A whole new DIMENSION to my fan film INTERLUDE!

And this is why I’m not a video editor!

But before I begin publicly admitting my embarrassment, let me first say how excited and encouraged I am to see so much support for my Axanar Universe fan film INTERLUDE. After just 24 hours, we’d already made it an amazing 1/8 of the way to our $19,500 goal…with new donations popping up every few hours. So THANK YOU!

If you haven’t donated yet and would like to, here’s the link:

https://www.gofundme.com/interlude

So let me tell you a little bit about my experience as a filmmaker…

And there it was. I’m not an accomplished editor or VFX artist; I can’t compose music; I don’t know lighting; and I’m working my way up to”novice” when it comes to video cameras and the latest technology. Fortunately, I have some amazing people who DO know this stuff backwards and forwards, and I’m more than happy to find them some money to produce a film and then just get out of their way and let them work their magic.

However, when it came to creating the “ask” video for Interlude, I didn’t feel comfortable requesting or expecting too much free work just yet. Oh sure, LEWIS ANDERSON created the awesome CGI render of the opening VFX sequence, MARK EDWARD LEWIS added the sound effects, KEVIN CROXTON composed the music, and Mark did the sound mixing. Those 19 seconds were a true team effort.

But the other 12 minutes and 16 seconds of the ask video were all me, my Canon G3X camera, and my Mac. And as I said, I’m not exactly an accomplished expert, and I don’t have the high-end editing software (nor did I have time to learn it). So I just did my best to record footage and assemble the video using the “Happy Meal” of Mac film editing applications: iMovie.

Considering my limited experience and abilities, and also the short amount of time I had to complete everything, the 13-minute ask video and the 1-minute Interlude “commercial” came out fairly decently. Lots of people agreed…even a few detractors, if you can believe it. But those same detractors were all too eager to point out how disappointed they were that Interlude would have a standard HD aspect resolution of 16:9 instead of the wider screen cinemascope aspect ratio of 2:39.1 that Prelude to Axanar was shot in.

Then, two days after I’d launched the GoFundMe with the “ask” video that I was so proud of, my CGI guy messengered me to ask why I cropped his cinemascope VFX footage down to 16:9?

To quote the great Scooby Doo: “R’uh R’oh!”

Continue reading “A whole new DIMENSION to my fan film INTERLUDE!”

Asking MARC SCOTT ZICREE the tough questions about SPACE COMMAND! (audio interview)

I love interviewing MARC ZICREE (“Mr. Sci-Fi”) a.k.a. Marc Zicree of SPACE COMMAND. He always has a LOT of very interesting things to say, and he says it all with such enthusiasm and excitement. In fact, I usually have to listen to Marc’s interviews a second time to fully process everything!

Today’s interview is actually the fourth I’ve done with Marc over the past three years, and the first wasn’t even about his current passion project Space Command. Along with writing more than a thousand television scripts, Marc also wrote, directed and produced the Star Trek: New Voyages episode “World Enough and Time,” which featured GEORGE TAKEI as a guest star and remains one of the finest Star Trek fan films ever made. (Here’s my interview with Marc about that production.)

More recently, Marc has been tackling the incredibly ambitious Space Command, a sprawling, original sci-fi epic with six 2-hour episodes in the first season alone. The pilot episode, “Redemption” features Robert Picardo (Star Trek: Voyager), Doug Jones (Pan’s LabyrinthHellboy, and now Star Trek: Discovery’s Saru), Bruce Boxleitner (Babylon 5), Mira Furlan (Babylon 5), Bill Mumy (Babylon 5 and Lost In Space), and others.

Crowd-funding for Redemption began way back in 2012 with $221,000 raised from nearly 3,000 backers. Subsequent crowd-funders and sales of investment shares increased that total to over a million dollars! Last summer, after more than six years, the first half hour of the pilot was finally released. You can view it below…

In February of this year, Marc released the full first hour of the pilot, with improvements to the initial half hour included. It’s actually interesting to compare the two versions, so I’m posting both if you’re interested in watching side-by-side…

With the last hour of “Redemption” currently in post-production and scheduled for release later on this year (hopefully!), Marc just announced a new Kickstarter campaign for the second 2-hour episode, “Forgiveness,” which already has 40 minutes of live action filmed. The campaign quickly exploded past its $35K goal and is currently hovering at around $70K as I write this…with 10 days left to go.

When I first published a blog spotlighting the new campaign two weeks ago, some fans were dubious. If it’s been seven years and episode one isn’t done yet, why start funding episode two? Why not finish one full episode before starting on another?

