Voyage Trekkers star in anti-smoking PSA spoofs

Standard

VT PSA Still 8 Take A StandVoyage Trekkers are going legit!  Over the past few months we’ve been working on a secret project with the ad agency RIESTER and STAND (Students Taking A New Direction), Arizona’s statewide anti-tobacco youth coalition, to produce a series of comedy spots starring the worst starship crew in the galaxy!

“Voyage Trekkers To The Rescue” is a satire of the old, stiff PSAs we all saw when we were kids. They’ll be fun, irreverent, and with the exact same style of humor you’d expect from the web series.

These commercials will feature the Voyage Trekkers crew who are on a mission to stop kids from smoking (possibly due to community service, it’s hinted) and educating people throughout the galaxy about it’s dangers. They’ll spoof all the tropes and situations of these PSAs, and the characters themselves being their normal ridiculous selves, but not at the expense of the message.

We’ve been working with some fantastic people at RIESTER and STAND, and the whole thing has been a heck of a lot of fun.  We can’t wait to show you these … and you shouldn’t have too wait long … expect them to hit the web early next year!

VT PSA Still 3 ParentalVT PSA Still 6 Lizard MenVT PSA Still 1 Focus Group

Voyage Trekkers – Season 2 Finale

Video

The Season 2 Finale is finally here! We really through the kitchen sink at this one, we wanted to make it as epic as possible. There’s literally four times more CGI ship effects in this single episode than in the entire season combined … we recorded the score with a live orchestra (the NAU Wind Symphony) … and we wanted to put the characters in a situation which they’ve never been in before, where they were genuinely in trouble with no way to escape (as they almost always do).

Voyage Trekkers Websitehttp://www.voyagetrekkers.com

Making Laser Swords At Dawn

Standard

– – – – – – –

From Voyage Trekkers Season 2 - Ep. 2: "Laser Swords At Dawn"

From Voyage Trekkers Season 2 – Ep. 2: “Laser Swords At Dawn”

Voyage Trekkers Season 2 – Episode 2: Laser Swords at Dawn” is here!  This was the very first episode of Season 2 we shot, back in January of 2012.  Now, obviously we were parodying the lightsabers from Star Wars, but we wanted to make something that was distinct and different looking for our show.

lightsabers

Star Wars concept art by Ralph Mcquarrie. Copyright Lucasfilm.

– – – – – – –

Ironically, the first  ideas came from original Star Wars concept art right above, where the sabers had less of a “pole” looking blade and actually had some sharpness to it at the end and some “energy bulge” (yes, I’m using quotations on that) to the base.

Voyage Trekkers concept art for the laser sword

Voyage Trekkers concept art for the laser sword.

– – – – – – –

We now had a direction to go with this little mock up I made above.  We meaning Robert Baum, the animator who would be creating the effect and then painstakingly rotoscoping the blades over our live action versions, and Visual Effects Supervisor David Stipes.

Other visual references included the way that the game Halo did transparent colored energy, less with swords but more with their shields, and the energy weapons that the Transformers used in the very first episode of the cartoon.  So we were moving kind of in the direction of the first Star Wars movie, where the swords were treated more like broadswords and less like katana.

Adam Rini holds the laser sword created by Todd Cook.

Adam Rini holds the laser sword created by Todd Cook.

– – – – – – –

On the shoot the actors held their laser sword handles with long orange poles in them so that Robert could see exactly where the blades where supposed to be and could animate the energy beams over them.  It actually took a while to find a distinct look for the laser swords.  Here are just a few examples in the video below (enlarge and watch on HD to really see the variations)

– – – – – – –

We  have some nifty behind the scenes videos below, the first being “Season 2 – Day 1”, which follows us on that first day of filming.  There’s no laser sword action, we wanted to keep that a bit of a surprise for the episode, but it’s still fun.  And second is a neat featurette on the making of some of the props by Todd Cook of Todd Cook Designs, including the laser swords.

– – – – – – –

Know Your Galactic Union Uniforms

Standard

Know your Galactic Union uniforms!

 

There’s method to our madness and here’s your official primer to the Galactic Union uniforms!

CAPTAIN:  Red, with a uniform designed to convey more heroic qualities of a leader.  With Star Trek everyone is more or less presented equally among officers, and I wanted to push that just a bit out of balance giving Suntrike (and consequently all Captains) a bit more of a hero feel.

SCIENCE & MEDICAL:  Light blue.

OFFICERS:  Purple.  The standard outfit for the Galactic Union.

ENGINEERING:  “Hazard” Orange.  Their outfit is also rougher and not as shiny because they’re always getting it dirty.  They also don’t have the arm stripes.

MARINES:  Green.  Like with the Navy, Space Marines are the fighting troops on board a Galactic Union space vessel.

ADMIRAL:  Similar to the Captain’s outfit, they’re a touch more regal and statesman, with gold and black being the main colors.

 

Admiral Grissom (James Hoenscheidt; right) has to put up with Sunstrike’s antics as an Officer (Brian Blackwell; left) takes notes.

