And while everyone ELSE talks about Industry Studios…let’s look at some WILDFLOWERS!

Yesterday, as many of you probably already know, ALEC PETERS broke the Internet by making this announcement.  Although the INDUSTRY STUDIOS Indiegogo campaign has raised $20,000 and still has 14 days to go, it looks like it will fall far short of the $60,000 goal (or their six-figure stretch goals).  And this has necessitated some hard decisions on the part of Alec, his team, and a few key donors.

It’s also led to a flurry of activity, accusation, and antagonism (I love alliteration!) on the part of the Axanar/Alec “detractor brigade”…along with a whole bunch of rumors that I’ve seen spring up like, well, like wildflowers during a California super-bloom!

And speaking of wildflowers, I’ve had a wonderful spring break vacation with my family this past week.  We visited Santa Barbara, Solvang, and finally Pismo Beach.  And this past Wednesday, while Wendy and Jayden enjoyed a lovely beach day, I took the car and drove 200 miles round trip to Carrizo Plain National Monument…a.k.a. “the middle of nowhere.”  Paved roads are a rarity there, but in a good rain year, the wildflowers can be stunning!  And this year, the bloom was indescribable…except through photos (and not even then, because you can’t smell photos).

So what do wildflowers and dirt roads have to do with Star Trek fan films and Industry Studios?  Absolutely nothing!  But unfortunately, the timing of Alec’s announcement corresponded with the final two days of our family vacation along the scenic Central California coast.  Today we drive 190 miles down US 101 back to L.A.  Then we unpack.

And while I have a lot to say about the breaking Industry Studios news and the crazy rumors (like eviction or that there never really was a landlord—sheesh, really???), I just don’t have the time at the moment…I have to pack up my computer in just a few more minutes!  Also, the situation itself is still developing and unfolding, and new details will be coming over the next few days and weeks.

So yes, expect some coverage here on Fan Film Factor with Jonathan’s usual colorful commentary.  But for right now—since it’s my blog and there’s no rules about what I can feature—I’d like to invite you to enjoy a different kind of colorful commentary and enjoy a sampling of 45 (out of 600!!!) of the best wildflower photos that I took at Carrizo Plain last Wednesday.  Just click on any of the images below…

A day-trip to the middle of nowhere yielded one of my best wildflower picture days ever!

Posted by Jonathan Lane on Friday, April 7, 2017

RENEGADES releases the trailer for “THE REQUIEM, PART 2” and seeks $80,000!

By now, you’re probably aware of how Star Trek: Renegades became RENEGADES: THE SERIES on the day the new fan film guidelines were announced…and how they surgically removed all traces of Star Trek from their Star Trek fan film.

But the show must go on!  And filming completed for both Parts 1 and 2 of the first full episode of Renegades, “The Requiem,” after the release of the initial 90-minute pilot.

Starring Walter Koenig as an aging admiral named “Pavel” with a strong Russian accent, Nichelle Nichols as another unnamed admiral, and Tim Russ (who also directed it) as the Confederation Security Chief Kovok—plus a half dozen other Star Trek acting veterans from various series—“The Requiem, Part 1” was already completed and released and can be viewed here.

Now the time has come to finish post-production on Part 2, and that means another round of crowd-funding.  Their first round of crowd-funding for “The Requiem” (called episodes 2 and 3 at the time) came via Kickstarter at the end of 2015 and raised more than $378,000!  That covered production (sets, costumes, make-up, actors, production crew, equipment, studio, etc.) but not post-production (visual effects, sound, music, color balancing, editing, etc.).

A separate crowd-funding campaign for post-production was held using Indiegogo last August with a goal of $60,000 for “The Requiem, Part 1” and $150,00 for the completion of both episodes.  And they nearly made it!  A total of $138,580 was raised…allowing them to complete and release “Part 1” and nearly complete Part 2.

So let’s see, doing the math, Renegades needed $150,000 and raised just over $138,000.  So that leaves…$80,000???  Yeah, you were probably gonna say $12,000, but this is crowd-funding math!

Aw, I’m just teasing…although Renegades really is asking for another $80,000.  But like certain other fan productions (you know the one I’m talking about), when you’ve done successful crowd-funding, there’s always room for scope-creep, and Renegades is promising lots more than originally planned:

We are seeking post-production funding to expand and finish our visual FX work, and to finish up the audio, mixing and color correction. This campaign will also allow us to add many new VFX shots to enhance the story and dramatically increase the visual production value – if you’ve viewed part one, you’ve seen what an amazing job the team has done with the effects! Renegades: the Requiem is so close to public release, and we are eager to offer the dramatic conclusion to the film. Spoiler alert: the Renegades universe will never be the same!

