My STAR TREK fan film is going to cost HOW MUCH???

$18,800. WTF???

It’s kinda mind-blowing, I know, considering that my fan film, INTERLUDE, is shooting on two existing sets (Ares Studios and Neutral Zone Studios), the guidelines don’t allow me to pay people, and we’re only planning to film for three days. On the other hand, my goal is to do a top-quality fan film…a worthy sequel to Prelude to Axanar. And apparently, even keeping things really tight budget-wise, doing this thing right is gonna cost some bucks.

At the risk of invoking 1980s rock-and-roll wisdom, I may ask myself: “Well, how did I get here?” (And more to the point: “My God, what have I done???”) Let me take you through it.

Now, before I get started diving into the nitty gritty, let me warn you that this is going to be a looooooong blog. If you don’t care, then by all means, please skip it. I won’t take it personally. And some people (including one with the initials A.P.) told me not to even bother explaining that high number. “It’s gotta be Axanar quality,” he said. “It costs what it costs. People will accept that.”

Maybe. But if even I was shocked by that high number, then I just know others are gonna wonder if I’m just trying come up with some sushi and tire money…and believe me, nothing could be farther from the truth! So I want to be as forthcoming and up front with all of you as I can be. And when someone says to me later, “Hey, I know you don’t need that much money for such-and-such,” I’ll just answer, “Yes, I do—check out paragraph 27 of my blog!”

Also, as a blogger who devotes his waking moments to bringing fans closer to fan filmmakers and their processes, discussing my budget in detail provides a unique opportunity for a deep-dive into what I consider to be one of the most fascinating aspects of production: figuring out what everything is gonna cost.

So if you haven’t bailed on the blog yet, let’s all boldly go into Jonathan’s budget for Interlude

As I said, I went into this kinda clueless. I know that Vance Major can make 30 fan films with the loose change he finds in his sofa. On the other hand, Renegades can easily spend $850,000 (possibly more!) on a single feature-length fan film. The 20-minute Prelude was made for about $125,000. A typical hour-long episode of Star Trek Continues averaged about $50,000. Of course, all of those productions (except Vance’s) paid people. The guidelines have nixed that practice. Also, my fan film will likely only be around 10-12 minutes long (if that). And I’ll be filming entirely on existing sets.

JOSHUA IRWIN and VICTORIA FOX

So I went into this (naively?) believing that we could do everything pretty inexpensively. But I trusted by directors, VICTORIA FOX and JOSHUA IRWIN, to guide me. After all, not only are they both industry professionals with knowledge and experience, they’ve also successfully completed two excellent Star Trek fan films and are hard at work on a third. Victoria and Josh know what things cost and what’s expected by the people who show up for work on your production.

One of the most basic courtesies is this: even if you’re not paying people, the general rule of thumb is that they should NOT have to pay for the privilege of taking part in your project. That includes travel and lodging if they are traveling more than a short distance…as well as feeding them while on set. People usually arrive early (like 8am) and often work long past dinner (8pm or later). That’s three meals plus drinks and snacks for everyone, and the typical estimate is about $25/person per day for feeding and watering.

I hadn’t even thought about that going in, and that was only the first hint of the rabbit hole I was about to dive into…

FOOD – $1,800

Okay, since we were just talking about food, let’s start there. We are going to have a pretty full set. We’ll have about 25-30 people per day. This will include actors, extras, production crew, and some student volunteers from the local high schools. That’s Saturday and Sunday. Monday in Kingsland will be a smaller shoot with maybe 10-15 people…and we might not need to supply dinner. But yep: $1,800 for feeding, watering, and snacking…yeesh!

GAS AND CAR RENTAL – $1,000

Note that this does NOT include airfare. I will be flying from L.A. to GA using frequent flyer miles. And while we briefly considered flying Joshua and Victoria from Arkansas to Atlanta—saving them about 22 hours of round-trip driving—Josh decided to bring along his sound engineer, and the airfare for three people just couldn’t be justified. Also, Josh will be bringing some of his own equipment, which will somewhat lower the cost to rent equipment…although we’ll still need things like lights and cameras and mics and tripods and slides, etc.

So what about the car rental? That’s for me. Not only do I need to get from the Atlanta Airport to Ares Studios in Lawrenceville, but I’ll also need to drive from there to Neutral Zone Studios in Kingsland, 363 miles away. I’ll fly back from Jacksonville, FL (only 45 minutes from Kingsland), so I’ll need my own transportation. While I can use frequent flyer miles for air travel, car rental is 600 bucks. So that’s in the budget, too.

HOTEL – $900

Alec has two spare bedrooms. I’ll be using one. That leaves three people who will have just driven 11 hours from Arkansas…and they ain’t all staying in one guest room. So that’s at least a couple of hotel rooms for a couple of nights in or near Lawenceville, plus we’ll all need rooms for all of us on Sunday night in Kingsland if we’re gonna be there bright and early on Monday morning (rather than still be driving).

