THE ROMULAN WAR premieres at last! (audio interview with MARK NACCARATO)

Back in September, fans were treated to the premiere of the long-awaited STAR TREK: FIRST FRONTIER, in production for five years with a 5-figure (possibly 6-figure) budget. Now, barely seven weeks later, we get our SECOND long-awaited, “top tier” fan film, this one more than three years in production (although the script dates back nearly a decade) and also with a solid 5-figure budget.

The first hints of THE ROMULAN WAR fan film appeared back in 2017. Not to be confused with the fan series THE ROMULAN WARS (plural) from show-runner LEE GARTRELL in Arkansas, this work-in-progress fan film from show-runner MARK NACCARATO in Tennessee is a straight-up two-parter—presented in the same “mockumentary” style as PRELUDE TO AXANAR. Many fans assumed that Mark had been inspired by Prelude to make a fan film in a similar format, but in fact, he’d had the idea and written the first draft of the script three years before Prelude ever premiered. Great minds think alike!

By the time 2018 hit, The Romulan War had most of its scenes filmed and was crowd-funding for mainly post-production costs with a $10K Indiegogo (which ultimately took in more than $13K). With visual FX by the sensei of CGI, Great Britain’s SAMUEL COCKINGS, the trailers and stills from this dynamic fan film created a palpable excitement throughout the community. Frustratingly—but unavoidably—post-production would stretch out another two-plus years. However, unlike other fan films, The Romulan War served fans an almost constant stream of “hors d’oeuvre” vignettes and trailer/prequels and even a couple of short comic book stories.

The two trailer/prequels—PREAMBLE TO WAR and the just-released SHIPS OF THE LINE—serve not only to tease the full fan film but also to expand upon it with footage and story points not included in the final release due to time limitations. So consider the above two vignettes required pre-viewing if you haven’t watched them yet.

Likewise, Mark released six different “enhanced” audio dramas (voice-over performances of actors reading the logs of people who were part of the war, augmented by graphic imagery and short animations, including CGI). These short films, called WAR STORIES, can all be viewed on this playlist. (One of them stars yours truly!) And finally, there are the two short comic book stories INTRUDERS and HOLOCAUST, each of which also ties into the main fan film.

And speaking of which, I bet you’re dying to finally see it. So without further ado, I am proud to present to you The Romulan War, Part 1…

And now that you’ve watched that amazing fan film, let’s get to know the person behind it, Mark Naccarato, and all about his journey getting from there to here…

THE ROMULAN WAR is set to premiere OCTOBER 19 – releases new “SHIPS OF THE LINE” trailer/prequel!

It’s nearly here! After years and years of anticipation, the long and eagerly-awaited fan film THE ROMULAN WAR will officially premiere (at least, Part 1 will officially premiere) on October 19, 2020 on the Romulan War Youtube channel. And leading up to it, sh0w-runner MARK NACCARATO has just released a new trailer/prequel called “SHIPS OF THE LINE.”

What is a “trailer/prequel,” you ask? Shouldn’t it be either one or the other? Well…maybe. In the case of The Romulan War, Mark initially conceived of the project long before the guidelines constrained the runtime of Star Trek fan films to two 15-minute parts. As such, the original script was written to be sixteen “chapters” and would have wound up way over the time limit. Mark shot most of the footage in the summer of 2017, a year after the guidelines were announced. But rather than try to tweak the script down to less than a half hour, he shot what he needed to shoot and figured he would edit the final film down later during post-production.

As such, there is lots of quality footage that sadly needed to be left on the digital cutting room floor. Or did it? “Ships of the Line” and its predecessor trailer/prequel “Preamble to War” fulfill two purposes. They both serve as trailers to drum up excitement, showing scenes from the upcoming fan film(s). But they also include “bonus” footage that won’t appear in The Romulan War 2-parter.

Each trailer/prequel stands alone as an individual fan film with a unique title and story, so it won’t technically violate the guidelines. (That said, both use footage from Star Trek: Enterprise—also a guideline “no-no.” However, CBS didn’t seem to mind it last year when “Preamble to War” came out, and hopefully they won’t care this time either.)

The new 5-minute vignette webisode examines the challenges Starfleet faces in the early months of the war assembling a fighting force that can take on the Romulans. Because of this theme, “Ships of the Line” features, once again, the unrivaled animation skills of the Cézanne of CGI, SAMUEL COCKINGS. Mark said of Samuel’s efforts, “He burnt the midnight oil and put in some major overtime to get all the shots done for SOTL in time. There are some amazing shots in here.”

