STARSHIP FARRAGUT finally releases series finale “HOMECOMING” (interview with JOHN BROUGHTON, PAUL R. SIEBER, and STEVE SEMMEL – part 2)

Last time in Part 1, we celebrated the highly-anticipated release of “Homecoming,” the finale of the long-running Trek fan series STARSHIP FARRAGUT, by interviewing show-runner JOHN BROUGHTON, writer PAUL R. SIEBER, and post-production supervisor and composer STEVE SEMMEL. We found out which elements delayed the completion of the film, what it was like shooting scenes with the legendary STAN LEE, and a whole bunch of other stuff that I’m not going to bother to recap because we’ve still got so much great interview left!

But before we dive into the conclusion, I’d like to recommend (if you’re interested in Starship Farragut) that you check out this 3-part blog covering the fascinating history of this venerated fan series from 2004 – 2016. And definitely watch the finale “Homecoming” if you haven’t already…

For anyone interested in the new sequel series, FARRAGUT FORWARD, I’ll be covering that soon with John and his director in an upcoming blog. But for now, let’s continue to celebrate this wonderful fan series with a question that goes back to the very beginning…


JONATHAN – I’ve always wondered: what made you choose the U.S.S. Farragut rather than one of the other major starships like Potemkin or Lexington or Republic?

JOHN – When I first started working on this project, it was going to be called Starship Excalibur. But then I learned that JOE KEREZMAN was doing his own fan film called STAR TREK: EXCALIBUR. And he reached out and said, “If you change your name to any of the other ships, I’ll make you—gratis for life—all the chest patches that you need.” And I said okay. I wasn’t that married to it.

John Broughton as Captain Jack Carter

So I looked at all of the patch designs that Joe had created, and the Farragut, which has an oval patch design—I thought that will be easy to sew, since I was making all the costumes myself—coupled with the Navy tie-in because I’m a veteran of the U.S. Navy, opted with the Farragut. Joe supplied me with one batch of patches, and that was it. But it was enough for what we needed, until we had our own embroiderer doing the patches for our project.  All in all, I’m glad we went with the Farragut.

JONATHAN – So once you’d decided that you wanted to make a fan film, what did you do next?

John Broughton, Sr.

JOHN – Initially when I started, I pulled in my dad, JOHN BROUGHTON, SR., and other friends, and then it just kinda grew as time went on. We were able to get professionals involved in the project, then we got our first studio in St. Marys, GA…which was much smaller than the Kingsland, GA space that the sets are now in. A lot of the initial sets were built by my father, then we had other volunteers that came on board and helped out.

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STARSHIP FARRAGUT finally releases series finale “HOMECOMING” (interview with JOHN BROUGHTON, PAUL R. SIEBER, and STEVE SEMMEL – part 1)

The history of the fan series STARSHIP FARRAGUT stretches all the way back to 2004 and spans a total of 6 full-length fan films, 3 shorter vignettes, and 2 animated-style fan films (one of them featuring the voices of TIM “Tuvok” RUSS and CHASE “Leeta” MASTERSON). Farragut Films was responsible for the majority of the construction of amazing TOS sets that were also utilized for STAR TREK CONTINUES and DREADNOUGHT DOMINION and are still available for use by fan filmmakers at NEUTRAL ZONE STUDIOS in Kingsland, GA. Farragut also spawned a short-lived spinoff series called TREK ISOLATION that released three vignettes. And coming in 2022, a sequel series titled FARRAGUT FORWARD will move some of the Starship Farragut characters into the Wrath of Khan movie era Trek.

Since we have so much material for today’s interview, I’ll keep the background introduction fairly brief. But if you’d like to read the full backstory of this proud fan series, here’s Part 1 of a 3-part deep-dive into the full history of Starship Farrugut. Well, ALMOST full. The final part of that blog feature came out in early 2016, a month before the release of their penultimate episode, “The Crossing,” and a few months before reshoots wrapped on their announced series finale, “Homecoming.” Crowd-funded with about $15K in late 2015, fans expected to see a completed fan film later in 2016 or maybe 2017. That didn’t happen.

