It was March of 2016 when STARSHIP DEIMOS released their first episode, “THE LUCKY ONE.” Now, more than seven and a half years later, they released their 22nd completed fan film, “DREAM TIME,” this past September. As usual for releases from POTEMKIN PICTURES‘ numerous creative groups (there are currently six active teams), the story is intriguing. But even more intriguing is the story behind the story, which was conceived by the late HOMER WILLIAM EVERSOLE and then completed posthumously by his brother DAVID EVERSOLE, both of whom have written numerous fan film scripts for Potemkin Pictures.
Another interesting aspect to this latest release is that the starship Deimos has now seen its fourth captain take command, following stints by TERRY SELF as Captain Jeremy Quinn, TONY ANDERSON as Captain Mark Stone, and most recently VICTORIA AVALON as Captain Sian Gabriel. The newest captain, the recently-promoted Timothy Harper, is played by returning cast member TUCK STEVENS, who has served in various producer roles on Deimos throughout the last half-decade.
And finally, actor DASHAWN KELLEY is an actual working actor with nearly two dozen film credits on his IMDb page…only a handful of them fan films for Deimos. Up until now, his character of helm officer Daken has had relatively limited screen time. But in this latest release, Daken is the main character, and Dashawn gets ample opportunity to show fans his acting chops, which he does very impressively. In fact, let’s all take a look at “Dream Time“…
With these three individuals each contributing significantly to the success of this fan film, I’ve decided to give each of them his own interview segment, beginning with writer David Eversole…
JONATHAN – First, David, I want to offer my condolences on the death of your brother Homer. When did he pass away?
DAVID – Thank you for your kind words. He died on what I’ve heard called “Star Trek Day,” September 8, 2021, of a heart attack. He was fifty-six. He had been in ill-health for a number of years—COPD and heart disease—and though I miss him every day, I’m glad that he is no longer confined to a wheelchair, glad he’s no longer in pain.
JONATHAN – Thank you for sharing that, David. Now, you both wrote multiple scripts for various Potemkin releases. Who got involved first, and how did it happen?
DAVID – I got to know RANDY LANDERS via the TrekBBS. I am a TOS script collector and would post little tidbits about the early draft scripts—cut scenes, changed premises, etc., and he reached out to me and asked that I write actual synopses/reviews of the scripts for his website, Orion Press, which I still do from time to time.
As a little self-serving bio, I wrote a spec script for DS9 back in 1995. I had been invited to pitch (to RENE ECHEVARRIA), but they didn’t buy anything. However, I am a two-time winner of the Rod Serling Memorial Screenwriting Award first place in the 2015 contest, second place in the 2018 contest. If they ever have another one, I will aim for third place to round it out.
Anyway, when Randy started Potemkin in 2010, he reached out to me and asked if I was interested. Of course I was! I helped draft the series “Bible” and for many years was script editor for the show.
Like me, Homer was a science fiction fan (one of my fondest memories with him is Saturday mornings from 1974-77 watching Land of the Lost; we NEVER missed an episode). He had some ideas for Potemkin, and so we collaborated on a script (“All in a Day’s Work”), and he wrote “Sanctuary” for BATTLECRUISER KUPOK. The last one we actually drafted together was “Death Sentence,” for STARSHIP CALIBORN. We finished it a couple months before his death. I believe Randy has one final script that he submitted that they’re gearing up to put in production. Out of kindness, Randy asked me if they could redraft it for a different series, and of course, I said yes.
JONATHAN – What inspired you to finish Homer’s story for “Dream Time“?
DAVID – Homer had submitted a script to Potemkin titled “Nightmare,” which basically was an “aliens trying to invade the U.S.S. Potemkin through taking over crew members via their dreams.” It was a short Twilight Zone-ish piece which Randy declined, as it didn’t really fit the characters. He liked the “dream communication” angle, and a year or so ago asked if I could rework it. So honestly, it is just the basic premise which I took. Now, instead of aliens invading the dude’s dreams and trying to talk him into committing nefarious deeds, it is “Bringing Eloki Home.” Or it was.
Our mother had a Red Sovine album when we were kids, and we were always freaked out by the song Bringing Mary Home. It is a bit of a cliché nowadays, and I’ll not spoil it if anyone wants to have a listen. But Homer and I had always said we should try to adapt this old chestnut into a Potemkin story, so that was my starting point: a little girl is mentally broadcasting her cries for help, and they have echoed across time for a hundred years, and different people have reported having those dreams.
At one point, I had planned to have Captain Kesh, played by JACK ZUMWAIT from Battlecruiser Kupok, be one of the dream receivers. But this really dragged the script out, so I dropped it fairly early and just went straight to the time travel idea to save her and the sector where the villains had taken over.
JONATHAN – What do you think of how the final fan film came out? Would Homer have been pleased with the finished project?
DAVID – I’m delighted with it, and I know that he would have been, as well. A fine cast; it gives me joy.
JONATHAN – Are you working on any other fan film scripts at the moment?
DAVID – I have (if memory serves) four shorts and a longer script ready to go into production for STARSHIP INTREPID. Some may be out in 2024, some in 2025.
JONATHAN -How did you get involved writing scripts for a production based in Scotland?
DAVID – Intrepid showrunner NICK COOK reached out to me years ago, and it has been a delight working for him, as it was when I wrote “CRYSTAL CLEAR” for STARSHIP ANTYLLUS. And I have one already written for actor JEFF GREEN for PROJECT: POTEMKIN whenever he is ready to play Captain Alec Grigory again. I’m looking forward to that!
And now let’s move on to the new captain on the bridge, Tuck Stevens…
JONATHAN – How and when did you first get involved with Potemkin Pictures?
