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Friday, March 3, 2017

Guest Star Rekha Sharma Delighted by Role That Fulfills Childhood Dream



When the next episode of STAR TREK CONTINUES is revealed, science fiction fans will see a familiar face in a guest star role.  The new episode, titled Still Treads the Shadow, features guest star Rekha Sharma, perhaps best known to science fiction fans for her role in more than 30 episodes of Battlestar Galactica.

While details of Sharma's character in STAR TREK CONTINUES are being kept under wraps until April, she says the offer for a role came after meeting Vic "Kirk" Mignogna at FedCon Germany last year during the 50th Anniversary of STAR TREK event.

“Vic and I kept in touch after FedCon, and then he asked if I’d be interested in coming aboard STAR TREK CONTINUES.  He told me about a script that was in development and the character he had in mind.  I’m so delighted that it worked with my schedule,” Sharma says.

Sharma’s first introduction to the original STAR TREK series came from her big brother.

“All my friends were watching Full House or something.  I’m not sure! And there I was, coming home after school and watching the original STAR TREK and old Perry Mason reruns!  I remember my brother told me that there were people opening and closing the doors, which I thought it was so cool and cheesy. And it very much appealed to my dreams of utopia -- especially as a young colored girl growing up in very white neighborhoods,” says Sharma.

Rekha’s character of Tory Foster in the rebooted Battlestar Galactica, which began in 2004, developed after several auditions.

“From the very first audition, I was immediately struck by the intelligence, artistry and kind-heartedness of the directors and producers. I thought, I’d really like to work with these people! First I went in for the role of a Viper pilot, then a captain, and then the role of Tory came along.  Oh yeah, I thought, this is a perfect part for me.” Galactica’s producers apparently agreed.

“Working on Battlestar Galactica was a dream come true.  From my previous experience, I honestly didn’t think I could be creatively satisfied working in TV. But Battlestar Galactica changed that. Not only was it creatively satisfying, but we also had such a great team of people.  We are all like family to this day,” Sharma explains.


What does it mean to be a STAR TREK CONTINUES guest star?

“It means I have fulfilled a dream, in a way, and that I’ve come full circle. I loved those stories. They had a wonderful morality and vision for humanity that made my heart sing. And then I got to step onto those sets and step into my childhood and be a part of telling that kind of story.   Not only that, but that world was so fun! I loved those neat-o futuristic gadgets when I was a kid. And now, as an adult, I got to play with them. I got to sit on the bridge.  There weren’t any trailers, so when I needed to rest between scenes, I took naps in sickbay on board the Enterprise.   And I got beamed in the transporter!  I can’t wait to see that,” she says enthusiastically.

The experience of working on the STAR TREK CONTINUES set “was so refreshing,” Sharma says.  “Everyone is there for love, not money. It felt like Battlestar Galactica that way. Although it’s a fan run project, the STAR TREK CONTINUES sets were surprisingly professional and very impressive. It was a mix of TV veterans and total newbies, and that made for an awesome atmosphere to work in. It was the best of both worlds, really.”

Sharma likes to compare the character she’s playing in Episode 8 to be much like aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart.  “She is smart as a whip, very technically inclined, and brave. I thought of her as a bright light of goodness and intelligence with a big heart.”

She admits to being very surprised at what the cast and crew have created with STAR TREK CONTINUES.

“You know, Vic told me that I’d become part of the family, but I had no idea what he meant. They have chosen a team who are all friendly, diligent, thoughtful and good-hearted people. I felt so welcomed and incredibly lucky. It makes sense that they’re shooting in the south – they’re so hospitable!  And those sets! Again, Vic told me what they built, but until you’re there you just can’t conceive of it. It’s really impressive. I know I’m not the only one who was moved to tears,” Sharma says.

Fans will be able to see Rekha Sharma at future conventions and events.

“It’s funny. At first it felt so strange to do conventions, but as time has gone on I’ve really come to appreciate them.  It’s special to have the opportunity to meet the fans and discuss the themes of these shows. You get to connect with people that you’d never get to meet otherwise. And sci-fi fans are awesome because, generally speaking, they still have dreams. They’re not jaded. They believe in possibility. And without that, nothing would ever change for the better. We’ve got to hold on to our dreams and keep being warriors in this world – to truly go where no man has gone before.”