Instead, it wasn’t until mid-2020 that STEVE SEMMEL announced that he was taking over as post-production supervisor, having started off simply doing the music for the episode. I interviewed Steve in June of last year, and he promised a delivery date in the second half of 2021 “most definitely.” And indeed, that’s exactly what happened, as “Homecoming” was released on October 1. Take a look…

I reached out to three people to discuss “Homecoming”: show-runner and lead actor JOHN BROUGHTON and writer PAUL R. SIEBER (both of whom have been with Starship Farragut since the very beginning), and of course, Steve Semmel (who came on board in 2018). We covered so much great behind-the-scenes information about both the finale episode and also going back to the earliest days of the series back in 2004.

I received so many awesome answers that I’ve decided to divide this interview into two parts. Let’s get started…

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A first look at FARRAGUT FORWARD…and it looks AMAZING!!!

Two months ago, I published a blog interviewing JOHNNY K., the producer and director of the new fan series FARRAGUT FORWARD. It’s a “sequel” series to the long-running STARSHIP FARRAGUT, which recently released its own series finale, “HOMECOMING” on October 1…after five years in post-production! (And if you’re wondering why I haven’t covered that release yet, please help me nag showrunner JOHN BROUGHTON, writer PAUL SIEBER, and post-production supervisor/composer STEVEN SEMMEL to finish writing up their answers to my interview questions.)

For the past several months, Johnny K., John B., and the Farragut Forward team have been hard at work building sets and props, polishing the script for the debut episode, and even creating physical ship models in order to film their visual FX the “old fashioned way”—none of this new-fangled CGI nonsense!

On October 16, cameras began rolling for the first time on the new series, shooting footage for what will be an initial 3-minute “teaser” prologue to the debut episode. The first look fans got came earlier this week with three photos posted on the KAOTICA STUDIOS Facebook page

Talk about firing an actor!

The post included the following caption:

Fun fact: it takes the Farragut Forward costuming team weeks of painstaking work to recreate accurate uniforms for our production. The attention to detail is extraordinary. It takes costume assistant Belle Bredehoft just a few seconds to light those items ON FIRE! 🔥🔥🔥

The next day, Kaotica released two new images from the actual footage shot in 6K on the set. You can see John B. below as Captain Jack Carter of the U.S.S. Farragut in the Wrath of Khan movie era (wearing a gorgeous and properly-fitting “monster maroon” uniform)…

From the NEWS section of the Kaotica Studios website, John Broughton had this to say (reprinted with permission):

A lot of preparation and hard work went into last weekend’s shoot which paid off in being well-organized, professional, and successful in best capturing our story. More importantly, the film shoot was FUN, which at the end of the day, is what this is all about, right?

It was surreal playing Captain Carter again and wearing a Starfleet uniform, but like an old worn glove, it fell right into place, and this time, it was a bit more natural. It’s great working with Johnny K., Kaotica Studios, and all the talented cast and crew in bringing the next chapter of Farragut to life and in in the best ‘light’ (or perhaps ‘low-light’). Thanks again to everyone involved!

The other still image posted was this shot of actor WILLIAM JAY in full Klingon makeup and armor…

William had this to say:

Continue reading “A first look at FARRAGUT FORWARD…and it looks AMAZING!!!”

STARSHIP FARRAGUT is coming BACK…or is it FORWARD??? (interview with JOHNNY K.)

When last we left STARSHIP FARRAGUT, showrunner JOHN BROUGHTON and his gallant crew had crowd-funded about $15K at the end of 2015 for what was to be their series finale, “Homecoming.” Footage for that fan film was shot in 2015 and 2016, and there were sporadic updates to donors (like me) but nothing major until about 14 months ago, when it was announced that musical composer STEVE SEMMEL had taken over as Post-Production Supervisor (you can check out the interview I did with Steve here).

According to the most recent update, “Homecoming” will, at long last, be released on October 1 of this year. Here’s a trailer for that fan film, which features an eye-catching cameo by the deeply missed, legendary Marvel Comics creator STAN LEE…

While “Homecoming” was to mark the end of the U.S.S. Farragut‘s five-year mission under Captain Jack Carter (played by John Broughton), the end was just the beginning. Also back in 2015, John announced that the team would soon be launching a new sequel series to be titled FARRAGUT FORWARD. At the time, Farragut Films had officially ended their relationship with “sister” series STAR TREK CONTINUES, leaving their TOS sets in Kingsland, GA—nearly all of which Farragut folks had either built or helped to build. Many members of the Farragut team lived in the Washington, D.C. area anyway, not particularly close to southeastern Georgia.

