Trek Geeks – Interview – Part Two

In this instalment and conclusion, I wanted to touch more on the operational side of running Trek Geeks along with some other questions about who you guys are and what makes you tick.

Welcome to “Who are the Trek Geeks Part 2″

This is a long one guys, Sit back and enjoy.

Read Part one HERE


James) I have a few more get to know who we are questions then we will move on to the parts that ask in more detail what is Trek Geeks and why we decided to do it.

Other than Trek what other TV shows you watch like B5, Walking Dead, the Flash etc

Bill)  A wide variety of things from Reality to Drama. FAR too many to list. LOL

Dan) Arrow (current favourite), The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, The Strain, Big Bang Theory, Penny Dreadful, Bosch.

Previous shows that are on my top list include Lost, Breaking Bad, Stranger Things,

James) Ok so a long list then most of that I watch myself.

Do either of you play any Star Trek games?

Bill) I have just started playing STO on a console. I also play Star Trek Timelines intermittently.

Dan) I love Star Trek Timelines from Disruptor Beam and think it is the first real Star Trek video game hit. I have also played Star Trek Online on my PC and have just started playing it on Xbox 1 and enjoy it, but do not have the time I would like to sit and play something at my desk on my couch for hours at a time.

Additionally, I have played Star Trek Wrath of Gems quite a bit as well as Star Trek Trexels.

James) What Trek Actors have you met in real life?

Bill) I have met far too many to remember. While there was not a “worst,” all of them have been amazingly wonderful–and, in particular, William Shatner.

He has a bad reputation over the years, but he could not have been nicer when I met him at a convention one year.

Dan) Some may say this is not valid, to which I would say they are 100% wrong) we have had the honour of being with the cast of Star Trek Continues while they have been filming an episode.

They are without a doubt the most down to earth and appreciate the group of actors whose love for Star Trek is the only thing driving them to make these episodes. Vic Mignogna and Michele Specht are two Star Trek actors that I have an immeasurable amount of respect for.

James) The guys of STC although I have not met them in person due to residing in the UK are some of the nicest people I have ever chatted with. They also have no issues with being asked questions about STC, Lisa, for example, has been so open about some things even I am shocked at how the people who I have never met interact with me they are so down to earth.

Dan) Additionally, we recently did a podcast regarding the Voyager episode Timeless. This episode holds great personal meaning for me because it reminds me of the difficult times I once had to go through and the demons that I carried for years. Garrett Wang heard the podcast and commented on it personally on Twitter, and in Vegas this past year we went up to him and introduced ourselves. He was so gracious to us regarding the show and our thoughts on it, and it was a moment I will never forget.

I have never come across meeting a Trek actor that I would consider the ‘worst’. All the ones I have met understand how important this show is to us and they always seem happy and appreciative of their fans.

James) SO… guys I now want to move on to get some insight on Trek Geeks.

Before Trek geeks what was your history doing podcasts, is Trek geeks the only one you have done or have you done more?

Bill) I had a very short-lived podcast focusing on American politics, which ran for four episodes. I was not the primary host but it introduced me to the medium and got me thinking. That was a couple of years before Trek geeks, but I had the idea to do a Star Trek based podcast that early on.

James) So Trek geeks was your second one of sorts then Bill what about you Dan?

Dan) Before Trek Geeks I had ever been part of a podcast, listened to a podcast, or had any real idea of what a podcast actually was

James) Bill you mentioned you had the idea for a Trek podcast but why Trek and not random Sci-Fi?

Bill) Because I am passionate about Trek and I am really not about sci-fi in general. In addition, our show is a reflection of our friendship and that is absolutely born out of Star Trek fandom.

James) Cool idea and it allows your friendship to play an important role in what you do. What about you Dan what made you choose Trek?

Dan) Trek is my life in many ways. It is my passion; it is what makes me hope for a better future. I have watched each episode so many times. I have read so many Trek novels. It is built into my DNA on so many levels so it is not even a question of Trek vs. something else. As Bill is also a passionate fan of Trek, our friendship began because of it and has continued for two decades. The podcast just uses Trek as the topic to enjoy and broadcast our friendship to our listeners.

