Look out, pardner, ’cause there’s a new Trek fan series in town! But don’t you dare call it a “series”—’cause those pesky guidelines don’t like us doing series. So instead, let’s call it what POTEMKIN PICTURES calls it: the STARSHIP WEBSTER Creative Group.
This newest gang of fan filmmakers takes its place beside the other seven current Potemkin creative groups—including DEIMOS, ALEXANDER, TRISTAN, MARIE CURIE, BATTLECRUISER KUPOK, TRITON, and ENDEAVOUR…releasing (prior to the pandemic) an average of a dozen combined fan films each year going back more than half a decade! (You can access all of the previous Potemkin Pictures releases by clicking here.)
The various Potemkin Pictures productions have seen three bases of operations over the past ten-plus years. Things began in Albany, GA with their first fan series (back when you were allowed to call it that), PROJECT: POTEMKIN. When show-runner RANDY LANDERS moved to Alabama, some of the production team stayed in Georgia while others migrated to Alabama and various new creative groups formed.
Then, last year, Randy and his wife moved again, this time to Lexington, KY. This has allowed a whole new assemblage of fan filmmakers—writers, directors, producers, actors, make-up and costuming people, set builders, etc.—to join in on the fun in a brand new location. But there were certain unanswered questions.
Would Randy be able to find enough local fans and actors to support a full creative croup?
Would all the sets survive the 425-mile “trek” from Alabama to Kentucky and then be able to be properly rebuilt/reassembled?
How long would it take to get their first fan film completed, and what would the new starship be called?
What effect would the pandemic have on production?
With the sets all located in a new state—6 and a half hours’ drive away from the previous location—would the other creative groups be willing or able to continue making their fan films?
Obviously, it’s time to talk to Randy Landers again! First, though, take a look at the premiere episode from the Starship Webster Creative Group, “Launch”…
The Star Trekfan film guidelines are seldom, if ever, enforced by ViacomCBS, but were they ever to be, I often wonder how guideline #5 would be interpreted. That’s the guideline which specifies, in part, “creators, actors and all other participants must be amateurs.” Amateur what, exactly? The show-runner of THE BUNNY INCIDENT, KEVIN CROXTON, is an Emmy Award winning composer…surely a professional. SAMUEL COCKINGS, the Wolfgang Puck of CGI, makes his own fan films like TEMPORAL ANOMALY and the upcoming CONVERGENCE, and yet he creates VFX professionally for a number of different clients. JOSH IRWIN and VICTORIA FOX produce the Avalon Universe fan series (and are also directing my fan film INTERLUDE), and they each work in the film production industry professionally. And the list goes on and on.
The latest addition to this growing list is BOBBY NASH, a professional author who has written novels, comic books, short fiction, and screenplays. And a few weeks ago, he added a new Star Trek fan film to his achievements with the release of “Under Fire,” the third offering from POTEMKIN PICTURES’ HOSPITAL SHIP MARIE CURIE creative group. And this isn’t the only Star Trek fan film Bobby has written. Back in 2014, the fan series STARSHIP FARRAGUT released “Conspiracy of Innocence,” which Bobby also wrote.
Six years is a rather long gap between writing Star Trek fan films, and I was curious to learn a little more about this fellow. But before I present my interview with him, take a look at his latest work, “Under Fire”…
The latest fan film release from POTEMKIN PICTURES is the sixth episode from the BATTLECRUISER KUPOK (pronounced kah-POOK’) creative team. Altogether, Potemkin Pictures currently has six different fan series—er, creative teams—in active production…resulting in an average of about a dozen fan film releases each year for the past few years. You can watch each of their nearly-80 completed fan films here on their website.
Although there is some occasional cross-referencing of events, characters, and plot elements between and among the various Potemkin Pictures series, full crossover episodes are a rarity. However, for last month’s “A MATTER OF TRUST,” the crew of the Klingon battlecruiser Kupok must seek out the help of the crew of the Federation hospital ship Marie Curie. The two casts and their respective sets are both featured prominently in this ambitious 10-minute episode. You can view it below…
With the frequency of releases from Potemkin Pictures, I’ve begun to ask show-runner RANDY LANDERS a few questions each time. Here’s our latest exchange…
JONATHAN – In a sentence or two, why should fans take the time to watch “A Matter of Trust”?
RANDY – It’s full of the optimism of the original Star Trek series, and I believe it’s a beautiful story. Plus it gave me a chance to work with my old friend, RICK ENDRES (an award winning fan fiction writer) again.
JONATHAN – Were there any unique challenges in filming a full crossover of two of your series?
It’s been a long road…getting from Project: Potemkin to here. Project: Potemkin was the first fan series produced (and completed after more than three dozen episodes) by what would become POTEMKIN PICTURES—but it certainly wouldn’t be the last! Over the majority of the past decade, Potemkin Pictures has launched the fan series (all currently in active production) Starship Tristan, Starship Deimos, Battlecruiser Kupok, Starship Triton, Starship Endeavour…and they’ve just debuted their seventh ongoing fan series HOSPITAL SHIP MARIE CURIE.
Of course, the guidelines prohibit ongoing fan series, but Potemkin Pictures carefully skirts the edges of this spatial anomaly by naming each fan film something unique and simply attributing these efforts to different “creative teams.” So the Hospital Ship Marie Curie creative team has just released a fan film titled “The Beast.” So far, with nearly two dozen fan films released in this manner since the publication of the guidelines, CBS and Paramount have not seemed to mind or take notice.
Potemkin Pictures‘ newest fan series is unique in a number of ways. Although it uses the existing ultra-low budget costumes and sets of most of the other Potemkin projects, the hospital ship Marie Curie is a new design of starship that has no weapons. After all, as I told someone recently who was commenting that the ship was too weak, “You don’t usually arm an ambulance like you would a tank!” This makes for an interesting story angle in the pilot episode when the crew faces a situation where they potentially need to go into battle completely unarmed.
Another item of note—in addition to having a Betazoid crew member during movie-era Star Trek time—is that this series has two prominent African American characters, including the aforementioned Betazoid (played by Staci Marshay) as well as the captain herself (Lillian Cole). They join the new captain of the Starship Deimos (played by Tony Anderson) as prominent black actors in the Potemkin Pictures family of fan films.
All episodes of the various Potemkin series can be accessed from their website. You can watch their latest series release below, and then keep reading for a short interview with Potemkin show-runner RANDY LANDERS…