LIEF Productions

Thursday, February 09, 2006

New Voyages in 2005

Location: NY, USA

December has been a time of changes at "Star Trek: New Voyages" (NV) as well, with the surprise departure of Jack Marshall, one of the original creators of this hugely successful fan film group. On December 28th Jack announced on the NV forum that … "In every persons life the need for change comes and thus, that time has come for me. Work on the show continues in the capable hands of Max Rem and Erik Goodrich and I look forward to seeing it myself one day."

His co-producer, James Cawley responded by simply saying "Thank You. We have had our creative differences, but let me say, I wish you well, on whatever the future holds. Much Success, Peace and Happiness to you."

Other than the two statements there has been a complete information blackout on the subject on the New Voyages Forum. There is however every reason to believe that Jack is, as he says, just moving on. He elaborated on this on the TrekBBS by saying amongst other things "Put simply I'm tired ... I've got a film I'm shooting in February and I'm part of an X project (to be revealed later in January) as well as pitching shows to investors and others. Cow Creek Films is getting some real offers and it's time I moved on and secured a future for my family and my team rather than wallow. If you hear any other reasons I left, it's a load of crap."

Jack Marshall rose to fan fame in 2002 when he used his editing skills to "improve" the 1989 movie “ST V: The Final Frontier”. Surgically removing "deadwood" from the movie, he left a "fan's cut" that caught the attention of aficionados around the country. At the time Jack, his wife Pearl and a group of friends had just founded Cow Creek Films as a non-profit film company with the goal of partnering arts projects with charitable organisations.

The following year, in between projects, Marshall made the acquaintance of James Cawley, a professional actor and Elvis impersonator, who just happened to be the owner/builder of a recreation of the original Enterprise bridge! With Cawley’s props & acting experience and Marshall’s production company all that was needed was a CGI master in the form of Max Rem, the pseudonym of a professional visual effects and makeup artist, and the result was the genesis of ‘Star Trek; New Voyages”.

They have produced two episodes in 2004, "Come What May" in January, now classified as the "pilot" episode, and "In Harm’s Way”, episode one, in October and 2005 has been taken up with production work. Originally they planned to film their next two episodes simultaneously. "What Lies Beneath" was written by veteran Deep Space Nine writers Jack Trevino & Ethan Calk and "re-introduces" the characters of Chekov and Sulu. The other episode, "To Serve All My Days" has been penned by none other than D.C. (Dorothy) Fontana who, as story editor, could be said to be one of the foremost creative influences on the original series! To cap it off, Walter Koenig, the original Pavel Chekov, has guest starred as an older version of the character he created in the original series!

Shortly before the start of filming in September it was announced that Trevino & Calk were to turn their script into a movie, a two hour presentation, to be filmed in 2007 depending on finance. At the time though this was given as the reason for a major change in their filming schedule. The Fontana "webisode" was confirmed for filming in September as planned however the Trevino/Calk script was postponed until 2006.

The filming at Wheelock's Garage, Port Henry, New York in September went well, as reported on the Capital News 9 report , for some candid shots of the cast and filming checkout the report by cast member Ron Boyd ("Lt. Desalle") on the New Voyages forum. There were a number of guest appearances besides Walter Koenig and Mary Linda Rapelye: Tim Brazeal, co-creator of Trek United, played a Klingon and Larry Nemecek, author & editor of Communicator magazine, played "Esterion" Captain or was he a Tellerite? .

The visitors were behind the camera as well as in front of it, most notably Emmy award winning make up artist Kevin Haney who ran the whole makeup department for new Voyages in this episode. His Tellerite makeup would have been appreciated most by John Whiting. John was another cast visitor who does his own makeup for the role he plays in ST: Hidden Frontier, a Tellerite named Dr. Henglaar.

It was around this time that to fill in the gap until the release of their next episode probably in March '06, they decided to release a series of ten minute "vignettes". Filmed in September at the same time as episode 3, it was planned that they would be released beginning in late October of this year, and every 4 to 6 weeks after that. The Vignettes run about 10 minutes each and feature characters from STNV. Currently there are 5 vignettes in post-production. They include:
? "Center Seat" written by Erik Korngold, featuring DeSalle and Sulu.
? "Review" written by Jeffrey Quinn, featuring Spock and Chekov.
? "Co-Pilots" written by Jack Trevino and Ethan Calk, featuring Rand and DeSalle.
? "No Lesson Complete" written by Erik Korngold and Ethan Calk, featuring McCoy, Uhura and Chapel, with technical advice from Denise & Michael Okuda.
? "Change of Command" written by Erik Korngold.They have all been directed by Erik “Gooch” Goodrich, at the time the 2nd Unit Director, who shot all the Barbara Luna and Malachi Throne scenes for “In Harm’s Way".

