Scifi Conventions To Watch Star Trek Of Gods and Men.
Star Trek of Gods and Men at Scifi Conventions

We are pleased to announce that
Parts I and II of Star Trek: Of Gods and Men
will be playing at
several upcoming science fiction conventions!

Now is your chance to see Star Trek: Of Gods and Men on the big screen!

The following conventions will host screenings of Parts I and II (click the icons to view convention info):


April 18-20 - Denver, Colorado
Nichelle Nichols


April 18-20 - Louisville, Kentucky
Walter Koenig


April 28 - Franklin Pearce University, Rindge, New Hampshire
Walter Koenig


May 16-18 - Detroit, Michigan
Walter Koenig
Alan Ruck
Producer Sky Conway


May 30-June 1 - Panama City Beach, Florida
Chase Masterson


June 6-8 - Tulsa, Oklahoma
Walter Koenig
Nichelle Nichols


July 11-13, Baltimore, Maryland

Star Trek: Of Gods and Men stars Walter Koenig and Nichelle Nichols (Uhura and Chekov from original Star Trek) along with Alan Ruck (Captain John Harriman of the seventh feature film, Star Trek Generations). Joining them are Grace Lee Whitney (original Star Trek ); Garrett Wang and Ethan Phillips (Voyager); Cirroc Lofton, Chase Masterson and JG Hertzler (Deep Space Nine), Gary Graham and Crystal Allen (Enterprise), Herb Jefferson (Battlestar Galactica) plus Tim Russ (Voyager), who also directed.

Producer Sky Douglas Conway and Deep Space Nine freelance storywriters Jack Trevino and Ethan H. Calk wrote OGAM . Director of photography is Doug Knapp . In addition, many artists in the field of makeup and lighting have joined them for what has proved to be a history-making event.

 
Forty Years of Star Trek by Arthur C Clarke PDF Print E-mail

(In tribute to Arthur C. Clarke this article is reprinted from planetxpo.com)
 

Forty years of Star Trek
(© Arthur C Clarke – all rights reserved.
Photos © by Jeff Greenwald. May not be used without permission.)

I still can’t believe that it’s now forty years since Star Trek entered our lives – and we started roaming the universe of Star Trek.

Photos © by Jeff Greenwald. May not be used without permission.How things have changed! Star Trek was born at a time when the Space Age was less than a decade old, and humans had just taken a few faltering steps into near space. The United States and the late, unlamented USSR were locked in the Space Race, itself a product of the Cold War. The spectre of nuclear war loomed large, and the civil rights and women’s movements were still struggling for equality among humans.

Appearing at such a time in human history, Star Trek popularised much more than the vision of a space-faring civilisation. In episode after episode, it promoted the then unpopular ideals of tolerance for differing cultures and respect for life in all forms – without preaching, and always with a saving sense of humour.

Photos © by Jeff Greenwald. May not be used without permission.Over the years, the sophistication of storylines and special effects has certainly improved, but Star Trek retains its core values – still very much needed in our sadly divided and quarreling world.

There are purists who say that Star Trek isn't science fiction, but science fantasy -- and they have a point. Genuine science fiction should describe things that could happen according to present knowledge, and today we are fairly certain that we won't be able to dash from one star system to another in time for the next week's episode. We can also be sure that the inhabitants of other worlds won't look anything like human beings -- or speak fluent American.

Photos © by Jeff Greenwald. May not be used without permission.But we have to remember that much that once seemed fantasy has now become fact. Seventy years ago, if anyone had written a story in which a whole city was destroyed by banging two small pieces of metal together, virtually all physicists would have said: "Utter nonsense!" Yet this is how the greatest of wars was ended in 1945. Today there are many other examples of my Third Law: ‘Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic’ (I’m amused to hear from a friend that the villain Lex Luthor utters these very words in the latest Superman movie, which I haven’t yet seen. My agents will be following this up.)

