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

Axanar’s INDUSTRY STUDIOS takes in $6,000 in its FIRST TWO HOURS!

And they’re off!

As previously announced, the Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign for INDUSTRY STUDIOS (formerly Ares Studios) in Valencia, CA is now live…and kicking butt, it seems!  With a stated goal of $60,000 to cover rent, utilities, insurance, off-site storage of sets (when not in use in order to clear the sound stage), payment processing fees, and perk production and fulfillment ONLY (no salaries), the new campaign had already taken in more than $6,0o0 (10% of their primary goal) in just the first two hours!

There was a question whether fans and donors would stay loyal to AXANAR (which will be filmed in Industry Studios) after the difficult year of 2016 was filled with legal proceedings and a parade of accusations and vitriol directed by detractors at Alec Peters, the man behind both Axanar and Industry Studios.  In fact, one detractor has recommended on Facebook that those wishing to “spread the truth” donate $1 so they can post critical comments to the campaign.  I don’t have confirmation that such a thing has happened yet, but it wouldn’t be particularly surprising…sadly.

So far, the momentum appears to be on the side of the donors and supporters.  The campaign has stated that the money raised will go toward helping to fund a facility that can be used for multiple fan, independent, and student films at little-to-no cost for the production itself.

It’s a very cool idea, and one that apparently already has the interest of one local Los Angeles film school.  Also, the campaign has finally revealed which non-Axanar production will be the first to use the studio.  For months, Alec Peters has been stating that’s he was in discussions with producers eager to use the studio…and both supporters and detractors were wondering who.  Now it’s been announced that this production will be Personal Space, which had starred the late Richard Hatch in its soon-to-be released first season.  Season two will be crowd-funding soon and be co-produced by Axanar Productions.

Keep in mind that none of the money raised in this campaign will go to fund the filming of the Axanar fan film (a stipulation of the legal settlement with CBS and Paramount).  Therefore, none of the perks offered have any Axanar anything (sorry if you wanted more patches, folks)…with one exception.  A special “Origins: Behind the Scenes of Axanar” documentary will be released on Blu-ray with footage and commentary on the making of Prelude, the “Vulcan Scene,” and the never-released Heroes vignette…as well as background info on the Four Years War.

It looks to be an exciting month!  You can find out more about the campaign and make a donation if you’d like by clicking this link:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/industry-studios-the-first-fan-funded-movie-studio-film

And you can watch the donor informational video below:

 

“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!”

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…

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

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

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

A FOLLOW-UP BLOG CORRECTING THIS ERROR APPEARS HERE.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading “It was actually CHEAPER for AXANAR PRODUCTIONS to BUILD a studio than to RENT one!”

An interview with AXANAR attorney ERIN RANAHAN

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

You know me and rumors, right?

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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading “An interview with AXANAR attorney ERIN RANAHAN”

ALEC PETERS discusses the AXANAR LAWSUIT and SETTLEMENT (Interview – Part 2)

In Part 1 of my interview with AXANAR executive producer ALEC PETERS,  we covered the past and the present.  We discussed what led up to the copyright infringement lawsuit from CBS and Paramount, what happened during the 13 months the lawsuit was progressing toward trial, and what led to the unexpected (to most of us, at least) settlement.

Now it’s time to transition toward a look into the future.  What exactly is Axanar allowed to do going forward, and what plans are there so far.  But first, there was one really important question that I think a lot of people–donors and detractors alike–wanted to know…


JONATHAN: Okay, remember when you said I could ask you any question?

ALEC: Oh, boy…

JONATHAN: How much personal blame do you accept for the lawsuit and the delay in producing Axanar?

Continue reading “ALEC PETERS discusses the AXANAR LAWSUIT and SETTLEMENT (Interview – Part 2)”

ALEC PETERS discusses the AXANAR LAWSUIT and SETTLEMENT (Interview – Part 1)

ALEC PETERS, the executive producer of AXANAR PRODUCTIONS) has arguably become one of the most controversial and polarizing figures in the world of fan films.  Having worked on the fan series Star Trek: New Voyages/Phase II, Alec ultimately set his sights on producing a Star Trek fan film of his own: Axanar.  Using the relatively new crowd-funding tools of Kickstarter and Indiegogo, Alec was able to go where no Star Trek fan filmmaker had gone before: past the $1 million mark in fan donations to build a studio and produce his dream project.

He also became the first-ever Star Trek fan filmmaker to get his ass sued simultaneously by two major Hollywood studios.

Rather than turning into a mass of quivering jelly and accepting a potentially multi-million dollar judgment against him, Alec was able to find a top intellectual property law firm to represent him pro bono (for free), and “David” took on “Goliath” in a case that I’ve analyzed extensively here on Fan Film Factor.  It was ugly, surprising, frustrating, amusing at times, full of twists and turns, and even covered by the mainstream media.  The case carried the potential of settling huge precedents in copyright law that could affect all fan films…for good or ill.  And thousands of fans and donors watched eagerly to see what would happen next.

But fandom was not united in their opinion of this case nor their feelings about Alec Peters.  Some fans (like myself) were huge supporters and proudly proclaimed, “I Stand With AXANAR!”  Others felt just as strongly that an arrogant and overconfident Icarus had flown far too close to the sun and deserved to plummet to a painful, smashing oblivion far below.

Continue reading “ALEC PETERS discusses the AXANAR LAWSUIT and SETTLEMENT (Interview – Part 1)”