My own packets, ready to be mailed to executives at both studios…


In 1968, NBC received 115,893 letters from Star Trek fans pleading for the network not to cancel their favorite show…and it worked. Star Trek was renewed for a third and final season.

It is now 2016, and fans have a new opportunity to make their voices heard. This time, the imperiled entity is Star Trek fan films, restricted by a new set of guidelines issued by Star Trek license holders CBS and Paramount. Not all of these guidelines are threatening to fan films. Nearly half of them are perfectly acceptable as written. Another a quarter of them simply need some minor tweaking to better clarify what the studios are trying to communicate. It is only the small number of remaining guidelines that have overshot the mark and wound up too restrictive to allow fans the creativity and passion that the studios themselves say they want to encourage fans to showcase.

John Van Citters

A week after the guidelines were announced, John Van Citters of CBS Consumer Products Inc. appeared on a podcast and said the following:

“All of this is definitely a conversation. We hope very much that this helps settle things with Star Trek fan films, that it provides some clarity for everybody, and that we can see what is working and what is not working…and we can follow up accordingly with that.”

But how do fans approach the studios to share our concerns? There is no official mechanism for fans to sit down with the CBS and Paramount executives to try to find a fairer compromise between the best interests of both parties. There is no single fan representative who speaks with the collective voice of fandom. Even fan filmmakers themselves are all over the map in their responses to the guidelines. So how can fans provide their feedback and recommendations to the studios?


Shortly after the guidelines were released, a group of dedicated and concerned fans came together in a Facebook group, SMALL ACCESS, initially to protest the new guidelines. But instead of simply complaining or threatening or signing a petition, these 1,200 fans went through each of the guidelines one-by-one, figuring out first which ones were problematic and which were fine and acceptable. Through a series of discussions, debates, and surveys showing the opinions of hundreds of Star Trek fans from around the world, we came up with a series of recommendations that are respectful of the original guidelines while also offering the studio executives insights into fan concerns and compromise solutions.

These recommendations have been assembled into a professionally-presented Focus Group Report summarizing and analyzing the results of the discussions and surveys. Of course, with millions of Star Trek fans in the world, a sample size of only 1,200 might seem statistically insignificant. However, considering that most focus groups consist of only 5 to 12 people in a room, a group of hundreds is actually rather impressive and is likely larger and better targeted better than the studios would ever be able to assemble themselves without spending a great deal of money. This could very be the studios’ best opportunity to truly gauge the specific reactions of fan to each of the guidelines.

And the recommendations are not in any way extreme. As was mentioned, fans sincerely tried to find compromise solutions where possible.  Our recommendations are more red-line edits and feedback rather than a list of harsh demands.


Focus Group ReportFans are invited to download and print this 37-page Focus Group Report and mail it to the CBS and Paramount executives listed below. An optional Cover Letter has also been provided for fans to include if they wish. The hope is that dozens or potentially hundreds of these reports will be mailed so that maybe, just maybe, the executives don’t throw them all in the trash and instead actually read a copy. That is our ultimate goal: to have these recommendations seen, read, considered, and hopefully acted upon rather than simply being ignored.

Is it a stunt? Of course it is. So was the original letter writing campaign 48 years ago. And while we might not get a hundred thousand people to all print 37 pages and mail an 8-ounce packet to the studios, what we lack in quantity, we can make up for in dedication and passion!

And with luck, we’ll get some coverage in the media during the 50th anniversary week of Star Trek…and if that happens, hopefully the studios will give us their attention. So please, if you decide to participate, mail in your packet(s) by September 1 at the latest to the addresses at the bottom of this blog page. And please comment on this page (or on the SMALL ACCESS Facebook group) with the number of copies you decided to mail.


