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March/April 2008 Volume 1, Issue 2
Highlights of this Issue 1 2 3 4 5 6
Cover: Motherhood by Enigma The Raven's Writing Desk IQ-145 and Sci Fi Studios Farragut - The live action adventure! Farragut - The animated adventure! Kirok' Critique: Star Trek: Odyssey Kirok' Critique: Star Trek: Intrepid
8 9 10 11
Kirok' Critique: Of Gods and Men Script Frenzy! Writing for Audio PodTrek: STO: Zone PaperTrek: Paragon Cardmodels ZineTrek: My Comrades in Arms!
12 15 16
Motherhood – Star Trek fan fiction The Future for Tales of Death & Honour The Twelve Trek Days of Christmas
The Acrux Fanzine is a pdf perzine (personal fanzine) based on the work of Kirok of L'Stok. Note that text in blue is linked in electronic copies to further resources on the web. Most of these hyperlinks can also be accessed from the website. Hardcopies willingly exchanged with other fanzines Editor and Publisher Kirok of L'Stok firstname.lastname@example.org A Production of ...
The Raven's Writing Desk The Editor The best laid plans of mice and men ... all gone astray! You might remember the nice, neat map I had all laid out last issue for the development of The House Of L'Stok? My idea was to build a strong foundation for the later levels by focusing on writing in the early months, basically working on the details of the media that a writer can use for self-producing. I was presented with two opportunities in April and May to run right up the centre and score precious yards that could otherwise cost me months, perhaps the best part of a year. The mudmap is still valid as an organisational framework, it was always meant to be “in development”. This would have meant, though that, rather than a neat progression from one production and one media to another, that I would have a number of irons in the fire at the same time! I deal with the first opportunity - Script Frenzy on p.9 but the theme for this belated issue are some general thoughts on the interface amateur and professional in fan productions today. This was brought to a head when Sci Fi Studios took up my proposal for a promotional magazine promoting their new made-for-the-web series, IQ-145, at Fedcon. Editing as such is not on my roadmap because it's not the challenge it used to be. This was different though – this was a hardcopy typeset magazine that would be put together with Desktop Publishing software. Yup! I was finally to get to see my name (well, one of them anyway) in print ... or so I thought! Alas it was not to be. Still, the experience was worth it. As these distractions got me further and further behind my publication goals, it made me re-think the scope of this fanzine. I had to ask myself what I wanted to achieve with it. As a perzine it can include anything I like, but if I want people to enjoy reading my meanderings then there has to be a central focus. Well, of course one of the reasons I'm putting out this fanzine is because I want
people to share in the the joy of accomplishment that I get when I create something new. Whether it is good or bad, (and I am my own strongest critic I assure you) the sheer joy of accomplishment is something that once savoured is as seductive as any drug! I would like readers of this 'zine to walk away sharing the buzz that I feel about the creative possibilities that ordinary (and in some cases extraordinary) people have pioneered for us. I want people to look at what I've done – because Einstein I ain't! - and say, well, dammit, even I could do that! I've decided that the focus of my work should be reporting on what people have done, what they are doing, how they are doing it and how you could do it! To this effect, I'm not going to try to give a comprehensive coverage of all Star Trek fan productions as I have been doing. Others are doing excellent work in that direction (see p.11) and I post anything that I feel is of importance on my blog. What I'll focus in the fanzine is on giving more depth on individual productions that highlight pivotal points. This will include independent, “Indie”, productions as well as fan-made productions and I'm starting with a perfect example of what can be done by “thinking outside the box” in the form of an article on p.3 about “IQ 145”, the new, 'made-forinternet' series from Sci Fi Studios The borderline between professional and amateur productions is of great interest to me. In some respects 'money talks' and there is a vast gulf between professional skill, talent and experience and amateur, “guerrilla cinematography”. This is breaking down from both directions though and an example can be seen on pages 4-5 in the work of Farragut Productions, a fan production striving for professional standards and NEO f/x, a professional outfit that can see opportunities in supporting fan productions. Time and again I see cases where both sides are learning from each other. Obviously fan productions are the junior partner and have the most to learn from the years of experience that professionals like Doug Drexler, one of the creative forces behind Star Trek: Phase II, are freely giving. The entertainment industry is in a state of flux too, though, and needs to do some drastic rethinking if the studio system is going to survive in the 21st century. Could their break come when they stop seeing their patrons as consumers and start cultivating a partnership with them?
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IQ-145 and Sci Fi Studios Professionals connecting with fans It’s one of the paradoxes of life that whilst creativity is an intensely personal thing, the big projects are nearly always a communal effort. One of the things that you must have picked up from my articles about fan productions is that they are almost exclusively group efforts, in fact I can only think of Geoffrey James' “Borg War” that truly fits the bill as a one-man effort! The situation in the professional entertainment industry is even more pronounced, where it takes a very brave producer to create something outside the studio system. IQ-145, the new made-for-the-web series from Sci Fi Studios is an example of this conundrum! In an unpublished interview, Billy Dickson, co-creator of IQ -145 with Chad Cooperman, told Dave Andrews of Sci Fi Studios, that one of the reasons why they decided to produce their show independently was to preserve their creative control over their project – a project which they could get studio backing for only if they surrendered that control. They all liked the idea but one thing was consistent-they wanted to take the creative part of the show away from us. No one cared about the scripts, the basic storyline or the characters, they all wanted their writers and their show runners. And that's what we wanted to do.
Twelve IQ-145 webisodes are available
Their desire to see their creation brought to life battled against the to view for free to date ... certain knowledge that to allow it to be produced by the networks would lose that very individuality that made it special. With remarkable courage they decided to preserve their original vision by going it alone and financing the production themselves.
Part of that vision was to connect strongly with fandom, and to do that they came to a fan organization that was, itself, reaching out across the barriers between the worlds of fandom and professional production—Sci Fi Studios.
this is every inch a professional production
The dividing line between the worlds of creator and consumer is becoming more blurred. For all its faults, the popularity of ‘Reality TV’ has proven that audiences want to be involved in what they watch. They want to feel that they, or someone like them, could be the next top model or media star. Technology is giving them toys to further their creative fantasies, like new gaming interfaces that project them into a virtual world such as Guitar Hero, the EyeToy and Wii. The virtual worlds that people can go to, the Massive Multiplayer Online Games or MMOG’s, give players a whole world in which they can cast spells as a blue-skinned Night Elf or drive a Warthog on an alien planet fragging the Blue Team.
... or you could read the IQ-145 graphic Is it any wonder that people are realising that they can, indeed should have some say in the entertainment novel, also free from their website ... that they are paying for? New productions have always been a risky business in the entertainment industry
and the job of predicting what the next season’s top rating shows will be or what will be the next box office smash has, up ’til now, been the domain of network executives and their demographic bean-counters. I'm not trying to trivialise the work of the market research organisations, but there is no denying that the ability to predict commercial winners for the entertainment industry is anything but an exact science! In some cases the statistical methods they have used have been proven to be flawed, and time and again a rank outsider will beat a mega-production at the box-office, or a TV program will prove to be an unexpectedly long-running success. Who can measure a star's charisma or a show's creative freshness? And please don't tell me that this is what the media critics are for, because they have had just as dismal a record of predicting winners in the popularity stakes! I certainly can't tell you what the secret to success is! If I could, I wouldn't be writing fanzines at night and crunching numbers by day! However I think it is safe to say that the operative factor in every success is the engagement of the fanbase. Built on the concept that the longevity of a commercial production is only as strong as its fanbase, Sci Fi Studios was designed to make a direct connection between the two sides of the entertainment industry, the creators and the consumers. In the past the connection has been perceived to be oneway, with the networks making arbitrary decisions about programming that have alienated their viewers.
