The 13-YEAR mission of STARSHIP ANTYLLUS is nearing its end… (interview with GEORGE KAYAIAN, part 2)

In Part 1, I introduced you to GEORGE KAYAIAN, the showrunner behind the long-running (since 2013) fan series STARSHIP ANTYLLUS. But George really needs no introduction, as he’s been making Star Trek fan films almost non-stop for 32 years (since 1992)!!

For George, fan filmmaking has always been a family affair—with his parents and brother William helping him for the first decade and a half, and his daughter Anya helping him with Antyllus starting when she was only four years old and continuing through today. Anya handles script continuity as well as playing multiple characters in the series. She even appears briefly as herself (without makeup or mask) at the end of their most recent release, “Isolation’s Echo,” their twenty-fourth episode overall…

And now, back to our interview with George, already in progress…

JONATHAN – Between your previous fan films and the twenty-four episodes (so far) of Antyllus, you’ve written a staggering amount of content over the decades! What influences you when you write your Antyllus episodes?

GEORGE – It’s totally subconscious. For me, the story writes itself. When I conceived my Antyllus series, I knew the whole story—and where I wanted it to end—from the very beginning. What remained was filling in that story with characters and specific events to make it happen. I’ve been fortunate when it comes to creating my films. The ideas are always there. Obviously, I’m aware of the original Star Trek format, so I would cite that as my major source of inspiration and influence.

JONATHAN – You not only write every episode but you also star in and direct each one. What unique challenges do each of those tasks bring with them for you?

George Kayaian

GEORGE – Each task is unique in importance. The writing is the key foundation—everything that is created from this point hinges on how well it was conceived. One advantage to being the writer, in addition, is how I understand perfectly what needs to be accomplished in the telling of my
tale. Directing is the forming of the ideas into concrete actions. The vision of the concept springs forth and becomes tangible. And acting is the reality and manifestation of the ideas brought to life.

And because I like to give credit where it’s due, DAVE EVERSOLE conceived the majority of Episode 17. I had to do a rewrite on that one to add elements that he wasn’t aware of since he wrote it before my show started filming! And VANCE MAJOR did the heavy lifting on episode twenty—which he really wanted to do—and I simply included elements to tie it back into my show to keep it on track.

JONATHAN – You mentioned earlier in the interview that you’ve done other non-Trek projects, as well as Star Trek fan films. Can you talk briefly about them?

GEORGE – Well, it’s difficult to be brief, but another series I did was called Honorbound—perhaps the biggest project I ever worked on (over 100 people
in the cast!)—a soap opera involving spies, loyalty, and friends trying to
stay alive. I’ve done a Batman dramedy called Night of the Pickpocket, a horror short called The Man In The Hallway, a Twilight Zone-type of film called Fragments, and Murder Will Out. There are also comedy films such as the superhero parody Sid’s Complaint and Bus! There are many more—most can be found on my YouTube channel.

JONATHAN – By God, man! You have been quite a busy filmmaker!

GEORGE – I know, right?

JONATHAN – By the way, what do you do when you’re not making films and being a husband and father?

GEORGE – I teach art: illustration and painting for entry level and advanced students at the BOCES (Board of Cooperative Educational Services) Center.

JONATHAN – Oh, that’s awesome…and somehow, not terribly surprising that someone as creatively-driven as you is teaching something so steeped in creativity!

Okay, back to Star Trek fan films. Over the past few years, like many others in the community, you’ve gone beyond operating inside of just your own corner of the sandbox and have appeared in, and even contributed to, other fan films and series besides Antyllus… like YORKTOWN, CONSTAR, and AVALON UNIVERSE. How do you feel about working with your fellow fan filmmakers and playing in their corners of the sandbox?


GEORGE – I am proud to consider them all my friends. I have a deep respect for what they bring to the Trek table, and I’m always honored when asked to be a part of their work. All of them are seriously talented and good hearted
human beings!

JONATHAN – Well, with an answer like that, it’s no wonder that you’re seen by many in the fan film community as “one of the nicest film makers out there”—easy to get along with, positive, supportive, enthusiastic…this despite all of the drama that pops up here and there. As one of the “nice guys,” what are your feelings about the rest of the community in general? How challenging is it for you to stay so positive?

GEORGE – As a member of this community, I know the passion everyone has for the subject matter. It’s a beautiful thing to witness all the creativity that springs from the inspiration that is Star Trek. I’ve been proud of my fellow filmmakers since the start, and I’m always touched when someone enjoys my work.

Having said that, I’m sad when there is a conflict of personalities and accusations that pit one group against another. But tragically, this is a
reality in human relations, no matter where you look. Creative people are
also sensitive people—we tend to wear our hearts on our sleeves. So
whether it’s words or actions, it can feel very harmful.