So for this interview, and with Marc’s permission, I hit him with that tough question…along with a several others. Among the things I wanted to know were what actually happens during all of those meetings he has with executives from Netflix and Amazon and ABC? What if one of those networks wants to give him $50 million but demands he throw out everything he’s done and start over with a decent budget? And finally, with all of these projects Marc is developing and pitching right now, how do donors know he’s spending enough time on Space Command itself?

Listen to his eye-opening answers below…

And of course, there’s still time to donate:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/58936338/space-command-forgiveness

My INTERLUDE GoFundMe launches with $1,600 in just 6 hours!

Wow! I launched the GoFundMe campaign for my Axanar Universe fan film INTERLUDE during the rescheduled livecast of this week’s Axanar Confidential. Then I headed out to have dinner with a good friend and watch episodes of Fear the Walking Dead and The Last Kingdom. After dinner but before geeking out in front of the TV, I showed my friend the YouTube “commercial” I posted for Interlude

He was curious how much we’d raised so far. I joked that it’d only been about two and a half hours, only 70 people had watched the podcast live, and we really hadn’t started the heavy promotion yet. Nevertheless, I pulled out my cell phone and checked: $420. Not bad, I thought…even though $100 of that came from me as the first donation.

But when I returned home three hours later (just a few minutes ago as I write this), I was shocked to see the total had jumped to $1,620! And this included an anonymous $1,000 donation (whoever you are, I love you—thank you so much!). Actually, I want to thank everyone who has donated so far, from a $5 donation from my dear friends ALEX & SARAH ROSENZWEIG to a $100 donation from CLAUDE FRANCIS DOZIERE in Italy (who will be the costume consultant for Axanar) to a $250 donation from a fellow named JT KLAMER, whom I’m not sure I know yet, but I’d sure like to. To you five and the other half dozen donors so far, THANK YOU SO MUCH!

But there’s still a long road to get from here to there…which is my ultimate goal of $19,500. Over the coming weeks, I’m going to be publishing a LOT of blogs about Interlude to keep up interest and excitement in the project. These will include features, interviews, a couple of videos, some editorials, and the seven pages of the short comic book story I wrote that Interlude is based on.

I am also planning to continue to cover the larger world of fan films. After all, that’s what this blog is all about! Already, I have an audio interview with MARC ZICREE of SPACE COMMAND coming on Thursday, another audio interview with the show-runners of DREADNOUGHT DOMINION the following week, a sneak peek at VANCE MAJOR’s upcoming series THE CONSTAR CHRONICLES, and the first new STALLED TREK animated puppet parody in more the three years.

So no, it’s not going to be “all Interlude all the time,” and yes, it is going to be a VERY busy summer for Jonathan!

And I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Please consider making a donation to my crowd-funder for Interlude, or at least please share the link below…

https://www.gofundme.com/interlude

The DOG ate my LIVECAST – INTERLUDE launch rescheduled for TONIGHT at 9PM Eastern Time!

Some of you might be aware that last night I was planning to launch my GoFundMe crowd-funding campaign for my Axanar Universe fan film INTERLUDE. We had it all planned: ALEC PETERS would host me and my directors, VICTORIA FOX and JOSHUA IRWIN, on his Axanar Confidential YouTube Livecast. The start time was supposed to be 9:00 pm Eastern. I posted all over Facebook and to a number of mailing lists.

And then the dog happened…

To be honest, I’d been a feeling little uneasy about the livecast the entire day. Alec was traveling back to Georgia all the way from Oklahoma (where he had been for the weekend)—a 13-hour drive! Could he make it back in time for the livecast?

As the day went on, I checked in with Alec periodically. By lunchtime, he and his girlfriend CRYSSTAL HUBBARD were in Memphis…half-way there. Later in the afternoon, while passing through Birmingham, Alabama, Alec’s GPS showed an arrival time of 8:30 pm. Cutting it close, to be sure…but we should still make it. Whew!

But then Alec texted me that he had to cancel the livecast. The reason: an emergency dog rescue…

Continue reading “The DOG ate my LIVECAST – INTERLUDE launch rescheduled for TONIGHT at 9PM Eastern Time!”

DREADNOUGHT DOMINION releases the second trailer for “REDEMPTION AT RED MEDUSA”!

Growing up as a Trekkie in the 1970s (before the word “Trekker” even existed), I owned and cherished my copy of the “STAR TREK Starfleet Technical Manual” by Franz Joseph. It had EVERYTHING a prepubescent Trekkie could want…including drawings of starship classes beyond the familiar heavy cruiser design that was the USS Enterprise. There were destroyers, scouts, tugs and transports, and of course, the mighty dreadnought class!

