New ‘Star Trek’ site gives fans the creators’ point of view

Officially launched on Star Trek Day, the new website WarpFactorTrek aims to give fans an intimate look at how those involved in their favorite franchise did what they did. Sometimes that means actors and stunt people who appeared on the various shows will share their experience behind the scenes. Other times, fans will be able to read articles written by folks who pitched ideas and wrote scripts for Voyager and Deep Space Nine.

The site is run by Dan Leckie, who some may know by his Twitter persona — The Scotch Trekker. Leckie and his team of creative minds promise that this Trek site is unlike any other out there. This is quite true, and you can see for yourself by checking out the first few articles:

One of the first articles from a stunt actor who served Starfleet is by Leslie Hoffman, who appeared on Deep Space Nine. In her article, Hoffman shared what it was like to appear on the show which she’d loved so much as a young person. She even shared a photo of herself at the second-ever Star Trek convention in New York City.

Art on the site will be supplied by John Adams/PhoenixPhotography
Art on the site will be supplied by John Adams/PhoenixPhotography

But we also got to hear from writers Lisa Klink and Will Stape. Klink shared some of her insights on how to pitch a Star Trek story, while Stape shared why he believes that Star Trek fans are the very best in the galaxy. Both of these folks are well known in Trek fan circles, as they’ve written and pitched stories which have aired and are still enjoyed today.

We were lucky enough to get some time with Mr. Stape and ask him a few questions about WarpFactorTrek and what fans can expect from him and from the site:

TREK REPORT: On your blog, you look at sci-fi from the past. Will fans get to hear your opinion on the current state of affairs in Trek? In many ways, we are living through a new golden age for the franchise.

WILL STAPE: I can’t get enough of classic sci-fi. Just call me a retro lover!

I dearly love sci-fi classics such as The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, Battlestar Galactica and Space: 1999. Throw in Buck Rogers, Six Million Dollar Man and Bionic Woman, and I’ll do a mega marathon of those shows anytime. This is landmark stuff I was raised on – the shows which greatly influence my writing. Obviously for me, Trek’s original series remains one of the most influential programs in my life in so many ways. Like many writers/producers/actors on all incarnations of Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry’s legacy isn’t merely a career reference or gig. It means so much more than work or a credit. Trek is special. It has always been in my life and it always will be.

I’m still impressed though not surprised by Trek’s enduring power. Pretty incredible for a TV show cancelled after only three seasons.

Right after I sold my script to Next Generation, while having lunch with a friend, we met one of his old buddies. We discussed my upcoming episode and he asked me where Trek would be going after Next Generation and also, the new spin-off, Deep Space Nine. I couldn’t accurately answer him, of course, but I always felt confident a show like Voyager or Enterprise would come along as well.

Honestly, I’ve not followed the new shows much, but I’m really excited about Strange New Worlds. I don’t go for prequels as a rule, but SNW is one I’ll definitely take a chance on. As for J.J. Abram’s feature films, I loved the first, liked the second, but didn’t care much for the third.

Lower Decks looks well produced, and fun, however, I’d much rather a serious animated show, ala The Animated Series. As any Trekker knows, TAS is much like a fourth season of TOS. That’s the kind of animated Trek I wanna see go into warp.

TREK REPORT: Your DS9 episode, “Prophet Motive” was so much fun. What was it like writing for Quark and the Grand Nagus? Even as I type their names, I can hear their voices in my head. Is it difficult to come up with storylines for such outrageous personalities — or do you find it easy to let them “run wild” in your head?

WILL STAPE: Thanks for the kind words about DS9’s “Prophet Motive.” My spec script was entitled “Charity,” and I really love the title change.

Actually, when I wrote my script, it was with both the Nagus and an American politician in mind. Here’s the deal: I crafted the character as a new Ferengi — a famous one who was revered for his business acumen and success. I figured that not only would the Nagus be too presumptuous on my part to write for, but the studio guidelines from the writing offices at Paramount basically stated that writing for recurring characters such as Guinan or Ensign Ro or Garak — in this case the Nagus — was discouraged.

So, I create a new character, similar to the Nagus, and what do the producers go and do? They rewrote it for the Nagus! But I did love the change. I loved that the Nagus was used and so obviously it all worked out with the Prophet’s great blessing.

Writing for colorful characters like Quark or the Nagus isn’t necessarily more difficult or complex, it’s just so much fun. Yes, there’s a risk of going too broad, but as we know the whole of Ferengi society veers close to farce.

Though as much as Ferengi are broadly portrayed, the powerful talents of actors such as Armin Shimmerman and Wallace Shawn ground those big eared aliens into operating in a believable and accessible world. I’ve been rewatching DS9 lately, and it’s reminded me just how wonderfully intricate that old Cardassian space station was to watch and write for.

TREK REPORT: I have read that an author is always working on their next book. “Star Trek Sex” was certainly a success… is there anything you have in mind for your next book?

WILL STAPE: My publisher has been asking for another book, and I’d love to tackle another “Star Trek Sex” — since there’s so much sexual energy left throbbing in the remaining Treks.

Aside from another look at Trek, I’m considering writing a book on the concept of Hollywood in general from the perspective of how many creatives travel to America’s West Coast from places so removed from our country’s legendary dream factory.

Believe it or not, Stape is just one of the voices you can connect with on WarpFactorTrek. Check out their site today, and visit them on Twitter as well.