Posts Tagged ‘Chase Masterson’

Release of 2nd Animated Episode – Act 1

01/01/2010

As most folks know, NEO f/x in association with Farragut Films is the first to release new animated adventures of Filmation’s Star Trek based on the crew of Starship Farragut.  

With today’s Act 1 release of the 2nd Starship Farragut – The Animated Episodes, called “The Needs of the Many,” I thought I’d do another interview with Michael Struck of NEO f/x.   

We are releasing the second animated episode only a few months after releasing the first one. How did you turn this one around so quickly.

Power Source allowed us to ‘cut our teeth’ and get all of the re-useable animation ‘assets’ together. That is why the first episode took over a year to produce. Since the background and characters don’t routinely change, it was easier to put this episode together. However, there were new characters that had to be created, including Chase Masterson’s character Carmen, and the Gorn.

Speaking of the Gorn, he sounds VERY similar to the one in the TOS episode Arena.  Did you use the same voice actor?

There is a debate on the net on who actually voiced the original Gorn. Some say it was Ted Cassidy, others say it was another actor. Either way, it didn’t matter….Ralph Miller (familiar to fans of all fan-produced Treks), does an excellent impersonation of the Gorn.

The Gorn aka Ralph Miller

Now that the first act of the episode is released, I guess the cat is out of the bag…  Scotty makes an appearance on the Farragut.  I assume Chris Doohan is providing the voice?

You are correct…While I originally only wanted to Chris to voice Thelin (as his father did), it was really Jack Trevino that convinced me to have Chris play the part his dad made famous. The one thing I did NOT want is a cheap Scotty impersonation…too many folks in the media and in ‘fandom’ think they can do Scotty, but with poor results. However, when I was in the recording studio with Chris, there were some lines gave me chills as Chris does Scotty SO WELL. I hope the fans agree…Either way, I think this part honors his father, without taking away from the story and simply making is a ‘cross over’ episode.

Chase Masterson plays a key role in this episode, can you talk about it?

Well, I think there is enough information out there about her character that I think I can reveal this. Chase is playing Carman Renata, the great-great-great grandmother of Lt. Cmdr. Smithfield. We leave act 1 with the image of the Farragut being rocked by an energy beam coming from a wormhole. So, I think that is a clue on how we get to meet Carman. Of course, we can’t mess with the time line (JJ Abrams already did that for us), so the crew has to figure out how to solve the problems without changing the universe.

Chase as Carmen in "The Needs of the Many"

And the question you know is coming…when will the next acts be out?

The plan is premiere this at the Farpoint Convention in Baltimore on 2/12-2/14….so hopefully before then :)

Thanks Michael for your time – we look forward to the completion of “The Needs of the Many.”  For more INFO on Starship Farragut – The Animated Episodes, including “THE NEEDS OF THE MANY”  – check it out at www.farragut-animated.com.

Farragut Spotlight: Leslie Hoffman

09/24/2009

Leslie_SPFor those that don’t know, Leslie Hoffman is a 30+ year stunt veteran of the Hollywood industry.  Her accolades and TV/film credits are listed on both IMDB and her website.    Most germane to this discussion is her professional Star Trek affiliation, and working with Starship Farragut as our Stunt Coordinator.  I thought I’d take a moment to shine a light on Leslie:

As you know, there are no “new” episodes of CLASSIC Star Trek being made for TV distribution.  Being part of Starship Farragut, we pride ourselves in making “CLASSIC TREK NOW.”  From a Trek-fan’s perspective, describe what you like about our show and how it compares to Gene Roddenberry’s original vision.

First off, thank you John for asking me to do this interview.  Starship Farragut indeed captures Gene’s original vision.  Farragut comes up with new and exciting stories. Which, if you think about it is quite a feat to do, considering all the stories that have been written for TOS and it’s following movies.  I would like to include TNG, DS9, Voyager and Enterprise series as well.  For Want of a Nail is a perfect example.  Even the ending leaves you thinking, “What if???”  I believe Gene’s vision was to think of the future and how we can keep reinventing ourselves or to talk and understand others to make life better for all.  Not by Dictatorship but by peaceful resolution of all.  Gene was a contemporary and a continuation of Rod Serling.  I believe both had this vision.

