Vic

Artificial Intelligence
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  1. Which Trek tech would you most want to have? That's the question StarTrek.com posed for our latest weekly poll. Fans could choose from Food Replicator, Holodeck, Phaser, Transporter, Tricorder and Universal Translator. More than 10,000 of you voted, and here are the results: Transporter (35%) Holodeck (32%) Food Replicator (21%) Universal Translator (6%) Tricorder (3%, 357 votes) Phaser (3%, 288 votes) Be sure to vote in this week's poll... View the full article
  2. You’ve seen them at conventions: splotchy colored Bajoran nose ridges bumpy in all the wrong places. To use Gul Dukat’s favorite phrase, “rest assured” those intrepid cosplayers spent hours and hours working hard on their makeup. It’s difficult to create a three-dimensional ridge on a flat surface. But, “rest assured,” you can apply, in less than 10 minutes, Bajoran nose ridges that perfectly match your skin color and have absolutely no rough edges to speak of. When I first decided to cosplay Major Kira, I spent forever on the nose ridges: researching different methods, buying various pre-made prosthetics, making my own out of various latexes and gels. It was expensive experimentation. But no matter what approach I took, I was never satisfied with the results. It took too much time to apply, or the edges or color didn’t blend into my skin. The best I ever got doing my own nose ridges was a one-hour application time with OK color match and marginal results blending the edges, and after sweating in it for the day as it progressively looked worse and worse, it would take a half hour to remove it carefully enough that I could use the nose again. Then I realized that cosplay is more like live theater than it is like film -- and changed my approach. In filming, the camera will often be very close to the makeup, so the makeup has to actually be three-dimensional to create the desired illusion. Also in filming, there is a makeup artist there to do touch-ups in between takes. What looks like a continuous five-minute scene with perfect makeup is actually hours of work with multiple times to fix the makeup. Cosplay, on the other hand, is much more like live theater. The viewing audience is in the same space as the performer, and usually over an arm’s length away, so a three-dimensional illusion can be achieved with highlights and shadows. Also, a cosplayer, like a stage performer, has one continuous performance with very little chance to touch up the makeup. Instead of thinking like a makeup artist for film, think like a makeup artist for stage: use a variation of the stage makeup trick for old age wrinkles. As long as your audience is more than an arm’s length away, it looks three-dimensional and works better than prosthetic ridges because it uses your own skin color and there are no edges to blend. Even within an arm’s length, I’ve had people think it was three-dimensional. With a little practice, it takes just minutes to apply, stays on well for most of the day and takes seconds to remove. In general, what you’re going to do is apply two colors in lines, the lines touching each other along their length. Where the two colors meet, but do not blend, it creates the illusion of a wrinkle. You will need: • A pot of crème highlight. I use Ben Nye Ultralight, but that’s because I’m super-pale. Use a highlight that will work for your skin color. • A pot of crème character shadow, dark enough to create a shadow effect against your skin color. I use Ben Nye Character Shadow. • A ¼” flat brush or eye brow brush. • Powder. I prefer a translucent powder, but any loose powder that matches your skin tone should work. • A picture of the makeup you are copying. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve done it, I always pull out a picture for reference. Google thinks I have no idea what Major Kira looks like, I’ve searched for the pictures so much. Steps Wash, dry and moisturize your face. Do your usual makeup routine that makes you happy. Or not. Using the flat brush apply the highlight in horizontal lines across your nose. The highlight lines will be directly above the shadow lines, which you will apply later. I wrinkle up my nose to see where the wrinkles naturally lie and follow those lines as much as possible. The lines will be about 1/16” thick each – so each line has a top edge and a bottom edge. Wipe the excess makeup from the brush. Using the flat brush, carefully feather out the top edge of the highlight lines. Do not touch the bottom of the highlight lines with the brush. It is absolutely key to keep the bottom edge of the highlight line crisp and clean, but blend the top edge of the line so that it fades out. Clean off the brush, or at least wipe off most of the light-colored makeup from the bristles. Using the brush, directly below the highlight lines apply the shadow lines. Touch the brush right up against the crisp line of the bottom edge of the highlight lines, but not over that edge. The two colors should touch, but not overlap. Wipe the excess makeup from the brush. Using the brush, carefully feather out the bottom edge of the shadow lines, keeping the top edge of the shadow lines crisp and clean, blending out the bottom edges. Use powder to set the makeup. Do not rub the makeup when you’re wearing it, and it should last as long as your regular makeup does. Wash off along with your regular makeup, or use a baby wipe if you just want to take off the ridges. Brooke Wilkins is a professional costumer at Evermore Park, a soon-to-open immersive story living experience, populated by satyrs, fairies and other mythical creatures, where guests can participate in the story happening around them. She is a Utah-based costumer, designing and constructing for 40-plus productions, including A Christmas Carol and The Little Mermaid. She recently created motion-capture suits that don’t look like motion-capture suits to be used as part of a live VR technology demo. Brooke runs Garak’s Tailor Shop at Star Trek Las Vegas. When not creating costumes professionally, she creates them for her own amusement and enjoys cosplaying at conventions, parties and at home with her nieces and nephews. See her blog at http://tanaquill.blogspot.com. View the full article
