I recently re-watched all the Star Trek movies. Re-watching the movies has just started a chain reaction. There are certain episodes that have come to mind that have warranted a re-viewing as well. Of course, I was always a fan of Next Gen or TNG, as fans refer to it. But I also like The Original Series. It’s a cycle that never ends! You end up going back to watch the whole series all over again, and even though you’ve seen every episode a hundred times, you still enjoy the show like you’re watching it for the first time. There’s just something about it! (Having never consistently watched later incarnations of Trek, I’ve made an effort to start watching these as well to soothe my craving for “new Trek”).
Star Trek fans are a different breed. There are fans that will take Star Trek in whatever form it comes, and there are the fans who love certain characters or certain aspects of the show. For instance, I’ve heard there is a group of people who get together weekly, sometimes even daily, to study klingon-lore in full Klingon regalia! They wrote the book on Klingonese, and every producer on the show turns to this group of fans to make sure the facts are straight on anything Klingon related. Name another show on planet earth that attracts a fan base as nerdy and as obsessive as Star Trek does. (Star Wars doesn’t count.)
This obsessive fanfare shows up even among the actors and producers of the show, though not with the same tone. Wil Wheaton, who portrayed Wesley Crusher, was considering leaving the show halfway through TNG’s run, unless he could get a bigger salary. After some discussion, Rick Berman, the show’s Executive Producer, told him they were willing to compromise. There would be no money, of course, but they were willing to promote his character to a lieutenant. (As if that were an incentive.) Sure, just charge all my cost-of-living expenses to the big Star Trek Enterprise bank.
People, it’s just a television show! You are aware of that, aren’t you?!
However extreme, the show continues to have such a loyal following. I count myself among them, though decidedly more reserved. I consider myself more of a closet Star Trek fan. I have never been to a convention and I have never gone to a movie premiere dressed in a Starfleet uniform. I did, however, make hundreds of VHS recordings of the show…and got really upset when I missed an episode. For me, it was more about the characters and the lessons the show taught me.
I wrote to every member of the Star Trek cast as a 10 or 12-year-old kid. All I wanted was their autograph. My request received a response:
At that time in my life, I wanted to be a writer. So after writing to the cast, I started writing to the writers of the show. A man by the name of Rene Echevarria responded, with not only an autograph, but he also sent me a gift package of Star Trek memorabilia that included a final draft of a script he had written for the show, and a personalized handwritten note:
I had explained to him in my letter that I wanted to be a writer someday. His note to me on the script said “Make it So,” a line made famous by Capt. Picard but a very encouraging message to me at a tender age.
Star Trek taught me first of all, to ask. There is never any harm in asking for the things I want, and sometimes you actually receive what you ask for. But if you don’t ask, the answer will always be no. People often ask me how I got started in the radio industry. The answer is that I simply asked. Everything I have achieved since then all started by asking.
Second, I learned that you can be anything you want to be, thanks to a writer’s encouragement. His words had an enormous impact on me. He gave me the permission I needed to pursue my dream. This blog you’re reading is evidence of that dream. I’ve also authored a book and own my own multimedia production company. Dreams can come true, and having someone encourage you can be the difference between making it happen or not.