Whatever happened to Starship Exeter?

Discussion in 'Fan Productions' started by TK421, Dec 13, 2008.

  1. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Aww, don't be so shellfish. She was on shore leave.
     
  2. Tallguy

    Tallguy Commodore Commodore

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    "I don't think a nun would feel that way about a hill."
     
  3. Bixby

    Bixby Captain Captain

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    The ATLANTIS INVADERS

    PAGES 1 to 9 (Pre-credits sequence)

    On planet Atlantis VI, 3 apprehensive offshore miners meet at night, and are attacked by 3 amphibian natives. After a very short battle the latter abscond with 2 of the miners. Cut to indoors, where frightened and angry workers coerce their uncooperative mining installation administrators into summoning Starfleet for help. Cut to the starship Exeter bridge for an extended sequence where crew members discuss the Captain’s slimmer waistline and B’Fuselek’s eating habits, before answering a distress call to Atlantis VI.

    At first glance, it is necessary to apply the scissors to this sequence as 8 and 1/4 script pages, with action and dialogue estimated between 10 and 15 minutes of footage, is much too long for what is usually a 4 minute sequence. Before we do that, some observations:

    (1) As previously mentioned, should all minor characters be white anglo-saxon types? Yes, the original series often forgot themselves with a majority of american-sounding names, but a bit of ethnic diversity for this series couldn’t hurt.

    (2) Jenkins and the 2 other miners discussing their fellow workers’ disappearance, and the lack of investigation by the powers that be. It’s puzzling no one considers bad weather, clumsiness, suicide, alcohol or even a shark-like predator as possible reasons some men have vanished from an offshore installation. It’s mentioned later in the script this wasn’t a daily occurrence, more like every two weeks or so.

    (3) 3 amphibians surprise the 3 workers, appear to overpower them easily then go back into the water with only two of the workers. As a director I’d have a hard time staging this: why only take 2 of the 3 men with them as the amphibians flee, especially if they are stronger. I would reduce the number to 2 amphibians.

    (4) These kidnappings as such make little sense: in DEVIL IN THE DARK, the Horta used its natural abilities to kill many workers, leaving gruesome evidence for the survivors to see. In the ATLANTIS INVADERS, all the kidnap victims are merely taken prisoner. So why was Starfleet summoned? Doesn’t the colony have a local military force trained to deal with potential dangers or invasion threats? It would seem pretty foolish out in deep space to depend on rescue that could take days to arrive and not have any soldiers or weapons that would provide at least SOME form of protection.

    (5) The colony DIRECTOR acts very foolishly for a man of his position. He is forcefully convinced to contact Starfleet, not realizing a starship would investigate. They arrive and he blurts out that nothing is going on, then when confronted by Starfleet personnel he claims nothing is wrong, all is under control, no breach of procedure exists, that they must leave. It’s almost as if the character of Jerry Lundergaard from FARGO had crossed over into the Star Trek universe. He even dies in a moronic way, almost of his own doing.

    (6) Jenkins the only eyewitness claims that because the amphibians were humanoid that they must be alien, thus an invasion force. Not a very efficient one since they only manage to snatch one or two people on a bi-weekly basis. I am assuming since The TRESSARIAN INTERSECTION had the Gorns and post- THE THOLIAN WEB Tholians, that that episode and The ATLANTIS INVADERS occur sometime during the latter half of Star Trek’s third season or the fourth (Star Trek: Phase II). Therefore it would have been interesting to have these characters enumerating some of the suspected hostile alien races (Klingons, Romulans, etc).

    Honestly, I would remove the above sequences entirely from the script and begin the episode immediately on the Exeter’s bridge. The reasons are two-fold: satisfying your main actors, and cost-cutting.

    This episode is clearly meant to center on Jimm Johnson as John Garrovick, but in this third draft with all the action and additional characters, there is barely anything for Commander Harris and B’fuselek to do. I would expand on the bridge sequence for the whole segment, and end it with B’fuselek receiving Atlantis VI’s Priority One distress call, with Cutty explaining out loud that Priority One means a hostile invasion. The Red Alert klaxon sounds as Garrovick addresses the crew, building dramatic tension and music which fades right into the opening theme.

