Starship Deimos’ 17th release: “LEVIATHAN” (interview with RANDY LANDERS)

The STARSHIP DEIMOS has been flying around the fan film sector for more than five and a half years now…ever since their first release on March 9, 2016. It came on the heels of the new fan series STARSHIP TRISTAN, which had debuted just four months earlier. Both productions sprang from the venerable POTEMKIN PICTURES, which had already, by that time, released thirty episodes of their debut fan series, PROJECT: POTEMKIN.

Since that time, Potemkin Pictures has spawned an additional SIX series of Star Trek fan production teams with nearly two dozen episodes of their own. (You can access all of the nearly-100 Potemkin fan films from their website.) But by far, the most prolific productions came come from the teams making Tristan and Deimos. Tristan released their most recent fan film (their 21st overall) this past March, but Deimos had been running silent for nearly a year…since last Halloween, in fact.

That changed on September 24, 2021 with the release of Deimos‘s 17th fan production, LEVIATHAN. It’s a good ol’ fashioned ship-in-peril-from-a-spatial-anomaly story, and it’s very well-acted. It was filmed on the new Potemkin Pictures sets in Lexington, KY. Check it out…

Time to ask showrunner RANDY LANDERS some questions…!

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Saving a fan film in post-production – STARSHIP TRISTAN’s “36 hours” (interview with RANDY LANDERS and RICK FOXX)

All told, the latest episode of STARSHIP TRISTAN, “36 Hours,” is the 90th(!!!) fan film from the fine folks at POTEMKIN PICTURES (and you can watch all of their releases here on their website). Their very first fan series, PROJECT: POTEMKIN, ran for 36 episodes…beginning all the way back in late 2010 and wrapping up six years later.

Tristan was their second fan series (now referred to as a “Creative Group”), beginning in late 2015 and still going today. Of all of their remaining eight groups, Tristan has the most releases, with “36 Hours” being the 21st production overall to be posted to YouTube.

But “36 Hours” almost didn’t happen!

I mean, it got filmed, but it almost didn’t get completed and might have had to be scrapped…and this would have been a true pity, as several of the actors in it won’t be able to continue to be involved now that show-runner RANDY LANDERS—along with all of the sets—have relocated 6 hours north from their former location near Birmingham, Alabama to Lexington, KY.

This blog tells the story of how this one fan film was saved from digital oblivion during post production. Some fans are aware that that are three phases of development for a film project: pre-production (planning and getting everything ready), production (actual filming), and post-production (putting the pieces of the puzzle together and making sure everything looks and sounds good). You might think that, once you’ve shot all of your footage, that editing and post-production are fairly simple and straightforward. Well, it turns out that sometimes things are quite a bit more challenging.

To help tell this “story behind the story,” I have two fellows who helped make “36 Hours” happen. Randy Landers was the director, executive producer, and co-writer; and RICK FOXX was co-executive producer and also co-writer. However, in addition to sharing writing credits, Randy and Rick also shared editing duty—although you’ll only find Rick’s name as editor in the credits. Why is that? You’ll need to read the interview below.

But first, take a look at “36 hours”…

Continue reading “Saving a fan film in post-production – STARSHIP TRISTAN’s “36 hours” (interview with RANDY LANDERS and RICK FOXX)”

STARSHIP WEBSTER’s 3rd episode “THE TOMBSTONE” (interview with JERRY WILLIAMS)

Even though POTEMKIN PICTURES has been around for over a decade now, the folks in their STARSHIP WEBSTER Creative Group are definitely the new kids on the fan film block. Their predecessors include PROJECT: POTEMKIN, STARSHIP DEIMOSSTARSHIP ALEXANDERSTARSHIP TRISTANHOSPITAL SHIP MARIE CURIEBATTLECRUISER KUPOKSTARSHIP TRITON, and STARSHIP ENDEAVOUR.

