McNeill: Directing Is Fresh And ExcitingBy Caillan
January 14, 2002 - 5:10 PM
After discovering directing during his time on Star Trek: Voyager, Robert Duncan McNeill (Tom Paris) is now pursuing his behind the scenes interest with a passion.
"I think that right now I'm probably putting more energy into directing than into my acting," McNeill told Salvador Nogueira at Trek Brasilis. "So I would say right now that I'm a director who acts occasionally. I would love to keep acting, it is not that I don't enjoy acting, it's just that I think I've done acting for so long that directing is a little newer and fresher and more exciting for me right now."
Moving from directing his Voyager cast mates to working with a new crew on Enterprise proved to be a challenge for McNeill. "My experience there was different than I had expected," he said. "It's funny when you're an actor on that show [Voyager], and I knew all the other actors very well, we had a short hand - I could use an example of something that we all were familiar with and they just get it right away.
"With Enterprise, it's all brand new, and I don't know the actors very well, so it was very unusual. I was surprised how challenging it was, because most of my Voyager episodes were a real pleasure, and they were hard work, but everything just flowed together smoothly, and the Enterprise was a little more challenging."
The director cited his episode 'Cold Front' as an example of Enterprise trying to set itself apart from the rest of the Star Trek saga. "You know, usually in the end of a Star Trek episode, there's a moral to the story, and things are wrapped up kind of neatly, and this one was left open-ended. Silik escaped Enterprise and there was no real lesson to be learned from it, except that there may be some trouble down the road.
"I think traditionally, all the way back to the original series, the stories were very self-contained, you didn't have to see the previous episode to know the backstory. If you come into a Star Trek show, you see a whole complete story and get a good moral, all in a good old-fashioned fairy tale. Well, the new Enterprise show is more like an old-fashioned serial, you have to keep up with what's going on week to week, and the episodes don't always end very cleanly."
Although McNeill would like to direct for Enterprise again in the future, he's busy with non-Trek projects at the moment. "I'm looking in a couple of movies that I'm very excited to direct. So that's taking a lot of my energy, I'm leaving in a few weeks to direct for Dawson's Creek again. So, hopefully that would become a nice home base for me. I'd love to direct quite a few Dawson's Creek episodes whenever I can."
The full interview with McNeill, in which he also talked about criticism of Voyager, 'Endgame' and the current state of the franchise, can be found here at Trek Brasilis.