Set Construction Interview with Mike Bednar

Ron Simkanich is one of our dedicated volunteers from the Jacksonville area and is a committed worker to getting Farragut’s sets completed in St. Marys.  Ron recently interviewed Mike Bednar regarding set construction efforts: 

Tell us a little about the different projects going on at the St. Marys’ studio.

Well, we have one main project and that is to build replicas of the sets from the original series of Star Trek.  To break that down, we are currently working on the transporter room, corridors and the Captain’s quarters.   We should have the transporter room completed within the next couple of months.  There really isn’t that much to do for this set beyond the final detailing.  Also, the Captain’s quarters simply need some sanding and painting and then the furniture can be fitted.

Additionally, we are working on the Bridge, which has levels of completion geared toward our filming schedule for the year 2010.  Our first goal with the bridge is to complete the science station through the engineering station and the command deck.  Only these areas are needed to complete our next feature length film.  As we move forward, additions will be added to the bridge until we complete the full 360 setup.  Just as the original bridge had removable sections, we too plan to implement that practice to provide our Director of Photography (DP) the ability to obtain those memorable shots that we have seen in the original series.

Coming Together - The Bridge

Tell us about some of the measures you are taking to build the sets as authentic as possible to the original series of Star Trek.

It’s in the details.  There are a number of individuals that have contributed their knowledge and research of the original sets to help us with our attempt at recreating them.  The information we have been provided as well as the library of screen captures we have at our disposal guarantee that the final product will bring back many memories for everyone.  The only issue that I have with the sets is the changes that were made throughout its three seasons.  Which ones do we use?  Which looks better?  Which ones will the fans recognize over the others version?  All of these questions have merit and the fans will certainly tell us if they believe something is wrong. Trust Me!

I have also moved my entire TOS DVD library to the Farragut Films Studio with a computer to provide instant reference when we are working on the sets.  It curtails many lengthy discussions on how things are remembered.  🙂 

What have you found to be your biggest challenge during your involvement with the project?

The biggest challenge is working on a large scale project such as this with limited time and money, and the fact that our sets are located a great distance from where we live. Each of those challenges is made easier by the fact that so many people have been willing to help us with everything we do.

While time is short, we have volunteers who not only work with us when we are working on building sets, making costumes, manning booths at conventions, etc. but they also do those things and many other tasks, such as running the website, writing scripts, burning DVDs, doing special effects and editing, public relations; as well as a lot of other activities on their own time. This keeps our project moving along at a constant pace and prevents stagnation.

Even though we have limited funds, we have many people who donate materials, money, Lowes and Home Depot gift cards, not to mention their skills, talents and energy, all of which means we can create high quality productions on a shoestring or as John would say, “a thread-string” budget”.

Despite the problem of distance, we are lucky to have a wonderful host family in Georgia, Kim and Brian Watson, who provide meals and lodging for the producers when we travel to St. Marys to work on sets and do filming. This makes it possible to have a home base to work from, and the 12 hours we spend driving to and from the studio is worth the time and cost of fuel when we have such great hospitality to look forward to.

Have you encountered any challenges with completing the Transporter console?

Well, the biggest challenges to completing the transporter console is the same challenge I face in everything I do.  Time, there simply isn’t enough time in a day to get what I want done.  I brought it back from GA to my home in MD thinking that I would work on there in some of my “excess professional time,” but that took a back seat to renovations I’m doing at my house and my favorite toy in my parking space.  I work better under pressure.  It will get done and be on time.  I guarantee it!

We Build Strong

Transporter Hood/Ceiling

Can you tell us about the work crew talent?  We see a lot of pictures of them standing around.  Is there enough Indians or too many chiefs?  Who’s doing the work?

Wow, I don’t know where to start.  I’ve been working with some individuals to get the sets built, but there are four that really stand out and have contributed greatly to the set construction.  Greg Greene, Ron Simkanich, Royal Weaver, and John Broughton Sr.

John Broughton Sr. has been instrumental in laying the foundation for all of our sets.  We have provided him with technical drawings and he has provided us with works of art.  He’s just amazing.

Hard at Work: John Broughton, Sr.

Greg, Ron, and Royal have won the Farragut Family over with their dedication and strong commitment to seeing this project through to its completion. Even in our absence they continue to work on the set building process when we can’t be there. This of course helps speed up the process and allows us to focus more on the details. 

3 Musketeers - I mean, Farraguteers: Ron, Royal and Greg

The open house we had last year was so successful that the need to do it again was apparent.  We don’t have a date set yet due to continual efforts to build.  But, when they are complete we will make an announcement so that any Star Trek fan will be able to walk onto the completed sets.  It will be an experience better than the last.

How does Captain Robert Tacket sound?   Any desires to be a starship captain?

I don’t know of anyone that doesn’t want to be a starship captain, including myself.  However, there is no need for that when we have our very capable and deserving Captain Jack Carter.  John and I have been friends for quite some time and I have no plans of knocking him off.  🙂   I’m quite content being the first officer. 

Captain Tacket

Thanks to both Ron and Mike for this interview.  We continually get inquiries about the status of our sets and appreciate the update.  Click on here to see more pictures of set construction.

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2 Responses to “Set Construction Interview with Mike Bednar”

  1. Kevin Palm Says:

    Wow, great interview! I love how much progress you guys have made on set construction! Amazing work!

  2. Bruce Boyd Says:

    Love it guys….always a great job!!
    can’t wait to see more great interview!

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