Follow-up: A GREEN SCREEN Christmas miracle!

Wow…with a capital WOW!

This, my friends, is what Star Trek fandom is all about.  Yesterday, I published a blog asking for fans’ assistance in replacing PAUL JENKINS’ custom green screen (at a cost of $4,700), which had accidentally been damaged beyond repair during the INTERLUDE shoot at Ares Studios in November.

I ended the blog with a reference to the TOS episode “The City on the Edge of Forever” when Kirk tells Edith Keeler how a famous author in the future will write a classic recommending the three words “Let me help…” even over “I love you…”

“Let me help…” brings people together.  “Let me help…” can accomplish the most amazing things.  And yesterday, “Let me help…” resulted in 85 donations and a total raised so far of $3,900 (including the $2,000 from three of our biggest donors and myself plus many, many donations of just $10 or $15 or $20).  This leaves us, after only a single day, within $800 of being able to replace Paul’s ruined green screen.

I can’t thank everyone enough for coming through this quickly.  I was deeply touched by this amazing fan response, especially after the emotional punch in the gut last Friday when Paul first told me how much this accident would cost to fix. $4,700 is a lot of money!

But what was most uplifting to me were the literally dozens and dozens of message full of support, understanding, and inspiration that I received on Facebook and from donors themselves.  Here’s just a small sample…

I donated because all Star Trek fans should support each other.
- Judy Reed
In today's world, it is becoming increasingly rare to see someone take responsibility for their own actions let alone for the actions of their crew. That type of integrity and honor deserves acknowledgement. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
- Lawrence Wagner
Jonathan, I'm happy to help with your Christmas miracle.  Hey, accidents happen, and it is the mark of a true gentleman when you suck it up and say, 'The buck stops with me.'  You're right, no one intended to ruin the fabric.  They didn't even realize that what they were doing would mess it up.  However, I admire how you handled it.  THAT is the kind of character that people respect, and you sir, have my respect.  So Merry Christmas...and keep on Trekkin'.
- Troy Light
I wasn't able to donate during the original fundraising effort, so I'm happy to be able to help a little now.
- David Goldsberry
Everyone messes up sometimes (and I've certainly replaced school equipment that the kids have ruined in the past!).
-  Catherine McClarey
Sorry to hear this and I'm happy to help. The only people who never make mistakes are those who never actually do anything. So never mind,  that's life, we'll sort it.
- Alastair Miles

As far as I’m concerned, this is what makes the Star Trek fan film community so AWESOME.  I thank everyone who donated…from the bottom of my heart.

We’re nearly there, folks. If you’d like to help us get to the finish line, please click on the link below to donate a little something…

14 thoughts on “Follow-up: A GREEN SCREEN Christmas miracle!”

  1. I’m curious… can the undamaged part of the “green screen” be salvaged and used? It would be nice if that were true… for where and when a smaller “green screen” is needed… like for the “Main Viewscreen”. 😉 Just an idea. 🙂

    1. There’s a good possibility that we will, indeed, be able to make some lemonade from these lemons. Paul knows a person who can evaluate the damage and figure out if some parts are salvageable and can be made into smaller green screen(s). We’re still waiting for Paul to be able to got to the studio, pick up the damaged green screen, and drop it off with his friend. Stay tuned for more news on this front.

  2. I just tossed 100.00 into the jar for you. Others are right,you owned up, took responsibility, and are doing the right thing. That is the way it should always be. Politicians should take note and learn the lesson. Great work Jonathan. Let us know if you still run short, I am sure some will help go over the top.

    1. A hundred dollars is a VERY generous donation, Brian! Thank you so much, it really means the world to me and to all of the team. As I type this, we’re only $455 away from our goal, which means we raised 90% in just two days…how amazing is THAT???

      As for taking responsibility, I really didn’t see any other option. People who try to cover their ass or throw someone else under the bus just confound me. It doesn’t help fix the problem, and in trying to “protect” themselves, it ends up making them look worse. I’m not sure people like that even realize it. But for me, that’s never acceptable. If I was in any way a part of creating the mess, I needed to help clean it up. And if others are willing to pitch in to help, as well, that’s even better. I didn’t know, when I reached out to our donors, if we’d make our goal or not. But I had faith…and sometimes, that’s all it takes. And even two of my biggest donors, who each put in $500 to help, said, “Don’t worry, Jon, this will all work out. We’ll find a way to make it work out.” That meant so much to me, and it was pretty much the same thing I told Paul…which is infinitely better than trying to deflect the blame and say, “Sorry, not my problem.”

  3. Perhaps soaking it in green dye may help since it will the dye just like it did the oil. It could probably soak up degreaser as well if desired to degrease it prior to dying. Worse case scenario it can become a rug when having no rug causes slip risks. This is an expensive lesson that shows why film makers need to bring their own green screen.

