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Michael Okuda

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Mike Okuda
Michael Okuda.jpg

Michael Okuda

Birth name: Michael Hideo Okuda
Gender: Male
Place of birth: Tokyo, Japan
Awards for Trek: 3 Emmy Award nominations
Roles: Scenic Artist (Supervisor), TOS remastered performer, Star Trek author
Michael Okuda and Rick Sternbach.jpg

...with close co-worker Rick Sternbach

...with close co-worker Rick Sternbach
Starbase 11 personnel.jpg

...as a Starfleet science officer in "The Menagerie, Part I"

...as a Starfleet science officer in "The Menagerie, Part I"
TNG Behind the Scenes card 04
...honored by Skybox with an individual trading card entry
You may be looking for Michael Okuda (Doctor) or M. Okuda.
"Mike Okuda is, and always will be, an extraordinary individual. It has been an honor to know him (and the beautiful Denise) for many years now. They are both exceptional hu-mans. Thanks, Mike and Neezee!"
– Dorothy Duder, Food Stylist, 28 February 2009 (DrexFileswbm)

Michael "Mike" Hideo Okuda (on occasion affectionately called Mikey O by his close co-workers), hailing from Tokyo, Japan but raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, has been the scenic art supervisor for every live-action Star Trek production, set in the prime universe, excepting the original production of The Original Series and the first three Star Trek films. The fourth one, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, was actually Okuda's very first recorded motion picture industry credit and he thereby followed in the footsteps of Lee Cole, who as graphics designer had performed the same duties for the first two Star Trek films. As the art supervisor, heading Star Trek's Scenic Art Department during the entire run of the franchise from Star Trek: The Next Generation onward, he has been responsible for such things as the look of alien languages, computer screens, graphic detailing and perhaps even the look of the exotic artifacts Jean-Luc Picard has collected.

Okuda was honored by SkyBox International with an individual card entry, no. 04, in their 1993 specialty Star Trek: The Next Generation - Behind the Scenes trading card set.

Aside from being an avid Original Series fan, Okuda was also a big fan of M*A*S*H, Gilligan's Island and the 1984 cult science fiction movie The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, and has often placed references to these productions in his designs. His most recognizable achievement is the creation of okudagrams, the futuristic glass-covered control panels first seen in The Voyage Home . He was a graphic designer at that time.

In the Star Trek franchise, it was customary from the very beginning (starting with Star Trek V: The Final Frontier), when more than one production was in development at any given time, to avoid cross-over work being done by staffers on different productions, though there, "(...) was no good reason for this that we could perceive", a slightly chagrined Doug Drexler once noted. [X]wbm To this end studio staffers, excepting the very highest management echelons, when assigned to, and contracted for one production, were legally forbidden to work on any of the others. This legal prerequisite however, did not extend to Mike Okuda's Scenic Art Department, which was exempt from the proviso for the obvious reason to maintain visual consistency within the franchise. However, the exemption was originally only extended to the senior staff (meaning Okuda himself), resulting in the somewhat cumbersome, and ultimately untenable, situation in 1994 of him heading a department whose staffers were officially only allowed to work on either one Star Trek production (Deep Space Nine), or the other (Voyager).

Together with Rick Sternbach, he served as a technical consultant to the script staff, maintaining technical and chronological continuity and inventing scientific terms and technobabble, resulting in a number of internal "technical manuals". He is a co-author of the Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual, which resulted from the internal documents, the Star Trek Chronology, and the Star Trek Encyclopedia. Though never having taken a class in calculus in his life (being a graduate of the University of Hawaii-Manoa notwithstanding), Okuda is responsible for designing the logarithmic warp scale used in Star Trek: The Next Generation. All his computer graphics and designs are done on a Macintosh.

Married to fellow Star Trek scenic artist Denise Okuda, with whom he co-authored The Encyclopedia and the Chronology, Mike Okuda and his wife have created the text commentaries on the Star Trek DVDs. "Inside DS9 with Michael Okuda" is a special feature on the DS9 Season 5 DVD. The Okuda couple was assigned in 2006 to serve as consultants to auction house Christies, supporting them with the sale of the contents of Paramount's Star Trek warehouses. They helped cataloging the production assets and picking the choice items that were ultimately auctioned off in the highly publicized about 40 Years of Star Trek: The Collection auction of October that year. Mike Okuda also wrote the item background annotations for the accompanying two-tome auction catalog. Both Okudas were prominently featured in the documentary that was made of the occasion.

Together, they were the visual effects producers, as part of the CBS Digital team, for the 2006 remastered Original series, both appearing as a Starfleet officers on a new matte painting in the remastered version of "The Menagerie, Part I", he as a science officer. Due to the extensive research he had performed for his reference book writings, Okuda is, at least in the Star Trek community, considered one of the foremost authorities on Star Trek lore, and from 2012 onward the couple served as consultants on the 2012 follow-up The Next Generation remastering project.

Mike Okuda has the distinction of becoming one of the very few Star Trek staffers in any function, to have officially served uninterrupted for the full eighteen years on the entire production run of the modern television franchise, having worked on all series at one time or another. Adding to this his involvement with all prime universe Star Trek movies produced during this era, as well as his official participation in the remastered projects, has made his tenure on the franchise all the more remarkable.

Outside the live-action franchise, Mike Okuda was part of the development staff for the Star Trek Online, in addition to his work supervising the remastering of the Original Series, while having also designed the new Star Trek: Deep Space Nine title logo for the Deep Space Nine relaunch series. Okuda also worked as graphics artist on James Cawley's fan-made internet series Star Trek: New Voyages, episode "World Enough and Time" (2007) and received special thanks in the end credits. This episode features fellow Star Trek alumni George Takei, Grace Lee Whitney, Majel Barrett Roddenberry, John Carrigan, Jeffery Quinn, writer and director Marc Scott Zicree, writer Michael Reaves, Doug Drexler, Iain McCaig, James Van Over, Dan Curry, Daren Dochterman, Pierre Drolet, Sam Mendoza, Ronald B. Moore, Lee Stringer, Gregory Jein, Philip Kim, Leslie Hoffman, and Tom Morga.

Career outside Star Trek Edit

After his tenure on the Star Trek franchise, Mike Okuda has worked in pretty much in the same capacity for NASA, ultimately awarded by that organization with an "Exceptional Public Service Medal" for his emblem designs in 2009. [1]

In 2007, Michael and Denise Okuda were hired as scenic designer and video supervisor, respectively, for a planned zombie series co-created by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens entitled Alive. John Billingsley and Gary Graham were set to star in the series, which would've debuted in the summer or fall of 2008. However, the series was never made. [2]

His steady employment at firstly the Star Trek franchise and subsequently NASA notwithstanding, has not deterred Okuda occasionally lending his talents to other motion picture productions as well. Mostly credited as graphic designer, he has contributed such imagery to movie productions like, Flight of the Intruder (1991 albeit uncredited), The Informant! (2009) and The Bourne Legacy (2012 albeit again uncredited). Television series credits, Okuda has to his name included, The Flash (1990, pilot episode), Maggie (1998 one episode), Threshold (2005 one episode) and Lie to Me (2012 one episode)

Star Trek credits Edit

(This list is currently incomplete.)

Emmy Award nominations Edit

Okuda received the following Emmy Award nominations for his work on Star Trek in the category Outstanding Achievement in Special Visual Effects:

Bibliography Edit

Star Trek interviews Edit

External links Edit

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