EQUIPMENT RENTAL – $2500

As I said, Joshua is going to be bringing some of the things we need, but we’ll still need other stuff. Estimates for a weekend rental come to $2,500 at present. This might ultimately go up or down depending on what might be available at both studios. We’ll know better as we get closer to the shooting date, but to be safe, we’re using the $2,500 estimate.

STUDIO RENTAL – $800

Renting Neutral Zone Studios for one day is $300. Renting Ares Studios for two days is $500.

UNIFORM TUNICS – $5,000

Okay, here’s where the sticker shock starts coming in. Now, I know that the fan film guidelines say you can’t buy existing Star Trek uniforms from bootleggers. If something is licensed, you need to buy it from a licensee. Fine…but we’re NOT using existing Star Trek uniform styles.

Working from a tunic originally designed by BILL KRAUSE, the uniforms from the Four Years War era depicted in AXANAR will look like this…

Very cool, but they have to be custom made by a professional tailor or seamstress. This is one of those line items where a fan film has to pay someone, just like paying for the hotel or the food or the equipment rental. While actors and extras and camera people and music composers and editors might be willing to volunteer their time, costume-makers don’t. There’s just too much labor involved. And even if there weren’t, the fabric itself still costs money. So yep, we’ve gotta pay for uniforms just like we gotta pay for pizza. We’re buying an item, not a service.

Between the cost of material and labor, it’s going to be about $250 per tunic (a decently-tailored TOS tunic from a licensee like Anovos can cost anywhere from $225 to $345…so we’re in the right neighborhood with $250).

So how many do we need? Well, we’re going to need to show two different bridges, each with about 8 officers so the set doesn’t look empty. Plus there’s a scene in sickbay and another in engineering. We’re estimating 20 uniforms, each tailored to the sizes of our actors. If we come up short on the crowd-funder, we might be able to trim a few extras, but we’d really like to be able to shoot wide establishing shots of both bridges.

Oh, and it’s not just tunics…

UNIFORM TURTLENECKS – $600

God forbid the tunics were just one piece! But it’s a V-neck tunic over a high-neck black turtleneck shirt. Land’s End has them for about $28 each…plus tax. Gotta buy 20 of ’em.

PANTS AND BOOTS – $2,000

This one I’m not certain about yet, so that number might change. We’ve estimated $100/pant or $2,000 for 20. Plus boots are about $100 each…another $2,000.

So why doesn’t it say $4,000 for this line-item?

We might be able to “cheat” this with some actors and extras sitting in the “well” of the bridge. If so, then they’ll likely be filmed just from the waist up and they can wear cargo shorts and sneakers if they want to and no one will ever know.

Obviously, this isn’t the case with the captains and the officers sitting or standing at the upper console stations…or the doctors/nurses in sickbay. Now, we might be able to get by without boots for some of those people I just listed, but others will need boots. We’re still pricing all of that, but we’re putting in $2,000 for now to cover pants and boots together for those who will need them.

PATCHES – $1,500

Patches? We don’ need no steenkin’ patches! Well, actually we do…and we kinda need a LOT of patches. Y’see, the way it’s designed, each uniform has three different patches! There’s a chest patch with the ship insignia, a shoulder patch on the left sleeve with the vessel’s full emblem (like the NX-01 crew had on Star Trek: Enterprise), and a First Fleet patch on the opposite shoulder (or Second, Third, Fourth, or Fifth Fleet depending on the alien race).

Three patches per uniform…thanks a lot, Alec!

Custom embroidered patches in the sizes we’ll likely need are about $150 for a minimal run of 25 of each patch design (ordering less than 25 makes little difference because the embroidering set-up fee eats up the majority of that cost). So for every kind of patch we need—even if it’s just a few of them—it’ll be $150. Yeesh!

So each uniform has three patches, but here’s the problem: two of those three patches are ship-specific. The First Fleet patch is the same for all uniforms, but the USS Ares and the USS Artemis have different chest and shoulder designs. So instead of three patches, I need five, right?

Not exactly.

As happened on TOS, each department color—command, sciences, engineering—has its own chest insignia. And heaven help me, I’ve got a science officer, a communications officer, a navigator and captains, engineer, and a doctor all with speaking parts (plus extra background crew). I need all three chest insignia for each of the two ships…six total. Oh, wait, my directors think it’d be cool for the medical staff to have red crosses on their insignia like Christine Chapel did. Oh, why the heck not??? Seven patch runs for the chest.

Fortunately, I get a break on the shoulder patch, as everyone on the ship wears the same design. So that’s just two patch runs, one for each ship.

Let’s add it all up…

  • 1 patch design for the First Fleet
  • 7 patch designs for the chest
  • 2 patch designs for the shoulder

So that’s 10 patch runs at $150 each. Now, I might be able to save $300 if Alec has leftover USS Ares and First Fleet patches. There’s also a possibility if we come up short that we just decide that everyone in this era wears an insignia with a command star. But we’re still gonna need a good amount of patches.

