I asked myself that question recently as I was preparing a multi-part blog on the history of the fan production Star Trek: Renegades (you gonna love it!). The retrospective started out as a two-parter…then stretched itself to three…and finally finished up with four parts and more than 7,000 words! Who in their right mind writes THAT much about a single fan film???? (Well, other than Axanar, but they had a lawsuit to write about!)
And it’s not like there’s any money in this, folks. Maybe by the end of the year I’ll take in a few hundred dollars off of Google ads…if I’m lucky. I pay nearly that much just for web hosting and online security!
As I did my research on the history of Star Trek: Renegades—researching dozens and dozens of different websites and articles, blogs and crowd-funding updates, and forums and Facebook pages—I finally realized the reason that I put so much time and effort into writing all these blogs and maintaining this web site…
Someone’s gotta do it!
I don’t mean that facetiously. The fact is that no one else has covered fan films the way that I do. Oh sure, there are some great fan film blogs out there. The folks at Star Trek Reviewed have catalogued nearly every Star Trek fan film that has ever been produced and released…from all corners of the earth (and possibly beyond). And James Hams recently launched a fan film blog of his own with some interviews and editorials.
But for me, it’s all about the STORIES of the fan productions themselves. I don’t mean the stories they tell on film. Those are fine and vary in quality from “must see” to “well…um…good try.”
But no, what I am talking about is the stories BEHIND the stories—the stories of how these fan films came to be, the challenges they faced and overcame…the ecstasies, the miseries, the broken rules, the desperate chances, the glorious failures and the glorious victories (yeah, I just quoted Dr. McCoy), the lessons they learned and could potentially teach others.
Before Fan Film Factor, there was nowhere on the Internet where you could learn everything—well, almost everything—about a single fan film all in one place. There was nowhere to get the “whole story” without doing what I did and swimming through multiple sites doing extensive research.
But I don’t stop at just writing blogs recounting fan film histories. I also interview the creators themselves when I can. Even there, however, the “star” of each interview is NOT just the interviewee but also the fan production itself. Oh sure, I ask about their background and get some brief biographical information. But I don’t really care what their favorite Star Trek episode is or whether or not they’re looking forward to the next movie or TV series. What I really drill down on are their fan films! How did the film(s) get made? Who participated? How long did it take? Where did the show-runner find his/her actors and production team? Why did they decided to tell the story the way they told it?
What I always discover in these interviews is that these are Trek fans at their best, their most dedicated and passionate! And the stories behind their stories are truly compelling. There are tales of triumph, tragedy, ingenuous solutions, funny mistakes, surprising realizations and sometimes tough lessons learned. And they always include fans coming together, working hard to create something that they all believe in.
These are the stories I tell here on FAN FILM FACTOR. Sure, I also include fan film news, editorials, funny short videos, links to current crowd-funding campaigns, some biography blog entries, and even an online shop (go ahead, buy a T-shirt…you might be my first-ever sale!).
But if you’re a fan of fan films and want to explore more of this world, please visit the FAN FILM RATINGS section and browse through it. It’s loaded up with links to the many fan film features and interviews I’ve done…the amazing stories behind the stories. It’s a work in progress, constantly being added to as I research, interview, and write about more fan films.
Treat yourself to a deep dive into story behind one of your favorite fan productions like Starship Exeter, Star Trek Continues, New Voyages, or Starship Farragut. Or maybe check out one or two you’ve never heard about before like Dark Armada, Project: Potemkin, Stone Trek, Digital Ghost, or Aurora. Read about the very first-ever Star Trek fan film: Paragon’s Paragon. Get the whole story all in one place.
That’s what Fan Film Factor is here for.