A guest blog by Dave Bang & Dave Cline (sometimes known as Dim n Wit, the Fairy Brothers)
The folks at Axanar continue to impress me.
In early March my brother and I had the opportunity to make a trip out to Los Angeles. Before we left, I reached out to Alec Peters to see if we could come up to the visit the studio and take a look around. Alec was excited to have us visit, but was unfortunately going to be in Oregon that weekend. He was able to connect us to the wonderful and lovely Diana Kingsbury.
Diana graciously agreed to meet us and show us around. We arranged a time to meet and Diana gave us the address, so Friday March 4, we headed up to Valencia not quite knowing what to expect.
We arrived to find a very non-descript building and we weren’t sure we had the right place until we peeked into the lobby. I was immediately in geek heaven with the huge amount of Sci Fi props and memorabilia that was displayed. Everything from Stargate to, of course, Star Trek.
Diana scooped us up before we could drool too much and took us onto the studio floor. I was immediately struck with how large the space is. It was like walking into the Tardis, it was much bigger than it looked from the outside. With the exception of the Bridge, most of the set had been struck and moved to the side so that a gigantic lighting grid could be installed in the ceiling that covered the entire space. Off in one corner is the 22’ curving green screen. It is much larger than any other green screen I had seen. We later learned that the additional height allows for much lower angles to be shot without losing the green background.
As we wandered around, we discovered that the Bridge set, still in place from the Al Jazeera America interview, is actually made up of individual pie shaped wedges that can be locked in place or unlocked and wheeled around as needed for shooting. Very cool design, and extremely well-constructed. As we climbed around the other set pieces that were jumbled together on the sides, I was struck with the level of detail and quality of the construction work. Dominic showed us the amazing Klingon War Table and the curved exterior windows of Garth’s quarters. It is obvious that no shortcuts were taken. I dabble in woodworking myself, but these guys blow me away. Even the transporter pads are thick acrylic plates that have been CNC routed to match the Fresnel Lenses used in the Original Series. These guys do and amazing job and don’t get enough credit.
Next we were shown the prop and costume areas where racks of costumes from all genres wait to be remade into Star Trek uniforms and costumes. It is really amazing to see how costume from a production of Hamlet can be turned into and alien ambassador’s outfit. I really loved the racks of Klingon belt buckles and Mevak daggers. I was very sad to get back to my hotel and find out that none had fallen into my pockets.
Next Diana took us upstairs into the new offices, still without doors. LOL It is apparently that some people have spent more time decorating their offices than others. Alec has taken the opportunity to display some of his impressive collection of memorabilia as well as date himself from some of the fandoms he has collected from. Once we were done poking our nose into everyone’s business upstairs. Diana told us that she had one more special place to show us before we left. As we headed downstairs again, as we were crossing the lobby, in walks Axanar director Rob Burnett. After introductions are made, Diana tell Rob that she was just taking us to see his office. His eyes light up and he asks if we are interested in seeing some really cool stuff.
Up to this point I just thought I had seen an impressive collection of stuff, but Rob’s office is a geeky wonderland of robots, spaceships, action figure, props, statues, and every kind of geek collectible known and unknown. As it turned out, this was not even the “cool stuff” he had been referring to. As we take seats in his appropriately kooky and futuristic chairs, Rob proceeded to give us a behind the scenes walk through of the visual special effects scenes that had already been created, but could not be shared with anyone because of the lawsuit. As he explains each scene he is about to show us, I’ve got goosebumps on my goosebumps just from the descriptions. I can’t give any details because of the lawsuit, but I can tell you that the battle scenes, special effects shots, and even the music that has been written for Axanar is beyond amazing. So much has already been done and so much work and love and creativity has been put into this project, it will truly be a shame if none of it ever sees the light of day.
Rob sat with us for almost two hours showing us snippets and talking with us about our mutual love for Star Trek and all science fiction. It was fun to hear things like Rob echoing Richard Hatch’s vision of what makes a good Klingon. What I truly expected to be a short tour of the studio turned into morning full of unexpected surprises and wonderful people.
Thanks again to Alec who made sure we were well taken care of, even if he couldn’t be there himself.
Diana, Dominic, and Rob, words cannot express our gratitude for the time and energy that you shared with my brother and me or the efforts that you put into working to get Axanar to the screen.
Thank you so very much for what you did for us and what you continue to do for all of us.
Dave Bang (Wit)
Dave Cline (Dim)