I don’t know what it was about the dreadnought. The third nacelle? The hangar bay doors on the front? The fact that the bridge was located safely in the center of a reinforced saucer section rather that sitting on top, vulnerable to any Tom, Dick, or Klingon with a photo torpedo and a targeting computer? Whatever it was, I loved that ridiculous starship design and dreamed of seeing a dreadnought flying through space just as I’d watched the Enterprise.

It took forty years, but I finally got my wish…kind of. The fan series DREADNOUGHT DOMINION debuted back 2015 with footage shot on the Farragut Films sets in Georgia two years earlier. The only problem was that those first episodes (“Haunted” and “Anchors Aweigh“) had the USS Dominion sitting in Spacedock the whole time. The only scenes of it flying were in the opening credits. I yearned to see that great bird spread its wings and leave the nest…but I’d have to wait another four years for that!

After a number of shorter vignette episodes and crossovers with Starship Valiant and Vance Major’s Minard films, the dreadnought Dominion finally left Spacedock this past February with the short vignette “Technical Difficulties.” So now that the ship and crew were finally out in space…where would they go first?

The answer to that question arrives this Friday when Dreadnought Dominion releases their first full-length (22-minute) episode in nearly half a decade: “Redemption at Red Medusa.” The first trailer for that long-awaited episode was posted back in March. If you missed it, here it is:

And just this past Friday, they released their second trailer. This one features our first glimpses into some of the incredible CGI effects created by that graphics grandmaster SAMUEL COCKINGS…including a couple of the Romulan ship classes he’ll be using in the upcoming fan film The Romulan War. It’s a really exciting looking trailer. Check it out…

COSPLAY FAN brings a proposed CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT for FRAUD against CBS, DISNEY, NBC Universal, and ANOVOS!

At first glance, it seems almost ridiculous. Most fans know that ANOVOS, a licensee that produces ultra-high quality cosplay props and costumes for Star Trek, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, and other genre franchises, has a well-earned reputation for taking a looooooong time to fulfill their pre-orders. And when I say “long time,” I’m often talking years!

But the wait is usually worth it. The Anovos replicas look amazing, many uniforms are custom-tailored for each individual who orders one, and all are officially licensed to look nearly identical to what has appeared on screen. While some fans complain about the long wait times—to both Anovos and to the licensors—others just seem to grin and bear it. In a number of cases, fans have learned from frustrated experiences not to pre-order new items and instead wait until they are listed as “in stock.”

But one fan, RICHARD DALTON from Louisiana, apparently didn’t get the memo about avoiding pre-order items and—over a nearly three-year period—pre-ordered 49 different items ranging in price from $10 pennants to a $9,000 starship model…for a total in excess of $40,000! Now Mr. Dalton is suing in California federal court (you can read the entire complaint here). The reason for the lawsuit is that none of the pre-order items was ever shipped, and Anovos has refused to refund any of his $40,000.

Some of you are probably thinking, “Serves him right for not getting the hint sooner! Caveat emptor…let the buyer beware!” True, there’s a certain amount of “fool me twice, shame on me…” lack of sympathy that some fans might cynically be feeling. And of course, Anovos does state on the pre-order pages: “All items are subject to change in availability, features, and delivery dates at any time and for any reason.”

But should that one blanket disclaimer get Anovos completely off the hook? Just because poor Richard was naive enough to believe that a licensed vendor would actually deliver merchandise in under three years(!!!) after being paid in full, should he be penalized for that innocent faith? If Anovos took advantage of Richard’s (and others’) trusting natures, why should it be only the customers who come out on the losing end? Shouldn’t Anovos face some consequences, too?

This case is germane to fan films because one of the the guidelines states:

4. If the fan production uses commercially-available Star Trek uniforms, accessories, toys and props, these items must be official merchandise and not bootleg items or imitations of such commercially available products.

Anovos uniforms are, in fact, official merchandise…and so the outcome of this lawsuit could conceivably affect Star Trek fan films. This is especially true because Mr. Dalton isn’t suing only Anovos; he is also suing CBS and Disney and NBC Universal for continuing to renew Anovos’ licenses for their intellectual propertiues despite being well aware of consumer complaints and possible fraud, breach of contract, misrepresentation, and unfair enrichment.

Let’s take a closer look at all of this…

Continue reading “COSPLAY FAN brings a proposed CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT for FRAUD against CBS, DISNEY, NBC Universal, and ANOVOS!”

