A whole batch of new Star Trek fan made films are heading our way faster than Captain Jean-Luc Picard can say, “Engage!” Specifically this time out is Star Trek: Intrepid produced in the United Kingdom. Let’s all beam over to Nick Cook the writer of the current fan film offering to learn more about the project.
FAN FILM FOLLIES (through Christopher Moshier): How did you get to mild mannered citizen Nick Cook to Commander Hunter on your own Trek film?
NICK COOK: I work as an anesthetic nurse in a local hospital. We’re the trauma centre for our area, so it’s a job that keeps me pretty busy. In my spare time I was involved in running our local Trek club, which is where I met a number of the folks involved in Intrepid. Others, such as Steve Hammond, and Alan Score had been friends of mine since university in the late eighties. About three and a half years ago, we discovered the excellent Starship Exeter. We were already familiar with Hidden Frontier, and were impressed by what both groups had done. As a result I suggested we try our hand at doing an audio novel. We batted the idea around a little until Dylan Feeney, who composed our title theme, suggested we do a film, and it all snowballed from there. Suffice to say, we didn’t have a clue what we were letting ourselves in for at the time, and it’s been quite a learning curve for us all.
FFF: You’re joining the growing realm of Star Trek fan films on the Internet. How is Star Trek: Intrepid going to differ from say a “Hidden Frontier”?
NC: That’s a difficult question to answer, since I think we differ in some aspects, but not in others. I think we have very different goals than Hidden Frontier’s producers; they’re aiming for a continuing series, whereas we’re very much focused on telling a single story. Other than that, we’re both looking to tell compelling stories within the Star Trek milieu. Oh, and the accents, let’s not forget the accents.
FFF: Speaking of Hidden Frontier it looks as if Captain Shelby (Risha Denney) makes a cameo. What is Intrepid’s relationship with the crew of the Hidden Frontier both in front of and behind the camera?
NC: Chris Clarkson, who was originally going to be involved as Azhan, was very keen to see a crossover, and did pretty much all the legwork on that one. I just wrote the scene using Shelby, emailed it to Rob, who was very supportive and very quick to agree to film it, and then passed the footage onto Steve. The Hidden Frontier team has been extremely supportive, and always willing to share advice. They helped us a great deal, and we’re all extremely grateful to them.
FFF: Will Intrepid be put out in Seasons like Hidden Frontier?
NC: No, we have no plans to produce seasons. Whether we produce more than a single film is open to discussion at this time.
FFF: Do you have a general story arc for Intrepid? Is there a clear beginning, middle, and ending in mind or is it simply a set concept and you’ll see where you can go with it?
NC: Absolutely. I’d like to make a three film arc ; the plot for which is in hand, but whether we’ll make the other two films is undecided right now.
FFF: I like that you actually have physical sets. What was the decision in building sets instead of using green screen?
NC: We actually used a combination of partial set pieces, extended with CGI and green screen. Much as I’d love to build complete sets, we simply don’t have the space for it. Like Hidden Frontier, we only have a small space to film in (though Carlos tells me they have a slightly larger room than ours). That said, we’re keying our green screen footage in post production, where as Hidden Frontier key live, which saves them a lot of time. We don’t have the same time constraints, so we can afford to key in post.
FFF: The Intrepid looks like the Voyager ship from the show of the same name. How was that decided?
NC: We like the design, and since it’s an Intrepid class ship it made sense to us.
FFF: How has the Intrepid site been received by fans to date?
NC: We’ve had a lot of positive feedback on the site, largely due to the superlative job Jeff Hayes has done with the graphics. People have been very supportive, and the constructive criticism we’ve received has been extremely helpful. For example, indie filmmaker Martin Lejeune found us through the site, and he has been an unending source of help and support. It never hurts to have an objective eye.
FFF: From the trailer I can determine this is produced in the United Kingdom (aren’t I smarted!?!). What differences or even similarities to the US fan productions are brought into the Intrepid series?
NC: Well, since we’re following the American model, I don’t think you’ll see much difference from our US counterparts. Except for the accents. Did I mention the accents?
FFF: Curses those accents! How does Intrepid distinguish itself from what is considered science fiction from the BBC (Dr. Who or Red Dwarf or Blake’s 7).
NC: I personally prefer US sci-fi for the most part, so while I enjoy Dr Who and Blake’s 7, and find Red Dwarf utterly hilarious, American sci-fi probably has a greater influence on me. That said, I think it’s unavoidable that we do bring a certain British sensibility to the table, but other than that (and the accents) I don’t think you’ll see anything terribly British about Intrepid.
FFF: I see you have some folically challenged actors in your trailer. That along with a well known captain called Picard is there no Rogaine in the future?
NC: Must not be; even Intrepid’s First Officer is losing his hair.
FFF: What is the craziest or most bizarre thing you have done in the name of Star Trek?
NC: The craziest thing? That would have to be standing halfway up a mountain, in the middle of nowhere, in the pouring rain and freezing cold trying to film a phaser battle. It’s true; we suffer for our art. Also, pouring rain does not mix well with tricorder graphics.
FFF: How far have you traveled for conventions?
NC: The furthest I’ve ever traveled for a convention would be to Leicester in 1993, for Midcon with George Takei. Which is only a few hundred miles, but we were fortunate enough to convince the ever-friendly Mr. Takei to don a TNG admiral’s uniform for us. It was a fun weekend.
FFF: Can you give any incite into the differences of fans around the world?
NC: From what I’ve seen, both online and offline, Star Trek fans are the same the world over. Ideologies aside, people are pretty much the same no matter where you go.
FFF: Paramount has accepted a script for a new movie taking place after Enterprise, but before the original series involving a war with the Romulans. Is this a good idea and what should Paramount do for the next Trek movie or series?
NC: The main problem I see is that the fan base is so fractured that it’s very difficult to give everyone what they want. Some people want an Enterprise movie, some people want a reboot, some people want another TNG movie, others want DS9 or Voyager. Personally, I’ll just settle for a good story.
FFF: What is in store for the future of Intrepid?
NC: Steve Hammond is currently working on the script for Bit Patterns, which will be part two of the arc, if we decide to go ahead. The Conviction of Demons, which I’m currently working on, would be the third and final part. I’m not going to give anything away, but if we make parts two and three, I think people will be surprised by some of the twists.
FFF: Any plans of these episodes hitting DVD?
NC: My gut reaction is no, simply because we don’t want to go down that road. We may release a DVD quality version for download though. There’s also the possibility we may put a few copies on DVD as gifts, but we’ll have to see where we stand legally on that first.
FFF: Thank you so much for taking the time to interview for the Comic Book Bin. Live long and prosper.
NC: Thank you, it was fun!