When it comes to sharing gems from Star Trek’s behind-the-scenes history, its hard to find examples of items not seen many times before by much of the Trek fanbase. A relatively new Twitter account, @TrekDocs, has managed to do just that, and is bringing these historic Trek documents to the masses.
The “docs” themselves cover a wide range: from internal memos to behind-the-scenes photos to story pitches to letters sent in by fans.
We got a slide scanner for Christmas, along with about 100 slides from the set of Farpoint! Really awesome stuff here. Riker’s reaction: pic.twitter.com/JgvTLKG0Nn
— trekdocs (@trekdocs) January 10, 2017
— trekdocs (@trekdocs) August 27, 2016
— trekdocs (@trekdocs) December 18, 2016
We were curious as to how this Twitter account came to be. Where were these documents coming from, and who behind TrekDocs was able to procure them? TrekMovie spoke with one of the members of the TrekDocs team who introduced himself only as “Tom Paris” and explained that the team have decided to remain anonymous. “Tom” tells us that the TrekDocs team all used to work on Star Trek in one way or another and so were in the perfect position to save some of these historical documents when Star Trek halted its television production after the end of Enterprise.
“When Enterprise ended, Paramount ordered the production offices cleared out,” explains Tom. “There were numerous boxes of older material that would have been taken away and destroyed. As longtime Trek fans, we recognized that these boxes contained some pretty amazing franchise history. So instead of ending up in an incinerator, they ended up in our garages, closets, and storage units. They stayed there for a while and then we figured we should get them out there.”
The team decided that Twitter would be the best place to share their docs with the world. “It’s more anonymous, it’s less maintenance than a website, and we just thought it would be a fun way for people to see them,” says Tom. Their goal is to attract new followers to the @TrekDocs account in order to share their corner of Trek history with as many fans as possible.
“We take the time to do this because we love Trek; it’s been a huge source of inspiration to us. Reading this stuff was a joy, and we want to share that joy of discovery with people who love the franchise as much as we do.”
A fan laments the fate of Picard after the “Best of Both Worlds” cliffhanger. “Why don’t you just rip my heart right out?” June 25, 1990. pic.twitter.com/G3QYubShXi
— trekdocs (@trekdocs) February 23, 2017
TrekMovie: How much material would you say you guys have, and what form does it take (slides, photos, video, props, etc?)
TrekDocs: We have a few thousand pages of documents, though not all of it is interesting enough to warrant a post. It’s mostly paper, but we have some slides and photos as well. No video, unfortunately. There are a couple props, but they don’t fit into the scanner.
— trekdocs (@trekdocs) August 15, 2016
TM: Do you have any particular “gems” in the collection that you are holding onto to reveal at a later date? Or do you just go through the boxes and post whatever item you find next?
TD: There are obviously documents that are cooler than others, and we want to make sure that if you come to the feed a year from now you’re not just getting memos about office furniture and catering. So we hold onto the really good stuff and try to parcel those out with a bit more forethought. Anything actually written by Gene, for example. Or really early TNG stuff that helped to define the series. There’s definitely a method to what we post and when.
TM: Tell me about the cooler documents. Do you have any favorite items that have been posted to the twitter account? Which item that you’ve posted do you feel has the most “significance” for Trek’s history?
TD: For the 50th anniversary we posted a memo where Gene reacts to a writer putting “will you marry me?” in a script. He uses it as an example of TNG writers having to let go of their “soon-to-be-outmoded values and political ideas” and goes on to talk a little about the difficulties the staff will face writing this new Star Trek. It’s a great look at his thought process not just for the series, but for his vision of the future that birthed Star Trek in the first place.
There’s also a great speech given by Bob Justman at a convention in 1987 that we posted back when the teaser for Discovery was released. As for the most significant, we’ve posted a few Bob Justman memos from 1986 where he casually suggests things like families on the ship or a Klingon member for the crew; it’s fun to read those and imagine everything we know about TNG coming together.
— trekdocs (@trekdocs) September 8, 2016
— trekdocs (@trekdocs) September 29, 2016
TM: Are the documents all from within a particular era of Trek?
TD: Everything is TNG or later, so sadly we’ve got no TOS material. The bulk of it is from development of TNG through the end of that series. We also have some Voyager, DS9, and Enterprise materials, including fun stuff from the development of all three. There’s also scattered bits from all of the TNG movies.
— trekdocs (@trekdocs) January 22, 2017
TM: How long have you been running the account, and how much longer can it be sustained (assuming that it can go so long as you have new documents to show)?
TD: We’ve been going since April of 2016. Based on what we currently have, we’re probably good for another two years or so. It’s our hope that, as the feed gets more readers, other people will come forward who have fun documents like this and help to fill out the collection.
We can’t wait to see what other special items TrekDocs has in store. Follow @TrekDocs on Twitter to stay up to date with the latest behind-the-scenes treasures.