James) Why Audio Podcast, not a Video 1?

Bill) Because that is largely not how people consume podcasts. 80% of all podcasts are downloaded to mobile devices and usually consumed while people are doing something else like driving or working out and the like.

Most people do not sit down to consume video podcasts, so we do not really work in that medium. Besides, have you seen Dan?

Dan) I am very ugly and Bill could knock a buzzard off a s**t waggon! As Stan Lee would say…’Nuff said.

James) Tell me when did you start Trek geeks?

Bill) January 2015. I knew this show could always work, but it took some convincing with Dan.

Dan) As Bill mentioned we started in January of 2015, but it is something he pitched to me earlier in 2014 after we attended a Creation Star Trek convention in Boston in the summer of 2014. As previously, mentioned, I had no idea what podcasts were all about and I was a little ‘meh’ on the idea. However, after researching and discussing it more, we decided to give it a try.

James) Do you Podcast live?

Bill) No. Thank the Maker. Lol

James) I would imagine the ones that do would require major planning to avoid anything majorly wrong, so what about editing it.

Bill) I typically record the podcast and edit it. We have streamlined our workflow a lot so it is not a very cumbersome process at all. I can usually get an episode out within a couple of hours.

Dan) Bill is smart. He makes things go.

James) Living is separate towns/cities does it make things difficult to podcast together?

Bill)  I do not think so. I mean, there is always a certain energy and vibe you get when you have two people in the same room, but I think we do pretty well give that we are in different states.

Dan)  I actually think it helps with the podcast being in different locations. I mean, if I were in the same location as Bill when we recorded, there would be too many times that I would just have to punch his face.

James) That is hilarious! Sorry but I seriously laughed at that.

Dan) Seriously, the only real challenge is if there are internet or network issues causing problems with the recording, but we have gotten pretty good at making sure we have ways to prevent that from happening.

James) When you decided on Trek Geeks. Did it cost a lot to set up?

Bill) No, not really. We tried to use as many free options as possible with the exception of website hosting and podcast hosting.

Dan) Just my time to try to listen to Bill state an opinion, that actually means anything. Seriously, I have to give all the credit in the world to Bill. He pretty much did all of the setups for this venture and he has done an amazing job keeping costs VERY low.

James) Bit like me than with this, I could have spent a lot of money, but I thought Do I want to spend a lot on something that people might think to err WTF is this.

With the costs being low, how do you fund things? By yourself or ask for donations now and again?

Bill) We self-fund largely. It is not a huge cost every year and we are happy to fund it. There is a small amount offset by our CafePress store–we make a couple of bucks per item and that goes right back into hosting costs. We do not make a tonne of money from that, nor did we really intend to.

James) Goes to check out the store . . .  ok, cool T-Shirts, Mugs and err Thongs lol….

Bill) Hey, CafePress makes it available

Dan) We do not want people to help us fund the show. We only want them to listen and enjoy the conversation. We fund the podcast ourselves and as mentioned previously, it is not very expensive.

We do have a store on our website that offers Trek Geeks items from Cafepress and each sale we get a little something which goes right back into helping pay for the show.

Bill) CafePress and CBS have an agreement for what is called fan portals. All of the merchandise has to meet the rules and CafePress gives CBS their cut, presumably. In addition, ANY fan can set up a shop if they play by the rules.

If you want to grab a Trek Geek gift or two here is the link to their shop.: Trek Geeks Shop

James) I would like to get some more info on Trek geeks and its history, how many episodes of Trek Geeks have you done?

Bill) Counting Supplemental episodes and special one-off recordings, we have done 89 episodes to date.

James) How hard is it to come up with each podcasts topic does it require a lot of planning.

Bill) It does require planning. We outline every episode to keep us on track. If it is an interview, we jot down a few topics. If it is an episode review, we have notes on the episode in question.

