Star Trek Writers Talk Marketing and Fan Interaction

Yesterday we pointed to the first part of a interview with Star Trek scribes Orci and Kurtzman talking about the origins of the new film and more. Today FirstShowing has more from the pair on their other projects and also their thoughts about the marketing of their films and fan interaction (including interacting with fans here at


Excerpt part 2 of the interview at

FirstShowing: How much marketing say do you have in The Proposal and Star Trek?

Orci: The Proposal, we’ve not been very involved in; on Star Trek, quite a bit.

First Showing: I guess I’m just curious because being who I am, the journalist and working on all this, all we see is the marketing side of things, so it’s something we have to criticize a lot, I’d say. With Star Trek, I want it to be successful and we’re all hoping that they get trailers out and posters out on time and people like them and that everything’s marketed well because if it’s not, we’re trying to defend a film that people aren’t liking, which is why it’s interesting to learn how much involvement you have with that.

Kurtzman: We’ve learned how important it is, that you can have the best movie in the world and if you don’t sell it right, it doesn’t matter.

Orci: The crazy truth is that movies get greenlit without a vote from the marketing department saying "we know how to put this out there," especially on movies that are big like Star Trek or Transformers. When you are staking so much of your success on the way a movie’s put out there, as the producer, it’s your responsibility to be involved as much as possible. And also, it’s your responsibility to listen to people who are smarter than you about how to do it.

FirstShowing: Is this why you guys like getting really involved with the fans? I know you’re very active on the TFW2005 forum and the TrekMovie forum. I think with you guys and a few other people in this industry finally connecting with fans on that level, I think it’s really benefiting these films in the end, especially very franchise-related films.

Kurtzman: These movies are not ours. We’re not making them for ourselves. We are, of course, but we’re making them for people to go see. I think especially with something like Star Trek, we’re so lucky to have inherited that mantle and we are just doing our best to preserve the incredible legacy of Star Trek and to keep bolstering the amazing work that’s already been done. So this is not something that we can claim we created in any way.

Orci: Right. In particular when it’s a franchise that has belonged to fans for as long as it has, that’s when we feel a particular responsibility to be open about it. Some people don’t subscribe to this — Alex and I tend to like demystify the process. We maybe are open to a fault about how things work but some people don’t like to see how sausage is made. It sometimes hurts their perception of a movie. We don’t like to create false mystery. We like to be kind of open about it. That’s just how we operate.

…read much more from Orci and Kurtzman at (especially about Transfomers 2)

or check out part 1


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Interesting stuff.

Its nice to see them interacting with the fans. Serenity/Friefly had a lot of creator interaction on the browncoat website and promotion and marketing leading up to the release, and it did not fair too well domestically by what big studios want movies to make to be deemed a success. If its not the next Titanic or Dark Knight its called a “flop”. Serenity, like the new ST movie was also supposed to be accessible to non-sci-fi audiences. While it was a great movie with a strong fan following it still was not enough for the big studio execs to make another one. Here’s hoping that this movie is a big hit. Or at least a big enough hit to keep more movies or series going.

I agree that it’s nice they take the time out to read and post on the forums (like on hear). Bob, Alex, if you’re listening, it’s much appreciated you’re listening to us! If only more were like you!

I’m looking forward to Transformers 2. I enjoyed the first film.

You talk about “smarter” people. I just hope you don’t fall into the trap of trying to out-think your audience. Sure, some films that are about very contemporary male characters have made big bucks. That doesn’t mean Kirk needs a refit into that paradigm. (Ooh Mommy, I used a big boy word!) Kirk is swagger and utterly inappropriate when it comes to respecing women’s personhood. But, in a good way. I honestly think sci-fi geeks are ahead of the curve in recognizing a movie that’s built and marketed according to formula. Many of us have learned to steer clear. (Though I dearly loved the first Indy film, I would never pay money for the new one. I read the reviews. I read the comments here.)

Anyway — at least the marketing gurus knew enough to put the two sex shots in the trailer. (I doubt that decision derived from their brains, though.)

Even though I am not totally into the AU/origins story device, I am into seeing this movie. And I do want to express my appreciation to Bob Orci for coming on here and talking with us. I think for the most part, yesterdays discourse on opposing viewpoints and desires for the movie were quite civil and enlightening.

“We don’t like to create false mystery. We like to be kind of open about it.”

Like spending 6 months trying to convince everybody the movie isn’t a reboot when its obviously a reboot. oooookay.

