The Diplomacy Story

•February 4, 2017 • Leave a Comment

A small bead of condensation, a tiny damp world of its own, slid down the glass toward the spongy coaster beneath.  For a moment, it was the only thing in the universe of any import.  With near breathless anticipation he watched, curious as to wear it would finally land.  Once it did, he recognized that the other person in the room deserved some attention, also.  Or instead.  Or…something.

“…you’ll have the full amenities afforded to you.”   then, a moment later, Mrs. Martinez, his supervisor, possibly seeing that he needed a refresher on what she had just said, added, “Are there any questions, Chris?”

He racked his brain for something intelligent to say, something that would make it appear that he wasn’t as clueless as a blind groundhog looking for a hole in the linoleum to bury itself in.  Sigihing, he finally said, “Well, why me?”

Secret Identities

•February 3, 2017 • Leave a Comment

For a while now, there’s been an argument/discussion going on about Superman, whether or not Clark Kent or Superman is the real version of the character, and how no matter what he’s wearing, he is still Superman.

Really, though, for most heroes with a secret identity, the same could be said. So, Bruce Wayne wasn’t born the great detective crime fighter, and Peter Parker had his illuminated arachnid encounter. I’ll grant that–but when he’s not in costume, is Bruce Wayne actually the playboy fop he pretends to be? Is Spider-Man any less the man he is in jeans and a sweatshirt?

Heroism doesn’t depend on a costume. Nor does villainy. Actually, a real villain usually doesn’t want the attention because A)attention would prevent them being able to move forward with The Plan, and B) if they realize what they’re up to makes them The Bad Guy they don’t want to be NOTICED being the bad guy, just at most an innocent bystander. Heroism, though–certainly, there are some heroics that need identities and indentification. Doctors come to mind. Police officers. Fire people. But what about the person who works to make sure people are fed? What about the person who sees a homeless person and gets them food?

What about politics? That’s the realm of the most secret of identities, it seems. A politician in the old days had to appeal to the base, work for their causes, and not be seen to be all that controversial. Now, it seems they welcome the controversy and want to turn it on its head to play themselves as the victims.

It’s a weird time.

A Few Words About Freddie

•November 7, 2016 • Leave a Comment

The first time I became acquainted with his work was when my sister took me to see Flash Gordon in 1980. I’d heard Another One Bites The Dust and We Will Rock You a few hundred times without ever really connecting that someone was actually singing those songs. But there, sitting in the theater, Roger’s drums and John’s bass line come up and then THAT voice came up. Ironic that one of the lines in the song is “He stands for every one of us,” because that’s what Freddie Mercury specialized in.

There are a few performers that elevate singing in a way that makes you feel like they’re singing the song only for and only to you. When you hear I’m In Love With My Car, there’s a part of your soul that aches that you didn’t come off a Detroit assembly line. I don’t know if it was his vocal range (8 octaves–JEEZ!) of the fire beneath him or what precisely it was that made him able to speak to so many, but I know at least my life would be poorer with his Kind Of Magic, for he was in a clear way Made In Heaven.

Thanks, Freddie.

More Weird Date Coinkydinks

•April 4, 2016 • Leave a Comment

The Wolf Man started filming exactly 31 years to the day before I was born.

2016 So Far Has Been Hard On The Heroes

•February 8, 2016 • Leave a Comment

And now Edgar Mitchell has gone to rest.

Good Night to a Hero

•January 11, 2016 • Leave a Comment

David Bowie has died.

Depending on what was happening around me, there was always a Bowie persona that I could identify with. From outsiders like Ziggy or the Grand White Duke to Major Tom being caught up in an out of control life to Bowie in the Black Tie White Noise early 90’s era, touching on love, life, and solitude. When he proposed Let’s Dance, only later would it go Magic from the Underground up.

Only yesterday was I looking at Blackstar, his final album just released. The cosmos is a little dimmer now that Bowie’s star has dimmed.

A Fanfilm Implosion

•January 9, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Everyone knows two things about me. One, I come up with stories. Two,  I’m a bit of an extreme Trekhead. Need proof?  Here .  That’s my story, not that I’m sticking to it. Sure, it was rewritten a bit to fit with what the Farraguteers needed, but the idea came out of my huge, hairy noggin.   When I first saw Starship Farragut and saw that they were looking for script submissions, the idea leapt fully formed into Word like some 23rd century Athena with warp engines.    Before that, I’d watched some New Voyages, which eventually became Phase II, which has now apparently gone back to New Voyages.    There was a forum on both groups’ websites.  The New Voyages forum seemed less a place for relaxed byplay with more moderators than you could shake a stick at, and heaven FORBID you should make a comment that ventured in the slightest from the thread topic at hand.  The TOPIC STICK would come out and smack the hands at the keyboard.  The episodes were enjoyable enough, but the forum eventually turned me off the whole thing.  On the other hand, the Farragut board was more like the BBS’s of Ye Olde Modem Days, just people popping in with questions or comments and it was far more relaxed, and far more comfortable.