The REVISED BUDGET for my fan film INTERLUDE!

The crowd-funder for my fan film INTERLUDE goes live next week, and this is my last chance to share the details of the budget, explaining the goal of…

$19,500

…(a slight increase over the estimate in my previous blog from three weeks ago because a few things have changed).

Before I begin, let me state for the record that this budget was compiled by me based on input from a number of sources, including my directors VICTORIA FOX and JOSH IRWIN along with several other people whom I trust. But the final numbers and estimates were mine because, as executive producer, I am the guy responsible for raising the money, explaining to you how we are going to utilize it, and ultimately writing the checks from the money we raise.

So is this budget 100% perfect? Probably not. Some things might end up costing less, some will cost more, and probably a bunch of things we haven’t even thought of will suddenly pop up out of nowhere. If we come up short, we’ll need to figure out ways to trim things. For that reason, I’ve “erred on the side of caution” and created my budget to assume costs on the high side. That way, if we don’t make our goal, we’ll hopefully still have enough to make a decent fan film by streamlining and trimming things from the budget.

And what if we go over our goal?  Well, if there’s enough left over, perhaps we take the surplus and mail out some extra patches to our donors as a thank you gift. Maybe we can afford something even nicer than a patch. Maybe we can afford something even nicer than a patch. We’ll see. If there’s a lot left over, it goes into a bank account to be reserved for a future Axanar Universe fan film from me or another Axanar fan.

One place the funds do NOT go is to Axanar Productions to help ALEC PETERS in any way to make his Axanar sequels. That would, according to Alec himself, violate his settlement agreement with CBS and Paramount. This includes giving him any of our uniforms to use for his shoot. (Amusingly, he can loan some of his uniforms to us, but not vice-versa. Even though that sounds odd, it’s the legally prudent thing to do.)

And now, let’s take a deep-dive into our budget…

Continue reading “The REVISED BUDGET for my fan film INTERLUDE!”

SHOUT! if you want a SPECIAL EDITION BLU-RAY SET of the DS9 documentary WHAT WE LEFT BEHIND…

If you’re a fan of STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE, then the crowd-funded documentary WHAT WE LEFT BEHIND is a MUST SEE! Actually, it’s a MUST SEE even if you never got into DS9 simply because it’s such a well done film. It’s funny, sad, whimsical, self-deprecating, nostalgic, exciting, captivating, and most of all, full of love for Star Trek, for its fans, and for a very special and groundbreaking TV series that was all too often dismissed as “the middle child of Star Trek.” DS9 was so much more than that, and this documentary lets us get intimate with the people who worked tirelessly for seven years to bring this unique Star Trek vision to life.

Have YOU seen it yet?

Probably not…unless you’re one of 9,552 backers who were given a limited-window streaming peek online two months ago or one of the few thousand folks who attended live screenings of the documentary in movie theaters around America on May 13. Oh, and if you’re in Germany, Ireland, or the U.K., you’ll get your chance to see it in theaters on June 26 (just click here to find a theater near you).

But what if you haven’t seen it yet…or you just want to see it again? Where and when will it be available to buy? Glad you asked!

The North American commercial release of the documentary happens on August 6 (not sure about international yet). Of course, backers who donated at eligible levels will receive their special edition DVD/Blu-ray set a month earlier.

However, The SHOUT! Factory (which is distributing the documentary) is offering their own 2-Disc Special Edition Blu-ray set with hours of bonus features:

DISC ONE

  • An Intro from Ira & the Gang
  • A Brief History of Deep Space Nine
  • What We Left Out(over 45 minutes of new stories!)
  • Behind the Scenes at the Variety Photoshoot
  • HD Remaster Discussion (a roundtable chat with the filmmakers)
  • More From the Fans” (YOU!)
  • Theatrical Trailer

DISC TWO: EXCLUSIVE BONUS DISC

  • A Musical Reunion(an extended conversation with composers Dennis McCarthy and Kevin Kiner)
  • Indiegogo Campaign Videos & Video Vault
  • Technical Trivia Track (a special subtitle text track with detailed technical info and listing of our HD Hero sponsors!)

If you want this Special Edition, folks, you need to hurry! Only 1,500 are being produced…and I already ordered mine (leaving 1,499). They’re available in the U.S. and Canada only (really not sure why), and you can pre-order yours for an August 6 ship-date by clicking below:

WHAT WE LEFT BEHIND – Looking Back At
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine [Special Edition]

TREY McELWAIN releases the latest two pages from AXANAR COMICS: “Arcanis IV”!

