Sigma Phi Kappa: The Zorbosian Trilogy

12 06 2008

Now Playing in the Theatre.

First formed back in 2001, the American production group Sigma Phi Kappa created a variety of stories over the coming years – starting with Doctor Who. After chatting with writer/producer Steve Mollmann, he’s agreed to re-air their trio of Doctor Who stories, The Moons of Zorbos, The Zorbosian Invasion of Mars, and Destiny of Zorbos. Botcherby’s will be streaming them all for the foreseeable future. You can find them on the Theatre Page.

If that wasn’t enough, many of the cast and crew also agreed to answer a series of questions about their experiences making audio dramas. There’s a full list of credits for each story in the Theatre, but to give you an idea of who’s who in the Q&A – we have:

Steve: Writer / Producer / Post Prod / Actor
Chris T: Plays The Doctor / Writer
David: Plays companion Lieutenant Kantasion
Adam: Plays villain The Overlord
Grady, James S, Stephen, Catherine: Supporting Cast
Geoffrey: Script Editor

The interview was conducted via email, and all answers are verbatim (with a couple of trimmed sentences). With so little editing it’s a tad long, but worth the read. 14 questions in all. There are also a couple of spoilers in there which I’ve tried to point out. This is the first feature of it’s sort on Botcherby’s so your comments would be appreciated.

1. Sigma Phi Kappa’s first audio production was The Moons of Zorbos. How did the audio group get started? Why did you do it? And why Doctor Who?
CHRIS T: Steve Mollmann and I founded a Sci-Fi club at our High School. One day when Steve and I were brainstorming as to what we could do as club activities Steve said “We should do a Doctor Who audio drama” meaning we would listen to one in the meeting. I missunderstood and agreed emphatically, “we totally should, but who would play the Doctor?” Basicalliy all of Sigma Phi Kappa productions stemmed from a misscommunication.
STEVE: We were all in high school together– and all members of a Science Fiction Club that we founded and ran. I had gotten into Doctor Who pretty recently– Chris Tracy had turned me onto it– and the Big Finish audio dramas in specific. I was listening to the eighth Doctor ones. This was back in 2001, so I’d heard of his first season. I thought we should listen to one at an SFC meeting, so I said, “We should do an audio drama.” This was misinterpreted by someone else, and everything sprang from there. The name Sigma Phi Kappa was coined by Chris; it’s the Greek letters for “SFC”.
CATHERINE: I got involved because my brother “runs” it, it being in his room. I don’t remember if he offered or if I wanted to.
DAVID: More or less, the majority of the founding members for SPK prod. were my friends; therefore to me, the recording sessions were mainly nice opportunities to hang out with my friends as opposed to contributing something to the fandom. I was a bit familer with Star Trek but had little exposure to Dr. Who at the time; our high school Sci-Fi club (of which said friends and I founded), helped get me up to speed on the Doctor’s complete and total awesomeness. In addition, the more esoteric aspects of fandom, like the yahoo-group-based fanfic-stories for Foundation that I was a part of, were still quite unfamilier to me, so it was enjoyable to take part in something I had little awareness about.
GRADY: To be honest, a lot of the actual “founding” was done by Steve Mollmann; the group itself came about because we were all high school friends of relatively similar ages and interests. I personally really got into it because I enjoy acting on any medium, and liked the idea of making an audio drama. I think the Doctor Who universe was chosen as the backdrop because of its overall openness in addition to being an overall well-liked science fiction program for all of us.
ADAM: As I remember it, it was Steve who wrote the first script, inspired in part by the Big Finish Dr. Who audios which one by one were being passed around among our group of friends at the time. I first got involved in the actual audio and acting end of things when we were sitting down at lunch one day, passing around his finished script. We were each taking a part, just to see how it sounded, and I volunteered for the part of the Overlord. I asked Steve what a giant slug would sound like and the guidelines he gave me were the slurping noises and to sound big.
JAMES S: The group really stemmed out of our group of friends at high school and the lunchtime conversations. It also to a certain extent was part of the same burst of activity that founded the Science Fiction Club at our school. In fact that is where the name comes from. Steve was at the time listening to Big Finish audio adventures and lending them out. We all enjoyed them and Steve sort of decided that he could make one himself. Thus it was born. I guess the reason for Doctor Who was the fact that we were inspired by Big Finish for at the time most of us were bigger Star Trek fans and had seen very little Doctor Who, something that has changed. I personally did it because everyone else I knew was and it sounded like fun.
GEOFFREY: Afraid I can’t really be much help with this. My role was story editor on one of the segments, which means that Steve sent me the script and I sent it back with a whole bunch of comments added in red. He knew I had a lot of proofreading and copy-editing experience, both fannish and professional, and at the time I had enough spare hours so was glad to help out. As an in-joke thank-you, you can catch my online name ‘Wersgor’ in the background loudspeaker babble during the scenes in the alien weapons mall. I never got to meet anyone else involved in the production in person, though!
STEPHEN: I’m sure much of this is redundant to what others will write, but the group came out of members from the science fiction club we founded in our high school. It was Steve Mollmann’s project, and while I was unfamiliar with Doctor Who at the time beside a couple episodes that the sci-fi club showed, Steve and other members had been fans (and I know at least Steve was a fan of Big Finish’s Doctor Who audio productions which were I think of the greatest inspirations). We could tell a collaborative story of epic proportions that wasn’t just a written story and could still be achieved without the effort of a grand video production.

