These are the voyages of the Starship Parkview
You know you have hit Star Trek gold when Captain Kirk himself, aka William Shatner, tweets about you.
For self-proclaimed Trekkie and music educator Kevin Croxton, Shatner’s recent retweet of his elementary music club’s Star Trek homage video, “The Bunny Incident,” served as affirmation for all the hard work he and his students poured into their project.
The Van Buren teacher and his Parkview Elementary School Music Club have become known for their elaborate videos.
An Emmy Award-winning composer, Croxton has great passion for his work and uses the project to teach participants about music and video production processes.
Previous themes have included spoofs on “The Hobbit,” “The Hunger Games,” “Harry Potter” and “Star Wars,” but this year, the club took it to a new level. Croxton spent months putting together a script, score and storyboard for the Star Trek-inspired video. The fourth- and fifth-grade members read for various parts, before being cast in individual and supporting roles.
Past videos have had Christmas themes. He opted for a spring release this year.
“I took my time to do this right,” he explained. After deciding on Star Trek, Croxton briefly questioned whether his students would be at all familiar with the original version of the show.
“When I told them what we were going to do, I pulled up pictures of the set where we would be filming. They gasped. They all knew classic Star Trek and talked about how they and their parents loved to watch old episodes.”
“The Bunny Incident” video appears to be part of a series in the Adventures of the U.S.S. Parkview. The premise is the Klingons have captured the Easter Bunny with the goal of depriving everyone from receiving goody baskets.
Croxton named the starship after the school. He also pays homage to Van Buren Schools’ spirit colors and mascot with the green planet, Pointer Prime.
“I wanted to create something that felt like classic Star Trek,” noted Croxton.
He based the scenes, script and score on the original television series and worked with students to help them accurately portray their respective characters. Actors were outfitted with replica costumes, made possible through a contract with the world’s largest costumer, Rubie’s.
Filming took place at three different locations. The amazingly accurate onboard scenes were shot near Harrison, Ark. In January, Croxton, video participants and their parents took a bus and traveled nearly three hours to film on a recreated U.S.S. Enterprise set.
Despite freezing temperatures, the students proved to be pros. “We filmed there in January and it was freezing. The kids would huddle up in the ‘warm zone’ where we had heaters in between scenes. When it was their turn though, they were ready to go and went into character. They were impressive.”
Other scenes were shot closer to home. Croxton was given permission to film the Pointer Prime planet sequence at one of Arkhola’s nearby quarries.
Other parts were completed on the school’s stage, using a green screen and digital imagery.
The entire process had countless moving parts and Croxton is quick to credit others for their role in making it all possible. “It was amazing how the right people came along to help.”
From finding the perfect set within driving distance, to having a graphic artist design the spaceship images at no charge – all of the needed elements fell into place.
Over the course of casting and filming, local filmmaker and photographer Brenda Yelvington captured the students and production on film.
“She was incredible. She documented basically every part of this and attended filming both in Harrison and here,” Croxton said. He has worked with Yelvington, director of the documentary “Leaving a Legacy”?about the Northside Band program. A winner of regional Emmy Awards as a composer, Croxton created an original score for her documentary.
The project also received tremendous support from the school district and parents, Croxton said.
“I had so many parents help us. Some traveled with us to the set in Harrison to chaperone. They brought snacks and heaters for the kids. Our PTA provided pizza. Parent Audrea Martin also volunteered to do the students’ makeup.”
Aside from the kind words from Shatner, Croxton and his students have received great praise for their video from fellow Star Trek fans and members of the fan-film community.
Many parents have also expressed their appreciation for the unique project. Saylor McHam, whose daughter Lillie Grace played a Klingon, noted, “As a parent, I appreciate my daughter having the opportunity to learn about the process of music video production. She can now understand the hard work that goes in behind the scenes. She and the other students had an amazing time dressing up, acting and participating in such a creative production.”
Croxton is beyond thrilled with the end result and the publicity the video is receiving. He has undoubtedly given his students an experience they will never forget and created a memorable video that is sure to “live long and prosper” in the world of YouTube.
“It really all came together,” he said. “The kids truly embraced Star Trek and their characters. Each year, this project escalates and it’s been a big adventure for us all.”
See the video “The Adventures of the U.S.S. Parkview: A Star Trek Fan Production” on YouTube.com.
By Brittany Ransom
This article appears in the April 2018 issue of Entertainment Fort Smith Magazine.