Although Gene and I met only a few times, we had a warm friendship that lasted twenty years. I am proud to have played a part in creating one of the great icons of our time – as Gene reminded my biographer, Neil McAleer, when he made an extremely generous assessment of my contribution. Nor was this the first time; in 1987, he wrote for my seventieth birthday felicitation volume: “Arthur literally made my Star Trek idea possible, including the television series, the films, and the associations and learning it has made possible for me.”

He continued: “My association with the Clarke mind and concepts began in 1964 with his book Profiles of the Future. In 1969, I traveled to Arizona to listen to a Clarke lecture on astronomy, where….I was persuaded by him to continue my Star Trek projects despite the entertainment industry’s labeling the production as an unbelievable concept and a failure…It was a friendship that deepened into the most significant of my professional life.”

That was indeed how it happened. After attending my lecture, Gene introduced himself and told me that his series was being cancelled because the television executives, in their inscrutable wisdom, had decided that there was no audience for it. Poor Gene was broke and about to mortgage his home. I introduced him to my lecture agent, who was skeptical but booked him into a small hall -- which couldn't hold the audience he attracted.

Photos © by Jeff Greenwald. May not be used without permission.The rest, as they say, was television history. I am very glad that Gene went on to achieve professional success and world respect. What must have given him even greater satisfaction is that he lived to see so many of his ideals triumphantly accepted. As I wrote in my tribute to Gene upon his death: “Few men have left a finer legacy. The Enterprise will be cruising the galaxy for centuries to come.”

 

Tribute to Arthur C. Clarke

The cast and crew of Star Trek Of Gods and Men are deeply saddened by the loss of our friend, Sir Arthur C Clarke; a wonderful human being, a visionary and a fellow Star Trek Fan. To honor this gentle and great man we would like to pay tribute to him with a special dedication of Act 2. May his spirit forever soar amongst the Stars.

We're also honored to share with the fans Mr. Clarke's special tribute commemorating the 40th Anniversary of Star Trek which was written exclusively for PlanetXpo's Celebration at the Science Fiction Museum. Read it here
... Also watch a tribute video to this great man below (video by Morsec0de) ...

Get the Flash Player to see this video.

 
OGAM Pt 2: Prop Me Up PDF Print E-mail
Written by Paul Keller, Roddenberry.com   
Wednesday, 19 March 2008 01:24

With the buzz of Star Trek: Of Gods and Men increasing in popularity, we decided to follow up our CGI article with another popular subject, props! The following is an interview with Scott Nakada, Property Master for the STOGAM series.

RB: How did you get started with making props for ST: OGAM?
SN: I was initially contacted by Keith Marshall, a long time fan of Star Trek, who inquired about my availability for doing a few Pin and Buckle castings. He provided me with an email address for this guy, who was presented to me as the Art Director for ST: OGAM. So, I contacted Peter Christian at the email address Keith gave me. Peter went ahead and gave me the go ahead to start creating the pins, and buckles based on some art work he provided me. The artwork was really 2 dimensional, so and Peter gave us free reign with the designs to flesh them out. So, I put down a list of requirements for both pieces. Then, I started to work on the chest communicator, and my uncle, John Abbott, worked on the face of the shield for the buckle. Later Peter stopped by and got a chance to examine the pin and buckle prototypes, he asked if we could do a little more, then . allot more. After that, Producer Sky Conway, and Peter went ahead and gave me the Property Master position for the film.

RB: Can you take us through a typical design process for props? From once you get the concept(s), to script and readying props for final shooting.
SN: Typically, the design process is divided up into stages. 1) Script
requirements. What prop is needed here or there? 2) Function of the prop.
What does it do? How will it be filmed? 3) Size limitations for being
practical. 4) My personal throw in, how unique, or intricate or "cool" can I
make it?

