Last week’s shoot of the Starship Farragut live-action film, “THE PRICE OF ANYTHING” was a huge success. Folks had fun; we got all the shots needed within schedule and with great performances of the actors.
Despite this being our most ambitious from project to date with rising production expenses, we were able to continue with our best business practices of providing meals to folks, giving away expensive & accurate Star Trek costumes to ALL actors, as well as appropriate crew attire for the behind-the-scenes folks. This is one differentiator that we pride ourselves, as well as treating everyone with mutual respect and valuing their volunteered efforts.
For me, this episode was the culmination of more than six years of what I envisioned the production should go – talented crew professionals working with the latest technology and proven camera, lighting and audio equipment, as well as prepared actors giving their best performance on accurate sets and wearing exacting uniform replicas to get that look and feel of 1960’s STAR TREK. We had an outstanding Director with film experience to evoke the best performances out of us. Vic validated a belief I’ve had for some time that knowing lines and having done rehearsals is simply not enough — you also need a Director that provides clear “direction” and communicates to the actor in a way that he or she understands what is being asked; is able to change lines without changing the intent of the screenplay; and understands all the dynamics of that which is “film-making.” Vic Mignogna is such a person.
Well over a year ago, I was trying to bring on a Director to film this effort and spoke with Paul Sieber, the writer of this screenplay. I had known of this “Vic Mignogna” for awhile —- he had worked with Michael Struck of NEO f/x on Starship Farragut: The Animated Episodes and heard positive things of his work with Star Trek Phase II. I asked Paul about Vic and he confirmed his work, adding, “he is a Actor’s Director.” I wasn’t sure what exactly that meant, other than it sounded good. It wasn’t until the first day of filming when the shuttlecraft set was getting ready for filming with the camera and lights, Vic wanted to go over the scene with the actors involved to talk about the scene. We went into the transporter room set, we sat down, – I immediately closed my script book and tossed it down. A lot of personal preparation for this dramatic shoot and for me it was a moment of setting the tone with the Director. “I got this – I know my lines and I don’t need it” type of thing. You see, earlier on after getting Vic on-board, I explained my frustration on the acting side of this project. I had an idea to remove my character very early on in the teaser and having the plot of estranged and bitter family relationship take place with Smithfield’s brother. After explaining all of this, Vic relayed that since I created the series and the Captain Carter was pivotal to the series, his departure should not just be an after thought. Whereas any other person may have just accepted what I initially proposed, Vic understood where I was coming from and offered an alternative solution, adding “If you know your lines and are prepared, I will bring out the best in you and you can make this film on a high note.” Without sounding like a cliche, I was intrigued by the challenge. If I could leave on a high note and have folks wanting more of my character – why not?!
Getting back to the transporter room and going over the shuttlecraft scene —– it was during this discussion that I understood what Paul was referring to of Vic being an “Actor’s Director.” Whereas I had my own thoughts of what the character was thinking and doing, Vic would throw in something else that would enhance the performance. I think that if you asked anyone actor involved in this production, they’d say the exact same thing. In fact, I’d challenge you to find someone who didn’t agree with me. When I left the transporter room to film the first scene, I felt like a true actor ready to go and best of all, I WAS HAVING FUN in the process.
An epiphany moment came after we were done filming and numerous folks independent from each other were giving me compliments on my performance. You see this episode has some serious drama for Captain Carter and his father. Frank Hernandez who plays my father, also gave great performances and the chemistry between both Frank and me also leveraged well on-screen. Adulation continued to be heard from folks – as well as emotional reactions of folks watching the performances being filmed.
Another epiphany came when Vic told me to just “think it” and not to react. I would do just that and after a take was done and I was questioning about how it went because I wasn’t feeling it – Vic had me come back to the monitor and had the footage replayed for me. After I saw it first hand, I was blown away.
Thanks is More Than Just Words…
Thanks to me seems like a word that doesn’t fully convey my full appreciation to everyone. I know that I personally thanked everyone for their contributions, and I will thank folks again by quoting President John Kennedy who said, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” In addition, I will add that it is a great feeling to have created something has evolved into greatness that attracts and brings out the best in people where they bring their own specific contribution to the production. Each person is like a piece of the puzzle and when everyone is put together, the picture is complete. Recognizing this, as well as the talents/contributions of folks – is a feeling that doesn’t come everyday and one that I will cherish forever. Starship Farragut is more than an ensemble cast and crew who have come together to make episodes of “Star Trek,” we are a family.
Tonya – To my supportive and loving wife! You believe in me and it’s great to have you nearby on the sets. It takes a lot of time, energy, and commitment in order to make this film effort a huge success, and you’re always incredibly understanding. Thanks for being an integral part of this film. A big thank you to my kids for being understanding of Daddy having to work on this film effort. Outstanding work on make-up and love the cameo!
Mike – A daunting task, you delivered on the promise of sets. When they were fully lit – walking on them felt “right” and they were gorgeous! Your level of commitment went above and beyond the call of duty – many thanks and I salute you. ONE of the GREATEST guys in the world – I’m honored and blessed to be taking this TREK with you. Without sounding trite, the friendship we have is grounded like that of Kirk and Spock and we got to see a bit of that come through with the Captain’s Chair scene.
