Fans have been waiting YEARS for this announcement! Back in 2015, this eagerly anticipated Star Trek fan film held a very successful Kickstarter campaign, followed up by a separate Indiegogo campaign that raised additional funding for the production. I donated to this project myself and have been an active and enthusiastic supporter of it for years.
Nestled between the end of the Romulan War and the start of Captain Kirk’s historic 5-year-mission, this fan production was described as tackling an “entirely unseen era of Star Trek history.” New Starfleet vessels were designed in CGI, bridging the gap between the NX-01 Enterprise tech and the design of the starships like the Constitution-class. The visual FX looked amazing!
Sets were built, costumes made, and scenes were even shot. In fact, a short teaser was released to give a taste of what would be seen in the final production. The VFX looked fantastic, and even though the brief 3-minute “vignette” mainly showed two characters talking to each other in front of a green screen-composited background, fans still got even more excited to see the finished project.
Donors were initially expecting this promising fan film to be completed and released in 2016, but circumstances intervened and made that impossible. Eventually, the biggest challenge became trimming what was to be a feature-length Star Trek fan film down to just two 15-minute episodes…showing just the barest bones of the full story.
Unfortunately, money began to run out, many perks were not fulfilled because the final film wasn’t completed, and eventually there weren’t enough funds left to pay to store the sets in the studio where they had been built. This meant moving them elsewhere and delayed things even more.
The planned 2016 debut was pushed back to 2017 and then 2018. Some donors began to fear that the final film would never be completed. But now, finally, there comes a definitive announcement from the show-runner that the completed production will be ready next year in spring 2019!
You’ve probably already guessed what fan project I’m talking about. If you haven’t, here’s another hint. The show-runner (who also wrote the script) has a four-letter first name that starts with a vowel and ends with the letter “c”. His last name is two syllables and is really just another first name.
Aw, you know who I’m talking about by now!
Yes, of course I’m referring to ERIC HENRY and PACIFIC 201. (Who did you think I was taking about?)
Pacific 201 tells the story of the starship Pacific NCC-201, launched about four decades after the end of the Romulan War. Those humans who fought in and remember the conflict are still somewhat traumatized and fearful to travel beyond the relative “safety” of Federation space. But a younger generation, born into a time of interstellar peace, is eager to begin exploring deep space again, as Starfleet was initially formed to do half a century earlier. The crew is a mix of Starfleet military personnel expecting the worst and UESPA scientists, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and eager to see what’s out there. What is out there will surprise and test them both!
Pacific 201‘s first Kickstarter fully funded back in September of 2015 with more than $26,000 (their goal was $20,000). When the guidelines came out in June of 2016, there was bad news and good news for Pacific 201. The bad news, of course, was that the story now had to be rewritten to fit into only two 15-minute episodes (although perhaps not…see below).
The good news was that CBS and Paramount were allowing crowd-funding up to $50,000…meaning that Eric Henry could go back to the fans and request another $24,000…which he did the following summer with an Indiegogo. That campaign also reached its goal—in fact, it went into “in demand” mode and sits currently at $31,605. Whether or not CBS/Paramount will have a problem with the extra $6K in crowd-funding is unknown, but I tend to doubt it…especially since the first part was raised before the guidelines were ever announced (and it’s a very small amount of overage).
The sets were forced to move in 2016 when the free warehouse space they were enjoying suddenly became NOT-free. Their new location charged rent, which is part of the reason the second crowd-funding campaign was needed.
I’m not sure what the status of the perks is right now, although obviously the fan film needs to be finished before certain perks can be delivered. I do know, from donor updates, that as of August 2016, the perks from the previous year’s Kicksrtarter were just starting to come in and get packed up for shipments.
