Seven years. That’s how long DOMINION MEDIA co-showrunner GARY DAVIS has been playing Captain Jason Brousseau, commanding officer of the DREADNOUGHT DOMINION. And in the two years before that, Gary played Commander Brousseau, the ship’s first officer. So that’s NINE years in front of the camera on this long-running fan series.
DAVID “RANDY” WRENN, the other Dominion Media co-showrunner, has played his character, Chief Engineer Stephen Denson, for just as long, himself rising through the ranks to first officer and eventually captain of engineering. But as of September 29, 2023, both men performed those roles as leads for a final time in their swan song episode “IN OUR OWN TIME,” which saw them pass the command baton of the U.S.S. Dominion to Captain Maurine Farrell, played by popular fan film actress of multiple fan series, VICTORIA AVALON.
The episode was another strong offering from the team, with a fun, original, and engaging story and their typical mix of seriousness and humor. Take a look…
I plan to speak more with Victoria Avalon when Dominion‘s next episode premieres. But right now, I’ve decided to focus on Gary and Randy and their decisions to step away from the front of the camera to focus (no pun intended) more of their attention to efforts behind the scenes…
DREADNOUGHT DOMINION got its start back in 2015 when the first two episodes “Haunted” and “Anchors Aweigh” were released. Afterward, the showrunner and lead actor, FRANK PARKER, JR. (playing Commodore Samuel Grissom) departed the series, leaving GARY DAVIS and RANDY WRENN to take Dominion where no fan series had gone before…onto the bridge (and corridors) of a Federation-class dreadnought starship.
And so they did, producing and releasing an additional FIFTEEN fan films, including a few crossovers with other fan series, over the course of seven years. (You can watch all the episodes of Dreadnough Dominionon this playlist.) But they didn’t stop there. In July of 2021, using a TOS-era runabout set that Gary constructed in his basement, they filmed and premiered the pilot episode of a new Dominion spinoff series called PROJECT: RUNABOUT. And a little over a year later, they released the second episode of that new fan series, “YORKTOWN,” shot both on the runabout set as well as at the U.S.S. Yorktown Naval and Maritime Museum in the Charlestown Harbor in South Carolina.
You might think that simultaneously producing two ongoing fan series would be enough to keep these two guys busy, and you’d be correct! But when has being busy ever stopped them before???
And so, in July of this year, Dominion Media launched its SECOND spinoff fan series: WARBIRD VALDORE. As you might be able to guess from the title, its stories are told from the perspective of a Romulan warbird commander and her crew. This isn’t the first time a fan series has spotlighted the adventures of another spacefaring alien race. POTEMKIN PICTURES’ BATTLECRUISER KUPOK and SCOUTSHIP QAB’ELTHare both set on Klingon vessels. But this is the first time, to my knowledge, that a Romulan warbird has been been the primary focus of a series.
The new series is filmed in part on sets located at NEUTRAL ZONE STUDIOS in Kingsland, GA and stars JOAN SAVAGE as Romulan Commander Jhu D’Varo, reprising a role she previously played in Dreadnought Dominion. Check out their first episode…
Assuming you just watched it (SPOILER ALERT if you didn’t!), you’ll notice an appearance by MICHAEL BEDNAR, reprising his role of Robert Tacket from STARSHIP FARRAGUT and the upcoming FARRAGUT FORWARD. Now a full captain, Tacket is now in command of the U.S.S. Constitution. His appearance was quite a happy surprise for longtime fans familiar with Farragut (like me!).
Dominion has just launched a new crowd-funder trying to raise $5,000 for their three fan series. If you’d like to donate, click on the link below (I just tossed in $50 myself)…
There are certain people in fan films who are, for want of a better word, prolific. They seem to pop up nearly everywhere in multiple fan productions. Sometimes they play a minor role or background character. And occasionally, they play major characters in one or more fan films or series.
VICTORIA AVALON is definitely one of these prolific people!
About a year and a half ago, I featured a Zoom interview with Victoria along with GARY DAVIS and RAANDY WRENN of the fan series DREADNOUGHT DOMINION, where Victoria has played their Chief Medical Officer Maurine Farrell for many years. Later this year, she will take over as the commanding officer of that starship, replacing Gary’s character of Captain Jason Brusseau, as Gary transitions to more behind-the-scenes tasks on Dominion.
But for the longest time, I had been wanting to interview Victoria about her OTHER gig as a commanding officer: portraying Captain Siân Gabriel of the STARSHIP DEIMOS, one of the multiple ongoing fan projects produced by one of POTEMKIN PICTURES‘ many creative groups. (You can view all of their hundred-plus releases here.).
