SPACE COMMAND Kickstarter takes in $33K before it even STARTS!

Wow, that was quick!

The latest Kickstarter for the long-awaited fan film SPACE COMMAND hadn’t even launched to the general public yet when it took in more than $33K of its $45K goal in barely 24 hours earlier this week!

How did they manage this feat?  Easy…they had an “early bird special” for existing donors to have first crack at some limited-item perks, and over 500 of those prior donors pledged even more money to this latest campaign.

Why all the excitement?  To answer that question, you need to understand the history of this not-so-little endeavor.

Imagine a major fan film project with Star Trek and sci-fi veteran actors cast in it, and a team of Hollywood professionals lined up as the production crew.  Imagine one of the earliest Kickstarter campaigns bringing in six figures in donations, and then a second crowd-funder bringing in another six figures.  Now imagine those funds going into not only set construction and filming but also the creation of an actual studio intended to be used not only for this production but also to be rented out to other fan film projects.

Now imagine years and years going by with no finished fan film delivered.  Oh, there’s been some short scenes released, some VFX, lots of updates by the show-runner assuring donors that, yes, this project is still on track.  But no actual film.  In fact, to finish the film, donors were informed that it’s going to take even more contributions from fans.

You’re imagining Axanar, aren’t you?  Well, stop it!  This is the history of Space Command, folks…

Yes, Space Command managed to raise $221,267 from nearly 3,000 donors way back in July of 2012 with an announced cast that included:

  • Robert Picardo (Star Trek: Voyager)
  • Doug Jones (Pan’s Labyrinth, The Shape of Water, and Star Trek: Discovery)
  • Bruce Boxleitner (Babylon 5)
  • Mira Furlan (Babylon 5)
  • Bill Mumy (Babylon 5 and Lost In Space)
  • Faran Tahir (Star Trek 2009…he was the captain of the USS Kelvin)
  • James Hong (Big Trouble in Little China)

Writer/director MARC SCOTT ZICREE has written for Star Trek: TNG and DS9 along with over a hundred other Hollywood TV credits.  Space Command was intended to be an original  production created in a modern style that drew inspiration from the sci-fi literary and film classics of the the 1950s and 60s.

But after shooting the majority of the scenes for its planned two-hour pilot, things went pretty quiet with Space Command until 2014 when fans got their first taste with the following clip…

Donors and fans were blown away, but despite trailers like this one and this one that made it look like the finished product was nearly ready, years would go by with nothing new happening.

But finally, last November, Marc Zicree launched a brand new Kickstarter campaign with a goal of raising $39K for post production on the first half hour of their two-hour pilot, “Redemption.”  (Space Command is intended to be a TV series with a 12-hour first season.)

A month later, the Kickstarter had generated more than $108K in donations from over 1,100 supporters!  This allowed for the completion of not just the first 30 minutes but the first HOUR of the pilot…leaving the rest of the episode for a future campaign.

Part 1 of “Redemption” debuted last weekend at San Diego ComicCon and was posted online with a special link made available only to existing donors.  While the video will eventually be released publicly, Marc informed me that for now, it will remain donor-only in order to attract more donors.

Want to see it for yourself?  YOU can become a donor just by clicking here:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/58936338/space-command-redemption-chapters-3-and-4

This new Kickstarter has a goal of $45K to fund post production on Part 3 of “Redemption.”  With nearly $38K already raised as I type this, and a full month still to go, it’s likely they’ll surpass that goal fairly easily.  So anything raised beyond that will go toward post production on the final half-hour Part 4 of “Redemption.”  And beyond that, funds will then go to post production on the second full-length episode of Space Command, “Forgiveness” (most of which is already filmed and, according to Marc, “looks amazing”).

