Did CARLOS PEDRAZA just cost my fan film an extra $2,000?

Okay, it’s not what you think!

Sure, CARLOS PEDRAZA and I have seldom seen eye-to-eye on most things (although we both think the Tardigrade lawsuit is ridiculous and should be thrown out of court…but I digress). However, good advice can come in many sizes, shapes, and packages. And after I published my projected $18,800 budget last week for my fan film INTERLUDE, Carlos posted the following comment:

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.

Now, I’m sure there’s some suspicious minds out there wondering what Carlos’ angle is on posting such a comment here to Fan Film Factor. After all, he’s never mentioned production insurance for any other Star Trek fan project before (not even Axanar). Is Carlos trying to make it harder for me to make it to my goal by driving it up to nearly $21K? Is he trying to make me reconsider inviting locals students to help out on set? Does he not believe I’ll play by the guidelines and pay my crew instead of requiring them to all be unpaid volunteers?

I’ll be honest, many of these cynical thoughts (and others) went through my own head. And unfortunately for me, my directors (JOSHUA IRWIN and VICTORIA FOX) were both shooting their own fan film this past weekend, and I didn’t want to bother them until they returned back home. So I had ample time to fret over this new wrinkle.

While I waited for a chance to talk to Josh and Victoria, I read up on film production insurance on this website, and it doesn’t seem to be the scary boogey man I feared. And hey, they even allow for productions to have volunteers and interns. It’s not “complicated” after all, since many productions do the same thing. So yay!

On Monday, I finally touched base with Josh and Victoria and had a very enlightening conversation with them. Keep in mind that I’m a total novice at this whole filmmaking process. While I’ve worked on a few fan films over the years (decades now), I’ve never been a show-runner. I never had to worry about all of the details and deal with questions like “What is production insurance and do I need it?” Josh and Victoria, on the other hand, do all of this professionally, and they have been wonderfully patient with me. So on Monday, I shared Carlos’ message with them…

My angels of production (and directors): JOSHUA IRWIN and VICTORIA FOX

Victoria (who is also acting as producer on my film…thank God!) explained that she and Josh hadn’t “neglected” anything. They are well aware of production insurance and didn’t feel it was necessary on an amateur production—99% of which never bother to carry insurance because it can easily eat up a tenth or a quarter or even half of their budget and usually isn’t needed.

(An exception is for amateur films that have a lot of stunts or pyrotechnics. But for the vast majority of amateur films, participants are simply asked to sign waivers saying they acknowledge there are potential risks associated with the activity they are about to engage in.)

Granted, it’s a completely different story for union productions, which is why Prelude to Axanar, Star Trek: Renegades, and Star Trek Continues all carried production insurance. But few other Trek fan films carry insurance, including Josh and Victoria’s most recent Avalon Universe production, “Demons.”

Victoria didn’t feel that our not having production insurance would be an issue for the student helpers, as field trips are very common, and not all locations they might visit carry insurance. However, I have since reached out to Video Pathway Lead Teacher Pasha Souvorin of Gwinnett County Public Schools to double check.

“Look, Jonathan,”Victoria told me, “in the end, it’s your decision to make as executive producer. Josh and I can advise you, but if you feel more comfortable with production insurance, you can add it to the budget. Personally, I think it’s an unnecessary expense for an amateur production on a tight budget, but it’s your call.”

Way to pass the buck there, Victoria!

And so I have a big-boy, grown-up decision to make that could add thousands of dollars to the cost of my production. It’s a toughie, folks! If I decide to get the insurance, then my goal jumps up potentially to $21,000…which might be more than we can manage to crowd-fund. If I don’t get the insurance, will Carlos repeatedly refer to Interlude on his blog as “the uninsured Axanar fan project” and proceed to list off all of the potential pitfalls of my decision? Will the detractors try to use that to somehow torpedo the project by contacting the Gwinnett County School District or something underhanded like that? I wouldn’t put it past them.

And then there’s the worry that this whole can of worms which Carlos just brought up inadvertently scares off some potential fan filmmakers who suddenly worry that they need production insurance and can’t afford $2,000.

Anyway, I’ve got some extra homework to do now. I need to find a production insurance broker, get quotes, and figure out if the Gwinnett County Public School District has any specific requirements vis a vis insurance. And if I decide to get production insurance, then I have to update last week’s budget blog and push the goal up over $20K. Oy vey!

Well, at least I get to blame Carlos for all of the extra hassle. Thanks a bunch, Pedraza! (I’m kidding. I know he just wants me to succeed, right?)

59 thoughts on “Did CARLOS PEDRAZA just cost my fan film an extra $2,000?”

  1. Pedraza will find reason to complain and stir his cronies up no matter what you do. After all, it’s an Axanar related project and it’s what he does.
    The peanut gallery will have their fun with “Slow” Lane and it will only matter to that small circle of…people.

    1. Perhaps. But as I said in the blog, good advice comes in many guises. It’s possible that Carlos really does have my best interests at heart. Likely? Well, I might not go that far. 🙂

  2. So how many films has this Carlos bloke made? You already have your answer from people who are experienced in the industry. If you are concerned for people’s safety then by all means take out the insurance, if instead you are only worried that the lack of insurance will give your detractors ammunition then I would suggest not as they will soon find some other means to vocally criticise you.

    Good luck with your project as with any creative endeavor I am sure it will be a roller coaster of emotions but eye on the prize.

    1. Carlos wrote the Star Trek: New Voyages episodes “Blood and Fire” parts 1 and 2…which didn’t carry any production insurance. He’s also listed as an executive producer on NV’s “World Enough and Time,” but that was mainly Marc Scott Zicree’s project. Carlos also wrote, directed, and produced multiple episodes of Star Trek: Hidden Frontier, and none of those episodes carried production insurance.

