STAR TREK: DARK ARMADA, Part 2 (2010 to 2016)

dark-armadaIn Part 1, we began our ten-year journey with the crew of STAR TREK: DARK ARMADA, a fan series out of the Netherlands created by Robin Hiert.  Inspired by the early green screen fan series Star Trek: Hidden Frontier, Dark Armada attempted to build on the Chroma-keying advances of its predecessor to take low-budget, virtual set Star Trek fan films one step farther to make scenes appear even more realistic in a constrained green screen filming environment.

Gathering together a group of semi-professional fan filmmakers from the Netherlands and Belgium in 2005, Fan Trek Productions (as they called themselves) began filming their first episode in 2006 and released it later that year.  The 8-minute episode “These Are the Voyageswas intended to be more of a learning activity than an actual pilot.  Their first “real” episode (the 13-minute “Worst Nightmare“) would premiere two and a half years later in early 2009, to be followed shortly thereafter by the 15-minute “Choices, part one” toward the end of 2009.  By that point, more than 40 different production people were working on a single episode, and the quality had increased considerably.

And that’s where we left off.  As we enter 2010, Dark Armada owes its fans a sequel to “Choices, part one” plus an explanation of why exactly the series is named “Dark Armada…”

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ALEC PETERS discusses AXANAR’S FINANCIALS and his REVIEW COMMITTEE! (Interview)

Readers of the FAN FILM FACTOR comments sections know that I’ve spent months begging ALEC PETERS, executive producer for AXANAR, to discuss his production’s financials with me on an interview.  A few weeks ago, he finally agreed!  This is NOT that interview.

That interview is still coming.  Before I conduct it, I want to invite interested people to submit questions to me that I can then present to Alec.  (Yes, that means detractors, too.  Just be aware that questions that are rude and belligerent won’t make it past the airlock.  You have a question you want Alec Peters to answer?  Fine.  Just be polite when you ask it.  It IS possible, folks.)  I’ll be inviting people to submit questions to me next week after Alec releases his financial summary to donors–and therefore, to the public–and folks have had a chance to review it.  No sense in asking questions when you haven’t seen the document yet (so stop typing, people!).

In preparation for what’s coming next week, I sent Alec a few questions via e-mail a few days ago, asking him to provide some information about the upcoming financial summary, how it is organized, and a little about the committee that was assembled to review it.  Those answers just came back from Alec, so I’m copy-pasting them here to share with all of you (along with some brief IMing I just did to clarify a few points)…

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STAR TREK: DARK ARMADA, Part 1 (2005 to 2009)

To quote Scotty, “I’ve always held a sneaking admiration for this one.”  Actually, my admiration for the efforts of Fan Trek Productions (out of the Netherlands) has never exactly been “sneaking.”  These “semi-professional” (their words) fan filmmakers have consistently turned out really impressive, self-funded episodes of their fan series.  And now, after ten years, that series, STAR TREK: DARK ARMADA, has released its final episode.

But that’s only the beginning!

I’ll explain that unusual comment in Part 2, but first, let’s take a look back at a decade of a truly remarkable fan series…

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THE LISTENER: SPECTRAL AWAKENING a.k.a. “Guinan: The Series” (Interview with ALIZA PEARL) – Part 3

listener-3In Part 2, ALIZA (uh-LEE-zuh) PEARL, the co-writer and star of THE LISTENER: SPECTRAL AWAKENING  told us about how the series title was changed from Guinan: The Series even before the release of the new fan film guidelines in order to be able to keep to the vision that she and her co-writer/director Lamar Perry wanted.

We also discussed her experiences filming their new trailer at Industry Studios (now Ares Studios) and the support that she and Lamar have received from Axanar show-runner Alec Peters.

And then I asked her this question…

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THE LISTENER: SPECTRAL AWAKENING a.k.a. “Guinan: The Series” (Interview with ALIZA PEARL) – Part 2

listener-5In Part 1, we got to meet ALIZA (uh-LEE-zuh) PEARL, the co-writer and star of THE LISTENER: SPECTRAL AWAKENING (the fan series formally known as Guinan: The Series).  Last week, we discussed Aliza’s background as an actor, writer, and producer and also the origins of her project with co-writer and director LAMAR PERRY.

When last we left off, I had just asked about their reaction when they saw the new fan film guidelines from CBS…

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THE LISTENER: SPECTRAL AWAKENING a.k.a. “Guinan: The Series” (Interview with ALIZA PEARL) – Part 1

listener-1Usually, I do features and interviews about fan films that are either complete and already released or at least have posted an enticing trailer or teaser. But not always. Occasionally there’s a gem out there that’s worth covering even at a very early stage of development.

