When most of think of Star Trek fan films, we picture fan actors—trained and untrained—dressing up and portraying characters on fan-made sets or green-screen composited in front of virtual backgrounds. Sometimes, we only hear the actors’ voices under computer-generated scenes or captured from Trek online or CD-ROM games.
The one thing all of these types of fan films have in common is they feature actors. But what if you don’t have any actors? What if the stars of your fan film are…starships?
There’s a whole sub-sub genre of Star Trek fan films where the filmmakers don’t bother with sets or actors but instead simply use their CGI or animation skills to tell a story. I call these “fanimations.” Now, of course, there’s countless digital artists out there looking to showcase their work with elaborate (or simple) renderings of fly-bys and “hero shots” of various well-known starships. But I’m not talking about those folks this time.
Instead, I’d like to focus on those “fanimators” who tell a STORY through their productions. It’s not easy! It usually involves at least two different ships (or a ship an an object), since having only one ship usually falls into the “hero shot” video category that I described in the previous paragraph. For there to be a story, the viewer needs to imagine the crews on board, hear in their head the familiar orders given (“Raise shields!” “Evasive maneuvers!” “Fire phasers!”), and figure out what has happened at a pivotal moment. In other words, the viewer should be able to figure out the story even without words or narrations…and hopefully the story is compelling and makes some sense.
As you’ll see from the following selection of “ship star” (as opposed to “starship”…get it?) fan films I’ve included, the filmmaker’s CGI animation skills don’t have to be breathtaking (although some are pretty high up there). Heck, some aren’t even 3D! The trick lies simply in communicating the plot through sound and movement. The ships become the characters in these fan films, and they must do a sort of interpretive dance. Do they succeed? I think these five fan films do.
Let’s see what you think…Continue reading “FANIMATIONS: all-CGI Star Trek fan films with NO ACTORS!”