RANK BRAID – $100

Everyone’s gotta have a rank on their sleeve cuff, right?

SEWING – $250

Someone’s gotta sew 3 patches on each of 20 uniforms…or 60 patches. Victoria estimates that a decent seamstress at a shop can do about five or six patches per hour at $20/hour. Plus there’s rank braid on the sleeves. With luck, we only have to spend $250.

SERVICE FEE – $550

I’m going to be be using GoFundMe because it has one of the lowest service fees: 2.9% of each transaction plus 30 cents per donation. If I can reach my goal, that’ll be about $550. So the goal needs to add on the amount we pay for servicing.

PERKS – $0

No perks??? What you talkin’ ’bout, Willis?

I thought long and hard about this. Perks cost money to make and to ship. And even though many fan productions are still offering patches and T-shirts and posters and other items, the guidelines still say that’s a no-no.

Now here’s the thing. If I raise a little over my goal, enough to cover postage and envelopes, I’ll drop some leftover patches into the mail and send them to donors as thank you gifts. But that’s very different than a perk. A perk is expected and is determined by the size of the donation. (More money, better perk.) The only thing being determined by the size of your donation to my campaign is the size of your name in the credits. The thank you gift will be the same for everyone.

That said, if I get raise a few thousand dollars above my goal, there might be a really cool thank you gift in addition to the patches. But we’ll cross that bridge when we cross our goal.

WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG? – $1,800

Have we forgotten anything? Probably! What about make-up supplies? What happens if one of our actors’ cars breaks down and he/she needs to Uber? How about dying Alec Peters’ hair to look like a younger Garth?

My directors have both told me—and other folks I know out here in Hollywood have confirmed—that an unassigned “contingency” of 10% is typically added to any production budget.

What if nothing goes wrong and we have $1,800 (or a portion of it) left over? Well, instead of treating everyone to sushi, there’s a different “luxury” I’d really like. STEVE JEPSON played Admiral Slater in Prelude to Axanar, and I wrote a very brief scene for him in Interlude. It takes place in front of a green screen and only lasts for about 10-15 seconds of dialog. Steve lives in Missouri, which is the state just north of Arkansas, which is where my directors both live. Joshua is willing to drive the 10-hour round trip with a portable green screen to film Steve (who already has a costume), and right now, that’s the plan.

STEVE JEPSON in his custom-tailored admiral’s uniform

But Steve has quickly become one of my favorite people on the planet, and I’d love for him to actually be able to join the rest of the cast and crew for filming in Georgia. That’s roundtrip airfare, cab fare to and from the airport, and a hotel room for the night…maybe $650. If there’s unused money left in the budget, then I’d love to fly Steve out to the shoot. If not, then as we say on Earth, c’est la vie.


Now, before I end this ultra-long blog, I’d like to address the 800-pound mugato in the cave. Does any of this money go to Alec Peters?

Quite simply, no (with the exception of studio rental fees). As you can see from all of the line items above, there’s almost nothing extra available. In fact, if anything, Alec might be able to help me out. Since he’s going to be making his own Garth uniform for the Axanar sequels, there’s no need for me to make him one. So we go from 20 uniforms in my budget to 19. That’s about $500! If I can use a few of his extras uniforms for my extras, that trims my budget, as well.

So it’s possible we might be able to get this done for less than $18,800. Granted, it might not be that much less, but we’ll do our best.

Of course, if by some miracle we wind up exceeding our goal by a lot (like $10K or $20K), then what happens to all of that extra money? Does it get used on Interlude? Probably not; our costs are pretty much set…although maybe a little to produce and mail a thank you gift. But if there’s thousands and thousands of dollars left over, the obvious question some will ask is: does the extra go to Alec for Axanar?

I think that’s a no-no. Although I haven’t seen his settlement with CBS and Paramount, I know it doesn’t allow for public crowd-funding. And since Alec will be helping me promote my campaign, if I turn around and give him money for Axanar, that might violate his settlement, and I really don’t want to risk it for either of us.

So what happens to any money we have left (assuming we do)? It gets put into the bank to help with the NEXT Axanar Universe fan film. There’s more stories out there—TREY McELWAIN has written some good ones for his Axanar Comics, and I wouldn’t mind adapting my Axanar short story “Why We Fight”…along with another post-Four Years War story I’ve been working on called “Why We Explore.”

Of course, first I need to actually reach my $18,800 goal…and hopefully YOU will be able to help me do just that when I launch my crowd-funder in June!

43 thoughts on “My STAR TREK fan film is going to cost HOW MUCH???”