You can donate by clicking on this link.

This time out, they’re doing their own internal crowd-funding campaign (no Kickstarter or Indiegogo) with some great perks.  And in just two days, they’re already raised more than 10% of their goal!  Please consider making a donation if you can.

And if you’re on the fence, this trailer for Part 2 should definitely put you in the mood to open your wallet!

 

VOYAGER CONTINUES releases its latest short episode “DERELICT”!

In the genre of Star Trek fan films, the universe (quadrant?) of the series Voyager is a rare setting.  But one stalwart fan believes that the indomitable Intrepid-class starship, lost for seven years in the Delta Quadrant, is the perfect subject matter for a Trek fan production.

I interviewed David Whitney of STARFLEET STUDIOS as he was completing post-production on his first VOYAGER CONTINUES project: STAR TREK: RAVEN, which debuted last October as a 32-minute fan film.  That film concentrated on events in the Alpha Quadrant during the time that Voyager was missing but ended with a scene on Voyager itself.

Now, half a year later, David just released his second effort, a 9-minute short film titled “Derelict.”  This one focuses on two members of the crew—Harry Kim and Seven-of-Nine—on board a, you guessed it, derelict spacecraft. And while Raven used mostly green screen sequences where actors were composited against virtual backgrounds created in CGI, “Derelict” uses practical (physical) sets with consoles that had originally been created for and used by the television series Stargate Atlantis!  (Those were provided to David Whitney by Glen L. Wolfe of the Trek fan series The Federation Files.)

“Derelict” a relatively small production, with only two actors who appear on screen along with two brief voice-over sequences.  One of the voice-overs is a captain’s log from Kathryn Janeway that will stop you in your tracks wondering if a fan film somehow managed to convince Kate Mulgrew to appear!  But in fact, it’s actually the voice of a male actor named Liam Holwarth-Mulgrew (he legally changed his name to add the “Mulgrew”) who does one of the best Janeway impressions you’ve ever heard.

Starfleet Studios is based in Iowa and doesn’t have the resources that some other fan productions do—like elaborate studios and professional or semi-professional actors and production crew.  In fact, “Derelict” was filmed almost entirely in a garage!  That said, if you celebrate fan films as I do, then you view projects like this for all that they DO accomplish, often with very limited budgets and resources.

So take a look…

STAR TREK CONTINUES releases their eighth episode: “Still Treads the Shadow”!

Once again, STAR TREK CONTINUES proves itself the undisputed king of the Trek fan film genre.  This isn’t meant as a slight against any other fan film or series.  It’s simply that STC‘s eight full episodes just get better and better and are all but flawless in their interpretation of classic Star Trek.  They tell stories that are both well-written and extraordinarily well-produced and well-directed…with excellent editing, musical scoring, visual effects, costumes, make-up, lighting, and of course, meticulously recreated TOS sets.

“Still Treads the Shadow” was written by Judy Burns, a professional Hollywood screenwriter and producer with a long list of credits.  And her very first one was as co-writer for the third season TOS episode “The Tholian Web”…which should be kept in mind as fans watch this latest episode from STC.  (No spoilers!)  Also of note is a guest appearance by Battlestar Galactica series regular Rekha Sharma (one of the final five “sleeper” Cylons), who has an extensive list of Hollywood television roles.  The episode was directed be Julian Higgins, who also directed the sixth episode of Star Trek Continues, “Come Not Between the Dragons.”  Both episodes were magnificently directed.

In the finest traditions of Star Trek, this latest episode provides wonderful literary themes that serve to richly enhance the viewing experience.  The title, “Still Treads the Shadow,” is taken from poetic masterpiece The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.  A passage from that epic poem is quoted during the episode, and I highly recommend that you click that link I just provided and (re)read that classic work (especially if you skipped reading it in high school!).  It will provide some interesting insights into the symbolic “ancient mariner” who appears in this episode.

