Remember back in the first half of this year when the initial documents were being filed in the Axanar lawsuit? Remember how each time one side or the other would submit their latest filing, it would suddenly look like it was “game, set, and match?” And then the other side would respond, and it would seem like a knockout blow for that side. And on and on.
Well, history seems to be repeating itself…
Last Thursday, the plaintiffs in the Axanar copyright infringement lawsuit filed a massive 122-page ex parte (emergency) application for order requesting three judicial rulings from Magistrate Judge Charles Eick:
- Alec Peters must sit for additional deposition questions concerning new e-mails that were just discovered by the plaintiffs last Saturday.
- The financials submitted by the defense should be de-designated by the court from “Highly Confidential” (lawyers’-eyes-only) to publicly available.
- Defense must provide a privilege log.
In the long filing, the plaintiffs made a litany of accusations against the defendant and his legal team, including failure to turn over e-mails, refusal of the defendant’s attorney to provide a privilege log, attempting to hide previous communications between Alec and other attorneys prior to the filing of the lawsuit, not responding to communications from the plaintiffs’ attorneys, refusing to provide text messages and social media postings, and a whole slew of other items that I won’t bother listing due to blog length considerations (just read the first 18 pages of the application).
Well, it didn’t take long for defense attorney Erin Ranahan to file a response, and let me tell ya, she pulled NO punches in hitting back and hitting back hard! In short, Erin Ranahan did the following:
- Accused the plaintiffs of violating the court’s rules for procedure.
- Pointed out that, in doing so, the plaintiffs were wasting the court’s time and resources.
- Accused the plaintiffs of violating confidentiality on multiple occasions (and not just leaking stuff to the Axanar detractors).
- Accused the plaintiffs of misrepresenting facts (i.e. lying) in an ex parte filing…which is a huge no-no.
- Asked the judge for sanctions against the plaintiffs for doing the above.
Also–and you know how I love the word “bombshell”–but there was a HUGE bombshell from the filing which I am FINALLY able to share with all of you (and hopefully it will reach the detractor “peanut gallery, as well)…
ALEC PETERS DID NOT WITHHOLD A SINGLE E-MAIL FROM THE PLAINTIFFS!
Yep, you read that right. I’ve kinda known the behind-the-scenes story for a while, but I didn’t feel comfortable saying anything until I saw Ms. Ranahan mention the e-mail production process in her latest filing (see page 14). So now it can be revealed how I am so certain that Alec did not withhold sending any e-mails to the plaintiffs.
Alec WASN’T THE ONE who sent the e-mails to the plaintiffs!!!
So here’s what usually happens in cases where a whole bunch of e-mails need to be turned over to another party (or their attorneys) during discovery. Except in very rare instances, the actual defendant (or plaintiff) doesn’t send anything directly to the other side. To quote Ghostbusters, “That would be BAD.” Attorneys know best what should and should not be shared, and so their clients are mostly kept off of the legal battlefield. Instead, they hand everything over to their attorneys and the attorneys decide what is relevant and what is not.
How do they do this?
Well, it depends on how many e-mails we’re talking about. In the case of Paramount (who has, to my knowledge, still turned over ZERO e-mails), there are WAAAAAY too many employees and e-mails to search through every one. So if you look at pages 117-118 of Thursday’s application filing, you’ll see that, at least for Paramount, 20 employees (custodians) were determined to have been most likely to have discussed Axanar, Alec Peters, and/or Star Trek fan films. Now, each of these people probably had tens of thousands of e-mails (possibly hundreds) to sort through. So to save time, certain keywords were searched for. We don’t know what words they used (although the defense definitely WANTS to know because, well, ZERO e-mails produced!), but it’s likely to include “Axanar,” “Alec Peters,” S”tar Trek,” and “fan films”…among others.
In the case of Alec’s e-mails, there probably weren’t as many, but still a lot. So I’m certain there was a keyword search done as well at the Winston & Strawn offices to pull out the most obvious ones. And then they dove deeper to do a more thorough review. In the end, Erin Ranahan and her team determined which e-mails were relevant and then turned those over to the plaintiffs’ attorneys.
So the only thing Alec did in all of this was to copy his entire e-mail and documents folders onto a flash drive and hand it over to his legal team. Anyone attempting to accuse Alec Peters of some kind of shenanigans in purposefully refusing to or failing to turn over any e-mails that he had for discovery must now face the reality that such an action has never happened.
I hope the above 4-5 paragraphs will finally put this little tempest in a teapot to rest…although the cynic in me kinda doubts it.
Okay, back to the defense’s response…
To provide an idea of the hard-hitting tone of this filing (which was certainly matched by the hard-hitting tone of the previous filing from the plaintiffs), I’d like to share with you what I (and likely the judge, as well) saw first…
Plaintiffs’ Ex Parte Application is not only procedurally improper, it is wholly unnecessary. By their Ex Parte Application, Plaintiffs belatedly seek to raise discovery issues in contravention of the Court’s rules and are wasting the Court’s time and resources on issues that Defendants have already agreed on, or which Defendants have been trying to resolve with Plaintiffs while Plaintiffs have refused to engage in productive discussions. Even if the Court reaches the merits of the belatedly-raised discovery issues, the relief sought is mooted by offers made by Defendants—both in writing and in person—before Plaintiffs filed their Ex Parte Application. Indeed, Defendants have already offered to make Alec Peters available for a second deposition; have repeatedly attempted to meet and confer with Plaintiffs about parameters of the privilege log before preparing it; and Defendants informed Plaintiffs that they are making an additional production today that will moot the remaining issues. Plaintiffs’ counsel did not respond to these offers, making clear that Plaintiffs had committed to file their Ex Parte Application regardless of Defendants’ response. But Plaintiffs fall far short of demonstrating that they are entitled to the extraordinary relief.
To understand this first paragraph and much of the rest of this filing, we need to pause a moment and talk briefly about Magistrate Judge Eick. A bit of an amusing coincidence happened the Saturday evening before the Friday Axanar hearing. There was a dinner party for the parents of my son’s classmates, and one of the moms is an attorney. She and my wife were talking shop, and I heard this woman mention that she’d be arguing in front of Judge Eick on Monday. I came out of my glazed stupor to ask her, “Is that Judge Charles Eick?” She said yes, and I suddenly perked up, joined the conversation, and asked her what she knew about him (explaining a little about the Axanar case, which she’d heard about but thought it had settled).
According to this woman, the judge is VERY thorough and doesn’t like any attorney to play fast and loose with the rules. He’s fair but very strict, and he’s been known to chastise attorneys in open court.
The following Friday, I saw exactly what she was talking about! After the hearing was over, I later joked that Magistrate Judge Eick was four parts law professor and six parts Louis Gossett, Jr. in An Officer and a Gentleman (just more of an older white guy version). Erin Ranahan spoke first, and during her 55 minute presentation, the judge interrupted her frequently and lectured her (often sternly) on the proper way she SHOULD have filled out the motion to compel discovery. Every little mistake was examined under a microscope (or so it seemed to me), and as I watched the smackdown, I thought to myself, “Damn, Alec is soooo screwed!” But then it was the plaintiffs’ turn, and Loeb & Loeb attorney Jonathan Zavin was given the same excruciating treatment. By the end of the two-plus hours of this punishing endurance match, I didn’t know what would happen…and neither did either of the attorneys. But I thanked my lucky stars that I wasn’t in their shoes!