Unfortunately, as they say: “every time God opens a window, He closes a door…” (or something like that). And so it came to pass that Victoria is departing Deimos with the release of their latest release “Siren’s Song”…
I asked both Victoria and Potemkin showrunner RANDY LANDERS what led to Victoria and her character leaving StarshipDeimos, but neither wished to discuss the matter, and I didn’t want to pry.
According to Randy, Victoria’s Captain Gabriel will be replaced in the center seat by TUCK STEVENS, who previously played the chief engineer, Commander Timothy Harper. I’ll have more information from Randy about the cast changes when Deimos releases its next episode later this year.
But right now, since this is my final opportunity to interview Victoria about her time with Potemkin Pictures and Starship Deimos, let’s do just that…
Back in 1980, Paramount Pictures released a farcical feature film called Airplane! (exclamation point included). Many thought it to be a parody of the Airport series of flight disaster movies from the 1970s, and there were a few callbacks to some of those films. But Airplane! it was actually nearly a scene-by-scene, tongue-in-cheek recreation of a dramatic film from 1957 called Zero Hour. If you don’t believe me, definitely watch this video and also this video.
Airplane! was released 23 years after Zero Hour. And now, 43 years after Airplane!, the long-running Star Trek fan series DREADNOUGHT DOMINION has just released one of the first new Trek fan films for 2023, also titled “AIRPLANE!” And like its predecessor, it’s close recreation of the original…at least in terms of dialog and gags.
It’s unusual to see a Star Trek fan film produced almost completely with over-the-top comedy beats. But in the case of Dreadnought Dominion, this isn’t their first bite at the apple of the absurd. Indeed, their previous film “REALITY CHECK” broke the fourth wall repeatedly, “TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES” was filmed live before a studio audience, “A BARREL FULL OF QUINCYS” featured JOHN SIMS’ character of [Q]uincy doing impressions of multiple famous Hollywood movie stars, and “MOM” was a fun romp as Captain Brusseau’s mother gets left in command at just the wrong moment.
So I guess it was time for another Dreadnought Dominion comedy! It looks like I picked a bad dad to give up laughing…
Most Dominion episodes are written by co-showrunner RANDY WRENN. But this time out, co-showrunner GARY DAVIS hijacked the typewriter to pen this production (while Randy directed). So today, the interview spotlight turns to Gary to find out how this project got off the ground (get it?)…
It takes a special kinda crazy to be a part of Star Trek (or any) fan films. But when I heard that GARY DAVIS, showrunner of the long-running fan series DREADNOUGHT DOMINION, and his wife Tracey had driven 12 HOURS from central Ohio to the southeast corner of Georgia, installed a chair, and then drove 12 hours back home, well, I just had to find out more!
Now, just to be clear, the chair was the iconic CAPTAIN’S CHAIR, the center of command on the bridge set recreation at NEUTRAL ZONE STUDIOS in Kingsland, GA, which is used for multiple TOS-era fan films and series…including Gary’s. So he’s sat in that chair a lot and would know as well as anyone that it needed replacing. (He also built the chair that was being replaced!)
But let’s also make clear that Gary and Tracey drove down there, staying overnight in a hotel along the way, installed the chair, and then turned around and went back home, staying overnight in another hotel. They didn’t film anything at the studio or hang out any longer than to have a quick chat with people there. According to Gary, he simply did a short walk around the studio looking for things to use in their next Dominion shoot on November 4-6 and then they headed out.
And yes, my friends, you read that right: Gary will be heading BACK to Neutral Zone Studios in two weeks! So he and Tracey made this 1,600-mile round-trip drive just to deliver and install a chair that they could have delivered and installed 14 days later! Huh????
I can’t take it. Gary, get your butt over here now! We need to have a little chat…
Ya just gotta love the folks at DREADNOUGHT DOMINION. Well, you don’t have to love them, but it’s hard not to! They spread such fun and joy through their fan films.
You would think that a fan series set on board a three-nacelled dreadnought-class starship would involve lots of battles and intense, serious action. And you would be wrong. Out of all of the most active ongoing Star Trek fan series, Dominion is one of the ones that takes themselves the LEAST seriously. Although they have had a handful of dramatic releases, they’ve also had a whole bunch of good, wholesome, fun-for-the-whole-family style episodes that just make you want to laugh and smile.
