Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Starship Exeter at ConQuest 25, Brisbane

As I mentioned previously, I'm just back from Queensland where I was asked to present the first Starship Exeter episode, "The Savage Empire", in which I have a cameo appearance, at the 25th annual science fiction media convention, ConQuest.

It played in three sections during intervals at the gala banquet, held on the Saturday evening, and I was asked to introduce the episode with a few anecdotes about the fan film's producers, how I came to be involved, and previous ConQuests I've attended.

A little daunting, since it has been several years since my last ConQuest, and I wasn't sure how my audience would react. I wasn't even sure how many people would be there, whether the celebrity guests would be in attendance, or whether most Queensland fans had already viewed the Johnsons' films via the Internet. Luckily, I can tell you that the reactions to "The Savage Empire" were extremely favourable. (Wait till they see the new episode!)

I'm used to seeing the footage on a tiny mpeg frame on my iMac's monitor screen, or sometimes via DVD on a television screen. At ConQuest, Sonja the media magician projected "The Savage Empire" onto a Very Large Wall! Scary!

The souvenir convention book said of my spot:

"Ian McLean came to Star Trek and science fiction media fandom by way of Filmation's animated Star Trek (coming soon to DVD!) and Star Trek: The Motion Picture. He spent over a decade as President of ASTREX, a Sydney-based fan club. A frequent visitor to ConQuest, Ian was often featured as a panelist or Master of Ceremonies. These days, Ian is a frequent poster on Psi Phi, TrekBBS and Blogspot ("Have Phaser, Will Travel").

"His Andorian persona, Captain Therin, has been similarly prominent over the years, appearing in fanzine fiction, at costume parades and gala film premieres, and hosting live convention gameshows. Sale of the 23rd Century and Perfect Botch won National Science Fiction Media Awards in the category of Best Australian Audio-Visual. Most recently, Therin had a park named after him in the Pocket novel, Andor: Paradigm by Heather Jarman (Worlds of DS9, Volume 1).

"Ian launched his exhaustive Rogues' Gallery of Andorians onto the Internet in 1997, with the aim of cataloguing every appearance of antennaed blue aliens in Star Trek - and was soon contacted by Jimm and Joshua Johnson of the USA, who were developing Starship Exeter, a Trek-inspired fan film. It sounded like a pipe dream, but Ian was invited to make a guest appearance, as Senator Therin of the Andorian Planetary Council, in their first episode, The Savage Empire. Therin's scene was shot in Sydney on video and mailed off to Texas where it was integrated into the main footage. The Savage Empire was released online in 2002 to great acclaim. It has inspired a wave of similar fan films, many with production qualities that seemingly surpass the 1960s source material and take the humble Star Trek fanzine to a new plane of existence.

"Starship Exeter: The Savage Empire will be screening during the Saturday night banquet."

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