Archive for June, 2010

ConCarolinas 2010

06/14/2010

ConCarolinas (June 4 - 6, 2010)

ConCarolinas is a SCI-FI, fanstasy and horror convention.  It hosts a variety of fandom related events and celebrity guests, including discussion panels, costume events, music events like Klingon Karaoke, charity auctions, and other fan groups (Star Wars, Stargate, Serenity/Firefly, Star Trek, etc.)

Farragut Films' Table

Two weekends ago, Farragut Films exhibited at the ConCarolinas and this was our first year attending.  Our main objectives were to get further awareness of the Starship Farragut project and to promote the recently released Starship Farragut: The Animated Episodes duo-DVD release containing both “POWER SOURCE” and “THE NEEDS OF THE MANY.”

Some Young TREK Fans

Michael Day and I arrived early Friday morning to Charlotte, NC.  After getting some much-needed sleep and then setting up in the early afternoon, we met with Star Trek fans that came by our table.

Yikes! A Clan of Sci-Fi Fans... Named Broughton!

Also, I met RB – Another Star Trek fan whose last name is “Broughton” – my last name is not a common one, so surprised to meet someone who not only appreciates STAR TREK, but also possesses the same namesake.

Alien Actor Extraordinaire, Bill Blair

Star Trek celebrity and actor, Bill Blair stopped by our table.  He remembered me from the filming of Star Trek Phase II’s shoot of BLOOD AND FIRE.  I was surprised that I recalled me as our meeting was very brief.  Bill Blair has played numerous SCI-FI aliens – from Bablyon Five to the various incarnations of Star Trek (Star Trek TNG to ENTERPRISE).

SCI-FI Author and Lecturer, Chris Berman

Across from us was SCI-FI author, Chris Berman.  Known for his literary works of “THE HIVE” and “RED MOON” – his works have gotten the attention of former and current NASA officials for weaving science fact into compelling SCI-FI stories.

Brian Holloway in his Battlestar Galactica Garb

Star Trek Phase II alumni Brian Holloway stopped by.  He was the Master of Ceremonies (MC) for the event and I met him at New Voyages through Paul Sieber.  It had been some time ago – several years I think when we met.  Brian is a skilled make-up guy and we talked about working together, but never reconnected on this.  Seeing my costume work displayed, Brian showed me some of his costume creations.  I was impressed to see that not only can this guy do film make-up, he also does costuming.  The costumes he showed me were developed without a pattern and only using screen-shots or other images from TV and film to make his original SCI-FI uniforms.

Crossing Over to the Dark Side ala ENTERPRISE

One tunic that he was selling was an ENTERPRISE jumpsuit.  It was his first prototype.  Looking at it, opted to try it on and it fit like a glove.  I went ahead and bought it.  I’m pretty good about keeping my TREK collection to just Classic Trek as it can get crazy; however, our Starship Farragut webmaster, Bob McDonough would be proud as he also likes ENTERPRISE!

Anyway, Brian and I caught up on things. The next day, we went to Charlotte’s famed Fabric Store named Mary Jo’s, located in Gastonia, NC.  This place is huge and has a long history selling fabrics.  If you’re into costuming – check this place out!

Richard Hatch

On Sunday morning, attended an acting workshop hosted by Richard Hatch of Battlestar Galactica fame.  It was a good one and most impressed how he applied life experiences to acting and conversely, used acting to help deal with his life experiences.  A both inspirational and educational workshop to the art and craft of acting.  On a side note, I found Richard to be one of the most down-to-Earth and easily approachable person, not always indicative of Hollywood celebrities.

Showing Appreciation to Ron McClung, ConCarolinas

At the conclusion of our stay, we provided to Ron McKlung – the ConCarolina Head Chairman with a NEO f/x and Farragut Films T-shirt for appreciation of their hospitality.  Having made new fans and friends in Charlotte, Michael Day and I headed back home to DC…

Tailoring to Starfleet 1701st’s Steve Thomas

06/07/2010

For this blog, I’d thought I’d direct some focus on the costuming aspects of Star Trek and Starship Farragut.  Much of what Farragut Films does with respect to producing the online series, Starship Farragut could be considered a “period piece.”  Just as American Revolutionary War reactors take pride and attention to detail with their military uniforms, so do we with the Starfleet uniforms of 1960’s TREK.  We’re talking about a TV show that is over 40 years old and we’re going for accuracy of the same patterns, fabrics, and colors of the 3rd season of Star Trek.  No detail is overlooked – whether having the fabric professionally dyed to match uniform swatches dating back to the original series, having the exact pattern of the rank braid embroidered, or having each costume tailored fit for each actor and background actor – every painstaking detail is applied to making this production as accurate to the exact look and feel of CLASSIC TREK.  After all, we pride ourselves on making, “CLASSIC TREK NOW.

