Chalk up yet another fan film release for the folks at POTEMKIN PICTURES! This brings their total number of finished fan productions to (I think, because it’s easy to lose count) FIFTY-FIVE! Their latest offering is from the Tristan Production Crew—which is based in Georgia (the other teams are in Alabama)—and provides fans another look at the adventures of the crew of the USS Tristan in the movie-era TOS time frame.
The 14-and-a-half-minute “The Voice of Your Blood” is the ninth completed fan film from the Tristan team. It brings back WILLIAM C. SEARCY’s fan-favorite character of half-Vulcan Chief Medical Officer Skep Anderson. (William also wrote this episode.) Fans of the various Potemkin Pictures series will also enjoy an unexpected cameo by a cast member from one of their other productions.
You can watch all of the Tristan Production Crew’s episodes (along with the other four dozen or so Potemkin Picture releases) here on their website.
The folks at POTEMKIN PICTURES currently have two production teams actively releasing new Star Trek fan films. The DEIMOS production crew has released four episodes so far, ranging from 6 to 15 minutes. And the TRISTAN production crew (based in Pelham, Alabama where show-runner RANDY LANDERS lives) has just released their eighth episode: “The Monsters Are With Us.”
Like the rest of the several dozen films released over the past seven years by Potemkin Pictures, their budgets are meager, their costumes simple, and their sets minimal. Their cast members are recruited from local drama programs at nearby colleges and from community theater actors. But their stories have always been their strength, that this latest offering is no exception. It’s a fun little exploration of first contact gone screwy, with a compelling mystery that doesn’t get resolved until the end. I think that, given the right conditions, a story concept such as this one could have been expanded into the A-story of an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Instead, we get a 14-minute, low-budget fan film with lots of heart.
It’s also worth noting that both Potemkin Pictures production teams have recently begun incorporating green screen compositing of actors against static backgrounds. Although this method of placing characters into virtual “sets” has been used extensively in numerous fan films since the first episodes of Star Trek: Hidden Frontier back in 2000, the Potemkin Pictures production teams have relied almost exclusively on practical (physical) sets like a bridge and transporter platform, and on-location filming both indoors and outside. I believe “The Monsters Are With Us” marks Team Tristan’s first foray into green screen, using it this time to create virtual corridors inside the Constellation-class starship Tristan.
The fan series that started out as STARSHIP TRISTAN(and is now no longer a fan series but rather a collection of individually-titled fan films) has released its latest, um, well, “episode” is now no longer an appropriate word either, come to think of it. How about “offering”?
“DEPARTURES” is the latest adventure of the USS Tristan and her crew, produced by RANDY LANDERS for Potemkin Pictures, and filmed in Pelham, Alabama. You can watch all of the offerings from the various productions teams at the Potemkin Pictures on their website: http://www.potemkinpictures.com/productions.html
Okay, time to stop calling it STARSHIP TRISTAN. Show-runner RANDY LANDERS told me there are no series or episodes, there are only individual fan films made by the various creative teams working under the POTEMKIN PICTURES “umbrella”: Tristan, Deimos, Kupok, and Endeavour. The reason for this nominal change, of course, is the fan film guidelines that prohibit a fan film from releasing more than two 15-minute episodes of the same story “…with no additional seasons, episodes, parts, sequels or remakes.”
So the “elephant in the living room” (or “mugato in the cave”) question that I asked Randy was: if you’re being so careful to follow the guidelines, then why is this fan film 30 minutes long and not broken into two 15-minute parts? Randy’s answer:
It was filmed over a year ago, and it is our understanding that the guidelines probably wouldn’t apply.
Fair enough (at least as far as I’m concerned). Randy went on to tell me a little more about the making of this episode:
It was actually one of the first episodes we began filming once we moved here. Nearly all the dialogue shot at the park had to be ADRed…
[re-recorded and dubbed over later – Jonathan]
…and in some cases dubbed by a different performer. It was a challenging experience. We had folks recording their lines on phones. That’s where you can really tell. We’d’ve rather they’d returned to the studios for ADR, but that just wasn’t possible.
This is just a hobby for us, and real life and real jobs have to come first.
I always keep that last fact in mind when I watch the “low-budget” fan films. While not as slick and polished as the studio-made films and series with the professional actors and production crew, fan films like those coming from Potemkin Pictures show heart and dedication and, most of all, fans just having fun. For me, that’s extremely important.
Randy says the Tristan creative team currently has two films completely shot and now in post-production. And there’s three more films in pre-production for 2017. In the meantime, you can watch their latest release “Between Two Worlds” below or visit the website of Potemkin Pictures to catch up on all the episodes of their various series…oh, excuse me…to see all the independent fan films from the four creative teams.
So far, the four previous episodes of STARSHIP TRSITAN from Potemkin Pictures have ranged in length from six-and-a-half minutes to ten-and-a-half minutes. (You can watch them all here.) Their latest episode, “Be Careful What You Wish For,” has a 15-minute run time and a much larger cast than usual. The episode was an ambitious endeavor that required a lot of on-location shooting. It’s a very impressive effort.
William C. Searcy, who plays the lovable and colorful character of the half-Vulcan Dr. Skep Anderson, wrote the episode and produces the Georgia-based series. Note that, from their second episode onward, in order to comply with the CBS/Paramount fan film guidelines, the series is no longer known officially as “Starship Tristan” and is instead just a collection of separate fan films, each with a different name (the title of the individual episode). That said, Dr. Anderson has appeared before and will (hopefully!) appear again. Will that constitute an “ongoing series” and violate guideline #1? Hard to say, but it’s such a minor quibble, one would think the studios wouldn’t bother making a big deal of it since the series complies with all other guidelines.
At this time, according to the Potemkin Pictures website, two more episodes of this series have been filmed and are currently in post production. With luck, we’ll be seeing them soon!
Continuing a new tradition of renaming their fan series with each fresh episode release, the fan series formerly known as STARSHIP TRISTAN has posted their latest episode, “The Greater Good.”
The renaming of the series is meant to keep their production in compliance with the CBS/Paramount fan production guidelines, which specify no ongoing series. Technically, all the stories for Starship Tristan take place on the same Starfleet vessel, but so far, the characters have changed with each new episode released since the guidelines were published.
We’ll have to see what happens if/when the “series-that-isn’t-a-series” features its first recurrence of a character or characters. But for now, the production continues to follow all the guidelines in terms of length (shorter than 15 minutes), budget (pretty much nothing), no professionals, no unlicensed prop or costume knock-offs, etc. This latest episode is just a quiet conversation between two people, one of whom is from a canonical race of Trek pacifists, and he’s just had to kill someone in order to protect his people. What kind of fallout follows such an act?
The fan series is from the folks at Potemkin Pictures, and they currently produce multiple series. You can find all of their releases on their website.
It’s interesting to watch the various reactions of the current Star Trek fan series to the new CBS/Paramount guidelines. In the case of Star Trek: Renegades, they dropped the name “Star Trek” from their title, took off the comm badges, and named Walter Koenig’s character “The Admiral.” Of course, we all know who they mean…don’t we? But with no “obvious” Star Trek content, the fan guidelines no longer apply to Renegades: The Series.
On the other side of the United States, Alabama-based Potemkin Pictures has taken a different approach. For the last half-decade or so, the vast majority of Potemkin Pictures’ fan films have actually followed most of the guidelines (before they even came out!): short-duration episodes, no crowd-funding, no perks, original music, home-made costumes, and store-bought props. Their only real “violation”–now that the new guidelines are in place–is “no additional seasons, episodes, parts, sequels or remakes.”