The Holy Core - A Star Trek Fan Film
A thoughtful and exciting adventure, featuring all original characters and set in "The Next Generation" era of the Star Trek universe.
The Holy Core
We're hoping to raise £8,700 (approx $12K USD) so that we can bring this film to life! We have written a powerful story that we think will be exciting as well as thought provoking to watch. We are very grateful to everyone who helped us crowdfund our first Star Trek film, and now we really want to deliver The Holy Core too, so that all the fans who want one more, high quality TNG style adventure can get exactly that!
The Holy Core:
- Original characters
- Thoughtful and exciting story
- Real actors
- Real sets
- High production values
- Thirty minute duration
- The Next Generation era
We have made many shorts in the past, most notable of which is our first Star Trek project, Chance Encounter. As both film makers and Star Trek fans, we have a proven track record of producing films on time and on budget, and we are very capable of making this thirty minute, TNG era film to a high standard.
But to do so of course requires money, hence the Kickstarter!
Our Nebula class starship, the U.S.S. Vigilance is in orbit of Vita II, the home world of the Vitans. This humanoid species has finally reached a fragile peace, having emerged from several centuries of religious war. Our Starfleet crew are here to lend vital assistance with a groundbreaking new scientific procedure to cleanse their atmosphere of harmful pollutants - a consequence of their prolonged war.
All is not necessarily as it seems however, and soon our crew are flung into an adventure that sees them tackling difficult topics of faith, science, sacrifice and destiny itself.
As we know, making a high quality film requires a fair amount of money, so we will outline key areas that our funds will be apportioned to below.
Fortunately we already have available to us some of the basic lighting, audio and grip equipment we'll need to make this film. However, we do anticipate a likelihood that some additional lights, C-stands etc may need to be either hired or purchased in order to make our shoot days work.
We feel that in 2018 we need to shoot this film in 4K if it is to meet the expectations for quality that we and many in our audience expect. Whilst at this stage our intention is to deliver The Holy Core in standard HD, the higher quality image acquisition will still afford a huge visual benefit to the film, as well as giving us much greater flexibility in post production for both visual effects and shot re-sizing. As such, one of our costs will be the hire of a good quality 4K camera and related lenses and accessories for each day of shooting.
This is a Star Trek film set in the 24th Century - contemporary street clothes won't do. This means everyone in our cast will need a costume. We're not going to go mad and spend £800 per costume for 100% screen accurate fabrics and tailoring of the Starfleet uniforms. At the same time however, we will not be content with ill-fitting Chinese bootleg Star Trek costumes with printed-on comm badges either. We also need to design and produce three to four alien costumes, one for each of our Vitan characters (we will re-use costumes across our actors whenever we can to save money)
We have a wonderful story that focuses on characters and their conversations, and to best serve these scenes we need to stage them on suitable sets. As such, our script has been tailored with practical realities in mind so we have kept the number of sets needed to a minimum, without diminishing the story we wish to tell. They are:
A lot of our story takes place aboard the Vigilance and in this location in particular. Drawing on captain Picards ready room for inspiration, our hope is that it will have a familiar feel to viewers, yet still have a unique look that better serves our construction budget and our story. For example, the addition of the large viewscreen in this room allows us to stage scenes here that would otherwise have had to take place in an observation lounge set.
Deflector Control Room
Whilst in an ideal world the scenes that take place on this set would probably occur in Main Engineering, we recognise that attempting to construct a set that ambitious would take more money from the budget than we feel we could justify. As such, we plan to build this simpler "engineering-type" space instead, re-working parts of the ready room and the partial corridor set (see below) and also making use of some existing consoles that we already have access to. This should help us to minimise unnecessary spending.
Whilst it is often considered a per-requisite to feature the bridge in a Star Trek production, we tell our story in such a way that doesn't overly focus on lots of "bridge type" activity. Much more of our film focuses on conversations and debates in the ready room and elsewhere than it does on ships operations on the bridge. We do however have a requirement to stage some moments here, and so we have developed a plan to show just enough of the Galaxy class style bridge that viewers get a sense of a larger space without us having to build any more than is needed to tell the story. We would build just a small section, and then "fill out" the edges of the frame with a CG set extension in wider shots.
Depending on the costs we encounter, we may also look to use a similar method to show the captains Command Chair on the bridge as well.
In a similar vain as above - we intend to construct a small section of corridor that only needs to be large enough to shoot our actors against (similar to how we staged the Chance Encounter Turbolift.) We can then subtly augment the background of wider shots with CG set extensions as needed.