... or listen to the IQ-145 m usic
I must emphasise though that, for all my talk about fan involvement, this is every inch a professional production. on http://www.reolam usic.com In the last several years Billy Dickson has directing many of the episodes of shows like “One Tree Hill” (Warner Bros.), "Hidden Hills” (NBC) and The Award Winning “Ally McBeal” (FOX) where he was nominated FOUR times for the ASC award for outstanding Cinematography in a television series And in 2001 and 2002, nominated for an Emmy award for the episodes “Cloudy Skies, Chance of Parade” and “Reality Bites” which he was Director and Cinematographer. The cast is a mixture of recognisable stars and new talent. Thomas Dekker is undoubtedly the biggest name after his bankable hits with Heroes and The Sarah Connor Chronicles but is ably backed up by Brad Rowe, Lindsey McKeon (a two-time Daytime Emmy-nominated actress) and Amber Brooke Wallace. IQ-145 represents a breakthrough in the traditionally accepted medium of delivering entertainment to the masses – made for the Web! In content and quality it represents a quantum leap above anything that is fan produced and yet ... does this represent a possible avenue for small scale Indie producers? There are lessons to be learned from IQ-145 by fans and professionals, that's for sure!
. . . . http://www.scifistudios.com/community . Sci. Fi Studios . . . . . .... My. International . . Indie . forum . .of choice . . . . . .
Starship Farragut â€“ A Big year! Making fan films is a time consuming business and most production groups find it hard to get out more than one episode a year. Starship Farragut is planning a power-house year by following up its latest successful, full-length episode, "For want of a Nail", with at least one of four vignettes and two special episodes in collaboration with their CGI partner, NEO f/x before they release their next, doublelength, episode! Interest in the second episode from Starship Farragut, "For Want of a Nail" (FWOAN), has continued with a review on the SciFi Channel's web site, scifi.com, on March 03. Much of the comment on FWOAN has been on the production standards, the acting, scenery (some of it was filmed on the ST Phase II bridge set) and the locales which (without giving away any spoilers) were historically authentic for the plot. The CGI and music were a strong contributing feature, once again. The CGI was by NEO f/x, the company who had done the work for Farragut's first episode, "The Captaincy". NEO f/x have gone from strength-to-strength over the last year with work for other clients, mostly SF related, and the latest news is that they were responsible for over fifty CGI shots for the fan production blockbuster, Star Trek: Of Gods And Men. One of the innovations that NEO f/x have developed are what I think of as 'strategic alliances' with a number of talented artists who they work with to offer a more complete package. One of these is composer Hetoreyn, who was confirmed as the musical director for Farragut's second episode on Sep. 25 last year. He's a young British composer living in the Netherlands who creates his music using a virtual orchestra - the Vienna Symphonic Library - Special Edition (and to a lesser extent, First Edition) on a Quad processor G5 Applemac with Logic Pro 7. On Nov 21 he
sent off the first CD's to CD Baby ready for sale as a CD and on Dec 10 announced that the original soundtrack was available for sale on iTunes. His website is pretty cool too, with a sample CD and a podcast be sure to download show 041 which has information and sample tracks from FWOAN. Of their third episode, "The Potemkin Passthrough", we know absolutely nothing, except it's name and the fact that Mike Bednar is directing! The Farragut forum lists four vignettes or "Crew Logs": Just Passing Through , Security Conference , Oblivion's Curtain and Rock and a Hard Place and Mike Bednar has said in February that of these, the first, Just Passing Through, "is 95% in the can with a rough edit. There is still one scene left to shoot." Of the other four, the last is in pre-production with locations being scouted out and a poster made, whilst the other two are still just concepts.
Most of the year has been spent constructing an exacting full-scale, shuttlecraft interior set which will be shared with Star Trek Phase II as per their mutual support agreement. The shuttle console is being built by John Broughton, Senior, father of the Executive Producer, and instrumentation is being added by Mike Bednar, who told me recently that the shuttle console is complete and functional with lights and switches reminiscent of the original series - a more time-consuming project than complex. On Jan 22, Mike Bednar posted that "we need to finish up the last details of the shuttlecraft interior. I still have four computers to put together for the walls and those funny looking spherical thingy-mabobs that attach to the wall." It's all hi-tech stuff this set construction business, folks! Whilst Farragut, like most fan films has a
Most of the year has been spent constructing an exacting fullscale, shuttlecraft interior set They also have two "Special Edition's" short films to be "produced by NEO f/x in cooperation with Farragut Films" - scored by Hetoreyn and written by Michael Struck of NEO f/x and Jack TreviĂąo, a professional writer who has previously worked on Deep Space Nine and ST Phase II. The first, "The Needs of the Many", is set in the fourth season of TOS, on Cestus III, where Kirk fought the Gorn, and involves Gorn, Romulans, humans, Andorians, Vulcans and "a very nice guy from a ship called Enterprise"! The second, "Power Source", will be scripted by Thomas J. Scott, with music by Hetoreyn and involves a search in uncharted space for the U.S.S Azrael and Farragut's attempts to save the Azrael crew when they find them. Michael Struck has said from the start that they will both be released in 2008 and on Mar 20 posted on the Farragut forum that they were "going into full production in April, and will be announcing these episodes about mid-month." NEO f/x will be attending the Creation convention in Hollywood on the weekend of April 11-13 where they will be releasing a teaser trailer and a possible surprise about the casting, so
these will be ones to watch for!
commitment to Canon in it's productions, they have also introduced a few ... extrapolations on how they believe that TOS canon might have developed in the years leading up to the first motion picture. One of those is the phaser rifle that was conceived by "Big Paul" Sieber, John Broughton Sr. & John Broughton, and was detailed and finalised by Michael Bednar for their first episode, and is now available as a DIY kit. . Another is the classy "away team" jacket that is vaguely reminiscent of the cold weather jackets worn in the third Star Trek movie, "The Search For Spock". As it turns out, this is actually an off-theshelf work jacket available from Aramark Uniforms with the addition of the allimportant Farragut badge!
The Farragut 'Crew Logs' - "JUST PASSING THROUGH" and "A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE" will be premiered as a double feature to fans for FREE at the University of Maryland's Hoff Theater in November along with awards, a new teaser trailer of the Animated Episodes and bloopers. Get a sneak peek of them on their new trailer
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Starship Farragut - The Adventure Continues! NEO f/x Bring Back the Animated Adventures A landmark announcement has been made of a collaboration, spearheaded by the cutting edge cgi production house, NEO f/ x and the dramatic talents of the live action fan film, Starship Farragut, which will see the first Star Trek cell animation since the demise of Star Trek, The Animated Series in 1974! The media allows groundbreaking story-telling as well as an amazing array of fan and professional names that have been gathered to make it happen.
an excellent example of the Total Media Packages that NEO f/x has available to its clients for 'one-stop shopping' for their multimedia projects. “NEO f/x has now been involved with literally seven live-action fan productions based on Star Trek. We felt it was time for us to throw our hat in the ring with something no other fan production has attempted… celstyle animated episodes,” explained Michael Struck ... “These animated episodes will be a tribute to the original Filmation animated series, and should be a real treat for the fans.”
