Posts Tagged ‘Jack Marshall’

Spotlight Series: Jack Marshall

07/18/2012

It’s been awhile since we showcased someone – let’s shine the spotlight on Producer Jack Marshall!

Jack Marshall came aboard Farragut Films last fall.  Shortly after coming aboard, he was quick to bring value-add contributions as Assistant Director and Line Producer handling production management.  I recently chatted with Jack:

So, how does it feel to be working on a Star Trek webseries again?

That’s a tough question right out of the gate!  The last time I worked on a fan film was in the fall of 2005.  By February of 2006 I was working on Battlestar Galactica out in Los Angeles.  I mean, I was floored – I made it to Hollywood!  Cut to the fall of 2011, and once again I’m walking the decks of a Starship (and a Romulan Warbird as well)!  It’s nutty!!  The experience I had when I was asked to help out with Farragut during the filming of their newest episode was phenomenal.  At first, I was hesitant to get back into the fan film genre, but within a few hours of landing in Kingsland, Georgia, I knew I’d come home.

Star Trek is the main reason I work in television today.  When I was a kid, I read the famous “Making of Star Trek” and I knew, somehow, I would do that – I would be involved in this wonderful medium in some way.  So each time I’m on the sets, it’s like coming home to my childhood dream; the place where I received my inspiration.

I’ve often said that when it comes to any Star Trek webseries, there are two trains of thought: those that re-imagine the iconic characters and those that take a more original approach of a different ship and characters. Do you have a preference on these two approaches?

During the creation of the first web series I worked on, my party line was that the characters of Kirk, Spock, McCoy, etc were greater than the actors who played them.  I felt those characters had moved into folklore like Batman, James Bond, Superman, and more.  As a result, anyone could play them.

Now, many years later, I admit I was saying that as much to convince myself as I was to those who were following us.  We now have an official Paramount cast who are “replacing” the original cast onscreen.  It seemed to work for them.  But what they fail to realize, as others do, is that you can recreate the characters, but the spirit of those characters live within the actors who created those roles.  The characters we fell in love with are intrinsically tied to the actors that originally played them.  We just didn’t fall in love with Uhura, we fell in love with Nichelle (and Bill and De and Jimmy and all the rest).

In doing an Enterprise based series, you’re setting yourself up for the inevitable comparisons to the original actors and stories, to which you can never measure up.  So right out of the gate you’re at a disadvantage.  I think you get a lot more leeway if you’re creating new characters on a new ship and allow yourself to be led by the examples of TOS but not tied to any certain canon.  We know the history of the original characters as well as we know our own.  You know Kirk isn’t going to die in a fan episode, because you see him in the films for the next 30 years.  But take a character like “Tackett” and put him in a precarious situation and he COULD die – his history hasn’t been written yet, so the dramatic impact is greater.

I couldn’t agree more about the love we fans share for both the character and actor [being one].  While working with you, I’ve noted that you have excellent production management skills – an incredible skills set that is crucial to having a successful film shoot. Handling wardrobe, I often feel slighted in contrast to sets or operating the camera. Do you feel that your work is often overlooked?

As a preface to those who aren’t aware, what I do on set is run the daily schedule (and shepard each episode from pre through post production).  I stand in the eye of the hurricane and make sure each department is ready to go, knows what to do and is ready for what’s to come.  In the case of Farragut Films, I often feel like the conductor of a great orchestra surrounded by world class musicians who really know their stuff.

In the grand scheme of things, people aren’t all that interested in how the sausage is made, but rather how it tastes.  What matters to me is being respected by my peers; my film-making family.  Recognition off the set is the farthest thing from my mind.  In fact, I’d never do an interview like this for anyone but you Mr. Broughton – it’s goes against my nature of being happily anonymous!

I hope that each department feels “loved”.  I spend a lot of my time on set jumping from person to person just checking on how they’re doing, and letting them know they’re awesome.  That’s my other job – head cheerleader.  While the outside world may never know of each persons contribution to the show, I hope each person that works with us is aware at all times how valuable and loved they are for all they bring.

