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Making Movies: Interview with a Vulcan - Tim Russ on 'Star T
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Thats nice, I guess! Thoughts anyone?

Making Movies: Interview with a Vulcan - Tim Russ on 'Star Trek: Of Gods and Men' Wrote:Note: This blogger is a reader offering his own perspective on a subject that interests him. The posts and opinions are his own and are not edited by the Chronicle. He is solely responsible for the content of this blog.


? Stop! In the name of film... | Main

May 17, 2007
Interview with a Vulcan - Tim Russ on "Star Trek: Of Gods and Men"
Tim Russ is, of course, best known for his role as the Trooper in Spaceballs who, after "combing" the desert, announces "We ain't found sh*t!"

No?

Ok, ok... so he's BEST known as the venerable and august Vulcan security chief, "Tuvok," from Star Trek: Voyager . He's also one of only two Trek actors to have shared screen time with 4 out of 5 Captains (the other is Jonathan Frakes). It's safe to say that if anyone can be said to be a representative of Gene Roddenberry's legacy, Tim Russ is the man.

Since his stint on Voyager , Russ has been a busy Vulcan. Writing, directing, producing, acting - he's run the gamut and carved a name for himself with phaser-like precision. Forays into the indie film world have produced shorts like "D?j? vu" (no relation to the 2006 Denzel Washington film) and "Eye of the Beholder". And of course there's his homage to Gene Roddenberry, "Roddenberry on Patrol." He's also dipped into directing for TV with shows like "The F.B.I. Files" and "Psychic Investigators."

And lest I forget... he has a role in "Live Fast or Die Hard." Because Bruce Willis rocks.

But of more interest to Star Trek fans, surely, is the upcoming release of Star Trek: Of Gods and Men . This highly ambitious project brings together veteran Trek actors from the various franchises, many of whom are reprising their original roles! It's a veritable who's-who of Trek actors including Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, Alan Ruck, Garrett Wang, Ethan Phillips, Chase Masterson... and so many more it makes me all dizzy in the warp core just thinking about it. And, of course, Tim Russ himself is reprising his role as Tuvok.

I recently had the chance to talk with Tim about what, it turns out, is NOT a fan film but serious film project and another solid piece of Star Trek lore.

--

Making Movies -
The obvious question is, in your own words, what's this film about?

Tim Russ -
Without giving the story away, the theme has to do with security vs. freedom. How much freedom is one willing to give up in the name of security? As consistent with Gene Roddenberry's vision, we play out current themes in our world dressed up in future settings. There is also a good portion of good old action, suspense, and old familiar faces returning from the original series.

MM -
What prompted you to want to make this fan film in the first place?

TR -
This is not a fan film. This is an independent Trek feature, and we have every intention of selling it to the public as either a download or on DVD. Fan films are usually allowed to be viewed for free. Not to take away from the hard work and dedication of the people who make fan films, the quality of "Gods and Men" is superior the the typical fan film. I was approached by the producer, Sky Douglas Conway , about co-creating the concept for it and directing it. To me at the time, it was more or less another directing job. But it turned out to be something very special.

MM -
Was it an automatic to want all of these veteran Trek stars in the movie?

TR -
We obviously needed to gather name actors from the various series to be in the film if we were going to produce it commercially. It would give the story much more punch and generate much more interest from the fans.

MM -
Was it difficult to convince any of them to be a part of this?

TR -
No, it sort of snowballed. Once we had a few actors signed on to do it, others became interested in joining the cast.

MM -
Who wrote the script (I've read you got some of the seasoned Trek writers involved)?

TR -
Yes we did employ two seasoned Trek writers, Jack Trevino, and Ethan Calk. Doug Conway and myself also pitched in on the plot and structure of the story.

MM -
Were you a big fan of Star Trek before you were cast in any of the series? In what ways has the franchise impacted your life?

TR -
I was not much more of a fan than the average viewer of that series in syndication over so many years. Yes, I liked some of the stories, and enjoyed the character interaction, but I like sci-fi as a genre in general. Obviously becoming part of the franchise as an actor in one of the series off-shoots has broadened my career, allowing me to do things I would not have had the opportunity to do. It elevated my status as an actor in this town, and of course was financially beneficial. And, there's almost no place I can go where someone doesn't recognize me.

MM -
You're using original cast and concepts in the film... any legal issues you've had to face over this?

TR -
That would be a Doug Conway question. You can shoot as much as you like, it's what you do with it that makes all the difference. At present the Star Trek franchise is owned by CBS. We are planning to approach them about distribution for the project be it internet or DVD.

MM -
You are the director and producer of several other non- Trek projects - in what ways has that work influenced this fan film?

TR -
You learn something from every project you direct or act in. You learn from actors, and sometimes from crew members. You take these things with you to the next project, whether they are something you want to keep or something you want to avoid.

MM -
Assuming this is shot on video, what format are you using?

TR -
We shot "Gods" on a Panasonic, Mini DV, 24p camera, which I really like the look of.

MM -
Who is doing the edit and what edit suite are they using?

TR -
The editor was Tristan Barnard and he used Final Cut Pro , I believe.

MM -
You're using the Star Trek:New Voyages sets. What prompted this and how instrumental have the cast and crew of ST:NV been in production?

TR -
We used their sets because it was cost effective and they worked for the story. The people involved in New Voyages were helpful in a few areas, including wardrobe, set crew, and on camera work.

MM -
What has been the time frame from concept to product? Did it take less or more time than you thought?

TR -
The post [production] has taken longer than we expected, and there was a two to three month gap between shooting on the sets in New York and finishing here in Los Angeles. The post is time consuming because of the sound editing and CGI effects, of which there are quite a bit.

MM -
What advice do you have for other would-be film makers who might want to attempt a film such as this one?

TR -
Plan very carefully. You have so many people involved in so many areas, you have to plan everything in detail. Also make sure you have enough money to shoot whatever story you have in mind, or tailor the story to suit your budget.

MM -
Finally, do you have any plans for other films of this type in the future?

TR -
Not at present no. I am working on several other projects, some sci-fi, others drama and comedy.


--

It's an ambitious project that's sure to get fans worked up. It could even mean a rejuvenation of the franchise (though J.J. Abrams may have that sewn up with Star Trek XI ). Regardless, Star Trek: Of Gods and Men will certainly have an impact on the Trek universe.

For more information, visit the web site at http://www.startrekofgodsandmen.com . And because I'm a sweetheart of a guy, here's the trailer for your viewing pleasure:








Posted by J. Kevin Tumlinson at May 17, 2007 09:21 AM

http://blogs.chron.com/makingmovies/arch...ith_1.html
Please visit my website for some of the best Star Trek Fan Films out there!
http://www.pauley79.com
N.K.A.W.T.G.
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