SOME PERSPECTIVE: a “BIG WIN” for AXANAR or “GAME OVER”? (Part 1)

Reality is not always kind or fair, and sometimes life hands you a Kobayashi Maru.  Over the past few days since ALEC PETERSannounced the departure of AXANAR PRODUCTIONS from INDUSTRY STUDIOS, there have been discussions, debates, and some knockdown/drag-out arguments.  Was money squandered?  Should Alec have just rented a studio or filmed the Axanar movie on the New Voyages TOS sets in upstate New York?  (Even Alec himself looks back and wishes he’d done that.)

But hindsight is a gift we are usually given way too late to act on it.  I should have bought Microsoft and Intel in 1991.  Hillary Clinton should have campaigned in Michigan and Wisconsin.  NBC should never have canceled Star Trek.

However, all the Monday-morning quarterbacking in the world doesn’t change the fact that there is an unpleasant reality right now for Alec Peters and Axanar Productions that must be dealt with, and it boils down to these four things…

Continue reading “SOME PERSPECTIVE: a “BIG WIN” for AXANAR or “GAME OVER”? (Part 1)”

FAN FILM GUIDELINES – Have you voted yet?

Last week, I invited folks to vote on just one of the fan film guidelines that they thought the SMALL ACCESS group should focus our energies on trying to convince the studios to revise.

Initially, we set out to encourage multiple changes simultaneously from CBS and Paramount and pretty much got nowhere.  And while we still have a veeeerrrrry steep mountain to climb, we might end up with a better chance of success asking for just one change rather than many.

And so we set up a survey over on the Small Access Facebook Group, and so far, we’ve had just under a hundred votes.  Two-thirds favor a focus on the second half of the first guideline: “…With no additional seasons, episodes, parts, sequels or remakes.”  And with about a quarter of the vote, the notorious 15-minute limit is currently in second place.

But there’s still time to vote because, to be honest, I haven’t had a chance to work on the next entry of my “FAN FILM GUIDELINES: Reality Check” blog series yet.  And since I’m on vacation next week (heading up the California coast with the family and my camera), there might be a solid two weeks left to vote.

Here’s the link for the poll if you haven’t voted yet or want to encourage others to:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/smallaccess/permalink/465593603781344/

And in the meantime, if you want to help me write the next entry in the blog series, how do YOU think we should proceed from here?  We’ve got 1,300 in the Small Access group…92 of which are bothering to vote.  We’re not exactly a “movement,” but we’re not entirely invisible either.  A full-on boycott with just 1,300 people is pretty meaningless, though.  And I doubt we’re going to convince every fan filmmaker out there to simply ignore the guidelines and risk getting sued.  So what else is there?

I have a few ideas, but I’m curious first to see what other people think.  Feel free to comment on this page or, if you’re a member of SMALL ACCESS (and if you aren’t–why not???) on that Facebook group page.

FAN FILM GUIDELINES: Reality Check (Part 5) – Betcha can’t choose just ONE…continued!

Last time, we began looking at all of the fan film guidelines one at a time, wondering if we could choose just one to present to the studios with a request for reconsideration.

Why choose just one?  Don’t we hate all of the guidelines?  Don’t we want everything to go back to what it was when the only rules were “Don’t charge to see your fan film” and “Don’t make any profit”?

Well, actually, no…at least I don’t feel that way anymore.  Actually, I never wanted to get rid of all of the guidelines, and I only ever thought that maybe four of them were truly problematic for fan films.  As I discussed in Part 2, the guidelines didn’t kill Star Trek fan films.  In fact, since the guidelines were announced last June, more than SIXTY Trek fan films have been released…some of which did not follow the new guidelines but many did.

And then in Part 3, I discussed how the guidelines weren’t a completely bad deal for fan producers.  By providing a safe harbor, much of the guesswork, uncertainty, and outright fear could be avoided by fans wanting to ensure they would not answer the door one day to a person holding a subpoena.  Of course, the guidelines are still very restrictive, but they are far from impossible to follow.

However, I still believe there is room left to improve the guidelines to make them less constraining for fans while still protecting the interests of the studios.  But the reality is that the more changes we fans try to get made to their guidelines, the less likely the studios will be to cooperate.  So last week and this week, I’m looking at all the guidelines in an attempt to choose just one to focus on—one little compromise.  If we can adjust just a single guideline, it’s still a win for fans…and we go from there.

But which one?

Last week, we quickly eliminated nearly half of the guidelines because they weren’t really problematic.  Then we began looking at the second group of guidelines, a category I called…

Continue reading “FAN FILM GUIDELINES: Reality Check (Part 5) – Betcha can’t choose just ONE…continued!”

It’s my party, and I’ll reply if I want to…

If you tend to read the comments sections of my blogs, you know that I get quite a lot of posts from Axanar detractors looking to accuse Alec Peters or Axanar of this or that crime or incompetence or atrocity.  Seldom do I trash any of these comments, and I usually provide some kind of response because, well, isn’t that what a blogger is supposed to do?

