Archive for the ‘Fanfilms’ Category

Getting Animated

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

Copying some files from a thumb drive this evening, I came across the copy of Starship Farragut episode “A Rock and a Hard Place” I’d given a co-worker a few months back.

As is usually the case, running across an episode got me to wondering if there was anything new. Last I’d heard, the Farragut crew was planning to re-shoot portions of “Just Passing Through”, and there were one or two other projects in the wings.

A visit to the Farrgut web site revealed a few convention appearances I’d known about, and one or two more that I hadn’t. Then I struck gold — a new episode!

Since April 2008, I’ve been looking forward to seeing Starship Farragut’s animated episodes. And while I’ve been writing this entry, I’ve been downloading a copy of “Power Source” – Farragut’s first animated episode.

This should be good. 🙂


More YouTube Silliness

Friday, February 27th, 2009

It’s been a while since I spent an evening watching YouTube, but a few nights ago the Cowgirl Coder sent me a link to a video of an alternate A-Team opening featuring the TOS crew. And there I was, off watching videos again.

The TOS A-Team

Captain Jack Harkness as Flash Gordon

I haven’t seen season three of Torchwood yet (ditto for season four of Doctor Who or any of the Sarah Jane Adventures – I’m waiting for Netflix on the former and just not the target audience for that last) but this has enough scenes that I’m looking forward to seeing them (well, maybe not the Sarah Jane Adventures)


And just to be completely silly….

Star Trek: The Love Boat

Watching A Rock and a Hard Place

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

What with some long hours at the office lately, it wasn’t until shortly before Farpoint that I found an opportunity to watch Starship Farragut’s “A Rock and a Hard Place”. In the episode, Captain Carter takes a shuttle on a prospecting mission, accompanied by an old girl friend. The episode is 17 1/2 minutes long, but most enjoyable nonetheless.

A few thoughts came to mind after watching the episode:

  1. The best line of the film: “That’s a moodbreaker.”
  2. What’s a picnic without a few Klingons? (Klingons, ants, is there a difference?)
  3. It’s not just the Enterprise. You can’t trust any starship captain with anything that has a back seat.

Actually, what struck me most about the episode is something that’s been missing from a lot of fan films. I’m not quite sure how to describe it, but it sometimes feels fan films tend to take themselves far too seriously. I don’t think fan films need laugh tracks (unless maybe they’re doing an SF sitcom I guess) but making every episode deeply serious with a somber ending, just doesn’t work for me.

With “A Rock and a Hard Place” I think Team Farragut managed to hit the mark just about right. The episode (or is it a “minisode”?) had its relatively serious moments, but overall, it felt like a classic TOS episode with just the right amount of humor.

I hope they can manage to continue.

A Rock and a Hard Place

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

Yesterday, quite by accident, I discovered by that Star Trek: Phase II has released Part 1 of their new episode, Blood and Fire.

That got me to wondering how things were going with Starship Farragut and their “Crew Logs” releases. Back in November, I attempted to attend their premier at the University of Maryland’s Hoff Theater, but ended up missing the event due to some bad directions from Google. (I’ve since heard from Mark Hildebrand that parking was pretty horrible that day due to a Maryland home game, so perhaps that worked out in my favor.)

Visiting the Farragut web site, I learned that the first “Crew Logs” episode, A Rock and a Hard Place, was released to the web on December 10. (The episode is available from the Crew Logs download page instead of the general episodes page.)

I haven’t had a chance to watch it yet, but if it’s anything like their previous efforts, then I expect it to be thoroughly entertaining.

Blood and Fire, Part 1

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

In July of last year, I had the opportunity to see a preview of Blood and Fire, from Star Trek: Phase II (formerly Star Trek: New Voyages) before the visual effects and audio track were completed.

A finished version of Part 1 is now available from the Star Trek: Phase II web site. It was released to the web on December 20, just two days after Majel Barrett Roddenberry passed away and includes a brief memorial before the opening credits.

I’ve only watched a few minutes worth so far (enough to discover a member of the medical crew is named Fontana — a reference to writer DC Fontana?), but it looks good. I’m looking forward to watching the rest of it.

Google Loses its Glitter

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

Starship Farragut premiered their two new “Crew Logs” mini-episodes today. I’d been planning to attend the premier and post a short review of the new episodes, but my plans didn’t quite work out.

In a rather infamous incident six years ago, I got lost on my way to Ocean City. It was my first-ever time going there and in the end, it took me six hours versus the three it took my friends. I have no doubt that the directions MapQuest gave me were accurate, but they involved following a number of unmarked back roads. I haven’t used MapQuest since.