Playing Star Trek Professionally

Playing Star Trek Professionally

Having been involved officially with Star Trek shows, specifically, Deep Space Nine and Voyager – how does our approach compare to Hollywood standards, keeping in mind that we’re volunteer-based and don’t have the Hollywood budgets to back our efforts? 

I believe you are more professional than the “Professionals”!   The “Hollywood Standard”, has two meanings to me. The first means “A List Actors”, the script, the Writer, the Director, special effects, sets, costumes and stunts. Now, with the quality of cameras and computers, Award-Winning Projects are being made outside of Hollywood for a lot less money.  This is the new “Standard”.  The second “Hollywood Standard” which means much more to me personally is how a Production is filmed.  A tired angry crew lowers safety on the set as well as the quality of what is being filmed.  That is why the Screen Actors Guild was created in 1933.  Working with the Farragut Team was a joy.   That you took the time to become Signatory with SAG shows your love and commitment to this crazy Industry.  Thank you for honoring my request to you.  A thank you should also go to Michael Struck of NEO/fx.  NEO f/x did the right thing and became SAG Signatory with the Animated Farragut project at the advice of Chase Masterson.

Related to the question above, the Starship Farragut’s project is very much a collaborative one, how do you think that it has either helped or hindered what you observed during your involvement with us on the film, “A Rock and a Hard Place”?

“Between a Rock and a Hard Place”, due to the respect that you have for all, we never had one heated argument or the threat of a “diva” walking off the set.  In my thirty plus years in the Industry, I have seen it all and Starship Farragut is equal to my experiences that I had on M*A*S*H.  The Farragut Team was and is always cheerful and my special memories of singing Broadway songs will always be near and dear to me.

Being a long-standing member of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), where do you foresee the independent and Internet films going in the next five years?  As you know, there is a “revolution” taking place where talented folks are able to put together quality films without a Hollywood budget and can distribute their films to a mass audience using the Internet as a distribution point. 

More and more with the improvement in equipment technology, films are being produce outside of Hollywood and winning awards.  In the last couple of years, look at what movies are winning the Academy Awards.  Winning Independent Films are already being made and there will be more.  You have a better chance making money for a theatrical or television release.  Another way is to distribute straight to DVD….excuse me is it Blu-ray now?  As to the Internet, great Productions are also being made but to think money through the Internet that will be made to support oneself, is a mere fantasy at the moment.  There is very little control on the Internet so the minute your project is uploaded it WILL end up on HULU or such.  It may be a stepping stone to something better but please be realistic, do not put your life savings into an Internet Production.  Be wise, have fun but keep a roof over your head.

Lastly, are there any other thoughts you’d like to share about working with us or about Starship Farragut in general?

You always make a person feel welcome and appreciated.  My trophies that I have received from you are proudly displayed in my house for all to see.  Also, I would love to congratulated and reminisce my trip to St. Marys, Georgia this earlier this year to be at the opening of the Farragut’s new studio.  I was so impressed by the amount of people that came to the Open House.  We all had a blast down there.  : )  Sharing the love of Classic Star Trek with new friends who drove many miles to be there. The Great People of St Marys, late night bond fires, and even later night Star Trek trivia games, laughter and smiles and my first trip to Sonic – LOL – quite a memorable experience all around.

Thanks Leslie, we all look forward to enagaging you again as our Stunt Coordinator!

Power Source: Complete!

09/01/2009

I’m proud to relay that “Power Source” is completed!  Below are the links on YouTube for viewing the third and final act:

Act 3 – Part 1

Act 3 – Part 2

You can also view them on the official website – www.farragut-animated.com.   For the release of Act 3, which completes the animated episode, I conducted an interview with Michael Struck, Manager of NEO f/x who has spearheaded STARSHIP FARRAGUT: The Animated Episodes project. 

*  Michael, you and the rest of the NEO f/x team have completed, “Power Source” – the first ever, full-length animated episode of Starship Farragut.  How do you feel about the completed product?

I feel like a very proud parent…It was quite an accomplishment and something new from a ‘fan production’. Unlike the live-versions, a lot more of the burden of this production was in-house at NEO f/x. Of course, we didn’t have to deal with lighting, costumes, weather, and other issues that plague live-action shoots; however, we had our own challenges unique to the format in which we were working in. Most of these issues consisted of finding artists willing to put a LOT of time and effort into drawing characters and their movements. Much of this was accomplished very similarly to how they did it with the original Filmation episodes….A process of ‘rotoscoping’ or basically tracing the characters’ likenesses off of stills. This allowed us to capture the essence of the character.