“Still Treads the Shadow” will premiere at Fan Expo Dallas on April 1 at the Dallas Convention Center.

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers about remaining episodes of STAR TREK CONTINUES





How are you getting around the guidelines for fan films?

As CBS/Paramount has made clear, the guidelines are not laws; they are general parameters applied on a case-by-case basis. Since the implementation of the guidelines, we have stopped all crowdfunding activities and have focused strictly on completing the four episodes which had already been funded as of that time by fans' donations to our 501(c)(3) non-profit. STAR TREK CONTINUES has always followed any and all instructions given to us by CBS regarding our production, and will continue to do so.

Does STAR TREK CONTINUES have any type of special and/or official arrangement with CBS/Paramount?

No.


How long are the episodes?

They will be exactly the same format as our previous episodes

Why are you ending the series?

Recent developments necessitate our finishing up sooner than we intended, but it was always our goal to bring The Original Series to a conclusion.  With our final four episodes, we will have done that.  It's been an amazing five years creating this series, and we will miss making it.  But all good things...



Weren't you going to make 13 episodes? Did CBS make you stop?

CBS is not responsible for the decision to end the series. We are doing 11 episodes instead of 13 because another fan group took advantage of the good graces of the copyright holders forcing them to protect their property and the interests of their license holders. In deference and gratitude to CBS, we are wrapping up earlier than planned. We always have stood, and continue to stand, with CBS. 

Can we get DVDs/Blu-ray discs of the final episodes?

As we do not own STAR TREK, we cannot sell DVDs or Blu-ray discs. In the past, we've made a limited number of discs available as crowdfunding perks. However, since we are no longer crowdfunding, providing episodes to the public on DVD and/or Blu-ray discs is not currently feasible for us.

What will happen to the studio/sets? Will set visits/tours be available?

We don't have a definitive answer on this right now, but we're considering all our options.

Friday, February 24, 2017

News from STAR TREK CONTINUES



The announcement you've all been waiting for!

At the beginning of 2016, STAR TREK CONTINUES ran a successful fundraising campaign to produce the final episodes of our fan series. As promised, we've spent your hard-earned donations to our non-profit production company exactly as we said we would and have been working around-the-clock to finish our final four episodes as quickly as possible.

Episodes 9, 10, and 11 are still in post-production and will be released throughout the year as they are completed. Episode 8 -- "Still Treads the Shadow" -- guest-stars Rekha Sharma ("Battlestar Galactica") and will premiere at Fan Expo Dallas on Saturday, April 1.

We have even more amazing guest stars in these last episodes, culminating in a thrilling series finale by acclaimed science fiction author Robert J. Sawyer.

We want to thank each of you for your patience while we've been busy, and also for your support and encouragement throughout our run. It is our sincere pleasure to be bringing a conclusion to our beloved original series of STAR TREK at long last.

Live Long and Prosper.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Our Love Letter to STAR TREK



In a matter of hours, thousands of STAR TREK fans will converge on Las Vegas for the 50th Anniversary convention.  Our favorite show premiered on NBC on a Thursday night in 1966, and September 8th will again fall on a Thursday in this anniversary year.  If you’re coming to the Las Vegas event, please do say hello if you see our cast members like Chris Doohan, Kipleigh Brown, Michael Forest, Michele Specht, and me.  Several of our dedicated crew people will be coming to Vegas, too – including talented makeup artists Lisa Hansell and Tim Vittetoe, who will be demonstrating alien prosthetic makeup application and answering audience questions at the Roddenberry Interactive Stage on Friday afternoon at the Rio.

Fans have been celebrating this anniversary year with special events and conventions, new merchandise to enjoy, a new movie, and with a healthy dose of reflection about what STAR TREK means in their lives.

We’ve been very humbled by the amazing reaction to Episode Six, “Come Not Between the Dragons.”  The amazing talent of Gigi Edgley really brought a powerful touch to this episode, and it was wonderful to have a native Australian aboard the Enterprise.  I hope all of you enjoyed Episode Six, and we’ve got some insight into that beautiful story in this issue.