2. What was the inspiration for the story? Was it originally planned as a trilogy, or did that occur later?
CHRIS T: The story was inspired by two elements in our high school experiance. A teacher at our school who was the assistant principal for discipline who also happend to be a huge sci-fi fan (Commander O). And our friend Adam who we all likened to a giant slug due to his tendancy to lick his lips contantly.
JAMES S: I think the idea for the trilogy occured later.
GRADY: A lot of the little details were actually inspired by a teacher of ours who eventually became an assistant principal, Mr. Odioso. His self-given nickname was Commander O, and he would often speak of Zorbos and Saint Itation. I’m not entirely certain if it was initially planned to be a trilogy, but it certainly had hit that point by the time The Zorbosian Invasion of Mars was being produced.
ADAM: The Moons of Zorbos was originally a one-off written, as I said, by Steve Mollmann, but we had such a blast doing the first one that we immediately wanted to make a second. It fell on his shoulders again to put together the reunion of these characters, and this time he had plans not only for a sequel but for the final volume in the trilogy as well.
STEVE: A couple of us had had a rather… eccentric history teacher named Mr. Odioso. He frequently would refer to himself as Commander O. One day, he came to class dressed as an alien gray and informed us that he was Commander O, an emissary from the Moons of Zorbos, and that the Time Lords of Zod had decided that our planet was rife for economic contact, but only if we developed our technology a bit. He then divided us up into groups and made us come up with plans and left; Mr. Odioso entered the classroom a little later, apologizing for his tardiness and wondering what he had missed. The whole thing was supposed to teach us something about the coming of Commodore Perry and the Americans to Japan.

[Ed – **contains spoilers**]
Anyway, when I was casting about for a story idea, that seemed a natural fit. Much of the background of The Zorbos Trilogy comes from things Mr. Odioso would talk about– the moons themselves, the Time Lords of Zod, Blinky the Space Dog, “preliminary announcements”, Saint Itation, Silver and Gold, the base on Mars and the destruction of the NASA probes, &c. I somehow wove these together into a story. A lot of what pops up in the stories stems from things that were going on in school at the time, actually– the Doctor is always quoting John Donne’s “Meditation XVII” in Destiny of Zorbos because I had just read it in English class, for example. Doctor Who references were usually determined by what I’d seen recently: the Daleks are a time-active power in the first one because I’d just seen Remembrance for the first time, the Ice Warriors show up in the second because I’d just heard Red Dawn, and there’s references to Kinda and The Awakening in the third because I was watching the fifth Doctor at the time. (An additional bit of inspiration for the first one was a suggestion from Chris that if the Time Lords of Zod were capturing time travellers, they might have gotten the time traveller from The Time Machine.)