  3. Ready to feel old? The cute little kid who played Artim in Star Trek: Insurrection is 31 years old now, a dad and has worked steadily for the past 20 years (in the likes of The X-Files, Joan of Arcadia, the Twilight film saga, Boy Meets Girl, Scandal and Z Nation). Yes, we’re talking about Michael Welch, who made his big-screen acting debut as the inquisitive Ba’ku boy who befriended Data in the Jonathan Frakes-directed 1998 feature film. StarTrek.com recently caught up with the easygoing Welch, who looked back at his Trek experience and filled us in on his current projects. You were so young when you were cast as Artim. Had you even heard of Star Trek? Yes. I actually was a fan of the Next Gen movies in particular at that point. I was super-excited about it. I knew that it was a great opportunity. And it wasn’t just a bit part. Artim was really cool. It was pretty meaty for a 10-year-old, so it was a good challenge. What was the meat on the role for you? The character was there. The function of the character was to humanize Data. It was to teach him how to empathize and, ultimately, teach him how to play. I thought that was such a fun thing to be able to do, because as a young actor the main thing that's interesting is just to play. That's mostly what I wanted to do. As you get older, things evolve, your sensibilities evolve and change over time, but I just loved playing pretend as a kid. I loved doing impressions and playing sports and all sorts of activities. Acting was an extension of my being playful. That was at Artim’s core, and I just connected to it really well and enjoyed delving into that. What do you remember of the shoot? They built this beautiful set out in the middle of nowhere and everybody had cool costumes and everybody was really nice. This business can be cold sometimes, even for kids, but, man, they couldn't have been nicer to me. Frakes took me under his wing, and Brent Spiner couldn't be a better person. Working with those two, it couldn't have been a better situation. There were a ton of other kids on set, and we’d all do schooling together every day and we became good friends. It was like the greatest summer camp you can imagine. Some people love the film. Others consider a big TNG episode. Your thoughts? I love the moral exploration of, “Is it right to take one life to save 10?” -- and expanding that out to a larger scale in the case of the film. That was a very cool thing to explore. I think the film came out well. I can understand why a purist maybe wouldn't be as happy with it as some other Trek films, but I thought it came out really well. Were you at the premiere? I was. I’m pretty sure that took place in Las Vegas. I remember getting out of a limo and being with my family. It was such an incredible thing to be a part of. I was next to Michael Dorn through a lot of the red-carpet stuff, and people were screaming for him. I'm fishing in my mind for specific memories, but there's nothing but good stuff. Let’s get everyone caught up on your life today. If our facts are right, your upcoming films include The Purple Rose, Before Someone Gets Hurt, and Together. What excites you about each one? The Purple Rose just got picked up by Lifetime. It's a thriller and based on a series of novels, so if it does well there could be a franchise there. I'm looking forward to that coming out and seeing how people respond. Together is a film I worked on in December. They're going to color correct it and hopefully get distribution, and that should be out this year. Before Someone Gets Hurt is a little horror movie I did in New York a couple years ago, and it's out on iTunes. And I just got off the phone with my agent. We closed a deal for a new film. So, it's a very good time for me. You seem to gravitate toward indie films… I love indies. There's a different kind of energy on an indie set as opposed to a big studio production. A studio film tends to feel more like a machine and you're a bit of a cog in that machine. That's great because you can be assured of competence at every position. Indie films feel more like you're all thrown into a trench together, and you have to find a way to dig yourself out. It's a different kind of challenge, and there, I think, tends to be more camaraderie doing that together. You feel a little bit more like you're all in the trenches. I really do enjoy it, but listen, as an actor, you just want to work. Sometimes, you go with the opportunities that are available to you, and that's what's been available to me the past couple of years. But it's great. As long as I'm working, I'm happy. It makes no difference to me. You were just out at Star Trek Las Vegas. Can we assume that based on your credits, especially Twilight, that you’d done conventions before? Yes, I’ve done a few over the years. Insurrection was my first film. I was 10. It was a pretty incredible introduction to the film industry, and certainly I’d say it set me up for success and longevity for the rest of my career. In addition to Star Trek, I was in an episode of Stargate SG-1, I was in the Twilight films and a zombie show, too, Z Nation. So, I've been lucky enough to be a part of some pretty popular sci-fi and horror projects over the years and, as a result, I've definitely been a part of the convention circuit. For two years during the Twilight films, they sent me all over the world. It was a pretty remarkable experience. So, I'm definitely familiar with the convention culture. And you're a dad now, right? Yes, sir. I've got a seven-month-old at home. Congratulations. Thank you. Careers are funny things. And life comes at you fast, too. If we’d told you at age 10, when you were making Insurrection, that in 20 years you’d be married, have a kid and still be acting, would you take that? Absolutely, I would take it. I think I'm in an excellent position. This is one of the things I've struggled with over the years in the industry. People ask me, “What is your vision for your career?” And my perspective has always been that it's not really up for me to decide. As long as I'm doing everything that I can do to produce the best work that I can, to try to empower myself and continue to work in this business, how that manifests is almost not my business, you know? I don't know one career you could point to and then ask the actor, "Is this exactly how you imagined this would turn out," and they would say, "Oh, of course. Project for project it's how I planned the whole thing." The margins are so tight in this industry. There are so many people trying to do this because it's such an incredible job and such a blessed life, that to shape it in my own mind beyond just being someone who is working almost feels a little too greedy to me. I leave it in the hands of powers higher than myself, and I just try to do the best that I can do. View the full article
  4. The Crystalline Entity, the giant space-dwelling creature that aligned itself with Lore in Star Trek: The Next Generation, is re-materializing in Star Trek Online. For the next three weeks on PC, until September 6th at 10am PT, Captains over level 50 will be able to face the Entity and earn Crystal Shards. You can turn in these shards for great rewards, including some brand-new Antiproton Heavy Cannons and Beam Arrays. But be careful… the Entity has only grown more powerful since its last appearance, and you’ll need to forge new tactics to take it down and end its threat to the galaxy. This 10-man Task Force Operation warps Captains to the Entity’s latest location, charged with preventing it from extending its influence any further into space. The Crystalline Entity is a powerful foe – even the Enterprise D couldn’t take it on alone – so you’ll have to work together and discover new tactics to get over its resistance to energy damage. Veteran STO players will notice some new changes as well. When you attack the Entity, it will still split off smaller crystalline pieces that will attack you separately. At certain points in the combat, the Entity will enter an absorption phase and become totally immune to damage, as it prepares to unleash a powerful energy wave. You’ll have to prevent these smaller crystalline pieces from making that wave even stronger, or you’ll be knocked completely out of the fight. We wish you luck, Captains. Journey to face one of the most powerful enemies in Star Trek. The Galaxy is counting on you. Star Trek Online is a free-to-play massively multiplayer online game that allows players to explore the Star Trek universe from within. Players can forge their own destiny as Federation starship captain, champion the Empire through the galaxy's far reaches as a Klingon Warrior, rebuild the Romulan legacy as commander of a Romulan Republic Warbird or carry out daring missions on behalf of the Dominion as a Jem’Hadar soldier. Captains can also explore iconic locations from the Trek universe, make contact with new alien species and battle alongside other players in customizable starships. STO is currently available on PC, PlayStation4 and Xbox One. To download and play Star Trek Online today for free, visit www.playstartrekonline.com. View the full article