Good question! Two-part answer:

  • E-mail is too easy to both send and to delete. Sending an e-mail is as simple as a mouse click, and to be honest, the news media won’t care as much. But for fans to go back to the “old school” strategy of sending physical letters through the mail, paying for toner or photocopies and postage, now that kind of effort is newsworthy.
  • The executives receiving these packets are busy people, and we should respect their time. They use their e-mail to do their jobs. To publish their e-mail addresses when there are irate Trekkies who will badger these people and clutter up their e-mail boxes would be unfair and inappropriate. Our intention is to convey a positive and courteous demeanor. We want to seem more like a cooperative partner and less like an angry mob.


Who knows? But we have nothing to lose by trying. On this, I defer to the wisdom of Captain James T. Kirk:

If we do nothing, the guidelines likely remain unchanged for the foreseeable future, and fan films will suffer for it. If we take our shot and the studios ignore or reject our recommendations, so be it.  At least we tried…and that’s a good feeling.


You are free to identify yourself (or not) as the sender of the letter/packet (I did).  There is nothing wrong with mailing a letter and expressing your concerns as a supporter and patron of a corporation to executives at that corporation. Just please be respectful at all times.

For those taking on this mission, print/photocopy this Focus Group Report and this optional Cover Letter (or write one of your own) and mail to any or all of the following people:

Jonathan Anschel
Executive Vice President, Deputy General Counsel and Secretary for CBS Corporation
4024 Radford Avenue
Studio City, CA 91604

John Van Citters
Vice President, Product Development at CBS Consumer Products
1007 E Dominguez St, Suite L
Carson, CA 90746

Bill Burke
Senior Vice President, Marketing at CBS Consumer Products Inc.
825 8th Avenue
New York, NY 10019

Liz Kalodner
Executive Vice President and General Manager, CBS Consumer Products
825 8th Avenue
New York, NY 10019

Leslie Moonves
Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer, CBS Corporation
CBS Headquarters
51 W. 52nd Street
New York, NY 10019

Marc Evans
President, Motion Picture Group, Paramount Pictures
5555 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90038

Rob Moore
Vice Chairman, Paramount Pictures
5555 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90038

Please help spread the word by linking to this web page.  The more letters and packets we send them, the more likely someone will finally decide to pay attention and hear what we have to say.

And if you send one or more packets out, please TELL US BY CLICKING HERE and logging your mailing(s) on the SMALL ACCESS SURVEY.


21 thoughts on “Join the new Fan Film LETTER WRITING CAMPAIGN!”

  1. First, WHAT episode was that Kirk/Spock exchange from?

    Second, is there one address you think will need attention because they will likely receive less mailings?

    Third, do you think later mailings, (still before the deadline) will be helpful, or earlier the better.


    1. First: “The Naked Time.”

      Second: I listed the recipients in order from most to least important as regards the guidelines. In other words, John Van Citters, Jonathan Anschel, and the folks at CBS Consumer Products had more to do with writing the guidelines themselves. Leslie Moonves runs all of CBS, and so he was probably aware of the guidelines but not directly involved in their creation…as were the two Paramount folks. So who will probably get the least amount of mail? The last three names on the list. Will they benefit from getting copies? Perhaps. Right now, the top execs at Paramount are scratching their heads wondering why Star Trek Beyond did so poorly. And CBS is, of course, very interested in anything that could affect Star Trek: Discovery. So…up to you, David.

      Third: Probably a mixture of both. We’re going to try to get some media coverage the week of September 8, so if there’s a steady stream from now through the first week of September, that’d be awesome. I mailed all of mine today, but the rest of you guys can mail now, later, or spread them out as you see fit.

  2. Oh, you can bet I’ll be printing and sending a few copies of these off to CBS/Paramount.

    While I would prefer the “guidelines” never existed in the first place, it was inevitable, and I certainly hope we’re successful in changing their minds.


  3. I’ve enjoyed all of the “Fan Films” of the Star Trek Fan movies thus far, and I can say that CBS is trying to destroy the vision of the fans, actors, producers and all the others that brought back to life to those who no only remember Gene Rodenberry’s dreams of a better world but a future to all to want better. These films do just that.

