The history of STARSHIP VALIANT! (Part 4)

In Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3, we watched how the fan series STARSHIP VALIANT grew from the aborted STARSHIP AJAX fan project, utilizing the 360-degree TOS bridge set at STARBASE STUDIOS in Oklahoma City. The brainchild of local resident MICHAEL L. KING, who would play the main character of Jackson Bishop, Valiant was the first completed fan production to film at Starbase Studios back in late 2013. They released their debut fan film, “LEGACY,” the following summer at SoonerCon 2014. Then in 2015, they released a special edition of “Legacy” with a freshly-added scene that introduced new characters on screen that hadn’t been seen in the original version, including VANCE MAJOR as Chief Engineer Erick Minard and DAVID COX as Chief Medical Officer Dr. Roger Floyd.

The Starship Valiant team headed into 2016 with plans to produce a much more ambitious second project, a 90-minute fan film titled “THE TIES THAT BIND,” and they were able to shoot the first ten minutes during the summer of that year. (You can view that segment here.) But just as they were filming those scenes, CBS announced new fan film guidelines that effectively killed any possibility for a single episode longer than 30 minutes. For a few months, plans for further work on “Ties” were put on hold.

However, at the same time, Vance Major decided to expand upon his character of Erick Minard in a new series of fan films, and some of these projects also featured Michael King as Captain Bishop. This included MINARD, THE VALHALLA STONE, a new fan series called MELBOURNE: “Storm Front”, and a crossover with fan series DREADNOUGHT DOMINION called CHAIN OF COMMAND. Each of those included footage shot at Starbase Studios in 2016 and were released in either 2016 or 2017.

In the meantime, Michael made a decision to move forward with Starship Valiant and continue filming “The Ties that Bind.” But because director BRADY FOSTER had picked up some professional production work outside of the country, shooting had to be scheduled for after he returned in November. But that wasn’t much of a problem—the Starbase Studios sets weren’t going anywhere.

Or were they…?

Continue reading “The history of STARSHIP VALIANT! (Part 4)”

The history of STARSHIP VALIANT! (Part 3)

In Part 1 and Part 2, we saw the birth of the fan series STARSHIP VALIANT, the brainchild of MICHAEL L. KING from Oklahoma. Utilizing the bridge set rescued from STARSHIP EXETER that was restored and expanded at STARBASE STUDIOS in Oklahoma City, the first episode of Starship Valiant, “Legacy,” began filming in late 2013 and debuted the following June at SoonerCon.

In 2015, Michael, with the help of Valiant director BRADY FOSTER, filmed a brand new scene that was shot on the just-completed sickbay set constructed at Starbase Studios for use by their “sister” fan series, STARSHIP GRISSOM. The 3-minute scene featured, for the first time on camera, VANCE MAJOR as Chief Engineer Erick Minard. It also showed the death of Captain Jeffrey Clark, an event that leads directly into the rest of the episode. The “Legacy – Special Edition” debuted at SoonerCon 2015 and was posted to Facebook shortly thereafter.

Michael sums up the Valiant pilot episode like this: “‘Legacy‘ has always been about the consequences of one’s actions. The story is a cautionary tale that tells us that, for every action we make, there is a reaction, either good or bad. It tells us that, sure, we are going to make mistakes and feel badly about them but to stick to our guns and fix them. It tells us that it’s okay to cry for the ones that we love and that those people’s actions are a result of how we have decided to live our lives. Bottom line: we are responsible for those who look up to us for guidance and love, and if we fail them, it’s never too late to make amends or to make it as right as we can.”

Continue reading “The history of STARSHIP VALIANT! (Part 3)”

The history of STARSHIP VALIANT! (Part 1)

The fan series STARSHIP VALIANT has just released its latest episode, “Animals,” a fan film that got its start a little over three years ago in 2017. But the story of Starship Valiant goes back farther than that and starts with a fellow named MICHAEL L. KING. Michael is considered my many fan filmmakers to be one of the nicest people in our entire community. He’s positive, polite, doesn’t get angry or hold grudges, and he’s always willing to help out other productions. He loves Star Trek fan films and supports all of the many people who make them.

But before we get into Michael and the history of Starship Valiant, let’s take a look at his team’s most recent fan production…

And now, let’s travel backward in time a bit. Michael had loved watching Star Trek fan films, being particularly impressed with the quality of productions like STAR TREK: NEW VOYAGES and STARSHIP EXETER, both of which featured TOS set recreations. In fact, the amazing bridge set from Exeter had managed to find its way from Austin, TX to Michael’s backyard of Oklahoma City (read the entire story of the birth of STARBASE STUDIOS here).

A fellow by the name of JOHN HUGHES had found the Exeter‘s bridge set in 2009, decaying in a Texas barn for five years since they’d shot their second episode “The Tressaurian Intersection” in 2004. John’s intention was to restore the bridge (and build other TOS sets), to use in the creation of his own Star Trek fan series, STARSHIP AJAX. By 2013, with RICHARD WELLS and SCOTT JOHNSON leading the construction team, the bridge set was now ready to film on. And so John set himself the task of looking for volunteers to be a part of the new production.

A photo from March of 2013 of what would have been the cast and crew of Starship Ajax. John Hughes is second-from-the-right wearing a black jacket. Michael L. King is standing behind the command chair wearing a blue tunic.

This is where Michael enters the story…

Continue reading “The history of STARSHIP VALIANT! (Part 1)”

The history of STARSHIP VALIANT! (Part 2)

In Part 1, we met MICHAEL L. KING from Oklahoma, considered by many to be one of the nicest, most agreeable and helpful folks in the fan filmmaking community. Back in 2013, Michael got involved with a group of local fans planning to launch a new fan series called STARSHIP AJAX to be filmed at STARBASE STUDIOS. The folks who ran the facility, originally located in Oklahoma City, had moved the deteriorating remnants of the TOS bridge set that had been used for the second episode of STARSHIP EXETER and then worked to restore and expand them into Trek fandom’s first and only 360-degree TOS bridge set.

