“Stone Trek” creator Brian Matthews

Stone Trek back in 2002.  To my great satisfaction he still is continuing with the films as time permits and they are just as funny. Fan Film Follies interviewed Brian back in 2002 and we also fielded him some new questions.  The interview you are about to read is the meshing of the past and the present.  WOW!  Just like a time travel episode of Trek itself!

FAN FILM FOLLIES (through Christopher Moshier): What have you been up to professionally and as far as “Stone Trek” is concerned since 2002?

BRIAN MATTHEWS: Professionally I still get out to my usual haunts and draw caricatures (plus I make myself available for parties and events doing the same), and I take on the odd freelance art job that comes in.  My Stone Trek writer Jim Jenkins and I were involved in publishing two issues of a b&w comic book back in the ’80s called BLACKSTAR (no, not the same as the cartoon), on which we are planning a series of animated episodes.  I have other projects I’d also like to do, but Stone Trek is the only other creative outlet I have at this point.

FFF: Fantastic series!  I grew up with the Flintstones and I am a Trek geek.  Can you tell me how the idea of mixing the Flintstones and Star Trek came to be?

BM: I too grew up with STAR TREK and ‘The Flintstones’.  Fred Flintstone is the one character my parents would always get me to draw for visitors.  As for the combination: I’ve always like throwing things together and see what kind of product you get, and as I was developing my original website (which features more than a few ST parodies), I hit on the STAR TREK/Flintstones match-up – since ‘The Flintstones’ were about taking our modern technology and doing it Stone Age-style, why not push the envelope and do the same thing with STAR TREK’s futuristic technology?  And thus STONE TREK was born.

FFF: You mentioned a possible Scooby Doo appearance in our original interview. What ever happened to that idea and introducing other cartoon classics into the mix?

BM: Possibilities are just that. I have done some scribblings along such lines, but who’s to say? Episodes come out so infrequently that it’s hard to plan major story arcs or any such thing. Remember, this is a hobby for me, and I can only spend the time I can spend on it. I have a wife and kids and a life (so there, Bill!).

fffinterviewstonetrek_002FFF: What does it take to put an episode together? What is the process from idea to actually making a new episode onto the web?

BM: When I first started thinking about doing an episode of STONE TREK,I had already discovered Flash and how you could animate for the web with it. That was the no-brainer part. But I wanted to make a GOOD product. I wanted it to be slick and I wanted it to look and feel like television. I searched the internet and come across Wally Field’s website where he has examples of his STAR TREK character voice work. His worked seemed ideal, so I contacted Wally,told him about the idea, and he offered to do the first story on spec,to see how it fared. I think Wally’s voices are one of the things that makes the show more ‘professional,’ I guess is a word to use. Being a musician and composer (I used to do arrangements of popular music for the marching band when I was in high school in the 70’s) I was able to throw the musical styling of both shows together and pull out a theme song that did the concept justice.

Doing the animation is a (simple?) matter of knowing your subject matter and presenting it. The thing about the internet is that you have to make file size considerations, and this would explain why perhaps some of the animation looks a little low-key. I have to compromise on what goes into an episode to keep the file size down (and keep the whole shtick going),so I take shortcuts at times with sound files, animation, music…

Being a hobby, these episodes don’t come out as often as I or the fans would like, but I can’t spend lots of time at any one time on it.

FFF: I am loving Marooned on Tattoonie! How long will you continue to produce these and what kind of response have you gotten from anyone at Paramount or any actors or staff of all that has been Trek?

fffinterviewstonetrek_003BM: I can’t say what will happen with Stone Trek, for sure. It’s tough to spend lots of time on something that you’re not making any money from. And I have not heard a peep from anyone at Paramount (unless you subscribe to the theory that my Stone Trek store over at Cafe Press was shut down after two-and-a-half years of business right around the same time as the Star Trek folks opened a Premium Shop there, and I was kicked out because of it).

FFF: I see on your website people can sign up to be a red shirt and die in some goofy Star Trek way.

BM: More like some goofy STONE Trek way.

FFF: It looks as if Sulu has been playing with Scotties bagpipes for the past 40 years. I think it would be clever if done correctly to make a funny spoof on George Takei’s new revelation. What did you think of George’s announcement?

BM: This is the first I’ve heard of it, but I can imagine a fracas between Silu and Shoddy about who gets to play them!

FFF: If you were in charge of the Star Trek franchise today in what direction would you take it?

BM: The original STAR TREK was an innovator. Period! That is its strength.

TNG was able to capitalize on modern special effects technology to make it a better show visually, and fortunately they had enough good stories and story arcs to take the viewer along on a much more interesting ride than the original did.

Viewers didn’t like DS9 because it tainted their fresh, innocent little Star Trek mindsets with nastiness they hadn’t imagined before.

fffinterviewstonetrek_004Voyager completely blew any chance they had to be a better show by allowing the power-of-writing-anything-they-wanted to let the day be saved in the end and the ship come home relatively intact. In MY show,the Voyager would have never made it back. That’s not to say that some of the crew wouldn’t have.

And Enterprise was getting good in season 4, but they had backed themselves into a corner by trying to retro their look against TOS, and they really didn’t manage it.

Star Trek needs to take a hard look at itself and try to figure out a way to infuse its ideals with what I think would be some harsh realities about the dangers of space. Make a more adult show. Have you seen the new Battlestar Galactica? I’d like to see that approach on Star Trek.

FFF: Do you have any other links to your work online? How can we view more of your work non Stone Trek?

BM: My other web presence is the one where Stone Trek got its start.

FFF: Anything else you would like to say about your online creation?

BM: STONE TREK is a concept that I do because I can do it, online, a forum where people can come and see it and it’s not just a pile of papers and drawings in a folder in my desk somewhere, where no one can see it. I have to make it free because I do slither around copyright issues (with sound effects and music cues), and I like to think of it as my little creative gift to the world. The fans like it, or they wouldn’t be fans.

We are working on another episode!

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