Dan) Although we have to plan, what we will discuss for any specific episode, coming up with topics is not hard at all. We have 50 years worth of Star Trek to work with and thousands of possible topics for any given show.

We have worked on a schedule for episodes and have some really unique topics. Once we start working on a specific episode, we keep our own list of thoughts and comments to bring up on the show itself and it always works out rather fluidly. A lot of the time, we do not share our thoughts and comments with each other ahead of time. We do not want to skew or change our opinions based on what the other is thinking.

James) So who out of the two of you decides the topics?

Bill) I think I pick most of the topics, but there have been plenty of times that Dan has picked them. We try to schedule out the topics of every episode a few months in advance to know what is coming.

Dan) I would say that for the most part Bill decides on episode topics and he then shoots them over to me to look over. Almost usually, we are on the same page with what we would like to talk about. For interviews, that has usually fallen on me to try to get in touch with someone and schedule it out.

James) Has there ever been a time you just randomly pick a topic who wins more often and does it ever cause tension if one does not want to cover the said topic?

Bill) We do not really have tension, per se. I think there have been a couple of rare occasions where we have disagreed, but it has really been a non-event. Dan will probably say “Bill is the Executive Producer” or some tripe like that, but the topics we cover are ones that interest us regardless of who selected it.

Dan) The good thing about Star Trek is IDIC. Whatever ridiculous topics Bill thinks are awesome; I can work with so that he does not throw a tantrum of any kind.

James) LMAO

Dan) The Podcast is for our listeners so I always try and be cognizant of that so they get the very best from us.  Besides, Bill is the Executive Producer. What he says goes.

James) I am going to throw some random Questions now, stuff that springs to mind about past podcasts and your experiences.

Best place you have done a podcast from?

Bill) Star Trek Las Vegas. 😀

Dan) At my house without having to use the camera to see Bill’s face. 😛  Kidding of course…

Podcasting from Vegas was an amazing experience, and doing a couple of Facebook Live segments was VERY cool

James) Worst place you have done a podcast from?

Bill) I do not think there has been a “worst place” so far.

Dan) My house and Vegas is really the only place I have podcasted from, so I do not have the worst place.

James) Best episode you have done & why?

Bill) Easy–Episode 75. The Trek50 episode celebrating Trek’s 50th anniversary.

It’s emotional) you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll smile–and you’ll appreciate Gene Roddenberry and what he created even more than you did before.

It was a true labour of love on our part. It is an hour’s worth of stories told by fans that called in or sent us messages and it brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it.

James) I am so going to have to listen to that it sounds like one NOT to miss.

Dan) From a Podcast perspective, I would have to agree with Bill and choose our Trek50 episode. To hear the stories from our listeners – their very PERSONAL stories was absolutely amazing. It proved without a doubt how special Star Trek is and how it has formed relationships and brought people closer, and for people to take the time and share these deeply personal stories with us was incredibly humbling

From a Fan perspective, I would have to say the guest appearance of Andrew Robinson was incredible. He is such an amazing actor outside of Star Trek and his character of Garak is one of my all-time favourites so to have him on the show to discuss everything from Hellraiser to Dirty Harry to Garak was truly a fangirl moment for me.

James) Worst episode you have done & why?

Bill) Episode 1. LOL, We had no idea what we were doing and at that point, we did not know is our first one at that point and I even forget to introduce myself even though I introduce Dan by name.

James) This is my first endeavour asking people questions like this I have done blogs but not ones asking targeted questions so I get that pain I really do. Was it that same for you Dan or do you have a different OMG podcast?

Dan) At first I would also say Episode 1, but thinking more about it I would say the interviews with Alec Peters.

The debacle of Axanar and the subsequent lawsuit has opened my eyes to what I perceive to be a complete fabrication of facts and information to the fans.  In hindsight, it was an embarrassment to have him on the show because the potential damage that production has done to fan films is irreversible.

