INTREPID releases their TWELFTH fan film: “THE STORY”

My favorite Scottish Trek fan series (well, the ONLY Scottish Trek fan series that I’m aware of) has finally reached an even dozen fan film releases.  This is even more amazing when you consider that STAR TREK: INTREPID released its very first fan production waaaaaaaay back in 2006 (a dozen years ago) but actually began working on that first episode as far back as 2003!  (And yeah, I’m working on a “History of Star Trek: Intrepid” blog with show-runner NICK J. COOK right now.  Look for it soon.)

Aside from the awesome accents (I love a good Scottish brogue), one of the best things about this series, making it stand out from so many American Trek fan films and series, is the wonderful scenery that Intrepid features whenever they shoot on location.  This latest episode, “The Story,” is no exception, with most of it filmed in what Nick Cook says is “…an old Limekiln in a place called Boddin Point.”  (Whatever a limekiln is!)  “It’s technically an unsafe building,” Nick continues, “because it’s quite badly eroded into the sea.  But we like to live dangerously.”

You can watch the previous eleven Intrepid episodes here on this YouTube page.

And now, please enjoy the latest offering from that magical place that brought the world the sports of both Golf and Curling, the Loch Ness Monster, and the first and best James Bond…

Coming next week: the first-ever AXANAR SHORT STORY written by…me!

Yes, folks, I wrote an Axanar short story…and you’ll get to read it in just one more week!

Inspiration hit last spring when another Axanar super-fan, Trey McElwain from Texas, announced that he would be releasing a three-page (plus cover) original Axanar comic book story.  I interviewed Trey back in June (read it here) and was really excited to see the finished product…which would debut in July.  But I also thought about how much fun it would be to write an Axanar comic book myself.

The first thing I needed to decide is what the story would be about.  Space battles with Starfleet fighting the Klingons seemed obvious…perhaps too obvious.  After all, Prelude to Axanar had already given us quite a bit of starship combat, and so had Trey’s Axanar comic book.  I didn’t want to simply do more of the same.

To me, the most interesting aspects of the Axanar tapestry were the characters themselves and also the world of the Federation a short 20 years before Captain Kirk’s five-year mission.  At the time, I hadn’t seen the script for the full Axanar feature or the two 15-minutes “mockumentary-style” fan films being planned.  So I didn’t really know what I could and couldn’t do with the characters…even if I set the story during the events of Prelude.

So that left the world of 2245 and where the United Federation of Planets was at that point in its history.  Yes, there was a four-year-long war with the Klingons going on.  But for me, there was something even more significant, and it all came from a single line from Prelude

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The first-ever ORVILLE fan film!

Yeah, I know I concentrate mainly on Star Trek fan films here, but seeing how this ORVILLE fan film was the work of VANCE MAJOR, I can make an exception.

As you’ll remember from previous blogs, Vance wrote, produced, appeared in, and in many cases directed nearly THREE DOZEN Trek fan films following the life and adventures of Starfleet officer Erick Minard.  And although Vance is stepping away from Trek fan films after having completed the multi-episodic Minard saga, he still apparently had one more fan project left in him…this time in The Orville universe.

The challenge with doing an Orville fan film, of course, is that the Planetary Union uniforms are twice as expensive (about $100-150) as the cheaper Halloween costumes available for Star Trek TOS and TNG/DS9/VOY-era uniforms.  And sets from the Orville are also very elaborate and not easily constructed.

Vance “solved” both of these problems.  For the uniforms, he simply didn’t bother.  He created a story in which the main character (Derek Minard…yeah, cute idea) is communicating from his quarters, apparently while off-duty and dressed in more leisurely wear.  As for the sets, a little green screen compositing can go a long way to making something look like it’s taking place on a futuristic spacecraft.  Throw in some original music by Vance’s close friend Dan T. Hawkins, and you’ve got yourself a short fan film.

The total run time is under nine minutes, even though Fox has no  guidelines limiting the length of a fan film the way CBS does.  Vance simply needed nine minutes to tell the story he wanted to.

And so the first Orville fan film “flag” is planted, and Vance Major now gets to be a footnote in Orville history.  Will other Orville fan films follow?  I hope so—although good luck on that Bortus make-up!  And will Fox decide to issue guidelines of their own?  Considering that Disney just acquired Fox, and the only fan film guidelines issued for Star Wars (which Disney also now owns) are simply for eligibility in their annual fan film awards competition, one would highly doubt it.  Also, Orville creator Seth MacFarlane is not exactly a stranger to fan films himself!

Anyway, enjoy the first-ever Orville fan film: THE MARIANA’S TRENCH, compliments of the now-legendary Vance Major…

At last – a NEW TRAILER for STAR TREK: TEMPORAL ANOMALY! (audio interview with SAMUEL COCKINGS)

What?  You’ve never heard of the fan film project STAR TREK: TEMPORAL ANOMALY???  Where have you been for the past five years?

Just kidding.  Most members of the fan film community have never heard of this production…even though it goes all the way back to 2013.  In fact, along with Star Trek: Renegades and Star Trek: Deception, Star Trek: Temporal Anomaly was one of the first three Trek fan films to ever fund successfully on Kickstarter.

