After Action Report (and some other stuff too)

This past weekend (I know, I’m a few days late here) was the commencement of filming for the STAR TREK: PHOENIX Pilot episode “Redivivus”. I have to say that it was GREAT. And I mean that in every sense of the word.

It was a MASSIVE shoot. We were in the ersatz-studio of Hangar 30 at Sand Point Magnuson Park in Seattle. I spent all day Friday setting up the enormous space with tables and chairs for breaks, makeup, hair, craft service, and green room space as well as tables and areas for the camera, props, our gaffer and his equipment, sound, the director’s monitor, etc. I also managed to gain a hairline fracture of my sternum in the process. Apparently the chair trolleys in that place are the YVH attack models. (if you get that reference, you’re a geek!)

I have to give immense credit to our crew for the eighteen hour day they pulled on Saturday in a giant old hangar with no heat in the 20-30 degreen (F) weather. Tamara Valjean, our intrepid Production Coordinator, had things under control beginning with crew call at 6:30 AM (really!). And our tireless AD, Gale Benning, who is thoughtful and thorough and creative and organized at the same time (I swear he’s got 2 hard drives running at once) kept things rolling no matter what. Leo Roberts, creator and Sr. Exec. Producer also served as director for the shoot and has found a real talent for it. Special thanks goes to Sunshine Whitton and Absolute Technology for all of the help and our ability to shoot on the AMAZING Red One camera.

It was a long day, beginning with interviews with Jim Dever of Evening Magazine which should air in the Seattle market some time in early March. Segments are often available for viewing via their website, so if you’re away from Seattle then you’ll have to settle for seeing us on your computer screen rather than on a big screen TV. Ben Andrews and I were featured in the segment along with Romulan Roy Stanton, and Brian Sipe of Gamut Studios who created the UNBELIEVABLE makeup effects. We couldn’t have aliens without him. Sr. Exec. Producer Leo Roberts and co-Exec. Producer Jön Johnson were also interviewed. The Evening Magazine crew were also provided with access to the set during shooting and footage from “Hollow” Starring Rodrigo DeMederios and three vignettes still in post. I can’t wait to see it when it airs.

The last shot of the last day of filming on a project is known as the “martini” shot. Well, on this project we have now a new tradition that the last shot of the first day of filming is the “cake” shot. I baked THIS CAKE

for the shoot and the cast and crew were more than willing to tear into it once we could get out of wardrobe.

Speaking of which: I have to give a shout out to Merrillee Schedin and Jon Schedin for their incredible and incredibly swift work on the uniform tunics. Bravo for makig us all look fabulous! Bravo also to Darren, Shynn, and co. for makeup and to Shannon for hair. I felt gorgeous. Everyone looked great.

Michelle McNamer did an amazing job at craft services and I hope that any film makers out there reading this who have a budget for such things consider contacting her to work on your set. She was awesome and no one of us went hungry or under-caffienated all day (18+ hours).

And to top it all off, we ended the day with a trailer shoot that will incorporate the entire principal cast and some material from the Pilot script. It was the first time that we have been together as a full cast, in uniform and in character, since we saw the script. We had a blast! It was cold and damp and we didn’t even care we were having so much fun. We even had a surprise attack by the evil bag-head-eans who were out to wreak havoc and get revenge on our Captain for having defeated them as a mere child. We will be doing more and more character work in the next few weeks and I look foward to it immensely.

This is a marvelous group of actors and an exceptional crew. Even the three young ladies who came to play random deck 39-ers (if you got that reference you are a geek AGAIN) were wonderful and we are pleased to welcome them into our world. You will be seeing Lt.s Ayiln and DeSoto and Ensign Kelly in the Pilot as well as in future episodes.

Tonight we have a production meeting where I get to demo some amazing software written by my very own husband (Windows 7 beta is awesome) and discuss what comes next. I can’t wait!!

Another Year… REALLY?

