At a loss for words right now, but I would be remiss to not express my profound grief at the loss of the wonderful actor director and writer Leonard Nimoy. The last time I was this affected by the loss of an actor/media figure was when Vincent Price passed away. He will be missed by a lot of people, and he and his work will be remembered and appreciated for a long time.
Posts in category Trek
I should be taking a victory lap.
Roberto Orci, the writer/producer, has apparently been kicked off Star Trek 3 – a movie he was originally signed to both co-write and direct. Me and Mr. Orci, well… we have a history. His heated and condescending response to my TrekMovie editorial “Star Trek is broken” resulted in a tremendous amount of bad press for him, and it also resulted in my op-ed piece being read by far more people than would have done so otherwise.
When Orci was announced as director, I was critical and contributed to the very vocal #StopOrci2014 twitter response… a response that probably made no difference whatsoever in what happened, but gave fans a chance to vent.
I don’t know what has happened behind the scenes, but Devin at Badass Digest writes that Orci was kicked off the film, almost entirely – Orci initially responded to these rumors with a “not true, I am still very much involved” comment (again, on TrekMovie) but he finally stated yesterday that he was a producer only and was no longer writing the script (his script for Star Trek Into Darkness is one of the major points of criticism I and many others had with the film).
Like I stated, I should be taking a victory lap… but I’m not. Mostly because I see very little to celebrate.
Star Trek is STILL broken, because the direction the series has taken doesn’t look to change. They have brought in Justin Lin, the director of the Fast and the Furious movies, to direct the next Trek film. While he is quite adept with character moments and action beats, is he the right man to direct Star Trek? I don’t know, but other rumored directors (Duncan Jones!) could have brought a much more intellectual take at the material.
Trek is not action movie material… Trek is about the human adventure, the undiscovered country… as I pointed out (adeptly, IMO) in the article that pissed off Orci in the first place. Since the universe prides itself on irony, we have seen two great examples of what a Trek movie should and could be just this past year. Gravity and Interstellar are both provocative SF stories that I could see under the Star Trek label (and yes, I know both films are flawed). Hell, even Guardians of the Galaxy had more “exploration” than the last Trek film had.
So no victory lap for me, because I don’t take pleasure in Orci’s ouster… OK, to be completely honest, I do take a LITTLE pleasure. I am human, after all. As they say, pride goeth before a fall, and Mr. Orci was (and is) a very proud boastful little man. So to him I say: Good luck with that.
Now, to finish (and to reinforce the title of this missive): I’m kinda done with Star Trek.
I’ve gone (and spoken at) Trek conventions, I’ve written thousands of words on the subject, and I look back in fondness at the hours of entertainment the series and the films have given me. But with Trek now an “action adventure” franchise, the Trek that is being produced now is bringing me more pain than pleasure.
I also think that I have written all I have to say on the subject: I have nothing else to add to the discussion except the same arguments I have made already, and a few have (legitimately) criticized my Trek writing because of this. Since I don’t want or need to belabor my points, I’m out.
Finally, there’s plenty of other people writing about Trek out there… people who are still excited and passionate about Trek – many of them much better writers than I am – and I wish them well. I’m just not that interested in doing so anymore (especially when half the comments are people “white knighting” Orci and NuTrek – sorry, life is too short to deal with online debates waged in comment threads).
So, to my Trek friends… live long and prosper. I will be writing about and viewing other things. I may see the third film… eventually. But even with Orci gone I have no confidence that there will be a course correction to Star Trek anytime soon.
This ad for Gene Roddenberry’s company Lincoln Enterprises makes me drool. Look at all that classic Trek goodness! I’d still love to own that Enterprise Evolution poster or the 3-D Enterprise gold pendant.
(In case you did not know, Lincoln Enterprises is the company Mr. Roddenberry created to “cash in” on Trek, since he didn’t own the show. At one point, he got in trouble with Desilu because he was selling scripts and film that were technically not his to sell…)
This is a real cool one. In 1978, when they were filming Star Trek: The Motion Picture, the production designer put together an “instruction manual” of the Enterprise bridge for the actors. Yes, the actors had actual guidance as to what buttons to push depending on what their character should be doing. Supposedly, continuity people were also using this material as a reference – to make sure the actors were correctly manning their stations.
This was one of the first “blueprints” I ever bought, from Lincoln Enterprises. Photo-copied on legal paper with two clips binding the sheets together. It was the first “official” blueprints I ever bought, and knowing the same material was used by Shatner, Nimoy, et al made it super-special to me.
Here is a PDF of those blueprints! Right-click to download and enjoy!