  1. Wow! This is an ambitious goal for fan film in the current environment. Success at this amount would be an impressive achievement. BTW, I think (for whatever it’s worth) that a detailed prospectus/estimate of your costs for various items is both a proper practice and apt to increase the number of your backers versus listing a sum near $20K without elaboration, especially in the current environment.

  2. Best of luck Jon.
    Although i fundamentally disagree with your affiliation with Peters, I believe you will actually deliver on your film.
    I look forward to watching the finished product.
    I for one will be donating to your Enterprise.

    1. You’re just daring me to say something about it being the Ares and not the Enterprise, aren’t you, KB? ๐Ÿ™‚

      Anyway, it’s kiinda hard not to affiliate with Alec–at least peripherally–as I need his bridge to film on, and I need him to play Garth. But interestingly enough, the process of solving certain logistical challenges for my production has had an intriguing side effect of solving those same challenges for Alec’s production. We’ll both be shooting later on this year (assuming I–and he–successfully finance our respective ventures). Thanks for pledging your support.

  3. Jonathan, I just produced a science fiction short film here in LA last December and I’m producing another short in the other LA (Louisiana) next month. Now, granted, both of these are SAG signatories with fully paid cast and crew, but filmmaking is filmmaking and I feel pretty confident saying that you’re very likely going to spend more than the bare bones costs you’ve outlined. If I were you I would round your “ask” up to an even $25,000. It’s still very low as short films go. Good luck to you.

    1. Let me be honest with you, Dennis: I think $18.8K is pretty high already. Since the guidelines went into effect, no Trek fan film that I know of has cracked $20K. Most don’t crack $10K. Many don’t even make it too far past $5K. Granted, I’m going to be pulling out all of the stops to get this crowd-funded in the right way. That’s why I’m posting weekly blogs leading up to the launch of the crowd-funder.

      But setting a $25K goal seems excessively ambitious and unrealistically optimistic, my friend…at least to me If I make it to $25K, great…there’s an awesome thank you gift that’s gonna cost about $4K to print and another couple grand to mail out. But I really do think we can keep our expenses under $20K. I’ve got amazing directors, and one of them is also producing (the one with the hair). I trust them to land this starship without crashing into the planet. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. As a RANK AMATUER in fan film-making, I can relate to the budget. Thankfully, all MY actors are Lego(R) minifigs, but voice actors aren’t cheap, even if they ARE family. (Subway sandwiches all around = $120 or so.) Count me in to participate in crowd-funding your films! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Wow, the Axanar Gods are once again pleased! Life is starting to return to “normal” again. With the piรจce de rรฉsistance, for me at least, will be to see Admiral Slater! I hope to the Moon and back, that you exceed your goals! As always my beloved friend, you have my support!

    Also, I felt this was a relatively short blog…..

    There is so much going on with Axanar! With the news of “Interlude” alone, this should have been a 5000+ word blog!!!

    But then again, I am so stoked about this!

    Awesome Sauce Jonathan, Awesome Sauce!
    ~Trey

    (and thank you for your kind words once again!)

    1. “this should have been a 5000+ word blog!!!”

      The detractors get so upset about the length of my blogs that I didn’t want to disturb them too much. They’re pretty delicate. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. Those of us who have been contributing to Fan Films for years know there expensive, people do need transport, lodging, food and other essentials, your estimates are true and logical, we know Uniforms and other props are costly, we got your back, I’ll be quite happy to contribute and not expect gifts, many I contribute to I refuse trinkets and wish the funds go into the films which get posted to youtube or other media for viewing by contributors and the general public, I will also be sharing your gofundme post as I do all others I contribute to, to help in my obsession to see great films done by great people, 2 studio’s, wow, I love it, in Axanar Universe giving me an already made folder addition to my collection of fan films, way to go Jonathan, I’m with you all I can do from a distance to help see it made, thank you so much for expanding your wings of creating in this era

  7. Very happy to hear that you are taking the plunge into fan films, Jonathan! YOU may regret it, but us donors (yes, I’m already budgeting a decent donation to your effort) won’t. Of that, I am certain.

    Sorry to have missed you and Alec ‘live’ last night, but I did see the recorded version and was very excited to hear this news! I loved the opening CGI and can’t wait until Mark puts his fantastic sound skills to the video footage.

    I respectfully disagree with A.P. about not spelling out how a 12- minute production can cost $18,800. I found it both informative and interesting. Besides, now “The C@rlos’s” (I refuse to type his name!) of the world are now put on notice that YOU will not be cowed by the upcoming assault on reason by him and his ilk. Your defense is already in your blog, as you said.

    I wish you great success and look forward to donating to Interlude!

    1. Rather than debate the detractors, I decided to PREbate them! (Get it?)

      Anyway, I fully expect some attempts at “sabotage,” most likely in posts to the comments section on the donation page. With luck, though, that’ll just serve to rally more support from the faithful (and I’m mot really expecting any donations from the detractors, anyway). ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Be sure to check weather conditions in Lawrenceville. In one of the studio tour videos it was raining and it was quite loud.

