Romulan

RR47: Star Trek Nemesis Review

RR47: Star Trek Nemesis Review
Redshirts & Runabouts

 
 
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We conclude our TNG film era reviews with one of the more controversial Star Trek movies, Nemesis. Nemesis is the fourth TNG cast film and the tenth Star Trek movie, the last in the Prime timeline. Rae and Zach join Derreck for this movie review continuation. We discuss budgeting differences between the TNG era films, overall plot, how Nemesis might have the best space battle of the Star Trek movies, and so much more!

Join us next week as we cross into the Kelvin timeline for our review of Star Trek (2009)!

Be sure to check out @RedshirtsPod on Twitter and follow us!

What did you think of Star Trek: Nemesis? Are you hyped for Discovery Season 2 and the Picard show? Comment below or hit us up @RedshirtsPod on Twitter! Don’t forget to subscribe to Redshirts & Runabouts! The links are below!

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Not ready for that kind of commitment? No problem! Buy us a coffee over at ko-fi.com/heroespodcasts because every dollar truly does help.

Redshirts & Runabouts Podcast Credits

A Heroes Podcast Network Production

Hosts
Greg Bosko
Derreck Mayer

Special Guests
Rae Stewart
Zach Story

Executive Producer & Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

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RR47: Star Trek Nemesis Review

RR29: Mudd’s Terror

Jeremy and Derreck tackle the first appearance of Harry Mudd in “Mudd’s Women” along with Mark Leonard’s first appearance in “Balance of Terror”. While Harry Mudd is one of the more iconic recurring characters from Star Trek: The Original Series, he only appears in two live action episodes plus an episode of The Animated Series. Also, while Mark Leonard first appears as a Romulan in this Cold War era episode, he is later cast of Spock’s father. There’s a lot to unpack, so set course and engage!

Next week we review “Miri” and “Space Seed”! Don’t miss it.

How do you feel about “Balance of Terror”? Is it the best episode of Star Trek? Is “Mudd’s Women” really that bad?

Comment below or hit us up @HeroesPodcasts on Twitter or Facebook!

Join our three-man crew for a journey that will span decades, every episode, every series, every movie, and every possible timeline no matter how small.

Don’t forget to subscribe to Redshirts & Runabouts! The links to iTunes, Blog Talk Radio, Google Play, and our RSS Feed are below!

Also, stop by our Patreon to see what kinds of cool perks you can get for being one of our contributors: patreon.com/HeroesPodcasts

Redshirts & Runabouts Podcast Credits

A Heroes Podcast Network Production

Hosts
Greg Bosko
Derreck Mayer
Jeremy Monken

Executive Producer & Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

iTunes Subscription Link
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/redshirts-runabouts/id1290563072

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http://www.blogtalkradio.com/redshirtsandrunabouts

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RR25: Section 31, Obsidian Order, and Tal Shiar

With all three hosts back in the studio for the first time in over month, Greg, Jeremy, and Derreck sit down to talk about Star Trek’s most secret and covert organizations, Section 31, the Obsidian Order, and the Tal Shiar. Who are these organizations? Well, three of the galaxy’s biggest groups, the Federation, Cardassian Union, and Romulan Empire each created a convert special forces organization that works, sometimes, completely outside their own laws in an attempt to sway the fates to their people. We dive into the details, when these organizations first formed, their appearances in TV and film, and some of what Section 31 is doing on Star Trek: Discovery.

Plus, we talk about some of the Star Trek: Discovery casting including the man who will step into the role of Captain Pike in Season 2.

Comment below or hit us up @HeroesPodcasts on Twitter or Facebook!

Join our three-man crew for a journey that will span decades, every episode, every series, every movie, and every possible timeline no matter how small.

Don’t forget to subscribe to Redshirts & Runabouts! The links to iTunes, Blog Talk Radio, Google Play, and our RSS Feed are below!

Also, stop by our Patreon to see what kinds of cool perks you can get for being one of our contributors: patreon.com/HeroesPodcasts

Redshirts & Runabouts Podcast Credits

A Heroes Podcast Network Production

Hosts
Greg Bosko
Derreck Mayer
Jeremy Monken

Executive Producer & Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

iTunes Subscription Link
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/redshirts-runabouts/id1290563072

Blog Talk Radio
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/redshirtsandrunabouts

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It’s a Long Link, so Click Here

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Social Media
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RR25: Section 31, Obsidian Order, and Tal Shiar

Star Trek Horizon: The Review

Star Trek Horizon is a fan film set in the era of Star Trek: Enterprise. Work on the project took about 3 years and has been described as a love letter to the Enterprise show that went before her time. Back in November we got a chance to chat with Tommy Kraft from Star Trek Horizon and you can find the interview here. Now that the film has been released and after having a chance to watch it I was really impressed with it. And you can watch it to on youtube here. I mean it’s not that it’s flawless, but as far as fan films go, Star Trek Horizon is a shining example of what a fan film ought to be. I was particularly impressed with the story and the acting. Special effects were also very excellent.