    1. Oh, there are MANY lessons to learn in filmmaking. Even if you’ve heard or read this story before, it’s still a great one…

      Cecil B. DeMille (1881 – 1959), the famous Hollywood film director and producer, is the subject of many legends. According to one famous story, DeMille once directed a film that required a huge, expensive battle scene. Filming on location in a California valley, the director set up multiple cameras to capture the action from every angle. It was a sequence that could only be done once. When DeMille yelled “Action!,” thousands of extras playing soldiers stormed across the field, firing their guns. Riders on horseback galloped over the hills. Cannons fired, pyrotechnic explosives were blown up, and battle towers loaded with soldiers came toppling down. The whole sequence went off perfectly. At the end of the scene, DeMille yelled “Cut!” He was then informed, to his horror, that three of the four cameras recording the battle sequence had failed. In Camera #1, the film had broken. Camera #2 had missed shooting the sequence when a dirt clod was kicked into the lens by a horse’s hoof. Camera #3 had been destroyed when a battle tower had fallen on it. DeMille was at his wit’s end when he suddenly remembered that he still had Camera #4, which he had placed along with a cameraman on a nearby hill to get a long shot of the battle sequence. DeMille grabbed his megaphone and called up to the cameraman, “Did you get all that?” The cameraman on the hill waved and shouted back, “Ready when you are, C.B.!”.

  4. I suspect that the reason it was damaged was because no one knew how to set it up properly. Perhaps PAUL can show you and your team how it should be setup. That way you and your team will know how to set one up in case you should need one in the future. PAUL could use the damaged green screen to show how to set it up.

    1. “I suspect that the reason it was damaged was because no one knew how to set it up properly.”

      And you would be wrong, Borg.

      Josh Irwin and Victoria Fox work with green screens often…in fact, Josh owns one. As it happened, he would have brought his along from Arkansas, but we believed that the studio already had a green screen that we would be able to use. That was an incorrect assumption, it turns out. Or rather, it was partially incorrect. Had we asked Paul, he told me he would have said, “Certainly, go right ahead and use my screen.” But he would have come by to supervise the set-up. So yes, a mistake was made in not contacting Paul on Saturday when it was set up. But we weren’t aware that the green screen was Paul’s and not the studio’s. Obviously, we’ll know better next time to ask, and Alec will know between for next time to explain to outside teams using the studio what is and isn’t off limits. Many opportunities for learning.

      As for why it got set up in the wrong way if Josh and Victoria both know how to set up a green screen…the fact is that they weren’t the ones setting it up. On a set, as I’ve now learned, there are a hundred moving parts at any one time. And while one person is setting up one thing, someone else is rigging something else. A director of photography might be setting up lights or getting the camera properly positioned on the dolly while the director is running lines with the actors or preparing them for the next scene. Make-up, hair, and wardrobe are handling the extras. The sound guy is setting up the mics. The assistant director is making sure everyone who needs to be on set is on set and not off chatting somewhere or in the bathroom or wherever. And while all of this is going on, someone might be rushing to get a green screen set up. At this point, it’s not Josh or Victoria’s job to micro-manage that task, as they’re focused on their own tasks…trusting others to get things set up for the next shot.

      So was the person setting up the green screen then not aware of how to do it properly? Yes and no. It wasn’t until the green screen was removed from the bag and unfolded that the folks setting it up discovered how large it was. A 100-foot green screen requires special rigging to hang appropriately and not sag. We didn’t have that rigging. So the green screen was set up as quickly as it could be in a way that would work for the needs of the shot toward the bridge view screen. Why rush the set-up? Because on a set, everything is a rush. You get there at 8:00am and work till 10:00pm. All of the actors are there until 10:00pm and then they leave (or else you have to pay them extra…and I can’t pay anyone anything). So any minute wasted doing set-up is a minute we don’t have later in the day or evening. So setting up this green screen for the shot wasn’t something that could be discussed theoretically and mapped out and planned for with deeply-considered logistics on a white board and then set up leisurely to make certain that it looked perfectly pristine. Nope, this was a race, and figuring a way to hang the green screen so it was tight and could function properly was an exercise in figuring out a puzzle at warp speed.

      Ultimately, the green screen was hung improperly, the excess material stuffed away into an area under the set where lubricants used to construct the set had leaked slowly over nearly two years, and the canvas ruined. It was, in summary, a mistake and accident made with the best of intentions by people giving their all to make a great fan film. I’ve since learned that mistakes like these are made often even by the most skilled and experienced of industry professionals. How so? Because so many, many, MANY things happen on a set every second that no one can be expected to be perfect and mistake-free 100% of the time…and certainly no team of a dozen or two dozen or three dozen people will never screw something up even once. In our case, we had one and only one “D’OH!” moment. Unfortunately, it was a $4700 “D’OH” moment. But these things happen, we fix them, learn from them, and move on.

  5. Congratulations! Good to know that all will be well, and balance is restored to the Force…uh, wrong genre…OK, well good job! Now Alec has sent out a need to help an Axanar Artist, Mark Payton. All Hands on Deck! To Go Fund Me with ye….

      1. Good of you to post it, hopefully some can help out, at least they made their goal. Not the best time to have issues like that. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy Axanar New Year, and make Interlude match the rest of the high quality Axanar works!

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