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…

I originally wrote up an elaborate response to a posted comment on another blog…totaling and comparing the costs for building versus renting.  Then, a couple of weeks later, looking for something interesting to blog about, I decided to republish that response as a full blog in and of itself.

It didn’t take long before people (mostly detractors) started sending me ads for studio space in the L.A. area that were MUCH less than $15-$30K/day.  Some listings were under a thousand dollars, and most were between one and three thousand.  Nothing came close to $15K…and certainly not $30K.

Even Alec Peters IM’d me a few hours later:

$15,000 a day?
Jonathan, if you are going to write about stuff like this then you need to check yoru facts.

A sound stage doesnt cost $ 15,000 a day
A stage our size might cost between $ 3,000 and $ 5,000 a day

Oh, man.  I was getting it from all sides!  What the heck happened???

I’ve known my producer friend since he was in film school back in the 1990s.  I had simply assumed he was giving me correct information and–much to my now-public embarrassment–I didn’t think to research it further.

One little mistake…

Actually, it initially wasn’t just my mistake; it was actually a typo (and I do have permission to share the following IM session from late last night that I had with my friend…with one s-bomb bleeped by me).  But before I do, I just want to say that I am NOT trying to deflect the blame here.  This one is totally on me.  I should have researched the information further, and I didn’t.

ME – Hey, are you sure that L.A. sound stages cost $15-$30K/day to rent?

HIM – No, of course not.  That’s a ridiculous price!  I’ve never seen anything that high.

ME – But that’s what you told me, dude!!!  I even blogged about it!

HIM – I can’t imagine I’d ever say such a thing, Jon.

ME – Do me a quick favor.  Can you please scroll up this IM thread about a dozen or so posts and report back what it says you told me?

HIM – OK

HIM – Sh*t.  I’m sorry, Jon.  That was supposed to be per month, not per day.

ME – SERIOUSLY??????

HIM – I was busy when you were messaging me.  Sorry again.

ME – Do you have any idea how much trouble I am now in???

HIM – It’s just a blog, Jon.

ME – Yeah, and a bunch of crazed Trekkies are never gonna let me live this down!!!


And there you have it.  It wasn’t English-to-metric, and it wasn’t $125 million.  Instead, it was per-day versus per-month, and it was “only” about a $350,000 difference.  But that was enough to pretty much negate the main point of my previous editorial.

Rather than trying to defend the alt-fact or ignore it or call the detractors crazy or deluded, I’m just going to cop to the mistake…something that, I wish, would happen more often these days.

I don’t want Fan Film Factor to get a reputation for “fake news.”  If I screw up and an incorrect fact or poorly researched article/editorial gets published on my watch, I need to admit to it and, if possible, correct it as quickly as possible.  (And I think 48 hours qualifies.)

So I’ve added a disclaimer at the top of my previous blog, and I’m posting this correction.  I am also going to make sure to ask Alec Peters when I interview him once the financials are released what the costs would have been had he rented a studio.  I should have done that in the first place anyway.

In the meantime, I am sorry, everybody, for being sloppy on this one.  I hope that this public apology can set a positive example to others.  As you know, I’m not a fan of alt-facts and fake news, and I call out the people who post them whenever I can.  Now it’s time to practice what I preach.

 

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

  1. OH, MAN! …you almost pulled a kellyanne! =O

    …that’s some pretty good walkin’ it back tho! =D

    …you could try and pull a trump: erase all the records? =P

    hang in there, Jonathan! 🙂

    1. With luck, someone from the Trump administration will read my correction and apology and be inspired! Either that, or we can all just move to Sweden where it’s safe. 🙂

      1. HA HA HA, Jon what universe do you think you’re living in man? There’s no way a guy like Trump, of all people, will EVER apologize for anything he’s ever done and/or said and really mean it – At least we have people like you though, who are willing to humble up and admit when they’re wrong – That’s definitely something we need more of – Anyway, have a good President’s Day tomorrow, if I don’t chat with ya sooner, and be safe, alright?… P 🙂

  2. Hey, some may see a “Mea Maxima Culpa” as giving ammunition to your enemy. I see it as taking ammunition away.(They, like a broken clock, will be right at least twice a day)

    1. I actually suspect the Tal Shiar…or possibly the Obsidian Order. I suppose it could have been the Orion Syndicate. Or maybe it was Section 31!

      CORRECTION! I have just been informed by certain sources who asked not to be identified that it was absolutely NOT Section 31. Move along. Nothing to see here.

      1. Wow, you do like your conspiracy theories, I would have thought it more likely a lone-wolf, someone like Vantika ;). It does sound like his sort of thing, attack a small obscure subsystem that no-would notice, like units, and bring the whole system crashing down, in the case of Mars mission, quite literally.

  3. We can forgive you Jonathan. Unlike some of the detractors who seem to gleefully call out others who make mistakes because it gives them a sense of superiority. We do not subscribe to that mentality.

  4. Really good for you to admit your mistake.

    It is good to be dealing with adults for a change.

    Keep up the good work!

  5. Mistakes happen.. correcting them is the difference between news and “fake news”.

    I suggest you remove the errant post, or at least add (NOT!) to the title line and update or remove most of the text.

    I think the small note at the top is not enough….

    1. I thought about that, but then the note at the top wouldn’t make sense. I have to leave the “evidence untouched,” as it were, and not contaminate the crime scene. 🙂

  6. I am laughing at your buffoonery Jonathan. Now “IF” you could just admit all your alternate facts and half truths of misinformation over the last 14 month has all been wrong than you might have some redeeming qualities after all. H0wever, I know if you did that you would lose you prized Alec Peters Pom Poms.

    Glad to see you at least admitted one BIG mistake.

    1. FINALLY! Some snark!!!

      Ten positive, supportive comments here. Another 20 on Small Access. I thought at least someone would say something negative!

      THANK you, Rand. You’ve restored my (lack of) faith in the detractors! I knew you wouldn’t let me down! 🙂

      1. A little more snark for ya Jon Boy, your alternate facts and misinformation are like BUGS, no they will always run into a wall called ” Proven FACTS” and they go “SPLAT”. At least on the detractors side we have PROVEN FACTS that make your Alternate facts go “SPLAT” on the windshield of truth.

