Jun 19, 2013

Posted in Chapter Updates, Features

A Study in Recruiting in 30 Days

A Study in Recruiting in 30 Days

by LTCOL Kered Nella
Executive Officer, USS Golden Gate

The Directives came down pretty quick, looking back I think only the Admiral with his keen senses and diplomatic intuition knew what was about to happen but he was under orders to tell no one…

BestofBothAdApril 18, 2013:  A few days earlier, a representative from Allied-Tha, the Paramount Pictures and Fathom media entertainment group contacted the Admiral, looking for a Star Trek Fan club in the Bay Area. Thankfully because the Internet this media company stumbled upon the USS Golden Gate when they conducted a quick Google search.  After some discussion, they invited us to participate in the NCM Fathom screening event of Star Trek: The Next Generation’s “The Best of Both Worlds”.  This event heralded the DVD release of the Next Generation television episode.  The event was a great success and many people came from all over the Bay Area.  It was one night only event on April 25th.  By the time we received our invitation from the company the event was sold out, but for a few seats.  Our chapter had been given a few extra tickets for the event, and those tickets that were not accounted for were given away to people who could not get a seat to the event.  I spoke to one gentleman to whom I gave a ticket, and dressed in my uniform I must have seemed like a real STARFLEET officer there to render aid.  And we were pleased to be asked to do the next Fathom release at the end of June.

The crews of USS Loma Prieta and USS Golden Gate at "The Best of Both Worlds" screening.

The crews of USS Loma Prieta and USS Golden Gate at “The Best of Both Worlds” screening.

But this was just the beginning of what this strange group of Media Strategists had in store for the members of STARFLEET The International Fan Association here in San Francisco, home to STARFLEET Headquarters and the Academy of the Future.  Yet in hindsight I think this was exactly the point.  As is our Admiral’s way any opportunity should be used to the positive advantage of the Club and Fleet.  This being true the recruitment drives of April and May began for our diverse and spread out club of 30 members.

May 8, 2013:  Finally, this was the day; this was the time.  We had been told what to expect, but the surprises were still yet to come!  We knew who was to be there, but we had no idea how cool they would be. The rules were laid out in advance; in order to participate you had to be members in good standing with SFI. You needed to have a uniform, and you needed to know just where to go.  Members scrambled to get a uniform.  Recruits gathered their latinum and typed their way to www.sfi.org to join the USS Golden Gate to get in on this special event.

Three of the actors from Star Trek: Into Darkness (from left: Simon Pegg, Alive Eve, John Cho).

Three of the actors from Star Trek: Into Darkness (from left: Simon Pegg, Alive Eve, John Cho).

It was billed as “The Star Trek: Into Darkness Meet and Greet” and we had been told to assemble at San Francisco Westfield Shopping Center’s Microsoft Store on Market Street before 5:30pm to attend. We gathered, we stood in line and the rumors began, but what also to a pre-screening of the film, suddenly this became a fill blown Movie Premier!  We would be one of the first to see this film in the nation.  Our first reports were that Kirk, Spock and Uhura were going to be in attendance.  Yet within only a few more hours the names were changed, and we would have the pleasure of meeting Alice Eve [Dr. Carol Marcus], John Cho [Hikaru Sulu], and Simon Pegg [Montgomery Scott].

Those of us who were invited to the event were escorted through a line of other pre-screeners to have our individual photos taken with the talent.  Then once we greeted each of them briefly a photo was taken, and the next person got their chance. We were given a signed mini poster with their three signatures on it.  At this point Admiral Nottage gave us a new directive or was it an opportunity?  We were asked to gather as a group just outside the store.  Onlookers took photo’s of us and we loved every minute of the attention. After the photo shoot Paramount representatives asked us to stick around a little longer. The Microsoft Store and Paramount Photographers wanted the combined crews, of the USS Golden Gate and the USS Loma Prieta to get a group shot of us all in uniform!  I have to say that we looked quite impressive.

After the photos were taken, we were each given a business card which had the Facebook address were we could view our images a day or so later.  I mention this now because after viewing all the images on the Microsoft Store’s photo galleries I could tell two things right away. First, we were not the only Californians to have such a meet and greet that day; LA was the first stop for the celebrities. And secondly most importantly, I believe [after seeing all the photos in that online gallery of places and people] that our members were the most fans the stars had seen in uniform together in one place!  The bright colors of STARFLEET uniforms, the reds, bright blues and yellows stand out in the images of the other people who were dressed in the dark hues of everyday life.  So in comparison to the other Microsoft store photos, it became an easy assumption to make.  And we got the pre-screen where others didn’t.

PhotoBombAlice Eve, who had been standing to the side watching us having our pictures taken, ran over and photobombed one of our shots!  That was of course when the photographers asked if the stars would like to get into a group shot with us. Cheers erupted from our group and they gladly joined in.  The next group of shots had Simon and Jon kicking back at the lower part of the image, and Ms. Eve standing on the left hand side with her hand placed very casually upon a certain person’s shoulder … that person would be me in case you had the cause to wonder.  As John Cho had gotten into the habit of greeting his fans with a solid high five,  after the shoot, Alice Eve also got into the act, and was smacking palms with as many people as she could before we all got a chance to say thank you, and under the new directive of Admiral Nottage were guided to the screening room a floor above.

