Friday, April 10, 2009

Terilynn's Trek: 4-10-09; Abrams & Paramount Relegate Trekkies to the Kids' Table

So it's been a few days since the surprise screening of Star Trek XI in Austin and the "World Premiere" in Sydney.

Certain conversations here and on other forums have only seemed to have cemented the feeling I was having a few months ago – that Abrams' comment about "talky geekfests" had a deeper and more insidious meaning…

…he really meant it folks!

Abrams really does think that Trekkies are seriously uncool. Trekkies are the worst geeks imaginable and he will do anything to keep his new Apple-shiny movie from being associated with them.

What evidence do I have to come to such a conclusion?

Exhibit A: The Quote

"I think that what this movie's bringing is a remarkable new and energetic young cast and a treatment of the world of Star Trek that I think is as intimate as the story is massive in scope. This is a treatment of Star Trek with action and comedy and romance and adventure, as opposed to a rather talky geekfest."

Emphasis added.

Mr. Abrams wanted to make sure that any non-Trekkie who may have read that article understood that the movie wasn't being made for "those talky geeks."

Exhibit B: The Sydney "World Premiere"

While technically Sydney was beaten to the "world premiere" punch by a theatre full of sci-fi fans in Austin, there were certain things about the Sydney function that smacks of elitism.

Mr. Abrams and most of his cast (Saldana was conspicuously missing and we all know that Nimoy was in Austin) were all in tuxes – bright, shiny and young – standing on a massive red carpet waving to people.

Here's what's weird though. If you watch the videos closely – they prepared for a huge crowd…which never seemed to materialize. Look carefully – camera angles which show the length of the railing make it appear as though the crowds are thick…but when you look behind the actors who are still marching along the red carpet – there might be 40-50 people behind them. There's a VERY conspicuous Trekkie with ears cut into the vdieo, but no real screaming fans. (Seriously - listen, it's rather quiet for a movie premier...),00.html

I understand that there may have been as many as over a hundred or more tickets for the actual VIEWING of this film in Sydney that remained unsold.

Trekkies in Australia seemed a bit more than perturbed that the fact that tickets were being sold to begin with was never advertised nor was the event pushed in the local media. The links provided above were described as having to have been "dug" up. (And thank you for digging Kirok!)

What bothered me more was how Abrams and cast seemed almost annoyed by the questions they were getting. Cho and Quinto were obviously going to be asked about the predecessors in their roles – it's TREK for Pete's sake! The roles they're portraying were created – molded and raised to levels of mythdom by those other actors! Deal with it Quinto! Also – Quinto seemed awfully sure to distance himself from those evil "conventions" didn't he?

Exhibit C – The "Quiet" World Premiere or "Let's throw the Trekkies a bone!"

Several hours before the reels started to turn in Sydney, a group of fans gathered in a theatre in Austin, Texas for a showing of the famous (and according to Abrams "talky geekfest") Trek film – The Wrath of Khan – to be followed by ten minutes of never-before-seen footage of Star Trek XI.

Instead of Wrath of Khan – what they got was the writers of the new movie and Leonard Nimoy making a surprise appearance and showing the entire new movie!

Now this made news…to the Trekkies of course, because we're a pretty tight-knit community and tend to talk to each other using modern technology. But the screening didn't make the mainstream news.

And that's just the way Paramount and Abrams wanted it. Toss the bone to the Trekkies and let the rest of the world look at the shiny new movie in all of its sterilized-for-your protection-non-Trekkie-infested-goodness in Sydney.

Now wait – there's more rant coming.

Take a step back from this and look at it again.

Nimoy wasn't at the premiere in Sydney! The man who Abrams once said the movie could never have been made without wasn't at the premier. Nimoy - the man who the world recognizes as one of THE faces of Star Trek - and he wasn't at the premier in Sydney with the rest of the cast.

Why not?

I dare say it's because Abrams and Paramount didn't want him there. His presence would have taken away the limelight from the newcomers they're desperately trying to push.

Suddenly it all became clear…Abrams really does loathe Trekkies. I think he fears we will infect his movie and make it a talky geekfest!

It feels like the Trekkies have been relegated to the kids table for the dinner party because we're not classy enough to hang with the "cool people."