Star Trek Horizon: Trailer #1

-Story Outline-

I really enjoyed the plot and it was a far better send off to the show than the Enterprise final “These Are the Voyages…” It starts with a battle scene between the out matched NX-04 Discovery and several Romulan Bird of Preys in the Earth solar system. Discovery has information about a Romulan secret weapon of devastating power being built just outside of the solar system. With this information a task force is put together to remove this threat on Starfleet’s doorstep consisting of Enterprise, Discovery, and some Vulcan vessels. In the desperate battle that ensues, Discovery lands the final death blow on the Romulan station but there is more to it. The station was just the tip of the iceberg.

Star Trek Horizon - Romulan Base

It is eventually discovered that the station was relaying power from another location. Disturbingly it is discovered that an agent from the future has been manipulating events, giving the Romulans access to awesome powers that are centuries beyond them to help them in the war with Starfleet. Despite temporal tampering, the crew of Discovery finds a way to set things right, destroying the weapon and taking care of the temporal interloper for good.

-Plot Reaction-

The plot with Horizon is what sets it apart from most fan films out there as it’s really good and flows from one part to another. Horizon actually makes you forget you’re watching a fan film, and that’s how you know its good. There have been a lot of Star Trek fan films out there, even some with veteran Star Trek actors but they never really pulled this off (cough cough, Star Trek Renegades) . It was Horizon’s superior storytelling and how all the pieces fit together that pulled this immersion off and it’s what makes it so enjoyable to watch.

Star Trek Horizon - Discovery

The only complaints I’d lodge against the plot are ones that can be found with the Enterprise show in general: the frequent use of transporters, too much being known about the Romulans, to name a few. But since this was the mood of the show I can’t say I really blame Horizon for it. Hey it works for the era they’re in, I guess. Despite these cannon problems Horizon actually did an excellent job of having face-to-face time between the Discovery crew and a Romulan antagonist. Due to his “Balance of Terror” style helmet, his Vulcan like features were hidden. The crew had conversations with him and never knew his people shared common ancestry with another founding member of the federation, the Vulcans. This was a really clever way of having the characters share a scene together and I have to give the makers of Horizon props for it. As an Original Series fan this means a lot.

Star Trek Horizon - Captain Hawk

Some more solid critiques of the film are only slightly more severe. I don’t think the story was helped by the idea of having a Romulan defector deliver the intelligence about the weapon. I also didn’t care for the plot point of having her surgically altered to appear human just to avoid anyone in Starfleet seeing a Romulan and breaking canon. She could’ve have just have easily been a third party alien as proir collaborator or something like that. It’s just a little too hard to swallow considering the no contact precedent already established between Starfleet and Romulas. I also found it a little odd that Discovery was calling the shots in the battle to destroy the Romulan weapon when Enterprise was with her, especially when it is established that Archer is still in command and he has seniority. It just doesn’t make sense and falls in to the trope of having a fan film stars out shinning the show that they making a film for. Having another NX class ship instead of Enterprise or having Archer otherwise disposed would’ve been cool; promotion would’ve been a nice idea. Besides, I think after building four of those NX class ships they ain’t prototypes anymore, but I digress. Maybe a little more progression from the Enterprise show was missing. These are only small nitpicks of an otherwise excellent story but as being a plot-Nazi, I had to get those little nuggets out there.

Star Trek Horizon - Discovery

-Acting-

As far as acting is concerned it’s actually pretty good. At times the film struggles to grasp the characters’ personalities and they don’t really come off as distinct as they should but acting isn’t the blame. It’s more due to the writing of the lines than the actors themselves. But this shouldn’t be surprising as this is one of the hardest things to pull off for any show, not just fan films (cough cough Star Wars prequels). Often times you’ll have characters saying exactly what happen instead of their lines injecting a characters personality of their own on it.

 

One scene in particular exemplifies this is where the Romulan villain disappears via a transporter and the Captain just say “where did he go?” Instead of him literally saying what happened it may have been better for him to say something a little more specific to what a character might say. Imagine for example putting Archer, Tucker, or T’Pol in the same situation and they would’ve reacted differently with what they said. It’s in the lines and the dialogue that characters are defined and this is throwing the ball to the actors. If it’s a good pitch, they can hit it out of park. What worries me is that viewers often confuse acting with writing. I’m afraid they may reject the performances expecting it to be something like what they see on television. The scenes and character interactions aren’t quite ready for the big leagues yet but are still far better than a lot of other fan films. There is no shame in this though, as just about every other show in their first season struggles with this problem. But in the case of Star Trek Horizon, the acting is pretty good when you take this into consideration.

