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Trek in Real Life


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#1

nqllisi

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Posted Jan 22, 2004 @ 11:03 AM

Bumping this thread in eager anticipation of Pippin's tale of wonder.

Yay!
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#2

keckler

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Posted Jan 22, 2004 @ 2:16 PM

Thanks, lis!

And lucky me, I don't have to worry about checking post length because Glark has that new post-length-checker thingy scripted to tell you to cut down your post if you try to post something too long!

Edited by keckler, Jan 22, 2004 @ 2:18 PM.


#3

Pippin

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Posted Jan 22, 2004 @ 10:34 PM

As per Keckler's request, I'll be recounting my real-life trek (sorry, couldn't resist) through the Paramount lot and the Enterprise sets, make-up and costume departments, as well as meeting all the actors except Jolene and Linda.
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#4

Pippin

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Posted Jan 23, 2004 @ 1:46 PM

I've been asked to hold off on reporting this for a bit, so I shall. But I'll get back to you on this (and answer all the questions) soon!

Edited by Pippin, Jan 23, 2004 @ 3:46 PM.

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#5

Cleo256

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Posted Jan 23, 2004 @ 2:10 PM

Levar Burton too? Cool. You're a very good fan, knowing an excellent episode he directed off the top of your head. I can never remember that stuff.

Just to help me picture it in my head, were the guys in costume and makeup? I'm guessing that since John Billingsley was just arriving at the studio, he wasn't all Phlox-ed up yet.
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#6

akg

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Posted Jan 23, 2004 @ 3:06 PM

It's much more fun to picture him in full make up though.
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#7

keckler

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Posted Jan 23, 2004 @ 7:17 PM

Asked by whom, Pippin?

#8

Pippin

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Posted Jan 24, 2004 @ 2:32 PM

See my email. I hasten to add to everyone else that I will be reporting soon.
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#9

Pippin

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Posted Jan 29, 2004 @ 10:02 AM

Here’s the first bit of my account of the tour of the Star Trek: Enterprise set. Or, as I call it – my trip to Wonderland.

I will be posting this in bits and pieces over the next few days. And will be happy to answer any questions, as long as they're not spoilerific.

First off, let me say that I was surprised by the location of Paramount. In Toronto, the studio district is that; a district out in the industrial area of the east end. The soundstages/studios are surrounded by their support services; i.e., trailer rentals, sound mixing, etc., etc.

But Paramount is right in the middle of a mostly residential area. Across the street on one side are these tiny old bungalows (the same colour as the studio walls; a light gold/yellow) that were probably built around WWII, while to the south are some really beautiful homes. The studio also shares its lot with a cemetery.

We drove around the studio, and here’s a funny thing: it doesn’t seem all that large when you drive around the outside perimeter. But once you get inside, it’s bloody huge! Some sort of space/time inversion, I suppose.

While we were taking pictures at the 5555 Melrose sign, John Billingsley ("JB") drove by and honked and waved. We went to the car, decided not to go in right away to give him a minute or two, and drove around the block, playing Enterprise Mad Libs and listening to Faith of the Heart at full volume. (So go ahead, shoot me.)

We got to the gate and presented IDs. They’re very security conscious now; they ran some sort of metal detector over the car, and we had to open the trunk.

There were no passes, but John was walking up, so we explained and he explained. We were directed to park and go to the other guard shack. Hugs and handshakes from JB, then over to the other shack. JB had to explain it all again, and we gave our IDs again. Guard called the office, JB talked to the office, and we had to give our names all over again.

I don’t have a California driver’s license (gee, I wonder why) and so used my passport as my picture ID. When he saw that, JB joked with me that Canadians weren’t allowed on the lot. I pointed out that I knew that was a lie because we had seen Leslie Nielsen (in a very sporty dark green convertible-style car) drive in, and besides, what about all the Canadians on Trek? He said they were exceptions!

We finally got passes and walked back in. JB said he had come right down to the gate after he saw us out front, but then we were gone and he went looking for us on the lot and had just then come back. He had come to the conclusion that we had been abducted by aliens!

As we walked to commissary, JB explained that Jolene and Linda had other plans so wouldn’t be there, and that we’d see Scott Bakula and Connor Trinneer on the set. We saw someone walking up the other way, who spoke to JB, some of us recognized it was LeVar Burton right away. I however, did not - not until he was right on top of us, so to speak. He was looking very natty, and had oval sunglasses on.