    2. Well, at least Jonathan has redeeming qualities.

      Carlos Padroza hasn’t admitted to any mistakes, wrong predictions, or fake accusations he’s made over the same 14 months.

      In fact, Carlos being the kind of person he is, is posting that Lane didn’t make a mistake, he finally, “came clean”. That’s the person you follow Rand. Nothing surprising, about you or him.

      1. Yeah, the “came clean” was kinda funny. It was like I’d washed my blog in Tide Ultra or something. The stain finally came out! Now my blog site sparkles, and the colors have never looked brighter! 🙂

      2. I’m sure if you pointed to some proof that one of the assertions on his wiki was false he would be happy to change it. However Charles (assuming you’re Mr Britto) in all the comments I’ve seen of yours you’ve never countered his facts with any of your own. Why is that?

  7. “As far as I can tell”. Wow.
    You could not just say you made a huge mistake, and used “alternate facts” to defend and protect Your agenda?

    I would have complimented you for admitting your error otherwise. I don’t believe for a moment that Alec Peters did not know of this error in advance and said nothing (just like when people refer to him as being an attorney, or Axanar being a non profit corporation) until he had to. How Trump like!

    You could have done some simple research, but the “misinformation” was just too supportive of your cause.

    Stop worrying about the bad words your son may see over your shoulder on your computer screen. Be more concerned about the little guy learning about truth, responsibility and integrity.

    Quit calling people who look for the truth “haters”. Maybe question what you believe (spoiler, there is no Santa Clause).

    I used to think you were an innocent guy duped by Alec Peters. I don’t think so any longer. I think you a guilty participant.

    Please, would you and Alec address just one fact honestly (I have asked many times ). In February 2014 at Fedcon (check utube) and in an interview in The Wrap in august of 2015, Alec Peters admitted he was told by the studios the only thing he could not do was make money off his project. Yet, he still admittedly paid himself a salary (and defended paying himself). It may just be my opinion, but I think this (and his for profit studio) are what caused this s..t storm (not the Quality bulls..t). No Spin please. No LONG editorials, just direct answers. Your after the fact justifications repulse me. Alec should just own up to what he has done.

    Don’t worry I probably will never visit your blog again, I will just listen to the POTUS or some television evangelist is I want more Bulls..t.

    1. “Don’t worry I probably will never visit your blog again, I will just listen to the POTUS or some television evangelist is I want more Bulls..t.”

      Too bad. I was going to answer your question.

        1. Yeah, I noticed that. It was actually kinda funny, but I don’t think Mr. Stone has that much of a sense of humor, and I doubt he’d get the joke.

          I’m glad someone did, though. 🙂

        2. My use of that term was not meant to be specific to Jonathan. When I write here it is meant for all of you Alec Peters followers. Funny you focus on this (minor) thing, but you don’t pay any attention to the Peters Bulls…t.

          1. Then you should make that clear, Stone. You’re the one who is communicating, it should be up to you to make your point clear. Beyond that, it is the only really worth commenting upon in your screed, as the rest of it is merely regurgitated crap that is thrown by the likes of you ad nauseum, with no regard for any answers you have been given.

        1. Hey, I thought you were leaving and never coming back to this blog site ever again, Daniel.

          And not only will Alec Peters and I answer your question, we already have…numerous times. In short, in order to profit off of a Star Trek fan film, one would need to…well…profit. As of right now, Alec Peters has $150,000 LESS in his personal bank account than he had before he started the Axanar project. That’s kinda the OPPOSITE of profit, amigo. At the time of the FedCon appearance you refer to, Alec was already in the hole about $15K from overages from making Prelude. And at the time of the 2015 interview, his investment in Axanar was up to about $60K. So was there any profit? Not unless you’re REALLY bad at math.

          So…you gone for good yet, Daniel?

          1. And you still don’t answer the question.

            You SAY he put in all this money… I see NO PROOF.

            PROVE it.

            What I see is NO FILM, and a guy crying he is so broke, that he has to give himself a salary for his fan film… and then he’s flying all over the world, paying conventions to make him a guest, staying in suites, and eating expensive food… all he while the only source of income he has is the fan donations.

            Am I wrong? PROVE IT.

            I call him a con man, you say prove it.

            I see the first Propworx company that he drove into bankruptcy, defrauding folks he owed hundreds of thousands to… I see him lying and creating a fraudaulent shipping company to line his pockets further…
            I see him using funds donated to create a fan film, to build himself a for-profit studio, in addition, he houses (free of charge) his other business on the premises.

            CON ARTIST.

            Am I wrong?

            Prove it.

            And for the record, change the name of your blog… you are not a FAN FILM blog, you are the AXANAR SHILL blog.

          2. Y’know what? Unless you ask me nicely, Bill, I’m just not going to respond to you. I wouldn’t put up with this kind of rude attitude from my own six-year-old, so I don’t see why I should put up with the same from any other six-year-old.

          3. Your widdle feelings hurt?
            Too bad.

            You and Peters keep making claims that just do not add up.
            Seems to me, he comingled the funds from the fundraiser into his personal account… and we saw the redacted info from the courts.
            NO Axanar did not make a profit, because Peters imbezzzled most of the money for supporting his lifestyle.

            If I am wrong… PROVE IT.
            Otherwise, you are just a shill for a lying con man.

          4. I guess Jonathan and hubcap Dave should be the ones paying closer attention.

            I said I would “probably” not be returning to this blog, not that I would never be.

            My questions were never answered.

            I never mentioned “profit” in my question. I pointed out that on two occasions Alec Peters stated the he knew the only rule from the studio was that he could not make money from his project , and then proceeded to pay himself a salary (which is making money off of his project).
            What he spent it on is irrelevant.

            The unsubstantiated claim that he put his own money into his own project, and that in the end may have spent more than the money he earned is meaningless (and in dispute).

            Additionally, paying the rent on his for profit studio, the one he personally is responsible for, is not really putting money into the Axanar
            Project. Many of us would like to see proof of his monetary additions and of their timing. But, that would take transparency and release of real, and full financials

            Alec not only admitted making money off of his project, he defended it. Jonathan and Alec have never responded to this (though, Jonathan has attempted to rewrite history with his “paying back a loan” assertion).

