Randall Landers is happily married and with three wonderful children. Randy is the owner of a small videography studio in Albany, Georgia. Prior to launching Project: Potemkin, he has been active in writing fan fiction for Star Trek fanzines since 1977 (a short story published in Roberta Rogow’s GRIP #4), and published his first fanzine, Stardate, in 1979. His favorite character is McCoy, but his most famous work would have to be Chekov’s Enterprise, which came in 3rd place in the 1998 ASC Awards for Best TOS General Story. Randy’s other awards include the 1989 Fan Q Award Best Fanzine & Editor and 1992 Fan Q Award Best Fanzine & Editor. (Orion Press has won seven Fan Q’s over the years, in fact.)
A graduate of Emory University in Atlanta, Randy has published and edited more fanzines than perhaps any other fan. As the interest in fanzines has waned, Randy focuses a tremendous amount of time and energy producing his fan him series, PROJECT: POTEMKIN. Randy made the decision in December 2009 to step into producing fan films of his own, featuring a new ship, a new crew, and having science fiction as the basis for its episodes while concentrating on character studies (humorous and serious) in vignettes (short films).
Set a few years after Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country, this exciting fan film series takes place aboard the starship Potemkin, an up-rated Constitution III-class heavy cruiser. It’s on a five-year mission of exploration in deep space where its crew encounters strange new worlds while seeking out new life forms and new civilizations. The Potemkin is an older ship, one of the original twelve. She’s been refitted a few times, but she’s one of the last of her kind. Its captain, a forty-year veteran of Starfleet, has a unique crew, mostly comprised of inexperienced officers, the occasional cast off from another ship, and a feisty chief medical officer.
Our episodes focus on science fiction as well as action-adventure, humor and drama. Each production varies in its length; we don’t restrict ourselves by following a typical four-act television format. Instead, our writers think outside the box. We’ve produced many vignettes (ranging from 6 to 15 mins), a half-hour episode, and even a full-length episode. Filming takes place in various locations in Southwest Georgia in order to take advantage of the wide variety of unique locations throughout the region. In addition to the studio we’ve built in Albany, Georgia, we’ve filmed on a river front in Lee County, in the historic Radium Springs Gardens in Dougherty County, in downtown Americus, and we’re looking at other exciting, unique locations throughout the region.
All of this helps make Project: Potemkin a unique Star Trek fan film series!
1 What is your earliest Star-Trek related memory?
I watched the original series as a child with my parents who were both fans. One of my first memories was watching “Patterns of Force” and getting very confused about how the guy who got “shot” could get back up after being shot. I’d never heard of “blanks” before.
2 What is your personal favorite moment in time as a fan?
Reveling in ST:TMP during its first showing at the local theatre, and watching ST:TWOK with special friends.
3 How did people share fanfic before we had e-mail and the internet?
We published fanzines. In fact, I started publishing ORION PRESS in June 1979 with STARDATE 1. I’ve sold tens of thousands of Star Trek fanzines as ORION PRESS.
4 How have fan conventions changed over the decades?
Sadly, they got bigger, and the little guys were pushed out of business, and then the big guys got so expensive that the cons are getting smaller.
5 Do you like all the televised versions of Trek and all the movies?
I LOVE the original series and the original series-based movies up through Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country. I like TNG, DS9 and VOY. I detest ENT. I like the modern Trek movies with the major exception of NEMESIS. JJ Abrams’ nuTrek is hit and miss with me. I liked his first one, but this was not my Star Trek. At least it was enjoyable. INTO DARKNESS is terrible.
6 What is the most ridiculous argument you’ve ever heard between two Trek fans?
Usually it’s related to costumes. “Oh, our material was hand-spun of the looms of Gene Roddenberry, and yours wasn’t!” and “Well, our patterns were drawn by Gene Roddenberry himself!” and “Your colors are not exact.” and “Your patch is made of inferior materials!”
7 What is the most ridiculous argument you’ve heard between fans of different SciFi franchises?
Kevin Sorbo was better in HERCULES vs Kevin Sorbo was better in ANDROMEDA. Heard this one in Tampa in April.
