Star Trek in the 1930s??? Take a look at COMMANDERS OF STARFLEET! (video interview with JEFF NORD)

One of the reasons that I love Star Trek fan films so much is because there are literally no rules! Okay, there are guidelines, but within those guidelines, there are no limits beyond the imagination and capabilities of the fan filmmakers themselves.

One of those filmmakers is a fellow by the name of JEFF NORD, who lives in Los Angeles and dabbles in amateur filmmaking. And he got a crazy idea: Star Trek done as a 1930s-style Flash Gordon serial episode! Those old black-and-white adventures used to premiere each week, shown at movie matinees before the main feature. They were cheap, cheesy, a bit childish, but oh-so-charming when we look back at them now. And in their own way, they pushed the limits of what Hollywood could imagine and inexpensively produce in that emerging genre known as “science fiction.”

In many ways, the original Star Trek stood on the shoulders of those 1930s and 1940s serials (GENE RODDENBERRY himself was a 15-year-old when Flash Gordon premiered in theaters during 1936) as much as it did the sci-fi “blockbuster” classics of the 1950s like The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) and Forbidden Planet (1956). So indeed, honoring those early sci-fi pioneers with a campy, black-and-white Star Trek fan film seems most appropriate!

Released back in April, COMMANDERS OF STARFLEET has generated a fairly impressive 6.4K+ views on YouTube so far, and it’s definitely worth checking out…

What’s particularly intriguing is how much this short fan film FEELS like one of those 1930s serial episodes. And while classics like Flash Gordon did, at the time, push the limits of what Hollywood could accomplish with limited technology and relatively small budgets, 2022 offers opportunities for the average Joe or Josephine to easily surpass what Hollywood could only dream of 86 years ago.

But what if you’re NOT trying to surpass those efforts? What if you’re simply trying to reproduce them really closely? How challenging is it to make a modern film that looks like something from nine decades ago?

In a fun and informative interview, I chatted with Jeff Nord about his very creative and unique new Star Trek fan film…

5 thoughts on “Star Trek in the 1930s??? Take a look at COMMANDERS OF STARFLEET! (video interview with JEFF NORD)”

  1. What a fun video. I grew up in the 50’s so my childhood was during the Flash Gordon era. It took me back very strongly. I want the serial to continue!!!

  2. This could seriously benefit from 24 fps, film grain, more contrast, And a large packet of 1-inch hex bolts placed strategically around the set. maybe some cathode ray tubes, and one of those lightning machines with the antenna. for the Warping Compartment, Ooooh! and a CB mic with a curly cord.

    Probably wouldn’t hurt to read a few issues of Space Adventures circa: 1951

      1. Hitfilm is free hex bolts 10 bucks cb radio 10 bucks at a pawn shop. Google free silver age comics, I’ve been reading strange adventures. Fun pre trek reading. Rocky Jones.
        Good stuff.

        You might remember silent st 3 I popped that down to 16 fps which was standard at the time and it really helped the silent movie feel.

        If there’s a sequel maybe they’ll add some of that. I’d be happy to help or at least root around in my garage for some extra hex bolts.

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