Last week, we began chatting with the über Star Trek fan JENS (pronounced “Yens”) DOMBEK, known around the world as The German Spock. He’s been booked for appearances in both the eastern and western hemispheres, and most recently, he’s appeared in two different Trek fan films as the logical Vulcan, both released within two weeks of each other.
The first, LOOK FORWARD TO THE DAY, is a short film featuring Kirk, Spock, and McCoy sharing a long-distance video call during a time of frustrating separation. The vignette was written, filmed, and edited as people around the planet found themselves having to social distance and isolate at home.
The second vignette was even shorter and features Jens providing a monologue as Spock in a dark, empty room over haunting music. It’s a simple yet brilliant masterpiece of minimalism, and if you haven’t watched it yet, take a look…
In Part 1, Jens and I discussed his history as a fan and how he became such a well-known cosplayer. One of his greatest regrets, though, was missing a chance to meet LEONARD NIMOY in person when the actor’s failing health led to the cancelation of an appearance at a convention in Germany. However, Jens did have a chance to meet William Shatner at that convention—dressed as Spock! Naturally, I asked the obvious question…
JONATHAN – What did Shatner say when he saw you as Spock?
JENS – There are situations you don’t forget your whole life, and that was definitely one of the weirdest moments! The waiting line to him was relatively long, and when it was my turn, I approached him and he noticed me. He shouted so loudly through the hall, “What are you doing here??? You’re sick!” Suddenly everything was silent, and everyone in attendance was looking at me, and I couldn’t interpret that moment at first.
Then he spoke to someone from his team, looked smiling left and right, and waved to me. He said the similarity was phenomenal, and he was actually a bit shocked. At this point, I became so nervous that I can’t remember what we talked about. It became difficult to listen, but we continued to chat. It was surreal. Later, some of those present told me that Shatner spoke to others about me after my photo session. That really made me very proud!
JONATHAN – How many different Spock uniforms and costumes do you have, which ones are they, and who makes them?
I have to admit, now I have them all! From the classic series to TMP, to the Vulcan robe, to TWOK. Many costumes from individual series, such as the green overall from “Spock’s Brain.” The TOS dress uniform, as well as the “Mirror, Mirror” uniform up to the Beyond and Discovery uniforms.
I ordered some directly from America, and a few came from China. Of course, each one of them had to be adjusted. I have a wonderful seamstress who knows my body really well and completely implements my desire for attention to detail. Her work is priceless! A German latex company asked me if they could create the typical ears for “the German Spock” and advertise with it. Part of the deal was that I get custom-made ears until the end of my life. The basic form of many ears to buy in Germany, whether elven or whatever else, are my ears. Funny!
JONATHAN – Ears for years…what a deal!!! So let’s shift over to fan films. Your first Star Trek fan film experience experience was with STAR TREK: NEW VOYAGES, yes? When and how did you come to be a part of that production, what episode were you in, and what did you do?
JENS – I was informed at short notice that there was casting for the German dubbing of Star Trek: New Voyages/Phase II taking place. I was very interested in doing the German voice of Spock. Then I saw that the application date with the ballot sample was in two days! I had to review 40 pages of script and make a demo in only two days? Impossible!
So I decided to make up my own version. I took pictures from different Spock scenes, linked them, and invented my own little story that I recited and put on the footage. I then sent the whole thing with music to the production company. A day later, I checked the website and the voice over job was gone! The job must have been taken. So all that work I did was for nothing. Not a good experience.
Three weeks later, I got a call from one of the producers who said that they liked my demo so much, and that it would fit my person completely, that I could have the job if I still wanted it. An ups-and-downs of feelings—I will probably never get used to it.
Two days later, I was in the recording studio! I am currently between several projects, including the synchronization of the second part, which if the virus situation had been different, would have been published in Berlin as early as this year.
JONATHAN – In this latest fan film, I Am Spock, you appear with a wide variety of props—tricorder, 3D chess set, Vulcan lute, and even a lirpa. Are these all props in your collection, or did you borrow them?
JENS – I own all the props shown in the film. The harp, as well as the lirpa, are handcrafted items made by a Star Trek fan…especially for me. I am really surrounded by a lot of creative and talented people who enrich my life infinitely and for that I am very, very grateful!