This will be an interesting crowd-funder to keep an eye on , and ultimately, an exciting fan production to watch and enjoy when it’s finally completed.  I’ve already viewed Part 1 of “Redemption” (proud donor am I!), and it’s REALLY awesome.  The acting is fantastic, especially by Doug Jones and Robert Picardo…although pretty much everyone in the cast does a great job.  The story is quite strong, although obviously still just setting things up for the rest of the episode.  And while some of the green screen compositing is a bit lacking (for example, two characters drive in a convertible and their hair is completely unaffected by the wind!), the rest of the CGI effects are staggeringly good, including a jaw-dropping rescue attempt sequence at the very beginning.

Just make a donation—even a small one—and you can see for yourself.  Also, you’ll be among the first to see Part 2 when it debuts in November (that’s the planned release date) and of course, Parts 3 and 4 when they’re ready, as well.

27 thoughts on “SPACE COMMAND Kickstarter takes in $33K before it even STARTS!”

  1. What if people gave this kind of money to things that would actually make a difference…

    1. You could say that about anything, Joe. Netflix spends $9 billion a year on producing new content for us to watch. What if Netflix instead used that money to fight homelessness or find a cure for cancer or feed starving people in Africa?

      And what makes you assume that people who give to Kickstarter campaigns don’t ALSO give to other charitable causes? I certainly do.

      1. Ya…but with Trek…it’s about making the world better. I see all this money going to fan films and think…if we walked the talk…Trek fans could do some massive fundraising for charity.

        1. Trek fans DO do some major fundraising for charity, Joe! I’m been a member of Starfleet: the International Star Trek Fan Association, Inc. since way back in 1983. The organization’s 5,400 members worldwide do some really great fundraising. My own chapter here in southern California, the USS Angeles, hosts participants in AIDSwalk every year. The USS Heimdal in Virginia sends a different child to Space Camp annually. The central organization gives out thousands of dollars each year in scholarships. Many/most of the 240-or-so international chapters do at least something for charity regularly, whether it be volunteering to clean up part of a highway, doing book drives for the local library, gathering care packages to send to soldiers serving in the Middle East, or raising money to fight hunger, disease, homelessness, or any number of causes.

          So yes, my friend, Trek fans do a lot to help others with charitable efforts. They also donate to fan films. Why can’t they do both? I certainly do!

          By the way, as long as I’m plugging Starfleet International, you can check them out at http://sfi.org

      2. I guess I struggle with the difference I see.

        Netflix is a corporation. They are in the business of making money. Fan films not so. So when I pay a subscription for Netflix I’m paying for entertainment.

        When I donate to fan films I’m paying for entertainment sure…but at the end of the day it’s for fellow fans playing out their fantasy of being in Trek. Great fun yes…but add all that money up over the years. Think about how fan films have rallied fans to crowdfund millions…what if you could rally Trek fans to crowdfund to save lives?

        1. Again, Joe, as I said in my last answer, we can do both–fund charities AND fun fan films. I do it all the time. Wendy and I donate about $5K annually to various charities, and I give about $200-$300 a year to fan films.

          Now, do some fans give ONLY to fan projects? Possibly. But considering that, all told, our fan-film-funding community is, at best, a few thousand people in size (maybe 10-20K if we’re being generous), and there are several million Trek fans worldwide, even if every fan giving to fan films gave zero to other charities, that still leaves 99.9% of Star Trek fans who are welcome to give to however much they want to whatever charities they wish because they’re giving zip to fan films. 😉

          By the way, why did you choose to enter gibberish in the name and e-mail address of the blog comment submission form? While I don’t outlaw pseudonyms (although I certainly don’t prefer them to people actually using their own names), I find the gibberish a little insulting…especially since I though we were friends. (WordPress provides a DNS tracker on all comments…just FYI.) Are you trying to stay anonymous from me or from others? ‘Cause honestly, I don’t think the detractors are coming here much anymore. 🙂

          1. Naa…I know you know who I am….just go back and forth with using my name and gibberish. Not intending to be anon…I know you know who I am when I post.

            No worries though…didn’t mean to offend!