But lately, it just seems like I’m spending hours and hours each week just reading and responding to all of these angry and challenging posts, leaving me less time to focus on fan films and even my family.  Granted, I still prioritize the latter two over doing any kind of response writing, but that just means I write most of my responses really, really late at night.  Or sometimes I have a little time during the day and try to sneak a few responses in.

This happened yesterday afternoon as I was having a marathon session of dealing with detractors like Rand Johnson saying things like this:

Let me remind you that it was you who FIRST started being a condescending, egotistical, pompous, self-righteous, conceited, ego maniac, holier-than-thou, hotshot, puffed-up, self-centered, snobbish and stuck-up blogger who defends a man who made outlandish claims he was going to make a fan film then spent all the money on crap he did not need to make a fan film. Then you attacked anyone who criticized that man and your hero worship of that man. Or criticized you for promoting and defending that man who took donor money and used it as personal income to financially benefit himself and his associates.

Man, just reading that again exhausted me!  And that’s just one comment, folks.  I get so many.

But then I received a call that has changed everything…

Continue reading “It’s my party, and I’ll reply if I want to…”

FAN FILM GUIDELINES: Reality Check (Part 4) – Betcha can’t choose just ONE!

In Part 3, I acknowledged a very  inconvenient truth for many fans: CBS owns STAR TREK.  This is the reality we live in, and if we want to continue in our quest to change the Star Trek fan film guidelines, we need to accept that fact and strategically move forward from there.

Project: SMALL ACCESS began as a protest campaign to convince CBS and Paramount to revisit and revise their new guidelines for Star Trek fan films.  And we had a plan.  After several weeks of discussion and debate about all of the guidelines, employing surveys and gathering suggestions for possible changes/improvements, we came to (mostly) a consensus that only about a quarter of the new guidelines were really troublesome to the 1,200 members of our Facebook group who were involved in the discussion.  Another quarter only needed minor tweaking to make them less ambiguous, and nearly half were fine as is.

Our plan involved creating and then sending out copies of our Focus Group Report to CBS and Paramount executives as a sort of “letter-writing campaign” to begin a conversation with the studios in an attempt to create a better compromise of rules that still protected the studios but allowed fans more flexibility in creating their films than the guidelines were permitting.

The plan didn’t work.  Although we know the studios received and were aware of the 115 copies of the 38-page report that was sent (they acknowledged receiving them during questioning in the Axanar lawsuit depositions–so we know the printouts weren’t just thrown out unread), there has been no mention by the studios of revisiting or revising the guidelines at all.

Over the past few months, I’ve done some deep soul searching about what to do for “Plan B” (assuming there even is a “Plan B”…which I would still like there to be).  And then I realized something, and again, a number of you aren’t gonna like hearing it:

The more guidelines we try to convince the studios to revise, the less chance there is that they’ll want to change any.

Here’s why…

Continue reading “FAN FILM GUIDELINES: Reality Check (Part 4) – Betcha can’t choose just ONE!”

“Think of the children!” – Why I still believe in AXANAR!

Fan Film Factor has sorta become an unofficial meeting ground where Axanar supporters can get together, kick back, relax, and then tear into each other like rabid dogs.

Actually, we try to keep it mostly civil (with varying amounts of success and failure), but once every so often, a post comes along that just gets me a’typin’ and speakin’ my mind!

Such a comment came in early Friday morning from a detractor by the name of JO MOINE.  I had published a blog on Wednesday providing coverage of the recent donor memo issued by AXANAR PRODUCTIONS outlining their future plans and finally releasing their financial statement.  While some of the detractor comments were (not surprisingly) snarky, Jo Moine took it one step further.  She wrote:

Somehow that doesn’t make me feel any better. Can’t actually put my finger on why, though. Oh wait – Alec blew $1.4 million with little to show for it, and is asking for more money. Why would anyone think he would manage more money wisely at this point? If you are thinking of giving him more, Jonathan – please don’t. Think of the children!

“Think of the children!” she said.  Perhaps the comment was simply meant to be flippant, but having a six-year-old son myself, I seldom take any call to “think of the children” lightly.  And so I took a good, long look at myself…because what Jo was asking me to do had produced such a profoundly visceral reaction that I wondered why I felt so strongly.  Am I really just following a leader with my blinders on into financial oblivion?  Was I duped.  If I can’t justify my loyalty to this project and put the reasons into words, maybe I should just follow Jo’s advice…

So I asked myself: why am I still so loyal to Alec Peters?  Why am I and thousands of other Axanerds still so supportive of this project when there’s dozens and dozens of detractors out there badgering us to just walk away and belittling us almost constantly for refusing to do so?

It didn’t take long to come up with my answer.  And if you’ve been having any doubts of your own, or if you just want some reassurance that the detractors are, after all, completely wrong in their disdain for this project, this is what I wrote back to Jo Moine…

Continue reading ““Think of the children!” – Why I still believe in AXANAR!”