The new Farragut series would jump forward (hence, the name) in time about 20 years, just as Star Trek itself had done with the feature films, into the Wrath of Khan/”monster-maroon” uniform era. However, with the guidelines emerging within just a few months of John’s announcement, many wondered if the group would still launch a brand new Star Trek fan series when the very first guideline said that you can’t have an ongoing Star Trek fan series. And indeed, any news about Farragut Forward pretty much stopped after the guidelines were announced.

Until two weeks ago.

Fans were ecstatic to find a Facebook post from John Broughton linking to this website announcement that Farragut Forward had finally entered pre-production! John has joined forces with independent film studio KAOTICA STUDIOS in Washington, DC, and the studio’s founder, JOHNNY KARZAI, will be directing the initial episode.

The announcement said that fans “…can expect a more ‘sophisticated’ version of Farragut…  a darker, more serious side.” And indeed, after doing a lighting test with John Broughton in a meticulously-crafted captain’s uniform, Johnny K. commented, “This isn’t your Daddy’s Farragut!”

As you can see from the above photo, John B.’s character of Captain Jack Carter has aged VERY gracefully and looks as awesome as his uniform. “I think shelving this project for 5 years has helped us greatly in many ways, including the older self!” John said in a Facebook post.

Fans already know a good deal about John Broughton (if not, then read this 3-part History of Starship Farragut). But what about director Johnny Karzai? I reached out to Johnny K. for the inside scoop on all things Farragut Forward

Continue reading “STARSHIP FARRAGUT is coming BACK…or is it FORWARD??? (interview with JOHNNY K.)”

STARSHIP FARRAGUT’s finale “HOMECOMING” is coming along… (interview with STEVE SEMMEL)

Starting in 2005, Starship Farragut began releasing a series of nearly a dozen high-quality fan productions—including full length episodes, vignettes, and even two animated projects (featuring voice-overs by TIM RUSS (not playing Tuvok from Voyager) and CHASE MASTERSON (not playing Leeta from Deep Space 9). Along the way, they constructed an extensive TOS set recreation that was eventually shared with, and later sold to, VIC MIGNOGNA of STAR TREK CONTINUES. (Read the full and fascinating history of Starship Farragut here.)

At the end of 2014, Farragut Films decided to transition themselves ino the first full-budget, set-based regular fan series to be set in the Trek movie era.  The actors had aged a decade since the earliest episodes of Starship Farragut, so jumping the series forward seemed logical. In fact, the new series was to be called Farragut Forward. But it never came to be. Instead, at the end of 2015, the group crowd-funded a series finale episode called “Homecoming,” and raised $15,787 from 207 donors on Kickstarter.

Things seemed to be going smoothly on “Homecoming.” Filming took place in early 2016 with some outdoor reshoots being completed in June of that year, according to donor updates. In early 2017, donors were treated to a two-minute teaser-trailer with an unexpected cameo by Marvel Comics legend STAN LEE (who passed away in November 2018). The trailer looked promising…

But after an October 2017 update from show-runner and lead actor JOHN BROUGTON saying that post production was about 50% completed, two and a half years went by without any further updates to donors or new trailers or news of any kind.

That changed this past April when a new update was sent to Farragut donors by STEVE SEMMEL. Steve came on board the project last September to help compose the score, and he had some good news. Steve would be taking on the title and duties of Post-Production Supervisor, and along with Special Effects Supervisor KEN THOMSON, Film Editor JAYN PENNINGTON, and Music Scorer CARL HAYES, there would now be a concerted effort to bring “Homecoming” to completion (and to YouTube) in 2021.