In the case script requirements of the props that we designed and made for ST: OGAM, we have two alternate timelines. That means with Trek, alternate technology, especially when reading the script. The Phasers, Communicators, and virtually everything had to be a virtual opposite of each other to really meet the script requirements.

Two examples of script requirements:
1. Phasers:The Galactic Order (GO) Phasers were based on a design I had created about two years earlier. Peter Christian and Sky Conway loved this design and asked to use it in the film. I gave the props a new paint scheme, which is much more aggressive than the original. Each GO Phaser was fitted with a unique ID tag number, and two of four were hollowed out and fitted for basic electronics. All four had to match the look of each other, so no Phaser props were created that looked different then their static counterparts. These GO Phasers are much more armored in look, as compared to our sleek Starfleet Phasers and Phaser Rifle which have ST: 5&6 Battle Phaser lines to keep with cannon advances in Star Trek technology.

2. Communicators:The Communicators are also different in both timelines. The Standard Commbadge of the TNG era is reflected in the alternate timeline. Chest worn, tap and voice activated technology, while still able to poke your eye out. The Communicator of the Starfleet timeline has been upgraded to reflect the advances that we have made in our own technology, such as the cellular phone. It is referred to as the Tricomm. A limited function tricorder system is installed, to A) save budget, and B) make Treknology fresher. This prop has the same flip top style antenna, but is larger in size than the Trek 3 communicator, and has a scanning array on the back of the prop, as well as TNG flavored function inside the display area, with sequenced LEDs and lit display screens and black plastic LCARS faced buttons. It's really the step
between the TNG era Tricorder and the hand held devices of the TOS era.

 



The prop concepts are really all laid out in the script, and that is what it
does, unless it's something to do with a character's make up (Such as
Crystal Allens' ocular piece and wearable receiver that the character plugs in when on duty which was never mentioned in the script, which was created by Tim Vittetoe, Make Up Supervisor for the character's overall make up esthetic) And the concept is that this prop does what in the script? Passes through walls, gets thrown across a room, So we then go through a paper design phase where for major props, I throw down some lines and we can see if something works or doesn't.heh much like with the CGFX shots, if it works great if it doesn't change it. A couple examples of this are concepts for several props needed including the Starfleet Ear Receiver for the 1701-M, Freedom Forces Wrist Device and Starfleet Communicator (or Tricomm).

These props, once conceptualized on paper are then built in a prototype
phase, the prototypes are made using a wide variety of materials, and tools, even some sculpting for certain props. Allot of time and skill can go into a single prop. If there is a single prop that needs to be made for script requirements, then in ST: OGAM we use with the prototype for the shot for time and budget constraints. If there are duplicates, or multiples needed for a given scene then I make molds and duplicate the prop however many number of times is needed for the various shots. After the resin cast parts are pulled from molds, they are cleaned, and readied for paint. I use hard wearing paint for the resins, and they show up very well on camera as metal, like in the case of the GO Tactical Daggers, and Phaser beam emitters. In the Case of ST: OGAM Budget always a major concern, we used just as many props wee needed for a given scene, with no extras. On occasion, prop repairs were necessary for the next shots, after all, accidents on set happen (especially when working at 115 degrees of heat, high humidity, and night shooting. Phasers and other props sometimes went flying).

RB: How much time do you have to do a prop?
SN: Initially, we were contacted to do the Pins and Buckles in May, it wasn't until early June that we got the go ahead to do the Pins and Buckles for the GO Uniforms. Then mid June was when I essentially was asked to produce everything else. Literally, props were being prototyped and made right up to the night before the flight out early-mid July to New York, and up to the morning of the flight for LA. There were two props that were actually conceptualized and prototyped on the flight over, to NY and prototyped in down time before shooting, the Bio Navigation Receiver for Crystal Allen, and the Ear Receiver. The Doorbell with number pad for auxiliary control was made on the spot, the afternoon of the shoot (*note in the photo, "override" is misspelled. Autocorrecting software changed it with out my notice. This was corrected quickly by a scuff mark added before shooting in the final film) and security officer Garran's Belt Buckle was also made the first day of shooting. These were items that were brought up literally the day of, and needed to be completed.