  5. When there is no place like home, your rules and principles cannot help, and it feels like the entire quadrant is against you, how far would you go to get back? The journey aboard the U.S.S. Equinox put the limits of Federation ideology to the test. Equinox Examination The U.S.S. Equinox NCC-72381 was a top-of-the-line Nova-class science vessel. The Nova-class replaced the aging Oberth-class starship used for the past century. At a length of around 222 meters long, 8 decks, and a crew of 78, the ship was relatively small compared to other ships of the time. It had a top speed of warp 8, which was efficient for general scientific missions. Two shuttlecraft and an optional “wave rider” shuttle, located on the bottom of the “saucer” section, made for a decent auxiliary craft complement. Armaments included 11 Type X phaser arrays and 3 photon torpedo launchers, giving the ship the ability to defend itself decently during its voyages. The Journey Begins The Equinox was launched in the early 2370’s under the command of Captain Rudolph “Rudy” Ransom. Ransom was more of a scientist than a command officer. Promoted to captain after making contact with the previously thought-to-be-extinct Yridians, Ransom was an accomplished exobiologist. He preferred to elude any adversaries he came across, rather than face them in direct combat. The Journey Takes a Wrong Turn In early 2371, one of the most-unsettling things that could happen to a starship crew befell the Equinox. A non-humanoid entity called the “Caretaker” was abducting ships from throughout the galaxy to attempt to find a compatible mate. He was responsible for destroying the environment of a planet called Ocampa, deep in the Delta Quadrant, and nearly killing all life there. He managed to save some of the humanoid population and placed them in underground caverns. The Caretaker was nearing the end of his life when he pulled the Equinox 70,000 light years across the galaxy. After finding none of the Equinox crew were compatible, the Caretaker let the ship go, but did not return them to the Alpha Quadrant. Instead, the ship had to find its own way back. In the first week of their exile, the ship encountered the Krowtonan Guard. This hostile species, claiming the Equinox had violated their territory, killed nearly half of the crew. Ransom decided continue on. The Equinox crew trekked on with a once state-of-the-art vessel, never having the chance to repair it to its full effectiveness. They encountered many more belligerent species, losing even more crew and morale. The hope of seeking out new life and new civilizations probably seemed more like a good epitaph than a mission. On occasion, the ship encountered a few friendly species and even a wormhole, which took a leg off their journey. One such species, called the Ankari, would turn them on to a dubious hope they desperately needed. Ransom’s Dilemma Equinox made it to the Ankari home world after a bout of prolonged suffering for the crew. They had not eaten in 16 days and the ship was severely damaged. The Ankari assisted with food and medical supplies, and upon the conclusion of the visit, the Ankari offered a blessing from their “Spirits of Good Fortune.” Captain Ransom and his officers scanned the “spirits,” only to discover they were a type of nucleogenic lifeform. Through trade, they were able to acquire one of the spirit summoning devices and opened the portal to the aliens' realm. Unfortunately, in the attempt to study one of the lifeforms, the crew accidentally killed one of the creatures. Further scanning revealed that the compounds the creature consisted of could enhance the ship’s warp drive significantly. They traveled 10,000 light years in two weeks. The Federation principles now stood on the fence. With half the crew dead, a broken ship, and barely enough food to survive, Captain Ransom, representing the morals and ideals so highly regarded, had to make a decision: Their lives or those of an unknown alien species. Ransom chose in favor of his crew. The Equinox crew would continue to abduct and utilize the nucleogenic lifeforms for their enhanced warp drive. The aliens did not take too kindly to this. They began to attack the Equinox repeatedly. Their effects on human tissue were devastating. Fortuitously for the Equinox, during one of these attacks, their distress call was received by the U.S.S. Voyager, also stranded in the Delta Quadrant. Voyager rescued the ship by extending its fully operational shields around the Equinox, protecting them from further alien portal attacks. The Equinox Sunset The two crews were excited at first to reunite. However, Ransom was concerned that were Captain Janeway to discover the truth about their modified engines, she would interfere. He attempted to hide the evidence, but through the investigation of the Voyager crew and the relative invincibility of the Voyager’s EMH doctor, all was revealed. Janeway detained the Equinox crew but, they were able to escape with the help of the Equinox's EMH doctor, who had been corrupted by the removal of its ethical subroutines. Ransom and his crew escaped, stealing the vital new shielding device used to protect both ships from the portal aliens. Voyager would eventually catch up to the Equinox and end its long journey with torpedoes. Ransom died onboard, attempting to save Voyager and the remaining crew from the Equinox’s warp core breach. He regretted some of his methods, but he still cared about getting his crew home. The Next Nova In a possible future, the Nova-class would eventually receive a refit in the late 24th or early 25th century. The U.S.S. Rhode Island, under the command of the finally-promoted Captain Harry Kim, caught up with Admiral Janeway in 2404 to prevent her from going back in time 26 years to assist her earlier self and U.S.S. Voyager in returning to the Alpha Quadrant much earlier than the Admiral’s history had unfolded. Ian Kisluk is an avid Star Trek fan and collector. Trek model and prop building as well as stage acting are his most prolific passions. Follow him @Starchwreck on Twitter and check out Starchwreck Props and Models on Facebook. View the full article