And so, now that you know this, you can better understand the strategy of the defense response in this. First of all, Erin Ranahan establishes that the three orders the plaintiffs are asking for are all essentially moot at :
- Alec Peters has already agreed to be deposed again (the only question is how long the plaintiffs get to question him).
- The proper financials that the plaintiff referred to, now that they’ve been properly prepared by an accountant, no longer need to be marked “Highly Confidential” and the defense team is allowing them to just be marked “Confidential.” That means either party can see them…not just the attorneys. Whether they’ll be de-designated from “Confidential” to totally open to the public is a question for the judge, but my legal source says it’s probably enough for the judge that the defense is stipulating to dropping the “Highly.” It’s a good meet-in-the-middle compromise…and judges usually like those.
- The defense has repeatedly offered to produce a privilege log, so no special order is needed there either.
In other words, everything the plaintiffs just tried to do with a 122-page filing was A COMPLETE WASTE OF THE COURT’S TIME (and the defense team’s). Now, remember what I just said about Magistrate Judge Eick being totally by the book? Well, take a look at another snippet from the response (page 4):
[E]x parte applications throw the system out of whack. They impose an unnecessary administrative burden on the court and an unnecessary adversarial burden on counsel who are required to make a hurried response under pressure, usually for no good reason. Such applications allow the applicant to jump ‘ahead of the pack’ and ‘cut in line ahead of those litigants awaiting determination of their properly noticed and timely filed motions.
But wait, there’s more. Apparently, misusing the ex parte application process can result in sanctions (in fact, it’s rule #1):
Citing Mission Power, this Court’s first procedural rule cautions against the misuse of ex parte applications, noting that: “Ex parte applications are ONLY for extraordinary relief. Sanctions may be imposed for misuse of ex parte applications.”
Judge Eick already knows all of this, of course. But like any good “law professor,” he likes knowing that his “students” did the reading, too. Well, at least one did. The other? Well, let me hand the virtual mic back to Erin Ranahan…
Plaintiffs apparently do not believe these rules apply to them, waiting until just a few days before the close of the discovery to seek Ex Parte relief about various discovery issues for which there is no timely-filed motion, no Local Rule 37 joint stipulation, and Plaintiffs appear in denial about the offers Defendants made that render moot Plaintiffs’ requested relief.
Back in court last Friday, the judge frequently pointed out to each attorney that the time and place to submit any statement to the court was in the joint stipulation motion to compel discovery, not during the hearing or sometime later. Much of what Erin says in her response filing pretty much says to the judge that she was listening to him while opposing counsel apparently was not.
The defense then went on to bring up something that I mentioned in my previous blog: that the final financial summary from the accountant that the plaintiffs wanted de-designated from “Highly Classified” had NOT been delivered to the plaintiffs yet when they filed their 122-page application document!
Contrary to Plaintiffs’ representation in their Ex Parte Application, these notes were not prepared by an accountant, but were notes by Alec Peters. This information is currently being reviewed by an accountant. As Defendants have explained, these were preliminary notes from Quicken and were not a final accounting, which is still being prepared.
Erin also made an interesting point. The funds raised for Axanar (the full feature) were never entirely used for Axanar because production was halted due to the lawsuit:
How Defendants specifically spent funds that were donated by enthusiastic fans for Axanar projects—one of which is not even complete because this lawsuit interrupted it—has no bearing on any issue in this case. Plaintiffs obviously have no standing to scrutinize or complain about money not going to the fan film they are trying to shut down.
I really can’t think of a good way to argue against that statement, but I’m sure someone will at least try.
Although there’s a lot more in the defense response, I don’t want this blog to go on too long (or rather, it already has). So instead, I’ll wrap by focusing on one final point that Erin Ranahan made about the plaintiffs and respecting confidentiality. And frankly, I can’t say it any better than she did:
Plaintiffs have been careless and disregarded confidentiality agreements in this case on several occasions, including (i) after originally claiming that the fact of the settlement discussions should remain confidential, Plaintiffs made a public announcement about these ongoing discussions; (ii) allowing a non-attorney to view an “attorneys eyes only” document during a deposition; (iii) describing these financial documents in various pleadings without redacting or seeking to file this information under seal; and (iv) citing information from depositions in their Ex Parte Application when it was agreed that all deposition testimony would be treated as confidential until further discussion. [Ranahan Decl., ¶ 14] Plaintiffs are also in frequent contact with individuals who have made clear that it is their goal to leak Axanar and Mr. Peters’ confidential information. In any event, and despite the serious concerns Defendants have about Plaintiffs’ disregard for honoring the confidentiality designations made in this case, and even though Defendants intend to contest the relevance of this information if Plaintiffs seek to introduce it, Defendants had already planned and indeed did produce a revised version of Mr. Peters’ Quicken notes today (Friday, October 28) that will be designated only “confidential,” which moots this issue. Defendants would expect that going forward, Plaintiffs would take better care in honoring the confidentiality designations governing this case.
I’ve noticed a certain cavalier, almost smug, attitude among some Axanar detractors about disseminating privileged information as though this were some kind of Wikileaks dump of stolen Clinton data. Carlos Pedraza even went so far as to call his efforts “hard-hitting reporting” (implying that my efforts aren’t). But there is a very important distinction here. Beyond keeping my sources anonymous, I am also respecting the confidentiality of this case, as are both Alec Peters and Erin Ranahan, whom I talk with from time to time and are repeatedly reminding me that, no, they can’t speak on the record or answer this or that question.
The more Carlos Pedraza and others report on privileged “inside information” from this case, the more they put the studios at risk because that information has to be coming from somewhere–and it’s certainly not the defense! And anyone who is leaking privileged information is quite possibly damaging the chances in the case for the plaintiffs. Sanctions have now been requested by the defense.
One side is playing by the rules here, and one side isn’t. Although sanctions are rarely imposed, it’s not entirely unheard of. And if any judge is going to be serious about making sure the rules are followed, I have a gut feeling it’s gonna be Charles Eick.
We’ll know more soon. As of Monday, there are only two and a half days left in the discovery period and so the judge will likely rule on the ex parte application as early as tomorrow.
117 thoughts on “ALEC PETERS’ attorney fires back hard at CBS/PARAMOUNT legal team in AXANAR LAWSUIT!”
Another great post! Thanks Jonathan!
Thanks, Dennis. Remember to tip your waiter. 🙂
Jonathan, this like 2 big battleships trading broadside and the defendents’ side inflicting major, maybe even fatal damage!!!!!!!!
The battleship analogy is correct, but right now, it’s all about jockeying for position so the cannons are pointing at vulnerable spots. Ordnance is being loaded, but the shots being fired are only the opening salvo. That said, Monday there are settlement talks. This could all be over before the real battle begins.
Jonathan, I guess we’ll have wait and see.
It might not be that long of a wait…if they settle. If not, then February is going to be a very interesting month! 🙂
It like this Fan Film Factor, “It’s exciting!”…..Another great piece Jonathan….are you sure you’re not Carl Bernstein/ Bob Woodward in hiding?
I’m loving that materials being leaked by several posters in the hate groups may actually help the studios lose the case…such sweet irony 🙂
The difference between me and Woodward and Berstein is I have no “deep throat” insider to rely on. I’m just watching the game and commenting from the sidelines to anyone who wants to listen. 🙂
Aren’t the plaintiffs deliberatedly scuttling their complaint to get it rejected for procedure vice as a non admission that they are in the wrong ?
CBS attorneys are flirting with sanctions and I do not think they do so for just being stupid. It looks like there is an obscure agenda down there and I guess that a procedure failure would be less dishonorable to the studio than a settlement. Then, the new guidelines would apply and the project would be out.
