Archive for the ‘Farragut Animated’ Category

Ralph Miller, Star Trek’s “Audio God”

03/15/2010

Ralph M. Miller

I’d like to refer to Ralph M. Miller as the “Audio God” of Star Trek fan films. In addition to working on Starship Farragut, he has also worked on Starship Exeter, Star Trek: New Voyages/Phase II and Star Trek – Of Gods and Men. In addition, Ralph’s professional credentials also include other movies – Just Desserts, Bonnie and Clyde: End of the Line, and InAlienable, which featured an assortment of Star Trek alumni in a sci-fi trial movie. Ralph is known for his talents in Sound production. When working on a film, Ralph wears many hats: Sound Designer, Foley artist, sound effects editor, ADR recordest, boom operator, production sound mixer and music editor.

Well, Ralph – you’ve got quite an impressive resume as it relates to providing sound work. How did you get involved doing sound work for Star Trek fan films?

Like most of us involved, way back in 2004 I saw Star Trek New Voyages “Come What May” and “Starship Exeter” on the Internet. My first reaction was “WOW!” I was so impressed with the sets and special effects, but the sound quality of both productions was not the greatest. So I contacted the producers and offered to help with sound design for their next episodes. At first I did not hear back from them, so I sent them each a demo CD. With in 24hrs I received a phone call from both.

Mixing in Star Trek New Voyages' IN HARMS WAY

I have been working hard to build a reputation for my sound design work, and as a result, I have been fortunate to have been approached by other quality productions such as “Starship Farragut” and “Of Gods and Men.”

You’ve also provided voice work as well. For Starship Farragut in particular, you’ve been the Farragut’s computer in the live action series and a Gorn in the animated adventures. What other voices have you lent for film projects?

I haven’t had as many opportunities as I have hoped for. It is a tough business to get into. I do a lot of background voices in the episode and in some cases, the actors are not available for looping (ADR) sessions, so I have to mimic their voices. I usually get away with it undetected. “The Gorn” and “The Guardian of Forever” for Of Gods and Men” are the two that I am most proud of.

A Favorite Element of Trek Fan Films - The Guardian of Forever

Mentioning Starship Farragut: The Animated Adventures, please describe what it was like working on this project. I would think that it would have been a change of pace, considering that most projects you’ve worked on have been live-action and this being animation. 

Revitalizing the 'Gorn"

It has been a real joy to work on the Animated Adventures. First let me say, NEO f/x has been wonderful to work with. I have put a lot of effort into making it sound exactly like the original cartoon, from using the same sound effect, and to using the original music.

With the Internet being so viral and computer technology enabling folks to make their own videos -what are your thoughts on this? Do you think that there is a ‘film revolution’ taking place? Do you think that Hollywood and the film industry are changing business practices to compete or to raise their quality of their films?

Yes! Times are changing Big Time! I believe that one day all media will be on the Internet.

Working on Star Trek New Voyages' WORLD ENOUGH & TIME

You’ve provided some great comedic video clips on YouTube, including being a Klingon Commander battling words with Kirk and playing President Nixon in contemporary times. Any other comedic video projects you’d like to mention?

Well, I have a new one, “Star Wars/Geico” –a commercial spoof that is pretty funny. I have more projects in the pipeline. Please stay tuned.

Thanks for your time. It was great talking with you and learning more about your sound work. For those interested, you can see Ralph’s YouTube work at:
http://www.youtube.com/user/rmsinc#p/f

Release of 2nd Animated Episode – Act 1

01/01/2010

As most folks know, NEO f/x in association with Farragut Films is the first to release new animated adventures of Filmation’s Star Trek based on the crew of Starship Farragut.  

With today’s Act 1 release of the 2nd Starship Farragut – The Animated Episodes, called “The Needs of the Many,” I thought I’d do another interview with Michael Struck of NEO f/x.   

We are releasing the second animated episode only a few months after releasing the first one. How did you turn this one around so quickly.

Power Source allowed us to ‘cut our teeth’ and get all of the re-useable animation ‘assets’ together. That is why the first episode took over a year to produce. Since the background and characters don’t routinely change, it was easier to put this episode together. However, there were new characters that had to be created, including Chase Masterson’s character Carmen, and the Gorn.

Speaking of the Gorn, he sounds VERY similar to the one in the TOS episode Arena.  Did you use the same voice actor?

There is a debate on the net on who actually voiced the original Gorn. Some say it was Ted Cassidy, others say it was another actor. Either way, it didn’t matter….Ralph Miller (familiar to fans of all fan-produced Treks), does an excellent impersonation of the Gorn.

