Coming in 3 days: the BLOGGER-BATTLE OF AXANAR!

These days, I don’t typically engage directly with the AXANAR detractors.  There’s no point.  I’m not gonna change their minds, and they’re certainly not gonna change mine.  Any “discussion” we get into quickly breaks down into all the old beating-dead-horse accusations and rumors and criticisms—often with a generous helping of vitriol and vulgarity—and frankly, it’s just a waste of my time.

And yet, in just three days time, I’ll be posting (in conjunction with an epic 3-part discussion and debate between myself and noted Axanar detractor MATTHEW MILLER…and I do mean epic!  Take a listen to the teaser that Matthew just posted…

When we set out to have our across-the-globe (Matt’s in Australia) audio “smackdown,” we had no idea how long the discussion would last or how heated it would get.  There were no rules and only a loose outline of topics/questions to guide us.   Our intention was to keep things civil, and for the most part, we did…although not completely.

When all was said and done, we’d managed to go at it for nearly three hours over the course of two days of Skype calls!  On the second day, I’d caught my son’s cold, and if you listen carefully, you’ll probably hear from my voice the exact point when the day one conversation ended and day two began.

What makes this interaction between me and Matthew so interesting and enlightening (and dare I say “fun”?) is that we actually interview EACH OTHER.  Matt’s done scores of interviews with notable Trek people, as have I.  So rather than simply having one of us interview the other, we ask questions back and forth…and tough questions at that!  And best of all, unlike the recent pay-per-view Michael Hinman/Carlos Pedraza podcast on Alpha Waves Radio, this one is not only presenting BOTH sides of the controversial topic (rather than a simple echo-chamber), but it’s also absolutely FREE to listen to!

So how did this whole “Blogger Battle of Axanar” come to be?

As I said, I don’t usually waste my time with the detractors anymore.  Their opinions and mine are typically polar opposites with essentially no common ground to build on.  And up until recently, Matthew Miller was no exception.  He’d written numerous blog posts, posted countless Facebook comments, and had even done multiple interviews very critical of Axanar and that favorite target of the detractors, ALEC PETERS

But then something unexpected happened.  Matthew, who has been a member of the vocal Axamonitor group on Facebook, took exception to their suddenly-cruel treatment of RAY TESI (one of the NICEST guys in fandom!) when Ray decided to open up his Stage 9 Studios (the TOS sets in Kingsland, GA used previously for Star Trek Continues and Starship Farragut) to the fans to visit for free.  Apparently, their righteous fury stemmed from their belief that Ray was violating the exclusive license of JAMES CAWLEY for his Original Series Star Trek Set Tour in Ticonderoga, NY.

Matthew felt that this TOS set tumult had nothing to do with Axanar or Alec Peters and represented a “jumping the shark” moment for the group…and he called them out on it in a blog posting on this website.  It didn’t take long for the group to punch back, resulting in the following “Update” addendum from Matt…

Barely 18 hours after I first posted this article, the attacks have begun. Claiming I have a thin skin, I’m easily provoked etc. It seems that, just like Alec, if you are not with them – then you are against them. Yes, this isn’t the first time I’ve butted heads with the group, but it’s now time to say enough is enough. I can only be told who my friends are, what my beliefs should be or how I should think for so long.

What a sticky, ugly mess Star Trek fandom has become.

Naturally, I was intrigued by this situation.  Earlier this year, another detractor, JOE DIAZ, had left the Axamonitor Facebook in frustration and disgust…and he shared an audio interview with me here on Fan Film Factor.  If departures like Joe’s were starting to spread to others, that sounded like something worth reporting on.

So I reached out to Matt to ask if he’d be willing to have a quick chat, on the record, about his feelings toward the Axanar detractors…particularly those on the Axamonitor Facebook group.  Matt said that he’d be happy to, but asked if, in return, I might be willing to be a guest for an interview on his “A Trekzone Conversation” podcast.  (Yeah, we blogger-interviewers never pass up an opportunity to grab a controversial guest!)

I thought about it.  Although Matt and I are still diametrically opposed when it comes to our opinions about Alec and Axanar, thanks to the detractors on Facebook, we also now had some common ground to start from.  So I suggested the idea of having us interview each other simultaneously.  He’d publish the discussion as part of his blog, and I’d publish the same discussion on mine…a first among Trek bloggers, I believe!

