Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Perhaps it might help if I gave you a better insight into what I have been doing. What is the Twelve Trek Days Of Christmas?

Christmas is a Christian festival that has become popular all over the world and in just about every culture. It has transcended its beginnings as a church holiday and is accepted as a part of Western culture. It is gazetted as a public holiday and governments have legislated retail trading laws that regulate the hours that shops can stay open. It is in effect now a state holiday, at least it is in Australia where I live!

Whilst the religious aspects of the holiday are still observed in Christian communities, not everyone celebrates it as they do. The Christmas message holds two aspects however that can be respected by every person on the globe whether they be Christian, Humanist, Buddhist or Moslem:

Peace on Earth
Goodwill to all men

For the third year in a row, The House of L'Stok is sponsoring The Twelve Trek Days of Christmas. Twelve presents, which (in theory) will be given out on the website over the traditional twelve days between Christmas and Twelfth Night.

It is my hope that by showing how fan production groups can give away presents for free not just over Christmas but all through the year, it might encourage us all to remember the spirit of brotherhood that pervades the Christmas season, all year round.

Seasons Greetings to old friends, new friends and friends I have never met!

Kirok of L'Stok

Day 1: Klin Zha!
Klingons are often depicted as being mindlessly aggressive barbarians without culture, art or sport. Nothing could be further from the truth and to prove it, this year, I have put together a simple to make portable game board and playing pieces for Klin Zha, Klingon chess! This game, steeped in the spirit of combat and valour is uniquely Klingon: you don't just capture pieces, you kill them! Play boldly and with honour and along the way learn something of the final reflection, the great game of life.

The game is available on Issuu HERE...
...where you can save a copy to print yourself using the a download button, fourth from the left on the top menu bar.

Day 2: Citizen Journalism
Fan production is about roleplaying! Some fans fantasise that they are film-makers or actors, artists or writers. Others want to be involved but have different talents, such as sound editing, managing a website or carpentry which are all very useful to a production group. Citizen journalism is halfway between. It is creative yet practical by reporting on what the fan productions are doing or commenting on it on forums, websites, Blogs, fanzines and podcasts. Our second present is an article about the news and the way it was reported by the fans, for the fans, in 2009.

Day 3: Three Wise Men
With the down-turn in the economy, this year I could only afford two wise men, Doug Zeitlin and Jim Caswell, the prime movers behind TWERPs (Time Well Electronic Productions) who, for the third year in a row have contributed a specially dedicated podcast for the Twelve Trek Days of Christmas. This year they have taken the bit between the teeth and tackled one of the thorniest questions in Star Trek fandom: Why, in a programme that prides itself on its intellectual content, is there so little said about religion and politics? Download this year's Trekcast from the TWERPs website, http://www.twerponline.net/twerpcast

Day 4: Audio Dramas
In the five years that fans have been making Star Trek audio dramas we have built up a sizable body of work with over 170 episodes. Recently there have been attempts to create directories of them so its only fair that I open the archives of The House of L'Stok to the public to give you the details as they were recorded by my loyal minions. Today's gift is a listing of every Star Trek audio drama known up to the end of 2009!

Day 5: Five Fan Films
Where have we come from? Where are we going? Well if I knew where fan films were going, I'd be investing in the share market right now! Where have they come from is an easier question! To be fair, the 1997 Star Wars fan film, Troops set the stamp for the 'made for internet' fan films we are used to today, but *ahem* There is another! In fact, there were quite a few "others" - Star Trek fan films created between 1969 - 2000. Today's present is a study of just five of them.

Day 6: Animations!
Making a fan film takes immense resources in time, effort and money - building, housing, maintaining, storing, props, sets, special effects! "Greenscreen" filming, where live actors are 'overlaid' onto a computer generated background cuts out a lot of that expense but you still need cameras, lights, costumes, getting everyone together at the same place and the same time ... and heaven forbid that you should need to re-shoot something! !CoughExeterCough!

Animation takes this a step further by making even the actors virtual! Its a challenge to breath life into two or, more frequently three dimensional graphics but if the creative team have the necessary skills and talent to pull it off it, there are very real advantages. Not only can the most fantastic scenery be used but you also have unlimited wardrobe, props and special effects departments that can be generated graphically, especially important in science fiction where we might want to have six-armed Thoats battling under the hurtling moons of Barsoom! Who is doing it and, more importantly, how are they doing it? Read on and find out!

Day 7: Twelfth Night
One of the things that I've been quite proud of over the years that we have been doing the Twelve Trek Days Of Christmas has been the fact that every year we have broken some new ground. In 2007 it was a full cast Star Trek audio drama/Podbook series produced by Save Enterprise and in 2008 we started publishing fan fiction novels as pdf eBooks, more of which are coming this year! This year, I would like to invite you along for the ride as we create some experimental media.

Sometimes coming up with something new just means combining existing media in new ways or putting them to a difference purpose. Hmmm, let's see. Shakespeare is always fertile ground for classic motifs in drama, but has anyone ever done Star Trek Shakespeare? LOL! No? How about a comedy for tonight? I mean a comedy about this very night, the traditional Twelfth Night after Christmas! A night of revels and pranks, turnaround and mistaken identity!

And just to make it a little harder I'll do it as a BlogScript so that we can all learn something about creating a CSS Blog... whilst juggling three knives and balancing a rubber chicken on your nose! No? Well just put the knives and rubber chicken back in their box and follow this link over here to Star Trek - Twelfth Night 2009

Day 8: Music Videos
Last year's survey of Music Videos was a popular addition to the Twelve Trek Days Of Christmas and this year, Sebastiaan van Mierlo, the owner of Final Frontier Media, has graciously provided us with his listing of the top Star Trek music videos of all time!

Day 9: Star Trek Gaming
Talk to most people about Star Trek fan productions and they will instantly think of fan films, many of the older fans will identify with fan fiction but other than that, they might have heard of the occasional animation, music video or audio drama but that's about all. It might come as a surprise to realise that fan-made games have a history nearly as long as fan fiction and for sheer diversity of content have virtually no equal! Today we look at the world of Star Trek gaming as for the third year we have the new and improved Twelve days of Christmas "Compendium of Games"!

Day 10: Card models
For many years I maintained a Trek in Paper website which recently went down with the Geocities ship that could never really be kept up to date so fast is the pace of new models coming out! Andreas Lange has done sterling work keeping a similar list on the German "Kartonmodell-Forum". In an attempt to get around the problem of continual updating I started a Yahoo Group - "Star Trek Paper Models" - on which we try to send out information on new Trek models as they pop up.

However there is still a need for a periodically updated listing, not least to keep track of what is no longer available on the internet. Today's present is an archive of links to Free - yes FREE! - Paper Models of Star Trek Spacecraft, arranged by subject and chronological order, to form a "Virtual Museum" of the Star Trek Universe. The job is so massive though that I am going to split the release into parts and release them periodically.

Which brings me to my last present which I am still working on, three months into the new year - a Trekzine! Much of what I have posted for the Twelve Trek Days has given me an itch to create myself and one of my past endeavours has been my perzine, Acrux.This year, Acrux comes out of hibernation and over the course of this year I will be featuring Star Trek fan fiction, including a serialisation of Star Trek: Twelfth Night, plus news and commentary on Star Trek fan productions.

Every weekend I say, I'll finish it this weekend but it is still here, nearly finished, but not *quite* there!