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New Official Fan Fiction Contest Pits Kirk and Picard June 12, 2007

by Anthony Pascale , Filed under: Fan Fiction,Trek Franchise , trackback

Star Trek fans have been creating their own stories since as far back as the 60s. Some of these fan writers have even got their work published. The first of these compilations was "The New Voyages" in 1976. For the last decade Pocket Books has issued a series of fan fiction compilations starting with "Strange New Worlds" in 1998, but that all comes to an end next month with the final planned book "Strange New Worlds 10."  However, CBS have just announced a new deal with FanLib.com for web-based fan fiction contest called ‘Kirk v Picard.’ The contest will have fans collaborate to write a script for an ‘episode’ of the ultimate captain showdown with the help of a virtual showrunner in the form of VOY/DS9 science adviser and ENT writer and story editor Andre Bormanis. The contest site goes live Wednesday June 13th [UPDATE: Site is now Live] and TrekMovie.com talked to Bormanis about the project.

FanLib is a new but already popular fan fic destination. It is a place where fan writers can share their stories set in pretty much any franchise you can think of. FanLib has an active Star Trek community on the site but this is their first officially licensed Trek event. “A lot of us at FanLib love Star Trek and have had more than a few arguments about which captain was better and how they’d interact with each other. We thought it would be really cool to see what other fans think and to make a big event out of it,” says FanLib co-founder & CEO Chris Williams. In addition to Bormanis, FanLib have brought on George Takei and Wil Wheaton who will be ‘video blogging’ about the event over the next month. The first of these is already online at the site. FanLib is backed by some industry bigwigs, including one of the top guys at Yahoo. It is worth noting that some fan fiction purists are not comfortable with the commercialization of online fan fiction. For more on that controversy visit the at the website of MIT Professor and Author of "Convergence Culture" Henry Jenkins. However it is encouraging to see CBS embracing fan fiction online, and it may give hope to those who would like to see fan films get the same kind of recognition. 

How it works
The Star Trek ‘fanisode’ will be written in stages over a one month period. The first step will be to choose one of four possible ‘sci-fi scenarios’ that brought Kirk and Picard together. Then each week Bormanis will issue a ‘mission’ for fans which will describe the outline of a scene to be written. Writers then submit scenes and people vote and review the scenes. Each week writers and reviewers can win prizes, so you don’t need to be an aspiring writer to both participate and win. Once a scene is ‘elected’ it is added to the script and the process repeats until the script is complete. For more details on the process read the contest rules. Bormanis says that in the end he expects a script to be around 30-35 pages, or somewhat shorter than your typical episode. Prizes will include a Trip to Las Vegas, Apple iPhones and MacBooks and Star Trek merchandise. FanLib may run other Star Trek contests in the future depending on how this first one goes. 

Although your rewards are limited to prizes (and CBS will own anything you submit) there may also be some good exposure for an aspiring screenwriter. During the time of Pocket Books "Strange New Worlds"series they found seven authors who went on to be commissioned to write several Star Trek novels. In the case of FanLib, several fan fiction contributors have had their work end up in eBooks and at least one has gone on to get a real literary agent (article).

Why Kirk v Picard?
The premise for the contest is some kind of confrontation of Star Trek’s most famous captains: James T Kirk and Jean Luc Picard. The decision came from FanLib and Bormanis’ discussions on when in Trek’s timeline should they set the story, and they felt they can get two for the price of one. Bormanis explains: "We decided that it would be fun to actually have two time frames involved and one of the perennial question of Star Trek fans is ‘who is the better captain…Kirk or Picard?…We have only seen them together briefly in Generations. We thought it would be cool to see these guys in scenario that is more adversarial.”


Have we met before?

Um Kirk never met Picard right?
Bormanis says that the setting will pit 5 year mission era Kirk with early TNG Picard. Of course the first thing any Trekkie will note is that this doesn’t exactly compute…Kirk and Picard did not meet until later in both of their lives (via the Nexus from Generations). Bormanis promises that the episode will preserve continuity and throws it back to the fan writers to figure out how it all works out. He notes episodes in the past have concluded where those involved did not remember them, such as “Yesterday’s Enterprise” and “ Cause and Effect.” So is that just a big reset button? “I hope it won’t boil down to that,” says Bormanis laughing, “Maybe someone out there has a really clever idea on how do deal with these things without using the reset button.” Even though the show will be focused on the captains (and possibly crews) of the TOS and TNG eras it may not be limited to that. Bormanis says that he is at least open to fans bringing in other elements, saying “due to the short length I would be reluctant to want the show to go in too many directions at once…but maybe there will be a cool way to bring Captain Archer or the Gamma Quadrant wormhole into the story.”

