DOMINION launches new fan series WARBIRD VALDORE and a new Indiegogo! (interview with GARY DAVIS, RANDY WRENN, JOAN SAVAGE, and MICHAEL BEDNAR…part 2)

Last time in Part 1, we began taking a look at the second spinoff series from the folks who make the long-running DREADNOUGHT DOMINION, GARY DAVIS and RANDY WRENN. Their first spinoff series, PROJECT: RUNABOUT, premiered in July of 2021 and has released two episodes so far. Their newest series, WARBIRD VALDORE, just launched this past July, and focusses on a crew of Romulans rather than the typical Starfleet-based fan series.

Before I discuss anything else, however, I’d like to note that the Dominion folks have just kicked off a brand new crowd-funding campaign on Indiegogo trying to raise $5,000 for their three fan series. I encourage those who can afford it to please consider tossing a few bucks into the virtual hat to help these fine fan filmmakers continue to create a fun and entertaining series of stories in the TOS-era of Star Trek. In my opinion, they’ve definitely earned our support.

They’ve already reached the 15% point in the first few days of their campaign. Here’s the link to donate…

Back to Valdore, their first episode was titled “THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE FEDERATION” and was a lot of fun. You can check it out here…

The new fan series stars JOAN SAVAGE as Romulan Commander Jhu D’Varo, reprising a role she previously played in episodes of Dreadnought Dominion. This first episode also features a prominent cameo appearance by MICHAEL BEDNAR, reprising his role of Captain Robert Tacket from the much-loved fan series STARSHIP FARRAGUT and the upcoming FARRAGUT FORWARD.

I assembled these four fine folks (Gary, Randy, Joan, and Michael) for a group interview. And when we last left off, I was asking Michael a question…

Michael Bednar receives the commissioning plaque for “his” starship.

JONATHAN – So, Michael, how did you react when Gary contacted you to appear as Robert Tacket?

MICHAEL – To be offered a chance to play Captain Tacket on the Constitution using the TOS sets my team and I built was a dream fulfilled.  When asked, I was very excited, and I don’t think I had any hesitation in saying yes to doing it.  

A huge thanks to Gary for thinking of me for the role, and to Victoria Avalon (I call her Tori) for agreeing with Gary to include me!

JONATHAN – Did you do anything specific to prepare to reprise your role, Michael?

MICHAEL – After saying yes, of course, I realized that I had to make sure the tunic still fit and that I had all the wardrobe items needed: boots, pants…and get my hair cut and reserve the date.

JONATHAN – And how did it feel to actually be back on the sets that you and your team built all those years ago for Starship Farragut?

MICHAEL – Being back on set was a unique and memorable experience that I will always treasure.  When on set, I did not want it to be about me, but everyone’s experience.  I really enjoyed creating those sets with my friends Greg, Royal, Sam, Dan, Ron, Brian, Jay, John, and so many others.  To see that those sets still carry on the excitement and satisfaction of childhood dreams fulfilled is paramount.  The sets are just jaw dropping.

JONATHAN – I really hope to be able to see them in person some day. So Randy, when actors and actresses are delivering the lines you wrote, how involved are you in getting them to speak those words in the ways that you intended them?

RANDY – Most of our actors are talented enough to not only understand the lines but to deliver them in the way I had in mind…or many times, better than I even imagined.  But as a director, I can jump in and help them if needed.   However, even as a director, I try not to tie their hands.  I would rather say “Pretend like your dog just died…” than to show them exactly how to say the line.

JONATHAN – Gary, I noticed that your character of Captain Brousseau doesn’t appear at all in this fan film. You recently told me in another interview that you would be stepping back from acting to concentrate primarily on behind-the-camera endeavors. Has that fateful time finally arrived?

GARY – Yes, this is a preview of what is to come.  In our next Dreadnought Dominion production that is coming out later this month, Captain Brousseau turns over command to Captain Farrell. For those who stuck around and watched the end credit scene for Warbird Valdore, you see Captain Tacket picking up Captain Farrell so he can deliver her to her new command.

I REALLY enjoy being behind the camera, and in our next production, I got to be the Director of Photography for the shoot at NEUTRAL ZONE STUDIOS, as well as one of our on-location filming days in Matthews, NC.   I’ve learned a LOT from watching our revered DP’s over the years: Michael Bednar, SAM ROOKS, MICHAEL KING, LARRY FLEMING, and most recently, the amazing JOSHUA MICHAEL IRWIN.  While I can never profess to be at their level, it’s hard not to pick up a little bit of each of their styles—as well as their magic—and wield them myself.  I still have a lot to learn, but it’s great to have an even more sizable impact on the show.  The DP is the one who LITERALLY paints the canvas of a show, so I have BIG SHOES to fill!

