One of the more interesting news items coming out of this weekend's Star Trek: Las Vegas 2017 convention was Star Trek Original Series Set Tour owner James Cawley's announcement of the opening of the new Star Trek Film Academy. Set to open in Spring 2018, the academy is officially licensed by CBS and will offer week-long immersive courses on all of the aspects that go into making an original episode of Star Trek.
Cawley explained that the purpose of the academy is two-fold: to give students a greater appreciation for all of the things that go into a single episode, and to give them a chance to feel what it was like to actually work on the original series:
"You are going to be able to come to our sets and it will be an academy experience. You are going to be able to learn how to make a Star Trek episode. You are going to go from script to stage over a six to seven day period and you are going to work with people who actually made Star Trek episodes. You get to feel and experience what it is like to work on Star Trek…We're going to pretend it's 1966 and you're an employee of Desilu Studios."
Best of all, at the end of the students' week at the Star Trek Film Academy, they will take home a copy of the a Star Trek scene they directly worked on during their time there.
Cawley made the announcement during the Star Trek Original Series Set Tour panel that included academy associates Denise Okudduringa, Michael Okuda, Doug Drexler and Daren Dochterman. Though no specific details were given on the program's specific launch date or pricing, Cawley stated that the academy will reach out to more Star Trek professionals to be part of the curriculum in various capacities.
I'm curious to see how this is received by the Star Trek fans considering CBS'/Paramount's most recent past track record with fan-filmmakers. Will it be seen as extended an olive branch or a weak, too little/too late gesture? Hmm.
This year marks the 16th edition of Star Trek: Las Vegas, with highlights including "first looks" at the new series Star Trek Discovery; and a celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Star Trek: The Next Generation. Running from August 2nd-6th, more than 100 celebrities are attending this year's convention along with an expected 15,000+ fans.
Star Trek captains scheduled to appear include William Shatner, Patrick Stewart and Kate Mulgrew. Other celebrities expected to appear include George Takei, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, former NASA astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison, Karl Urban, Brent Spiner, LeVar Burton, Terry Farrell, Nana Visitor, Denise Crosby, Alice Krige, Armin Shimerman, and Robert Beltran. The convention also features panels, trivia contests, collectible auctions, and a number of vendors.