Originally, it was just the one. Which certainly caused us a lot of bother when we decided we wanted to do more! After all, I’d killed off basically everyone. It was sort of at the back of my mind, which is why Commander O and his officer escape, but I didn’t know how to pull it off– there were a lot of false starts on how we would get the Overlord back, what everyone would be up to, and so on. Obviously when I wrote the second, I knew there was going to be a third, so there are a couple forward references– not to mention the huge cliffhanger! I had a vague outline worked out, so I knew what temporal shenanigans needed to be set up. I did figure out what Lord Xtoyun’s one line in Destiny would be so we could record it during the Zorbosian Invasion recording session, since I knew he wouldn’t play a major role. And then I spent some time figuring out how to work that one line in!
[Ed – **/spoilers**]
STEPHEN: The Moons of Zorbos is a collection of inside jokes that focuses mostly (if not solely) around a teacher we had during our freshman year, Mr. Odioso, who taught World History. There was a time in class when he wasn’t present and all of a sudden the lights turned off – a masked figure walked the dark room in silence, and then proclaiming to the room that he was Master O of the Moons of Zorbos (or something similar to this, my memory is very fuzzy), which then proceeded into a quirky in-class essay assignment. Definitely not making this up. Blinky the Space Dog would be referenced in class from whatever whims of Odioso’s imagination. Yes, we did give copies of the dramas to him during our senior year (he assumed the position of Assistant Principal by then), and yes, he loved them!

3. Does it have a place in the Doctor Who timeline? Was it written for a particular Doctor?
GRADY: I don’t believe so, but Steve would probably be best to answer that question as the primary writer.
STEPHEN: I always imagined our Doctor as the fourth, especially given his penchant for jelly babies, though Steve can give you a much better idea of where this takes place in the Doctor Who universe.
STEVE: When I started writing it, it was supposed to be for the fourth Doctor, since Chris thought that was the Doctor he could imitate the best. Originally, K-9 would have battled it out with Blinky the Space Dog in the closing scenese. But when Chris read my early script pages, he thought it sounded more eighth Doctor, which made sense, as I’d been listening to those audio dramas, so we made the switch and K-9 was dropped. (Which was probably for the best, as I’ve no idea how I would have done his voice!) My thought was that The Zorbos Trilogy took place after the TV movie and before the Big Finish audio dramas.

Later, when I thought of the second trilogy that never went anywhere, I came up with this idea that the Chris Tracy Doctor was a 7.5th Doctor, taken out of his own timeline during the regeneration scene in the TV movie, so that he looked like Paul McGann (as per the covers) but sounded completely different (and a bit American, no doubt because of his environment). The trilogy would have ended with him being returned to his natural place in time to preserve the universe. Or something. It was a bit overcomplicated and totally irrelevant to the story we did get.

You’re probably best off just imagining the Chris Tracy as his totally own incarnation and avoiding all this nonsense. He’s a bit ruder and more condenscending than Paul McGann ever was.
JAMES S: It was written for the Eighth Doctor.
CHRIS T: The idea was that this would be a Paul McGann adventure post The Enemy Within. But my BAD acting makes it sound kinda like the fourth Doctor at times.
ADAM: I think in the end we decided it was most likely a 7.5 Doctor audio. Chris’s performance reminded us a lot of the eigth Doctor, with a dash of the fourth thrown in as well. He ascribed the eigth Doctor influence to the Big Finish audios, as their new set of Doctor and Charlie had begun and were the freshest in his mind.

4. [Chris T] On playing the part of The Doctor, what/who did you base your performance on?
CHRIS T: I was attempting Paul McGann, I swear. You’d prolly never know by listening too it but such is life. I was raised Doctor Who by my parents and the Tom Baker will always be my favorite Doctor. No doubt this slipped in from time to time.