“Kirk is swagger and utterly inappropriate when it comes to respecing women’s personhood”

Woah woah woah. I think that’s a complete misconception. He may have liked the ladies, but I was never under the impression Kirk didn’t respect them. In fact, I’d say his behavior toward Uhura, Ariel Shaw, etc. showed great respect for them as human beings, not just sex objects.

I really appreciate how much Bob, Alex have kept us all “in the loop” and how they have intereacted with us in such a positive way.

And thanks to Anthony for making that possible! I just wish I had done a site like this first.

So, is there going to be a Viral marketing campaign or ARG for ST?


Well, I enjoyed Serenity. However, while Serenity wasn’t a big success, it was also less of a gamble. Production cost was less than a quarter of the new Trek movie. The risk, however, is a calculated one. Let’s face it, Star Trek is far bigger than Firefly ever was and/or will be. People have a basic idea about what Star Trek is. The marketing campaign also has kicked off nicely, so I expect it to at least bring in the money it cost. Yet I must say, I am a little uncomfortable with the notion that Lenovo could have built any part of the Enterprise. Damn thing’s going fall apart. I miss the IBM Thinkpads *sigh*

… back on topic …

I am really impressed by Mr Orci and Mr Kurtzman. They do at least have the guts to come here and face the fans, especially people like me, who care about the integrity of the timeline :). Unlike the lurkers, they also try to convey their point of view, which indicates to me, that they put thought in it and are convinced it is the right road they’re taking with ST. I may not be convinced it is, but at least they care.
That is something that some guy named Baird should have done before he agreed to mess with a universe he knows nothing about.

Well I appreciate Bob taking his time and coming out here:)

These guys are OK…

I an all seriousness, the access to Bob Orci on this site has been amazing. He has certainly been in the 5th circle of hell with us for some time, and still manages to glean from it that which helps him do his job.

Our city newspaper had a full page ad for STAR WARS in 1977. That and the soundtrack double album certainly got my attention.

For a moment I imagined this site without boborci’s involvement. It didn’t get this busy at all and made me think of it looking somewhat like what TrekBBS has become. :(

I’m really looking forward to the release date in May, if only in that Bob and Alex can talk openly about all parts of the movie, and don’t have to worry about spoilage! The “Making Of ___ Trek ____” works and books and all are now here ‘in progress’ on the net, and I’m sure when Bob can disclose much more he will. At least I hope he’ll still come back!

Aye, Bob and Alex, you’re a class act!

I know you’ve probably heard this before, in fact, you probably wrote the original line, but to paraphrase it:

“I like this site, it’s exciting!”

And it’s always better when they come around our corner. Curious, though, we’ve seen “boborci” a lot around here, but does Mr. Kurtzman have a TM name?


You know, as much as we bitch, complain and moan about this or that, I suspect that just about everyone here is very grateful to have this kind of interation with the creative minds behind the movie.

It shows that you guys really do care what we think, feel etc., and are really trying to do this right.

This is something that Peter Jackson and Guillermo Del Toro are doing for Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit too, and it is something very much appreciated.

I would like to personally thank you guys for this level of interaction, right down to the dragged out, dirty battles on fundamental issues.

I for one am looking forward to seeing the movie you wrote.

“Woah woah woah. I think that’s a complete misconception. He may have liked the ladies, but I was never under the impression Kirk didn’t respect them. In fact, I’d say his behavior toward Uhura, Ariel Shaw, etc. showed great respect for them as human beings, not just sex objects.”

Yep. In fact, the official Writer’s Guide for TOS made it clear that, while Kirk was pretty compulsive about playing hard while on shore, this was as much about the self-imposed distance between himself and his crew he observed while on ship as anything else. With all due respect, typecasting him as a swaggering lech is really a fundamental misunderstanding of the character.

Alex and Bob really sound like they just ‘Get It’ They might not do everything us fans like but they really are trying hard, so sight unseen I give them an ‘A’ for effort – no question.

I look forward to the DVD commentary where they can discuss why they made the choiches they did and they can talk openly about the movie. That will be a great conversation!

This is really looking like Star Trek II for this generation of fans.

Dear The OrcSter™,

How’s Cowboys and Arabians® coming along? I still say that you ain’t yella. Trekmovies dot com rewlz the YOUniverse!!!

the women…


Off topic abit but since this is an alternate reality to TOS is there a chance that we could see Khan again in a future movie. Who could play him?


