Hello, I'm Glenn and I am the creator of Fem Trekz
The first thing I want people to know about this fan animation project is that it's open
. That's why I contacted Raul, since he enjoys making models to be shared. Everything I've done is meant to be freely shared--not just this ship. This sets it apart from most other fan films, who feel the need to guard their proprietary assets. If anyone out there wants to make their own animated show using these assets, they should contact PM me here or on Youtube.
I have a BFA in film production from Emerson College in Boston but I wound up as a web-developer during the dot com boom and stayed in it for 13 years. I have been animating using Xtranormal technology for over three years now. I made some money in stock options while working for Intermix Media when they sold MySpace to Fox. Last year I decided to quit my dot com job and attempt to make a career out of animation, using Fem Trekz as portfolio material, while living off that nestegg. I have run into enough snags that I no longer want to rely on Fem Trekz exclusively, and I will probably go back to IT again to avoid burning through too much more of my nestegg, but I'm resolved to complete this project as a hobby. It's just going to take a lot longer than I originally thought. I just want to do this right or not at all. I've been a Trek fan from the start, and I have the convention autographs to prove it, and it will still be satisfying to do Fem Trekz: The Motion Picture even if it doesn't factor into furthering my career. I have a desire to prove that software most people think can only be used for sarcastic rants and fart jokes can actually make full-length movies with real drama.
I love working within this machinima toolset, as it allows me to do things as a one-man-band. It's the kind of environment tailor made for my sort of creativity. Assuming I have all the assets I need, I can drag characters onto the set and go, all without a prewritten script. I call this "Emergent Animation".
What this feels like is not animation per se, but something akin to puppeteering a live improvised story. Unfortunately Xtranormal never fully exploited its engine and has since discontinued the software I've enhanced in favor of an inferior successor (XD Beta). Xtranormal seems to be winding down as a company as it hasn't issued new assets since last February and hasn't offered an update to XD since June. So while I've carved this little quirky niche for myself, I don't know how many others are still interested, either as viewers or animators.
Again, if any of you are familiar with Xtranormal you may question whether it's up to the task of doing a show like this--but I don't just use the stock program. I use a series of extensions I coded called "State Plus".
The Fem Trekz concept originated when Xtranormal accidentally distributed its "Suitz" showpack with Jpeg texture files floating around. I squinted at the girls in jerseys and V-neck shirts and saw how they might work as Star Trek uniforms. The men had suits and ties and were not seen as part of the mod, hence I came up with the concept of an all-female crew. From there it was easy to postulate that the reason they're segregated is because of rampant "fraternization" and that instead of solving the problem, this only makes them more frustrated and more likely to break the prime-directive. Pretty soon it was possible to retexture any character, and one of the first things I did was fill out the rest of the crew with "Companion Bots" that come from another showpack. These bots are meant to be the officially sanctioned method in which the girls are to be kept in line, but of course it won't work.
As of now, I have a lot of characters and uniform variations. There are male federation uniforms available (in a different character style) and Klingons (of a sort) and even some Romulans on the way. I also started working on sets in partnership with the person doing his Klingon show, and started commissioning custom sets to be imported. So far I only have one custom set completed, which is the transporter room. It also has a stretch of corridor. Aside from the ship, the sets are the weakest link, and is why I'm holding back on doing my feature-length story.
A little more history on the ship...
Originally I thought this might be part of the Galaxy Quest universe, but there just aren't enough Galaxy Quest assets floating around compared to Star Trek. I play Star Trek Online and at a certain threshold I was allowed to get a science ship. I chose a Nova class. By then I was already starting Fem Trekz, so I decided to make this their ship. I liked the idea of going small rather than large, and the Nova is about as small as the Federation can go and still present a ship in the iconic saucer and two nacelles profile. Star Trek Online has some stylistic variations you can choose from. I decided on one that had these aileron-like things hanging off the warp pylons. Over time I built a concept about the crew exploring an area of space with sub-space rifts ala the episode Force of Nature
, and that these "mud-flaps" would help shield the ship from this.
Initially I hired someone else to try building the Earhart. I became interested in him because he is one of the many people on Youtube who have done ST:TMP dry dock scene recreations. I'll spare you the details, but it didn't work out, and a lot of money and time was wasted. He ultimately took the model and renamed it the Tycho and made this video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7gGtMJFvT8
Out of desperation, I revisited Star Trek Online, but it's just not that suitable for Machinima, as I can not create any scenario I like. This is an unlisted clip I haven't let many people see that gives you an idea where I'd like to go with the dry dock. I kept the camera a fair distance from the ship because I wince when I see the low polygons and the over-aggressive bump-mapping. It's just not going to work.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rzrJquGBzY
I also contacted Tobias (The Light Works
). You all may know him as he does the FX for Phase II
and is now also working on Star Trek Axanar
. Hhe told me it wouldn't be worth it to pay him to do it, and suggested I contact Raul. I don't know why I didn't do this earlier! I guess I thought he wouldn't like my project, but I was thrilled when he agreed to do it. I dusted off the commission video I made with Admiral Hall and sent it to him. Here it is, with a bit of this back-story delivered "in-character":http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tp1H9Xhqy2U
This is a different sort of project for him. As he's said, the design is not completely locked-down. I am encouraging him to come up with ideas himself. I'm glad to offer sketches, but I'm rather rusty with the mechanical pencil.
The finished model is planned to be a "hero" model that can do everything. So it needs a functional shuttlebay and a detachable waverider shuttle. Neither of these details were shown on Voyager and there are no fan-built Nova models with these details. So it would be a first, and hopefully Trek fans will enjoy seeing it.
Because I have been doing pre-production on Fem Trekz concurrently with R&D on State Plus, the show has always seemed like it would never take off, and it's been difficult just getting an audience. But a while back I decided to take what I currently have for assets and make a stab at long-form storytelling. So I created a playlist that starts off with a lot of glorified demos and then coalesces into an improvised storyline around here
. This is a dry-run for how I would do Fem Trekz: The Motion Picture. So if you watch these clips, pay most attention to the character animation. It's been hard to get them to emote because of the TTS voices, but I think I do the best possible with it. This is where I've focused all my energies these last three years, although once I have the ship I will try to add more action and visual interest.
I have two people who may or may not help me some more later with 3DS Max and the music, but if anyone else wants to volunteer, I could use all the help I could get. Long-term I see myself setting up shop within Valve's Source Filmmaker. I work best animating within a machinima toolset with preexisting assets. I'm out of my element making custom assets or using fullblown 3D apps.
I'd be happy to answer any questions people may have about this here if it's not deemed too off-topic. Also, if anyone has suggestions on how the ship should look, I have an open mind.