Last month, in an interview with fan film maker VANCE MAJOR, I called him the “Where’s Waldo of Star Trek fan films.” The interview included a list of over a dozen different Trek fan films that Vance had written, directed, produced, appeared in, and/or worked on.
But now, after releasing ANOTHER seven (yes, SEVEN!) Trek fan films—one per day!—in just seven days, I think I need to rechristen Vance the “Oompa Loompa of Star Trek fan films”…perhaps even Willy Wonka himself!
Last November, the fan series DREADNOUGHT DOMINIONreturned from a 16-month hiatus with a new episode that crossed over with sister fan series STARSHIP VALIANT…an episode entitled “Chain of Command.” You can read more about that endeavor here in this Fan Film Factor blog.
Written by Vance Major, Gary Davis, and David R. Wrenn, and directed by Vance and Gary, the scenes for “Chain of Command” were filmed separately in the states of Ohio, North Carolina, and Oklahoma (the former location of Starbase Studios) and then edited together into a 7-minute fan film. It focused on the new CO of the USS Dominion trying to find a first officer.
It’s rare to see the full (or nearly full) casts of two different fan series cross over into a single fan film. What’s even rarer is to see them cross over TWICE!
And it’s interesting that I said “cross over” because the latest film film to feature these two crews crosses viewers over into the Mirror Universe with a retelling of the “Chain of Command” story with the same characters but from the Terran Empire’sISS Dominon and ISS Valiant.
It’s fun and fascinating…all at the same time! Written by the same team, the directors were now Gary Davis and Kent Edwards. And the locations still included Ohio and North Carolina, but Starbase Studios has now moved to Arkansas, and some scenes were also filmed in Georgia. I’m told the entire production was shot last month (with a few scenes filmed in May) and edited together pretty quickly to come out with such a fast turnaround.
I’m going to provide links to three different fan films here. The first is mirror universe “Command and Conquer.” Below that is the prime universe “Chain of Command” for you to compare it to. And finally, there’s a short vignette written by and starring Vance Major titled Project Defiant: “Dark Glimmer.” Although it came out in late June, it’s a sequel to the newly-released “Command and Conquer.”
And look for a really great audio interview with Vance Major on Fan Film Factor this coming Friday!
In July of 2014, STARSHIP VALIANT became the first of what would eventually be MANY Star Trek fan productions filmed at STARBASE STUDIOS (in Oklahoma City) to release a completed project onto the Internet. Their debut episode, “Legacy” featured scenes filmed on the bridge, on location outdoors at a cemetery, and in a house.
Back when the episode was first filmed, Starbase studios did not yet have any other sets besides the bridge. The following year, though, Starbase Studios built a 2-bed sickbay set, and Valiant was able to film an additional prologue sequence that helps explain event that happen later in the episode. In July of 2015, a special edition was released with brand new footage inserted at the beginning.
The premise (and promise) of Starship Valiant was, in the vision of show-runner (and lead actor) Michael L. King, to explore the human side of serving in Starfleet. Being in command is a heavy burden. And so while many other fan films enjoy focusing the action and excitement of the battle itself, Valiant would show the aftermath.
It’s been two and a half years since Starship Valiant debuted. Since then, actors/characters from that production have appeared in cameos in other Starbase Studios-produced fan films like Dreadnought Dominion, Melborne, and His Name Is Mudd. But fans were still eagerly awaiting a sequel to “Legacy.”
What they got, however, was more of a prequel. Set several years before the events of “Legacy,” the new episode “Crosses To Bear” does not feature Michael L. King’s character of Commander Bishop at all (although Michael still wrote and produced both episodes and directed this second one). Instead, this 22-minute story focuses entirely on Chief Medical Officer Roger Floyd and a very traumatic event in his life–two, in fact. And watch for an important, bare bones appearance by a very familiar Starfleet officer…played by fan film rookie Frank Jenks, whom I had the pleasure of meeting in Las Vegas (great guy!).
The entire production team–actors and crew–did a very impressive job on this release. It’s definitely worth watching…which you can do right here:
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…