Q: What the heck is POP Trek?
A: Pop Trek is a planned series of short stop motion animation films using the FunkoPOP! vinyl figures. It is a light-hearted look at the original Star Trek series, fandom, and popular culture.
Q: What the heck is FunkoPOP! ?
A: If you’ve managed to get here and aren’t already aware, Funko “POPS” are a collectible vinyl figurine made by the Funko Corporation. POPS are licensed by their respective trademark holders, and include television, film, video and other game, and sports figures from popular culture. They are highly stylized and have limited movement (usually just the head) thus creating a unique look to our animation.
Q: Why on earth would you think about animation using a FunkoPOP! ?
A: Well, for one thing, I had the figures from Star Trek, because I’m a Trekkie and they’re part of my larger collection. Second, I really wanted to do some kind of Trek project, and I’ve been writing Trek parodies since the 1970s. Finally, I wanted to expand my skills as an animator and storyteller. One way to do that it by limiting what you can do. Basically here, I’ve got something of a walk, and head turns, so I need to work on things like sound, editing, camera angles, and color grading to convey the story.
Q: Are you trying to crowdfund this project?
A: No. Crowdfunding is a quick way to get any Trek project shut down these days. I am paying for the materials and means to produce these myself, both as part of the project and as a means of assembling the tools necessary to do other projects which are my own original ideas.
Q: Are you licensed or endorsed by….?
A: No. Categorically, no. Absolutely not.
While POP Trek was conceived before the published “CBS Fan Film Guidelines”, we fully intend to abide by them as we understand them. POP Trek is not, and does not claim to be, authorized, licensed, endorsed, or otherwise associated with Star Trek, CBS, Paramount or any other entities which may have claim to the Star Trek intellectual property or trademarks.
Furthermore, we are not authorized, licensed, endorsed or otherwise associated with Funko Corporation or any other licensors of products, likenesses, trademarks, etc. which we may use in the making of these films. All FunkoPOPs, and other toys, props, and/or materials not purpose-built for this series were purchased through regular commercial channels.
Q: What is the Little Pop Workshop?
A: Little Pop Workshop is the Etsy store of Elizabeth Evans. Ms. Evans produces and sells modified and custom painted POP figures to collectors and fans. She has provided the stock and customized POP figures for POP Trek. She is also my eldest daughter and responsible for getting me interested in POPs in the first place.
Q:You say this is a series. How many episodes do you intend to make?
A: That depends on a lot of things. Right now there is one script completed and two others underway. Past that, it will depend on public response to the finished episodes, and whether or not it makes sense to continue. These are fully self-funded, part-time, for-my-own-enjoyment projects. If a lot of people like them, obviously that’s a motivation to make more. It’s possible that I might make different POP based projects, or move on to other stop motion projects altogether.
Q: Why would you spend your own time and money to do this?
A: The simplest answer is that it’s a hobby, and as such cheaper than golf, although slightly less fast-paced.
But I have been a storyteller since I was a young child influenced by Star Trek and other fantastic things I was exposed to in the late 60s and early 70s. I have been writing, drawing comics and cartoons, and eventually working with film and video since that time, as tools became available. Given the new computer technology and DSLR systems that make stop-motion animation available to the individual artist or small group, I decided to return to some of those “roots”. Animating POP figures was not what I had in mind initially, but given their variety and relatively small size, I thought it was a good place to practice.
Q: Have you done something like this before?
A: I’ve done a number of short films and video projects. The majority of my work is for business clients such as corporations, political candidates, and charitable organizations. These include digital 3D animation and animated cartoons. I’ve worked on projects entered into the 48 Hour Film Festival and contests at Discovery Channel and FX. Most of these can be seen on my production company website http://www.digitaliproductions.com. POP Trek is being done for my own enjoyment, and to improve my skills as storyteller and animator.
Q: Where did you get the idea for this?
A: I’ve written a number of Star Trek spoofs, parodies, and cartoons over the last 40 years or so. Some of them were in a self-published humor comic at college. Others never saw the light of day. As I said, I’m a serious Trekkie. I think knowing the original material as extensively as I do, you start to spot those little flaws (yes there are flaws), plot devices, and cliches which just beg to be lampooned.
Star Trek, of course, is possibly one of the most parodied subjects in history. There were repeated SNL skits, as well as send-ups on a host of other television shows. The movie Galaxy Quest is a very thinly veiled look at the series and Trek phenomena. As for animation, the Robot Chicken series has done a few hilarious bits with the old Mego action figures.
So why should I cover already well-trod ground? Well, it’s my version. It may, or may not be funny (not every joke’s a winner folks) to the general public, but I want to do it. And if you want to do it and you can do it, then you should do it. And hopefully the dinosaurs won’t escape.
Q: Is this safe for my kid to watch?
A: Absolutely! One thing I noticed very early about the POPs is how attractive they are to young people. I grant you, a large number, if not most, of the collectors are adults, but the big-head/little-body style is a very kiddie cartoon look, and I wanted to be respectful of that.
And then there’s Star Trek itself, which has attempted to put forth a better and brighter view of our human condition and the potential of humankind. So I won’t be making potty jokes about that (even though as an adult, I found some of the bawdier Robot Chicken segments brilliantly funny).
Q: Where will these be viewable?
A: They’ll be posted on Youtube at http://www.youtube.com/poptrekseries initially, and on the Digital I Productions Youtube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/digitaliproductions . Behind the scenes and test videos may also show up there from time to time.
Q: When does this come out?
A: I am hoping to have the first episode done by early-ish 2017. As it’s not a paid project, it will doubtless have to take a backseat to daily job requirements and other paying gigs. I had originally hoped it would be ready by January or February of 2017, but construction of some of the sets and the accumulation of the required technology is taking longer than anticipated. So, “Spring 2017” might be a fair bet. No promises, though. I’ve had some surprises in my plans.