    The previous minutes if featuring the crew, would address many plot points that come up later:

    (1) Taking a page from the movies: ‘’Show, don’t tell!’’, instead of Cutty going on and on about Garrovick looking more fit, and that many crewmembers follow his lead, show it visually by having him standing all buff doing his duties, with the female ensigns obviously showing interest (of course Harris would be bemused by this), while the male crew members display envy and annoyance. Since Garrovick isn’t as narcissistic as Kirk, he would of course be oblivious to all the females’ glances and dismiss his leaner outlook as more of a medical necessity. From this you can build up to his unexpected romance with Tri’tillya.

    (2) Garrovick and B’fuselek’s fish discussion is interesting, if a bit overdone (catfish, Red Snapper Fish, Salmon Fish, Scrod Fish...). It could be a really great opportunity to demonstrate just how alien B’fuselek is compared to his human crewmates (before I go on, I must admit to quitting on ENTERPRISE the TV show within a third of the first season, so am unfamiliar on all exploration of the Andorian race within that show). While Spock is the rigid know-it-all from high school, B’Fuselek seems more like the creepy bug-collecting geek type. Add to that the fact that as explained in the first two STARSHIP EXETER episodes, that Andorians live underground, so why not have an Andorian’s diet consist of roots, bugs and squishy larvae? Just as North Americans consume a lot of beef and pork products, while the hindus worship the cow, Jews tend to eat kosher or Asians having dog, turtle or shark as part of their menu.

    (3) It would also be a good opportunity to explore the tension between Commander Harris and Cutty that comes to a near-mutiny later in the episode. Without a previously-established undercurrent of envy, jealousy, or simple dislike, Cutty just comes across as a hot-headed misogynist when he forgets all military protocol and openly defies a superior officer. It also doesn’t help his cause as all of his concern is for the missing Garrovick, but he displays none for his own security officer, Freeborn, who later dies tragically.

    Harris’ stoicism and Vulcan-like demeanor could just be a shell designed to protect her as she attempts to climb the ladder towards her first command, still an old boys club in what should be a more open-minded 23rd century (as suggested by Janice Lester in TURNABOUT INTRUDER).
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2011
  4. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    For the teaser, I'd chop it off at "We need Starfleet!" Duh! Duh! DUHHHH!! Roll opening.

    This story seems to have the germ of good concept, namely an interstellar Halliburton gone bad, but it needs some more tweaking in the area of why this mining operation is so important that Starfleet needs to investigate and what the director of this operation is trying to cover up, and why. And, of course, why the amphibian natives are doing what they're doing. Think Avatar on a smaller scale, without having to have someone going native. It doesn't have to turn into "Dances With Frogs".

    The mining operation needs its own security force, and, in this case, it needs to be somewhat inadequate for the challenge before it. They'd also serve as a very obvious obstacle to keep Garrovick from getting to the bottom of the mess.
     
  5. JimTheBuilder

    JimTheBuilder Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    OH SNAP!! You may have a future as a detective! For the record, that ain't home for him any more...the eviction notice was served the other day....for all the reasons you might (or might not) imagine... and others are pending if folks don't mind their Ps & Qs...

    I know this is from old posts, but I just started coming in here to keep watch on the AJAX thread.
     
  6. JimTheBuilder

    JimTheBuilder Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    AGREED!!!

    For the record, HE IS NOT associated in ANY WAY with AJAX. Just a fellow who no longer finds "Safe Harbor" on our other little board...we have little patience for trolls...(or sabatours either...)

    ALSO AGREED!!
     
  7. JimTheBuilder

    JimTheBuilder Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Ok....enough dredging up the past...I just needed to clear that up...

    So...any new snippets that we might see? Any more forward progress? After all, THIS is the film that drew me into the whole Trek fan film thing to begin with!!!

    ...also, how does one get promoted to a rank that allows one to post images??
     
  8. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I heard there was discussion about The Atlantis Invaders over here, so I'm popping in to address that. As has been pointed out, the script Bixby is reviewing was thrown out when I joined the project.

    Here's what my notes say about the project:

    In late 2003 I stumbled across the fanfilm "Starship Exeter: The Savage Empire" produced by Jimm and Josh Johnson. Crude and clumsy as it was, I had to admire the effort put into it, and in poking around a bit more I found the Exeter website and discovered that they planned to make additional episodes. Then, I found the two draft scripts on the site...