          2. In general, I prefer when people use their real names, but it’s not a hard-fast rule. I allow pseudonyms, but the gibberish just really bothered me. I wouldn’t call if “offense” so much as just kinda annoying…at least to me personally. Others might not have a problem with it. But I’m not gonna be an ogre about it. 🙂

        2. When you’re funding a fan film you’re not just giving someone money to go play Star Trek with their friends. The film’s today are being done at a professional level. They are stepping stones for people trying to break into film making. And like Johnathan said there’s no reason most of us can’t do both. Let’s say your average middle to low income Star Trek fan donated to charity everything they made that they didn’t need purely to exist on. It still wouldn’t put a dent in something like homelessness in America. What you want to be asking is why do the super rich need three homes at millions of dollars a piece. Most of us struggle to support the film’s or charities we love. The rich could pile their money together live simpler lives like the rest of us and solve most of the world’s problems.

          1. I’d like to mention, Shane, that not all fan films today are being done at the professional level. Lexington Adventures, Dreadnought Dominion, and Melbourne each currently have crowd-funders with goals in the low thousands, and they have no illusions about being “professional” or “stepping stones.” They just want to have fun and add their own voices to the fan film “saga.” Heck, Vance Major just finished making a “set” in his house entirely out of cardboard and tape! 🙂

  2. This is really good news – I’m very much looking forward to seeing the pilot episode for this series…

  3. Yes Jonathan, patience has been required, but looking at this provisional example of part 1, things look very promising – inducing me to donate also to this latest Kickstarter.

    But looking at this sample, quite a bit of work is still needed. Apart from tidying green-screen issues, color grading is presently rather poor and audio needs some work (balance in a few places; acoustic environment doesn’t sound quite right at times, and some music cues don’t quite fit the action [not talking about “Micky-Mousing” – naturally, there is no hint of that!]) . But considering the excellent general quality, I’m quite content that these issues will have been attended to by the time the final release appears.

    I detest the word “awesome” – so extensively overused (how many people who use this as their number one adjective ever stop to consider what it really means?); but in this case, as for STC (although here,we are looking at a very much larger scale in almost every aspect), the word is almost warranted.

    1. I suspect that, if a major studio buys the rights to “Space Command,” they’ll probably start over again from scratch on the production. But for now, the pilot is looking…well…awesome. Now, obviously, it’s not nearly as awesome as, say, “The Expanse,” but there’s an extra few zeros before the decimal point in the budget from the latter show. However, when I use awesome in this case, I’m taking into account the budget of well under a half million dollars for everything so far. To do so much with so relatively little, to me, that’s pretty awesome. 🙂

      1. Oh, boy. My wife sees Mark regularly at their Table meetings. I really enjoyed the Picardo/Jones storyline. Hook was good, saving Furlan’s posterior.

        Some things, however, probably looked better on the page than in reality (e.g., the whole Dad-in-the-convertible sequence, the goofy pep talk on the Bridge, and the entire launch sequence) that really, in the end, didn’t move the story along. With a few scenes re-shot (a minute worth with some actual conflict with the outgoing captain) and some editing, I’d say 10 to 15 minutes could be cut from the first half hour. But that’s just us, and that’s only based on the first 30 minutes of the two hour pilot.

        But in that first 30 minutes, I have no idea WHY the ship was being set to Mars, and why the captain got replaced with our hero to do that job.

        So the thing that really stood out was the Jones/Picardo sequence. That was superb.

        My $.00002 (2 millicents)

        1. Hindsight is 20/20 on most productions. I suspect that, if/when Space Command is bought/picked up, the script will change at least somewhat. I think you make some strong creative points, David, but nothing was really ruined for me. It was just a fun romp for 30 minutes and left me wanting more.

          1. Yeah, but I’d rather not see that as a reason for SC to FAIL to get picked up. Mark’s worked on it far too long. Some editing and a quick pickup on the bridge could make it Axnar-good.