            Since you are Alec will never respond to this (or ever provide proof to substantiate your claims), will you, or any of Alec’s followers, provide a list of lies that Carlos P. and Michael H. Have told about Alec or Axanar? I see that mentioned here, but was hoping for specifics

          5. “I never mentioned “profit” in my question. I pointed out that on two occasions Alec Peters stated the he knew the only rule from the studio was that he could not make money from his project…

            So you’re trying to tell me that “profit” does NOT mean “making money”? Daniel, Daniel, Daniel…I think someone needs to buy you a dictionary! 🙂

            Look, fan films pay people to work on them. Not all fan films, but certainly the bigger ones. Star Trek Continues has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in salaries. Doesn’t that count as “making money”? Alec wasn’t doing anything that wasn’t already being done elsewhere. Now, you’ll say that he was paying himself, and that Vic Mignogna never did that. (Actually, we don’t know that for sure, but I’m not so arrogant as to demand “proof” from Vic as though I’m somehow entitled to it…unlike some people, Daniel.) But the fact is that Alec was working full-time on Axanar and bringing in hundreds of thousands of dollars. That was his job. Paying himself (whether as reimbursement or as a salary) was really no different than paying Tobias Richter for the VFX or paying Gary Graham to play Soval. They performed their jobs and were compensated…just as several dozens of actors and production crew were paid to work on Star Trek Continues.

            And hey, this “for profit” studio has also never made a profit. So I’m not sure why you keep calling it that. The plan was always for Ares Studios to charge for use of its facility and direct those funds back into rent, operations, marketing, etc. In fact, that’s still the plan. Was Alec planning to work for Ares Studios and earn a salary for that? Sure. And his job would be to bring in donations and outside business to keep the bills paid and the studio open. All the while, Prelude and Axanar would be available for free viewing, so neither would be generating any revenue.

            And remember, all of this happened months and years before CBS and Paramount ever officially said, “You can’t make any money/profit from your fan production.” You seem to keep forgetting that the studio never said ANYTHING official until six month AFTER the lawsuit was filed. Was Alec pushing the envelope? On that, I think we can all agree. But it’s not like the studios didn’t know what he was doing all along. In fact, Alec even met with them four separate times to make sure they knew what he was doing…and they STILL didn’t tell him anything official, nor did they tell him to stop. So how was Alec to know he was crossing the line if the studio execs even said, “If you cross the line, we’ll let you know?” and they never let him know??? (Well, they eventually let him know with a subpoena.)

            Anyway, at this point, I think that I have answered your question, Daniel, and I really do need to get back to blogging. Feel free to keep asking the same questions and making the same accusations over and over and over and over and over and over again. Just know that I’m moving on. Asked and answered, and if you don’t believe the answers or want “proof” because you feel you are somehow entitled to it for some reason I don’t quite understand (since the lawsuit is over and you were never a party to it anyway), well, I just can’t help you there. But thank you for playing.

  8. Well, Jonathan, how many mistakes over how many complex details you handled since the lawsuit began ? I guess the score is quite in your favor. The pity is that you fell into a basic trap, but fortunately you corrected it quickly. As error is human, as readers should always keep some distance from what is said/written, there is no big deal here.
    Even the best newspapers make mistakes and later publish an erratum without having haters to shout at conspiracy.
    I will go further with your reference to Mars Surveyor and the imperial/metric conversion error (not to mention Nasa experienced a similar trouble a year earlier with SOHO): the famous Air Canada flight 143 in 1983 than ran out of fuel due to miscalculation from different men. With all making the same mistake, cross checking was good. The flight ended rather well, thanks to the pilots skills, but the life of 69 peoples were at stake, it could have ended very badly.
    How many lives were threatened by your mistake ? I do not hink many were.
    As the Canadian slang says since FL143, you just “pulled a Gimli Glider”, an embarassing mistake, and fortunately no harm done.
    Please go on with fine posts, we fans appreciate it.

  9. Mistakes Happen, not all benefits show up in a ledger, perhaps a explanation of the benefits of build vs rent are in order.

  10. So all of this and nobody has asked the question.

    If it would have been cheaper just to rent a studio to film Axanar, why was that not done? Probably would have had a film by now if that had been done. Why go the more expensive route to build a studio you don’t even own?

    Also, from my understanding the lease expires in Janaury….if the lease isn’t renewed what will all this money spent on the studio have achieved? There doesn’t seem to be anything being made in the studio by anybody really right now 2 years later so what really would be the justification for committing to a new $15k/month lease? and yes I know AP didn’t want to make Axanar during the lawsuit, but there appeared to be nobody renting it and axanarproductions wasn’t making any non-star trek projects there either.

    ok.. that is more then one question.

    1. All I can say is that there might be some interesting announcements coming soon…

      …or not.

      But until they do come, I’m not at liberty to answer most of your questions at the moment.

        1. Bill Peterson,
          you know how I know you are likely going to work to old age, killing yourself making someone else rich?

          You have no business acumen at all to ever be in business for yourself. You can’t even to understand the concept of Corporate Bankruptcies. Filing does not mean the business owner has made dishonest business decisions. In fact, bankruptcies are cleared of corruption by Federal Auditors before approval.

          So basically, every time you open your mouth, you are making a fool of yourself because instead of looking the information up yourself, you follow the bigger fool, Carlos Padroza, who twists the facts for you.

          1. “you follow the bigger fool, Carlos Padroza, who twists the facts for you.”

            The word “fool” counts as an insult, Charles. And I’m not sure if you’re misspelling “Pedraza” on purpose. I hate to be harsh when I know you’re just sticking up for me, but rules are still rules. Name-calling is a no-no (and purposeful name misspelling is also frowned upon…although I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt it’s just a typo). Look, I certainly don’t like all of the name-calling of me, Alec, and other people associated with Axanar by the detractors. So I want those on my side to try to hold the moral high ground if we can. It’s what separates us from the…well, if I say “savages” that’s name calling, so I won’t. 🙂

  11. Its ok Jonathan, things like this are common in the Wonderful World of Axanar fairy tales – this will soon just be weaved into another chapter of this saga !
    Next year at this time everyone (including you) will be setting around drinking and laughing at this, well maybe not the big donors, when the warehouse studio is empty and full of cobwebs, the movie Axanar still hasn’t filmed a frame of footage, and Alec is still ranting about making the best Star Trek ever !
    Just chalk up another one on the big list of things to come !

      1. Lane and Peters will just blame everyone else.

        1.6 million dollars for nothing, except letting Peters live like a king for a short while.
        Maybe he should not have put the donations into his personal checking account… comingling funds is bad business.

        1. Bill Peterson. What about 1.6 million on a studio, rent for the studio, sets, costumes, props, effects….proved to have been spent?

          Dude, you just keep looking more foolish quoting hater garbage.

          1. If I see proof, I’ll change my tune.
            But the “transparent” model production that Axanar was claiming to be is baloney.

            I see no proof.

            I see court documents, and a judge saying he spent a huge portion of that money on himself.
            He decided making a fan film was a full time PAYING job.
            he says they are a nonprofit, but they have NEVER filed for non profit status.
            Having no money left, is not the same as non profit.

            In the original “report” he sent out, where it revealed that he and his ex girlfriend were drawing salaries, so many of the accountings were questionable at best.

            If Peters wants folks to believe him, he needs to provide REAL concrete proof.
            But he won’t, cause this was all a scam, by a scammer.

            Jon, your backing the wrong horse.
            And he is making you look like a fool for supporting him.

          2. “What about 1.6 million on a studio, rent for the studio, sets, costumes, props, effects….proved to have been spent?”
            And you wonder why there are hateful detractors.

            1. Alec did not need to rent a warehouse and covert it to a studio when he could have saved MORE money renting time from an established studio with sound stage. MONEY WASTED!

            2. Alec could have asked James or even Vic if they could use their sets and rearranged the appearance to suit Axanar story. Hell they had the best CGI techs too they could have done the bridge and ship interiors in CGI with live acting. MONEY WASTED!

            3. Alec already had costumes from Prelude he could have reused for the main cast instead of having new ones made. Actor extras could have either bought or made their own costumes in accordance with the uniform style of Axanar. MONEY WASTED!

            4. Alec already had many props and could have had them replicated cheaply with 3D printing tech. MONEY WASTED!

            5, The only pass your going to get are FXs because that not cheap and requires people who know what they are doing.

            Everything else was a waste of money that could have gone toward making the film Chucky!

          3. The idea was never to do this “on the cheap,” Rand. The idea was always to go big or go home. That doesn’t mean that Alec was planning to spend frivolously (and yes, I know the detractors think that’s all he did, but I’ve seen the full financials, and that wasn’t the case). But the goal was always to raise enough to make a cinema-quality fan film/independent production at a level rivaling the studio offerings…but for a fraction of the price of something like Star Trek Beyond. $300 million is what Paramount was spending on their movie. Alec was planning to spend 1% of that and do something comparable.

            Was it a realistic dream? In hindsight, possibly not. But 14,000 donors believed in the dream, and we weren’t donating hundreds of thousands of dollars per campaign so Axanar could cut corners.

        2. It’s much closer to 1.5 million. Some say it could be as high as 1.9. I like the round figure of 1.4 myself because we will never know exactly how much donor money Alec used as his personal tax free income and pissed the rest of it away.

          1. Yet Jonathan, here its is almost 15 months later and post lawsuit, Axanar is flat broke. Only actors staying on are J. G. Hertzler and Kate Vernon and no real guarantee Kate Vernon is going to stay. There is still no finished sets, no sound stage, no production crew, barely any actors and the “studio’ is still not fit and up to code to be used for making a film. Not only that but Alec’s monthly announcements he starts shooting in 30 days and again in 30 days after that yet he is getting nothing done and just doing a lot of talking.

            I used to be one of the believers, remember? At this point I don’t care if it gets done or not and frankly speaking, I hope its doesn’t. After all the bullcaca the donors have been put through with Alec and even you getting their hopes up and then dashed. The revelation of how the money was “allegedly” spent when Alec didn’t need to do half of he attempted too to get Axanar made and made the way he said it would be. I expected a full film because that is what I donated to get and now I wont get what I donated for because of Alec’s over blown grand ambitions messed it up for donors like me. I do not even want the film anymore.

          2. “At this point I don’t care if it gets done or not and frankly speaking, I hope its doesn’t.”

            Well, of course you hope it doesn’t get made, Rand! It’s like rooting against a team you hate, even if you don’t particularly like the other team and don’t care if they win or not. But you want the team you hate to lose. I get it. And if Alec comes out of all this ahead, you’ll feel even worse because it’ll call into question whether you might have been wrong all along.

            For similar reasons, I truly and sincerely want Alec to succeed and to see Axanar get made–not simply because I believe in the project and in Alec himself, but because I really, really want to see you proven wrong. I know that’s probably bad karma and just might end up jinxing the whole magilla, but it’s just how I feel. And I know likewise that you really, really want me to wind up having been proved wrong. Everything else is just, well, filler. 🙂

    1. The court documents didn’t “prove” anything. The court documents are allegations. Allegations are not proof. Allegations are something you have to prove.

      If I said something like, “Rand Johnson stole my Camaro and had sex with my roommate’s cockatiel!”, that would be an allegation. I could go around and say you’re an alleged car thief and are allegedly into bestiality, but it doesn’t mean that I have proved you actually stole my car and stuffed my roommate’s bird with your special cream filling. Please try and learn the difference.

      1. Okay, Dave, that started funny and ended a little disgusting. I think you made your point. My guess is that Rand will chose not to get your point, but still, the “colorful metaphor” at the end wasn’t necessary and brings down the level of discussion on this blog site. Not an official warning…just a request for a little more restraint in the future, my friend.

        1. Well, it’s always easier to ask forgiveness than permission! Besides, I rarely use bestiality in an analogy, so I doubt I’ll be going there anytime soon….

  12. Jonathan,

    “So you’re trying to tell me that “profit” does NOT mean “making money”

    I am so glad you posted this, because it has been my point from the beginning. Alec Peters personally made money (profit, by your new definition) in the form of a salary (and let us not forget those “expenses”) from his independent Star Trek movie project, and that money came from the donations of fans.