I can’t speak to agendas, Nicolas. We’ll just need to see how this goes.
I sense a bit of pedestal target practice here.
Sure looks to me like the studio committed a serious faux-pas, and they’ve chambered another round.
Maybe they’d better switch feet, to the one in their mouth…this one’s getting awfully full of holes.
Everyone expects them to settle but I have a hard time imaging what either party would accept at this point. As a fan I want Axanar to be able to make their film and as a donor I want CBS to reimburse Axanar for all of the fan’s money they’ve forced Peters and Co to waste due to the lawsuit. That’s about the minimum I can see Axanar settling for yet I think those are two things CBS will never agree to willingly.
So how do *you* think they can settle this, Jon?
I believe there is a path to settlement, but neither side will be happy with it. The question is, if both sides are unhappy, is that a fair compromise and worth it at this point? We’ll see.
He can make that money back from studio rental that you donors paid to build.
Alec has been trying to rent out the studio, but things move slowly in Hollywood (or 25 minutes north of Hollywood). The studio is costing $15,000/month for rent and just to keep the lights on. In the 10 months since the lawsuit was filed and production halted (because, well, lawsuit!), Alec has had to pay $150,000 of the donors’ money. Add to that the cost to build the sets themselves, building out the studio, installing track lighting, construction of the super-large green screen, perk manufacture and shipping, and I doubt much of the donor money is left right now. Forget about a few hundred dollars for tires; the really big costs have had the most impact. And remember that Alec didn’t start with $1.2 million. At least a couple hundred thousand went to Kickstarter and Indiegogo for commission and credit card processing fees.
I wish Alec would/could hold another crowd-funding campaign to keep the lights on, but I understand that doing so during an active lawsuit might be problematic.
Jonathan, How severe are the potential sanctions? Are they a slap on the wrist (a few $k?), medium (10s of $k), or severe (100s of $k and dismissal of the lawsuit?)
No way to know. It could be as “minor” as a Contempt of Court citation, which doesn’t carry with it any monetary penalty. As I said, sanctions are rarely given…but not “never.”
Another thing I just realized, Jonathan, the plaintiffs are acting just like the Trump campaign, not that I want to bring politics into this, but the plantiffs alre reacting like Trump, bringing up the same things over and over even though they have been explained and rendered moot.
Oh, please don’t bring up the “T” or “C” words, Frank. We’re gonna get blasted by the political crowd now!
Do I have to???
Jon, how do you reconcile “open and transparent” with highly classified.
The two can’t co-exist.
He tried the “open and transparent” path and got crucified for it. Why ask for even more headaches?
There will be a settlement but I don’t believe Axanar will be allowed to be made as a movie. Rather, I see a graphic novel-type thing that will be photographed using the actors, costumes, sets and CGI stills which will then be released to the donors as a .PDF. Of course I’d rather see the movie in all it’s glory but at this point I just want to see what Alec’s Axanar story actually is. If it’s presented as a graphic novel I’d be happy with that. Ugh! The studios are so myopic about fan films. Just frustrating to me.
I haven’t heard Alec talk about a graphic novel, although the idea is intriguing. Another possibility would be an audio drama…or perhaps (wait for it!) Axanar: The Musical! 🙂
I have now done an about-face. I am AGAINST Alec Peters et al..
I don’t even understand why this case has gone this far. It is straight out copyright/ip infringement. The fact that Paramount/CBS never went after any other fan films is their prerogative. Things that AP did in THIS case is what set Para/CBS off. And as of now they OWN Star Trek. End of Story. Is it because the new show covers the same time period? Maybe. It doesn’t matter. Paramount/CBS own Star Trek and all associated trademarks etc…
Is it because of the studio AP is/was building from money raised using the ST name where he will be able to make a profit from in the future? Maybe.
What ever the reason, Paramount/CBS own Star Trek. Period.
“End of Story,” huh? Another student who hasn’t done the reading for class. 🙂
Look, Vito, rather than try to summarize the last six or seven blogs I’ve written on this subject, just be aware that–unless the case settles tomorrow–this lawsuit is going to court. So not quite “End of Story,” my friend! 🙂
Did the folks behind Axanar ever propose a settlement that did not include completing the film? In other words, did Axanar force CBS/Paramount into a lawsuit as the only means by which to shutter production?
The first Alec Peters knew that the studios had any problem with Axanar was the morning he learned of the lawsuit. So no, the studios did not try for a peaceful solution before firing torpedoes.
Since Axanar was quite vocal about being an independent film and not a fan production, the lawsuit was not a surprise. They use live ammo at that level. I wonder, however, if Axanar would insist that completion of the film be part of any settlement. I’ll bet that this lawsuit would go away if Peters agreed to 1) walk away from the film and have no role in any future Trek productions, fan or otherwise, and 2) issue refunds to those contributors who request it. He’d get to keep the bulk of the donations since they were ostensibly for the creation of his studio, were they not?!?
You’re probably pretty on target there, James, but remember that Alec Peters has worked on a whole slew of fan films and with countless fan filmmakers. To exclude him from the “party” seems like cruel and unusual punishment. It also violates California law:
“…every contract by which anyone is restrained from engaging in a lawful profession, trade, or business of any kind is to that extent void.”
Very interesting. This whole lawsuit is strange. I could see them doing this is the movie was being funded by Fox or Sony or something like this but this is a fan film – do they really think it is going to damage their 50 year old franchise? If they are that concerned, maybe they need to look at what they are doing and ask why people would rather watch Axanar than the multimillion dollar films they are putting out. Obviously I don’t want CBS to lose their rights and everyone and anyone trying to make money off of Trek but stuff like this is clearly different and should be allowed.
Keep up the fight.
Lots of people agree with you, Dalton. And many people don’t. 🙂
Wow – way to try spin the fact that Alec Peters ISN’T as ‘transparent’ as he claims and further – either Erin Ranahan is in for some major sanctions, OR Alec Peters was LYING to his own legal team. How you can spin this as a positive for Axanar’s case shows just how clueless you are when it comes to legal matters.
Also the only reason he’s afraid is because I’m sure these e-mails will show just what he’s actually been spending the Pledge money on – and it’s pretty certain a lot of it has been spent on things not in any way related to the production (read spent on things considered personal gain for Mr. Peters)
Look, this isn’t spin so much as explanation for later. If things don’t you as you seem to be expecting, Armsman, I want you and others to understand why. I’m not trying to change any minds right now. Everyone out there reading FAN FILM FACTOR is welcome t believe whatever they wish. But in the next day or three, the judge will issue a ruling on the plaintiffs’ current application for order. If what I think will happen actually happens, I just don’t want people to say, “The system is rigged!” or “Alec Peters bribed the judge!” (with what???–the cupboard is pretty much bare!). If Alec’s financial records are left “confidential” and disallowed at trial, I just want people to know WHY.
And of course, I could be completely wrong. There’s enough people out there who are convinced of that already anyway. If so, then so be it. I’m just a blogger. I have no more ability to see the future than anyone else. But at heart, I’m also an educator. I like to explain things to people. I used to tutor math, and when Jayden is a little older, I plan to go into teaching full time. So imagine that that is all these blogs are…an attempt to teach. Whether or not anyone wants to learn isn’t something I can control.