It’s been nearly four months since AXANAR COMICS fans have seen any new pages of the current story “Arcanis IV.” The plan from writer/publisher TREY McELWAIN was initially to release one new page per month until the current storyline was completed.

So what happened?

Well, actually, I happened. With Trey’s permission, I had “borrowed” Axanar Comics illustrator extraordinaire DANIEL FU to draw my fan comic Axanar story: “Stardate 2245.1” (which will be turned into the fan film INTERLUDE…hopefully!).

My collaboration with Daniel began in mid-2018, and initially, he had time to create page artwork for both Trey’s story and mine. But then fate intervened with a full-time paying gig for Daniel. And while Trey and I were both happy to know Daniel would be able to put food on the table, his available spare time for our projects all but vanished…and production slowed considerably.

Eventually, Daniel felt that he had to choose one project or the other to complete first, and Trey graciously offered the lead spot to me. This wasn’t just generosity on his part (although that played a big part, since Trey’s a very generous guy). It was also a logical decision, as my project was a 7-page one-shot story with just 3 pages left, while Trey had many additional pages for “Arcanis IV” still awaiting illustration.

Daniel finished my story on May 1…and it looks incredible, by the way! You’ll be able to see it, one page per week, beginning later this month. Daniel was then able to complete two additional pages of Trey’s story, and those are being released to the public today, finishing up Act II of “Arcanis IV.”

Daniel is now going to take a well-deserved break from drawing Axanar. Trey isn’t certain when Daniel will be back doing additional artwork, but he’s just pour his heart and soul into a combined SIXTEEN Axanar comic book pages plus two covers for Trey and me in less than a year—in his spare time!—and the guy needs a little down time. So it’ll hopefully be later on this year when you see the concluding Act III of “Arcanis IV,” but probably not later on this summer.

In the meantime, Trey has been keeping himself busy with his new YouTube Channel and regular podcasts about the comic series and Axanar in general. Click here to check out some of the videos (they’re fairly short, and Trey gushes in each one).

And now, since it’s probably been a while since you’ve seen the story, here are all nine of the pages published so far plus the cover…the full Acts I and II of “Arcanis IV.” (Click to enlarge each page.)

Enjoy…!

Continue reading “TREY McELWAIN releases the latest two pages from AXANAR COMICS: “Arcanis IV”!”

ALEC PETERS chokes up at a panel from AXACON…

In the TOS episode “Whom Gods Destroy,” Kirk mentions that Garth’s exploits were required reading at Starfleet Academy. Well, if you’re a fan of AXANAR and ALEC PETERS, then the video below should be considered “required viewing.”

AXACON took place last November in Atlanta, and about 30 people attended. However, knowing that there were thousands and thousands more supporters of Axanar who wouldn’t be able to make it, Alec hired a video crew to film every panel—along with several interviews with the guests—through the 3-day weekend event. About ten of these interviews have already been released for early viewing to ARES STUDIOS Patreon donors, with about half of those now posted publicly to YouTube. (You can view all of the public Axacon videos here.)

The latest video to be released to the public debuted on Friday evening as a livecast on YouTube. Since then, it’s been viewed nearly a thousand times…and with good reason. It’s a really FANtastic panel…especially if you love Axanar. And for me, it was probably my favorite panel of the weekend. Why, you ask?

Well, it was an exhausting weekend…three days of non-stop fun mixed with hard work and little sleep (or was it hard work mixed with fun and almost no sleep?) where I conducted countless interviews and led seemingly endless panels. And honestly, I totally don’t know how to lead panels! I’m not sure if there are classes in it, but it there are, I never took any of them. So for most of the weekend I was flying by the seat of my pants and getting terrorized by J.G. HERTZLER and GARY F-ING GRAHAM. (You’ll need to watch my interviews with them to get that joke…and some haven’t been released yet.)

By the time we got to the “Elite of the Fleet” panel—the next-to-last of the weekend—I was totally spent. You can tell it from watching the video below. But now I had to lead STEVE JEPSON and Alec as we discussed Admiral Slater and Garth. I’d already interviewed Steve about Slater a few hours earlier, and Alec had already spoken on another panel about Garth. So I just kinda winged it…as did Steve and Alec.

To my utter surprise, this exhausted trio managed to have a fascinating and lively discussion—just three obsessed Axanerds chatting about their favorite fan film. It’s the kind of geeked-out conversation we fans love to have from time to time, and it was totally engaging and fun. Each of us got ample time to talk, and everything was SO interesting.

And then a very unexpected and special “moment” happened.

Continue reading “ALEC PETERS chokes up at a panel from AXACON…”