Star Trek Host: Please welcome DS9's Aron Eisenberg ("Nog"), Max Grodénchik ("Rom")and Chase Masterson ("Leeta"), plus former Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Preproduction Associate and Star Trek: Voyager Preproduction Coordinator Lolita Fatjo, all four of whom appear at Star Trek conventions with the self-produced "Ferengi Family Hour."
Question: What/Who did you rely on for a "Ferengi" reference? Did you watch stuff from TNG or did you develop the characters of the Ferengi on your own (with the writers help)?
Aron Eisenberg: Armin Shimerman was my guide. He was a lot of help.
Max Grodénchik: My roommate Daryl in 1990, before I did my first Next Generation, told me what a Ferengi was. I didn't believe him, but when I did what he said, everybody liked it. I also watched a couple of early Ferengi TNG episodes and that helped.
Q: What can you tell someone who's never seen "The Ferengi Family Hour" to make them wish they had?
Max: You haven't seen "The Ferengi Family Hour" even once?!!! What planet are you on? It's a musical romp through the Alpha Quadrant featuring Nog, Leeta, Moogie and Rom.
Lolita Fatjo: And a special appearance by Rom's first wife, Prinadora. You have to see it, it's a lot of fun!
Max: Yeah! I think you should try to find someone who's seen it.
Chase Masterson: Let's just put it this way — we usually have even more fun than you.
Q: Lolita, could you tell me where I can see "The Ferengi Family Hour"?
Lolita: The Slanted Fedora convention on Friday night, August 16, in Washington D.C. and Friday night, October 11, in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, also at the Slanted Fedora convention, and the Sacramento Creation Convention in January 2003. [date tbc].
Max: Bielefeld, Germany for Galileo VII, first weekend of November, be there!
Aron: And we're going to be in Iceland too!
Q: Any chance the show may come to the UK?
Aron: We're working on that. And Japan. I want to go to Japan.
Lolita: We did it in London last year. We'd love to bring it back again. It was at the Radisson Heathrow, Odyssey convention. I think.
Q: Chase, what's it like hosting that "Geek" contest you have? I know the guys must like it, but how about you?
Chase: It's hilarious. These geeks are very sexy. And funny. You should apply. Um, no offense there.
Aron: I heard she does it in the nude!
Q: What's the most ridiculous thing a fan has asked you at a convention?
Chase: That's printable?
Lolita: I have too many things to even begin ...
Aron: I had someone actually lick my ear once. True story!
Max: "Would you sign my breasts?"
Q: How does it feel to be a part of Star Trek history?
Lolita: For me, it was life-changing.
Chase: Pretty much. I'm very, very thankful. How else could we be sitting answering embarrassing questions to millions of people online? ;-)
Max: I concur, amazing. It's been a huge part of my life and I can't begin to describe how many positive ways it has affected me.
Q: Max, Aron, Chase ... What would you say is your favorite line you've ever had to say in Star Trek? Ms. Fatjo, being a script coordinator, what's your favorite line you've ever come across?
Lolita: Mine's not a favorite line from an episode that was produced, but it was a title from a spec script submitted to TNG, called "Elvis Meets the Enterprise."
Aron: "I know who could tell us what self-sealing stem bolts are."
Chase: Onscreen? My favorite line, repeated in EVERY episode: "Oh, Rom."
Max: "If you ever do anything to hurt my son again, I'll burn the bar to the ground!" Something like that, I said to Quark in an episode called "Facets." I also liked when Quark dared me to ask Leeta out, and Rom says "Helloooooooo Leeeeeeta ... Bye-eeee!"
Q: So what have you all been up to since DS9 finished?
Max: Working on "The Ferengi Family Hour," I think. And writing my Star Trek memoirs, entitled "My Brother's Barkeep."
Chase: Lots! Workwise, I just finished the lead in two features, "Terminal Invasion" on the Sci-Fi Channel on September 14, and "Inhuman" a fabulous film where I ride a motorcycle and shoot lots of guns. Also, check out Deep Space Explorer on Space.com ... it's a fabulous interactive trip through the universe. I narrate. It's very cool.
Aron: Raising my two boys. Being the best father I can be.
Lolita: I book actors for Star Trek conventions, and we've been taking "The Ferengi Family Hour" all over the world. Currently, I'm working on the new series called The Dead Zone, created by Michael Piller.
Q: What is it like to wear those ears?
Aron: It's like wearing a helmet all day. But you never feel anything there.
Max: You touch yourself a lot there.
Chase: And you admit it?