So remember when I used to blog regularly and then it was November and then it was the snowpocalypse and then it was Christmas and now it’s bloody January?!?!?!

The short version of what I hav been up to:
There is a post-NaNo group here in Seattle which I am trying very hard to find time to attend. There are some wonderful writers here and I can’t wait to show them all the TROPHY that NaNo HQ sent me in honor of our #1 fundraising (we wwew #1 in word count, too).

My mom came fo a visit and we had a BALL. It was nice to hang out with mom for a while and she bought me my Christmas present while she was here: A brand new SOFA! I love my living room now and will be having a party any minute to celebrate my lovely new furniture.

My friends Iuli and Mihai have a daughter. WOW.

STAR TREK: PHOENIX shoots beginning January 24th and we are still waiting to figure out where. Nothing like waiting ’til the last minute- although it’s not US who are the hold up. There is a lot of red tape in using someone else’s studio space and we’re waiting on our deal to come through or not. More on that as the story develops. The whole cast will be together this weekend to read the final shooting script and I can’t wait to see my fellow cast members all together again.

I auditioned last week for a new musical based on the story “Catch Me If You Can” which is being written by the folks behind “Hairspray”. The music is a lot of fun and I hope to get that job- but the casting is out of New York, so I’m not holding my breath.

My friend Maurica is coming to town with < a href="http://disney.go.com/theatre/thelionking/#/tour/">The Lion King very soon and I am SO excited to get to see her.

And if you think I am behind on blogging: I still have CHRISTMAS/ HANUKKAH presents which I rescued from under the tree so the kitties can’t mess with them but have yet to be mailed. So if you’re my best friends in FL, or a member of my family, and you’re wondering if I forgot you at Christmas: I didn’t. Really there was no parcel service due to the TWO FEET of snow we had and I have now, of course, fallen behind on getting chores done. Did I mention that the dryer was broken for more than a week? Yeah. Lots to get caught up on 🙂

And that’s pretty much it. Not so interesting, but things are getting rolling again- apparently there’s a little bit of an entertainment industry lull in December. Peace on Earth and good will to all y’all.

Best Week Ever

This past week was quite possibly the best ever- I’d have blogged more but I was too busy enjoying it. The week started out like any other, really. Monday was just a monday. But then there was Tuesday.

Tuesday was election day. I’m not sure that I voted for any candidate who won or any ballot measure that passed. BUT that doesn’t make the voting and the volunteering any less wonderful. It’s about the process; America gets to save itself or damn itself every November and I, personally, love that about my country. I went and voted in the morning, volunteered in a GOTV phone bank in the afternoon, got my free Starbuck’s and free Ben & Jerry’s (Cherry Garcia in a sugar cone) that evening and then went to an election night party at my friends’ beautiful new house (Thanks Chris and Sora for having us all over!).

Wednesday was just another Wednesday save for the fact that the whole city seemed to be in a better mood thanks to the liberal leanings up here and the election results. I got some house work done and generally had a nice day. Wednesday I also bought THIS DRESS to wear to Abigail’s bachelorette party.

Thursday I got to go and see the premiere of Poppies at the gorgeous Historic Lincoln Theatre in Mount Vernon and enjoyed it immensely. Thursday was also my first chance to see the rough cut of “Third Degree”, and I can’t wait for everyone else to get to see it. Danara is one heck of a character and I hope that everyone else will love her the way I do. Thursday I also got a casting notice for an upcoming Ron White comedy special.

I got the job.

Best. Job. Ever.

That was my Friday morning: some very nice people paid me to hang out with Ron White and his buddy Alex for a few hours and laugh my proverbial butt off. Oh, and they fed me wine. And Ron jacked a sip of it from me. He was SO friendly and fun to work with, and he gave me a silly nickname which I will not repeat, but which was overheard by the VFX supervisor of STAR TREK: PHOENIX and therefore repeated on the set on Saturday.

