“Power Source” Act 2 (Animated Episodes) Away!

Act 2 of Episode 1 from Starship Farragut: The Animated Episodes (“Power Source”) is available for downloading and viewing. 

For those that may not be familiar, Starship Farragut’s live action series is also presented in animation (only independent Star Trek film project to be presented in both live action and animation).  Spearheaded by NEO f/x, and in association with Farragut Films, Starship Farragut: The Animated Episodes is done in the same look and feel as the original Filmation series of Star Trek from the early 1970’s.  In fact, NEO f/x consulted with Filmation President, Lou Schiemer regarding the project.  You may remember Filmation’s work mostly on Saturday morning cartoons – Tarzan, The Lone Ranger, He-Man, She-Ra, Fat Albert, Archie, Mighty Mouse and many, more – including some live action shows – The Secrets of Isis, Jason of Star Command, and Shazam! 

Lou Schiemer and Michael Struck

Lou Schiemer and Michael Struck

For the release of ACT 2 of “Power Source”, I interviewed Michael Struck, Manager of NEO f/x so that folks just learning about this project will get  information directly from the source.

Where can folks see Act 2?
“While I would suggest starting from the beginning.  If you are already caught up, you can see act 2 here.”

I’ve been asked by our fans, when will Act 3 be released?
“So far, it looks like we are right on schedule to release it the week of August 31st.”

We, the actors (particularly me) have gotten a lot of flack online about our voice work.  How do you, as the director, feel about the criticism?
“Well, as the director, I am always looking to improve upon things. Could the acting be better…of course..but to put this in perspective, I see a lot of stuff on TV and movies where the acting can be better. Bottom line is that the acting in the animated episodes, in my opinion, is better than what has been done in the live action episodes. That is not to disparage the live action version; it has been a while since anything has been filmed, and I would expect that each of the characters will continue to grow and the acting will get progressively better. The goal of this project was never to produce the next Futurama or Clone Wars or anything that revolutionary; instead it was made to be a loving tribute to the original Filmation Star Trek, and to give the Farragut folks another venue to tell the adventures of the crew. I think we have accomplished that goal, and in doing so, also achieved something else..the first live action fan production that also has a cartoon counterpart.”

I agree, and would also say that those familiar with the live action of Starship Farragut have been supportive of this effort.

You have been working on these animated episodes for a while. Again, folks keep asking me when will the next episode be released?  Do we have to wait another year?
“Fortunately…no. In fact, just last week I already have act one of the next episode already rough edited. The reason for this is simple; the past year has been spent designing the characters, setting up processes for animation, and overcoming small technical issues to create a ‘production pipeline’. This takes a while, but once set up, we can then produce these episodes rather quickly.”

 With your ‘production pipeline’ in place, does that mean there will be another episode after the first two?
“If you would have asked me that six months ago I would have said no. At that time I was contemplating only producing one episode. But after getting our pipeline set up, things began to get easier, and the prospects of putting together a third episode doesn’t seem so daunting. However, just like the first two, I am not going to simply ‘settle’ for pumping out episodes for the sake of doing it. Instead, I am looking for ‘just the right story’ to tell. Also, I enjoyed working with the professional writers and actors in making the first episodes; I would want to get some even bigger name writers and stars to participate. This may be a pipe dream, but if you asked me two years ago if I would have folks like Tim Russ, Chase Masterson, or Chris Doohan in my cell phone, I would have thought you were crazy…so anything is possible.”

 How were these episodes made. Was it something like Adobe Flash? Did you use software to lip-sync the voices?
“Most people are surprised by the answer to this, but we basically made these episodes very much like they did 35 years ago. Sure…we are using computers, but all of the movements are hand key framed, as are the mouth movements. The next obvious question is why do it like that when there is software to allow you to do this a lot simpler? Well, in some ways all of the artists (volunteers, and most with different artistic skills) had to have a common medium to work in. While some know Flash, some do not. So, we settled on layered Photoshop files. With that standard, we were able to put these ‘layers’ into a compositor and then manipulate them just as they would have done on a light table with animation cels. The big advantage is we don’t have to wait for film to develop to see our work, and there is no problem with going back and improving upon a scene as it is all digital. As for the lip syncing thing, each character has only 6 mouths shapes (typically). Software is rather clever, but I still believe it takes a human hand and an artistic eye to give these still drawings real ‘life’.”

 Thanks Michael – anything you would like to close with?
“Yes…I appreciate the fans that have stood behind this project. And, to be honest, I believe we have actually gotten new fans from it. Damn the torpedoes…warp speed ahead!

John Broughton and Lou Schiemer

John Broughton and Lou Schiemer

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2 Responses to ““Power Source” Act 2 (Animated Episodes) Away!”

  1. Chris Dalton Says:

    Just wanted to say that I have enjoyed watching the various episodes of Starship Farragut. I am also very impressed with the new animated series.

    I don’t know how you and your staff pulled it off, but I must say, it was like watching the animated series from the early Seventies all over again. Both look very sharp and clear. Keep up the good work. This particular spin-off, along with Starship Exeter, is certainly better viewing than TNG, DS9, Voyager, and Enterprise.

    All the best.

  2. Saturday Night Showcase: Farragut animated « BW Media Spotlight Says:

    […] crud! I know they ran the series itself past Mr. Scheimer, but he’s added a voice as well? (Something he did quite often at Filmation when he was […]

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