      Does that make Carlos a hypocrite? Not necessarily. Hidden Frontier was produced in Rob Caves’ house in Pasadena in a few rooms in the back. There were no elaborate sets and pretty much just a green screen wall, a few lights, a make-up room, and the kitchen and living room/dining room. As for New Voyages, back in those days, there was no crowd-funding, and production budgets were really tight…just like my fan film, Interlude.

      But no, I’m not only worried about giving detractors ammunition. Production insurance really is a good idea. Within minutes of me posting my blog, both Robert Meyer Burnett and Morey Altman reached out to me to strongly suggest I get the insurance. It’s just that, with a total budget of less than $20K, $2K is an additional 10% add-on. It’s a tough decision to be sure…unless I crowd-fund over my goal.

      1. For the record, Carlos was not the writer of “Blood and Fire”. He wrote a first draft of the episode that was so bad, it had to be re-written from scratch according to the director and main writer.

        As far as him being “an experienced film producer”, one need to only look at his IMDB to see this is not true.

        https://www.imdb.com/name/nm1408672/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1

        Doing Star Trek fan films, and a couple micro-budget independent films doesn’t mean you are an “experienced film producer”. And it doesn’t mean much in Hollywood, as Carlos had found out since he can’t get a real job there.

        I would dare say, if Carlos had taken the time he has wasted on Alec Peters and Axanar, and instead spent it on furthering a legitimate career in film, he might have more to show for himself. It is not surprising that he has zero credits from 2014-2017. He was too busy chasing his white whale.

        1. Carlos’ recent production work in the years since he launched Axamonitor might be anemic (one production in the last 5 years)–and he wasn’t exactly “Mr. Hollywood” before that either–but that doesn’t mean he is not an “experienced film producer.” His experience might be extremely limited, as is his journalism experience, but it is certainly not non-existent. And it definitely beats my experience, which is currently zero but is increasing a little bit every day.

          As for wasting his time on Alec Peters and Axanar, well, he’s kinda writing for an audience of 84 people. It used to be 85, but even I have stopped reading his blog. It’s not even good anymore (except the Tardigrade stuff). He’s taken to adding the desperate “Why It Matters” blurb at the end of most of his blogs about Alec and Axanar. And as I was joking recently with a friend of mine who is a journalist, when you have to explain to people why what you’re writing matters, then it doesn’t really matter. It’s like having to explain after the punchline why a joke is funny. If you have to do that, it probably wasn’t funny. My friend said that it’s likely one of two things in Carlos’ case: either he doesn’t believe his readers are smart enough to figure things out for themselves so he has to spell it out for them to be sure, or else deep down he doesn’t really believe in what he’s writing and is trying to convince himself it’s important enough to keep going. Either way, it’s not a good sign and it’s kinda pathetic.

  3. “Did an experienced film producer just save me from a possible liability suit?”

    There, I fixed your headline for you.

    1. Oh, very clever, Sandy…very clever.

      But hey, even the episodes of New Voyages that Carlos wrote–“Blood and Fire” Parts 1 and 2–didn’t carry production insurance (I just checked). Neither did “Hidden Frontier,” where Carlos had directing and producer credits for multiple episodes. So when it comes to “experience,” even Carlos has been a driving force on fan films that opted NOT to carry insurance. It’s a tough call to make, Sandy.

      That said, it doesn’t necessarily mean what Carlos suggested is a bad idea, and I am doing a lot of researching and reaching out to people fan film show-runners and soul-searching at the moment to try to figure out what path to take. $2K is a tenth of my budget, a budget that’s already double what most fan productions these days are managing to crowd-fund. So this isn’t simply a case of “Oh, just get the f-ing insurance and stop being a wuss, Lane!” Almost no Trek fan films get production insurance. Why should I? Because it’s prudent and a good idea? Perhaps. But what if my campaign comes up short and I have to cut things to the bone just to be able to produce the thing? Then $2K becomes not quite as prudent.

      1. And the flip side to your “what if’s” is what if a kid gets hurt? If that happens and an irate parent sues neither you or Peters will have a leg to stand on, especially with this blog being in the public record.

        1. I think you’re misunderstanding, Sandy. If a kid gets hurt, a parent might very well sue no matter what, and this blog won’t matter. The question is whether I have insurance to cover the damages or not. That’s the risk to not getting insurance. However, there is also the question of a signed waiver from a parent. If they indicate they are aware that a film set can be dangerous and accidents and injuries can occur, then the parent shares at least some of the liability in allowing their child to participate. That said, it’s still a potential lawsuit, so having insurance is always better than not…assuming one can afford it. Most fan productions can’t. Maybe mine can. We’ll see.

          1. You just don’t get it do you? If you can’t afford insurance then you don’t film. You wouldn’t drive your car if you couldn’t afford insurance. Would you allow your son to work on a site and project that had no insurance? I sure as hell wouldn’t. A signed waiver doesn’t release you from liability. You might want to check how exposed you and your family would be by a potential lawsuit from an injured party. You and Peters both could lose everything. Even besides potential injury, you’re renting equipment right? Planning on not insuring that too? Because you should.

            But go on, continue to be flippant about it. It’s your risk after all.

          2. Why does it bother you so much what I decide to do or not do, Sandy? You seem VERY invested in me today. I mean, I’m flattered and all, but really, isn’t it time to let Lane make his fan film?

          3. Sandy is a guy, Brian. But yeah, he doesn’t like to lose an argument, and it’s really hard for Sandy to let things go or let the other person have the last word.

          4. It’s simple Jonny, even with how much I dislike you I’d hate to see you and your family lose your house due to a bad decision. I simply can’t believe that someone (especially someone with a real lawyer in the family) would expose themselves to that level of risk.

            It’s not about having the last word either. It’s your blog so you’ll ALWAY get that.

          5. Ah, so you’re just thinking of my family and not desperately trying to prove over and over and over again that you’re right and that someone you don’t like is wrong.

