Monday, 5 December 2011

FADE IN: From Idea to Final Draft The Writing of Star Trek: Insurrection by Michael Piller

FADE IN: From Idea to Final Draft


During the production of Star Trek: Insurrection, writer Michael Piller wrote a book chronicling the process of developing the script of the film, outlining the various stages of development and the evolution from the original story concept to the final changes in post-production. The book included feedback and notes from Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner, as well as the original story notes and outlines, and a complete early draft of the script. Eric A. Stillwell served as Piller's typist and research assistant on the book. He commented, "I think that was more work than the movie itself. In the end, Michael wrote a wonderful book, from the heart, something he considered a gift to young, aspiring writers."


Piller himself made these observations about his work remaining unpublished, ""Let me clarify this and make it very clear. With the approval of Viacom Consumer Licensing and Pocket Books, I wrote a book during the writing of Star Trek: Insurrection which was meant to be a text book for screenwriters. My pitch to the publisher was to take the reader through the entire process of the development of the film, starting with the idea and showing how changes, problems, opinions, studio requests, financial considerations, would effect the final product. And, in essence, to see if the reader would make the same decisions that Rick and I made as the script evolved. The book was by no means critical, nor did it burn any bridges, it just showed an insight into the behind-the-scenes of making a Star Trek movie that had never been told before. For reasons I won’t go into here, decisions were made at a very high level not to publish the book, which was greatly disappointing to me. However, it does not reflect any dissatisfaction that I had with the final product. I think Star Trek: Insurrection holds its own when compared to other Star Trek movies. The goals of this particular film were quite different from the ones that preceded it. And for the most part, we met those goals."


An extract from the book was published in Star Trek Magazine issue 126. An incomplete draft was released by the Star Trek website TrekCore on 18 September 2010 but was later removed by request of Piller's family.

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