A video interview I did with GARY GRAHAM and J.G. HERTZLER back in 2018…

Fans are still reeling from the unexpected passing last week of beloved sci-fi actor GARY GRAHAM, who died of a heart attack at the too-young age of 73. In my tribute eulogy on Tuesday, I briefly mentioned my own personal encounter with Gary at the first AXACON gathering in Georgia back in 2018.

Unbeknownst to yours truly, ALEC PETERS informed me when I arrived that I would be conducting a number of recorded interviews with various Axacon guests as well as and hosting a number of panels that weekend, including interviewing both Gary along with his PRELUDE TO AXANAR co-star J.G. HERTZLER. And I have to admit that, despite having already done countless interviews with fan filmmakers for this blog site, I was feeling quite overwhelmed with being dropped into the deep end interviewing two well-known Star Trek celebrities.

Adding to the challenge for me is that Gary and J.G. were quite jovial and easily distracted themselves with tangents into all sorts of inanity while being interviewed. In other words, they both loved clowning around…especially at my expense as the poor, overwhelmed interviewer!

But ultimately, our recorded session came out really well and was very informative about both actors’ work not only in Axanar but also in other Star Trek fan films over the years like STAR TREK: OF GODS AND MEN and RENEGADES. They also discussed their stage craft in general along with sharing information about their backgrounds (did you know that Gary Graham got his start in ballet?!?).

As I thought about Gary after his death last Monday, I remembered that interview and contacted Alec, asking if he still had the footage (which was initially intended for a Blu-ray extra but was also released onto the Axanar YouTube channel shortly after the Axacon event). Fortunately, Alec still had access to the interview, and Alec gave me the green-light to edit the best parts together into a single video that could be (re)posted to YouTube so that fans could watch and enjoy it.

For anyone wanting to get to know Gary Graham a little better and see the kind of funny, vivacious, and thoughtful person that he truly was, this video is for you—and him…

THE ROMULAN WAR premieres at last! (audio interview with MARK NACCARATO)

Back in September, fans were treated to the premiere of the long-awaited STAR TREK: FIRST FRONTIER, in production for five years with a 5-figure (possibly 6-figure) budget. Now, barely seven weeks later, we get our SECOND long-awaited, “top tier” fan film, this one more than three years in production (although the script dates back nearly a decade) and also with a solid 5-figure budget.

The first hints of THE ROMULAN WAR fan film appeared back in 2017. Not to be confused with the fan series THE ROMULAN WARS (plural) from show-runner LEE GARTRELL in Arkansas, this work-in-progress fan film from show-runner MARK NACCARATO in Tennessee is a straight-up two-parter—presented in the same “mockumentary” style as PRELUDE TO AXANAR. Many fans assumed that Mark had been inspired by Prelude to make a fan film in a similar format, but in fact, he’d had the idea and written the first draft of the script three years before Prelude ever premiered. Great minds think alike!

By the time 2018 hit, The Romulan War had most of its scenes filmed and was crowd-funding for mainly post-production costs with a $10K Indiegogo (which ultimately took in more than $13K). With visual FX by the sensei of CGI, Great Britain’s SAMUEL COCKINGS, the trailers and stills from this dynamic fan film created a palpable excitement throughout the community. Frustratingly—but unavoidably—post-production would stretch out another two-plus years. However, unlike other fan films, The Romulan War served fans an almost constant stream of “hors d’oeuvre” vignettes and trailer/prequels and even a couple of short comic book stories.

The two trailer/prequels—PREAMBLE TO WAR and the just-released SHIPS OF THE LINE—serve not only to tease the full fan film but also to expand upon it with footage and story points not included in the final release due to time limitations. So consider the above two vignettes required pre-viewing if you haven’t watched them yet.

Likewise, Mark released six different “enhanced” audio dramas (voice-over performances of actors reading the logs of people who were part of the war, augmented by graphic imagery and short animations, including CGI). These short films, called WAR STORIES, can all be viewed on this playlist. (One of them stars yours truly!) And finally, there are the two short comic book stories INTRUDERS and HOLOCAUST, each of which also ties into the main fan film.

And speaking of which, I bet you’re dying to finally see it. So without further ado, I am proud to present to you The Romulan War, Part 1…

And now that you’ve watched that amazing fan film, let’s get to know the person behind it, Mark Naccarato, and all about his journey getting from there to here…

THE ROMULAN WAR is set to premiere OCTOBER 19 – releases new “SHIPS OF THE LINE” trailer/prequel!

It’s nearly here! After years and years of anticipation, the long and eagerly-awaited fan film THE ROMULAN WAR will officially premiere (at least, Part 1 will officially premiere) on October 19, 2020 on the Romulan War Youtube channel. And leading up to it, sh0w-runner MARK NACCARATO has just released a new trailer/prequel called “SHIPS OF THE LINE.”

What is a “trailer/prequel,” you ask? Shouldn’t it be either one or the other? Well…maybe. In the case of The Romulan War, Mark initially conceived of the project long before the guidelines constrained the runtime of Star Trek fan films to two 15-minute parts. As such, the original script was written to be sixteen “chapters” and would have wound up way over the time limit. Mark shot most of the footage in the summer of 2017, a year after the guidelines were announced. But rather than try to tweak the script down to less than a half hour, he shot what he needed to shoot and figured he would edit the final film down later during post-production.

As such, there is lots of quality footage that sadly needed to be left on the digital cutting room floor. Or did it? “Ships of the Line” and its predecessor trailer/prequel “Preamble to War” fulfill two purposes. They both serve as trailers to drum up excitement, showing scenes from the upcoming fan film(s). But they also include “bonus” footage that won’t appear in The Romulan War 2-parter.

Each trailer/prequel stands alone as an individual fan film with a unique title and story, so it won’t technically violate the guidelines. (That said, both use footage from Star Trek: Enterprise—also a guideline “no-no.” However, CBS didn’t seem to mind it last year when “Preamble to War” came out, and hopefully they won’t care this time either.)

The new 5-minute vignette webisode examines the challenges Starfleet faces in the early months of the war assembling a fighting force that can take on the Romulans. Because of this theme, “Ships of the Line” features, once again, the unrivaled animation skills of the C├ęzanne of CGI, SAMUEL COCKINGS. Mark said of Samuel’s efforts, “He burnt the midnight oil and put in some major overtime to get all the shots done for SOTL in time. There are some amazing shots in here.”

I agree! You can check it out below…

And if you haven’t seen “Preamble to War” yet, you should watch that, too…

And finally, I heartily recommend all six of Mark’s WAR STORIES enhanced audio dramas (which are primarily log entries read/performed by trained actors—plus one read by me—but augmented by interesting graphic images and animations as the narratives unfold). You can watch these original and engaging offerings on this playlist.

Next stop: October 19 and the premiere of The Romulan War!