Where to begin… It all seems like the most amazing, surreal dream now, but Friday 18th May 2016 is firmly cemented as one of the best moments of my life.
The event itself was shrouded in mystery. There had been much discussion as to what had prompted such an out-of-the-blue “fan event”. Was it the somewhat lukewarm, “it’s-Star-Trek-does-Fast-and-Furious” reception to the first trailer. Or could it be the discontent at there being no new trailer at CinemaCon, in Vegas?
Whatever their motivation, we headed over to the Paramount Lot with a feeling of hugely excited trepidation. Whatever happened, we were in LA, at a once-in-a-lifetime Star Trek event, and we were sure as hell going to enjoy it! And enjoy it we did. Paramount pulled out all of the stops, this event was epic on every scale!
First things first though, making our own way over to Paramount, we pulled up outside the [slightly questionable looking] “Lucy’s”. You’d literally walk past this place without giving it a second glance, whereas hardened LA-Trekkies know that Lucy’s and Star Trek go way back! Gene Roddenbury himself (his signed picture graces the wall), plus many a Star Trek cast and crew, have drank, dined and no doubt laughed the night away there.
On entering we were told to head out back to meet up with Larry (Nemecek) and “friends” (that’s a great idea for a ST themed talkshow don’t you think?): Larry’s friend (who’s name completely escapes me at present – sorry!); Bree (another competition winner) and her +1, Tracy (I think?); Charlynn and Aaron from TrekFM; Darren Benjamin (co-host of Trekcast) and Jeff Gunter (co-host of The Ugly Couch Show) – both of whom coincidently used to work as bartenders in Quarks at the Las Vegas Star Trek Experience. And then there was another guy, who *I think* was called Steve? (I’m so sorry if that’s not your name! Blame it on the jetlag!?), who was very nice and helped Larry to take a “panoramic” shot of the gang!
This was a great honour for me as I felt like I was amongst true “Trek”. Tucking in to an all-American favourite – a cheese and bean burrito (still not sure if I liked it or not?!) – washed down by a Margarita, there was much speculation: would they show us the whole film? I mean, the itinerary showed the event lasting four hours – what could they possibly do for four hours?! And where was Adam (Savage)? He’d said he be there for dinner…
After queueing for what seemed life FOREVER (although it was nice that a couple of people recognised the TrekkieGirls, and me from my video! BIG shout out to Jim from Enterprise Extra – sorry we didn’t recognise you!), having checked in, we were finally stood outside the door to stage 31. As it lifted, we were greeted by this plaque…
*squeals in excitement*
Making our way through starship corridors we entered a distinctly “bridge” looking set, that I can only assume was created solely for this event, where 3 stools sat centre stage – who could they be intended for?!
The wonderful Adam Savage (Mythbusters) was our anchor for the evening, which began with a montage of personal video messages from both current and previous cast/crew, as well as the likes of Rihanna, Slash (Guns ‘N’ Roses) and Fall Out Boys’, Pete Wentz. These made me realise that Star Trek is seriously cool right now. And not just because of the new movie franchise. These are people who grew up with Star Trek, each have their favourite series/episodes, and now they’ve come “out of the closet” and admitted they’re true Trekkies! (Rihanna has since further proved this!)
Out came JJ, and Justin Lin, who was literally fresh from editing #Beyond. Y’all know about the Axanar thing by now, so I won’t bore you with that, especially considering I don’t actually understand it!
Then something magical happened… out walked Karl Urban, Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto looking absolutely smoking hot as always.
I actually saw their names on the teleprompter before they came out and let out a very girly little squeal. The three of them really do have great chemistry together and you can tell that the relationships that their characters have developed on-screen, has translated to real and very genuine friendships off camera too. They bounce off each other very well and totally naturally. The awesome Scott Mantz (Access Hollywood)hosted a Star Trek Trivia quiz, which of course we knew all the answers to (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) but unfortunately never got picked (damn it! I really wanted the Kirk mug!).