5. [Adam J] The Overlord is a very extroverted role, and seems to come naturally. Is there something of yourself in it?
ADAM: There’s probaby a bit more of the Overlord in me now than there was in high school! Back then I simply enjoyed doing funny voices and I would pass the time at my job by holding conversations with myself in different characters. With other people, however, I was a much more withdrawn sort, at least around those who I didn’t really know. Not quite painfully shy, but shy enough. I enjoyed playing the Overlord immensely, though, and at times I still find myself muttering to myself in those bombastic tones. And of course hold entire conversations between myself and my temporally shifted older self about involving a third iteration of myself in a plan to take over the galaxy was just awesome!

6. What are your memories of your very first recording session? How did it go? Did the experience change with later recordings?
CHRIS T: Chaos. We had no idea what we were doing. Steve also started editing the begining of Episode 1 together while we were all still at his place. With the rising complexity of SPK productions, we nolonger get to see most of the editing process just because it takes Steve so long.
GRADY: I remember we were all swapped around for each scene in a small-ish den area, clustered around a small microphone and trying not to make too much excess noise. This was rather difficult, but we obviously got it done. Later recordings were done in a much more sound-friendly location with a much better mic.
JAMES S: I was not actually able to go to the very first recording session. So, I stopped by Steve’s house one day after school all by my self and recorded the lines for the guard. In fact I recorded earlier than everyone else so I guess they missed the first recording session. It was rather awkward I remember, because I had no one to act against and I was just reading silly guard lines into the microphone.
STEVE: I had a very cheap microphone that came with my computer, and we sat it on a table and sort of kneeled around it. James couldn’t make it on the day where we did everyone else’s lines, so I did his earlier, which is why his voice is so much louder than everyone else’s– without other people to hog space, he could stand right next to it! If anyone messed up, we would stop recording the scene and start over. Which made it quite difficult, as you might imagine.

It was always a blast; the bloopers will reveal that we were certainly enjoying ourselves. We got pretty proficient at it eventually, and could knock those things out in no time.

Before the second one, I got a fifteen-dollar microphone at Radio Shack, which was a world of improvment. I also stole my sister’s music stand to hold the scripts on. I still have that, actually, six years later, and still use it. It’s a good thing she gave up on band.
ADAM: I think we ended up doing the first recording session at Steve’s house, and it was a blast. Though, to be fair, at some points all of our sessions seem to blend together. We really quickly set up some habits for recording however, with those of us involved clumped around the microphone hanging from Steve’s ceiling or clipped to an old music stand, and the rest of us down stairs causing general mayhem and mischief. The whole recording experience for the most part didn’t change inherently so much as grow more and more complicated. After our Zorbos trilogy we branched off to do so many different projects that they started to become quite complex. Steve managed it all with great aplomb, for the most part, however, and they never failed to be a great time. I’m glad that I never had to coordinate our schedules, especially once college stared for us all… I know the one time Chris did he swore that his level of respect of Mollmann had been raised by an order of magnitude.
STEPHEN: I was very excited to play my role because even though I was less familiar with Doctor Who, I loved the book The Time Machine and thought the crossover of this character’s story into the Doctor’s was extremely clever. I only wish I had the acting skills at the time to do the character more justice. As future recordings continued we became more used to the pacing and the process went more smoothly.
CATHERINE: One time, I couldn’t for the life of me say, “Please be more specific”. I kept saying “pacific” instead of “specific” and finally, after numerous tries, we gave up and just used the best one. Also, I remember, in one of my roles, I was a Nabian girl and was very annoying–I wanted to play with a big gun.
DAVID: For the first Dr. Who audio drama, “The Moons of Zorbos”, I could not maintain any particular voice for my character, Lt. Kantasion (of The Patrol!). Pretty much in every scene or every line, I would switch up accents in some way or another. It was quite embarassing and I therefore cringed whenever my brother Stephen, fellow audio-drama participant, would insist on playing it on long drives for our parents. . .

I always enjoyed Lt. Kantasions’s growing fetish for his laser-rifle in later episodes.