James) As Everyone! Knows I am no fan of Axanar and for you people, who do not, I share the views of Dan but hey, you live and learn…

However, Dan you but you cannot blame yourself for what you did not know at the time, so do not be embarrassed lol, hey it could have been worse. So bringing up Axanar, I guess we should tackle that subject then move on to something less errrr……

Now I saw you both started out as pro-Axanar and even had Alec on your show and helped drive his crowdfunding. What happened?

Bill) Well, that is the $1.1million question, is it not?

James) $1.5+ Mil lol

Bill) It is true) we did have Alec Peters on our show twice.

The first time we invited him and he eventually did show after he blew us off the first time it was scheduled.

The second time he asked if he could come on to promote his crowdfunding, effort and we rearranged our schedule to accommodate that request. Alec was great to us…until after the lawsuit dropped and we started asking questions as donors. After that, we went from hearing, “We love the Trek Geeks,” to “you’re a Drama Queen” and “low-end podcasters.”

James) Oh the Drama Queen thingy I remember that (shakes head)

Bill) At that point, I began to wonder exactly where $1,500,000 went since there was no finished studio, no sets completed, and no film. When I started to ask about that, Axanar blocked me on social media.

I was a 2x donor and I feel like I was taken advantage of by a never-ending series of delays and lies.

James) What you think about it all Dan do you share Bills concern or?

Dan) Prior to the lawsuit, I was 100% pro Axanar. I was very impressed with Prelude, even if it was pretty much all green screen. Several people, I love to see in sci-fi were involved, like JG Hertzler and Richard Hatch. We had Richard on the show in one of our early episodes, and we had Alec on twice – one of which also featured the director/non-director of Axanar Robert Meyer Burnett.

James) Have to admit I have lost count how many times he is then is not anyway…

Dan) During the Alec interviews both Bill and I noticed that everything was I, I, I while with other fan productions, it was never about a single individual. That showed some of the character flaws we started to question. Then the lawsuit dropped and Bill, who as a donor had every right to ask, had some tough questions about the production and where the money had gone.

Instead of getting answers, he was banned from Axanar social media pages – not once but TWICE. People at Axanar started dropping to the level of name-calling by referring to Bill as a “Drama Queen” and a “low-end podcaster” when he started posting questions on Twitter. It was at that time that I had had enough as well. One of the things that I have found so deplorable with Mr Peters and Axanar is the fact that they stoop to name calling, insults and banning from pages instead of answering the questions that fans and donors deserve.

I totally get that some people can be ruthless when posting on social media, but I believe it is their responsibility to be truthful and open about the money that we gave them, and I do not believe that has been the case.

James) Well If all goes well we should have an end or a hopeful end to this entire thing soon, I for one am sick of the drama but I understand exactly where you guys are coming from and share similar experiences but hey hooo.

If anyone wants to know more on the Axanar, issue the links at the bottom will be of use.

So moving on and away from this subject as well, everywhere you go its Axanar this Axanar that and this interview is about you guys.

Therefore, what is the Best interview you have done and with who?

Bill) We have gotten a lot better at interviewing since we started, but I still think our conversation with Nana Visitor from Deep Space Nine is probably our best interview, even though it happened very early in the run of the show. With our interviews, we try very hard to not ask the standard questions you hear at Star Trek conventions, and I think that our guests appreciate that.

In this one, Nana is candid and engaging and you can hear her smile when he speaks. She was so easy to talk to that she made this the best one we have done in my opinion.

James)((( dreams about doing an interview like that One day James One Day LOL )))

Dan) Andrew Robinson was to me the best interview we have done. It was really great to sit and listen to these stories from such an accomplished actor about a wide variety of topics. Hearing about how he had to handle being the first real serial killer to be in a movie (in Dirty Harry) and how that literally “f***’d me up” for a little while was very moving.

Getting little bits of info about his personal development of Garak and that he envisioned him being bisexual was intriguing, as was his thoughts for his novel “A Stitch in Time”.  To me, Mr Robinson is a legend of movies and television and to have him so willingly come on the show and talk with us was a moment I will never forget.

