Archive for September, 2009

Ask the Chief!

09/30/2009
Ask the Chief!” is a phrase that everyone in the Navy has heard, and has many times had to go do.  For over 100 years, the Chief has been the cornerstone, and the one person to ask when anyone had a question.  He is the one that “runs” the ship.
My Brother - The Chief

My Brother - The Chief

On September 16, 2009, onboard the U.S.S. Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58) in Jacksonville, Florida, a special ceremony was held to welcome Michael Broughton as one of the Navy’s newest Chief Petty Officer (CPO), a rank that inherits the prestige of only the Navy’s finest.  Fellow Farraguteer, John Broughton, Sr. (my Dad) participated in the event:

“One can only be proud in knowing that this is a special honor, especially when the Captain of the ship ordered Mike to be both “bonged aboard” and “piped aboard” with all of the enlisted men salute him.  As a previous submariner in the U.S. Navy, I had never seen – or heard of – an enlisted man saluting another enlisted man.  Looking back on the ceremony, I know that there was a tear in my eye for my son and his 15-year journey to achieve this milestone in his career.  When I pinned his anchor upon his collar, I knew that he has become the person that I always knew he was.”

Dad, CPO (SW) Michael Broughton and wife Liz Broughton

Dad, CPO (SW) Michael Broughton and wife Liz Broughton

I wish that I could have been there to have witnessed this event, but was definitely there in spirit.  Mike’s wife Liz pinned the other “anchor” to his collar with his sponsor placing his cap on his head.  Other family members consisted of his daughter Sam, brother Tony (also an active duty navy member) with his wife Stephanie and their son Ayden Michael, and other brother Patrick (U.S. Army).   

Mike and Tony are also supporters of the Starship Farragut project, as well as their two friends and fellow shipmates Bill Worden and Jason Mann (Bill and Jason also serve onboard the Samuel P. Roberts).  Reflecting back on the event made me realize that we have a lot of folks involved in the Starship Farragut project have Navy ties.  As for myself, I was in the Navy from 91-95 and my Dad served during the Vietnam era on both submarine and surface vessels.  Other U.S. Navy “Farraguteers” include Bob McDonough who plays Transporter Chief Galway, Kevin Palm (strong supporter and active member on the Starship Farragut forums), Royal Weaver (retired Master Chief).

For my brother, I am most proud of him and this important milestone in his life.  Congratulations Mike!

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!

Who or What is Doctor Who?

09/23/2009

I had a great experience while traveling to and from St. Mary’s, Georgia recently for set construction at our studio.  I was introduced to the new episodes of Doctor Who

New Series of Doctor Who

New Series of Doctor Who

For those that may not be familiar with Doctor Who – it is a British Sci-Fi show that has been on the air since the 1960’s.  “The Doctor”, as he simply refers to himself is actually an alien from a different planet with two hearts that travels through time and space in his ship called the TARDIS, which stands for Time And Relative Dimensions In Space.  From the outside, the TARDIS looks like an old Public Police Box (outdated by today’s standards, but more of a common place item in the early 1960’s when the show first aired).  Safe to say that the ship is much larger on the inside than it is on the outside!

My initial exposure to the Doctor Who series was seeing two movies back-to-back starring Peter Cushing (Governor Tarkin from STAR WARS) with my Dad on a Saturday many years ago.  I was just a small kid and scared of the Daleks!  Later when I was a teenager, I saw Doctor Who on PBS during the late hours of the night. 

Doctor #4, Tom Baker - Yikes!

Doctor #4, Tom Baker - Yikes!

It starred Tom Baker as the Doctor and looked very hokey – a guy with big curly hair, a scarf and a robot dog, as well as aliens that were even hokier — they looked like they were borrowed from LAND OF THE LOST

Doctor Who was re-launched in 2005 on the Sci-Fi Channel (sorry, I meant to say “SyFy”) with a “new” doctor, incredible visual effects, and great writing (both clever and creative storytelling).  Fellow Farragut producers Michael Bednar and Michael Day have been trying to get me to look at the new episodes as they’re both fans for some time.  With time to kill on the 12-hour journey one-way, I finally got the opportunity to watch a few Doctor Who episodes from Season 3 of the new series.  I was blown away and really impressed!  I kept thinking to myself – this is great!  The writing, visuals, acting — all first rate; I was hooked.

David Tennant as Doctor Who

David Tennant as Doctor Who

The episodes I was watching featured David Tennant as ‘The Doctor’ with Freema Agyemanas as his traveling companion ‘Martha Jones’. 

I plan to finish watching the 3rd season of Doctor Who, and then go back and start from the 1st season of 2005 and see how everything fits together.  I was told that some of the ‘companions’ appear in multiple seasons for guest appearances, which seems to carry things consistent in TV show spanning almost 50 years!  All in all, I’m a new Doctor Who fan, and highly recommend the TV series for those that have not had the pleasure of taking a ride in the TARDIS!