STAR REKT takes MUSIC PARODY videos to the final frontier! (video interview with IAN RAMSEY)

I first discovered STAR REKT back in 2021 when someone posted to Facebook a link to a Star Trek-themed music video parodying the 1975 song by The Four Seasons, “December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night).” But instead of “Night,” the lyric was changed to “Fight” and melodically recounted Kirk’s battle with the Gorn following the attack on Cestus III in the 1967 TOS episode “Arena.”

Now, I’d seen a whole bunch of Star Trek music videos over the years…many of them simply montages of edited clips from episodes and movies played over pop songs. (I even made one myself back in 2002 from Trek home recordings off of VHS tapes!) I’ve also watched a wide variety of Trek music PARODY videos, usually when someone writes new lyrics to an existing song. This playlist from YouTube shows a good selection of what’s out there. What you’ll notice is that these parody videos are usually either edited clips from Trek episodes/movies OR fans doing cosplay singing (or lip synching) to their own song in a series of cuts.

But what struck me about Star Rekt is that this fellow recorded himself in costume in front of a green screen and intercut those shots with clips from TOS (and eventually other TV series and movies) to create a “hybrid” of sorts. This fresh approach really stood out for me—along with his great parody lyrics, good singing, and the quality of the video editing. Take a look first at “Oh, What a Fight…”

By the time I’d found out about this guy and his videos during the summer, he’d already posted two others. The first was “I Kissed a Borg” (based on “I Kissed a Girl” by Katy Perry)…

The other was “Trill All the Klingons Want” (parodying””Girl All the Bad Guys Want” by Bowling For Soup)…

Three awesome parody music videos in four months? This funny guy was SERIOUS! And he had already covered TOS, TNG, and DS9. What else would he come up with? I immediately subscribed to his channel and eagerly waited for his next offering. It came three months later, and we were back to TNG with a dash of DS9 and Voyager thrown in. How did he cover all three? Well, they all have a Holocek (or Holosuite), and thus we were treated to a parody of the song “Photograph” by Nickelback…

At the time I’m writing this blog, Star Rekt has now released NINE parody music videos in total. If you want to see the rest, check out this playlist for parodies that spotlight some of the Star Trek features as well as the Enterprise TV series. This guy also did an off-the-wall video of himself mixing Star Trek-themed drinks and doing trivia for an hour while getting progressively plastered. It’s worth checking out.

Anyway, I tracked down “Star Rekt” and discovered his real name is IAN RAMSEY, and he does everything from here…

Let’s find out more…

AXANAR completes its first film shoot in MORE THAN A YEAR!

1/27/2023 Axanar Day 1 at Ares Studio

Wow, can you believe that it’s been more than 14 MONTHS since my last AXANAR-focused blog? I remember back when I used to publish blogs about Axanar almost weekly! Back in November of 2021, I reported on the first new Axanar shoot since 2019…and the first shoot where new directors TED BRUNETTI and MARK EDWARD LEWIS took over the production.

Of course, the 20-month delay before that blog was due in most part to COVID shutting down not only production on Axanar but across the entire film industry! The next 14-month delay was the result of a move to a smaller (and more affordable) studio space located about five minutes away from the previous ARES STUDIOS location. The move required the dismantling of the USS Ares bridge set and its reassembly inside the new facility. Unfortunately, around this same time, studio manager DANA WAGNER became seriously ill, and his treatment and recovery took more than six months. There is no one else on the planet who could have supervised the reassembly of that complex bridge set…and certainly not for free!

Fortunately, Dana came through his treatment and recovery with flying colors and was able to return to the studio, supervising the reconstruction and even adding a number of improvements like LED lighting under the console panels, better power supply infrastructure, and even a new glowing ship schematic plaque next to the turbolift door. You can see how good the new bridge looks in this video that Dana posted to Facebook…

In addition to all of the construction going on, work had also been progressing on other aspects of pre-production over the previous few months. Mark Edward Lewis, who is handling the technical aspects of directing (while Ted Brunetti works more closely coaching the actors on their performances) has been texting almost daily with cinematographer GEOFF FAGIEN to figure out lighting, camera angles, lenses, and lots of other stuff that is so above my pay grade that I won’t even pretend to understand it!

Indeed, both Mark (traveling from Tennessee) and Geoff (traveling from Florida) arrived in Lawrenceville, GA a few days before the shoot to set up the lighting prior to the two-day shoot, which began last Friday. By getting all of the lights set up on both the bridge and in the green screen area, they saved several hours on the actual shooting days, allowing the actors to get into place and then setting up the cameras properly to give everyone the opportunity to capture all the footage with multiple takes and from multiple angles in the time allotted.

