POTEMKIN PICTURES
Production Guidelines
by David Eversole and Randall Landers
Created: September 11th 2010
Updated: July 2nd 2016



"For me, fantasy must be about something, otherwise it's foolishness... ultimately it must be about human beings, it must be about the human condition, it must be another look at infinity, it must be another way of seeing the paradox of existence."
—George Clayton Johnson

POTEMKIN PICTURES is…
... first and foremost a group of Star Trek fan productions.

A fan film is a nonprofit film made by fans, based on a copyrighted work (usually a television series, sometimes a movie). Iconic characters may be recast, or new characters may populate the "universe" of the original work.
OUR PRODUCTION TEAMS:

Project: Potemkin productions are set on the U.S.S. Potemkin, NCC-1711. The year is 2296-2299 (the era of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country and the opening scenes of Star Trek: Generations.) The Potemkin is an up-rated Constitution III-class (such as the U.S.S. Enterprise, NCC-1701-A). It’s on a five-year mission of exploration in deep space. Presently, the Potemkin productions will conclude their run by the end of 2016.

Tristan productions are set on the U.S.S. Tristan, NCC-2587, a Constellation-class starship. It follows the adventures of a colony support ship on the outreaches of Federation territory. It is 2299. The 43 colonies on the outer reaches of Federation space in Quadrant 9, Sector 72 (often referred to as 'The Back Forty-ish') need continued support. The planets are basically agrarian, with a few scientific and medical outposts present. Starships like the Tristan provide defense, scientific and medical support, diplomacy, shipping and transport, search and rescue, from the extreme to the mundane. Tristan has been assigned to provide support for those 43 colonies in Sector 72 which is adjacent to a section of the Romulan Neutral Zone, colonies of the Orion Barrier Alliance and seed worlds of the Tholian Assembly. It isn't going to be easy… Starship Tristan began filming in 2015. Its first production, “Moving Day,” won an Independent Star Trek Fan Film award in 2016. Two other productions, “Relics and Regrets” and “The Chronicles of Lanclos,” have already been released as well. Five such productions are scheduled to be shot per year.

Deimos productions are set on the U.S.S. Deimos, NCC-2787, a Phobos-class starship. This productions features the adventures of a border patrol ship on the outreaches of Federation territory, near the Romulan, Tholian and Orion border. This production is more action-oriented than our previous efforts, but very similar to Tristan in its story background: the year 2299 finds the United Federation of Planets on a precipice from which they may fall. Quadrant 9, Sector 72 is adjacent to a section of the Romulan Neutral Zone, colonies of the Orion Barrier Alliance, and seed worlds of the Tholian Asssembly. There are 43 Federation colonies in this region known as 'The Back Forty-ish.' The planets are a tempting target for pirates, an easy 'back door' into the Federation for smugglers, and rich, tempting worlds for those wanting to expand their territory. Deimos has been assigned to the sector to protect the Federation border. The vigilance and dedication of its crew are the only thing between those colonies and those who would do them harm. Starship Deimos began filming in 2015, with its first two productions, “The Lucky One” and “Aftermath,” released in 2016. We are planning for five productions per year.

Battlecruiser Kupok  productions are set aboard the I.K.C. Kupok, a K’t’inga-class battlecruiser conducting military operations near Federation space. This production features an entire cast of Klingons and is told from the perspective of that crew and their captain, HoD Kesh. There are plenty of stories, adventures and conflicts in the Alpha Quadrant that don’t involve the Federation! To date, Captain Kesh and the I.K.C. Kupok has appeared in Project: Potemkin’s “Shovel of Kahless” and “Battle at Alawanir,” as well as “Sanctuary.” We will be shooting only one production per year, with possible vignettes shot as well.

Endeavour productions are set on the U.S.S. Endeavour, NCC-1895, a Constitution III-class starship like the Enterprise-A and the Potemkin. Endeavour is the capital ship in Quadrant 9, Sector 72. As such, its captain is generally considered the senior of his fellow ship commanders in the quadrant. The Endeavour’s commanding officer is Captain Zachariah Houston, a hard man to deal with, but an even harder man to prove wrong. We will be shooting only one production per year, with possible vignettes shot as well.

