It is fascinating, pun intended, to see how a movie goes from idea to story to finihsed product and how much it can change on the way and boy does this one change.
A fascinating insight into how sausage is made in Hollywood unlike a TV show, where the demand for so much content is so high, the screenwriter seems to have no shortage of interference for a feature film, as Piller demonstrates as he discusses the writing of Star Trek Insurrection Budgetary demands, focus groups, producers, actors, etc etc all weigh in Sadly, this book is interesting than the actual movie ever was.
In Keeping With Michael S Widely Respected Mentorship Of Up And Coming Writers, FADE IN The Making Of Star Trek Insurrection Has Been Published As A Textbook That Can Also Be Enjoyed As A Coffee Table Book Full Of Exclusive, Never Before Seen Photos And Commentary For The Enjoyment Of Star Trek Fans Around The World Written By Michael Piller, Who Has Been Variously Described As A Writer S Writer And The Man Who Played A Major Role In Saving The Star Trek Franchise, Here Is The Very Inside Story Of The Writing Process That Resulted In The Franchise S Film Star Trek Insurrection Certainly For Star Trek Fans Of Which There Are Legions And Students Of Film And Television, This Is A Sought After Look At The Screenwriting Process From Concept To Final Film Script Through The Inclusion Of Treatments, Story Meetings, Storyboards, And The Moving Of The Trek Characters On The Resultant Creative Chessboard Fans, Hungry For This Kind Of Rare Access, May Well Be Thoroughly Engrossed In And Entertained By The Book Whereas Students Of Writing For Television And Film Will Definitely Benefit From This Textbook As Not Only Reference Material But Also As A Bona Fide Annotated Resource On This Particular Film And Or On The Entire Star Trek Oeuvre, In General I haven t read a book this bad in a long time I was lead to believe this book was an inside Hollywood story about how a movie became a disaster as told by the screenwriter That intrigued me I knew this book never got published too so I was hoping for a juicy tale that burned bridges with all involved in the film I thought I would get some dirt on how an artist working in the system got his work destroyed by an interfering studio, laying blame and spelling out what went wrong Because Star Trek Insurrection, the movie, is a train wreck.
Instead, the screenwriter seems to be under the impression that they made a fine film and simply details the changes made to every draft of the script ZZZzzzZZ He s in agreement with the producer, director, and studio at every turn and there is no conflict or blame It s simply a boring account of how a terrible film got made, told as straight forward as possible.
I ll be talking my review on an upcoming trek.
fm Literary Treks Podcast, so I ll post that when it s published.
Thought it took a bit of work to find on the web as this was never officially published This was very interesting It contains two full outlines of what Star Trek insurrection could have been It also gives background info onto why changes were made A competent and matter of fact documenting of the making of Star Trek IX from the writer s point of view Hardly revelatory but readable nonetheless.
I remember when this book was first leaked to the internet, via a manuscript that showed up on Trek related sites and disappeared just as quickly, shut down by the braintrust at Paramount due to a perceived series of slights against them.
They needn t have worried FADE IN The Making of Star Trek Insurrection is an honest and compelling work that gives equal weight to the views of both sides in the production of the film and shows that, for all the work that went into it, nothing could have saved it after the elongated writing process.
Michael Piller s work documents the various ideas that sprang up after the release of the critically praised and commercially successful First Contact Desperate for another hit, writers at the studio lobbed idea after idea at the executives The first half of the book documents these ideas in a series of script excerpts Despite some compelling storylines Picard going rogue to stop his friend from Starfleet Academy, then resigning at the end to go lone wolf against other fringe elements with the crew , a lot of it just sounded unfilmable and unsustainable given how continuity heavy the franchise was at this point in its lifespan.
A number of unlikely suspects came out of the ether to help refocus the story While Patrick Stewart has understandably kept discussion of Picard and the franchise in general at a minimum these days, it s fascinating to hear anecdotes about him relaying character moments that wouldn t be in sync with the current plot to both Piller and producer Rick Berman He and Brent Spiner were fountains of knowledge who understood the appeal of their respective characters than most, and it s a joy to hear about them refocusing efforts to rewrite the script.
The most compelling aspect of the book is the studio notes that are written, sometimes verbatim, from Paramount executives Contrary to how they think they were portrayed, the book and the narrative itself casts them in the right for wanting to clarify certain aspects and hype up the action aspects due to the perceived weak links in the story In fact, the executives come off as the true heroes of the book There s also a lot of self reflection from Piller on his thoughts on the work and his disappointment when the box office numbers didn t play the way he wanted FADE IN is a fascinating and eminently readable work that all Trek fans should pick up and read Far from being a hit piece, this story is one that s well worth reading.
FADE IN gives us an insight to one of STAR TREK s less explored cornersMost books about films are either about much beloved productions, such as CITIZEN CANE or 2001 A SPACE ODYSSEY, or disasters such as HEAVEN S GATE It s rare to find a book about a movie that did just middlin at the box office and isn t one touted as a favorite by most people.
The late Michael Piller wrote such a book, though FADE IN FROM IDEA TO FINAL DRAFT It s subtitled The Writing of STAR TREK INSURRECTION, and it s a fascinating look at how such franchise movies are born.
Piller was a writer and producer on STAR TREK THE NEXT GENERATION and co created two other Trek shows, DEEP SPACE NINE and VOYAGER He s credited with bringing new life to the writing on TNG when he joined the show in its third season With Piller insisting upon a new emphasis on character, the show took off creatively.
So Piller was a TREK veteran when he tackled the ninth movie in the franchise, which was also the third TNG film Coming off the massive success of the previous outing of the franchise, FIRST CONTACT, was daunting, but he forged ahead.
I ll leave the story of the many iterations of the script for you to discover in the book itself Piller s concepts and eventual script passes through a lot of hands, including that of TREK head Rick Berman, plenty of Paramount studio people, and the movie s two main stars, Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner.
Stewart is especially incisive in his criticisms of the early version of the script, revealing a deep understanding of story structure and of what a STAR TREK story should be He even has a good handle on the details of TREK lore, citing specific episodes in which he believes INSURRECTION s themes had been explored earlier and insisting that Pillar find new paths to take.
TREK fans will enjoy this look behind the scenes, especially when Piller talks about his professional relationship with TREK overlord Berman, who has remained somewhat of a mystery man to fans Other movie fans may appreciate the insight into franchise filmmaking.
I easily found FADE IN online when I searched for it in the days before this review It was never given a professional release, and given that ST INSURRECTION is one of the less popular TREK movies, Piller suposedly considered the book a gift to his friends But now it seems I can t find a link to it I hope you have better luck.