In General though I prefer to have a month to month and a half to properly complete a given prop, or set of props. So, the fan donations were extreme time savers. For the NY shoot we had 72 props produced, and an additional number donated for use from two private collections, for a total of 125 props available on set. Many of them were used on Auxiliary Control's helm and navigational control consol. For the LA shoot I had and additional 18 props to create, and supplied a total of 37 pieces for the location as well as getting rental items from local resources for little things like stemware. I also participated in the patterning of the Guardian of Forever, the physical set prop, and assembly in the desert, fun!

RB: Do you actually produce the final product or do you just come up with the ideas?
SN: I do almost everything. I conceptualize, design, set specifications for
props, prototype, mold and build, assemble, paint, even some limited basic electronics. When I get overwhelmed, I ask for help from a select group of people. Some of my trusted team are fore mentioned John Abbott, who is currently unaccredited is my Assistant Property Master for ST: OGAM. Oversized prop god, and make up artist, Tim Vittetoe. Two new additions to the team are; mold maker and one of the sculptors for the Halo 2 (the laser scanned original figures made for the game, and original toy figure line) Brandy Cannon. My student in training Greg Reed. And most importantly, my supportive and talented wife, Harmony Nakada also helps out. Sometimes I pay them, sometimes they help for fun. Sometimes I help them on their projects, such as the biggest dinner plate in the world, I built most of that for Tim Vittetoe, and had help from Greg Reed. It's funny when you look at stuff like that because when working on a prototype I often remind my self that much of the time we as consumers are quite spoiled and take for granted the cost of a given object, but, what we all forget is that if human hands make it, then cost goes up, because prototypes of everything must be made by hand at some level.

RB: Did you have free reign with designs?
SN: For the most part, YES! After taking a look at the work that was presented early on, Peter and Sky basically just let me go! Granted we had a bunch of cannon props that were repurposed and little things like Cardassian Isolinear Rods, and Voyager era PADDs for the Enterprise M Bridge (primarily because Tim Russ wanted to use those over the cannon era correct PADDs, which were put onto the Auxiliary Control Room Helm Consol). The Starfleet Phasers, Tricomm, Wrist Device, GO Dagger and more were original Scott Nakada designs.

RB: Are you creating props for all three (3) parts?
SN: Yes. All three acts were conceptualized as one film, and were filmed out of sequence, so I created (with some help) and managed the props for all three acts.

RB: What materials do you use for making moulds? Have the plastics that are available today made your life easier?
SN: We use the tried and true masters materials. Primarily Silicon Rubber for molds, though we have used some alternate molding materials from time to time, such as alginate, or latex, even plaster for a couple metal molds. Though we try to stay away from using hot rubber for simple reason of -burning bad-.  

Plastics today are amazing. You can do almost anything you want with them. Cast parts in resins, join parts with "super glues" and you have a wide array of parts available to you, which come from the factory, ready for cutting up. Even did something years ago for a Gundam Mobile Suit (big robot) garage, with very little use of anything else.

Plastics today can make anything look or feel like the real thing when used appropriately. Life is much easier now material wise than it was say even a few years ago.

RB: After moulding are all the finishing processes still the same?
SN: When a prototype is molded the finish process is similar but not the same no matter what material you are casting in. I'll let out a secret, primer paint always first. With out it, no matter what medium you are working in for finish, it just doesn't come out right. What we do here is get the part out of the mold, sand and fill any imperfections, primer, base color paint, mask, and then detail colors, finishing it all off with either a clear coat for durability, or a good paint buffing depending on the desired finish product. We can make anything look like anything you want or desire.