            Got it. Nice change of pace, Sandy.

  4. Actually I think despite all the negative feedback he can give he did you a solid. By looking into this part of production you have gotten wiser with your craft. If you’re gonna get your feet wet you need to know how to swim just in case you find a shark or two. I would trust those in the field that offer you tips to be successful.

    You have a wealth of talent surrounding you. Listen to them! They have gone through what you have. Waivers are a great out (as long as they are worded correctly) from insurance.

    What you really need to do my friend is just breath. Do your research but do it with the entent of learning the craft you love.

    Don’t waste your limited time on what Carlos and company *might* say negativity. From all the responses I read everyone was looking forward to your film even the detractors.

    I can’t stress enough to you how lucky you are to be surrounded by professionals that know and love the craft. Listen to their advice, reach out to other people that have made similar productions.

    Don’t over think every little detail to the point you go paranoid and lose your vision. It will show in your film. (If you are having fun it will show in the film) Don’t second guess yourself, make an informed decision and move on, doing otherwise will only cut into your production time, drive you staff crazy and give you sleepless nights.

    Last thing there will always be detractors, don’t feed them or give them much thought. Carlos may not have anything to say but this blog certainly fed someone ideas to someone that is itching to use your success as a way to build theirs by pointing out every lil thing they would do different.

    Remember this is YOUR baby, protect it. Everyone has an opinion but as your directors stated the choice is up to you.

    1. Thanks for the words of encouragement, Adam, they really mean a lot.

      It’s actually been quite a busy morning! In addition to all of these blog comments I’ve been trying to respond to, I’ve been reaching out to a number of fan filmmakers, IMing with folks like Pasha Souvorin (the video teacher) as well as e-mailing a few others. Ray Tesi called to let me know that Neutral Zone Studios already carries liability insurance, and Alec Peters is checking if his insurance on Ares Studios covers outside productions coming in to film there. If so, then problem solved. If not, well, back to the soul-searching.

      But don’t worry—I’m not sweating the detractors. Despite Sandy’s snarkiness above, most of the detractors seem to be taking a “wait and see” posture. And a few, I’m told, actually think I can pull this off! Who knew? Anyway, the decision on insurance will be made from a place of practicality, not emotion and paranoia. And yes, I am immensely thankful to have so many talented, experienced, capable, and most of all PATIENT people all around me to help make this fan film dream into a reality.

  5. You publicly asked if your budget missed anything and you got a public answer. Was it helpful or subversive? Time will tell. As they say, “be careful what you ask for, you might just get it”.

    Transparency cuts both ways. Enjoy your turn in the big chair as chief decision maker, Boss… and default to optimism (at least in public) not conspiracy theories, Boss. 🙂

    Marketing story of your production as safe or thrifty to the max? I think the fans will support your well thought through decision whatever it is.

    (BTW: I would also add a budget line for “things we didn’t think of because it’s the boss’s first rodeo and we’re going up the learning curve” as a % of the total budget. “You don’t know what you don’t know.”

    I’d advise you to bake in some reserves rather than plan to go over-budget at the first surprise expense.)

    Good Luck.

    1. We’ve got a 10% contingency built in, Richard…which I’m told by Victoria and Josh is pretty standard. I listed it under the heading, “What could possibly go wrong?”

  6. PS: I like the spin of “Carlos came up with a way for my production to be safer for the kids participating, we’re adjusting the plan. Thanks!“… but I’ve got a lot of career time in Marketing and PR.

    1. Well, technically it’s not going to be safer for the kids. The insurance is to protect me and the production. But that said, yes, I can always thank/blame Carlos. 🙂

  7. Doesn’t need a public post – did I miss the budget line for “story driven or gratuitous awesome VFX shots by Tobias” — because the fans love them and they enhance most any story and give you sizzle for the trailer — and we fans love the Axanar style way better than disco and of course want more of it.

    This may be feature-creep to your plan, but it may be worth it.

  8. Our home owners insurance covers my “hobby” when we’re filming here at “Potemkin Studios.” But when we’re on location, we have to provide indemnities to most of the locations, even the state parks. All cast and crew have to sign a release and waver as well. Considering we’ve shot nearly 80 fan films, we’ve never had a notable injury, although a camera did take a tumble into a dried lake bed. As Victoria said, insurance is probably not needed, but your mileage may vary.

    1. Thanks for the info, Randy. I can see the sign above your boathouse…

      “FAN FILMS WITHOUT A NOTABLE INJURY: 80”

      And the very next day…CRASH!

      🙂

      1. LOL — Sounds better if you put it “3648 days without a notable injury.” I think the worse “injury” we had was that I was bitten by a banana spider on the back of the neck, and a few days later had to go in for outpatient surgery to have the abcess “popped” and drained. Blech. Oh, and Sara Higgins-Mackenzie had excessive “chigger” bites. While filming in a swamp had its drawbacks, I still think it made for a great location, and “The Hunt” (https://youtu.be/hx4rTPa58zU) is still one of my favorite episodes of Project: Potemkin.

  9. Sometimes a question becomes interesting enough to me that I start wondering about the answer and do some research. I see what you’re facing given the number of web sites that a simple query turned up.

    I’d guess that you’ve seen this already, but just in case, I was interested in this one that talked about production insurance covering equipment damage at about $200. https://indiefilmhustle.com/production-insurance/

    So it really does matter what you feel you really need, how much of it do you need and for how long. I hope the answer is that you need much less than $2000 will buy.

    But at least I know more about what you are facing.

    1. Well, production insurance doesn’t only cover equipment damage and/or loss. It’s also for accident and injury to actors and crew, no-shows, and potential rescheduling if the unforeseen happens. But thanks for sending me that link, Jerry. It was very informative.