    I will be doing my part by sending them all a copy of the Cover Letter and Focus Group Report in ensure that we cannot let our DREAMS die!!

    Thank you all to those who are creating, developing and dreaming of new ideas to continue to make Star Trek what its and every more!

    Live Long and Prosper!

  4. This is what the fans want for fan film .
    rule number 1
    an hour long with episodes, parts, sequels and remakes..
    and CBS and Paramount,, can make them as long as they want

    rule 2 …2 The title of the fan production or any parts cannot include the name “Star Trek.” However, the title must contain a subtitle with the phrase: “A STAR TREK FAN PRODUCTION” in plain typeface. The fan production cannot use the term “official” in either its title or subtitle or in any marketing, promotions or social media for the fan production.
    fan production or any parts cannot include the name “Star Trek.” However, the title must contain a subtitle with the phrase: “A STAR TREK FAN PRODUCTION” in plain typeface
    we dont know what you mean by this contradict each other

    rule 3 3 The content in the fan production must be original, not reproductions, recreations or clips from any Star Trek production. If non-Star Trek third party content is used, all necessary permissions for any third party content should be obtained in writing. we use copies we use newpaper and many other sources for ideas of uses and other objects
    to obtain information and many other resouces to keep it in the idea of the subjects in place so we can have the idea of Gene Roddenberry for being creative ….
    4 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.
    5 5 The fan production must be a real “fan” production, i.e., creators, actors and all other participants must be amateurs, cannot be compensated for their services, and cannot be currently or previously employed on any Star Trek series, films, production of DVDs or with any of CBS or Paramount Pictures’ licensees.
    6 6 The fan production must be non-commercial

    * CBS and Paramount Pictures do not object to limited fundraising for the creation of a fan production, whether 1 or 2 segments and consistent with these guidelines, so long as the total amount does not exceed $50,000, including all platform fees, and when the $50,000 goal is reached, all fundraising must cease.

    *The fan production must only be exhibited or distributed on a no-charge basis and/or shared via streaming services without generating revenue.
    * The fan production cannot be distributed in a physical format such as DVD or Blu-ray.
    The fan production cannot be used to derive advertising revenue including, but not limited to, through for example, the use of pre or post-roll advertising, click-through advertising banners, that is associated with the fan production.
    *No unlicensed Star Trek-related or fan production-related merchandise or services can be offered for sale or given away as premiums, perks or rewards or in connection with the fan production fundraising
    * The fan production cannot derive revenue by selling or licensing fan-created production sets, props or costumes.
    7 The fan production must be family friendly and suitable for public presentation. Videos must not include profanity, nudity, obscenity, pornography, depictions of drugs, alcohol, tobacco, or any harmful or illegal activity, or any material that is offensive, fraudulent, defamatory, libelous, disparaging, sexually explicit, threatening, hateful, or any other inappropriate content. The content of the fan production cannot violate any individual’s right of privacy
    8 8 The fan production must display the following disclaimer in the on-screen credits of the fan productions and on any marketing material including the fan production website or page hosting the fan production:“Star Trek and all related marks, logos and characters are solely owned by CBS Studios Inc. This fan production is not endorsed by, sponsored by, nor affiliated with CBS, Paramount Pictures, or any other Star Trek franchise, and is a non-commercial fan-made film intended for recreational use. No commercial exhibition or distribution is permitted. No alleged independent rights will be asserted against CBS or Paramount Pictures.”
    9 Creators of fan productions must not seek to register their works, nor any elements of the works, under copyright or trademark law
    10 Fan productions cannot create or imply any association or endorsement by CBS or Paramount Pictures.
    CBS and Paramount Pictures reserve the right to revise, revoke and/or withdraw these guidelines at any time in their own discretion. These guidelines are not a license and do not constitute approval or authorization of any fan productions or a waiver of any rights that CBS or Paramount Pictures may have with respect to fan fiction created outside of these guidelin

  5. Can I ask what do you reallllllly hope to achieve here?

    Not only does this reek of another Axanar issue hidden in sheeps clothing ( due to who is involved ) but also you pushing them or hope to push then will either be ignored or back fire horribly and they ban all fan films.

