Award winner – Addison MacKenzie, USS Artemis (Staff Member of the Year Award/James T. Kirk Cross)

Award winner – Addison MacKenzie, USS Artemis (Staff Member of the Year Award/James T. Kirk Cross)

Join us for another in a series of interviews with winners of awards from our 2023 Awards Ceremony. Our goal is to give you insight into how our fleet’s best simmers write, and imagine their characters as well as their out of character contributions and achievements.

This month we’re interviewing the writer behind Captain Addison MacKenzie playing a human female Commanding Officer assigned to the USS Artemis. She won the Staff Member of the Year Award: “Awarded to Staff Members who have contributed tirelessly to the organization through any number of Out of Character channels, while maintaining excellence in simming on their vessel.” As well as the James T. Kirk Cross: “Awarded to new Commanding Officers who show outstanding potential in the field of commanding.”

Fairhug: You’ve spoken about yourself in a few interviews for us in the past, notably about your career as a professional musician, is there anything you can share with us about yourself that you haven’t before?

MacKenzie: Where do I start?! I suppose I haven’t talked about how I got hooked on Trek… I was born the year TNG premiered, but I remember being about 5 or so and able to catch the last several years of the show’s original run. My dad and I used to watch it together. His interest waned after TNG, but I remember watching DS9 and Voyager religiously and managed to catch up on early TNG when it was in syndication. My dad’s really responsible for getting me hooked.

At the 2023 Awards Ceremony, you were awarded the Staff Member of the Year Award, which recognises staff members who have contributed to the organisation through various OOC channels, while maintaining excellence in simming. What, would you say, are some of the challenges of balancing your OOC duties, while also keeping up your simming standards?

MacKenzie: Well, I think the biggest challenge is that a lot of the membership doesn’t realize how much work goes into keeping the lights on. Reaching the rank of Commander or CO isn’t just about serving as the GM of a ship, it’s about the expectation to contribute in real, meaningful ways (that often take substantial time) to help the various branches of this organization functioning.

Do you have any tips for those with aspirations of becoming staff members on how to maintain that balance?

MacKenzie: Well, I’ll first acknowledge that I’m not always the best at maintaining that balance myself, so we can start there. I’d also caution that anyone who is only interested writing good sims or isn’t interested in doing any of the OOC work that it takes for this organization to keep going wouldn’t be a good fit as a staff member, so being honest about your intentions, aspirations, and the realistic amount of cumulative time you can dedicate here is important.

As far as balance, I try to maintain an every-other-day approach to my writing. I usually spend one day writing and responding to sims, and the opposite day focusing on any OOC matters that have come up.

In the presentation speech for the Staff Member of the Year Award, Rear Admiral Rivi Vataix likened your role as the Magistrate of the Captain’s Council to that of a conductor. That must have been somewhat satisfying as someone with a music background, such as yourself. Do you feel there are any skills that you have learned in your RL profession that have helped you in any of your various IC or OOC roles here on SB118?

MacKenzie: Well, when you boil it down, being a conductor is all about team management. Somehow, you have to get all these people, who each have their own thoughts, desires, etc., to agree on a point of view and work toward a shared goal of putting a piece of music together. Serving as a CO is no different – we manage a bunch of writers who each have various goals and aspirations for their own characters to come together to craft great stories. It’s a really fitting parallel.

[The management of the Captains Council has its own analogies, none of which are suitable to mention here. ;)]

You also won the James T. Kirk Cross, which is awarded to new Commanding Officers who show outstanding potential in the field of commanding. How have you found command so far? Has it lived up to your expectations and what unexpected challenges have you faced in the role?

MacKenzie: It’s fun! It’s hard work, but it’s fun. I’ve spent a lot of time simming across the internet since about 1999, if you can believe that, but it wasn’t until I made my way here in 2019 that I found a really welcoming, truly collaborative community. One of the things I love most is the expectation our shared responsibility to contribute to each story, whether you’re a Captain or a newbie, and even as a junior officer, I’ve enjoyed being able to facilitate spaces for other people to write great stories.

One of the conditions for winning the James T. Kirk Cross is that COs must “help to provide a creative atmosphere which fosters outstanding simming”, how would you say you go about achieving that?

MacKenzie: Well, my crew members get a lot of feedback, whether they are new to the game or part of the ship’s staff. I take very seriously the responsibility of building a community through camaraderie and the improvement of simming skills, and I think that approach and the care we take to mentor our writers has resonated with those on the Artemis.   

Lastly, what lies in store for Captain MacKenzie and the USS Artemis in the coming months?

MacKenzie: We’re currently working on an incredible Fleet Blockbuster that involves several ships and installations across the fleet coming together to tell a story over several months. It’ll be my first time contributing to a project that big and I’m excited for my crew to be a part of it!

Thanks for your time, Captain MacKenzie!

You can read more about Captain MacKenzie on the wiki.

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