One of the topics to often come up in forums was, “Have you seen what THESE guys are doing?”  The thread that followed was of two varieties, either, “Hey, look at that, that’s pretty cool,” or, more often, “How DARE they use chromakey sets or THINK they can use the same characters or is her hair REALLY like that?”  You’d see the same names with the same iconography on forum after forum.  Some people were good to communicate with.  I got quite friendly with a few.

Time went on.  New Voyages released a few episodes that got people talking, one two-parter because it was a reworking of David Gerrold’s AIDS allegory, and another because there was all kinds of Drama, yesth a capital D, with the Director, sorry, director, Vic Mignogna releasing an early cut and stuff that no one who wasn’t IN Port Henry, NY can say for any certainty.  Didn’t stop most people, though.  Vic Mignogna decided to start his own series, ST Continues.  He partnered with the Farraguteers and was promptly accused by one person at least of stealing sets from another group in Oklahoma.  Which never happened, by the way.   One of the loudest voices against it made a comment on my posting of the script that became Farragut’s Dearly Departed.  Go ahead, check it out, I’ll wait here.

You’re back?  Cool.

Now, I’m not so much the sycophant or blind fan that ALL FAN FILMS ARE GOLDEN.  Some have just been too derivative, or the production has just sucked, or they just didn’t hold my interest.  Even the ones I really like I don’t always keep as current as I could.   Until, that is, I started hearing about Prelude to Axanar.

Axanar, for those not up on their FASA Trek lore, or Regular Trek Lore, or Data’s brother Lore, or…what was I saying?  Oh, yeah.  Axanar was the site of a major battle in the Four Years War, won by Garth of Izar, the guy who ended up going bananas and hanging out with Marta, a nicely green Yvonne Craig, on the Tantalus Colony.  A few people got it in their heads to do a fan film for this battle.  Okay, fine.  There were links all over for their fundraisers.  Much as I might have liked to donate to any of the groups I’ve said I liked I’ve never had the disposable cash.  Life of a professional TV guy and all.

So, every so often, it would come up on Facebook or any of the various Trek boards, what’s going on with Axanar?  Whatever happened to Axanar?  That’s when I found out that it was being produced by a gent named Alec Peters, by profession a lawyer.  I thought I recognized the name from the heady days of New Voyaging through the forum, but I was thinking of another gent named Alec who was a barfly.  Do people call lawyers that?  They should.  Anyhow, big names were getting associated with this production.  Tony Todd, who people always associate with Candyman, but who I always think of when not in DS9 mode as Ben in the NOTLD remake.  Gary Graham, who, possible cousin though he may be, I’ve liked since the premiere of Alien Nation.

Along came the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve.  I was working overtime with not a hell of a lot to do.  Since I needed to stay awake until 8:00 AM, I started bopping around the internet.  There I found that Paramount and CBS had decided to sue the people behind Axanar.  I started to worry about my friends at Farragut, but as I read through, it became evident that the folks at Axanar had decided they needed to be paid, so they were drawing a salary from the donations.  That’s always been a no-no for fan films.  A BIG no-no.  Yet there it was in the released financial report, Peters was drawing 38 grand a year for this fan film. sorry, professional production.  I find it particularly grating as I’ve been working in production since 2001 and I only make 30 grand a year, but that’s a tale for another day.  It seems that this is the crux of the lawsuit, although various people swear it’s because Axanar looks better than the recent movies or Enterprise or whatever and Paramount and CBS are just being big meanies.    It seems perfectly clear to me that it’s the salaries that are the problem, complaining from the likes of David Gerrold and various other webizens notwithstanding.  The Axanar production types keep posting everywhere that they’re determined to press on like the lawsuit is just going to go away.  The word hubris keeps getting attached to Alec Peters.  I don’t know the guy, I only know what I’ve read, but it’s hard to believe someone who is a lawyer could see that as a realistic outcome.

I wrote a post on the Farragut forum, which sadly isn’t up anymore, asking the question, why do fan films?  Recognition is one reason I came up with.  Wanting to play in a familiar universe is another.  The desire to be your own heroes ranks high.  But I closed it out by saying if you’re creative enough to do this, why not do something original?  There seems a lot of talent connected to this thing.  Had they gone original, would they have gotten all the donations?  Probably not until they’d shown something that they could do it, an Into The Woods to prove The Evil Dead.   I have friends who’ve done zombie movies.  Depending on how this comes out, could it set a precedent for the studios to go after them?  I doubt it, personally, but what if…?

Watching how this plays out is going to be interesting.