STAR TREK CONTINUES announces PREMIERE DATE and TITLE for their EIGHTH episode!

It’s been quite a while since fans and donors got an update from STAR TREK CONTINUES.  Despite many, many new posts (sometimes more than one a day!) on their Facebook page, there has been precious little news on the plans for Star Trek Continues now that the fan film guidelines are in place.  After all, with guidelines saying that a Star Trek fan film can’t contain the words “Star Trek” in the title, must be less than 15 minutes in length and a maximum of a 2-parter (for 30 minutes total), and cannot be a continuing series, it seemed like Star Trek Continues couldn’t…well…continue without running afoul of multiple guidelines.

As I reported here last August, STC writer/director/co-producer JAMES KERWIN had told me at Creation’s 50th Anniversary Star Trek convention in Las Vegas that what CBS and Paramount have said is if you follow all of these guidelines, then they will not sue you.  But they do NOT say that if you don’t follow these guidelines, then they will sue you.  There is a big distinction there.

James also told me during our talk that STC wanted to spend the remainder of their crowd-funding resources to film their final four episodes to wrap up the series. They hoped that their good relationship with CBS might result in the studio allowing the fan series to complete its run.  The plan for STC had always been to do a limited number of episodes (originally planned for 12 or 13–now the total will be 11)…as star and show-runner VIC MIGNOGNA himself said that he won’t be able to play a 37-year-old Captain Kirk forever.  (The Internet reports Vic’s current age as 54.)

But since last August, updates have been scarce from STC…until now, that is.  They just published a MAJOR announcement confirming their intention to release the last four episodes of the series (already filmed and in post-production) and providing a premiere date for their eighth episode, “Still Treads the Shadow.”

Here’s the full update…

The announcement you’ve all been waiting for!

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STARSHIP REPUBLIC contacts CBS DIRECTLY about their INDIEGOGO CAMPAIGN! (Part 1)

Now, this is intriguing!  If you look about half-way down the fan film guidelines to the second-to-last point under #6, you find the following:

No unlicensed Star Trek-related or fan production-related merchandise or services can be offered for sale or given away as premiums, perks or rewards or in connection with the fan production fundraising.

That seems pretty straightforward.  If you want to give away any perks, they have to be licensed Star Trek merchandise.  You can’t give any patches or T-shirts or signed scripts or posters or anything related to your fan production in exchange for donations…at least if you want to make sure you aren’t sued or sent a cease and desist letter by CBS and Paramount.

So how was it that STARSHIP REPUBLIC, the newest fan film to launch a crowd-funding campaign (and the first to do so since the Axanar settlement), was offering a whole set of perks?  Sure, most perks were digital, but there were also physical posters in the mix (like the two images shown above).

Well, it turns out that they simply asked CBS for permission–and they got it!  Well, kinda…

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FAN FILM GUIDELINES: Reality Check (Part 1) – DO WE FIGHT ON?

When CBS and Paramount jointly announced their new fan film guidelines last June, most of us in the fan production community (both filmmakers and viewers) were horrified, furious, indignant, grief-stricken, and depressingly convinced that these ten Draconian rules would spell the end of world for Star Trek fan films as we knew them.

And few out there felt more strongly about this than yours truly!  I used words like “carnage,” “eliminate,” and “destroy.”  I proclaimed in a blog I posted on June 23, 2016:

In short, these new guidelines would obliterate the majority of fan films…

And I quickly moved to set up a new protest campaign, Project: SMALL ACCESS, endeavoring to use the threat of fewer subscriptions to CBS’s new All Access paid video streaming service to try to encourage the studio(s) to revise and revisit these overly-restrictive guidelines.

SMALL ACCESS quickly grew to over a thousand members in a group on Facebook, and we examined the guidelines one-by-one.  Through polling and discussions, we determined that about half of the guidelines were actually just fine as they were and didn’t cause much angst.  Another quarter of them could benefit from a little tweaking of the phrasing to explain them better.  And the final quarter of them, well, they pretty much pissed most of us off completely.

Eventually, we created a 38-page Focus Group Report, and members mailed 115 copies to various executives at both studios.  Yes, it was a stunt, and no, it didn’t work.  Eight months later, the guidelines are still in place, and the studios don’t seem to be inclined to make any changes.

So what in the name of James Tiberius Kirk do we do now?

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CORRECTION! — It was NOT CHEAPER (as far as I can tell) for AXANAR PRODUCTIONS to BUILD a studio than to RENT one

One little mistake…

On September 23, 1999, the Mars Surveyor Orbiter crashed into the red planet because of a very simple (some say “stupid”) error.  According to the NASA.gov website:

…one team used English units (e.g., inches, feet and pounds) while the other used metric units for a key spacecraft operation.

One little mistake…

The result was the loss of a $125 million satellite.

In early February 2017, I was IM’ing with one of my local producer friends, asking how much it costs to rent a decent studio/sound stage here in Los Angeles.  He IM’d me back: “About $15-$30K per day.”

That number intrigued and excited me.  It wasn’t long before I’d done the math and determined that–lordy lordy!–it was actually CHEAPER for Alec Peters to have built out Ares/Industry studios than to have RENTED an existing sound stage!  And the savings difference was in the six-figures!!!!

This was HUGE!  Or so I thought…

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TRISTAN Production Crew releases new episode: “DEPARTURES”!

The fan series that started out as STARSHIP TRISTAN (and is now no longer a fan series but rather a collection of individually-titled fan films) has released its latest, um, well, “episode” is now no longer an appropriate word either, come to think of it.  How about “offering”?

“DEPARTURES” is the latest adventure of the USS Tristan and her crew, produced by RANDY LANDERS for Potemkin Pictures, and filmed in Pelham, Alabama.  You can watch all of the offerings from the various productions teams at the Potemkin Pictures on their website: http://www.potemkinpictures.com/productions.html

And you can view “Departures” below…

It was actually CHEAPER for AXANAR PRODUCTIONS to BUILD a studio than to RENT one!

NOTICE: THERE IS AN IMPORTANT PIECE OF INCORRECT INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS EDITORIAL.  SOUND STAGE RENTAL IS NOT $15K-$30K/DAY BUT RATHER PER MONTH.

A FOLLOW-UP BLOG CORRECTING THIS ERROR APPEARS HERE.

One of the most controversial decisions made during the three-year saga (so far) of AXANAR was the choice to build Ares Studios (now Industry Studios) rather than to just rent a local sound stage in Los Angeles.

In a recent Fan Film Factor interview, ALEC PETERS said that the original plan was NOT to shoot Axanar in Los Angeles but rather to film in upstate New York on James Cawley’s Star Trek: New Voyages sets:

I certainly wish we had done what I had originally planned on and shot Axanar at the Star Trek: New Voyages sets. Instead, Christian Gossett–our former director–felt he couldn’t shoot at those sets because of the limited space and the volunteer crew. Ironically, Rob Burnett did a beautiful job when we shot the “Heroes” vignette there. You’ll see his work as an “extra” when we release Axanar.

If we’d done that, we would be finished with Axanar by now and probably avoided the lawsuit.

Now, I don’t claim to know the details of whether the decision not to film on the New Voyages sets was made solely by Christian Gossett or solely by Alec Peters based on Christian’s reservations or as a team decision.  But I do know that it changed everything about Axanar and immediately turned it from a fan film that could be made for potentially a couple of a hundred thousand dollars into a fan film that would cost between a half million and a million dollars (or more)…

…even if they’d rented a sound stage.  In fact, BUILDING a studio instead of RENTING one actually saved them money!  Let me ‘splain…

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Have you donated to PACIFIC 201 lately?

Last week, I told you about the new crowd-funded independent  Deep Space Nine documentary WHAT WE LEFT BEHIND, which set a goal of $150K and is about to cross the $300K threshold in less than a week…and that’s fantastic!  But there’s another VERY deserving crowd-funded fan project whose donation total isn’t climbing nearly as quickly…and that’s a shame.

PACIFIC 201 promises to be one of the most original, most intriguing, and (dare I say it?) most ENGAGING Star Trek fan films to come along in quite a while.  The first fan film (or any Star Trek film, for that matter) to cover the period smack dab in the middle between the end of Enterprise and the beginning of TOS, the time period of Pacific 201 is the turn of the 23rd century, 40 years after the founding of the United Federation of Planets.  It’s a critical period for Earth, still reeling from the horrors of the Romulan War but just beginning to emerge from fear and paranoia with a tentative first step back into the exploring of strange new worlds.

With physical sets and well-designed costumes, real actors, and some awesome visual effects, Pacific 201 looks like it could easily justify the $50K crowd-funding limit set forth the in new guidelines.  So far, their Indiegogo campaign stands at “only” $27,327.  They can raise another $23K, people…and we can all help them get there!  I just now put another $25 into the project, doubling my previous donation from last November.  Can you match me?

If everyone who reads this blog will match my $25 donation, show-runner Eric Henry will easily make his $50K goal to keep his studio open and finish production.  But hey, even $10 from each reader translate to $10K.

Click here to donate now!

And if you want to see what what you’ll be getting for your money (since perks are now a no-no), here’s their latest teaser video:

Thirty-three NOMINEES announced for the 2017 INDEPENDENT STAR TREK FAN FILM AWARDS

It’s award season here in Hollywood–the Golden Globes, the People’s Choice, and the Oscars (to name just a few)–to honor the best movies and performances and cinematic achievements of the past year.  But what about Star Trek fan fan films???

As it turns out, we have our own annual awards, too…or at least we have for the past three years.

The first INDEPENDENT STAR TREK FAN FILM AWARDS were handed out at the 2015 TREKLANTA convention (in Atlanta…in case you weren’t sure) for Star Trek fan films released in calendar year 2014.  Thirteen fan films entered, and awards were given out in nine categories.

The following year, seventeen different fan films entered and the categories were expanded to thirteen.  Judges for the two previous years have included such notables as Diana Dru Botsford, Peter David, Keith R. A. DeCandido, Michael DeMeritt, Ken Feinberg, Matthew M. Foster, Andrew Greenberg, David Orange, Emmett Plant, Susan Sackett, and Rick Sternbach.  This year’s judges will be revealed after ballots are collected in March (we don’t want the judges getting badgered to vote this way or that).  And the winners will be announced live at Treklanta on April 30.

The categories this year will be:

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An interview with AXANAR attorney ERIN RANAHAN

Right after the settlement in the AXANAR lawsuit was announced, rumors were flying that the reason for this unexpected development was because the Court had lifted the confidentiality designation on Alec Peters’ financials.  According to some detractors (well, most of them), Alec suddenly panicked that the jig was up and hastily rushed to settle so as not to let those financials become public.

You know me and rumors, right?

So I e-mailed Axanar lead defense attorney, Erin Ranahan, to see if these rumors were true or not.  And she gave me a surprising answer.  And then I asked her a few other quick questions, and she answered those, too.  “Geez, if only I could get an official interview with you!” I e-mailed back to her.

A few seconds later, she responded: “Send me a list of questions and I’ll let you know which I can answer.”

Whoa!  Did Erin just agree to do an interview with Fan Film Factor???  I didn’t even know that lawyers in big cases like these were allowed to give full interviews.  Usually, all I see are quick sound bytes that don’t really say much.

And so I put together a list of questions, and Erin actually answered most of them.  The couple that she didn’t dealt with items like the specific terms of the settlement, which are confidential.

So, is that rumor about Alec’s financials true?  Read on…

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