    No slight, but that place hasn’t yet been retrofitted to deal with that stuff in filming conditions. So I would advise reserving some of your budget because if you get a day of goofed audio from weather or other outside conditions, you’ll have to get everyone back together to ADR *everything*. And everyone prefers a live performance to ADR.

    1. I don’t usually approve your posts, Gabe (your privileges were revoked), but I’m making an exception because you bring up a point I’ve considered.

      Short answer: it is what it is. Rain happens. And if we have to return to Georgia or do ADR, so be it. And if that means a second crowd-funder, so be it.

      That said, I did check the precipitation likelihood that time of year:

      https://weatherspark.com/m/15598/9/Average-Weather-in-September-in-Atlanta-Georgia-United-States

      Barring a VERY late season hurricane, fall is not Georgia’s rainy season; spring is. By the end of September, the chance of precipitation averages 23%, which is pretty good odds. And according to folks I know who live and lived there growing up (including Alec and my best friend Christo), fall rain in Georgia is lighter and more misty/sporadic than spring rain, which can come pelting down on a roof as heavy cells pass overhead.

      But hey, it’s rain. It starts, it stops, it starts again. Lather, rinse, repeat. If the gods or the universe or global warming or the flying spaghetti monster decides it will rain on my fan film, so be it. We’d be taking the same risk if we’d scheduled an outdoor location shoot, right? And yet entire seasons of “The Walking Dead” and other Georgia-produced shows manage to find their way somehow. And so will we.

  9. Jonathan,

    You, Josh and Victoria appear to have neglected to include production insurance, which you will definitely need, especially if you plan on having minors working as crew. And your liability is likely to be complicated because your cast and crew are all volunteers rather than employees. Insurance could cost you upwards of $2,000.

    1. Thanks, Carlos. I’ll mention that to J and V.

      The students will be doing the project for school credit, by the way, supervised by a teacher onsite. Parental permission slips will be collected prior to the students being allowed on set.

      1. If this is an official school activity then adequate insurance is absolutely necessary. Make sure you detail for your insurance broker that minors are involved and everyone is a volunteer. You don’t want to be caught with the not enough or the wrong kind of insurance if God forbid there’s some kind of accident; they are not uncommon in filmmaking. The school district may require a specific kind of coverage, too, so check with them about that.

        1. Fortunately, I’ve got the school district’s leader of the video program to guide me on what’s required. But I’ll definitely look into the insurance. I’ve checked with a number of the smaller fan filmmakers, and they don’t typically carry production insurance since it can often be almost as much as their entire budget. But I realize that I’m trying to take this to a middle-level between the low end and the high end of fan productions (and the high end—over $50K—doesn’t typically exist anymore). So I’ll definitely be looking into what’s necessary. I’m planning to chat directly with Victoria (in addition to co-directing, she is also producing) about what we need to do vis a vis insurance, and what it should cost. And if I’ve gotta raise the goal from $18.8K to $20.8K or thereabouts, so be it. I’ll just tell everyone to blame Carlos Pedraza. ๐Ÿ˜‰

          1. ยป And if Iโ€™ve gotta raise the goal from $18.8K to $20.8K or thereabouts, so be it. Iโ€™ll just tell everyone to blame Carlos Pedraza.

            LOL. I’m sure, as usual, they will loyally follow your directives.

            Best of luck,
            /carlos

  10. While I wish you luck in your film project, I still think – as do many others – that your affiliation with Alec Peters is still an unproductive and toxic one. He is still to many, ‘the most hated man in Star Trek fandom’ and the one who ‘literally’ murdered the future of Star Trek fan films, with his controversial actions in the Axanar scandal.

    Personally, I would NOT want to be equated with someone who radiates such toxicity and negativity. Especially on such a level – an illegal one I might add – that landed him in court some three years past.

    Still, it’s your choice and your decision. Whatever makes you happy.

    1. Alec is a good man and my friend. He literally drives 1,000 miles (one way) to save the lives of puppies…and has done so multiple times. He has put a quarter of a million dollars of his own money into a project that would have died years ago because he promised fans he would deliver them a completed fan film. And Alec did nothing illegal, and there is no court verdict you can point to that says otherwise.

      As for “literally murdering the future of Star Trek fan films”…dude, don’t you read my blog??? If fan filmed have been “murdered,” than fan filmmakers (including me) never got your memo.

      As for โ€˜the most hated man in Star Trek fandom,’ maybe to 85 people. But there are 79K subscribers to the Axanar YouTube channel that, again, probably didn’t get your memo about hating Alec. 226 of them are giving Alec a combined $2,166/month. If he’s so universally “hated,” Pap, then how do you explain that? You might–might–just be living in a hate-bubble. Have you considered that as a possibility? I’m not trying to be sarcastic or snarky, by the way. You may literally be suffering from cognitive dissonance and not able to come to terms with the possibility that you’re clinging to an incorrect conclusion because it would mean admitting you’ve been wrong in a conviction that you’ve believed so deeply and strongly for so many years.

