Monday, January 27, 2014

Voyager

The final finished piece I completed for printing was for the show Voyager.  It was one of the funnest of all the ships to work on.  The ship is smaller that most of the others which allowed me to get more detail into the cuts... and at the time I was working on it our relationship with the Paramount folks was at its highest... and tons and tons of technical details flowed into this drawing.  Like all of my previous posters the drawing was in pencil using the tools of an illustrator... no computer generated portions of the drawing.















Once the initial drawing was generated it went to Paramount where the art department folks would go over the details with a fine tooth comb and they would leave notes on the drawing as you can see below.  At the time I was working on this drawing 7 of 9 was just coming on the show and one of the areas that I had to rework was her alcove area in the cargo bay...  You can see the blue rectangle in the upper hull here with the notes from the art department which was also sent with blue prints of the new set.


One of the cool aspects of this poster is it included a cut away of the Delta Flyer!










This was also fairly new to the show and as such I got to add to the technical canon of the show by showing areas you would never see on the show.  The computers and warp core and nacelles as well as some of the rarely discussed Borg tech.


















Another part of doing this work was getting models to work from!



























The final results of all this work comes after the image is rendered in color.  This was the second poster I worked on that did not get the secondary ink line drawing.  It went straight from pencil to color.  Additionally many of the patterns, colors and textures were supped by Paramount in the form of samples and photos that were input into the colorist computer and added digitally!  This really added to the realism of the final piece....


























I have one last image still up my sleeve but have decided that I want to complete the image from drawing to finished rendering....  The Defiant.

































Stay tuned for this one!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Review Of Star Trek Into Darkness


Ok so I have had a couple views of this film and I am ready to talk about it in a semi coherent way. First let me say that to talk about  the film is to spoil it for those who haven't seen it… and ultimately
I would say this is a film to be seen. So If you haven't see it yet STOP READING NOW!

























I remember sitting in a theater in 1982… The early afternoon matinee ..I had taken the afternoon off from work and just had to see this film as early as I possibly could.  I remember walking out of the theater somewhat stunned with the remnants of tears in my eyes… Spock was dead… He died a hero…  And the ultimate Star Trek Baddie Khan went down in history as the one who killed him….What an awesome movie… 

Thirty one years later JJ Abrams has re spun the Wrath of Kahn in an imaginative and creative way continuing to use the change in the timeline created in the first 2009 reboot film to give him license.
Early leaks that the return of Kahn were vigorously denied… and to see that indeed he is in this film makes me feel stupid for believing the early hype and retractions…  Not happy with that feeling JJ.

With out giving a blow by blow lets just say the events unfolded in the first film scared Starfleet shytless and they engage the use of Section 31 (star fleets covert operations first seen in DS9 and Enterprise..something that would have made Roddenberry roll in his grave) into a plan to keep the federation safe…(homeland security style)  They create a massive dreadnaut ship called Vengeance… all done up in black and created in shapes reminiscent of stealth tech as if that shyt works in space… Section 31/the Federation dig up Kahn and coheres him into using his super power skills to rid them of the impending Klingon attack and war.

Needless to say you don't let an angry powerful genie out of the bottle and expect the plan to work…. 
Kahn sets into a convincing rampage(9/11 style weapons of mass destruction on London) and Kirk and Spock set out to stop him… and the balance of the wrath of kahn plays out… But this time Kirk Dies saving the ship and Spock is on the other side of the glass… and with tears falling from his eyes screams Kaaaaaaahhhhhnnnnn!


To quote Nordling from Aintitcoolnews.com : "It’s just an opportunity for Abrams, Lindelof, Kurtzman and Orci to shove fan service down the audience’s throat.  There’s no special meaning or weight to it, and when Spock screams “KHAN!” at the top of his lungs, it feels like an insult.  It feels like the filmmakers think so little of STAR TREK and the fans; that all we want to see are the same stories over and over."

And this is the prime failure point in the film… While rebooted I am tired of rehashed story lines, rehashed dialog. One could see Lindelof, Kurtzman and Orci in front of a storyboard of Wrath of Kahn re arranging the scenes…. and taking the easy way out by filling in the cracks.  They did a fine job of this by introducing fast paced heart pounding action scenes into the less than creative storyline and in doing so made a film that was still enjoyable to watch.