JB introduced us, and we complimented LeVar on Similitude. One of our gang told him that she had watched it again last week and it still made her cry. JB said “But you cry at the drop of a hat…”

JB asked LeVar what he had going and he said he had something starting in 2-3 days and still didn’t have a script (acting like that was a usual thing). B and W told LeVar that we would take Similitude to the desert island with us, and JB said that the desert island wasn’t on the tour!

Next up: Lunch. The John, Dom and Anthony show
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#10

nelamm

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Posted Jan 29, 2004 @ 12:24 PM

Yay! It's up!

Can you remind me how your friends know JB so well?

By the way, I believe Paramount is the only studio still located in Hollywood proper. And I'm always shocked by the sizes of these places.
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#11

Pippin

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Posted Jan 29, 2004 @ 1:00 PM

Can you remind me how your friends know JB so well?


They've met him at several conventions; also attended a play that his wife was in, and are members of his online book club. (No discussion of Enterprise allowed).

We drove by Universal and another studio which were in the city, but more or less off on their own. But Paramount is one of the older studios; built in the 1920s, I believe.
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#12

belsum

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Posted Jan 29, 2004 @ 2:08 PM

Do you have the URL for said online book club? I'd like to check out their reading list.
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#13

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Posted Jan 30, 2004 @ 8:59 AM

There's a SciFi convention here on Feb 14th. William Shatner is going to be the guest and if you buy a $90.00 ticket you can sit in the VIP section and see him! And maybe even talk to him! Be still my heart. I think I'll just go and look at the toys.
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#14

kgoklahoma

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Posted Jan 30, 2004 @ 10:00 AM

Go, Isaboe! I spent about that much just to have my picture taken with him. And I'd do it again.
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#15

belsum

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Posted Jan 30, 2004 @ 11:15 AM

When Mind Meld came out Shatner held a signing at the Mall of America. He would only sign copies of that, but it was a relatively cheap DVD so no big deal. And there was no charge to wait in line! We shook his hand (leftie!) and Mr. b asked him how his flight was. The Shat didn't get the reference. Hee! After seeing him in person I have much more respect for his acting skills. He calmly and sweetly put up with the intense geekery around us ("You should see my space art!" "Do you know such and such guy?" "Wanna read my fan script?" "I've met you 1,852 times previous, do you remember me?" &c.) with the pleasantest of faces.
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#16

Pippin

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Posted Jan 30, 2004 @ 12:09 PM

Here's the next chapter in the saga:

After LeVar went on his way, we went on into the commissary. Dominic Keating (“DK”) was waving from a table in the back. He was wearing black shirt, black pants, denim jacket, boots, while JB was wearing jeans, Enterprise Stunt Team t-shirt, brown heather sweater, sneakers. The room was full of other diners. Dominic bestowed hugs, kisses, handshakes all around. A4T, JB, DK sat against the wall, B on the end next to DK, then I was across from DK and W was across from JB.

I gave them caricatures that I had done (I did one for Dom, John and Connor). I think they really liked them! JB said they get a lot of this kind of thing (caricatures and artwork), but these were the best, and he was “definitely going to frame this one”. He said it a couple of times, so I think he actually meant it!

JB noticed that all the girls were on one side of the table and the boys the other and said we should have gone boy/girl/boy/girl. We said no, because it was easier to talk this way.

Both actors knew my home town of Toronto; JB even knew “exactly” where I lived, as he’s very familiar with the city. Dom asked if it was freezing (that’s not exactly how he put it!) and I said, damn right (only that’s not exactly how I put it, either!)

The actors asked what our favorite Enterprise eps were. We said Twilight, Similitude, Cogenitor, Shuttlepod One, Singularity.

We also told them we would like to see more character stories, and they agreed that more character work would be better. W argued that Twilight and Similitude had some, but JB disagreed; in his opinion we didn’t really find out anything new or different about the characters or how they think in Twilight.

A4T gave JB and DK a picture of JB,DK,CT that he had taken at a charity event. They laughed and spent several minutes trying to caption it. (With somewhat rude results!)

At some point in time,(and I can’t remember exactly how the point came up), I said that I was probably the only one of the tour who wanted to get to the production offices. JB was surprised; he said he could take me there, but why did I want to go? I explained my scriptwriting aspirations. Both Dom and John listened and didn’t blow me off. John actually had an excellent suggestion and I am following up on it. Enterprise is the hardest place to sell to, apparently.

Lunch came. The food was excellent food, (we ordered from a menu). It’s called the “commissary” but it’s really a nice restaurant. (About as far from your average cafeteria as you can get).

JB looked around the room and said they could point out some important people in the room, but since there weren’t any at the time, they’d just have to make stuff up!