Max: Your real ears begin to itch and you want to scratch, but you can't. So it's a little frustrating.
Q: Are any of you going to be guest-starring in the new series, Enterprise?
Chase: Would you like us to?
Aron: Not unless you know something I don't.
Max: They already had a Ferengi episode and there was no Rom. They had Jeff Combs, Clint Howard, Ethan Phillips and some other guy, but it wasn't me. At least I don't think it was me.
Q: Chase, did you get to keep your Bajoran earring?
Chase: I did, in fact. But don't tell the guys at Star Trek. Aron: I still have my teeth. I'm wearing them right now, actually. :)
Max: They told me not to take anything until the final shot was made, then I went in after the final shot and everything was gone.
Q: What kind of music do you all like?
Max: All kinds of music. I like all kinds, I'm trying to get into rap and hip hop, if anyone can help me, please write back.
Chase: I love jazz. I sing music of the 30's, 40's, and 50's ... doing a CD ... check out my Web site www.chasemasterson.com if you'd like.
Aron: I like a lot of alternative and modern rock. And classic rock.
Lolita: I like all the music that Max writes.
Q: Would any of you want to be an alien character again, or would that depend on the amount of make-up that needs doing?
Aron: I would do it. (I had a lot of fun playing Nog.) As long as it was a good character. Also, a good story and some good scenes.
Chase: I agree. It can be a fun challenge — I'd imagine — needing to convey so much without your full face available, focusing on voice, etc. I'd love to. Max: When you're an out-of-work actor, any job looks pretty attractive. What happens is, producers like to use actors who have already worn makeup, knowing they won't complain because they already have experience with it. So I've had at least five jobs outside of Star Trek where I've had to wear makeup and of course, I complain to myself, but not to them.
Q: What kinds of music do you write Max? Anything we know?
Max: I don't write music, I think what Lolita meant was, I take existing music [in "The Ferengi Family Hour"] and write new lyrics.
Chase: He's FABULOUS! It's really good and really funny stuff.
Aron: Very funny lyrics.
Max: For example, we did a song in Oklahoma called "Ferengi in Low Places" which was Garth Brooks' music for "Friends in Low Places."
Q: Max, Chase and Aron — First, I would like to say "Thank You" for helping to create such unique characters that added spice to the DS9 series ... Second, I was wondering what was the hardest thing on camera for each of you to accomplish, whether it be physically or emotionally?
Aron: For me it was it was having to cry in "It's Only a Paper Moon." I grew as an actor that day and that was probably the hardest thing I had to do on that show. Second ... was actually being able to pronounce, "I know who can tell us what self-sealing stem bolts are." Nineteen takes, baby!
Chase: The hardest thing can be to do anything after say, twelve takes. No matter what it is, we need to keep it fresh and real, time after time. When there are 50 people on set, and you're in a really private, emotional moment, it's necessary to block them all out, and just live the moment. It can be hard, but incredibly rewarding.
Max: Excellent question, but very difficult to answer in a short period of time. The hardest thing is to come in with your idea for the scene and be flexible enough to incorporate the ideas of the director, the producers and other actors. That's a lot of ideas floating around, and since you only have five minutes of rehearsal before you shoot most scenes, you kind of have to be fast on your feet. I find that very challenging. This is why Armin and I would often rehearse entire episodes away from the studio. And getting the script in advance was of paramount importance, pardon the pun.
Aron: Hey, I rehearsed with you too!
Max: And Aron rehearsed with us to. And Chase rehearsed with us too.
Q: Lolita, you work on The Dead Zone. Can you tell us more about that?
Lolita: Yes, I can. I'm not working on it in a permanent position, but I've been helping in the writing department on and off for the last three months.
Chase: It's amazing. Michael Piller did it again.
Lolita: For those of you who have seen it, you know that it's a very good show — well written and well acted — and I'm very glad to have been part of it.
Q: What was your first convention experience like?
Lolita: I don't even remember my first one, because I've done so many of them, but they've always been fun and I don't know what I'd do without them.
Aron: I don't remember my first convention. I don't remember not ever having a good time at a convention though. I tend to have more fun in Europe because I stay there longer and I get to go out and see the city. In the U.S., I'm usually just there for the weekend.
Max: Mine was at a convention in England called Mid-Con in 1993 and it blew me away. I signed autographs with George Takei and he signed so slowly that that's what I thought we were supposed to do. When I went to my first convention in the states, they yelled at me. They said "You have to sign faster!" They said "We haven't had anybody sign as slow as you since we had George Takei here."