And what could be more wholesome than the captain’s mother visiting her son on the bridge of his starship? And what could be more family-friendly than releasing an episode titled “MOM” on Mother’s Day? Are you ready for something adorable…?
Seriously, how cute was that??!
Yeah, I know. Nothing like that would REALLY happen on a Federation dreadnought starship …or any starship, most likely. And the repercussions of a cloaked Klingon scout ship deep within Federation space could lead to interstellar war. And to that I say: “Stop complaining and go call your mother and tell her that you love her!” (My apologies to any out there who have lost their mothers, but if you know any mothers in your life, send them a link to this wonderful vignette and put a smile on their face.)
Speaking of smiles, I just couldn’t wait to ask GARY DAVIS, longtime Dominion showrunner and Captain Jason Brousseau himself, some things about this precious piece of production positivity…
The folks at DREADNOUGHT DOMINION are still going strong after more than eight years making fan films. They’ve given us long episodes, short vignettes, whimsical stories, serious plots, action, adventure, emotional drama…all delivered with that most important of ingredients: a deep love of Star Trek.
The last time I covered this fan series was over the summer when they were successfully crowd-funding an Indiegogo campaign that raised $6,250 by offering—among other exciting perks—personalized Star Trek action figures in the likenesses of donors. Seriously, you can read about it here!
That campaign funded a number of things, including the CGI for their next release, which came out on November 6 and was titled “The More Things Change.” I always get excited when a new Dominion episode comes out, not just because I love that starship design and they use the gorgeous TOS sets at NEUTRAL ZONE STUDIOS in Kingsland, GA, but because they have fun, interesting characters, great stories, and honestly, you never know what you’re going to get with these guys!
That was particularly true with their eleventh episode, which gave us a really engaging story with good acting along with great VFX and a solid selection of TOS background music that made it feel very much like a classic Star Trek episode. Yeah, Dominion is still noticeably a fan production, but at its heart, it’s Star Trek to me. And honestly, I thought this was their best episode yet! Take a look and see if you agree…
One of the things that I find to be most enjoyable about this series is that actors who aren’t the captain or first officer get their chances to shine in episodes that feature their character. This was one such episode, as VICTORIA AVALON, who plays Dr. Farrell, was given many dramatic scenes with generous amounts of dialog allowing her to really perform and stand out.
And speaking of Victoria, I’ve long admired her efforts in a number of different Star Trek fan series, including STARSHIP FARRAGUT (where she started her fan film career) and STARSHIP DEIMOS from POTEMKIN PICTURES (where she writes many of the episodes and stars as Captain Gabriel). Indeed, I’d been wanting to interview her for quite a while…and with this release from Dominion featuring Dr. Farrell is such a prominent role, I had the perfect opportunity.
I also invited sh0w-runners GARY DAVIS and RANDY WRENN to join in on the Zoom chat, as they are both also essential to the series. So sit back and enjoy as we get to know these three prominent fan filmmakers a bit better…
Report two casualties: Commodore Sam Grissom, Actor FRANK PARKER, JR.
Correction: they’re not casualties. They are…list them as “missing.”
That’s the way it seemed back in 2016. Frank Parker, Jr. had become a prominent name in the fan film community. Appearing in THE ROMULAN WARS fan series in 2012, he had gone on to help build sets that were used for both STARSHIP FARRAGUT and STAR TREK CONTINUES. In fact, Frank briefly appeared in the penultimate episode of Farragut, “The Crossing.”
But what Frank was really becoming known for was the debut of a new fan series filmed on the Farragut/STC sets in Kingsland, GA: DREADNOUGHT DOMINION. Frank played Commodore Sam Grissom of the titular starship, as bald as Jean-Luc Picard and plagued by a troubled past. Two episodes, “Haunted” and “Anchors Aweigh,” promised another fine addition to the world of Star Trek fan films with Frank as showrunner. But then, seemingly without any warning, Frank completely disappeared from the fan film community without a trace! POOF!!!
Fortunately, Dreadnought Dominion found a way to carry on without their lead actor and creator. GARY DAVIS and RANDY WRENN took over the series, releasing nearly a dozen follow-up episodes, including a crossover with STARSHIP VALIANT titled “Chain of Command,” which dealt with the aftermath of Commodore Grissom’s sudden departure.
Fast forward five years to early 2021.
As quickly as he disappeared, Frank reappeared in the Star Trek fan film world, almost as if he’d simply beamed down somewhere and beamed back half a decade later. And although Dreadnought Dominion had moved on, Frank appeared in an episode titled “The Passenger with Baggage” to tie up many loose ends and bring closure for most of the characters, including his.