A show for today or yesterday?
Even though the premise is bringing together heroes from decades past, Bormanis hopes the show will have modern sensibilities. “Storytelling on TV is more sophisticated than it was in the 80s or the 60s, certainly it is different. I don’t want to take this project and make something that is entirely its own piece and does not seem to fit into the Star Trek universe, but at the same time I don’t just want to try another episode of TNG or TOS.” One example is that of Trek’s infamous ‘technobabble.’ In the first video blog for the project Wil Wheaton even mocks Trek’s sometimes over worn tendency to focus on the technology. Bormanis, Trek’s former science advisor, admits this has been an issue and hopes it wont happen with Kirk v Picard. “There were some examples on Voyager where we would work ourselves into a corner and Janeway would say ‘try and ionize the L Beam transmission’ and that solved the problem,” jokes Bormanis.

Bormanis thinks ‘it will be fun’ to see how the debates on technobabble and tone and style play out with the fan community. Although he will be setting out the ‘missions’ in the end it will be the fans that both write and decide which way to go. “It’s exciting,” says the former story editor, “when you write for television it is a group effort and it feels like being back in the room when you were breaking stories.”  He is also ready for the inevitable debates and acknowledges that it may get heated at Trek debates often do, however he notes “the one thing that Star Trek fans have in common despite the disagreements and heated arguments is that we all love Star Trek…we all want to see it thrive.” Indeed.

For more info see the official FanLib trek site.

Trailer for the event: 

VOTE who do you think would prevail in a showdown between Kirk v Picard

see poll (right column)

UPDATE: Premise choices revealed

Thanks to ‘Old Timey Fan’ for identifying the first fan fic book from 1976, updated the article. 

 

Comments

1. Xai - June 12, 2007

The premise looks very interesting.
And I can predict the K vs. P flames will be melting the bottom of my keyboard in here soon.
“My Trek is better than your Trek”….. Always my favorite subject.

X

2. CmdrR. - June 12, 2007

Diane Carey has a wonderful book in “Ship of the Line,” in which Picard seeks inspiration from a holographic TOS Kirk. It’s made plausible (I guess) by saying that Kirk agreed to supplement previous log entries with his own (more?) personal thoughts. These are played to the viewer as Kirk speaking.
I can’t say the idea of more Kirk and Picard or Kirk v. Picard scenarios thrills me. That forced storyline was was made Generations feel like two halves that never fit together.
Still, if folks say it’s Wonderbread, I might give it a look.

3. VOODOO - June 12, 2007

This should have been ST XI

4. Paul - June 12, 2007

“Picard’s not gay, he’s British!”

“If Kirk would get rid of the rug they’d both be bald!”

Oh this is almost too great, I can’t wait to get in on this. but by the way if i wrote this Kirk would beat down Picard in like five minutes and spend the rest of the time trying to get Troi and Crusher to wear the old school miniskirt uniforms.( those are something i pray are included in Trek XI)

Silliness aside i hope this becomes a great project and i can’t wait to contribute

5. CmdrR - June 12, 2007

There was a spot that ran on Spike TV that ran something like “Kirk likes girls! Picard likes… books.”

6. stallion - June 12, 2007

I love Picard but Janeway can beat up Picard. If all the The captain from each series got into a fist fight then I believe Captain Sisko would win. Kirk would come in second, Archer in third, Janeway in fourth and Picard in fifth. I can see Picard outsmarting everybody. Comparing the first three season of TOS with the first few season of TNG isn’t fair because it took a while for TNG to take off. Krik was quickly to pull out his phaser then Picard. Picard is more diplomatic but he is ready for action.

7. Bobby - June 12, 2007

let the trek begin!!!!!

8. Damn - June 12, 2007

Picard would just toss his tea into Kirk’s eyes and *frollic* away. Comparing the two is unfair, TOS was about Kirk and sometimes Spock while TNG was an ensemble show.

9. The Realist - June 12, 2007

Remember Picard has got a BIG E on his side, bye bye Kirk.

10. steve623 - June 13, 2007

“the more they over-think the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain”

i can honestly say this is one aspect of Star Trek in which i have zero interest.

11. Dyson Sphere - June 13, 2007

“Not good enough d*mn it, not good enough!”

