Three new fan films from STARSHIP DEIMOS in seven months…and more POTEMKIN news from RANDY LANDERS!

I try to cover each new fan film from POTEMKIN PICTURES soon after it’s released. But with seven different creative groups all working simultaneously, occasionally I’ll miss one or two.

I had this somewhat embarrassing realization a couple of weeks ago when I went to watch the latest offering from the STARSHIP DEIMOS creative team, “Butterfly Effect.” It was quite good (as are nearly all of the releases from the Deimos team). And I noticed that this particular episode was written by VICTORIA AVALON, who plays Captain Gabriel of the USS Deimos. Victoria had written all but two of the first eight episodes of Deimos, but I hadn’t seen her name as writer for a while (I checked, and it’d been about two years). Victoria—who also helped write the STARSHIP FARRAGUT episode “Conspiracy of Innocence” back in 2014—writes some very strong scripts, and “Butterfly Effect” was no exception.

But when the episode ended, YouTube (as it usually does) automatically loaded up another video, and it was another episode of Starship Deimos: “Blood Crystals.” I let it play, and remembered that I’d started watching it back in February, but I’d never finished it…and I totally forgot to blog about it! Oy vey. It was also a very good episode.

Then YouTube loaded another Deimos episode for me, “The Solomon Gamble” from last October. I’d never watched that one at all! Then I went to check my blogs and discovered, much to my horror, that my last Deimos blog was last June(!!!) about their episode “Children of Eberus.” I’d missed covering THREE new episode releases. Oh, the shame!

So here they all are, in the order they were released over the past seven months…

I noted that, in the past seven months, while Deimos had just released their THIRD completed fan film, the other Potemkin creative teams were trailing:

  • MARIE CURIE – 2 episodes (November and March)
  • TRISTAN – 2 episodes (December and April)
  • BATTLECRUISER KUPOK – 1 episode (November)
  • ALEXANDER – 1 episode (February, but that was the series premiere)
  • TRITON – 0 episodes (most recent was May 2019)
  • ENDEAVOUR – 0 episodes (most recent was December 2018)

I remembered asking Potemkin show-runner RANDY LANDERS at one point about this inconsistency, but many of my current readers might not have read his original answer. So I decided to ask Randy again, this time wondering if his and his wife’s recent move from Alabama to Kentucky might have affected the schedule and perhaps have spelled the end for one or more of the above-listed fan teams (and remember, we DON’T call them fan series!).

Here was Randy’s response…

Continue reading “Three new fan films from STARSHIP DEIMOS in seven months…and more POTEMKIN news from RANDY LANDERS!”

First-time fan film writer/director/editor GREG OGLES discusses STARSHIP TRISTAN’s “RECLAMATION” (interview, part 2)

Last time, we met GREG OGLES of Birmingham, Alabama, who wrote, directed, starred in, and produced the two-part 17th and 18th episodes of STARSHIP TRISTAN from POTEMKIN PICTURES. You can watch the other 16 episodes of Tristan, plus nearly 70 other episodes from a total of eight different creative teams on the Potemkin Pictures website.

Greg’s two-parter is titled “Reclamation” and includes a storyline based on his own personal family history, a family that includes Native American blood and ancestors who managed to escape from the infamous “Trail of Tears” and had to claim their race as “black dutch” to keep from being rounded up and sent to Oklahoma.

Written in 2017, the script to “Reclamation” was submitted to Potemkin show-runner RANDY LANDERS in 2018 and filmed primarily in 2019. Chapter 1 was released last December and chapter 2 this past April. You can view both films below:

And now the conclusion of our interview with Greg…

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First-time fan film writer/director/editor GREG OGLES discusses STARSHIP TRISTAN’s “RECLAMATION” (interview, part 1)

When most fans think of POTEMKIN PICTURES (at least the fans who know about Potemkin Pictures), the person who usually comes to mind is show-runner RANDY LANDERS. And that makes perfect sense. Randy has kept Potemkin going for a decade across three different U.S. states with eight different creative teams producing an average of about 10-12 fan films a year. If you want, you can view SEVEN DOZEN different fan films on the Potemkin Pictures website.

But Randy doesn’t do it all by himself. In fact, he’ll be the first to give credit where it’s due. And so when I asked him to provide a few quick quotes about the newest 2-part release from the STARSHIP TRISTAN Creative Group, Randy told me that the person I really needed to talk to was GREG OGLES.

One of the best things about Potemkin Pictures is that they are about as inclusive as can be when it comes to opening their doors to fans to come play in the sandbox. And this isn’t simply for folks wanting to show up, put on a shirt, and say a few lines in front of the camera. Randy offers ample opportunities for folks to work on Potemkin projects at all levels—from acting to writing to directing to producing. And in fact, Greg Ogles has just had a chance to do all of the above at the same time!