And how much time was allotted?

Continue reading “AXANAR completes its first film shoot in MORE THAN A YEAR!”

Surely, DREADNOUGHT DOMINION can’t be serious as they give AIRPLANE! the Star Trek treatment… (interview with GARY DAVIS)

Back in 1980, Paramount Pictures released a farcical feature film called Airplane! (exclamation point included). Many thought it to be a parody of the Airport series of flight disaster movies from the 1970s, and there were a few callbacks to some of those films. But Airplane! it was actually nearly a scene-by-scene, tongue-in-cheek recreation of a dramatic film from 1957 called Zero Hour. If you don’t believe me, definitely watch this video and also this video.

Airplane! was released 23 years after Zero Hour. And now, 43 years after Airplane!, the long-running Star Trek fan series DREADNOUGHT DOMINION has just released one of the first new Trek fan films for 2023, also titled “AIRPLANE!” And like its predecessor, it’s close recreation of the original…at least in terms of dialog and gags.

It’s unusual to see a Star Trek fan film produced almost completely with over-the-top comedy beats. But in the case of Dreadnought Dominion, this isn’t their first bite at the apple of the absurd. Indeed, their previous film “REALITY CHECK” broke the fourth wall repeatedly, “TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES” was filmed live before a studio audience, “A BARREL FULL OF QUINCYS” featured JOHN SIMS’ character of [Q]uincy doing impressions of multiple famous Hollywood movie stars, and “MOM” was a fun romp as Captain Brusseau’s mother gets left in command at just the wrong moment.

So I guess it was time for another Dreadnought Dominion comedy! It looks like I picked a bad dad to give up laughing…

Most Dominion episodes are written by co-showrunner RANDY WRENN. But this time out, co-showrunner GARY DAVIS hijacked the typewriter to pen this production (while Randy directed). So today, the interview spotlight turns to Gary to find out how this project got off the ground (get it?)…

Continue reading “Surely, DREADNOUGHT DOMINION can’t be serious as they give AIRPLANE! the Star Trek treatment… (interview with GARY DAVIS)”

POTEMKIN PICTURES asks fans to help out with expenses (10 DAYS LEFT!)…

It’s the first crowd-funder for 2023, and it comes from RANDY LANDERS and the various creative teams of POTEMKIN PICTURES, based primarily in Lexington, Kentucky with a creative team also located in Alabama (both groups are shooting fan films this weekend, by the way). But unlike most crowd-funding campaigns that utilize a service like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or GoFundMe, Potemkin is going a different route. They’re simply asking for PayPal donations to be sent directly to [email protected]…no middle man.

While there’s no official perks, Randy has offered the following: “Donors can request a perk of their own choice, and we will do our best to accommodate them, if reasonable.” So no asking for their full-size shuttlecraft model…

But if you’d like one of their tunics or to do a voice-over for one of their films, hey, it couldn’t hurt to ask!

There isn’t any specific goal for this campaign, nor is there a tracker available to the public to check the totals. But as of right now, they’ve collected $1,160 from 15 different donors (including me). “Last year, we had $1420.87 last year.” says Randy. “We would like to pull in between $1300 and $2600 this year to fund all 13 planned films, including new tunic sweaters for STARSHIP DEIMOS and STARSHIP WEBSTER, and a few location shoots that require usage fees.” That’s actually not too bad, all things considered, as it averages to barely $100-$200 per fan film.

But the bulk of the funds raised (more than 75% of donations) goes for lumber, paint, and hardware for the construction, maintenance, and improvements for their sets. Take a look at what they already have…

And of course, there’s also props, wigs, make-up, and other miscellany…

What makes Potemkin Pictures special—in addition to its longevity (having been producing fan films continuously for over a dozen years!)—is how many opportunities it offers fans to participate in the production of completed Star Trek fan films. Over its lifetime, Potemkin Pictures has birthed a dozen different creative groups who have released 108 individual Star Trek fan films! (You can access them all from this page on their website.) Six of those creative groups are still active, releasing on average a combined ten or more new fan films each year. That’s a staggering amount of chances for a fan to work either in front of or behind the camera and have a lot of fun.

But even at an ultra-low budget level, fan films still cost money, and your support can make a BIG difference, even if it’s just a tiny bit. This year’s campaign ends on January 31, so you’ve got less than 10 days left to donate. And once again, contributions can be made directly via PayPal using the account [email protected].