  6. And the guest list for Destination Star Trek Birmingham just got a whole lot larger. The latest additions are: Those nine join the previously announced: DST Birmingham will take place at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham, England, from October 19-21, 2018. Along with autographs, photo ops and panels, fans attending the event will be able to take command of the bridge on the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701 and NCC-1701-D, plus see props and costumes in the Destination Star Trek Museum. Photos ops will be available with Armin Shimerman, Max Grodenchik and Aron Eisenberg in makeup and costume as Quark, Rom and Nog. Tickets for Destination Star Trek Birmingham are available at www.destinationstartrek.com. Keep an eye on StarTrek.com for additional news about Destination Star Trek guests and programming. View the full article
  7. Rhonda Aldrich and Maury Sterling have a few things in common. First, they’re both Star Trek guest stars. She played Madeline, Dixon Hill's secretary, in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes "The Big Goodbye," Manhunt" and "Clues," while he portrayed the telepathic humanoid Tarquin in the Star Trek: Enterprise episode, "Exile." Now, they’re co-starring in Mayakovsky and Stalin, a new play by poet-playwright Murray Mednick. The show – which will end its run on August 19 at the Lounge Theater in Los Angeles -- is a dramatic character study incorporating historical footage and photos to explore two distantly connected relationships: Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin (Sterling) and his wife, Nadya, and Soviet poet Vladimir Mayakovsky and his married lover and “muse,” Lilya Brik. Aldrich plays Lilya’s mother, Yelena. StarTrek.com invited Aldrich and Sterling to interview each other about their Trek experiences and Mayakovsky and Stalin, and they obliged…. Maury, would you agree that Trek is like 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon, that there are 100s of people who worked on the shows/movies, and it’s inevitable that – like us – many of those people will eventually connect? Maury, your overlaps include Alice Krige, James Cromwell, Chris Pine, Ray Walston, Elizabeth Dennehy… Maury: Yes, I love how the Star Trek world connects so many people. And, thanks for showing me my connections! I actually just recently worked with Scott Bakula again, on an episode of NCIS: New Orleans. Rhonda, who are some of the Trek people you worked with? Rhonda: I worked with William Shatner on TJ Hooker. And, yes, I played a hooker. I worked with John Laroquette on Night Court -- also as a hooker! I've also worked with numerous actors from the entire Star Trek world in theater around L.A., particularly in my theater company, Antaeus. And now I get to work with you, who I loved on Homeland. Maury, you played Tarquin on Enterprise. How do you audition for a role like that, where you know you’ll be in full-on makeup? Had you done anything like that before or after? Maury: I don't remember having a clear idea of what I was in for. I do remember loving the language and character, and getting to play two characters for the price of one. Your character was so lonely. What was the challenge for you in putting that across through the prosthetics? Maury: The writing was so strong I didn't have to do a lot of work. Seeing the final look in the mirror was inspiring. And, the makeup department did such a good job that acting behind the mask wasn't hard. From an acting perspective, you had three other interesting elements. Tarquin was telepathic. Much of the episode, it was just you and Linda Park. Plus, Scott Bakula and John Billingsley briefly “played” Tarquin. Tell me a little about each of those elements. Maury: I mostly remember working with Linda. It was a long time ago. I'm a big fan of both Scott and John. So, it was a pinch-myself kind of experience. And making telepathy believable is always a challenge. Rhonda, my turn. First, were you a Star Trek fan? Rhonda: Absolutely. I was thrilled to get the opportunity to do the show. Maury, how about you? Were you a Trek fan? Maury: I'll just say Shatner was a big influence in my life. Rhonda, how did you win your role as Madeline? Rhonda: I auditioned for the director and the producer, Rick Berman, with a scene with Captain Picard. Because the scene was set in the 40's, I modeled my character on Billie Dawn from the play Born Yesterday. Did you know that it could be a recurring role? Rhonda: I had no idea, but everybody loved playing the 40's characters. Patrick particularly enjoyed it. How much fun did you have as Madeline to Patrick Stewart’s “Dix?” Rhonda: I adored working with Patrick. He is such a gentleman and so kind. He was incredibly generous to me as a guest actor. He also tells great stories, so you are entertained the whole time. You had a few seconds as well with Whoopi Goldberg, right? Rhonda: The last episode I did was with Whoopi, and she was hilarious. She was also very generous and so smart. You played a hologram in a colorful, playful holodeck program. How did you calibrate your performance, since Madeline wasn’t “real?” Rhonda: I completely played it as a real person. I was in makeup, but how often do Trek fans recognize you? I get recognized by my voice a lot, I think because the period hair throws people off. And I get a lot of fan mail with people sending stills to autograph. Maury, let’s talk about Mayakovsky and Stalin. You’d worked with Murry Mednick before, right? Maury: I did. I was in a show he wrote called Fedunn that we did in 2002 at the Odyssey Theater. What resonates most for you about this story? Maury: Oh boy. I would say it's the power of an idea. The power of ideas. And how they can be used for good or evil. How they can be used to define our purpose in life. Rhonda, let me ask you that same question. What resonates most for you about this story? Rhonda: Stalin was a ruthless dictator and this is a play about power. Throughout history we are faced with the same problems. I also love Russian literature and the romance of it, and there is a romantic element to this story. What interests you about Stalin as a character? Maury: His fundamentalism. His paranoia. Exploring what goes on in the mind of a man who could affect the world on such a massive scale. He was nominated for two Nobel Peace Prizes. And he's responsible for the death of tens of millions of people. Rhonda, what intrigues you about Yelena? Rhonda: She is a very commanding presence as a mother. She is very practical, which is how I was brought up to be in Kansas. She is taking her daughter abroad to get an abortion. She is not sentimental. She just takes care of business. Maury, last question: Your wife, Alexis, is in the show. Have you acted together before, and what’s it been like to share this experience? Maury: We met doing All My Sons at the Ruskin Group Theatre in Santa Monica. We've loved it. We both love theater and it's special to get to do it together. She's a really talented lady and a good critic. As noted, Mayakovsky and Stalin will be performed at the Lounge Theater in Los Angeles until August 19. The Lounge Theatre is located at 6201 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90038 (just east of Vine). To purchase tickets, call (323) 960-4443 or go to www.plays411.com/stalin. View the full article