    I'm going to admit here I wasn't impressed by the scripts. There were two. "The Mighty Galvanaut" was a clumsy, awkward affair with no real point and attempts at humor that fell flat. "The Atlantis Invaders" was a more traditional action adventure story, but it had too many plot threads, too many characters, too many sets, and too many scenes. However, I liked "The Savage Empire" enough to want to pitch in for fun, and I thought that offering to help rewrite one of the scripts was the way to go.

    A writing sample and some exploratory scenes convinced the brothers Johnson to let me have a go at rewriting one of the scripts, and as the plot for "The Mighty Galvanaut" was annexed to "Star Trek: New Voyages", that left "Atlantis".

    It didn't take long for me to realize that cleaning up the existing script was an effort in futility. As with many stories conceived by people who don't do a lot of writing, it was a tangle of plot threads, half developed ideas, and ham fisted attempts at thematics.

    I became convinced that trying to fix the story as-was would be more work than doing it from scratch and would yield only a so-so result.

    So, I tossed the existing script aside and wrote an entirely new one from scratch, including only those characters and plot events that stuck in my mind as interesting or useful. I kept the basic scenario, a few of the guest characters, that the Captain would have a romance, the story about the plastic treasure chest, and that the finale would feature a dramatic space chase. I didn't keep anything else. I felt my job was to make a solid, fast paced, tightly written action adventure story around these elements, and that was it.

    I also changed names and added miners named Patel, Rodriguez, Watanabe, etc. to make the future less lily-white.

    The original plan was that the scenes that take place on the titular Starship Exeter would be shot during the production of the new Exeter episode titled "The Tressaurian Intersection." The rest would be shot months later in a different location. After my first draft, I decided to put my primary focus on getting the story structure figured out and the shipboard scenes "locked" so that they could be shot as planned. I intended to go back to the other scenes and do a lot of reworking and adjusting in the intervening months.

    The shoot for "Tressaurian" didn't go as planned, and in order to get that episode in the can, the crew had to forego any shooting of "Atlantis".

    Around this time I started a new job and had to put the entire Exeter thing on the back burner, intending to revisit it later. However, the more I thought about it, the more I was convinced that my script wasn't one that should be shot. "Tressaurian" had been a tough shoot, and it was a "bottle" show (shot almost entirely on the newly built ship sets). Atlantis had scenes on the ship with the crew, interior and exterior sets for the mining colony, numerous miners and aliens, which meant more costumes and makeup. It was big, and I was convinced that there was too much story to cram into a 50 minute film. And this AFTER I'd pared back the scale of the script considerably from what had preceded my attempts.

    Here's one little moment from my script:

    GARROVICK (CONT'D)
    You set this to maximum power. I had
    it set for stun.

    TR'TALIA
    (slight smile)
    "Stun" is not a persuasive threat.

    The script has never been released or posted to a website, and while I've toyed with putting it out there, I've to date decided against it.

    Hope that clarifies matters.
     
  9. T'Bonz

    T'Bonz Romulan Curmudgeon Administrator

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    I understand that you're new here (and welcome) but dredging up old posts from someone banned to attack that poster is really not acceptable.

    The guy is gone, any trouble he caused here is history, and trouble he caused elsewhere as you reference is not our business and let's get back to discussing various fan productions.

    Thanks.
     
  10. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    OH, SNAP!

    Sorry, couldn't resist.. :devil:
     
  11. JimTheBuilder

    JimTheBuilder Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Understood...and no harm or attack intended...just to clarify, as was pointed out, to my GREAT dismay, his actions were reflecting poorly on others from another forum, as some here had pointed out. I cannot stand guilt by association and I just wanted to make it VERY clear that we (the others) in NO WAY abide by those actions any more than you do. I had no idea he'd been banned here, being new and all. I just wanted all offended to know that the problem was delt with, not to attack, (heavens NO!) or rub anyone's nose in their mess, but in the spirit of keeping the peace. Fair enough?

    Thanks!

    Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming!
     
