Making ‘Trek’ from Scratch

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As you may expect, putting together a Star Trek episode takes much more than simply donning a uniform and stepping in front of the camera.  Many hours go into every detail of the show, from the making of the costumes, to writing (and re-writing) the script, rehearsals, transportation, and fabricating props.

Although technology affords us a great amount of flexibility, there are many similarities to the challenges a fan film has to the original Star Trek television series.  Primarily:  How does one make something that looks like it was invented centuries in the future, using materials available to us today?

Star Trek Anthology: Planet P-14-J Foliage
Star Trek Anthology: Planet P-14-J Foliage

Sometimes, judicious lighting and camera angles can make something have a futuristic appearance.  Other times, it is the ingenuity of the production team to use the most readily-available materials, often regular, every-day items, in a different way.  And today, we can’t discount the benefits of modern special effects, both on set and in post-production.

For Star Trek Anthology, we have to be responsible caretakers of our resources.  No prop or costume is expendable, so we focus on ways to preserve properties for future episodes.  Sometimes, that “ingenuity” can take a modern, durable item, and dress it so it appears to fit in the 23rd century, such as these Storage and Transport containers (see video below).

Star Trek Anthology: Portable Hypospray Kit
Star Trek Anthology: Portable Hypospray Kit

For the planet-side scenes, rather than building a complete alien world on a soundstage, we adorned a natural outdoor setting with some “out-of-this-world” foliage.  The result is a more realistic and believable performance.

For our next shoot, we move indoors.  The Starship Enterprise bridge set at Retro Film Studios will double for the USS Ajax, where JM Colt served as Chief of Security prior to taking command of Starship Challenger.  Events during her assignment aboard the Ajax have a significant impact on her future Starfleet service.

On board our ship, as well as alien vessels we encounter, there is a need for tools, instruments, weapons, control panels and other items that must be invented, and temporary set accouterments created to give the ship a distinctive look, apart from the classic USS Enterprise appearance.

Star Trek Anthology: PADD
Star Trek Anthology: PADD

Unfortunately, some of the properties we have developed can’t be shared in this article, as they would reveal major plot points, but once released, watch our pilot episode “Another Door Opens” with a close eye, to see the subtle changes that were necessary in the telling of the story.

 

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