But while the other two projects were ultimately completed (Deception later in 2013 and Renegades in 2015), Temporal Anomaly seemed to be stuck in a time loop of always appearing to be “coming soon.”  Seven months after their Kickstarter took in £1,741 (about $2,000 at the time), fans saw this pretty simple teaser:

Not much to write home about by today’s fan film standards, but back in 2013, that looked like a pretty cool green screen-based fan project.

A year later in late 2014, a new teaser promised a 60-minute long fan film (up from the original 20 minutes originally announced) coming in 2015…and the visual effects were looking much more exciting:

But 2015 did not bring the completed fan film.  However, that year brought the following newer, even more impressive 2-minute trailer that showed an increasingly impressive compositing of green screen actors against a wide range of starship interior backgrounds.  We also got to see even better VFX and brief clips of Picard and Riker on the bridge of the Enterprise-E:

That was nearly three years ago.  Since then, nothing…

…until now!

Earlier today, writer/director SAMUEL COCKINGS released a brand new trailer for Temporal Anomaly along with a promise to release the finished film NEXT MONTH!

This new trailer is the best-looking one yet and really blew me away:


So why did this project take so long to finish?  And why do so few fans even know about it?   I posed these questions and many others to Mr. Samuel Cockings during an eye-opening audio interview, which I proudly present to you below…


Look for a follow-up interview next month when Star Trek: Temporal Anomaly is released onto the Internet in its entirety!

It’s not what’s in DISCOVERY that bugs me – it’s what’s MISSING! (editorial review)

As STAR TREK: DISCOVERY  completes its initial season, I have one final chance to kvetch about the new series before what looks to be a year or more hiatus while production proceeds on season two.

I know it seems like all I ever do (or most of what I do) is criticize this show…and many have asked why I’ve even bothered watching it in the first place.  It’s a fair question, and the answers I can come up with are: 1) it’s not that the show sucks, and 2) I’m a 50-year Trekkie…how could I not watch this show?  Even if I’m choosing to be critical of it (as I am of the rebooted Star Trek films, as well), I want to know what it is that I’m criticizing.

But as I said, folks, the show doesn’t suck!  It’s well acted, well produced, well edited, has great music, mostly great pacing, looks visually stunning, and is obvious the result of a team of very dedicated individuals working very hard to produce a quality television series.

So why the heck don’t I like this show more?  Why don’t I LOVE it???

It’s not simply that I don’t like the bling-shiny uniforms or that I wasn’t thrilled with the new-fangled Klingons and their crazy ship designs that look more like bats  and the Federation technology that looks like 25th century rather than 23rd.  I moved past all the cosmetic issues I had with the series early on.  So their USS Enterprise NCC-1701 doesn’t match the original.  My head canon can just shift this entire series into an alternative reality, and all is good.

So again, why don’t I like this show more?

I know I’ve sounded like a disgruntled broken record in my editorial reviews.  But that’s just me trying to figure out the answer to this question in my head (and sharing those thoughts with all of you).

And as the first season brought with it what I considered to be a very unsatisfying end to the Klingon war, I finally put my finger on what’s been bothering me the most…

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New video added to FUNNY STUFF: “Quentin Tarantino’s Star Trek”

When wild rumors tuned into inescapable and mind-blowing reality, Trek fans were suddenly faced with a new concept to process: (in)famous Hollywood director QUENTIN TARANTINO will be in charge of the next Star Trek movie!   Yes, the man who brought us such family-friendly films as Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, Reservoir Dogs, Inglorious Bastards, and Django Unchained (to name but a few!) will be at the helm of the USS Enterprise for the fourth Star Trek film in the rebooted franchise.  And leave it to the geniuses at THE NERDIST to come up with a brilliant way to visualize what we’re all now kinda expecting (and dreading?—perhaps)…

AARON VANDERKLEY triumphs again with “GOOD MEN”! (interview)

Last October, I posted an interview with the fan film wonder from down under, Australia-based Trekker AARON VANDERKLEY.  When the fan film guidelines came out in 2016, many fans worried that it would be impossible to create a decent Star Trek fan film story in 15 minutes or less.  But Aaron had already disproven that six months earlier when he released the six-and-a-half minute NEEDS OF THE MANY, an emotionally intense NX-01 era fan film with great acting, real practical sets (not green screen), and wonderful costumes.

In September of 2017, Aaron wowed the fan film world again with yet another NX-01 era fan film, the twelve-minute THE DERELICT.  Even more intense than his first effort, Derelict cemented Aaron’s reputation as a top-notch Star Trek fan filmmaker.

But Arron wasn’t done yet!

Two weeks ago, Aaron released his third NX-01 era fan film, the nine-minute GODD MEN.  You can view it below…

After watching yet another really strong fan film, I emailed Aaron a few quick questions for the blog where I would announce the new release.  Little did I know Aaron would send me back some really fantastic, in-depth answers that turned my “simple” announcement blog into a full-on interview!