  12. JimTheBuilder

    JimTheBuilder Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    :p nyuck-nyuck...Ok..I get it...I did something stupid....lesson learned...:guffaw:
     
  13. JimTheBuilder

    JimTheBuilder Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    For those interested, the EXETER sets were pretty water damaged when the guys picked them up in TX. Not ALL of them...just the consols that had been stored in an open pole barn. Some of the countertops had almost totally turned to sawdust... could poke my finger right thru the stuff. Damn shame. Took quite an effort to bring them back. Half the overhead displays were in really sorry shape...good thing we came along when we did!
     
  14. Professor Moriarty

    Professor Moriarty Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^^^ I haz a sad.
     
  15. JimTheBuilder

    JimTheBuilder Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Be not sad, for restoration is underway!
     
  16. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    Just take a gander at the Starship Ajax thread, they've got lotsa pics of the restoration process.
     
  17. Bixby

    Bixby Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2011
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    Canada
    The ATLANTIS INVADERS

    Post-opening credits

    The opening shot is a Star Trek staple, a Starfleet vessel orbiting around that episode’s alien planet du jour, with the Captain’s voice-over providing a short recap. This show’s commander, John Garrovick, mentions the reception of a high priority distress call from federation colony planet Atlantis VI. A subsequent cursory evaluation reveals no imminent threat and he readies to transport down.

    The next sequence begins immediately at planetside.

    Dramatically speaking , the preceding sequence fails to follow the previously-established situation logically. Why tease the audience with the possibility of a huge space battle (Code Factor One as an analogue for an alien invasion is mentioned and explained 3 times on pages 9 and 10), if you step on the brakes immediately after and have Garrovick and a small landing party beaming down as though all were well?

    More appropriate, in my opinion, is to start back from commercial on Exeter’s bridge, all personnel at alert stations with the red alert klaxon still blaring. Intercut with viewing screen shots as the starship approaches the Atlantis star system at full warp speed.

    Now would be a prime opportunity for Commander Harris as the Spock/science officer stand-in to be Miss Exposition and fill the audience in as to what is coming up:

    (1) What is Atlantis VI, anyway? You would think Garrovick would want to be prepared for the very serious situation ahead of him, but it is only on page 22 that someone finally gives him a bit of background on the planet. It’s supposedly a water planet, does that mean there is absolutely NO surface land mass? (Earth has about 29% land mass, does Atlantis have 0%, and if so is that scientifically possible?). Also, I would assume Starfleet would do massive biological surveys on Atlantis before allowing a private company to set up for business. I’m pretty sure Starfleet would not want civilians to be annihilated by a horde of facehuggers and chestbursters...that’s a different movie universe :)

    ... Of course, doing so greatly complicates how the Amphibians manage to remain a surprise when they encounter the miners and Garrovick...

    (2) Just what company is exploiting and mining Atlantis VI for ‘’scurvium’’, is it Starfleet-related, privately-owned...? It’s mentioned the mining installation has been established for 12 years. So is it the ONE offshore platform, where most of the action takes place, or are there many of them? Only one in 12 years to mine what is supposedly a deeply vital natural resource for the Federation seems odd, so it might be better to explain the company has been there only a year or less.

    (3) I really dislike the name ‘’scurvium’’, by the way, but this element should also be explained more fully. Page 12 describes it as particle-form found in bodies of water, or found far beneath a planet’s crust...So, does that mean all alien worlds have Scurvium in their water, or only some planets such as Atlantis VI? Dramatically, it would mean more if only Atlantis VI contained this element in its oceans, making the planet valuable enough for Starfleet to immediately intervene, instead of simply sending a lesser intervention team, such as merchant marines or even just research vessels. However , by making the planet so valuable makes it hard to explain why the planet didn’t already have a locally-based army...

    Now armed with this information as explained by Harris, it would make tactical sense for Garrovick to have a discussion with Starfleet Commodore Jennings back on Earth, get his feedback, and surely ask for reinforcements (one starship against a possible alien invasion fleet? Come ON!). He should at least have B’fuselek send a coded message. Then when within the Atlantis star system, he should have Harris and the helm officer futilely scanning for enemy ships, and B’fuselek immediately contacting the mining installation administration for a status report.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2011
  18. Bixby

    Bixby Captain Captain

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    The ATLANTIS INVADERS

    I want to thank DS9Sega for his input and the recollection of his involvement with The Atlantis Invaders for the Johnson Brothers. It's interesting that we made many of the same observations, but it appears we have different solutions.

