Oh boy this one may take awhile to create text for.
Pictures may speak a thousand words but no amount of pictures could fully explain what UFPMedia (our IN-CHARACTER RADIO STATION for Star Trek:Online) was doing, FRONT & CENTER in one of the best spots at the Star Trek Las Vegas convention in 2016: The 50th Anniversary of Star Trek.
We had quite a few things going at our 'booth':
- We wanted a DJ broadcast station to livestream audio & video of Star Trek: Online
- We wanted a recording booth to livestream and preserve convention goers thoughts on what Star Trek means to them.
- We wanted two walls of the booth to 'preserve' the signatures of convention goers.
- We needed to promote our station.
THE TEMPLE OF KIROK:
In the Original Series of Star Trek episode; The Paradise Syndrome, Captain Kirk discovers a 'Preserver' obelisk and triggers a trap door to open. Unseen as this happens, Kirk can not be found by Spock who must return to the Enterprise to deal with incoming Asteroids.
Kirk is seen emerging from the Preserver obelisk by the native peoples. They believe him to be a god. Kirk has no memory of who he is and tries to get his name out. This comes across to the natives as "KIROK".
Now to make a long story short. OUR goal was to PRESERVE all we could from STLV guests. So the idea to go with a TEMPLE OF KIROK and Preserver obelisk theme was decided upon for our booth.
In Colorado I began construction on what would be the LEFT side of the booth with the signage, signing walls and information about who we are what we were hoping to achieve.
As well as creating our Business Cards, ID Badges, Brochures and Station Portfolio Packages for CBS etc.
The Recording Booth and Broadcast TOWER was created by Neil Ratcliff (DJ Pipeman). He came up with a very unusual solution that allowed guests to be recorded in the lower
half of the booth, while he, myself, DJ Corvin or DJ Storm could also be broadcasting and displaying video over the guests heads.
When I say unusual I mean we had to lower a Rope Ladder down from a hatch and secure it into the frame. Then climb up, pull the rope ladder up and drop the hatch (which was part of a seating bench/desk unit). You'll see what I mean in the photo gallery below soon.
TROUBLE IN PARADISE:
Although we had sent in detailed information along with drawings about what we wanted our booth to be, Creation Entertainment folks were not pleased at all as we literally TOWERED over almost everything except the Main Attraction by MAC Cosmetics right across from us. THE BEST SPOT IN THE HOUSE! This was a blessing and later found to be a curse.
So we were read the RIOT ACT by Creation Entertainment staff saying they never approved it. Well they never disapproved it either. We never heard anything but OK from them after we would send in our booth layout designs.
At one point they said if the Fire Marshall closed STLV down it would be because of us! "That's harsh and heavy, man!"
The structure was STRONG and built incredibly well. There was no chance of any problems so everyone eventually chilled and we carried on.
PLOT COURSE DEVIATION:
I was very much expecting Creation Entertainment to invite Guinness Book of World Records to the event. "The Most Dressed Trekkers in One Location" had been raised from 100 when it started to over 500 by the time STLV16 came around. There was most certainly going to be more than 500 people. But they chose not to.
My interest in the record is due to the fact that I STARTED THE THING! Indirectly, but it was my request in 2010 that Tricia Gray at Cryptic Studios to contact Guinness Book of World Records. Anyway. They chose not to.
The Sound and the Fury
The Main Attraction in the Vendor hall was a $75,000 'in the round' series of stage sets build by MAC Cosmetics. With actors performing the same scenes each hour or so. When the actors were not performing people were allowed to enjoy the sets.
I mentioned a CURSE in the text above. Let me get back to that.
The SOUND engineers for MAC cranked the volume WAY up. Nobody could hear anyone else. We had no choice but to ask politely if they would turn it down a bit. We were not the only ones so that helped for a shot time. But eventually they would slowly creep the volume up again.
Despite having a well made recording booth with sound deadening material the MAC audio drowned out almost every guest livestreamer we got into the booth. All the recordings from that were tainted and un-useable. Not only that. The music that MAC was using was flagged as a Copyright Violation on every livestream video that was recorded to YouTube. There was no way to strip the music out. All the video had to be pulled from YouTube!
Two Sides of Love
We did manage to get both sides of our signing walls filled with the names of convention guest and had a wonderful time talking to people about Star Trek and what it means to them.
Nicole DeBoer who was seated next to us the entire time was the first to sign the wall.
Conner Trinnear, Dominick Keating and Duncan McNeal were also seated next to us the whole time.
We had a lot of special guests stop by the booth like Executive Producer Al Rivera from Cryptic Studios( More on him later) and had some nice encounters with Star Trek Celebs like WALTER KOENIG.
I MISS YOU!
By Saturday night nobody had seen Walter Koening and the word was he was not coming. I hopped on Twitter and sent him a message. "Where are you!? I miss you!"
