Thursday, May 18, 2017

Greed: Putting the Pieces Together…

Many of you have read the STORY first told on my blog about the lawsuit in and around of the Star Trek Enterprise D poster. After providing JDT and Associates with all of my hard work and trusting them to market and pay me for the Enterprise D cutaway poster… one of the largest and most printed cutaways ever they abdicated their responsibility to me by stopping to pay me and forcing a two day trial which they lost to the tune of $62,000.  While I won the battle I too lost the war as they filed for bankruptcy the next day.   Many years of grief and lessons learned under that bridge and while it hurt me significantly I got past it and the love of the fan became my only payment for the work in the end and let me tell you that became more than enough… It also spurred both me and my brother Matt to find a new representative in ScPubTech and we successfully published a ton of other posters for both Star trek and Star Wars.

Tonight while searching my Star Wars Pinterest I found a website by artist Brian Sauriol detailing his work on the Millennium Falcon Poster which never made it to press.  I had seen the work and sussed out the connection that JDT had dumped my Falcon concept in lieu for working with him.  The cost of the project paid for by Enterprise D moneys but now under the corporate name Nonpariel Communications…. same Address at 2242 Star Court in Rochester Hills, same owner Julie D. Targos.

Scroll back to 1991 we had just finished the Enterprise printing in Chicago and I showed Targos the idea of the Falcon cutaway I had started….  I based the illustration off of an original MPC Falcon Model kit I built… the details were not the best but the proportions were perfect.  She put the idea on hold so we could start selling Enterprise posters…

This was that concept illustration and the final line drawing and finished poster.


By 94 we were in court and one evening before the trial I got a phone call from Brian Sauriol who was not unknown to me as he was a teacher at Macomb Community College and one of the people who supplied the area illustration shops with new graduates… Yet I really didn’t know him so it was a strange call… He felt compelled to ask me to stop with my law suit with JDT and Targos….  I had not known the connection or why he of all people would contact me… The phone call ended badly and it creeped me out.

In 1995 I was at Miller Art Supply picking up some framed posters and thats when I saw the Sauriol Falcon also recently framed and the connection had been made.   By 1995 we were already contracted to do the Falcon, X-Wing and ATAT posters for the debut of the revised Star Wars episodes 4-6…  It became clear to me that the lawsuit and bankruptcy had foiled this duo's plans and in the end it was my Falcon that made the debut to the world!

This seemed like perfect karma yet there was always some level of supposition of the Sauriol, Targos connection based on the scary phone call and details I did not have.   Tonight it all became clear with THIS SITE found.  

The site was published in 2013 and bills the Falcon as a project hidden for two decades! The details of the sources he used explain why the illustration is so inaccurate…. the photos shown of the hasbro kids toy… bloated and out of proportion and the list of details are limited…. By the time I worked on finishing the Falcon Lucas Film had supplied me with full blue prints and photos but was also interested in a Falcon that squared three films worth of changing details into one final illustration… I consulted with designers and received notes from Lucas himself.

Who would admit to using a hasbro kids toy as reference for a serious cut away?

Tonight the details finally and completely come together… Now I know…  What I feel is more completely vindicated but I also feel a sense of forgiveness for two truly pathetic people who took my ideas and art and tried to take the benefits of that work and make it their own.  I have to forgive them because the alternative is to be consumed by the anger over the greatest loss in my professional life.

But there is more to it than that... there was the lesson to never give up on my dreams to keep pushing for what was right and so I want to impress upon anyone who takes on a project such as this... They are labors of love and they are for the fans and they come before money and profit... and with all honesty they come from the heart!

Monday, January 27, 2014


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 : "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 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!