Doesn't it?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

4-7-09 Compare STXI to Legos? Sure. Why Not?

So after reading about the surprise screening of Star Trek XI in Austin last night, I had to initially come to terms with my own raging jealousy. I am a geek of true form let me assure you, but I wasn't about to fly to Austin to see 10 minutes of a film just to have it followed by a movie I've seen a hundred-zillion times (The Wrath of Khan.) As much as it would have been a ball to hang with a room full of people who are just as geekified as I am, I just couldn't justify the expense and the days off work.

Now I'm kicking myself.

Oh well. I'll have to settle for the reviews from two countries as opposed to the one I thought I was only going to get from the hand-selected reviewers who attended the Sydney opening.

So far it seems - they all seemed to have at least enjoyed the film. Reviews are positive. That's good. Really, that's not unexpected either - Abrams isn't an idiot in terms of Hollywood marketing. There's no way they would have let this film out of the can a MONTH before its wide release date unless they didn't think they were going to get positive buzz, and it looks like they're getting it too.

My fears about trashing of canon also appear to be true however. And that still saddens me more than anything. Everyone who has seen the movie says - It's a WHOLE NEW TIMELINE....Yep. It's Star Trek AU.

So... there it is. Paramount has left the Trek we know and love like a bin full of leftover Legos. Paramount went out and bought the new set and they don't want to play with the ones in the bin anymore.

I do look forward to seeing the movie. I mean - who can resist playing with the new set of Legos? I mean really?! Who!? But when I go to the Lego Store, the first place I head for is the big table with the bin full of loose blocks and begin to play with those. The new sets are too small and expensive and it takes a considerable investment to grow a collection.

I've invested into that other bin - the big bin with 40 years of Trek blocks and they still have an infinite number of ways to be put together! Sure, I'll watch Abrams play with his new set...but my heart tells me that I'm the one with the cooler toys.

Thanks to Captain_Hair and his excitement over the opening of a new Lego Store in his neighborhood for providing me with my inspiration for today's blog.

Monday, April 6, 2009

4-6-09 On Eve of World Premier - Star Trek XI Turns to...Twitter?

We're a month out – 32 days away from the wide-release date for the new Star Trek film here in the U.S. and I have to say…is it just me, or is the pre-release hoopla…uhmmmm…missing?

There's been no increase in advertising that has been noticeable, at least to me. Maybe it's because I don't fit into the real target audience that Abrams and gang are catering to…that same old stereotype 14-24 yr old male demographic that Paramount still believes is the only core audience that would have an interest in Trek.

Have they never been to a Trek convention?

Oh well – that's for another rant…

Star Trek XI's world premier will be held in Sydney Australia…tomorrow night. Which, if I understand that whole international date-line thingy correctly, is actually late tonight (7 am GMT is +7 hrs here - so it would be midnight here when the Twittering of the premier begins.)

Yep – you saw it correctly – Paramount has hired bloggers to tweet fans' questions to the stars of the show before the premier and during the movie's month long "World Tour".


Well – frankly I don't expect a lot of information to come from those tweets. I'm sure that the cast will still be expected to stay quiet regarding the plot of the movie for fear that too much info will spoil their efforts to keep Trekkie enticed into seeing the movie. They'll talk about how great it was to be in the movie, how wonderful it was to work with Abrams, how they were honored to be a part of rebuilding a franchise…blah, blah, blah…

But it just seems a little odd right now.

Right when all hell should be breaking loose in the ad arena things seems awfully quiet. Paramount is making it very clear that they need to pique the international community's interest in this movie and that the US may not be their market of choice right now.

Not surprising. They've either written off the U.S. or (as is more likely) they've already polled the crap out of it and know exactly how much they're likely to rake in at the BO now and have decided that the advertising dough needs to go into other markets.

Tweeting is cheap. It will build the suspense for the Trekkies who use Twitter and the leaks can begin tomorrow morning. I expect to know everything about this movie by Wednesday morning (Mountain time of course ;) )

But what about that other market – the one that Paramount and Abrams said they were making this movie for…you know…the NON Trekkie? The people who don't use Twitter? The people who don't buy car insurance on-line? The people who could give a crap what chip is in their computer? The people who don't know what an iPhone is?