If I’m totally honest with you, I have trouble remembering exactly what was said, as I was too busy hyperventilating with excitement! Urban, well, he just looked really, really, pretty… but Pine revealed that he wants to play bad (mirror universe) Kirk, whilst Quinto explained how Leonard Nimoy’s passing had made his presence even stronger on the set of #StarTrekBeyond, than it was in the previous two movies that he had actually starred in! Which conveniently leads us to…
…the biggest surprise of the evening, and a total honour, to be present at the unveiling of ‘Leonard Nimoy Way’, on which sit stages 31 and 32. His wife, children and Grandchildren were all present as Quinto gave a truly beautiful and heartfelt speech, about how the Nimoy family had welcomed him and made him feel like one of their own. He explained how Leonard Nimoy had guided him through his journey to becoming the younger Spock, and that with the naming of Leonard Nimoy Way, believed the star would now guide many a young actor on their physical journey around the Paramount Lot. A great metaphor for a great man.
And then for the moment we had all been waiting for… the new trailer! After a personal introduction from Simon Pegg, who sadly couldn’t be at the event due to filming commitments in Budapest (in a movie that features neither aliens nor starships – seriously Pegg, what’s up with that?! Sort it out!!). I’m sure you’ve all seen it by now (if not, why not?!), but let me tell you, all huddled together at the front of Stage 31, seeing it on the big screen totally and utterly blew me away. I am even more super-excited about #StarTrekBeyond than I was before, something that I didn’t think would be possible?!
Justin Lin introduced two unseen, totally raw scenes that he’d been working on, which, #nospoilers, if they’re included in the final cut, will totally silence the haters. This is Star Trek back going back to its roots, at its finest and I LOVE it!! Let’s just say, I think Pegg had a huge influence on the direction of this film…
The curtain dropped, and then it was time to PAR-TAY!!!
A wonderful selection of original costumes, props and set pieces were on display, t-shirt printing was available (although we sadly left it too late to have ours personalized), the DJ blasted out the tunes, there was a free bar (someone must have told them the TrekkieGirls were in town?!), and they just kept trying to feed us – the food was amazing, and it just… kept… coming…
We all got goody bags which included a bag and poster exclusive to “Fan Event” attendees, a Tribble, Vulcan ears, and TICKETS TO THE WORLD PREMIERE OF #STARTREKBEYOND IN SAN DIEGO ON JULY 20TH!!!!
For me, ashamedly THIS was the highlight of my evening…
But I have two regrets. Firstly, being that close to OMG CHRIS PINE and not being brave enough to ask him to take a photo with us, and secondly, in all the madness, trying to keep you guys updated, whilst not missing anything, I accidently deleted a video I had of Zachary Quinto literally walking by us as we filmed – DOH! So, lessons learned: there’s no harm in asking, if you don’t ask you won’t get; and NEVER permanently delete things in a hurry. Still, I have my memories. Next time Mr Pine, next time…
As you would expect, we were amongst the last few people to be literally kicked out of the party, and were extremely lucky to be treated to the “scenic route” out of the Lot, guided by the all-Trek-knowing Larry, who talked us through the various streets and buildings – that place is seriously like a little town all of its own! At one point we thought we were about to get chucked out, when a security guard wondered up to us! “Go home Larry” he called, exasperated. It turned out to be none other than Steve D’Errico, seasoned Star Trek set security and occasional Enterprise extra, who proceeded to join us for over an hour, telling us amazing stories about everything from an AWOL Vulcan; just how naughty Ethan Phillips could be; the quality of the actors in DS9 (all v. good); and confirmed what we all suspected – that Marina Sirtis is an absolute diamond! A real laugh and totally fun to hang out with! Having worked at Paramount for 18 years, on Voyager, Insurrection and Enterprise, if that guy ever rights his memoirs, trust me, you’ll want to read that book! Thank you Larry and Steve for really making our night. (Being the truest Trekkie of us all, this was Sam’s favourite part of the evening!)
So, that was just the “Star Trek” part of my amazing trip to LA. A huge thank you to @StarTrekMovie for picking my video as worthy of winning Grand Prize – the prize was amazing and truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me! Thank you to my TrekkieGirls – Sam, for agreeing to be my +1 and hiring a nanny for baby Hugh just so she could come, and Carole, for using up all of her Airmiles to join us! This experience would not have been the same without you girlies, I love you both!
And a massive thank you to “Larry and friends” (seriously, I am going to Copyright that!?), and to Steve D’Errico for all the stories, oh the stories!!