Sadly, the Ajax team never really got themselves going, but Michael—who had initially signed up as a volunteer on that project—was able to launch a fan series of his own called STARSHIP VALIANT. His intention was to focus Valiant‘s stories more on the characters than the action. And although the initial script that Michael wrote, “LEGACY,” began with a space battle, the fight quickly ends, leaving the rest of the episode to focus on the aftermath and how some of the main characters try to deal with it.

Joined by director and editor BRADY FOSTER, Michael and his team were able to film “Legacy” in late 2013 and complete the project by the summer of 2014, where it debuted at the central Oklahoma SoonerCon convention before being posted to YouTube just afterwards. This is what was released…

The new fan series was warmly welcomed into the Star Trek fan film community, and the following year in 2015, Michael was contacted by SoonerCon organizer AISLINN BURROWS asking if he’d like to show “Legacy” again during the convention at the end of June. Michael was more than happy to accept the invitation, but then he had a thought. In the almost-year since “Legacy” had debuted, it had gotten many YouTube views, and fans were pretty familiar with it. But imagine their surprise if the version they saw at the convention included brand new footage!

Continue reading “The history of STARSHIP VALIANT! (Part 2)”

BLADE OF HONOR launches their NEW INDIEGOGO with a touching tribute to the late RICHARD HATCH… (I cried.)

Damn, I miss RICHARD HATCH.

For most sci-fi fans, he will always be Captain Apollo from Battlestar Galactica…and possibly even Tom Zarek from the new Battlestar Galactica.  For followers of fan films, Richard Hatch will be remembered for the intensity of his performance as the Klingon Commander Kharn in Prelude to Axanar.  But soon fans will be able to see Richard Hatch’s final performance in front of the camera, filmed a mere five weeks before his tragic and untimely death from pancreatic cancer.

I first featured BLADE OF HONOR here on Fan Film Factor nearly a year ago in a 3-part interview with RYAN T. HUSK, the Executive Producer of this independent fan series.  No, it’s not a Star Trek fan film, but it does feature Tim “Tuvok” Russ and Aron “Nog” Eisenberg plus a number of other actors, producers, and VFX luminaries from such Trek fan productions as Renegades, Horizon, Axanar, and New Voyages.  So yeah, I still consider Blade of Honor appropriate to cover here on Fan Film Factor.

In their first Kickstarter last summer, they set a goal of $30,000 and managed to raise more than $51,000.  This allowed them to film their pilot episode and to do a fair amount of editing and sound engineering.  But they need a bit more funding to complete post-production with:

  • Space Battles, starships, spacescapes, etc..
  • Special effects, airbending, landscapes, etc.
  • Green screen composition
  • Music and scoring
  • Sound effects and foley
  • More editing
  • Color Correction

This time, they are using Indiegogo with a goal of $28,000.  Pre-launch outreach to previous donors (like me!) has already brought them nearly 20% of the way to their goal with a full month left.  If you want to make a donation yourself or learn more about the production, please click here.

And if you’re wondering whether or not you should donate to help complete this production—Richard Hatch’s final cinematic performance—and turn it into the best independent film it can possibly be, please watch this touching tribute to Richard by the cast who were the last actors to ever work with him…

This final funding effort will push Blade of Honor into a different stratosphere, and really allow us to make the final product huge, jaw-dropping, and something we can all be proud of.

STARBASE STUDIOS (interview with Richard Wells and Scott Johnson), Part 2

Last time: we learned the fate of the Starship Exeter bridge set was not oblivion.  After decaying in a Texas barn for years, it was moved to Oklahoma City in 2010 by John Hughes to be used for a new production called Starship Ajax.  John advertised for volunteers on Craigslist, and two guys from the concert industry became leaders of the project in their own right: Richard Wells and Scott Johnson

Shortly thereafter, John Hughes decided to concentrate primarily on his fan film, leaving Richard and Scott to complete the bridge restoration and set up Starbase Studios, a place where fan filmmakers could shoot their Star Trek stories for free on an actual TOS bridge recreation set.

But not all went swimmingly.  As we continue our interview with Richard and Scott, we learn what happened after when the hand of nature once again threatened this beautiful bridge replica…

Continue reading “STARBASE STUDIOS (interview with Richard Wells and Scott Johnson), Part 2”

STARBASE STUDIOS (interview with Richard Wells and Scott Johnson), Part 1

CoverIf you read my recent blog about Starship Exeter’s second episode, you’ll recall that when we last left the magnificent Exeter bridge set, it was rotting, unused and forgotten, in a barn in central Texas.  What happened next is the amazing and heartwarming story of Starbase Studios.

Continue reading “STARBASE STUDIOS (interview with Richard Wells and Scott Johnson), Part 1”

Starbase Studio’s STARSHIP GRISSOM releases its debut episode!

Grissom

The first episode of the TOS-based educational fan series Starship Grissom is now online.  This series is written by a group of teachers from Highland East Junior High School in Moore ,Oklahoma and is designed so educators anywhere can download and use it in the classroom.

A complete set of lesson plans and introduction videos, in a variety of subjects, is also released with each episode.  All lessons meet Common Core and STEM standards and can be modified for Advanced Placement or Special Education students.

The goal is to provide a complete teaching resource using science fiction to promote interest in science, technology, and education.

Watch Starship Grissom‘s debut episode “Planet L-197” here: