VANCE MAJOR has become a legend of sorts in the fan film community. He has unapologetically released over thirty different Star Trek fan films…all on his terms. And while I wouldn’t go so far as to say he chooses quantity over quality—he and his teams work very hard on each individual project—it’s fair to say that Vance’s films aren’t the most “polished” you will find out there.
So why watch them…and for that matter, why make them?
The answer lies at the very heart of what fan films are. And “heart” is the reason Vance continues to play in this small corner of the Star Trek sandbox. He LOVES making fan films. And he loves the people who love making fan films with him. He loves writing the stories and bringing his actors and production crews together. He loves visiting fan-made TOS sets or going out on location wearing Starfleet tunics. And he loves seeing the ideas that start in his head slowly take form and materialize into complete fan films that he can share with others.
Who cares if there’s a cord in the door…or the uniforms don’t fit right…or you can see where the bridge set ends and the wooden wall panel starts? Who cares if the wind is blowing too loud into the microphone or a scene is filmed in Vance’s living room? If you want $8 million episodes, watch Discovery. If you want $50,000 episodes, watch Star Trek Continues. But if you want to see what a Star Trek fan can create with the cash in his wallet, the loose change he finds in the sofa, a handful of fan donations, and sheer optimism and willpower, then Vance is your man!
As I said, Vance has already completed thirty-something separate Trek fan films in what I’ve chosen to call the Minard Saga. They all feature his character, Erick Minard, who—thanks to the mysterious Valhalla Stone—has lived from the pre-TOS era to the DS9-era of Star Trek. And not only has Minard appeared in Vance’s fan films, but he’s also appeared in cameos in many other fan series. You can see every appearance of Minard in this dedicated YouTube playlist!)
You might think that after writing, directing, producing, and appearing in so many Star Trek fan films that Vance would choose to take a break for a while. And he almost did. But the siren call was too much for him, and Vance returned for one or two more films.
Oh, heck…who am I kidding??? He’s planning to release another THREE DOZEN fan films!!!
Yep, after stating publicly that he was done with Star Trek fan films back in February of 2018, Vance quickly changed his mind and announced his plans for a new Trek fan series called THE CONSTAR CHRONICLES. The USS Constar is the name of a Constitution-class starship in the 24th century refitted with more modern technology (hence, the blue nacelles) commanded by the older Minard.
The Constar and its crew were seen in a small number of the original Minard Saga fan films. But now Vance intends to focus his new stories on the rest of the crew, featuring many of his real-life friends who were eager to help out and take some of the pressure of producing fan films off of Vance’s shoulders.
Among the people participating in Vance’s productions are some notable cameo appearances by a parade of familiar faces in our community—fellow fan filmmakers that include JOSHUA IRWIN and VICTORIA FOX (from the Avalon Universe), GARY DAVIS and RANDY WRENN (Dreadnought Dominion), JOSE CEPEDA (Natures Hunger), GEORGE KAYAIN (Starship Antyllus), NICK COOK (Intrepid), ROBIN HIERT (Dark Armada), LEE GARTRELL (The Romulan Wars), and frequently-seen actors from various fan series like LARRY FLEMING, LEZLIE SAWYER, RON SEIPEL, MICHAEL SYLVESTER, CARLY SHIBBY, GREG TEFT, and JOHN CABALLERO.
For the past year or so, Vance and his team have been hard at work on no less than 36(!!!) different Constar Chronicles fan films…some filmed at NEUTRAL ZONE STUDIOS in Kingsland, GA, some at WARP 66 STUDIOS in Arkansas, and some in parks, living rooms, in front of green screens, and lord knows where else! Here’s a montage that Vance created of scenes from the first 25 episodes of Constar Chronicles (click to enlarge)…
According to Vance, most of the soon-to-be-released new episodes range in length from 7 to 15 minutes. One is 18 minutes, one 22 minutes, and there is one ambitious full 30-minute fan film (the maximum length allowed by the fan film guidelines). As a comparison, the vast majority of the Minard films were much shorter, with only a small handful reaching 15 minutes and just one at 25 minutes.
While most fan filmmakers release their productions as soon as they’re completed—and so did Vance with the Minard Saga—this time Vance is doing something that’s never been tried before (unless you’re Netflix or Amazon Prime): he’s releasing them ALL AT ONCE! Yep, you’ll be able to binge-watch the entire Constar Chronicles series in a single weekend if you want to (‘c’mon, it’s only about eight hours total, folks!).
But wait, there’s more…!
Vance is also going back to his original Minard Saga episodes and re-releasing them in chronological order (his original release order jumped around in time) with new YouTube playlists compiled. On December 6, 2019, Vance will release all of the Valiant (TOS) era Minard films, including new “special editions” of about 8-10 of them with redone music and visual FX and other improvements.
The following day, December 7, Vance will release the five “Mirror Universe” Minard episodes…also as improved special editions. (Those are the ones with the evil version who pronounces his last name “MY’-nard” instead of “min-ARD’.”)
And finally, set your calendar for December 8, people, as Vance will be releasing his remaining Minard films from the 24th century era, including nine special editions. But that will ALSO be the day when Vance releases the 36 Constar Chronicles episodes, all of which take place in the 24th century.
Vance reports that 25 episodes are already complete, with another six about 85% of the way done. So there should be no problem releasing all three dozen by the end of this year.
Here’s an extended look trailer that Vance released last month…