God, it’s like watching a train wreck in slow motion…
CBS/Paramount’s irresponsible and reckless conduct just defies rationality. The moral high ground that they claim is rapidly disappearing(if it hasn’t vanished already). If they were truly the wronged party, why won’t they cooperate with the court? How can even the most objective detractor justify this blatant disregard for proper procedure? I’m no lawyer, but I just cannot fathom how the hell CBS/Paramount expects to win this much less make AXANAR look like the bad guy this. How can they justify their obsession with a handful of emails that they are already going to get anyway WHEN THEY STILL HAVE HANDED OVER LITTLE MORE THAN JACK SHIT? The mind boggles…
So you have been getting insider information on the case all along? That’s interesting, so you’ve been passing this to your ‘Legal Eagle’ friend who commented last week, is that kosher, I thought people who were a party in the case couldn’t talk to anyone about the trial?
Since Alec gave all the emails to Ranahan, why did she ask David Grossman in an email in Exhibit G for copies of Christian Gossett’s and Terry McIntosh’s emails and in papers they supplied Plaintiffs with? I mean since you have the inside track Jonathan. And why did Ranhan hand over 31,000 pages of emails and other papers dealing mostly with Axanar Productions, but dealing mostly with donor issues?
Since Alec is getting this legal help mostly for free, is it wise to say my attorney is so incompetent she didn’t hand over all the information I gave her. And what about Rob, he told Plaintiffs he didn’t even look for emails and Ranahan represented him as well as Bill Hunt and Diana Kingsbury at Depositions?
Nothing has been shared with me that is privileged or confidential, Brenda. Let me go on record right now as stating that fact unequivocally. That said, I do chat with Alec occasionally and have even exchanged a couple of e-mails with Erin Ranahan. Only once has she gone on the record with anything I could quote. Most times, she can’t tell me anything–either officially or off the record–and she lets me know. Alec previously shared with me the process he went through in turning over his e-mails, but I wasn’t certain I was allowed to disseminate that information. Trust me, I would have LOVED to have ended that whole debate sooner! So I kept it off of FAN FILM FACTOR until I saw it mentioned in Exhibit G of the plaintiffs’ application filing.
As for why Erin asked David Grossman for Christian and Terry’s e-mails, well, I can only assume to see what they were turning over. Remember, each of these gentlemen shared correspondence with people about Axanar where Alec wasn’t copied. Heck, I have a few dozen e-mails from Terry myself from back when he was Axanar PR director and was liaising with me to provide exclusive Axanar content to STARFLEET, the International Star Trek Fan Association (I’ve been a member since 1983). So I would guess Erin was curious what e-mails both men might have that she had never before seen. But that’s just a guess.
Not handing over all of the information from Alec is not incompetence. Just the opposite, in fact! A lawyer who simply handed over Alec’s entire e-mail folder without first parsing through it could very well be sued for malpractice. Not every e-mail is relevant to a legal action. If Alec was sending out rants about Donald Trump or planning for a trip to Florida to visit his nephews or discussing a medical issue, that’s his business, not opposing counsel’s. So no, she doesn’t look incompetent.
As for Rob, and Bill and Diana, I didn’t notice the plaintiff’s asking for their e-mails in the joint stipulation motion to compel discovery. Did I miss something? (I don’t think I did.)
Does this phase of legal proceeding usually “look like it was “game, set, and match?”” ?
According to one of my legal eagles: “Not usually.” The discovery phase typically has a lot of jockeying for position, but ultimately, it’s what happens at trial that counts. That said, discovery can have a very MAJOR effect on what happens at trial.
I’ve got this website bookmarked both at home and work so I can keep up to date with the most recent updates. Makes for good reading and giving an insight into how legal proceedings go. I am a huge Axanar fan and would like to see the film completed. Would love to be a fly on the wall over at CBS/Paramount to see what they are planning versus what actually transpires.
Please keep up the great work!
Thanks muchly, Al. But remember that not every fan film story is about Axanar. I encourage you to check out the FAN FILM RATINGS section, as well. That links to all the cool features and interviews I’ve done with other fan filmmakers.
I have gone through a good portion of the blogs. Was just reading about Stone Trek today on my lunch. Very entertaining.
YAY! One of my favorites. 🙂
Vito, you talk about the studio like it’s something that donors should be upset about. Far from it! I was always 110% behind the building of the studio.
Tommy Kraft was able to accomplish some amazing things using virtual sets in his film “Star Trek Horizon” and I loved his movie, but I’m not really a fan of the virtual studio look so when I heard that Peters was going to build actual standing sets and re-tool a warehouse in order to turn it into a professional-grade soundstage, I was thrilled. (He’s actually saving money by doing this as well as avoiding a lot of production problems that other fan films run into, but that’s a complicated conversation for people who don’t know the nuts and bolts of filmmaking).
As soon as I heard the idea of the studio I immediately understood its full potential. Not only would it be a cost savings and always be available in case they had to do pickups or re-shoots, but it would also be available for other fan projects, AND it could be rented out to raise money to fund more fan films!
So the studio was always a good thing in my book and if Peters can rent it to try to recoup some funds, that’s great, but that doesn’t get CBS off the hook for wasting the lion’s share of donor money with this lawsuit.
So say many of us! 🙂
You know, the more I read your blogs the more it becomes clear that you are the only one getting inside information about the case. You’re quick to cast aspersions at Carlos Pedraza but he has stated that he has had no contact with any of the CBS/P legal team. You on the other hand have had conversations with Erin Ranahan and with Alec who obviously also speaks to her. All we have is your word about Alec’s emails. You must have received that info from them as none of that is clear from the court filings. Pot, kettle, black.
Way to stick up for your boy Carlos! I guess you’ll just ignore that his anonymous source let slip information last week that could only have been known by the plaintiffs lawyers, or the plaintiffs themselves, and all before the filing of the Ex Parte motion…….
And actually, what Carlos has said is that his interview requests have been denied, not that he doesn’t have any contact.
As for Jonathan, he is discussing something that has already been made public. Your accusation is aiming at making him look like he is being used to leak information that shouldn’t be by the defense, and the simple act of him not saying a damned thing until after the issue was made public shows that isn’t true.
Although I freely admit to having conversations with Alec Peters and Erin Ranahan–I’ve said as much previously–I also freely admit to being frustrated nearly all of the time because they REFUSE TO TELL ME ANYTHING!!! They’re following the rules, John. They do NOT discuss anything confidential with me. In fact, I just e-mailed Alec with a question I was going to use the answer to in order to respond to your post. Alec’s answer, and I quote, “Can’t comment.” (See, I don’t even warrant a “sorry”!) 🙂
Anyway, here’s the difference between me and Carlos: I am not sharing anything that isn’t already public. All you have to do is look at Exhibit G of the following comment to the CBSvP Facebook Group: “My sources are telling me that it turns out Axanar didn’t turn over all the emails it should have in discovery.” (No need to delete the comment; it’s been screen capped.) Later in the thread, Carlos added, “Little hint: the missing emails were AP and RMB-related.” That latter fact was never revealed in court the previous Friday. The timing of the comments is what’s critical. It came AFTER Christian Gossett’s deposition on October 22 but BEFORE that information became public on October 27 when the defense filed their ex parte application with the court. So when Carlos reported what his “sources” told him, he was reporting privileged information.
So where did it come from?