JONATHAN – Randy, you’re also stepping back from playing First Officer and Chief Engineer Denison. What made you decide to move to the other side of the camera?

RANDY – As the years go by, I find myself getting more and more tired and stressed during shoots. I enjoy them, but it wears me out.  I find myself taking more and longer breaks year by year. By not having to get into costume or worry about knowing my lines, I’m hoping it will make it a little easier. Also, it gives some of our younger and more attractive cast members more to do!

It has NOTHING AT ALL to do with all those people on YouTube saying we’re too old!! (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!)

JONATHAN – Asked and answered, then! Okay, let shift to discussing the current Indiegogo campaign. Now, this is for all three productions together, yes?

GARY – Yes, we will be crowdfunding for ALL THREE productions. We are billing this as a “Dominion Media” crowd-funding campaign.  Funds will be for Project Runabout, Warbird Valdore, and Dreadnought Dominion.  We will hopefully be able to pay for CGI and studio time for all three productions.  I’m fortunate, for Project Runabout, that I provide the studio venue and our on-location shooting is at a state park, where we get in free.

For Warbird Valdore and Dreadnought Dominion, we utilize the Neutral Zone Studio, where there are fees associated with shooting there to cover wear, tear, electricity, and to support the folks who are working there.  No money goes into the studio’s pockets; this is just to help them keep the lights on.  Everything else—travel, food, lodging—everyone pays out of their own pocket.  We only spend fundraiser money on what MAKES the production…what the viewer SEES on film.  Even our perks for the crowdfunding itself are paid for out of our own pockets.

JONATHAN – What kinds of perks are you offering this time?

GARY – In this crowdfunding campaign, I have some perks that are near and dear to my heart.  One major perk will be a commissioning plaque like the one that adorns the bridge set beside the turbolift.  I’ve made SEVERAL of these for other productions and for the studio itself.  I’m also going to add some 3D prints of items that are not available for sale or anywhere else.  I’m still working on the details.  We’re raising the bar with props by introducing 3D printed material.  We’ve already seen some in this production: the Romulan disruptors and the lirpa used in the hand-to-hand combat.   I may offer as a perk one or two of the screen-used disruptors, along with some other goodies that will be appearing in the productions that we’ll produce with this fundraiser.

JONATHAN – So what kinds of episodes and fan films will these new donations be funding?

GARY – We have an epic crossover planned of all three of our productions for 2024!  I’ll be doing the Director of Photography duties for our first adventure that will begin the crossover story in Project Runabout.  Josh Irwin is coming back to take the DP role and continue with Warbird Valdore, then a BIG FINISH with Dreadnought Dominion.  Three entirely separate adventures, different productions, connected by a thin story thread, all-together, an epic journey!  All very guidelines-compliant!

Project Runabout will be filmed here at our Ohio Runabout Studio. Then we will be taking the adventure outdoors on location at Ohio’s Hocking Hills National State Park for some truly breathtaking scenery.   

Warbird Valdore will once again be shot at the Neutral Zone Studios and will see the return of our Romulan “heroes.”  We love our Romulan Commander and crew, and I hope you will enjoy watching them chew up the scenes in how good they are at being really bad!

Finally, the BIG FINISH as Dreadnought Dominion journeys to where we’ve gone a few times before, the MIRROR UNIVERSE!  We will get to see MORE of the evil counterparts as someone from the Prime Universe gets trapped aboard the ISS Dominion.  We’ve got a GREAT DEAL planned for this epic finale, and as we LOVE keeping surprises to premiere nights, you will just have to join us to see what we have in store!

JONATHAN – Might there perhaps be another appearance by Captain Tacket in the near future?

MICHAEL – Well, if you watched the Farragut Forward teaser-trailer “PROLOGUE,” I’m currently in a Klingon bird-of-prey cell getting myself beat up on a regular basis.  Got to love Klingon pain sticks and the agonizer booth! As for Tacket back in the TOS era, if asked by Gary again, I’ll do it in a heartbeat.  It’s like coming home.

JONATHAN – And finally, to wrap it all up with Joan, what’s it like now being a Romulan commander starring of a new fan series?

JOAN – Who was it that said any media attention is good media attention even when it’s bad media attention…because it’s FREE media attention? Lol! Love me. Hate me. Fill up the presses, folks! Write about me. Comment. Give me your opinions like delicious tart Osol Twists! Start trending, threading, hash tagging, tweeting, and just plain tagging   Romulans aren’t going anywhere. Unless you’re J.J. ABRAMS…then I guess you can just blow up my planet   But…we still prevailed. Glory to the Praetor!

JONATHAN – Jolan tru, Commander! And here’s the link to the crowd-funder once again…