Fade In: The Writing of Star Trek: Insurrection

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by DarkHorizon, Sep 19, 2010.

  1. DarkHorizon

    DarkHorizon Captain Captain

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    TrekCore yesterday released a precious gift - an unfinished draft of Michael Piller's never-released book about the creation of Star Trek: Insurrection.

    I'm only about halfway through reading the release, and it's incredibly detailed, honest and forthright about the process of developing the script, the discussions with crucial figures, the underlying story influences, and Pillar's own writing techniques. I don't doubt the authenticity of the text - if would have to be a phenomenally good fake if so (if anyone has a copy of Star Trek Magazine issue 126, which has an extract from the book, and would like to compare, that would be further support).

    It's linked on the site's front page, but here is a direct link (.doc file).
     
  2. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Marco would know for certain; I believe he was the original editor on the book.

    And thanks for the link! :)
     
  3. Daddy Todd

    Daddy Todd Fleet Captain Premium Member

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    Fascinating read. I'm just about finished reading the first outline, and the thought struck me that it would make a great novel or novella. Too bad "Insurrection" didn't end up looking more like this outline.
     
  4. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Unfortunately, it's all too obvious why Paramount had the book scuttled. Piller's scrupulous honesty doesn't paint Stewart or Spiner in a particularly flattering light, and, even though he's diplomatic about it, the story of his forced departure from Voyager makes several then-current Paramount employees look like a bunch of spoiled brats.
     
  5. Lonemagpie

    Lonemagpie Writer Admiral

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    Spiner comes off as a bit of a dumbass, but in the letters between Piller and Stewart about the direction of the movie make me think they were both 100% right - sometimes that just happens.

    Fabulous insight into how projects happen though, and the process.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2010
  6. toughlittleship

    toughlittleship Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    That was really informative. I always knew Rick Berman was the one who blocked the movie being about the Dominion War and there we have it in print. Insurrection could have been so much more.
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I quite liked the second draft of the story. The exotic telepathic aliens were far more interesting than the whitebread "aliens" the Ba'ku ended up being. And while the idea of all Federation medical technology relying on a single exotic mineral is silly, it's less silly than the "fountain of youth" stuff. I found the political elements interesting, and I loved the idea of the ordinary citizens of the Federation coming in to save the day at the end -- we so rarely get to see the civilian side of life in the UFP. As for the Romulans, I agree that TNG Romulans were pretty boring, but using the Romulans and the backdrop of the end of the long conflict would've given the story more impact than just bringing in some random aliens-of-the-week.
     
  8. Steve Roby

    Steve Roby Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    I've been hoping this would pop up somewhere. Someone posted very short excerpts from it on his blog a couple of years ago before (IIRC) being told by Paramount or someone to knock it off. Looking forward to finally reading it.
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    On the other hand, I think the reproduced memo in the "Reactions" chapter paints the Paramount executives in a very positive light. We hear so many horror stories casting studio executives as illiterates making lousy suggestions that ruin movies, but the execs' notes here are very cogent, thoughtful, and respectful to the property and the characters. Indeed, the final film would've been stronger if more of these suggestions had been followed.
     
  10. Corran Horn

    Corran Horn Vice Admiral Admiral

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    What a great find. Reminds me of David Gerrold's "The Trouble with Tribbles" book that I've always enjoyed. Thanks!
     
  11. Agenda

    Agenda Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    That second treatment was badass. Could've been a fine movie, maybe better than First Contact. Joss seemed like a great great villain.
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    What's interesting is that some ideas from the first couple of treatments presaged elements of Nemesis. A focus on the Romulans, a peace mission that turns out to be a Romulan plot, a villain who takes an interest in Troi and has her turn the tables on him, and Data "dying."
     
  13. Agenda

    Agenda Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I thought the levity that Piller was forced to inject really ruined the overall script. One of my big problems watching Insurrection was that I didn't hate the villains or fear for the heroes nearly as much as I should have. Relocating entire populations like cattle isn't a light-hearted concept. Putting in cheap laughs isn't going to help that kind of storyline. And I hate to admit it, because I'm a big fan of Patrick Stewart, but it seems that he deserves a large part of the blame (or thanks) for giving us the Insurrection that we got.

    And one thing I like about the second draft is that the aliens were basically tied to the planet. If you move them, they die because of their lack of immune systems. That helps justify not relocating them. With the Baku, one could argue - rightfully or wrongly - that they're kind of being selfish. But what's ironic is that that was a complaint about the second draft - that relocating them could be justified - but they only made it worse, imo.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2010
  14. JonnyQuest037

    JonnyQuest037 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'm only skimming it so far, but it's fascinating reading. I particularly like this note from Patrick Stewart:

    After the Borg Queen it will look as if we just couldn’t come up with any new bad guys. But we must. Could they be the Federation Executive Council? (Gene, stop spinning.) :guffaw:
     
  15. Admiral_Young

    Admiral_Young Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I'm looking forward to reading this, thanks for the find!
     
  16. BillJ

    BillJ Canon Warrior Premium Member

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    Great find, thanks!
     
  17. Trek Survivor

    Trek Survivor Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Nice to see it would've been dedicated to Berman. Piller and Berman worked so well together and both were great for Trek.
     
  18. GeorgeKirk

    GeorgeKirk Commodore Commodore

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    Paramount blocking the book's release just shows what a silly and thin-skinned town Hollywood is. Michael Piller was a classy guy. He honestly relates everything that happened, sure, but he never badmouths anybody. How many writers would complain about clueless executives and prima-donna actors "ruining" their script? Piller never succumbs to the temptation, not once. Insurrection would have been a better film if it had been based on the first story treatment, but Piller makes each change sound entirely logical and well thought-out, even though those changes led to the cinematic Quaalude that Insurrection became.
     
  19. toughlittleship

    toughlittleship Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It would have been great if Berman had left Star Trek in 1997. Insurrection could have been a Dominion War movie!
     
  20. Csalem

    Csalem Commodore Commodore

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    Have started reading this and has really drawn me in. Superb read so far.