OUR STUDIO:

Studio 3, as we’ve named the facilities in Pelham, Alabama, will consist of a bridge, a transporter room, a VIP lounge, a Sickbay, officer’s quarters, a Klingon bridge, a brig, a Romulan bridge, and a turbolift. There are even plans for a shuttlecraft. Sets will be constructed as needed, but always keep in mind the necessity of a set: Is it necessary for the script?

LOCATIONS:

Central Alabama has quite a diverse number of biomes. We have old forests of deciduous trees, young forests of coniferous trees. We have Cyprus swamps, and farmlands, waterfalls, rivers, lakes and streams. We have mountains, grasslands, and hills and plains. We will also be filming in the coastal regions of Florida (Atlantic Ocean -- lots of waves -- and the Gulf of Mexico (minimal waves)). We have some natural caves, a sandy shoreline without a shore (during the Jurassic, this area was the coastline!) and even Providence Canyon -- Georgia's little Grand Canyon -- is nearby. The architecture is equally diverse; we'll have access to some really modern facilities and some really run-down buildings that look as though they've been nuked. We also have several places like the Tannehill Historical Ironworks State Park or even the Agrirama in Tifton, Georgia, where the motif is 19th century Deep South. So don't worry about the locations; you write the story, and let us find the right place to film it.

WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?

The pleasure of working with like-minded Star Trek fans, the joy of seeing your story brought to life by actors on the small screen, and appropriate screen credit. Sorry, but that's about it. This is, by its nature, a non-profit endeavor. CBS-Viacom-Paramount has set down a set of guidelines by which we can utilize their intellectual properties for "fun." We want to keep it that way. Production length is limited to 15 mins, and we abide by their guidelines to the best of our interpretation and ability.

WHAT ARE WE LOOKING FOR?

First and foremost we are looking for science fiction stories that fully utilize and maximize our characters. We don’t want a technobabble-filled script spoken by cardboard characters, nor do we want a room full of angst-filled losers whining about how nothing ever happens... while nothing is happening. In other words, if asked if we want plot-driven stories or character-driven stories, our answer is a resounding "YES!"

We are a "low budget" production. Honestly, make that "no budget." Please don’t send us a script wherein two armies of five thousand fully costumed and accoutremented foot soldiers clash on a fantastic alien battlefield littered with crumbled statuary erected to long-since-forgotten Old Ones. We’d much rather the epic clash in your story occurs between one of those soldiers and a member of our crew, and that the clash be of wills and character.

Scripts cannot be more than 15 pages in length, but don’t think they must be 15 pages long. They should be only as long as necessary to tell the story. Do NOT pad your script. If your script runs 12 pages, let it run 12 pages. If it runs 9 or even 4 pages, let it. Don't get hung up on the length, modern-day script structure, acts, epilogues, teasers. Be flexible, and we will be, too.
Due to the sporadic nature of funding and mounting a fan production, we want exciting standalone stories.

WHAT ARE WE NOT LOOKING FOR?