In this case the gem is a pearl, ALIZA PEARL to be precise. (And it’s pronounced “uh-LEE-zuh.”) And this pearl has an alter-ego: Guinan. Yes, THAT Guinan…the one made famous by actor Whoopi Goldberg on six seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Aliza and her co-writer/director Lamar Perry set out to make a prequel to TNG focusing entirely on Guinan, her mysterious past, and the experiences that shaped her into the fascinating bartender and confidante of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D. The fan production was going to be called GUINAN: THE SERIES.

Then the fan film guidelines happened.

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Star Trek / Star Wars – A TALE OF TWO GALAXIES (feature)

coverAs you know from reading my many blogs, there’s a heck of a LOT of Star Trek fan films out there!  And thanks to the annual Lucasfilm Star Wars Fan Film Awards (which have been going on since 2002), there’s at least as many (if not more!) Star Wars fan films out there!

But surprisingly, there’s almost no crossover Star Trek/Star Wars fan films on the Internet. And it’s not as though the idea of crossing the franchise streams is completely alien. Fans have edited together scenes from both franchises to create clever mash-ups where the USS Enterprise battles a Star Destroyer or Captain Picard confronts Darth Vader over the view screen. But try to find a film where fans themselves portray the characters of both realities at the same time, and you’ll be looking for a long while.

Fortunately, you don’t have to look…I found one for you!

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The HISTORY of STAR TREK FAN FILMS…in PDF format!

a-brief-history-of-star-trek-fan-filmsEver since the AXANAR legal  team released my Executive Summary of “The History of Star Trek Fan Films” during the the discovery phase of the lawsuit, readers have been asking me to upload the document here on FAN FILM FACTOR.  And here it is!  Merry Christmas (or Happy Hanukkah).

I had initially written “The History of Star Trek Fan Films” to help out Alec Peters and Axanar.  At the time that the lawsuit was first filed a year ago, I didn’t yet understand the intricacies of the case as I do now…and so I almost immediately confused copyright with trademark.  I was wrong about that, and so my efforts wouldn’t help Alec win the case outright.  But my document would still end up being useful in helping to argue for non-willful infringement if the jury found Alec Peters guilty of infringement.

As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, willful infringement carries a penalty of $150,000 per violation.  Non-willful infringement carries penalties as low as $200 per violation.  So the difference between the two types of infringement in a verdict could literally be millions of dollars!  And how can my document help to prove non-willful infringement?

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Why STARBASE STUDIOS is moving to ARKANSAS…

CoverSTARBASE STUDIOS is moving from Oklahoma City to Arkansas!  And here’s why…
As you may have read in my blog about the history of Starbase Studios, these folks rescued the amazing TOS bridge set that had been built for the second Starship Exeter fan film “The Tressaurian Intersection.”  That meticulous 360-degree set had been rotting away for years in a barn near Austin, Texas, until it was transported to Oklahoma City and lovingly restored by a group of dedicated fans.
But these folks didn’t just restore the bridge set.  They turned it into an invaluable, one-of-kind resource for fan film producers.  Anyone was welcome to come and film anything they wanted on this bridge set (and, later, the additional sickbay and transporter room sets that would be constructed) for just the price of the electricity that was used (maybe $50/day).  Although there are two other studios in the U.S. featuring TOS sets on sound stages (Ticonderoga, NY for Star Trek: New Voyages and Kingsland, GA, originally for Starship Farragut and later for Star Trek Continues), those studio runners didn’t offer the same kind of open-door, come-any-time-you-want policy as Starbase Studios.

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DREADNOUGHT DOMINION and STARSHIP VALIANT cross-over in “CHAIN OF COMMAND”!

chain-of-command-dreadnought-dominion-and-svBack in April of 2015, a new Star Trek fan series called DREADNOUGHT DOMINION premiered with its initial episode, “Haunted.”  Three months later, a second episode, titled “Anchors Aweigh” (a bit of a prequel to the first episode), made its debut.  It wasn’t the only TOS-era fan series to feature the crew of a non-heavy cruiser class starship, but it was the first and only one to feature the crew of a Starfleet dreadnought-class starship based on the mid-1970s Franz Joseph Star Trek Technical Manual.

dreadnought-dominionThanks to a 3D model created by Kenneth Thomson, Jr. and Thomas Phong, the beauty shots of the tri-nacelled USS Dominion in the opening credits and during the episodes were gorgeous.  The two episodes were filmed primarily on the very impressive TOS sets in Starship Farragut’s Studio Two in Kingsland, GA (also the shooting location of Star Trek Continues).

A year earlier, another fan series, Starship Valiant, made its debut on YouTube with an introduction vignette titled “Legacy.”  Valiant was filmed using the TOS bridge set at Starbase Studios in Oklahoma City.  (The following year, a “special edition” version of “Legacy” with added footage was posted after Starbase Studios built a new sickbay set.)  Valiant has since completed principal filming on its second episode “The Ties That Bind,” although post production is still ongoing and the second episode hasn’t been released yet.

So what do these two fan series–filmed in different locations in different states during different years–have in common?  A man named Vance…

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