The new episodes are going to be as close as possible to the feel of the original As reported in the article on Starship Farragut here at TrekUnited on March 27, NEO f/x and Farragut Films announced back in December last year that they were working on two “Special Editions”, scored by their composer from "For Want Of A Nail", Hetoreyn, and written by Michael Struck, manager of NEO f/x and Jack Treviño. Described only as "short films ... produced by NEO f/x in cooperation with Farragut Films”, the details have been kept a closely guarded secret until the announcement at Creation convention in Hollywood last weekend. The wait is now over with the public launch of the new website for "Starship Farragut, The Animated Episodes", where you can view a video teaser trailer, read the full text of their press release and browse some eyebrow-raising FAQ's. The new episodes are going to be as close as possible to the feel of the original animated Star Trek series produced by Filmation which debuted in September, 1973. However, as the term "special edition" implies, the two episodes are currently considered to be a special project with no immediate plans for a series. They will be further adventures of the U.S.S. Farragut, the subject of the live action fan film, over the same time period as the projected fourth season of Star Trek. This marks the entrance of NEO f/x as a production group in their own right, as the instigator and prime-mover of this project. Established in 2003, they are a Portland, Oregon-based company specializing in visual effects work in the areas of 3D animation, from consultation to postproduction. I cannot help but feel that the sourcing and organisation of all the different people involved in this project is
“We were thrilled to collaborate with NEO f/x’s talented team once again to produce the first Star Trek animated fan film," said John Broughton, president of Farragut Films and Executive Producer of Starship Farragut. “NEO f/x's one-stop, Total Media Package continues to be a great asset for us." The first episode which Michael Struck has co-written with Jack Treviño, “The Needs of the Many”, takes place on Cestus III, the planet where Kirk and the Gorn fought and “as fate would have it, Carter and his crew encounter the same rogue Gorn, looking for revenge against the Federation.” The second episode, “Power Source”, is written by Thomas J. Scott, an accomplished writer and president of Magique Productions, finds the Farragut dispatched to search for the USS Azrael “only to find that they may be the ones being searched for.”
Chris Doohan, son of James Doohan, the original ‘Scotty’, who will be voicing two characters his father made famous in the original series. James Doohan was an accomplished voice actor from his days on radio in his native Canada and exercised those talents to great effect in TAS. In this production, most of the secondary male characters are being voiced by Vic Mignogna a prolific voice actor who is best known as the voice of Edward Elric on “Fullmetal Alchemist”. Additional voice talent featured includes Hetoreyn (who is also doing the music), Jason LeBlanc, and Ralph M. Miller. A Star Trek: The Animated Series fan production without Kail Tescar, webmaster of startrekanimated.com, would be unimaginable and NEO f/x have appointed him the lead artist as well as an associate producer in this project. Kail's website is a comprehensive homage to the Animated Series, with nine fan-made comic books in the same 'Filmation' style and he will be continuing this run by creating a companion comic book to the animated episodes, to be released (for free over the internet, of course) at the same time. “Since opening startrekanimated.com nine years ago, creating a full length episode of Star Trek: The Animated Series has been a dream of mine,” explained Kail. “I've been having a great time working on this project with NEO f/x and Farragut Films. It's been a lot of fun helping to create these episodes, and I hope everyone enjoys them." Work is advanced on the two episodes and accompanying comics and they are expected to be released on the internet simultaneously toward the end of 2008.
Starship Farragut will be supplying the voice talent for the major, recurring characters who perform in their live action fan film however Michael has been able to follow in the footsteps of ST: Phase II and recruit some Star Trek alumni to make special appearances as well. The featured guest artist in “The Needs of the Many” is Chase Masterson, who played Leeta on Deep Space Nine and Tim Russ, Tuvok on Voyager, will be making a special appearance. A special link to Star Trek: The Animated Series (TAS) will be
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Kirok's Critique I dislike drawing comparisons between fan films. A 'Phase II' episode takes twelve months to create and they throw immensely more resources into their productions than most others. Not just money and cgi but more importantly in professional talent and time - time to rehearse, time to do re-takes and pickup filming if things aren't quite right. Areakt films, who produce ST: The Helena Chronicles and ST: Odyssey as well as their fertile cooperative efforts with the Scottish, ST: Intrepid group (more on that in another issue!) are anything BUT slipshod however they work to a much tighter schedule: months instead of years. Star Trek Beyond (see last issue) work to an even tighter schedule: weeks instead of months!!!
improve? Because of the vast bulk of the material from Areakt Films, theirs is a production group where you can very definitely see development on all levels. They've developed their own style in certain things as well. Their trailers for example seem to me to be aimed more at conveying plot and character information than the conventional Hollywood movie trailers, you know the type with the announcer who sounds like he smokes three packets a day doing a voiceover for dozens of short 2-3 second clips, fast-paced and aimed not so much on the forebrain but on the subconscious? Commercial trailers are more like a visual logline that gives a snapshot "impression" of the production rather than any hard information.
I prefer to compare them with themselves as a series. Are they developing, improving, evolving? Comparing ST Beyond with Odyssey, Odyssey with Phase II or any of them with a professional production is an untenable idea. Each one has it's own challenges and opportunities. ST Beyond, because of it's â€œone-takeâ€? production, relies heavily on the acting, Areakt films' greenscreen technique requires an entirely different style of acting and places a heavy emphasis on their post-production ability whilst Phase-II is trying to compete on the professional-level, with sets, cgi and casting. I prefer to compare them with themselves as a series. Are they developing, improving, evolving? Are they stagnating or in some other way loosing their edge? Is there some specific way that they can
Coming Next Issue!
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My first impression of Star Trek: Odyssey has been that they are trying for dramatic interaction between the characters. Julia Morizawa is working hard to put some feeling into her performance as Stadi (perhaps to mark a contrast to her character as a Vulcan in HF?) and Michelle Laurent is obviously working on it too. She looks great and delivers well but is faced with a mammoth task to bring her character, the Romulan subcommander T'Lorra, to life. I mean, how do you play a Romulan anyway? Racially they are of the same stock as the Vulcans yet they have a militaristic empire. They are usually written as Vulcans who see evil as a logical tool for gaining their ends and have ended up as stock villains. Michelle has to break new ground by creating a character that avoids that "cutout stereotype" so that regular viewers will engage with T'Lorra. In many respects she is at the mercy of the writers because, without a good plot and good lines, her chances of a standout performance are dead in the water. The role as a Romulan requires that she can't show too much emotion, even the Romulan makeup is against her by making her look angry all the time with
the heavily drawn eyebrows and brooding forehead. Perhaps she should take a leaf from Joelene Blaloc's book. No, not the catsuit ... ok, well that would work too but ... No! I mean the timbre of her diction, the perfection of the pronunciation and the subtle inflections that meant so much, these were a tool that Joelene used well. In fact subtlety is the name of the game for this type of character, just look at how the quintessential Vulcan, Leonard Nimoy, was able to steal a scene with as little as an arched eyebrow! I'll be the first to admit that the production has definite challenges - they couldn't have picked a more challenging premise than an appropriation of the Odyssey! However it is because of this that I'll keep watching because I think there's scope for some great storytelling there. ~~~ // \\ ~~~ I downloaded the latest offering from Star Trek: Intrepid (or is that Starship Intrepid as per their webpage URL?) Where There's a Sea from their download page this week. After an initial snafu with the file - if, like me, you use Firefox you'll get a php file which you'll need to rename as an avi - the video ran without a hitch, as I watched it three times in a row! I could afford to watch it multiple times because at only just over 11 minutes long (137Mb) it's in the vignette class, however it's shortness does not imply that it is a 'lightweight' production. It was dramatic in the best way: in the conflict between the characters rather than from a threat imposed on it from some external source. They are developing their characters into complex, three-
They couldn't have picked a more challenging premise than an appropriation of The Odyssey!