Well, I’m pretty sure Alec didn’t share it (I’m pretty sure he wasn’t even there for that deposition), and you’re going to have to work hard to convince me the leak came from anyone on the defense team. So that leaves the Loeb & Loeb lawyers, Christian Gossett himself (who was being deposed), the person recording the proceeding (who is always under a confidentiality order), and someone from within the studios familiar with the case. All of the above are under total no-disclosure…even Christian Gossett himself (or anyone who is being deposed). It was the responsibility of the plaintiffs’ attorney to make clear to Christian that he wasn’t allowed to talk about the deposition at all because if he does/did, the attorneys who called him as a witness could be held liable. And if it was one of the attorneys or a CBS or Paramount employeewho leaked the info, well, that’s definitely not good either.
So it’s understandable that Carlos wants to protect his “source” (unless Carlos just made up the whole story, which I doubt…since it did turn out to be true). And if Carlos didn’t protect that person’s identity, he or she could be in a significant amount of legal trouble–so it’s understandable that Carlos didn’t say, “Christian Gossett told me…” or “Joe from CBS told me…” As a contrast, when I protect my legal sources, it’s simply because they each do business with companies and individuals in the entertainment industry and do not want their commentary on such a major case to potentially negatively impact their livelihoods. Also, my “sources” have NEVER shared privileged or confidential information with me…nor would I feel comfortable reporting it here if they had.
But understand that it doesn’t really matter who specifically told Carlos this privileged information. The important fact is that it had to come from somewhere, and the source was either on the defense side or the plaintiff side (which includes Christian, who was also under non-disclosure). It’s pretty unlikely the defense leaked anything, so that leaves the plaintiffs as the source of the leak. And that’s why the defense is so livid and why there could be trouble for the plaintiffs.
Hey Jon, people being deposed are not automatically bound by confidentiality.
Here’s what the Federal Justice Center says:
«Parties presumptively have a right, in part protected by the First Amendment, to share what they learn in discovery with other persons, including news media, as they see fit. A protective order must be based on good cause, because it infringes this presumptive right.» http://www.fjc.gov/public/pdf.nsf/lookup/confidentialdisc.pdf/$file/confidentialdisc.pdf
The protective order in this case was not a blanket one. The parties would have to designate specific materials as confidential.
That was not what I was told. Who was your source in this information, Sandy?
Have a look, the Protective Order approved in July states only things specifically designated as “confidential” or above is protected.
Sorry for the delay in approving this comment and replying, Sandy. I’m been dealing with a family issue for most of today and I was also waiting to hear back from one of my legal eagles (who is also super-busy this week).
Fortunately, a protective order such as this is pretty boiler-plate, so s/he didn’t need much time to tell me to tell you to look at paragraph 14: “If original documents or materials are made available for inspection, such documents or materials need not be designated for protection until after the inspecting party has indicated which material it would like copied and produced. During the inspection and before the designation, all of the material made available for inspection shall be deemed Confidential Information.”
This would apply to any e-mails that Christian turned over.
Yes, the emails themselves but it wouldn’t stop him talking about them which is what we’re talking about. No has said they’ve seen the emails, just that they heard some were missing. Anyone deposed is free to talked about it as much as they want, unless their testimony is specifically embargoed.
Um, nope. By sharing that the content of those e-mails did not match the content of any previously-produced e-mails, that was violating the protective order. Saying, “Oh, I handed over a thousand e-mails,” that’s fine. Saying, “I handed over a thousand e-mails and a hundred of them were to and from Alec Peters and were not previously provided by the defense,”–that violates both the spirit and the letter of the protective order, Sandy.
But thanks for playing! 🙂
Keep up the great work, Jonathan. I’m really looking forward to your next post. As far as some of the comments go, it’s not truly a Latin phrase but “non carborundum est”.
The bastards are not getting me down, Jerry. I’ve endured MUCH worse back in fourth grade! 🙂
Thank you for the update Jonathan! I really appreciate your honesty and integrity. This case is very important, and I do hope it goes to trial, and that Axanar wins. After reading all of your blog posts and skimming through a lot of the court documents you link to, I still don’t see what reason there is for the lawsuit. I just don’t see how the studio’s are being hurt financially by fan films, in this case Axanar. In this case I only see it hurting them with this lawsuit. Fan films are free publicity for them. “If life you gives you lemons, make lemonade” as comedian Ron White says in his stand up routine. Also, it is so sad that the detractors who attack you are so clueless. How many of them have actually even read any of your posts or looked at the court documents. Things are quite deplorable in this country. Hitler’s propaganda minister infamously said but was very true to the effect: “Tell a lie long enough and people believe it to be truth.”
And we are now officially in compliance with Godwin’s law–someone has finally brought up Hitler! (But at least I’m not the one being compared to Der Führer!) 🙂
As for the detractors, they actually read my blogs quite carefully, cherry-picking the juiciest bits to post elsewhere and then throw darts at. It’s kinda fun for both them and me–they get a laugh; I get a laugh–everybody wins. If there were more of them out there, I’d probably be more troubled than amused, but only in a sad way. They really NEED to believe they’re right on this. Anything else will be unacceptable to them. If Alec Peters either wins or loses with only a minor slap on the wrist, I am certain they will be clamoring for an appeal, lamenting the idiocy and/or gullibility of the jury, claiming the system is rigged, or possibly even complaining that it wasn’t fair to begin with because Erin Ranahan is hot (and married…sorry, folks!) and she swayed the male members of the jury more than Jonathan Zavin. Who knows what they’ll say! But I doubt it will be, “Well, I guess we were just wrong.” That definitely is NOT gonna happen! 🙂
I agree with you 100%. You will never win with the naysayers who are dead set in their ways, however misguided they may or may not be. They will just claim it is all some kind of conspiracy and that so and so must have been paid off. That is more than anything what I was probably trying to say to begin with, but you beat me to it! 🙂
I fully agree with Dennis. The studio has always been clearly explained in the fundraising campaigns and no donors were mislead on that. In fact, the purpose of the studio was not to rent it specifically for Star Trek production but for any other project. Filming school was actually mentioned as a possibility but the studio is able to host any other production in need of a professional facility.
So, the studio is meant to be a self funding tool and not an infringement machine for lease.
The fact is detractors just can not recognize a new business model as some apprear from time to time. Maybe the confusion comes from its emergence within the Axanar project. Well, let’s just say that quite every major innovation came from war. And it is precisely what is at stake int the Axanar trial: to prove there is a better way to use copyright. The day a studio will accept it and go forward, it will be irreversible, hence the need to be ‘very’careful in stepping in. Still it might be the beginning of a tremendous progress, so let’s hope the debate will bring up some more interesting elements as to how such a studio could be run without damage.
That is the process used for any new concept. Sometimes comes the moment to give it a try and see what happens. Ther were precursors for some times now, and Axanar is just trying to open a new door. All the question is to know if you are one of those that want to know what’s behind the door of are afraid of it.
Star Trek is just about boldly exploring…
Jonathan I agree with Sandy I don’t know who he asked but I asked Janet Gershel-Siegel. Only those who are parties to the complaint should keep silent. One of the reason Alec has been told more than once by Attorney to stop Captains Logs as he has said when he’s had to stop sending them.
Being independant does not mean it is not made by fans. In fact, all that is made by anyone outside of official licensed production falls under fanmade stuff no matter the cost and professional quality level. Professionals often have been involved in fan productions without a hitch and I do not understand the purpose of preventing them to volunteer spare time as it is still not proven that it is causing any prejudice.
I for one would not ask Alec for refund since he is not at fault for not being able to deliver the film. It would not be moral behavior to kick a man down I consider a victim ‘for the example’. Alec almost delivered what is possible, the rest is not up to him…
For instance, if you want undue retaliation, it is possible to imagine one: donors should intent class action on CBS for making them loose their donation on the studio project while it has nothing to do with any infringement whatsoever. Sounds silly, huh ? I agree, so keep cool and let’s see what happens next.