Blatantly ripped off from Drew McWeeney at HitFix, earlier this year I started doing a Star Trek “party game” with some of my Trek fan friends. The premise is simple:
If you were “Trek God” like Q and could take one thing – a character, an actor, a premise, an episode, or a whole series – that you could strike from the record, and make it cease to exist… What would it be? Choose wisely, and be ready to explain your choice!
I’ve done this a few times, and it’s always fun – especially when you are surrounded by really hard core Trekkers. What is great is it’s always a “Sophie’s Choice” – you have to choose one of two things that happens, and the debates can get passionate. The best questions are those “alternate casting” ones, where an actor didn’t play a role and another who was considered got it.
Here’s some example choices:
Voyager was never made
Ron Moore never left Star Trek
Yaphet Kotto played Picard
Guinan was never a character on the show
Tasha never died
Enterprise was never made
Star Trek didn’t get a third season
Enterprise didn’t get a fourth season
Q was a one-off character (only appearing in the next gen pilot)
Majel Barrett continued playing Number One past the Cage pilot
Come up with your own questions, and let me know how it goes!
It’s another time-wasting project from yours truly! Geek Ephemera (aka GeekEphemera.com) will collect the odd, the weird, and the stuff that was never designed to last. Coloring books! TV ads! Posters! Other oddness! You’ll see it here, thanks to my trustworthy scanner. Here’s a hint of what’s to come:
After I wrote my rant about Creation and the Star Trek Las Vegas convention last night, I got an anonymous e-mail from a volunteer at the convention:
I created this email anonymously to remark on your Creation blog post.
It is not just attendees and panelists and actors who are mistreated. I was a volunteer for this event. There is absolutely nothing that could convince me to return for another Creation con as a volunteer or attendee. The people who were supposed to lead us were completely disorganized and constantly abandoned most of us to our own devices. We were snapped at like unruly children when we asked for instructions or assistance. I could go on for many paragraphs, but my experiences and anecdotes might come off as a disgruntled person’s rant…
So in summary, I am saddened and hurt by all the hostility, disrespect, and mistrust that I directly experienced from some of Creation’s paid staff. We paid for own own flights and hotel in order to work for them and then be treated like this? It’s shameful. They are completely out of touch when it comes to treating volunteers in an appropriate manner and should be totally ashamed of themselves.
The reason I’m telling you this is because I wanted you to know that we volunteers tried really, really hard to make this a good experience for everyone. If we failed it’s only because we had zero guidance and moral support from the very company we were representing for FREE. And I am sorry for the attendees who were let down. I too wanted it to be an amazing experience for them and for me. Sadly, it was neither. I will only look back upon this entire experience with anger and regret.
Please feel free to share this email if you’d like, but I will not respond or give any further info in order to protect myself from any retaliation they would undoubtedly unleash upon me.
A former Creation volunteer
Whoever wrote this, thank you and I understand your desire to be anonymous. I am absolutely sure you and fellow volunteers did your best – and hopefully none of what I wrote implied otherwise. I have found Creation is a deeply dysfunctional organization with no courtesy, consideration and grace…
For all volunteers, THANK YOU for working to try and make this a great event, and I’m sorry you and many more were treated badly and rudely… though based on my experience with Creation, I’m not surprised.
Not one. More. Dime.
I’m kinda done with Creation Entertainment.
Creation runs the official Star Trek conventions, the biggest of which I just attended in Las Vegas. This is the fifth Vegas con I have attending, and almost certainly it will be the last.
Let me tell you why.
Once again, I was privileged to be asked to speak at the con, my second year in a row – but I was not invited by Creation. Some background: Last year I proposed two panels to Creation, both of which were accepted. Unfortunately because of Creation’s lack of attention, they scheduled one of my panels for Sunday… A day I specifically told them I was not going to be there (Karl Urban inherited my slot, and I’m certain he was better than I would have been).
(Sidebar #1: Last year some bad press for the Trek “brand” came out of the Vegas con, when one of the panels had fans vote for the best and worse Trek films. The newest Trek film, Into Darkness, was ranked the worse… Less than two months before the home video release of said film. Lots of sites picked up on that story, and this certainly didn’t help sales. More on that later.)
This year I once again pitched a couple of panels, and after a long period of silence I followed up with my contact at Creation. She said the secondary programming was now being run by CBS/Paramount, through the StarTrek.com team… And that she would forward my info to them. If she did, I was not cc’d and I never got any response.
To be frank, I was not surprised, mostly because one of my ideas (“Is Star Trek broken?”, based on my contentious and popular article for Trek Movie a year ago) was another potential “bad press” moment for the brand… And avoiding “brand-damaging” bad press is (I think) one of the reasons Paramount took charge of much of the programming this year. Lots of the programming Paramount put on/or approved this weekend (IMO) was very very “safe”.