    I avoided the word “profit” because I did not want to read another nonsensical paragraph from you (or Alec) how no “profit” was made.

    After your wife goes to work, at the end of the pay period she collects her salary (profit, right?). Even if she chooses to spend it all, and then dips into her savings to spend more, she has still made money. The same is true for Alec Peters and his salary, and the way he chose to spend his salary (and allegedly, his personal savings). If you disagree, you should talk to the IRS.

    It does not matter that Alec (allegedly) spent more on his personal hobby/project (Axanar). He still violated the rule he admitted knowing way back in February of 2014! Your spin does not change this fact.

    And, Alec did do something that NO other fan film maker has done! He profited (made money) off of his project! Him, only him. No one other than an Alec Peters supporter has ever suggested otherwise. Vic, who actually has a non profit corporation, IS transparent. He does not lie about it (unlike Alec Peters, who makes “inaccurate statements” about having a 501c3 corporation, who makes false claims about his “transparency” (and still points a finger at others!). You do not have to demand anything from Vic, it is public record. Alec? Well, not so much.

    And NO, Alec Peters paying himself a salary is NOT the same as paying Tobias Richter or anyone else! Paying Tobias is the same as paying for the lumber for your sets, or paying a plumber to unclog the toilet in your studio (sorry, warehouse). Tobias did a job. This was NOT Alec Peters job! No one asked or hired him to make his vanity/hobby fan film (sorry, fully proffesional, independent Star Trek movie).

    And the studio is a for profit business. That is how it is registered. Did the corporation that owns it suddenly become a registered non profit? Just because revenue – expenses does not equal zero, or more does not mean the bills were not paid and the owner was not paid a salary (or what most people call “making money” or “profit”). Even this “non profit” that Alec Peters Inaccurately claimed he had paid him a salary! He set up a business on the IP of others (who had a rule that you can not make money off their IP) and attempted to manipulate and justify the money he made (and would continue to make) as the salary of a corporate officer in a non profit! And you wonder why we question him!

    “But it’s not like the studios didn’t know what he was doing all along” ???!!!!! Who are you trying to fool?
    In all those meetings with the studios did Alec Peters ever mention he was paying himself a salary? I very much doubt he did. So drop that “if you cross the line, we will let you know” crap.

    Additionally, long before Alec Peters appeared on the Star Trek Fandom scene the rule of “don’t make money” was well known. Alec admittedly knew, when it became “official” is irrelevant.

    You have answered nothing, and we ARE entitled to “proof”.
    The moment Alec Peters asked for money from Star Trek fans, the moment he gave people the false impression he had a non profit corporation, the moment he started making public statements that were not true, the moment he publically accused other we were entitled to the truth, to proof.

    1. Wow, there are so many inaccuracies and outright falsehoods in there, Daniel, that I was almost going to accuse you of intentionally lying and purposely trying to manipulate and mislead people.

      And then I realized something…

      I think you actually believe everything you’re saying. And I think your belief comes from misunderstanding, not from malice. Well, there’s probably some malice in there, too–frankly, you’re not very nice–but I think misunderstanding is much more of your problem. So I am going to respond in a more patient and understanding way rather than being all nasty because I really do think that what you need most is some clarification.

      So let’s see…where do I begin?

      “The same is true for Alec Peters and his salary, and the way he chose to spend his salary (and allegedly, his personal savings). If you disagree, you should talk to the IRS.”

      Okay, here’s the first misunderstanding, and it’s a big one. Before I explain, however, let me mention that I have owned and managed two small businesses in my life, one of which (in partnership with my brother David) lasted for seven years and had 25 employees when we sold it in 1999. So I understand payroll and payroll taxes and the legal requirement to file W-4 or 1099 or K-1 forms for every employee. Likewise, my wife is an employment attorney, and she certainly knows what documentation is required by law to define someone as an employee and making a salary.

      Alec Peters never had Axanar Productions issue him a W4, 1099, K-1, or any kind of tax form that would identify him to the IRS as an “employee” or “freelancer” or “equity partner” of any kind. Now, if you want to call it sloppy accounting, that’s fine. But it doesn’t change the fact that, in the eyes of the Internal Revenue Service, Alec Peters was never considered an employee of Axanar Productions. And when the shat hit the fans after the lawsuit was filed and Alec finally brought in Mike Bawden and a decent accountant, both took a look at the books and realized that Alec had put in way more than he took out (in what he’d called a “salary” in the 2015 annual report). And that meant that any money he took out not only COULD be called reimbursement but legally SHOULD be called a reimbursement. After all, there was never any tax form issued, so as far as the IRS was concerned, it was a reimbursement for expenses.

      And those expenses included things like tires and health insurance and sushi. Those were all things that Alec paid for with personal funds. When you finally see the financials (delayed, I am told, because one of the reviewers is dealing with a significant family health crisis at the moment, and nagging him to hurry up in reviewing over 2,800 individual payments, stubs, transactions, and receipts from everything from lumber and screws to furniture to computer and camera equipment to toilet paper just seems a little insensitive), but when you finally see those financials, you and all the detractors will NOT see “sushi” and “tires” and “health insurance” because those were all personal expenses. What you will see is 1) the total raised from donors, and 2) the amount spent on legitimate business expenses…which is slightly higher than the amount raised through contributions. And the difference is the money that Alec Peters has and continues to put in from his own savings.

      “Paying Tobias is the same as paying for the lumber for your sets, or paying a plumber to unclog the toilet in your studio (sorry, warehouse). Tobias did a job. This was NOT Alec Peters job! No one asked or hired him to make his vanity/hobby fan film (sorry, fully proffesional, independent Star Trek movie).”

      Okay, let’s hit Tobias first (not literally). In Hollywood, there are typically two classifications of payouts to individuals: above the line and below the line. As you can see from the list of jobs on the set (if you click the links), Tobias would be considered “below the line” and Alec would be considered “above the line.” What you won’t see on either web page is lumber or paying a plumber to unclog your toilets. Those are not considered the same way as salaries are in a production budget.

