ATROPA – what REALLY happens when you try to sell your sci-fi fan film to the “BIG GUYS”! (audio interview with ELI SASICH)

ATROPA is not a Star Trek fan film, nor was it ever intended to be one.  In fact, it’s closer to an independent sci-fi film than a fan film.  So why am I talking about it here?

Ever since the Star Trek fan film guidelines came out two years ago, armchair quarterbacking fans have suggested than Trek fan filmmakers simply create original sci-fi stories and then go sell them directly to Netflix or some other streaming or on-demand service.  They offer this advice with the same casual confidence of telling someone to remember to use brown sugar to make chocolate chip cookies…as though what they’re suggesting is the easiest thing in the world.

It’s not.

And that’s why I’m focusing today’s blog on Atropa, a film by ELI SASICH.  In a really fascinating and enlightening audio interview, he taught me a LOT about how things work in the real world of Hollywood for an independent filmmaker trying to break into the industry.  If you’re one of those people who thinks it’s a simple thing to make a good film and sell it to Netflix or Hulu or Amazon Prime…this interview is going to open your eyes.  (So if you want to keep your eyes closed, don’t listen!)

Now, if you absolutely, positively MUST have a Star Trek fan film connection to care about this film, then I’ve actually got one for you!  The visual effects for Atropa (and they are STUNNING!) were created by TOBIAS RICHTER of the The Light Works in Cologne, Germany.  Tobias has done equally stunning VFX for Star Trek: New Voyages, Renegades, and Axanar.

Here’s a trailer for the 7-episode Atropa miniseries (totaling about 80 minutes):

You can watch Atropa via the special STUDIO+ app from Vivendi.  Here is information about how to create an account.  There is a monthly subscription of $3.99, but the first month is free.  So watch Atropa (and maybe a couple of other series) and then cancel…no big deal.  Apparently, you can also sign up for 7-day free trial followed by $2.99/month to access Studio+ content if you are an Amazon Prime member via Prime Video (although I haven’t tried it that way myself).

By the way, Atropa was one of ten finalists in the inaugural edition of Canneseries Digital at the Cannes Film Festival.  Although Atropa did not win (that award went to a digital series called Dominos out of Canada), making to the finals is nothing to sneeze at!

And now, here’s an interview with Eli Sasich that I’m certain you’ll enjoy…

10 thoughts on “ATROPA – what REALLY happens when you try to sell your sci-fi fan film to the “BIG GUYS”! (audio interview with ELI SASICH)”

  1. Thanks for letting us know about that show, looks great, I’ll definitely have a look!
    By the way, not sure it’s because I’m in France, but Studio+ can be watched online here on and they also have an Android app that I simply found by looking for Studio+ on the Playstore. No Chromecast support though…

    1. Well, it’s good to know there’s an Android app. As for the French connection, I think that may have something to do with Studio+ being owned by Vivendi, a French corporation.

  2. I most certainly would never say marketing an original property is somehow “easier” than making fan films.

    So your statement there is bizarre to me.

    This has literally been proven: things like Renegades or STC or Axanar couldn’t have generated the fan funding they did without direct reliance on being a Star Trek Product. People weren’t showing up for the star power of Sky Conway or Alec Peters. They were showing up for Star Trek with prior Star Trek screen talent. Meanwhile funding for original properties by similar film makers remain stagnant.

    So who are these “armchair quarterbacks” who think its easy, Jonathan?

    1. I get a number of comments from people (and read them on Facebook) saying that fan filmmakers who don’t like the guidelines should just go make their own original content and then try to sell them to Netflix or some other streaming service rather than trying to sell them something derivative of Star Trek. This was an example of someone who went that path with an original project, and it was a lot of work, time, persistence, and perseverance.

      You and I know the real world on this, Gabe, but many fan film fans don’t…hence, the interview.

      1. I’ve seen a lot of comments on a certain BBS that say things to the effect of this:

        “It’s not your sandbox. It belongs to CBS. If you don’t like their guidelines, you don’t have to play in their sandbox. You can go build your own.”

        They even point to the idea of people making their own original films instead of Star Trek fan films as being a positive effect of the Guidelines, as if that’s an example of the Guidelines working as intended. I’m working on my own “sandbox”, and I can tell you that even writing a script for a pilot is an immense amount of work and something a lot of people just can’t do. People try and fail at it all the time.

        So I appreciate what you’re doing here, Jonathan. I hope you do more stuff like this. People who put forth this kind of effort deserve their time in the spotlight.

  3. We are living in a great time for SciFi, thank you for bringing this to my attention. I for one am glad you’re branching out.

    1. Not branching out too much just yet. Tobias Richter still provides a nice link to Star Trek fan films. And remember, my logo is very Star Treky. 🙂

  4. I saw the preview some time ago, and have been waiting for the series. Glad it’s finally out.

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