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dimensional, fallible humans thrown together in situations that are abrading their relationships between each other. Without giving too much away, the schism between Starfleet and the UFP Merchant Marine that was established in their first episode is getting more entrenched even though everyone believes they are doing things with the best of intentions ... and we all know what the road to Hell is paved with! Great writing! My first impression was the same one I always have when I watch a fan film: admiration at the enormity of the task that these people - amateurs, all! - have accomplished. The more I learn about the skills that have been acquired, cameras, lighting and software that has been invested in and the time and effort that has been put into these projects, the more I appreciate the finished product. I'm surprised and delighted for them when I see people I know, even if only as a virtual acquaintance from their postings on forums, enter, stage right, and have their moment of glory! I find I'm looking out for them ... There's Nick & Lucy ... and Steve & Korvar ... but where's Alain? If this were live theatre there'd be cheers from the audience when each came on stage. Playing Devil's Advocate for a second there are those who see fan films as a novelty, "reality programming" for TV and movies, people who want to be in a Star Trek production so badly that they will create their own. Absolutely right! It's called being a fan and the videos they make are fan productions or fan films (although celluloid has gone the way of the dodo). These same critics who draw attention to the amateur standing of the participants will then use that as a stick to beat them with, comparing them to professional productions. What a load of old codswallop! If you're judging apples do you compare them to oranges? Or more to the point, when you go to see an amateur production of a Broadway production do you dismiss it as of no value if its standards are not on a par with the original? If you do then you must be fun to have around at School Plays, karioke and theatre sports! The mistake that such critics make is one of perception. Professional productions are just that, made to make a profit. The primary reason why they are produced is not for artistic reasons or for the enjoyment of the actors and crew, they are made for the enjoyment of the viewing public and to make a profit. Fan films are exactly the
opposite. They are made for the enjoyment and satisfaction of the people who are making them, fans who enjoy their Star Trek so much that they want to take their 'fan experience' the next step and actually do something with it! As I settled down to my second viewing, as a fan enjoying a Star Trek video, this was uppermost in mind. Mind-you, I think it's a valid assumption that if a plot appeals enough to fans to make it, then it will appeal to other fans who will watch it. It was entertaining but not in a fluffy, feelgood, way. Intrepid is dramatic (there's that word again!) and the production is not meant to leave you feeling that they are all pals facing the bad-guys together, it's meant to make you realise that, even in the 24th century, people will still have problems, that they will still be individuals with the same emotions and ethical challenges we have today. Intrepid's version of Starfleet is more likely to make decisions based on the end justifying the means and, because of this, cause themselves more potential long-term problems than their short-term gains.
his performance - in keeping with the rest of the film, it was a solid, dramatic, supporting role that, between the three actors on the bridge, gave us just the right tone of desperate tension. The whole question of accents is a bone of contention for some with Star Trek: Intrepid, since most of the actors have a strong Scottish accent. There's no way around it: the group is based in Dundee, Scotland, what do you expect, BBC English? The idea of a Trek merchant marine has always had Scottish overtones for me because of the legacy of Clyde shipbuilding and, yes, Montgomery Scott from the Original Series, but beyond that, I think that internationalism in space is one of the things that was missing in Trek canon. However, like I said, there's no way around it, there are far more Scottish accents than one would expect and it can, on your first viewing, be distracting. This is where you have to remember, as I said before, that fan films are not created primarily for your viewing pleasure, they are for the enjoyment of the people making them and if they happen to be Scottish
I came away from the video thinking ... which is always a sign of good Science Fiction!
I came away thinking ... which is always a sign of good Science Fiction!
So then I watched it a third time to nitpick! This is something of a tradition amongst fans - we love ya but you could do it better if ... Some of the posters have expert knowledge in cinematography, sound editing, acting etc, and by this time I'd read some of the responses on the Intrepid forum's review thread, so I went looking for them. Hmmm, yes, you could see some of them - NO, I'm not going to tell you what they were! Go watch it yourself before you read the review thread, I doubt if you'll pick most of them! One thing I will point out is that I was thoroughly impressed with Alain de Mol's performance of Nick de Meyer, one of the Ariadne's bridge officers. Now, I've spoken to him on Skype recently, and as a Belgian living in Scotland I thought his accent had as much Scottish in it as Belgian. This was of interest to me because my own accent is Australian with, at times, a strong English, Lancashire undertone so it is something that I empathise with. Alain had great control of his voice on-screen! It had just the right hint of accent to give it character without distracting me from the content of
(Dutch, Finnish, Polish, German, Hungarian ...) and their Trills, Romulans and Orions don't sound like they do on the TV or movie screen, well, learn to live with it or switch off. Beyond an expectation to perform as best they can within the limitations of their experience and equipment, they have no responsibility to pander to your preconceptions. Besides, who's to say that the alien races weren't taught to speak English by Scottish missionaries? Or the Universal Translator that recorded the episode wasn't switched to Tyneside, Flemish, Finnish or whatever? If the accents are a hurdle that you truly cannot overcome yet you still want to see more of Intrepid then you're in luck because they have started, over the last year, a series of cooperative productions with Areakt Films, the makers of the classic Star Trek: Hidden Frontier and it's successors Star Trek: The Helena Chronicles & Star Trek: Odyssey. Besides sharing expertise and equipment, it has allowed Intrepid to perform as part of a larger ensemble that has diluted the impact of those Scottish accents.
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Bottom line? I like the people, I admire what they've done and I think it holds up well as science fiction. If it were any better I'd be paying money to see it ~~~ // \\ ~~~ No discussion of the boundary between fan and professional productions of Star Trek would be complete without mentioning Star Trek: Of Gods and Men. (OGAM) What they've done has been amazing to be sure but is it a fan film? When it was announced in 2006 there was a certain amount of debate as regards to whether it was or not. Certainly Tim Russ, was unequivocal that it was not in a widely reported interview with J. K. Tumlinson on the Making Movies Blog on May 17 last year... “This is not a fan film. This is an independent Trek feature, and we have every intention of selling it to the public as either a download or on DVD. Fan films are usually allowed to be viewed for free. Not to take away from the hard work and dedication of the people who make fan films, the quality of "Gods and Men" is superior to the typical fan film.”
Because of this, the debate about whether to call it a professional or a fan production is ultimately immaterial because as things stand it shares the base attribute that defines a fan production – it has no legal right to the copyrights that it uses. To my mind it should be considered in the same species. There is absolutely no doubt that it is the most superlative example of a non-commercial production that I can think of, but it is still a distant cousin to the amoebas swimming around on YouTube at the opposite end of the fan gene pool! I admire what they have done and I believe that it would make a great direct to DVD movie or TV special and I would definitely buy it or watch it. However the insistence that it wasn't a fan production spoiled my experience of OGAM in that it nullified the interactive element that makes fan productions special. Perhaps the best way of explaining this is that a fan production is always, to some extent, a community event. It isn't just an organisation put together to achieve a specific goal, it's a group of individuals who are doing something you wish you were doing yourself, and which you could conceivably be a part of you wished!
“This is not a fan film. This is an independent Trek feature ...” Tim Russ When asked to clarify by Trekdom fanzine on June 11 he was a little more reticent ... “The feature cannot be sold for profit unless we have some kind of agreement with CBS. As of right now, none of that has been finalized. If no agreement can be reached, then it will be viewed at no charge. And yes to reiterate, it is not a fan film. The look and quality of the piece will speak for itself.” It's pretty obvious from what Tim Russ has said that the project was entered into as a commercial proposition but that commercial release seems to be an elusive sucker because it's in wide release already on the internet - for free - and there's no public hint of a TV, video or box-office release.
