April 2012

( If you look carefully you can see the black cloth on the ceiling )


The movie had too much production value to suffer the lack of camera movement that was imposed on it.  Viewers of movies are used to a moving ” movie camera”.  All I could do was change the camera angle, or do a short zoom ,or dolly to give life to the scenes.  Also lots of variety in far,med,close ups to try and make it more interesting.

The black cloth on the ceiling  helped to make the ceiling less noticeable.  If I angled the camera too far to the right there was a basement pole visible. If I moved it a speck to the left a support pole would show.  Most people never noticed it when it happened.  It was really tricky to film in the small area available which was probably 28 by 20 feet.

Hundreds of Christmas tree lights were placed behind the foggy acetate where the ships blinking control panels functioned.  The extension cords looked like a maze of long spaghetti strings hanging behind the bridge wall.  It took two circuit breakers worth of electricity to run the bridge lights and the cameras quartz lighting.  The upstairs tv could not be used when filming was going on or a breaker would be tripped. Unlike video, super 8mm movie film requires lots of light.  It also took 3 days to get it back from processing. At 24 frames per second one roll provided 2 minutes and 30 seconds of footage. . I could never be sure if the exposures were correct or the scenes were good until the film came back. Sometimes I had to take down a set and then put it back up because of some flaw that we missed until the film came back.

Hundreds of pounds of chipboard (cardboard) was Waterloxed to give it stiffness. Using chipboard saved me a lot of money and it is easy to work with. It was a brainstorm that worked.


(excuse the smudge on the photo)

All the other sets were assembled and dis-assembled according to a pre-planed shooting schedule. Filming was all done in the section of the basement around the bridge which was a permanent set. We rigged one of the cafeteria food dispenser doors so a person behind it could slide it open. I had two sets of cafeteria walls so I could change the camera angle on the actors. The second wall was much easier to set up.

We provided lots of pizzas, cases of local pop, and spaghetti for the actors to eat.  I tried to make them feel like they were in a real movie as much as possible and appreciated. Well that’s enough writing for now. I try to keep the articles short even if there is much more to tell about a subject.

(photos of photos until I get a scanner)




If you’ve read my Cinemagic magazine articles on Paragon then you know where I got the name “Sellek” from. It was one of the original Star Trek possibilities for Spock before they decided on Spock. I don’t remember how we came up with the Klingon names?

The original Sellek ears that I made are the ones in the photos above. A cast was made of my brother-in-laws ears. He played the Sellek character. By the way in real life he is a real character, a real fun guy. A clay sculpture of Spock like ears was created, then a mold of it and finally thin rubber Sellek ears were poured and made. They were called “The ears that brought tears” because they were solid rubber and started to pinch his real ears after about half of an  hour. Klingons get angry when they are in pain and I gave in to making softer ear tips.  I re-did the full length ears into  foam latex ear tips and all was well in the Vulcan Universe and here on Earth.

Liquid latex carpet glue was used for the original Sellek ears.  It is a material that I was familiar with because I used it for doing patching to remove carpet stain accidents in my profession as a carpet repair specialist. The latex is pretty much only used as a seam sealer now a days.

(John Cosentino doing the Klilngon make-ups for Paragons Paragon)

(Sexy Klingon First Officer)

(Our Sellek,sorry about the reflection)

The filming schedule was brutal. We had one of the worst winters ever in Michigan. Most of the filming was done in December, and January. I installed carpet with my dad in the daytime, filmed specific scenes in the evening, and at night on into the wee hours I prepared the next evenings shots and sets set-up. We still managed to have a lot of fun. Someone would always come up with a practical joke to ease the tension of a tight schedule. Most of us had jobs and work the next day and the fun of making a movie, at times wasn’t much fun. But what a great memory!





When I was making the Star Trek Paragon movie I decided to make myself up as a Klingon and see if it was realistic. I looked pretty much like the middle photo above. I drove over to my sisters house and knocked on her door and just stood there mute. She did not wait for me to speak but called her husband to the door with baseball bat in hand. Neither she nor he recognized me.  Klingons are mean looking dudes. My brother-in-law growled at me “What do you want” as he wiggled the bat.  I laughed and said “It’s me, John”. My voice and laugh gave me away. I am the Klingon holding the cube with Kirk inside of it in the movie.

I did all the make-ups for Paragon and will show some behind the scenes photos as I write more articles. Those days were busy times. I worked full time doing carpet stretching Macomb Michigan  cities and a lot of installing with my dad in the city of Northville,  Michigan. We sub-contracted to the son of a man that my Grandfather had contracted to.


Welcome to my blog.

I apologize for being difficult to track down. I’ll try to fill this blog with as many new photos and explanations as I can think of.  I will probably divert my writings to other areas of my past that somehow relate to amateur film making.  I’ll tell stories when the mood strikes me. I will make it as personal as I can. I hope that you will enjoy my technique. Eventually when I learn how to use the bells and whistles of a blog I’ll have categories for you to zero in on.

I make my living by being a carpet repair and install specialist.  If you would like to check out a web page that is being designed for my business go to my carpet repair website and feel free to brouse around it.

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