Thursday, December 17, 2009

Star Trek: The Early Years breaks new ground

I was wondering how long it would take. A new fan film production group has surfaced that aims to create what I believe is the first fan film tied in to the new movie from JJ Abrams, to be called Star Trek: The Early Years.

A thread on the official movie forum first led me to their MySpace page (and its virtually identical twin on Trekspace) where I first saw their teaser trailer, which is in turn housed on Vimeo, and I can honestly say that if this is any indication of the quality of the work we can expect, this is going to be the one to watch next year!
Online for five months, it showcases the USS Kelvin 3D model by Tobias Richter of LightWorks in a short sequence created in Blender, Adobe After Effects, Premiere and Soundbooth. The music is based on "To Boldy Go" from the Star Trek (2009) soundtrack with some add-ins by the film's maker.

The project has been around since at least March, when they announced that CutshawKane Reel Music out of Kings Mountain, NC will be providing additional music for our episodes. So far they have a principal cast and crew plus a guest cast for their first episode which is due to film in North Carolina in 2010

Pretty impressive, in fact you can see a trend here: they are all pro or semi-pro cast and crew, some with substantial backgrounds and demo reels. This is the work of an independent film-maker who is using a Star Trek fan film as a vehicle to practice his art. Its been done quite successfully in other fandoms, most noticeably the DC 'verse, and last year by D. R. Quintana's Star Trek: Beyond.

Ethically there is nothing wrong with it at all as long as they stick to the rules and don't divert any revenue from the copyright owners. This however is an example of how professionals can gain something that cannot be measured in dollars: public and professional visibility. We, the fans, win as does the copyright owner by the free fan prublicity. If they were to prosecute people for doing things for the glory that they might bring then I'd be behind bars right now!

1 comment:

Kirok of L'Stok said...

After some interesting investigative journalism (sometimes I amaze even myself!) this does look like it could be a pretty solid concept.

The producer, Kelly Rhodes (IMDB) has his own production label, Mortal Cine Studios which has a short film supernatural thriller "Blood Feud", in pre-production as at 16/11/09, and is also putting together a Marvel fan production, "Peter Parker: Spiderman" which he will star in. He's a young film-maker who is 'paying his dues' by networking with other groups and individuals, most notabley Zoning Media, a prolific, not-for-profit production house with a number of Indie credits behind them and links around the world, as well as Creative By Habit, Movie Tao Productions and ThothScribe Films.

Networking is the key to what he is trying to accomplish. He's not just starting a forum and hoping that Trek fans will commit to learning the professional skills needed to make a good film, he's advertised for actors and production crew on Tar Heel Films, a Ning forum that acts as a filmmakers network for the South Eastern USA. Again, rather than re-invent the wheel by building a bridge set, he is planning on using the new Farragut studios at St. Marys, Georgia. As I've said, this type of arrangement, an Indie film studio doing a fan production has many precedents and should be encouraged. My only concern might be that a group like this might not have a place for Trek fans without acting experience but, to be fair, if their priority is the final product rather than the fan experience of making the show then casting should be competitive and go to the best applicant.

For my money, I think his biggest challenge will be the costume and props departments - things that a fan might have in their collection - but I sincerely wish him every success and look forward to hearing more from this production!

K