Some secondary points of failure in this film included the recreation of several scenes from the first film… Pike picking Kirk back out of the bar..really?!  I believe in you now lets get out of this dive!… Been there done that!
The pararashooting scene remade into a ship to ship space jump…. been there done that!
The Enterprise bursting through the clouds of earth repeating the burst it made out of the clouds of Titan in the first film… Been There Done That!
The reintroduction of Spock Prime in this film was nearly unforgivable as it suited no purpose other that to yet again feature Leonard Nimoy in the film…  (read this… Love Leonard Nimoy and if he was to be in this film then he should have had a purpose)  Again been there done that!










The size of the Vengeance is idiotic at best…Wait the size of the Enterprise has been idiotic since the first film.. On most charts the new enterprise is bigger than the Enterprise D,  Bigger than the Battlestar Galactica which is nearly 2 kilometers long… Vengeance is 4 times the size….  I can only conclude that Ryan Church is compensating for something as none of these need to be this big…. Not even to be cinematic… The enterprise was very cinematic in first Star Trek Movie at 1 quarter the size.  Oh yes and please quit blowing the crap out of the damn ship!!!  Jeezzz

















Benedict Cumberbatch is an amazing actor but in what way can he play a east asian prince which is who Kahn was?! 

In fact all of the actors did a splendid job in their roles….  Again this film was not a total loss.  It WAS enjoyable to watch but the simple fact remains this is JJ's last chance at bat… the next film needs to show that He and the writers can create a film of their own… boldly going to places we have never been to before…. seeing things yet unseen and facing challenges in a Star Trek way that have yet to be experienced.    

Now one more word of advise to JJ Abrams… I believe the next Star Trek Film will be better…  The comments I have written tonight are being written by many reviewers and I am sure he will be able to put a film together that will continue to bring in the new audience with out insulting the old…  But this word of advise is not about the next trek film.

JJ will be helming the next Star Wars Trilogy…  I can't say that I would want to be him going into that project… What I can say is the Star Wars Universe does not need a reboot…  We want characters we know… ships we know and the Galaxy far far away that we know…. We don't want a new Millennium Falcon….  we don't want reworked  R2D2 or C3PO… You've already signed all the primary actors from Return of the Jedi…. Take the story in to the future in an expected and logical way….  and in my opinion leave Lindelof, Kurtzman and Orci at home to work on a fresh trek…  Get some good Star Wars people to help you with this next trilogy.






































Here is another review provided by my brother and partner in crime in the Star Trek/Star Wars world:


--Big brother saw it the way I saw it. The purpose of this film, I believe was to pull at the heart strings of core fans for which there are fewer now. Perhaps the younger movie goers, who have no recollection of Star Trek history will think this is a great movie. By itself with youthful ignorance, it was a good movie, but that's not what it's about to a fan generated industries. Remember, it took a grass roots movement and lots of fan mail to reboot the franchise.

The fact that JJ. just reversed rolls and put in the same script dialogue was completely insulting. THE SAME DIALOGUE.... I was saying the dialogue to my wife before the actors opened their mouths.... The second law of Thermal Dynamics, even in a different timeline was violated. The ending was totally figured out thanks to Kahn's remarkable blood properties saving the little girls life. wouldn't hurt to put a little M. Night Shyamalan in the next movie.

As for scale (the geek switch has been activated) The New Enterprise is not much bigger that the original and Motion picture Enterprise. The original scale for witch it was meant to represent is more evident in this movie than the first. The Bridge window is a dead give-a-way. I swear I saw objects in the saucer windows too. The shuttle bay is a little bigger fore the aft portion of the secondary hull is a little wider. Let's face it. Name me a miniature that was built to fit the movie sets perfectly or the other way around with exception of older trek ships (OST and TNG). Room for imagination is ok and expected, but to change the scale without changing the miniature is stupid. The fact that the scale was changed to Galactic proportions to satisfy a cameraman is now rendered moot. I almost gave JJ a break on this because I thought he cared mare about the story making the scale of a ship is somewhat frivolous. But after watching the latest installment, the story is clearly secondary.

