Anyway, the final episode of STARSHIP TRISTAN 36 Hours is a fan film made by the excellent folks at POTEMKIN PICTURES (you can check out all their releases on their website). Their very first fan series, PROJECT: Potemkin, aired in 36 episodes from late 2010 to six years later.
Tristan was his second fan series (now called Creative Group), which began in late 2015 and continues to this day. Of the eight remaining bands, Tristan has the most releases with 36 hours – 21st on YouTube.
But the 36 hours almost didn’t last!
I mean, it was filmed, but it was almost never finished, and it may have had to be scrapped….. and that would have been a real shame, since some of the show’s actors can no longer be a part of it after the series’ creator, RANDY LANDERS, moved all the sets 6 hours north of the former location near Birmingham, Alabama to Lexington, KY.
This blog is about how this fan film was saved from digital oblivion in post-production. Some fans know that these are the three phases in the development of a film project: Pre-production (the planning and preparation of everything), production (the actual shooting) and post-production (putting the pieces together and checking the look and sound). You might think that editing and post-production are simple and uncomplicated once you have all your shots. Well, it turns out that sometimes it’s much more complicated than that.
To tell this story, I have two guys who helped make 36 hours. Randy Landers was the director, executive producer and co-writer and RICK FOXX was the co-executive producer and co-writer. However, Randy and Rick shared not only the written credits, but also the editing rights, so you’ll only find Rick’s name as editor in the credits. Why is that? You should read the interview below.
But first, look at the 36 hours….
Well, let’s go talk to Randy and Rick…
Jonathan – When did the 36 hour recording take place?
Randy – Actually, this was the last film we shot before we closed Studio 3 in Birmingham, before we moved to Lexington and built Studio 4. My wife’s contract expired in March 2019. They gave her a great severance package and we had time for her to find a job in Birmingham that she liked. In April, we bought some Deimos products (one of our best, in fact). Then, in May, we planned this shoot for Tristan, but only half the cast was available. I started the shoot thinking it would be later in the summer.
Linda and I both thought that sooner or later she would find the right job. We were supposed to film Marie Curie in June, but none of the actors were available, so I cancelled. In July, Linda took a new job in Lexington, so I cancelled the scheduled Endeavour shoot and began dismantling the set. We moved to Lexington in August.
Jonathan – So you never finished filming all the actors that were needed for this episode?
Randy? – No, but I decided to try it anyway and cut it together. The beginning and end worked for me, and those scenes were left completely intact….. End of the 36 imposed hours in which the character ALEX WILLIAMS has nothing to do. We wanted to do something like a day in the life, so I cut it into a long montage of scenes with a countdown. But these stories just didn’t appeal to me as an editor (or as an end user). It wasn’t Alex. That’s what I understood. It wasn’t interesting enough to make it work for me. Imagine spending five minutes brushing your teeth, exercising, showering, reading, eating, studying, etc. …… Not such a good view. I spent months trying to edit it so that it would work in post-production, but I couldn’t do it.
Jonathan. – And what did you do?
Randy? – I gave the project to Rick, who has carte blanche to produce it. Rick rewrote the script and we recorded new sounds by Alex Williams (actually two recordings).
Randy Landers (left) and Rick Fox.
RICK – After cataloguing the images, I made a design based on the script. It was immediately clear that there was no coherent story, apart from the obligatory holiday. Knowing that this could be Tristan’s last story, I wanted to find a way to let the actors go. Writing at home seemed an appropriate place to develop the story.
The sets had already been divided and the new production was set in Lexington, but Randy was able to convince Alex to record the voice-over with DAVID CARROLL, who had the right recording equipment. I wrote the dialogue for the new letter at home, then collected newspaper clippings and montage clips. Alex did a good job of putting emotion into his writing style and it really sold the story.
Randy – So we lost the 36 hour countdown and a whole lot of life days. …. and added archival footage to show his friends aboard Tristan. It worked much better, and Rick literally saved the production. We then contacted composer Tony Lunn and asked him to do the soundtrack, had ROSS TROWBRIDGE do three VFX shots, put a nice ribbon on it and released the film almost two years after shooting.
We are very proud of the work of Alex, Kimberly White, Scarlett Huo, Austin Redmaybe, Charles Rogers and Cheryl Sahavin on this production. I am also very proud of the work of Ross and Tony, but especially of Rick Fox, who managed to save a product that was almost lost.
Jonathan – Speaking of lost productions, is this the swan song for this team? With the move to Kentucky, will the Starship Tristan creative team be able to continue their work, or will the noble ship go to the slumber dock for good?
No. Tristan will make between 6 and 1 movie a year. Kimberly White, Alex William and Christina Woods want to return. Others do not. We need to find a recording date that all three parties agree on, and then find a local crew to make it. It’s at least a 6 hour drive for each of them, so it won’t be easy.
Jonathan – Well, I’ll keep my fingers crossed. Tristan is currently the only fan production site with a Constellation class ship, like the American Picard ship.
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