DREADNOUGHT DOMINION’S “MOM” debuts on Mother’s Day…of course! (interview with GARY DAVIS)

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…

Continue reading “DREADNOUGHT DOMINION’S “MOM” debuts on Mother’s Day…of course! (interview with GARY DAVIS)”

DREADNOUGHT DOMINION’s “The More Things Change” is their best fan film yet! (video interview with GARY DAVIS, RANDY WRENN, and VICTORIA AVALON)

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.

Although I didn’t have a chance to cover the May 1, 2021 release of “The Passenger with Baggage,” their tenth fan film (not counting the three crossover/alternate universe episodes: CHAIN OF COMMAND, COMMAND AND CONQUER, and the more recent CALM, COOL, AND COLLECTED), I did discuss “Passenger” briefly in a November video interview with FRANK PARKER, JR., the original show-runner of Dreadnought Dominion.

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…

Welcome back, Parker! Prodigal fan filmmaker returns with CROSSROADS: THE GEMINI PROJECT (video interview with FRANK PARKER, JR.)

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.

Whew!

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…

A primer for what, you ask?

Continue reading “Welcome back, Parker! Prodigal fan filmmaker returns with CROSSROADS: THE GEMINI PROJECT (video interview with FRANK PARKER, JR.)”

With a little help from Home Depot, the newest fan series PROJECT RUNABOUT launches their “PILOT” episode! (interview with GARY DAVIS)

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 NOT expecting was…a music video??? And honestly, a really good music 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…

Continue reading “With a little help from Home Depot, the newest fan series PROJECT RUNABOUT launches their “PILOT” episode! (interview with GARY DAVIS)”

DREADNOUGHT DOMINION just had a FANtastic crowd-funding weekend!

Color me shocked and excited!

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 SHORTS Indiegogo 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.

BUT!!!

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DREADNOUGHT DOMINION is offering to turn YOU into an ACTION FIGURE!

In case you didn’t know, the long-running (since 2014!) fan series DREADNOUGHT DOMINION has a new Indiegogo campaign trying to raise $5,000 to fund the production costs of three upcoming fan films—two Dominion episodes plus one episode of Gary’s new spin-off series PROJECT RUNABOUT, which will utilize this brand new set that Gary is nearly finished with…

If you haven’t donated yet, there’s still three weeks left, and they’re off to a solid start, having gotten nearly a third of the way to their goal. But every little bit helps, so here’s the link if you’d like to become a backer (and you totally should!)…

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/dreadnought-dominion-crowdfunding

One of my favorite things about these folks is that they never take themselves too seriously. They’re in this to have fun—and to share that fun with the rest of us fans.Many of their nearly-dozen fan film releases so far have included tongue-in-cheek elements, including a unique episode that broke the fourth wall, one that was filmed before a live studio audience, and another spotlighting a crew member who is actually a member of the Q Continuum and enjoys doing impressions of famous 20th century Hollywood actors!

Heck, just look at this trailer they released last weekend for their next episode “The More Things Change”…

They’ve also done a number of serious stories. In fact, Dreadnought Dominion is like a box of chocolates—you never know what you’re going to get!

And speaking of boxes, I raised an eyebrow when I saw one of the perks being offered in their latest Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. For supporters who donate $750 or more, show-runner GARY DAVIS will create a personalized action figure of the backer him or herself (or themselves, as we should remember to include non-binary folks)! Granted, $750 isn’t exactly chump change, but then again, only two of these unique perks are being offered.

I was curious about these personalized action figures, so I reached out to Gary with some questions…

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DREADNOUGHT DOMINION’s “We Are Many” features awesome landing party jackets! (interview with GARY DAVIS)

Over the last half-decade, the cast and crew of the fan series DREADNOUGHT DOMINION have served up a steady and consistent meal of ten fan films ranging in length from short vignettes up to full episodes 22 minutes in length. This is particularly impressive considering that the two show-runners, GARY DAVIS and RANDY WRENN, live in Ohio and North Carolina, respectively, and they film at NEUTRAL ZONE STUDIOS in Kingsland, Georgia with many cast and crew members from out of state, as well.