    1. What I ” reallllllly” hope to achieve is to get the studios’ attention long enough that they actually consider (seriously consider) revising some of the most restrictive guidelines to make them more flexible for fan films. And hey, it might not work…although I doubt a few dozen or even a few hundred letter packets will make the studios suddenly ban all fan films. That would make them seem extremely petty and really alienate the fans. Believe it or not, they really don’t want that.

      John Van Citters said he felt the guidelines were the start of a “conversation” with the fans. However, the fans don’t really have a viable method for having a conversation with the studios. So this campaign is the best idea I could come up with. (If you have a better idea, you’re welcome to do the legwork, too, James. The more the merrier!) Anyway, here are the fans talking–1,200 of them. If John Van Citters and company want a conversation, then listen to what the fans are suggesting and then respond. Then we respond. And so on. That’s how a conversation works, but someone has to start it.

      As for Axanar, most of our recommended changes wouldn’t really help Axanar get made. Axanar is supposed to be a 90-minute to 2-hour long movie. We’ve not suggesting anything longer than 15-30 minutes. Axanar is raising $1.2 million. We’re just trying to get the cap increased from $50K to $150K. Axanar has their own problems with the studios at the moment, and I doubt any guideline revisions the studios make will be allowed to apply to Axanar…pending the outcome of the litigation. But this letter-writing campaign…totally separate from and unrelated to Axanar. Truth to tell, I’m really trying to save STC and New Voyages! 🙂

      1. The Axaissue is not allowing it to be made as tbh anyone at this point still thinks that is even a reality needs to seriously examine their thought patterns.

        I am talking about the fact this is backed by Axanar and no one else…

        I have yet to see STC, INTERPID OR any other fan production get behind this campaign of yours.

        The PR guy from Axanar is on your groups admins as is one due hard Axafan if ypu really want this to come off less yet another narrative control from Camp Peters and Co you need to re-examine who leading this.

        1. I specifically did not reach out to ask any of the major fan productions to get behind me. The reason was one of respect for their situations. Fan productions need to tread very carefully at the moment, as they don’t want to inadvertently piss off anyone at the studios and suddenly get extra scrutiny. In the same way that “only Nixon could go to China,” the fan productions at this point can’t really do what I am doing. I’ve got no fan film to worry about (mine was a parody anyway). 🙂

          If Nick Cook from Intrepid or David Whitney from Raven or any of the other fan producers want to step forward and support this campaign, I welcome their support. But I’m not going to pressure them. At this point, Axanar has nothing to lose (except a court case!), so I’m not surprised they’re the notable exception of fan productions showing their open support. (I do know that some fan producers have wished me luck privately, but they didn’t give me permission to share their names publicly.)

          So look, if you’re trying to find a “gotcha” linking Axanar to SMALL ACCESS, I can’t help you. Alec supports the idea and lets me use the Axanar FB page to advertise the campaign, but he’s not pulling any strings. That’s all me. And anyway, Alec is WAAAAAY too busy to write a 37-page Focus Group Report! Trust me, that sucker took WEEKS of all-nighters!

          As for Mike Bawden (PR director for Axanar) being an admin, that’s ’cause I know Mike and respect his guidance. He’s handled Facebook groups with potentially in-fighting members before; I never have. I needed a mentor in these uncharted waters, and Mike’s been great! Also, Mike’s the guy with connections at Variety, the Hollywood Reporter, the L.A. Times, etc. If we’re gonna get any media coverage of this campaign, it’ll be because of Mike. I can’t afford to hire a PR guy, but Mike’s a fan and works for free! THAT I can afford!!! 🙂

          1. I think your missing the point of impartiality thats what im trying to get at, you can not seem impartial and then have Axanar as your biggest backer so to speak.