RB: Do you build or just make Star Trek props or make other props for other shows or clients?
SN: I love Star Trek, and do allot of builds on an occasional off the wall project for myself. However, when approached with this question, my answer is yes, my business Xscapes Sci-Fi Originals, will work on any project, or prop. I'll even kick a couple things out occasionally because I think it's cool. But if approached to do a movie or television series from a prop maker, or property master point of view, we will handle those projects as well. That is what I am here to do, and it is the work I like. From WWII Films to Star Trek, and more. I and my crew will do props, or even some art direction for films large and small.

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 March 2008 01:32
 
Nichelle Nichols Interview from Scifipulse.net PDF Print E-mail
Written by Ian M. Cullen   
Monday, 10 March 2008 16:09

Ian M. Cullen recently sat down with Nichelle Nichols and LeVar Burton, here is the interview:

Earlier this month I was given the unique opportunity to sit down and discuss a number of topics with Nichelle Nichols and LeVar Burton of Star Trek fame. Over the course of 15 minutes we discussed a number of topics in relation to Star Trek.

The first thing we discussed was Nichelle Nichols' return to the role of Uhura for the Internet mini series Star Trek: Of Gods And Men, which turned out to be something of an eduaction for LeVar Burton, who hadn’t heard anything about the project.

“It was a time out of sequence story," Nichelle explains, "and so although I was Uhura, I had a life that I didn’t know of and a life I did know of. One that was being used for, and against, me, which was rather interesting to play, and I liked it a lot.”

“Tim… had a view of what the film was to be that I wasn’t aware of, to begin with," Nichols said "So once I knew where he was going, although I never got the chance to discuss it with him, I was really ok.”

As many know, Gods & Men is produced by Sky Conway and directed by Star Trek: Voyager's Tim Russ. When I mentioned the fact that Of Gods & Men was directed by Tim and asked Nichelle Nichols about working with him, LeVar Burton jumped in and asked for all the details.

“I feel so in the dark,” LeVar said to both Nichelle and I. “Tell me about it."

“There’s this young man [James Cawley] in upstate New York who has built an entire replica of the original series Enterprise Bridge -- and he built it spectacularly,” Nichelle continued obligingly, outlining some of the background to the New Voyages fan film projects, of which Gods and Men is the latest of several.

In recent years New Voyages has enjoyed high profile guest appearances from both Walter Koenig and George Takei. Both commented on the timeless quality that James Cawley has managed to get with his replica of the original Enterprise Bridge, a view Nichelle Nichols shares, revealing that she wasn’t allowed to see it until her scene and she thinks that her first line of dialogue, which she speaks when entering the bridge through the lift doors sum up her feelings in a very apt way.

“I open these doors, and this is my first appearance on the Bridge, and it’s supposed to be a museum now. So I walk on the bridge completely unaware of how accurate it is to the one I originally worked on and say the line,  ‘As I live and breathe...’”.

“So where do I see this?” asked LeVar, who was very interested in the show.

I explained that he can see it on the Internet at www.startrekofgodsandmen.net and gave him the proper information. 

Over the course of this interview, I learned a great deal about both Nichelle Nichols and LeVar Burton. They both admitted to being huge fans of science fiction and also learned that both had admired each others work in the entertainment industry for quite some time. So when asked what kind of story they’d like to do if they were given licence to produce their own mini series, I got two very ambitious answers.

“Well, I'm a big science fiction fan,” Burton revealed. ”I would love to do a mini series based on Octavia Butler's works. She wrote some really thought provoking stories like The Kindred, which used the science fiction device of time travel to explore slavery in the United States.”

“She is a brilliant, brilliant writer” Nichols agrees. “I'm a bit of a science fiction buff myself and I have two projectsm but the one I’d love to do is a series based on the adventures of Saturna, a trilogy of books I'm writing. I have a third to write but the first, Saturna’s Child, was very successful and Saturna's Quest was the second."

When chatting about the Star Trek movies it's fair to say that in the past LeVar was somewhat critical about Stuart Baird's handling of Star Trek Nemesis, the final Trek film to date. When I asked about this he laughed and asked, “Really, what did I say?”

