Why I am NOT “neutral” about NEUTRAL ZONE STUDIOS…

I need to clear the air regarding myself and NEUTRAL ZONE STUDIOS, the TOS sets in Kingsland, GA that were originally used for STARSHIP FARRAGUT, later used for STAR TREK CONTINUES, and were recently purchased by RAY TESI and opened up to any fan filmmaker who wanted to use them, was able to pay $300/day, and was willing to follow the fan film guidelines.

I want to state for the record that I wholeheartedly SUPPORT Neutral Zone Studios and encourage anyone who is a fan of Star Trek fan films to support them, as well, through their Patreon campaign:

https://www.patreon.com/neutralzonestudios

As many of you know, I was originally scheduled to film two of my scenes for my fan film INTERLUDE there. Ray Tesi was 100% on board. In fact, when I was considering bringing my son Jayden to Georgia watch the shoots, Ray told me that he’d make sure the entire studio was lit up (all the lights and buttons) before we arrived so that when Jayden walked in, the first thing he’d see would be the USS Enterprise in all of its glory. Ray was even going to see if he could manage to drive up for the day from Florida to finally meet me in person and watch the shoot.

But over Memorial Day weekend at Neutral Zone Studios‘ Fan Appreciation Weekend 2, Ray informed my directors, JOSHUA IRWIN and VICTORIA FOX (who were there shooting interviews with VIC MIGNOGNA, MICHELLE SPECHT, and CHRIS DOOHAN to help promote the studio’s Patreon campaign) that Interlude was no longer welcome to use the sets.

Although ALEC PETERS, who was similarly banned, accused Vic of being the reason for Ray’s sudden change of heart, Star Trek Continues make-up artist, LISA HANSELL, posted this comment on Facebook the Monday after the event…

Now, all things considered, I should probably feel angry, hurt, insulted, frustrated…and to be honest, I did feel those emotions quite deeply for a short time. But I moved past it.

However, something happened this past weekend that has left me wondering if others haven’t let this go as I have. And I now feel that it’s important to state publicly that I have forgiven Ray and Lisa and (if he was involved in the decision) Vic…and anyone else who pressured Ray Tesi into changing his mind about letting my production film at NZS.

So what happened this past weekend?

To answer, I first need to share the following chart with you of the Neutral Zone Studios Patreon campaign over the past six months…

Starting in February of this year, I began regularly posting blogs like this one and this one and this one to raise the excitement level about NZS and encourage donations to their campaign. I do that for many fan film crowd-funders, and I like to think it helps. It certainly didn’t hurt because, as you can see, the number of patrons and the monthly amount being raised climbed steadily and increased 500% over the following three months!

But since Memorial Day, I’ve only mentioned NZS on this blog once, and that was on May 29 to inform folks that I wouldn’t be shooting Interlude there. After that, the Patreon flatlined and hasn’t recovered. In fact, it had a 4% drop in total Patreon subscriptions at the beginning of July as backers were auto-emailed their monthly donation receipts.

So what suddenly took the air out of the NZS Patreon? Did I have something to do with it? Hard to know for sure. It might also just be coincidence. After all, the other major Trek-related Patreon, ARES STUDIOS, has also stalled recently. And of course, there have been a plethora of other fan films crowd-funding lately, including SPACE COMMAND, DREADNOUGHT DOMINION, TO HAVE BOLDLY GONE, and of course, my campaign for INTERLUDE. There’s only so much money out there that fans have available to donate!

NICHELLE NICHOLS with Neutral Zone’s MONICA MENDIVIL

But it’s not as if Ray hasn’t been trying to promote the studio and the Patreon during the past several weeks. In addition to the big Fan Appreciation Weekend 2, there have ve been multiple convention appearances where Ray brings along pieces of the bridge set for fans to take free photos, and even a recent visit by NICHELLE NICHOLS, Uhura herself!

And on June 11, Ray released the debut 2-part fan film in the new TALES FROM THE NEUTRAL ZONE series: “The Looking Glass”…

Ray had hoped that seeing this new content from NZS would drum up excitement and increase the number of Patreon backers. It’s obvious that a lot of hard work and dedication went into this production, but even though they’ve had a couple thousand views on YouTube over the last three weeks, it hasn’t moved the Patreon needle at all.

Then this past weekend, Ray sent out this e-mail—notable for what was at the top…

Keep in mind that this e-mail was sent exclusively to existing Patreon backers, politely asking them to please consider increasing their donations to what could total $120-$240 per year…quite a significant amount!

Before the weekend was over, I had received no less than SIX different IMs and e-mails about NZS from different donors. Some of these folks told me that they had reached out to Ray Tesi, as well. Here’s a sampling of quotes from some of those messages…

I know you took the higher road on this studio banning deal, but sometimes these things leave a bad taste in my mouth and I have to say so.
I’m just not getting the bang for my buck anymore. And I’m not talking perks. I’m talking about fun, pride of contributing, feeling like I’m not being judged by what and who I like, and not having to keep the aforementioned scorecard. 
It really pissed me off that Ray kicked you out. He's obviously not as "neutral" as he pretends to be. There's no way I'm giving him any more of my money. You get it. He doesn't.
Did you see that email from Ray Tesi? After what he pulled, what makes him think I want to give him more! I'm not even sure I want to give him anything. What do you think I should do?

