A new STALLED TREK release: “ALL AHEAD FULL!”

The last new STALLED TREK came out in 2016 (“Prelude to Ax’d-We-Are“). It featured parody puppets inspired by the characters from Axanar. But the last time fans saw the kooky TOS crew of the USS Second Prize was in 2012’s “Amutt Time.”

Last summer, Stalled Trek creator and certified genius lunatic MARK LARGENT announced a Kickstarter to fund a brand new episode: “The City on the Edge of Foreclosure.” He successfully raised $4,181 from 114 backers, and so it was off to make a new fan film parody.

Until something bad happened…

The developers behind Animation:Master, the 3D modeling and rendering program that Mark had used for the previous Stalled Trek parodies, announced earlier this year that they would no longer be supporting or updating the application on the Macintosh platform. Mark didn’t have the funds to buy a new Windows PC with the power necessary to render frames of animation at any kind of decent speed or efficiency. And it suddenly seemed as though Stalled Trek might be doomed!

But then Mark discovered Blender 3D, open source, actively updated—and FREE!—application that worked on PC and Macintosh. The program was robust, fairly easy for Mark to learn, and even renders animations while he works on other things…rather than taking over all of his computer processing power, forcing him to only render animations during breaks for meals or sleep.

You can read more about Mark’s initial experiences with Blender in this blog from April.

Anyway, Mark has spent the last few months diving into Blender (sounds dangerous!), and now he’s ready to show us what he’s learned. Mark recently sent the following e-mail to his backers, along with the first new Stalled Trek in three years…

Well, the transition to Blender 3D has been an interesting one. I had worried that I would find major land mines while making the switch, but I’m pleased to say that, so far, they have only been minor things.

I’m still in the learning stage, but I’m feeling more confident each day.

To test my ability to actually create “City on the Edge of Foreclosure” in Blender, I wrote a quick script and started working on making a short Stalled Trek “quickie.”

Nothing like actually trying something out to find out how many newbie mistakes you’ve been making along the way!

But, I’ve managed to get ahead of most of them, and I’ll definitely be further refining things as I move on to the big one.

So, without further ado, please enjoy Stalled Trek: “All Ahead Full!”

Just posted: PAGE 1 of the INTERLUDE comic “STARDATE 2245.1”!

The GoFundMe campaign for my Axanar Universe fan film INTERLUDE launched a week ago, and it got off to a very exciting start! We’re currently nearly 1/6 of the way to our $19,500 goal with $3,089 from 52 donors (including me). And although donations have slowed a bit over the last few days—that’s to be expected on most crowd-funders—they’re still coming in. So…YAY!

What this means for YOU is, if you haven’t donated yet and want to see Interlude get made, please consider making a donation (or at least share the link with friends whom you think might be interested in helping us out).

What this means for ME, of course, is that I have to find ways to keep fans excited about this project! And that brings us to today’s blog entry…

As many of you know, Interlude got its start as “feedback” for ALEC PETERS after I read his first draft of the two 15-minute Axanar sequel fan films (shortened from the originally-planned 90-minute feature length production). I noticed his script contained no scenes on the bridge, and so I wrote a few for him. I didn’t know at the time that Alec wasn’t sure if the USS Ares bridge set would ever be completed (this was back in June of 2017), which is why he left out any scenes on the bridge.

Encouraged by Alec, however, I decided to create an Axanar comic book using one of my bridge scenes, following the lead of super Axanerd TREY McELWAIN, who was already publishing the second Axanar comic in his “Tip of the Spear” series. In fact, he let me “borrow” his artist, DANIEL FU to illustrate my short story.

It would be a 7-page one-shot—beginning at the exact moment that PRELUDE TO AXANAR ended on its cliff-hanger: “Stardate 2245.1 – The D7 enters the war!” Three D7s approach the camera, the lead one firing a torpedo. The comic would show their target…and why that target was so critical to the war. The story is about honor an sacrifice, bravery and duty in the face of a surprise sneak attack that leaves no time to plan or react with anything other than one’s true self.

The comic is now complete—ready to be shared with all of you. Over the course of the next seven weeks, I’ll be releasing one page per week. Many of you have already seen the cover, so this week is page 1.

Continue reading “Just posted: PAGE 1 of the INTERLUDE comic “STARDATE 2245.1”!”

DREADNOUGHT DOMINION premieres “REDEMPTION AT RED MEDUSA”! (audio interview with GARY DAVIS and RANDY WRENN)

Back in 2015, DREADNOUGHT DOMINION released its first two episodes (“Haunted” and “Anchors Aweigh“). Those two episodes set up the backstory of the main characters as the USS Dominion prepared to launch. But then the show-runner and lead actor, FRANK PAREKR, JR. (playing Commodore Samuel Grissom) left the series, leaving GARY DAVIS and RANDY WREEN to pick up the pieces and move on.

In late 2016, Dreadnought Dominion did a cross-over fan film with Starship Valiant called “Chain of Command.” With Dominion still waiting to launch, Gary’s character of Captain Jason Brousseau takes command and makes Randy’s Commander Stephen Denson his XO.

The following summer, a Mirror Universe version of the same episode, this one titled “Command and Conquer,” showed the same scenes taking place in the Terran Empire. It was a fun little project, and both fan films featured MICHAEL L. KING from Starship Valiant and VANCE MAJOR playing his fan favorite character of Erick Minard.

And Dominion still hadn’t left drydock!

Last summer Gary and Randy released two back-to-back vignettes, both filmed at NEUTRAL ZONE STUDIOS in Kingsland, GA: “Reality Check” (which purposefully broke the fourth wall in a tongue-in-cheek way) and “Silent Acknowledgement” (featuring the first deaf character and actress in a fan series). You can read a great two-part interview with Gary and Randy here.

And yet, after six complete fan films, Dominion was still in drydock!

Acknowledging the ridiculousness of the situation, Gary and Randy created one final script to get them on their way: “Technical Difficulties.” Also tongue-in-cheek, they finally got the starship launched and promised their next episode would be a serious one.

That episode was just released this past Saturday. Check it out…

Gary and Randy are great guys and truly dedicated to the essence of what a Star Trek fan film should be: fun, dedication, hard work, and a desire to share their stories with fellow fans. I’d been wanting to do an audio interview with them, and this seemed like the perfect excuse. So take a listen to a fun and funny interview with two gentlemen whom you are going to want to get to know better…

RANDY WRENN and GARY DAVIS of DREADNOUGHT DOMINION

Dreadnought Dominion‘s last crowd-funding campaign feel short of its goal. But now, with the impressive “Redemption at Red Medusa” showing what they can do, Gary and Randy have launched a new GoFundMe for their next TWO episodes with a $3,000 goal. If you’d like to help them out, click on the link below…

https://www.gofundme.com/dreadnoughtdominion

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!”