top of page
  • Writer's pictureMark Naccarato

It's a D-Thing

Updated: Jun 22, 2023

People have asked me, “if you were going to make a Star Trek fan film, why would you use a documentary-style format? Why not just have a bridge crew on a five-year mission like all the other fan productions?”

To me, the advantages are obvious. Telling the story of The Romulan War as if it’s an historical document produced in the 24th century gives me the freedom to jump across time, location, and theme at will. By using the doc-style format, I can squeeze a whole lot of story into a short time frame for not a lot of money spent on things like sets, costumes, props and other expenses.

The Romulan War: Part 1 is actually the third film I’ve made using the documentary-style format. It’s a narrative device that’s served me well going all the way back to a college project I did in 1990.

Using the best student video gear that 1990 had to offer, "SNOT: On the Run" was my first mockumentary.

Snot: On the Run would make up a large part of my grade in my Production II class for the year. I had about three weeks to write, storyboard, cast, shoot, edit, mix and do post on a project in an analog, non-internet, non-cellphone world… using whatever money I had on hand as my budget. Using D&G pizza and Iron City beer as bait, I pulled together some rock band buddies and fellow classmates and shot our version of Spinal Tap.

Snot was shot on VHS cameras and used Amiga graphics. The jokes were cheesy, the acting was bad, and we were working from a 20 page (!) script. Even though the thing had a goofy tone, there was a cast of characters, a plot, loads of conflict, and most importantly… ROCK! Snot was the most ambitious student project in the production class that year, mainly due to the fact that this “mockumentary” format (still a new term at the time, which I’ve now grown to hate) allowed me to string of a series of small episodes together to make a (mostly) coherent story that moved at a quick pace.

I got an A on the thing, at least, even though I have a mullet and everyone looks green tinted from those old CCD chip cameras (which I rationalized by saying it was filmed in "Snot-O-Vision."

My second foray into the doc format was The Crusader - a short film I made in Nashville in 2002 with better gear and a better haircut. I had a bump in the budget, too. Now I was working with a whopping $3,000 on the Discover card – practically a studio picture! The Crusader wasn’t a straight-ahead documentary like TRW and it wasn’t a mockumentary like Snot. It was framed as one of those true-crime shows that permeated American TV at the turn of the millennium. Things like America’s Most Wanted, American Justice, or Bill Shatner’s Rescue 911.

The Crusader was very ahead of its time, if I do say so myself. It pre-dates the wave of reality programming and superhero movies that started in the aughties and remains to this day. There are scenes and dialogue in The Crusader that are almost identical to passages in both the Dark Knight and Kick-Ass film series and our End Credit sequence beats everyone else’s splash page comic panel style to the punch by years. But I digress. By framing The Crusader as a “real” story, I got to hit on a lot of different topics (crime, fan culture, the media, civic duty) and themes (revenge, political corruption, heroism) that gave the film a more epic scope.

Such is the case with my third project that uses the doc format, The Romulan War: A Star Trek Fan Production, Part 1. What makes TRW a little different from the previous projects I mentioned is that because so much of the action is effects-driven, using the doc style has actually skyrocketed my budget, compared to those previous projects. Thankfully, so many generous Star Trek fans have decided to open their wallets and donate to us on Indiegogo. I will be forever grateful for those people’s “faith of the heart” and allowing me to bring this story to life, even though we're not telling it the way "normal" fan films have done.

And for those of you who think that TRW is some kind of "rip off" of that other fan film that arrived on the scene before we could put our effects team in place... well, now you know better.

63 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page