Of course, my ideas could have also sucked (though Wizard World accepted one of my ideas and I presented it in May in Atlanta).
I got on a panel because I was asked by the lovely Kayla Iacovino to be a part of TrekMovie’s Captains in Charge panel, representing Archer in a debate around who was the best captain. I knew I had no chance of winning (Janeway, Kirk or Picard usually walk away with this one), but was happy to be there and decided to just have fun with it (In the end Archer was dead last, but I made some amusing bon mots and the crowd enjoyed it).
Creation was incredibly thoughtful and scheduled our panel at a great time… Just kidding, they put us on at 8:50 AM on Friday. Of course, 8:50 AM doesn’t exist in Vegas – people party until 2 AM and sleep till noon. So we expected tens of people to show up (surprisingly, we had a LOT more than that – a full house, in fact).
Even worse, the schedule Kayla’s other panel, a celebration of the late beloved Star Trek Experience, at 5:20 on SUNDAY – the last presentation of the convention. Shameful.
To add insult to injury two of our panelists had to drop out because they were attending a midnight screening of the episode of Star Trek Continues that they had helped produce the night before… Correction, the morning of. So Kayla had to scramble to replace them. Again, great job, Creation.
(Oh, did I mention Creation only posted the schedule less than a week before the con, and that is how the people who were doing programming found out when they were speaking? That’s right, Creation doesn’t have the common courtesy to let panelists know ahead of time – they found out when everyone else did.)
(Sidebar #2: I’ve spoken at numerous tech conferences and SF conventions and I have ALWAYS been told ahead of time when I would be presenting… And I was usually asked my preferred day and time before that. Creation never has done that for me or anyone I know… I understand that even some of the less-know Trek actors have had the same inconsiderate experience.)
Since I got a free pass for being on a panel (one day only, of course – why would I get one for the whole con if I was only on one panel, right?) I had to go pick it up ahead of time (I couldn’t get it the morning of because registration opens just before the panel started). It was a well-oiled machine, and got it with no issues at all… Wait, another correction: I ended up getting the runaround, having to talk to three different people before receiving it. And it was the exact same runaround I had gotten the year before. And like last year, Creation was brisk and rude. I am giving Creation my time and ideas, and this is the thanks I (and many others) get.
It was the morning of the panel when I encountered the straw that broke the clichés’ back. As I noted above, registration opened at 8:30… And while the Captains in Charge panel was really early, it wasn’t the first one scheduled for that day.
That was a panel run by my friend Mary Czerwinski… Mary has a great video podcast called Glue Guns and Phasers which combines two of her passions – Trek and crafts. Her panel is interactive and people make cool stuff like luggage tags and more, and it’s very kid friendly. That panel started at 8am.
As I walked towards the registration area at 8:15, I saw a line was already forming… A line for people to buy one-day passes. That line had many little girls in it… And they all really wanted to go to Mary’s panel.
I overheard one girl asking, “Why won’t they let us in, I want to do the Trek crafts! That’s a big reason I’m here.” She started crying.
A friend of mine saw this and went to the front desk. She asked if they could open registration early so the kids could get in.
Creation didn’t care. “They should have bought a package instead of a one-day ticket.”
Let me restate this, for emphasis; Several little girls were upset and Creation didn’t give a damn or do anything about it. They happily took these girl’s money… But only at THEIR CONVENIENCE.
So, like I said at the beginning of this piece, I’m pretty over Creation. After seeing this (and other insensitive and incompetent acts I will not enumerate, mostly involving how they are treating fan productions and/or stealing ideas from friends) I will not give one more dime to these folks ever again.
Courtesy, politeness, the milk of human kindness… I haven’t seen any inkling of any of this from these guys. Other conventions do charity auctions, blood drives – not these folks. Creation wants your money, and that’s it. They will put on a show, do the bare minimum whenever possible, and gladly charge fans as much as the market will bear. When it comes to almost anything else… They. Don’t. Care.
If you enjoyed this or any other Creation event, I am happy for you. Glad you had a good time. I enjoyed it as well, though it was the getting together with (and making new) friends that made it fun… Much more than anything Creation did.
Creation used to have a lot more conventions, and a lot more licenses. Not anymore. Could how they have treated guests and attendees be a factor in this? The Next Gen cast now run their own autograph area in the dealers room, cutting Creation out of the equation (they previously got a cut of those signatures). Again, is this the result of Creation’s attitude or past actions? Don’t know, but it wouldn’t surprise me. I know Wil Wheaton has gone on record saying he’ll never go to another Creation con again because of the way they treated him. Good for him.
