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Star Trek: Creating the Enterprise is a candid and lighthearted autobiography written and published in 2012 by Paul Olsen, the artist who was responsible for the paint scheme applied to the refit-Enterprise studio model for its appearance in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Though an autobiography, Olsen centered his writing around the work he has done on that feature, and as such, his involvement with Star Trek features prominently in the book.


From the introduction
"It is now October 22, 2012…the day after the spectacular 'Destination Star Trek London' convention at the Excel Exhibition Centre. As a result of my experience appearing there, speaking to thousands of Star Trek fans, and personally meeting upwards of two thousand friendly and gracious people from all over the world; for the very first time in 33 years I am beginning to appreciate the full force of this unique, worldwide phenomenon and the privileged part I played in creating the ball gown for the femme fatale of Star Trek: The Motion Picture: the magnificent Starship Enterprise, Queen of the Galaxy.
I doubt that anything I do will ever top that for style, grace, and sheer drama. Well, I know it won't. One of those magic moments in life that can’t be replicated. This incredible experience with all of you at the Excel London has moved me to write this book.
I have the late Ed Scarisbrick to thank for getting me the gig in 1978 to paint the Enterprise model, and I have Tony Robinson to thank for alerting me to the Destination Star Trek London Convention and arranging for me to speak at this simply wonderful event for three days. I can't believe it's over.
I hope everyone who reads this book will share with me my experiences and enjoy the ride of how this all came about. Maybe I will have met some of you at the Convention, and if so, it was such a pleasure to meet you, talk with you, and have my picture taken with you. I wish I had the foresight to have someone take pictures of all the people who had their pictures taken with me. What a lovely album that would have made. You were all lovely, friendly, and ever-so-kind people. Thank you. You've made my life rich beyond words. I enjoyed the whole, colorful event beyond words as well – but that doesn’t mean I'm not going to give it a right go to describe it all!!
Strap yourself in and let’s go for a ride!"

Excerpts of copyrighted sources are included for review purposes only, without any intention of infringement.


Note: Content organization from the 106-page PDF file
  • Introduction, p. 2
  • Acknowledgments, p. 3
  • Chapter 1, p. 5
  • Chapter 2, p. 14
  • Chapter 3, p. 19
  • Chapter 4, p. 25
  • Chapter 5, p. 32
  • Chapter 6: Magicam, p. 42
  • Chapter 7: Creation of the Starship Enterprise, p. 46
  • Chapter 8, p. 53
  • Chapter 9, p. 59
  • Chapter 10, p. 63
  • Chapter 11, p. 69
  • Chapter 12, p. 73
  • Chapter 13, p. 77
  • Chapter 14, p. 82
  • Appendices

Background information

  • Paul Olsen, overlooked as a major contributor to the franchise for decades, was motivated to write the book after his experiences as a guest speaker at the October 19-21 2012 Destination Star Trek London Convention, which by his own admission was an overwhelming experience, and on which he wrote about in detail in his book. For the book Olsen sought out and got input from his former Astra Image Corporation/Magicam/Entertainment Effects Group co-workers Richard Taylor, Mark Stetson, Ron Gress, and Jim Dow to refresh his memory and who have provided him with additional information for his book.
  • Apart from being an insightful look into the life of a freelance artist, the book proffers the reader a detailed look into the inner workings of a studio model shop involved with the production of a Star Trek production, one of the most detailed published to date, as well as a sense of what it is like to be a Star Trek alumnus, invited to attend a convention as a guest speaker.
  • Olsen's contribution as the Enterprise model painter went largely unnoticed for several decades, the only known other period acknowledgment of his name in a period page-long advertisement of Magicam in the February 1980 issue of the magazine American Cinematographer (p. 167), that Jim Dow took out to thank his staff. Nevertheless, through the advent of the Internet, his work has become known in the 2000s, as the model kit community became aware of his contributions, with him graciously answering questions on modeling blogs like Olsen wrote an entire section in acknowledgment to the model kit community, providing a detailed step-by-step account on how he went about the painting of the Enterprise model.
  • Olsen has originally published his book as a digital version in the PDF format that is available through his website (see below), with a Kindle version slated for release at and others at a later point in time. In January 2013, Olsen released a revised PDF edition, with a limited print edition of 35 following the next month. Fifteen of these were offered as limited signed editions to buyers of his PDF version, while the others were for personal use and for use as evaluation copies for possibly interested publishers, as Olsen was considering to release his book as a general print version as well.

The second edition

  • In June 2013, Paul Olsen undertook a trip to California, to meet up in person with his old friends (his previous contacts were through the Internet), Richard Taylor, Mark Stetson, Ron Gress, and Jim Dow. Aside from being a get-together of old friends, Olsen made use of the opportunity to conduct two one hour long interviews with them, (one with Stetson and Gress and the second one with Dow and Taylor) in which they discussed in-depth their involvement with The Motion Picture. The interviews yielded, in the words of Olsen, a large extra amount of "inside info on the creation of the Enterprise never before seen and NONE of it known until now. I didn’t know 90% of this stuff!" (website) Back home in England, Olsen worked these new insights into what was eventually the second edition of his book, with more than 60 extra pages, running more than 30% over the first one in length.
  • In August the book was released in both an eBook and a print edition, and as with the first one, available for sale at the official Creating the Enterprise website. The website had in the meantime been restructured to also serve as a companion site to the book. Purchasers of the book were being enabled to unlock pages that contained additional information pertaining to the book, most notably photos and artwork originating from the personal archives of Stetson, Taylor, Dow and Olsen himself. The vast majority of these behind-the-scenes imagery has never been published before. As an additional bonus, both full-length interviews were added to these pages as well.

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