MediaGoH for PenguiCon 3.0 in 2005
Visions of distant stars and bizarre planets are his family’s business.
Eugene Wesley Roddenberry Jr., also known as Rod, was born into a family empire that is adored by legions of devoted fans worldwide. He is the son of legendary science-fiction creator, Gene Roddenberry, whose television series, Star Trek and Earth: Final Conflict, changed the face of television. His father created television series that went beyond just science fiction entertainment, they were conduits for the transfer of information and playgrounds for intellectual thought. Gene Roddenberry not only used the television medium to tell stories of exploration, but also to convey his views on humanity. Eugene Roddenberry is definitely his father's son - he shares his father’s passionate views on the world and humanity. He is a down-to-earth person who truly believes that one day everyone will peacefully co-exist regardless of race, creed, culture or even planet.
Eugene Roddenberry was born in the television mecca of Los Angeles, California to Gene Roddenberry and Majel Barrett Roddenberry. Eugene’s parents made a conscious effort to keep their son out of the limelight and he was able to have a relatively normal yet privileged childhood without the glare of Hollywood. He attended John Thomas Dye Elementary School in Los Angeles and then went to Harvard-Westlake High School in Studio City, California. During his formative years, Eugene’s interests were more social than academic. However, he soon understood the importance of education and was able to increase his marks as he progressed in his schooling. He eventually enrolled at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. His college career was interrupted towards his final semester because Eugene couldn’t resist the pull of the family business and was offered the opportunity to work on a new series, “Gene Roddenberry's Earth: Final Conflict,” to be shot in Toronto, Canada. He jumped at the chance to learn about the entertainment industry and to develop his creative juices with some of the most successful producers in the industry.
As the technical advisor for “Gene Roddenberry's Earth: Final Conflict” Eugene's job is to provide advise on how to better merge the “Gene Roddenberry philosophy” into each story. He is also there to provide useful commentary and suggestions on continuity and story matter on each and every outline, script and revision that are generated by the creative writing team.
“Earth: Final Conflict” is essentially his first serious foray into the entertainment industry and qualifies as both his worst and most-exciting job. In 1987, Eugene was given his first official job as a production assistant on “Star Trek: The Next Generation” by no other than his father. He continued to work as a production assistant over the course of five summers and a school semester on the set of “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.” “At age thirteen, I didn’t realize the opportunity that I had been given and was unappreciative, however I did eventually learn and appreciated what I had been given,” he says. In the future, Eugene hopes to aid in the struggle for a better humanity through the medium of film/television. Eugene has the dreams and visions of a better world his father had and it is his wish to share his father’s philosophy with the world. “In many ways, I feel humanity has moved ahead one more step in a positive direction because of my father’s vision. I simply want to keep up the momentum.”
The death of his father was a definite turning point in Eugene’s life. Many years later it has indirectly coincided with his move into the entertainment industry. He has used this opportunity to speak to friends and family but also the fans of Star Trek to learn more about his father and come to terms with the Roddenberry legacy. It has allowed him to gain a better understanding of who his father was and why he did the things he did. As Eugene puts it best, “I would not say that at this point in my life I have gained a complete understanding of my father, however, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to say that.”
In the small amount of spare time that Eugene has for himself, he enjoys being at one with nature, both on land and in the water. He is an avid mountain biker and scuba diver. He also has a passion for the martial arts, particularly Ju-Jitsu, and all its variety of life’s teachings. Eugene’s best friend is Orion, who is a German Shepherd/Rottweiler mix, and the two are almost inseparable.
Eugene is out to continue to convey the dream he now shares with his father. He hopes that some day all differences can be set aside and all the creatures on earth and even in the universe, can be united as one. “I'd like to know that when I pass on, humanity is progressing in a positive direction. Humanity is at its best when it works together for a single goal.”
Rod was very popular at PenguiCon, and held court over the ConSuite to the delight of all. He enjoyed PenguiCon and said he is very interested in possibly returning in 2006.
On Saturday of the convention, Rod had a great idea to hold a panel in the hot tub called “Negatives of Star Trek.” I quickly put up posters about it all over the hotel that read like this: *NEW impromptu panel! 9:00 to 10:00 pm Saturday in the Hot Tub, “Negative Aspects of Star Trek.” The Trekkies will tell you the pros. What about the cons? Rod Roddenberry wants to hear a fair and balanced appraisal that includes those who are not enthusiastic about Trek. Meet him in the hot tub to discuss these problems in a relaxing setting.* The event was well attended.
All-volunteer not-for-profit ScienceFiction Conventions have learned over the decades that it is never a good idea to work through the agent of a media guest. In this case, the agent did not pick Rod up from the airport as agreed. At 10:30 on Thursday I managed to break away from preparing the hotel for the convention, long enough to log into my webmail at the hotel. I found her last minute e-mail saying she couldn't do it, and another e-mail from her asking why we didn't do it and saying he had taken a taxi to our hotel and *was already in his room.* So I told the ConChair and he had a welcome note and a tray of nice food service brought up. *Rod was really great about all this.* The next morning we got him breakfast and I co-ordinated his weekend plan over breakfast. He was just a champ about the whole thing. Rod is a top-flight classy person.
Rod's events at PenguiCon 3.0 in 2005:
-Literature Vs. Media in SF
-Preview of Rod's Film
-Interview with Rod Roddenberry
-Star Trek: What Happens Now?
-Star Trek and Open Source Jeopardy *co-hosted with Dr. PeterSalus*
-Philosophy of Star Trek