The first vignette "Center Seat" was intended to be done quickly using stock visual effects from "Come What May" and "In Harm's Way". However when the visual effects producer, Max Rem saw the rough cut of Center Seat, "he insisted we give him the time to create all new effects shots to match the quality of the performances". Given the extra time, their composer, Patrick Phillips is going to create an "appropriate theme" as well.

The last estimate for the release of the first vignette was Christmas but the New Year has come and it is still in post-production. Remember, fan films are made by amateurs who have real life work and family commitments, deadlines are self-imposed and the prevailing philosophy is that quality comes first.

So what can we expect from New Voyages in 2006? Well, episode 3 and the vignettes are in the can and just need post production to come out in staggered releases over the year. Unfortunately, the Trevino & Calk script which was originally slated to be episode 3 and was then re-engineered into a movie, is to be trimmed down to a regular one-hour episode. It won't even be the fourth episode!

About the new episode three, "All The World and Time", all we know so far is that Grace Lee Whitney, "Ensign Rand" of the original series will continue the run of TOS actors who have appeared on new Voyages.

Perhaps it will be written by Carlos Pedraza? Carlos has said that he and James Cawley "are working together on a very Special "New" Trek series! Together we have co-created a VERY unique concept, that will take place in the 23rd century" Bobby Rice, who plays Lt. Ro Nevin in Hidden Frontier, has agreed to Star in the lead as one of Capt. Kirk's three nephews, Peter Kirk. Perhaps a movie era series? Whenever it is played out, one can expect that with the combined talents of Messrs. Cawley and Pedraza, it will indeed be unique.

Perhaps New Voyages might broach a new frontier for fan films? Consider this quote from James Cawley on the CBC.CA Arts & Entertainment website ...

It's Cawley's belief that Paramount may eventually be convinced to license selected fan films, as it has done with fan fiction in the past. If the studio let him charge users a dollar per download in the future, he says he'd be willing to give Paramount 75 per cent of the money raised.

Just imagine what they could do if they could recover their costs!

Mainstream media sees New Voyages as the stars of the Trek fan movie movement, especially since the D.C. Fontana script with an Original Series actor starring in it! During their filming last year, an article about them in "Wired" was written. The latest media attention though is an interview on G4 TV on Jan 12 of James Cawley and Jeff Quinn. From their website I was as surprised as everyone else to read "… did you hear the scoop? Cawley and Quinn are deep in talks with the great George Takei, who may appear as Sulu again!". The full interview is now available for downloading from the "Videos" section of the "Attack of the Show" website.

George Takei playing Sulu? A great actor playing a wonderful character. It will be interesting to see how they handle that script since there is a strong aversion amongst fans these days to time travel stories. Well they have the acting and scripting talent … I'm sure they'll pull it off!

If there was any debate as to the connections that James Cawley has within professional Trek circles, the latest from the refurbished website's news page would have to put the capper on it! David Gerrold has announced (Jan 15) that he would be joining the NV production team!

Mr. Gerrold is the writer of three of the most memorable of the Original Series episodes: "The Cloud Minders", "The Trouble with Tribbles" and "I, Mudd" as well as two episodes for The Animated Series, "More Tribbles, More Troubles" and "Bem". The man has even won the Hugo and Nebula awards!

Specifically he has two stories in mind …

"The first is a re-worked Blood and Fire, which was originally pitched for TNG, but ultimately rejected for it's controversial storyline, dealing with an AIDS-like virus and homosexuality."

… Mr. Gerrold also plans a sequel to what is arguably the most famous Star Trek episode, "The Trouble With Tribbles." "I've had this idea for a long time, but we were never able to do it on the original series. There is a twist," explained Gerrold with a mysterious smile. "What starts out funny won't be for long."

Interesting times, my friend, interesting times!


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