Thursday, November 12, 2015

Derek Lee McPhatter - Projects and Blog: Dear Star Trek: A Trekkie Fan Boy Love Letter from Sector Zero Zero One

Dear Star Trek: A Trekkie Fan Boy Love Letter from Sector Zero Zero One

Dear Star Trek: A Trekkie Fan Boy Love Letter from Sector Zero Zero One


[we apologize for commandeering this blog for a full geek out. We will return to our senses with updates on our own creative projects in due time, but today, the Geek Within must have his day!]

Captain’s Log. Supplemental.

CBS has me catching all kinds of FEELING SOME KIND OF WAY with this Star Trek TV Announcement with no real details but some year-away date and the producer leads!  If CBS was in my orbit, I’d beam CBS boss Les Moonves straight to the Brig and make demands like a Cardassian ready to break your spirit:

All they gave us was this little tease. New show, we promise. January 2017, Americans gotta subscribe to CBS All Access to get anything after the premiere.

Data Ain't Happy
This Data is insufficient for a proper geek-out!   A full scale Trekkie (actually Trekker if you’re a True Believer) can successfully execute all sorts of speculation from the tiniest shred of detail that ought to have been teased with this announcement.

For example, here’s a few hypothetical factoids that would have satisfied my trekdom hankering:

·      The new series will feature a woman-of-color captain
·      The new series will be set after the events of Star Trek Voyager
·      The new series will not be focused on the Federation
·      The new series will explore the inner workings of Section 31
·      The new series will feature its first Transgender major character
·      The new series will be set “Through the Looking Glass,” but not in the reboot Universe…

See? Some Factoids right there, any one of which would have FED ME AND MY TREKKIE FEENIN for months, at least through the premiere of that Force Awakens.

(Which went straight to backburner when my google alert let me know that at last, the long long long long wait for new Trek TV was over.  That I could look forward and beyond the last star trek tv show-that-i-hated-at-first-but-started-to-think was-a-little-ok-netflix…)

Yes. The time has finally come! This decade of TV Star Trek Purgatory that we have survived will be coming to AN END! 

This news was all that was needed for joy and love and peace and letting your significant other control the DVR as much as they like (for now) for COME THAT JAN 2017, CBS ALL ACCESS Shall be Priority One!!!

It will be the The Prime Directive. Or maybe closer to The Omega Directive. (Check your Memory Alpha if you don’t know that one, novices!)

Captain Janeway's gotta handle this Omega situation! 

Anyway, we are ready to beam up again. As much as I enjoy the Star Trek Feature treatments, TV is where the universe really shines.  TV is where the Trek was born and where it evolved into a multifaceted, intellectually stimulating, inspiring vision for a future worth striving for. 

Remember when Captain Sisko was a
black sci fi writer in the 20th century?

And that’s why I’ve been a trekkie for as long as I can remember.  I’m a trekkie4life and sure I’m excited about other sci-fi (even went on a Star Wars fast to keep that geeking out in check, yet even still, there’s ooh’s and ahhh’s to be had cause the Jedi and whatnot are coming correct.)

But Logic dictates Star Wars is irrelevant. 
Sure, it will please, get the children into space spectacle,  and that’s all well and good. But will it linger?  Will it challenge us to dream of a better tomorrow?  Will it strive towards that higher standard for humanity or just entertain? 


Picard > Vader.  EVERY TIME!

STAR TREK is where I always end up at the end of the day.  And really, this TV news, it makes me sooo happy, anxious that it’s gonna disappoint. Face-palms are charging, just in case:

please don't suck! please don't suck!  please don't suck!

But really… I’m just excited. Really really really excited.  The Trek will continue to search for that undiscovered country, will continue to boldly go, to push us to boldly go… and for that, I’m just… just… too happy.

That’s enough for now. If my calculations are correct, this will be the SEVENTH SERIES. So I’m  brainstorming seven bits of Trek Trivia that even non-Trekkie’s should appreciate!


