Recently I had the pleasure of speaking to Ronald B. Moore, who was the Visual Effects Coordinator on Star Trek The Next Generation and Visual Effects Supervisor on Voyager and Enterprise. Throughout his entire career he has worked on films such as last years Miami Vice to the 1984 hit Ghostbusters! Ron has won 5 Emmys and been nominated for 9. Most recently Ron has lent his talent to the widely acclaimed “Star Trek New Voyages.” I spoke to him for a couple of hours for the interview, during which we talked extensively about motion control photography used in episodes like Endgame and Lifeline of Voyager. Ron is a fan of the show and truly an all around awesome guy to talk to and I was privileged to speak to him amongst his busy schedule.
Ron! Non one could be more welcome at SebRT.com, I had admired your work on Star Trek for years. Thank you for joining me for this short interview.
Are you working on the next Star Trek feature Star Trek XI?
It would be very unlikely. It’s all new people now. I’m glad to see JJ (Abrams) coming in and the names they have coming in. Like Matt Damon as Captain Kirk… They have huge shoes to fill. The charisma, the chemistry, of the original series will be hard to match.
Are you a fan of the show?
Oh yeah. Very much so! I never was able to get into Deep Space (Nine). I didn’t work on DS9. At the end of TNG I left to do Generations and then came back to do Voyager and then moved to Enterprise.
Do you get recognized in public ever?
Not really. I do have many friends and fans that I have met over the years at conventions and on the Trek cruises. It is always fun to run into them around the world. The cruises have taken me to many places and allowed me to meet many people in many countries. I consider this one of the best perks of all that I have received by working on Star Trek.
What effect that your produced stands in your memory?
There’s a show that was TNG, Identity Crisis. I know the director didn’t like it, but I loved it. I liked the concept of the show. We got on and it was a Friday, a complicated day, we were on stage 16 there was black light and dirt and dust. I remember sitting there and waiting for a shot that was really complicated. It was about 12:30AM and we started setting up the shot and it was just totally wrong. I wondered what I was going to do! I started moving things around – everything was crucial for the shadows and I got it set up. LeVar (Burton) came up to me and told me that he saw why we had to make the change.
How has the work you do evolved with the advancement of computers and technology?
It grew every season! Nothing is the same from TNG to where we ended up. When we started we were on 1 inch tape and Enterprise was shooting on digital!
What kind of work have you done for Star Trek New Voyages?
My work on New Voyages has been mostly consulting with the directors and some of the crew putting the latest episode together. I think it is a really great episode. Mark Zicree shot it in HD and the story is really good. I consider George Takei a friend and it is always good to work with him though sadly we didn’t spend much time together during this project. George has been on many of the Trek cruises I have been on. The latest episode of New Voyages in nearing completion. I believe they are having a screening in Florida at the end of March. There will be some work that needs to be done after but you should be able to see it before long.
Do you watch the show when it is on TV and say – ah, now that was a hard one to do!
It is fun to watch episodes I have worked on. Some make you think that you could have done better and others make you proud. I find it hard to watch some of the early episodes as we improved so much over the years. And yes, now and again I will see a shot that was hard and still wonder how we pulled it off in the time we had. Trek was a really great show to work on.
Did you ever work closely with Michael Piller?
I can’t say I worked closely with Michael but did work with him on the Trek shows. I have a lot of respect for what he added to the show and the work he did after. He was a highlight to the years I did work with him on Trek. He is missed.
What are you working on at the moment?
I spend some time last year working on Smallville and Miami Vice and a few other projects working with a company in Santa Monica. At the end of the year and the first of this year I have been involved with Rush Hour 3 doing some visual effects editing and producing. It has kept me busy but I am also involved in looking for another project to get into.
Do you have any exciting future plans?
Nothing at the moment. I have enjoyed doing the Cruise Trek conventions over the years and they have one this year to Australia and I hope to manage to pull that off. I did a The Cult TV convention in England last year and play guitar with the Enterprise Blues Band and we put out our second CD last year. It is a great bunch of guys mostly actors that have played parts in Trek over the years.
Ron asked me to add the following statement to the end of the interview:
One final word. It is important to understand how many people it takes to pull of the shots in any TV show or Movie. I have been blessed to work with some of the most talented people in the field of visual effects. On Trek I have worked with Dan Curry, Rob Legato, Gary Hutzel, Paul Hill and so many many more really super people it is something to remember. I hope to work with them all again. I have worked on many TV shows and features and of all of them, Star Trek was a highlight. I owe my being here to real stars like Richard Edlund, Jo Westheimer, Gene Roddenberry and the people associated with them. In this business it is many times the people you work with that make it all happen.
And with that I would like to thank Ron for spending two hours with me. It was truly a pleasure to “meet” you. Talking to you was as inspiring as I thought it would be!
If you would like to find out more information about Ronald B. Moore check Star Trek.com or click here for his Memory-Alpha Page. Please send any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org – Thank you and come back in a week or so as I will have an interview with Andre Bormanis!