Chase: We're still yelling at him ... ! Mine was also at Mid-Con in England. I was a little scared. I adjusted. Seriously, we've had a blast, ever since then. We really have a lot of fun together, especially lately with "The Ferengi Family Hour."
Q: This question's for Aron. Do you have a close friendship with Cirroc Lofton?
Aron: No, I don't. We had a great time on the show and I got along with him very, very well. It's always great to see him when I do see him. We had a good friendship during the show and I think it helped the chemistry on the show. But because of our age differences, we never hung out together off the show. I was 24, he was 16. But I love it when I see him. He's a good guy.
Max: Now there's a guy who could have taught me about hip hop, he was always singing some rap song on the set.
Q: For Lolita, what was it like working behind the scenes at Star Trek? Do you like watching the shows, or does knowing how it gets made ruin it for you?"
Lolita: Working behind the scenes on Star Trek was an amazing experience, and it was tough to watch the show because I knew the scripts intimately while they were being shot.
Aron: Intimately! You take those scripts out to dinner?
Lolita: Ha, ha, Aron.
Max: What do you call what you did with me?
Lolita: Oh, and ha ha Max, I'd love to tell.
Chase: Does everyone know that Leeta was named after Lolita? And that she's my soul sister? ;-) Seriously, it's all very incestuous. She's my best friend in real life, and dated my husband on the show. All completely coincidental.
Star Trek Host: Lolita has to run!
Lolita: Bye everyone, I have to go. Thanks!
Chase: Bye, Lo! We love you!
Oh right ... Bye Lolita, good talking with you ...
Bye Lolita! Thanks for coming!!!
Thanks Lolita for coming!
Q: This is for Aron. What was it like playing a Kazon kid on Voyager? Was it anything like being a Ferengi?
Aron: It was great working on Voyager. I had a blast with Robert Beltran ["Chakotay"]. It was a character quite different from Nog — on the other side of the spectrum. Max helped me with the script but he says I didn't do anything he suggested.
Q: How long does it take to "Ferenginize" your face?
Max: How long is Martinizing, two hours?
Chase: Mine was three and a half hours for hair, makeup and wardrobe, on Dabo-girl days. With my makeup artist, I was usually the first one on the Paramount lot, at 4:30 a.m. It was very cool.
Aron: An hour and a half. They could have gotten it down to an hour if they had to. My make-up artist was really quick.
Max: In 1990 it started out at three hours, and then it was three hours for the first two seasons of DS9, and then it was two and a half hours somewhere in the middle of the third season, and I think by the last episode of the third season, we got it down to two hours. We could have done it in less time, but it would have been a little rushed. One of our makeup artists, Dean Jones — who I call "Fast Dean" — could get me done in an hour and fifteen minutes. But the downside of that is it would take two hours to get out of it. He kind of just pours glue all over your face and then slaps the rubber on. Notice it takes a lot more time to look beautiful than it does to look ugly.
Chase: Oh, Rom.
Q: Will "The Ferengi Family Hour" ever be available on tape or DVD?
Aron: Not unless we get the rights to the songs.
Chase: It's really best LIVE.
Max: There's nothing like the live show.
Q: Other than Star Trek, what have been your favourite projects?
Max: I spent three weeks on "Apollo 13" as part of Mission Control, working with some wonderful actors and a wonderful director and man named Ron Howard. And I spent a week on The Drew Carey Show, and I really enjoyed being there. Drew is a real stand up kind of guy. I hope success doesn't spoil him.
Chase: I'm really excited about "Inhuman," the film I just wrapped. I'm also one of the producers — I think it's really gonna be great. Also, we're revamping the kind of genre-newsmagazine show that I did for Sci-Fi Channel a couple of years ago, but with a different company. Stay tuned. Good stuff ahead.
Aron: I did a play back in 1990 or '91, called "Minor Demons." That was a terrific experience. It was done at the Arizona Theater Company. There's been something great about everything I've done. I've been very fortunate … but now I need a new job.
Q: Did you guys watch Star Trek outside of just DS9?
Max: I watch Enterprise, I think it's a really good show. But my favorite Star Trek by far — I don't want to make any enemies here — my favorite Star Trek by far is Next Generation. I think those guys could have gone on forever, although I would have been out of a job.
Chase: I did. I actually had a boyfriend who was such a trekker that I could only call him during commercials.
Aron: I watched the Original Series when I was a kid.
Q: Do you ever find yourselves identifying with your character?
Aron: Actually, yes. I found a lot of the same qualities that Nog had in me, amplified. It was odd how my life and the story that was written for Nog were very parallel.
Chase: Only when Rom displayed his um, athletic prowess.
Max: I once needed a glass of milk but the little sandwich stand wouldn't give me one. I said, "You have milk right behind you." He said, "That's for coffee." I said, "Can't you pour it in a glass for me." He said, "I don't have a register key to ring it up on." I was getting frustrated ... I said, "Take the carton, pour it into an 8 oz cup, ring it up under tea or juice or coffee, and we'll be square." He said, "It's against the rules." I said "WHERE'S THE PROFIT? We're perfect trading partners. You stand to make financial profit on the deal. I'll profit nutritionally." And he turned around to see if his boss was watching, and said "Okay." And he poured me my milk.
Q: What are you favorite foods?
Aron: Mexican, Italian and seafood.
Max: Tube-grubs. Oh, I forgot, we're not in character anymore.
Chase: Are we supposed to say tube-grubs and raktajino? I love Italian. I love to cook Italian, and to barbeque. And I love dessert.
Max: I'm not a seafood person. What? Oh, my favorite foods are, number one – Italian and number two – Mexican. Why are you asking? Are you inviting me to dinner? I'll take a good burger if you've got one, it's not like I'm a vegetarian or anything.
Q: Chase, Max and Aron, what do each of you do for relaxation?
Aron: Movies! I love to watch movies. One that comes to mind is "I am Sam." I work out at the gym. It's also hard to relax when you have two boys. Your relaxation period is from 8 o'clock at night to 10 o'clock.
Chase: I read, voraciously. I love to work out; some martial arts, some yoga, and I dance. I like to garden. I like to cook. I like to talk, late-night. Geez, I sound like a personal ad.
Max: [I like to] go into chat rooms and see what people are saying. Relaxation? Billiards, driving to some nice places here in California, like up the coast by Santa Barbara, that's nice ... Oh, and I do anything I can to stay out of traffic. That's the most un-relaxing thing in the quadrant.
Star Trek Host: It almost time for us to wrap! This will be the last question ...
Q: What plans do any of you have in the future, professionally?
Chase: Thanks for askin'. Like I said, check out "Terminal Invasion" on the Sci-Fi Channel, and look for "Inhuman" next spring. Also, I'll have my CD out later this year, so I can be the J-Lo of sci-fi ;-). Seriously, I'm excited about it. Check out my website, www.chasemasterson.com, for details.
Max: I just got a job on a new series called "The New Family Affair." Look for me as the Russian cab driver who threatens Sissy. Remember Buffy and Jody and Sissy? And Mrs. Beasley and Mr. French? The name of the episode is "French Lessons." They asked me "Would you do this for very little money," I said "I don't care how little you pay me, but I can't do it on the Friday before a Star Trek convention." And that's true. I'm just trying to find an agent, doing the usual business of Hollywood. That's very difficult, and I thought it would get easier after playing a pretty major character on a series for seven years, but Hollywood's the kind of place that likes fresh faces. And after seven years of makeup, my face is not fresh.
Aron: My thoughts are too much in the present to think about 10 years in the future. I just hope I'm still working. I believe in honesty — one little plug. Check out the Web site, www.trekfriends.com.
Star Trek Host: Thanks to everyone for joining us today! Please send your good-byes and thanks to Aron, Chase and Max!
Aron: Thank you so much to everyone for coming out and talking with us. I hope to see everyone in Vegas ... or Iceland, if we ever make it there. ;)
Max: Thanks for being fans of Star Trek! If you meet me one day, introduce yourself and tell me you were part of this chat! God bless, whether you believe in God or not.
Thanks Chase ... Max ... and Aron for taking your time to chat with us ST Fans!!!
Thanks for coming, guys! :-) Mendon
Thank you all! Darkshadow Live Long and Prosper, I'm glad you all could come =/\= The_emissary
Cya later! And may the "profits" be good to ya! ;-) Eternal_trekkie86
Good-bye! AND THANKS!!!!!!!!! Wings
Live long and prosper (to coin a phrase) ... ;) Johanan
You guys have been great! This is the funniest chat yet! YOU'RE A HOOT! Ppatters
Bye Chase kiss Trekkerfeyd
Bye, thanks for coming and answering our questions. Thebitterone
Cheers guys and gals! Michaos
Thanks lobed ppl, and still-hot ex-dabo girls ... gammaq
Thanks for your time! Ensignsunburn
Bye all and Thanx for your valuable time! Whiteknight8669
Great chat loved the 2 parts! The_warp_core