Posts Tagged ‘The Price of Anything’

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.