Category Archives: Interviews

SF BALL 23 – Review, Gates McFadden, Patti Yasutake and Larry Nemecek Interviews

This year we were delighted to experience a bit more of what the SF Ball has to offer. Having previously only been able to attend for a day, new ticket options meant we were able to experience the much talked about Saturday night cabaret.

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It also allowed us to immerse ourselves in a different type of convention. We are admittedly more accustom to large scale events and some purely fan led events. We feel the SF Ball sits in it’s own special category. As the Borg would say “It is unique”. The organisers are clearly fans, of that, there is no doubt. But there is a professionalism and reputation (from both customers and the talent) which has made this event last for over two decades. There’s a passion for the event’s success, it’s value and for the charity it seeks to raise money for – The Teenage Cancer Trust.

Many have told us that it is the last ‘traditional fan led convention’. Where fans would take over a hotel for a weekend, play games, watch episodes and geek out together.

We got the vibe that this was more of a social experience (we LIKE this!). At large conventions our feet do not touch the ground, we run from stage to stage to photo ops to autograph queues then bar queues! And we love those style conventions, we see lots of guest stars in one place, we get to see them interact with each other etc (we LOVE this too!). But we also loved the chilled out nature of the SF Ball. It’s not manic, the Grand Harbour Hotel is a superb venue. And we totally abused the 25% discount at the bar (remarkably that included Champagne so we probably ruined that!)

The Ball

We set off Saturday afternoon to give ourselves plenty of time to get ready, chill out and get ready, plus celebrate Carole’s engagement and Sarah’s birthday before we went down. We live in the town next to Southampton, so not a long drive but it took us nearly two hours. An hour was spent in traffic within viewing sight of the hotel!

Our hotel room was spacious with a view of cruise ships. We’d 100% recommend staying here. But we always recommend staying in the event hotel for any convention…unless it’s particularly horrendous!

We head to the bar and catchup with friends. We love that where ever we go in the world we always see similar friendly faces.
The theme for the ball that evening was Game of Thrones. Only Carole has earned that geek card though. The room was dressed in a winter theme (winter is coming btw).

After a delicious three course meal, Chris Barrie (Rimmer, Red Dwarf + Mr Brittas, The Brittas Empire) takes the stage and delivers the cabaret, telling anecdotes from his time of Red Dwarf, The Brittas Empire and Spitting Image.

Then its party time! The dance floor comes out, the bubbles start flowing and we’re free to mingle with the guests. At the bar we had a lovely chat with Patti Yasutake who is honestly the sweetest person. We were kindly given the opportunity to interview Chris Barrie but we politely declined as we are only  Star Trek bloggers and didn’t want to waste his time even though we’d love to chat to him. But, the beauty of the Ball means even though there are fewer guest stars, you have the opportunity to have a more intimate experience with them. So we plucked up the courage and bought Chris a drink! He was a real gent and chatted away to us about his time on TV and everything else!

The rest of the night was purely geek heaven. Chatting away with Larry Nemecek and Andrew (one of the SF Ball Organisers) about everything Star Trek, including a thorough discussion on how Spot got from Data’s quarters to the Cargo bay in Generations. This opened up a minefield of other debatables such as where is Data’s quarters? Andrew thought they were in the drive section. But a tweet out gave the response they were on deck 2. But that’s right under the bridge!? There’s no windows so it’s got to be in the middle somewhere? Answers on a postcard to Utopia Planitia please.

We called it a night at silly o’clock in the morning which was silly as we wanted to be up for Larry’s talk at 10am. We made it….just!

Larry Nemecek

Larry gave an all encompassing look at the 50 year phenomenon that is Star Trek and spoke more in depth on the fan favourite subjects such as Fan Films (looking at you Axanar!) and Discovery. Larry is able to provide a unique insight to life behind the scenes on Star Trek. If you’re ever at a convention and he is a guest, be sure to say ‘hi’. He is super approachable, always has cool stuff to show you and even sell you. Larry is also married to Janet Nemecek who worked as a script coordinator on Voyager and First Contact. Janet often attends with Larry and is a joy to talk too. If you find getting to conventions difficult then you need to check out Portal 47, a monthly ‘mini con’ where you can hear all Larry’s stories, ask questions and talk to guest stars.

Straight after Larry’s talk we headed up to the posh suite on the top floor to interview him. Which was funny because we have had the privilege of spending lots of time Larry and we have never got round to doing a video interview. It was conducted at warp speed!

Gates McFadden and Patti Yasutake

The talk with Gates McFadden and Patti Yasutake was one we had been looking forward to and we weren’t disappointed. One thing we have always appreciated about Star Trek is how it portraits the ‘lower ranks’. Ok lets put the red shirts aside for this. In TNG we saw how much the senior crew respected those who served under them. From what we have observed this relationship seems to be mirrored between the actors and the crew. There’s a line in Time’s Arrow when Data tells Guinan that ‘served together on a starship”. The language indicates equality and respect for Guinans job and function on the Enterprise.

