they changed it?

    Ironically, the kind of criticism aridas sofia tried to expose me to is exactly the kind of criticism I feel to be applicable to what is merely an assumption at the expense of people that no longer walk the Earth ("they didn't know what they were doing").

    Before we come up with such conclusions, I feel we should first consider, that we didn't take the time and effort to examine all the possible options.

    @ corporal captain

    No, obviously you didn't get it, you're confusing "passion" with "preference". All I was trying to convey was that if you don't feel passionate about something, one shouldn't wonder that the outcome is not a role model of accuracy.

    Bob
     
  19. aridas sofia

    aridas sofia Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Passion can just as easily cloud judgement and a dedication to telling the truth. You love something so you overlook anything that casts the thing you love in a negative light. You are so passionate about something that you construct an idealized vision of the thing in your mind and tell about that instead, the truth be damned.

    Oh, waitaminute. That sounds like what ended up in the Technical Manual and Booklet of General Plans.

    If you are documenting something, the only thing you should be passionate about is the truth. But that isn't what Franz Joseph was doing. He was constructing an idealized, consistent vision of Star Fleet. He tells us as much in his interviews. And yet you don't seem able or willing to absorb what he said. You have your own passion that has led you to your own sanitized version of TOS.

    Sanitized? How?

    When you replace this book that topped the bestseller lists in the 1970s with your own remake, are you going to show the distinctions between high collared early first season tunics designed not to mess up make up and regular first-second season tunics and polyester third season tunics? Are you going to explain how they are made from polyester and velour but Starfleet tells us they are made from algae? The differences in the eleven foot model from first to second pilot to series? From 33" model to eleven foot? An unfinished and undetailed side with wiring hanging out? Are you going to provide the "in-universe explanation why K-7 just so happens to look just like a Douglas Aircraft inflateable space shelter from 1960? What about all those non-hero props that look undetailed and misshapen? What's the in universe explanation with that? Rocks that look like paper mâché? Plywood textured sets? Star Fleet officers that all wear makeup? I'm sure that your "passion" will lead to a clear, unvarnished view of these things, no?

    No?

    But if not, how do you choose what to leave out?

    You let your passion guide you in sanitizing the inconsistencies. Oh...

    Just like what Franz Joseph did.

    Your choices will be different because your passions are different. So, what we are discussing here isn't a lack of fidelity to truth. It is differences in an artistic vision guided by different passions about the subject matter. One guy wants to make it all fit together to portray what he thinks will make the TV production appear more like a realistic future space navy, so he ignores things he doesn't think fit that vision. HOWEVER, respecting the fact other fans may think differently, he creates a story whereby the book produced is represented as just a tiny fraction of the total number of pages a total view would have. And provides an organizational framework whereby if your vision differs you can add it and everybody else's varying visions to the book. IDIC and all.

    The other wants just what was on the show. He spends years tracking down surviving props and sets and costumes and make up appliances, etc. and draws them, blemishes and all, in his commitment to canon.

    The interesting thing is, this second vision can fit within the first one. And fanon crap like the UFP articles you don't like? You can create your own fanon article saying they were superceded at some point.

    Or, you can continue to degrade the vision that appealed to hundreds of thousands if not millions of fans at the time it was written. You can denigrate it despite the fact it appealed to them sufficiently to motivate them to buy this thing portraying this stuff that was in the show... stuff they were so passionate and obsessive about that they wanted to know everything about it and yet knowing everything they did, still bought despite it being portayed so "inaccurately". You will do this despite the fact he has provided you a means, built into his work, to correct what he did.

    I can only guess that your unwillingness to follow the route provided stems from a need to tear down this vision entirely so you can replace it, not amend it, with your own.

    Not very IDIC, that.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2013
  20. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Nah. That's not what you said.

    Your post—quoted below, with my reply in question—read like an assertion that FJ should have been disqualified because of his affinity for LiS. Frankly, his liking of LiS has nothing whatsoever to do with the topic at hand.

    Honestly, it looks to me as if FJ was nothing but passionate about the TM and Connie blueprints. But, we've had this convo before in another thread.

    Differences from the show ≠ a lack of passion. On the other hand, initiative, imagination, and vision = passion.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2013