The $#&! hits the fans: CBS and Paramount release horrifying new GUIDELINES for Trek fan films!

Guidelines - funeralBe careful what you wish for!  For years, Star Trek fans have been hoping for guidelines from CBS to help define what was and was not acceptable in the creation of fan films.  Today, those guidelines were finally posted publicly…

…and it wasn’t pretty.

The new guidelines would limit all Star Trek fan films to no more than 15-minute short films and no more than two-parts (so you couldn’t divide a one-hour episode into four segments).  Likewise, continuing series with seasons and/or sequels would be prohibited.

There’s more carnage, but those two new rules alone would eliminate and destroy nearly every ongoing fan film series from Star Trek Continues and New Voyages to Renegades to Intrepid to Farragut to Potemkin and its many spinoffs…and of course, even Prelude to Axanar (at 20 minutes) would be considered unacceptable.

In short, these new guidelines would obliterate the majority of fan films and certainly NOT be keeping in the spirit of J.J. Abrams announcement from May 20 that “…the fans will be able to [continue] their productions.”

At the center of this controversy, of course, is the fan film project Axanar.  Many are already blaming Alec Peters for these devastating new guidelines, although ironically, it was Peters who tried to provide CBS and Paramount with an alternate set of guidelines that would have been more of a win-win than a we-win/you-lose in the studio’s favor.

However, it seems that fan reaction is beginning to shift from vilifying Peters to resisting these new guidelines and trying to find ways to communicate fan disapproval directly to the studios…as can be seen in the growing list of angry comments on this announcement page on  At this point, blaming Alec Peters and Axanar accomplishes little while voicing fan objections and outrage may be the ONLY WAY to save fan films (that or having Axanar win its legal case).

For his part, Alec Peters has issued the following statement to the press:

After a review of CBS and Paramount’s announcement of their guidelines for Star Trek fan films, I’m really disappointed that this set of guidelines represents the studios’ best efforts on behalf of fans.  These guidelines appear to have been tailor-made to shut down all of the major fan productions and stifle fandom. In no way can that be seen as supportive or encouraging, which is very disheartening.

While CBS and Paramount claim to want to encourage the passion of fans to produce “reasonable fan fiction”, the restrictions presented do just the opposite, willfully ignoring over forty years of fan works that helped buoy the Star Trek franchise through some very lean years and enthusiastically spread the magic of the franchise in more plentiful times.

Around the franchise’s 50th anniversary, we would have hoped CBS and Paramount would have taken this opportunity to unite with Star Trek fans in celebration of their creativity, not seek to crush it.

6 thoughts on “The $#&! hits the fans: CBS and Paramount release horrifying new GUIDELINES for Trek fan films!”

  1. …well, this *definitely* sucks pretty bad =(

    …perhaps they will come up with another set of spec’s, that could apply to current format(s), that would become a different class of (licensed?) semi-pro production guide lines?

    …cuz, otherwise this definitely *IS* some bullsh*t, and J.J. definitely *IS* full of sh*t (as usual). =(

    1. Right now, there’s nothing motivating CBS to do anything other than stick to their guns on these new guidelines. If only there were some kind of pressure that could be put on them by fans…

  2. So maybe we need to ask ourselves exactly what do we really love about Star Trek. Vic, John , James are you listening? Do the good guys HAVE to the Federation? Does the ship HAVE to have a three part hull of saucers and nacelles? Does the guy in the center seat HAVE to be named Kirk and does he HAVE to sit in the middle of a round bridge? Here’s the crowd funding campaign I will donate to. Someone take Star Trek and strip away all the trademarked stuff. New costumes, new sets, new charactor names and new technobabble. But tell the same stories. New but very familiar alien characters. Push the societal envelope. Remember: “In every revolution, there is one man with a vision.”

    1. Well, speaking only for me personally, Alex of Space Command, what I love most about Star Trek is the universe of Star Trek. I love discovering new things about the Federation, the Klingons, the Romulans, the Andorians, etc. I love meeting new Starfleet crews and seeing how they interact. Would the same thing for me in another universe, another reality? Sometimes. I loved Babylon 5, BSG, Farscape, Firefly, and others. But my heart always returns back to Star Trek, my first and best love (sorry, Wendy). So even though there are non-Star Trek fan films, I don’t gravitate to them as much. That’s not to say I won’t check out Blade of Honor and, yes, Space Command when they’re finally ready. But if Star Trek fan films go away forever, I will mourn them.

      1. So will I Johnathan. I have been a Star Trek fan for about 45 years. I discovered Star Trek New Voyages and Starship Faragut about eight years ago. I was jumping up and down with excitement when TNG came out 30 years ago. I remember being almost as excited when I first watched Star Trek Continues “Pilgrim of Eternity.” I thing Gene Roddenberry would have loved it as well. My question was actually more hypothetical. “How close can you get to doing Star Trek, story lines, characters and feel, without having CBS/Paramount breathing down your neck?” If I had the means to do it, as a concept, I would take a TOS episode and redo it, line for line as closely as possible, but with all the trademarked stuff replaced, and put it online for free. Then dare CBS to say something. Also, this is not the first time that CBS took something really good (Fender Guitars) and ruined it, but that’s a subject for another rant. LLAP.

      2. Jonathan, I have been a Star Trek fan for about 45 years. I love the Star Trek universe, the Federation, the alien civilizations, the characters and of course the star ships. I guess my question is more hypothetical and maybe partly my desire to “stick it to CBS” right now. Star Trek is what has inspired me to create my own sandbox to play in. I won’t mention it here due to time and place but if I had the resources I would take a TOS episode (Balance of Terror, Ulitmate Computer) script and reproduce it line for line, as closely as possible but with all of the trademarked items and characters replaced, put it online for free and then dare CBS to say something. Since I don’t have such resources, I can only suggest such an idea to those who have put so much time, resources, money and love into something wonderful. Also, maybe it’s partly my desire to see Vic, Todd, Michelle, Grant, Chris, etc… keep doing what they are doing without the CBS/Paramonster breathing down their necks.
        One other thought. This is not the first time that CBS took something good and totally ruined it (Fender Guitars), but that’s a whole other rant. LLAP.

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