Lately, some of my readers have complained that the fan film guidelines have essentially ended quality Star Trek fan films.  “You can’t make a decent Trek fan film in just 15 or 30 minutes,” they say, “and limiting crowd-funding to just $50,000 is ridiculously constraining.”

To them I reply, “Watch CHANCE ENCOUNTER!”  This 20-minute TNG-era fan film out of the U.K. had real actors, real sets, a fantastic script, wonderful directing, emotional music, great effects…you name it!  And it was made for just a few thousand dollars (or rather, pounds, since they’re all British).

Now these guys want to make another fan film…and they’re struggling to reach their Kickstarter goal of $12K.  They’re nearly halfway there, have raised an impressive $5, 345 from 74 backers (including me)…


And the problem with Kickstarter is that, if they don’t reach their goal, they get ZERO!  Show-runner GARY O’BRIEN and co-writer PAUL LAIGHT are trying very hard to reach out to fans.  They’ve produced multiple spotlight videos, have been living on Facebook, and even did a podcast.  But so far, they’ve only made it half way…and time is running out!

Please help.

This is the kind of quality Star Trek fan film you’ve been wanting to see, folks.  But without donations, you won’t see it.  That’s why I’m pushing so hard to assist these guys…because I really want to see it, too!

Here’s the link to donate:

Please consider making a pledge.  But whether or not you do, at least share that link on Facebook, Twitter, in chat-rooms, forums, e-mail lists, skywriting, smoke-signals, semaphore…whatever you’ve got!

And just to get you a teensy bit more excited, here’s their latest spotlight video with a look at their LCARS…

5 thoughts on “HOLY CORE, BATMAN! This TREK fan film KICKSTARTER has only 5 DAYS LEFT!”

  1. Jonathan, the complaint is not that it’s impossible to make “any” fan film in 15 minutes with only $50k — that’s utter nonsense, of course its possible — the complaint is that a filmmaker might not be able to make the film they *want* to make in a running time of only 15 minutes and $50k.

    Fan filmmakers aren’t employees of CBS, they work for themselves, and they should have the artistic freedom to tell the story they want to tell. It’s their project, they’re raising the money themselves, so the scope of the project should be up to them. Making any film is extremely hard even when it’s your passion project. Making a film that’s a watered down version of your passion project? How much harder is that and how many fan filmmakers just don’t bother?

    *That’s* the complaint.

    So the question you should be asking is not “have the guidelines killed all fan films?” The question you should be exploring is “what great fan films are fans not getting to see because of the guidelines?”

    That second question really deserves to be investigated in some detail. The top of that list is going to be the Axanar feature, Star Trek Phase II, the missing episodes of Star Trek Continues, and Tommy Kraft’s sequel to Star Trek Horizon. All of these were continuations of huge fan favorites that scored millions of views. Arguably some of the best fan work out there and stuff that not only is beloved by die-hard Trek fans but also served to bring in new fans, re-ignite old fan’s passions (the way “Prelude to Axanar” did for me), and inspire other fans to become fan filmmakers. That stuff is gone now.

    *That’s* the impact.

    1. Far be it for Mr. Small Access to defend CBS and Paramount, Dennis, but Star Trek is still their intellectual property. The greatest Star Trek fan films in the world are, potentially, competition for Star Trek: Discovery or Taratino Trek. Sure, you and I can argue to we’re blue in the face with antennae coming out of our heads that the studios are wrong and that fan films can only HELP the franchise. In fact, I pretty much did that for six months! But in the end, they still get to control their I.P.–at least until 2266. And if they say fans can do 15 or 30 minutes maximum and not get sued, that’s their right. And of course, a fan film can still be more than 30 minutes long and cost more than $50K or $100K. And it can be released. There is simply the risk of getting sued and having to pay six-, seven-, or even eight-figure penalties. Or maybe the studios will do nothing…as happened with STC.

      Anyway, the point here is simply that here is a fan producer who WANTS to create a 30-minute fan film. He wants to follow the guidelines. He has a proven track record and isn’t asking for a ridiculous amount. He should already be way past his goal, but instead, he’s not even halfway there yet. Guidelines or no, I find this very troubling.

  2. Holy Core not getting funding may have been the point *you* were making, Jonathan, but not the point *I* was making. I’ll try to be clearer:

    I, and many other fans that don’t like the guidelines, don’t argue that *any* fan film cannot be made under the guidelines, we argue that *many* fan films cannot be made. Especially the ones we’re excited about.

    The stuff about “CBS can do what they want with their IP” is not what my post is about. And I’m also not interested in debating whether fan films help or hurt the Star Trek IP (because we both know that they only help the IP).

    What I am talking about is the *real* impact of the guidelines.

    Now that they’re here, what are they really doing to the fan film scene?

    That’s *all* I’m talking about. Not CBS’s IP rights, not whether fan films help or hurt that IP, not whether some fan films deserve more fan support. The point I was making was about the real impact of the guidelines.

    Does that clear it up?

    I think you should devote some “ink” to discussing that.