Which leads me to Saturday. We shot the third vignette in the prequel series: “Holo-Victory” starring Ben Andrews as Captain Bryce Avari. I won’t spoil the plot of it, but suffice to say it was intense. We shot the vignette in the “play barn” at Gas Works Park and the shoot, although frought with the usual perils of location shooting (rain, the public, etc.) was great and I cannot wait to see the finished product.

Friday night, thanks to Ron and Alex, I got to go and watch the taping of the upcoming Ron White DVD (the one I had done the opening and closing scenes for the previous day). I took Leo Roberts with me, the Senior Executive Producer of STAR TREK: PHOENIX and a huge Ron White fan. Alex had told me that he wasn’t sure where our tickets would be, because they don’t save the front rows for house comps when they’re shooting for TV (makes sense). Well, we wound up in row 3 and had a great time. Everyone will want to watch this DVD when it comes out; it’s hilarious- AND I am the girl with Ron in the closing sequence so you will definitely be able to see me.

Sunday I was glad to be able to prepare my house for my upcoming house guests. We went to a nearby Linens-n-Things and got great new sheets and towels and blankets for the girls who will be staying with us… Janet and Rachel, if you’re reading this, you will be very comfy when you get here :). Then we made a pilgrimage to the Nordstrom Half Yearly Sale to serch for shoes for the wedding and Bachelorette party. I found THESE in black and they will be perfect for both. We then came home and washed the foster cats and their things so that we could let them come upstairs and join the houehold (although still in a crate most of the time); so now we had 2 new kitties (mom and baby) added to our sitting room. And as though that was not enough for one week:

Last night I was watching an MSNBC documentary and trying to catch up on my NaNoWriMo word count when I heard the oddest sound: a really loud squeaking noise that I could not identify. I looked over at Bristol (foster mama cat) and thought maybe she had hurt herself and the noise had come from her. Not so. Turns out she was pregnant and we didn’t know it.

Before bed last night the number of kitties in our house doubled. We went from 4 of our own 1 foster mama and 1 foster baby to our 4, the foster mama, the foster 8 week old baby and 6 foster newborns. Yep- SIX of them.

This week will see a VFX meeting, two house guests, a film industry gala (good luck Ben and Rodrigo!), a bachelorette extravaganza, a tea party, a wedding rehearsal complete with italian dinner, and a wedding. Oh, and a birthday of undisclosed number. And I still have a novel to write.

Principal Photography

And we’re off! This previous weekend we began principal photography on the first two of the three prequel vignettes leading up to the release of STAR TREK: PHOENIX. The first of the vignettes, “Hollow”, starring Rodrigo DeMederios is a dark and artsy (and I mean that in a good way) peek in to Federation Council member Tol Hadik’s inner turmoil.

And the second scene of the day, “Third Degree” stars yours truly. Here I am on the set getting ready to shoot.

The gentleman in the foreground is the gaffer and the instrument in his hand is the light meter; he is checking the level of light at the focal point of the camera (i.e. ME) to make sure that it’s ideal for shooting.

And OH THE CAMERA!!! We had the amazing good fortune to be able to shoot these scenes on a RED ONE Camera. I had never heard of this thing before our production team began salivating over the prospect of having one. Apparently it is the absolute best thing in digital cameras ever. The resolution is something like twice what can be displayed by current HDTV technology. WOW. And our professional crew made the most of it. New ST: PHOENIX producer and filmmaker Lucien Flynn did an amazing job this weekend in coordinating all of the equipment and the technical aspects of the production.

The vignettes are being dealt with now by our crack editing staff before going to the VFX studio for Zach to work his magic. The scenes should be ready for a special preview at the ST PHOENIX exhibit at OryCon 30 November 21-23 in Portland. For those who can’t make it to Portland for the Con, the videos should be in final form and available online in early December.

The third mini-sode “holo-victory” starring Ben Andrews as Captain Bryce Avari will be shot this coming weekend on location and should also be ready for primetime by December.