As for the teaser vignettes, there were actually two different ones, each featuring, primarily, two characters having a conversation. But if that sounds “boring” to you, then you haven’t seen these two awesome vignettes. The first one (which I was referring to above) was released in November of 2016 and featured a futuristic talk show interviewer who wasn’t convinced that a return to deep space exploration was a good idea…
The second teaser clip was released the following August, just as Pacific 201 was wrapping up principal photography. It showed a snippet of a scene on the bridge of the Pacific, just before launch from dry dock. The vignette, shown below, included an epilogue message from Eric urgently seeking an extra $1,000 (which he got). Costs were continuing to mount: expenses like food for the actors, gas for transportation, repair and maintenance for set wear-and-tear, and even the renting moving vans to get the sets out of the facility they were using for filming. But this video was viewed thousands of times, and the desperately-needed funds came in…
Filming wrapped last year, so you’re probably wondering what’s taking so long? After all, it’s only a half-hour long fan film. Why does Eric need almost two years for post production?
The answer is because he wants to do this right. He’s got one chance at this, and after so much work to write the script and bible, crowd-fund, build the sets, select the cast, get costumes made, and direct and film all the scenes, Eric is still only halfway done! There’s a lot more left to do, and it shouldn’t be rushed. Eric himself commented in a recent update:
Taking a huge number of disjointed takes and sequencing them in such a way that the end product is seamless and natural… that’s not an easy or relaxing task! After a scene is completely finished, then comes color correction and VFX. We’re not quite at the visual effects stage, but even a “simple” shot can easily have a few digital tweaks. Through the film, a few set details will be digitally brought to life with CGI, and several scenes will be expanded with digitally-composited extras and set extensions.
Apparently—according to another update—one of those set extensions included adding a ceiling! His sets didn’t have ceilings (just like TOS). But rather than limit himself only to shots looking straight on and/or down, Eric included some shots angled upward knowing that he could add a ceiling digitally later on in post production. I’ll show some stills of that tomorrow.
While I’ve tried on occasion to get an interview with Eric, he’s a very busy guy, and I haven’t been successful yet. However, I heard through a mutual friend that Eric has been trying raelly, REALLY hard to slice and dice his scenes down to ultra-short cuts to keep his final run-time down below 30 minutes so as not to piss off Paramount and CBS.
But does he have to?
Obviously, fan films like Star Trek Continues have violated the 30-minute rule multiple times since the guidelines were released…with no negative repercussions. Also, some lesser-known fan projects like Quark’s Space Station have also gone over the limit more than once since the guidelines’ announcement…also with no consequences.
Of course, someone’s gotta be first into the agonizer booth, so I’m not suggesting that Eric simply “go for it” and exceed the 30-minute limit all willy-nilly. However, as reported here back in April, SAMUEL COCKINGS asked CBS for a minor guideline “exemption” from the time limit for his production TEMPORAL ANOMALY…
…and he got it!
Samuel is being allowed to release a THREE 15-part fan film with the understanding that this isn’t an ongoing series, and it was a project funded well before the guidelines were ever announced.
Eric Henry is in much the same boat. He was funded and began pre-production 10 months before the guidelines came out. Granted, there’s no guarantee that CBS will offer Eric the same extension that they granted Samuel Cockings, but hey, it can’t hurt to ask, right?
If anyone wants to relay that suggestion to Eric, I’m certain Samuel would be more than happy to share the contact into of the person at CBS that he talked to. And if that buys Pacific 201 an extra 15 minutes, I will be the first one doing my happy dance down the ship’s corridors!
Anyway, the last donor update was on April 2. But then, 10 days ago, Eric posted this message:
Sorry it took a while, but all that work has paid off, and we finally have a proper teaser for Pacific 201! There’s still a lot of hard work ahead of us, but we’re confident that Pacific 201 will be released early next year. We’re already almost halfway through 2018, so that’s closer than you think!
Indeed! And here’s that teaser for you…
Tomorrow, I’ll feature some exciting production stills that Eric has posted to the Pacific 201 Facebook page. They’re really awesome…I can’t wait to see the finished product!