Chalk up yet another fan film release for the folks at POTEMKIN PICTURES! This brings their total number of finished fan productions to (I think, because it’s easy to lose count) FIFTY-FIVE! Their latest offering is from the Tristan Production Crew—which is based in Georgia (the other teams are in Alabama)—and provides fans another look at the adventures of the crew of the USS Tristan in the movie-era TOS time frame.
The 14-and-a-half-minute “The Voice of Your Blood” is the ninth completed fan film from the Tristan team. It brings back WILLIAM C. SEARCY’s fan-favorite character of half-Vulcan Chief Medical Officer Skep Anderson. (William also wrote this episode.) Fans of the various Potemkin Pictures series will also enjoy an unexpected cameo by a cast member from one of their other productions.
You can watch all of the Tristan Production Crew’s episodes (along with the other four dozen or so Potemkin Picture releases) here on their website.
Okay, I know we’re not supposed to call it a “fan SERIES.” After all, the guidelines specify that there are to be no ongoing fan series. So instead, POTEMKIN PICTURES is simply producing a series of fan films, each with a different title, and each produced by a different production crew.
So the Potemkin Production Crew already finished a run of 36 fan films featuring the crew of the USS Potemkin. The Tristan Production Crew has released 8 fan films telling stories of the crew of the USS Tristan. The Deimos Production Crew has produced 5 fan films focusing on—you guessed it!—the crew of the USS Deimos. And a final team, the Kupok Prodcution Crew, has told 3 stories of the crew of the Klingon Battlecrusier Kupok.
However, for the last 15 months or so, the Potemkin Pictures website had displayed an additional production crew (for the Endeavour) with no episodes released yet. I assumed this was for a new series of fan films featuring the crew of the USS Endeavour (and it turns out I was right), but why was there such a delay?
Well, the wait finally ended last week when the Pelham, Alabama-based Endeavor Production Team released their first completed fan film, the 13-minute long “The Gift.”
I asked show-runner RANDY LANDERS about the long production schedule:
We filmed last June, and it took two extra months because of the extensive green screen work, some camera choices that had to be corrected in post, and because we were looking for fans who had an infant, who live nearby, and who would be willing to have their child on camera. Our longer productions take 9-12 months.
Still having struggles with the green screen. But getting better.
I hope y’all enjoy it. It is good family fare.
You care judge for yourself, folks. Take a look at the first effort of a new fan FILM (don’t call it a fan SERIES!) from the Endeavour Production team…
If you’re looking for Klingons in a Star Trek fan film, you can certainly find them…but it’ll take some work! And usually the Klingons are just there to be the bad guys (at least in TOS and movie-era Trek fan productions).
But there is one production which guarantees a Klingon in every episode…and they’re not there just to be the bad guys. Well, yeah, they are the bad guys, but not to their way of thinking!
BATTLECRUISER KUPOK (pronounced “kuh-POOK”) debuted in September of 2015 as the eighth episode (“The Battle Of Alawanir“) of the third season of the long-running fan series PROJECT: POTEMKIN. It was a unique episode, self-contained and presented with its own opening monologue:
Space…it is ours for the taking. These are the missions of the Imperial Klingon Cruiser Kupok. Its never-ending quest: to seize unclaimed worlds, to seek new cultures and species to serve us, and to further expand the Klingon Empire!
The idea was to create a fan series completely from the point of view of the Klingons, to show them in their “natural element” without any influence from or even interaction with Starfleet.
Their low-budget fan series was later given an independent run of its own the following March with the release of their second episode, “Sanctuary.” A few months later, the fan film guidelines were released, and all of the Potemkin Pictures projects were forced to drop their series titles (like Starship Deimos, Starship Tristan, and of course, Battlecruiser Kupok) and instead treat every subsequent release as a new fan film with a completely new title.
Since then, the Deimos and Tristan production teams have released a combined total of nine new fan films (plus two that completed the run of Project: Potemkin), but nothing from the Kupok team…until now!
Based in Pelham, Alabama, Kupok‘s latest episode “A Gathering Storm” was written and directed by Potemkin show-runner RANDY LANDERS. It asks the question: what happens when the Klingons try to conquer a planet full of Renaissance Faire attendees? No, I’m just kidding! Well, I’m KINDA kidding.
Anyone who says that Star Trek fan films are “dead” needs to get that message out to the fine folks at POTEMKIN PICTURES! These guys continue to churn out new releases with the constancy of the north star and the inevitability of death and taxes!
Currently, two Potemkin Pictures production teams are working on a series of fan films featuring two different Starfleet crews. Over in Georgia, the Starship Tristan production crew is currently in pre-production on their NINTH fan film. And in Pelham, Alabama, the STARSHIP DEIMOS production crew has just released its FIFTH episode, the 14-minute “No Greater Love.”
Both productions use actors enrolled in drama programs at nearby academic institutions, along with other actors from local community theater. As such, the performances of many who appear on camera in these two series tend to be slightly more elevated than your typical Trek fan film that uses only fans who are usually untrained in the performing arts.
