Last time, we featured the first part of our interview with Brian Matthews, the creator of the hilarious parody STONE TREK, and his amazing voice-over artist, Wally Fields. Stone Trek is one of the most inspired, creative, and well-executed of all the Star Trek fan film mash-ups, a series of nine cartoon shorts created by Brian Mathews and released online using Adobe’s Flash software between 2000 and 2007. Merging the two distinct television franchises into a completely fresh hybrid, Brian and his team took us where no caveman had gone before…
When it comes to fan films, Star Trek is no stranger to mash-ups. Fans have taken Star Trek into the Star Wars universe and vice versa. Kirk and Spock have met the 1960s TV Batman and Robin. Heck, the Enterprise has even picked up Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz! (I’ve already done a feature on Star Trek vs. Batman. The others are coming.)
But by far (at least in my opinion) the most inspired, creative, and well-executed of all the Star Trek fan film mash-ups is Stone Trek, a series of nine cartoon shorts created by Brian Mathews and released online using Adobe’s Flash software between 2000 and 2007.
Stone Trek is NOT some silly crossover where the USS Enterprise travels back in time to Bedrock and Fred Flintstone beams up to meet Captain Kirk. Instead, it’s a complete hybrid of the two shows, an entirely new entity combining recognizable elements of both but ultimately emerging as something totally unique and original.
TREK ISOLATION, the long-awaited spin-off fan series to the long-running and celebrated Starship Farragut, is finally here with its first series episode “Out of the Fire.“
Technically, Trek Isolation has been “here” for a couple of years already. The series first debuted in late 2014 with a short prelude vignette titled “Change in Command.” During the 5-minute fan film, Captain Jack Carter (played by co-writer and Starship Farragut show-runner/star John Broughton) informs his chief of security (played by co-writer Eric Moran) that the lieutenant commander will be getting a promotion and reassignment as first officer and science officer aboard the USS Babylon.
Six months later, the Trek Isolation team SHOCKED fans when it released its second prelude vignette “A Great Responsibility“ featuring none other than Marvel Comics legend STAN LEE as a Starfleet Admiral! And it wasn’t just a brief cameo, as happens in so many Marvel movies. Instead, Stan does a two and a half minute scene as part of this four and a half minute fan production as he assigns Captain Hawkins (played by co-writer Dave Turner) as the new commander of the USS Babylon.
Five years and thirty-four episodes later, Project: Potemkin has just released its series finale, “Destinies.” No spoilers except to say that this seven-minute episode wraps up the series nicely and ties in with three other fan series also being produced by Potemkin Pictures: Starship Tristan, Starship Deimos, and Starship Endeavour.
Some fans have been wondering whether Project: Potemkin is yet another victim of the fan film guidelines released by CBS and Paramount. Not so, says series show-runner RANDY LANDERS:
Billy Joel first sang those lyrics back in 1976. Forty years later, you can take a Greyhound up alongside the majestic Hudson River from New York City four hours north to Ticonderoga, New York (a very scenic drive, I might add!)–or you can fly into Burlington, VT and meander over across Lake Champlain in about 90 minutes–and live the dream of every Trekkie. You can walk around the original USS Enterprise NCC-1701, lovingly recreated by uber-fan and Elvis impersonator extraordinaire James Cawley and his team at Star Trek: New Voyages.
Originally used to film nearly a dozen episodes of Cawley’s amazing fan series, the sets were recently converted into an officially licensed Star Trek Set Tour open to the public six days a week (closed Mondays). For less than 25 bucks a head, er, body, you can walk where few fans have gone before, take all of the pictures and videos you want, and brag to your friends that you got to visit this one-of-a-kind exhibit. (Yeah, I know there’s one just like it in Georgia, too, but Star Trek Continues‘ sets aren’t open to the public nor are they officially licensed.)