Actor 1 St Horizon

Now that I think of it, I actually liked the acting, especially when compared with fan films or even indie films in general. Ignoring some of the dialogue, the actors did a great job. Paul Lang as Captain Harrison Hawk has some real charisma that hints at some grit just underneath the surface, perfect for an action film. I would’ve loved to have seen Captain Hawk as a little more martial though. And his chemistry with costar Jeannine Thompson is nice to see; I love their interactions. Marc Bowers as the XO has some real stage presence in his own right. I also had some fondness for Tom McClure as the Security Chief. He seemed to have some personality on his own, it just came naturally. Lastly, all of the Romulans were done excellently. Coming off with just the right amount of smugness and over confidence. The final villain in particular was especially well done. You could just sense the bile and hatred for Starfleet oozing out of him, loved it.

Star Trek Horizon - Romulan

-Special Effects-

Lets just say Star Trek Horizon looks awesome. The outer space battles look fantastic and getting to see the NX-01 in action one last time is wonderful. Even getting a few close in shots of the name Discovery being painted on the hull is a nice treat. The other Vulcan and Romulan ships are done nicely and their maneuvers are what you’d expect to find in action scenes. When you’re watching the space battles you have to remind yourself that this isn’t a professional show because its hard to tell as it looks that good.

Star Trek Horizon - Space Dock

The interior shots may not be for everyone, but the look actually grew on me. It looks like a hybrid approach was used for the set, partially building objects in the foreground while doing the rest of the back ground with special effects (i.e. green screen). This has two effects; it kinda makes for static shots of scenes, and makes it all look a little off or weird. Wel, at least if you expect television level of set pieces that is but it isn’t all that bad in my opinion. To lessen this, everything as a soft glow or fuzz to it that actually grew on me, gave it a nostalgic look. It kinda stylizes the look of the film and unifies it all together.

Despite the limitations of static shots from background replacement, Horizon counters this by striving very hard at having movement in its scenes. Though much of the film is zoomed very close or shot statically to minimize the special effects work needed. There are still quite a few scenes of movement and panning shots, people walking down corridors and across scenes to help this along. This really makes Horizon stand out among other fan films who had back grounds that were done by a programmer instead of a carpenter to save money. Horizon looks much better doing it because of the resourcefulness of their team. I have to give a nod of respect to the technique and ambition to the special effects.

Star Trek Horizon - Behind the Scenes

Sound and music are often the unsung heroes of television and Horizon has these in spades as well. Everything sounds great from doors opening to mysterious alien tech sounding the way it should. Music feels appropriate for the scenes and sounds a lot like season 4 of Enterprise. The subtle component of audio is in attendance for Horizon and feels perfect.

-Conclusion-

Star Trek Horizon is an excellent fan film and should stand as an example of how a fan film should be made. It hits way above its weight class because of its story, acting, special effects, and sound. If their where awards for fan film, they’d be walking away with arm loads of them. Though at times the dialogue leaves the characters a little too bland and poorly defined, this is understandable. It’s one of the hardest things of making a show. Despite this, enough of the core elements of the characters remain to make you forget this is just a fan film at times. The story more than makes up for it and moves you along from start to finish with little down time between. At the end of the day this stands as worthy tribute to abruptly ended Star Trek Enterprise, one that fans of the show would enjoy and should give a look. Star Trek Horizon easily ranks as one of the better fan films out there, keeping deserved company with Star Trek Continues and the Prelude to Axanar short. If you like Star Trek Enterprise or Star Trek fan films in general, give this one a try.

Have you watched Horizon yet? What did you think? Sound off below.

Star Trek Horizon: The Review

Grid Talk: 04 – Star Trek Horizon

This week, on Grid Talk, I was able to sit down, well sit online, with the main man behind Star Trek Horizon, Tommy Kraft. The many of many hats and talents was nice enough to come on and answer my questions about his Horizon project, making a Star Trek fan film, and the overall process he’s been going through over the past few years. What is Star Trek Horizon? It is a fan film set after season 4 of Star Trek Enterprise during the Romulan War. For those who watched the series, many were disappointed that Enterprise never got to the Romulan War, well, Horizon is here to show us a bit about that time period on-board the NX-04 Discovery, another NX Class starship like Enterprise. So sit back, relax, and polarize the haul platting, it’s time for Grid Talk.

