Just 11 hours after its launch, LeVar Burton’s new Kickstarter campaign to bring back the hit children’s show Reading Rainbow (1983-2006) surpassed its goal of $1 Million. And, this was before LeVar had a chance to advertise the cause during today’s Reddit AMA. At the time of writing, the campaign is only a day old and reached nearly $2 Million in donations. The crowdfunded campaign is raising money to “bring Reading Rainbow’s unlimited library of interactive books and video field trips to kids everywhere” and to help classrooms in need. Perhaps LeVar underestimated the impact that the show had on the Millennial generation during their childhood. See his reaction when the campaign officially went over their goal. Immediately after the Kickstarter campaign surpassed its $1 Million goal, the team posted this video of LeVar Burton’s reaction to the outpouring of support.
XPRIZE, in partnership with CBS, has launched Tricorder Federation, a new promotional website for the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE competition, which will award $10M to the team that successfully creates a real life Tricorder that can make reliable health diagnoses anywhere, anytime. The new site’s app invites fans to upload a picture of themselves decked out in Trek uniform and will then create a poster comparing real life ailments to fictional Trek universe ones. The platform seeks not only to raise awareness for the XPRIZE competition itself but also for illnesses around the world that could one day be conquered by improvements in medical technology, like those advances envisioned in Star Trek.
Geek Nation Tours has been delighting traveling nerds on their Trek-themed tour from Hollywood, through a plethora of Trek filming locations in the California desert, and culminating in Las Vegas just in time for the annual Creation Convention held every August. Larry “Dr. Trek” Nemecek, the noted Star Trek guru, consultant, interviewer, producer and author of the Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion and Star Trek: Stellar Cartography, will be there as always to guide fans through the tour and impart his encyclopedic knowledge of all things Trek (both in front of and behind the scenes). This year, Vegas-bound fans unable to join in on the full tour can get a taste of the adventure by booking a one-day tour to the site of Captain James T. Kirk’s heroic death on Veridian III (Star Trek Generations), which is located in the majestic Valley of Fire State Park 55 miles northeast of Las Vegas. The trip is taking bookings now but is selling out fast with only 7 of the 12 seats still up for grabs.
BREAKING: Variety is reporting that Roberto Orci, co-screenwriter and producer of the previous two Star Trek films, has been tapped to direct the third film in the rebooted franchise. When approached by Variety to confirm, Paramount, Skydance Productions, and Orci’s representatives had no comment. Orci, who will be making his directorial debut, is collaborating with newcomers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay on the screenplay. He had been lobbying to land the directing assignment, and needed to convince Paramount and it’s producing partner, Skydance Productions, that he could handle the demands of directing a major Hollywood blockbuster. No details about the film are known, but the entire cast is expected to return. J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burke will produce along with Skydance’s David Ellison.
With the world of video exploding, it’s exciting to see that the audio drama format is still alive and well. After a nearly three year hiatus, the cast and crew of the USS Montana have returned for an entirely new episode, Cathedral in the Void, available from the Continuing Mission Website. During it’s initial “season” of six episodes released between the winter of 2007 and the fall of 2009, the series amassed a listenership of tens of thousands, garnering critical acclaim and reviewed on CNN. We had even named it, “Audio Drama of the Year,” in 2008. Series producer Sebastian Prooth is proud of the series use of a ship and storyline set outside of the established series canon, but still able to weave it into the same universe. The story follows the adventures of a Federation crew plucked out of the 23rd century (from around the time of the events in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn) and re-emerging in the 24th, just prior to the beginning of Star Trek: The Next Generation. “The benefits of working in an audio format is that we’ve been able to utilize technology to bring together talented actors from around the world without having to physically bring them together,” said Prooth. The bulk of the original audio was completed back in 2011, with only a few characters’ dialogue remaining. Finally, it was an offer by Canadian fan and audio engineer, Matheiu Blondin, to help assemble the episode that restarted the momentum. That addition to the team, in tandem with Prooth’s desire to rejuvenate the series for an audience of today. This new episode summons up the creations of HP Lovecraft, the father of modern horror, who consigned his unspeakable creations to the farthest reaches of the final frontier. Most call them aliens. Some know them as the Elder Gods. In the time before time, they ruled the Earth. Now, the only thing that can stop their return is Captain Edwards and the crew of the USS Montana. The episode is well paced and is immersive as an audio experience, and easy to listen to (many effect-laden audio dramas become cluttered, which isn’t the case with Cathedral. The actor’s performances are solid and not over the top. The cast is headlined by Captain Paul Edwards (Scott Martineck), Commander Darius Locke (Stephen Perkins), Lt. Commander Jack McGuire (Patrick McCray), and Lt. Commander Thomas Plummer (Nathan Wolfenbarger). This new episode is in part an experiment to see if there’s still an audience for Star Trek in an audio drama format. They have already been drafting ideas for future episodes, but before they proceed they want to see what number of listens this episode receives. Personally I’m a big fan of listening to audio format fiction, as I use them to pass the time on the daily work commute. Full format audio plays however have become too rare, with World War Z having been an interesting hybrid between a full cast and straight audiobook. It’s refreshing to see something in the tradition of the classic Orson Wells broadcast of the War of the Worlds being created anew today.
Deadline Hollywood‘s Mike Fleming is reporting that Roberto Orci, co-screenwriter and producer of the previous two Trek films, has emerged as the frontrunner to direct the third feature and is currently in talks with Paramount and their producing partner, Skydance Productions. According to Fleming, Orci has mounted “an aggressive lobbying campaign” to land the job, and should he get it, …this would amount to another first-time director taking on a massive project, which has been hit (Snow White And The Huntsman) and miss (Transcendence, John Carter, 47 Ronin). Orci could be an exception on the positive side of the ledger because he has been involved for so long as writer and producer in shaping such big scale films as the Star Trek films as well as theTransformers and Amazing Spider-Man movies. I’m told that Paramount’s partner, Skydance Productions, has been in Orci’s corner, but Paramount needed convincing. Now it all could happen at warp speed. Source: Deadline Hollywood The pace certainly appears to be picking up. We’ll bring you more information as we get it.