  10. AxaMonitor headline if Jonathan gets the insurance:
    “Lane inflates budget of Axanar related project, claims insurance cost to blame”
    AxaMonitor headline if Jonathan doesn’t get the insurance:
    “Lane’s Axanar related project goes uninsured, volunteers and minors at risk”
    Prove me wrong…

  11. If its a school project or something that is done in conjunction with the school wouldn’t their insurance cover the kids?

      1. I just wondered because some sporting events like baseball and track & field are done on weekends but students are covered.

  12. I know nothing of production insurance. However, I have watched several video interviews and such of Carlos. To me, he comes across as a well educated, intelligent, well spoken individual, often with a lot of valid points to make. His haters would disagree with that statement. However, I’d like to think I’m a little more objective then most of them. I see Carlos as a guy on the other side of the fence, poking holes in the fence boards that are bad, and people inside the fence not wanting to acknowledge there are bad boards on the fence…. Now, SHOULD he be poking holes at all? Again, I expect that haters will say NO! but successful companies bring in efficiency experts all the time to examine how they do things, where they are doing things wrong and how they can do things better etc. They bring in focus groups to examine their products and product concepts. They bring in security folks to try to break into their networks etc. The “critiscm”, though hated by those making the mistakes or having fingers pointed at them, is in the best interest of all to improve the final company output/product etc. But I digress…

    In any case, why not simply have a dialog with him as to why he thinks production insurance, in this specific en-devour, is warranted, when is generally hasn’t been used in the past (which is not the same thing as saying that it wasn’t warranted then, just that it wasn’t used.) Perhaps he has a point of view to consider. There doesn’t seem to be any real harm to hearing his opinion.

    1. Your attempts to somehow frame Carlos’ prolific and profligate blogs about Alec Peters as somehow reasonable and well-intentioned (as opposed to pathologically obsessive and batshat crazy) suffer from some significant flaws of false equivocation, Jim. To wit…

      1) When companies bring in outside consultants to evaluate their procedures, security, efficiency, etc., the companies do so at their request. Alec never asked Carlos for an evaluation or feedback.
      2) Such consultants are typically experts in their fields and focus on specific elements of a business. Security experts don’t evaluate marketing effectiveness. Customer service experts don’t evaluate the handling of sexual harassment training within human resources. Carlos, on the other hand, seems to be a “jack of all trades,” sounding off on everything from donor relations to retail coffee and from real estate matters and home ownership to set construction and legal interpretations.
      3) When businesses bring in outside consultants or hold focus groups, the analyses and reports generated are typically kept confidential and used internally within the company. Carlos publishes his “analyses and reports” online for the entire public to read. Nothing is confidential with him (which is why I deal with Carlos VERY carefully whenever we interact–I do not find him at all trustworthy).
      4) Companies are companies. Alec is an individual. Look up “Alec Peters” on Google and you’ll find…well…a basketball player. But add “Axanar” afterwards, and some of the search results are blogs from Axamonitor that paint Alec in a very negative and critical light. Imagine if such critical and negative blogs were coming up regularly on search results for YOU, Jim. Would you want potential employers or business associates or family members to Google you and see all of your dirty laundry reported on in such expansive, expressive, and obsessive detail? And Carlos is quite the wordsmith! He can make a minor blip on Patreon sound like a huge tumble and exodus of donors just by adding one adjective. He’s reported Axanar donations all the way up from $1.1 million to nearly $2 million. Accuracy takes a back seat to bias when it comes to Carlos’ magical poison keyboard, and seldom does he cover any news or facts that don’t dovetail with his intended narrative. Look at how many months went by without a single mention of Axacon on Carlos’ blog. And when he did finally report on it, it was only the negative that was highlighted.

      And remember, in our hypothetical scenario when someone is doing this to you, Jim, this isn’t just one or two negative blogs; there would be hundreds. How would that make you feel about your stalker? Now consider how Alec feels.

      I don’t disagree in any way that Carlos Pedraza is well-educated, intelligent, and well-spoken. That doesn’t mean he is a good person. I do not believe that he is. A man of his abilities in writing and communication could do so much that is positive and that could help the world or at least a small slice of it. Instead, Carlos has spent nearly four years laser-focused on destroying the name and reputation of a single individual and his dream. Even if Alec were as bad as Carlos believes, it’s way beyond proportional. Five blogs, ten blogs, even twenty blogs might seem enough. By thirty, you’re way past excessive. Carlos is closing in 200 BLOGS, dude…over 95% of which talk about Alec Peters/Axanar or at least try to squeeze his name in somewhere to justify relevancy.

      There’s nothing that anyone could say to defend that kind of obsession as normal or mentally healthy behavior. I mean, I’ve written nearly a thousand blogs myself…but not all about one guy!!! Imagine if Fan Film Factor spoke only about one fan film or fan filmmaker, day after day, week after week, month after month, for three and a half years. People would call me batshat crazy, too. Sure, I cover Alec and Axanar, but 95% of my blogs are NOT about either of them. In Carlos’s case, only 5% are not about Alec or Axanar.

      Anyway, there’s no reason to have any “dialog” with Carlos about production insurance. He’s said his piece, and I’m not saying he’s wrong about it. But few Trek fan films carry production insurance, including all of the ones Carlos has worked on. So it’s certainly possible to make the decision not to have production insurance and not end up getting sued and losing all of your money. In fact, for fan films, no insurance is more of the rule than the exception. Ultimately, as executive producer, it’s my decision. I’ve heard Carlos’ opinion, Rob Burnett’s, Morey Altman’s, Randy Landers’, Gary O’Brien’s, and a host of others. I’ve also heard from my own directors. In the end, I will make a careful and informed decision based on how much I raise in crowd-funding, my research, pricing quotes, and advice I’ve gotten.

