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…
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…
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…?
Five fan film releases in five weeks! Last week, POTEMKIN PICTURES had gone four-for-four, releasing a new fan film for three of their six (soon to be seven!) active fan series…including two from the STARSHIP TRISTAN creative group. Well, make that THREE from Tristan, as “Distant Echoes, part two” completed their first-ever mutli-part episode late last week.
As explained previously, the run-time of the full episode was 18 minutes, above the 15-minute limit set forth in the fan film guidelines. So the Potemkin folks decided to cut this fan film in two.
I asked show-runner RANDY LANDERS whether we’d be seeing a sixth new fan film next week…
This pretty much gets us caught up for the time being. (All hail the time being!) We have six in post-production. Oh, we shot one last Saturday. Make it seven in post-production. Two nearing completion. We generally release six months after we film.
I then asked what “caught up” means….
“Caught up” is six releases. It takes six months for a production to go from the completion of principal videography to release:
1st month: capturing and editing
2nd month: sound and ADR
3rd month: final edit with sound (color correction and other tweaks are in the 3rd month as well)
4th month: VFX guys
5th month: music guys
6th month: release
So if we have six in post, then we’re on target. It’s a PROCESS. And it’s what works for us. This is why so many fan films never make it. They don’t know what to do after they shoot their movie.
Also, we use the 96% rule. If it’s good to the point of being 96%, then it’s time to move to the next step. The remaining 4% is not worth the expenditure of time and energy required to get to 100%. That 4% is the law of diminishing returns. That’s a harsh measure to produce by, but it’s what works for us.
I’m aware of everything in our films that’s not perfect, believe me. We have five producers with eagle eyes, but we ask ourselves: “Is the problem worth fixing?” Most of the time, we can do it immediately. But when an actress or actor is not available for ADR or reshoots, then guess what? Time to cut your losses.
Coming up next: Endeavour and Kupok!
In the meantime, you can access all the dozens and dozens of Potemkin Pictures fan films from their website. And check out the conclusion of “Distant Echoes” below…
Four weeks…four fan films. Sounds like I’m talking about POTEMKIN PICTURES again! These folks from Alabama are a veritable fan film factory, with SIX different fan series from different creative groups all in active release…and a seventh series about to launch.
Over the past month, Potemkin Pictures first debuted its newest fan series from the Hospital Ship Marie Curie Creative Group. A week later came the 14th fan film from the Starship Tristan Creative Group. And a week after that, fans saw the release of the second film from the Starship Triton Creative Group…complete with a record number of Orions!
And now it’s week four, and we’re back to the Constellation-class Starship Tristan. In this latest episode, we see most of the crew, with a spotlight on its captain, Eva Privette, played by KIMBERLY WHITE. She’s got a lot of lines, and all were memorized. (In some of the more “grass roots” fan films, cast members with large amounts of dialog don’t/can’t learn all their lines and instead read from cue cards or scripts off-camera…and sometimes this can be very obvious.) Potemkin Pictures tries to use, when possible, students from local drama programs and people from community theater who have studied acting.
What’s notable about this latest offering is that it’s the first time any Potemkin Pictures production has been divided into a part one and part two. Show-runner RANDY LANDERS explained to me that the full run-time for “Distant Echoes” was 18 minutes, over the 15-minute time limit imposed by the fan film guidelines. So part one ends at the 9:40 mark. “We chose not to risk the ire of CBS,” Randy said. “The second part will be our next release, possibly by month’s end.” If that happens, then it’ll be five fan films in five straight weeks!
All episodes of the various Potemkin Pictures series can be accessed from their website. You can watch the latest release from Starhsip Tristanbelow…
Well, it’s been a week since the last fan film release from POTEMKIN PICTURES…so I guess it’s time for another!
