FIRST FRONTIER releases it newest trailer! (Interview with KENNY SMITH, Part 3)

Last time (and the time before that), we began chatting KENNY SMITH, the passionate Star Trek fan who is self-funding his own fan film.  But it’s not just any Star Trek fan film!  STAR TREK: FIRST FRONTIER is getting fans excited in ways that few other fan films have recently, and there’s several reasons for that.

First, it’s one of the few fan productions recently to build elaborate sets of professional studio quality.  Second, Kenny has hired professional SAG (Screen Actors Guild) Hollywood actors to portray his characters.  Third, Kenny has brought in industry professionals to handle production, construction, and visual effects.  Fourth, he’s going where no fan film has gone before: to the launch of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701 under the commander of its first captain, Robert April, who is married to the ship’s Chief Medical Officer (a fact established in April’s only canonized appearance in the animated episode “The Counter-Clock Incident”).  And finally, Kenny and his construction team built an incredible 11-foot model of the starship Enterprise in its earlier pre-Kirk iteration…a model which is being used to shoot visual FX the old-fashioned way.

Although Kenny tried to do a Kickstarter to raise $130K, he only got to $30K and then canceled it entirely—leaving him with zero in crowd-funding.  Instead, Kenny decided to pay for everything himself.  So I just had to ask him…

JONATHAN – If you funded this whole project yourself, Kenny, how much has it ended up costing you in total?

Continue reading “FIRST FRONTIER releases it newest trailer! (Interview with KENNY SMITH, Part 3)”

FIRST FRONTIER releases it newest trailer! (Interview with KENNY SMITH, Part 2)

Last time, I began chatting with KENNY SMITH, the show-runner behind the eagerly-anticipated fan production STAR TREK: FIRST FRONTIER.  This exciting project will feature the first-ever commander of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701, Captain Robert April and his crew on their maiden voyage directly from dry dock.

Everything about this production looks amazing!  From the costumes to the sets to the 11-foot model of the USS Enterprise constructed specifically to create amazing-looking visual effects.

In Part 1, we learned how Kenny had become a convention promoter, working with most of the main cast members from the various Star Trek series, and also how he made connections with various people in the entertainment industry.  This led to finding a producer to help him bring his fan film script to life.

We continue this great interview by looking into some of the other exciting aspects of this fan film, the selection of cast and production crew members, and exploring why Kenny decided not to use donated crowd-funding to help produce this project…

Continue reading “FIRST FRONTIER releases it newest trailer! (Interview with KENNY SMITH, Part 2)”

FIRST FRONTIER releases it newest trailer! (Interview with KENNY SMITH, Part 1)

Can you feel it?  Things just got a whole lot more exciting in the fan film world when STAR TREK: FIRST FRONTIER released its latest trailer earlier on today.

What makes this new fan production so exciting?  Where do I begin???

  1. It’s a fan film about the very first commander of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701, Captain Robert April, and his crew on their maiden voyage of exploration.
  2. It’s a fan film that has custom-built sets in the finest traditions of fan series like Star Trek: New Voyages and Star Trek Continues.
  3. Likewise, the costumes look amazing.  They are very similar to Pike-era uniforms, and the attention to detail and continuity is wonderfully impressive.
  4. It’s using actual Screen Actors Guild actors (not that fan films without professional actors can’t be exciting, too, mind you!).
  5. It’s being self-funded by ONE GUY who decided that he wanted to build an actual 11-FOOT MODEL of the original USS Enterprise (like, from the first two Star Trek pilots…the one with the larger bridge deck and pointy needle/antenna thingies on the front of the nacelles) to film the visual effects the “old fashioned way.”

Here, watch this video (it’s not the official trailer…scroll to the end for that) and tell me you’re not excited, too:

And who is this self-financing super-fan with the meticulous attention to detail?  Born in Florida and still living there today, KENNY SMITH is a convention promoter who is also a U.S. Army veteran who fought in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.  But how did those long roads lead him from there to here, making one of the most intriguing, costliest, and intricately produced fan films to come along in quite a while?

By now, you’ve probably figured out that I interviewed Kenny and asked that very thing, right?

Continue reading “FIRST FRONTIER releases it newest trailer! (Interview with KENNY SMITH, Part 1)”

STAR TREK: FIRST FRONTIER unveils its first TEASER PREVIEW!

Ten years ago, Kenny Smith wrote a rough draft for a Star Trek fan film that he wanted to direct. It focused on Captain Robert April, the first person to command the USS Enterprise NCC-1701.

Smith wanted to tell the story of the USS Enterprise’s initial mission, to see her being built in spacedock—along with the fleet of twelve sister ships in Earth orbit—and to watch her launch for the first time towards indescribable adventure.

Smith owned the sci-fi convention company I-Con and recently, at one of Smith’s conventions, he met a film producer who was looking for a project to work on. Smith told the producer about his idea for a Captain April fan film, and he loved it. Knowing that the fiftieth anniversary of Star Trek was quickly approaching, they set to work on the script.

They also managed to convince Emmy-nominated Lee Stringer (who worked on numerous science fiction projects including Star Trek: Voyager, Battlestar Galactica, and Firefly, to name just a few) to join their team. And to make their visual effects look true to the original series, rather than just creating computer-generated 3D effects, the team went on to build an 11-foot physical model of the original Enterprise…along with sets as close to those in the original pilot as possible.

Also notable about this fan film is the way it was funded. In March of 2015, Smith began a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter with a goal of $130,000. But after two months, he’d raised only $30,000 from just 67 backers. Instead of letting the campaign end in failure, Smith canceled the Kickstarter and announced that he would self-fund the project.

Although they missed their original target release date of September of 2016 (to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Star Trek), they’re still making impressive progress.  How impressive?  Take a look at this: