We are now exactly one week out from the announced premiere of the latest fan film from THE AVALON UNIVERSE: AGENT OF NEW WORLDS. Fans are really looking forward to this one, for a number of reasons…
- The showrunner, writer, and director, JOSHUA IRWIN, is a film industry professional in Arkansas and a skilled craftsman. Avalon releases are among the best-looking, best-sounding, and best-edited Star Trek fan films being produced right now.
- This is a brand new era for Avalon. With the departure of director/writer/actor VICTORIA FOX from the series as well as lead actor CHUCK MERÉ (along with the characters they played: first officer Amanda Beck and Captain Lance Ramirez, respectively), a new cast and crew is coming aboard the U.S.S. Excalibur. This includes the ever-perky PIXI NEREID, who has already captured the hearts of fan film aficionados with a music video and interviews like this one. It also includes actor WARREN HAWK from my AXANAR Universe fan film INTERLUDE (now with 118K views!) who played fan-favorite character Captain Imari Jakande of the U.S.S. Artemis. Although Jakande died in the Axanar Universe, he’s alive and well in the Avalon Universe and is the new commanding officer of the U.S.S. Excalibur.
- The film looks like it’ll be visually stunning. This is because Josh and members of his team traveled all the way from Arkansas to Arizona to film parts of this on location in a desert outside of Phoenix along with driving and hiking to two different scenic locations in western Oklahoma…all to create the feeling of being stranded on an alien world.
And of course, I’ve been talking up this latest fan film for the past few months as I’ve endeavored to help Team Avalon raise crowd-funding for this production—as well as other upcoming projects. Speaking of which, they’re currently 60% of the way to their $20,000 goal, and if you haven’t tossed a few pennies (or preferably dollars) into the collection plate yet, this would be a great time to do so at this link…
Have you ever wondered what goes on a week before the release of a fan film? Of course, there’s all sorts of different scenarios. Sometimes a film is finished weeks or months early, pretty much ready to go, and maybe there’s a few minor tweaks as things head for an announced deadline. Sometimes there’s no announced deadline and a fan filmmaker just releases the finished product whenever it’s ready. And sometimes a deadline is announced and then has to be extended because things aren’t ready yet. I’ve seen ’em all.
But then there’s Josh Irwin. Josh doesn’t miss deadlines, no matter how many hours he has to work or go without sleep. It’s a matter of professional pride. And in the case of Agent of New Worlds, the announced release date of October 31 is significant because it marks exactly three years from the 2018 premiere of Avalon’s debut fan film GHOST SHIP.
So with the clock ticking down, what is life like for Josh right now…?
Well, rather than tell you, I can let you hear it directly from the mouth of Josh himself, from a series of minute-long voice messages left for the entire Avalon team in our Facebook messenger chat group (which I’m a part of as their crowd-funding coordinator…or whatever the heck my title is!).
The reason Josh recorded these voice messages rather than typing them is because he was driving at the time. Josh has done a LOT of driving for this fan film…over 5,000 miles so far!!! Nearly half of that was simply going to and from Arizona, but there were also two trips to western Oklahoma, plus 200 miles round trip each time he drives to WARP 66 studios for a shoot on their TOS sets…and he’s done that nearly a dozen times at least!
Well, as of this past Friday, you can tack on another 450 miles to Josh’s total as he needed to drive to and back from Oklahoma City for what was less than an hour visit with new Avalon actress JENNIFER RADER. Jennifer, who is of Native American heritage, will be playing a new Native American character named Ahyoka. She lives in OKC, and Josh needed her to re-record some lines of dialogue that will be dubbed over footage where her audio levels didn’t turn out well.
This dubbing process is called ADR (Automated Dialogue Replacement). Many fan films don’t bother with ADR and simply go with however the actors sound when they’re recorded by the camera. Other fan films do ADR to clean up certain lines but don’t sweat it if the dubbed lines don’t match precisely the movement of the actors’ lips.
Give yourself a point if you’ve already guessed that Josh is meticulous about ADR.
It’s not rocket surgery getting the re-dubbed audio to match the lip movements and cadence of the original spoken lines, but it does usually require the director (in this case, Josh) to be present with good audio equipment and the original footage for the actor to watch while the new lines are being spoken. It also requires patience and some persistence, but if the result is that you can’t tell it’s been dubbed, then all the extra time is worth it.
As is the extra driving, I suppose!
So on Friday morning at about 8:30 am Central Time, while Josh was driving westward toward central Oklahoma, he checked in with the team, updating them all on his status with post-production, what was finished, and what still needed to be done. The following recording is presented here with Josh’s approval and will give you a snapshot of how things are progressing with just about a week left until the premiere…
According to Josh, the session with Jennifer went amazingly smoothly. Jennifer was able to watch the footage and match all of her lines perfectly with a minimal number of tries. Of course, Jennifer is a trained actress, having done some independent films as well as television commercials. So after staying at her home barely an hour, Josh proceeded to drive 350 miles back to his home in Bentonville, AR (he used to live in Fayetteville but recently moved about a half hour north).
As if that wasn’t enough driving, though, Josh headed out the following morning (Saturday), drove to Fayetteville to pick up a few members of Team Avalon, and drove the three hours over to WARP 66 Studios to film the post-credits sequence for Agent of New Worlds, a scene requiring actors TYLER DUNIVAN, TORI ARCHER (with her 6-month old baby Stella; Tori was 8-months pregnant during the filming of COSMIC STREAM earlier this year), newcomer CAITLYN BAILEY, and Pixi Nereid (who drove up separately from Little Rock—they drive a LOT in Arkansas!). Here’s a few photos from Saturday’s shoot…
So…enough driving for one fan film? Perhaps. But nevertheless, Josh is back back at WARP 66 Studios again today (Sunday) helping to film a new episode of THE FEDERATION FILES for GLEN WOLFE and DAN REYNOLDS of Wolfe/Reynolds Production.
Yeah, this much driving—literally several thousand miles!—might seem a little crazy for something as “trivial” as Star Trek fan films. (Might???) But that’s the kind of dedication and commitment some fan filmmakers have to this little hobby of ours. They take their craft VERY seriously, and they don’t mind a few dozen (many dozen!) hours behind the wheel to make sure these projects get completed properly.
If you’re impressed—or just want to help Josh pay for some gas since prices are so high at the moment—here’s that GoFundMe link again…