INTERLUDE Confidential #24: We just won our NINTH film festival award!

It’s been a little over a year since I’ve written an INTERLUDE CONFIDENTIAL blog. It’s not that I was finished with them (I was almost finished)—I still had a few left to do, including an interview with our musical composer KEVIN CROXTON, a blog about sound-editing, and a video compilation of the second day of filming. And I was also planning to write a blog about entering fan productions into film festivals…and that’s what I’m writing about today.

This past weekend, Interlude won it’s ninth film festival award (not counting those contests exclusively open to fan films). Our latest award was won this past weekend at the Austin Indie Fest for “BEST FAN FILM,” a category which is appearing ever more often in mainstream film festivals. In fact, one of Interlude‘s other three wins was the EUROPA PRIZE for “Best Fan Film” in the L.A. Sci-Fi & Horror Festival. And if you’re curious, Interlude also won these six awards in the following two film festivals…

Cult Critic Movie Awards
• Short Film
• Best Cinematography (Fiction & Documentary)
• Best Sound Designing (Fiction & Documentary)
• Best VFX Artist

Venice Shorts
• Best Science Fiction Film
• Best Short Film Cinematographer

There were five festivals we entered where Interlude was NOT selected:
Film Invasion Los Angeles, Etheria Film Festival – Genre Films Directed by Women, Under Worlds Film Fest, Cannes Short Film Festival, and Cannes Independent Film Festival. Interlude was also a selection but didn’t win the Tri-Cities International Film Festival…and there’s three film festivals I entered that will be choosing winners next month.

But what I’ve come to realize is that entering film festivals is a bit of a financial black hole. There are literally hundreds of them each year! And they all cost money to enter. Granted, I limited myself primarily to those offering special 50% discounts on submission fees, but that still started adding up, and by late last summer, I went cold turkey on entering any more film festivals.

But honestly, they make it just so darn easy to enter!

When I say “they,” I mean the people at Film Freeway. Just about every film festival uses that website to advertise their show and collect entrance fees. So if you’ve produced an independent film, all you have to do is set up a Film Freeway page like I have for Interlude (click here to see it). A film’s Film Freeway page contains everything a film festival needs to judge it:

  • The film itself
  • The trailer
  • Summary overview
  • Director(s) bio and statement
  • Behind-the-scenes stills
  • Link to the film’s website
  • News and reviews
  • Credits
  • Specifications (like country of origin, runtime, color or black and white, genre, completion date, and budget)

As long as you have a Film Freeway account and page, you can enter any contest as easily as you make a purchase from Amazon.

Continue reading “INTERLUDE Confidential #24: We just won our NINTH film festival award!”

One week left to enter THE 2022 DIRECTORS CHOICE AWARDS…deadline is JANUARY 15!

Have you directed, produced, or otherwise been involved with the creation of a fan film that was released in 2022? If doesn’t even have to be a Star Trek fan film. THE 2022 DIRECTORS CHOICE AWARDS is open to fan films from any genre or franchise as long as they were released onto YouTube or Vimeo between January 1 and December 31 of 2022.

Organized and presented by GLEN L. WOLFE and DAN REYNOLDS of WARP 66 STUDIOS in northern Arkansas—the two showrunners behind THE FEDERATION FILES “fanthology” series—the Directors Choice Awards are now in their second year, with a few new things added since the 2021 contest. First of all, there’s two new intriguing categories: “Best Portrayal of an Existing Character” and “Most Valuable Crew Member” (that would be production crew, not starship crew). There is also now a $250 grand prize for the “Best in Fest,” a fan film that receives the most total votes across all categories in which it competes (each submitter can choose up to six categories for their fan film to be considered). And finally, a digital certificate will be awarded for the best fan film within each franchise.

Currently, fan films have been submitted representing the following popular sci-fi/action/horror franchises: Indiana Jones, Halloween, Batman, Jurassic Park/World, The Maze Runner, The Hunger Games, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream, Spiderman, Transformers, Star Wars and of course, Star Trek.

Entry into the contest costs $10 for up to six categories (not counting the “Best in Fest”), and the judges are the directors of the submitted films. There is a maximum of three film submissions by the same director. A judge is not allowed to vote for their own film, and failure to cast a ballot before the deadline is grounds for disqualification of that director’s fan film(s).  If the same person has directed more than one submitted fan film, that director will be sent a ballot for each of their submitted films (up to a total of three ballots).

