I was 19, in my second year of university and knee deep in papers and studying. Naturally, it seemed the right time to embrace my love of Star Trek: The Next Generation and write a script.
Let me explain. I'd been trying to write stories for years, but nothing really resonated when I'd finished it. I'd had an idea brewing for a Star Trek: The Next Generation script for some time, but I didn't know what to do with it. I knew for sure it couldn't have been just a short story; TNG deserved better than that, I reasoned.
Within a couple of weeks of that first idea brewing, I was in my seat at a Star Trek convention in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, where I was a student at the University of Alberta. I loved conventions, as it gave me a chance to get my inner geek on, see some cool memorabilia and people in costume, and of course, see some Star Trek stars.
I remember Jonathan Frakes was the guest, and I loved him. He was fun, witty, and it was clear to everyone there that he was there to enjoy himself while talking some Star Trek in the process. Taking a deep breath, I stuck my hand up, thinking, "It's now or never."
Through halting tones, I asked what he would think of a reunion story between Riker's father and Riker. He'd snorted, a big grin on his face. "Yeah - because that went so well the first time."
Though I was disappointed at his response, I found myself grinning back at his humor. He was just so darn likeable, and his response told me I just needed to find the right story to want to send to the production offices of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
From the minute the show bowed, I'd been very intrigued by the dynamic between Dr. Beverly Crusher and Captain Jean-Luc Picard. Wouldn't it be cool, I thought, if some sort of space anomaly had brought Crusher and her late husband Jack back together? What sort of conflict would that cause within the good doctor, or between Picard and Crusher? What past issues would each of them have to deal with now that Jack seemed to be back from the dead? What if other crew members suddenly were blessed with things they may have always wanted?
These ideas ultimately culminated in a script called Ghosts From The Past, which I'd written over the course of about two months in 1992 between classes, studying and any other school projects that came up. I'd contacted the Next Generation production offices, got release forms and even a template of how to put together a script for the show. Basically, I got a crash course in television script writing, and it was awesome.
What was really cool, I thought, was that I didn't have to get my parents to sign off on the release form, which was something I'd been worried about. I thought for sure they would think I was nuts in trying to send a script to Star Trek: The Next Generation, but with an internal shrug, I put in the self-addressed, stamped envelope and sent the script off to somewhere in California.
It took probably about six months, but I actually heard something back, which really shocked me. I'd almost convinced myself I'd never hear anything from them, but eagerly, I tore open the envelope. I knew immediately they'd rejected my script, which hadn't surprised me - I was a relatively rookie writer who had no agent, so what opportunity did I have in getting a script picked up by one of the biggest shows on television at the time?
I framed the rejection letter, which I remember my mother laughing at. She couldn't believe I'd frame a rejection letter, to which I replied, "It's got the Star Trek: The Next Generation letterhead, Mom!"
I also kept the script, which had a script log stamp on it and the odd stain from makeup or coffee - I didn't know if any of that had actually stained it, but it sort of looked that way, and I was excited. It remains a prized possession today, and a reminder that a dream really can be within reach, if I even try a little.
Surprisingly, just two years ago, almost a quarter century after my attempt to have a script get picked up by Star Trek: The Next Generation, my husband and I attended Toronto's Comic Con, where the entire cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation were holding a Q & A. It was an amazing experience, seeing all of the cast just hanging and answering questions. Finally, I summoned my courage and was called next to talk to the cast.
I told them it wasn't really a question, but a thank you for their motivation to keep writing. I mentioned the sent script, with the script log stamp on it, and how that was enough to convince me that maybe someone had read it a little bit. Finally, I said that I was thankful that they had pushed me to keep writing, though I knew the cast themselves wouldn't have realized that at the time.
I'd come full circle, and finally had a chance to thank the people from a show that had meant so much to me when I was younger. How better to celebrate that moment than by listening to the cast chat and laugh with a few hundred people?
Now, for some Star Trek: The Next Generation Christmas silliness: