Back in April of 2015, a new Star Trek fan series called DREADNOUGHT DOMINION premiered with its initial episode, “Haunted.” Three months later, a second episode, titled “Anchors Aweigh” (a bit of a prequel to the first episode), made its debut. It wasn’t the only TOS-era fan series to feature the crew of a non-heavy cruiser class starship, but it was the first and only one to feature the crew of a Starfleet dreadnought-class starship based on the mid-1970s Franz Joseph Star Trek Technical Manual.
Thanks to a 3D model created by Kenneth Thomson, Jr. and Thomas Phong, the beauty shots of the tri-nacelled USS Dominion in the opening credits and during the episodes were gorgeous. The two episodes were filmed primarily on the very impressive TOS sets in Starship Farragut’s Studio Two in Kingsland, GA (also the shooting location of Star Trek Continues).
A year earlier, another fan series, Starship Valiant, made its debut on YouTube with an introduction vignette titled “Legacy.” Valiant was filmed using the TOS bridge set at Starbase Studios in Oklahoma City. (The following year, a “special edition” version of “Legacy” with added footage was posted after Starbase Studios built a new sickbay set.) Valiant has since completed principal filming on its second episode “The Ties That Bind,” although post production is still ongoing and the second episode hasn’t been released yet.
So what do these two fan series–filmed in different locations in different states during different years–have in common? A man named Vance…
In past years, crowd-funding campaigns for fan films have helped to cover the cost of set construction, 3D visual effects and post-production, studio build-outs, and any number of costs associated with filming.
But now your much-needed donations can help pay for…
A TRUCK! (Oh, and movers.)
Actually, this is pretty serious, and it could effect multiple fan films! So get ready to take out that credit card or Paypal login, ’cause you’re really gonna want to help on this one, folks!
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…
If 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.
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:
Feedback from the Star trek community is greatly appreciated.