Nurse Ogawa was one of the first regulars we recall . Her developing relationship with Dr Crusher over the series allowed us a brief insight into the personal lives of the crew. It gave the Enterprise more depth and community. … Ok we were chuffed as Tribble to see them both together!

Whilst Gates and Patti took the time to answer many audience questions it also felt like we were able to enjoy the company of two friends catching up. They had a great report sharing anecdotes of their time on TNG. We even learned some new things!:

After the talk we were ushered into the posh suite again where we teamed up with our friend Jon from Visionary Trek to chat with Gates and Patti who were an absolute joy!

We owe a massive thanks to Andrew for holding the Camera this long!

We spent the rest of the event checking out the vendors, catching up and drinking the bar dry…of Diet Coke and Earl Grey Tea!

Overall a thoroughly enjoyable evening and day. Stay tuned to see our interview with the SF Ball Team for more insights into this fab event.

Highlights: Seeing Gates and Patti together and thanking them for being role models.

+ Seeing fans do extraordinary things to raise money for The Teenage Cancer Charity such as shaving their heads and Neil Carpenter who is committing to run 1701 miles this year! 

Ron Jones Interview – Star Trek The Ulimate Voyage

Ahead of Sunday’s trektastic concert at the Royal Albert Hall, we were kindly offered the opportunity to talk to Ron Jones who was the composer on Star Trek The Next Generation on seasons 1-4.

Ron will be appearing as a guest conductor at Star Trek The Ultimate Voyage on Sunday 1st November and we understand there are still some tickets left, but be quick!

TGs: You continued the theme of classical music scores in to TNG, do you know how that decision came about?

RJ: There was a lot of discussion between Gene Roddenberry and Bob Justman. Paramount and the executive side were worried as TNG was so different with a bald British captain, a Klingon on the bridge, a different cast. They were worried that the TOS fans would see this and be in shock. They told us liberally to use weed out the theme from Jerry Goldsmith and Alexander Courage’s themes from the movies.

As the show progressed, we got our legs in the the middle of the second second and defiantly by the third season. Then the music got its own thing.

TGs: So much like how TNG is believed to have come in to its own by season 2/3, you felt the music had also came into its own by then?

RJ: As characters, when they started, they didn’t really know each other then after a while, they would add a sense of humour, become much more relaxed and figure out what they were all about. The writers too had to figure out what the show was all about. It evolved weekly but it hit critical mass about that time.

TGs: How connected were you to the development of the show?

RJ: I can’t tell the story visually so I have tell the listener and inform them as to the emotional content. I would read the script and before I start writing a note I would ask, ‘what is the show about? What is this character about’. If that character was a melodic device, turn it into a musical thing or that feeling, what would it be? What would the feeling of the situation they are in be? So I do a lot of work, I become totally submerged into the emotional content and tried to decipher as much as I can of those emotional queues, those emotional keys. And so those ideas start to collide. If it starts of they’re in adventure mode, They can be in in a scene that is scientific and exciting and then all of a sudden something crazy happens and it all changes. So I have to bat that all out, which is my own personal way. A lot of composers sit down and look at the show and do the first thing that come to their mind and there’s not any thought about it. for me I do so much work, it’s like building a giant structure and so even now when I look back now I have a portfolio of notes where I wrote down all of the characters and I think when people that really listen to the scores they’ll hear that, they’ll hear that jerry goldsmith style, they’ll hear my style. Some of the composers were sensitive to that and other composers have that all unique approach to it and don’t go to all that trouble.

Continue reading Ron Jones Interview – Star Trek The Ulimate Voyage

Star Trek into Darkness UK IMAX Exclusive Preview

Warning: contains spoilers!

We have lived the Trekkie dream this morning by attending the Exclusive Footage Preview at the British Film Institutes IMAX in London kindly shown by Paramount Pictures. Shown before any of the many 9 minute previews scheduled around Britain along side the Hobbit.

Initial reaction: replicate us some new underwear please!


Check out our video for the scoop.

Warning: this video contains detailed information about the first 9 minutes of Star Trek into Darkness:

 

We noticed that a lot of the images from the trailer make more sense when watched in this short sequence such as the vulcano, the red planet and why the Enterprise is under water.
As well as being action packed it looks like it promises humour. There seemed to be more of a sense of family amongst the crew, the comraderie rise of working together for some time.

Cumberbatch’s character John Harrison is introduced at the beginning, it is unknown if he is a Starfleet officer at this point. We did ask him but understandably he couldn’t say.

London looks incredible in the mid 22nd century and sat here in central London typing this in the 21st century, we can’t get there soon enough.

We were blown out of our cinema seats like a redshirt when JJ Abrams appeared on screen. He couldn’t make it as he was working on finishing the other 1 hour 55 minutes but sent Brian Burk the producer of Star Trek into Darkness. He was able to answer some questions about filming (so many questions from the audience about the use of IMAX!). Simon Pegg appeared on screen and gave some cracking Star Wars jokes!