James) Have there ever been any cringe-worthy moments where you have cringed at what has been said or a response you have been given?

Dan) As far as cringe moments, having him drop the f-bomb was the first time that had happened for us in a podcast so I wasn’t sure how to handle it, but it all worked out well, and it was perfectly placed. Back in those days’ people had never seen a psycho like Scorpio and as an actor; he had to look in very deep places to make that character worked. Pure genius!

James) What was the worst Interview you have done, What made it so bad and where there any good moments of it even though it was bad?

Bill) I will not give the guest’s name, but it was a total struggle to work with them in the recording. They would tell entire stories that they would ask us to cut out after they got through the whole thing. Lots of editing and they even wanted final approval on the album cover on the episode. There were good moments, but overall it is an episode I do not even like to listen to now.

James) OK I so need to listen to your entire back Cat to try to work this out.

Dan)  Oh, I 100% agree with Bill. I loved having that guest on, but it was definitely one of those ‘Oh my God you are so in love with yourself” moments.

James) I ask this question a lot to people as it is hard to gauge how people feel as the ones who are not so angry and calling boycotts etc rarely speak about it. Nevertheless, I think it is a very important thing to ask all productions since in essence they may or may not affect all of us at one point or another.

When the Guidelines hit were you worried at all about, them affecting you guys as many people not just fan films and series panicked that it was all very much doom for all.

Bill) I was worried that we would be affected somehow at first, but that did not last long. As soon as CBS clarified them, I had no worries, primarily since we talk about Star Trek–and that type of speech is protected by the First Amendment in the States.

Dan) I was never worried that it would affect our Podcast at all. I have always believed that the guidelines were set up so CBS and Paramount could protect THEIR property after one group decided to poke the bear and ignore the unwritten rule to not earn money off it.

Bill) and I agree 100% that CBS and Paramount are not at fault in any way with releasing these guidelines and will always be thankful that they let ANYONE ‘play in their sandbox’. While I have no concerns whatsoever regarding Trek Geeks, if for any reason we were ever told it was a problem, I would thank them for the opportunity and that would be the end of it. However, I do not ever see that happening.

James) Do you think we will see more or fewer Fan Productions because of them?

Bill) I think there will be fewer fan films at first–but I think that is because some individuals who were planning to do their own series or full-length feature no longer can. Eventually, I think that creative people will tell good stories through the guidelines.

James) while we are on the subject of Fan Films and Productions, What Fan Films do you watch?

Best ones.

Bill) Star Trek Continues is, hands down, the best Star Trek fan film ever made in every aspect. There are some others that are OK, but Continues stands head and shoulders above them.

Dan) Star Trek Continues is without a doubt the best fan production in existence and I don’t think anything will ever be able to top it.  It is literally like watching the continuation of TOS.

Every detail is perfect. Every episode is just awesome. The cast and crew leave their egos at the door (if they have any) and create a product that comes from their deep love of Star Trek. I also have great admiration for what Tommy Kraft did with his fan movie Star Trek Horizon starring Paul Lang. It was a remarkable film! I have watched a couple episodes of New Voyages and it is not bad, but it is not awesome either. My problem is that I will always compare any fan production to STC so they are already at a HUGE disadvantage.

James) What about the ones you would class as the worst or ones that just do not cut it in your opinion.

Bill) The worst ones? Renegades and Prelude to Axanar it is not a fan film. It is a fundraising video it is a big difference.

Dan) As far as the worst, as much as I wanted to like the first episode of Renegades, it was just awful to watch. The sets and costumes were terrible and they seemed to be more concerned with the cast of the show rather than the story.

Other than Manu Intiraymi and Vic Mignogna, I was not impressed at all with anything about Renegades and probably will not even bother with subsequent episodes now that they have stripped Star Trek from the brand due to the Axanar lawsuit.

James) I liked Renegades even if things were not shown spec lol.