Playing as my own character, Otis, in the Foundation series was very cool indeed; being my own character, his actions and personality were, uh, obviously, much more easy for me to transfer to the mic during the recording sessions than the other characters. But I always liked it when I was cast as a villain; I recall being Cry Rcy’s evil rival-whose-name-escapes-me as an enjoyable one.

7. How did you find being an actor?
CATHERINE: I only has small parts, but it was fun. It was also cool to see my voice changed on the final product, such as for the role of the computer.
DAVID: I like doing silly impressions and voices in my head; unfortunately, they don’t always come out the way I imagine when I have to actually speak. . .

8. What was used for post production, sound effects and music? How did you find the task of sound mixing?
STEVE: Originally, I used a cheap program that had come with my computer’s cheap mic. I don’t even know what it was called, but it got the job done. I had had absolutely no experience with that sort of thing before, and I was thanking God when I discovered the “Paste Mix” function, because I’d had no idea how I was going to get two sounds to play at once! I took to it rather easily, to be honest; I don’t think sound mixing is a very hard thing to do. (Good sound mixing is a different thing entirely, of course.) Obviously, as I went along, I got better at it; I think you can hear a progression as you move through the installments of the trilogy. Eventually, I replaced my cheap program with Sonic Foundry’s Sound Forge 6; I think this happened after I finished up on The Zorbosian Invasion of Mars. I was able to do a lot more at that point.

Initially, I got most of my sound effects off the Internet; the Doctor Who WAV Archive was a massive help. I think most of their sound effects came from holding a microphone up to a TV playing a poor VHS copy of an episode, though, and it shows. As time went of, I replaced their versions of common noises like the TARDIS materialization, the transmat beam, and so on with ones I’d ripped directly from the Big Finish CDs or some of the DVDs of the classic episodes. My other primary source was a collection of sound effects from classic Star Trek that Chris loaned me. I think more of the trilogy’s sound effects come from Star Trek than Doctor Who, actually! Most of the sound effects relating to the Ice Warriors were stolen from the computer game Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri. Basically, I’d take these things from wherever I could get them.

My favorite sound effect in the whole thing is that of the anti-artron bomb powering up; its simply a giant penny slowly spinning with a filter put over it. A special mention has to go to the control buttons from classic Star Trek, which are used by both the Doctor and the Zorbosians!

Music was ripped off of a variety of sources. The main theme was the TV movie one by John Debney: for the first two installments, I used a copy from the WAV Archive. The end theme for the first two was the David Arnold theme from the audio dramas because the WAV Archive hadn’t had the Debney end theme! The incidental music for The Moons of Zorbos came from (again) classic Star Trek; I had a CD full of the stuff, and it was the most over-the-top music I could find. I think Dudley Simpson would be proud. The incidental music for Zorbosian Invasion came from Star Trek: Voyager, specifically the “Bride of Chaotica!” episode. As that episode was designed to emulate 1930s serials, it was again perfectly over-the-top. Before doing Destiny, I picked up the soundtrack CD for the TV movie, and I replaced the themes I’d been using with ones from there. Almost all of the music for that installment comes from that CD, bar one theme by Malcolm Clarke.

My favorite bits of music are the incredibly dramatic theme that follows the introduction of Blinky the Space Dog, and the way I used the music from the TV movie’s prologue underneath Destiny’s opening scene.
ADAM: Steve was the big post production man, with Chris taking a hand in the mixing and music of his own personal project. One of the really cool things, I think, about listening to all of the Zorbos trilogy in a row, is how Steve’s skills and resources improve vastly from one part of the story to the next. By the time we started to branch out into other areas, such as our Star Wars audio, his chops had gotten to the point that space battles and force powers were well within his reach.

