Writer-producer-actress Ashley Victoria Robinson is the star of the brand new parody web series The Red Shirt Diaries. The first episode was released on 1st September. New episodes are available every Monday.
Here are a set of questions that Ashley Victoria Robinson was kind enough to answer about The Red Shirt Diaries.
What’s the show all about?
The Red Shirt Diaries parody web series introduces Ensign Williams, a low ranked security officer and follows her through the first 10 episode of Star Trek: the Original Series. Williams soon learns that she may well be the only sane person on board. Violent alien plants, overly-friendly superior officers and the Naked Time plague wide-eyed Engisn Williams as she struggles to follow Starfleet protocol and make it alive to the end of the episode. Ensign Williams tells the stores in the form of her mission logs in a web series that both celebrates and illuminates the weird, wonderful details of Star Trek: the Original Series.
I started watching Star Trek when I was 12-years-old and instantly fell in love with it. The scale and the world building that goes on in all of the series and the movies captures the imagination and leaves so much room for further storytelling. It’s something that has always stuck with me and has an amazing fan base that is very open to fan projects.
Plus, who doesn’t want to shoot a scene on board the Enterprise? Even if you have to build the entire set with your bare hands!
What do you like about it?
The type of future Star Trek presents is very hopeful. It shows the type of great things humans could go on to build and allows different races of people and aliens to work together in a meaningful way. I’ve also always thought Vulcan ears were cool.
Why did you choose TOS?
I’ve never watched all of the Original Series in order the first episode I ever saw was the Arena and moving forward from there. This afforded me the opportunity to go and watch (potentially), all of TOS in order and be able to create content as a reaction to it. TOS more than any other Star Trek series is rife for parody because of the budgetary restriction they were under (much like our own), and the style in which tv shows were made at the time.
That being said, the best properties for parody and satire are things that really resonate with people. It’s fun to laugh at Kirk and Uhura because they actually mean something to us as fans.
The lower decks of the Enterprise are hardly ever seen in any of the Star Trek series and that is something we really wanted to explore. What are the people like who we see getting sucked out the airlock? Are crewmen and ensigns fearful about going out on away missions? We’ve seen a lot of the command and protocol in existing properties and the Red Shirt Diaries really gave us the chance to put forth a new perspective on characters and events we already know.
Can tell us about the production of The Red Shirts Diaries?
We shot all 10 episodes in two days, Jason Inman (producer/director/Captain Kirk et al), and I built the set with our bare hands over a period of a month. It was a low-paid crew and cast made of friends and definitely a labour of love and laughter.
Do you have any funding in place to cover the cost of shooting and production?
The budget was $300.00 and a lot of that went to paint, costumes and food.
Where do you film your episodes?
We shot everything in Sherman Oaks, California. The set never moved.
Who are your co-stars?
Jason Inman was my partner in the whole thing. He is known for his youtube channel jawiin and is a Geeky Award Winner for his work there. Jason plays Kirk, Gertrude, Harry Mudd, Balok and does several additional voices.
Carshenah Jefferson is a Los Angeles actress we knew we looks a lot like lieutenant Uhura, so that casting was quickly cemented.
Geek & Sundry vloggers the 2 Broke Geeks (Omar Najam and Mia Resella), play two fellow red shirt crewman who may or may not survive until the end of the episode.
Comic book writer Sterling Gates plays our very grumpy Doctor McCoy.
Hopefully a season 2! We have some tentative plans for that, but shooting won’t take place until next year. Jason and I have been working on this season since December of 2013, so it was a long time coming.
Every Tuesday, though, we are releasing a companion web comic on our official website which tells a self-contained story of Ensign Williams as she spend a Night in the Enterprise and will bridge the gap between season 1 and season 2 of the Red Shirt Diaries. It is written by Jason Inman and myself with art supplied by Jeremy Owens.
Where can we find out more?
Everything you could want is on our official website: www.theredshirtdiaries.com
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