Note that we will shoot on real sets, the computer generated elements will only be used in a limited fashion to augment the smaller sets in wider angles.
In general, we will re-use as many of our resources left over from Chance Encounter as we can to minimise undue expenditure.
In that spirit, we also have a fair amount of our story take place in a Type-15 Shuttlepod. Obviously we will be re-using the set built for Chance Encounter for this. However, after approximately 18 months in storage a fair bit of work will be needed to once again make this set "camera ready".
In addition, more action takes place in this set than before, so as well as restoring it, we also need to build an entire front end from scratch, as well as a floor section behind the seats that features a removable panel with some suitable electronic "guts" inside it.
In addition to the sets mentioned above, we also have a scene that takes place on the alien planet. Whilst at this stage we have not fully determined whether this will be shot at an actual out-door location or not, there is a possibility that we will need some further modest set pieces to make this work.
Film Cast and Crew
The logistics of making a film requires that money be spent to ensure everyone is where they need to be and at the right time. Without this basic people management, the whole process breaks down and the money spent elsewhere becomes wasted. Whether this means paying fuel costs, or travel fares for people, they are the dull but necessary expenses that need to be met in order to keep the film running smoothly. Along with the travel expenses, catering costs for food and drink, and general hospitality for the crew on long shoot days all add up.
We intend to build our sets in a modular fashion, then transport and assemble them to a suitable space as and when our shooting schedule requires. Doing so makes sense for various reasons, not least of which is that we don't have to pay for a warehouse or stage space around the clock just to have our sets standing there dormant for days or even weeks waiting for use. We will though of course, have to pay for the days that we do shoot on, as well as allow for days to assemble, rig and light ahead of those shoot days.
As discussed above, other costs may also include an exterior location for Vita II which meets all of our technical and logistical requirements for the planet scenes. Whilst we will always try to wrangle a good deal (free!) we have to consider the fact that we may need to pay for usage, clearance and owner permissions.
Another one that we can file under "dull but necessary". As well as our cast and crew, the equipment (both our own and especially the hired) needs to be covered for liability.
4K footage produces very large video files, all of which need to be stored on computer drives. These files are the very essence of the film and so they represent all of the money that has been spent. Because of this it is very important that they be fully backed up for redundancy as well. To work efficiently with the files in post production requires that the footage be stored on the faster (and more expensive) solid state drives. However, the backups can be stored on traditional and cheaper hard disk drives.
There are a myriad of other miscellaneous costs involved, too. Necessary items like cables and power supplies. Custom-made props that need to be created beyond the standard tricorders, phasers and comm badges. Rehearsal space for the actors, consumables such as batteries and gaffer tape, and a whole host of other little things that all start to add up. Lastly, Kickstarter takes a commission from the fundraising total, so we need to allow for that, too. Because of this deduction we won't actually receive the amount that we raise.
CBS Fan Film Guidelines
In the months since we made Chance Encounter, CBS (the owner of Star Trek) have released a set of production guidelines specifically relating to Star Trek fan films. We have studied these and are confident that we can produce The Holy Core to the high standard we and our backers expect whilst respecting the spirit of said guidelines. As such, we may release The Holy Core in two separate parts, but it will be completed and released as one project and one film. (Just think of it like a two part episode)
As filmmakers we know that all the elements that constitute a film are important - but perhaps the two most critical elements are the quality of the script, and the quality of the performances. Without those two solid foundations, the sets, props wardrobe etc are frankly, irrelevant. We have a solid story and great characters already written, and we will make sure we only cast actors who can deliver powerful performances that do our script justice. We hope our backers will take Chance Encounter as an example of the high level of acting we demand in our films. We will only cast great actors in The Holy Core. This means that in addition to covering travel and food expenses for the cast, nominal fees may be paid to them, too. As discussed above, people management and logistics are a key part of the film-making process. We feel that a nominal fee for the actors to hold shoot dates open in their diaries and to arrive on set prepared with lines memorised is a prudent use of the funds. Otherwise, if we get "bumped" for actual paying work elsewhere, we will have wasted money for that aborted shoot day on things such as camera hire and location costs. Whilst this is a slight deviation from the Fan Film Guidelines, as producers we are responsible for ensuring things run smoothly and no money gets wasted. We are confident that we are being consistent with the spirit of the guidelines, and will do our best to align with them in every other way. We trust our backers will agree with our position on this matter.
