Over the last few weeks there's been a tiny stir about the so-called "Bryan Singer Pitch," some years ago, for a possible new Star Trek series. Setting aside the various opinions about the relative quality of the idea itself– some like it and some don't, just like anything– I'd like to get some things straight.
1) Bryan Singer did not write this pitch. Nor did Bryan Fuller. Nor did Chris McQuarrie. Nor did Robert Burnett.
2) FEDERATION was not based on any prior works of scifi, nor influenced by even one novel written by any scifi luminary, much less a series of them.
3) FEDERATION was not influenced by other/prior pitches for new series or new animated series or Star Trek novels or Star Trek comics.
How do I know? Because...
1) Star Trek: FEDERATION was written, from the ground up, in its entirety by yours truly. Yes. 100%
2) I did not base it upon any prior works. It was not influenced in even the slightest way by any military scifi or other TV series either in pitch form or what might have been on the air at the time. it came, entirely, out of my head and my love of the Star Trek franchise.
Here is what actually happened.
I met Robert Burnett some years ago at a comic book shop we both frequent. I had just come off an unpleasant freelancer pitch to, I think, STAR TREK: VOYAGER, the TV series and was bitching about it to a friend of mine. I said something to the effect of "I don't know why some writers are bastards when they see another writer. Everyone started out as a freelancer. They have to know how it is."
"I'm a writer," said this guy I didn't know but had seen around."I don't think I'm a bastard."
The guy was Rob Burnett and, to make very long story short, we hit it off. It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that Burnett is in serious contention to be Star Trek Fan #1. Look him up.
Anyway, we got to talking and, in relatively short order, he agreed to publish my comic book mini series, THE RED LINE that year. Things didn't work out with the comic book but we remained somewhat in each other's orbits and, a few months later, he emails me, asking be to drop by the office for a "serious talk." What the hell, right? I went.
When I get there, Rob lays out this wild conversation he's had a few nights before with Bryan Singer, Bryan Fuller and Chris McQuarrie who are, apparently, good friends of his. Pretty amazing to me, a massive USUAL SUSPECTS fan.
Awesome for Rob, I suppose, but what does it have to do with me?
Well, it turns out the other three guys are big Star Trek fans, Fuller having actually written for the franchise and Singer wanting to, possibly, take s stab at taking it over. At that time ENTERPRISE had either fizzled out or was in the process of and the various parties were already circling the property with a mind to taking over. The big front-runners, at least as the rumor media reported it, were Singer and Abrams.
So the Big Guys wanted to throw in something great but none of them had the time to actually do it. All they could agree on was the title: FEDERATION. They were all engaged in big projects at the time and literally couldn't peel off enough brainspace to dig on on Star Trek, as much as they might wish to. So Rob suggested bringing in a contractor, yours truly.
"That all sounds great," I said. "But what's in it for me?"
I was a freelancer at the time with no big credits to my name and I wasn't looking forward to doing a bunch of work without some sort of payment. As much as I love STAR TREK and the work of these guys, they weren't MY friends and I saw no good reason to just do them this little favor for free.
"You'll be on staff, instantly, if the series goes," says Rob. "And you get to make up anything you want."
"Anything?" I said.
"Anything," he said. Rob had told them about me, about the way I think about the Trek Universe and how I'd always said I'd approach the series, given any sort of a shot at it. "The only rules are "Make it interesting. Make it relevant. Shake things up. Make it Star Trek."
That was good enough for me. Awesome. I got to work and, about a week later, had what is now called The Singer Pitch for STAR TREK: FEDERATION.
I never met the Bryans or Chris. No one ever modified or gave me a note on my work outside of Rob himself who only insisted that our new captain be named Kirk (I was against that but I caved) and that our intelligent ship's computer not be called M.A.J.E.L. (he caved on that.).
The awesome Michael Okuda had been brought in to do the designs and update the tech.
We exchanged a couple of emails, very generic stuff. And then it was done.
It was a great pitch. I'm sorry, but it was. AWESOME. I'm extremely proud of it But, as we know, the pitch did not happen. Mr Abrams is driving now and all the Big Guns have moved on to other things.
So I don't think there's a problem laying out the actual facts here.
It was fun. I think it would have made for a compelling TV series that would have pleased not only Star Trek fans but the massive non-Trekkie audience which was my primary goal with the thing.
Anyway. That's it. That's what actually happened. Anything you read anywhere else that doesn't line up with this is not accurate.
Thanks for the use of the hall.