      My opinion of Alec Peters comes not as a “view from afar” like you but from an up-close personal friendship with the man that I’ve shared now for nearly half a decade. My opinions stem from words and deeds and actions I’ve witness directly. Alec is steadfastly loyal and generous to his friends. He loaned Rob Burnett $30,000 and furnished him with a free car. Have any of your friends ever done that for you, Pap? Alec has been kind to me and my son. He texted me last Sunday specifically to wish my wife a Happy Mothers Day.

      If that doesn’t fit your need to see him otherwise, Papillon, then that is your choice and your decision. Whatever makes you happy.

      But just for the record: you are indeed 100% wrong and living inside of an echo chamber that refuses to acknowledge (despite all of the evidence) the love and support that continues to surround and follow Alec Peters.

  11. Is this going to be a Kickstarter or Indigogo project? Will there be a way to get this Interlude on Blu Ray or DVD? Can’t seem to find anything about that.

    For the record, I don’t get either all the hate for Alec or the bile thrown at you for working with him. I’ve chatted extensively with Alec and I find him to be an honorable man, funny, and of good and supportable character.

    1. Yeah, the negativity toward Alec stems from certain people defining him as the “villain” back during the CBS/Paramount lawsuit and “locking in” that perception. Therefore, they mentally “amplify” anything negative that they see Alec doing and conveniently ignore anything good (like saving the lives of puppies and opening his sets up to local students to use for free for their school film projects). This is called confirmation bias and assumes that everyone or most people believe the same way that the detractors do. They ignore any evidence to the contrary such as the 79K subscribers to the Axanar YouTube channel or the similar number of members of the Axanar Fan Group on FB or the patrons currently donating a combined $26,000/year to help pay rent and expenses on Ares Studios.

      To accept any possibility that they might have been wrong from the beginning–that Alec isn’t evil or corrupt or incompetent or a permanent stain on Star Trek fandom—creates what is known as cognitive dissonance. It literally hurts, mentally and emotionally, for detractors detractors to even consider that their deeply held belief in Alec’s badness is wrong. Their minds rebel and cling even more deeply to the fallacy. This happens in many things in this world, particularly religion and politics. And unfortunately, Alec got caught up in such a hysteria himself back in 2016, and there’s really no way out of it for him.

      Alec could save the lives of a million puppies, make Axanar, and return all the money fans ever donated to him, and the detractors would still never forgive him or admit that Alec is anything other than a charlatan and a traitor to fandom, an arrogant and petulant bully, and a talentless hack who only succeeded because of the people he brought in to make his fan films and despite his own incompetence.

      And of course, anyone who sticks up for Alec (like me) only serve to increase the cognitive dissonance and make the “true believers” even more uncomfortable because someone dares to challenge their deeply-held convictions. Therefore, it becomes necessary for these zealots to vilify Alec’s supporters, as well. And the loader and more resolute we are, the more their uncomfortable minds need to tear us down in order to not feel so uncomfortable. Insulting me is, allegorically, a mental “pacifier” for their minds to suck on in order to quiet the dissonance.

      Since Alec can’t win, he simply ignores them now, as do I. In the end, there’s only 85 of them still holding onto the hate…the vast majority have moved on while most of the Axanar supporters remain. Those 85 people channel and concentrate their hatred, and it sometimes leaks out beyond their echo-chamber. But for the most part, they remain inside their temple, repeating their chants and mantras, reinforcing their beliefs and locking out the “heretics” who dare to declare (like you just did) that the grand villain is actually a pretty nice guy.

      As for your other questions, right now, I’m planning to use GoFundMe. I’d never use Kickstarter because the “all or nothing” requirement on reaching the goal is too risky. Indiegogo imposes a time limit. GoFundMe allows for an ongoing campaign and has the lowest fees of the bunch. As for putting Interlude on a BluRay or DVD, the guidelines say that’s a no-no. And I intend to follow those guidelines to the letter.

      1. I’d like to offer a different view re: completing the 2 Axanar shorts. Were Axanar Productions to complete these films, Mr Peters would have answered a major critique offered of him by those of us who read Axamonitor, IMHO. He would have completed a task for all of Axanar’s backers (including the typer of this comment) in the best way that remains for him and his team to do so at present. I myself would happily admit to having been wrong about this, because if you enjoy this hobby, more fan films are better than fewer, and 2 of them made in Axanar’s field of ideas (plus the third one of Jonathan’s in planning that I’m confident will be completed if its daring funding target can be reached) would be a plus for our hobby. There’s no reason that I can see that this civil war over one film should last forever in our hobby, even if it’s obvious to an outsider that many personal relationships between people on both sides have been destroyed for good, lamentably, by it.