Let’s dive right in…

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Why one AXANAR detractor is now a FORMER Axanar detractor! (audio interview)

Some call them “haters.”  I call them “detractors.”  Any way you slice it, though, they are the Captain Ahabs and Khans of the fan film community.  They will chase ALEC PETERS ’round the moons of Nibia and ’round the Antares Maelstrom and ’round perdition’s flames before they ever let go of their anger and resentment for him and his fan project AXANAR.

And their wrath and indignation aren’t simply reserved for Alec himself but also for anyone who supports him and his production, anyone who stands up to defend him, and in fact anyone who has any connection to him and Axanar whatsoever…real or perceived.

Sometimes, the detractors just insult people, call them names, and/or create a few snarky memes.  Sometimes it’s angry tweets and posts on Facebook.  But occasionally it goes beyond that to attempts to sabotage people in social media through reports to Facebook and the like, online threats, or even interfering with people’s livelihoods.  Such a thing happened the week before last…and I wouldn’t have even known about it had not a member of Carlos Pedraza’ AXAMONITOR Facebook group contacted me privately to share his newfound concerns and disgust for the group.

I personally stopped visiting the Axamonitor Facebook group (and any other lingering detractor echo-chambers) many, many months ago.  It was a waste of my time, as the petty nastiness and cruel vulgarity in those groups was frankly nauseating.  And it wasn’t just the insults against Alec (or me).  These guys often turned venomously on each other, and the moderators had to frequently warn members to be respectful of other members (just not respectful of any Axanar supporters).

So when JOES DIAZ sent me an IM request on Facebook on Superbowl Sunday morning, I had no idea who he was or what had happened in the Axamonitor group.  When I found out, I was pretty disgusted myself…although not entirely surprised.

As we messaged back and forth, I asked Joe if he felt strongly enough about this incident, and about his fellow detractors, that he might want to do an interview to share his story.  He said yes, and the next day, we had the following very eye-opening discussion…

I can imagine how the detractors will react to this interview.  But maybe, just maybe, a few of them might hear Joe’s words and begin to realize that hating on Axanar and Alec Peters won’t solve anything…and perhaps it’s finally time to just settle down and move on.

VANCE MAJOR completes the MINARD Saga! (interview, part 2)

Yesterday, we began discussing the many fan films of MINARD saga with their creator, VANCE MAJOR.  Nearly three dozen different episodes make up this rich and expansive tapestry telling the story of Chief Engineer Erick Minard of the USS Valiant, who goes on to live a life that spans over 100 years of Star Trek time.  During that life, Minard serves under Captain Christopher Pike, marries, suffers loss, gets a command of his own, fights the Borg, meets his counterpart from the Kelvin timeline, and even battles his Mirror Universe doppelgänger.

And it all happens in series of short fan films made for little to no budget, purposefully told out of chronological order and thereby creating a viewing experience unlike anything else in the world of Trek fan films.  The Minard saga isn’t for everyone, but for fans who appreciate the storyline and the effort and dedication that went into producing it, a very rewarding journey (or should I say trek?) has just been completed with the release of Vance’s final 2-part, 25-minute episode The Best Things.

You can view ALL of the Minard episodes here in their order of release.

Later in this interview (below), Vance will introduce each of his final seven episode, and I’ll link to them from here.  But right now, let’s pick up with the conclusion of this great interview…

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VANCE MAJOR completes the MINARD Saga! (interview, part 1)

Even the best things must come to an end…and so it is for the MINARD saga.  Depending on which films you count officially as part of this tapestry, the character of Erick Minard has appeared or been referenced in about THREE DOZEN different fan films!

More than thirty of these were written and produced by VANCE MAJOR (who plays the character of Erick Minard along with his mirror and Kelvin-verse alter-egos).  Minard has also appeared  in multiple episodes of Starship Valiant and Dreadnought Dominion.

Vance Major’s Minard films have ranged in length from 30-second parody vignettes to the full 15 minutes allowed by the fan film guidelines. His last episode, The Best Things, premieres today as a 2-part 25-minute finale.

With only a shoestring budget, Vance has done action, romance, comedy, suspense, quiet introspection, and even surreal dream sequences. He’s produced episodes featuring full casts of ten or more characters and other episodes with just two actors or even just one.  At one point, Vance released SEVEN Minard fan films in just SEVEN DAYS!  A couple of months later, Vance released another SIX Minard episodes in a SINGLE MONTH!

Vance’s Minard films range from Trek eras pre-Kirk to post-DS9…and they were NOT released chronologically.  This allowed viewers to jump around the century-long life of Erick Minard, experiencing a tapestry of moments that ultimately come together like puzzle pieces into a finished image.

You can view ALL of the Minard episodes here in their order of release.

Fan films can be the great equalizer when all one wants to do is simply tell his or her story without all the dazzle.  And that’s exactly what Vance Major has done…in a truly remarkable way.

I did an audio interview with Vance last summer (which is worth a listen), but he’s released nearly TWO DOZEN more fan films since then!  So to celebrate the successful conclusion of this ambitious fan series project, I decided to bring back Vance for a final 2-part print interview…

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