On the plus side, I liked the way they used a real experimental Fusion reactor for the warp core. Better than more Beer factory. But wait a minute. Didn't they eject multiple warp cores in the first movie...like 6 or 7? I'm getting headache.

I'm guessing the new movie will be about Klingons and I only hope they don't kill Captain Kirk's illegitimate child from a knocked up Dr. Marcus as a way to enrage the young captain into all out war. Damn, I should put money on this.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Credit At Last!!






















I received my copy of the second printing of the Haynes USS Enterprise manual where the credit page has been amended thanks to Haynes Book Division Editor Derek Smith. For those of you who have read this blog you know that getting credit for work done via our work and in the worst case getting paid as well has been difficult. The poster created by my brother and myself have sold several thousand copies. The creation of the posters has always been a part of a collaboration... a business partnership. The popularity of Star Trek and Star Wars has made our work extremely popular and lucrative and it is a sad irony that as the posters made money the business arrangements would fall under to greed. So getting credit here is the least we were going to expect. Thank you Mr. Smith for being a man of your word... Its nice to know there are good people out there!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Credit Where Credit Is Due

To all my readers, sorry for being away so long from the blog posting, life has a way of sometimes getting away from you....

Tonight I am coming on in a little bit of a melancholy mood. The new Haynes Trek Manual came out today and I have to say I am so disappointed at the outcome. The cutaway drawings for the Enterprise D and even more so the Enterprise E are lifts from our poster work. I would have loved to come on tonight to say that this was flattering, but I can't. Going to the back of the book you can clearly see that we are given no credit for our work! The lift of David Kimball's STMP Enterprise is clearly credited but not the work of my brother and myself. Given the fastidious nature of Mike Okuda to get the facts correct it seems he didn't bother to provide in put on the credit page for us as the technical expert for this book. We are surprised and saddened.

As you can see from a prior post we did get VIACOM / ST Art Department Approvals


I can remember the day that the Rick Sternbach Blueprint set arrived at my door, the sheer joy I felt at seeing my name credited correctly... I felt honored to be remembered for the work I did all those years ago. Matt and I are considering how we feel about this omission. We aren't looking for money, we are looking for respect, respect for the hundreds of hours we have put into the work.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Trek Interview!


Natasha Eloi and I after the Interview on Space!

A couple weeks before the Trek Movie opening I did an interview on the Space Channel here is the out come.... A fantastic Nerdarati moment! Enjoy!

Monday, May 25, 2009

My Trek For Music _ A Rant On The Music Industry

I have given up on feeling bad for the brick and mortar retail stores! Even worse I have given up on the music industry for not understanding how to sell music. A couple of days ago I went to go purchase the soundtrack to the new Star Trek Movie. I love the symphonic feel of the new music and so I looked up the release date of the record and it was clearly May 5th. GREAT! I'm off to stimulate the economy to the tune of $20.00 and I head out to HMV (One of the largest distributors in the world) I ask the clerk if he can help me because my initial scan of the store is a blank.... "Sure!" he says as he hands me over a copy of the Soundtrack of Star Trek Nemesis! "Um No actually I was hoping for the new movie." Blank Stare "There's a new Movie?" "Are you kidding me?" as I point to the wall of special T-Shirts devoted to the Movie. "Let me look it up" he says... "yeah it came out the 5th.... we don't have any... in fact no store has any." "Why if you have the T-Shirts do you not have the music?" I asked back, I mean I am in a music store right. "I don't order the product" he shot back.
"This is why music stores are hurting" I countered "Would you like me to order you a copy?" "No thanks Ill purchase it on itunes!" I must admit that last line was said pretty loud as I wanted others to hear my frustration.