I agree! You can check it out below…

And if you haven’t seen “Preamble to War” yet, you should watch that, too…

And finally, I heartily recommend all six of Mark’s WAR STORIES enhanced audio dramas (which are primarily log entries read/performed by trained actors—plus one read by me—but augmented by interesting graphic images and animations as the narratives unfold). You can watch these original and engaging offerings on this playlist.

Next stop: October 19 and the premiere of The Romulan War!

“HUNTING GROUNDS: The Battle of Terra Nova” – The latest enhanced audio drama from THE ROMULAN WAR: WAR STORIES!

Considering that THE ROMULAN WAR fan film project began production three years ago and hasn’t yet been released, show-runner MARK NACCARATO has certainly released a ton of original content for it!

Along with a series of really amazing trailers (all of which can be viewed here), behind-the-scenes production briefs (available here) and the online comic book short stories “Holocaust” and “Intruders,” Mark had also previously released five extraordinary “enhanced” audio dramas called WAR STORIES. These short vignettes would normally be considered pure audio dramas (something which, regrettably, I don’t have the time nor resources to cover here on Fan Film Factor), except for the fact that they each also include an animated visual component.

Most of these War Stories vignettes feature photos along with brief computer animations, while others contain short video clips or even VFX shots. The final effect is to create a series of “personal log” voice-overs from various characters who experienced the Romulan War from a diverse series of perspectives. In fact, one of those characters was voiced by yours truly! You can view and listen to all of them on this YouTube playlist.

With production finished and post-production nearing completion, Mark has just released a sixth War Stories installment called “HUNTING GROUNDS: The Battle of Terra Nova.” It features the earth colony visited by the NX-01 crew in the sixth episode of Enterprise, along with some video clips and a few new VFX scenes. Let’s check it out…

Not too shabby, huh? I reached out to Mark for a little more background on this newest release, along with asking for the latest updates on The Romulan War fan film and when Mark expects to finally have it ready for viewing. Here’s what he said…

Continue reading ““HUNTING GROUNDS: The Battle of Terra Nova” – The latest enhanced audio drama from THE ROMULAN WAR: WAR STORIES!”

Read a new fan film COMIC BOOK story from THE ROMULAN WAR!

No sooner has the final page of my Axanar Universe comic book “Stardate 2245.1” come out than there’s a NEW fan film comic book in town! But this one isn’t Axanar. It’s the first comic book associated with the upcoming fan film THE ROMULAN WAR by show-runner MARK NACCARATO of Tennessee.

The Romulan War is the first Star Trek fan film since Prelude to Axanar to be presented in a “mockumentary” style to tell an epic tale from the point of view of interviews and “archival” footage. And The Romulan War has the potential to become just as epic as Axanar. Both tell the story of a significant war that helped to define the United Federation of Planets for decades and even centuries to come, and both fan projects take a look back at those seminal events from numerous perspectives. The trailers for The Romulan War—with visual FX by the “Sorcerer of CGI,” SAMUEL COCKINGS, and trained actors—look very exciting and are worth checking out (click here to view them).

An Indiegogo campaign last summer took in $13K for the project, and the finished fan film was supposed to be ready about now. However, an illness and passing of a close family member took precedence for Mark earlier this year, and things are still being worked on. Mark gave me a progress report:

Sam is wrapping up effects shots for Part 1, but we still have to lock in the score, there’s some 3D maps we are working on, and we’re re-tracking some audio. We also went back into the studio two weeks ago to shoot two NEW scenes that were added last-minute. I am hoping that we get it out by the end of August, but I continue to be plagued by delays that are not really under my control.

But while fans were waiting for this eagerly-anticipated production, Mark helped to quench our thirst by releasing five (so far) very well-crafted and dramatically intense “enhanced audio dramas” called WAR STORIES. Each of these short vignettes focuses on the logs of someone involved in the war (including me!!—I voiced Lt. Cmdr. Geoffrey Christopher who designed and tested the Warp 7 engine), presented as voice-overs but with graphical animations (hence, the “enhanced”). They are also REALLY worth checking out (click here to access them all).

Mark reports that two additional “enhanced” audio dramas will be released within the next month or two to help expand the epic of the upcoming 2-part fan film. One of the audio dramas was just recorded two weeks ago.

But Mark isn’t stopping there!

Continue reading “Read a new fan film COMIC BOOK story from THE ROMULAN WAR!”

THE ROMULAN WAR releases newest WAR STORIES: “THE FIGHTING FOURTH”!