9. Looking back on it, what was it like putting yourself out there on the internet, for anyone to hear?
CHRIS T: I loved it, but I love attention so no shocker there. I would LOVE to do another Dr. Who audio drama and we have tossed around the idea of a film. Who knows…
GRADY: It was exciting, to be honest. The idea that anyone could download and listen to this thing we made of their own volition was a very exhilarating thing.
CATHERINE: I never really thought about it since I figured not _that_ many would hear it and I never had a big role.
JAMES S: It was fun. At the time I felt that the internet was brand new and I was just glad to be out there. Also I was more worried about what the people at Sci-Fi Club would think since we had listenings and gave them out there.
DAVID: To tell the truth, oftentimes I forget that Steve Mollmann has put the dramas on the internet! Sorry, Steve! But I would think that it’s really neat being part of something that was both fun to do, and something that the fandom seems to appreciate, to an extent!
STEVE: The Doctor Who audio dramas were hardly ever up on the Internet, and I never heard from a soul about them! So it didn’t really feel like anything at all. A few people listened to our Star Trek ones, and the response was generally positive.

The only thing we did that got any sort of exposure was Star Wars: Betrayed Federation. I guess I was mildly nervous, but I’d heard what else was out there, and felt our stuff was just as good. A lot of the prominent Star Wars audio dramas were pieced together from people recording all over the place, and it shows. The response to that was entirely positive; some guy e-mailed me to say his kid loved it, and that pretty much made my month!
STEPHEN: I never imagined that this would be heard by many people, but I was always willing to put creative work out for other fans to enjoy.
ADAM: Honestly, I rarely think about the possiblity that other people could/would be interested in our audios. Though I’m always super-psyched whenever I hear that someone not from our group has listened to and enjoyed our work. Actually one of the high points of having stuff on the internet was when I was featured on a Star Wars audio site as “voice-actor of the week” or somesuch. Completely floored me!

10. What other audio productions did Sigma Phi Kappa create? Of them all, do you have a favourite? If so – Why?
GRADY: Let’s see, we also produced Star Trek: Foundation, Star Wars: Betrayed Federation, and Rhenus Coldanus Exploring the Universe to my recollection. I’d say my favorite was the last one; it was purely original, but it also incorporated a new form of writing we’d not tried before, namely each chapter was written by a different individual on the project.
STEVE: There were four Star Trek audio dramas, which sort of alternated with our Doctor Who ones. These were called Star Trek: Foundation and concerned the adventures of the crew of a science vessel typically throw into situations beyond its capabilities. There were four episodes: Foundation and Imperium, Nemesis, Lest We Remember, and A Choice of Catastrophes. These had many more characters than the Doctor Who ones and suffered a lot as a result; they were too ambitious for my skills at the time, both writing-wise and technical. I got better as we went along; I still think A Choice of Catastrophes is best thing I’ve done; it’s all set in one room, and it focuses primarily on one person and his decisions.

My favorite, though, is the Star Wars audio we did, Betrayed Federation. The final product, for once, was exactly what I’d imagined going in. It’s simple– the tale of two bickering Jedi Masters going up against the Trade Federation– but it’s loads of fun. It’s got incredible Force feats, bounty hunters, lightsaber duels, Mandalorians, an oppressed mining colony, and bad Chinese accents. What else do you need from Star Wars?

Since then, we’ve abandoned “fan” audio dramas. I’m currently working on a serialized story called Rhenus Coldanus Exploring the Universe, about a plant-alien, a robot drone, and their adventures. It’s a series of fifteen-minute episodes using a variety of writers (so I’m not on my own for once). The first “cycle” of episodes (which will hopefully not be the last) consists of thirty-three episodes (plus two bonus stories). All of these have been written, twenty-seven of theme have been recorded, twenty of them have been sound-edited, and fourteen of them have been released on CD. I lied earlier– this is the favorite thing I’ve done. It’s just plain fun, much like the Doctor Who and Star Wars stuff, plus it’s quite satisfying to work in your own universe. Hopefully, I’ll put them all up on the Internet someday.

The other original series we’ve done is Soul Crimes, which was two thirty-minute episodes. That was primarily Chris Tracy’s baby, though, so you should get him to expound on it if you’re interested.
ADAM: Aside from the Zorbos Trilogy, we produced Star Wars: Betrayed Federation, a companion and prequal to a fanfilm we made. Also we adapted a several of our Star Trek sim stories as well, which were good fun. After these entries into our favorite fandoms were completed, Steve concieved of a project entitled “Rhenus Coldanus: Exploring the Universe”, based around our own characters and with stories written by a variety of authors. Those were/are a great time to write and act for as well.