Glen Wolfe reports that about 35 fan films have already been submitted, with winners scheduled to be announced on April 5, 2023 (forty years before First Contact Day!). There’s still just over one week left to enter, as the submission deadline is January 15. If you’ve got a fan film from 2022 that hasn’t been submitted yet, click here to access the entry form.

And if you are entered or entering, best of luck to you!

Why PRODIGY is the “PERFECT” Star Trek for children, fans, and CBS Studio executives! (editorial review)

WITH JUST A PINCH OF SPOILERS!

When I first heard about plans for a new children-oriented Star Trek TV series from CBS Studios (now part of Paramount), I was VERY dubious. First of all, it didn’t “sound” like Star Trek. The show would focus on a group of renegade teenage characters finding a derelict Starfleet ship which they would use to “…search for adventure, meaning and salvation.” Huh? No Starfleet crew other than Kate Mulgrew voicing Kathryn Janeway? Teenagers (and renegade teenagers, at that)? They hadn’t even gone to Starfleet Academy!

At the time ALEX KURTZMAN announced the new “kids-focused” Star Trek series (January 2019), STAR TREK: DISCOVERY was about to premiere season 2, while PICARD and LOWER DECKS were still a year and a year-and-a-half away, respectively. So with only Discovery‘s first season to go on, well, you can understand my trepidation about a new children’s version of Star Trek. I mean, no one would be allowed to use swear words!

Even after Picard and Lower Decks premiered (and I enjoyed both MUCH more than Discovery), I was still apprehensive about STAR TREK: PRODIGY. And to be honest, I wasn’t entirely thrilled with the first few episodes I saw. But I was intrigued enough to keep watching. And by the end of episode 5, I was hooked. After the brief winter holiday hiatus of 2021, the next 5 episodes in early 2022 had me positively captivated by the new series—I LOVED IT!!!

And apparently, I wasn’t the only one. If you look at the average audience scores on Rotten Tomatoes (more reflective of widespread fan reaction…and fans can be HARSH!), here’s how the current five streaming Trek series stack up…

Prodigy is the second-most well-received of the new Star Trek series, all but doubling the ratings for Discovery and Picard and coming within docking range of Strange New Worlds.

Now, when asking WHY Prodigy performed so surprisingly well, it’s easy to say, “Well, it has good writing, quality animation, and solid characters.” Or you could say, “It’s fun and it ‘feels’ like Star Trek.”

But I want to go a step farther. Prodigy serves THREE masters: younger viewers unfamiliar with the franchise, longtime Trekkers, and the executives who want to attract the “next generation” of fans. And looking at it from this perspective, I believe that Prodigy is a “PERFECT” Star Trek series. I don’t mean to imply that there’s nothing wrong with it; everything has room for improvement. But in terms of meeting the needs and desires of its “masters,” Prodigy succeeds perfectly in all three cases.

Let’s take a closer look at what I’m talking about…

Continue reading “Why PRODIGY is the “PERFECT” Star Trek for children, fans, and CBS Studio executives! (editorial review)”

2022 Star Trek Fan Film YEAR IN REVIEW!

Ladies and gentlemen, as I begin my seventh (sheesh!!!) year publishing this blog site, I am very pleased to announce that neither the CBS/Paramount guidelines, the AXANAR lawsuit, COVID-19, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, high gas prices, the collapse of the crypto market, crazy conspiracy theories, nor Elon Musk buying Twitter have managed to destroy our little niche of a niche of a niche community of Star Trek fan films!

In fact, I’d say we’re as strong as ever!

The challenge I always face when writing these year-end blogs is having waaaaaay too much to cover properly. There are literally hundreds of fans involved in making Star Trek fan films…from writing and directing to acting and producing to building sets and making costumes to doing make-up and writing music to editing and creating amazing visual effects. And there’s no way I can possibly cover everyone and everything that deserves mention.

So once again, I’m going to spotlight a few of the biggest stories and trends of the past year. And thus, without further ado…

Continue reading “2022 Star Trek Fan Film YEAR IN REVIEW!”

RESISTANCE is far from futile…in fact, it’s AWESOME! (video interview with AARON VANDERKLEY, AARON CHAPPELL, and KATE ELDER)

For fan films that use practical (physical) sets, the Voyager era and the NX-01 era present a rather significant challenge. Sets constructed for the Star Trek series from the 1980s onward were much more elaborate than what was built back in the 1960s. That’s not to say that fan films from Star Trek‘s fictional 22nd, 24th, and even 25th centuries are unheard of. Indeed, very impressive 24th century practical sets were built for such fan films as THE HOLY CORE, STAR TREK: DECEPTION, and DECEPTION II…and the miniature 22nd century sets for the stop-motion ENTERPRISE II fan films were quite mind-blowing.