Both financial practicalities and the CBS guidelines put constraints on what we are able to offer our backers as rewards.
We very much feel that the best use of the money we raise is to put it directly into the film itself. It seems to us that if we were to purchase and then ship physical items to our backers, we would inevitably spend a fair amount of money just to fulfill those rewards. Furthermore, the CBS guidelines state that Blu-rays / DVDs cannot be offered as rewards, neither can props or merchandise related to our film. As we want to adhere to the guidelines as much as possible, we have chosen to respect them in this matter. We hope our backers understand our mindset, and agree that the best use of the money raised is to spend it on the film itself. This is reflected in the type of rewards we have made available.
Please note that the "Vice Admiral", "Admiral", "Douwd" and "Q" rewards state a delivery date of May 2018. This only refers to the "Access to a Private Youtube group for additional video updates (primarily during set builds and shoot days)" part of the reward.
If we are fortunate enough to exceed our funding target, we will pragmatically assess the best options on how to spend the additional funds.
However, the two likeliest areas will be:
- Scheduling additional shoot days
- Greater detail on the sets
The first point will simply allow us to produce better results by virtue of being able to work at a less frantic pace. We will have more time to block and light scenes, and will have opportunities to experiment on the set.
The second point simply means that our great sets will become even greater!
Our aim is to work on The Holy Core throughout 2018, with a planned release date of February / March 2019. It is possible we will complete the film sooner than that, however we pride ourselves on delivering on what we promise, and would rather give ourselves some breathing room by setting the date in February / March 2019 so that should unforeseen circumstances arise that delay production we can still deliver when stated.
We really want to deliver another great Star Trek film for everyone to enjoy, especially fans of The Next Generation, which we feel very strongly about representing accurately and truthfully in our film. We are also truly grateful to every single person who makes a pledge to help us make The Holy Core happen - we promise we won't let you down!
Gary O'Brien - Director
Since his early teens he has been making movies and skits guerilla style, exploiting the time and good nature of his family and friends. During this same period he has worked on feature films and TV shows, as well as a milieu of corporate events.
His roles have ranged from VFX technician on the Bond film "Die Another Day” and Oliver Stones' “Alexander”, to vision mixing and directing live music concerts, conferences and shows for large corporate clients.
In the Star Trek world, Gary has also been awarded the honorary position of Vice Admiral of Yorktown by Empire magazine editor James Dyer and the title of "The Ultimate Trekker" having won a competition to promote the home release of Star Trek Beyond. His original artwork also featured on the cover of 2016's official Star Trek: Ships of the Line Calendar.
Now, two of his life long passions - film making and Star Trek have finally joined forces!
Paul Laight - Writer
Paul is a committed writer and filmmaker. In 2002, he gained an MA in Feature Film Screenwriting from Royal Holloway College of London and since graduation has written several feature and short film scripts. In 2005, he formed Fix Films with Gary and has written and produced many shorts and promos to date.
He is a versatile and prolific writer with a very strong feel for structure, characterisation and dialogue. He favours thought-provoking and entertaining genre narratives with memorable characters, images and scenes. He also writes film and TV reviews on his blog.
- Our first Star Trek film: Chance Encounter
- Our website: startrekshortfilm.com
- Twitter: @StarTrekFilm
- Facebook: Pauls Facebook Page
- Other films, music and comedy we have produced: Fix Films
Risks and challenges
As with any creative project there are always challenges, especially if you're making a science-fiction film on a small budget. Our first commitment is to making a quality project which makes good use of the backers donations. So the general challenge then is to make a good film. Of course, other challenges include casting great actors, finding and securing locations, performing well on the shoot itself, producing visual effects and editing a project on a small budget.
However, as experienced filmmakers of some years, with plenty of contacts and short films behind us and numerous other promos completed, we are confident we can produce a really great thirty minute Star Trek film. We also hope that Chance Encounter will serve as further evidence to potential backers that we are capable and qualified to make The Holy Core a success.
We are passionate about this project, and are also massive Star Trek fans. Overall, perhaps our biggest challenge is marketing the finished product and getting it made to a high enough standard to achieve generous viewership on-line. We believe though that we have the expertise to achieve this and with Kickstarters help we will make a positive product that everyone can be proud of.
If you've read this far then we'd like to thank you for sticking with us! Even if you can't support us financially, please help us instead by spreading the link to this page far and wide during March 2018, so that we stand the best possible chance of delivering The Holy Core to all the fans who want one more adventure. Thank you!
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