I will say this, I’ve never worked on a set, fan or professional, where so much love and joy in the work and in each other was so present.  The Farragut Films experience was utterly incredible.

“Let’s keep things moving folks, we’ve got a busy day.”

“…a conductor of an orchestra surrounded by world class musicians…”  NICE phrase!  When it comes to the magic of Star Trek, is there anything specific that you appreciate or gravitate more? For example, is it the chemistry of the characters, the stories, or that look and feel of 60’s TREK?

I think when I explore what turns me on about Trek, I usually find myself strongly drawn to its underlying philosophy.  I really wish we could become this “greater human” we grew to know in Star Trek.  This show shaped much of my own philosophy in life and I find it very satisfying to pay that forward and in a small way help to keep the original Star Trek alive.

Is there anything that you liked to see developed on Starship Farragut?

Keep growing!  The improvements you’ve made each year are amazing.  The new episode really knocks it out of the ballpark.  Take risks – use your characters in ways we could never use the TOS cast.  I’m not really suggesting you kill someone, but you can shake up the ship anytime and keep your audience on the edge of their seats.

Having worked in the industry doing film production management, how does what we do compare to Hollywood productions?

There is no doubt that what we do in the fan film genre is no different than the grind of a Hollywood production.  We employ just about every device used in the making of a Hollywood production from call sheets, travel coordination, catering and so on, except without a budget!  But being on set in Georgia is not very different from a wroking set in Hollywood.

The biggest difference is that in Hollywood, there can be competition between departments, with each blaming the other for a delay or problem.  In your shop, we all are there working together as a team, no one more important than another – each helping to make a dream come true.  If something needs done, no one hesitates to volunteer.  I’m constantly amazed at the quality of people you’ve assembled.  Each as eager to sweep a floor as don a costume.

The best thing you can do if you’re making a fan film is make it with people you love.  This is your free time and you certainly don’t want the experience to feel like a full time headache of a job!

Follow-up question – since you have worked on a SCI-FI production (Battlestar Galactica) and other Hollywood-backed productions, as well as Star Trek webseries – is there an original concept or idea that you’d like to see materialized?

In terms of Sci-Fi, I’d like Hollywood to move away from the dystopian future and back to a vision of the future that offers hope.  That’s something I’d like to work on.  Personally, if I could have my pick of projects, I’d LOVE to do a western in the form of the great western half hour dramas of the 50’s and 60’s.  I miss TV shows that had a simple message.  A lot of people seem to have forgotten the simple lessons (and joys) of life.

Thanks Jack – on behalf of everyone, thanks for your hard work and commitment. 

Jack hard at work with Kasey Shafsky on “The Price of Anything”

TREK Magic Once Again!

05/17/2012

Wow, it’s been quite some time since I last blogged.  Probably because I’ve been busy jumping from filming of Starship Farragut’s THE PRICE OF ANYTHING exterior shoots in LA, to supporting wardrobe of the new Dracogen and Farragut Films’ webseries, STAR TREK CONTINUES (STC), to then filming STC two weekends ago.

Speaking of wardrobe, special thanks to ANOVOS for the Starfleet uniforms.  Because of their involvement, I only needed to tailor the uniforms to the respective actors and create Trek pants, as well as an additional tunic for Vic Mignogna.  Vic and I are most grateful for our ANOVOS partnership.  Although a small level of effort for wardrobe, it did seem challenging given real life commitments.  I’d be remissed if I did not also acknowledge and thank my friend Pavlina for developing the pattern and constructing a key outfit from a TOS episode; as well as thanking Lizzy Shram for her work on the orange jumpsuit and other sewing support.  It feels great to finally get ‘down-to-earth’ folks who have strong interpersonal skills and talent beyond just sewing a straight line.  Actually, both are “master” costumers as I became to understand; blessed to have their involvement.

With THE PRICE OF ANYTHING slated for release this August, folks have posted on our Starship Farragut Facebook page, asking what’s next?  Well, we’re officially in pre-production of our next Farragut adventure.  The group reviewed numerous scripts and we ultimately chose the screenplay, CONSPIRACY OF INNOCENCE written by Bobby Nash.