If I lived in Dundee, guess what I'd be doing? I'd be working on Star Trek: Intrepid! If I lived in Holland guess who I would be hanging out with? Robin and the gang at Dark Armada! I might write, act, make scenery or hold a boom mike for them but the point is that there is a place for everyone who wants to help. Even ST Phase II, which because of it's popularity works on a closed set, has worked hard to maintain it's community involvement and are currently putting out a call for volunteers to work as crew on their next episodes. OGAM didn't have that accessibility, it was something that was made for us, a commodity, and in that respect it distanced itself from the fan film ethos. They seem to have made a conscious decision that they didn't want to be a part of the fan film world but rather be part of the professional film industry.
That's cool. Sometimes you have to close one door before you can open another and, as I pointed out about IQ 145 on p.3, the interface between fan and professional is not the solid brick wall that the studios would have us believe! Unfortunately though it placed OGAM into a "bubble universe" all of its own, neither fan nor professional. How has it affected their relationship with Trek fandom? It is universally admired and a great drawcard at conventions but it's forum is filled, not with OGAM fans as much as the curious from other fan production forums. We've gained an incredible video production, we've seen fan favourites perform for us once again, in many cases pushing the envelope and breaking the mold in a technically creative production. The theoretical barrier that it placed between itself and the rest of the fan film community though lessened it's accessibility to fans and in doing so I believe they did themselves a disservice. ~~~ // \\ ~~~ Real life intrudes on fandom all too often, sometimes for the better but oft times for the worst. The fan audio community was saddened recently by the death of Pendant Productions writer and director, James Tyler. Having written for their original production, Seminar, James is best known as the director of “The Kingery”. My commiserations to his family and friends. I also want to send a special shout out to Ken Hallaron, of Star Trek Eras, their sound engineer and composer, who has been having some serious real life hassles recently which have been holding him back from completing Act 3.1 Whilst you're waiting, keep an eye on their podcast, TWERP and their new Indie Audio Drama, Derrick Geist.
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This was released on Oct 24 and the full episode is now available for download
Script Frenzy! Writing for Audio than a mini-series, the connection soon coalesced into a single character at different stages of her life and career in Starfleet. Ever had an idea for a TV show or a movie that you thought could bring you fame and fortune? Ever write a fan fiction and thought, that would make a great action drama? Ever wanted to release the inner playwright that is hidden inside you but lacked the support and motivation? Then Script Frenzy could be for you! “Script Frenzy is an international writing event in which participants attempt the daring feat of writing 100 pages of scripted material in the month of April. As part of a donation-funded nonprofit, Script Frenzy charges no fee to participate; there are also no valuable prizes awarded or "best" scripts singled out. Every writer who completes the goal of 100 pages is victorious and awe-inspiring and will receive a handsome Script Frenzy Winner's Certificate and web icon proclaiming this fact. Even those who fall short of the word goal will be applauded for making a heroic attempt. Really, you have nothing to lose except that nagging feeling that there's a script inside
My rationale was that if I released them at two-monthly intervals that would have the last one released about the same time the following year. By that time the production group doing them would have the skills and talents required to get audio drama episodes out on a regular basis. From there, who knows? Perhaps in 2009 I might be writing scripts for machinima in Script Frenzy since it accepts screenplays, stage plays, TV shows, short films, comic book and graphic novel scripts, adaptations of novels, or any other type of script! I mean, how hard could it be? (They'll have that on my tombstone, y'know) I signed up to Screnzy on Mar 29th and got off to a reasonable start on April 1st, with a page and a half of disjointed scenes that were popping into my head - no plot, no planning, just good scenes that I was going to stitch together. Sorta like lego for scriptwriting, LOL!
I mean, how hard could it be? (they'll have that on my tombstone, y'know)
That first week I was working night shifts but I continued my outlines as best I could, trying to fill in blanks as they came to me, often loosing the struggle to keep from falling asleep in my
you that may never get out.”
Done for the second year in a row by the same people who brought you National Novel Writing Month - NaNoWriMo - their website has an in incredible number of resources that can help you, including a programme for young (k-12) writers!
On April 12, I used a "Get out of Jail free" card from real life long enough to get to “The Star Bar” for the afternoon for a “write-in”, where I met many of the other writers in Sydney who were in Script Frenzy. I only got one page written although I thought it was a very pretty one! - but it was great to meet the others. It was a fun afternoon. Thanks to Killraven for arranging it and to all who contributed. Next time I'm bringing the lollies!
Now, this actually sounded like it would fit in with an idea I had to write an audio drama as one of my first fan productions. I knew doing this would slow my other work down – this fanzine for one - but at the end of it I was aiming to have five or six, eighteen page scripts that would make up a Star Trek audio drama mini-series that The House of L'Stok could produce in the antipodes over 2008/9. Tentatively named "Star Trek: Citations" these were to be standalone tales that would show the "real" story behind the bald facts that are recorded in official citations for bravery. Planned to be more of an anthology of connected audio dramas
By the nineteenth I was still stuck on 19 pages because I'd been rethinking and adding depth to what I'd started off with. I could see myself going down fighting beneath overwhelming odds ... or terminal procrastination! I realise now that my problem was that I was getting bogged down in details. The concepts I came up with, the plots and characters, were all good. They're all still locked away on my hard-drive waiting for completion. The problem was that I was
worrying about details, major details to be sure, but things that I could have postponed until the final drafting because they were really just plot mechanisms for steering characters into the situations that I wanted them. By the end of the month I was still on twenty pages and staring an epic failure in the face! How hard could it be? Obviously too hard for me to achieve at this point in time! However no experience is a failure if we learn from it and I'm walking away from this year's Script frenzy with valuable knowledge, experience and a local connection with some interesting people. Writing for audio only is a demanding task because of the limitations of not being able to use visual imagery. Vast panaramas of mountains, sinking ships, the details of starships battling, moonlight on snow-laden pines ... you can't see these things on your MP3 player! However a clever combination of music, sound effects and especially dialogue can paint just about any scene in your head ... [Echoing wind, with the cry of an eagle in the distance. Outdoor ambience to voice] Just look at that view, Tensing! It's no wonder they call this the roof of the world. [Crash of waves, shrieking gale, creaking of ropes and timbers. Suddenly a crack like a tree being felled. Shouted against wind and rain] Look out! Captain! The foremast has been carried away! [Climactic Star Wars battle music, laser cannon fire, clicks and beeps. With heavy rasping breathing, helmet voice ambience] The Force is strong with this one! [Music changes to Millenium Falcon theme] Yee Ha! Now blow this thing Luke and lets go home! ... however I defy anyone to do moonlight on snow-laden pines!!! Luckily, the 'net is rich with resources for writers to help them achieve these effects. The BBC has a continuing support of radio drama, accepting submissions from around the world, and one of the best starting points is the excellent BBC World website section - How to write a radio play. And two articles on the BBC Writersroom. One much loved resource is a script, written by the great British actor-writer, Timothy West titled 'This Gun That I Have in My Right Hand Is Loaded'', intended as a
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parody of the worst clunky, cliche-ridden radio drama. According to his son, Samuel West, in Fathers and Sons, “it contains some classic radio-speak ('A whisky? That's a strange drink for an attractive auburn-haired girl of 29') and cliches that have since become old friends of the family ('It's not a pretty sight - it's been in the water for some time', 'Come now doctor; blackmail's an ugly word' and the classic 'Is he ... ?' 'I'm afraid so').” According to this site, it is included in "The Writer's Handbook - Guide to Writing for Stage & Screen" and also in here, "Writing for Stage and Screen, both by Barry Turner Other major websites are Audio Theater.com, which has a section on script writing, the National Audio Theatre Festivals has some interesting resources, most noticeably the web site, last updated in 2006, which was the germ of critically acclaimed master, Yuri Rasovsky's book “The Well-tempered Audio Dramatist”. Tony Palermo's very informative, Ruyasonic website has a whole section on writing. Even though I have since moved on to using Celtx, an excellent freeware alternative to costly commercial scriptwriting programs, I would still encourage a novice to study Tony's MSWord script template to see how he uses a script as a director. Perhaps the largest number of links is in the thread, "Places to Find Articles on How to Write Audio Drama" on the Audio Drama talk forum. I particularly recommend ... “Principles of writing radio drama” Tim Crook (Plus a page of hints from IRDP) “Writing for the Theatre of the Mind” Balance Publishing “Writer's Guide to The Doctor Who Audio Dramas” Everlasting Films “Approaches to writing for radio drama” Angela Turvey “Working as a Radio Writer” M. Wandor “The Soul Patrol” David Koenigsberg My own advice is the same that I give to anyone wanting to try out any new media: if you are interested, jump in and have a go! Never, ever, let inexperience stop you from trying something. Write a script and get it critiqued. Submit it to one of the audio production groups to see if they would like to take it up. If it doesn't and you don't feel confident producing it yourself (a viable option) then chalk it up to experience and write another ... and another ... and even more ... until eventually you succeed! It's called “paying your dues”.