12. Stanky "Disembodied Brain" McFibberich - June 13, 2007

13,750 quatloos on Captain Kirk.

13. brady - June 13, 2007

its so obvious that having trelane and Q having a lil cosmic chess match with their former thorns in their sides is the way to do this ;)

14. snake - June 13, 2007

YAWN

15. Trekdude - June 13, 2007

yep bring Q and your set i remember a story in the comics Startrek
where Q swith them up picard on the first enterprise and kirk on the D enterprise it was pretty funny…..

16. mrregular - June 13, 2007

#10:
Amen.
What do the Organians think of this? Not highly.
Neither do I.

17. Stanky "Disembodied Brain" McFibberich - June 13, 2007

210,127 quatloos on Kirk. Final bet.

18. Xon - June 13, 2007

Why this event do not start?

19. Lord Garth Formerly of Izar - June 13, 2007

I wager 1,000,000 quatloos that Next Genie zeolots rig the election. In other news Picard wins the fighting like Liberace contest

20. mikeg - June 13, 2007

Personally, I think this “Kirk vs. Picard” thing is rather silly….

21. Shaye - June 13, 2007

This is the lamest idea pitting peoples hero’s of the same saga AGAINST one another…why did they not come up with a way they could TOGETHER fight, or overcome an advasary, or come to a better understanding for all!!??

WTF…This is alll so…Very un -I.D.I.C. an idea guys!…. and a most un-trekkian idea in the true sense of the whole ill thought out concept!

But seeing as its inevitable.. the result would be painfully fast and easy to see….yes..a match of Kirk and Picard both in their prime would be glorious indeed, but while Picard is off emoting some nonsensical technobabble shakespearian soliliqy while making his “plans” against Kirk…Kirk would come out from under his pile of rocks and blast the good captains head clear off..down to its blood gushing roots clear off!!!

Kirk wins easily, sure…but in a way he loses!!!, and so would Picard if he “won”…for in promoting such a battle…we all lose a certain dignity and sense of greatness the brave men represent to us all!

I actually “love” Picard every bit as much as Kirk, yet think this whole idea is a bad one, it will tear apart the fan base even further than it already has and promote the destruction of two legends!

Shame on the greedy sobs who wish this wrongful encounter of two of the finest officers of Starfleet, right up there with Commadore Decker of the Constellation, and Bob Wesley of the Lexington.

So it is…shame shame shame…. on us all if we participate in this malace in the palace Of Trek Lore! (no pun intended, Picard would need his help to stand a chance against….

…” James….Tiberius Kirk, …my old friend!”

Shaye

22. Oceanhopper - June 13, 2007

I agree it is such a dumb cliche to have these two fighting each other. Heroes fight VILLAINS, not each other – that’s the whole point of heroes!

A more interesting exercise would be to examine how these two characters have opposite character arcs. Kirk began life very bookish and seemingly quite nerdy, “a stack of books with legs”, before loosening up (partly thanks to Gary Mitchell) and coming to be more passionate and impulsive in his decisions (and developing his charm for the ladies).
Picard was the reverse – he began very cocky and had a bad attitude. It took a bar brawl with a Naussican to teach him some humility, and of course he took command of his Enterprise at a later stage in life than Kirk (40s versus early 30s) and so was matured and calmed-down simply by time.

I’d be much more interested to see how Young Kirk would react to young Picard. That would seem far more likely to be adversarial.

23. Jeff - June 13, 2007

This totally misses the point…the captains of the Enterprise would never fight each other. Geez.

Now what would be interesting would a “Superior Life Force Face-Off.” If we pitted all the many “superior” life forces that tried to take over some version of the Enterprise against each other, then THAT would be a smack-down.

Who (or what) would win? A giant hand that grabs the ship? The Borg? Some huge floating crystal structure? An army of robotic clones? 1940’s gangsters from inside the holodeck? Tribbles? Spock’s brain?

24. Floydhead Max! - June 13, 2007

The problem with a Kirk Vs Picard story is that it would be over too quickly with Bones saying:
“He’s dead Jim!”……..

Hahahahahaha!!!!
FM!!

25. Redshirt - June 13, 2007

Well this was the original idea and premise for “Generations.” We all knew how badly that turned out. Nothing good can come out of Trek Captains beating each other. It would be nothing but fan wank and Flaming “My captain is better than your captain” garbage.