It was that last IM that convinced me to write this blog because here’s what I said back to most of them (or some variation on the following)…

If you’re thinking of no longer supporting Neutral Zone Studios because of me, I urge you to reconsider. These sets are too important to Star Trek fan films, and they deserve to be maintained and made available to fan filmmakers who want to use them (even if I’m not one of them).

While it pains me that there are people out there trying their darnedest to create strife and turn this fun hobby into an “us versus them” environment, remember that there are also GOOD people out there trying to make Star Trek fan films—folks like my directors (Josh and Victoria), Gary Davis and Randy Wrenn (and they film at Neutral Zone), Gary O’Brien, Glen Wolfe and Dan Reynolds, Leo Tierney, Aaron Vanderkey, Larry Fleming, and many, many others. These are good people, kind people, helpful people, positive people. Don’t let the bad guys ruin things for the good ones.

And that’s the message I want to share today. While I can’t unring any bells and neither can Ray, I can make it clear that I feel INCREDIBLY strongly that Neutral Zone Studios‘ Patreon deserves your support! If you’re holding back donations because of me, then you’re not really doing it for me because I WANT YOU TO DONATE!

These sets are too important. Period. So if you haven’t signed up (even at the $1/month level), go do it now. If you are signed up, consider possibly increasing your donation level. And if you don’t have enough money to do either, then please at least pass around the following link and let folks know that this Patreon has the official and whole-hearted support of JONATHAN LANE and Fan Film Factor

https://www.patreon.com/neutralzonestudios

120 thoughts on “Why I am NOT “neutral” about NEUTRAL ZONE STUDIOS…”

  1. Thanks for the write up and support, Jonathon. Friendship is hard to come by and harder to maintain. For the record, the decision was mine alone, but perhaps that’s a conversation best done in private… Best!

    1. I only wish that you had chosen to have that conversation with me first, Ray…or even second or third or forth. It did hurt that you still haven’t reached out to me (even six weeks later) to explain how you went from full support for me and my project to a decision not to allow me to film on your sets. From her post, it seemed as though Lisa Hansell was taking credit for changing your mind on subject, which is fine. I know she’s an important part of Neutral Zone Studios, and you would be foolish to do anything to irritate her.

      Anyway, yes, I stand by what I said in this blog. I do forgive you and Lisa and anyone else involved in convincing you to change your mind. I am still a bit sad that Jayden won’t be able to walk onto those sets, all by himself, and see everything lit up for the first time as his dad leads a production team filming there. But I don’t want to take that experience away from others, and so I am continuing to support your studio and your Patreon.

  2. Well my personal opinion is little Miss Lisa dipped her toe into the pool to stir the water let Ray email her about footing the water bill. Sorry Jonathan I can’t back you on this one.

  3. Jonathan, I have to agree with the sentiment that is being stated here. It IS becoming an US vs THEM situation. People, whoever they are, are making ambiguous decisions to draw a line between various groups of fans. It almost feels as if there will come a time in the near future where you’ll have to answer, “Are you currently, or have you ever in the past supported these fan film creators (insert list of ‘undesirables’)? If so, please feel free to not apply.”

    Ray’s decision to…ask you not to film on The Neutral Zone’s set…flies in the face of the image he’s trying to portray with the name of his group. How can a group named ‘The Neutral Zone’ do so, while at the same time act in a decidedly biased way towards someone like yourself, who may support Alec Peters, but wanted to do a fan film of your own? In addition, how could he turn around, after previously stating that he welcomed you to film there, only to deny your request with little or no reason? My belief is that the reason for his Patreon flat-line and drop-off, may be because of this revelation. He’s clearly picking a side and, based on what you show with Lisa Hansell’s admission, it’s clear that fan-film politics was involved. Ray should have politely told Lisa, “Look, I told him it would be okay. There’s no good reason why I should deny him use of the sets now.”

    What? Did she believe you would soil the sanctity of the set that was once used for Star Trek Continues, which she worked on at one time? Is she now a dogmatic zealot who sees evil in those who do not support Vic Mignogna, or who like and interact with Alec Peters? Shame on her, and shame on Ray for his decision. His choice to listen to Lisa only adds to the animosity that grows between various factions of the Star Trek fan film community. What? Will there come a time where Vic Mignogna and his supporters face off with supporters of Axanar and demand that either they’re with us or against us? How petty and childish is this becoming? I appreciate your choice to not add fuel to the fire, but I fear the conflagration has already reached levels where it will consume all in its path.