Bobby Nash Watching Rough-cut of “The Price of Anything” at TREK TRAX

Bobby has written a plethora of novels and scripts – you can check him out at www.bobbynash.com.  Producer Jack Marshall is currently reviewing and annotating the script; from there collective weigh-in from the other stakeholders, which will then provide back to Bobby for final incorporation.  We will film CONSPIRACY OF INNOCENCE immediately following the STC full episode this fall.

Also, I should point out that Mark Hildebrand will be filming his Starship Farragut vignette, NIGHT SHIFT during Veteran’s Day weekend.  Mark wrote the screenplay a couple of years ago, but has been busy with non-TREK films, such as ANTHEM, which tells the story behind Francis Scott Key’s creation of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and explores the role of music and patriotism during The War of 1812.  A long-time Farraguteer – we’re glad to have Mark doing some TREK work again!

The last time we hung out with Mark, we showed him a rough cut of THE PRICE OF ANYTHING.  He was most impressed. I shared with him my thoughts on how great the filming went and how it took me seven years “to get it.”  On that point, he reminded me that I needed to relay to folks that I will be continuing the role of CAPT Carter.

The last time I blogged, I shared how I was stepping down – filming at the OCT film shoot was bitter sweet as I finally able to enjoy the acting aspect, but had already committed to stepping down.  While formulating ideas how the Carter character could reprise a role in the next Farragut adventure outside of being the Captain, Mike and Holly Bednar conferred with me about staying on and “keeping things the way they were.”  I don’t think that they will truly know how much that meant to me.  I’m optimistic that when folks see THE PRICE OF ANYTHING, they will finally see the Carter character as I envisioned him.  Much of the success of this film goes to all the hardworking individuals, including key crew folks such as Vic Mignogna, Matt Bucy, Jack Marshall, Kasey Shafsky, Michael Struck, Ralph Miller and of course our dedicated set construction crew — Royal Weaver,Greg Greene, Dan Scanlan, Sam Rooks, Ron Simkanich, Frank Parker, Katrina Parsons, Cera Weaver, Scotty Whitehurst, Stacy Walker, Jeff Johnson, Bruce Boyd, and Carl Mazur .  Last – but not least, thanks to Paul Sieber for writing the script.

Staying Aboard Farragut

Could the magic that we shared during the OCT and DEC film shoots for Starship Farragut be replicated for the STAR TREK CONTINUES shoot?  The answer is AFFIRMATIVE!  With memories fresh from filming a few weeks ago, I can tell you that folks were equally committed to both webseries and we were able to film amazing things on schedule and have fun without drama or strife.

I’ve been a steadfast critic of staying clear of doing a fan film based on the iconic characters of Kirk, Spock and McCoy.  Our Starship Farragut webseries is fundamentally different, showcasing the crew of a different starship than the one named Enterprise.  However, having witnessed the filming of the STC shoot, I can tell you that I was blown away.  Not only are we working with professionals, but each actor had embodied the essence of their respective character, which translated well on film.

Vic and the others have spent the necessary time and effort to portray our legendary space heroes and have done justice by them.  If I may share a geek-out moment – there was a moment when the entire cast was on the bridge in uniform filming a scene that caused the hairs on my arms to stand straight up.  I was standing near Jack Marshall who had his back to me watching the monitor – when he yelled, “Cut!” – I immediately was going to tell him about what transpired and called his name.  When he turned around, his eyes were glossy and he said, “Did you feel that?”  I replied, “Yeah!”  We both concluded that it was like witnessing Star Trek being filmed almost 50 years ago on the Paramountlot.  A truly surreal moment…

Cast of Star Trek Continues

Even though this was our first STC shoot, there was a genuine camaraderie of the cast and crew.  I’m extremely optimistic about the continuing voyages of this enterprising adventure…

Grant Imahara, Greg Greene, Chris Doohan and Mike Bednar

Having a Blast – Jack Marshall

Kasey Shafsky, Scotty Whitehurst and Matt Bucy

I’ll wrap up simply stating “Thanks” to all the cast and crew of Starship Farragut and Star Trek Continues.  We are truly and boldy going where no one has gone before.