Well, Jonathan not to split hairs but Alec did say they were not a fan film. They were an independent Star Trek film with professionals in front of and behind the camera. As a donor I did not give money to a Fan film. I think this is one instance in which Alec’s words will come back to haunt him.
Probably not. The plaintiffs are on record as saying the term “fan film” is “vague and undefined.” So by their own admission, Alec could potentially have been making a “fan film” since there is no agreed-upon universal definition.
English is not my native language but I do not think that “independant” means “commercial”.
Alec was clearly stating his work quality will not be at the level of poor homemade videos, saying how and why. As everyone involved is fan, the whole project is fan-made, then fan-film.
Yes, simple as that. 😉
Nicolas, excellent point. That seems to just evaporate in most discussions. Alec’s point was always that they were going to produce the highest quality (near studio level) that any non studio produced movie could make. No one, in all the Axanar stuff I ever saw, ever made any intonation they were replacing the studio, just that the studios (today) set a bar that they were aiming at. The whole “professional movie” has achieved urban legend status.
As a rule here independent films are for profit with investors who expect a return.
The minute someone gets paid is the minutes someone is profiting. And while that may be a simplistic explanation it’s true. Yes there were some volunteers but there was also a lot of people who got paid.
Well, that’s also true of Star Trek Continues, Star Trek: New Voyages, and Star Trek: Renegades (oh, and I think Starship Farragut, as well)…to name but a few of the “someone is profiting” fan films and series. So why single out Alec and Axanar then? Are they simply a victim of their own success?
Starship Farragut never made any type of profit at all in its 10 year history. I am curious to know where you pulled that information, Jonathan. Please verify your source. I am sure I can contact John or Mike to confirm this. The next time you want to spread rumors about my team, clarfify it with me first. And then I can give you the truth.
Sorry, I may have been misunderstood, Dean. I never suggested that Farragut made any sort of profit as a production. Certainly not!
However, it was never made clear whether or not Tim Russ, Chase Masterson, and Leslie Hoffman were actually paid for their work on the two episodes they worked on (“Power Source” for Tim and Chase and “The Price of Anything” for Leslie). However, in John Broughton’s blog from September, 2009, he discusses Farragut’s becoming a SAG signatory when Leslie says in her interview:
“That you took the time to become Signatory with SAG shows your love and commitment to this crazy Industry. Thank you for honoring my request to you. A thank you should also go to Michael Struck of NEO/fx. NEO f/x did the right thing and became SAG Signatory with the Animated Farragut project at the advice of Chase Masterson.”
Now, while SAG does allow its members to work for free under certain conditions, there is usually a minimum payment required, especially for actors. That’s why I made sure to say “possibly.” It’s just impossible to know for certain whether or not these people were actually paid. However, I did have an off-the-record conversation with another fan producer who has worked closely with Tim Russ on a different fan film, and this producer told me that Tim specifically does not work for free on any fan production. Now, I’m not at liberty to share the identity of this producer (unless he gives me the okay), so you’ll just need to take my word for it…and I’ll understand if you choose not to. But that is my only other “source.”
But as I said, that’s why I made certain to include the word “possibly”–and not in regards to making any profit for the production itself but rather simply about the possibility that, once Farragut and NEO became SAG signatories, that in hiring SAG members, the productions may (may!) have been required to pay them…even if only a nominal amount. Heck, Walter Koenig did “To Serve All My Days” back in 2005 for just $500. So it’s not like any of these people would have taken home huge paychecks. And it’s possible they made nothing at all. Hence the word “possibly.”
The point being, “possibly” paid actors. In opposition to “all volunteer”, or “unpaid” which is one of the issues in the whole case. The twist and interpretaion of things you report by others is really interesting. People get their fur up on statements and blame the wrong person. Brenda said” The minute someone gets paid is the minutes someone is profiting. And while that may be a simplistic explanation it’s true. Yes there were some volunteers but there was also a lot of people who got paid.” Jonathan said: “Well, that’s also true of Star Trek Continues, Star Trek: New Voyages, and Star Trek: Renegades (oh, and I think Starship Farragut, as well)…to name but a few of the “someone is profiting” fan films and series” Yet the fur fly’s and Jonathan is accused of saying Farragut made a profit. That was never said, from what I see. This is part of the issue we see in this, people jump and get all excited and claim things that were never said, and are not truth. If people would just stay with facts, it would be so much easier to see what is really going on. Or am I wrong here….
We live in a “gotcha!” world, Brian. Sad that.
Excellent article Jonathan. I admire the way you produce such volumes and still deal with the same 3 or 4 nameless ones who trot out every reason to twist 4+3 into 6. As far as keeping Axanar’s lights on, I would set up a 10 or 20 dollar a month donation to the effort, if they had any way to do it. I would also hope when CBS loses they have to repay it all back with interest, so we can go back to what really matters….
Hmmmm… Not a bad idea! Alec can’t really crowd-fund right now. Well, technically, he can do whatever he wants. But it would look a lot like he was poking the bear…especially if this case still goes to court. But I’m curious: if a fan set up a “Save Axanar” campaign, would people contribute if it was simply raising money just to pay the rent on the studio until the verdict comes down? Show of hands, people.
A Fool and his money are soon parted…
A stitch in time saves nine…
(Um, what are we doing again?) 🙂
Funny that Slow Lane actually started a Go Fund me for “Save Axanar” a few days before this suggestion was made.. Apparently your not to slow Lane to act like a pauper for your puppet master….
Brian wasn’t the first person to suggest it to me, Orange. It was sent via the “Contact Us” form a few days earlier (Saturday, I think).
Again, thanks for playing! I’m off to have my lunch now.
So how come your deleting comments on the Go Fund Me?
Point is moot. Alec asked me to take it down.
Also Slow Lane, why isn’t the Investor Group behind Industry Studios paying for the $15K monthly liabilities? Axanar at this point should have little to no ongoing obligations, other than what’s going on with the Lawsuit… and you can’t use Go Fund Me to cover legal expenses…..
Alec asked me to take down the GoFundMe site. It is now down. Not wanting him to be involved with it in any way until it was officially launched, I didn’t tell him I’d put it up online in the first place. When he found out about it, I got a call very quickly.
Well I would be willing to pledge 10, even 20 a month until this mess is settled. It is along the same lines as Patreon, and I support a couple of things there, not because I am rich, but they do the things I am willing to fund and pay for. That is a key thing here, let the market speak. If CBS is so damn good, where are their products? Why was Axanar successfully funded a few times? Because Axanar is what people are willing to pay for. This should be an object education for CBS, not a lawsuit. Alec should be paid for educating them. ST has been in another drought of quality material, so the creative people in the world stepped in. The BS of “IP” whether you created it or bought it through several iterations, is IMHO, crap. As long as I am not copying your material and recanning it, there is no IP issue. New material, new stories, new worlds, even with some minor connections to existing ones, should be considered transformative original work. If CBS rolls out Disco and it has anything that has been in Axanar, I hope counterfire can be brought to bear.