      1. If you read my post again – I never mentioned blogs at all. Intentionally. Simply referring to his video interviews where he comes across very different and responds on the fly to questions and topics. I won’t disagree that his blogging about Alec is probably beyond excessive but on the other hand, I also find it very enlightening and informative from time to time as well. When stories/points of view are completely one sided, it not surprising that the real and complete “truth” isn’t always present. I can be an axanar supporter but still be objective. I have found most people are not, especially when Carlos’s name enters the picture. In any case, it is not usual to find someone with dirty laundry not want it aired out and there seems to be more and more and time goes on…..

        1. “…there seems to be more and more and time goes on…..”

          And yet, there’s really not. Whatever dirty laundry there might be is the same dirty laundry we all have. We’ve all done things that others might not approve of. Last weekend, I let my son Jayden spend nearly all day Saturday AND Sunday in front of his computer screen. With the exception of one brief bicycle ride around the neighborhood together late on Sunday afternoon, the kid was in his PJs playing Minecraft and watching videos on YT Kids. Am I proud of that? No. Does it make me a bad parent? Some could argue that if such a thing were posted to a blog the next day while failing to report on all of Jayden’s extracurricular activities that I take him to, like karate, gymnastics, piano, tennis, and archery. If the blog didn’t mention anything about me working on Jayden’s homework each night with him and reading him Harry Potter while he eats dinner, the trips we take hiking or going to museums, or our endless discussions about how government works while I drive him to and from school…without those stories on the blog (or in interviews if someone like Carlos were to talk about my parenting skills), I might very well sound like a bad parent. And if the next blog reported that I slept through my alarm and Jayden was late for school, and the time after that the blog reported that Jayden got hurt on the playground because I wasn’t watching, and the time after that the blog reported that Jayden got in trouble for saying a bad word at school…well, I can certainly see those blog readers saying something like “there seems to be more and more dirty laundry about Jonatan Lane and his son as time goes on.”

          Anyway, Jim, I hope my analogy makes sense to you. Carlos is trying very hard, very actively, very purposefully, and very diligently to ruin the name and reputation of Alec Peters. And despite your belief in your objectivity, you do appear to be falling for his manipulation as you say things like “there seems to be more and more and time goes on…..” That is what Carlos wants you to think, and so you think it. It’s no more true of Alec than it would be for me if a blog only reported on my worst screw-ups and none of my good deeds or achievements.

          Imagine a world without Carlos Pedraza in it. He never existed. Neither did Axamonitor. Would you still think that more and more dirty laundry about Alec Peters comes out as time goes on? Or would Alec Peters be completely off your radar, saving his puppies and finishing his bridge set and pretty much a non-person for you until he finally makes that fan film of his?

          1. “Imagine a world without Carlos Pedraza in it. He never existed. Neither did Axamonitor. Would you still think that more and more dirty laundry about Alec Peters comes out as time goes on? Or would Alec Peters be completely off your radar, saving his puppies and finishing his bridge set and pretty much a non-person for you until he finally makes that fan film of his?”

            I don’t know how much dirty laundry would be coming out. It certainly not going to be volunteered from within. That aside, I suspect Alec would still be on several people’s radar with 1+ million dollars of fan donations, 5 years, and nothing to show for it except an incomplete bridge and continuing requests for more money (through various methods).

          2. Ah,I see you are not objective after all. “Nothing to show for it” is not at all an objective statement, Jim. You pretended well there for a while, but you reverted to the same old party lines which are not only not objective but outright false. Thanks for playing.

          3. You didn’t allow a direct reply to your rebuttal (perhaps not surprising if I’m now hitting home) but I don’t think my statement is actually false, though I will agree it may be more of a generalization. Other than the bridge set, and irrelevant incendiary items like “patches”, what has actually been produced for the fans? I am not aware of any substantial.
            If that is “the same old party line” it’s because a lot of people have the exact same question/concern.
            I realize it’s your “duty” to defend Alec – as a friend, a peer, a potential business resource, whatever, but I think it’s you that actually lacks some objectivity as a result, not me. I see both sides of the equation. The good and bad. I don’t think anything I’ve said has been inaccurate.

          4. In addition to this…

            …there was also Axacon and the video interviews that were done there:

            Five have been released publicly so far, although Patreon donors are up to video #9.

            There are, of course, all of the other Axanar-related videos, including updates and Axanar Confidential:

            https://www.youtube.com/user/startrekaxanar/videos

            Sure, only the Vulcan Scene counts as a “fan film” (along with Prleude), but Alec gets only one shot at making the Axanar sequels, and he’s not rushing it. Truth to tell, neither am I. It might seem like I’m working at warp speed, but I’ve actually been in development on Interlude since last November and wrote the script 16 months earlier. In Alec’s case, he took a year to deal with a lawsuit, half a year trying to save the Valencia studio, then he moved to Georgia, got some volunteers to help complete the bridge (which is 99% done at this point—I could film on it tomorrow and it’d be fine), and took a year to get that done. Could the work have been done faster? If there was enough money, sure. But Alec had to work to bring in income to pay for the materials to complete the bridge, meaning a lot of the bridge was simply waiting for Alec to save up enough to buy the next component or element. And of course, volunteers don’t necessarily have every weekend free. Folks like Dana Wagner and Dale Simpson and the others have lives and jobs and come in when they can.

            The bridge was ready in November for Axacon, and it was a blast. The videos from that event are keeping Axanar relevant and the donors stoked for when Alec starts collecting private donations. In the meantime, work is nearly complete on Ares Digital (I supplied my last list of bug fixes two weeks ago, and now we’re just waiting for Jerry to have the time to make those updates to the code–he’s a volunteer, too, and works when available). Also, the Axanar script has been reworked to include bridge scenes, the actors have been booked and scheduled, and the first date of filming announced. Also, lots of stuff has been going on in the background, including getting fabric and costumers on board and up to speed, confirming certain key personnel (who says no one will work with Alec? HA!) and finalizing a “punch list” for the scripts with director Paul Jenkins to lock in a budget. The amount of things Alec has been working on behind the scenes is staggering. I’m seeing it firsthand with my own production, and my respect for Alec having to juggle so many more bowling balls than I has grown immensely. This is some hard work, let me tellya!