TUCK – I started with “The Crown Jewels of Xantharus,” which was the second release from the short-lived STARSHIP TRITON back in 2018. So I started about 6-ish months before that episode premiered. Showrunner RANDY LANDERS had put out a casting call for the “Orion Brute” character. We did that, and I knew if I hung around and helped out with other shoots enough, I’d be needed at some point. One day, someone couldn’t show, and I was there. Tim Harper was born that day. I like to say 90% of life is just showing up. I showed up.
JONATHAN – Cool! Over the years, you’ve been a co-producer, coordinating producer, associate producer, and a full producer on multiple Potemkin releases. What’s the difference in the tasks involved for those various titles?
TUCK – The biggest thing I produced was a 1200 square foot A/C unit after I found out people had passed out from the heat of the boathouse set back in Pelham, Alabama. That was self service, as well, as I’m pretty warm-natured. I’ve heard a number of actors and directors say you should do every job you can on set. I took that to heart and showed up to help as much as I could in any way I could.
I know acting is a great creative outlet for a lot of people, myself included, so when we needed something—and if it was in my budget—I didn’t mind helping out where I could. To get very specific on what I did and when, I’d have to go look at credits and rewatch all of those productions to jog my memory! I’m not really keeping score on how I help. I just want things to get done. I look at a production as a team effort punctuated by individual performances…in front of and behind the camera.
JONATHAN – Your character was away from Deimos for a couple of episodes only to return as captain. What happened there?
TUCK – The world went crazy and I along with it….at least a little bit. I stepped away from acting completely for a while and had a nice reset. I was saying “no” more than I thought I would be to different directors, as I’d honestly been saying “yes” too much. I’d also taken up Renaissance martial arts (focus on longsword/federswert), which demanded more time and focus if I wanted to learn and progress. I became aware of the open captain’s slot, and once offered, I said “yes” to my first role since taking the break.
JONATHAN – What is it like now occupying the center seat? How is that different, as an actor, from having a less prominent role?
TUCK – It is an honor and a privilege that I do not take lightly. From what I’ve observed in the Trek universe, even when a different character has the main storyline, the captain will always be a top supporting cast member. My job there is to give enough to let them shine but not so much as to cast a shadow. It’s about the story, not me. Also, knowing the script is more important than ever. If I don’t show up prepared, everyone is in for a much longer day, and that’s just unprofessional. Having my lines down allows me the freedom to react in the moment instead of waiting for my turn to talk.
JONATHAN – So what’s coming up for you and your character? Will you still be acting as a producer in some capacity, or will the acting itself take most of your time and energy?
TUCK – We have a very nice script approved for our next shoot. I’ll be memorizing it in between a few local projects and, of course, working at improving my swordplay. My level of producing is mostly hands on/direct involvement. Lexington is a bit far from Bham for my primary means of assistance. There may or may not be an upcoming Potemkin Pictures production where swordplay might be a factor, and were that the case, I would certainly help steer Randy to the best resources to make that happen.
And finally, let’s get to know Dashawn Kelley a little better…
JONATHAN – What’s is your acting background, Dashawn, and what training do you have?
DASHAWN – My acting background comes from several years of community theatre and high school theatre and then transitioning into on-camera personality. I started acting around 10 years old with church productions and progressed into my teens until now. I have been trained with some one-on-one classes with Peter Youngblood Hills, Myers Dance School, and the Madison Fine Arts Academy, among other specific classes such as work with Ohio Valley Wrestling.
JONATHAN – That sounds like a LOT of acting experience, my friend! And how did you first get involved with Potemkin Pictures?
DASHAWN – I first got involved with them in April of 2021. I saw an open casting call through Kentucky Films. I was really interested in doing something that I wasn’t super-familiar with (Star Trek) so I could push myself out of my comfort zone.
JONATHAN – What do you typically do in order to prepare for a shoot?
DASHAWN – I have some rituals I do before shooting or going to set, depending on what I’ll be doing. For example, for shoots on the Potemkin sets, I usually record my dialogue and play it on repeat during my drive to set. Trying to nail that “technobabble” is definitely not an easy task!
JONATHAN – What is a typical Deimos production day like?
DASHAWN – Deimos production days are usually effective and efficient. The crew on Randy Landers’ set runs like a very well-oiled machine: early call times followed by a systematic shoot list…and of course, a great crafting spread made by the lovely Mrs. Landers. They run a tight ship, but it still feels calm and mellow. A good balance of methodical and fun.
JONATHAN – What was different or more challenging about playing such a prominent character in the story of “Dream Time”?
DASAHWN – The most challenging part of playing such a prominent character in our show, and specifically “Dream Time,” was having all the pressure and onus on me. I’ve always thought of myself as a great secondary or supporting player, not a lead, per se. So when the episode was written with my character being a large focal point, I was honored and very nervous. And the episode itself being more heavy and meaningful made it even more difficult. I wanted to make sure I came across as genuine and heartfelt. My nerves at the time got the best of me, but it was great experience. I was blessed to do it, and I’m glad to be put in a spot to really stretch my legs.
JONATHAN – Do you have any plans/aspirations to move beyond acting to something behind the camera, or you do want to focus primarily on the performance side?
DASHAWN – I do have aspirations to do more beyond the camera. I’ve done quite a bit already: running sound for some independent films, PA’ing for a SAG-AFTRA feature right before the strike, and being an assistant DP for several shorts. Though my main focus is to be in front of the camera, I love the idea of being a renaissance man in film because you never know where you will eventually end up.
Look for more Potemkin Pictures blogs coming up soon, as Randy is releasing ’em faster than I can cover ’em, and I’m still two fan films behind!