8 How does a creator make sure they don’t anger the powers-that-be (AKA copyright holder) when writing or filming fanfic?
The studios are aware of what you’re doing. As long as you abide by their rules (i.e. don’t make any money), they’ll leave you alone. If you ignore them, you risk their ire. We’ve had positive relations with the studios, and our only problem with Orion Press came from a franchisee.
9 What makes Project Potemkin different from other productions?
Our actors are actors, and are for the most part not tru-fans, so to speak. Our writers are telling horror, science fiction, comic stories. We don’t restrict ourselves to the four-act format. Our shows are as long or in most cases as short as they need to be. We don’t pad stories. We are a ZERO budget production, that means we have to keep how much something costs ALWAYS in mind.
10 Does Project Potemkin ever associate with other fan films?
We have positive relations with just about every fan film production. We have filmed two vignettes with the cast and crew of Star Trek: Reliant, Star Trek: Valkyrie, Starship Farragut, Star Trek: Phase 2. We love working with other productions!
11 How much of your cast and crew is regular members and how much consists of people who just come around for one or two shoots?
Our cast are all actors from theater, stage, television, and even film. They’re professionals. This is not to say they everyone is in every episode. We have two or three actors for each post (e.g. we have three science officers and we rotate who appears in our production). Rarely do we have someone come for just one or two shoots.
12 How much of the work is done by people who live nowhere near your physical facility?
We have a graphics visual effects artist in Nova Scotia, another in Iceland. We have two musicians in Britain. One of our editors (and co-exec producer) lives in Phoenix Arizona. We have writers in the Canary Islands, Ohio, California, Georgia. Basically, we’re an international production in that regard.
Project: Potemkin is blessed to have a 2000’ sqft studio in Albany, Georgia. We have a bridge, ready room, transporter room, three corridors, plasma conduit maintenance room, and brig as our permanent standing sets. We also have a Klingon bridge and a Romulan control center as part of our temporary sets. There are three studios with more square footage, and they’re wonderful. But that’s outside of our scope and budget. We’re very happy with what we have.
14 Does Project Potemkin film only at certain times during the year, or year-round?
We film year round, although we don’t usually film in the studio in the summer. Interestingly enough, today, July 12th, we filmed for 7 hours on location in the heat and humidity of a South Georgia swamp.
15 What are the titles and lengths of the vignettes Project Potemkin has released this year?
We’re on a schedule to release one per month this year:S02-B “Darkness” 5 mins
S02-C “Second Contact” 8 mins
S02-D “Ashes” 5 mins
S02-E “Beach Towel” 6 mins
S02-F “Shovel of Kahless” 8 minsAnd on Monday, July 15, we’ll be releasing…
16 What is your favorite Project Potemkin release?
S02-E “Beach Towel”
S03-A “Holding Pattern” (although it hasn’t been released yet – Scheduled for November)
17 Other than releasing episodes and vignettes for the world to enjoy, how do you and the Project Potemkin team connect with fans?
We have a daily blog on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/projectpotemkin/ that fans can keep up with the latest news. We also have an updated website: http://www.projectpotemkin.com/ Our YouTube channel ishttp://www.youtube.com/user/Potemkin1711/videos. Our Vimeo channel is https://vimeo.com/user5227474
18 If you could choose three actors (not just Trek actors) to do a guest appearance on Project Potemkin, who would you choose?
Believe it or not: Asia Carrera (yes, the porn actress), the late Roddy McDowell, and Harrison Ford. An eclectic group to be sure, but I have story ideas that would fit them perfectly.
19 If Will Riker were to meet Han Solo at some cross-dimensional bar, what would the dynamic between them be like?
Han doesn’t trust people in authority, so sadly, there would be no dynamic. Will doesn’t suffer fools lightly, and when Han pops off with the Millennium Falcon making the Kessel Run in twelve parsecs, he’s not going to be interesting in striking up a conversation, especially if Han shoots someone first.
20 Who shot first, Han or Greedo?
Well, obviously Han. I don’t care for the revised versions of Star Wars or Star Trek.
Fascinating, even if he and I disagree on Enterprise. So happy you shared. =)
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