  • Avoid Modern Trek species such as the Ferengi, the Borg, Species 8472, the Vidians, and even the Denobulans.
  • Avoid the events of the 2009 Star Trek movie, Into Darkness, and Star Trek Beyond (collectively known as JJ Trek) as that is an alternate universe.
  • Avoid references to the series. Enterprise. It takes place in an alternate universe.
  • We are not accepting sequels to original series episodes/movies, or prequels to productions from the latter Star Trek series’ episodes or films.
  • Sexuality, sexual preferences, racism, and other "message" stories are not what we’re looking for. This is the 23rd century; gender preference should be no more remarked upon than the preference of blondes, brunettes or redheads (of either sex!) today. Our characters and crew would not think to vocalize such trivialities.
  • No "Mirror" or "Alternate Universe/Timeline" stories will be accepted.
  • No "Evil Twin" or similar themed stories will be accepted.
  • No parodies or outright comedies. Stories may have humor, but don’t let it be the focus of your script. Tell a funny story if you want, but bear in mind our productions are not out-right comedies even though some of our shorter productions are often deliberately humorous.
  • No "Section 31" stories will be accepted.
  • No musicals will be considered.
  • No stories pitting our crew in endless arguments and clashes with each other. These are professional space explorers. Though they may disagree with each other fervently, there is nothing personal about it. Don’t build a story around trivial arguments.
  • Avoid modern popular culture references. As wonderful as it may be to have a lovely contemporary ballad playing on the soundtrack, we ask that you refrain from suggesting we do so in your script. As cute as it may be to have our characters growl out Nirvana, Beastie Boys and Limp Bizkit songs, we again ask you not to do so. Putting aside any debate over whether or not most of the musical artists and hits of the 20th century will be known three hundred years from now -- even allowing that the music of The Beatles (to pick the most obvious example) might be somewhat known then -- there is the present day issue of royalty rights. Even though CBS-Viacom look the other way when we use their creations, we seriously doubt that Misters McCartney and Starkey, Miss Ono and Mrs. Harrison, or whoever owns the Apple catalog these days, will be as generous.
  • Likewise, we ask that you refrain from having our characters use present day slang, or make references to current events (unless you have written a time travel script, of course). None of our captains would threaten to "pop a cap in yo ass," nor would they compare the political machinations of Planet X to those of the Reagan, Clinton, Bush or Obama administrations. Surely in the intervening three hundred years there would be far more relevant and immediate slang and political events to reference. Invent your own.
  • Avoid excessive references to Star Trek (The Original Productions). Please don’t have our characters "name drop" the characters and incidents from the original productions unless it is absolutely vital to your story. If your script concerns the tribbles, you may certainly invoke Sherman’s Planet for flavor, but please don’t have one person encapsulate the entire plot of "The Trouble with Tribbles" to another.

SCRIPT FORMAT

Courier or Courier New, 12 pitch.
The following tab settings are approximate, if you’re off, no one will kill you.
Left margin -- 15 (1½ inches)
Character name -- 35  (3½ inches)
Dialogue -- 25 (ends around 55-60 at most--2½ inches)
Parentheticals (only if absolutely necessary) -- 30 (2 inches)
Right margin -- 75 (one inch in from the right edge of page--7½ inches from the left)
Top/Bottom Margin -- 1 inch
Page Number -- 70-75, top right, approximately ½ inch from top of paper
CAPITALIZE the characters’ names in the narrative when they first appear in your script and over their dialogue and in scene headers if used as such. Otherwise, use an initial cap and then small case letters.

Modern screenplays and teleplays rarely use the famous "CUT TO" (or DISSOLVE TO, etc.). One scene follows another; it is a given that the editor will have to cut to the next scene.

Do not number your scene headers (aka slug lines).

Without trying to crimp your style, we ask you to please, PLEASE refrain from writing camera-heavy scripts. Avoid directing on paper. Do not tell our director if we need a close up, a two shot, an over the shoulder shot, or a long shot. Do not tell our director to rack focus, to dolly forward, dolly back or whip pan. Do not use "wrylys" -- parenthetical directions telling the actor how to deliver the line. Let your dialogue speak for itself.

Because no script is more than 15 pages in length, there is no need to break it into acts. You can have a teaser and an epilogue, but rarely do we need to create artificial constructs to add to drama at the end of an act. Simply write the script using the tried and true Aristotle codified structure (beginning, middle, end), but for heaven's sake, don't assume you must emulate the original productions' format!).



UNACCEPTABLE

"Encounter With K’Bob"
TEASER FADE IN:
EXT. PLANET’S SURFACE
EXTREME LONG SHOT - DAY - 9:32 A.M.
A desolate stretch of barren, dry, sandy wasteland, dotted by maroon/gold/blue alien trees or shrubs. A small thatched hut, similar to the Earth time period 1454-1459, stands by one of the weird withered alien trees. "Rain on the Scarecrow," by John Mellencamp, plays on the soundtrack.

