Bridge to Engineering… Mr. Scott? An interview with Charles Root
Originally posted by Jaime "Fez" Sanchez | November 15, 2013
Today I am honored to say that I have Charles Root here to talk to the blog:
1.What is it that you do for your “day job”, if you can talk about it
I am the Director of Technology for an Intellectual Property company called IPCG, in Williston Vermont. We consult with large corporations on patents, trade secrets, that sort of stuff. I’ve been here for 11+ years.
2. What is your connection to Star Trek? and how has it affected your life?
This will probably come as sacrilege to many a Trekker that look at Trek as almost a religion, but for me my only connection to Star Trek, is that it is enjoyable science fiction. I never bought in to Roddenberry’s humanism or the whole “The future will be a better place” aspect of Trek. I liked Star Trek because of the Enterprise and the power of her weapons ripping Romulan warbirds apart, and Kirk kicking ass, and Spock being so smart.
I would say though that Star Trek has pronouncedly affected my life, in that had I never enjoyed the TV show, I probably wouldn’t have been introduced to other Sci-Fi and fantasy properties, that exposure got me involved with computers in the 80’s and that is how I now make a living. Plus of course I never would be part of Phase 2 if Star Trek wasn’t part of my life.
3. How did you first hear of Star Trek: New Voyages/Phase 2?
Randomly found it on the Internet one day while searching for information on Star Trek: TNG, didn’t even know it was being filmed an hour from my house. Started following it on the web, and then saw a local news story discussing the project and that it was in Ticonderoga. Dropped the production an e-mail, turns out I had actually met James Cawley a decade earlier.
4. “In Harm’s Way” was your first go around as Scotty, how hard is it to be the character and do you think you have gotten better with each performance?
Scotty was always one of my favorite characters, as I said Trek for me was the Enterprise 1701, so I gravitated towards Scotty as he “owns” the Enterprise, regardless of what Kirk or Starfleet thinks!
Acting the part of Scotty which was made particularly iconic with James Doohan’s “Scottish” accent has to say the least been a challenge. You don’t want to come off as mimicking Doohan, but if you stray too far away his original interpretation then you really don’t have the Scotty character any longer, you just have an engineer from Scotland.
Then of course there’s the issue with accent, where everyone on the planet seems to think they’re a master linguist, and can give you pointers on how to sound more “Scottish”, that can get old after a while.
5. What is your favorite memory of being on set or just hanging around with the crew?
There has been many times I’ve been in tears laughing from interaction on the set with my friends, that is always enjoyable and memorable. There’s the times working with Trek alum like George Takei when it’s almost surreal, but there is one specific time that stands out in my mind.
The 360 degree bridge set was being prepped for shooting a scene, it was cleaned up, freshly painted, and all the internal lights were on, but no other lighting equipment had been set up yet. The consoles were powered up and blinking away, the helm glowed softly. Overhead the large light diffuser covered most set. I was the only person there. If there was one single time during all my shooting with Phase 2 that I was transported to the 23rd century it was then. It really felt like I was walking on to the bridge of an operational Starship.
6. In your own words, how would you describe both the atmosphere on set and the realization of a dream that many dream but few can say they have experienced
Honestly, it’s hectic. We shoot with almost no money, in a cramped, somewhat rundown space, it’s hot, or cold, there’s always one more set to work on, or technical issue to deal with, the days are long, and if you’re not shooting it can be very boring just sitting quietly while the camera’s roll, BUT it’s the final product that makes that all worth it. When you watch something like “World Enough and Time” or “Kitumba” you really get the satisfaction of seeing the sacrifice turned in to entertainment.
As far as living the dream, I am truly blessed in many, many ways. It humbles me to know that I experience what others can only imagine.
7. Is it really a “family” as some people have described it? And has anyone pulled a prank on you?
It’s a very interesting dynamic on the set. As we’ve grown, we bring in people that may only be there for one shoot, and there may be 100+ people at the studio, so I can’t honestly say everyone feels like “family”. Are there friends that I would do anything for? Absolutely, that’s your family core.Are there friends that are like drinking buddies? There sure are. Are there people that are more like work colleagues? Certainly. Are there people that I can’t stand? Sadly there are, but that’s just the nature of having some many diverse people around. I challenge anyone to bring as many people together as we do and have them feel the same about every single person.
Yes there has been pranks, one involving the “Scotty” voodoo doll stands out, I think we need to go no further there, LOL!
8. What is it about the original Star Trek that carries on even today in your opinion?
Classic science fiction for some, the positive message for others. There’s also part of becoming a cultural icon that keeps Star Trek in the collective memory of society.
9. Are you amazed at the volume and quality if the Trek episodes that RFS produces? And do you see an end in sight for the 5-year mission?
Given the talent that is involved with our production, no the quality doesn’t amaze me, that should be given. As we approach 10 episodes either done or in some point of production, you do have to be amazed that we have pumped out that many based completely on the generosity of others and our own hard labor.
I only see an end to our efforts if financially we simply cannot go on. It’s sad to think that if we could simply charge 99 cents for a download of the episodes, or sell a DVD box set of the episodes for say $14.99 given our download numbers we would literally make millions for CBS and for RFS. I could then give a core group of actors and crew good paying jobs and make 12 episodes are year no problem, ah but likely only a dream….
10. Are there any other projects you are working on? Whether it is Star Trek or Something else
There is quite a few things that I’ve got going on. In the entertainment industry you really need a lot of “pokers in the fire”. Under the RFS banner, regardless of talk to the contrary, Buck Rogers is not dead, we hope to move on that soon. There is also a completely independent and new Science Fiction franchise that RFS has begun discussing with the author to bring to life. You may also see a peak of me in the Wild Wild West episode that RFS is producing.
I’m also involved with a film company in Atlanta, GA called Digital New Age Entertainment, and a film I worked on 4 or 5 years ago called “Operation Dead 1” has had some discussion on being rewritten with the sequel and made in to a new film called “Vector” , the premise of Zombies and computers is very, very cool.
I’m also working on a graphic novel with Bill Lutz called “Mars Vs Earth – The Solar War Chronicles” It is set in the year 2262 A.D. and a war between an Earth and newly independent and colonized Mars, really heats up when alien technology is found.
Plus, on a totally different entertainment track, I’m designing a very large Casino for construction in Las Vegas, that I hope to pitch to some associates I have in the gaming industry
11. Any other thoughts you’d like to share with our readers? If you’d like to promote something you are in or are interested in here.
Yes, I’ve been working to merge my two worlds of Intellectual Property and the Entertainment Industry, in that effort I have written a piece on how each can benefit from the other, more information and links to the article are here:
I want to thank Mr. Scott for his time and all of you who read the blog….
Until next time Star Trek fans, keep reading… and Live Long and Prosper.
About Jaime "Fez" Sanchez
Jaime Sanchez or Fez as he is known on the set of Star Trek: Phase II, is one of the youngest mainstays on the production. Originally a grip he has risen to the level of Assistant to the Producers, which entails a lot of his Star Trek knowledge and research done both on and off the set. In his spare time Fez, writes and does impressions of favorite characters this phenomenon is referred to as FezTV.