The Gorn aka Ralph Miller

Now that the first act of the episode is released, I guess the cat is out of the bag…  Scotty makes an appearance on the Farragut.  I assume Chris Doohan is providing the voice?

You are correct…While I originally only wanted to Chris to voice Thelin (as his father did), it was really Jack Trevino that convinced me to have Chris play the part his dad made famous. The one thing I did NOT want is a cheap Scotty impersonation…too many folks in the media and in ‘fandom’ think they can do Scotty, but with poor results. However, when I was in the recording studio with Chris, there were some lines gave me chills as Chris does Scotty SO WELL. I hope the fans agree…Either way, I think this part honors his father, without taking away from the story and simply making is a ‘cross over’ episode.

Chase Masterson plays a key role in this episode, can you talk about it?

Well, I think there is enough information out there about her character that I think I can reveal this. Chase is playing Carman Renata, the great-great-great grandmother of Lt. Cmdr. Smithfield. We leave act 1 with the image of the Farragut being rocked by an energy beam coming from a wormhole. So, I think that is a clue on how we get to meet Carman. Of course, we can’t mess with the time line (JJ Abrams already did that for us), so the crew has to figure out how to solve the problems without changing the universe.

Chase as Carmen in "The Needs of the Many"

And the question you know is coming…when will the next acts be out?

The plan is premiere this at the Farpoint Convention in Baltimore on 2/12-2/14….so hopefully before then 🙂

Thanks Michael for your time – we look forward to the completion of “The Needs of the Many.”  For more INFO on Starship Farragut – The Animated Episodes, including “THE NEEDS OF THE MANY”  – check it out at www.farragut-animated.com.

Animated Trekspert Talks Starship Farragut

11/05/2009

KTKail Tescar is the originator of the #1 website dedicated to the animated series of Star Trek.  For those who may not be familiar with The Animated Series (TAS), it was created in 1973 and featured the voices of nearly the entire cast of the original live-action series, including William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, etc.  Being animated, this series could “boldly go” where the original series could not due to budgetary constraints, and was able to show more exotic aliens, spaceships, and planetscapes not possible with a weekly live action series.  With Star Trek off the air, the animated series helped to keep “TREK ALIVE” in the years between the original series and the movies. Since the its launch in 1997, Kail’s website has been a clearinghouse of information related to TAS.  Kail also contributed to the official CBS/Paramount DVD release of Star Trek: The Animated Episodes, by providing the producers with original scripts, storyboards and artwork he had collected for use in the bonus feature Drawing The Final Frontier.  Kail is a talented artist and has re-created the Filmation style for drawing folks in the TAS universe.  For some time, he wanted to get his original TAS comic books materialized, but after teaming up with NEO f/x, Kail is now seeing a long-standing dream come true…to help create a new full-length, animated episode of Star Trek in Filmation-style. Kail is the Lead Artist and Associate Producer of STARSHIP FARRAGUT:  The Animated Episodes.  I thought I’d take some time to interview Kail and discuss his involvement with Starship Farragut:

Prior to conceiving the premise for “Starship Farragut” five years ago this month, I knew of you and your work.  In fact, I engaged you to draw a likeness of me in the TAS style.  How did you go from appreciating TAS to then drawing and mastering the Filmation style of Star Trek?

It’s funny, but I was well into doing the animated Farragut before I realized I had done a portrait of you years earlier. In fact, you were one of my very first commissions! 

JB_Animated_2003

Being Animated TAS in 2003 - Yikes, my hair!

In 1973 I was 13 years old and already a HUGE Star Trek fan. I was thrilled that my friends of the Enterprise crew were coming back. I loved the show, and in the days before VCR’s I actually filmed the TV screen with my super 8mm camera, so I could watch them over and over. One of the things I loved about those days was that all Star Trek fans were united. We loved Star Trek period, and fought hard to bring it back. Once the spin offs started, fans got fractured. Old Trek versus new Trek. That made me kind of sad, and I feel Trek lost something. Don’t get me wrong, I loved some of the modern Trek, but my heart will always be with the original.
Anyway, flash forward to 1997, I got my first computer and wanted to make a website, Star Trek seemed a natural. I searched the web and found thousands of Star Trek websites, but only one devoted to the animated series, Curt Danhausers Guide to Animated Star Trek which was, and is, an awesome website. So that was my main reason for opening Startrekanimated.com, not an overpowering love of the animated series, but to do something different than everybody else. While Curt’s website was an encyclopedia of information on TAS, it did not have much “fun” stuff. So I decided that would be the focus of my site. I set out creating graphics, sounds, games, stationary etc. I found there was a complete lack of high quality TAS images on the net, so I started creating some, wallpapers based on screencaps, at first only aliens, and the ships of TAS. Later as my skill grew I started doing the crew. From doing this for a few years I learned the TAS style and started making a few portraits for friends, and from there my portrait service was born.