Pod-Trek STO:Zone Star Trek Online, the troubled Massive Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG) may have just re-invented itself, but that's nothing compared to the frenetic activity over at STOZone / Hailing Frequency over the past month! STO-Zone has a solid history of work that you can access by clicking around their new site, STO-Zone.net, and it's sister site, HailingFrequency.co.uk. It's a real multimedia site with the amazing “toonshows” by Kinneas (Tony Tuthill) on YouTube, the Commercial Commons music they stream live as Fleet Radio and their top quality podcast, Hailing Frequency. The creative team behind their success has been made up of Tony, Zach Nichodemous, their website/audio guru, Mr. Juliano their main content provider regarding ST:O and K'suan'indra, who is a mainstay of their dramatic content and the Star Trek Gaming News. Their idea has always been to create an online radio station of sorts that gamers of ST: O could tune into to extend on their gaming experience with music, gaming news and comment as well as a place for fan feedback Recently, Mr Juliano decided that he wanted to break out on his own and Zach and Kinneas announced on May 17 that they had purchased STO-Zone.net and repointed their Star Trek Online website to run from that domain.” I spoke to Tony (Kinneas) recently and he was ok about it, just a parting of the ways that when the dust settles will give us two great fan media. Tony is currently buzzed about the fact that a character in this months IDW Star Trek comic: Enterprise Experiment #2 by Derek Chester and D.C. Fontana is based on him! He's even in the Wiki! Watch out for him at Creation's Vegas con in August. So after the dust has settled a little,what's new? Frankly, there's been a bewildering amount of varied productions coming from both sources! July 22nd saw the announcement that Hailing Frequency had acquired and made operational a streaming 'radio server' capable of supporting up to 400 simultaneous listeners. The Server Technology for the streaming server was graciously provided by Lotus Fleet, the active ST O gaming fleet, and was being
powered by Winamps Shoutcast Software. On July 25, Hailing Frequency Live went online with a 24/7 stream of Star Trek Gaming Interviews, Mods, Fan Games, Music and More! Winamp, Realmedia, VLC Player or Windows Media are required. Zach has called for submissions for material for the stream, so if you think you have something that'll interest the gaming community drop him a line on email@example.com. This happened at just the right time as the final hours of the Cryptic Countdown were streamed on Sunday 27th, as well as reporting by Kinneas from the Las Vegas Star Trek Convention between August 4th to 11th. Mr Juliano's StoZone, meanwhile has been no slouch picking up speed! Broadcasting three times a week from his new website, the highlight for me so far has been his interview with Rick Sternbach! The idea of a streaming internet radio station dedicated to a specific section of fandom sounds fascinating at the outset but the reality is that my old clunker had too many dropouts for me to follow it well and besides, the length of the shows was just too much! An audio show is not like a book or a magazine: you can't skim it to just pick up the pertinent bits if you're in a hurry. That's why podcasts have show notes, so that you can fast forward to the bit you are looking for. Sorry guys, I just don't have the time to listen through such big shows, even though I can download them and start & stop them as I get the time. For now, I'll stick to podcasts – shorter, edited shows that have a tighter, faster-paced schedule that I can download and listen at my leisure. Perhaps it's because I'm not a dedicated gamer? Now if it had a wider based scope of Trek fandom, that might be different! Fan production news, audio dramas, news about the new film, toys & collectables, reviews of FanFic – mixed in with garageband music and music to suit the time-period of the content, ie 60's music when you're broadcasting about TOS. There can be no doubt though that these two sites are doing some fascinating, innovative work – who knows where it'll end up? [PS The first streaming 'net radio for Star Trek I know of was the original Radio Starfleet, which bit the big-one. It's current successor seems to be Radio Free Subspace. ]
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the internet, not all of them focusing on Star Trek.
Paper-Trek Paragon Cardmodels I was following up on the Zealots Forum for Paragon's build report of Billy Burgess' Steamrunner class escort in 1/1900 – which Paragon was building as part of his Wolf 359 series - and found that he has a website now, "Paragon Cardmodels", where he has ...
Federation Auxilliary Craft: ●Type 9 Shuttle (Voyager aka the "Class 2 shuttle") NB. New version with accurate nacelles ●Type 11 Shuttle (ST: Insurrection) ●Argo Shuttle (ST: Nemesis) ●Federation Scout Ship (ST: Insurrection) Starships: ●Steamrunner Class; U.S.S. Appalachia; 1/1900 (ST: First Contact) NB: Zealots instruction thread ●Centaur Type; U.S.S. Centaur; 1/1900 (DSN)
Non-Federation ●Jem'Hadar Attack Ship; 1/1900 ●Hideki Class Warship; NB: makes two. ●Groumall Type Freighter ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Billy Burgess' old website, is now defunct, but his Webshots account is still there with ... ●New Orleans Class ●Steamrunner Class ●The Borg Cube & Tactical Cube ●Klingon D7 (by Marc Robitaille) ●Klingon Bird of Prey (by Alberto Alonso) ●U.S.S. Budapest (by Gary Pilsworth) ●Enterprise D (by Gary Pilsworth) ●USS Daedalus (by Marc Robitalle) ... unfortunately, downloads from Webshots are in a proprietary file format for which you need the "Webshots Desktop software" - I hate having to jump through hoops to download files! Models that don't have a home are more than welcome to be lodged on the Star Trek Paper Models Yahoo Group.
