Your upcoming movie Renegades: Ominara - in a few
words, what will it be about?
Itís a backdoor pilot that tells the origin of Ominara (Nichelle
Nichols) and her lifelong battle with Prof. Steiner (Walter Koenig) and her rise
to the head of the galactic underworld. Steiner created a technology
called ďThe LinkĒ that will connect the minds of people together, but
he has an ulterior motive. Ominara was the first successful test subject,
but when she escapes after the surgery, he spends his life tracking her
down. Itís a cat and mouse game, but as time goes on, they both become
more powerful within their element.
were your sources of inspiration when writing Renegades:
wanted to do a send-off production for Nichelle, who is heading into
retirement. What would Nichelleís character be like in the Mirror Mirror
universe? Is the question that got this started.
What can you tell us about your co-writer
Sky Douglas Conway, and what was your collaboration like?
and Ethan Calk were the original writers on Star Trek: Renegades and
Renegades: Requiem, and they came up with the story about the Link and
Steiner. I took that idea and created Ominara and her friends and then
built the story around that. Ominara grew up on the streets and combined
forces with two other homeless girls. Alex TíLorn, an alien (played by
Jackie Jacobson), and Shane, a teenage human (played by Chalet Lizette
also an award-winning screenwriter and novelist.
how did you become attached to the project, and how did you get involved
with the Renegades universe as such in the first place?
was line producing a film in Arizona when I got a call from Sky about line
producing Star Trek: Renegades. Someone had referred me. I agreed and we
produced the film. Then I produced the next two projects, Cozmoís and
Renegades: Requiem. Requiem was in the middle of shooting when the new
guidelines came out, so we had to shut down production to rewrite the
script to remove all Star
Trek elements. So, when we started development on the
next piece of the Renegades mythos, I asked if I could take a crack at
writing the script, and the rest is history.
talk about your collaboration with Renegades: Ominara's
director Tim Russ so far?
will be the third time working with Tim. Weíve been friends for years
now. I actually first met him during one of his bandís gigs at a local
show. Tim works very quickly, so we lay out the shots and camera moves
well ahead of time. Like all film and television projects, itís a
collaborative effort, and during the times we live in now, we also have to pay
extra care to safety. We are also working with AJ Raitano as DP, who also
worked on Avatar with James Cameron.
Where do you see the
challenges of bringing Renegades: Ominara to the screen?
It wonít be coming to a theater and will only be made
available to our backers. This is a pilot presentation that we will be
pitching to networks as a series. The biggest challenge is, of course,
money and time.
Our budget is extremely small, which goes hand-in-hand with all sorts of
challenges forcing us to think outside the box on many occasions.
Renegades: Ominara sees Star
Trek-icons Nichelle Nichols and Walter Koenig in unfamiliar
roles - so what's the idea behind that?
is a whole new storyline, but like Walterís role in Babylon 5, his
character is the cunning antagonist, while Nichelle is playing the Queen
of the Galactic Underworld. Sheís tactical and manipulative when she
needs to be, but she loves her friends and will do anything to protect
them, while Walterís character, Steiner Ė his only goal to reach his
objective of mass producing ďThe LinkĒ.
Do talk about
the rest of your cast, and why exactly these people?
Faunt, one of the red Power Rangers, is joining us as the current
Galactic Underworld King, prior to Ominara taking over the position. We
are excited to be working with him. For Ominara, we needed someone that
looked like Nichelle Nichols during her Star
Trek years. We chose Loren
Lott from The Young and the Restless and American
Idol. Like Nichelle,
sheís an amazing vocalist. Johnny Jay Lee is playing a younger Walter
Koenig. For Ominaraís two young friends we cast Chalet Lizette Brannan,
who is also a singer, and Jackie R. Jacobson, who I worked with on Six Gun
Savior when she was ten years old. Now, eight years later, she is
5í10Ē and helms her own Netflix show called Malibu
excited to work with her again as well.
Renegades: Ominara is as we speak still in its
fundraising stages - so what can you tell us about your campaign?
all sorts of great perks and products you can get. The official campaign
has ended, but fans can still get in on it, with a Late Pledge.
Thereís a blue button on the Kickstarter page that will take you to the
Late Pledge area. This will only be up for a short time, so get in while
you can. Fans can get everything from producer credits to limited edition
Ominara figures signed by Nichelle to cast photos and more.
Once the budget's in place, what's the schedule, and do you have any
idea when and where it might be released?
are preparing to shoot the beginning of March. Then there will be months
of post. We are hoping to have it completed by the summer.
Any future projects beyond Renegades: Ominara?
at this time. We are focusing on Ominara.
What got you into writing in the first place, and did you receive
any formal training on the subject?
Iím an award-winning writer and novelist. I have over half a dozen
novels out, including a 4-novel sci-fi series called Destiny Aurora, which
has been made into a graphic novel and board game. Iíve also written a
Holocaust biography, called Escape from Berlin: The Diane Jacobs Story.
You can see all of my novels on Amazon.
What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Renegades: Ominara?
did 2 Renegades installments prior to this,
Renegades and Renegades: Requiem. Iíve also done a multitude of projects
including a feature film thatís currently on Prime called Six Gun
Savior. I wrote and produced a Greatest American Hero project as well.
Besides your fair share of screenplays, you've also quite a number
of novels to your name - so what can you tell us about those, and how does
writing prose compare to writing for the screen, and which do you prefer,
actually write my novels by writing a screenplay first. Then I do a read-through. By doing this I go through the first few drafts by tweaking
story, characters and dialogue. Itís easier to rewrite a screenplay than
to rewrite prose in a novel. This structure allows for the knowledge that
the story and dialogue work before I sit down to write the actual novel.
Of course, I can write a screenplay in a couple of months. Writing a novel
takes just about a year, including rewrites.
It seems that most of what you write is of the science fiction
variety - coincidence, or is that a favourite genre of yours, and why
is my favorite genre, but I have written other genres as well. The
Holocaust biography mentioned above, Six Gun Savior was a supernatural
Western, I won an award at the New York Film Festival for a romantic
comedy, and my newest novel is fantasy.
How would you describe yourself as a writer?
definitely a writer that relies heavily on my characters carrying a story.
With sci-fi most characters are tropes, but how they interact and their
motivations are what makes them different and able to connect with
readers. I like plots that twist and take those characters out of their
element. So I spend a lot of time developing characters with backstories
that are mostly not even revealed, but this helps me to develop their
ďvoiceĒ. When a character says something, the reader should know
whoís speaking without even reading who the speaker is. I will be giving
a writing course through Outschool in the near future.
Writers, filmmakers, whoever else who inspire you?
many people of my generation, I was influenced heavily by Star
grew up watching Star Trek in syndication as well as
and Batman and
Woman. I loved the adventure genre where the good
guys were good, and the bad guys were bad. Everything is so politically
polarized now, that characters and stories have gotten lost under the
muck. I hope we can get back to storytelling again in the near future.
Your favourite movies?
Strikes Back is my favorite movie of all-time. Heathers, Wrath of
... and of course, films you really deplore?
really hated Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One
Your/your movie's website, social media, Kickstarter, whatever else?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to
out my books on Amazon as well as the products on DestinyAurora.net and
look for my new fantasy series Tales of the Five Reigns coming soon to
KS. Definitely late pledge to Ominara. Itís going to be great.
Thanks for the interview!