Did you know that I’ve now been involved with Star Trek fan films for TWENTY YEARS??? It seems amazing to me!
Although I’ve only been blogging about fan productions since 2015, I appeared in my first Star Trek fan film way back in 1999 when I made out in the turbolift with my then real-life girlfriend in VOYAGES OF THE USS ANGELES: “The Price of Duty.” That short-lived fan series that grew out of our local Star Trek fan group evolved into STAR TREK: HIDDEN FRONTIER, and I’d drop by the occasional shoot in Pasadena every now and then to help out behind-the-scenes. If you don’t blink, you can see me as an extra (an Elosian guard) in the fifth episode of the HF spin-off series STAR TREK: ODYSSEY, “Keepers of the Wind” (2008).
Since I began blogging about Trek fan films four years ago, I’ve dabbled a bit in a few more of them. In 2016, during the early days of the CBS/Paramount lawsuit against Axanar, I co-wrote and co-produced with MARK LARGENT a hilarious parody of both the AXANAR fan film and the lawsuit called STALLED TREK: PRELUDE TO AX’D-WE ARE. I also provided the voices for four of the animated puppet characters, including the fan-favorite Vulcanine Ambassador Snowball (“My ears are still bleeding…”).
I did voice-over again in the recent ROMULAN WAR: WAR STORIES vignette “Final Flight,” portraying the character of Lt. Geoffrey Christopher, the engineer/test pilot responsible for developing the Warp 7 engine that helped Starfleet defeat the Romulans. I was also featured in a brief cameo during Vance Major‘s Minard saga episode “Change” as one of Erick Minard’s “network” (which also included other prominent members of the real-world fan film community who were friends of Vance).
But in all of this time, the fan films I was involved with were always somebody else’s (even Ax’d-We-Are, which was part of Mark Largent’s Stalled Trek puppet parody series).
Now, however, I’m finally doing a fan film that comes from my head, where I am the show-runner (executive producer), and if it falls off a cliff, I’m the one responsible!
Hopefully, it won’t fall off a cliff…
In fact, that’s one of the reasons I’m writing this blog today, more than a month before I launch a crowd-funding campaign. Y’see, I tell other folks who do Kickstarters and Indiegogos and GoFundMe’s: “Your campaign should NEVER be a “surprise” when it launches! People need to know it’s coming. So be sure to talk about it early and often.”
Time to practice what I preach, folks!
Over the coming weeks, leading up to the launch of the crowd-funding campaign for my project, I’ll be “teasing” details about the production…including the people involved (some major names in the Trek fan film community), the Trek time-era in which my film will be taking place (22nd century? 23rd? 24th? 33rd?), details about the plot and how I came to write the script, our planned production schedule, and how much I need to crowd-fund (which I don’t quite know yet, but my director and DP and I are having a conference call later this week). Oh, and at some point, I’ll even tell you the title!
So what can I tell you now…other than announcing that I’m going to be making a fan film? Well, one very important thing: I fully intend to follow all of the CBS fan film guidelines. I’m aware that, when the guidelines were first announced, I led the charge to get a number of them changed (and failed completely). But now that they are here and obviously not going anywhere, I have to make the choice whether to tilt at the windmill or go with the flow. And since my wife would throttle me if I were to get sued by a multi-billion dollar corporation, I’m opting for the “playing by the rules” path.
That said, it’s actually not all that difficult to follow the guidelines, all things considered. My script is complete and will easily time out at less than 15 minutes. This is a one-shot, not an ongoing series (although I might have some parallel stories to tell in the future if this first film goes well…more on that later). I doubt I’ll be getting anywhere close to the limit of $50K in crowd-funding—although what a fantastic problem to have! More likely, we’ll be really tight on budget (no sushi or new tires!), so paying people ain’t gonna be a consideration…and I certainly couldn’t afford anyone who’s ever worked professionally on Star Trek (and Patrick Stewart is busy with a new show anyway)! So in my case, following the guidelines will be no tribble at all.
Crowd-funding, on the other hand…aye, therein lies the rub! Although 2019 started out fairly slow in the campaign department, things have picked up recently with crowd-funders for AVALON, DREADNOUGHT DOMINION, and TO HAVE BOLDLY GONE. Also, a new Kickstarter for SPACE COMMAND‘s second full episode is just around the corner. And let’s not forget those two major Patreons for ARES STUDIOS and NEUTRAL ZONE STUDIOS.
A lot of people want your money right now, and very soon, I am going to be one of them! And good-natured idiot that I am, I’ll still promote those other campaigns here on Fan Film Factor even though we’ll be competing for the same donation dollars. Why? Because it’s the right thing to do, and we should all be helping each other anyway.
But as you donate to all of those other campaigns, all I ask is that you please consider setting aside a few bucks to help one Trekkie blogger sitting at his computer in Los Angeles make an awesome fan film for all of you top enjoy.
More details to come, my friends!