The universe of Polaris

  • The Transhuman Authority a warring empire spawned in the pitiless wastes of interstellar space, determined to rule the human race - or destroy it.
  • Polaris a starship of the United Worlds Navy, pursued by the Authority and lost in the uncharted reaches beyond the Milky Way.
  • Phaidros a planet that cannot exist…yet does. To find their way home again, Captain Sam Fredericks, scientist Valerie Young and the crew of Polaris must decipher its mysteries.
  • Their discovery will forever change humanity - if they live to tell about it!

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We had quite a productive day at the stage yesterday (Sunday). The parts of the production are beginning to gel.

We’ve constructed just enough of the Command Deck set to begin walking through possible blocking and camera angles for the opening scenes. Alex, our DP, showed me some ways to frame the actors given the various levels and configurations of the set. He discussed where to put the dolly tracks. We talked about lighting with reference to movies like “Crimson Tide” and “The Hunt For Red October.”

Doug, our construction supervisor, set up tools and equipment to do considerably more precise work than I’ve been able to manage with my jigsaw and drill. He also explained to me the difference between bow and crook in lumber (which shows you how unqualified I am to build anything).

Paul (who has to fly this spaceship when it’s completed) and I leveled out the platforming and made a run to the hardware store for carpeting and more construction materials. I guess we’ve now got about 70 percent of the materials that we’re going to need to finish main construction. Then Paul worked his ass off carpeting part of the Command Deck while I walked around waving my arms and talking about the Big Picture - a division of labor which sadly suits my napoleonic proclivities.

And Alex re-introduced me to an electronic props fellow named Carl who in turn introduced us to a whole new dimension to bringing some of the instrumentation on the ship to life.

Saturday I hung out with the Farragut folks (I was gonna say “helped out” but I’m really really working on the “lying” thing) at their “Just Passing Through re-shoot and recruited a few pretty exciting folks to round out our cast as well as another expert prop maker who’s willing to lend us a hand on design and fabrication of a key prop.

My biggest challenge at times like this is to turn my ego down a notch below “11″ and let myself be led by people who know more than I do about everything. I’m surrounded by them right now, and for that I’m grateful.

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Polaris design version 10Jason Lee keeps doing amazing things as he refines the design of our ship. This version adds “hyperspace sails” of which he says:

I decided to try to have the best of both worlds by making the sails transformational. Ordinarily, they are folded back in a standby position like you see in the first sketch, but they can also rotate forward into a “deployed” position, probably when the ship is about to jump into hyperspace.

There are two new renderings of this latest version in our Concept and Design Art Gallery, and you can see more of Jason’s work at Vektor Visual.

This weekend, in addition to getting together with other folks to keep building Polaris on our stage, I’m going to be involved in the shoot for Starship Farragut’s latest short. Hopefully I’ll be a help in some way rather than a nuisance. The Farragut folks have been an enormous help and support to Polaris, and several of the group’s principal members are among our cast and crew. If you haven’t checked out yet, go do that now.

I’ll wait…

John Broughton (Farragut’s “Captain Jack Carter”) also has his own blog devoted to things Farragut and beyond, at My Captain’s Blog.

As for us, we’ll have another casting announcement early next week, and maybe some more pictures of the sets.


Garrett Melich

Garrett Melich

Garrett Melich will play the enemy military leader Andros Gaitanis, in the independent science fiction film Polaris for United Worlds Entertainment.

If Garrett looks familiar, you may remember him in the closing scene of the 2007 movie “Rescue Dawn” with Christian Bale and Steve Zahn. Currently, he’s completed work as a Secret Service agent in the comedy “Law and Disorder” (where he also faces off against Polaris cast mate Paul R. Sieber) for Beaver Dam Productions. Garrett has done work as a fight choreographer and heavy in the upcoming Roman Pictures production “Signals” and is slated to play the character of “Grayson” in Roman’s “Time Refugees.”

Garrett will be featured as an FBI investigator (and in a separate segment, as an accomplice in a 1983 murder enactment) in the Investigation Discovery series “Prison Wives.”


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Polaris design version 9More cool stuff today from Jason Lee. Regarding the detailing on this newest iteration of Polaris, he says

…additions include the ring at the aft end… and what I’m calling “mission module hard points” one on either side of the forward fuselage. I envision these as mounting locations for sensor arrays or other scientific equipment relevant to the ship’s original role as an exploration vessel. When the Polaris was refitted for service in the United Worlds Navy, these hard points served as mounting locations for the ship’s weaponry.

Jason has much more to say at his blog Vektor Visual, a site you should bookmark (his work includes some of the best Trek CG modeling and design you’ll see). His skill as an artist and eye for detail are making this ship come alive in a way beyond my best hopes when we began, and I’m really pleased that he’s working with us.

For a better look at Jason’s latest Polaris work just click on the image in this post - to see more of his art and of other design work on Polaris visit our Galleries.

In other news, I should have a couple of major casting announcements this week. You all check back, y’hear?



Polaris is about two months from the beginning of principal photography.

We moved into our stage about three weeks ago.  It took about a week to get set up with electric and heat, get locks on everything etc.  Then the producers, construction crew and director of photography (or: How To Make A Few People Sound Like A Lot Of People Through Creative Titling) did a walk-through to discuss requirements.

Ray Stantz has become our unofficial mascot:

“Wow. This place is great. When can we move in? You gotta try this pole. I’m gonna get my stuff. Hey. We should stay here. Tonight. Sleep here. You know, to try it out”.

Then a couple of us rented a truck and hit Home Depot.  We got about seventy percent of the materials and tools we’ll need to complete set construction into the place.  Eager to get down to work on building stuff at last, I immediately drilled a hole in my thumb.  It’s already like old times in Austin.