  8. Ethan Peck has been cast as Spock -- the half-human, half-Vulcan Science Officer of the U.S.S. Enterprise, and foster brother of Michael Burnham -- in the upcoming second season of Star Trek: Discovery. Peck is the grandson of legendary actor Gregory Peck, who counted among his final projects the 1998 TV miniseries Moby Dick, which starred Patrick Stewart as Captain Ahab, the role Gregory Peck famously played in the 1956 movie of the same name. Peck grew up in Los Angeles and attended college at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. As an actor, his film and television credits include Passport to Paris, That '70s Show, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, 10 Things I Hate About You, In Time, Madam Secretary and The Curse of Sleeping Beauty. "Through 52 years of television and film, a parallel universe and a mirror universe, Mr. Spock remains the only member of the original bridge crew to span every era of Star Trek," Discovery executive producer Alex Kurtzman said in a statement. "The great Leonard Nimoy, then the brilliant Zachary Quinto, brought incomparable humanity to a character forever torn between logic and emotion. We searched for months for an actor who would, like them, bring his own interpretation to the role. An actor who would, like them, effortlessly embody Spock’s greatest qualities, beyond obvious logic: empathy, intuition, compassion, confusion, and yearning. Ethan Peck walked into the room inhabiting all of these qualities, aware of his daunting responsibility to Leonard, Zack, and the fans, and ready to confront the challenge in the service of protecting and expanding on Spock’s legacy. In that spirit, we’re thrilled to welcome him to the family.” Star Trek: Discovery's first season is available on CBS All Access in the U.S. and Space Channel in Canada. It's available on Netflix in the rest of the world. View the full article
  9. Human infants have just two instinctive fears at birth: the fear of falling, and the fear of loud noises. Every other fear is learned as we begin to experience what it’s like to be a separate entity in a world of endless variety. By the time we grow from infancy to daring school-bound dynamos, we’re cautioned thousands of times: “Don’t talk to strangers!” “Stay close to me or someone might hurt you!” “Don’t do that; you’ll get hurt!” “Don’t go near that/them: it’s HOT (or they’re dangerous)!” Very early on, we adopt our caregivers’ beliefs and attitudes about ‘earth aliens’— the people and other creatures who don’t look, communicate, or behave the way we do — at a time when we’re literally incapable of questioning the value, merit or accuracy of their beliefs. We embrace other people’s attitudes and fears years before we’re capable of deciding for ourselves whether they’re worthy of emulating or endorsing. Science Fiction And Other Media Entertainment Mirrors Our Values And Fears Before Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek came along, most science fiction shows depicted monstrous alien encounters in which only malevolent extraterrestrial species managed to make their way to Earth to wreak havoc. In these distressing adventures, our panicked, under-prepared armed forces threw everything they could at the invaders in all-out efforts to save us from rapacious, cruel alien oppressors. Today we still frequently see this kind of entertainment because being put on the collective edge of our seats sells tickets and because it underscores America’s culturally-prescribed need to be sufficiently prepared to fight alien “others” who do not think, live and act the way we believe they should. Roddenberry sought to change American society’s default narrative about aliens, terrestrial and extraterrestrial. He wanted his viewers to explore the strange new worlds around and beyond us, to seek out new life and new civilizations with a sense of adventure and exhilaration rather than with trepidation and fear. Of course, to advance a watchable episode, there had to be obstacles to overcome and adversaries to encounter along the way. Roddenberry wanted us to examine what we’ve learned as a society and ask ourselves if it is helping or hurting the likelihood that we’ll ever embrace, as a species, the Vulcan (and Roddenberry’s own) concept of IDIC (the celebration of Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations). Star Trek: The Original Series' Aliens Are Frequently Benign And at First Misunderstood The first regular episode that aired, “The Man Trap” featured a desperate salt-dependent, shape-shifting creature — the last of its kind — and a scientist who was equally committed to making sure it survived. Their common goal was to get a sufficient supply of salt tablets from Captain Kirk and company to keep them alive in a dry desert climate where the loss of body salt through perspiration demanded a constant supply of the scarce mineral. It was desperation that caused the creature to entice, subdue and extract from its human victims the salt in their bodies that it needed to survive; unfortunately, the creature’s actions resulted in the deaths of unwilling, unwitting donors. Dr. McCoy’s reaction before killing the creature touched everyone who witnessed it. He knew what he had to do, but he begged forgiveness even as he pulled the trigger. (Today’s environmental activists stand between the endangered and the entities endangering them, asking them to put away their guns, poisons and bulldozers before it’s too late for countless species whose continued existence — including our own — grows less certain by the hour.) Another episode, “The Devil in the Dark” began with an urgent briefing in a mining colony where workers were being attacked and dissolved by an acid-producing “monster” whose sole motivation was keeping her offspring (which were incubating in silicone “eggs”) safe from the miners’ marauding ways. The episode “The Cloud Minders” explored the inequality inherent in deeming other members of the same species exploitable, expendable laborers whose lives are valuable to those in power only as worker bees and producers of leisure, luxury and practical goods and services at heavy expense to themselves. The workers were sickened, poisoned and cruelly exploited by the conditions under which they were forced to work and live. And the episode “ Let That Be Your Last Battlefield” explored racial bigotry and the subsequent slavery and animosity on both sides that evolved from it. Sidestepping the Censors to Serve the Greater Good Back in the 1960’s, Roddenberry knew he couldn’t get studio censors to allow controversial topics on the air unless they took place on other worlds. He knew that only a science fiction series could critically explore parochial perspectives and survive. In fact, Roddenberry faced an uphill battle just getting the network to allow him to have a devilish-looking, pointy-eared Vulcan (an actual alien) as Kirk’s second in command. (Roddenberry initially wanted a woman as second in command but was denied.) Another battle was keeping Lt. Uhura, a black woman professional, on the bridge of the Enterprise along with a rainbow of international representatives: Mr. Sulu, a