After listening, please stop by StarTrekHorizon.com. He’s got two different trailers available to watch as well as a gallery of photos. Also, if you’d like to help support Tommy’s ambitious Star Trek Horizon project, he’s got a PayPal donation page setup on his website in the project’s post-Kickstarter era.

Keep an eye out for Star Trek Horizon in February 2016.

Star Trek Horizon Podcast Credits

Hosts
Derreck Mayer

Special Guests
Tommy Kraft

Executive Producer and Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Michael Wallace (Flying Killer Robots)

iTunes Link
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/grid-talk-sci-fi-frontiers/id1057992963?mt=2

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Social Media
@GridTalkTweets

Email
contact@thegridscififrontier.com

Grid Talk: 04 – Star Trek Horizon

What I love and hate about Star Trek

Derreck’s recent article about the Star Trek: Pacific 201 Kickstarter campaign got me thinking about Star Trek again.  It’s a topic I generally avoid because I am fairly passionate about it, and really disappointed with how the property has been handled in recent years.  But now that I’m thinking about it again, I feel the need to write it out so I can (hopefully) move on fairly quickly.

In case you have to ask, there will be spoilers aplenty here.

I know people that dislike the JJ Abrams Trek movies purely because of the use of the alternate timeline in order to ‘reset’ things.  I’m not a huge fan of using that particular storytelling device as permanent change to the storyline, but alternate timelines have a very long tradition in Star Trek.  My problem with these movies is that they just don’t feel like Star Trek to me.  They’d be perfectly adequate generic science fiction movies.  But trying to copy/paste names, ship designs, and world details into these movies…well…more often than not, it infuriates me.

I think the easiest way I can express why I feel this way is by comparing arguably the best Star Trek movie, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, against (in my opinion at least) the worst Star Trek movie, Star Trek Into Darkness.

Somehow, I managed to win a pair of tickets to see Into Darkness a couple of days before the general release of the film.  I never win anything, so this was rather surprising.  So I and a friend went to see the movie, and about halfway through it I couldn’t enjoy the movie anymore.

What I Hate About Star Trek

Star Trek Into Darkness poster

Kirk and Spock spend pretty much the entire movie sniping at each other, despite seeming to come to some sort of understanding at the conclusion of the previous film.  From a certain point of view, Spock directly stabs Kirk in the back towards the beginning of the film.

Towards the beginning of the movie, an admiral says to a room full of Starfleet officers “You are the captains and first officers of all of the ships that could get here (to Earth) quickly.”  Yet at the end of the movie when two ships (one definitely belonging to Starfleet, and the other bearing a similar design but probably not in any Starfleet database) begin shooting huge chunks out of each other…where are those other ships?  The admiral said they were close by.  The Enterprise made it to the Klingon homeworld and back, while also being stranded for a while with engine problems.  Why were none of the other ships here, or able to arrive at some point?  When those two same ships start crashing into the Earth’s atmosphere,why are there no defensive systems present to prevent one of those ships from colliding into the capital city of the Federation?  Especially since the villain of the movie, the previously mentioned admiral, had explicitly stated his intention to start a war with the Klingons.  So…his plan was to start a war with a very warlike race, when Earth itself was almost literally undefended.  That sounds like a GREAT plan.

The absolute worst part was Khan.  Benedict Cumberbatch is a tremendous actor, and I don’t blame him for it.  The problem is the script.  The writers really want Khan to be the bad guy here, because he was the villain in Wrath of Khan.  The problem is that so much of what he does in this movie seems quite reasonable, given what the admiral was doing and the threats the admiral had made against Khan.

At one point I had a glimmer of hope that Khan would help defeat the admiral, but then quickly kick Kirk and Scotty back over to the Enterprise (via transporter), and basically say, “I used to think that I needed to rule the human race.  Now I find myself in a galaxy full of aliens, and I know some of them at least want to see the human race destroyed.  And you’re too principled to respond appropriately before it’s too late.  So I’m going to take care of that problem for you.  Until next we meet…”  It would have been a fresh take on Khan, allowing the character to exhibit some growth and change as a result of the altered timeline.  Which, hello, is one of the big points of using an alternate timeline to begin with!

Instead we’re treated to Kirk being overly suspicious of Khan for pretty much no reason.  Kirk shoots Khan in the back when, to my memory at least, Khan hadn’t done anything yet to draw serious suspicion.