For the past several years, I’ve been using Google Maps without significant problems. I’ve been increasingly concerned about Google lately though. They’ve been rolling out a variety of new features (e.g. Street Views), but it appears the core mapping system is suffering from a lack of attention. Two months ago, I discovered a park which in reality is just a couple miles up the road was supposedly located on the other side of the county. More recently, a street which had been labeled correctly for the past five years suddenly had all of its street numbers reversed (I truly hope that no Emergency Services use Google for anything important.)

Today was strike three for Google Maps. I knew the Farragut premier was at the University of Maryland’s Hoff Theater, but never having been there, I needed directions. Not to worry though, I visited Google Maps, typed in “Hoff Theater” and Google quickly popped up a set of directions. All was good. Or so I thought.

The route from Google dropped me into the middle of a residential neighborhood, with no theaters of any sort, just a “hole in the wall” restaurant, a couple nearby gas stations, and a whole heck of a lot of houses.

I don’t blame the Farragut folks for this. Heck, I probably shouldn’t blame Google either. Instead, I should have looked around on the University of Maryland’s web site to see if they had directions. The worst of it is, from my previous experiences, I should have known better than to trust Google.

By the time I got myself sorted out, it was already 4:30 and by my reckoning, the Starship Farragut event was likely halfway over. On my way out, I spotted a sign for the University of Maryland campus, but by then I didn’t see much point.

Hopefully the Farragut Crew Logs were well-received. I’m looking forward to seeing them.

But for now, I need to find a better source of maps.

Support Your Local Starship

Sunday, October 19th, 2008

I’m not entirely certain of it, but I think I spotted John Broughton (Captain Jack Carter of Starship Farragut) at Home Depot last night. I’ve known for a while that Starship Farragut is based in Maryland, but my assumption has always been “somewhere else in Maryland.” This may have been an incorrect assumption.

It took me a few moments to put a name to the face, by which time he’d headed off into the aisles. Too late to check whether it was really him, but it was plenty of time for whimsical notions to pop into my head of a starship in need of emergency repairs with no time to wait for the usual bureaucracy. (“Neutron baffles? They’re on aisle 85, right next to the weather stripping.”)

It was a chance encounter, but it started me wondering how they were coming along with their latest efforts. They’ll be premiering two vignettes from their Crew Logs series “Just Passing Through” and “A Rock and a Hard Place” on November 22, 2008 at the University of Maryland’s Hoff Theater.

That’s great news and I’m looking forward to seeing the new installments, but looking through their site, I happened to run across their FAQ page and the first question gave me a guilty start: How can I donate and/or help out with Starship Farragut?

I don’t know too many fans who wouldn’t like to appear on screen. It would be fun to point your friends to a web site where they can watch a “Star Trek” episode. But that question got me to thinking.

Fan films are in a difficult position. Making even a bad movie costs some money to build the sets and props as well as the materials for the costumes. And if you don’t know anyone willing to donate the time for the editing and effects, that can cost you some money too. Farragut’s episodes are among the better fan films, so their costs are undoubtedly even higher.

And unfortunately, fan films (at least, the ones based on existing TV shows and movies) aren’t allowed to sell their final product. All they can do is give it away and with the economy in the tank right now, that has to be getting harder.

When I’ve seen the Farragut crew at conventions, they’ve always been a friendly bunch and I’ve frequently come away with DVD copies of their latest episodes. In return, I’ve made sure to tell various friends and interested family members about their project (plus the occasional mention here). But perhaps a more concrete show of support might be in order.

I’ll undoubtedly run into members of their group at one fannish event or another in the not so distant future, and I know they build their own sets.

I wonder if they might have some use for a Home Depot gift card? 🙂

Blood and Fire

Wednesday, July 16th, 2008

As the story goes, in 1986, shortly after Paramount announced the creation of Star Trek: The Next Generation, somebody at a convention asked Gene Roddenberry whether this new Star Trek would include any gay characters. Gene Roddenberry immediately replied that yes, it would indeed.

Hearing this, David Gerrold, best known for writing the TOS episode “The Trouble With Tribbles”, set out to write a screenplay, “Blood and Fire”, for Next Gen which included a gay character. Gene Roddenberry approved the script, and the studio execs balked at including anything of that sort on a show which children might see at 4:00pm in some markets.

Twenty-two years later, Star Trek: Phase II filmed the episode, taking place in the TOS timeframe. This past weekend at Shore Leave, Phase II presented a “wet copy” of the episode. (Many of the visual effects were missing, others were preliminary. Likewise, the audio track had yet to be cleaned up.)