I might be asking you for twenty bucks, Brian! Stay tuned. If the case doesn’t settle, I’m launching a crowd-funding campaign. It’ll be us against the detractors! 🙂
Since I have no idea of a Go Fund me page, my point was that I am sure there are ways to help Axanar stand against the efforts of some to crush it, as well as malign all parties. I don’t know Alec, other than from Axanar, and I believe a persons actions support their character. All the naysayers pull up dirty skeletons and say “He did this, that and the other thing”. OK, fine, I have never seen any concrete proof of any of it, yet I have seen Prelude, have seen the work being done, have seen the stage, and props, costumes etc. None of it says “And while blowing your donations on this stuff, bought a house, car and vacation villa”. I supported Axanar, and still do, and yes, Jonathan, hit me up. If I want skullduggery and hidden agendas, and stories, I can always go to the news, or an Anti-Axanar FB page. All the people associated with Axanar have tried their best to do what they loved, and make what they said they would make. So, even if you have a “secret” go fund me, so what? When you are ready, and we see what happens, we carry on to trial, and try to do what we can to help. Right is not might, as the Arthurian legend says…
For right now, at least, there won’t be a GoFundMe campaign. Whether there will be one in the future is unknown. Obviously, if the case settles tomorrow, it’s not needed at all.
Wow Jonathan could you be any more obvious especially since yo already set up
A GoFundMe, for Axanar 4 days ago? why all the subterfuge, why not just do a blog on it? Why be so sneaky about the whole thing? If you want to support Axanar if you are the one who truly believes in Axanar, why not just write a blog about it?
I’m waiting to see if the case settles. I was going to take the campaign live this week (one of my readers suggested the idea last week), but a settlement would make the campaign unnecessary.
It would be nice, though, if the detractors could wait until I officially announce the campaign before posting warnings all over it. 🙂
Sorry for the tempest in a teapot. It is obvious that any action to help Axanar is sniffed out by the Anti crowd and some little ball of negativity is dispatched to start sniping. It is almost like the thing with kids, no one is allowed to have any toys because a few of the kids cannot play nice. Sad that a huge corporation is seemingly represented by little balls of negativity…need to bring on Deeprak Chopra to give some meditation lessons here so some reflection can be done.
I think Deeprak would take one look at the CBS/PvA Facebook group and wretch. That much negativity is physically palpable and painful for those who aren’t living in it and breathing it in. Fear has led them to anger, anger has led them to hatred, and hatred has taken them to the dark side.
Nice, very nice Jonathan. You have captured the spirit of the issue. The little balls of negativity reflect the bigger ones. I just saw an article hacking Beyond with what they said was 5 major oops, and another that declared:
“Nemesis, together with the Enterprise TV show, represents the sputtering and dying of the Star Trek franchise renaissance that Wrath of Khan kicked off two decades before. And boy, was it a sour note to end on! The relationship between the cast and Director Stuart Baird was infamously terrible. The movie blatantly ignores established series canon, which can be fine if you use it to tell a good story, but it just comes off as lazy and careless here. It duplicates the heroic act of self-sacrifice from Khan but can’t manage to summon the same pathos. But while Nemesis mostly makes me sad, it’s not all bad. The cast does salvage a handful of nice moments from the wreckage, Tom Hardy’s scenery-chewing villain Shinzon is fun in a campy B-movie sort of way, and the space battles are cool. It’s just not nearly as good a send-off as 1991’s Star Trek VI was for the original cast.” (ARS Technia)
So, it is not just the Axanar folks who have found CBS/Paramounts custody of Star Trek t be wanting. Funny they rated WOK as one of the top Sci Fi movies, so well made someone who had never heard of Trek could go see it and not come away disappointed. Another time, another corporate buyout away….
Please refer to John Van Citters interview where he says that it is normal to pay someone providing workforce or supplies.
This point has already been discussed and I think I already answered that following this logic will result in not being able to pay for pizza delivery for cast and crew (or something like that). Then do not mix up producers and suppliers. For the first ones, Alec in particular, explanations have been given too.
Strangely, as the CBS attorneys do, you are wasting time of this blog repeatedly saying the same wrong arguments… Will you also say it is our fault ? Don’t read if you can’t stand the truth.
Perhaps I did not make myself clear, I was not referring to tradesmen. I was referring to other individuals who have told that those who work on Farragut get no pay just their expenses, STC Vic only gets everyone a plane ticket same for New Voyages. Actors are not payed nor is crew and production staff. It’s called doing something you love, most real fan films don’t pay their actors and production people.
As you can see on pages 9 and 10 of this document, Brenda, “Star Trek Continues” has, over the past three years, paid its actors about $34,000 and its contractors and crew about $140,000. Here’s a close-up image with the line items highlighted.
I’ll take your word for it Jonothan but I have talked to people from Farragut and they tell me no one got paid.
Possibly not on Farragut (with the exception of Tim Russ, Chase Masterson, and the stunt coordinator on “The Price of Anything”). But STC’s 501c(3) filing is a matter of public record. They not only pay people, they pay them a very reasonable amount. Likewise, Star Trek: New Voyages paid Walter Koenig, George Takei, Grace Lee Whitney, Marc Zicree, and the editor of “World Enough and Time” himself got $60,000 for eight months of work. Other fan projects like “Of Gods and Men” and “Renegades” paid many people on their productions. It wasn’t just Axanar.
I supported Axanar and in fact donated to the IGG campaign. But I know all that glitters is not gold and that no matter how much you want to believe in someone, sometimes the best thing you can do is walk away.
I realized in October 2015 if Axanar was going to be made actual filming would have started. That if Alec was serious about making Axanar sets would have been finished in a reasonable amount of time. Actors hired wardrobe finished. They certainly had enough money. But to a reasonable person it seemed it was far more important to Alec to attend every Convention known to fandom than shooting one second of the film. I didn’t donate so Alec and Diana could go to Conventions, I donated to see what was suppose to be an independent Star Trek film better than anything the studios had put out. The description I just gave you is a direct quote from Rob in numerous podcast.
For the record I really don’t care what you think. Also for the record I am not a detractor or hater. I don’t hate Alec or anyone in Axanar. I think it Jonathan is a pretty decent guy, who is passionate about something he loves. If I am anything it disappointed, that I trusted someone with money and have nothing to show for it.
I appreciate your honesty, Brenda. And please understand, I live in and have worked in Hollywood. The job of an Executive Producer is to raise funding (feel free to look it up). So when Alec went to conventions and manned a table or did a panel, the idea was to raise awareness of Axanar and generate more donations…and it worked. That $1.2 million didn’t just happen by accident, and it wasn’t just George Takei’s Facebook post (although that did generate $250K). But most of that was the direct result of Alec Peters doing everything he could to keep things exciting–social media posts, interviews, podcasts, even phone calls. I once watched Alec spend 35 minutes on the phone with a single donor who had given previously and was willing to give again. At the end of the call, the donor had increased his donation level to $5,000. That’s literally what an EP does.
There’s a reason most other fan productions have trouble raising a fraction of that much. And there’s a reason that Renegades (which also has an excellent EP) is close to breaking the million dollar in crowd-funding, as well. Alec had a job to do and did it very effectively. Rob, as director, was in charge of getting sets built, VFX shots planned out and storyboarded, actors cast, etc. Most of that was happening while Alec was traveling. The bridge set was (and still is) nearly finished. I have a photo of my son in the captain’s chair, and he still thinks Alec is building the actual USS Enterprise. (I’ve tried to explain that it’s the Ares, not the Enterprise.) Had the lawsuit not happened, filming was scheduled to start in February. Actors had been cast. 20 minutes of VFX shots were already finished. The first half-hour of the final movie was scheduled to be released onto YouTube in September to correspond with the 50th anniversary. That was the plan, and things were very much on schedule. Location shoots were even worked out and permits had been applied for at two familiar Star Trek locations.