      I think your lack of familiarity with budgeting a Hollywood film is what led you to group Tobias in with a plumber and to discount Alec Peters’ role in the production. And before you say that Alec had no right to be paid anything or that he had no right to make a “Hollywood film” off of CBS’s intellectual property, remember that there were no rules forbidding it at the time (2014 and 2015) and that Alec had four different in-person meetings with CBS executives and even they never gave him guidance or told him he couldn’t make a fan film of the scope he was planning to. So Alec had no way of knowing that he would be sued before ever being called or contacted by CBS to share their concerns.

      So now, let’s take a look at your conjecture that “This was NOT Alec Peters job!” Here you’re just wrong. There’s no nicer or more polite way to say it, Daniel. Axanar was a project operating at an entirely different level than any other fan film with the possible exception of Renegades (which has taken in nearly $900,000 so far and was up to $375,000 when they released their 90-minute movie “Star Trek: Renegades”). Now, with most fan films, the show-runner might do a lot of work writing, editing, planning, helping to construct sets, and doing the actual filming (depending on how many hats he or she wears), but it’s usually at the level of what you called “a hobby.” They do a lot of work from home, go to the studio for a few days or weeks of filming, then back to the editing bay. Yes, it’s time-consuming, but it can be done in one’s spare time if one has a regular job to worry about. And if there’s a crowd-funding campaign, these productions are likely raising something in the four-figure or five-figure range. Only Star Trek Continues and Renegades (and Axaanr, of course) ever raised six-figures in a single crowd-funder. Not even New Voyages ever got to six-figures.

      To get to six-figures and, ultimately, to get to seven figures as Axanar did, requires a different kind of operation. And it requires a full-time executive producer who can make calls during business hours to key donors, news outlets, vendors, suppliers, and social media leaders (to name but a few). It takes traveling to conventions not just for fun but for business where you set-up and host panels, network, have meetings, man tables, develop new contacts, and essentially bust you ass for two or three or five days. I’ve watched Alec work at conventions and, trust me, it was WORK, not play. I once watched Alec sit on the phone with a big donor for 45 minutes and leave the call with an additional $5,000 donation over what the donor had already given. Can YOU manage something like that? I can barely get a few hundred extra dollars donated to Pacific 201 or Starship Republic!

      In short, Alec DID have a job: Executive Producer. And if you look that up, you’ll see it’s the person in charge of, among other things, bringing in money to complete a successful production. And it WAS a full-time job. And who hired Alec? I did…and 14,000 other donors did. We hired him to bring in over a million dollars to make the most kick-ass Star Trek fan film ever. And I’d hire him again in a second!

      As for violating the unwritten rule of “you can’t make money off your fan film,” as I said, ultimately Alec made zero. But even if you say that paying himself a “salary” qualifies as “making money,” the fact remains that he was not the first to make money from doing work for a fan film. New Voyages’ editor for “World Enough and Time” got paid $60,000. Star Trek Continues has paid over a hundred and sixty thousand dollars in salaries. Actors on numerous fan films have gotten paid. Writers have gotten paid. Prop-makers and costumers and make-up people have gotten paid. VFX people have gotten paid. Composers have gotten paid. Stunt coordinators have gotten paid. So it wasn’t like people working on “fan” films weren’t getting paid all the time when Alec decided that a full-time executive producer could also get paid. Remember, again, that these were the days BEFORE the lawsuit and guidelines when all anyone could do was guess at what would and wouldn’t piss off CBS. And as I said, it wasn’t like the studios didn’t know what Alec was doing all along. By the time of his final meeting with the studio execs, Axanar had already crossed the million-dollar milestone in crowd-funding.

      “And, Alec did do something that NO other fan film maker has done! He profited (made money) off of his project! Him, only him.”

      Technically, we don’t know that. Sky Conway or Tim Russ could have taken money for producing/writing/directing/starring in Star Trek: Renegades (the first movie). In fact, I’m guessing that Tim Russ did indeed get paid something because Renegades was a union production, and Tim is a member of both SAG and DGA (and possibly WGA). He’d have to get paid. It’s possible Vic Mignogna has gotten paid something for his work on STC. Possibly not. We don’t know for sure because STC has never published individual salaries…only the total salaries paid over three years, which was $165,000. Did any of that that ever go to Vic? I have no idea, nor do I care. Personally, I hope he did get paid something, as I think he’s done an incredible job!

      But the main point is that you can’t back up the claim that only Alec Peters has ever been paid, as a show-runner, for working on a Star Trek fan film. You just can’t…unless you’ve got all the financials from STC, Renegades, New Voyages, and all of the rest of the big-profile fan films.

      “Vic, who actually has a non profit corporation, IS transparent. He does not lie about it…”

      Again, a conjecture. I have no reason to think Vic is lying, but STC’s transparency has only extended, thus far, to the 10 line item totals in the summary of their 2013-2015 budget. We actually know a lot LESS about what STC has spent than we do about what Axanar spent on Prelude…and soon we will all also know what they spent on Ares Studios. This isn’t meant to knock STC at all. They don’t need to be completely transparent. No fan production does! And that’s why I find this confrontational attitude and sense of entitlement about being shown all of Axanar’s financials to be disingenuous on your part, Daniel. You’re holding Alec Peters to both a MUCH higher standard of transparency and a MUCH greater level of doubt than you are any other fan production. Call it what you will, but I call it a double-standard.

      “Alec Peters, who makes “inaccurate statements” about having a 501c3 corporation…”

      Alec never said he had a 501(c)(3) corporation, Daniel. If you can show me where he made this statement, I’ll take a look. But the only thing I ever saw him say was that Ares Studios (now Industry Studios) was operating as a non-profit organization…which is true. They’ve made no profit. Operating as a non profit is very different than being granted a 501(c)(3) designation by the IRS. You can operate as a non-profit all you want. In fact, you kinda need to for at least a year or so before the IRS will even consider granting you a tax exempt status.

      This is one of those places where I think your misunderstanding of tax-exempt status (or mixing it up with calling yourself a non-profit) is leading to incorrect conclusions…because I don’t recall Alec Peters ever claiming to already have 501(c)(3) status. To do so is actually illegal if you don’t have such a designation. But stating that you’re operating as a non-profit, well, there’s nothing at all wrong with doing that…regardless of whether you are tax exempt.