Japanese-American (just a generation after World War II ended, a war that pitted Americans against the Japanese in the Pacific and The Third Reich across Europe), and later Pavel Chekov, a proud, pontificating Russian (during the Cold War), so he was fashioned after Davy Jones of The Monkees, the spoonful of sugar that helped the medicine go down. Roddenberry’s message seemed clear: enemies can become allies, old injuries can be healed, and peace can reign wherever and whenever people of goodwill decide to make it so. What it takes, from each subsequent generation, is a careful analysis and rethinking of the beliefs and attitudes that we adopted as eager young sponges from the people and media around us before we knew how to decide for ourselves the ultimate survivability of the viewpoints espoused by “us versus them” ideologies. The Final Frontier Was Gene Roddenberry’s vision of humankind in the 1960’s utopian, or was it (and is it still) just ahead of its time? Every human soul on earth wants to be celebrated, not tolerated. It is when unfair advantage reigns that things get ugly, people get riled up, and the stuff hits the fan. Again: Human infants have just two instinctive fears at birth: the fear of falling, and the fear of loud noises. Every other fear is learned. Gene Roddenberry embraced IDIC. To learn more about this subject, please visit celebrated www.LearningForASmallWorld.com. The course "Star Trek: Inspiring Culture and Technology” provides greater depth on this and many more aspects of the history and impact of Star Trek. View the full article
  10. Star Trek fans, when they think of Voyager actors-turned-directors immediately and understandably reference Robert Duncan McNeill and Roxann Dawson, since they’ve gone on to stellar careers as directors. But let’s not forget that Robert Picardo also got in on the action of calling, “Action,” and he directed the episodes “Alter Ego” and “One Small Step.” To prep for his episodes, Picardo – like all of his fellow actor-directors -- participated in Trek’s unofficial directors’ school. StarTrek.com recently chatted with him about his determination to direct, his experiences making “Alter Ego” and “One Small Step,” why he didn’t pursue directing thereafter, and how a horror movie just might find him back in a director’s chair. Here’s what he had to say… At what point did you realize you wanted to direct Voyager? I think I came in with that ambition. I’d trained to direct on China Beach, which was the last major series role I had before Voyager. China Beach had a shortened final season and I’d gone through the training process and trailed a couple of directors, and never got the opportunity. So, it was in the back of my mind when I was cast on Voyager. I'm sure I wasn't the first actor to ask. Robbie was probably the first. Robbie and Roxann and I were in the pipeline, I think, visiting editorial, sitting with the editors, watching the different directors work. We were in the informal training process that Rick Berman very graciously offered the actors who expressed the desire to direct. Tim (Russ) as well. What did you learn from watching the editing process? We had several editors, and they were always welcoming, a pleasure to be around, very helpful in explaining if there was a particular angle or a choice that the director made that you didn't quite understand. They’d tell you why they chose one take versus another. The really helpful thing about going to editing is you see every decision the director made on the set. You’d see his setup. You’d see his coverage. You’d see all the building blocks to make the show. Who were the directors you shadowed? Most of the regular directors were happy to have the actors watching over their shoulder. A Star Trek actor directing might get a slot over a regular director, but they were gracious to us and maintained relationships with us as actors and people. It would’ve been an unfortunate situation if they’d not been so gracious. Rick Kolbe was great about being shadowed. He had a very specific style. He liked to do closeup coverage on a long lens that gave a very specific look on the bridge, which was cool. It was harder for your focus puller, and it created other challenges, but it gave it a more immediate and exciting look. Les Landau was very helpful and really gracious. What was the hardest aspect of directing to grasp? Honestly, the reason I didn't personally pursue directing is that the whole experience of being in charge, and I know this sounds crazy, was not appealing to me. I love being an actor and I set out to do that with my life. I learned a lot from directing. I learned about how other actors work by having to watch them that carefully. I consider myself a director-proof actor. I don't argue with directors. I feel my job is to do it entirely on my own and when the director says, "Do this" or "Do that," I never argue. It’s like I have our universal translator built in my head to listen to directors, and if they give me a direction that I don't understand I say, “Thank you very much. That's a great note." Then, I try to figure out what they meant and make the adjustment, and if I don't agree with them at all I just say, "Thank you. That's great. That's very helpful," and I just do what I want. Most of them think you took their direction because you were gracious when you received it. This is not a mystery. All actors know this. What I didn't care for in directing was the 150 questions you get asked every hour by every different discipline on the set. Wardrobe asks a question and the set decorators are asking something about the scene later in the day or about the set you never got to see because it wasn't completed when you started in pre-production. Some people get exhilarated by that feeling of intensity of the experience of being a director. I liked the usual down time I had as an actor, where I could look at the next day's work or do whatever I wanted to do. As a director, your brain is in overdrive for the 15- or 16-hour day. If I’d directed at an earlier stage of life, if I had done it on China Beach in my thirties, I probably would’ve continued directing, but beginning the process in my middle-forties on Star Trek, I just thought, “I don't know that I'm ever going to relax and enjoy this.” I proved to myself that I can direct, but I ultimately thought, “What am I going to be happier doing?” The answer, for me, was acting. Your first Voyager episode as a director was “Alter Ego.” What comes to mind when you think of the experience of making it? I was very happy with the work Tim and Garrett (Wagn) did, and our main guest star was Sandra Nelson (as Marayna), and she was terrific. She had a very vulnerable quality to her. I remember she had beautiful eyes. I even remember that her audition was really good. Sandra was lovely to work with. And I remember I directed a scene or two that I was in, particularly that luau with the two ladies. I didn’t want to go too crazy with it. I was afraid of the Holodeck stuff because I really was worried it was going to look like The Love Boat. But people seemed to like that moment. And they liked the episode, for the most part. It was a pretty good first episode for me, I think, but I