However, now that we have one episode under our belt, I have had an opportunity to look back at what I got to do to get this episode out the door. First there was working with former Trek alumni like Chase Masterson and Tim Russ, and becoming friends with Chris Doohan. Then, there was meeting Lou Scheimer, which to an animated fan is like a Trek fan meeting Gene Roddenberry. And then, finally, there is getting the fan reaction to what we have done…which is always interesting to say the least :). However, I am rather happy with how the last year of the production went.

Well, unlike a television production, we didn’t conceive this project to sell Frosted Flakes or Mattel toys….to us, it was just a natural extension of the live-action Farragut episodes.  As such, we have a very narrow audience target…Basically, if you are a Farragut fan you will enjoy seeing the characters you have become familiar with in a new and exciting episode. If you are a fan of the original Filmation Trek, I think you will appreciate how we captured the look and feel of the original, but I would still recommend becoming familiar with the live-action series first so you get to know the characters. However, if you a  Star Trek purist and have no tolerance of fan-produced films, this probably isn’t for you.  And that is fine…the original animated episodes were not for everyone either..and the only difference is that we don’t lose advertising dollars if you don’t care for it. God Bless the internet!!

Prescott on the Bridge

Prescott on the Bridge

*  In essence, “Power Source” is the first animated episode of Star Trek since Filmation first did it 35 years ago.  I’ve received several emails and read numerous postings of folks’ reaction to Acts 1 and 2 of “Power Source” and my take is that some either get it or don’t.  What is your thoughts to most folks’ reaction to seeing “Star Trek” in animation?

 

 *  I know that Lou Scheimer, Co-Founder and President of Filmation has given his blessings to the project.  Has he seen it and what was his reaction to it?

Lou, who is 80, had an opportunity to see various clips of the episode last year, and he indeed was very pleased to give his blessing. His only criticism to me was that I wasn’t making any money off of it :) I plan to make arrangements to see him very soon and give him a personal screening. It should be interesting to note that Lou, himself, isn’t what he would call a Star Trek fan. However, the man knows his animation and storytelling, so I will be taking notes on what his feedback is. While I liken myself being the parent of these episodes, Lou could be the grandfather, or better yet, the Godparent of these episodes. No matter what they look like, he is happy someone got something out of HIS original work and was inspired to create something on their own.

*  Now that “Power Source” is done, the second Starship Farragut: The Animated Episodes project, “The Needs of the Many” is in the works.  How is this coming along?

Surprising, it is coming along very well. Anyone familiar with Filmation knows that most the poses and background (and music) were reused…almost to the point of being a parody of itself. We have found that with the main characters having already been rendered for ‘Power Source’ that creating future episodes becomes easier and easier. In fact, we already have a trailer prepared for the next episode, and we will be premiering it at DragonCon, and then subsequently on the internet.

I expect the full episode to be released by the end of the year, giving Starship Farragut the distinction of releasing something every year since they were conceived.

*  As I recall, you wrote the script for the second episode and proposed to use it for live action filming.  How does it make you feel to see it materialize finally?  Does it really matter that it went from live action to animation?

Well, since I am one of the artists for both the episodes, along with being the director, editor, and executive producer, having one more credit to my name isn’t that big a deal. And to be clear, the story concept was mine, but the majority of the screenplay credit goes to Jack Trevino of Deep Space Nine fame. He basically took the concept I had and fleshed out a rather decent animated story from it.

The problem with the treatment I proposed for the live action was similar to the struggles the original, live-action Trek of the 1960′s had. The vision proposed was a bit too aggressive for the limited budget of a fan-production. Being in animation, it is actually MORE satisfying to see it onscreen as it more closely matches the original intention of the treatment.

It WILL be a different story than Power Source; however, just like any parent of multiple children, I can’t find myself being more proud of one episode more than the other. Each fits into Trek-lore nicely… and will allow NEO f/x to leave their mark in the fan-film world.

Thanks Michael for your time and congratulations to you and the NEO f/x team for completing, “Power Source.”  The Farragut team stands ready to do voicework on the next animated adventure of the Starship Farragut! 

The "Three Amigos" Looking Out into Space

The "Three Amigos" Looking Out into Space


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.