So now the question is: what will CBS and Paramount do…if anything?  STC has now finished production on its final four episodes (this being the first of them) and plans to release all of them over the next several months.  And although the $200,000 in crowd-funding was completed shortly before the new fan film guidelines went into effect, the run-time of this episode is 54 minutes (longer thsn 15 minute), it’s part of a continuing fan series, it features paid professionals including alumni of studio-based Star Trek productions (including writer Judy Burns and star/executive producer Vic Mignogna himself, who worked on Star Trek Online), and of course, it has the words “Star Trek” in the title.

The STC folks hope that they’ll be permitted to complete their run, having told me in a conversation last August that the guidelines don’t say that a production WILL be sued if it fails to follow all of the guidelines, only that it WON’T be sued if it does follow all of the guidelines.  Fingers crossed that they’re correct!

In the meantime, “Still Treads the Shadow” premiered yesterday at the Fan Expo Dallas convention with a sneak preview for donors.  But now it’s available for everyone.  Enjoy…

RENEGADES “The Requiem, Part 1” now available for free public viewing…mostly!

You might recall back in February that I posted that RENEGADES: THE SERIES (formerly known as Star Trek: Renegades) had released the first part of its two-part debut episode “The Requiem”…but only to donors at a minimum $35 contribution level.

Having been a donor myself, I was able to watch and enjoy the 25-minute long, professionally-made fan production (no, that is NOT an oxymoron!) that starred Walter Koenig as an admiral named “Pavel” and Nichelle Nichols as another unnamed admiral of the “Confederation of Planets.”  The episode also featured a number of other veteran Star Trek actors, including Tim Russ (who also directed the episodes), Cirroc “Jake Sisko” Lofton, Aron “Nog” Eisenberg, Terry “Jadzia” Farrell, Robert “Chakotay” Beltran, and Gary “Soval” Graham.

The new fan film guidelines forced the production to surgically remove all references to the Star Trek universe, but if you go into it with the right mindset, you can kinda mentally edit those changed elements back into a Star Trek narrative.  Or you can try to watch it as an original creative reality unto itself.  Your choice.

Of course, that required one to actually watch it, which was not possible for non-donors…until today.  The ATOMIC NETWORK, which is distributing Renegades, is now offering “The Requiem, Part 1” for FREE exclusively on their website:

http://www.atomicnetwork.tv

There’s just one catch: you have to first sign up for their newsletter by providing your e-mail and SMS (mobile) phone number.  There’s no other commitment, though, and it’s not like you’re signing up for something you’re completely not interested in.  According to their website:

Atomic Network is a premium on-demand streaming service catering to techies, early adapters and sci-fi, fantasy, horror and pop culture enthusiasts. We offer a wide variety of pay-per-view scripted series and advertiser-supported non-fiction programs. At Atomic, there’s always something new for our audience of techies, Trekkies, geeks and gamers — our kind of peeps!

Hey, this could be the start of something big!  In fact, one of their other upcoming sci-fi series, Cozmo’s (starring Voyager‘s Ethan Philips with a cameo by Robert Picardo), is worth checking out the trailer for on this web page.

In the meantime, “The Requiemm, Part 1” has been released to the general public just in time for a new crowd-funding campaign to complete the final bit of work on Part 2.  According to a recent announcement:

Part two is shot, edited and in post production. We are so close! But we need to raise a little more to finance the final mixing, color correction and VFX. 

This final crowd-funding campaign will launch on April 5, and if successful, the producers promise a completed Part 2 within 60 days of reaching their funding goal.  Exciting!

FIRST FRONTIER releases it newest trailer! (Interview with KENNY SMITH, Part 3)

Last time (and the time before that), we began chatting KENNY SMITH, the passionate Star Trek fan who is self-funding his own fan film.  But it’s not just any Star Trek fan film!  STAR TREK: FIRST FRONTIER is getting fans excited in ways that few other fan films have recently, and there’s several reasons for that.

First, it’s one of the few fan productions recently to build elaborate sets of professional studio quality.  Second, Kenny has hired professional SAG (Screen Actors Guild) Hollywood actors to portray his characters.  Third, Kenny has brought in industry professionals to handle production, construction, and visual effects.  Fourth, he’s going where no fan film has gone before: to the launch of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701 under the commander of its first captain, Robert April, who is married to the ship’s Chief Medical Officer (a fact established in April’s only canonized appearance in the animated episode “The Counter-Clock Incident”).  And finally, Kenny and his construction team built an incredible 11-foot model of the starship Enterprise in its earlier pre-Kirk iteration…a model which is being used to shoot visual FX the old-fashioned way.