            IMHO.

          2. Maybe, but I would hope that the powers-that-buy (see what I did there?) at the studios he’s pitching to would be able to see past that to the core potential of the series. Perhaps I’m wrong (it’s happened once or twice before). 😉

  4. Jonathan, I want to violently agree with you, however, with so many writers and writer-wanna-be’s out there, our experience with the studio system is that it’s built around a system of rejection to the point where ANY excuse to reject is taken. (This is what I’ve seen) I’m afraid that Mark’s put so much energy into this that I don’t want to see it go down in flames before it’s even ‘ready.’

    A fellow creator we know at ComicCon (Dave Peterson) sold his Mouse Guard series to an exec at Warners who’s very enthusiastic for making into film. We’re very excited for Dave. But look at the product: http://www.mouseguard.net/ The stories are good, the drawings are exquisite, the characters are engaging, the obstacles are organic: there’s no excuse whatsoever for anyone to say ‘no.’

    Axanar raised the bar. I’d think that if Mark wants to sell SC he’s got to get it at least to that level.

    Again, IMHO.

    1. “Violently agree…” I like that! 🙂

      My feeling is, if a studio is going to reject you, they’re going to reject you. Look at CBS and NBC both rejecting the original Star Trek pilot “The Cage.” Look how much effort went into making that as perfect as possible. “Too cerebral. Viewers will never accept a woman on the bridge. Get rid of the guy with the ears…he’s silly and distracting.”

      While I realize that fan films like Axanar “raised the bar,” Marc is still constrained by how much he’s been able to raise…which is not yet even $500,000. If he had ten times that, sure, SC would look much better. But he doesn’t have that option. The fact that he’s still pulling in 5-to-6 figures in donations per Kickstarter six years later is pretty incredible, to be honest. However, he can’t keep holding out the charity hat forever waiting for seven figures to come in. He’s got to release something eventually. That “eventually” was now…or else I suspect not much more would have come in. In other words, I don’t think SC is going to look too much better than it does now. The hair of the guys in the convertible isn’t going to blow in the wind. A new scene with the captain and the hotshot protagonist isn’t going to be filmed. We’ve got the ingredients for the beef stir fry. It’s too late to defrost a different meat. 🙂

      1. OK, how about this (suggestion, mind you. Just think about it) Cut the entire sequence when Protagonist goes home (the “Dad” scenes in the convertible and in the house) Cut the pep talk on the bridge scene. Cut the launch sequence. (all slow) Re-shoot the bridge scene where the bridge crew is watching some video (private video-mail) of the Protagonist’s Dad ragging on his son (use the existing dialog, just put it into a video-mail format on the bridge screen) just as the Protagonist walks onto the bridge. The crew is laughing at the ‘poor kid’ of the Dad at the exact moment he walks onto the bridge AS THEIR CAPTAIN. (Instant conflict!) The Protagonist yells at the crew to stop reading his private mail and says “Get this ship into orbit, NOW!!!!! We’ve got a mission to do!” Cut to: ship in orbit.

        See? 10 to 15 minutes gone and the story is moving along.

        Just a thought . . . .

        1. I don’t think the actors are necessarily available to shoot new footage at this point. Also, setting up the shoot on the sets would cost money that would then not be available for post production…delaying things even more.

          Also, I suspect that the father will be playing a more significant role later on. His significance as a hero in this reality is likely an important plot point. The driving scene helps define both his character and his relationship with his son.

          As for the bridge scene, I kinda liked it. Your version completely changes the dynamic between the captain and his crew. Just my opinion, but I don’t think your alternative is, at its core, any better than Marc’s…and Marc knows what is coming next. 🙂

  5. I’m sure there are those but I think most have at least a few people who want to make it a career.

    1. Oh, absolutely. But the vast majority aren’t. I was responding to the phrasing of your comment: “The film’s today are being done at a professional level.” A few are, yes, but not most or even many.

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