Now there you have me on my personal soap box! You are not on your own, I know another high profile animator who agrees with you (I can see BarbReader nodding sagely in the audience!) My advice is not to force yourself to try to do something that you neither want nor feel you need to do - get a person or group who does know what they are doing and is committed to doing it as well as they possibly can. There are probably around a dozen audio drama groups out there who would jump at the chance of doing the audio track for an animation. Not just the voice acting but the sound effects, music, the whole package.
I think this summarizes in one blow the two horns of the greatest tragedy in the fan production business. The first horn of the dilemma is that the audience is picky, and our failure to live up to all the audience expectations reduces our audiences exponentially, not linearly. Say you have one production called Star Trek: Devil's Horns
that is a machinima relying on TTS to create dialogue. 80% of fans aren't going to enjoy it, because they might like the animations but they can't stand TTS. (I'm actually one of them; I have no interest in a show that treats dialogue, which is the core of the Star Trek
experience, so cavalierly.) But say you have another production called Star Trek: The Mysterious Voyage
that is an audio drama. 80% of fans aren't going to enjoy that, either, because they might like the dialogue but can't stand just listening to a show instead of watching it. I've spent years trying to figure this out, and there are lots of reasons, but it's basically an immutable fact. You can't convert non-audio listeners to audio listeners in large proportions, period. If you combined these two shows into one, you fulfill all those expectations. Fans might still tune out if they don't like your product, but they're going to give you a chance
. That means your audience starts out larger and grows faster.
Let's put this in algebraic terms. Suppose Devil's Horns
, the machinima, has an audience size x
, and Mysterious Voyage
, the audio drama, has an audience size y
. If you combined the two shows, you would expect that your audience would grow to, at most, (x
). But, in actuality, your audience would look more like A = x to the
If all the different Trek productions worked with each other and synergized, they would be ridiculously good and ridiculously large-scale. Mike is right that there's ample opportunity for tension -- Excelsior
's own abortive experience with animation proved that -- but I think ours was a special case. We weren't working with a team that was used to working within the constraints of a fan production, with all the limits on time and resources that entails. If two fan groups were to get together to produce a super-show, it would be much smoother, I think. That's the first prong, though -- we need to synergize.
The second prong is, we never will
, you wrote that there are "maybe a dozen" audio groups who'd be thrilled to do the audio track for an animation. I, on the other hand, can't think of a single one. Sure, there are a ton of us who are capable of doing that work, and we all enjoy
audio production... but we are all already committed to our own audiences, our own stories, our own work, and there's no time to jump over and do another show with another team without putting our own show on hold in the meantime. 99% of fan producers start up their teams not because they really really love animation or voice acting or whatever -- they get into it because they want to tell a Star Trek
story, and they're going to do it in whatever medium they can. They're not going to relinquish creative control or sacrifice their own ideas to go work on another project. I sure wouldn't kill off the Sword of Damocles arc to spend months working on another show I don't have time for, even if it meant saving some of my favorites, like Outpost
and Section 31
. I hope neither Tony Raymond nor Eric Busby take that personally, if they read this. I'm sure they'd all say the same about Excelsior
. We're all willing to help each other out in various ways, and we do, all the time (usually via cast poaching). But we all have our own shows, and ain't nobody going to take them away from us.
There are rare exceptions, of course. NEO f/x got into the fan game to work on effects and, ultimately, to help Starship Farragut on its animated series. That has blossomed into one of the most fruitful relationships in fan production land. I would give my eyeteeth to have that relationship with NEO f/x, and my spleen to have them animate an episode of Excelsior
. (If they read this, our address is starshipexcelsior att_gmail!) But from what I understand they're quite busy, and there's just nobody else in the fan animation department right now who's got the time and the inclination to work on somebody else's established show, despite
the fact that it would mean vastly
greater audiences for all involved.
That said, the Excelsior
team continues to search for motivated animators interested in producing an animated version of our famous episode, "No One Gets Out Alive."