Actually, the goal for show-runner RANDY LANDERS is to release twelve new fan films per year from their various creative teams. Last week featured the debut episode of their newest fan series Hospital Ship Marie Curie. This week, we return to the series that has the most releases of any of the Potemkin Pictures projects (that are still in active production): STARSHIP TRISTAN. Their initial fan series, Project: Potemkin, holds the record currently with 36 completed episodes, but that production is no longer releasing new episodes.
The latest installment in the adventures of the Constellation-class USS Tristan (during “movie era” Star Trek time) shines a spotlight on fan favorite character T’Noshi, played by actress CHRISTIN WOODS. Her Vulcan character initially debuted way back in the early days of Project: Potemkin and remains a part of the Potemkin Pictures fan film “factory” even now nearly half a decade later.
Their budgets are, of course, ultra-low…and the on-location “sets” don’t have a lot of dressing. In fact, in this latest episode, you can even see an “EXIT” sign in the background in one scene. But that’s not why these folks do it. For them, it’s all about the love of Star Trek and the fun of creating a fan film that starts from an idea, becomes a script, and then through a lot of hard work and persistence, emerges months later as a completed film. It’s the joy of creating something no one has ever seen before, and now you and others get to see it for yourselves.
All episodes of the various Potemkin Pictures series can be accessed from their website. You can watch the latest release from Starhsip Tristanbelow…
After a seven-month hiatus due to heart bypass surgery for POTEMKIN PICTURES‘ show-runner RANDY LANDERS, their parade of fan films came flooding back in March with the release of the eleventh and twelfth fan films from their StarshipTristan Creative Group…only one week apart! This was followed by the release of two fan films from the Deimos Creative Group in May…only five days apart. And last month, there was yet another fan film release for Deimos, their eighth total.
Well, it’s July, and that means it’s Tristan‘s turn again! (Actually, Potemkin Pictures has SEVEN different active fan series at present, each in varying states of pre-production, production, and post production. You can view all of their offerings at the Potemkin website.)
With this latest release , the titular Constellation-class starship now has a new captain, the former first officer, Lt. Commander Privette (played by Kimberly White). I’d noticed that, over on Starship Deimos, that fan series had just gotten a new captain, as well (this one being Captain Mark Stone, played by actor Tony Anderson).
I asked Randy about this new game of “musical captains” that his main fan series seem to be playing lately…and also noted that, while a promotion from first officer to commanding officer isn’t unheard of, a rank jump from Lt. Commander directly to Captain is pretty significant. Randy replied…
Tristan’s former Captain Walker (played by Keith Harris) has disappeared while on a mission, and the circumstances are quite mysterious. Privette’s promotion came as quite a shock to both Lieutenant Commander T’Noshi and Lieutenant Commander Mycroft, and expect this to rear its head from time to time.
In real life, Keith stepped down, as the demands of the role of a ship’s captain are very challenging (Tristan films 4-6 times per year). Keith and I spoke about his return as Captain Walker in a much more limited capacity again only last week, and we look forward to his continued involvement with Potemkin Pictures once he recovers from a work-related injury.
Expect more cast and crew changes as our productions continue. Filming 12-15 times per year is very challenging to both our actors and our behind-the-scenes personnel.
We also expect to begin construction on our small shuttlecraft…I’m calling it a shuttle-coupe (LOL). It will be for two or three persons, and we’re hoping to begin its construction in September.
Here’s the latest adventure of the Tristan crew, “A Look in the Mirror”…
Last week, I announced the release of the eleventh fan film, “Sepulchre,” from the STARSHIP TRISTANCreative Group from POTEMKIN PICTURES. I noted that the previous tenth release had come out seven months earlier. But now, the new twelfth release, “Pride and Prejudice,” has followed only ONE WEEK after the eleventh. What gives?
I decided to go to the source and ask show-runner RANDY LANDERS. I was quite surprised to learn the answer:
Back in August, I had a quadruple bypass which delayed post production on a number of our short films. We have never before held back releases, in fact, but we actually are this time. We released “Sepulchre” as soon as it was ready, then released the follow-up “Pride and Prejudice” a week later. “Pride and Prejudice” was actually ready for release in January. For the same reason, we’re holding up the release of “Shattered Sky” (a Deimos film) until we finish up and release “Prodigal Daughter.”