Last month, Dreadnought Dominion released their longest production yet, taking the full half-hour allowed by the fan film guidelines. Titled “We Are Many,” their latest fan film was written by Randy and co-directed by Randy and Gary together. The episode has a very “classic” TOS Star Trek feel to it, complete with red-shirted crew members you’ve never seen before playing a major part in the storyline. But before I spoil it, why don’t you just take a look for yourself…

There’s much to like there, and some definite things I wanted to ask Gary Davis about…specifically those really cool-looking landing party jackets. I totally want one now!

Anyway, I reached out to Gary, and he had a lot to say—and not only about the jackets. Let’s go to the chat…


JONATHAN – Okay, Gary, how can I get one of those amazing landing party jackets???

GARY – Haha! Okay, I’ll share. We’ve got nothing to hide. I actually wracked my brain trying to design a landing party jacket that was functional, looked good, and didn’t break the bank! I made them myself with jackets from Amazon in the colors I needed. Here’s links for those…

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INTERLUDE Confidential #10 – I’ve got a peaceful, easy feeling…

You can’t please all the Trekkies all the time.

I wrote that sentence at the beginning of yesterday’s blog featuring the new YouTube music video from GARY DAVIS of DREADNOUGHT DOMINION. In it, Gary featured a compilation of many of the viewer comments that have come in through social media over the past five years both praising and scorching their fan film efforts.

The video—set to the popular song “I Get Knocked Down, But I Get Up Again” (the actual title is “Tubthumping” by the band Chumbawamba)—reflects Gary and his team’s positive and “bring it on” attitude about their hobby. They know they aren’t the giants of fan films, but they’re having FUN…and that’s really all that matters.

After writing that blog yesterday, I began thinking about the fan reaction to the trailer I released last Wednesday for my own fan film INTERLUDE. Man, did that one light a match! And it all came from a fun and silly little idea I had to do an homage to the opening credits of one of my favorite sci-fi series from the mid-1970s, Space: 1999. If you haven’t seen the trailer yet, or you’d like to check it out again, here it is…

Actually, lots of people liked it. It’s had about 2.1K views so far on YouTube, with 85% of the reactions being thumbs up. Of the 15% that were thumbs down, the main complaint seemed to be my choice of music—likened by some to 70’s porn, and called by one Facebook poster “ear-raping” (whatever that means…although I’m guessing it’s not a good thing).

Others didn’t like the quick cuts, the over-use of the CGI shots, and one fellow thought I had too many clips of people spinning around in their chairs! ALEC PETERS said he liked the trailer but added that it’s not what he would have done. One of my oldest friends, ADAM “MOJO” LEBOWITZ, took time from his busy schedule to write on my Facebook post: “That’s the kind of trailer a fan makes after the movie came out. A mash up. It was cute and cool but I know nothing about your movie other than battle CGI.” Heck, even one of the members of my Interlude production team told me didn’t like the trailer. (Hey, at least he was honest.)

Such a fuss over a 1-minute trailer that I threw together in iMovie on a lark! Honestly, folks, I didn’t make the trailer for Alec or Mojo or for ear-raping guy. I made it for me…as a way to provide a sneak peek to supporters and friends and family members of what this fan film that they’ve been hearing about for a year was going to look like. It was fun to edit together, and I like the way it came out. Sure some people didn’t like it. So what? The world didn’t end (at least, not because of one Star Trek fan trailer).

Continue reading “INTERLUDE Confidential #10 – I’ve got a peaceful, easy feeling…”

DREADNOUGHT DOMINION honors viewer comments (good and bad!) in “I Get Knocked Down”…

You can’t please all the Trekkies all the time.

Whether you’re talking about Star Trek on television, in the movie theaters, or fan made projects on YouTube, you’re ultimately gonna see somebody complain about sumthin’…often a LOT of somebodies!