Then there’s the whole role-swapped death scene between Kirk and Spock, which didn’t feel earned at all.  Because the two of them spent so much of the movie explicitly NOT being friends.  Followed by McCoy discovering a cure for DEATH by using Khan’s blood.  But for reasons that are never explained, it has to be Khan’s blood they use (so they can’t kill him), instead of any of the other 40+ genetically modified humans that they have safely in suspended animation.

What I Love About Star Trek

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan poster

Right after I left the movie theater, feeling extremely dissatisfied, I wandered over the Best Buy.  I had a gift card with nearly $20 on it, and I felt the need to watch something that I didn’t already have at home.  The feeling was like needing to wash the taste out of my mouth.

As fate would have it, Best Buy had a Star Trek-specific display set up, and The Wrath of Khan was on sale.  With tax, it cost just under $20.  Worked out perfectly.

Do you know what I forgot about this movie?  The first half of the movie goes out of its way to remind you that, above all else, Kirk and Spock are friends.  Spock is supposed to be the captain of the Enterprise, but a mission comes up that Kirk has some personal involvement in (i.e. an old girlfriend).  So they fight (verbally) about who should be the captain.  In the JJ-verse, they’d be fighting for their own side.

But here, they understand what is at stake for each other.  Kirk says Spock should remain the captain, because it is his assignment.  Spock counters that Kirk is more heavily invested, and tells Kirk not to be worried about insulting his pride.  Vulcan and Human, Starfleet officers, Captain and officer, above ALL of that, Kirk and Spock are friends.

That’s why Spock’s death at the end of the movie has meaning to it.  Firstly, because it wasn’t reversed in the same movie 10 minutes after it happened.  And second, because the entire movie had been crafted in a way to make sure you, as a member of the audience, understood and believed what close friends they were.  I have yet to believe that the Chris Pine & Zachary Quinto versions of those characters are friends on any level.  So far all I’ve seen is for them to, at best, barely tolerate each other.

Star Trek’s Missed Opportunities

I’m going to step away from the movie comparison now, to provide a rough outline of the Star Trek stories that I wish were being told now.  A lot of it is based on where the Federation was left at the conclusion of the previous TV series.

In the final TNG-era movie, Nemesis, the Romulan government goes through not one, but two coups.  Shinzon (a clone of Picard) kills the Romulan leaders that won’t do what he wants them to do and assumes control.  Then he is killed towards the end of the movie.  I think it would be very easy from the Federation’s point of view to essentially say that the government with which they made a treaty to not explore cloaking technology no longer exists.

In the wake of DS9, the Bajoran wormhole is now a bridge to a completely new area of the galaxy.  For so many years, the Dominion had ruled that area of the galaxy.  With the Dominion defeated, there’s any entirely new area of the galaxy to explore, new dangers to be encountered, and new questions to be asked and answered. And the Cardassians are severely weakened as well.

Finally, with Voyager’s return to earth, we get some of the biggest changes.  Because Voyager not only returns home from the other side of the galaxy, but does so with starship weapon and defensive technology from 30 years in the future.  The holographic doctor has become fully autonomous, thanks to the mobile emitter (also from the future), while the rest of the Federation happily makes use of holographic beings as something akin to a slave labor force.

Now, put all that together.  Several of the biggest threats to the Federation are severely weakened.  The Romulans and Cardassians have gotten it really bad, and the last time we saw the Klingons they looked more like allies than anything else.  There’s an entirely new region of the galaxy to explore, with advanced technology to help accomplish that in, hopefully, a safer way.

In more general terms: the Federation is facing drastic changes in multiple levels of society: diplomatic relations with foreign powers (Romulans, Cardassian, Dominion, and even Klingons), technological and economic (tech from the future, new resources or opportunities beyond the wormhole), and perhaps most importantly social (holograms as a slave work force).

The kind of stories that could be told in that environment, where on the surface the Federation appears to be approaching a golden age but in reality is starting to split apart at the seams due to all of these converging pressures, fascinates me.

Those are the kinds of stories I always thought Star Trek was best at.  The ones that took the science fiction premise and used it to comment on political, social, or economic issues, often that were somehow paralleled to issues we face today.

Those are the stories that I miss.  We have a plethora of action-y science fiction movies and television shows.  We have Star Wars movies coming up, for multiple years, that are going to fill my need for science fiction action quite nicely.  Turning Star Trek into action movies as well, which is what it feels like we’ve arrived at with the JJ-verse, does a disservice to the kinds of stories Star Trek usually excels at telling.

What I love and hate about Star Trek

Pacific 201 – A New Star Trek Kickstarter

Pacific 201 is a brand new Star Trek universe fan-made production. We’ve had several major hitters over the last couple of years including Star Trek: Renegades and, of course, Star Trek: AxanarPacific 201 takes place in the 2200s, forty years after the end of the Romulan War, the war we would have seen in season five of Star Trek: Enterprise. On August 21st, they launched their Kickstarter. To learn more about it, I was lucky enough to be able to interview Eric Henry, the man behind the Pacific 201 project.