“The Price of Anything” — An Actor’s Reflection

10/20/2011
Returning from St. Marys, GA, I’m on “Cloud 9”, or perhaps more appropriately, the Mutara Nebula. 

Last week’s shoot of the Starship Farragut live-action film, “THE PRICE OF ANYTHING” was a huge success.  Folks had fun; we got all the shots needed within schedule and with great performances of the actors.

Despite this being our most ambitious from project to date with rising production expenses, we were able to continue with our best business practices of providing meals to folks, giving away expensive & accurate Star Trek costumes to ALL actors, as well as appropriate crew attire for the behind-the-scenes folks.  This is one differentiator that we pride ourselves, as well as treating everyone with mutual respect and valuing their volunteered efforts.

For me, this episode was the culmination of more than six years of what I envisioned the production should go – talented crew professionals working with the latest technology and proven camera, lighting and audio equipment, as well as prepared actors giving their best performance on accurate sets and wearing exacting uniform replicas to get that look and feel of 1960’s STAR TREK. We had an outstanding Director with film experience to evoke the best performances out of us.  Vic validated a belief I’ve had for some time that knowing lines and having done rehearsals is simply not enough — you also need a Director that provides clear “direction” and communicates to the actor in a way that he or she understands what is being asked; is able to change lines without changing the intent of the screenplay; and understands all the dynamics of that which is “film-making.”  Vic Mignogna is such a person.

Well over a year ago, I was trying to bring on a Director to film this effort and spoke with Paul Sieber, the writer of this screenplay.  I had known of this “Vic Mignogna” for awhile —- he had worked with Michael Struck of NEO f/x on Starship Farragut: The Animated Episodes and heard positive things of his work with Star Trek Phase II.  I asked Paul about Vic and he confirmed his work, adding, “he is a Actor’s Director.”  I wasn’t sure what exactly that meant, other than it sounded good.  It wasn’t until the first day of filming when the shuttlecraft set was getting ready for filming with the camera and lights, Vic wanted to go over the scene with the actors involved to talk about the scene.  We went into the transporter room set, we sat down, – I immediately closed my script book and tossed it down.  A lot of personal preparation for this dramatic shoot and for me it was a moment of setting the tone with the Director.  “I got this – I know my lines and I don’t need it” type of thing.  You see, earlier on after getting Vic on-board, I explained my frustration on the acting side of this project.  I had an idea to remove my character very early on in the teaser and having the plot of estranged and bitter family relationship take place with Smithfield’s brother.  After explaining all of this, Vic relayed that since I created the series and the Captain Carter was pivotal to the series, his departure should not just be an after thought.  Whereas any other person may have just accepted what I initially proposed, Vic understood where I was coming from and offered an alternative solution, adding “If you know your lines and are prepared, I will bring out the best in you and you can make this film on a high note.”  Without sounding like a cliche, I was intrigued by the challenge.  If I could leave on a high note and have folks wanting more of my character – why not?!

Getting back to the transporter room and going over the shuttlecraft scene —– it was during this discussion that I understood what Paul was referring to of Vic being an “Actor’s Director.”  Whereas I had my own thoughts of what the character was thinking and doing, Vic would throw in something else that would enhance the performance.  I think that if you asked anyone actor involved in this production, they’d say the exact same thing.  In fact, I’d challenge you to find someone who didn’t agree with me.  When I left the transporter room to film the first scene, I felt like a true actor ready to go and best of all, I WAS HAVING FUN in the process.

An epiphany moment came after we were done filming and numerous folks independent from each other were giving me compliments on my performance.  You see this episode has some serious drama for Captain Carter and his father.  Frank Hernandez who plays my father, also gave great performances and the chemistry between both Frank and me also leveraged well on-screen.  Adulation continued to be heard from folks – as well as emotional reactions of folks watching the performances being filmed.