The next morning as we were getting settled in for another day, an older man with his baseball cap pulled low walks right up to me. "WALTER!" I said, nearly jumping out of my skin! "I...sent you a tweet last night." "I got it. Thank you. So how's life?" He asked. "Much better now. It's perfect now."
This all happened so fast nobody had time to react and get a photo. I think someone was aiming the livestream cam at us.
It's ok. It wasn't for publicity. I had been seeing Walter at conventions since I was a little boy and this was emotional for me. Everyone was getting so old and I had no idea if I would ever really see him or any of the other main cast after this event. I said what I needed to say and then said goodbye. "THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING!! I LOVE YOU AND GOD BLESS YOU!"
I was able to slip away when Nichelle Nichols arrived and was able to say the same thing to her.
William Shatner. Who I have still never met in all these years was never available. I did get to slip into the back of a convention room for a few minutes and hear him speaking. I closed my eyes and tried to absorb the moment. I was finally at least in the same room with William Shatner.
In all the years of also going to Comic Book Conventions, John Byrne was always absent. He was the only Comic Book Artist I truly idolized as a kid. He was there because he had been working on Star Trek comics for IDW Publishing.
I was more Star struck than I expected and could find nothing much to say other than "You're one of the greatest artists of our time!" I felt just like Chris Farley on SNL in those skits with Sir Paul McCartney. "Remember...remember when you drew the X-Men comics... ...THAT WAS COOL!"
The biggest REDSHIRT has to be UFPMedia in general. We were there to promote our; all, in-character radio station for Star Trek: Online.
I am the world's first in-character DJ for Star Trek: Online and created the worlds first in-character radio station for Star Trek:Online with Gaming Radio Network. They wanted to change the format and would not let me market any items after setting it up. I had to walk away from it.
I then helped set up STO-Radio but they wanted a format change too so we created TREKRADIO.
Trying to set up another all in-character radio station was rough with having to compete with the stations I had already heled create.
Since 2005 I had also done a lot of interviews with Perpetual Entertainment and Cryptic ENtertainment and had been promoting the idea of a Star Trek TV Show tying in directly to the MMO. Allowing fans to participate in the outcome of certain canon events. Thus getting to be part of canon themselves.
I had high hopes it was finally going to happen and our chances of succeeding as a radio station and bridge between the two would take off.
A new, yet untitled Star Trek TV show was on the way ( Turning out to be Star Trek: DIscovery) and I was eager to find out if CBS and Cryptic were talking.
Cryptic's Executive Al Rivera finally tells me. "It's going to happen Kinneas. Just NOT the way you imagined it". 'The studio wants to do what they want to do and we just have to create content around that for now. We won't be running in real-time with the current episodes, will not be creating them hand in hand with the studio and will always be months behind whatever they are doing'.
We still had a good time and it was a memorable experience getting to be there for the 50th anniversary of Star Trek but closing down and going home was a bit sad.
This was a heavy blow. Morale was already low and this kind of put the nail in the coffin for UFPMedia. There were other problems but after STLV things started falling apart and again some DJ's did not want to do all in-character content.
Then Donald Trump won.
The community shattered and split in two and everyone was fighting and DJ's started leaving.
I pulled the plug and have not done any broadcasting since 2017.
The new Star Trek shows: Discovery, Picard, Lower Decks...are all tying into Star Trek: Online but still 'NOT THE WAY YOU IMAGINED IT, KINNEAS'. :)
As my old partner Zach used to say: "TYPICAL". Yup. Typical.
It's almost 2021 now.
People has started asking for us to return but it's so hard to produce good LIVE content when the Studio and MMO are not more LIVE themselves. We serve no real purpose beyond playing music and being entertaining. The MMO, even though capable of LIVE events has not done ANY since CLOSED BETA.
There was some hope for awhile but Cryptic has NEVER used that ability that would have given us so much purpose as in-character broadcasters.
I still FEEL that one day it WILL happen. That the studio will realize what kind of viewer numbers and subscribers they could get if they chose to leverage a primary psychological need in the fanbase to create and connect with Star Trek canon.
It was not an idea I pulled out of my butt.
It was from doing research on what made the Star Trek fanbase UNIQUE in the American History Experience. How it became one of the worlds first unique Subcultures. How it remarkably spawned ICONS (ONLY real people had ever become ICONS).
That lead to researching the Psychology of the Star Trek fanbase and discovering what the PRIMARY Psychological NEEDS is and HOW to address FEEDING that need with a TV show and MMO.
If MONEY is all the studio cares about than I have provided them best way for them to achieve that!
Can it be done!? YES!
I had been writing forum posts on this subject on StarTREK.com since 2005 and by 2008 SYFY and TRION entertainment said "IT IS THE HOLY GRAIL OF IDEAS!" and that they were going to attempt it. I wished them luck but said it would not work without a fanbase like Star Trek and I was right. It's not just having a large viewing audience that matters. There is MORE to it.
So the technology exists and how I imagined it could work was all validated by SYFY and TRION.