liked the second one better. And that would be “One Small Step." Why did you like it better? When you direct a show, especially as a cast member, you’re assigned a story and you tell it as best you can. In my two episodes on Voyager I ran the gamut of experience because I went from a story that, for a number of reasons -- other than the kissing of the two beautiful girls in the Hawaiian outfits and the bikini tops -- wasn't a whole lot of fun to direct, to “One Small Step,” which had such a great emotional arc. I was excited to tell that story. Marvin Rush, our wonderful DP, was an asset to every director. He really helped fake some of the weightless shots. He had this great idea about putting someone on a camera dolly, just scissoring the dolly up and shooting the top of the actors’ bodies, so it looked like it was just floating. What he did to fake weightless on a budget and short time frame wasn’t easy to do. Anyway, “One Small Step” was almost prescient. It was the only Voyager episode that really paid homage to NASA and to the beginnings of human space exploration. Star Trek was set so far in the future we didn't so much hear about the 1960's and real space travel, but "One Small Step" was very much about the shoulders of the giants we stand on or that we have stood on. And the story was about a mission to, if memory serves, Mars. I had a terrific, terrific guess star, Phil Morris. I grew up watching his dad on Mission: Impossible. Phil is a terrific, terrific human being; couldn't be a harder working, more committed actor. Also, he was in incredible physical shape, which helped faking the weightlessness. Jeri Ryan had a great part in that episode, too, some nice, touching moments that were good to see for a character that usually had such a limited emotional palette. It’s been years since you’ve directed, but word is you may direct an upcoming project… That’s true. I’m developing a horror script with a friend and he wants me to direct that. I definitely want to act in it, and when we finish tweaking the script, I’ll decide then how much I really feel like I'm the guy to tell the story. It’d be fun to go back to directing knowing that it’d just really be for a lark on a low-budget movie. View the full article
  11. From human to Klingon in one minute? Don’t let the speed of this video fool you. From concept to screen, some of the creatures on Star Trek: Discovery took 600-700 hours of labor to develop. The Klingon above is the handiwork of the Star Trek: Discovery makeup team, which has earned an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup for a Series, Limited Series, Movie or Special (for their work on "Will You Take My Hand?"). The nominated Discovery team includes: Glenn Hetrick, Special Makeup Effects Department Head James Mackinnon, Special Makeup Effects Department Head Hugo Villasenor, Special Makeup Effects Artist Rocky Faulkner, Special Makeup Effects Artist Chris Bridges, Additional Makeup Effects Artist Shane Zander, Additional Makeup Effects Artist Neville Page, Prosthetic Designer Michael O’Brien, Prosthetic Designer Star Trek: Discovery's first season is available on CBS All Access in the U.S. and Space Channel in Canada. It's available on Netflix in the rest of the world. View the full article
  12. Was it... The Original Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise or Discovery? Fans could choose those options when considering this week's StarTrek.com poll question: Which series had the best pilot? More than 10,000 fans voted, and here are the results: Voyager (26%) The Next Generation (22%) Deep Space Nine (19%) Discovery (12%) The Original Series (11%) Enterprise (10%) Be sure to vote in this week's poll... View the full article
  13. There’s nothing more comforting than easing into the couch and delving into an episode of Star Trek. Be it Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Next Generation era of stories, Star Trek: Enterprise , Star Trek: Discovery or the Kelvin Timeline movies, we all love leaving 21st century Earth behind and warping our way into the future. That said, the sighting of a familiar face from the ‘real’ world never fails to catch our eye. We’ve met musicians, scientists, wrestlers and spiritual leaders as well as actors from the stage and screens both big and small during our tours throughout the galaxy. We kick off our talent spotting Trek with one of the most-recognizable stars to enter the Star Trek galaxy, Kelsey Grammer. Background Born Allen Kelsey Grammer on February 21st, 1955, Grammer was destined for a life in front of the camera. Trained at the Juilliard School, he took a three-year internship at the Old Globe Theater in San Diego, California before his Broadway debut in a revival of Macbeth alongside Phillip Anglim, better known to Deep Space Nine fans as Vedek Bareil. The role of Cassio in Othello with Christopher Plummer in 1982 and Measure for Measure with Kate Mulgrew in 1985 bracketed two of his first major television roles in two presidential miniseries, Kennedy and George Washington, which co-starred amongst other Trek alumni Ron Canada, Megan Gallagher and Harry Groener. 1984 was also the year that saw Grammer’s first appearance as Doctor Frasier Crane on the soon-to-be-iconic Cheers, the role that would make him a star and, by the time he guest starred on TNG, would lead to an equally successful venture, the spin-off show, Frasier. Doctor Crane would win Grammer three Emmys and two Golden Globes and make him the only actor to win a Globe for playing the same character in three different series – Cheers, Frasier and a guest appearance on Wings. On Star Trek By the time TNG had reached its fifth season, it had not only entered the zeitgeist in a way TOS had never managed during its first run, but it was also attracting superstar fans who tuned in weekly. Tom Hanks, Robin Williams and Arnold Schwarzenegger were proud, card-carrying Trek fans, and all were reportedly at some point connected with potential roles in the franchise. With Cheers and Star Trek, the two most high-profile Paramount shows of the time in close proximity on the Paramount lot, it was only a matter of time before actors would begin to cross over from one show to the other. During his final season on Cheers, Grammer appeared as Captain Morgan Bateson in the 18th episode of the fifth season, “Cause and Effect,” which aired on March 23rd, 1992, and was directed by Jonathan Frakes based on a Brannon Braga script. Grammer’s character was central to the plot, despite not appearing until late in the fifth act. Caught in a causality loop, the crew of the Enterprise-D eventually figured out their predicament, learning that the vessel they had repeatedly collided with was the Soyuz class U.S.S Bozeman, commanded by Bateson, which had been caught in the loop for 90 years. Why It Was Unique Grammer’s appearance was brief, but undoubtedly a classic Trek moment. We could only feel for Bateson and his crew as Picard said, “Perhaps you should beam aboard our ship. There’s something we need to discuss.” Bateson was unaware that 90 years had passed, still believing that the Bozeman was only three weeks out of Starbase. Links to Other Trek Actors Cheers, Frasier and Star Trek