And Nothing But The Truth

Yesterady I had the honor of spending a second day on director Colleen Patrick’s The Whole Truth. It was my last day playing ace reporter Cherly Olsen, and the props department was kind enough to let me bring my press badge home. I guess they’re not going to need it.

I have loved working on this movie. The sense of humor on this set was absolutely wonderful. Elisabeth Röhm was great to work with, and looks even more gorgeous in person than she does on TV. And I have to mention that Colleen Patrick’s comedic sense is really something to experience. Things that I would never have thought of: from where to seat the leading actress to just when the lawyer won’t look at his client, are HILARIOUS!

I have loved working on this film and the chance it gave me to meet cool people and to laugh with A-list actors. I will be laughing even harder, I’m sure, when I see this bit of hilarity on the big screen next year. I haven’t worked on a comedy this funny, stage or screen, in a long time. Sad it’s over, but gald to have been part of it.

And in STAR TREK news: we’re throwing a party!! Well, that is: I’m throwing a party and the rest of the cast is coming. We’ll be at the BalMar located at 5449 Ballard Ave (at the intersection of Ballard and Market streets) on November 1st from 4:00 PM until they kick us out. We’ll have prize drawings, TREK-themed drinks and general fun. The BalMar has also been chosen to be the first location to play SAL 14, the lounge aboard the USS PHOENIX, so anyone who comes to the party will have the chance to hang out on what will be a set come January.

The party is open to the pubilc and we’d love to see you there!

News for October

First announcement: The October Podcast for STAR TREK PHOENIX is available for download. We had a blast recording this edition and were thrilled to bring Ben Johnson aka Cmdr. Talis Jaryn to the podcast staff as the new host. I had the chance to interview Ben in this month’s edition and I can say that he’s a real joy. Remember, if there’s anything anyone would like to know, or to see included in the podcast you can email it to the producers at [email protected] or visit the Podcast Questions thread on our forum.

We’re working on a party for PHOENIX fans and geeks of all varieties to have a chance to mingle with our cast and crew. The date is tentatively set for November 1 and the location is TBA, but the place we’re looking at is HOT.

Also, I am thrilled to announce that tomorrow is my first day shooting on The Whole Truth I will be a courtroom observer and I look forward to working again with Denise Gibbs who I met and befriended on the set of Dear Lemon Lima as well as the super talented cast that has assembled for this picture.

Stories and maybe photos soon!

Coming Attractions

Hey all,
Two pieces of news. First, for the short term: I will be performing on October 16th at the Alibi Room in Pike Place at 8:00 PM in the first ever Seattle Cold Readers Showcase. It’s a really cool event in which local writers bring their scripts and local actors read them. It sounds simple, but I can’t think of a better tool for a writer than to hear their doalog out loud nor a better tool for an actor than to be given cold copy and an audience and be expected to put forth a character. Great idea! The writers will be there for us to talk to, so that will be an additional bonus for our performances. Also, fellow PHOENIX cast members William Michael Paul and Stephanie Hilbert are also part of the evening. If you’re in the Seattle area and over 21, it’s definitely worth checking out.

And in the longer term: I am going to my VERY FIRST sci-fi convention! OryCOn 30 is a science fiction and fantasy convention hosted by Oregon Science Fiction Conventions Inc. and being held at the Portland Marriott Downtown Waterfront the weekend of November 21-23. STAR TREK: PHOENIX will be on Lower Level 2 adjacent to the entrance to the exhibition hall. If you’re going to OryCon, or thinking of being in Portland that weekend, you should come by and check us out!

And in other news, I know folks are reading my blog because suddenly I’m getting spam in my comments 🙂

Awesome Photos and Lots of Forums

Amazing news from the PHOENIX. Our photos are in! You can see all of our beautiful, shining faces HERE. Aren’t we cute! Most of you know how rotten I think most photos of me are. Turns out all I need is an amazing photgrapher, very particular lighting, and little airbrushing and I look good. Who knew?