That’s one of the main reasons why I refuse to ever criticize any Star Trek fan film. It’s way too easy to do so because no fan film is perfect, and many of them fall far short. But at least they TRY.

Creating anything from nothing takes effort, determination, persistence, and—to be honest—a fair amount of courage. Whether you create just for yourself, for friends and loved ones, or for total strangers, you put a part of yourself out there for judgment.

And as hard as it is to create something from nothing just by yourself, doing it with an entire team of people is even more difficult. In a recent interview, actor J.G. HERTZLER said that there’s nothing harder than making a movie. Now that I’ve produced one—even a short 10-minute one—I know exactly what J.G. means…and he’s not that far off.

Hopefully, people will like what you’ve created and will shower you with praise. But there’s no guarantee of that (except maybe making a clay ash-tray at summer camp for your mom even though she doesn’t smoke…moms tend to be very generous art critics).

But Trekkies, man, some of them will cut you down to the quick if you let them…and even if you don’t let them! I never want to be that guy. So I praise all fan efforts because I feel that their determination and bravery should be respected and acknowledged. You made a frickin’ fan film…good for you!!!

And that’s why I cheered when I saw the latest offering from GARY DAVIS, show-runner of the fan series DREADNOUGHT DOMINION. Over the past half-decade of releasing fan films, Dominion has produced everything from the serious (like the recent  “Redemption at Red Medusa”) to light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek romps (like “Reality Check”—which broke the 4th wall—“Technical Difficulties” and the just-released “A Barrel Full of Qunicys.”

Through it all, Dominion has always kept a positive and healthy attitude, acknowledging what they are and aren’t. Gary’s latest upload to YouTube sums up that outlook perfectly…

A fun look at some of the comments Dreadnought Dominion has had over the years… Scenes from our shows set against the song “I Get Knocked Down.” This song has always been a favorite of mine. It meant no matter who hard you get knocked down, GET BACK UP and move forward. I love the comments we get on our shows…even the bad ones! It just makes us strive to do better. WE KNOW we aren’t up to the same level as “giants” of fan films, but we don’t pretend to be, and don’t aspire to be. We are just a group of folks—some older and some of us “not slim”—having fun telling a story.

Bravo, Dominion…!

JOHN SIMS makes an impression as [Q]uincy in DREADNOUGHT DOMINION’s latest vignette! (interview with GARY DAVIS)

Let face it, most (not all) Star Trek fan films take themselves seriously. And why not? Many are crowd-funded, and most require weeks or months or even years of planning and hard work to complete successfully. So Star Trek fan films have every right to take themselves seriously.

But one fan series in particular, DREADNOUGHT DOMINION, has bucked that trend. Granted, over the past half-decade of releasing fan films, not everything from Dominion has been a light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek romp. In fact, their first couple of episodes were completely serious, as was the recent “Redemption at Red Medusa.” But mixed in with those offerings were a series of humorous vignettes like “Reality Check” (which broke the 4th wall) and “Technical Difficulties.” Both of these short fan films featured actor JOHN SIMS playing a crewman named Quincy…who turned out to be a member of the Q Continuum. The character is mysterious and compelling—and quite a bit mischievous—all at the same time.

Quincy makes is third and most significant appearance in the latest Dominion vignette, “A Barrel Full of Quincys,” and it’s quite a hoot! John Sims gets to show off his range of celebrity impersonations in a short film with rather impressive production values. Check it out…

I asked John what his impression of the episode was (get it?), and he typed back in a very British accent (he’s actually from Worcester, Massachusetts and currently lives in Florida, but he’s a self-declared Anglophile):

I enjoyed the opportunity that Gary and Randy gave me. They are alright blokes with great sense of humour!

Indeed they are! GARY DAVIS and RANDY WRENN are the show-runners for the Dominion fan series, and I spoke to Gary recently about what went into creating this latest vignette. Turns out a LOT more work went into crafting this little short film than you’d suspect…!

Continue reading “JOHN SIMS makes an impression as [Q]uincy in DREADNOUGHT DOMINION’s latest vignette! (interview with GARY DAVIS)”