What Do Directors Do?
Tim Russ, who played Tuvoc in Voyager and Deep Space 9, is also a director. He is now working on the pilot of a Star Trek web series, Star Trek: Renegades. He chatted about this with The G & T show and mentioned some fascinating considerations and constraints about directing Star Trek: http://www.gandtshow.com/?p=1944
He mentions that it is the director of the pilot who sets the “look” of the series – that each series has it’s own look that instantly conveys which one you’re seeing. Aha! I have noticed that, but didn’t think about it. In flipping channels, I’d never even briefly mistake a Hawaii Five-O episode for an Star Trek episode. Tim Russ mentions some factors in creating this look. For example, in directing “Living Witness” for Voyager, he had to be careful about camera angles – there were angles that the executive producer hated and would not let into the show!
Star Trek: Renegades takes place 11 years after Voyager, which lead to some interesting discussions about how things might have changed in those 11 years. Russ said they wanted to look more modern without losing the audience’s understanding of what was happening. You can’t make a weapon look so different that the audience doesn’t realize it essentially is a phaser.
I also wasn’t aware that Paramount, as owner of Star Trek, insists on approving everything using the name or concept. That includes books, graphic novels, toys and other products, the fan-produced movie Star Trek: Of Gods and Men, and the proposed Renegades web series. I found that Lucas does the same with Star Wars. Renegades could have been developed as a separate Sci Fi story line, but as Russ points out, anything Star Trek has such a large built-in fan base.
Wow! It seems directors do a lot more than tell actors where to stand!