This is Captan Derek Lee McPhatter signing off.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Approaching Autumn... Forward with Focus

Trying to stay focused and keep that eye on the prize. Here's some overdue updates on what I've been working on:

Bring the Beat Back
I’ve partnered with house musicians Alinka and Shaun J.Wright of TWIRL! to develop a few demo tracks for my black gay sci-fi music theater piece. 

I’m planning to mount live music presentations this winter and I’m seeking partners to produce an audio play podcast version of the piece.

So stay tuned!  I will be sharing a few demos soon, but until then, please check out TWIRL!

This App is Not the Business
This stage play follows a headstrong loan officer whose march up the corporate ladder is undercut by a geeky client more interested in revolutionary acts of hacktivism than paying his debts.

An early draft had a staged reading last year at the National Black Theatre, and I’m in the rewrite phase to make it my leading theater script for 2016 opportunities.  If you’re in Chicago and interested in hearing a table read in October, let me know.

More Pilots and Features and Theater! Oh My!
I’m working on a brand new comedy pilot set behind the scenes at a theater, a time traveler revenge steampunk feature, and a few original concepts for digital series too. Lots of fun.

In particular, I’m actively seeking co-producers and creative partners to bring my sci-fi project --K.L.Ō.N.  --  to life as an indie short / digital series.  If you know anyone interested in offbeat dark comedies – especially featuring an impulsive clone,  a husband and wife super-scientist duo, funhouse laboratory hi-jinx, and sinister corporate conspiracies  - let me know!


Producer Projects

This short film project is the brainchild of Stephanie Jeter, who's finally stepping into her own as a writer/director after years of production work in film and television, including titles like Sirens, Contagion and Shameless.  

Stephanie's film is a very cool thriller that takes a look at what happens when a young African-American woman is kidnapped, but refuses to just disappear…

I’ve jumped on board as a co-producer. Be on the lookout for news on our crowdfunding campaign and other updates!

I can’t believe we are approaching the SEVENTH season of this exciting festival for early-career black playwrights.  I’m still on board as a co-producer, helping festival founder Kelley Nicole Girod and the team bring the project to life.  The festival received an Obie award last season, and we’re setting our sights very high to build on our momentum.  Can’t wait to share more about this.

I’m working with my partner, Aymar Jean Christian, to build this innovative digital platform for original narrative series, with an emphasis on showcasing work from the queer community, women and people of color.   I’m very excited by the Chicago-based platform’s early success, presenting projects like You’re So Talented and Futurewomen.  And I’m very impressed by Aymar's determination to take the project even further in the years ahead.  Stay tuned!


Paid Gigs!
For the last few months, I’ve been busy writing-for-hire. That’s right. Paid gigs!  Now I haven’t quit my day job or anything, but it is a nice boost of confidence to have someone value your hard work and skills. 

Sci Fi Romance Web Series
I developed a new digital series for a startup online romance network, bringing a sci-fi romance pitch from concept through the treatment phase. It was lots of fun, but looks like it won’t move into production anytime soon due to budget limitations. 

Ghostwriting Assignments
I can’t share much about this (as that would defeat the point about being a ghostwriter) but suffice it to say I’ve been generating new pitches and story outlines for a few feature and television projects aimed at studios and networks in Los Angeles and Atlanta.  This has been fun, but again – nothing has moved into production just yet.

And those are the seasonal updates folks. Lots up in the air, as usual. Thanks again for cheering me on. I’m aiming high with this next round of projects and all your prayers, praise, tips and support are GREATLY APPRECIATED!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Summer Updates: Obies, DC Black Theater Fest and New Stuff New Stuff!

It's been a while since I checked in.  I've been a bit out of the loop, spending more time with loved ones as I had two deaths in the family this spring.  So I had two trips to North Carolina a few months back for funerals for my paternal grandfather and maternal grandmother.  Somber times, but I must say I feel blessed to have such a loving, warm family.

So, needless to say, I took some time away from the writing hustle this spring, but that didn't really stop things from moving right along.  Here's a few highlights of the last few months...