Another epiphany came when Vic told me to just “think it” and not to react.  I would do just that and after a take was done and I was questioning about how it went because I wasn’t feeling it – Vic had me come back to the monitor and had the footage replayed for me.  After I saw it first hand, I was blown away.

Contemplating the Future

Thanks is More Than Just Words…

Thanks to me seems like a word that doesn’t fully convey my full appreciation to everyone.  I know that I personally thanked everyone for their contributions, and I will thank folks again by quoting President John Kennedy who said, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”  In addition, I will add that it is a great feeling to have created something has evolved into greatness that attracts and brings out the best in people  where they bring their own specific contribution to the production.  Each person is like a piece of the puzzle and when everyone is put together, the picture is complete.  Recognizing this, as well as the talents/contributions of folks – is a feeling that doesn’t come everyday and one that I will cherish forever.  Starship Farragut is more than an ensemble cast and crew who have come together to make episodes of “Star Trek,” we are a family.

Special Acknowledgements:

Tonya - Moretti Cameo and Make-up

Tonya – To my supportive and loving wife! You believe in me and it’s great to have you nearby on the sets. It takes a lot of time, energy, and commitment in order to make this film effort a huge success, and you’re always incredibly understanding. Thanks for being an integral part of this film. A big thank you to my kids for being understanding of Daddy having to work on this film effort. Outstanding work on make-up and love the cameo!

Mr. Tacket Manning the Science Scanner

Mike – A daunting task, you delivered on the promise of sets.  When they were fully lit – walking on them felt “right” and they were gorgeous!  Your level of commitment went above and beyond the call of duty – many thanks and I salute you.  ONE of the GREATEST guys in the world – I’m honored and blessed to be taking this TREK with you.  Without sounding trite, the friendship we have is grounded like that of Kirk and Spock and we got to see a bit of that come through with the Captain’s Chair scene.

Very much at home, Director Vic Mignogna

Vic – I appreciate the fact that you’re consistent (no negative surprises); you’re also  patient with folks.  I observed you work with folks on their performance and you have the gift of personal interaction with people to bring out the best in them performance wise.  I’ve learned a lot from you about acting and eternally grateful.  I now have a new outlook on the profession and no longer abhor the ‘craft’ as I did before.  You kept your word and I kept mine and magic was made.  CLASSIC TREK NOW!

Smithfield at Engineering Station

Holly – It’s always refreshing to see you film.  A true professional, you always know your lines and ready to deliver.  Like I mentioned before, there was some true “McCoy” or more appropriately Smithfield moments that came over extremely well.  I look forward to filming the dramatic scene with you in LA.  Also, thanks again for handling casting and HR for us; nice additions of Laurel Seymour and Doug Nemeth.

Doug Nemeth & Laurel Seymour

Our Director of Photography, Matt Bucy

Matt – You’re a god on the camera and with lights.  For the first time in almost 50 years, people can finally see Star Trek again.  When you’re looking at your footage and trying to figure out what Classic Trek episode was being filmed, you know you got it!  Also, the dolly shots and above the bridge shots are great – fans are going to love it!

The Multi-Talented Ralph Miller

Ralph – It was great to hang out with you again.  Like Vic, you’re a true kindred spirit of Classic Trek and all-around great guy.  Great talent and thank you for the numerous contributions that extended outside of just “audio”.

Jack Marshall & Kasey Shafsky

Jack – You said we’d be working together and were right.  You were a valued element to this production and I cannot imagine us doing it without you.  I really got a chance to observe you in action and what a professional.  I look forward to working with you again.  It was also nice to have you keep an upbeat tone on set with your humor.  I shall now refer to you as “The Mighty Marshall!”

Kasey – You’ve done a helluva job as Line Producer.  Thanks for keeping things going well and orderly.  I also liked playing “Good Cop” to your “Bad Cop”!

Sam Rooks, Farragut Films' Lighting Guy

Sam – Only you could convince me to part with my beloved Farragut Films ball-cap.  Thanks for your contributions and look forward to working with you on the exterior shoot very soon.

