"Three to beam up"

A macabre video cheaply exploiting women to sell coffee is not the only video I produced. In high school, as part of the requirements for my grade 11 French course, we had to produce a full story video. After much lobbying, I was able to persuade my friends to make a Star Trek episode. I don't remember what it was called - probably "The Maze".

I based the story on a short story I read in which an alien race captured a landing party and subjected them to various encounters in a maze-like environment. The trick was that the layout of the maze kept changing.

It was certainly the most ambitious project that had been undertaken. We constructed a bridge set. On our shoe string budget it was made of cardboard boxes, unfolded, glued together and painted. We cut out panels, covered them with wax paper and hung blinking lights behind them. We also added various space pictures and had a loop projector in one of the display screens playing the moon landing.

We also had costumes made up. One of my friends’ dad was a tailor and he made us a bunch of red and blue shirts along with one gold shirt for the captain.

We used music from Pink Floyd for the ambience.

My dad made me a model of the enterprise out of aluminum (my dad is a tool and die maker and did a very credible job on the model - the model is in Ottawa at the moment, so I can’t post a picture, but I may later).

The whole episode ran for more than half an hour - which certainly handily beat most which where in the 10-15 minute range. It was another project that received top accolades from peers and professors alike.

We did it as a serious episode. Thinking back, I think we probably should have had more fun and made it a parody.

I remember Chris, who was playing the role of Dr. McCoy, running up to a fallen crewman and declaring, "He's dead, Jim!" before kneeling down and proceeding to examine him.

We had one female crew member, Lt Palmer (played by Elizabeth Rogers in the original series episodes “The Doomsday Machine" and "The Way to Eden" and by Alison in our episode), the communications officer. Since the shirts were so long, she simply tied a belt around her waist and wore the bottom half as a short skirt (in keeping with the short skirts of the original series).

Again, it was an enjoyable experience. I wish I could do more. I do have a video camera and sometimes dream of doing something with the kids (aside from taping "important" events). On the other hand, there are tons of things I want to do. I need to learn to focus.

I later reused the plot of the story in a role playing session, where one of my friends remarked, "Hey! This is familiar."

[Note: In the province of Quebec, high school only goes to grade 11. After that we go to CEGEP, choosing either a two year pre-university program or a three year career program.]

Image taken from here.


Lunafish said…
Sounds like fun. Is there a copy of the video somewhere? I would love to see that.
ghee said…
hey,why not,richard!you have the potential and maybe now`s the time to expose it and start it with your own kids!

There`s no harm,and it would be fun,too!

Hope to see the video,too!

Enjoy the weekend!
Richard said…
lunafish: there may be a copy, but that was 23 years ago. I never had a copy.

ghee: who knows maybe I will try.
Cavalock said…
ha...role-playing sessions, ah good times. what system were u playing? Traveller? Star Frontiers?
Barbara said…
I'm most impressed with the contributions of the parents. Have you had a reunion of the cast?
Enjoying time. said…
Sometimes I think the freedom to create may be more important to our existence than breathing. I think that creativity is the very meaning of our heart and the true love of our mind.

Imagine what you would be producing now had your professors noticed the extraordinary amount of joy you gained by creating that movie, taken you aside, and shown you how important creating is to those who feel the world the same way as you do. Imagine what type of emotions, perspectives, and insights you would have uncovered. How blind of them. But today may be the change we wanted in the yesterday.

I think it is impossible to find the incredibly joyful nuances of our creative energy, unless we continue beyond our first half-hearted attempts. Go for it! I think you'll be amazed at where it leads.
Richard said…
cavalock: I have a number of role playing systems, Star Trek (which is the primary one used - although it was adapted for fantasy role playing), D&D, James Bond and a number of others. I also enjoyed Star Fleet Battles (got to be dedicated to enjoy a gaming system that requires use of math and *gasp* fractions).

babara: There has been no reunion. Some friend sI still stay in touch with, others I never really cared for and one destroye dhis life with drugs.

enjoying time: thank you very much for your lovely and inspirational comment!
RennyBA said…
Really sound like fun - thanks for sharing!
First of all - sorry it is one day behind: Happy Canada Day from Norway!
Thanks also for your visits and nice and interesting comments and story on my blog!
Very cool experience! Some of the best are from way back in high school...fondest memories. I had a fabulous time in school...In Ontario, we did gr. 13, then I went on to University of Guelph for 4 years, which was great. Then 1 year at U. of T. for Teacher's College. It's a long haul but worth it if you love your career as I do.

Having a laid back Canada Day weekend! Hope you're having a good one!
Richard said…
rennyba: it was fun. Don't worry about being late, I don't expect non-nationals to wish me a happy Canada's day - but thanks anyway.

mother of invention:Hmmm ... my best experiences were not in high school, but I did have some positive moments.
Great article. Reminds me of my first video project.

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