Pacific 201 Recruitment Poster

Me: Hello, Eric. Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions today. First, let’s talk about you. Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with Star Trek, and film.

Star Trek has always been a big part of my life. My father, who had the privilege of growing up with the original series, did a great job of introducing my siblings and I to Star Trek with episodes and movies on tape. I don’t think we had all that many episodes, to be honest, but we watched them to death. There was a pretty healthy mix of TOS, TNG, and I think we had The Search for Spock and The Voyage Home, as well. Voyager was on the air by the time I was old enough to remember watching television, and we watched that every week too.

As far as my involvement with film goes, a lot of that is thanks to my father as well, who worked as a video photographer during most of my formative years. This meant that I was in near-constant contact with filmmaking equipment, and naturally, making movies became a staple of my childhood. It’s probably pretty safe to say that I made a movie a year from the time I was 6 to the time I was 18. By the time I entered college, I wanted to “up my game,” as it were. Finding myself with a film-savvy roommate, we set out to make something a little more professional, and we ended up producing a Kickstarter-funded short film called “Lily” two years later. Pacific 201 will be my biggest project to date, but it’s a natural step for me.

Pacific 201 Torpedo Fire

Me: Obviously, the big topic of discussion is your new project, Pacific 201, which is a new fan-film set in the Star Trek universe. Can you tell us a bit, for those that don’t know, about the film, when it takes place, and maybe the overall premise?

Pacific 201 is a story about how humanity copes with the aftermath of its first interstellar war – a war that shattered dreams for a lot of people. Even the founding of the Federation wasn’t quite enough to keep humanity from questioning its role in the quadrant. “Is exploring the stars really worth it if death and destruction are all we get from it?” We have to remember that since the launching of the NX-01, Earth suffered two major interstellar crises with the Xindi and the Romulans. It hasn’t all been peace and hope. The mission of the Pacific is a new generation of humanity proving to itself that the dream of peace and prosperity in the final frontier CAN be realized. It took humanity 40 years to regain it’s footing, but the launch of the Pacific is the true dawn of the kind of Starfleet and the kind of Federation we see in TOS.

Me: So, in short, your film, Pacific 201, takes place about forty years after the end of the Romulan War and the ship, Pacific 201, is the first real deep space exploration ship since the end of the war?

We imagine that Starfleet was doing SOME exploration between the Romulan War and the launch of the Pacific, but it’s definitely one of the last things on their mind. Border security, reestablishing trade routes, and other tasks associated with rebuilding after a costly war consumes much of Starfleet’s time and resources. Not to mention that probing into deep space is a sore subject for humanity after the war. Poking our nose into the unknown hasn’t done humanity much good, after all. Or – that’s the way it seems. But as a new generation comes of age, that attitude is diminishing.

Pacific 201 Shuttle

Me: Why did you pick this particular time period for your film?

When the story first dawned on me, it was actually something more concurrent with Kirk’s time. Perhaps slightly before the beginning of TOS – like the year 2260. But as I thought more about the story, I wanted there to be a really big deal about a new deep-space exploration vessel, and that didn’t really make sense coexisting with a ship like the NCC-1701. So I then considered a pre-ENT story, and while exploring that time interested me, I thought the speeds were too slow to get the ship anywhere really meaningful and new. There’s too much hand-holding in that era. I then realized that the period after the Romulan War would be jam-packed with all sorts of really tangible attitudes and situations that an audience could relate to. It’s not just a point on a timeline, but it’s a period of time that would have characters with real opinions and histories. People who had lost parents in the war, people distrustful of the unknown, people yearning for a new era of peace. It offers a whole spectrum of rich storytelling opportunities.

Pacific 201 Romulan Stealth Ship

Me: Did other fan-film projects like Star Trek: Continues or Axanar play a part in why you chose this time period or story?

The story I chose has much more to do with movies like Apollo 13 and submarine movies than anything. Star Trek owes a lot to submarine combat, and that series developed in the Apollo-era of space travel, so I always thought it would be awesome to see a Star Trek movie that had the same nuts-and-bolts, practical, and realistic feeling of a real-world historical film.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6EbTY9KBhM&feature=youtu.be

Me: So, I’ve seen a lot of the art and images posted online of the ship and uniforms. As is the case with previous Star Trek, the ship is basically its own character and something that gets a lot of screen time, especially in the Original Series-era films. Can you tell us a bit about your inspiration for the ship design? Why did you place the nacelles above the saucer section and not attached directly to the secondary haul as is typical in Trek ship designs? Can you tell us anything about the ship’s specifications (i.e. crew size, warp speed capability, weapons, science stations, etc.)? Can it land?