            All of this while Alec commutes five hours each way to Charleston, SC–spending half of each week staying there–to coach volleyball as a paying job. Yes, Alec works, folks. And it’s hard enough to be an executive producer when you’re NOT employed. Try doing it with a regular job sucking away hours.

            Anyway, I’m headed for bed now. I hope this lands the plane of our little discussion, Jim.

          5. The vulcan scene was over 3 years ago. Honestly so long now that I can’t remember if it was released post axanar donations or during them. If during, then I stand by my statement that nothing new has been produced. I don’t count interviews, captains logs/blogs, weekly video chats raising money, videos showing the bridge progress (and constant rework). This is all just additional “status” in various flavors. While we do seem to be getting “closer” to something actually taking place, the fact is, nothing has. It’s ALL still “being worked on”.
            On the other hand – if the vulcan scene was created after all axanar donations had stopped, then I humbly stand corrected in my statement. In that case, apparently something else WAS actually “produced” since donations to axanar happened and I had mispoke and apologize for that misstatement. But I still stand by everything else I said. We can agree to disagree on all of that. Don’t worry – I won’t be petty and block you for it as I think we know Alec would, had I said any of this on Axanar forums, as has happened to some many that speak their mind.

          6. The Axanar Kickstarter raised $638K in the summer of 2014. The Vulcan Scene was released in July of 2015 to kick off the Axanar Indiegogo, which raised an additional $575K.

            Anyway, Jim, I guess we’re done, since I answered your question about what has been produced and you’ve decided in your non-objective mind that it doesn’t count. I think in my non-objective that it very much counts. Your narrative could be misinterpreted as implying that Alec took $1.4 million from fans and did nothing with it or even just pocketed it (which, of course, we all know didn’t happen…as Alec has put $250,000 of his own money into keeping this dream alive).

            My narrative is more accurate, as it shows a fan filmmaker still very much committed to getting his project completed. He might not be going as quickly as YOU want him to, Jim, but to be honest, that’s more your issue than his, right? Alec doesn’t answer to you…or me…or even to 10,000 donors. That said, his is still trying his darnedest to do right by them even after a year-long lawsuit, a move across the country, and all of the detractions he’s had to deal with.

            In Hollywood, movies often take years to get made…especially ones that have to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and don’t simply get green-lit by a major studio which throws $80 million at the project. People who complain that Axanar isn’t done yet typically don’t have any idea how films get produced…and even fan films, for that matter. Look at Pacific 201. Eric Henry has been working on that one as long as Alec has, and it’s still not out yet either. Neither is First Frontier because they had a last second problem and a last second offer of help to correct the problem, but that’s gonna be a few months more. Temporal Anomaly was shot in 2013 and released in 2019. And lord knows what’s going on with the finale of Starship Farragut! Three episodes of New Voyages were shot (or mostly shot) and never completed because of sound and lighting issues. Renegades: The Series took a few years to finish, as well. Starship Exeter’s second episode began filming in 2004 and didn’t release the final act of its story until 2011…seven years later.

            Sure, some fan films and fan filmmakers can do a lot quickly. Star Trek Continues was one such example. And many smaller productions can churn out episodes at a lightning pace (I’m talking to you, Potemkin Pictures and Vance Major!). But Axanar is taking its one shot and taking its time. Don’t like it? Fine. Move on. Things are still progressing whether or not you complain that it’s taking too long to satisfy you, Jim.

          7. I never said or implied Alec pocketed the money so I’ll thank you to not put words in my mouth that I didn’t speak. However, since you brought it up, us “objective” people know full well that 100% of donor money did NOT go to axanar only related activities. Anyone that believes others is simply ignorant of the facts and and data, or stupid, or blindly defending someone for their own personal reasons and/or gain. In fact, Alec used some of that money to further his longer term business plans – those that extended beyond what had anything to do with making Axanar, but latched on to that effort as a launching pad. It failed initially, of course, but likely only because of the intervening lawsuit chewed up rent, forcing facility movement and wasted time and money that had those longer term plans NOT been part of the equation, things (axanar) could probably actually been completed before the lawsuit even took hold.
            What bothers a lot of people is those longer term business goals were effectively hidden in the fundraising, and it wasn’t until after that all that really came out in the open. I don’t know if we have Carlos to thank for that enlightenment or someone else. Don’t really care how the facts were sourced at this point. It happened. At least now the ongoing fundraising is more upfront about it’s purposes (though won’t be getting a dime from me for it)
            You and I can continue to agree to disagree on these points. You won’t change my opinion on it and I certainly won’t change yours. I support Axanar but that doesn’t mean I support Alec and I believe these can be mutually exclusive.

            All that said, again, I can be objective and put aside everything you’ve said to this point (most all of which I disagree with) and still see your fan film cause as a worthy and exciting one. I do. One I’m likely even to donate to regardless of our core perception differences on Alec and Carlos. In fact, probably the only thing that would hold me back is the fact this effort is clearly dependent on Alec as a resource – and that means it might actually never get done 😉

          8. “What bothers a lot of people is those longer term business goals were effectively hidden in the fundraising, and it wasn’t until after that all that really came out in the open.”

            I get to correct you if you’re wrong, Jim, right? I hope so. From the 2014 Axanar Kickstarter:

            SOUND STAGE – $125,000

            We have two potential locations we are negotiating for to serve as our sound stage in Valencia, CA, just north of LA. This will be the permanent home of Axanar Productions and allow us to do more than just Axanar, from other adventures in the Star Trek universe and beyond. David Gerrold (author of “The Trouble with Tribbles”) is already lined up to shoot his sci-fi series “Running Dark” here. First year’s rent is $ 125,000.

