The Star Trek: Voyager actor Manu Intiraymi has been mulling the idea of a series about the convention circuit for 15 years. TrekMovie interviewed Intiraymi about his new film venture, which includes a host of actors from Star Trek and other sci-fi franchises.
Lonely can be the road well traveled for celebrity convention guests, who cross the nation and the globe virtually every weekend of the year to connect with pop culture fans. Leaving behind family, friends and loved ones to sit in airports, hotels and exhibition centers, fellow convention circuit guests often become close friends. These travelers and their stories from the road inspired former Star Trek: Voyager actor Manu Intiraymi to conceive a 10-story multi-genre anthology film, The Circuit, about the fictional comings and goings of his colleagues, as well as attendees, over the course of a one-weekend convention.
“It’s the Twilight Zone meets Galaxy Quest meets Fanboys,” Intiraymi explained in his concept’s elevator pitch for this interview. “Each story in the anthology will take place in one genre, like horror, fantasy, sci-fi and romance, and like New York Stories, all films in the anthology will happen during one weekend of a pop culture convention.
The Circuit will celebrate 50 years of conventions and our love of genre filmmaking. All of these stories will take place where we go to celebrate them, whether they occur in the past, present or future. The Circuit is a superstar team-up of actors, directors, writers, producers, visual effects artists and more. The cast and crew hail from indie and mainstream successes like For The Love of Spock, Renegades, Fifth Passenger, Planes, and Iron Man as well as television shows like Arrow, Flash, and D.C.’s Legends of Tomorrow.”
Intiraymi, whose last name means festival of the sun in Peruvian, is understandably enthusiastic about his idea. More impressive is his fresh approach to the annual treks fans take to their geek meccas, sometimes even multiple times in one year. His idea is intriguing in that The Circuit is not a documentary like William Shatner’s Get a Life, which follows real fans and actors who tell their Star Trek convention tales. No, The Circuit is 10-fictional separate-stories which draw inspiration from the celebrities and the fans who go to meet them.
Initially conceived 15 years ago when he began the convention tour himself, his preliminary thought was to include only stories from the perspective of the convention guests. However, Intiraymi, who executive produces as well as acts in The Circuit, was inspired to include convention attendees after experiencing the fans point of view and their testimonies.
“Ever since I started doing them, I noticed how surreal, heartbreaking, sad, beautiful, functional and dysfunctional they can be for the fans,” Intiraymi explained. “I saw so many things behind-the-scenes over the years. I felt like there had to be an anthology film for fans to see.
Last year at Fed Con in Germany, I was looking out at the fans, 7,500 people clapping, and I started making eye contact with them. They shared their stories how these cons have helped them, and that is when I realized half of the stories had to be from the fans point of view. So I had my Hollywood writer friends interview the cast and tell half the stories from the actor’s perspective, while I opened up a screenplay contest so the other half of the stories could come from the fanbase.”
Casting a wide net for peer stories and creators, as well as actors and more, Intiraymi had easy access to attendees he has shared the stage with over the years. It’s reminiscent how Star Trek Continues’ Vic Mignogna selects his actors, reaching out to those in which he has worked with professionally or met on the convention circuit over the years. For Mignogna, and now Intiraymi, these individuals are now a part of their extended family.
Tapping into an unlimited number of actors from his time in the Final Frontier, Star Trek fans can expect to see familiar faces, not just from Voyager, but all recent sequels set in Gene Roddenberry’s fictional world. However actors will also come from other beloved programs and films as well.
Endeavors like this do not just materialize without the almighty dollar. While Federation citizens in the 24th century do not need gold-pressed latinum to pursue their dreams, unfortunately today money is still needed to make these types of projects occur. Producing the film via his own Intiraymi Films, Boston Dutch Productions as well as Mike Phillips and Jason Neufeld’s Bayou Pictures, the former Voyager actor still wants to keep as much creative control as he can. Thus, he has decided to go the crowdfunding route, which sadly is no longer as reliable as it once was thanks to one Star Trek fan film.
Concerns over this issue are not something Intiraymi worries about however, as he is quick to point out that while his background as well as some of his actors are from Star Trek, The Circuit is not a Star Trek fan film. He is quick to note that while a bulk of his actors do come from the franchise, they also come from other properties like Game of Thrones, Teen Wolf, The Blacklist, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Hellboy, to name a few.
Realistic that he might not reach his financial goal, Intiraymi is prepared to go to other production companies for the balance, or only shoot the number of episodes for the anthology they can afford based on money raised.
“We would love it to be crowd funded in the first campaign, but we’re willing to do whatever it takes to raise the $1.3 million to do it right, whether it’s additional campaigns or matching funds. For the first three episodes, we are looking to raise $400k to pay actors, making these concepts, flying fans in, plus shooting in different locations as well as filming an original fan screenplay from the contest. Since it’s an anthology, if we don’t raise enough money, we’ll shoot how many we can get out. The toughest part of raising money for a film is that first chunk.
The Circuit is a film that celebrates conventions, and is made for the fans. This is its own original concept, during the film you will never see Star Trek or Star Wars characters and we’re not going to take any intellectual property characters ala Galaxy Quest. We may infer, but it will not be directly.”
Crowdfunding begins soon, as a Kickstarter for the The Circuit is slated to launch September 20. Leading up to the start, Intiraymi and crew have produced a series of videos to be released each week prior to its commencement, ending with the long version trailer of the movie.
“Even if fans don’t support the campaign monetarily, they should still enjoy watching a new trailer each week on the fundraising site.”
Speaking of fans, The Circuit presents a unique opportunity for those looking to break into the business of filmmaking and storytelling. Intiraymi, who plans to become a pitchman on steroids during his future convention appearances, is offering fans more than just a chance at having their original fictional stories told. He is also presenting his Kickstarter donors the shot to actually intern on set during production and filming.
“I want to make the most collaborative, celebrity/fan anthology that Hollywood has ever done. Anyone who supports the Kickstarter at any donation level, will be able to send a resume to firstname.lastname@example.org and submit why they should be brought into one of the key departments in each episode, including makeup, effects, set design, writing, acting, etc.
For every episode of the anthology, The Circuit will bring multiple fans into the filmmaking process, and help them get their foot in the door.”
The recent Star Trek Mission New York included The Circuit cast members Armin Shimerman and Robert Beltran among others. The teaser trailer can be seen TheCircuitFilm.com or by following @TheCircuitMovie on all social media.