Yes – there are LOTS of those people! ;) So many in fact, Abrams caused quiet the kerfuffle when he said he wasn't making Trek for Trek fans…he was making the movie for everyone but!

So does it look like they're being ignored now?

Something's not right here. I don't know what it is yet – I haven't placed my finger on it just yet. I personally see it as a sign of confidence – that they're happy with the pre-release polling and that the U.S. numbers will be well at or near estimates and as long as second week's numbers stay strong – they'll have a blockbuster.

What's your take? Do you think Abrams and Paramount believe they have it sewed up? Do you think that they're switching gears to appeal to the geekdom? Do you think they never really believed the non-Trekkie would like this movie? Or do you think that maybe this movie has the potential for kicking Wolverine's butt?

And do you see the use of Twitter just a bit...anti-climactic?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Terilynn's Trek: 4-2-09 Fan Productions Featured in 12 Trek Days of Christmas

I've been a member of Trek United since late 2007. Right when I joined there was a very interesting thread called the "12 Trek Days of Christmas." It's a non-profit/free download fan production event organized by Trek United's own Media Master, Kirok of L'Stok (Kirok for short. ;) ).

At the time, I read through the thread and (you have to understand how utterly naive I was then) was shocked to find out that not only was I not alone in writing my own fiction revolving around Star Trek...but that there MANY others doing the same! But they weren't just writing Trek! They were filming Trek, making audio dramas with Trek, building models and props, computer art, role playing, paintings, drawings, you name it!

I was agog.

Seriously! I was. I had NO CLUE that there was a vast community of people who created everything possible using Star Trek as their foundation. I had never felt such a sense of relief before. I seriously thought I was whack for writing stories with Star Trek characters. To see that others were not only doing the same, but many of them made such amazing and professional-quality productions it made me itch to get better at my own writing.

12 Trek Days of Christmas
features a different type of fan-made production every day of its twelve day run around the holiday/New Year season. Last year's run was incredible - paper models, eBooks, audio dramas, fanzines! Oh it was so great! Here! Take a look!

Well - This year, Kirok seems to be taking the bull by the horns early and is hopeful that 2009's 12 Trek Days of Christmas will be sure to excel over last year's!

If you are remotely interested in seeing your work highlighted in 2009's 12 Trek Days of yourself a favor and review these threads:

Re: Audio Drama;

If you're a writer and have a quality piece of work and would like it converted to eBook format, Kirok has recruited the talented Steff Watson to oversee the Fan Fiction Day portion of the 12 Trek Days. Here's Kirok's most recent post:

... and so it begins!

I have total faith in Steff Watson and the crew that she has assembled at Ad Astra to handle the fan fiction stream of the 2009 Trek Days of Christmas. Ad Astra has now placed itself at the cutting edge of turning top quality fan fiction into beautifully formated eBooks that can be read online or downloaded and read off-line.

The Twelve Days thread on the Ad Astra forum HERE is the official hub for the overall organisation of the fan fiction stream. TrekUnited Publishing will be submitting at least one, maybe two ebooks as our contribution to help the Fan fiction stream be the outstanding success I'm sure it will be!


Kirok of L'Stok
Director of Publications and Media, TrekUnited

Now - Kirok has many other types of features planned, so if you're an artist, a film maker, a gamer...please feel free to join in the preliminary discussion thread at Kirok's Google Group: Preliminary Discussion: (It's important to note that this is open to ALL fans - not just members of Trek United or Ad Astra!!! So if you're a member of TrekBBS, The Omega Sector BBS, or no forum at all - your work would still be considered! Although to post on those forums/groups registration would be necessary.)

He's got sub-groups forming for each type of production that will be featured, so jump in and see what he's looking for to determine if your work can get a spot in the limelight!

The Star Trek fan production community never ceases to amaze and excite me. I hope you take the time to join in the fun. But even if you're not the type to create something Trek-based, do yourself a real favor and watch, listen, read and support the fan-production community! You'll be very surprised at the amazing depth of quality work that lies at your fingertip - and all for free!

Have a great day everyone!