Vic – I appreciate the fact that you’re consistent (no negative surprises); you’re also patient with folks. I observed you work with folks on their performance and you have the gift of personal interaction with people to bring out the best in them performance wise. I’ve learned a lot from you about acting and eternally grateful. I now have a new outlook on the profession and no longer abhor the ‘craft’ as I did before. You kept your word and I kept mine and magic was made. CLASSIC TREK NOW!
Holly – It’s always refreshing to see you film. A true professional, you always know your lines and ready to deliver. Like I mentioned before, there was some true “McCoy” or more appropriately Smithfield moments that came over extremely well. I look forward to filming the dramatic scene with you in LA. Also, thanks again for handling casting and HR for us; nice additions of Laurel Seymour and Doug Nemeth.
Matt – You’re a god on the camera and with lights. For the first time in almost 50 years, people can finally see Star Trek again. When you’re looking at your footage and trying to figure out what Classic Trek episode was being filmed, you know you got it! Also, the dolly shots and above the bridge shots are great – fans are going to love it!
Ralph – It was great to hang out with you again. Like Vic, you’re a true kindred spirit of Classic Trek and all-around great guy. Great talent and thank you for the numerous contributions that extended outside of just “audio”.
Jack – You said we’d be working together and were right. You were a valued element to this production and I cannot imagine us doing it without you. I really got a chance to observe you in action and what a professional. I look forward to working with you again. It was also nice to have you keep an upbeat tone on set with your humor. I shall now refer to you as “The Mighty Marshall!”
Kasey – You’ve done a helluva job as Line Producer. Thanks for keeping things going well and orderly. I also liked playing “Good Cop” to your “Bad Cop”!
Sam – Only you could convince me to part with my beloved Farragut Films ball-cap. Thanks for your contributions and look forward to working with you on the exterior shoot very soon.
Frank Hernandez – I told you that you would not be disappointed. As you can tell, we operate differently from other outfits and pride ourselves on our professionalism. Thank you so much for playing opposite me. In a lot of respects, I think that we’re very much alike in terms of doing what you say and being professional. I love your wit and you as a person and although you play my father, consider you my brother in life.
Greg Greene – Our Set Team Leader – thanks for taking care of our home. It was a delight to see you play Communications Officer, LT Stahler. It’s been awhile since my stomach was in pain of laughing so much!
Royal and Ron – Thanks for everything done behind-the-scenes. We wouldn’t have been able to make this film without your guys’ involvement. Nice to also see some folks not requiring to be in front of the camera to be involved. Royal, you always go beyond the call of duty to help and willing to pinch in for whatever task – we also appreciate you making the magic of TREK’s sliding doors a reality.
Donna and Frank Parker – Thanks to you both for making the Romulan uniforms. Your work enabled to truly showcase the newly built Romulan bridge set and make those scenes more powerful and in the venue of STAR TREK’s “Balance of Terror”.
Laura Shafsky – My stomach and the crew’s stomach thanks you for handling catering for us!
Brit – Thanks for being part of this shoot. You quickly became part of the team and assisted folks with camera operations. Also thankful for taking photographs for us.
Katrina – Without your help, the SAG and other administrative forms would not have been filled out by folks. With everything else going on, I totally dropped the ball on getting with folks – thanks for stepping up.
Dean – My man Dean! It was good to see Ensign Morris on the Farragut bridge again. Thanks for being our “official photographer” and along with Brit, documenting our film shoot.
Cheralyn Lambeth – Glad that you made our Romulan Commander come to life. I have a feeling that Commander Tacket has not seen the last of her!
Gina Hernandez – Thanks for playing LT Logan, as well as supporting Frank on his Special Guest Star role.
Dan Scanlon – Thanks for all the hard work on the sets, as well as doing boom mike and fog machine!
Bob & Amy McDonough — Good to see you guys. Wish that we could have spent more time together. Thanks Amy for assisting Tonya with make-up duties.
For all the other actors, Laurel Seymour, Doug Nemeth, Matt Jones, Brian Watson and John Sims — Danke, Grazie, and Merci Beaucoup!
W.H. Gross Construction Company – Sincere thanks to our corporate sponsor. Bill – from everyone involved with Starship Farragut – much gratitude for making St. Marys our home. Our partnership started almost 3 years ago and it has been a great one – we will continue to do what we can to bring awareness to St, Marys so that its no longer the best kept secret on the East Coast.
Kim (and Brian) – Many thanks to you for championing us. Because of you, our Farragut family has gotten much larger, including you guys.
Paul Sieber –Thanks for writing the script. You will be blown away when you see it realized on screen!
Michael Struck, Michael Day, Mark Hildebrand, Marie Cook, Kim Haas, Michael Cowart, Eve Gidion, and Allen Batson – Although you were not present at the film shoot, you were there in spirit. Thanks again to your contributions to this production.
Last, but certainly not least — thanks to my Mom who watched over our kids while Tonya and I played Star Trek and who helped me with some costuming support of hand-stitching, seam ripping and sewing of some patches.
Sincere admiration and respect to the entire cast & crew of Starship Farragut. When folks finally see THE PRICE OF ANYTHING, I genuinely believe that they will agree that it’s the best yet for not only Starship Farragut, but for all CLASSIC-TREK fan films to date. Looking forward to doing the exterior shoot with folks in Los Angeles real soon! Farragut Films – Setting the Standard.