But far more often, fan films trying to portray those more, shall we say, elaborate centuries opt for virtual backgrounds made up either of still images of sets or else digitally modeled 3D set recreations—such as the long-running STAR TREK: HIDDEN FRONTIER, the excellent STAR TREK: HORIZON, and the prolific INTREPID and TREK SHORTS.

And then there’s AARON VANDERKLEY…

Based in Perth, Australia, Aaron and his team started up in 2016 releasing the first of FIVE 22nd century fan films, all with impeccable practical sets—plus amazing costumes, great acting, and top-notch production values:

Last year, after a two-year hiatus, Aaron returned with a new series of fan films with practical sets, this time in the period of the 24th century on board the Nova-class starship U.S.S. Explorer. Collected under the banner “THESE ARE THE VOYAGES,” he released one episode in 2021 and a second in 2022…

Both were as good, if not better, than the five NX-era fan films…although all seven are totally worth checking out. And speaking of checking out Aaron’s releases, he and his team have just released their third 24th century film focusing on the crew of the Explorer, and it’s called RESISTANCE. It’s easily one of their best efforts yet, as you can see below…

Pretty awesome, right?

Over the many, many years that I’ve been covering Aaron and his fan films, we’ve shared multiple interviews, but they’ve been exclusively text-based. The primary reason for this is the curvature of the planet Earth. Aaron in Perth, Australia lives 10 hours in the future from me here in Los Angeles. When it’s early evening for me, it’s the middle of his work day. When it’s early evening for him, I’m still asleep. Midday for me is middle-of-the-night for Aaron…and so on.

However, Aaron informed me that Resistance is going to be his last fan film for a while (he needs a break!), and I really, REALLY wanted to finally do a video interview with him and, if possible, members of his team. So with Aaron and two team members staying up late and me getting up ultra-early, we had a totally awesome chat heard ’round the world…

Please help SANTA SAL by getting the new audio version of our book BEING SANTA CLAUS…

If you’d prefer to skip the blog and just order the audiobook (so that net revenue can go directly to “SANTA” SAL LIZARD and his family), please click here to get to the Amazon webpage. And thank you.

Below you can read more about Santa Sal…


Some of my readers might aware that I became a professionally published author (more precisely, co-author) back in 2012. A year earlier, Gotham Books (a division of Penguin Publishing) purchased the rights to an autobiographical memoir of a professional real-bearded Santa by the name of Sal Lizard. Sal spent more than 50 hours on the phone with me—over the course of two and a half years!—telling his amazing, hilarious, and heartwarming Santa stories in astounding detail, and I turned them into a full manuscript. Titled BEING SANTA CLAUS – What I Learned About the True Meaning of Christmas, the hardcover was released the following November, and a paperback version came out in late 2013.

And that was pretty much that.

It was cool becoming a published author, and the book was very well-received (4.8-out-of-5 stars on Amazon). In fact, the only complaint we ever got was that the book was too short. And indeed it was! Our editor at Gotham helped us trim an 83,000-word manuscript down to about 79,000 words, which everyone thought was perfect…including the president of of the publishing company. But the managing editor decided to trim it further…all the way down to 47,000 words(!!!), and a lot of wonderful Santa Sal stories got left on the literary cutting room floor. However, they were paying us a ridiculously huge advance, and we had little choice other than to let the managing editor have her way.

A few years later, though, Being Santa Claus was no longer in print, Penguin had shuttered Gotham, and the rights to our book reverted back to Sal and me. It was at that point that I thought about creating a “director’s cut” audiobook out of the 79,000-word version that everyone loved.

But how exactly does one go about recording an audiobook?

Good fortune fell upon us when I met the father of one of the kids in my son’s school and discovered that he owns a sound studio here in Los Angeles, and he offered me the use of it. For the next few years—which included a frustrating hiatus during the lockdown—I recorded all 35 chapters in a series of reading sessions when my sound engineer, JAE KIM, was available (which wasn’t often, as he travels the world doing sound for concert tours and film shoots). But a few months ago, we finally finished!

Continue reading “Please help SANTA SAL by getting the new audio version of our book BEING SANTA CLAUS…”