D.C. Black Theatre Fest!
My team at Under the Spell Productions brought our signature show, It Goes Unsaid, to the D.C. Black Theatre Fest...

Look at This Cast!

A big shout out and thank you to my Under the Spell partners -- Rhonney Greene, Teresa Michelle Lasley, for bringing this show to a whole new audience in DC.  And a huge round of applause for the D.C. CAST:  



Obie Award for The Fire This Time Festival!
The Fire This Time Festival is the brainchild of fearless playwright/producer Kelley Nicole Girod and presents new work by talented early career playwrights of the African diaspora every winter in partnership with Horse Trade Theater Group in NYC. 

This season, the American Theatre Wing and the Village Voice honored The Fire This Time Festival with an OBIE AWARD!  

The Fire This Time Team at the Obies!

I'm proud to share that I am one of the original playwrights from the very first season of this festival, and I have remained involved as a producer behind the scenes ever since, helping out with fundraising and long-term planning. 

I wasn't able to fly in for the awards ceremony this spring, but I did visit Kelley a few weeks ago and she made it a point to snap a pic of me with the award. Check it out folks!  I'm on cloud 9!! 

Here's me at Kelley's House with THE OBIE!

In other news, I had a new short play (mock soap opera farce) in this season's Chicago Home Theater Festival for a one-night only performance, All things considered, the play went fairly well, despite last minute director changes and very little rehearsal time.   I've also been putting together a brand new comedy pilot, I've got a rewrite of a brand new One Act in the works (an early draft of which was a finalist for Sci Fest this year), a working treatment for a feature, and I've got some really cool music coming together for Bring the Beat Back... stay tuned!

Friday, April 17, 2015

SHE'S OUT OF ORDER at L.A. Webfest - Congratulations to LaJUNE

So I’m still catching up from some much-needed family time and some very productive meetings with some writing mentors and industry contacts, but I wanted to at least share highlights from She’s Out of Order at the 2015 Los Angeles Web Series Festival.

We were invited to L.A. Webfest as an Official Selection with nominations in the Lead Actress and Guest Actress categories. 

Participating in the fest was AWESOME.  Our team served on three panels, episodes of the show were featured during two screening events...

And we got all gussied up for the L.A. Webfest Awards Ceremony…


Big Congrats to LaJune for the win!  She did such an awesome job on the show, and we're proud to have the opportunity to showcase her talents!  

Stay tuned for more! 


Saturday, March 7, 2015

Updates! Updates! Updates! Hollywood in the Queue!

As I’ve done in years past, I used the early months of the year to take stock of the prior year and articulate a vision for what’s next.  So I’m in touch to share a few updates on what’s going on in Derek Lee McPhatter-Land!

K.L.O.N. - an original series

To save his family from a mysterious disease, an impulsive young dad finds himself locked in the lab with his mad scientist in-laws. 

This sci-fi half-hour pilot was a  semifinalist (top 50 out of 4,000+ entries) for this season’s Disney Writing Program, among other promising recent leads with Fox, a lit. manager, and a few producers too! 


As part of the team at Under the Spell Productions, I'm thrilled to share the latest on our original web series. We scored a distribution deal and a feature in Indiewire’s Shadow & Act last year. 

Now my team is prepping for an April 2015 screening in the Los Angeles Webfest, with nominations in the Outstanding Lead Actress (Teresa Michelle Lasley) and Outstanding Guest Actress  (LaJune) Categories! 

All of this is possible because of a broad cross-section of collaborators and supporters like you. So…. THANK YOU VERY MUCH for your continued encouragement! 

Now would be a great time to make a tax-deductible donation to Under the Spell Productions, Inc., the non-profit production company I help manage that brings these opportunities to life. 

Your contribution will help make it possible for my team to take full advantage of our presence in Los Angeles.  

Please  follow the link above to our online giving portal or contact us at utsboxoffice @ for information
on other ways to give.  

On behalf of my entire team, thank you for continuing to support Under the Spell Productions and our creative endeavors!