A week and a half ago, I reported that MARK NACCARATO, who is completing the fan film THE ROMULAN WAR (due out in the next few months), was about to release the fourth of his WAR STORIES vignettes: “The Fighting Fourth.” That happened for the general public this past weekend, and I have to say that this was my favorite War Story so far! (And since I starred in the third one, you know I’m being sincere.)

Before continuing, I just want to remind everyone to please donate a few bucks to their Indiegogo campaign. Although they surpassed their original goal, additional footage for the main film was shot by AARON VANDERKLEY in Australia, and Mark needs to reach $14,000 to cover Aaron’s additional expenses. He’s $980 short…can you help him out?

Anyway, this latest release is another “enhanced” audio drama, although I think I’d call this a full-on fan film! The difference is that “The Fighting Fourth” actually features a video recording of the main character, not simply the audio recording of log entries “enhanced” with display readouts and various animations. The footage features actor CHEWE NKOLE playing crewman Evander Littlejohn, and the African actor (now living in western Australia) turns in a very strong performance.

Also worth mentioning is sensational CGI effects done by everyone’s favorite British invader, SAMUEL COCKINGS of Trekyards. So we’ve got what I believe is the first-ever Star Trek fan film produced on three different continents (North America, Australia, and Europe), and a really fun and well-crafted 5-minute look at yet another intriguing aspect of The Romulan War

You can watch the other War Stories vignettes here.

THE ROMULAN WAR fan film is now being made on THREE CONTINENTS!

One of the fan productions I’m most looking forward to at the moment is MARK NACCARATO’s project focusing on the battles and strategies of THE ROMULAN WAR with Earth. Presented as a war documentary (similar to Prelude to Axanar), Mark’s stories will pick up where Star Trek: Enterprise frustratingly left off: just BEFORE the ware between the Coalition of Planets and the Romulan Star Empire began.

Leading up to the planned May 2019 premiere of the full fan film, Mark has released a series of short “enhanced” audio dramas called WAR STORIES. They typically present personal logs or subspace correspondence made by someone involved in the war, usually recorded by a trained voice actor reading the script. (I say “usually” because I am definitely not a trained actor, but I recorded one myself!) The releases, while available in audio format for listening only, are ALSO available on YouTube with added VFX and other graphics to look like Starfleet archival footage. They’re REALLY cool.

For anyone who hasn’t seen and heard these War Stories releases yet, you can view them all on this YouTube playlist. They are only 17 and a half minutes total, so it’s not even that much of a time investment. In fact, anyone who says you can’t tell a decent fan film story in 15 minutes or less NEEDS to watch these four productions, as they each do it in under five minutes! (Well, one is a two-parter.)

This is one of the few fan projects set in the NX-era. Another is the series of amazing and powerful short films produced by AARON VANDERKLEY in Australia. If you haven’t watched them yet, you should check them out.

Now Mark Naccarato and Aaron Vanderkley have joined forces for the latest War Stories production, “The Fighting Fourth.” So that’s America and Australia teaming up for the first time. BUT! Let’s also add in a third continent—Europe—as Britain’s own SAMUEL COCKINGS, the hardest-working Trekpert in geek fandom, has lent his talents with some amazing CGI animation. Just take a look at this trailer…

“The Fighting Fourth” will be released first to donors very soon. So if you’d like to see it early, contribute a buck or three to the still-active Indiegogo campaign (now funding post-production costs).

Continue reading “THE ROMULAN WAR fan film is now being made on THREE CONTINENTS!”

THE ROMULAN WAR: WAR STORIES – new release “FINAL FLIGHT” starring…me!

Hey, guess who developed the Warp Seven engine?  Me, that’s who!

Well, that’s not entirely true.  I had help (will have help?) from my NX-Zeta project team, and from MARK NACARRATO, the show-runner of the upcoming fan production THE ROMULAN WAR.  Oh, and it wasn’t really me; it was Lieutenant Geoffrey Christopher of the United Earth Space Probe Agency.  But he looks and sounds a lot like me.

I suppose I should back up a few steps and explain what the heck I’m talking about…

For those of you unfamiliar with The Romulan War, it’s going to be an amazing Trek fan film picking up where Star Trek: Enterprise left off…at the beginning of the war between the Coalition of Planets and the Romulan Empire.  Filming on the production is all but completed, and now the finishing touches of post production—editing, VFX, sound, music, etc.—are being applied.  Release is planned for 2019.

Of course, with the limitations of the fan film guidelines, it would be nearly impossible to recount the entire war…despite using a “mock” documentary style similar to Prelude to Axanar.  So Mark came up with an interesting idea to push the envelope a bit—WAR STORIES.  These are short vignettes that are essentially audio dramas…just with a little something “extra” added: images with simple animations.  These “enhanced” audio dramas are presented as the logs of various Starfleet officers who served during the war, and the logs are accompanied by computer readouts and archival photos with some short video clips.  Less than a full fan film but more than a simple audio drama.