Although Kenny tried to do a Kickstarter to raise $130K, he only got to $30K and then canceled it entirely—leaving him with zero in crowd-funding.  Instead, Kenny decided to pay for everything himself.  So I just had to ask him…

JONATHAN – If you funded this whole project yourself, Kenny, how much has it ended up costing you in total?

Continue reading “FIRST FRONTIER releases it newest trailer! (Interview with KENNY SMITH, Part 3)”

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.

MELBOURNE releases PART 1 of its first full episode “STORM FRONT”!

Lately, there’s been a lot of stuff coming out of STARBASE STUDIOS (all of it made before the recent move from Oklahoma City, OK to Harrison, Arkansas).  This recent explosion of fan films has included: “Chain of Command”Star Trek: The Federation Files– “His Name is Mudd”, Starship Valiant – “Crosses to Bear”, Starship Republic – “Serpent of Yesterday”, and a pair of super-short vignettes “Pen Pals” and “Pen Pals 2”.

The last two short fan films were also teasers for the latest production made at STARBASE STUDIOS…a new fan film (possibly series) called MELBORNE.  And no, the word “Starship” is not in the title—unlike many other projects.

Melbourne is the brainchild of VANCE MAJOR OWEN, a filmmaker from Kansas who also plays Chief Engineer Minard on Starship Valiant.  From its debut episode, it looks as though Melbourne is set somewhere between the end of Kirk’s five-year mission and the beginning of Star Trek: The Motion Picture…featuring starship and uniform elements from both (apparently in a very purposeful way).

I’ll be featuring a full interview with Vance in a few weeks.  But for now, please enjoy Part 1 of Melbourne‘s first full episode debut, “Storm Front”…

FIRST FRONTIER releases it newest trailer! (Interview with KENNY SMITH, Part 2)

Last time, I began chatting with KENNY SMITH, the show-runner behind the eagerly-anticipated fan production STAR TREK: FIRST FRONTIER.  This exciting project will feature the first-ever commander of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701, Captain Robert April and his crew on their maiden voyage directly from dry dock.

Everything about this production looks amazing!  From the costumes to the sets to the 11-foot model of the USS Enterprise constructed specifically to create amazing-looking visual effects.

In Part 1, we learned how Kenny had become a convention promoter, working with most of the main cast members from the various Star Trek series, and also how he made connections with various people in the entertainment industry.  This led to finding a producer to help him bring his fan film script to life.

We continue this great interview by looking into some of the other exciting aspects of this fan film, the selection of cast and production crew members, and exploring why Kenny decided not to use donated crowd-funding to help produce this project…

Continue reading “FIRST FRONTIER releases it newest trailer! (Interview with KENNY SMITH, Part 2)”

STARSHIP REPUBLIC shares plot SECRETS and announces plans for more crowd-funding!

As reported here last month, STARSHIP REPUBLIC, one of the newest fan series to come out of STARBASE STUDIOS,  was trying to raise $16,000 in an Indiegogo campaign.

They didn’t make it.  They took in only 15% of their goal, leaving the future of the project in doubt.

Yesterday, an update went out to donors announcing plans for a second crowd-funding campaign, but this time, the production would be sharing more details about its story line to try to increase interest.

It’s actually an intriguing move for a fan film.  Most fan filmmakers wrestle with how much of their story to reveal and how much to keep “secret” to avoid spoilers and ruining surprises for the viewers.  Most fan producers, when they crowd-fund, share only the barest details, despite potential donors requiring specifics before they contribute because they want to know exactly what they’re supporting.  (Not all donors are so demanding, but I know of several producers who have told me of receiving messages from potential donors saying they refused to give anything unless they were told more about the plot and story.)

What makes the decision by Starship Republic‘s show-runner Ray Tesi to unveil “secrets” to donors so intriguing is the fact that the plot going forward to SO much more expansive than anything that was hinted at in their first 9-minute vignette release “Serpent of Yesterday.”  Although set in the TOS era, upcoming plans for the project incorporate flashback elements from the Star Trek: Enterprise era as well as scenes which will take place in the movie-era time frame.

I actually knew most of this from my interview with Ray Tesi, but he asked me not to reveal anything, despite the details being quite exciting.  However, now the Kzinti is very much out of the bag, and Ray is the one who released it.  Here’s what he said…

Continue reading “STARSHIP REPUBLIC shares plot SECRETS and announces plans for more crowd-funding!”