Alas, then December 28 happened and the rest, as they say, is history…or tragedy.
Brenda, You seem to have warped space and time. I remember when Alec and Co announced their schedule, they had to get the studio ready, sets and costumes, and they has some issues getting everything done right, and affordably. I remember the video blogs and podcasts where they talked about the issues, and the story’s of Rob laying on the ground with his camera shooting angles and testing, testing testing. I also remember the Vulcan scene, which was shot to test their green screen capabilities and to show the donors what they were planning on doing. Everyone was gaga on the quality. Diana was on the balcony at a balustrade.
Sorry, but “I realized in October 2015 if Axanar was going to be made actual filming would have started.” is pure BS. Alec said the schedule has slipped from Oct/Nov to January. I know because I was going to volunteer on his set to do work, any work they needed, and then had to reschedule my sabbatical for January to open time up, if Alec ever called with work needed. So, if you decided in Oct 2015, that it would never be made, then you boo-booed. January was scheduled start date for filming, which is EXACTLY why the CBS geniuses dropped the lawsuit on them Dec. So, if you are disappointed, then take your disappointment out on CBS and Paramount, who, and I cannot fathom why this is such a difficult concept, purposefully, intentionally and with apparent malice to their fans, waited for just that moment, knowing it would take a year or more to go to court, and ensure the safety of the precious 50th with no peasantry intruding with their unauthorized non CBS/Paramount money making, intrusions on their festival. And to ensure ST3 had no interferance, and oh, yea, their precious Disco could be rolled out (well, until their superior intellect and management skills dropped them behind schedule (oh wait, only screwy criminals like Alec and Rob do THAT SORT OF THING). This double satndard, recriminations, boo hoo me attitude, is what encourages and supports the Axa haters into making their nasty, unsupported or twisted fact claims. CBS/Paramount started this war on fans, not the fans. I never once saw anything indicating that Axanar was lollygagging around, or “not going to make the movie” or any of these other “bad things”. Sorry if I offend you, but I am tired of people bashing other people and claiming how bad they feel, betrayed, ripped off, etc when there is not ONE fact to show any bad faith on the part of Axanar, and a seemingly HUGE pile of ill will, deception, and intention to take it out by CBS/Paramout.
Have a pleasant day.
Brenda, Brian does make a very strong point (in there somewhere!): the launch of STAR TREK: DISCOVERY has now been delayed by four months (January to May). So you’re holding Alec Peters to a higher standard than CBS itself by not allowing him the flexibility to delay the start of his filming by four months, as well (September to January). Is that double standard really being fair to Alec?
By the way Jonothan some of the same posters here who said Discovery was doomed because of this delay are some of the same folks who defend Alec for his delays.
See we know Discovery will be made, while a lot of people had started doubting in the Fall of 2015 Axanar never would be.
I never doubted either show–Disco or Axanar. I know how Hollywood productions work, and a 4-month delay is, well, really nothing in this town. Four months late is actually early in some cases! Remember how JJ’s 2009 Star Trek was delayed from being released the previous Christmas? Delays happen. Look at how many episodes Star Trek: New Voyages still has in the can, unreleased. Look at the second episode of Starship Exeter (seven years in the making!). Sometimes fan films run into unexpected delays…just like any production.
And I’ve seen some people doubting that Disco will make it out of spacedock (spoiler alert: it will), but I haven’t seen a correlation between those people and Axanar supporters. I don’t know if you’re suggesting such a direct link, but I doubt you’ll find any hard evidence of it.
Brian, I read all Alec’s Captain’s Logs and listened to every podcast what I stated is my opinion as A donor not an invitation for a long winded debate on how wrong you think I am. You think I am wrong fine big woo. I just got tired of the changing narrative of we’re fully professional to we’re just learning as we go. Suck it up and be one or the other, you can’t ha e it both ways.
Brenda, from your tone and comments it is hard to tell you are a supporter and patron of Axanar. The statement ” I just got tired of the changing narrative of we’re fully professional to we’re just learning as we go.” is illustrative of the “Anti-Axanar” crowd, along with “I realized in October 2015 if Axanar was going to be made actual filming would have started.”. You make these statements with no supporting evidence but make the statements like facts. If it is your opinion, fine, but do not put this out as conclusive. Unfortunately,people today do not want to discuss and support their positions, instead they state them, so “long winded” is the only way to try to make those that make their decisions in 10 seconds, to maybe try to think it through. Also, sites like this encourage people to morph into “Bob the Dodo” when they are actually someone else with an agenda. Sorry if it was too much…
I’ll again take your word for it Axanar is the only non studio Trek film I had the misfortune of being involved with.
There’s a lot of great productions out there, Brenda. Try Pacific 201! 🙂
Now, Pcific201 just released a new trailer vid, with an interview with the “XO”. Eric Henry has pretty much had things in slow motion, and said they also had a whole bunch of issues this summer with stage, set building etc. He was associated with Axanar and it may be the studio is now not available. They only raised 25K or so, and even with that their visuals are amazing. It is a prime example of what the studios keep missing: The no longer hold a monopoly on studio quality capability, and it has nothing to to with professional anything. The hardware and software are now out there, and the green screen technology allows a skilled person to make a movie on par with them for very little. So this adds up to: Their business model is now flawed, and they have no real idea what to do. P201 was just as likely a candidate to get hammered. Now, will Eric take a proposed 90 min movie and make it into a 15 minuter? He hasn’t said much at all but is soliciting money to support renting space through Indigogo.
I’ll be featuring Pacific 201 this coming week (trying to get an interview with Eric, which could delay it to the following week). That teaser was awesome, but if they use it for their 15 minutes, there goes 20% of the time they have!
As far as I know Eric’s studio facility was NOT Ares Studios. I believe Eric is in Pennsylvania near Harrisburg. I’m sure Alec would be happy to lend Eric studio space, but it’s clear across the country.
I am sure there is. It is a matter of once bitten twice shy.
I understand. Watch this and decide if it’s worth loving again after a heartbreak, Brenda: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6JCVaZVRWk
Thats the one! You then need to go look at the Indigogo vid to see how great their quality is, Eric or whoever is doing the visuals, has made it look so realistic, it is hard not to believe it is really up there. It is also an enigma as a whole, as you never know if something that good will be the next “IP” violator, and they nothing but the Trek name and some made up background material to claim as “violations”.
The Sword of Damocles hangs over the heads of all fan filmmakers unless all of the guidelines are followed.
Sorry to insist, but to enforce the guidelines, it will be needed for CBS to keep an eye open on everything released. In doing so, most of the review for an eventual license is done, but afterwards when it should be done earlier.
The guidelines should be the barrier between free projects and those subject to prior agreement. Above the limits of the guidelines, the projects should be submitted for prior approval, while the others remain free to proceed accordingly to the guidelines.
I still believe this represents the best possible exit for everyone to consider as an other possible outcome for a settlement of the Axanar case but also for other current or future projects.
Note that I adjusted my idea to the previous objections and it now fits the John Van Citters will not to micro-manage all fan projects (it is now limited to the most significant ones). Nearing the middle… 😉
I was and I had planned to add a lot more zeros to my next donation. However after basically being booted off a couple of groups because I was on a FB group had not really made any comments was discussed and an Administrator was told to not be without even the courtesy of beinging contacted. Moral of this story you never want to piss off a southern lady.
I just cant wait for them to lose so I can see the full movie it looks so bloody awesome I evn had my little ones watch it fantastic and awesome work, cany wait for the next after this one is released 🙂
Comments are closed.