CORRECTION/CLARIFICATION – AXANAR PRODUCTIONS and INDUSTRY STUDIOS

On Wednesday evening, I posted an update about AXANAR PRODUCTIONS‘ plans for the future, and I included some information about Industry Studios operating as a non-profit entity and being entirely separate from Axanar Productions.  I then received a number of posted comments correcting me that the DONOR MEMO issued by ALEC PETERS stated that it was Axanar Productions and not Industry Studios that was going to be the non-profit entity.

Not wanting to have incorrect information on my blog site, I reached out to Axanar PR Director MIKE BAWDEN yesterday and asked him to clarify for me which entity was going to be the non-profit one and how they would interact with each other.  Understand that I’ve been talking to Alec and Mike about their plans for the past several weeks, but not in great detail.  And in fact, some things were still in flux until very recently (such as the timing of the launch of the Kickstarter).  So I’d gotten a few things stuck in my head in the wrong way that I’d subsequently reported incorrectly in my previous blog, and now it’s time to make sure I get everything right!

Continue reading “CORRECTION/CLARIFICATION – AXANAR PRODUCTIONS and INDUSTRY STUDIOS”

AXANAR FINANCIALS and FUTURE PLANS…plus YOUR chance to ASK ALEC PETERS!

And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for!  (Well, at least some of you were probably waiting for it.)  AXANAR PRODUCTIONS is finally answering that oft-asked question: what the heck did you spend $1.4 million on???  Obviously, it wasn’t all tires and sushi!  But did it really all go to turning a warehouse into a studio, building some sets, fulfilling a few (thousand) perks, and filming a 4-minute Vulcan scene plus 15 minutes of other visual effects?  Well, now you can finally find out for yourself.

Axanar has also released an update on its plans for the future–what the now 30-minute Axanar movie will look like, how the full Axanar story will manage to get told, what’s going to happen to Industry Studios, and whether Axanar Productions will be producing other Star Trek fan films after Axanar (and will they be following the guidelines…well, of course they will!).

There’s a full DONOR MEMO that’s been published on the Axanar website with the headline “Lay in a course for the future.”  I encourage you to read it in its entirety.  Here on Fan Film Factor, I am just going to present some of my own insights on those announcement plus a screen cap of the financials themselves at the end.

I have also been approved by ALEC PETERS to open up the blog comments section to collecting QUESTIONS FOR ALEC for him to answer.  But there are a few ground rules before you start feverishly typing:

  1. Questions must pertain to the contents of the donor memo: the Axanar financials and the plans for the future.  Questions about the lawsuit and what happened in the past just aren’t relevant to the topic(s) at hand.
  2. Not every question will be selected to give to Alec.  Rest assured that I’m not just going to cherry pick the “easy” ones, but I am going to pick the best ones that I think will give us all the most important information and clarifications.
  3. Don’t be a jerk.  Your question has a MUCH better chance of making it into the “finals” if you’re polite and don’t treat Alec like a swindler, con-man, liar, and rogue.

Post your question(s) in the comments section below, and in a few weeks, I’ll publish Alec’s answers to the questions that I select.

And now, here’s my take on the plans for Axanar Productions (from the memo) and the financial report…

Continue reading “AXANAR FINANCIALS and FUTURE PLANS…plus YOUR chance to ASK ALEC PETERS!”

FAN FILM GUIDELINES: Reality Check (Part 3) – THE INCONVENIENT TRUTH

At the end of Part 2, I said that, in order to move forward with our goal of getting CBS and Paramount to revisit and revise the fan film guidelines, some of us more–shall we say–passionate fans are going to have to face a very unpleasant, inconvenient truth.  And here it is:

CBS owns Star Trek.

I’m sorry, they just do.  And yes, I’ve heard all the arguments that it was the FANS who saved Star Trek and supported it all these years.  It was the FANS who spent billions of dollars keeping the franchise commercially viable, watching it on TV and in movie theaters, and buying an endless parade of licensed merchandise.  We fans MADE Star Trek what it is today!

You know who else made Star Trek what it is today?

Continue reading “FAN FILM GUIDELINES: Reality Check (Part 3) – THE INCONVENIENT TRUTH”

FAN FILM GUIDELINES: Reality Check (Part 2) – The DEATH of TREK FAN FILMS?

If you read Part 1, you know that I want to keep fighting for a change to the fan film guidelines issued last June by CBS and Paramount.  I’m not ready to give up.

You might remember that when those guidelines were first announced, they were met with cries of panic that the world of Star Trek fan films was doomed.  These guidelines would eliminate, destroy, even obliterate fan films.  (Yep, I used all of those words.)

And you know what?  I was wrong.

Rather than killing the medium of Star Trek fan films, the guidelines didn’t seem to have had much of a curtailing effect at all.  In fact, do you know how many Star Trek fan films have been released in the eight months SINCE the guidelines were announced last June?

Take a guess.

Continue reading “FAN FILM GUIDELINES: Reality Check (Part 2) – The DEATH of TREK FAN FILMS?”