re: Star Trek Redux

Discussion in 'Fan Productions' started by trekkist, Oct 27, 2013.

  1. Conscientious Consumer

    Conscientious Consumer Admiral Admiral

    Feb 12, 2011
    Taking up space
    'splosions, sex, pew-pew. What's not to love? :rolleyes:

    So, are those scenes extracted from actual scripted episodes, or is that just a montage of random standalone hooks?
  2. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 17, 2005
    Walking distance from Starfleet HQ
    That's the one line pitch. But that's not what I see above. A one-line pitch would be something like "It's Star Trek by way of Das Boot".

    The issue with summarizing characters as one word like "Muslim" or "gay" or "Chinese" is that it reduces them to labels and utterly fails to define them by the content of their character. I once pitched a character as "a 'Cafeteria Muslim' [like a Cafeteria Catholic] who picks and choose what aspects of the faith he likes or finds convenient and discards the rest." THAT is a character.

    Here's the practical advice I'm going to give you.

    If you've never made a film before, this is NOT where to start. Just to shoot this trailer would require access to sets, costumes (not to mention a Gorn suit?!) and whole mess of VFX. It's a whole lot of work, and it's the kind of thing we've seen over and over again. practically every fan made space show tries to create excitement with a trailer full of spaceships going pew pew, and it's tired and isn't going to attract actors.

    A good SCRIPT and the ability to prove that you can make a film and finish it is what will draw people to the project.

    Here's what I recommend to wanna be filmmakers.
    1. Look to see if there's a 48 Hour Film Project or similar contest in your area, and then either join a team or form a team and go out there and make a movie in two days or whatnot. The actual experience of making a film, even a 4 minute short, will give you a much better sense of what it takes to mount an actual production than just about anything. You get to see all aspects of how a film gets made (write, shoot, edit, deliver) which is invaluable experience.
    2. Read some actual teleplays and screenplays but NOT Star Trek or science fiction ones. You'll learn more about screenwriting when you're not looking at something familiar.
    3. If you write a Trek Fanfilm, try to do one with next to ZERO visual effects. The effects frequently become a bottleneck that keeps films in post for lengthy period or forever. If you can get it all in camera (except maybe some ship flybys) then you actually have a film even if your effects pipeline falls apart.
    4. Partner with someone who has the skills you don't.

    Below are some blog entries from 2008 in which I documented the process of making my first completed live action short subject for a 48 Hour Film Project. Maybe you'll find it instructive or terrifying or something. :)
    Part 1: GO! And overnight screenwriting
    Part 2: The shooting day
    Part 3: Post & Across the Finish Line
    Part 4: On the big screen (the screening)
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2013
  3. Duane

    Duane Captain Captain

    Jun 3, 2006
    Chiang Mai, Thailand
    Trekkist, we seem to be a bit alike. I am a writer and not a filmmaker. I was never drawn to it. It seems like you need to find a filmmaker who is in need of a script, and actors in need of a project. I agree with Maurice that filming a trailer won't help much. Proving you can produce a single scene or a few scenes, and produce them well, is much more valuable since it proves you can get it done.

    It's hard since the skill sets involved (camera, lighting, costumes, make-up, sets, CGI, audio quality, sound effects, music, editing) can't usually be found in a very small group of people. But if you have talented friends with some contacts it can be done.

    You are sort of raising the question "what does it take to get on people's radar?" I'm been watching Kickstarter videos trying to determine what makes some succeed and others fail. Seemingly promising projects like Nobility or David Gerrold's project fail to gain traction, while a documentary about a failing town in Missouri (Rich Hill) hits their funding goal. I've learned a few things from that process, but it's still mostly a mystery to me.
  4. trekkist

    trekkist Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Mar 14, 2008
    Thanks, and sincerely, again, Maurice…and "terrifying" is indeed the word.

    I have read some scripts…indeed took quite a number of courses at a local film school…but have zero actual experience.

    The trailer shows its age, unfortunately (and Closed Caption, its all scenes from my pilot script). What would (perhaps) have seemed gosh-wow circa 2003 is (I'm glad to say) old news today. I've also been thinking in terms of an SFX-light production.

    I'm in complete agreement as to your criticism re: "Muslim," etc. I think I'll leave off here -- again with thanks for your (and others') advice, but will close by posting a few short character bios, just to show I've more in mind than stock diversity.

    David Winfrey

    Captain Fazal Allende—Tall, charismatic, of mixed Middle Eastern and Central American descent, Allende was first offered a Starship captaincy at 30, but declined for the sake of his pregnant wife. For some decades a widower due to a planetary disaster, he taught at the Academy before taking command of Endeavour, whose assumption of Jim Kirk’s former patrol route he sometimes regrets. Allende is a “half-breed” eidetic, his memory not perfectly photographic, but near enough he retains the names of his entire crew (indeed, much of Starfleet), and considerable else. He wears his long dense hair in a braid, sports a thick salt-and-pepper beard, and enjoys rank’s privilege in regularly (though not daily; times have changed) pointing his vessel towards Mecca, that he may properly pray. Allende enjoys a strong personal relationship with many of his command staff, who respect both his quiet deliberation and his slow-to-kindle but powerful temper.