The problem for LeVar, it turns out was mostly what he describes as Baird's  ignorance when it came to knowing Star Trek. “He knew nothing about it,” Burton opined. When asked what he’d have done differently if he had more creative input into the movie he said, “Well, I probably would have hired a different director. As a matter of fact am sure I would have.”

When I commented on how I felt Data and Geordi's friendship was not given much screen time in the Next Generation movies, Burton revealed a few interesting things about the origins of the relationship.

“You know the Data and Geordi relationship is terrific," he feels. "That existed from the very beginning, in fact that was in the audition sides. In the audition sides, Data and Geordi formed a team. They called themselves the perceivers because Data’s brain and Geordi's eyes saw the world in a very similar fashion. The perceivers never made it to series but that friendship, you know that close bond that the two of them had, did.

“When I got married 15 years ago. Brent [Spiner] was my best man.” Added Burton.

As you’d expect, the subject of J.J Abrams came up and both Nichols and Burton seem very optimistic about the new Star Trek movie which is expected to come out in Summer 2009.

“I like J.J’s work,” said Nichols “and I have a great deal of respect for him. I have a greater deal of respect for him that, instead of going ahead and recasting after having initially got the green light from Paramount, which he could have done, he instead asked to meet separately and equally with all the original cast members.

“He didn’t make a big deal about it,” Nichelle continued. “I mean, he called one, he called the others and asked our agents if he could talk to us, and I went on and had lunch with him. We talked about it and he wanted to know my opinion.”

“Just the sort of things Stuart Baird didn’t do,” interjected Burton and laughed.

“So I went out and had lunch with him,” continued Nichols “and found that he was not only giving, you know this value of respect, so much as really wanting to know what I thought and how I felt.”

During their lunch Abrams invited Nichols to the set, and understandably Nichelle jumped at the chance.

“You know I met the young woman Zoe Saldana [the new Uhura] and I was thrilled when I met her. She is a beautiful young woman, and he wanted to know how I felt about Gene [Roddenberry’s] dream and I felt like it was safe. It’s going to be totally different. It’s going to be his vision and it starts out with greater and more spectacular technology. As Gene probably would have done had he had the finances and the technology that has advanced between now and then. I felt honoured and I felt safe on behalf of Gene.”

Lately LeVar has been more focused on his directing and has a new film due out called Reach For Me, which sounds like a very moving human drama. LeVar was more than happy to give us a little insight about this project, which he directed and also acts in.

“Reach for me takes place in a Hospice. Seymour Cassel plays Alvin, who is in his 70’s and dying of cancer, as is everyone in the hospice. He's very angry and not a very nice person - shit head. His best and only friend dies in the first five minutes of the picture and they bring him a new roommate, a young kid in his 20’s and it’s a very simple story.”

“We have Seymour Cassel, Alfre Woodard, Lacey Chabert from ‘Party Of Five’ and Johnny Whitworth in the cast," he continues, "and Adrienne Barbeau, who will just tear you heart out with her honesty, she's just unbelievable. She’s going to surprise folks with the depths of her soul. She just puts it all out there. She really does.

“The character that I play is Nathaniel the night nurse," LeVar explains. "He’s gay. There is nothing stereotypical about Nathaniel at all. I just wanted to expand and push people's buttons you know? Challenge their ideas.”

In closing I would like to thank Anne Lindup and the Crew at SF Ball for allowing me some sit down time with Nichelle Nichols and LeVar Burton at this years SF Ball. I also wish both LeVar and Nichelle continued success in their future projects. Thanks also go to Alan Nash for being kind enough to allow me the use of some of his fantastic photographs that were taken during the guest talks at SF Ball 14

 
Part II now Available!! PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 14 February 2008 17:59
Part 2 of Star Trek Of Gods and Men is now available!
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