GroupwTalentMany of the folks with whom we were in line with were waiting to get their 3D glasses be allowed into the theater and their seats.  Most of us were about to settle toward the back of the line when those uniforms came to the rescue Again! The event coordinators gave us all two wristbands before the event, one was for the photo-op, and the other was for the screening. So we were guided into the theater to reserved seating at the top of the screening room.  Then just before we all got settled in for the film, the Paramount photographer asked us to all put on our 3D glasses then she took a few photos of us reacting to the movie.  She wanted to get the photos before the lights went out.  We got exclusive permission to use the Paramount photos, some of them you are seeing here.  They may be the only time you see them in print or on the Internet.

TheaterGroupAs we were waiting, it seemed that there was a correspondent in the audience who should not have been there, so the media hosts would not get the film started until the person was identified and escorted from the theater. This took a little while, and in the mean time Captain Zach Perkins CO of the USS Loma Prieta found the first photo from the Microsoft shoot published online.  Simon Pegg had posted one of the group shots on Twitter, and Zach who follows him showed us the first image. Of course since Simon was in the photo himself, it was assumed that one of his assistance’s took the photo with his mobile.

The intruder into the screening was identified and escorted from the showing.  The actors came out to greet us once more before the show and introduced the movie.  Alice Eve told us that the final scenes of the film were given post-production sound in the Bay Area so they had all been here only a few months back.  She told us how much she enjoyed visiting San Francisco and the Bay Area.  One of the final things that Simon Pegg told us was that if we enjoyed the show we should find them at the end and give them a hug if we liked the movie. Of course they had gone, but some of us looked because we did indeed enjoy the movie.

TheaterIntroAllied-Tha, the media company, allowed us to bring ourselves and others in Star Trek uniforms to another screening one week later as well on the big screen, just 24 hours before the movie was to open nationwide.  This event was a bit different.  This time there were 4 theaters, and 500 seats in each to give away.  Paramount liked us so much the week before that they asked if other chapters could do the same.  The call when out to the Bay Area!  The USS Golden Gate asked the USS Augusta Ada to take on the Redwood City venue.  That event was just as big and was standing room only.  The USS Golden Gate’s charity the Young Dreamer Network was provided 50 seats for their kids and parents to see the movie.  The other two venues sadly did not have enough Fleet membership nearby to do the same and so Fresno and Sacramento where on their own.  However due to the promotion machine of Allied-Tha and our club, now at 46 members, got them filled and we have now seen the return of some members of the long time Fleet decommissioned USS Defiance.  It was great to be able to provide the Bay Area with almost 2000 free seats in REAL3D, all in the name of Starfleet and the local chapters able to participate.

recruitThose of us on the USS Golden Gate have been very lucky with this film, and our next event was hosting the movie at the local Historic Balboa Theater (www.balboamovies.com).  This venue is 35mm 2D, all afternoon/evening event on Friday and Saturday for the 2nd weekend of the movie all co-branded with Fleet and the USS Loma Prieta.  Thank you to LCDR Tom Hesser for attending.

We had a fantastic opportunity to recruit in our local area and get a few more interested parties into the club.  The club negotiated a reduced rate for anyone coming to the event in uniform.  They have allowed us to take over the intermission time for recruitment with an onscreen time as well as face-to-face discussion of why joining a fan club is fun.  Our presentation is on YouTube; search “The USS Golden Gate”.  Many other chapters around the country were able foster a relationship with local theaters.  Ours isn’t the biggest theater.  It isn’t the highest tech theater, YET.  But it is a place of community, character with a love of Science Fiction and a willingness to provide our group with such untold exposure.   Here is a brief excerpt from their press release.

 “Captains Log, 5/4/3013 – San Francisco’s Historic Balboa Theater is pleased to announce its imminent take-over by The USS Golden Gate, the San Francisco chapter of STARFLEET International, the world’s largest network of Star Trek fans. The occupation begins on Friday, May 24th and continues through Saturday, May 25th for the 2nd weekend run of Star Trek: Into Darkness.”

Gorn2The best time to get folks to join up is at events like this, at a community level, and the USS Golden Gate took full advantage of the opportunity.  We had our uniforms, Gorn, Klingons, custom flags and fliers at the ready.  Prepared intermission lobby skits for the theater’s audience.  This is one of the best reasons to belong to our organization, what fun and friends we make all over the country and around the world at large encompassing England, Germany, The Netherlands, Chicago, Florida, California and Hawaii with our core right here in San Francisco!

Because of this new alliance the Balboa is working towards acquiring licensing for special showings from DVD (on the big screen) of the Animated series for Saturday AM kids (young and old), Marathon showings of TOS, TNG, DS9, VOY, ENT.  They are preparing for a September week of raw Science Fiction as well.  All hosted by you guested it, the USS Golden Gate.

I believe that Star Trek has gone beyond just entertainment, but an ideology, not a religion but the ideal to strive, as a species, embodying the concept of IDIC.  We take this message to the community and grow as a chapter and so can yours.  The movies and the TV shows are just the convenient medium to spread the message around the world.  This is the reason we thoroughly enjoy being Trekkers and members of the USS Golden Gate in San Francisco, CA currently grown to 62 members and the largest chapter in Region 4 with so much more go come.

Lieutenant Colonel Kered Nella is the Executive Officer of San Francisco-based chapter USS Golden Gate. He can be reached via email at xo [at] ussgoldengate [dot] org.  Feature Photo Credits: The Microsoft Store; Danielle Taoromina-Keenan (Paramount)