Quite a bit of the action in Polaris takes place on the main Command Deck of the ship, and that’s the set we’re currently working on.  You can see the concept rendering for the set as well as a couple of images of the early stages of construction in our Sets and Locations gallery, or by clicking on the images to the left here.

Yeah, those are Burke chairs - I own a bunch of them and I think they look cool.  I know that some folks will think we’re ripping off that show that used them years ago - The Brady Bunch.

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Still alive. Surprise!

We’ve secured a space to construct modules of the set pieces for Polaris, and this weekend several of our cast and crew did a walk-through of the place. In the coming week we’ll continue moving equipment and supplies in, and this weekend begin building parts of the spacecraft interiors. We’re on schedule to start shooting video in a few months.

We’re crewing up. Alex Ibrahim is our Director of Photography. His company website can be found here. Among his many credits, fans of Internet science fiction films may be most familiar with his work for Star Trek: Phase II.

John Broughton, creator and producer of the Starship Farragut fan film series, is our Co-Producer and Costume Supervisor; if you’ve seen that production or many episodes of Phase II you’ve seen the extraordinarily high quality of his work.. Douglas S. Caprette, production assistant and extra on Star Trek: Phase II is our Construction Supervisor.

More cast and crew announcements will be forthcoming in the next several weeks, as well as photos of our work on the starship Polaris sets as it progresses.

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Polaris concept by Jason LeeJason Lee continues to explore and refine the design of our eponymous starship, the cruiser Polaris. He’s sent along some new conceptual drawings of the ship in a vertical configuration, moving away from the “flying saucer” orientation that we began with. All of his work on Polaris thus far, as well as aridas sofia’s detailed engineering-style diagrams of the ship and its interior arrangements, are on display in our Concepts and Art Design gallery (just click on the “Gallery” tab up there on the left of the menu bar).

Jason, AKA Vektor, has just relaunched his own website at, which I highly recommend that you check out. Vektor is known, among other things, for his highly detailed Trek-based starship designs such as the U.S.S. Grandeur and his more-faithful-than-JJ’s reimagining of the original starship Enterprise - as well as probably the best April Fool’s joke based on the upcoming Star Trek reboot film, which you can see over at here.


And where in suburban Maryland would you rent one if you needed one?

Just after the premiere of the 2008 remake of “The Day The Earth Stood Still”, the New York Times published a brief op-ed by Brent Staples about the movie and about trends in Hollywood filmmaking in general. I think some of his observations are germane to the potential of filmmaking for the Internet and for our approach to this project:

“Digital effects have revolutionized the monster, science-fiction and superhero genres, making the films larger than ever visually. But the same effects have whittled away at the acting space, making the movies smaller in the dramatic sense…

“The minimalist — and altogether cool — effects in the 1951 film leave lots of room for the performers…Michael Rennie is aces as Klaatu…There is no shred of sentimentality in Rennie’s performance. He is a congenial exterminating angel, dropping round for tea to tell of horrors to come…Keanu Reeves’s Klaatu is numbingly monotonic. He is emotionally underdeveloped, and suffers from a robotic flatness of affect. Instead, the scriptwriters gave him powers that are predictably demonstrated through pricey special effects that do not sustain dramatic momentum. With all this digital sleight of hand, the performers are reduced to the equivalent of bystanders at a fireworks show.”

Taking poke #5,323,852 at Reeves’s range as a performer isn’t really what Mr. Staples is on about - he does recommend the remake, if tepidly - and the entire piece is worth a read. Find it here. What I find useful are his observations about the “shrinking of the dramatic space” in modern sf/fantasy films.


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Several of us at United Worlds attended the annual Farpoint SF/Media convention this last weekend in Timonium, Maryland. Friday evening I had the opportunity to see the premiere of a remarkable film created for distribution on the Internet.

“Trenches” was directed by Shane Felux and produced by X-Ile Pictures for Stage 9 Digital. I’d recommend bookmarking those sites. The movie will probably be available online sometime in March of 2009.

Felux is the fellow who directed “Star Wars: Revelations,” the fan film “Star Wars” prequel that beat “Revenge Of the Sith” to release in 2005. Fan reaction to “Revelations” was decidedly less mixed than to ROTS, and the film garnered attention from mainstream media outlets like MSNBC and USA Today. Felux went on to win the “George Lucas Selects” and “Audience Choice” awards for Star Wars fan films in 2006 for his follow-up comedy short “Pitching Lucas.”

“Trenches” is not a fan film, but a wholly professional movie underwritten and distributed by ABC-Disney’s Stage 9 web studio. A little over an hour long and designed to be viewed in roughly ten-minute segments, “Trenches” shows what happens to a small group of soldiers, enemies in an interstellar war, who are abandoned on a desolate world and must quickly learn to cooperate to survive against…something else.



Nick Cook

Nick Cook

Nick Cook has accepted the role of Commander Paul Duncan, the executive officer aboard the eponymous starship in the independent film Polaris which begins lensing September 2009.

Nick is best known for the role of Captain Daniel Hunter in Starship Intrepid, the Internet fan film series which he helped create and also serves as lead writer and producer. He’s most recently been seen as the character of Hodel in Star Trek: Phase II’s episode “Blood And Fire.”

Nick resides in Dundee, Scotland and describes himself thusly:

When not earning a slightly moldy crust as a theatre nurse, Cook wiles away what little free time has writing, acting, annoying his wife…In a marginally successful attempt to add a few crumbs to his crust, he has also produced several educational videos on anaesthesia.

As an actor, he is especially proud of his voice work on Martin Lejeune’s ‘Making Kelham Famous‘ his onscreen flirting with the delightful Risha Denney in Hidden Frontier’s ‘Operation Beta Shield’, and his wonderfully gory demise in Star Trek: Phase II’s ‘Blood and Fire’.


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