Naturally, I was curious to learn more—not just about the status of the project itself but about Steve, how he came to be involved with the project, how he got the “promotion” from Composer to Post-Production Supervisor, and what tasks he and others will be doing to bring “Homecoming” home…

Continue reading “STARSHIP FARRAGUT’s finale “HOMECOMING” is coming along… (interview with STEVE SEMMEL)”

The STARSHIP FARRAGUT finale “HOMECOMING” is still being actively worked on!

While AXANAR usually hogs the comments on social media asking, “Why isn’t it finished yet?” there’s been another crowd-funded Star Trek fan project from 2015 also still lingering in post production. No, not PACIFIC 201. And not FIRST FRONTIER either (it wasn’t crowd-funded). And not EQUINOX or PIKE (although successfully crowd-funded, neither project was ever filmed).

No, I am talking about the long-awaited finale to the venerable fan series STARSHIP FARRAGUT, an episode titled “Homecoming.”

Starship Farragut got its start way back in 2005 when they began shooting their pilot episode “The Captaincy.” Over the course of the next decade, the folks at Farragut Films would release nearly a dozen more full-length episodes, vignettes, and even two animated episodes (featuring voice-overs by TIM RUSS (not playing Tuvok from Voyager) and CHASE MASTERSON (not playing Leeta from Deep Space 9). Along the way, they expanded their filming space and constructed an extensive TOS set recreation that was eventually shared with and later sold to VIC MIGNOGNA of STAR TREK CONTINUES. (Read the full and fascinating history of Starship Farragut here.)

At the end of 2014, Farragut Films made a decision to transition themselves to become the first full-budget, set-based regular fan series to be set in the Trek movie era.  The actors had aged a decade since the earliest episodes of Starship Farragut, so jumping the series forward seemed logical. In fact, the new series was to be called Farragut Forward. But it never came to be. Instead, at the end of 2015, they crowd-funded a series finale episode called “Homecoming,” and raised $15,787 from 207 donors on Kickstarter.

Things seemed to be going smoothly on “Homecoming.” Filming took place in early 2016 with some outdoor reshoots being completed in June of that year, according to donor updates. In early 2017, donors were treated to a two-minute teaser-trailer with an unexpected cameo by Marvel Comics legend STAN LEE (who passed away in November 2018). The trailer looked promising…

An October 2017 update by show-runner JOHN BROUGHTON reported decent progress:

Our video editor Jay Pennington is doing an outstanding job with the edit. I’d say that we’re 1/2 way done based on the cuts that have been reviewed and critiqued for edits. Although he is on track to deliver as promised an edited film before year’s end, the CGI and FX shots still need to be done. In addition, there is also color correction and ADR work to do given the acoustical and lighting challenges we had filming outdoors.

And then, silence…

Continue reading “The STARSHIP FARRAGUT finale “HOMECOMING” is still being actively worked on!”

STARSHIP FARRAGUT completes re-shoots on their finale “Homecoming”

Farragut HomecomingThe long running fan series STARSHIP FARRAGUT is currently in production on its final episode, “Homecoming.”  After that episode is released, Farragut Films will transition into a new movie-era fan series to be called FARRAGUT FORWARD.  You can read more about that new series here.

In the meantime, Starship Farragut‘s final episode had initially shot a series of exterior scenes last October.  But as post-production ramped up, the producers felt that the footage and performances from these October shoots could be enhanced and improved for a better final product.

Over the past weekend (and also during a weekend last month), Farragut re-shot those exterior scenes…and they report that the results will bode very well for the overall quality of their swan song episode.

For people who complain that fan films suffer from poor acting and a general lack of quality, this is a wonderful example of a fan series going the extra mile to present the best finished product possible.  So a big hand for Starship Farragut!

STARSHIP FARRAGUT, Part 3 (2011 to 2016)

Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!”

        — Rear Admiral David G. Farragut

Cover 3Last 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)”

STARSHIP FARRAGUT, Part 2 (2008 to 2010)

“Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!”

        — Rear Admiral David G. Farragut

Cover 2Last 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.

It’s fair to say that Starship Farragut successfully navigated a whole slew of torpedoes that might have sunk a lesser fan production, and they were sailing “warp speed ahead!” into 2008.  And that’s where our story picks up… Continue reading “STARSHIP FARRAGUT, Part 2 (2008 to 2010)”