I only thing bizarre i can up with is either a Cook off like Iron Chef with all the captains or at least have a contest of strength and like the old 80’s show American Gladiators (with the silly stretch outfits) but at least more entertaining. it would be better than this drivel.

For the sake of argument at the same time all the captains should knock each other out and be put in a coma. No one will be satisfied with the outcome.

26. Steve Friedman - June 13, 2007

To some extent, William Shatner has pitted the character against each other several times, usually as a result of Picard representing Starfleet and the retired Kirk representing his own interests. I don’t think it has ever come to blows though.

Similarly, let’s not assume it’s Kirk vs. Picard in a deathmatch. It could be a race, a tactical battle or rehearsal (although we’ve seen that done with Riker), or a situation where the two are simply at odds.

27. Xai - June 13, 2007

#26 Steve F
You are right.
First, this wouldn’t happen. Starfleet captains in their right minds with the right information do not battle, especially physically.
But….
It would be an interesting exercise to see them in command working tactically against each other on equally equipped starships. Gambits and bluffs, wits and knowledge….. who would win?

28. Olde Timey Fan - June 13, 2007

ANTHONY! YOU GOOFED!

What about “Star Trek The New Voyages” from 1976 — which I own and read before you were born!!!

Geese, wazzamadda wit kids today?!

http://trekkieguy.com/bb1976_01.shtml

29. Olde Timey Fan - June 13, 2007

^21

Shaye… likes books too.

;-)

30. Olde Timey Fan - June 13, 2007

^23

Jeff … likes books three

;)

31. Captain Pike - June 13, 2007

I can’t even think of anything to say that doesn’t sound snarky. This is such a “Mary Sue” / Look at the Geeks! idea. Real “fans” aren’t interested in this kind of thing. Good Grief, what’s next? Another installment of “Trekkies” with cross dressing Klingons? We’re not all pimply mouth-breathers living in our parents basements.

Besides, Kirk would kick Picards @ss!

32. Jeff - June 13, 2007

I honestly think that if Kirk and Picard were on the same ship, and Spock’s Brain took over the holodeck, then Kirk and Picard would team up to fight the bizarre menaces that would pop up (giving us many opportunities for clever dialog between the two captains).

Finally, in the end, Spock’s brain would sacrifice itself when it remembered who Kirk was.

Kirk: “He was..my friend. Or, part of him anyway.”

Picard: “I had a friend just like him. But he was a robot.”

Kirk: “That pasty-faced bucket of bolts was your friend?? He must have been a bunch of laughs.”

Picard: “Not really…well, there was this one time when he tried to learn to laugh…”

CUT TO:

The Enterprise flies away, off into space.

33. Xai - June 13, 2007

#28 Olde
What ARE you talking about?

34. Anthony Pascale - June 13, 2007

it appears that i didnt mention ‘Star Trek The New Voyages’ which predated ‘Strange New Worlds’ I have added it to the article. I actually called Pocket to fact check and confirm that they were getting out of the fan fic biz, but I guess I should have double checked on when it all started

regardless…printed star trek fan fiction will soon be a relic of the past. I was told by an editor there that the mail room guy is very happy about this….they stopped counting submissions and would actually judge volume by the pound. I do not envy the guy who had to go through it all to find the good ones.

35. meander - June 18, 2007

There’s still not many warm fuzzy feelings from fandom towards fanlib.com, in part due to original wording in their TOS which would render fanwriters legally liable should anyone sue, and which would give them full rights to uploaded fanfics–oh, and how they intended to make money off of fanfic.

Then there was the little matter of how they spammed people based on the number of fics they’d written, how the CEO was outright trolling people’s livejournals, and how they put up sections on their site for fandoms where the authors are adamantly and openly opposed to fanfic.

THEN there was the infamous marketing brochure that practically oozed a supercilious lack of knowledge of fandom in general.

When they came out, fandom in general went into a torch-and-pitchfork-waving fury. Feministsf’s thumbed their nose at them. Making Light’s declared the entire venture doomed. Journalfen’s fandom_wank has mocked them wholeheartedly. It’s even spawned an anti-them livejournal community, with plenty of additional information and linkage: http://community.livejournal.com/life_wo_fanlib/

So it’s not that they’re “popular” so much as “infamous.”

36. FanFic » Star Trek FanFic Contest - August 12, 2007

[...] I just came across this contest: New Official Fan Fiction Contest Pits Kirk And Picard that some of you Star Trek fanfic writers may be interested in. [...]

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