We strive for authenticity with our Starship Farragut productions for a couple of reasons.  One, we’re fans ourselves, which means that we’re meticulous about details of Star Trek just as other fans are.  It is out of great respect and homage to the show itself.  Second, we know that if we don’t make every effort to go for the same look and feel – regardless of costumes, but including the sets, props, ships, etc. used, we will get pinged on this by the fan community.  Despite not having a Hollywood budget, we are committed to doing all we can realistically do make quality new episodes of Star Trek.  However, after almost five years now, I tend to think of ourselves as our own identity.  Gene Roddenberry often described Star Trek as “Wagon Train to the Stars” – I think we’re more like “Space Gunsmoke!

Anyway, I digress – getting back to the topic of costumes; I thought I’d interview someone who has been key to me in terms of providing support to me on the costuming front.  I should quickly point out that there are several other people have been instrumental on this front, including James Cawley, the Executive Producer of Star Trek New Voyages/Phase II, Tony Lawrence of the Star Trek Uniform Guide – an online resource that I became acquainted with years ago, Kathy Pillsbury who supplied me with my first few Star Trek costumes in the late 1990’s prior to me learning how to sew and make them myself, and lastly – the private collectors of original Star Trek costumes that allowed me to document/picture their collectibles for reference.  In time, I hope to also interview these folks for a future blog post.

Steve Thomas runs the Starfleet 1701st forum, dedicated to Star Trek fans desiring accurate replicas of Star Trek uniforms.  This website covers the entire gamut of Star Trek – from the uniforms in the initial two pilots, the original series of Star Trek, the movies, and other TV spin-offs, his forum provides a clearinghouse of information of folks exchanging information to assist each other.

Its good to speak to someone who appreciates the costumes of Star Trek.  You’ve truly taken an active stance managing the Star Trek 1701st forum with countless hours researching information and providing to the public.  Why do you think you’re enamored by the uniforms of Star Trek?

And thank you for your interest! First though,  I must correct you in that; the forum is an aspect of the “club” “Starfleet 1701st”. Inspired by the Star Wars club “501st Legion”, the Starfleet 1701st is helping members and fans make accurate recreations of the Starfleet uniforms, for gatherings, clubs and events! I believe our board is the first dedicated solely to Star Trek “Starfleet” uniforms!

As to the uniforms, I wouldn’t say “enamored” but appreciative of the work and thought that went into (most of) them. When I joined “Starfleet International” which was prior to the release of TWOK, I knew I wanted to have a uniform of some type. With that club, chapters are “starships” and the members “crew”. Thus we usually dress for the part which means “uniforms”. When the TWOK uniforms were revealed, at first I recoiled because they were so radical to the TOS design, even the TMP design. After seeing the movie, I decided I liked them! So was the start of my journey into Star Trek “Starfleet uniform” fandom!

I’m always fascinated by the fandom of Star Trek!  So, do you consider yourself a fan of the original series or all things TREK?

“TOS” very much so! It was the first that fired the imaginations of so many. I do appreciate the other incarnations, but I’m most fond of TOS. The other Treks, even TNG, don’t have the magic that TOS did. Of the other series, I liked “DS9” best. It showed another aspect of the Star Trek universe not seen before. “Voyager”  had an anthological aspect to it that I liked.

Do you own any original costumes?  If so, what are they?

I do not possess any as of yet. Actually re-creating the outfits has been more of interest. I’ve had opportunity to examine some of the actual outfits, but really have no desire to own one… unless if I can wear it in addition to displaying! It’s one thing to have it, another to wear it! Of course with Anovos preparing to commercially offer accurate recreations of these outfits, I will be happy with those too, but mainly, I’ve been keen on recreating the outfits as so many of us do.

I do collect mostly toys and memorabilia. I have about a $10-12K collection from over the years.

Some of Steve's Costumes (TNG-Style)

I learned that you do not sew, which surprised me.  You have a wealth of information through your forum, so I have to ask where you get your own costumes made?