Then Benedict Cumberbatch and Alice Eve appeared! Carole nearly stage rushed Benedict! We asked them first hand to confirm their identities and they are indeed Carol Marcus and John Harrison.

Highlight: Spock gives us a familiar nostalgic quote

Weird bit: Fear we will see Trekkie wearing Starfleet issue wetsuits at conventions from now on.

Waiting five months for the rest is going to torture but us fans are used to waiting. Trust us, this’ll be worth it!

Interviews at Destination Star Trek London

We were very lucky to get to interview some of the guests before the official opening. The press pit was crazier than Klingon with Vulcan blood fever but we survived it!

William Shatner was delighted to be at a convention in London, he loves meeting up with his fellow Captains and is good friends with Patrick Stewart. We’d love to listen in on that dinner conversation.
Interviewing Mr Shatner was an incredible opportunity and thanks to media 10 for making this happen.

Continue reading Interviews at Destination Star Trek London

Kira Nana & Nery’s Visitor

Our final interview from TGSITG was with the lovely Nana Visitor. We were really looking forward to talking to her as Kira Nerys is one of the most developed and interesting female characters on the show. We were struck with how much passion Nana spoke about Kira. We could sense a real feeling of guardianship over her character.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re not sure if it’s just because we’re crazy fans but for a second it felt like we were with Kira, like she was peering out of Nana’s eyes. In fact, it was a bit like the DS9 episode Far Beyond The Stars when Benny starts shouting “It’s REEAAL, I created it and its REAL!”. Kira feels more real now and we find ourselves watching Kira with more appreciation for having spoke to Nana.
We wonder if being an actor is a bit like being a Trill host? You have all these previous symbionts (roles) and although those are part of your previous host’s life, they are still part of you and must influence you in someway.

We thank Nana for the opportunity, she is absolutely lovely, very gracious to the fans and a pleasure to talk to.

Jeri Ryan – Queen of our Collective!

We were incredibly privileged to speak to Jeri Ryan at The Greatest Show In the Galaxy. Even though she was very jet lagged, she remained as beautiful and witty as ever.

As this was Jeri’s first visit to the UK, she was in high demand – plus she is official nerd bait!

 

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Jeri and The Trekkie Girls
(Spot the Jem’Hadar in the background)

On both the Saturday and Sunday she had her own question and answer session that was packed out on both occasions. As we have mentioned before a lot questions were about her costume, her boobs and how her bathroom breaks resulted in a 20 minute production break. She did have some hot-of-the-press news for us though, that Body of Proof had been renewed so we get to see more of Kate Murphy (and her fabulous wardrobe!).
We had so many questions we would have liked to have asked her, about 7 of 9 and her time on Voyager but we managed to squeeze in a few including asking Jeri’s advice on how she survives Star Trek Conventions.

Jeri is going to be back in the UK for London Film and Comic Con on the 6th – 7th July and seeing her is a must for every Trekkie. What we loved about Jeri was how she loves science and geekyness. She even has her Borg Alcove in her games room! Thats why;
Jeri is the Queen of the Trekkie Girl Collective!

Chase Masterson and all her Jazz

 

As we mentioned in our previous reports and vBlogs, we had the honour and privilege of talking to some of the woman of Star Trek at last weekends The Longest Named Greatest Show In The Galaxy.

However we must confess to having a soft spot for Chase Masterson. We keep saying she was a complete sweetheart (because it’s true) and she is the ultimate Trekkie Girl.
We wanted to dedicate an entire post to Chase, not just because she took the time to talk to us but because she always take time to spend with all the fans. That sort of contact really makes fans feel valued. Plus she thought we were teenagers! (Our holiday to Ba’ku must have done us good!)

Continue reading Chase Masterson and all her Jazz

Starfleet Klingon Banquet + John Carrigan Interview

Teressa, Kehlan, Carole, Sam

As we have mentioned in our previous videos, we attended the 4.5th annual Starfleet/Klingon Banquet in Northampton.

This spectacular event was put on by the crew of Starbase 24 and a big thanks has to go to Kehlan for the amount of hard work she puts into these events. 
Since starting the banquets in 2005 over £8500 has been raised for Macmillan Cancer support….damn Trekkies are awesome!

The night was made even more special by two surprise marriage proposals and a few birthdays!

This was the first banquet to be held at the Northampton Park Inn, previous ones were held at the Milton Keynes Holiday Inn but we were very pleased with the new location. Although there was one horrifying moment when they said there was no Champagne in the whole hotel! But it got fixed!

We got to conduct an interview with John Carrigan who was the guest of honour. 
John plays Captain Kargh on the web series Star Trek New Voyages and became an actor after visiting Gene Roddenberry and the Star Trek set.
Honour is what Klingons ‘do it with’ – according to John’s T-Shirt btw.

So anyone who lives near our neck of the planet should pop by next October for bloodwine, Romulan Ale, tribble hunts and Jamaharon!

Get your Batleth out because here is our first interview!……