 

And lastly, there’s also differences between the male and female versions of the uniforms.  When we (Costumer Designer Arlette Parra and I; her actually making them, me making little decisions that made her life an endless hastle) redesigned the outfits we started with Logan’s Blackwell Commander Powell uniform.

We liked the spacey reflective sheen of the colored taffeta mixed with the firmer, more uniform feel of the other fabric, but it didn’t look very flattering on the girls.

 

Gabby wearing the rejected outfit with the same fabric as Powell’s, which made her look like a medieval squire, while holding up her Season 1 outfit

 

So we made versions for both genders with the female one being a little more, ahem, complimentary to the female form.

 

Yes, there were more flattering pictures of Jenna available, but hey…

Voyage Trekkers Novella – Gambit of Chance

Standard

Voyage Trekkers – Gambit of Chance. Coming October 2012

We’re excited to finally announce that Craig Michael Curtis has secretly been crafting a Voyage Trekkers novella, entitled “Gambit of Chance”, due out this October as an e-book.  With this announcement I thought I’d answer some questions you may have about the book (and tease you a bit too).

How much will it cost?  Most likely the e-book will be “Pay what you like.”  Meaning that, yes, you can get the book for free.  And if you want to pay $5 or $10 that’s certainly fine as well.  All proceeds directly support the show.

– How long will it be?  We’re not 100% sure yet, but under 200 pages is probably where we’ll end up.

– What’s the story of “Gambit of Chance”?  The crew of the G.S.V. Remarkable are sent to a planet embroiled in political turmoil.  There, each hero will find their courage tested as they risk to restore the balance.  (but yes, hilarity ensues)

Who is Craig Michael Curtis?  He’s a novelist and a writer on Voyage Trekkers (he wrote the Voyage Trekkers Radio Play), but you may know him as General Kang from Episode 7 – “The Clutches of General Kang!”

Is this Craig Michael Curtis first novel?  But of course not!  He’s a published author that’s actually written four novels (or five???  errr, I’m a bad friend…).  You can check out his author blog and learn more about his other work right here:  http://craigmcurtis.blogspot.com/

Any hints or tidbits on what we might find in the book?  “Gambit of Chance” will be the first appearance of many new crew members created for Season 2 of the web series.  And because Craig is in the “inner circle” with the making of the show, he’s privy to a lot of details in the Voyage Trekkers universe that don’t always make the five minute episodes, but will help enrich the book.

Welcome to Season 2

Standard

We’re really excited to share this first look at Season 2 of Voyage Trekkers which is now in production!

This means I’m going nuts with my ever-exploding “to do” list, the art department is having a panic attack, the producers have no clue how we’ll pull this off, I’m weeks behind on my script pages and storyboards … but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

There’s going to be lots more stuff to share with you guys in the coming months as we shoot more episodes and make our way to the Phoenix Comicon next month where we’ll be out in force!

Credit to Jeff Herold for taking these great pictures.

Sunstrike punch-out

Action packed!

Director uses viewfinder

Now with more Director-ing!

Keith Coblentz operates steadi cam

Some brand new toys

DSLR 7D webseries

DP Colleen Marshall frames up the shot

Captain Sunstrike's noble battle style

Squishy Studios cast and crew

The Voyage Trekkers cast and crew -- Go Team Squishy!

Season Finale of Voyage Trekkers

Standard

The first season of Voyage Trekkers is now complete.  In a marathon of post-production, with over a 193 green screen composite shots, and four people working on effects alone (and let’s not leave out composer Michael Markowski), the season finale is finally out.

So I used the word “finally” …  I’m writing this just six hours after it’s delayed release.  At the moment it’s 7 am and most of you haven’t seen it yet.  I’m really hoping, for many of you, that it comes as a surprise treat that the “last episode” is effectively SEVEN episodes, being a ‘Choose your own path’ video adventure.  We wanted to end on a big note … I just didn’t grasp how big until we were in the final stretch.

It was supposed to come out on Monday (and it technically did if you live in Hawaii!), but wrangling the all the final details (from sound design to final effects) became a protracted ordeal.  I was aiming for a 10am release, but it turned into 1am the next day … and for pretty much for every moment of that (except for lunch), I was chained to the computer, running on an hour and a half of sleep, fueled by adrenaline and caffeine.  Not that “thrill seeker adrenaline”, it sounds weird when I describe it that way, but there is a force of energy that props you up when you’re working on a project like this.  It happens all the time when I direct.  You keep plugging away like a steam engine, but about a half hour after wrap is called it all nose dives off and your body suddenly remembers it’s mortality.

Special recognition goes to David Stipes as my partner in the sleepless race to the finish line.

What I really like about “Many Paths to Eden” is that is really lets the characters out of the box.  And the box is the short format that the previous episodes have had, and often with a controlling theme or style.  In this one, all the comedy comes out of the character’s personalities and the variations of their unique comedy.

It’s been an exhausting yet truly wonderful experience.  I can’t express how grateful I am for everyone, the actors and the crew, playing along with me and running around in space man outfits with our toy guns.  The fun has been infectious and I think everyone wants to do it again.  I know I sure do.
Here’s the part where I sum the entire season and the show and put some perspective on the journey … but instead I think I’m just going to take a nap.