      2. Pity there can’t be a disc. Hopefully at the very least a digital download is possible, or some way to capture the film to my local system…..for posterity don’t you know……..

        I will be happy to support the project via GoFundMe. Do you have a web site that I can find and book mark and visit to keep an eye on progress? Thank you.

  12. Jonathan-
    I appreciate the concise (as best as it can be) breakdown, bit a couple of questions arise. First, I thought Alec did not charge for fan films use the Ares Studio facilities, yet you are budgeting $500. If use of the facilities is free then are you not paying Alec? Secondly, you mention that you are buying the black turtlenecks from Land’s End for $28 each. You do realize that you can find them at a much cheaper price through Amazon for about $20 each or even Walmart for less than $15 each which would save you some dollars on your budget, right?

    Lastly, something do did not mention anywhere is whether or not you intend to put forth any of your own finances into this venture or if this film is to be entirely funded solely by crowdfunding. That’s a key point. People are very hesitant to invest into a fan film if they think that the person behind has no desire to put any substantial person financial risk themselves into the film. If you’re looking to ask $20,000 (let’s say you have to adjust it after Carlos’ insurance suggestion), then it would be reasonable to expect a personal investment of $2000-$5000. That’s not out of the ballpark to what other fan film makers are investing in their films. That would go a long way towards making a statement of saying how serious you are at making this film and wanting it to be the quality you say you want it to be.

    Good luck, I do wish you well on this.

    1. Okay, let’s tackle your points in order…

      1) Renting Ares Studios

      Just as Neutral Zone Studios charges a daily rental fee, so does Ares Studios (except for the students who use it for free). Alec’s stated fee for fan films is $250/day. Now, for the record, Alec did offer to let me use the studio and bridge set completely for free, but I am insisting on paying just as any other fan film would…even though I could easily save $500. The reason for this is that I want to establish as objectively as possible that there is a complete separation between my film and Axanar Productions. Any “sweetheart deal” of free studio usage implies there is some kind of special arrangement between me and Alec. There isn’t. We’re doing this completely by the book.

      2) Turtleneck Shirts

      If I can save $200 on shirts, I certainly will. I just need to make sure they’re the right kind of shirt. It’s not a classic turtleneck style where you fold the collar down over itself. It’s actually a high-neck black shirt. It’s also possible that I can do a high-neck T-shirt (if such a thing exists with a high enough collar…think “Green Lantern” outfit). Or maybe a dickie. The point is that, at this early point, I don’t know the exact shirt cost. It might be $300, $400, $500, or $600. I prefer to put in the worst case scenario (albeit still realistic) for my line items rather than risk being under-funded. If we come up short, then we’ll see what we can trim and where. And if I do end up saving a couple of hundred dollars on the shirts, perhaps that’ll cover the cost of make-up supplies or dyeing Alec’s hair or help fund postage on a thank you gift if there’s money left over.

      3) Donating to the project myself

      $2,000-$5,000 of my own money would result in a very fast divorce here in the otherwise-happy Lane house. My wife has made it very clear that this pet project of mine only happens if it doesn’t drain our savings in any way. We’re not swimming in money, Steven, and we certainly don’t have thousands available to spend on a fan film (we barely have enough to pay to fix things in the house—emergency garage door repair two weeks ago was $1,100!). Wendy has had me significantly scale back the amount I give to other fan projects and how many I donate to each year. I used to be much more generous, but feeding the family and paying the mortgage comes first, second, and third.

      That said, I’d feel hypocritical if I gave $0 to my own campaign, so I intend to be the the first backer on the list with a donation of $100 (possibly $200). Granted, I’m essentially giving money to myself, but if I hit my goal and people stop donating after that, then my one or two hundred bucks is basically lowering the amount I get from others.

      Now, does my inability to afford thousands of dollars “disqualify” me from the right to ask others to fund my dream? I don’t think so. Looking at the recent fan release from Great Britain, “The Holy Core,” I happen to know that Gary O’Brien lives an even more frugal life than I do. He certainly couldn’t afford a thousand or two thousand dollars (or whatever that is in pounds) of his own money, but still he tried to raise $12,000. When I donated to Gary’s Kickstarter, I never asked how much he was putting in himself. The same goes for when I donated to Samuel Cockings for his Indiegogo to fund “Convergence.” I know that Samuel lives paycheck to paycheck, but I still gave him a donation even though I assumed he’d be putting in little to nothing himself.

      Are there some fan filmmakers out there with more money than I have who are willing to fund large portions of their own projects? Sure. Alec Peters himself is a good example. So is Ray Tesi (who is using his retirement savings to pay the rent on Neutral Zone Studios. Lukas Kendall raised $33,000 for “Sky Fighter” but ran into an unexpected additional cost that he was forced to put onto his personal credit card. Now, he’s trying to raise an additional $5,000 (click here to donate).

