Interview with Vic Mignogna of Star Trek Continues

Producer and Actor Vic Mignogna took a moment out of his busy schedule to speak to Video Jouzu the day before Phoenix Comicon 2015 began about Star Trek Continues’ 4th Episode “The White Iris”

Vic Mignogna:
To be honest with you its a dramatic and emotional, personal episode and so I was a bit worried by how it was going to be received.   Especially since the last one, the Mirror episode, was very action oriented.

Video Jouzu:
Did you feel you took a chance by going from very action to this very deep thoughtful…

Vic Mignogna:
I did.   I certainly did feel like I was taking a big chance, but I feel like its a very powerful story and one worth telling, and so far all of the feedback has been that people have absolutely loved it and many people have said that its their favorite one yet and the best one we’ve made.  You know Star Trek was known for that.  It wasn’t about fighting the Klingons.  There was a wide variety of tone in the original series and that was my goal as well.

Video Jouzu:
I think what we all took away from Star Trek was..whether it was an action story or a deep thoughtful story it was supposed to inspire us to be the best of humankind.

Vic Mignogna:
Yes.  Yes, absolutely.

Video Jouzu
You must feel a little more relaxed with the reviews that you are getting.  I don’t know if a producer ever truly relaxes regardless but…

Vic Mignogna:
Let me share something with you.  When we did the first episode it was so well received that I started getting nervous.  How will we ever out do it?  We set the bar pretty high, how will we best it?  And then we did the second episode “Lolani”, and most people liked it even more than the original one.  And so I thought “Dang it.  Now I’m even more stressed.  How are we ever going to out do that one?”  And then we did the Mirror episode and most people liked that one even better.  So going in to episode 4 I was more stressed than ever because you can’t possibly continue to out do your last one.  That trajectory can not possibly be maintained.

Star Trek Continues

This next episode, I felt very strongly about this idea.  And so I decided to do it, and I’ve been worried the whole time about how it was going to be received.   I am very gratified the way that people have been receiving it and I am very, very much hoping that the reception in Phoenix is equal to what we are seeing in these early results.

Video Jouzu:
Now you debuted the first episode of Star Trek Continues at Phoenix Comic Con.  Does it feel like it is your home crowd?

Vic Mignogna:
Well you know I did, and and it’s funny because I was at the Denver Comic Con this last weekend, in fact I just returned from there last night, and they really, really wanted to premiere episode 4 in Denver and they made a lot of really good offers and really really wanted to premiere it there.  But I felt we had such an amazing turn out in Phoenix 2 years ago.  I mean it was beyond belief.

Video Jouzu:
There was a long line I remember

Oh my gosh. I’ll tell you a funny story The convention chairman contacted me one to two weeks before the con and said “Vic, I know you wanted to premiere your episode on Saturday but the only room we have available on SAt seats 500 people and I have a feeling you’re going to get more than that so I want to offer you Friday night showing in the main ballroom which seats 4000 people And at first I thought WOW that’s amazing wow that’s going to be great and then I started thinking wait a minute if we have 1500 people show up that would normally be a really great response. Unless you’re in a 4000 seat room!

Video Jouzu:
Unless you’re in the Phoenix Comic Con equivalent of Hall H

Vic Mignogna
Exactly! And then it could very easily look like a failure. So You can imagine my elation when we walked out on stage and that 4000 seat room was almost full. We were so grateful and that was the 1st episode when no one even knew who we were no one had seen anything and we got that kind of response so I am optimistic and I’m hoping that we will get at least as good of a response this weekend as we did.

Video Jouzu:
Your cast is very impressive. It’s very professional, and everyone does their part amazingly. In fact it’s almost eerie because they don’t feel like they are doing any kind of imitation, or imitating the original characters or previous actors, and yet each one feels authentic.

Vic Mignogna
Yes, yes, that is certainly by design and the reason why I think is because when I started this production I endeavored to do something extremely different than any other Star Trek Fan production to date.  And you know what that was?  Real Actors.  People who are actually are actors, not people who are fans with no acting ability putting on a uniform and playing Star Trek.  My goal was to be able to bring together good actors who could, with their ability, inhabit the role and do enough justice with the dramatic content of the role to make it feel authentic. Todd Haberkorn is Spock and Chuck Huber is Dr McCoy and Chris Doohan is Scotty and of course Michele Specht is the new character we created Dr McKennah.  All of these people are gifted actors.  So when I say to Chuck Huber I want you to be Dr McCoy and he goes and watches original series Dr McCoy you can bet he’s going to do a really good job with it and wait til you see the next episode. the new episode has some great McCoy moments. and Spock moments and just a lot of McKenna moments…it’s a very Kirk-centric story, and it deals with some issues that every human being can relate to and Kirk is no different.  So I’m very excited to hopefully get a good response on it.

the white iris

Video Jouzu:
There have been so many attempts to make a Star Trek Fan Film, stretching back all the way to 1974’s “The Paragon’s Paragon”.   Why did you decide to go down that path?

Vic Mignogna
Well, because since I was 10 years old I was inspired by Star Trek.  I mean, I feel very strongly that that many of the things that I do today professionally I do because of my love and inspiration from Star Trek.  For instance when I would watch the original series at 9,10, 11, 12 years old, I wanted to be an actor.  So I would get involved in school plays and church plays and go to drama camp, because I wanted to learn to do what they were doing.

Before I fell in love with star trek I never built any props, but after watching Star Trek I wanted to build a communicator and I wanted to build a phaser, and I would teach myself how to build things – I never did that before.  I was inspired to do so from Star Trek.  I got my mom to teach me to use a sewing machine so I could make uniforms.  I’d never tried to make a costume before, but Star Trek inspired me to do so.   And then, I had a super 8 mm camera, and I would round the kids of the neighborhood up and make Star Trek episodes where I played Captain Kirk and I would round up the kids of the neighborhood to play the other characters.  I was inspired to do that because of Star Trek.

So then I went on to college and studied film and continued acting all through my life and when I saw these other Star Trek fan productions I thought to myself “Oh my god.  This could be done so much better.”  So I decided that it would be a dream come true for me to to do something like this and 40 years later get to play Captain Kirk, bringing to the table all the skills that I had been developing over the decades in production and performing.

Video Jouzu:
I always end my interviews by asking the question is there something that you wish a reporter would ask you. A question that you haven’t been asked that you wish someone would.

Vic Mignogna:
You know what, I’m the kind of person that if you hadn’t asked me I would just volunteer it.  I would just look for a way to bring it in to the conversation.  But honestly no.  I’ve gotten a lot of great questions so nothing in particular comes to mind.

I do want to say that I am very, very grateful to the fans.  When I made this, when I brought all these people together and we made “Pilgrim of Eternity”, I had no idea how it was going to be received.  When you are dealing with an iconic property such as Star trek, when you are talking about something that is almost a religion to some people…It could go very badly.  It would be very easy for everybody in general to just hate what you were doing and tear it to shreds, so I had no idea what to expect when I did this.  So I am so enormously gratified, so humbled and so honored that the fans have embraced it the way that they have and I hope that we can continue to do this for more years to come.  I just want the fans to know that I am beyond grateful for their kindness, support, and enthusiasm for what we’re doing.

vic pic1

We’d like to thank Mr. Mignogna for taking the time to speak with us.

You can find out more about Star Trek Continues at their Official Websites:

http://www.startrekcontinues.com/
https://www.facebook.com/StarTrekContinues
https://twitter.com/TrekContinues

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