Though as to my favorite, I’d be hard pressed to pick only one. I love the Overlord, and to this day he remains one of my favorite characters that I’ve given voice to, but I’m attached to all of the character’s I’ve played. Though for overall story and sound, the Star Wars one, as well as one or two of the Rhenus Serial stand out in my mind as tops. But behind them all is Zorbos, which is just a great time to listen to.
CHRIS T: I love Soul Crimes, because I wrote/directed/edited it. But that bias aside I’d have to say its a tie between ST Foundation Volume 2 and The Moons of Zorbos. Volume 2 just sounds slick and the Moons of Z will always be the one that started it all.
JAMES S: I personally love the Rhenus Coldanus stuff the best.
STEPHEN: I don’t have one particular favorite, but one of them would be the second Doctor Who drama, The Zorbosian Invasion of Mars. The Overlord comes to realize not all is as he thinks it is with the Doctor while Commander O is concealing the truth:

The Overlord: “Come back here commander, I command you! Doctor, HOW DO YOU KNOW?”

The Doctor: “I was there . . . ”

Not to mention Adam and Chris’s acting works extremely well together and I think this scene capitalizes on that.

11. There was mention of another Doctor Who production named ‘Out of Time, Out of Mind’. Did anything come of it? Were there any other potential ideas or stories of interest?
CHRIS T: Don’t really know what happend to that one.
GRADY: You know, I’m not entirely certain. I recall there being talk of producing another Doctor audio drama, but that’s about it. Things have been kind of difficult to do since we all went our separate ways for college.
JAMES S: There have been lots and lots of ideas thrown about, particularly whenever we all find ourselves in Cincinnati at the same time the idea of a Doctor Who movie is always thrown about.
STEVE: Out of Time, Out of Mind is something I considered at one point, but dismissed. (I don’t think I’d even made the second/third at that point.) I scarcely remember what it was about anymore! I also outlined a second trilogy (Space’s Edge, Time’s Something-or-Other, and a third story title I forget entirely), that would have involved artificial realities, Herbert Hoover, and the return of the Master, among other things. But that went nowhere too, and I decided to stick with what I had. Oh, and at one point I toyed with a Quark story because my little sister could do a mean Quark voice.
ADAM: I know Steve toyed around with a bunch of different continuations in the Whoverse, but I remember him telling me that nothing ever really struck him in the way of concrete plot. I myself started to try and put together an audio for our Star Trek series, but the task of script writing wasn’t one I was ready for at the time. When Rhenus came around and I got the chance to write for it though, I definately took it. As to potential ideas or stories, there’s still a bunch of Star Trek sim stories which have yet to be crossed over, although our simverse and the audios have diverged somewhat. Unfortunately, though, now that college is over and the cast and crew of Sigma Phi Kappa is spread out over the country as well as the world, recording anything would be a monumental task, a problem for which I myself am in large part to blame, as I’m living in Japan now for the next year and half.

12. Since SPK, have you done anything more in the way of story telling, such as writing, acting, producing?
GRADY: Absolutely. I personally have written several short stories and am in the process of writing a few novels; I’ve been in two locally-produced musicals here in Socorro, NM (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Orpheus in the Underworld); and this summer I plan on producing a weekly internet show about the local environment, not entirely dissimilar from something like what you might see on Animal Planet.
STEVE: I’ve actually gone on to be professionally published– with Michael Schuster (who is also one of my writers on Exploring the Universe and appeared in both it and Soul Crimes), I’ve written a few stories in the universe of Star Trek. The first was an electronic novella called The Future Begins, published as part of the Corps of Engineers series. Then, we had two short stories appear in the anthology The Next Generation: The Sky’s the Limit, titled “Meet with Triumph and Disaster” and “Trust Yourself When All Men Doubt You”. We’re always hoping to do more, of course, though nothing’s panned out as of yet.
ADAM: Nothing of any sort of public work. I write, but mostly for myself, and although I did some acting in college and thought it was awesome, I never went beyond that sort of amatuer thing. Several of the others though, have gone one to study or work in the film/production industry.
DAVID: nothing very prolific; a single entry in my College gag-paper is about the only notable one. . .at least it actually was written and put into (college) print.
STEPHEN: As far as personal projects go, I started a band called The Spoony Bards ( We play mostly video game and anime music, particularly at conventions throughout the midwest, but also for charity and private events. We’re currently producing our second CD.
JAMES S: Not really just SPK stuff, probably because Steve in the only person willing to put up with acting abilities.