Next up: Anthony Montgomery blows in.
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#17

nelamm

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Posted Jan 30, 2004 @ 12:40 PM

Mr. b asked him how his flight was

I was just thinking about that 3rd Rock scene last night:

Dick (John Lithgow): How was your flight here, sir?

Big Giant Head (Shatner): Very odd. I looked out the window, and saw a creature tearing apart the wing!

Dick: The very same thing happened to me!

[In the [i]Twilight Zone[/i] movie, Lithgow had the role Shatner originated in "Terror at 20,000 Feet."]

Edited by nelamm, Jan 30, 2004 @ 12:40 PM.

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#18

Pippin

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Posted Feb 2, 2004 @ 10:52 AM

Here's more of the saga. If you have any questions, please ask! It'll help me to remember things, I'm sure.

Anthony Montgomery (“AM”) came by at the end of our lunch. He has a very high energy level, and simply bubbles over with enthusiasm. He was looking very nice and neat, and wears two earrings. He, too, bestowed hugs and hellos to everyone. He remembered W and B from his play last summer. Sat down next to W across from A4T. Some of the party mentioned seeing him on Sharon Osbourne show (I hadn’t, so I kept my mouth shut). It was obvious JB had seen it too.

AM talked about how clueless she [Sharon] was. He tried to explain the concept of uniforms, and used the word “coveralls”; she was talking “overalls”. We told him what clip was used, and asked why not the part where Trip says he should get a medal? His reply: but then it’s not just about Travis. Osbourne's dog was nice to him – he said there was another actor that made her take all dogs off the set because he is afraid of them.

JB talked about an Australian talk show host who had wrong notes about him, and was asking questions like, “How did you like working with Jack Lemmon”, etc., so he ended up explaining Enterprise to her while the interview was on air.

AM asked if we would listen to his songs [I guess he's done some singing somewhere] if he did them and we said yes. Got our pics out for him to autograph. Some of our group took all their action figures and posed them in an exact duplicate of the 3rd season bridge shot. AM really liked the AF pic (actually, they all did), and he recognized the bridge set. He said his part of the bridge should be out and W told him that it hadn’t been released yet.

AM hadn’t seen his season 3 hallway pic. We told him it was on startrek.com. JB and DK showed off their caricatures and AM thought they were great, and wanted to know “Where’s mine?” So I promised him that I would send one.

AM tended to flip his silverware around as if they were martial arts weapons. At this point in time, we noticed that everyone else in commissary is gone now – AM scared them off!

AM encouraged me in myendeavors. He said he’s the closest thing to a rags to riches story on the crew. He also told me it’ll be the hardest thing you ever do, but go for it. This led DK and him to reminiscing; they talked about how they started out and compared stories about playing to audiences of 2 or 3 a night; in some cases, the cast was larger than the audience!

Next: The Universe has a sense of humour
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#19

SBaldrick

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Posted Feb 2, 2004 @ 6:11 PM

Pippin, this is all so cool!

I have a question -- did TWoP come up at all? I'm dying to know if they know anything about keckler's recaps.
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#20

Pippin

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Posted Feb 3, 2004 @ 10:07 AM

No, it didn't. But I let slip the nickname "Bermaga" at one point, and (after explaining it) have a funny feeling it's going to be all over the set.
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#21

keckler

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Posted Feb 3, 2004 @ 3:31 PM

Heh. According to my TrekThroats they and the production staff had been using my nickname for TPTB in secret since they started reading my recaps a few years ago.

How exactly did you explain it, Pippin?

Edited by keckler, Feb 3, 2004 @ 4:08 PM.


#22

LadyBunbury

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Posted Feb 3, 2004 @ 4:25 PM

But I let slip the nickname "Bermaga" at one point, and (after explaining it) have a funny feeling it's going to be all over the set.


That is *such* a happy thought. XD
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#23

Pippin

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Posted Feb 3, 2004 @ 4:30 PM

It was when we were at lunch, and I said something about "Bermaga", and John and Dom both looked at me the way a dog listens to a high-pitched whistle. I was, oops, sorry. It's a combo, I told them. Rick BERMan and Brannon BrAGA.

I think they thought it was funny.

And speaking of which, it seems appropriate to continue the saga:

When we were coming out of commissary with DK and JB, we saw two figures approaching. John nudged me and said, there you go!

It was Rick Berman and Brannon Braga. John and Dom introduced us all. Bermaga was/were reserved and polite, and were dressed up, but were not wearing ties. Saw the caricatures and commented (positively) on them.

