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Fade In: The Making of Star Trek Insurrection

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Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)

Fade In: The Making of Star Trek Insurrection is a forthcoming reference book written by Michael Piller and published by his widow, Sandra Piller. Prior to publication, it had the subheading From Idea to Final Draft, The Writing of Star Trek: Insurrection. Written during the production of Star Trek: Insurrection, the book will chronicle the process of developing the script of Insurrection, outlining the various stages of development and the evolution from the original story concept to the final changes in post-production. The book will also include feedback and notes from Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner, as well as the original story notes and outlines, and a complete early draft of the script.

Eric A. Stillwell served as Piller's typist and research assistant on the book. He commented, "I think that was more work than the movie itself. In the end, Michael wrote a wonderful book, from the heart, something he considered a gift to young, aspiring writers." [1]

Piller himself made these observations about his work remaining unpublished, "Let me clarify this and make it very clear. With the approval of Viacom Consumer Licensing and Pocket Books, I wrote a book during the writing of Star Trek: Insurrection which was meant to be a text book for screenwriters. My pitch to the publisher was to take the reader through the entire process of the development of the film, starting with the idea and showing how changes, problems, opinions, studio requests, financial considerations, would effect the final product. And, in essence, to see if the reader would make the same decisions that Rick and I made as the script evolved. The book was by no means critical, nor did it burn any bridges, it just showed an insight into the behind-the-scenes of making a Star Trek movie that had never been told before. For reasons I won't go into here, decisions were made at a very high level not to publish the book, which was greatly disappointing to me. However, it does not reflect any dissatisfaction that I had with the final product. I think Star Trek: Insurrection holds its own when compared to other Star Trek movies. The goals of this particular film were quite different from the ones that preceded it. And for the most part, we met those goals." [2]

An extract from the book was published in Star Trek Magazine issue 126. An incomplete draft was released by the Star Trek website TrekCore on 18 September 2010 but was later removed at the request of Piller's family. Another website, Seb'Web Archive, also planned to publish excerpts of the book, but was reigned in by the studio itself, whose formal reply was posted instead, citing copyright infringements.

In 2013, Sandra Piller revealed that she was looking into the possibility of having the work yet published in print format. She also disclosed why the book, being "brutally honest" as she has put it, was originally not given the go-ahead; "Well, when he first got the go-ahead from the studio to write the book, and he got it signed-off with all the actors and everyone... when he finally turned it in, he was shocked! They said, 'We can't let the public know what we do here, what goes on behind the scenes!' So I'm hoping that everybody's evolved and grown a little bit, and they're ready for it. As I said, it's on the Internet, but I'm hoping I can add some special things to it and make it..." [3]

Sandra Piller announced in July 2016 that the book was being printed and would be available for purchase. [4]

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