Getting both of our schedules clear took about a month (thanks to Halloween, Axacon, and Thanksgiving on my end).  But finally, at the end of November, we finally got together for a Skype chat.

Matt offered to edit the sound files (taking out annoying pauses and verbal glitches to tighten it all up), and add his fancy “A Trekzone Conversation” graphics to it.  And I’m fine with that.  After all, I don’t have any bells and whistles for my interviews on Fan Film Factor, so why not class it up a bit?

Matthew has taken great pains to leave in all of the content that was discussed.  The edits are only minor.  I’ve listened to his finished product, and it gets the thumbs up from me.  Neither side was edited out of context or tweaked to make (or miss) a point.  This was our full discussion.

As I said, we’ve decided to divide the discussion into three segments, each about an hour in length.  (It’s not a perfectly even split because we needed to wait for certain naturally break points.)  Part One will debut this Wednesday at 2pm PST here in the U.S.  Part Two will be released the following Monday.  And Part Three will wrap it all up on the following Wednesday.

Whichever side of the Axanar debate you’re on, I think you’ll find it a fascinating listen…and not just the same all punch and counter-punch you’ve seen and heard a thousand times before.  Matt and I both got in some good “hits,” but most of all, despite a few passionate exchanges, we managed to keep things civil…without name-calling or personal insults.  I hope that fans throughout the community—whether the disagreement is about Axanar, Discovery, or Coke vs. Pepsi—might be able to learn from our example.  You CAN disagree AND still be nice to each other!

Oh, and for those not wanting to sit through three hours of Jonathan Lane and Matthew Miller blabbering, Matt is planning to release a “best of” compilation of this interview’s most interesting exchanges just after Christmas.  So happy holidays from the battling bloggers!

20 thoughts on “Coming in 3 days: the BLOGGER-BATTLE OF AXANAR!”

  1. Good write up Jonathan. Just a note or two though, Alpha Waves in general is pay-per-view, not just the Hinman/Pedraza ep, plus you can listen to it for free soon (or now, I haven’t checked.)

    I hope folks from both sides of the fence can endure the full three hours and provide insightful commentary… time will tell I think ;).

    1. Considering the amount of time and effort many of the detractors put into…um…detracting, I’d imagine 3 hours would be a mere “nanosecond” in their timeframe. And anyway, they’re probably gonna wanna argue word-for-word with everything I say. And if they don’t listen, whatever will they misquote, quote out of context, rail against and mock me for?

      And yes, I know that Alpha Waves Radio is generally pay-per-view (or per listen), but honestly, I can’t imagine how anyone with half a brain would think Hinman’s podcast it was worth it…based on the sound quality alone (or lack thereof). And of course, the one-sided nature of the interview was essentially just the same-old, same-old…hardly worth paying twenty-five bucks for (or whatever it was). The Patreon currently has 3 patrons giving a combined $50/month…which is $600 a year. So at least in part, Michael Hinman is now profiting from crowd-funding off of Axanar. I do consider the irony of this fact to be quite amusing.

      Anyway, it is what it is. Maybe our interview is better, maybe it’s worse. Maybe three hours is too long, but we had such a FANtastic discussion. I think folks won’t really feel like they’re “enduring” anything and will be eager to listen to part two after part one winds up (and ditto for part three). Or maybe I’m completely wrong…it’s happened one or two times before, I think. 🙂

      But at least if folks don’t like it, they haven’t invested any of their money…only their time (although I’ve heard time is money).

        1. And we care about them…why again?

          I mean, seriously, give me one decent reason to give a shat about what any detractor has to say. They literally have no meaning in the world outside of the echo-chamber…and certainly no power other than what we choose to give them (and I vote for “zero”). They haven’t stopped Alec. They haven’t stopped me. They are the erectile dysfunction of Star Trek fandom.

          Hmmmm…I just realized that I might be onto something! Matt, I think we need to record a Part Four!! 😉

          1. Gotta work on them “hard hitting questions” there, Matt! 😉

            Is was quite interesting to see them bend over backwards to exhort how they won’t pay one whit of attention to something they damn well know they’re going to listen to.

