Star Trek: Data Reacts To Trump

Made by Laura Miller

Create a viral video showcasing the joy and strangeness of Data from Star Trek reacting to Donald Trump.

Created: September 28th, 2016


Final Documentation

Here is the link to the final video incase the embedding doesn't work:



Laura Miller -


The big idea behind this project is the ridiculous nature of Donald Trump and American politics as a whole.  My idea came about when watching the second presidential debate, and I decided to incorporate that into my original idea of using Star Trek bloopers and focusing on the humorous moments of actors laughing.  I especially was drawn to Data laughing because Data is literally emotionless for much of the show and movies, so focusing on his laughter makes this all the more impactful and funny.  I like the idea of both making people laugh and making a political statement with art, and I think that is a mixture with a good potential for going viral.



I got a lot of influence from political remixes as well as Star Trek itself.  

First, I'll discuss the political remixes that influenced me.  I'm sure everyone who is aware of American internet culture these days has seen a remix of some sort that makes fun of politicians or takes a political stance on an issue.  The videos shown on the website for this course are good examples of the kind of messages made up in silly ways that can only be spread virally because they wouldn't be on any mainstream media channel (Read My Lips by Johan Soderberg, Special Report by Bryan Boyce, etc.).  

Second, Star Trek has never been a show to shy away from political stances.  There is a long and rich history of Star Trek having episodes about controversial topics by recontextualizing them in some foreign, alien setting to get past the tv studio executives and censors.  This also inspired me when my final idea came together.



I originally approached the exercise with the intent of just having fun.  My last project was serious and hard to come up with ideas for, so for this one I wanted ideas to flow easily and make me laugh for a change.  It was then that I decided to make a video including one of my favorite shows - Star Trek (specifically Next Generation since it is the most recognizable besides The Original Series).  I had seen a few great bloopers recently in a behind-the-scenes footage compilation, so I figured that there would be endless clips for me to draw upon.  However, I soon found that I had nothing to add to this because it had been done a million times over.  I originally thought I could make an episode from the bloopers or make a statement about laughter, but the videos available weren't enough to make any coherent end product besides a blooper real.  It also was missing the viral component because TNG is old news, and it's not something people talk about these days.  I needed more material.  So, when watching the second presidential debate, my final idea struck me - add Donald Trump.  This would both provide relevancy to modern events and provide a great way to use the laughter clips I had compiled.  This turned into my final project.



The outcome is a video that is a remix/mashup of Donald Trump and Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation.  I composed it using Adobe Premiere Pro CC.  I both used clips that I gathered from Youtube of Donald Trump and bloopers/actual clips of Data.  I mostly used creative placement of cuts to recontextualize the original material to add humor, but I also slowed down a few clips for emphasis.  I also tried to get all of the audio to be of a similar decibel level.  In the end, it must be watched to see what it became.



My inner critic doesn't like the end result.  It doesn't hate it, but it doesn't like it either.  This is because while the idea was solid, the execution was flawed.  There are a few really funny moments, but a lot of the humor falls flat because the cut wasn't quite in the right place or one clip doesn't transition very well to another.  The overall piece doesn't have as much flow as I would have wanted, and feels more like a bunch of clips mashed together than a cohesive piece of art or political commentary.  But, perhaps I'm being a bit harsh here - it was my first real attempt at using Adobe Premiere Pro, let alone video editing at all.  I think that you can at least see the intent behind a lot of it, even if a cut is strange or the volume level is off in some places.



I learned that video editing is no small task.  If I could do it again - I would spend much more time preparing.  The hardest part was finding the clips I needed to make the video.  I figured they'd all be readily available given how much media is out there, but I actually had a hard time finding suitable videos.  Then, on top of that, actually getting the clips I needed from the videos took a lot of time because I had to watch every single one, and that easily added up to a few hours alone.  In the end, I barely had any time to edit the video together.  I have a lot more respect for editing and the people that do it.



General American Politics and Culture


Original Proposal

I've been a fan of Star Trek for a long time, and I've watched all of the series and all of the movies.  Part of Star Trek is the serious discussion of deep and complex topics.  That's why I've decided to focus on the sillier moments - bloopers.  Bloopers are inherently comedic, and watching Star Trek actors flub a line or start to laugh during a take is even more so due to the often serious nature of the show.  However, there are many blooper mashup and supercut videos out there already.  But, they usually include the entire blooper, often waiting until the whole thing plays out to switch to the next one, and sometimes they include bloopers that aren't actually very funny.  That's why I've decided to make something even more out of them, perhaps focusing specifically on laughter, movement, or trying to create a narrative out of messing things up.

I think that this will be easily spreadable/viral because comedy is something that everyone can enjoy, not just fans of Star Trek.  I will aim for a video that is about 2 minutes long so that there isn't a large barrier to entry for watching.  I'll post to Youtube, Vimeo, or Facebook.

Here's an example of some bloopers from Next Gen:

Share this Project

Found In

62-150 Intro to Media Synthesis and Analysis

· 28 members

New creative industries are empowering new modes of collaborative consumption, creation and reuse of media. This often relies on successful collaborations between cross-trained artists, designers a...more


Create a viral video showcasing the joy and strangeness of Data from Star Trek reacting to Donald Trump.