Being a part of such a vast community have you worked with many other productions?

Bill) We have had both John Champion and Ken Ray from Mission Log on our show, as well as Jeff Hull and Heather Barker from The Tricorder Transmissions. I have also been a guest on several other podcasts like Frack Stars, Synthaholics, and The Admiral’s Table

Dan) As Bill said, John Champion and Ken Ray from Mission Log have both been on our show. Additionally, Heather Barker and Jeff Hulit from Shoreleave have joined us on different occasions.  I have been a guest on Shore Leave and have plans to be on Synthabholics at some point in the near future.

James) Not forgetting you were a part of the 24Hrs of G&T just this past week, do you listen to any other podcasts other than your own?

Bill) (regularly) Mission Log, The Tricorder Transmissions, The G&T Show, Two Guys One Trek, The Feed from Libsyn, Women at Warp…and a bunch of others infrequently.

Dan) Bill tries to make people believe that I don’t listen to my own podcast but he would be very wrong.  In addition to TG, I listen to Mission Log, G&T and Shore Leave mostly.

James) Being that you guys are so intertwined in the fandom what are your Favourite parts of the Trek Fandom and do you have any aspects you deem the worst Parts of the Trek Fandom.

Bill) I have the same answer for both parts) Social Media. It has been an amazing way to get to know people online and spread the word about our show. However, there are a lot of self-appointed “gatekeepers” in fandom and social media seems to give them their voice. The good parts far outweigh the bad parts, though.

Dan) I think one of my favourite parts of Fandom is Cosplay.  Seeing people create these amazing costumes to show their love of the franchise is something I am always amazed by.  The dedication into making these costumes is something that I appreciate so very much.

I think the worst part of fandom is social media. I think some of the things that actual fans post on social media is deplorable and makes me wonder why they even watch Star Trek. How people treat the Kelvin timeline movies is a perfect example of this. In addition, when the first trailer for Beyond was released; people were just atrocious with their posts, same with the announcement of Star Trek Discovery.

It is amazing that we can love something so much, yet as soon as any information is released, the worst things can be said. It makes me sad that there are those out there who consider themselves fans can be so hateful and disgusting with comments made for the whole world to see.

James) I have to admit I was a very strong anti-Kelvin timeline person but having seen Beyond I have been swayed that film although was not the best ever it is now in my top 5.

So, guys, it has been a pleasure talking to you and asking you these questions but our time is coming to an end I have a couple of more things to ask before we part ways….

Now you have become what I would call seasoned podcaster I mean hey you have done some amazing interviews so you guys have any Tips and Tricks on how to become a podcaster for people who are thinking about it?

Bill) Know clearly what your show is (and is not) and do the same show you would do for two people as you would do for 2,000. So many podcasts I have listened to do not do this and I think it is why many podcasts fail before their 10th episode.

Dan) I would defer that question to Bill. 

James) Lastly Do you have any regrets in doing Trek Geeks?

Bill) Aside from the fact, I have to talk to Dan every day now, no. I have not a single regret in the world, nor could I have.

Dan) As I have said many times on the Podcast, I can never thank Bill enough for starting this whole adventure. It has been life-changing on so many levels. I could never have imagined meeting so many of these idols that I had grown up watching Star Trek and talking to them about their experiences.

I never dreamed I would have been welcomed into such a vast family as fandom and met so many amazing people that I love dearly. I would never have dreamed of actually sitting in the captain’s chair of The Original Enterprise when visiting the set of Star Trek Continues, which was literally a “Jesus’ moment for me. I have no regrets at all and I do not think I ever will. This has been an experience unlike any other and I will always be eternally grateful to my podcast partner and best friend Bill Smith for making it a reality. I think Bill may regret his comment now, but hey, that’s him.

Bill) Nah…not so much.

James) Well Thank you so many guys doing this with me has meant a lot and is an honour to even get the chance to sit and ask these questions.

I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I did doing it than reading through and editing it all together these guys are so funny and I feel that I now know them a whole lot better.

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