All in all, it was a good episode. The acting was dead on and the story was compelling. The main storyline centers around a thinly-veiled reference to AIDS, but as a general threat instead of something limited to the gay community. Whether there any members of the crew were gay was incidental to the story. (Indeed, if the point of the episode was social commentary by having a gay crewmember, that end might have been better served by a different story.)

One particularly memorable scene involved a call for blood donors. I saw a preview of that scene in February at Farpoint and my thought both times was that it would make a fantastic stand-alone “commercial” for any convention’s blood drive. Talking to Executive Producer (and Captain Kirk) James Cawley afterward, I learned that this scene had been written that way on purpose. Part of the reason was because when the AIDS crisis first began, people stopped giving blood for fear of getting AIDS. (Here in the 21st century, some twenty years later, everyone knows that donating blood is safe, right?) And the other reason for writing the scene that way? Well, apparently there’s some outside interest (not just me) in creating a blood-drive commercial from it!

About my only complaints with the episode are that some of the humor seems a bit heavy-handed at times and it has so many sub-plots that some of them don’t get adequate attention. The episode is still in post-production, so it’s possible some of that will be edited or augmented, and having subplots can be quite a good thing.

The episode runs in two parts, each somewhere around 50 minutes long. (I didn’t check the time, so perhaps someone “in the know” will leave an approximate runtime in the comments.) Part 1 is planned for release sometime in October, though this is (of course) subject to people’s schedules and other production vagaries which might impact a fan film. No release schedule was mentioned for Part 2.

I look forward to seeing the final version.

The rest of this post contains potential spoilers; you’ve been warned.

Some things to look for in the in episode:

  • Of all the people to whom you might mention a daughter! We now have an a point for arguing that Captain Kirk is the father of a member of Captain Picard’s bridge crew.
  • Spock just can’t seem to win arguments with the medical staff.
  • I hope they don’t try to show the Sparkle Dancer. Showing people’s reactions to it leaves the visual up to the viewer’s imagination and avoids falling short of expectations.
  • A certain rogue division of Starfleet makes an appearance.

Starship Farragut Crew Becomes Quite Animated

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

When the Starship Farragut Crew launched their series at last year’s Farpoint convention, they also announced plans to release new episodes at the rate of two per year. I was quite impressed by the boldness of their plans and even more so when they actually did it!

I had the opportunity to talk to several members of the group back in February, during this year’s Farpoint. During one such chat, someone, I think it was Michael Bednar, told me they had some big changes in the offing. About the only details I learned were that they would be doing fewer episode length productions, but making up the difference with more short subjects.

The cat is now out of the bag. Farragut Films has announced Starship Farragut-The Animated Episodes. The trailer currently displayed on the site’s home page shows a brief montage of clips from the existing live-action episodes (I recognized at least one clip from “For Want of a Nail“) and then cuts to animated clips done in the same style as the 1970s animated series done by Filmation.

No episodes yet, but I’m looking forward to seeing what they have up their collective sleeve.

Thanks to DaCap for passing along the news!

Links of Interest:

A New Episode, and a New Installment

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

Starship Farragut

When Starship Farragut released their first episode last February, their goal was to release new episodes at a rate of two per year. The first episode, “The Captaincy” premiered at the Farpoint convention, so with the 2008 edition of Farpoint approaching, it occurred to me to check whether there were any updates.

Sure enough, when I visited Farragut’s web site (, I was greeted with an announcement that a new episode was available for download.

“For Want of a Nail” premiered on October 13 and was released on the web (with a variety of download mirrors) on December 3. I haven’t had a chance to view the episode yet (I may have an opportunity this weekend), but the trailers make it sound quite enticing.

Starship Exeter

After downloading the new Starship Farragut episode, I decided to check the status of another fan series, Starship Exeter ( Rather than the “all at once” approach Farragut and New Voyages use for releasing their new episodes, Exeter has been releasing individual acts of the episode as they finish the post processing.

The advantage to this strategy is that you get to see new footage a little more often. The down side of course is that when a segment ends on a dramatic note, it can be quite frustrating waiting for the next segment to be released. In the case of Exeter’s current episode, “The Tressaurian Intersection,” it was a year between the release of Act II and Act III. (As frustrating as that might be, it’s still faster than IMPS: The Relentless which is coming up on three years since the last installment was released.)

As with the Exeter episode, I haven’t had a chance to watch Act III of “The Tressaurian Intersection” yet, but I do remember Act II as a classic cliffhanger. I’m definitely looking forward to watching it, though I can’t help wondering whether I should wait for the ending piece to be released.