It’s quite possible we will have four releases in March!
I asked Randy how he was doing after the bypass. (My own father had a double bypass about three years ago and is still going strong).
I’m doing great. You can quote me, and report that two productions were filmed without me (“New Orders,” which was directed by Jason Furman, and “Sepulchre” which was directed by Lee Drew). And “Pride and Prejudice” was directed by Christin Woods [who plays T’Noshi -Jonathan] relieving me of that concern as well. I’m very proud of the work they did to get these productions completed.
I should also mention that this latest episode from the Tristan folk was written by WILLIAM C. SEARCY, who plays the fan-favorite character of the half-Vulcan Dr. Skep Anderson.
So please enjoy the second Potemkin Pictures fan film release in two weeks, “Pride and Prejudice”…
The nice folks at POTEMKIN PICTURES now have five different Trek fan production teams producing new fan films, two teams with new series in post-production, and of course the completed series that started it all: PROJECT: POTEMKIN (with three dozen episodes). You can watch everything from Potemkin Pictures on their website.
The first fan series to spin off from Project: Potemkin was STARSHIP TRISTAN, filmed in Pelham, Alabama where show-runner RANDY LANDERS is based. It debuted in December of 2015, but six months later, the fan film guidelines prohibited ongoing fan series. So Starship Tristan simply dropped their fan series name and began naming each new release with the title of that particular “episode.”
Their latest offering is a fan film called “Sepulchre” which runs ten and a half minutes. Set in the post-TOS-movie-era, the series has built its own somewhat cramped bridge set and uses simplified long-sleeve shirts for uniforms. But if you’re watching these productions for their big-budget quality, then you probably want Star Trek Continues down the hall. These folks are more about the story, and this latest story is pretty decent. In fact, if lengthened out and developed a little more, I could imagine “Sepulchre” easily being an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Although the first ten episodes of this fan-series-that-is-not-to-be-called-a-fan-series were released about once every 1 to 3 months, it’s actually been 7 months since the last new Tristan fan film. However, in that time, there has been an interesting change that I noted. Previously, all new releases were credited to the “Tristan Production Crew” or the “Potemkin Creative Team”—not really wanting to call too much undue attention to the previous fan series name. Now the opening credits say “Produced by the STARSHIP TRISTAN Creative Group.” Big step forward, in my opinion. With luck, CBS won’t bat an eyelash.
And now, please enjoy Tristan’s latest fan production, “Sepulchre”…
And then there were ten…ten episodes of the don’t-call-it-a-fan-series from “Team Tristan” of POTEMKIN PICTURES. One of now-seven different production crews producing original Star Trek fan films for Potemkin Pictures, the Pelham, Alabama-based Tristan Production Crew presents stories dealing exclusively with the missions of the U.S.S. Tristan, a Constellation-class starship in the late 23rd/early 24th century period of Star Trek.
All of Potemkin Pictures’ productions are ultra low-budget, using actors from the surrounding areas–a combination of drama students at local colleges, community theater folks, and others who just want to be a part of a fun Star Trek fan film project.
Their latest offering, the 8-minute “Seeing Red,” was shot entirely on location (not on pre-constructed sets, although they have a few of those, as well) using what’s available in the local Pelham area. It’s a fun little look into an away mission with two crew members, one of whom is a gung-ho “red shirt.” (You kinda have to forget that, during movie-era Trek, security personnel on starships wore dark hunter green and not red tunics. Obviously, a title like “Seeing Dark Hunter Green” doesn’t work as well as “Seeing Red,” so just go with it.)
This short film is more action-packed than many of Team Tristan’s other releases of late, and it takes a few unexpected plot turns. Not bad for ultra-low budget and (when you subtract opening and closing credits) just five minutes of actual story!