Professional & Strong Ethical Actor, Frank Hernandez

Frank Hernandez – I told you that you would not be disappointed.  As you can tell, we operate differently from other outfits and pride ourselves on our professionalism.  Thank you so much for playing opposite me.  In a lot of respects, I think that we’re very much alike in terms of doing what you say and being professional.  I love your wit and you as a person and although you play my father, consider you my brother in life.

LT Stahler Receiving Starfleet Orders

Greg Greene – Our Set Team Leader – thanks for taking care of our home.  It was a delight to see you play Communications Officer, LT Stahler.  It’s been awhile since my stomach was in pain of laughing so much!    

Royal Weaver Perfoming Just One of Many Crew Tasks

Royal and Ron – Thanks for everything done behind-the-scenes.  We wouldn’t have been able to make this film without your guys’ involvement.  Nice to also see some folks not requiring to be in front of the camera to be involved.  Royal, you always go beyond the call of duty to help and willing to pinch in for whatever task – we also appreciate you making  the magic of TREK’s sliding doors a reality. 

 

ROMULANS!

Donna and Frank Parker – Thanks to you both for making the Romulan uniforms.  Your work enabled to truly showcase the newly built Romulan bridge set and make those scenes more powerful and in the venue of STAR TREK’s “Balance of Terror”.

Laura Shafsky – My stomach and the crew’s stomach thanks you for handling catering for us!

Brit is ready for action!

Brit – Thanks for being part of this shoot.  You quickly became part of the team and assisted folks with camera operations.  Also thankful for taking photographs for us.

Katrina – Without your help, the SAG and other administrative forms would not have been filled out by folks.  With everything else going on, I totally dropped the ball on getting with folks – thanks for stepping up.

Ensign Morris Steering the Ship

Dean – My man Dean!  It was good to see Ensign Morris on the Farragut bridge again.  Thanks for being our “official photographer” and along with Brit, documenting our film shoot.

Tacket's New Nemesis

Cheralyn Lambeth – Glad that you made our Romulan Commander come to life.  I have a feeling that Commander Tacket has not seen the last of her!

LT Logan in Command

Gina Hernandez – Thanks for playing LT Logan, as well as supporting Frank on his Special Guest Star role.

Dan Scanlon – Thanks for all the hard work on the sets, as well as doing boom mike and fog machine!

Bob & Amy McDonough — Good to see you guys.  Wish that we could have spent more time together.  Thanks Amy for assisting Tonya with make-up duties.

Doc Holley in her Sickbay Office

Chief Galway Manning the Transporter Room

For all the other actors, Laurel Seymour, Doug Nemeth, Matt Jones, Brian Watson and John Sims — Danke, Grazie, and Merci Beaucoup!

Farragut Films' Corporate Sponsor

W.H. Gross Construction Company – Sincere thanks to our corporate sponsor.  Bill – from everyone involved with Starship Farragut – much gratitude for making St. Marys our home.  Our partnership started almost 3 years ago and it has been a great one – we will continue to do what we can to bring awareness to St, Marys so that its no longer the best kept secret on the East Coast.

Kim (and Brian) – Many thanks to you for championing us.  Because of you, our Farragut family has gotten much larger, including you guys.

Paul Sieber –Thanks for writing the script.  You will be blown away when you see it realized on screen!

Michael Struck, Michael Day, Mark Hildebrand, Marie Cook, Kim Haas, Michael Cowart, Eve Gidion, and Allen Batson – Although you were not present at the film shoot, you were there in spirit.  Thanks again to your contributions to this production.

Last, but certainly not least — thanks to my Mom who watched over our kids while Tonya and I played Star Trek and who helped me with some costuming support of hand-stitching, seam ripping and sewing of some patches.

Best Cast & Crew Ever

Sincere admiration and respect to the entire cast & crew of Starship Farragut.  When folks finally see THE PRICE OF ANYTHING, I genuinely believe that they will agree that it’s the best yet for not only Starship Farragut, but for all CLASSIC-TREK fan films to date.  Looking forward to doing the exterior shoot with folks in Los Angeles real soon!  Farragut Films – Setting the Standard.

Broughton Family on Set