Last August, Mark released the first War Stories, the two-part “Sleep Is Hard to Find.”  If you go to that blog page, you’ll see that yours truly provided some of the Photoshop work to get the actors’ faces onto NX-era uniforms.  A month later, Mark released the second War Stories, “They Want Us Dead.”  That one didn’t require my Photoshop services, but the third release, “Final Flight,” did.

It also required my face…

Continue reading “THE ROMULAN WAR: WAR STORIES – new release “FINAL FLIGHT” starring…me!”

THE ROMULAN WAR releases its newest ENHANCED audio drama: “THEY WANT US DEAD”!

I’m beginning to really, really love these enhanced audio dramas that are being released by MARK NACCARATO as a lead-in to his highly anticipated THE ROMULAN WAR fan film!  The project itself managed to take in over $12,000 in a recent Indiegogo (and is now trying to reach $14,000 to cover the cost of new live-action footage shot in Australia along with new CGI).  And the full fan film itself is supposed to be released very soon.

But in the meantime, Mark has released a series of “enhanced” audio dramas under the banner The Romulan War: “War Stories.”  These are personal log entries from those serving in Starfleet during the Romulan War with Earth that led to the founding of the United Federation of Planets in the mid-22nd century.  The idea is to tell the “smaller” stories of war, while the main fan film tells the “big” story.

And what are “enhanced” audio dramas?  Like most audio dramas, the actors record their lines vocally, without a video camera running.  But rather than just playing back the audio over a black screen or a single image or even a series of images, there is actually an ongoing video the whole time, some with simple 2D animation, some with video footage, and some even with 3D CGI.

Mark’s first release was made available to the public about a month ago, the two-part “Sleep Is Hard To Find” (you can view it here).  Now the second release is a one-parter entitled “They Want Us Dead,” and it’s riveting.  I really mean that.  An intense and gripping vocal performance was turned in by actress GINNY WELSCH, who has extensive experience with voice work, over a brilliant script written by ANDREW J. LUCAS, who previously penned multiple episodes of the just-completed The Romulan Wars (plural) fan series.

You’ll probably recognize some footage in the video “borrowed” from a number of familiar cinematic sci-fi sources.  Whether or not the studios who own that footage will care about or bother with a small fan film getting a few hundred views is anyone’s guess.  But that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the production…

And remember that you can still donate to the “in demand” Indiegogo campaign to help them reach $14,000…

Just click here to donate.

The Romulan War posted the following press release regarding this newest addition to their offerings…

Continue reading “THE ROMULAN WAR releases its newest ENHANCED audio drama: “THEY WANT US DEAD”!”

THE ROMULAN WAR’s new “War Stories” introduces ENHANCED audio dramas!

One of my favorite things about Star Trek is that there are so many stories still waiting to be told…not only about the crews of the USS Enterprise or Voyager or Deep Space Nine but all over Starfleet, the Federation, the Klingon Empire…the entire Milky Way Galaxy!  It’s one of the reasons I love fan films so much, as they explore that special universe that I cherish.

I also find myself truly intrigued with how we get/got/will get from here to there…not just the triumphs that built the Federation but also the struggles and even the failures.  It’s why I’m such a fan of Axanar, and why I’m so looking forward to the upcoming Pacific 201 and First Frontier, both filling in some of the missing details about major turning points in the history of the United Federation of Planets.

And it’s why I can’t wait to see the new fan production THE ROMULAN WAR.

War stories, if done right, can be very compelling.  They test the characters, twist them into unrecognizable shapes, and spit them out…sometimes for the better but all-too-often for the worse.  How do we survive war?  How do we fight?  What decisions do we make that might have been unimaginable to us during peacetime?

There are just some of the questions that are asked in a fascinating new “enhanced” audio drama just released in the lead-up to the debut of The Romulan War fan film series.

I don’t usually cover audio dramas—not because I don’t enjoy them but simply because I don’t have the time to cover both audio dramas AND fan films.  But in this case, I’m making an exception because 1) The Romulan War will be a fan film soon, and 2) this isn’t “just” an audio drama.

While some audio dramas feature still images in a slide-show format over the dialog, The Romulan War series “WAR STORIES” goes a step farther.  Rather than try to explain it, let me just show you their first 2-part audio episode: “Sleep Is Hard To Find”

Continue reading “THE ROMULAN WAR’s new “War Stories” introduces ENHANCED audio dramas!”