      “Even this “non profit” that Alec Peters Inaccurately claimed he had paid him a salary!”

      Non-profits are allowed to pay salaries, Daniel. I worked for a non-profit once and got a very nice salary for a few months of freelance work. This is another case of you potentially having a misconception about the nature of and rules for a non-profit organization, or even a 501(c)(3)…which is also allowed to pay salaries, even to the owner(s).

      “You have answered nothing, and we ARE entitled to “proof”.”

      Dude, I’ve answered you more than I have answered nearly any other detractor. And I really am getting exhausted. I think most of my readers will agree that I’ve given you WAY more attention than you deserve, Daniel. But as I said, I really do think you simply don’t have a proper understanding about much that is making so angry…which is probably why it is making you so angry. And speaking on not understanding:

      “the moment he gave people the false impression he had a non profit corporation,”

      He does have a non-profit corporation, Daniel; it’s not a false impression.

      “the moment he started making public statements that were not true”

      People seem to believe that Alec Peters lied. Did he tell you that you could keep your own doctor and stay on the same insurance plan under his healthcare reform? I think you believe that Alec Peters lied because you’ve been told he lied, not because he actually did.

      “the moment he publically accused other we were entitled to the truth, to proof.”

      And this really does not compute either. The moment he accused other…other what? And what did he accuse them of? And even if he did accuse someone of something, what does that have to do with you being entitled to anything? Personally, I think you’re entitled to nothing. Alec believes the donors are entitled to see how their money was spent, though, so I’ll provide that information here, as well, when it’s released. But it’s not because “you deserve it,” Daniel. Just the opposite, in fact. I’m really just hoping it’ll finally shut you up. And yes, I know that’s rude and I should apologize, but it’s also the truth, and I won’t apologize for the truth.

      Unfortunately, it’s also true that I believe that nothing will ever shut the detractors up. I’m convinced that even if the Axanar financials had details down to $130 spent on nails, there would be people saying, “How could nails possibly cost $130???? He’s hiding something!!!” And someone else would say, “I know from experience that screws are stronger than nails. Why would someone claiming to be building high quality sets possibly buy nails and not screws? This whole report is phony!”

      And that’s why you won’t be seeing 2,800 line items in the report…and I’m actually glad about that. I don’t want to have to explain why nails cost $130. (Oh, and by the way, I have no idea how much they spent on nails. I’m just giving an example and making it up. In fact, I believe nails would be grouped under materials costs which, themselves, are probably just a collection of all the receipts from countless trips to Lowe’s and Home Depot.)

      And now, Daniel. I’m done. Please don’t ever say I haven’t answered your questions again or I will be forced to demand that you chop down every tree in this forest with a herring!

      1. Even if everything you say is true, the difference between STC, NV, Renegades, and Axanar is that all the productions released a finished product, except Axanar. Axanar raised $1.4 million and has nothing to show for it. Alec said “The Indiegogo money was for a third of Axanar, not the whole thing!”

        OK, where is the third of the movie?? Axanar is flat broke! Why are they having to hold their hats out AGAIN? They raised over $500,000 on Indiegogo. Where’s the money?? The props aren’t done, the costumes aren’t done, the sets aren’t done, the first third of the movie’s not done – WHERE IS THE MONEY?

        1. Oh, that’s an easy one, Jo. The one thing you left out is that Axanar was also the only one to get sued. When the subpoena arrived, Axanar was about 5-6 weeks away from the start of filming. I know this because I was trying to clear time when I could go up there to watch some of the filming, which would need to happen on a weekend day because I couldn’t spend enough time in Valencia on a weekday and still make the 60-75 minute trip back to pick up Jayden from school. (We don’t have a regular babysitter, so I was trying to line up friends and grandparents and godparents to cover Jayden-watching duty if Wendy had to work…which she usually does on weekends.)

          So Axanar was going to begin filming about 30-40 minutes worth of the final film with about $250,000 available. The sets were built and looked amazing. Most of them just needed to be painted. The costumes weren’t finished yet because final casting choices hadn’t yet been made (those announcements were coming, like, days after the subpoena was filed). You don’t complete your costumes until you have proper measurements for the actors, and if you don’t have final selections of actors yet, then you don’t have measurements and, therefore, you don’t have finished costumes. Some costume pieces were done, like parts of the Klingon uniforms that didn’t require sizing, such as the boot covers. But the majority of the costumes were waiting for measurements once casting was complete.

          Some aspects of the final production were still chosen to be finished up, like the visual effects. Those VFX had already been started and were well underway when the lawsuit happened, and it was easier to just finish those up, as Tobias Richter had cleared his schedule to do them and was being paid for the work. It would be unfair to suspend the project without warning and take away the income he was expecting when he didn’t have any other paying work coming in during the period he’d cleared in his schedule. Likewise, certain upgrades to the studio were already scheduled to happen, like installing the lighting grid. There was no reason to delay that.

          But most aspects of the actual production, those could be suspended pending the resolution of the lawsuit–such as completing work on the sets and props, and final tailoring of the costumes. Why suspend production at all and not just go full-speed ahead? After all, it was just a little multi-million-dollar lawsuit. Why not just ignore it and complete the fan film anyway? After all, that’s what the donors paid for.

          Obviously, I’m being sarcastic. And there’s a general misunderstanding among detractors that Alec had the option of just surrendering, shutting everything down (which would result in no Axanar, of course), and the lawsuit would magically disappear. It doesn’t work like that, though. Alec had thirty days to respond to the complaint. If he hadn’t, the judge would have rendered a summary judgment for the plaintiff and determined damages, which not only could have stretched into the tens of millions of dollars but could also have been extended to all the “unnamed John Doe’s” mentioned in the initial complaint. Richard Hatch, Gary Graham, Tony Todd, J.G. Hertzler, and Kate Vernon could have been on the hook for legal penalties, along with Christian Gossett, Robert Meyer Burnett, even Tommy Kraft (yep, the one who’d just completed Stat Trek: Horizon and also worked on Prelude to Axanar). All of these people could have found themselves smacked with legal penalties had Alec not managed to find a law firm and defend himself.