I have to assume that since you’re a TAS fan, you’re also a TOS fan?  What is it about TAS that you like more than TOS?  

I can’t say I like TAS more than TOS. But after working with TAS over the years my appreciation of it has grown. TAS and TOS are both very nostalgic for me, I love them both, but because of the website I have become the “TAS guy” which is very cool, and I have acquired quite a collection of TAS memorabilia. I’ve been contacted by some writers and artists who worked on the show, and they seem to appreciate my work to keep TAS alive in the hearts of fans. Before the DVD release, many fans had never even heard of TAS. So it’s kinda fun to have a nitch, to have something special in the vast sea of Trek.

Share the experience of working on STARSHIP FARRAGUT: The Animated Episodes and bringing your work to life in true animated form? 

As you mentioned earlier, I had tried for some years to get a new animated Star Trek produced. Every so often I’d be contacted by an animator who wanted to work with me and create something, but it always ended the same way. I’d do all the preliminary work, and then I’d never hear back from the animator. I guess they figured out that it would not be so easy, that it would take a lot of time and work to do it right. After several of these false starts, I was a bit skeptical when I was contacted by Michael Struck from NEO f/x about doing a animated episode of Starship Farragut. But after awhile Michael convinced me that he was serious, and was actually going to complete the project, I jumped in with both feet. The big surprise came after I had created all the Farragut crewmember model sheets. I thought I would only be designing the characters look, but Michael asked me to work on the animations as well. I had never done animation before, so that was the biggest challenge for me. It is time consuming, tedious work, two years worth. My wife thought I was crazy, working for days on a sequence that would only be seen onscreen for seconds. But in the end, it was all worth it. I think the final product is as close to Filmation as you can get, and I’m very proud of the episodes.

You and NEO f/x are busy working to finalize the 2nd episode of STARSHIP FARRAGUT: The Animated Episodes called, “The Needs of the Many” – how is this coming along?  Is it coming along much easier than the 1st episode, “Power Source?”  Also, how do you think this episode will compare with the other?

The second episode, like Filmation, will reuse a vast majority of the animation already created for the first. So it is a lot easier in that respect. “The Needs of the Many” will differ from “Power Source” in many ways. “The Needs..” features far more space action,  starships and aliens ., so that’s going to be very cool.

Friends and fans of your work that have seen “Power Source” – what is their reaction? 

The reaction has been completely positive. It’s been very rewarding knowing that folks enjoy the show. It really makes all the work worthwhile. At heart, I’m an entertainer. I’ve done stage work, played in bands, sang in choirs, I just love to create art in any form, and hopefully bring a little joy.

I can tell you that folks at the Baltimore Comic-Con walking by our booth initially thought it was TAS!  They loved it and commented on the attention to detail and accuracy to TAS.  Being a purist with TOS, I respect and appreciate the fact that you stayed very true, but added a few things – as we have with the live action series (e.g., phaser rifle, Franz Joseph ships, female officers wearing shirts) – what can you share about this deliberate homage to Filmation style (difficulty, subtle changes from TAS, etc.)?

Having watched each episode of TAS about a thousand times for my website, I became sort of a technical consultant for Michael. He’d show me artwork created for the episodes and I’d comment, yes, or no, it’s not really TAS. The hardest part was asking artists to simplify their work. They sometimes got to sophisticated with their work, especially the computer generated stuff, and I’d have to rein them in a bit. That’s what got me the Associate producer title. Michael and I tried very hard to keep the look and feel of Filmation in every shot. I think we did that.

With the feedback I’ve observed being so positive, I’m sure “The Needs of the Many” will be a success.  Looking forward to seeing it and appreciate your tireless efforts and talented contributions towards the Starship Farragut project.  Thanks Kail.

Thank you for letting me play in your backyard John! My dream of creating new TAS would not have been possible without you, and your crew at Starship Farragut!

Stay tuned for another discussion soon with Kail regarding his comic book version of Starship Farragut – TAS style (same style as the animated project).

john03

Coming Soon!