            (Remember, to get $ 125,000, we need to raise approximately $ 155,000)

            SOUND STAGE RENOVATION – $50,000

            Converting this space to be a sound stage will cost approximately $50,000. This includes dropping a grid system for lights and baffling, sound proofing and other modifications to the building. Depending which space we get will determine what exactly we need to do, but this is a rough estimate.

            Sci-Fi Film School – After the sets our built, we will be holding a Sci-Fi film school. Learn all about film making from our veteran industry staff including David Gerrold (writing), Richard Hatch and Gary Graham (acting), Robert Burnett (Editing/Directing), Christian Gossett (writing/directing) and Academy Award winner Kevin Haney and Star Trek veteran Brad Look (make-up). Donors will get first shot at the initial film school session.

            (Remember, to get $ 50,000, we need to raise approximately $ 62,000)

            So if by “effectively hidden in the fundraising” you mean “stated clearly in the description,” then yes, you’re correct. Otherwise, Jim, you’re incorrect. So if we continue to disagree on this point, then you’re clinging to a fallacy and I can’t debate facts with someone who believes in falsehoods that are provably wrong.

            Fans knew exactly what the business plan was–including hosting other fan productions and the sci-fi film school–from the day the Kickstarter first launched on July 25, 2014. The lease for the studio wasn’t even signed until half a year after the Kickstarter was complete. All along the way, Alec discussed openly in countless interviews how he planned to use the studio to provide a place for other fan films to shoot on his sets, and to charge professionals (films, commercials, etc.) to raise operational funds necessary to fund the rent and salaries of the full-time staff (marketing, accounting, maintenance, scheduling and management, etc.) and provide the studio for free (or at a discounted rate) to fan films and local film school students from UCLA and USC and other academies.

            Nothing was hidden, Jim. The link proves that.

      2. For you to say Carlos is not a good person…just can’t agree with that. I’ve stood up for you multiple times over in Axamonitor…especially during the last few days. They say you’re not a good person…I call them out again and again and challenge them.

        Carlos is a friend of mine to…just like you are. I’ve seen how he cares about his own family and friends…and I’ve seen nothing that would indicate he is a bad person.

        When Carlos brought up the point about insurance to a few of us I guarantee you the conversation had nothing to do with a conspiracy to light a fire…I should know…I was there. He was genuinely concerned with what might happen if you didn’t have insurance…especially with kids on set.

        He posted that and then bam…it blew up…not because of him (he just made a blog response)…people took it and it’s become this giant conspiracy.

        Most of the time things are exactly what they appear to be…and in this case it was really just an FYI.

        1. I apologized to Carlos on FFForum, and I will do so again here. I should not have said “He’s not (a good person).” I should have said, “I don’t believe he is (a good person).” I stated as fact that Carlos is not a good person, and that is not defensible. I do not THINK Carlos is a good person, but such considerations are mainly subjective in nature and shouldn’t be stated as objective conclusions. I have changed the sentence in my comment above.

          I do stand by the rest of what I said, though. And I truly believe deep down in my heart that Carlos Pedraza is not a good person. But that’s my opinion only. I base that on his misuse of his linguistic and literary talents (which are prodigious!) to tear down the reputation of a single individual and, in certain notable cases, those who support that person. As I said, a few blogs is fine. Everyone’s entitled to a little irritation. Ten blogs, twenty blogs…getting a bit obsessive, but still within the realm of justifiable behavior if the slight or offense is significant enough. But three and a half years and nearly 200 blogs? C’mon, Joe, you just can’t defend that as normal, acceptable social behavior…can’t you? There’s a pathology in place here. Whether it’s extreme cognitive dissonance, ASD, or just plain old stalking behavior…there has to be a reason that Carlos can’t let this go.

          Honestly, Joe, what do you think? Is 200 blogs over 42 months too many to devote to tearing down one man and his project? I mean, almost no one reads his blog. At least I get 500-1000 visits a day. But in terms of user traffic globally, there’s half a million websites getting less traffic than FanFilmFactor.com before you get down to Axamonitor.com:

          https://www.similarweb.com/website/axamonitor.com?competitors=fanfilmfactor.com

          So why spend so much time and effort on this one guy, reporting only on the bad and almost never on the good (or doing his best to present the good in as bad a light as possible)? You and I have discussed the detractors, Joe. You agree with me about their behavior. Been been disgusted by it just as I have. You even call them out and challenge them. Well, they are Carlos’ only audience. Carlos uses his writing skills to cater almost exclusively to 84 people who have only negative thoughts about Alec Peters, and Carlos feeds them more red meat to “stir up the mob.” How is that in any way “good”? If you can persuade me, Joe, I will rethink my conclusion about Carlos not being a good person. (Although later on we’ll discuss how I asked Carlos to please include a comment I made to him in its entirety–not trimmed–and how he trimmed it anyway and published the portion he wanted, and stated in the blog that the rest of the comment would be published later on in a follow-up blog. That’s not being a good person either–it’s being a dishonorable sneak–but Carlos knows what he did. And now, so do the rest of you.)

          1. Hey Jon,

            I can’t persuade you…of course not. The only thing I can tell you is that in all my conversations with Carlos both public and private he has never said any negative about your character or questioned your value as a human being. And I know he doesn’t think your a bad person.

          2. Well, the reason Carlos doesn’t think I am a bad person COULD be because I am not a bad person. 🙂

            Look, in terms of speaking well and politely, Carlos is a master. I give him that. In fact, I am actually rather in awe of Carlos’ ability to communicate through careful manipulation and use of the English language. But that has nothing to do with Carlos’ deeds in regards to Alec Peters. The endless blogs are simply disproportional to anything that the detractors claim that Alec ever did wrong. Carlos (in my opinion, of course) is Captain Ahab chasing his white whale…day after day, month after month, year after year. There is, quite literally, almost nothing positive or redeeming said about Alec Peters anywhere on Carlos’ website. And in fact, every effort is made to make Alec look small, ineffectual, and incompetent.