            None of your team of admins are on the fence as it were and from an outsider looking in this just reeks of another Axanar group hiding behind a vale of a different name.

            You should not be posting via Axanar and should set up a indipendance page working alongside the group.

          2. I’m somewhat puzzled by the logic of your reasoning, James. It sounds as if you are setting up a binary supposition that one must either be for fan films OR for Axanar. Isn’t it possible to be for BOTH? I know I am! I’ve given a couple of hundred dollars to Axanar, a couple of hundred to Renegades, a hundred or so to STC, a hundred to Farragut, and the list goes on (I can’t remember all the rest and I’m too lazy at the moment to look back over my Kickstarter and Indiegogo accounts). 😉

            I’m not impartial in wanting to get the fan film guidelines revised, and I’ve never pretended to be. I stand with all fan films and think the guidelines went too far. There’s nothing impartial in that. However, it’s not like I want to abolish the guidelines completely. I agree with John Smythe (and with Alec Peters) that having guidelines is a GOOD thing and fans should rejoice that CBS and Paramount finally decided to give fan productions a framework of rules to create a safe harbor. The only problem is that those rules are just a bit too restrictive at present. And so, along with 1,200 similarly-minded fans, we came up with a series of recommendations for revisions and are trying to get the studios’ attention in hopes they’ll read over and consider what we have to say.

            I’d be doing this regardless of whether I had a relationship with Axanar or not (I also have relationships with a few other fan productions; I’m kinda like Switzerland…I like everybody!). However, having access to the Axnaar blog pages and Facebook group gives me a unique opportunity to spread the word–which is the most important thing in getting a project like this noticed. As much as I appreciate my readership at Fan Film Factor, the fact is that I only get about 300 site visitors per day. Every so often I’ll crack 500 or 1,000 or even 2,000 in a day…and that’s great. But the Axanar Facebook page has 74,000 LIKES!!! To ignore that resource would do a disservice to this campaign and all the time, work, and dedication I and others have put into it.

            Suggesting I should not be posting via Axanar…isn’t that like telling me that I should tie one arm behind my back before playing a game of volleyball, James? In my decades as a professional, I’ve worked in marketing, advertising, creative development, and all sorts of commercial outreach endeavors. I know enough to leverage every available vector of demographic penetration to get a message out. In other words, if I’ve got a resource like Axanar with an established presence and fan loyalty base in the tens of thousands, I’d have to be a complete idiot not to take full advantage of it (with Alec Peters’ permission, of course…which he has given me).

            Now, you’re welcome to disagree. But using words like “should” implies that you are correct and I am wrong. I obviously do not agree, and I have proceeded in the way I felt would give this campaign the best chance at publicity and widespread participation. Even if you don’t agree with my methods, James, I would at least ask that you respect the decisions I’ve made as a veteran professional in the world of marketing and outreach. And if you do a similar campaign and make decisions that I don’t agree with, I promise to be just a courteous to you as I’m requesting you be to me.

  6. The arrogance and hubris of you folks astound me. Let me just say this loud and clear:


    Star Trek fans are not a homogeneous group of people and to even remotely imply that you speak for all of us is an insult.

    Alec Peters asked for guidelines and he and his supporters shouldn’t have been surprised at the ones that came out. Be careful what you wish for.

    I for one welcome the guidelines. For the first time ever there are clear rules and actual permission for fan films. People should be rejoicing! Instead of crying over them you should be trying to get creative and seeing what you can make.

      1. Nope. I’m actually going to start a campaign to mail postcards (much cheaper to post) using the addresses you’ve thoughtfully provided to tell the same people that we support the guidelines and their actions to protect their copyright.

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