      1. Irony is lost on haters, that’s makes them so much FUN!

        Your summation of their podcast sounds like the final analysis of a crowd-funded comic called “Iron Sights”. This comic is connected to a debacle called “Comicsgate” that I check on from time to time because it’s just ridiculous. The comic was written by an individual connected with CG and became notorious for hack writing and horrendous art in a book that, by many accounts, was shoddily made. It seemed to be a proper punchline of the joke that is Comicsgate.

        (Sigh) The world we live in…

  2. This is the first I heard of the Hinman/Pedraza podcast.

    On Pay-Per-View? What, are they borrowing a page from CBS All-Access?

    1. Kinda yes, kinda no. Alpha Waves Radio is an attempt to monetize free podcasts by making they pay-per-EARLY-view. It’s not clear if it’s a week or two weeks or a month before the podcast becomes free. And as the link I provided in the blog showed, even during the “pay” period, there were periodic free airings during limited windows. (That’s when I listened.)

      The question is: will this business model work? I mean, if people would pay me to listen to my interviews with fan film folk, I’d certainly take it! But it’s a niche of a niche market, and I just don’t think there’s much demand for it…even for an “early bird” sneak peek. Honestly, I think the only person in fan films who could potentially make any money from doing something like that would be Alec Peters himself…especially if he were to promise some exclusive access to something Axanar-ish. And even Alec isn’t doing anything remotely like that beyond Axacon (and that was a money loser…not unexpectedly). So I’m not sure what it says about Mr. Hinman that’s he’s trying to milk Trek fandom in a way that even Alec Peters won’t do.

      And as I said in a previous reply to another comment, the audio quality of Mike’s interview was pretty embarrassing for something he expected people to actually pay for. The audio had a noticeable echo during many of Carlos’ segments, which is probably due to combining audio that Carlos supplied with the audio that Michael recorded on his end. Unfortunately for Mike, there wasn’t a true sync–and hey, that happens. It happened to me recently with an interview I did with Samuel Cockings. I’d had some trouble with my own audio input, and Samuel recorded his segments on a high-end microphone. I needed to combine the two, and they didn’t always sync. I got the same echoes that Michael Hinman had with Carlos Pedraza. The difference is that I went into the audio files and cut and nudged the sound segments until they did sync (with just a few brief glitches when we were both talking at once and Samuel’s audio had a sound delay echo that I couldn’t edit out).

      Anyway, my point is that I spent nearly six hours editing what was ultimately a 50-minute audio interview that was, according to my statistics, only listened to 213 times. That’s a lot of work for 213 people (well, 214 counting Sam). But it’s simply that I take pride in what I publish, and I don’t want to just “phone it in” when it comes to this blog site. A job worth doing is worth doing right…even if you’re not charging people for it. And when you are charging people for it, like Mike Hinman is, well, doing it right is even more important…

      …at least in my opinion. Mike might feel differently.

  3. Really pleased this has happened.
    I know Jonathan well over the past 2 plus years and I have spoken a few times with Matt (during the world cup) and was really surprised on how we got on and had a decent, civil debate without the “public” eye.

    I look forward to this because I feel both Matt and Jonathan, above all else are fans not just of Trek but the Fan Film side of it and are both decent enough to know (especially with recent even in the Axamonitor faithful turning on Matt for having an opinion) that THIS behaviour, this hatred, the tit for tat, to and throw really what is it achieving.
    I am actually surprised that they didn’t turn on Carlos, for having the “sack” to go to Axacon and actually shake Jonathan s hand (still think that will happen).
    What do they think is going to happen? what is their endgame now?

    I am sure this will be a great podcast look forward to listening.
    well done to both of you.

  4. Hmmm… as someone who falls into Matt’s camp (I am what pro-Axanar individuals consider a “detractor” but believe that that camp has gotten a little out of hand), but at the same time appreciates a lot of what Jon does, I am very interested in this conversation!

  5. A discussion can also be tough, but the important thing is to be honest and sincere.
    Every opinion can be respected as long as the arguments brought are based
    on evidence certain and not heard of. The important thing is not to make barricades
    and look for blood. After a battle there are no winners and losers but only dead and
    wounded. This It’s no good for anyone even less than Star Trek.

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