At STAR TREK CONTINUES, we are excited about the premiere of our seventh episode – “Embracing the Winds” – that will have a convention screening on Friday, September 2 at the Salt Lake City Comic Con.  A day later, our new episode screens at Toronto’s Fan Expo.  It’s our personal tribute to a half-century of STAR TREK.

I want to assuage any concerns that our fans may have about the current climate. We fully intend that the kind donations from our supporters will be used for the exact purpose for which they were donated. 

STAR TREK CONTINUES is the only official 501(c)3 non-profit Trek fan production company out there dedicated solely to TREK.  We are awaiting further clarification, but I am optimistic about completing our planned series and I would like to ask all of our fans to remain optimistic with us.  We have a plan to bring STAR TREK CONTINUES to a close with an outstanding final episode arc.

We are working at warp speed to complete STAR TREK CONTINUES.  Below is a photo of the bottom of the last page of the script for the final episode in our series.

We have been humbled and honored beyond words by the kindness, enthusiasm and support of our series, and we will continue to demonstrate the integrity and quality that have defined STAR TREK CONTINUES from the beginning.

STAR TREK CONTINUES is our love letter to the series, a true effort of joy that we do just because we love the vision of Gene Roddenberry and the world he and others created.


-- Vic Mignogna

A Story That Needed to be Told

By day, he’s a character sculptor and designer.  Born in the Midwest, but interested in robots, molding, casting, and camera work, Greg Dykstra’s busy creative background seems like the perfect environment to formulate a story for STAR TREK CONTINUES.

Early in his career, Dykstra worked in a photo lab and made Super 8 films.  But it was the lure of the film industry that brought him from rural Indiana to California.

This Dykstra is not related to John Dykstra, who did special effects work on STAR WARS and STAR TREK:  The Motion Picture.  But Greg Dykstra admits that it didn’t hurt to have a famous name in the small circle of Hollywood. 

“’Oh, he’s the Dykstra who isn’t John’ is what I heard,” said Greg, whose own work can be seen in “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids,” “Ghostbusters II,” and “Nightmare before Christmas,” and more recently in a host of animated films including  Brave,” “Up,” and “Finding Nemo.”

Greg and his wife Cherri became fans of STAR TREK CONTINUES and he contacted Vic Mignogna to express their love for the show. A meeting with Mignogna led to a discussion about the stories that propelled the original series, and the sorts of stories that were needed for future STC episodes.

“One of the biggest challenges we have as a production is developing good stories – not just scripts that include all of the gadgetry and villains of STAR TREK.  We really want our episodes to have a message and to have something that you remember.  We want stories that make you think.  Greg proposed an idea, and I asked him to develop a treatment,” Mignogna explained.

“This story comes out of things in my personal experience.  My grandfather was like the father figure in this episode.  I witnessed, firsthand, the effect that this had on our family.  One of the things I looked at was how a lot of abusers feel like there’s a better person inside that they wish they were.  But they are controlled by a monster, a paranoia.  They think that everyone is trying to undermine them.  It plays out as fear, and anger that is released blindly.  Some people overcome it.  Some people grow up in an abusive household – and some become abusers themselves,” Dykstra said. 

“My grandfather has been dead for some time, but I know that my grandmother had been through a lot.  I was talking to her once, and she gave me a lot of detail.  I was interviewing her for a genealogy project.  So I know all this stuff had gone on, and she revealed the details.  It was just horrifying.  But I still loved him.  And that’s often the case with children who go through this.  I did have a very hard time forgiving him.

“And that was the idea that I wanted to start talking about in this episode.  I wanted to explore the reason that these people love -- the reason that a child loves a father and the reason a wife loves a husband (even as an abuser.)  And abusers may not know how much they children or loved ones care about them.
 
“Certainly, this is a heavy subject and giving it classic STAR TREK action adventure element help a lot.  You have a monster that comes in and turns out to be a child.  His dad is a monster in space,” Dykstra said.

Before writing Episode Six, Dykstra helped behind the scenes on a previous episode. 


“STC is such a family kind of operation.  We eat lunch together, and we go out to dinner at night.  We don’t disperse like a lot of productions do.  We can’t make a profit, and nobody is here for the money."