The two-part “Reclamation” has a total run-time of 35 minutes (pretty close the the 30-minute time limit set by the fan film guidelines). It’s the second two-parter that the Tristan Creative Group has released, being the 17th and 18th overall episodes of the (don’t call it a “series!”) fan undertaking. Before we get to the interview, take a look at what Greg and I will be talking about…

And now, a little chat with Greg Ogles…

Continue reading “First-time fan film writer/director/editor GREG OGLES discusses STARSHIP TRISTAN’s “RECLAMATION” (interview, part 1)”

Meet the professional writer of the latest episode of MARIE CURIE: “Under Fire” (interview with BOBBY NASH)

The Star Trek fan 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”…

And now, let’s meet Bobby Nash…

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STARSHIP ALEXANDER launches from Potemkin Pictures with “CRYSTAL EYES”! (interview with RANDY LANDERS)

POTEMKIN PICTURES started up a decade ago with PROJECT: POTEMKIN…which ran for 36 episodes. Since then, another 45(!!!) additional fan films have been released from six different creative teams: BATTLECRUISER KUPOK, STARSHIP DEIMOS, STARSHIP TRITON, HOSPITAL SHIP MARIE CURIE, STARSHIP TRISTAN, and STARSHIP ENDEAVOUR.

Well, there’s a new kid, er, creative team on the block now: STARSHIP ALEXANDER. And Potemkin Pictures has just kicked off their eighth fan “series” (although please do NOT call them fan series…as the films are all independent productions, each with its own unique story and title) with the brand new fan film “CRYSTAL EYES.” The USS Alexander is an Excelsior-class variant with the “water wings” of the Enterprise-B (and later, the USS Lakota). And I must say that the CGI visual effects from ROSS TROWBRIDGE using an Excelsior model from DAVID METLESITS all look exquisite.

The 16-minute fan film was shot on the same bridge set as the majority of other Potemkin projects and also at the Moss Rock Preserve in Hoover, Alabama. It is a joint production between Potemkin Pictures in association with Black Ops Productions, featuring an entirely new crew of actors…and a couple of familiar aliens. See for yourself…

Naturally, I had some questions about this newest Potemkin creative group. So I once again went to the man at the top, RANDY LANDERS, for answers…

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BATTLECRUISER KUPOK meets the MARIE CURIE crew in “A MATTER OF TRUST”!

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?

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POTEMKIN is now in LEXINGTON (Kentucky) and invites locals to a PRE-PRODUCTION meeting October 26!

The eagle has landed…or more precisely, the LANDERS have landed. I refer, of course, to RANDY LANDERS, the show-runner of POTEMKIN PICTURES, and his wife. Mrs. R. recently got a new job in a new state, and so the two of them have just moved from Pelham, Alabama, about six hours away to Lexington, Kentucky. And they took a half-dozen starships with them!

Those starships are, of course, the many elaborate sets used to film a plethora of fan series including Starship Tristan, Starship Deimos, Starship Endeavour, Hospital Ship Marie Curie, Starship Triton, and Battlecruiser Kupok…plus a half-completed full-size “shuttlecoupe.” You can view all of the several dozen fan films released during the past almost-decade by Potemkin Pictures here on their website.

Over the years, there’s been a lot of Star Trek fan film-making in the southeastern U.S.—including in Georgia (Star Trek Continues), Alabama (Potemkin), North Carolina (Dreadnought Dominion), Tennessee (The Romulan War(s)), and Arkansas (Federation Files and Avalon). But to my knowledge, Kentucky has never before been the home to a significant Trek fan film production…which is surprising because Kentucky (and specifically the Lexington area) is Shatner horse country!

But that’s about to change in a big way, as not only is Randy Landers bringing his sets with him with plans to continue his existing fan projects, but he also intends to launch a NEW fan series featuring local area residents as actors and production crew!

So if you or someone you know live(s) in or around Lexington, Kentucky and want(s) to be part of an established fan filmmaking, er, enterprise (Enterprise, Potemkin, Lexington…this blog is becoming a fleet!) and get in on the ground floor of a new fan series, check out the following announcement and invitation from Randy Landers to attend a Pre-Production Meeting on Saturday, October 26th from 10:00AM until 11:30AM at the Tates Creek branch of the Lexington Public Library in Lexington, KY…

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POTEMKIN PICTURES releases newest TRISTAN two-parter…and moves to KENTUCKY!

It’s actually been about four weeks since POTEMKIN PICTURES released “Repercussions, Part Two,” the 18th episode from the STARSHIP TRISTAN creative group. It followed the release about a month earlier of the 17th episode from Tristan, “Repercussions, Part One.”

