Truth to tell, when I first found this little gem—entirely by accident on YouTube—I wasn’t expecting much. It looked silly, and I didn’t really get what the title meant. And then I watched it. Hilarious! Brilliant! A perfect parody of one of the most classic fan-favorite TOS Star Trek episodes: “Amok Time.”
Last time: we got our first look at the newest Star Trek fan film to take the online world by storm, Star Trek: Horizon. Since it debuted online seven days ago, it’s logged well over 300,000 views on YouTube! If you haven’t watched it yet, click that link in the opening sentence and do it. Do it NOW!!! (Imagine Arnold Schwarzenegger’s voice saying that.)
Seriously, though, this fan film is amazing, made even more so by the simple fact that it was filmed almost entirely in a basement against a green screen! It features trained actors, cutting edge quality visual effects, and an original composed musical score. Add to that a compelling story, engaging characters, solid directing, and top-notch editing…and you’ve got a MUST SEE fan film that both dazzles and delights. Continue reading “STAR TREK: HORIZON (interview with TOMMY KRAFT), part 2”
Although fan films date back to the early days of the original Star Trek series, it wasn’t until the mid-1990s that fans were finally able to create something with off-the-shelf consumer products that looked like more than just a crappy home movie. By the late 90s, fans could record and edit footage using digital cameras, do their own 3D effects and Chroma-keying, and even add music through the use of MIDI. Many fans were also getting quite good at costuming. Suddenly, the only limits facing fans who wanted to make their own filmed versions of their favorite genre franchises were their imaginations, creativity, and skills with these new technologies.
In today’s world of cutting-edge Star Trek fan films, teams of dozens—sometimes hundreds!—work to make these ambitious cinematic endeavors come to life on YouTube, Vimeo, or even a DVD or Blu-ray.
So it’s definitely worth taking notice when a top-tier Trek fan film is produced by only ONE man. Well, I should qualify that. His first episode cast was comprised of 17 people (including the creator himself and his wife Jeannette), the original music was composed by John Catney, and a number of CGI 3D meshes and textures were created by other artists. But everything else – the writing, directing, producing, sets, make-up, wardrobe, lighting, sound, camera angles, editing, and 3D animation – that was all in the hands of one guy: Tim Vining.
Last time: Between 2005 when they first started production on their pilot episode and the end of 2010, Starship Farragut managed to produce two full-length fan films of about an hour each, two shorter “Crew Logs” vignettes, two animated episodes, and one online comic book. They also moved their production from the Washington, DC area to St. Marys, GA where they began construction of their own TOS sets in a 2,500 square foot facility they called Studio 1.
As plans began to solidify to produce their third (and most ambitious!) full-length feature, Starship Farragut creator and star, John Broughton, announced an unexpected decision of his own: he would be giving up his leading role as Captain Jack Carter and would be stepping back from day-to-day production going forward. Would Starship Farragut be able to continue without its captain? Let’s find out…Continue reading “STARSHIP FARRAGUT, Part 3 (2011 to 2016)”
Last time: we met John Broughton, U.S. Navy veteran turned starship captain. Broughton played John “Jack” Carter, commanding officer of the USS Farragut NCC-1647, who began his mission during the third year of Captain Kirk’s original five-year mission.
Starting in 2005, John Broughton assembled a dedicated team made up of dozens of family, friends, and family of friends in the Washington, DC area who worked intently on building sets, sewing uniforms, and making props. With help from NEO f/x to do CGI visual effects and James Cawley, who generously allowed John’s team to film scenes on James’ meticulously-constructed Star Trek: New Voyages TOS bridge sets in upstate New York, Starship Farragut managed to film not just one but two full-length episodes and release both during the 2007 calendar year. Their second episode even went on to win the award for Best Fan Film at the Wrath of Con film festival in 2008.
Rear Admiral David G. Farragut issued that order in 1864 at the Battle of Mobile Bay during the American Civil War. A century and a half later, a group of dedicated Star Trek fans has followed that order with enthusiasm to make a film series that bears his name.
If you think about it, there are a lot of things that can torpedo a fan film production. From inception to completion, the fan(s) behind it have to have the five Ds: the Dream, Desire, Design, and Determination to get it all Delivered.
Starship Farragut had its fair share of torpedoes to get past, but speed on it did. And through a full decade of filming and production, Farragut has continued to grow, improve, and evolve into one of Star Trek fandom’s MUST-SEE fan-based series. Along the way, Farragut boldly went where no fan film had gone before, blazing a successful trail for other fan series to follow.
Last time, we posted the first half of our really FANtastic interview with Randall “Randy” Landers, the creator and driving force behind of Project: Potemkin. Unlike the more dazzling fan films out there with six-figure budgets, Potemkin has essentially no budget. And yet they’ve still managed to produce 28 separate episodes in four years… and they’re still going strong.
We’ve already learned some of Randy’s secrets (well, they’re not really secrets!), but he’s got a lot more to talk about. So let’s pick up where we left off…
Without a doubt, we live in a veritable renaissance of Star Trek fan films… one after the other they come, dazzling us with intricate and expansive sets, elaborate green screen backgrounds, meticulously crafted costumes, breathtaking special effects, professional level make-up and lighting, and rich music and sound effects. Production teams in the hundreds often include veteran Star Trek actors and professional screenwriters who have worked in Hollywood. Heck, some of these fan films are even being shot in Los Angeles with crowd-sourced budgets well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
But what if your budget is missing four or five zeros at the end? What if you’ve got virtually nothing to spend on your fan film? With all the blazing supernovae of independent Star Trek cinematic achievements out there, is it even worth it to make just a simple “fan film” anymore?