      So as you can see, Steven, fan filmmakers come in all sizes, shapes, colors, and financial situations–from paycheck-to-paycheck all the way up to fan-of-means. I fall somewhere in between. But I made a promise to my wife that this project would not take any money away from this family. So while I can justify chipping in a hundred or two hundred bucks, it ain’t gonna be $2,000-$5,000. If that’s a deal-breaker for you or others, Steven, so be it. Hopefully, enough people won’t feel that way so I can reach my goal. We’ll see!

      1. Looking at the costs, uniforms seem to be very substantial.
        From the husband of a compulsive sewer (my smaller office is now a fabric store), some practical suggestions:
        1. Go online. You’ll find many international tailors who can do the work you want for a fraction of the price. $500 for star trek uniform which doesn’t need to match canon- try $100 or less.
        2. Do your uniforms REALLY need to be perfectly tailored? Might be kinder to your actors to make them a little looser as a style- not everyone has Shatner’s chiseled looks.
        3. For the patches, use iron-on transfer patches, not sow-ons. Patches themselves can be bought through Alibaba for less than $1 a unit in most cases $5 at the outside. No sewing required.

        More broadly, if you are taking the ‘high disclosure’ route, i’d get quotes first. Let your potential backers see exactly what you are going to spend on these kinds of items. Might also get you more volunteers.

        Good luck with the project.

        1. Actually, Alec is taking lead on the uniforms. I’m using his costume maker and, believe it or not, I might actually get a little discount ordering mine along with his in “bulk.” I don’t have a final quote yet because Alec is still in discussions. As for perfectly tailored, well, that’s just a preference of mine as the show-runner. If we don’t make our goal, we’ll see what we can get away with. For example, about 75% of my cast will be background extras. If Alec uses some of the same extras for his scenes the following weekend (same Ares bridge crew, for example), then we can double-up on some of our uniforms. I don’t need to keep mine, so I’m happy to “borrow” his and save a few bucks. On the other hand, the members of the USS Artemis bridge crew and engineering staff won’t be appearing in Alec’s Axanar, so they might need their own tunics. Or perhaps we can just cast extras in certain sizes to fit the tailored uniforms. We’ll see as we get closer to our filming dates.

          Basically, my budget takes into account a lot of “worst case scenario” planning. Like what? Well, what if Alec doesn’t get enough private funding in time to pay for his uniforms? Then I’m completely on my own. So I inserted the numbers into my budget to cover my highest projected costs and, if we can ultimately cut some corners, then my donors can expect a nice thank you gift in their mailboxes. ๐Ÿ™‚

          As for patches, again, if we come up short, we’ll do iron-on. They don’t look as authentic in close-up shots, so I’d prefer embroidered. But if we have to go the cheaper route and not get as close up with our cameras, so be it.

  13. Hi Jonathan,

    first, congratulations for the project. I want to repeat what I said to Alec in my interview
    Axanar Confidential 14 but now for you.

    You will do your best only for the love of Star Trek !

    The rest, haters, Carlos Pedraza, etc………it’s time to turn the page !

    1. I’ve been told that some of the detractors have been getting very agitated by my project, although a few actually think I’ll be able to pull it off…which surprised me; I expected a more universal level of scorn and ridicule from that direction.

      Carlos, I’m told, hasn’t said anything negative so far…although his suggestion about insurance will probably end up increasing my goal by two thousand dollars, making it harder for me to complete crowd-funding. Was that a sly attempt at sabotage or just friendly advice? Hard to say. To my knowledge, this was the first time Carlos brought up the concept of production insurance in reference to ANY fan film…including Axanar (which had production insurance, Alec confirmed). So why start with me? Maybe Carlos just really wants me to succeed. Maybe not. Either way, the rock has been tossed into the lake, and now I have to figure out what to do next. Lucky me! ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. I love transparency and I love that you are adding to the Axanar universe. Alec gave fans what they wanted, we know what happened after. I like that you are saving any funds for future projects, this would be a great example of cohesive ST fan communities. As far as working with Alec. I support it man 110 percent. We don’t need division in the world we love… regardless of what side of the fence we sit on we ALL love trek. Thank you for trying to add more quality trek in our lives I look forward to donating to the cause

  15. Does the budget cover expenses after initial shooting is completed? What is your budget for completing the film in post and will that be another fundraiser?

    1. Remember that the guidelines say that I can’t pay anyone, Dan. Fortunately, I found a VFX and a sound person to work without compensation. As for editing, that’ll likely be Josh. Sound-mixing is scheduled to be Mark Edward Lewis. With luck, my costs for post-production should be negligible. If I’m wrong, then yes, back to the crowd-funding well. But I think we’re good with just the $18.8K (possibly plus insurance).

    1. Read the guidelines, Joe. I’ve been doing a lot of begging. (Oh, and does treating someone for free dinners out for the rest of their life count as “budgeting”?) ๐Ÿ™‚

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