John already had some acting experience under his spandex Starfleet belt area, and had started getting back into it. He recognized an opportunity when it beamed into his lap, and decided to offer himself up to the Nerd Gods.
"It wasn't clear at the time who was in charge, or how to contact them. They had a discussion forum, and I saw that one producer/director (Jack Marshall) of the episode lived not far from where I was, so I sent him an email, but didn't hear back. I then decided to see if there was someone else I could contact, and found some posts from the guy who created the sets, costumes (and also played Kirk), James Cawley ... I didn't hear back for a couple of weeks (it turned out Jack and James were in the middle of filming the second episode, 'In Harm's Way'), but finally I heard back from James, and then he invited me up to visit the sets, which were in upstate NY. I figured, 'OK, we must be talking about somewhere like Westchester, right outside of the city, since it looked like a pretty professional production.' No, the sets and production were in a tiny building in Ft. Ticonderoga, NY, outside of Lake George."
It was, in fact, a former used car dealership:
Star Trek: New Voyages
"Just think how many excited people saw their dreams turn into an endless sinkhole of money at this dealership."
After "a tour of the sets and an informal audition," John was welcomed to the team, but "there was a bit of confusion, because James apparently didn't tell Jack until later, and announced my casting before anyone else knew about it." Ominous foreshadowing, then cut to commercial break ...