But Frank’s return didn’t stop there. Frank has since formed an alliance, of sorts, with VANCE MAJOR of the MINARD and CONSTAR saga of fan films, partnering Frank’s FILK FERRET PRODUCTIONS with Vance’s NO BUDGET PRODUCTIONS to create multiple fan films. These have included the following for CONSTAR COMPLETED episodes released between March and June of this year:
Sam Grissom also appeared in a flashback during the alternate 24th century timeline fan film WASTELAND, released this past March. Plus, a Kelvin timeline version of Sam Grissom appeared in the 47-minute long MINARD 2: HEMORRHAGE released in June and the recent Dominion/Constar crossover fan film CALM, COOL, & COLLECTED released in July.
If you don’t want to watch all of the above, Frank and Vance compiled a “highlight reel” titled THE STORY SO FAR – GRISSOM ADVENTURES. It serves as a user primer…
To paraphrase (De)Forrest Gump: “Fan films are like a box of chocolates—you never know what you’re gonna get.”
That was certainly the case when I sat down to watch the premiere of the new fan series PROJECT: RUNABOUT, created by GARY DAVIS and RANDY WRENN, who are also the co-showrunners behind the veteran fan series DREADNOUGHT DOMINION. I went in completely cold, knowing only that Gary had worked long and hard to build a brand new TOS-era cockpit set in his basement and that British VFX phenom SAMUEL COCKINGS had designed an awesome-looking CGI model of a 23rd century runabout and was really excited about the visual effects that he was creating for this initial release.
I knew this first episode was titled “Pilot,” and I’d heard there was an all-female cast (with one male Klingon thrown in). But the phrase I’d heard bandied about was “girl-power.” Well, alrighty, then! So I was kinda expecting a space battle of some kind, great VFX (because Sam isn’t capable of creating anything else) and an intriguing new “homemade” Star Trek set.
What I was NOTexpecting was…a music video??? And honestly, a really goodmusic video! Here, take a look…
Of course, it’s kinda hard to make a “bad” music video when you’re playing RACHEL PLATTEN’s uplifting Fight Song! But Gary and Randy were also helped along by four newcomers to Star Trek fan films.
Naturally, there was a lot to chat with him about…
It was Sunday afternoon, and I was having a call with JOSHUA IRWIN of the AVALON UNIVERSE fan series (Josh was also my director of photography and editor on INTERLUDE). Josh has been deep in planning for his next crowd-funding campaign for not one but TWO new Avalon fan films, both of which will feature the return WARREN HAWK as the Captain Jakande of the Avalon Universe…along with introducing two other really interesting new characters.
Josh and I were discussing strategies and timing, since there’s been a lot of “traffic” in the crowd-funding highway of late. Last month, SAMUEL COCKINGS raised a very impressive $13.7K for his six-film project TREK SHORTSIndiegogo campaign. And although I didn’t cover it, MARC SCOTT ZICREE just took in $86K in the Kickstarter for the conclusion of the “Forgiveness” 2-parter of SPACE COMMAND. That’s a LOT of funds raised during a month that included the delayed Tax Day for those of us in the United States!
This month, it’s GARY DAVIS and DREADNOUGHT DOMINION‘s turn to try to reach $5K in their latest Indiegogo campaign to fund three fan films (two episodes of Dominion plus one of the new fan series PROJECT RUNABOUT).
Now, you folks probably don’t know about what I’m about to tell you, but these three show-runners—Sam Cockings, Gary Davis, and Josh Irwin—have been trying very hard not to step on each other’s toes when it comes to their campaigns. When it looked like Samuel might not make it to his goal for Trek Shorts within the 30-day deadline, I suggested he might take advantage of Indiegogo’s “extension” option to give him an extra 30 days to meet his goal. But Sam was adamant that his campaign had to be over by the time Dominion‘s began on June 1st, as Sam didn’t want to compete for donor dollars (or pounds, in Sam’s case).
The same was true when I spoke to Gary, asking if he’d be willing to extend his deadline if it looked like he’d be coming up short by the end of June. Again, no…Gary did not want to compete with Josh, whose Avalon Universe crowd-funder would be up next.
But as I discussed things with Josh on Sunday, there emerged a small wrinkle. Y’see, one of the first pieces of advice I give to fan filmmakers when they set up a crowd-funder is: “Your campaign launch should NEVER be a surprise!” Always tease the kick-off of the new campaign with at least a few weeks of lead-up—posts on social media, videos, interviews, etc.—building excitement and anticipation.