But I really wanted the disc for this one... liner notes etc.... so I moved on to Sunrise Records. "there's a new movie?" he said... I paused and looked at him... I raised my finger to the shirts and action figures and other assorted toys Sunrise was selling devoted to this summer block buster. "It made 112 million dollars worldwide on its opening weekend... yes there is a new movie" "Would you like me to see if I can order you a copy? I can probably get it here in a week." "A week?, I can get it from amazon in a day..." Again I am leaving the store and headed off to itunes.



I am boggled by the current state of affairs when it comes to retail and music. Both of these stores clearly were selling material that was related to what I wanted but not the piece related to their core business! Whats wrong with that picture. One look in HMV and it is clear that the sign is up on the wall... there is now two isles of ipod accessories and itunes cards for sale. Apple and to a lesser extent other online services have made selling music challenging. While this example was about a movie soundtrack it is clear that other forms of music are equally hard to come by and I personally blame the music industry for over charging for their products for years.
While many of us still want to do the right thing and buy our tracks on line, the industries shortsightedness and lack of any knowledge as to what we the consumers DO want clearly illustrates know one is at the helm.



Later that night I down loaded the entire soundtrack for less than $10.00 off of itunes. I love my iphone/pod, I love Apple too but the recent change in pricing forced on to apple by the ailing music industry may continue to force others into illegal down loading. Yes I know that the tracks are now DRM free and they are at a recorded bit rate that is closer to CD quality but in my mind this is how it should have been from the beginning and at the 99 cent price point. Its not just me confirming this... itunes sales have been down since the change over. People are fed up that the music industry just doesn't get it! I have my music but the experience has left a bad taste in my mouth for HMV and Sunrise... They did not get my money.

Here is a piece of the soundtrack from the movie... enjoy!

A Trek Anew!

What You don't have your enterprise model and 12 inch action figure yet?! Better get a move on it Mr!

Ok so it's April 30th, 5 in the afternoon... my best nerd buddy has called and issued a call to be at the AMC Dundas by 7pm... My heart begins to race as I know whats up! I'm about to be included in the very first showing of the new JJ Abrams Star Trek Movie in Canada!
I pack my bag at work and I am out of there at warp speed! Making to the theater with time to spare we meet up for what was one of the best movie going experiences in a long time. Thats right! This film while not with out it flaws is a great movie on so many levels and while I will not get into each and every moment I am about to write some minor spoilers... so look at the next two pictures and if you want to know more keep reading, if not come back to this post after you have seen the flick!


Epic! with a capitol E best describes what JJ Abrams has brought to the screen with this 11th Star Trek film. This is was the minimum requirement if this movie was to succeed! JJ gets an A+ here. Six months back if you had asked me what I thought about the initial images coming out of Paramount I would have given a very visceral response, in fact I might have told you that this was the end of the franchise as the die hard fans knew it. Take the next image... when I first saw the trailer and saw them constructing the Enterprise on the ground it was a big WTF moment! After working on the Enterprise my self over the years this was clearly a travesty of canon. I felt insulted! No really I felt insulted at having bought into a carefully crafted history and look to what in my mind was already established in the hundreds if not thousands of dollars worth of Star Trek books and models, props and costumes now seemingly washed away with what seemed like crap on the screen. How could this have happened? Even the guy who drove Star Trek into a wall Rick Berman couldn't have fracked it up this bad!?

But then bits of the story outline began to surface... Leonard Nimoy was in the film... If hes in it certainly he has a say on some of this right? A plot with time travel and altered time lines began to appear??? Hmmm Finally the release of Countdown a four part comic book prequel hits the shelf and suddenly and magically the Vail of doubt and hate is lifted off of this film. At least for me.

This is a story of how Kirk and Spock and all of the original crew come together, just not the the Kirk and Spock story I grew up on... This is a new version of history driven by a Romulan madman from the future... The Next Gen future to be exact. Ambassador Spock is indeed assisted by Picard and crew to save the know universe only to be pulled into time and space and the past. When he sees that Nero (the baddy) has affected the time line of the past he seeks to set Kirk and Spock into a meeting that ensures that at least this part of history is not missed. As we all know the universe depends on this team to save the day countless times going forward!;-)

This recreation of the two iconic characters really drives home how great a casting job JJ and team actually did! In fact casing was key to this entire film! The contributions of Simon Peg (Scotty) and Karl Urban (McCoy) are freakishly on spot for their characters providing some of the most humorous moments in the movie.