          “Oh, but the studios would have dropped that lawsuit if only Alec had caved,” you say. Well, not necessarily, You see, during those 30 days between the subpoena arriving on Alec’s desk and the deadline for filing a response, Alec reached out to CBS and Paramount five separate times asking to meet and discuss the situation. He received no response to any of his attempts. Had the studios intended to just drop the case if he cried uncle, they weren’t sharing that secret. Maybe they just wanted him to sweat and would have responded in the sixth try, but Alec had no way to read their mind. So Alec did the only thing he thought he could: he lawyered up.

          Once Winston & Strawn were on board, they strongly recommended NOT proceeding with production…at least for the time being. Their reason was simple. Prelude to Axanar had the unique distinction of being made in mockumentary format which, as I’ve explained many times during the course of the lawsuit, provided a critical element to Alec’s defense: transformativeness of based on, among other things, format. Regardless of how the judge ultimately ruled, this decision was mad way back in February of 2016 at the beginning of the lawsuit. And Prelude was seen as very defensible. However, a full Axanar movie (or even a third of one) created in dramatic format would not have the same designation as a mockumentary and would, therefore, be much more difficult to defend in court. Whether a new lawsuit were to be filed for the Axanar movie or whether the plaintiffs would decide to amend their original complaint to include it, the Winston & Strawn legal team felt the most legally prudent move was to suspend all new production until the case either resolved in court or settled.

          And so that $250,000 or so was not spent on the production, although part of it was spent on the lighting grid installation, upgrade to the electrical, and a few other smaller things. The rest went into rent and utilities during the hiatus. And those expenses ran about $15,000/month and were contractual obligations. (And don’t say, “Well, Alec shouldn’t have built his own studio in the first place!” Hillary Clinton shouldn’t have used a private e-mail server. Hindsight is 20/20. No one knew at the beginning of 2015 that Axanar would get sued 11 months later.)

          And so, yes, that $250,000 is now gone. Shat happens. So if and when Alec and the team decide to make the half hour of Axanar that they’ve been permitted to by the settlement, they will have to seek out private funding and donations. And I’ve got at least $100-$200 of my own money waiting to donate.

          Thanks for playing.

  13. Jonathan Lane said:
    —————
    “Alec never said he had a 501(c)(3) corporation, Daniel. If you can show me where he made this statement, I’ll take a look. But the only thing I ever saw him say was that Ares Studios (now Industry Studios) was operating as a non-profit organization…which is true. They’ve made no profit. Operating as a non profit is very different than being granted a 501(c)(3) designation by the IRS. You can operate as a non-profit all you want. In fact, you kinda need to for at least a year or so before the IRS will even consider granting you a tax exempt status.”

    Except from EVERY indication Alec Peters has NEVER operated ‘Axanar Productions as a non-profit organization. He’s never had a Board of Directors (required) – and he, and he alone has decided who/what has gotten paid using pledged fan funds from Kickstarter and Indegogo (and that’s per his and others sworn depositions that were made public.

    So, yeah, someone’s not relaying accurate statements here – namely you when it comes to Axanar Productions operating as a non-profit orginization per 501(c) rules – even though they haven’t (and I personally doubt they ever will as Axanar production – although claiming such a filing was coming months prior to, and then again during the lawsuit – has YET to file for 501(c) status.

    1. “Except from EVERY indication Alec Peters has NEVER operated ‘Axanar Productions as a non-profit organization.”

      The following quote is from the Wikipedia entry on non-profit organizations:

      Designation as a nonprofit does not mean that the organization does not intend to make a profit, but rather that the organization has no ‘owners’ and that the funds realized in the operation of the organization will not be used to benefit any owners. The extent to which an NPO can generate surplus revenues may be constrained or use of surplus revenues may be restricted.

      Alec does not own Axanar Productions and has never claimed to,. Also, the above quote does NOT mean that NPOs cannot pay salaries. Scroll down to the “Competition for talent” section on that Wiki entry:

      NPOs are encouraged to pay as much as they are able and offer a low-stress work environment that the employee can associate him or herself positively with. Other incentives that should be implemented are generous vacation allowances or flexible work hours.

      Aside from the “low-stress” part, Axanar Productions was pretty much offering all of the above.

      “He’s never had a Board of Directors (required)”

      Um, exsqueeze me? Axanar Productions does indeed have a Board of Directors, my friend! Sheesh, correcting these alt-facts is like playing frickin’ WHACK-A-MOLE!!!

      “…and he, and he alone has decided who/what has gotten paid using pledged fan funds from Kickstarter and Indegogo (and that’s per his and others sworn depositions that were made public.”

      Not entirely true for every decision, but essentially true for most. For example, I know Diana Kingbury pretty much oversaw expenses for the perks and fulfillment. But hey, companies and organizations with Boards of Directors usually have a CEO or some other chief officer/director/manager who makes the day-to-day executive decisions, including deciding who gets paid what and which purchases are approved. There’s nothing wrong with that. My brother and I made pretty much every spending decision and salary determination for our company for seven years, despite being incorporated with a Board of Directors for six of those years. If Alec didn’t make those decisions, whom do you think should have? Diana? Robert Meyer Burnett? A council of 14,000 donors? Get real, dude. Alec was Executive Producer; that was his job.

      “So, yeah, someone’s not relaying accurate statements here…”

      I hope you realize now that’s it’s actually you, Armsman, right?

      “when it comes to Axanar Productions operating as a non-profit orginization per 501(c) rules”

      The rules don’t apply until they receive the 501(c)(3) tax exempt designation. Before that, it’s simply guidelines that help when applying for the status.

      “even though they haven’t (and I personally doubt they ever will as Axanar production – although claiming such a filing was coming months prior to, and then again during the lawsuit – has YET to file for 501(c) status.”

      The filing, I am told, is nearly ready. The person facilitating that process (a professional who helps companies with those kinds of filings) was going back and forth with the California Attorney General’s office trying to get one final piece of paperwork cleared so Axanar Productions could finally file. It’s been a long and frustrating wait, to be sure. Hopefully, Armsman, you’ll be able to let go of some of your anger and resentment (and alt-facts) once the tax-exempt application is finally filed.

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