JONATHAN – How did the idea for I Am Spock first materialize?
JENS – The idea for I Am Spock came about through a Facebook friend, GARY A. BROWN, who asked me if I could act because he and some others would like to see me in a role. Look Forward to the Day had just been finished. He thought that if the film went well, he might bring the composer ADAM MULLEN on board, should he like the film too. I didn’t expect these wonderful sounds, which give the film, from my point of view, a special and appropriate character. I am infinitely grateful to him for this work!
I also want to thank TWANO CHERRY from Berlin, who made the sound and effects settings in the film…and my son NIK, who agreed to take on the brief Kirk role.
JONATHAN – Once again, you’ve teamed up with MIKE LONGO (who wrote and edited both this fan film and the recent “Look Forward to the Day). Was this latest production his idea, your idea, or did you think it up together?
JENS – Mike is now one of my friends of a very special kind, not only because we are geographically so far away and do not know each other from our school days, but because we still understand each other wordlessly. Our meeting was more like a kind of fate, because we are both very creative and completely on the same wavelength. This symbiosis includes creativity, the attention to detail, and also the speed of implementation. In fact, I have rarely experienced this repartee in this form.
For many years, I have also made money with creative photography and similar things to what I do in creating films. I wake up at night, have an idea, and put it on paper immediately, because experience showed me that if I didn’t write them down, I forgot about them the next morning.
It’s been like a stroke of luck with Mike. One of us comes up with an idea, then the other immediately adds to it. And that’s how things come about with us. He found words, cuts in the right place, I the sounds, the ideas, e.g. with Kirk’s hand on Spock’s shoulder. Passion, dedication, and creativity are probably the key for us, and the latest project is already in its infancy.
He also helped me with the correct translation, so that a possible German/English misinterpretation is ruled out. I am very grateful to him for that too!
JONATHAN – You’ve now appeared in two Star Trek fan films in as many weeks…both shot during the pandemic. Is this the new normal for you? Do you and Mike and the gang have plans to make and/or release any more new fan films in the future?
JENS – We are all moving in unpredictable times and need to learn to adapt quickly to new situations and deal with them sensibly. In my opinion, we will have to live with this curse for a very long time to come and tackle many things from different angles. For our latest project, let’s say we’ll be more than three contributors in front of the camera, and the effort to make it a tangible and compelling story that I hope will definitely be a spectacular experience for everyone. One has searched and found, as I would call it.
We are also discussing some ideas with DAVID CHENG about some future projects. David has always been an enthusiastic and supportive friend. We posted these last two fan productions on his Youtube Channel Star Trek Fan Productions International. He got Mike involved with the Star Trek fan movies and convinced him to go to the convention in Las Vegas where I met him. I am really enjoying this creative collaboration with these people.
JONATHAN – Okay, I gotta ask about the tattoo. I’ve seen it in some photos, and it’s very impressive. When did you get it, and how many sessions did it take to complete?
JENS – My tattoo was engraved in 2017. In three sessions the artwork was finished and, for me, this result is simply priceless! I symbolized one of my life dreams through a special tattoo…and thus not only immortalized my idol with a place in my head and mind, or with a look in the mirror, but he also accompanies me every day directly on the skin, on my left upper arm.
JONATHAN – Well, you certainly have taken your love and passion to a whole other level that most of us Trekkies can only aspire to. I’d say, in some ways, you’ve achieved the Kolinahr of Star Trek fandom!
JENS – There was a time when the term “Trekkie” appeared, and it caused a negative and rather derogatory taste for this kind of science fiction fan in a lot of people. One was suddenly declared a nerd, or a spinner, and I hid my passion for a while. I didn’t want that reputation or stigma to stick to me.
Today I wonder why I was, yes, almost ashamed to be a Trekkie and not to stand by it. Perhaps it was the fear of having fewer chances with the girls or if people would hold being a Trekkie against me.
But today I am proud of it, and I shout it into the universe: “I AM A TREKKIE FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE!”
Thank you, Jonathan, for your interest in this small part of my story! LLAP
JONATHAN – Peace and long life, Jens. You rock like Spock…literally!
As I did last week, here’s a sampling of some of my favorite photos from Jens’ Facebook gallery. Last time, they were the the humorous ones. These are somewhat more serious/artistic…