This movie is about action and after running at a medium pace for the first 30 min the movie kicks it into warp drive(which is really kewl in this version) and never looks back and if I had one critic of the film itself is that the pace never lets up... there is now emotional up and down which causes the final act to feel a bit less than satisfying. But this is a small critic and should not dissuade you from enjoying the action. As I have said this is a fun filled experience and the story reset allows for many new adventures with this heroic crew!

EN Pros: Fab casting, great script, An epic canvas, the film stays within canon.

EN Cons: Lack of dramatic build up, Spock and Uhuru? WTF!, Tyler Perry! (I'm serious he is in this movie!) As Madea he is flawless! but its that association that makes him being head of Star Fleet hard to swallow.

Why I Live In Gene Roddenberry's World!


Lets get it out before I ramble on. I have seen the new Star Trek Movie! And I am not saying a word! Not because it wasn't good because it was! Oh boy was it good! I'm not talking because it's not out yet and I want you to see it and decide for your self... and so I will post my review before next weekend.

Tonight I want to talk about the world created by Gene Roddenberry and its importance to me and many others. I live in this world more often than not. I am aware it is not real yet its vision is one that I and others wish will come to pass more sooner than later. This is the world of Star Trek, this vision of our future is 300 years from now. In this future we have ended hunger and poverty, we have ended most disease and have created lives of personal fulfillment, contentment and peace. Racism is a pot no longer stirred on the planet earth. While commerce continues on some level, currency and rabid consumerism no longer exist. We have stepped off of this planet and have begun to venture out to other worlds. We have taken our new found understanding of diversity and our sense of curiosity and have started the journey to understand just how humanity fits in the larger universe.

Seem alien? Impossible?

Well fictionally It didn't come easy. Humanity couldn't come together until we persisted through a nuclear and biological war and a post-apocalyptic period in the mid-21st century akin to a modern dark ages. But we eventually came together again and we overcame many Earth-bound frailties and vices by the middle of the 22nd century, creating a quasi-utopian society where the central role is played not by money, but rather by the need for exploration and knowledge. It seems that the world and humanity have always evolved in the midst of conflict and hardship.

To understand the attraction to Gene's world you need to look back at the early days of Star Trek. The shows origins seem to originate out of a series of meetings begun in May of 1964. Originally conceived as a space western, a wagon train to the stars, Star Trek became so much more. Gene Roddenberry privately told friends that he was actually modeling it on Swift's Gulliver's Travels, intending each episode to act on two levels, first as a suspenseful adventure story, but also as a morality parable. The shows protagonists were essentially altruists whose ideals were sometimes only imperfectly applied to the dilemmas presented in the series. The conflicts and political dimensions of Star Trek formed allegories for contemporary cultural realities: Star Trek: The Original Series addressed issues of the day, race relations, the vietnam war, nuclear arms and the cold war.

Later versions of Star Trek in the 80's and 90's reflected issues of their respective eras. Issues depicted in the various series include war and peace, the value of personal loyalty, authoritarianism, imperialism, class warfare, economics, racism, religion, human rights, sexism and feminism, and the role of technology. Gene Roddenberry stated: "By creating a new world with new rules, I could make statements about sex, religion, Vietnam, politics, and intercontinental missiles. Indeed, we did make them on Star Trek: we were sending messages and fortunately they all got by the network."

Star Trek ranks as one of the most culturally influential television shows of all time and clearly the most influential science fiction TV show of all time. The original series, which aired on the NBC network from 1966 to 1969, had spawned four successor shows starting in the 1980s and ten movies. Countless toys, a publishing franchise that is in the top 5 of all time, and other products have been marketed by Paramount, the company that owns the Star Trek "franchise." But the show's cultural influence goes far beyond its ability to replicate itself and make money for its owners.