No, I don’t sew but am fortunate and wise enough to find people who do and can assist. I’m like the “mission commander” of the club. I am president of the club and maintain the board, but it’s our “mission specialists” (our “Quartermasters”) who have specific sewing and/or uniform knowledge.  I have been fortunate to know a couple of folks in my area who are quite talented when it comes to these outfits.

Shoreleave 1987, Steve in Front & Center

You’ve seen episodes of Starship Farragut – what are your thoughts on our series overall and in costuming specifically?

For Farragut specifically, I like that it’s the stories of another ship of the fleet versus just the Enterprise; same for Exeter. It would be nice if all the original 12 could be represented! Your uniforms are quite well done! They fit well and it’s nice to see the Farragut insignia in addition to the familiar Enterprise. I’ve always liked that concept of each ship having its own distinctive insignia, just as each aircraft carrier has its own logo. Those field jackets were a nice touch too!

As I am a TOS fan, I really like and appreciate “Starship Farragut”, as well as Cawley’s “Star Trek Phase II”! I was sorry that “Starship Exeter” went under, though I understand “Star Trek Excalibur” is making a comeback after their misfortunes of past. With all your productions, I especially like the faithfulness that you’ve put into these productions. It’s what I call “heart”, something the Hollywood productions lack, even though they had fans working them.

And John, you must tell me who makes your unis! I can certainly send business their way if they’re amenable!

Thanks for the compliments – I’m the main costumer, but do have a couple of costume assistants that help me.  I’m not interested in taking orders – filming Starship Farragut adventures is a full-time job!

With last year’s JJ Abrams film of Star Trek – how did you like the homage to Bill Thiess’ original uniform design?

What I didn’t like was the mish-mosh of styles that didn’t really make sense (especially those butt-ugly Academy staff outfits!), though I understand Kaplan was paying homage to what went before. I hope that the ’12 movie will be more consistent concerning those uniforms.

The duty uni is not bad. Just little changes I would’ve made: using gold iron-on braid instead of silver and placing the ranking higher on the sleeve like TOS; blousing the pant leg over the top of the boot; tucking the shirt in when wearing the equipment belt.

I appreciate your time Steve; thanks for your hard efforts in providing a resource outlet for Star Trek costuming.

You’re welcome John! I’m happy to do what I can to help folks make the best-looking and most accurate Starfleet uniforms possible; getting away from “good enough”. Because so many now own the actual outfits from auction, there’s no need or excuse for “good enough” anymore.  I invite folks to look our board over and if they like what they see, to join the “Starfleet 1701st”club and help us in our on-going mission!

http://starfleet1701st.yuku.com/

Set Construction Continues…

06/02/2010

Two Saturdays ago, Mike Bednar and I met with our three Set Construction Leads, Ron Simkanich, Royal Weaver and Greg Greene at Farragut Films’ Studio One in St. Marys, GA.  Our other volunteers from GA and nearby Jacksonville, FL also showed up, including some new faces.

Kail Tescar, Assoc. Producer - Starship Farragut: The Animated Episodes

This visit was specific in purpose – to assess our set construction status, revisit our schedule (time-table) and budget, and to update our game plan for completing the sets.

Mike Bednar Discusses Goals and Expectations

The meeting was a productive one and as a result, here is an updated timeline of events:

*  9/30/10 – Date for completing the sets

*  Mid-November timeframe for the 2nd Open House Event – this is where our sets will be open to the general public for visiting and taking free tours.  It is the intention to make this larger than our initial one from last year.

*  Fall 2010 – Begin filming our next episodic adventure.

Discussing Priorities

Priorities of the sets include finishing the transporter room and then focusing on the bridge.  Other set decorations (clear resin buttons, back-lit graphics, acrylic control panels, bridge chair backs, etc.) will be made locally in the Greater Washington, DC area and then delivered to the St. Marys’ studio for detailing the sets.

Describing the meeting best, Mike Bednar simply said:

“The date is set –  construction continues – send money!”

You too can help the U.S.S. Farragut continue its mission.   Monetary donations are gladly accepted via PayPal to StarshipFarragut(at)hotmail(dot)com.  Your donation is tax-deductible too!  Gift cards from Lowes (preferred given its proximity to Studio One) and Home Depot are a great way to help with set construction and may also be forwarded to:

Farragut Films, Inc.
C/O – Studio One
12403 New Hampshire Avenue
Silver Spring, MD 20904

Starship Farragut is a non-profit entity and it’s the donations and contributions of others that keeps future film projects active.

If you’d like to see additional behind-the-scenes pictures of set construction progress, check out the 2 links below:

Transporter Room
Bridge