Saturday, September 29, 2007

Kirok on Audio Dramas, Sep '07

And now for something completely different! I've been pondering the problem recently about Star Trek Role Playing Games.

I'll admit to a certain amount of ignorance on this subject, (Checkout this article from an expert) but it appears to me that Role Playing games (RPGs) represent a fast paced, original and easily accessible form of fan fiction. Getting a group of writers to collaborate on a story is like herding cats! Not impossible but a work of diplomacy to edit because of the individuality of the writers. RPGs turn writing into a game, complete with rules, that everyone contributes to readily. They can be very fast-paced as the writers bounce ideas off each other. They can be original in that often the storyline will take unexpected turns as one writer will write in a plot twist in reply to an idea contributed by someone else. Not only this but they can be accessible for people who are intimidated by the idea of creating a story of their own: they can embellish the work of others and get friendly feedback from the group. Since it is meant to be fun no one is pushing them to watch their spelling and grammar or any of the other technical standards that editors ask for in submissions that are for outside readers.

Perhaps that is the secret. They don't seem to be meant as a deep-and-meaningful fiction nor written with others in mind. They're just meant to be fun, to tell a story that you feel involved in.

So how is that a problem? Well, what do you do with them when they reach a conclusion?

To me they represent a vast untapped resource that could be the the genesis of characters and storylines that could be developed further. Some of the Star Trek fan films, ST: Intrepid and Tales of the Seventh Fleet for example, have gone through into production have drawn on their early experience in RPGs. They can be made into short stories or even scripts ... or even more ...

Star Trek: Excelsior is the latest audio drama to hit the internet and in their own words are "notable for being the first-ever Trek production of any sort to be based, rather tightly, on the adventures of a roleplaying game/simm run out of Bravo Fleet. It’s certainly an experiment, but we’re confident that, with some patience and an appreciation for long-form Star Trek storytelling."

This looks like an interesting experiment in translating an RPG into a more polished production although I might point out that both ST: Defiant and the recently deceased ST: The Section 31 Files have a common ancestry in a text-based story list which split from an earlier TrekChatter list in the fall of 1995 as recounted by Judah Frieze in the first "Behind the Scenes" podcast from Darker Projects.

I've listened to Excelsior (not to be confused with the Excelsior of ST: Hidden Frontier) and I think they have a pretty good thing going. The dialogue is realistic and unforced, the delivery is individual and the plot is ... well, still being set up but that is to be expected in a character driven plot.

I look forward to hearing more from this "not-the-usual-suspects" production!

In other news ...

  • Sep 21, the latest Twerpcast announced that the delayed act 1 of Episode 4 of ST: Eras, "Yours, Mines and Ours", should be out by the end of Oct.
  • Also from Twerpcast, news that ST: NX01, the fan-made audio series of Season 5 of ST: Enterprise that TWERP (the production group behind ST: Eras) are co-producing with GM Grantham Productions, are still on track for a December release. Announced on the TrekUnited 'EDay', their preliminary recordings have been finished and they will be going into editing after some pick-ups.
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  • Sep 21, ST: Archimedes launched their webpage on the new BrokenSea Audio productions website.
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  • Sep 12, Star Trek: The Continuing Mission went into production according to a post on their forum (they also have Podcasts and a Wiki of their own!). This group have been successful in getting news about their new series out into the media, both fan and professional! They recently announced that Lawrence Montaigne, best known to TOS fans as the Romulan Decius from The Balance of Terror and Spock's rival, Ston from Amok Time, "will be featuring in the pilot episode... Ghost ship".
  • Sep 6, Pendant Productions released Episode 16 of Star Trek: Defiant, "Enemies of Mine, part 3" (35mins 05secs) "The crew of the Defiant attends a funeral for one of their own, and Commander Ry forms a plan that leaves the rest of the crew none too happy. Otek is destined for prison, and the Defiant finally meets the Shin'Aqi and the reception is anything but friendly! Featuring a special guest appearance by Jonathan Frakes as Thomas Riker!" Defiant episode 17 is due out on OCT 11
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  • Sep 1, Darker Projects released Star Trek: Lost Frontier episode 3 "Prisoner" (37mins 30secs, 34.5 MB) "The Enterprise responds to distress signal and is surprised to discover it may have Romulan origins. Meanwhile an away team is sent to find a prisoner being held by the faction of the One True Federation."
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  • Aug 25, Krako of ST: Unity posted about how he is working steadily on not just episode one but episodes two and three. This might sound unnecessary, but it is usual to have at least a few episodes in hand before releasing the first so that you have leeway for delays in schedule. Act 1 is in post production, Act 2 is nearing completion of production and production of Act 3 is a third done with nearly all lines in. The official announcement about the release date is that there will be no official release date released until it has been completed, and the distribution network tested.
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  • Aug 24, Starfleet Renegades announced that they had done their first table reading and that rehearsals continue. Their Voice Actors should be recording dialogue now and estimated that they were still on schedule to release episode 1, "Court Martial", in late fall.
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