I try and lead by example—to treat people with respect and kindness. And I can honestly say that my experience in the fan film community has been overwhelmingly positive. I’ve been fortunate enough to consider so many people as friends…it has enriched my life, to be sure. I stay positive because my intentions are to be creative and do no harm. You can’t please everybody, but know in your heart you did your best with what you have. And from that standpoint, you’ll weather any storm.

JONATHAN – I know that you’re planning to wrap up the Antyllus storyline with this, your third season. How many more episodes of Antyllus will there be until the series finale, and can you tease anything that’s coming up?

GEORGE – There are five episodes until the finale. I can say we will be wrapping up Captain Allen’s story and his final confrontation with Verrin Frost. All the mysteries will finally play out, and fans of the show will have their answers at last!

JONATHAN – With so many episodes completed and released, when someone comes across Antyllus on YouTube without having seen it before—whether they come in at the beginning of the saga, in the middle, or at the end—what are you hoping they get out of watching it?

GEROGE – I hope they are entertained. However, one drawback to being serialized is that if you don’t start at the beginning, you’ll be confused…like picking up a book and reading the middle section. You’ll never understand the story that way.

I would hope they like what they see—and go to the first episode and watch the series. Unfortunately, a lot of people today do not have the attention span or patience to do that. Even individually, there are some that can’t get through a half hour episode! I can’t control that; my work is based on high concepts and intelligence. I like dialogue and long conversations between characters. My work appeals to older audiences, and that’s fine by me! I like to make people think, and I leave the space battles to others who prefer that sort of thing.

JONATHAN – You’ve been somewhat public about your health issues. How are you doing, George? And has it been, or will it be, affecting your ability to
produce more upcoming fan films? What keeps you going?

GEROGE – I’m racing against time. My diabetes has taken a severe toll on me—it has affected my eyes, teeth, I can’t feel my feet anymore, and getting about has become painful. My odds of stroke or heart attack have increased. It’s a terrible disease that hits you everywhere. I’m paying the price for not taking care of myself when I was younger. My energy levels are not what they were, and it’s getting more difficult to make these episodes.

What drives me is creativity. I live to tell my stories, whether that’s through film or my drawings and paintings. It’s important to me that I leave a legacy for Anya…or for anyone that finds my work entertaining.

JONATHAN – Well, I do hope for the best for you healthwise, George. Assuming that happens, what are your plans after Antyllus finally wraps?

GEORGE – I’m teaming up with two of my best friends, who are excellent filmmakers themselves. They have made professional movies and have all the equipment and connections to make it happen in the industry. We have
plans to work on several projects together, and I look forward to getting
back into the industry once again. At this stage, that’s all I can say about it.

JONATHAN – That’s fine. So once Antyllus is completed with 30 episodes, how would you like the series to be remembered, and how would you yourself like to be thought of as the artist and showrunner behind the series?

GEROGE – That’s a great question! I would love my series to be remembered for its complex stories and central characters, for its intelligence, and for its take on the Trek universe. I hope people find the writing intriguing and the acting good. I want people to be entertained, always remembering it was made from love.

I have no patience for those who dismiss my show because of its low budget. It’s the story that counts! That’s what makes Star Trek great—not the fancy effects or space battles! It’s the human condition.

My series is not “quaint” or “lacking” because it’s rich in Trek story values. And I will stand behind my cast and their acting all the way. It’s a disservice to their skills and time to scoff because it’s low budget. I would argue that
this makes their achievements even better despite the circumstances.

So, I hope my show and the perception of who I am, remains a source of
inspiration—that even without money, you can follow your passion, and
tell your stories.

JONATHAN – Are there any final thoughts you’d like to share with your fellow fans?

GEORGE – Just to say how grateful I am…whether you’ve watched one episode or have stuck with me all through the years. I hope you enjoy the conclusion of Antyllus—that we stuck the landing, as they say. I hope in the future you follow me as I move on to other projects. And yes, there may be more Trek in my future. Who knows?

What can be said is that I have a profound gratitude to all my friends and family who have helped me realize my dreams. How lucky can a guy get? And thank you, Jonathan, for doing this interview with me. It means a lot!

JONATHAN – It was my pleasure, Captain Holt Allen!

2 thoughts on “The 13-YEAR mission of STARSHIP ANTYLLUS is nearing its end… (interview with GEORGE KAYAIAN, part 2)”

  1. I wish George and Anya all the best for anything they do in the future. I’ve seen a lot of Star Trek fan film/series over the years, and as a 1966 Dark Shadows fan learned a long time ago not to judge these efforts by their production values but by the stories they are trying to tell. After so many disappointments in recent years with big budget spectacles, independent film making is where it’s at. It’s really gratifying to watch something that makes you think, gives you reason to care about characters and want to see more and that is an achievement to be really proud of.

    1. I want to thank Patrick for all his support. He is the kind of audience any filmmaker could only dream of– that justifies all the hard work that goes into making these episodes. His analysis and commentary on the show as each episode is posted is fascinating and worthy in it’s own right. He remains one of the greatest supporters of our work! And let it be know, he is quite an amazing artist in his own right!

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