When show-runner RANDY LANDERS and his wife moved from Alabama to Lexington, Kentucky in 2019, it provided an opportunity to find and invite a whole new collective of local Trekkers in the fan film family. And even though the pandemic made things a little more challenging, the new Webster group still managed to release their debut fan film, “LAUNCH,” on October 9, followed quickly by their second offering, “A VOICE IN THE DARK,” just two weeks later. The latter allowed one of their actors, BILLY SWANSON, to take the lead and both write and direct—as well as star in—what was essentially a “one-man show.”

Two months later, released on Christmas day, another member of the team, JERRY WILLIAMS, got to write and appear in an episode…although this time, Randy Landers was the one directing, and the cast consisted of more than one actor (seven, in fact—three in major roles).

I’ve been making it a point to give these fine fan film folks a spotlight here on the blog as both a welcome to the community and also in acknowledgment of their quick embrace of this sub-sub-genre and dedication to getting their first few fan films produced and released.

As such, I asked Randy whom he thought would be the best person to interview for this third release, and he quickly said it should be Jerry Williams himself. “Jerry is quite a local legend,” Randy told me.

So let’s take a look at Jerry’s first Star Trek fan film, “THE TOMBSTONE,” and then we can chat…

And now, heeeeeeerrrrrrrreeeeeee’s Jerry (do my younger readers even get that reference?)…

Continue reading “STARSHIP WEBSTER’s 3rd episode “THE TOMBSTONE” (interview with JERRY WILLIAMS)”

Writer/Director/Actor/Wrestler BILLY SWANSON discusses “A Voice in the Dark” from STARSHIP WEBSTER…

One of my favorite aspects of Star Trek fan films (and fan films in general) is the sheer variety you get from all of the different fan productions. Even from the same group—such as the uber-prolific folks at POTEMKIN PICTURES who have released upwards of seven dozen individual fan films (you can view them all here)—there are still surprises to be had. As DeForest Gump once said, “Fan films are like a box of Spican flame gems…you never know what you’re gonna get.” (Okay, I just made that up.)

Anyway, I had one of those very pleasant surprises when I watched the recently-released second fan film from Potemkin Pictures‘ newest film Creative Group, STARSHIP WEBSTER, under the watchful eye of show-runner RANDY LANDERS, now living in Lexington, Kentucky. The 7-minute vignette is titled “A Voice in the Dark” and features a character alone in his quarters recording a series of log journal entries. That might not seem overly impressive but for one notable thing: the entire fan film, all of the monologue, is delivered in a single take! And the performance is surprisingly solid for a fan film, suggesting a fair amount of acting experience.

Take a look…

Randy explained to me that the script was written by BILLY SWANSON, one of the members of the new Starship Webster Creative Group, and the actor playing the main role of Commander Robert Hawkins. Initially, the producers in the group came up with the idea of doing a series of shorts to introduce the crew, ultimately intended for no-contact filming during the pandemic. Billy created a one-person character-study, wrote an outline of what he wanted to do, practiced it, and recorded it into his phone.

Randy took a watch and loved the vignette; it was a great look at his character’s backstory. The only problem was that it seemed like it was filmed on a cell phone in someone’s bedroom. So Randy asked Billy to come to the studio to film it using Randy’s lighting, green screens, camera, and sound equipment. Randy set up the green screen and a table for the bed, a chair from the bridge set, and a uniform. He set up the camera and the mics, lined Billy up, and turned the equipment on. Then Randy walked 10 feet across the room, sat in their remaining captain’s chair, and watched Billy do his thing.

So Billy was literally the actor, writer, and director. It was one single continuous shot, so there really wasn’t much for Randy to do except adjust the lighting, add the VFX for the officer’s quarters, and make sure it looked good in post. Randy provided the following comment…

Continue reading “Writer/Director/Actor/Wrestler BILLY SWANSON discusses “A Voice in the Dark” from STARSHIP WEBSTER…”

Watch POTEMKIN PICTURES’ new STARSHIP WEBSTER “Launch”… (interview with RANDY LANDERS)

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”…

Continue reading “Watch POTEMKIN PICTURES’ new STARSHIP WEBSTER “Launch”… (interview with RANDY LANDERS)”

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…

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

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…

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