The ship is definitely a character in this film. After all, the movie is named after the ship itself. The design for the ship stems directly out of a naval vessel. Star Trek is so deeply-rooted in maritime tradition, and I wanted to respect that. Furthermore, to go with the storytelling style, it was important that the ship looked like something we might actually build in the future. The original Enterprise always struck me as a design that looks like it HAS to look that way. Sure, it’s an awesome design, but when you really think about it, it’s so weird and unconventional that it actually lends to its credibility. Starships won’t be designed to look “cool”. Instead, they’ll look like they’re designed with a function in mind, and the Pacific meets that requirement, I think.

The nacelle placement is actually pretty inspired by the Constellation-class starship that we see in TNG. That design always looked to me to make the most practical sense of any ship in Starfleet, and since a practical design was foremost in my mind, I definitely lifted inspiration from that. The secondary hull on the Pacific is pretty much everything BUT the warp core – torpedoes, navigational deflector, shuttle bay, etc. I call it the “mission pod,” because I imagine it can be swapped out for different pods depending on the ship’s mission. The engineering section is actually located in the primary hull, and has a horizontal warp core like Archer’s NX-01.

The Pacific is actually a pretty small ship in terms of volume, and has a crew of only about 120 people. Considering her size, she’s only moderately armed. The Pacific isn’t a battleship, but between four phaser cannons and four photon torpedo tubes, she does still have teeth. The Pacific also has 20 small bays that feasibly hold weapons, such as atomic missiles (which we assume were used during the Romulan War when there wasn’t enough antimatter to go around for torpedoes).

Pacific 201 Close-up with Escape Pod

Me: Alright, well, I’m very excited to see this ship in action. I, personally, think it’s a very beautiful design. Let’s talk about the uniforms. They seem to be a nice evolution from the Star Trek: Enterprise era naval style but include the basic color scheme used in the Original Series. How did you end up with this uniform design?

The uniforms take a very blatant page from British “No. 3” navy uniforms. One particular variant of that uniform includes a pullover sweater as part of the uniform, and we thought “ah, this actually kind of links to TOS,” because in the pilot episodes especially, the uniforms are, for all intents and purposes, pullovers. They even have the ribbed collar that the British No. 3 sweaters have. So we thought that was a fun way to link the real world to the Star Trek world.

Pacific 201 Crew Uniform

Me: As the Kickstarter, which we’ll talk about shortly, notes, you have stainless steel badges on the uniforms. Did you see these as an earlier version of the insignia badges in later Trek or were you trying for something completely different?

The badges on our uniforms are honestly closer to “something completely different” than anything else. There was no specific Starfleet badge in ENT, and in TOS, the badges on the uniform are something more akin to assignment patches. Since the uniforms in Pacific 201 already will include an assignment patch, the badge is actually something kind of new. In the context of the Pacific 201 world, it doubles as a personal data card (something that actually has precedent in TOS). You can read all about that in an article on the Pacific 201 website.

Pacific 201 - Crew Badge

 

Me: I mentioned the Kickstarter, so we should probably dive into that. Your campaign was launched on August 21st with a goal of $20,000. Why did you decide to go with crowd funding and why did you choose Kickstarter over other options like Indiegogo?

Kickstarter was a really natural choice for this movie. I had already used Kickstarter once before for Lily, and I really like that site’s model. I didn’t want to switch platforms between projects since Kickstarter already worked really well in the past, and we had something of a track record there.

Pacific 201 Interceptor

Me: Now, whenever a Kickstarter is talked about, someone always manages to claim that the money asked for is never necessary. Why did you choose to provide such a detailed breakdown right out of the gate? Your campaign specifically breaks things down into three categories and then those get broken down even deeper. Was this something you wanted to do from the get-go?

This is something that Axanar really impressed me with. They released a very, very detailed breakdown of costs that inspired a lot of confidence, and I felt that was something we should emulate with the Pacific 201 Kickstarter. Our breakdown isn’t super-specific, since we haven’t made every last decision as to what models of camera and lenses we’ll need to buy, but we thought that getting as specific as possible was something we really wanted to do.

Pacific 201 Top-down

Me: Let’s talk about the perks. You’ve got a lot of digital perks plus a few physical ones. How did you determine what perks would be available?