Zine-Trek My Comrades in Arms! Hard copy Fanzines about Star Trek – Trekzines - have, to a certain extent been synonymous with the semi-professional fanzines that are for sale by mail order from the States or from dealers tables at conventions. They still retain the flavour of their roots in the early Star Trek 'zines of the 1967 - 1987 era though, as is described in J.M. Verba's definitive "Boldly Writing". When I started my first online 'Perzine' in 2005, The LIEF Erikson, I wanted to create something that was a little more “news” orientated than the usual Trekzine which tends towards being a vehicle for fan fiction. My reporting soon focused on fan productions and peeked with my Jan '06 issue, which was basically a survey of the Star Trek fan production community based on my experiences in the '05 TrekUnited Fan Film Mailer Campaign. After that I wrote for other fan publications rather than my own, Communique & Hailing Frequencies Open, going on to work as an editor of Sci Fi Studios Magazine and ScuttleButt. It was stimulating work and expanded my experience and skills but eventually I decided that I had aspirations of my own that I wanted to explore and I didn't want to be tied to a regular production schedule, so Acrux was born as my second attempt at a perzine. As I said in my editorial on p.2, my reporting of news in Star Trek fan productions is going to be patchy at best in this and future issues but never fear, I'm not “on my Pat Malone” as we say in Australia. Others with a penchant for writing and desire to share their fan experience have created their own newsletters and fanzines so you'll be able to find out what's happening. The following is just a sample of the zines that are available for free on
●Star Trek Phase II has its own 'ezine' which is available as a free pdf download. Unquestionably the best quality work out there right now! ●Anthony Pascale on Trekmovie.com, the delphic oracle on matters Trek related, has a regular section on his Blogzine called “Fan Made” which features Trek fan productions. Very well connected and first with the scoops. ●Richard Miles' Trekkie Central is an impressive body of work that regularly covers a broad spectrum of work with news, comment and interviews. ●PhotonsBeFree has a Blogzine called, appropriately, “Star Trek Fan Film News”. Well-written and picks up some little known entrants to the field ●Australia has a few Trek orientated zines, the oldest being the Sci Fi Reporter, an email ezine put out by Stuart Blair of Adelaide, a Sci Fi convention organiser with some impressive successes behind him and the head of Starship Mawson, a meeting chapter of the International Federation of Trekkers. His newsletter covers the local scene plus some interesting celebrity interviews. ●Another Aussie zine is GE News, a free pdf that is put out by Gerri and Eugenia, two Adelaide fans whose frenetic energy bubbles through. Again, the focus is on conventions, collecting and fan productions with this month an in-depth interview with Tim Vinning, the producer of the frankly stunning fan animation, Star Trek: Aurora. ●ScuttleButt, the newsletter of the USS Southern Cross, the Australasian Star Trek correspondence fan club is a clubzine that focuses on what they have done and their interests rather than news, however they've got a wide range of interests and have even created an audio drama based on their play-by-mail RPG. ●Ethel The Aardvark, is the clubzine of the Melbourne Science Fiction club ... and the subject of a forthcoming Acrux article, “How to win a Ditmar!” Ok, so I'm joking about the article but I do owe them a LOC since they are kind enough to exchange 'zines with me. ●A new Ezine from South America, GN Monthly, by Noriega.biz, has some interesting material on site and has the first edition of their newsletter now online.
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TALES OF DEATH AND HONOUR BOOK 1
MOTHERHOOD A Star Trek Fan Fiction Written by Kirok of L’Stok Cover art by Paul "Enigma" Simpson Published by L’Stok Press, Sydney, Australia July 2008 http://lstok-press.blogspot.com
Introduction “Motherhood” is the first part of a trilogy to start off a new fan produced series from The House of L'Stok, “Tales of Death and Honour”. It was originally produced as an audio book by our audio productions group, Silvertongue Productions and this text is based on the director's script of January 3, 2008. The full-cast production was read by the author as narrator, Karl Puder as the father and Merodi as the Mother. Sound editing was by Merodi Media http://merodi.wordpress.com, the theme music was La Hoguera by Distimia http://ccmixter.org/media/people/Distimia, and incidental music was by Kevin McLeod http://www.incompetech.com . You can listen to the audio book streamed live, download it or subscribe to future Silvertongue Productions at our website at http://lstok-silvertongue.blogspot.com. The House of L'Stok is an experimental multimedia production house for the creation of fan and smallscale Indie productions. For more information about this and other productions of the House of L'Stok, see our website at http://lstok.blogspot.com
Copyright This is the text of a fan-produced audio book, made available for free, and is in no way associated with Paramount Pictures or CBS Corporation who own the copyrights for Star Trek and all related products. Any attempt to sell, rent or otherwise make a profit from this production should be reported to the copyright owners for their action.
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Motherhood The midnight bell boomed out from the village as the two Klingons strode slowly but purposefully up the well used mountain path. The light from the ruined moon Praxis outlined the clouds that scudded across the sky in brilliant silver, painting the mountainous landscape in an eerie monotone. In the lead was a male holding up a lantern to light their way. Slightly built for his race, he never the less carried himself with the lithe power of the seasoned warrior. The woman on the other hand, was a statuesque beauty with a tumbling mass of raven curls, fine teeth and delicate brow ridges. Dressed conservatively in maternity clothes, she carried a small bundle that squirmed occasionally. Their monotonous climb eventually brought them to the summit, their goal becoming apparent as a strange stone building came into sight. Whilst Klingons have little time for religion, they have a complex culture and deep rooted traditions. The building would best be described as a temple although those who came to it worshipped a way of life rather than any god. It was a simple but massive structure consisting of an imposing dome atop a circle of columns. At the last curve in the path, within metres of the arched entrance, the female faltered. "I cannot do this thing!" she spat in their guttural tongue. Klingon women were inured to a long painful childbirth but this labour had been particularly bad by even Klingon standards and she had come close to death. It was not the obvious pain that each step was costing that she spoke of though. Hitching the bundle higher in her grasp and swapping hands, she pulled the course blankets apart slightly to uncover the head of a sleeping infant. "There can be no honour in killing an innocent child!" The male turned to her and growled, "It must be done for the honour of the family." He looked away, grunting in resignation. "Come into the temple with me, we will speak of this one last time and then we will do what you know must be done." He was uncertain as to whether he should help her since she looked ready to fall at every step but knew that she would take it as an insult. The last few, painful metres covered, they entered the temple. Along the perimeter of columns was a low wall that marked the outside of the building. Into these, benches were hewn into the solid rock. Slowly, painfully, the female eased herself into the nook closest to the entrance. Her mate strode to the centre of the small temple and placed a hand on the flat rock in the centre. Without looking back he spoke into the darkness. "The life of a Klingon is a battle that cannot be won. We are born into this world of strife and must fight all our lives to survive, knowing full well that no matter how skilfully and bravely we fight eventually we will die, for death is inevitable. Some die young, some die old but die we will and a Klingons' life is a preparation for that day." He turned from the rock and started pacing the earthen floor, his voice gaining volume as he warmed to his subject. "If we are lucky, it will be in battle surrounded by the bodies of our enemies, soaked to the armpits in their blood! To go to Sto Vo Kor preceded by an honour guard of a dozen mighty warriors is every Klingons dream." If the female had been close enough she would have seen the gleam of fervour in her mates' eyes as he talked of his dreams of glory. Turning now to his wife, his voice dropped almost to a whisper. "Not to die in battle is against the very purpose of our existence and it would be a waste of our life. In this we battle against fate - fire, storm, accident ... sickness. Roughly he grabbed her by the nape of the neck in what was, for them, a show of tenderness.