They then asked if actors had behaved themselves at lunch. We assured them that napkins and forks had been used, and they joked and acted surprised. As they walked off, Berman said “Don’t give away any secrets!”

John congratulated me on my restraint for not shoving a script into their hands. I replied that I knew the game had rules, and if I wanted to be taken seriously, I would have to play by them. Still ... sigh ...

We wandered on (JB, DK and us), recovering, trying to take it all in. JB wisely took us on a long route through the fun parts of the lot, including the "Old New York" Street, the "Victorian Street" the "Little Italy Street" and so on.

One street was set up for an Italian festival a la New York, and on the cross street they were filming JAG. Go figure. We passed where they are filming Lemony Snicket with Jim Carrey and Meryl Streep.

In that soundstage, JB showed W how the lights are arranged in a grid on the ceiling, numbers across one wall, and letters across the other, so when lights need to be adjusted, a call for “A14” means the light at that grid will be adjusted. Someone stays up in the rafters all day to do that.

Carrey has a "compound" of about five trailers and doesn't like to be disturbed, or so we were told. We also passed the soundstage for Angel, a very small fire station, and up an alley used in The Godfather. Mr. and Mrs. Smith with Brad Pitt was also being filmed somewhere on one of the streets.

Next: Dom's invitation...

Edited by Pippin, Feb 3, 2004 @ 4:38 PM.

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#24

tothemax

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Posted Feb 3, 2004 @ 5:57 PM

John congratulated me on my restraint for not shoving a script into their hands.

I thought that said "shoving a script up their asses." Can't imagine why I would think that.
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#25

keckler

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Posted Feb 3, 2004 @ 6:05 PM

Hee!

#26

Pippin

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Posted Feb 3, 2004 @ 8:05 PM

[joke] I don't think my scripts are that bad, tothemax.[/joke]

However, if it were a copy of "A Night in Sickbay" ...
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#27

Pippin

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Posted Feb 5, 2004 @ 10:10 AM

We wandered on (JB, DK and us), recovering, trying to take it all in. JB wisely took us on a long route through the fun parts of the lot, including the "Old New York" Street, the "Victorian Street" the "Little Italy Street" and so on. One street was set up for an Italian festival a la New York, and on the cross street they were filming JAG. Go figure.

We passed where they are filming Lemony Snicket with Jim Carrey and Meryl Streep. We went inside, and saw some of the sets for that film in the process of being built.

In that soundstage, JB showed W how the lights are arranged in a grid on the ceiling, numbers across one wall, and letters across the other, so when lights need to be adjusted, a call for “A14” means the light at that grid will be adjusted. Someone stays up in the rafters all day to do that.

Jim Carrey has a "compound" of about five trailers (arranged in a square) and doesn't like to be disturbed, or so we were told. We also passed the soundstage for Angel, a very small fire station, and up an alley used in The Godfather. Mr. and Mrs. Smith with Brad Pitt was also being filmed somewhere on one of the streets but we didn't see anyone.

We ended up next to the Enterprise set and a lot of small trailers. DK opened his trailer and said "come in" so we walked inside a small mobile home and sat down. In the back, where a bed would go, he has a weight room set up. Smart man, as we later found out from the costume designer -- SB is in perfect shape and the others struggle to keep up with him.

So there we are sitting in DK 's trailer and he's showing us some stuff fans have sent in. One fan didn’t ask for a pic from DK, but sent DK his own pic and autograph instead! B and W noticed a pile of unopened fanmail on his chair and asked if he'd gotten the Christmas card they sent, so he riffled through it and found their card and opened it in front of them.

It was Archer, leading the crew of AF's in caroling. There was a thought balloon for Malcolm too, “I still think it’s risky to let Santa on board the ship. Could be a Xindi-Elf in disguise!” He loved it! He laughed and put it up on the wall of his trailer. He showed it to AM and they both caroled for a bit, badly on purpose.

Next: Where Pippin nearly loses it ...
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#28

thingamajig

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Posted Feb 5, 2004 @ 10:28 AM

So there we are sitting in DK 's trailer

Pippen, I don't think I've told you nearly enough lately how much I hate you.

Hmm, good thing my eyes are already green, so nobody will notice the change...
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#29

GoldfishGirl42

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Posted Feb 5, 2004 @ 11:15 AM

Next: Where Pippin nearly loses it ...


Eeeeeeeeeee! I know what's next! ( At least, I think I do.) Touching!
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#30

nqllisi

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Posted Feb 5, 2004 @ 11:39 AM

DK opened his trailer and said "come in"



*sigh* That's just so cool.
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