So, rant over. Instead of spending my money to Creation, I’m going to attend shows that treat fans and pros in a decent way. Wizard World, for example. They are smart, professional and (gasp!) friendly to fans and pros alike. That goes a long way in my book.
The only vote I have is with my pocketbook, and it is now shut to the company that made little girls cry.
The official Star Trek convention in Las Vegas is less than two weeks away, and as someone who has attended the convention four times now (!), I thought I’d share some hints and tips I’ve learned over the years.
(A lot of these hints are applicable to ANY convention or conference, so keep them in mind the next time you attend one)
And I don’t mean with beer, wine or hard liquor. Rio, the convention hotel, will be VERY air conditioned (some areas are actually downright COLD) and that is very deceptive. The convention area is VERY far away from the hotel towers, and you will be doing a lot of walking. If you go outside, the dry heat of Vegas will suck all the moisture out of you. Trust me, if you don’t want to have the equivalent of The Hangover, even if you don’t imbibe… drink lots of water.
Bring your own coffee and snacks
Every morning of the con last year I always saw a line of people trying to get a Starbucks coffee. It wasn’t because they were addicted to Starbucks… it was because the K cups in the hotel room cost money! So don’t pay the $8 for 3 k-cups or Starbucks “tax” – pack your own. And also, pack snacks. Granola, jerky, raisins… all good for you. Well, at least better than some of the food that they serve at the convention.
Take extra cash, but try not to spend it
If you run out of cash, where will you go? The dreaded ATM, which will charge you $5 to get your money. Yes, I know it’s “only” $5, but why spend that on a an ATM fee when that can go towards a tasty beverage?
Don’t buy anything in the dealer’s room
Yes, I am telling you to not spend any money on any Star Trek collectible, toy, nick-knack, or item of clothing at the convention. Why? For a couple of reasons. First, the dealers will be marking up their stuff to pay for their expenses (and that includes Creation, the people who put on the con) and you will be paying a premium for stuff that is actually not worth that much.
Just look at this ebay auction link – lots of stuff for dirt-cheap prices. The bottom has really dropped out of the Star Trek collectibles market… There’s just SO MUCH STUFF, and not a lot of buyers. I personally have bought about $100 worth of Trek items to give as gifts to friends at the convention, and I dare say if I had bought the same items there it would have been three or four times more than what I paid. Second, if you buy a lot of stuff at the con then you will have to lug it all home, and that’s gonna be a challenge if you didn’t pack light.
Go to the Star Trek Continues Premiere
Trek Movie has set up the theatrical premiere of the third episode of the fan series Star Trek Continues at a local theatre, and you don’t even have to pay to attend! It’s a great way to enjoy this loving recreation of the original series with fellow fans. Also there will be a Q&A with some of the cast afterwards. Details here.
Avoid the Creation auctions
For the same way I recommend you don’t buy anything in the dealer’s room, I’d avoid the Creation auction. Each day of the con Creation sells autographs, collectibles, and other merchandise. Because it is an auction, you may get “whipped up” to bid on something you can’t afford… I know I did. Twice, over the past two years. So, take by advice… skip it, unless you have a LOT of disposable income or willpower.
Get a good mirror
Trek fans, I love ya… But before you try on that original series outfit, buy a mirror. A good one. I’m all for people being free to express themselves, and I know many fans are “body conscious” in lots of unhealthy ways… but what you wear at the Trek con will be photographed and posted online, for, like… EVER. Wear something that is flattering and “fits” your body shape in an appropriate way.
Buy a day pass
Yes, you can buy those (very expensive) Gold or Silver or Captain’s packages, but why? You get access to some events that other people don’t, but most of the benefits of the convention are available anyone who pays for a one-day pass. I especially recommend that if you are only going to be there for a couple of days.
Don’t miss Harlan Ellison or Simon Pegg!
Creation has snagged two people who seldom attend any conventions, nonetheless a Star Trek one: Noted author Harlan Ellison and actor Simon Pegg. Pegg made some press last year when he told fans who didn’t like the new Trek film to “F%$@ off”, and Harlan Ellison… well, he’s Harlan Ellison. He once said that “Star Trek can turn your brains to puree of bat guano”. Can’t wait to see what both of them have to say to Trek fans…
And go see Penn & Teller!
Penn and Teller has a permanent theater at the Rio, and they put on a great show. If you are there Saturday or Sunday, checdk them out. You can get tickets here.
Check Out Unkhan!
If you can attaned, you can drop by and check out Unkhan! It’s an “unconvention” that my friends and I are throwing, but mostly it’s an excuse to get together and have fun. More details here.