    First Officer Shelia Hansen—a statuesque blonde, 45 years of age, Hansen has a reputation throughout Starfleet as a hellacious shore-leaver. She entered the Academy when 23, and within two years began a romance with Allende. Upon graduation, she took her lover’s advice to strike out with a vengeance, electing service upon an autonomous, long-ranged exploration cruiser. Shortly into her first mission, she and her crew suffered contact with a spatial anomaly, thanks to which they experienced some years’ duration in what was to the galaxy proper a matter of weeks. On returning, Hansen, highest ranking of her cruiser’s survivors (and thanks to its plight, now 41) confronted Allende as a near-equal, served as his First (in both senses) on the scout Heinlein, only to face his refusal to wed her (or keep a “Captain’s Woman”) on Endeavour. She practices “safe distancing maneuvers” both aboard and ashore, and seems likely to win her own Starship in due course. She is close friends with Endeavour’s Chief Engineer, and a joking thorn in the side to the ship’s Science Officer, who she sees as having a fetish for Vulcan logic he would do better without.

    Chief Engineer Regina Brahms—a soft-spoken redhead in her early 30s, Brahms has few peers in her expertise and inventiveness. She declined upon Academy graduation a high post in Starfleet’s engine design department in preference to, as she put it, “playing with real toys” – a number of which (of quite another sort) she shared and/or alternated with Hansen when roommates, back then. Like many another engineer, she takes herself to be Endeavour’s “owner,” but revels in (and indeed, often suggests) the chance to take the ship to her limits.

    Science Officer William Daystrom—tall, strikingly handsome, about 22, Daystrom bears the burden of being son to a one-time “boy wonder” whose greatest creation ran amok to the tune of nearly 500 dead. This debacle rendered William something of a pariah at Starfleet Academy, due to which he assumed an almost Vulcan demeanor, becoming, on graduation, a sought-after candidate for Starship duty…yet suspected of being so marked by events that “offers” were few. Allende, well-acquainted with both duty and loss, has given him the chance to show himself a fine Science Officer. Daystrom appears to have few interests outside of his duties, and – having been raised a somewhat conservative Catholic – may well consider the M-5 to have been not merely a tragic mistake, but an Abomination…which if so, would put him at some risk of damnation due the sins of the father.
    In his off-hours, Daystrom knits.

    Chief Medical Officer Spask—As a full Vulcan, Spask is of indeterminate age. He appears to be forty-five or so, but may be as old as sixty Earth years. He has, in any case, made quite a career in the Starfleet Medical Corps, and had more than enough time both to acclimate himself to humans and all their foibles, and to allow himself the sometime-pleasure of being unexpectedly demonstrative of emotion (at least to the level of a very dry wit) in their presence. Although we will at best allude to the fact, Spask is a distant relation of the first Vulcan to marry a human, an event which was the scandal of Vulcan some 100 years ago. Spask plays the Vulcan harp only under great duress, and quite badly. He will also, on occasion, tell rather bad jokes. As to the latter, though, it is a moot point whether Spask is revealing himself as being humor-impaired – or taking pleasure in playing humans as straight men (sic) in making them the butt(s) of his humor. The smart money would be on the latter.
  5. Potemkin_Prod

    Potemkin_Prod Commodore Commodore

    Jan 11, 2010
    Metro-Birmingham, Alabama
    As an executive producer, I have to ask, "How expensive and practical is <script> going to be?" We've had scripts submitted that would no doubt be fun to do, but they're just outside the scope of our production. Our motto remains KISS -- Keep It Simple, Stupid. We get into far more trouble when we DON'T adhere to our motto than we do when we keep it in mind, at least.
  6. trekkist

    trekkist Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Mar 14, 2008
    Well said. Having built furniture (though not sets) I've some idea of those costs, and how they can escalate.

    Having a pilot in hand, I chose brief scenes for the above trailer with costs in mind. The Gorn? TOS stock on a view screen (likely a model). A short, close-in corridor sequence. Commodore Wesley on his bridge: modified stock (if that's possible). A hangar via miniature or CGI. Doable, I think…but due to being dated in its impact (we've seen lots of redone TOS era stuff since I wrote that), pointless to run with now. I've vague thoughts as to a story set on a shuttlecraft...

    I'm thrilled to see you read scripts (what, no musicals?). I confess to having not heard of your show, but will be devoting some time to it soon. Thanks for the post!

    David Winfrey
  7. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 17, 2005
    Walking distance from Starfleet HQ
    I'm certainly not trying to scare you off filmmaking. Rather, I'm trying to give you a sense that it's probably not at all what you're thinking it really is. Fan filmmakers typically aim too high from the get go, and their plans are frequently impractical.

    This is one reason I recommend things like 48HFP, as they are great opportunities to get experience.

    If you have a script, I have a crazy no-budget idea for you: learn by doing. In short get a camera...and it can be ANY camera—even an iPhone or whatnot—get some friends or any actors you can find and actually go shoot the script...without makeup, props, lights, sets, anything. Then just edit it together (there're a fair number of free editing software packages). Sure, it won't look or sound pretty, but what you'll have done is create the equivalent of pre-vis for the whole film. Think of it as a rehearsal. You'll learn tons just from doing that, and it will cost you not much more than time.

    That experience will change the way you think about writing and making movies, period. You'll change the way you write scripts. And if you don't love the process, you might realize it's not for you.

    Now, on the positive side, you can sorta go from 0 to competence in short order. I'll use myself as an example. Although I made goofy little 8mm films in high school and did computer animation in the 80s and 90s, my practical experience with making movies was really nada. In 2003 I wrote and directed a sci-fi short subject, since abandoned, where my reach exceeded my grasp. In 2007 I helped make a 48HFP film (as writer), and in 2008 directed my own 48HFP film...the first film I completed. The next year for the 48HFP I made this short subject (link), which tied for Runner Up for Best Film and won for Best Costumes and Best Sound Design, which just goes to show it's possible to learn to make something passable in a fairly short time if you're serious about doing good work.
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2013