One of the unique forms of fan films is the one called the mashup, where the creator takes two shows and cause the actors to appear as if they were all in a single presentation together.
One of the best teams at creating mashups is the team of Rick Kelvington and Paul Sibbald. Together, they have created a 30-minute show called Doctor Who: Trek Through Time, which has achieved such renown in the world of cyberspace that it has been nominated for the Best Web Production in the 2010 Portal Awards.
In the first part of my interview with Rick Kelvington, he talked about how frustration with Paramount, as there not a new “Star Trek” movie in 2008, and with the BBC for not having a new season of Doctor Who starting at Christmas motivated him and his partner to create the first of what was originally three parts of the film (now combined into one 30-minute presentation which you can see at his website), and some of the challenges of making the presentation.
One thing about which I was very curious was how many episodes of both the original Star Trek and the current incarnation of Doctor Who it took to create their amazing work. All of them and then some, he told me with a laugh. I think I took stuff from about 35 episodes of ‘Star Trek’ and about 40 episodes of ‘Doctor Who.’ I also cheated and took things from deleted scenes and interviews to find some of the dialog and shots I wanted.
With ‘Star Trek,’ theres about 70 ‘usable’ episodes, the rest, fall into odd categories, they are out of uniform, or from the pilots, or in the wrong uniform, and those episodes couldnt be used. On the ‘Doctor Who,’ front I used something from almost every episode except the time when David Tennant had a really weird hairdo and I couldnt use any of that. There were over a dozen shots where David Tennant was in the wrong color suit, and in each of those cases I had to rotoscope his suit and then have Paul color correct the suit part and then overlay that back into the scene.
With all the amazing shots, camera and computer work, one wonders if some of it was original footage that they had to create in order to tell their story. Rick told me that there are some original footage in there. Paul did all the original model shots and effects, as he has a wonderful three-foot Enterprise. He shot it for most of the exterior shots you see of the Enterprise. I sometimes used the updated CGI Enterprise from CBS in some of the other shots.
About 95 percent of the Tardis shots were created using a CGI model made by James Murphy which I then re-detailed to look like the contemporaneity Tardis. Other than a few viewscreen shots, its all scenes which have been lifted from the various seasons.
I asked Rick of the thought of taking two of the most beloved science-fiction franchises of all time and combining them as he and Paul did made them nervous in any way. Yes and no, Rick related. I think Paul and I knew, if we did this well, if we gave them something amazing, then we would be safe, which is why Part 1 works so well. We start with these two very distant worlds and slowly bring them together over the episode, finally having The Doctor step out of his Tardis onto the transporter pads. That was kind of the big moment in Part 1.
The letters I got about Part 1 were wonderful and people were very understanding about how hard it must have been to do. By the time we got to Part 3, we had a lot going for us, it was a multiple Doctor story, which as a Who fan I just love! And we saved James T. Kirk from his death at Veridian III. I think one of the best letters I got was from a fan stating how all the heads of Paramount and all the producers, writers and directors couldnt figure out a way to save Kirk, but The Doctor could.
Fan reaction to the film has been very positive. Rick commented further on the responses of the fans. The fan reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. From the very first part through the finale, I get hundreds of e-mails and comments about it. So many people wrote about getting it on DVD I finally broke down and created a DVD version of it.
Most fans write and ask how this was done, or where did this music come from, or what episode was this taken from? Stuff like that. I do my best to write back to everyone, but Ill admit I get behind from time to time, I noticed today I had one hundred and seven new e-mails in my YouTube account that will need to be answered over the weekend.
But I think its important to write back and explain as much as I can, because I didnt do this on my own, I had help. Without Paul Sibbalds efforts ‘Doctor Who – Trek Through Time’ wouldnt be what it is. And I think its important to give back to others so they can go on and make their own fan films or mashups.
With all the attention that Trek Through Time has garnered, I asked Rick if he had heard from anyone with either Star Trek or Doctor Who about the film. Yes on both fronts, Ive gotten a ton of e-mail from people at the BBC and the Mill who does the effects for ‘Doctor Who’ about how much they love this. I wish I could meet Russell T. Davies and hand a copy of the DVD to him just thank him for all his hard work.
Then the coolest thing ever happened a few months ago, when I got a nice note from Bill Shatner from his YouTube account to mine. That was the day I thought: you know if I die today, and I can die a truly happy guy.
The DVD Rick mentioned is available at his website and includes not only the film, but several of his mashup trailers, and a wonderful extra, showing some of the computer magic they used to create this amazing film.
There are plans to show Doctor Who: Trek Through Time on a movie screen during a science-fiction festival in Elizabethtown, Ky. in October. Does this make Rick nervous? More than you can possibly imagine. Everyone who has ever made a film or TV show gets nervous about it been shown to a large group of people at once. You wonder if the effects will hold up on a big screen, will the story play out well, etc. But Im just shocked and amazed that it will be on a big screen, and I just hope everyone there enjoys it as much as we enjoyed making it.
When he was told about Trek Through Time being a 2010 Portal Award for Best Web Production, along with “CTRL,” “Heroes: Going Postal,” “Stargate: Universe – Kino,” and “Star Trek Phase II,” Rick was totally shocked. We are very humble guys and we try to let the work speak for itself, but when you informed me of the nomination and we saw our competition we were incredibly flattered. I know the other four nominees have to be saying to themselves : what the hell is a ‘Trek Through Time’?”
The thought that we are nominated with real production companies, when two guys who have never met, and spent virtually no money on the creation of ‘Trek Through Time’ are nominated in the same category as stuff thats made by networks and production companies, just blows my mind. Im humbled and grateful for the nomination.
I invite you to check out Rick and Paul’s creation at Rick’s website. While you are there, you might want to explore it and see some of the other mashups he has created, including one that Rick calls his favorite, the Doctor Who/Joker/Batman flip trailer which presents two visions of such a trailer, one with The Doctor as the good guy, and one where The Doctor is the bad guy.
Doctor Who: Trek Through Time is one of the most unique fan presentations in this writer’s memory and truly one deserving recognition, not only for the amazing work of its creators, but for the tale that it weaves as the film progresses. Before you vote for Best Web Production, I would urge you to give strong consideration to this film.