Two episodes back-to-back within a single month is pretty impressive. But it followed a drought of eight months without a single Starship Tristan episode. In contrast, during the seven months prior to that, Tristan had released no less than FIVE episodes. I was curious how a team that was so prolific last year went through the first half of this year without a single episode completed. So I asked Potemkin Pictures show-runner RANDY LANDERS: why the sudden slowdown? Here’s what he said…

No slowdown as far as we’re concerned. Last year we may have cranked up production, but as stated, our goal is 12 productions per year. To date, we have released 2 Tristans, 2 Deimos and 1 Triton this year for a total of 5. We have 2 Tristans, 3 Deimos, 1 Kupok, and 1 Marie Curie slated for release between now and December 31st. That’s a total of 12, and we’re on a pace to accomplish that easily.

Certain projects have been affected by real life. One of our musical composers is stepping away to do some VFX work. One of our VFX artists’ partner was injured in an accident, and his project was quite understandably delayed by that. Stuff like that happens, and we move on and deal with it.

We do expect a slow start to next year, in fact. My wife has changed jobs, and we’re in the process of relocating to Lexington, Kentucky. I completed the deconstruction of our sets in Pelham, Alabama (Studio 3a, 3b and 3c were decommissioned at 17:11 Central Time on July 31), and we will be starting up in Lexington soon.

Wow, I had no idea these guys were moving! And Lexington, Kentucky is 430 miles from Pelham Alabama (you have to drive through all of Tennessee to get there…fortunately, it’s the short way through Tennessee, not the long way!).

So the next question I asked was how this would affect the production. Most of the current cast members are local actors and fans based in Alabama. Are they gonna want to drive 12 hours round-trip just to make Star Trek fan films…?

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The 3rd STARSHIP TRITON release “CONFRONTATIONS” led to an interesting question for RANDY LANDERS…

Lately, whenever POTEMKIN PICTURES releases a new fan film from one of their (currently) SIX different creative teams, I try to ask show-runner RANDY LANDERS a question or two about the latest episode.

With two different releases from Potemkin Pictures coming out on the exact same day (May 25), I tried to spread out the coverage a little by spotlighting one last month (STARSHIP DEIMOSChildren of Eberus“) and one this month. The joke’s on me, though, because Randy just released a third new fan film on June 22, but I’ll get to that one at some point soon!

Anyway, this blog focuses on the newest offering from the STARSHIP TRITON creative team: “Confrontations.” The series features as a main character Janice Rand (now a Commander, as this is movie-era, and also the first officer) along with, as of this latest episode, Dr. Christine Chapel. So far, Triton is the only Potemkin Pictures fan series to include canonical Star Trek characters as members of the crew.

“Confrontations” is this series’ third episode, having just re-cast the role of Rand with a new actress, PAM SHURETT, who gets some dramatic scenes with with the second officer, played by LEZLIE SAWYER (who seems to be popping up in fan films all over the place these days!). You can watch it here…

When I reached out to Randy to ask about this episode, I found myself wondering about something. Triton was the sixth different fan series to premiere from Potemkin Pictures. (You can see all the episodes from all seven series on their website.) PROJECT: POTEMKIN was their first series and wrapped up a couple years ago with three dozen episodes. That was followed by STARSHIP TRISTAN, STARSHIP DEIMOS, BATTLECRUISER KUPOK, and STARSHIP ENDEAVOUR…then TRITON and finally HOSPITAL SHIP MARIE CURIE.

So my question for Randy was: what happens to justify Potemkin Pictures launching a whole new series/creative team?  Why not just put some of these characters and actors (like Rand and Chapel) onto a starship in an existing series?

I also wondered what had happened to necessitate re-casting the role of Janice Rand? Previously, for the various Potemkin series, when an actor moved away or was no longer available, the character was written off the series. I suppose, however, when the character is a major one, like Rand, recasting makes more sense. But nevertheless, I was curious.

Here’s Randy’s very informative answer…

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STARSHIP DEIMOS goes on location with their 12th episode “CHILDREN OF EBERUS” (field report from RANDY LANDERS)

It’s kinda strange when two months feels like a “long time” between fan film releases. But when it comes to POTEMKIN PICTURES, two months is almost “red alert!” That’s because for the past several years, these folks have been releasing an average of a dozen or more Star Trek fan films per year. Currently, they have six different creative teams working on six parallel fan series—each on their own schedule with their own personnel—creating short fan films on ultra-low budgets.

These folks aren’t trying to bowl anyone over with super-slick sets or elaborate costumes and props. Instead, they simply try to tell interesting stories and hopefully have some fun while doing it.  You can view all of their many fan film releases on their website.

I’ve decided to do something a little different than I usually do (which is announce the latest episode, say a few words about Potemkin Pictures, maybe include a short quote from show-runner RANDY LANDERS, and then show the episode). But when I watched “Children of Eberus,” the twelfth episode from the STARSHIP DEIMOS creative team that was released a week ago, I marveled at the amount of outdoor footage. While such scenes might look cheap and easy to shoot, there’s actually a lot more moving parts and careful considerations than you might think.

So this time, I asked Randy to tell us all about the challenges of filming this episode and some of the funny behind-the-scenes stories. But first, let’s check out the episode itself, shall we…?

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