    With that out of the way, here are my thoughts on Holy Core not getting its funding.

    I believe it’s very simple. They failed to generate excitement among the fans. It’s nothing more nefarious or problematic than that. The Kickstarter video, as earnest as it is, is little more than talking heads and, to be honest, boring and too long. The TNG setting is also probably the least exciting of the Star Trek eras having already been well covered in 21 seasons of TV shows (and how many movies?). Even the name of the project, “The Holy Core” doesn’t spark much excitement in me.

    I, personally, have never donated to a fan film set in the TNG era. It’s my belief that fan films are at their best when they’re making up for a lack of official content in a specific story setting that fans want to see more of. The TOS and ENT eras fall into that category of shows/settings that were cancelled before fans got their fill. The TNG era does not. But that’s just my personal policy. I can’t donate to every kickstarter project that hits my inbox and that’s one of the places where I draw the line.

    That’s my take on it.

    1. Fair points, Dennis.

      Truth to tell, I think you might have hit the nail on the head in that “The Holy Core” isn’t the sexiest-sounding title, and also that their Kickstarter video lacks a bit of sizzle. Sometimes you just need a better commercial to sell your hamburger. That said, it’s hard to sizzle when you’re just trying to start a project and have little to show yet. Chicken/egg situation, I suppose.

      As for CBS and the guidelines, it’s obvious that they’ve had an impact: STC, NV, Renegades, Tommy Kraft, and possibly some others. But it’s also our reality at the moment. We fans have lemons. Do we try to make the best lemonade that we can, or do we simply walk away from the tree? I’m concerned that we’re walking away from the tree when there’s some awesome lemonade to be made.

      It’s funny, but last night I dreamed that I sued CBS in federal court for declaratory relief in getting a judge to say that all Star Trek fan films, regardless of quality or cost, would fall under the fair use classification. Yes, folks, sometimes I dream of fan film litigation! That said, it won’t happen anytime this lifetime unless I hit the Megamillions jackpot and it’s at least $400 million…and even then, my wife probably still won’t let me do it! 🙂

      But my reasoning in the dream was that I had standing because my blog focuses on Star Trek fan films and the more fan films there are, the better for me. And the guidelines and implied risk of lawsuits served to depress the number of Trek fan films getting made. So in that way, I couldn’t be counter-sued (I haven’t infringed; my one fan film was a parody), and my pleading would not be for monetary damages but for declaratory relief, which is simply having a judge agree with my argument and then say so in a written decision. Such a ruling would effectively negate the guidelines.

      In the dream, my main point was to classify a Star Trek fan film with certain guidelines of my own, which would include the production making no profit and being distributed for free via the Internet. In this way, I wouldn’t be inviting Warner Brothers to suddenly made their own Star Trek movie. But my list would not include some of the peskier guidelines like no continuing series and no use of paid professionals and Star Trek veterans.

      So how would this lawsuit work? Well, in my dream, the key elements of the argument were twofold. First, the guidelines and Star Trek Continues lead to the conclusion that Trek fan films in and of themselves do not present financial risk to the IP holder or else there would be no guidelines and simply a zero-tolerance rule, and STC would never have been permitted to be released, especially after the guidelines. My second argument was going to be porn. Did you know that pornos can be classified as “fair use” and usually are? Nearly every movie and TV series you can think of (including Star Trek) has a cheap porno version…sometimes dozens or hundreds of them. And they’re all protected by fair use, even the ones that made gobs of money. Why? The dream lawsuit sought to explore that quirk. If a Star Trek fan film were to include one sex scene, would it suddenly be protected as fair use? Or is there a certain minimum number of fornications required for such a classification? Does soft porn qualify? Do we have to see full nudity or can the actors be fully clothed? And why porn and not simply something that’s ultra-violent? Isn’t gore and murder worse than having sex?

      Anyway, the question in my dream came down to asking where does the line get drawn between allowing infringement for the purposes of pornography and stopping infringement because there’s not enough nookie? And why is porn protected speech and something like Axanar not? What if Alec Peters simply added in a brief sex scene top Axanar? Would that be his get-out-of-court-free card?

      In the dream, I didn’t deal with the other two aspects of fair use: the nature of the copyrighted work (which is usually not weighed as a significant factor) and the amount and substantiality of the portion taken. Why didn’t I deal with them in my dream lawsuit? Because it was a frickin’ DREAM, people!!! But it was still an intriguing dream…and a lot more fun than waking up and having to go pee! 🙂

    2. Thank you for this frank take on this proposed film, because you’ve given me a viewpoint that I couldn’t see from where I am (so to speak). I’ve been puzzled at Holy Core’s lack of financial backing because I was impressed with the CGI of the Nebula class ship and I thought the mix of religious war and recovery from it that the plot suggested offered possibilities for storytelling that could be superb, given how well I thought the first clip from this team had been made. Your reaction, though, makes more sense of the way the fund raising is turning out than mine, I’ll admit. I may be more fond of a TNG setting for fan films (in part because of the quality and variety of spacecraft models that TNG brought about) than other Trek fan film buffs as well.

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