Posted: December 13, 2012

John SwinimerSABS CTO, John Swinimer, files this special report about a subject very close to his heart...STAR TREK.

This interview reveals how STAR TREK fans have taken their love of the fictional show very personally and made it a reality.


A HANN MADE Salute to STAR TREK by John Swinimer

Recently I spoke with Darren Hann, known as the organizer of Sci-Fi On The Rock Convention, author, movie maker, and sometimes ‘that STAR TREK guy’. One of Darren's most recent projects is the fan made series "Star Trek Reliant".  What follows is our Q&A

SABS: As a STAR TREK fan, you're involved in many different aspects of science fiction mediums. The one that most recently caught my attention is your web-based episodic show. What was the catalyst for this project?

Darren Hann: "Star Trek Reliant" is an idea I came up with about a year ago. I’ve always wanted to do a STAR TREK web series. I had done some filming before with my own production company, Hann Made Productions. And I’ve always wanted to do something with STAR TREK. But because STAR TREK is made by Paramount, it had to be something that was not-for-profit. Everyone that came on board knew they were doing it for fun.

Star Trek ReliantI asked my friends who were on the Sci-Fi On The Rock Convention committee to help out. And of course they told their friends and more friends came on board. Then instead of having just one video camera, someone offered their help with the video camera. Another person in the States does all the computer generated space ships and planets. Everything is done for free and everybody just loves being a part of it.

So we just got together to write some episodes. We started filming about a year ago and as of right now, we have five episodes on YouTube. Another episode is in production that should be out by end of December or early January. We have about three or four stories in production for season two starting in January.

Our fan base is growing all the time. I get email constantly from all over the world. I get fan mail from China, Japan and Australia. I was amazed by one girl who wrote to me and asked me: ‘What’s it like to be past 8,000 hits?’ None of our episodes on YouTube have hit 1,000. So I discovered there are webpages in Japan that promote fan-based STAR TREK fan films and series.

SABS: Have any of the Star Trek creators or stars seen your work?

Vaughn ArmstrongDarren Hann: With Sci-Fi On The Rock, many STAR TREK actors have come to the convention and remain friends. They know about the series and have commented that they’ve watched it and loved it.

Vaughan Armstrong (Admiral Forest in ENTERPRISE) wrote to me that it was a ‘very a nice episode.’ So when the praise comes from someone who worked on the show, it really means a lot.

SABS: As someone who was born in Newfoundland, I believe I already know the answer to this question, but what makes the province special to you in your productions that you can’t find anywhere else?

Darren Hann: The scenery. A lot of people write to me and ask ‘Where in the world are you located? The scenery is beautiful.’ Our last episode was filmed at Middle Cove Beach. The opening scene has waves, the rock cliff and the beach.

When the actors come for the convention, I take them on sight seeing tours to Middle Cove, Cabot Tower and all the scenic places. They always comment on how beautiful it is here, and the amount of natural scenery compared to the bigger cities.

SABS: You mentioned inspiration and we talked about Star Trek. SABS follows the Atlantic Provinces’ movie production quite closely. Have you been inspired by attention focused on REPUBLIC OF DOYLE, and THE GRAND SEDUCTION that was recently filmed in St. John’s? Does any of this inspire you in some way?

Darren Hann: It does, because those productions showcase Newfoundland. They bring in a lot of talent and a lot of work to Newfoundland. It also makes local people more aware of the amount of talent here in Newfoundland -- along with the location nature and the scenery. Now even more people want to get involved in writing, producing and acting in movies and television.

SABS: The 2012 Sci-Fi On The Rock Convention was featured earlier this year on SABS post, but for newcomers to the event - how would you describe it?

Darren Hann: Sci-Fi On The Rock is a local science-fiction and fantasy convention. It takes place every April at the St. John’s Holiday Inn. The convention started seven years ago and it’s run by a committee of 20 volunteers. Every year we put in ten months of work to create a three day convention.

We bring in actors from STAR TREK, STAR WARS, and STARGATE – actors from any type of series that deals with science fiction and fantasy. We get a great turnout with about 2,000 attendees on average. It’s growing and getting bigger each year.

SABS: Most of the celebrity guests attend other conventions in other cities such as San Diego and New York City. What reaction do you get from the celebrities once they get to St. John’s and see the scenery and they interact with the people?

Darren Hann as Captain Miles O'Brien of the U.S.S ReliantDarren Hann: The first thing they say is how nice the people are. I’ll give you one example. One of the actors arrived at 3 am after travelling 12 hours from Los Angeles, so we brought him to a little 24-hour restaurant. When leaving he accidentally dropped $10 out of his wallet. As the actor was walking through the door, another guy came up behind him, tapped him on the shoulder, and said “Here, sir. You just dropped this.” The actor looked in his wallet and recognized the loss but was astonished at the good nature of the gesture. Compared to his life in Los Angeles, this incident made the actor realize this type of response would never happen anywhere else.

After the convention, when the actors return home, I’ll usually expect a phone call from another STAR TREK or STAR WARS, actor. They’ll say: ‘My buddy was just up there on the weekend. Would you like me to come up next year as a guest?’

Our best advertising is the actors who come here and have a good time. One previous guest Max Grodenchik (Rom on STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE) is very good friends with J.G. Hertzler (General Martok on STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE). So a week after Max returned home from the convention, I got a call from J.G.: ‘I want to come there. I hear it’s beautiful and the people are nice.’ So I naturally I said ‘yes’.

SABS: Is it too early to talk about the 2013 convention?

Darren Hann: The actors are already listed on the convention web page: Dominic Keating (Lt. Malcom Reed, ENTERPRISE) and Mike Dopud (STARGATE and other Canadian science-fiction shows). We’re expecting two more guests to attend.

The Friday night of convention will begin a film festival with films from all over the world. That night also features a meet-and-greet with the actors. And the convention continues until Sunday evenings.

SABS: As a fan of science fiction, you've also written some novels to share your interest to a literary audience. What kind of reaction have you seen so far from readers?

Darren Hann: I was invited by the Association for the Arts of Mount Pearl to give a reading of one of the stories from the book 'Imagination Journals'. It’s made up of five medium length stories. My first book was called “Time Stone” that features a Newfoundland time traveller who travels in fictional Canadian history. During his travels, he discovers why the Titanic struck the iceberg side-on, what happened to the missing Avro Arrow and more. Both books are available on Amazon.com.

To discover Star Trek: Reliant, visit www.ReliantAdventures.com

For more information about the annual St. John’s convention, visit www.scifiontherock.com

For more information about Darren Hann, visit www.hann-made.com

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