As silly as the concept seems, i actually started thinking about it.

Khan is Asian, but Ricardo imbued him with that Latino machismo and smugness with which we are all familiar.

Antonio Banderas?

Haha! Thought the same thing!

It might not make a good theater film, but it might make a good direct-to-DVD movie. I’d really like to see what happens in between Space Seed and TWOK. I have a book that says it all, but I haven’t gotten around to reading it.

I said it before and I’ll say it again. I am impressed with them talking to us. It really shows a lot of character. And the fact that they continue to come back and answer questions from both folks who are happy as well as those who criticize what they have heard.

I also hope that they’ll take into considerationsome of the comments like if Gary Mitchell is not in this movie, it would be cool if they try to fit him into the sequel somehow–at least mention him. I think that is one of the obvious ways to show the old fan base that while these characters may be in a different universe than the one we have seen in the old show, some things….some situations…are concrete. You know….mention the salt sucking creature of “The Man Trap,” one of the first shows. I figure by the sequel they will be starting or have started their five year mission.

Hell, they can even reintroduce Kahn and have another prequel type movie with a slightly altered storyline. You know, tell the story of how they find Kahn. Maybe change some of the small details like have Kahn and crew sent off to deep space in 2090s or something like that. Reintroduce Harry Mudd, maybe. The story continues and is expanded.

22. AJ – January 14, 2009


What if Gary Mitchell in this reality ends up not turning into a “barrier alien”? We could see a whole new storyline with him in different situations maybe even learn about him more as a character. Hell, he might have been a starship captain himself had what happened to him not happen.

#18: “In fact, the official Writer’s Guide for TOS made it clear that, while Kirk was pretty compulsive about playing hard while on shore, this was as much about the self-imposed distance between himself and his crew he observed while on ship as anything else.”

Which neither really explains or justifies anything,

“…it’s your responsibility to listen to people who are smarter than you…”
one sign of a great manager! and one who has some humility. Bravo!

“…some people don’t like to see how sausage is made…”
well I do! and I love the fact that they were open with us about how they were making it! and maybe even allowed us to help in some way…

Thanks for all you do Roberto! LL&P

#18- Michael Hall…

yes if the kirk we were seeing in this film was as evolved as he was in the series then your observation about they not understanding the character would be true……but a) its not and b) its an alternate timeline, one where kirk had to deal 1ith an abusive uncle, so this kirk is different…for now…

oh, now they want interaction…

say, how about offering up a set of designs of the new 1701 for the fans to vote on?


So….Transformers 2 will be on HD-DVD and not Blu-Ray, right?


Actually, they’ve been around here for quite some time.


Sorry, Bob.

Who’s Xavier?

This just in: Actor Ricardo Montalbon has died at the age of 88.


Ah, sorry to hear it. He had a good, long run, but it’s still sad. Best movie villain ever, and nobody else could have pulled it off with the same style.

Yet another Star Trek icon gone for good. The new year starts like the last year ended, with the death of a great Trek actor.

Ricardo will be missed.

I was also lost on the Xavier remark bob…..I do like the idea of Antonio Banderas as Khan.




Wow thats weird, was just talking about him. Maybe I should stop talking about other characters that are still alive.

Adios Ricardo!

Rest in Peace, Ricardo.

Fantasy Island is now closed (for us).

That’s creepy we were talking about a new Khan, and Ricardo died.

“Revenge is a dish best served cold”

Rest in Peace Ricardo Montalban.

Rest in Peace Mr. Montalban :(

I think Bob meant Javier Bardem from No Country for Old Men.

BobOrci, – Speaking of S Spielberg (im assuming the meeting where he went ‘I steal from myself all the time‘ was about TF 1?) – could you possibly tell us anything about Spielbergs involvement on Trek? I read on this site he visited the set and liked the script…maybe anything he said – if he revealed what his fave trek film was…his thoughts on Trek…if he helped shoot a scene etc? – no problems if its confidential info ;)

Mr. Orci, as hard as many of us are on you sometimes, your presence at and your interactions with fans have been of incredible value. That you talk to us and read our input no matter what the content, is truly validating. You have my greatest respect.

If STXI does turn out to be good, you will be a hero to me.

34. AJ – January 14, 2009


Sorry, Bob.

Who’s Xavier?

He may be talking about Javier Bardem, who would be very interesting, IMO.

Damn it, I’m still pissed that Mantalban died today. :(