“No Greater Love” is no exception. Constrained by budgets, Potemkin Pictures concentrates primarily on character and st0ry-driven scripts. The result is a fan film without the glitz and sizzle of the sleeker, higher-budget fan productions, but with a lot of heart and soulful performances.
So no, my friends, Star Trek fan films are not dead…not if Potemkin Pictures and show-runner RANDY LANDERS have anything to say about it! You can read a 2-part interview that I did with Randy last year by clicking here.
Okay, time to stop calling it STARSHIP TRISTAN. Show-runner RANDY LANDERS told me there are no series or episodes, there are only individual fan films made by the various creative teams working under the POTEMKIN PICTURES “umbrella”: Tristan, Deimos, Kupok, and Endeavour. The reason for this nominal change, of course, is the fan film guidelines that prohibit a fan film from releasing more than two 15-minute episodes of the same story “…with no additional seasons, episodes, parts, sequels or remakes.”
So the “elephant in the living room” (or “mugato in the cave”) question that I asked Randy was: if you’re being so careful to follow the guidelines, then why is this fan film 30 minutes long and not broken into two 15-minute parts? Randy’s answer:
It was filmed over a year ago, and it is our understanding that the guidelines probably wouldn’t apply.
Fair enough (at least as far as I’m concerned). Randy went on to tell me a little more about the making of this episode:
It was actually one of the first episodes we began filming once we moved here. Nearly all the dialogue shot at the park had to be ADRed…
[re-recorded and dubbed over later – Jonathan]
…and in some cases dubbed by a different performer. It was a challenging experience. We had folks recording their lines on phones. That’s where you can really tell. We’d’ve rather they’d returned to the studios for ADR, but that just wasn’t possible.
This is just a hobby for us, and real life and real jobs have to come first.
I always keep that last fact in mind when I watch the “low-budget” fan films. While not as slick and polished as the studio-made films and series with the professional actors and production crew, fan films like those coming from Potemkin Pictures show heart and dedication and, most of all, fans just having fun. For me, that’s extremely important.
Randy says the Tristan creative team currently has two films completely shot and now in post-production. And there’s three more films in pre-production for 2017. In the meantime, you can watch their latest release “Between Two Worlds” below or visit the website of Potemkin Pictures to catch up on all the episodes of their various series…oh, excuse me…to see all the independent fan films from the four creative teams.
So far, the four previous episodes of STARSHIP TRSITAN from Potemkin Pictures have ranged in length from six-and-a-half minutes to ten-and-a-half minutes. (You can watch them all here.) Their latest episode, “Be Careful What You Wish For,” has a 15-minute run time and a much larger cast than usual. The episode was an ambitious endeavor that required a lot of on-location shooting. It’s a very impressive effort.
William C. Searcy, who plays the lovable and colorful character of the half-Vulcan Dr. Skep Anderson, wrote the episode and produces the Georgia-based series. Note that, from their second episode onward, in order to comply with the CBS/Paramount fan film guidelines, the series is no longer known officially as “Starship Tristan” and is instead just a collection of separate fan films, each with a different name (the title of the individual episode). That said, Dr. Anderson has appeared before and will (hopefully!) appear again. Will that constitute an “ongoing series” and violate guideline #1? Hard to say, but it’s such a minor quibble, one would think the studios wouldn’t bother making a big deal of it since the series complies with all other guidelines.
At this time, according to the Potemkin Pictures website, two more episodes of this series have been filmed and are currently in post production. With luck, we’ll be seeing them soon!
The fan series Project: Potemkin was nearly finished with its four-season run. Thirty episodes had already been produced and released, and only three more remained. Show-runner RANDY LANDERS (read his interview with Fan Film Factor here) had announced that the series would wrap up after the end of season four, although four other series–Starship Tristan, Starship Deimos, Battlecruiser Kupok, and Starship Endeavour–would continue with new episodes.
The remaining three episodes of Project: Potemkin had already been filmed over a year ago and were simply awaiting post-production editing, sound, VFX, and musical scoring. Then the fan film guidelines were released by CBS and Paramount.
It’s interesting to watch the various reactions of the current Star Trek fan series to the new CBS/Paramount guidelines. In the case of Star Trek: Renegades, they dropped the name “Star Trek” from their title, took off the comm badges, and named Walter Koenig’s character “The Admiral.” Of course, we all know who they mean…don’t we? But with no “obvious” Star Trek content, the fan guidelines no longer apply to Renegades: The Series.
On the other side of the United States, Alabama-based Potemkin Pictures has taken a different approach. For the last half-decade or so, the vast majority of Potemkin Pictures’ fan films have actually followed most of the guidelines (before they even came out!): short-duration episodes, no crowd-funding, no perks, original music, home-made costumes, and store-bought props. Their only real “violation”–now that the new guidelines are in place–is “no additional seasons, episodes, parts, sequels or remakes.”