CLOSE SHOT
Captain Grigory and Lieutenant Landon materialize (use the transporter effect from TOS for old times sake!)
.
EXTREME CLOSE-UP ON THEIR HANDS
They draw their phasers.

TWO SHOT - GRIGORY AND LANDON
They walk toward the hut.

CUT TO:
INT. HUT - DAY

K’BOB, like most of his race, very vicious and mean, is a Klingon warrior, a member of the House of H’Cup, to be precise, about 35. He watches Grigory and Landon.

K’BOB
(surprised, but yet
viciously, in Klingonese,
SUBTITLED)
Oh, darn!

DISSOLVE TO:
MEDIUM UP ANGLE - GRIGORY AND LANDON
as they draw closer.

GRIGORY
(authoritatively)
Lieutenant Landon, circle around back
while I approach from the front.

RICHARDS
(compliantly)
Aye, Captain Grigory.

ANGLE ON LANDON’S FEET
Landon jogs, no, SPRINTS, behind the hut.

DOLLY IN ON GRIGORY
Grigory takes a manly, self-reassuring breath of air, walks calmly, yet cautiously, to the hut’s door.

VERY SLOW (SLOWER, DAMN IT!) FADE OUT.

.

 
ACCEPTABLE

"Encounter With K’Bob"
TEASER
FADE IN:
EXT. PLANET’S SURFACE – DAY
A desolate stretch of wasteland, dotted by the occasional tree or shrub. A small thatched hut stands by a withered tree.

CAPTAIN and SECURITY materialize, draw their phasers, and walk toward the hut. INT. HUT - DAY - SAME TIMEK’BOB, a typically arrogant Klingon warrior, about 35, observes Captain and Security through a narrow opening in the hut wall.

K’BOB
(in Klingonese, SUBTITLED)
Oh, darn!

BACK TO CAPTAIN AND SECURITY
as they draw closer.

CAPTAIN
 Circle around back
while I approach from the front.
 
SECURITY
 Aye, sir
. Security hurries behind the hut.


Captain takes a deep breath, walks to the hut’s door.

                                                       FADE OUT. END OF TEASER
While the above example is certainly not the pinnacle of writing excellence (all this could be accomplished by the captain giving hand signals, nor is there a great need to know exactly what K’Bob said), notice that unlike the first, we did not tell the director how to direct, nor did we tell the actors how to act. We did not include details (the House of H’Cup) that could not be SEEN onscreen at that moment.

You will also note that we don’t list which characters will appear. We simply say CAPTAIN because sometimes a cast member is not available. We also have the same issue with SECURITY. By not being so specific, we can actually replace the characters with available actors.

Trust our actors to add any little nuances to their characterizations as they portray the characters that, for the most part, they themselves created.

Lastly, please note that we did not use 1985 Midwestern rock songs, etc., etc.

 

 

 

 


We don’t want this. You've basically written yourself as the author, director, actor(s), editor of this production (to name some of the many roles you've taken on), and it's just really pretentious
 
Yes, we are certainly aware that many professional screenwriters (Harlan Ellison springs to mind) do write incredibly detailed scripts, indicating every angle, every zoom, every nuance. To put it succinctly: I've met Harlan Ellison, and you're no Harlan Ellison.

If you have any questions, PLEASE ASK THEM. The only feedback we get from our production guidelines is when people come to us with a question about this prohibition or a request for further edification and explanation.

Above all, remember, we’re here to have fun!

 

For videos, info, and photos, follow us on ...
 
     
 

The persons and events in this program are ficticious. Any similarity to actual persons or events is unintentional.

Produced in 2016 by POTEMKIN PICTURES

Star Trek and all related marks, logos and characters are solely owned by CBS Studios Inc. This fan production is not endorsed by, sponsored by, nor affiliated with CBS, Paramount Pictures, or any other Star Trek franchise, and is a non-commercial fan-made film intended for recreational use. No commercial exhibition or distribution is permitted. No alleged independent rights will be asserted against CBS or Paramount Pictures.