            Let me provide a quick example. Here’s a sub-headline from a recent blog:

            “Axanar fans fail to step up to pay for Alec Peters to stay in the warehouse he calls Ares Studios”

            Now, is that factually incorrect? No…Carlos plays the game too well for that. But neither is the following alternative subhead incorrect:

            “Alec Peters’ fan-supported Pateron crosses the half-way point in its run to raise $4,000/month to pay for Ares Studios rental.”

            If you can’t see the difference between the two versions, note Carlos use of the negative word “fails,” his blaming of failure on the Axanar fans (they didn’t step up), and pointing out that Alec is choosing to call a warehouse a studio. And of course, according to Carlos, it is Alec Peters who is staying in the warehouse. The fact is that the amazing Axanar sets are staying in Ares Studios. Alec owns a very nice house about seven minutes away.

            Now, are all those negative points really necessary for Carlos to squeeze into his sub-headline? Only if the goal is to embarrass Alec Peters and belittle the Axanar supporters. That’s not an action that adds to the greater “good” of the universe. If anything, it subtracts from it by failing to acknowledge the achievement in any way and magnifying the negative. Carlos is the ultimate “The Glass Is Half Empty” anti-cheerleader.

            I’m not saying that Carlos can’t or shouldn’t phrase his words and sentences that way he chooses to. I am only saying that, by making that choice, he is presenting a very skewed interpretation of the events he is describing. To what end? What is Carlos’ purpose in trying to make the Ares Studios Patreon look like a failure instead of a work-in-progress or even an amazing success…or even just a slight success? I mean, seriously, in just four months, Alec has gone from $0/year in help paying the rent to $26,000/year! He’s got 232 Patrons. (In contrast, Matthew Miller’s Trekzone Patreon has been going on just as long and only has 9 patrons.) How is the Ares Studio Patreon in any way a failure? Sure the hope was to hit $4,000 in three months, but it was never a “do or die” situation. The new building isn’t even completed yet and probably won’t be until at least August. So Alec couldn’t move the studio even if he wanted to.)

            Anyway, my belief that Carlos is, at his core, a bad person, a person with hatred and bile in his soul, is not because he rants and raves and insults me or Alec. He doesn’t do any of those things. His methods are much more insidious, slow and steady, and almost pathologically obsessive. But through it all, Carlos maintains a “who? me?” plausible deniability by being the smiling shark who only reports facts and never insults Alec or me directly. He lets others do that for him, of course, but that’s not why I think Carlos is a bad person. I think he is a bad person because he has chosen to dedicate his amazing abilities as a writer and a brilliant mind to a determined and ongoing crusade to make the world (or at least 84 people) see only the bad and none of the good about another person.

            No good comes from that. None. I ask you, Joe, what good could possibly come from publishing this sentence “Peters also delivers the update while leaning on one of the stations on the U.S.S. Ares bridge, showing off a visible flaw in the construction of the set, as one piece is misaligned with another.” I mean, there’s this beautiful bridge set, and Carlos chooses to point to one minor misalignment that even set-builder Dean Newbury said was easy to fix. What is Carlos’ purpose in calling attention to this flaw and ignoring everything else that is impressive? Is Carlos doing something good by his actions or choices? If so, I can’t fathom it.

            Anyway, yes, my mind is made up about Carlos. I think he’s a smiling shark, a bad person to the core of his being who comes across as sweet and likable in person (I’ve spoken to him myself and found him charming) but with malicious intentions that come across in his many, many, MANY blogs directed to the deconstruction and detriment of a single man and those who support and believe in his dream.

  13. I know that you will do what you feel right, Jonathan.
    I enjoyed your comic book immensely. And I am looking forward to your film.
    I am a new Twitter user, less than a year. I have run across 4 accounts that’s whole reason for being is attacking you and Alec. Till they get a life, maybe a ‘Yellow Alert! Shields Up!’ approach might be best.
    Good Luck!

    1. “I enjoyed your comic book immensely.”

      If you mean “Why We Fight,” that was more of an illustrated short story. 🙂

      But my comic will be coming out in a few more weeks, and I think you’re gonna love it!

  14. Jonathan, Yeah!!! Sure he wouldn’t. Incidently, I have a bridge you might be interested in. (sarcasm. ,>) )

  15. Not talking about that (or the film school that has yet to happen). Talking about examples like Ares studios/Industry studios/valkerie studios call it whatever legal names you want being built with donor money with the understanding of not for profit use, then sold off to a “private investment firm” (of which it’s pretty obvious Alec has a direct stake in) with full for-profit use intent. It may not be technically accurate to say donor money payed for a for-profit studio that no longer has anything directly to do with axanar anymore, but it’s just semantics…

    1. When did Alec or the Kickstarter ever say it was a not-for-profit? That said, eventually it was going to be a 501(c)(3), but when the Kickstarter happened, Alec said nothing about being non-profit. Search for the word “profit” on the Kickstarter page, you won’t find it…with or without a “non” in front of it.

      What Alec did make clear in most of his interviews, however, was that any revenue generated from the studio would be directed into operations and expenses. Alec never envisioned Industry Studios being a money-making machine (few studios are). He just wanted to generate enough cashflow to keep the lights on and the staff paid.

      Anyway, Jim, we’re traveling so far afield from “objective” as to be getting to the point of ridiculous. You’re simply dragging out all of the same old detractor talking points that I stopped wasting time with with years ago. I keep correcting your misinformation, and you keep moving the goal posts and bringing up more and more arcane accusations from the detractor vault. Look, you’re obviously not objective…and that’s fine. But you’re going to need to hock your wares somewhere else, Jim. I’m not going to waste any more time here on my blog debating you. I have so many more important things to accomplish than whacking the moles of your arguments one after the other.

      Vaya con dios, amigo.

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