shared a vast number of actors who crossed time – and the Paramount lot – to inhabit each other’s galaxy. Rene Auberjonois, Robert Picardo, Brent Spiner, Patrick Stewart and Nana Visitor were just a few of the Trek alumni to visit Seattle, while most famously Kirstie Alley and Bebe Neuwirth traveled to the future and their own encounters with the crew of the Enterprise. What Happened Next Post-1992 would see Grammer begin his awards-laden 11-year stint on Frasier, followed by the short-lived TV series Back to You with Patricia Heaton and continuing his popular role as Sideshow Bob on The Simpsons. Film work included the voice of Stinky Pete in Famke Janssen and Beast in X-Men: The Last Stand -- alongside Patrick Stewart and Famke Janssen. As for Captain Bateman, his story would continue in the 1997 hardcover book, Ship of the Line, by Diane Carey, which was set in the 23rd century, prior to the causality loop and the 24th as Bateson and his crew adjusted to life in the new century. He would return in two Strange New Worlds short stories, the Kirk-centric Specter and in The Next Generation Special #2 from DC Comics, not to mention a brief appearance in Captain’s Daughter, where we learn that Sulu turned down a posting on the Bozeman, a wise decision that saved him from being lost in time much like his fellow Enterprise crewmate Scotty. Mark Newbold has been an avid Trek fan since the 1970's, when TOS was shown on UK TV, but it was the original cast movie series and TNG era that sealed the deal. Mark is a writer for Star Trek The Official Magazine, is editor-in-Chief of Star Trek: The Neutral Zone and was a stage host at Destination Star Trek Germany in 2018. At heart he's a Niner. Follow him on Twitter. View the full article
  14. CBS All Access has just released a full, 13-minute video of Patrick Stewart's surprise appearance at Star Trek Las Vegas, during which he announced that he would return to his iconic role as Jean-Luc Picard in a new Star Trek series that tells the story of the next chapter in Picard’s life. The remarkable moment took place on August 4 at STLV, as executive producer Alex Kurtzman told fans a new show was on the way and explained that he needed some help from a friend in explaining it. Enter... Sir Patrick. Check it out in all its glory: View the full article
  15. “The power of the Starship Enterprise is at your command. Cross the galaxies with Warp Drive and Impulse Power. Defend the Federation with Photon Torpedoes and Phasers. Ward off the treacherous attack of the Klingons, the villians of the cosmos!” -- TI-99/4A Star Trek: Strategic Operations Simulator Manual The 1970s and 1980s were pioneering days for the video game industry. Paralleling the innovations of home gaming and computing systems was the return of Star Trek in the form of new movie adventures. This parallel makes more sense when considering that it was Star Trek that helped inspire some of the real-world technologies that produced the video game revolution. The shared history of home video game systems and Star Trek is fascinating, and one of the earliest and most popular examples was the porting of SEGA’s 1983 Star Trek: Strategic Operations Simulator (SOS) vector game to home systems like the TI-99/4A. Inspired by the Kobayashi Maru sequence from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and sporting visuals related to that training sequence, SEGA released the SOS to local arcades about a year after the film’s premiere. Available in both standing and sitting cabinet designs, the game had the unusual feature of both two-dimensional and three-dimensional graphics on the same screen. Starting with the voices of James Doohan informing players that “You are the Captain of the starship Enterprise” and Leonard Nimoy saying, “Welcome aboard, Captain,” the game challenged players to navigate around space, mines and other anomalies, while protecting starbases from Klingons, UFO flying saucers and Nomad. The game proved popular enough with fans that it was offered for the new desktop computer market (Commodore VIC-20, Commodore 64, Apple, and the TI-99/4A are some examples) and the new home video game console systems (ColecoVision, as an example). The TI-99/4A was the first personal computer available to consumers with a 16 bit processor. Debuting during June 1981 and manufactured by Texas Instruments Inc., this early PC was a breakthrough in technology, especially because of its advanced solid state speech synthesis capabilities. Not only could the TI-99/4A’s games speak, but users could purchase a special headset that allowed speech-to-text and the control of certain game features via voice only. When a user said “run,” for example, an avatar in a baseball video game did as instructed. Those kinds of futuristic features made the pairing of Star Trek and the TI-99/4A inevitable, especially considering the TI-99/4A’s speech capacities. Unfortunately, technology limitations of the era did not allow for Doohan or Nimoy’s actual voices to be used, but a synthesized voice spoke the same lines and introduced each section of the game with warnings such as “Entering Sector 1.6. Avoid mines, Captain!” The TI voices did have emotion and inflection, adding to the drama of the game. The TI-99/4A graphics were a close approximation to its arcade inspiration, although not as detailed, with three boxes on screen. One screen provided information about shield capacity, photo torpedo inventory and warp power, and the other two boxes were two- and three-dimensional views of the action. Interestingly and for no discernable reason, the game manual that is included with the TI-99/4A flips the image found on every other company’s manual and box version using the Klingon perspective-themed artwork. In all other versions, the Klingon phasers are firing from the left, yet with the TI-99/4A version, the phaser beam is from the right. Looking closely, then, the name of the U.S.S. Enterprise 1701 is clearly backwards on the hull. None of that distracts from the fun of the Star Trek: Strategic Operations Simulator, one of the first games that allowed players to immerse themselves in the world of Trek and a herald of modern games like the virtual reality Star Trek Bridge Crew. One of this article’s authors, John, had a TI-99/4A and the Star Trek: Strategic Operations Simulator during the early 1980s. Amazingly, his computer still functions and the game works fine after more than 30 years. That is engineering that would make Scotty proud! Maria Jose and John Tenuto are both sociology professors at the College of Lake County in Grayslake, Illinois, specializing in popular culture and subculture studies. The Tenutos have conducted extensive research on Star Trek’s history, and have presented at venues such as Creation Conventions, ReedPOP's official Star Trek 50th Anniversary Convention, St. Louis Science Center, and to the towns of Riverside, Iowa, and Vulcan, Alberta, Canada. They've appeared in episodes of the Netflix show The Toys that Made Us and written for the official Star Trek Magazine. Their research has been featured on BBC Radio, WGN News, CBS News, and in USA Today and WIRED Magazine. Contact the Tenutos at jtenuto@clcillinois.edu View the full article