And in other news, the ST: PHOENIX forums are searching for moderators. So if you’re a computer-type and you’ve got the kind of internet access that would let you become the cyber-police for the Federation, give us a shout out at [email protected] and let the webmaster know that you’re interested. That includes you Mom and Suzy; I would love to have my mother and/or stepmother be the ones telling folks to mind their cyber-manners. You too, Tara- you could go all librarian on them. 🙂

And in other forum news: the NaNoWriMo forums are up and running early this year. Happy 10th anniversary NaNoWriMo! Get to your regional forums and check out the work that the tireless staff at NaNo HQ has already done to re-launch the site. ML’s are all scrambly trying to be ready a week early, but we’re #1 here and we were all on top of it.

All for now. The Universe is all askew at the moment, as I have the flu. Back to my bottle of NyQuil….

Starship Woes and Writing Parties

Hey there! It’s been a while and I bet that there are several of you out there thinking that I’m slacking again. Truth is I’m just busy.

Being a producer on STAR TREK: PHOENIX has been a ride already, but I’m loving that I have a say in the creative direction of the show. Wednesday night we sat up until late (in a coffee shop- THANK YOU SEATTLE) and hammered out some final design decisions as well as some detail in the overall story arc that has us planned through the end of season 2 and yet still open to a few individual episode submissions from our writing staff and the world at large. I’m thrilled to announce that one episode in season 1 and 2 in season 2 are to be penned by yours truly. As a person who wrote their first book at age 6 I must admit that I am more than a little thrilled at the prospect of writing a teleplay that is going to get shot. WOW.

I should mention, since I failed to, that the September Podcast is now online and available for your listening entertainment. And believe me, it is entertaining. The four of us producer-types met along with our volunteer coordinator, and had a few adult beverages before recording. Ben’s answers to the prepared questions were great, but then he was all miffed at mine, because they were very polished. What can I say? I was raised by an attorney and great orator, came up through Junior Miss and Miss America, and majored in Public Relations. Of course I sound like a politician.

The “woes” I speak of in the title refer to some growing pains that the series is undergiong. If any of you reading this in California or Florida are great 3D modelers and would like to contribute, we could probably use your help. Needing some new VFX people isn’t such a huge hurdle, it just makes us nervous.

Our first day of shooting will be on October 25th and it will be for two prequel mini-sodes that should be available mid-November for download online. One of them is the reveal of the moment my character finds out she’s being sent to the Phoenix. Should be a day of great fun. Speaking of great fun, there’s a cast and crew social tomorrow night- so I’ll have some pics of us in our civvies to post next week. And the October podcast is recording on the 10th, so that should be available by mid-month. We’re hoping to feature our staff photographer as well as our wacky group of producers.

Photos of the cast are being finalized as we speak (just saw a preview of two- and WOW) so there should be links up any day.

Keep eyes tuned to ST PHOENIX online to watch the updates appear.

Photo Opportunity

Today we shot the first set of cast photos for PHOENIX, and all I have to say is that the day was amazing! I will post a link to the pictures as soon as any of them are finished and made public, and I’m sure it will be worth the wait.

Our Captain, Ben A, has the old-school Captain Kirk-ish command presence and sex appeal that will make every STAR TREK fan to find this series nostalgic for the old days. Ben J, our first officer, has the charm and the presence to balance the Captain’s occasional necessary stern-ness. Nicole, Lt Vu’Shan the Science Oficer, is the perfect blend of shyness and expertise on screen. Our CMO, played so flawlessly by James Alden is haughty and snobbish and an absolute hoot to watch. Pretty boy Austin Hunt and uber-pilot Celes are played by Aaron and Jön in such harmony that it was hard to believe it was their first day working together. Roy, our resident Romulan, might as well be a clone of Nimoy and is almost scary good.

And as for me: I’m the rock star (more in the rebel sense than the celebrity sense) redhead in Engineering with just enough attitude that you can see it in the photos.

Pictures to come!