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"This is his first battle ..." he rumbled into her ear, "... to show that he has the strength to combat the elements." Levering the child out of her arms, he stood, looking down into the small round face. He had woken now but was silent, his dark eyes gazing deeply into those of his father. Turning quickly - did he doubt his own ability to see this thing through? - he strode to the flat slab of volcanic rock that squatted in the centre of the temple and with a surprising gentleness laid the baby in the shallow depression on the top. "Your first battle." From his belt he drew a D'k tagh, the Klingon ritual blade - and held it up to the high domed ceiling. "You will either live a Klingon, with the strength to hold your own against the world, or die a Klingon, fighting the elements." looking down to the quiet child, his voice broke to a growl once again. "This is the only gift I can give you, the chance of a short life and an honourable death." He placed the D'k tagh at the head of the baby and, spreading the blankets to expose the naked waif, turned to the entrance. "We go." His wife leapt to her feet, gasping momentarily at the effort that this cost her. Flinging her head back she drew her lips back into a snarl. "Glorious dreams of death and honour!" her sneer stopped him in his tracks. "I care naught for your pretty fantasies! All I see is someone who is trying to hurt my child and it would be a dishonour to me - as a mother if not as a Klingon - to let that happen!" Reaching into the folds of her cloak she pulled out her own blade and slowly, painfully advanced on her stunned husband. "Are you mad!" His astonished shout rang from the depths of the vaulted ceiling, but as he looked into her eyes he knew that, yes, she was. The grim determination he saw flew in the face of all reason. "What else can we do?" His tone changed from challenging to reasoning in an attempt to defuse the situation. "Would you have me not do this? Every Klingon child goes through the same ritual as soon as they are weaned from their mother. We would be dishonoured, driven out of our homeland, our families would disown us and we would be doomed to live the life of penniless vagabonds." Still she advanced, step by step. Rage swept over him and he leapt back to the stone where his son lay, snatching up the D'k tagh. "I would see him dead before I would let you do this to us all - to force us all into a dishonourable halflife!" This made her hesitate in her tracks. She knew she could not overpower her husband, in fact she had expected death herself but this would mean nothing if her son died also. Slowly the male brought the blade away from the baby's throat, his tone once again changing to reconciliation. "In battle there is always the chance - the hope - of victory." He reversed the blade in his hand. "You have my word that if he survives the night he will be given every chance to live."
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For long seconds the two glared at each others in silence across drawn steel until the female slowly drew herself erect and returned her blade to its' secret place in her cloak. "It was a black day for me when first I set eyes on you, if only I had known that at the time. You will keep your word, I do not doubt that. We will let him fight his own battle. Be gone, for I do not want to set eyes on you unless you hold our son alive in your arms." Abruptly she turned her face away from him. The male snarled in frustration, making as if to go to her and force his will on her, but in the end he spun on his heel and marched to the exit, only pausing at the entrance to give another wordless snarl. For a scant minute or two the female stood motionless, breathing deeply, until with faltering steps, she approached the baby who, through all this, had uttered not one sound. Tenderly, she bunched the blankets to the infants' sides, as close as she could get to covering him without breaking the spirit of the ritual that, even in her maternal madness, she knew to have an element of justice. Q'onos was a hard world and life as a Klingon was a brutal one in which the weak died young. Not knowing if this was going to be the last time she saw her child alive she tried to memorise every aspect of him, laid bare as he was on the rock to the increasingly chill night air. From his squashed nose and bold forehead crests, to his tight cap of black curly hair, his eyes like twin pools of blackness in the night and his one good arm waving in the air above him. She loved him. That was the be all and end all of it. In her doting mothers' eye she only saw his beauty ... not his withered left arm with a flipper like stump for a hand ... nor his non-existent legs. Infant deformities were rare in Klingons and the few who lived rarely lasted long, mainly because of the may'ram - the ritual battle against the elements that her beautiful son was to undergo tonight. "Be strong and fight hard, my little warrior! But mark this well - your mother loves you, no matter where your brave soul wanders." …and so saying she turned abruptly to stagger, choking back tears, to the exit. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The Future for Tales of Death And Honour I was exceptionally pleased with the feedback I got for Motherhood which was capped off by the excellent review we got from W. Joseph Thomas on the Noriega.Biz web site and in their recent newsletter. Karl & Merodi both said they are good for the next two episodes at least so, emboldened by the positive critique, I posted a casting call for the characters of episodes 2 and 3 so that we could produce them concurrently and release them as a trilogy on Day 3 of the Twelve Trek Days of Christmas The way I'm producing the audio books is slightly out of the ordinary. I find most (not all) audio books to be 'hamstrung' by their refusal to use music, sound effects and an individual cast to put their story across. Whilst I respect radio plays and audio dramas (done well) I feel there is a gap half-way between - that needs to be filled. The difference is the integral part that the narrator plays in the production. Think about the traditional storyteller, the very
best readers you've ever heard. It might be Sir Richard Burton or James Earl Jones because of their distinctive voices ... or it could be the tales a favourite uncle used to tell you as a child, or the spooky readings the local librarian used to scare you with! My feeling is that, contrary to what I've read as conventional wisdom, a good storyteller, or in our case a good narrator, should put emotion and feeling into their reading (although not at the expense of clarity) so that their delivery is as much a part of the production as anyone else in the cast. If this works out I'm looking at producing a six-part season of short, 10 minute fan productions every six months in the new year, the episodes to be released monthly, probably as an integral part of someone else's podcast. The production will be split into two parts and we will produce them as three episodes at a time so that, for example, we would audition, cast and record the first three episodes together, then post- produce them and release them over the next three months.
Our experience with these next two episodes will give us an idea of what sort of lead times will make this the most comfortable for all of us. We all have other projects that we want to pursue so a short, sharp campaign four times a year will be much better than twelve monthly commitments and yet it will have a pretty consistent impact on the fan media. Because they are such short productions I will be keeping the number of major characters in each episode to a minimum, say 2-3, but introduce new characters as we go along, mixing them up and re-using them. It will include a strong, admirable gay character and although there will be no overt sex, love will rear it's head because, of all the emotions, none can match it for it's ability to elevate us to Heaven or condemn us to Hell! It won't be "space opera" it'll be closer to "Klingon opera" in that they will deal with strong themes and over-the-top emotions, hopefully without descending into
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melodrama. The Klingon's will be barbaric but bound by their trademark stereotype of honour above life, they will kill and be politically incorrect BUT the message of each episode will a socially responsible one, just as Macbeth comments on ambition and Othello comments on jealousy. Trust me, I respect the Roddenberry message and I want to extend on it without turning the Klingons into "closet Fed's" The quality of the production is something that most people comment on and, without taking anything away from the rest of the team's work, I give Merodi full credit for that! I'm starting to think of it as an immersive production where the music (especially!) and sound effects guide the atmosphere and tension.
Unfortunately Merodi has recently had to bow out of the production since she has been offered the chance of producing something for public radio. Whilst I'm looking for a replacement, I'm doing the preliminary work and I've even put together a Trailer which will be available from the Silvertongue Productions website <http://lstok-silvertongue.blogspot.com/> by the time this 'zine hits the press! The script for â€œBook 2â€? is with the voice Actors and Book 3 is drafted, they are violent in places, possibly maudlin in others (although I see it as charged emotion). The concluding episode is heavier on dialogue than the others and needs tightening up. I have some strong positive messages there and they should have a surprise or two.
The good news is that the part of the Vulcan, T'Lor, has been cast and I have the immense pleasure to announce that Paul R. Sieber will be playing opposite Karl Puder for the next audio book episode! Paul is well known in Star Trek fan production circles both for his co-starring role in Starship Farragut as Lt. Cmdr Prescott, their tough-as-nails security chief, and his guest spot on Star Trek: Phase II as Kyril. What many don't know is that he is also heavily involved behind the scenes as well, having recently written and directed the latest Starship Farragut episode, "For Want of a Nail" amongst other things. It was Paul's supporting role on the audio drama, Star Trek: Unity, as Chief Medical Officer Sobak of Vulcan that drew my attentionto him though because of the way he was able to bring character to the role of a Vulcan, no easy feat!
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Issue two of Acrux finally made it to press with a wide range of news and views on the changing interface between fan production and profess...
Published on Nov 29, 2008
Issue two of Acrux finally made it to press with a wide range of news and views on the changing interface between fan production and profess...