Archive for April, 2013

A night of song, laughter and story-telling.

Coolant leaks, ship shake technique and impressions of each other made the special evening with the cast of Star Trek the Next Generation at MegaCon in Orlando something to remember.

The Saturday, March 16 event is ingrained in my memory (even weeks later, my apologies in delaying with this post). Added a few photos here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.468219719917033.1073741825.363427490396257&type=1&l=cfeacdc59b

Things got started at 7 p.m. and time just flew by. Before I knew it, the panel was accepting final questions from people lined up for the special moment to address the people that came into their lives for so long aboard the starship Enterprise.

Will Wheaton, Brent Spiner, Marina Sirtis, Gates McFadden, Jonathan Frakes, Patrick Stewart, John de Lancie, Levar Burton, Denise Crosby and Michael Dorn.

For me, and this might be because of my age, Will Wheaton was the star of the evening.

His answers and his reflection of how Star Trek had an impact on so many people was truly introspective and relatable.

Wheaton got things started on the right foot as he introduced himself by saying for 25 years, nine people in the world have loved him, been awesome to hang out with and — go to him for tech problems. (Isn’t that just the way it is? I know my dad called me his tech guru the moment we had a computer in the house!)

At one point he even left the stage to check on a sound issue!

An early question from the audience asked the actors what moment most affect them or their character.

Sirtis quickly answered “Face of the Enemy,” noting her disdain for wearing prosthetics.

Wheaton recalled the scene where it was Stewart and himself in a shuttle craft and it was a dialogue driven to which it was important he “carry [his] half of this weight.”

For Stewart, he referred to an early draft reading of a script and discussed the captain being a fan of detective stories and how this episode would show him “having fun.”

Spiner, who spent the evening cracking jokes, answered “very early on” in a scene with Denise. “Data wasn’t just going to be a stiff,” he said with the innuendo left to audience members that had seen the episode he was referring to — Look up “The Naked Now.”

The next question was to be expected — the funniest moment?

The best answer came from Dorn, who described a scene in the four lights episode where he and Stewart were running caves. The set was at Paramount where dirt was kept on hand for just such occasions. Well, apparently stray cats like that dirt, too.

And at some point after some takes done of them rolling on the ground and in that dirt, Stewart seemed upset. Dorn asked him what was wrong and Stewart said “I don’t know how I got here…I’m doing a lecture one minute and next I’m crawling around in cat doo doo.”

This question eventually led to the cast demonstrating “ship shake technique!”

On que from Patrick Stewart, everyone on stage shook in unison to a level 4 ship shake. It was AMAZING! And horribly interrupted by the moderator who, in an attempt to be funny, played the Harlem Shake over his microphone. It wasn’t funny and it totally killed the momentum.

But the fine people of Star Trek The Next Generation recovered nicely and really got the crowd going with imitations of each other.

Wheaton strode across the stage with a sort of sideways fast-paced walk in the style of Frakes. Burton rolled across the stage. Gates did a somersalt and landed splawed out. De Lancie stood up, snapped his fingers and stared at the audience. “Are they gone?” he asked to a roar of laughter from the audience.

Ever wondered who the cast thought could play them in a reboot? (Even thought there already is an awesome reboot, with the sequel set to premiere on May 17, but who’s paying attention to that, heh! It’s not an event already on my iCalendar…really…)

  • Stewart: James McAvoy
  • Frakes: (I can’t read my notes! Argh!)
  • Spiner: Daniel Day Lewis
  • Dorn: Blair Underwood, Common, Ludacris
  • Levar: Sammy Davis Jr., Mos Def,
  • Sirtis: Mila Kunis
  • McFadden: Jessica Chastain
  • Crosby: Radha Mitchell
  • De Lancie: Sacha Baron Cohen

Probably the most introspective question was “How does it feel to inspire a culture?”

Its something that seems hard to fathom for an average  person like me and Sirtis kind of correlated that thought.

“Didn’t have a concept of the hugeness,” she said, adding that being on Star Trek was like being asked to be in the Rolling Stones.

McFadden shared that she is struck by people that approach her and share that they’ve pursued a career in medicine, inspired by Dr. Crusher, her character. She also said she was frightened at first by the extremism of some fans and it took her a while to appreciate it.

Wheaton, in one of his gem answers of the night, asked the audience to raise their hand if they watched Star Trek with their parents, and followed it up by asking if they watch Start Trek now with their children. Making the point that basically, the show has bridged THREE generations!

“My phone is more powerful than computers that powered the enterprise.” Star Trek helped inspire engineers and designers to make the technology we are using now, Wheaton said.

Isn’t it amazing?  I know this panel was (along with the photo-op my boyfriend and I got with Patrick Stewart earlier in the day!)


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I’m a little behind the curve on reading this one, but that’s what happens when you buy super discounted books from the Orange County Public Library Friends of the Library bookstore.

This book was published in 2007. FARK began, as Drew Curtis writes, in 1999.

I sat down at the Relax Grill at Lake Eola with my boyfriend right after buying this book for a dollar and began what would be a few days of introspective thought on what it is I do for a living.

Curtis, blatantly puts it straight. News editors aren’t doing journalism, they’re doing whatever it takes to get a page view. Bleh.

On and on, Curtis writes about what “isn’t news” –  “unpaid placement masquerading as news,” the “out-of-context celebrity comment,” and “seasonal articles,” just to name a few chapters of the book.

After the first chapter, I kept a sheet of notebook paper as a bookmark to collect any revelations I had – and well, there was a big one.

What is news, if it’s not what’s going on in our daily/everyday lives?

In journalism school, wherever that happened to be for you (for me it was the University of Nebraska at Omaha), one of the first things they teach is News Values.

The ones I was able to remember off hand: Timeliness, proximity, conflict, prominence, strange/sex

The ones I had to look up: Frequency, Impact, human interest.

I argue that even when I worked at at FOX station and we had an American Idol viewer panel in our 10 o’clock newscast, that was news.

We are documenting what goes on in our daily lives. And for a lot of people, not everyone, American Idol is a concern worth hearing about. (This was back in 2008-2009, LOL)

The ballpark that has strange promotions to get people to attend, an example in the book, is worth covering, in my opinion. It should be covered because people should know what is going on in their community.

Curtis spent 200-plus pages talking about what isn’t news and making fun of it. The last chapter, called “Epilogue: What should Mass Media be doing instead?” was about 16 pages and I feel like Curtis side-stepped the question.

*Spoiler Alert*

He came to the conclusion that stories have a focus to draw people in and click on it. “Everyone claims to want real news, but no one really does. The great unwashed masses want the titillation Mass Media provides,” Curtis wrote.

Isn’t that the truth? I know with social media, particularly Twitter, I have 140 characters to find the one element that will make a reader say, “What?” and move the cursor over the link and physically push down on the link to my news station’s website. I have to be very convincing.

In a sub-heading called “The Future of Mass Media” (which I guess is really now?), Curtis gets it right:

“Local video is the one thing local TV can do better than anyone else. Local TV should be beefing up its Web site offerings…”

This, in the words of Chris Traeger on NBC’s Parks and Recreation “literally” made me go DUH!

I love raw video. I can remember the first time I put raw video on the website of the station I was working for. I was the weekend assignment editor at FOX 42 in Omaha. Santa was flown by helicopter to the children’s hospital and we had video of him arriving. It was super cute. I had to have the director run it through the board so the encoder could capture the video and  I could clip it in the CMS. What fun those days were!

Overall, the book was a great read and I honestly now consider with most any headline I write if FARK would make fun of it.

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