Measuring the cultural and social impact of a TV show or event is never easy. But there are numerous indications that Star Trek has had an influence on many peoples' lives. This can be seen in a variety of ways, from the inclusion in mass-market dictionaries of words and phrases originally invented for the show, to the testimonials of people who claim that their career and life choices were influenced by Star Trek. Star Trek was the first television series aimed at adults to tell sophisticated morality tales and to depict a paramilitary crew on a peaceful mission to explore the galaxy. At the time the show's special effects were superior to anything else then depicted on TV, its stories were often written by highly regarded science fiction authors, and many of its production values, particularly costuming, were extremely high, despite the relatively limited budget of a weekly TV series. Critics who call the show cheesy ignore the fact that by the standards of the day, Star Trek was quite advanced, and it effectively raised the bar, meaning that the science fiction television shows and movies that followed it had to meet its standards of quality and maturity in order to be taken seriously.

Roddenberry envisioned a multi-ethnic crew, including an African-American woman, a Scotsman, a Japanese American, and most notably, an alien, the half-Vulcan Mr. Spock. In the second season Roddenberry added a Russian crewmember at a time when the United States was engaged in a tense cold war with the Soviet Union. Blacks and women were also shown as scientists and doctors on the ship.

Star Trek featured the first multi-racial kiss on television, when Captain Kirk kissed his communications officer, Lieutenant Uhura. The multi-ethnic nature of the bridge crew as well as its positive message that humanity would survive and thrive among the stars is often credited by writers, fans, and historians for the show's broad appeal. As many fans later explained, Star Trek presented a positive image of the future at a time when the news was filled with stories of racism, social strife, and war. When many people wondered if the world would emerge intact from the Cold War, Star Trek depicted many different races working peacefully together several hundred years into the future. At its most basic level, Star Trek had a simple humanistic message: humanity will be okay.

Star Treks vision of the future was so compelling that the show defied conventional expectations and actually became more popular and reached a much broader audience after its cancellation than it had when it was originally shown on NBC. The strength of the fan based grew by leaps and bounds via the convention circuit and by 1976, following a fan-organized letter-writing campaign, NASA named its first Space Shuttle Orbiter Enterprise, after the starship in the show. The Enterprise was used in a number of flight tests, but NASA canceled plans to launch it into space because it was too heavy. NASA also employed actress Nichelle Nichols, who played communications officer Lieutenant Uhura, to try to recruit African-Americans and women to become astronauts. During her work on the show in the 1960s, Nichols had become frustrated at her relative lack of lines and was considering quitting. She was talked out of this decision by Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., who told her that a show that depicted a black woman working alongside whites in a position of importance helped further the goal of racial equality.

In 1986, Roddenberry created a second TV show, Star Trek: The Next Generation. The new series had a less aggressive and more socially liberal message. The show drew a whole new generation to the show and influenced many people in scientific and engineering fields have stated that they were inspired by Star Trek, which they thought portrayed science and engineering in a positive light (although rarely accurately). Even physicist Stephen Hawking was a fan of the show. Although the original Star Trek series was occasionally sexist (women wore skimpy outfits and no woman was ever shown commanding a starship), many women have testified that they were positively influenced by the show's depiction of women scientists working alongside their male counterparts. Actress and comedian Whoopi Goldberg has said that seeing a black woman sitting on the bridge of a starship, and not working as a maid, made her believe as a young girl that she could be an actress with a real role. Mae Jamison, the first African-American woman to fly in space, has also said that she was deeply influenced by the show. Goldberg later played a regular on Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Jamison made a cameo appearance on the show.

Today I saw a whole new Star Trek and I am happy to say that the world Gene Roddenberry's has made it through almost five decades intact. His vision clearly has had a positive influence on society... Advances in race relations how ever large and small have occurred. The Country has elected its first black president Barack Obama who at a campaign event in Wyoming, said the following: "I grew up on Star Trek. I believe in the final frontier." Obama's clearly shows that he too has an optimistic view of the future as portrayed by the show. Advances in medicine and science are beginning to have profound effects in society and the world Gene Roddenberry created, no more accurately prophesied back in the mid 60's is ever more alive and real today.

So yes I know its fictional, and I am a fan, but I live in Gene Roddenberry's world and believe one day his vision will be reality.