One fan who braved the four-hour trek (sorry, pun couldn’t be helped) from Manhattan to Ticonderoga is New York City-based comedian Tom Kelly. So just in case you don’t think you’ll be able to make it up there yourself–or if you’re looking for a reason to actually go–just take a look at this very entertaining and fun video…
Recently, I featured a 2-part interview with Paul Olsen, the man responsible for the breathtaking opalescent paint job of the refit Enterprise from Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Together with the designer and builder of the original model, Paul is trying to raise $3 million to recreate that model, bigger, more sturdy, and with all modern electronics within a custom 4D viewing chamber. The model would travel around the world to be enjoyed by Star Trek fans everywhere.
But $3 million is a lot of money, and way beyond way could be raised from simple crowd-funding. So Paul is planning to do a concerted public relations campaign, coordinated by a major PR company, targeted at bringing in major corporate sponsors like Enterprise Rent-a-Car, SpaceX, Boeing, and many others. So instead of needing $3 million, Paul just needs $50,000 to fund the PR effort. In fact, the PR effort is only intended to raise the first $450,000 to get them started. Then, with the studio and materials in place, Paul can negotiate documentary rights to bring in the completion funding of $3+ million over the two years of the rebuild.
When STAR TREK: RENEGADES became RENEGADES: THE SERIES, all overt or even quasi-overt references to Star Trek had to be surgically amputated. This included this like changing the character of Chekov to simply “The Admiral” and “Tuvok” to “Kovok,” calling it the “Confederation of Planets,” ditching comm badges from the uniforms (“We don’t need no stinkin’ badges!”), making sure that Aron Eisenberg’s alien make-up looked nothing like a Ferengi, and a host of other tweaks.
Unfortunately, those tweaks also impacted the visual effects, some of which had already been completed and delivered. Y’see, no Star Trek means no recognizable space vessels either…including Romulan warbirds. And that meant that a gorgeous 10-second space battle sequence rendered out by AtomicBrain SFX would never be seen by fans. Or would it…?
Renegades just posted on YouTube this short tracking shot for everyone to enjoy. We might not ever see it in a fan film (it would have been glorious…), but we can at least see it here:
I’m guessing that the makers of the German fan film STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE – THE NEW GENERATION were saying “Was ist los?” (which loosely translates to WTF?) when they got the notice this past Tuesday from YouTube that CBS had filed a copyright claim against four of their fan film videos! And most confusing of all, these were videos which had been online since 2007!!!
So what in the name of Gott was going on here???
Have you ever sat in the audience for something–a concert, a stage play, or a seminar–and there was an unexpected delay? Maybe there were technical problems, or maybe someone was stuck in traffic. Whatever the reason, as things took longer and longer to get started, was the audience becoming impatient?
Maybe you were lucky and there was a host or a warm-up act who could keep the audience engaged and entertained during the delay. Or maybe you weren’t lucky and just sat there waiting…and waiting…and waiting. Maybe some people even got frustrated and walked out before the show started.
What does any of this have to do with Star Trek: Discovery and fan films? Glad you asked!
Continuing a new tradition of renaming their fan series with each fresh episode release, the fan series formerly known as STARSHIP TRISTAN has posted their latest episode, “The Greater Good.”
The renaming of the series is meant to keep their production in compliance with the CBS/Paramount fan production guidelines, which specify no ongoing series. Technically, all the stories for Starship Tristan take place on the same Starfleet vessel, but so far, the characters have changed with each new episode released since the guidelines were published.
We’ll have to see what happens if/when the “series-that-isn’t-a-series” features its first recurrence of a character or characters. But for now, the production continues to follow all the guidelines in terms of length (shorter than 15 minutes), budget (pretty much nothing), no professionals, no unlicensed prop or costume knock-offs, etc. This latest episode is just a quiet conversation between two people, one of whom is from a canonical race of Trek pacifists, and he’s just had to kill someone in order to protect his people. What kind of fallout follows such an act?
The fan series is from the folks at Potemkin Pictures, and they currently produce multiple series. You can find all of their releases on their website.