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The Constar Playlist – A Star Trek Fan Film Series by Vance Major Owen

About a Year ago, I was introduced to one of the more prolific Star Trek fan Film producers/actors. Vance Major Owen created the character of Erik Minard(named after his childhood friends) as a way to explore the growth of an individual character as he grew both in responsibility and rank.  Vance has always been a bit of a geek, and a Star Trek fan from his days as a kid all the way up to adulthood.  He and his friends(Erik Hublein and Jeremy Minard) created the USS Constar NCC-1036 as the ship for their “adventures”.  Vance wrote a series of short fan films bringing the adventures of the Constar to life, in my opinion it was a way to show how much that boyhood dream meant to Vance.  In a series of short films he created the legacy of a ship, the ship nearest to his heart……lets take a look…..shall we

 

Resistance – A Star Trek Fan Film

This film opens with a shot of a bridge crew walking onto the bridge of the USS Constar , her screens are dark, her senior officer Captain Erik Minard orders the bridge crew to their stations.  The Music by Adam Mullen, is a deep vibrant bass tone, clearly equating the serious look on Captain Minard’s face. The Constar powers up, Her Bussard Collectors glow a rich blue as the engines come to life. Constar is a wounded ship, but even a wounded ship In the right hands can be deadly.  The CGI effects are very well done. space looks like space. the interior and exterior of the space dock has a good 3 dimensional feel to it. The scale showing the size of space dock vice the ship is perfect(as good as Star Trek 3 IMO).  The bridge crew looks haggard, they did not expect to be going into battle with “a museum piece” A battle has taken place one which the Federation has not fared well in at all. damaged and destroyed Star Ships litter the area. What can one old rust bucket do against an invader that caused all this damage?  Captain Minard give a “pep talk” and orders to his crew.  You can tell they all know his words, while an attempt to instill strength ring hollow in the face of all the destruction they just witnessed. The film clocks in at just under 4 minutes, perfect to set the somber tone of the story.

Old Wounds

This short film opens with a CGI shot of the USS Constar orbiting a planet. it then shifts to an open graveyard, and we see the headstone of Erik Minard’s wife Emily, killed one year earlier.  Another Star Fleet Member walks up, she says “another Year, you would think it would be easier”? This episode is a brilliant take on love and loss, and how those who survive tragedy learn to live without becoming bitter. Minard tells Nancy “the year has given him perspective”.  It is an interesting line, one that works in the film, and one that resonates with those who deal with tragedy in their every day life.  Minard’s best line is reminding Nancy “you have to learn how to live, and not let it(pain and loss) consume you”.  Again this is true both in film and in life. Nancy thanks Erik for his advice, and asks him if “he is sure he is not a father”? Erik has the look of both longing and slight amusement on his face at the thought.  This is a two person short staring Vance Major Owen and Aimee Poage.  One thing I like about this film is as the scene moves along, the sky grew brighter, echoing the tone of the film.  The song “a perfect world” by Daniel T Hawkins is the only music, and it is fitting because in a perfect world no one would know the loss of a loved one.

Stand by Me

What do you get when you combine a mystery, a galaxy class star ship named Enterprise and an appearance by everyone’s favorite Trek Android. You get 8:30 minutes of interesting.  Erik Minard, the calm, cool captain, and Yaffah Lewis as the exuberant Commander Aubrey Mickle are a study in contrasts. Mickle is trying to crack the mystery that is Minard, while Minard tries to keep feelings and emotions under wraps as a Star ship captain should. This story takes place in the Gamma Quadrant which as most Trek fans know is the home of the Dominion.  Jeremy Horn’s take on Lt Cmdr Data, is close enough to see that he took his role seriously and did not want to embarrass the source material.  A mysterious 80 year old element peaks Captain Minard interest more than any conversation has in any of the Constar films.  When you add in a communications buoy and a mystery ship (I won’t spoil the surprise) you get a film that is a fitting light follow up to Old Wounds. Every film gives us a better glimpse into Minard and what makes him tick.  Easter eggs abound in this movie, and while I have shared some of them, others I will leave for the viewer to discover on their own. There is even an end credit scene, which brings another well known character, and a piece of information that has Minard  thinking in a very serious manner.

Mr. O’Sullivan’s Bakery

This film shows how Erik Minard handles the loss of the one person who showed him kindness growing up, and what that act of kindness did to change him and shape his future. Minard wishes he had more time to have told Hawkins what he meant to him, and regrets never doing so. This is another outdoor episode, the majority of it is set on a bridge.  This is both fitting as it is a place near and dear to Minard’s heart, but also makes it hard to hear some of the dialog. Aimeee Poage makes another strong appearance reminding Minard that he has been the “big papa bear” for so many people, it is time for him to allow someone else to take that role, and be there for him.

Crying Wolf

How do you end something that has meant so much to your life. Well in classic Trek fashion, When it is a ship…..You destroy it.  This movie is the end of the USS Constar NCC-1036. and a fitting end it is.  As Captain Minard walks her damaged and deserted decks we hear his thoughts as a nice voice over.  He is thinking of the person who caused this. Minard wonders was joining the Maqui(federation terrorists) worth destroying the ship, causing so much loss of life, and family. Minard vows to make the traitor pay for his actions. The majority of this film is shot in night vision mode, and it works.  It enables the darkened ships ambient light to be captured in such a way that even though it is one man exploring a wrecked ship, you feel like you are there.  It is one of the stronger episodes in the series, even though it is a one man show.

 

Final Thoughts – This Series unlike most Trek Fan Films doesn’t take place on a ship(for the most part), however a ship most definitely is at the heart of the series.  The Constar bookends the series, we see her birth and death on film.  Each film breaks down Erik Minard in a small way, making him seem “more human”.

My favorite episode is Old Wounds. It just resonates in such a way that explains the grieving process in a simple straight forward manner.  It shows why support while grieving is so important.

overall – The 5 films simply work. If you are looking for space battles, this playlist is not for you. However if you are looking to experience “the human condition” this series is for you.

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One Comment

  1. Vance major
    Posted December 6, 2017 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    I really enjoyed your take on the Constar Chronicles

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