I started the SMALL ACCESS protest campaign on Facebook last July, shortly after CBS and Paramount released the new guidelines that seemed to spell certain doom for Star Trek fan films. I’d hoped we could start a “movement” that would make the studios take notice and convince them to revisit and revise the guidelines.
It’s now almost a year later, and the guidelines remain in place…unchanged. We tried to get bunch of the guidelines changed all at once, but that didn’t work. And I realized instead that, if we tried to “eat the elephant” in smaller bites (try to change one guideline at a time), then we might have more luck in convincing the studios to listen to us and maybe even work with us.
And our offer would be simple: revise just one guideline, and our members will subscribe to CBS All Access for a month (to check it out, see if we like it). Revise two guidelines, two months. And so on. The first guideline we wanted to target was the “no ongoing fan series” rule (we voted on that), suggesting that Guideline #1 could be rewritten with a revised second part:
The fan production must be less than 15 minutes for a single self-contained story, or no more than 2 segments, episodes or parts, not to exceed 30 minutes total. The production can continue featuring the same title, characters, and settings for additional episodes as long as no single story extends beyond two consecutive segments, episodes or parts.
The big question was: would the members of SMALL ACCESS agree to subscribe for a month if the studios made his first revision to Guideline #1? I published the results of a survey last week in Part 7, but here they are for you again…
If we simplify the results down to a sample of 20 members…
- 10 would be willing to subscribe for a month if we got our way.
- 4 refuse to ever subscribe, even if we get a goodwill gesture from CBS.
- 5 live outside of the U.S and Canada and will get Star Trek: Discovery via Netflix.
- 1 was planning to subscribe to All Access anyway.
So there’s two problems. First, only a small fraction of our members (1 in 6) even bothered to take the poll. Second, only half are willing to subscribe for a month if we get our way.
It’s kinda ridiculous for me to go to CBS and say, “Hey, if you change this one guideline, I can get you NEARLY A HUNDRED subscribers to All Access for at least a month! How does that sound???”
It sounds pretty laughable. CBS is looking to count subscribers in the millions. A hundred isn’t even a rounding error.
So what do we do?
As the title of this blog entry says: size DOES matter! Unless SMALL ACCESS embiggens itself (Simpsons reference, folks) in a major way, we’re looking at virtually no chance to even get noticed.
SMALL ACCESS needs a SMALL ARMY!
We grew pretty fast over the first few weeks, but once we hit 1,200-1,300 members, we pretty much plateaued. We’d gain a few, lose a few, and still stay in the same range. (Even as I type this, we’ve got 1,281.) I’d hoped that news of the SMALL Access Facebook group would grow organically through word of mouth. That didn’t happen much after the second month, and the small size of SMALL ACCESS falls mainly on me. I let the group down. I coasted. And the group stopped growing.
It’s time to fix that!
Over the past few weeks, I’ve reached out to certain friends of mine in the fan community to ask for their help and guidance in setting up ways to expand the membership of SMALL ACCESS. These are people with way more knowledge of and experience with guerilla marketing tactics utilizing social media than I currently have. And we’ve started brainstorming some ideas. Perhaps you’ve already see some changes at the SMALL ACCESS Facebook group page: a new banner, a membership counter promising perks when we reach certain member milestones, and a slightly revised logo that can be put on those perks without being directly derivative of the CBS logo.
In the coming weeks, we’ll be taking to Twitter and headtalker.com, setting up online “rallies,” and introducing some new slogans like “Fighting for TREK Fan Films One Guideline at a time!” and “Think: SMALL!”
And there’ll be more ideas, too. In fact, if you’ve got some and don’t mind lending us a hand or two, we’re looking for some more SMALL Generals for our SMALL Army! But even if you don’t have the time to be a leader, we need SMALL troops, too.
We’re going to do our best during the next few months to INCREASE the membership size of SMALL ACCESS. Can we double our size to 2,500? Can we reach 5,000 or 10,o00 or beyond? Hey, it might be pie in the sky, but at least we’ll know we’ve tried.
We’ve got until Star Trek: Discovery debuts…that’s our window. If it does well and attracts lots of subscribers, then we probably won’t matter. But if it’s struggling and CBS wants/needs to boost those subscription numbers—and we’re large enough to register on the radar by that point—then it might just be worth CBS’s while to make a minor change to one or two of those silly guidelines if it’ll mean better numbers for All Access showing up in their annual report to the shareholders.
So that’s our new Prime Directive right now: grow, grow, grow. We might be starting SMALL, but for the sake of Star Trek fan films, SMALL ACCESS needs to finish BIG…because size DOES matter!
If you haven’t joined SMALL ACCESS, click on the banner below…and tell yours friends, too!