13. Obligatory question – favourite Doctor and why?
CHRIS T: Tom Baker
GRADY: Patrick Troughton. For one, he was my first, but he also had mannerisms and a personality that greatly set him apart from the other doctors in a manner I really liked; he also acted a lot through the eyebrows. William Hartnell, John Pertwee, Tom Baker, and Sylvester McCoy all vie very strongly for second.
STEPHEN: Having most recently watched the second and third seasons of the new Doctor Who series, I have an favorable bias towards the 10th Doctor – anyone who can defeat the forces of old magic with the words of Harry Potter gains a lot of extra points.
STEVE: Paul McGann. Coming to Doctor Who during the interseries gap, his audio dramas were the going concerns, and I’ve faithfully collected every one. He’s effectively my “first” Doctor, in the sense that if you grow up watching Tom Baker or Sylvester McCoy, that’s who your favorite is. I love his enthusiasm and passion, but also the sense that he can genuinely be frightened in a way that Tom Baker definitely never was. A close second is Christopher Eccleston, who is without a doubt the best actor to ever assume the role.
ADAM: The eigth Doctor and Charlie are my favorite TARDIS crew, if only because they were my first. I’ve enjoyed each Doctor, though, and the new series is currently awesome as well!
DAVID: While I have seen key fourth, seventh, and tenth Doctor episodes (I like David Tennent quite a bit, really; but it seems everyone does), I find myself oftentimes feeling partial to the celery-wearing one; if only by virtue of his insistence on wearing a piece of celery. I confess I have seen quite little of him; as is evident by the fact that I do not know offhand which number he is (fifth? Please don’t hit me if I’m wrong!!). But he’s David Tennent’s favorite, right??
JAMES S: The Second Doctor. I always loved him with Jamie and Zoe. He in my mind really set the mold from which all subsequent Doctors have followed.
CATHERINE: The latest (David Tennant), because he is young and hot. Second would have to be Christopher Eccelson (sp?), then Tom Baker because of his cool scarf.

14. Now, about that Zorbos Medley…?
CHRIS T: The singing was a totally random thing. We were just messing around with the mics and that happend. This also became a running gag at recording sessions, with actors having a tendency to break out into song mid recording. Much to the chagrin of Steve.
STEVE: Lord knows what we were thinking when we did that; it just sort of happened. I’m rather fond of it, to be honest. Each little ditty is quite enjoyable. “OoooooOOOOOOOoooooh, Commander O!”
STEPHEN: We were messing around with silly songs at the end of recording the second drama – a lot of it was improvised. Not including the BGM interludes.
ADAM: I blame Chris, it’s all his fault and you won’t get me to say anything different! Though my song was the best.
DAVID: I’m the doctor~ [(DOCTOR~~R)jellybabiesyumyum]! I think I was just part of the chorus. It’s Chris’ fault.
JAMES S: Good Question


FANZ: Campaign of Fear

9 06 2008

Looks like I made it back just in time. FANZ have finally returned with their ninth and final release ‘Campaign of Fear’. There is also a new website to boot which will soon be hosting all of the FANZ productions.

A word of warning quoted from the producers: “This story follows directly on (more or less) from events in ‘The Anti-Climax of Doom’ – those who haven’t heard that yet will be utterly spoilered and may be better off waiting for the earlier stories to become available again (which they will in due course). Besides which, CoF is pretty indulgent and makes no allowances for the first-time listener.”

Linky –