Something we wanted to do with the perks was to offer things that were really relevant to the actual project – things we’ll actually see in the movie. So the patches, the badges, and the pins were really obvious choices, since we’ll actually see those on-screen, and it’s always fun to hold something like that in your hands. The technical manual, too, was something that we thought would be really cool, since it will go into a lot of detail about things we’ve thought up for the story and the universe, but won’t have time to show on-screen. It’ll be really cool supplemental material that should enrich the experience overall.

Pacific 201 Ship

Me: One thing I noticed is that the film is only available in digital form. Have you thought about or do you have plans to release a physical DVD or Blu-Ray down the road? If not, why not?

Producing a DVD or a Blu-Ray is a huge amount of work that is actually somewhat disproportionate to the interest for it. Lots of fans are content with just streaming the movie on Youtube, after all. Given the work involved, it seemed like something that we didn’t want to offer as a perk on the Kickstarter – at least as anything but a standalone perk, which can confuse users, and that’s something we didn’t really want to do. However, we’re really not ignoring those who have asked questions about a DVD or a Blu-Ray. Our viewers who also want a DVD or a Blu-Ray can look forward to future plans, where we might end up offering a physical copy of the film as a standalone perk through Paypal donations after the Kickstarter. It depends on the interest.

Me: One perk, that I’m very excited about personally, is the limited $500 level which actually gets the person a speaking role in a scene of the film. That’s very cool. Are you excited about this perk? Was it something you thought would be fun or more necessary?

That particular perk is something that’s not really necessary, but definitely a fun way to involve our fans. We have a lot of roles in our script that are just one, two, or three lines, and since a Kickstarter is all about co-creation, it seemed natural to get fans in on a piece of the action.

Me: Can you give us any details about that role?

We have a few different roles that we have in mind for the $500 level, and the specific roles that donors at that level will get will probably vary on schedule availability, and who fits the costumes we have. We can’t really reveal the specific roles at the moment… but it’s safe to say that somebody might get to play a Romulan!

Pacific 201 Headon

Me: Another interesting perk is the Technical Manual. What kinds of things do you expect to end up in this book? Are you basing off of the previous official Technical Manuals say from The Next Generation?

The technical manual is definitely inspired by the Next Generation technical manual, and it’s going to include a wide variety of details that aren’t just limited to details about the ship. We’re going to include sections on the relevant in-universe history surrounding Pacific 201, as well as details on specific technologies and maybe even some character bios.

Me: The Kickstarter ends on September 20th, at 11:59PM EST. Is there anything else you’d like to say about the campaign before we move on?

Just that sharing and spreading the word is as important as actual contributions. Getting the word out will help this project succeed!

Me: Okay, let’s talk special effects. The ship renderings look great, as do the props shown in your Kickstarter video. How are you handling the special effects? Are you trying for practical effects with models or do you have some visual effects people working on it?

Currently, I’m handling a large portion of the special effects myself, but we are looking to expand the team, since not only is there a very high standard for the visuals in this movie, but there are some effects-heavy scenes in our script that will need talented contributing artists.

Pacific 201 Overhead

Me: Are you looking to have the bridge and other interior sets physically built or will some of that be CGI?

Our interior sets will be physically built. We have a really cool and intuitive plan to build our set in an almost entirely modular way, which will let us build dozens of sets at a greatly reduced cost by mixing and matching elements to create new spaces. I think people will really like our sets, which we’ll start building in force after a successful Kickstarter.

Me: Finally, let’s talk about future plans. If the Kickstarter is funded successfully and you’re able to make the Pacific 201 film, do you have hopes or plans for future films or a web series or are you anticipating this as a one-shot film?

Pacific 201 is a self-contained story, and there are no plans to create sequels or a web series. But who knows? I do have a really cool story in mind for a Romulan War miniseries… but if that ever happened, it’d be far off on the horizon.

Pacific 201 - Crew Member

 

Me: Is there anything else you’d like to add or mention about the project, yourself, your team or anything at all?

Just that we hope you all love what we’re doing as much as we do, and we can’t wait to show you a really excellent final product.

This has really been great. Thanks again for joining us, Eric. We’re very excited to see the final project and boldly go with you and your crew. To find out more about Pacific 201 check them out at the locations below and don’t forget to stop by and contribute to their Kickstarter before September 20th.

So there you have it, Pacific 201 aims to be a story about exploration, about moving beyond the Romulan War while fitting into the overall timeline of the Star Trek franchise. To learn more about the project, please check out the links below:

Pacific 201 Website

Facebook

Kickstarter

What do you think of the latest Star Trek Kickstarter? Are you going to back the campaign? What do you like about what they’ve shown so far? Comment below!

Pacific 201 – A New Star Trek Kickstarter