    I still think the overall story is mostly salvageable, but only if an actual theme is found, the characters act logically, and some real emotion is found...

    Were it my job to write a Star Trek script from start to finish, I would try as hard as I can to insert at least one moment in my story that has some of the poignancy as my two favorite TOS moments: the first is the speech by Matt Decker in THE DOOMSDAY MACHINE as he tells Kirk about the final fate of the Constellation's crew. The second is at the end of A PRIVATE LITTLE WAR, where Kirk's childhood friend Tyree desperately fights off the enemy villagers who killed his wife...

    DS9Sega rightly points out how complicated and near-unmanageable The Atlantis Invaders is at the 3rd draft stage, and I've decided for the sake of sanity (and so that I won't still be writing this in 5 years), to try instead to analyze according to the 4 major players in this story: those would be Garrovick, DIRECTOR/ Callahan, the amphibians and Tri'tillya. To find a clear direction for all 4 within this story.

    ...So off I go back to my little exercise, and as before all input and opinions are welcome...
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2011
  19. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    Maybe instead of making up yet another mystery element of the week, howzabout having them mining dilithium directly from the seawater? Weird planet, lots and lots of dilithium on the ocean floor, and thus unreachable by conventional means, but the dilithium leeches into the water, and can be collected and easily processed, in surprisingly large quantities, making it a very valuable resource for the Federation.

    The dilemma comes in with the native animal life feeding on this sea dilithium ("sealithium?" :D ), and the sentient amphibian population feed on the animal life, which suddenly isn't doing so well now that this bunch of dilithium miners is sucking all the dilithium out of the water.

    Natives attack, production drops, Starfleet panics and sends in Garrovick and the Exeter. Peaceful solution: Miners agree to extract the dilithium at a more sustainable level, so as not to threaten the native animal life, everyone goes back to their corners, and everyone's happy again.

    I'd also suggest making "Atlantis" the name of the mining company, since these guys seem to specialize in oceanic operations. Name the planet something less cheesy, like Sigma Draconis III, or something like that.
     
  20. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Identifying the problems with a script is the easy part, figuring out how to fix them is where it gets hard. Calling Starfleet and talking to Jennings and asking for reinforcements are exactly the wrong approach, because that way you end up having characters talking about what to do and seeking outside assistance, when narratively it's faster and better to simply change the problem to make it something the characters can deal with by themselves.

    For instance, the Jimm & Josh script featured a flock of bad guys. There was the Director of the colony, Drident, AND a mysterious hooded figure who was buying the miner's product. That was three antagonists, plus this rogue from Garrovick's past: Callahan. My making Callahan the Director both cut down the number of major characters and made the tension between him and Garrovick a bigger part of the story. I almost threw out Drident, but I decided I needed him to complicate the situation for the Atlanteans. I junked the hooded pirate figure, who came across like a cut rate Darth Sideous and was a narrative dead-end. Besides, the miners don't need an evil customer because what Callahan's doing is bad enough.

    In Jimm and Josh's script the planet was Atlantis VI; however that implied that it was the 6th planet of a star called Atlantis, which didn't sound right. I actually fought for a different name for the planet because I thought the name was too much of a giveaway. Jimm was adamant, but I got to drop the VI.

    As to the mining company, in my version it was called POLARIS. No relation. :D

    Likewise, I thought the title was too on- the-nose. My suggested working title was "Doth Not the Sea Wax Mad?", which is a swipe from Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus:
    When heaven doth weep, doth not the earth o'erflow?
    If the winds rage, doth not the sea wax mad,
    Threatening the welkin with his big-swoll'n face?
    But Jimm liked titles that have a B-movie flavor, so "The Atlantis Invaders" stuck. I worked on making the title have a twist meaning, though.

    Yes, in the Jimm & Josh script the miners were harvesting something called Scurvium: which sounded like a disease rather than an element. For the sake of narrative simplicity, I invented a substance (dilithium bidroxiline) related to the dilithium crystals repeatedly established on Star Trek. Once you say it's dilithium whathaveyou, the audience just buys that it's valuable and you can move on without explaining it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2011