    I suppose now that people will have to keep their affiliations and personal likes of either Star Trek fan film association as some closely guarded secret in order to avoid being labeled a pariah, unclean and unworthy of using The Neutral Zone’s sets. Again, perhaps this explains the reduction in support for Ray via Patreon? After all, based on that information, I surely would not give money to a group that would deny usage to fan film sets, that they claim they would allow under any other circumstances, excepting that they are branded with the ‘A’ that marks them as Axanar supporters.

    With respect.

    1. I like that scarlet letter reference, Troy. Big red “A” on my chest. 🙂

      But I’m still an optimist. I dream of a day, someday soon hopefully, when Axanar in finished, Interlude is finished, and the fan film feuding cools down because there’s no longer any side to “root” for or against.

      In the meantime, I stand by my blog. I don’t want these sets to wind up in a dumpster. Already today, two additional patrons have signed up for the NZS Patreon. If I had anything to do with that, then I am happy.

  4. Jonathan, it was not only my intent to deliver that news, but I asked certain people to honor my wish. However, that opportunity was taken out of my hands. No ones fault but mine for trying to do the right thing…

    1. Not to belabor the point, Ray, because I don’t want to appear angry or resentful, but it’s not simply that you didn’t deliver the news to me directly that weekend (despite several IMs and phone calls I made to you during the event). You’ve now had 35 days since the event ended to reach out to me–phone call, text, e-mail, messenger, Hallmark greeting card–and you’ve chosen not to. Granted, I probably wouldn’t have wanted to talk to me either, knowing how pissed off I’d probably be about the whole thing.

      But we’ve been more than just business associates, Ray. I’ve advised you, promoted you and your studio, helped you mend fences with fan filmmakers, and even wrote your new FAQ page…never asking for anything in return other than, when I finally decided to make a fan film this year, requesting the use of your sets for half a day (and offering to pay the full $300). So for me, the karmic scales remain unbalanced…and five weeks without you reaching out to me in any way only tilts them further.

      That’s my truth, Ray.

    2. Here is the thing.. And believe me I am no Alec fan and Mr Lane knows I tolerate him mostly lol.

      Ray,
      We all know that you were backed in to the if he is associated with Alec corner no one here is stupid.
      What you should have done as owner was stick up for your backers! IT IS your name is on that studio what you say and do help pay the bills there.
      IF you as the owner of the place decided to kick out one fan film because of their association with someone what happens it goes down for another then another then another?
      You are supposed to be NEUTRAL how about you put some big boy pants on and act like it!
      You run that studio it is your image. If you hate Alec that is that but do not bar lane BECAUSE of Alec…

  5. Once again the Star Trek fan film world is made less attractive by in-fighting and personality clashes. You, Jonathan, are continuing a commendable stance of positive impartiality, of unabated enthusiasm for what is a true phenomenon (don’t get too carried away, I’m not suggesting you are perfect ─ but you do set a high standard). Fan-based films related to various genres are, of course, relatively common, but the Star Trek fan film world seems to stand out above the rest.

    And then conflicts like this arise.

    I’m not a dyed-in-the-blood 100% enthusiast, my principal interests are elsewhere; but I do enjoy Star Trek and find exploring, and at times supporting, fan films in a strange sense even more fun than watching the original Star Trek programs. Here we are in a world of people who are not content to be arm-chair consumers, but people who want to be actively engaged in something they love, and to expand that “something” by creatively enlarging its universe.

    Then some individuals become too inflated with their own self-importance (I’m not a psychologist, there’s probably a better descriptor) and seem to forget what fan-based creativity is all about. They forget that it’s all about fun and joy (or enjoyment). Certainly with the work that goes in to the various projects, and the budgets that some entail (Star Trek Continues is an example of both highly dedicated work and major budgets ─ but it’s not alone) we are talking about serious fun, not frivolous fun, but the key factor is that it remains an activity that is enjoyable by all.

    When these conflicts arise I become dispirited, disappointed, tempted to turn away from this world entirely. I am sure there must be others with similar reactions. Fortunately the positive side of my nature prevails and so my (admittedly comparatively limited) interest in this universe continues. I just hope that some of the protagonists at this time read this and, I hope, observations and comments from others, comments made about how these conflicts damage the hobby we all love and learn from it ─ no matter how insignificant my input might be.

    PS. I’ve had some very limited correspondence with Lisa in the past, and found her to be delightful. She didn’t exactly do her image much good with the cheap tone of that quote. I will chose to consider that a momentary aberration.
    [Jon – edit out that par if you wish.]

    1. I’ll leave it in. Lisa obviously has a fair amount of resentment for Alec. I won’t condemn her for that. I just didn’t realize her anger extended to me, as I’ve never said anything negative or critical of her or her work or STC. Just the opposite, in fact. If my only “crime” is standing up for my friend–whether he’s right or wrong; he’s still my friend–then I don’t think there’s anything I’ll ever be able to do to change Lisa’s opinion of me other than to turn my back on a friend…something I’m not prepared to do.

      1. Bryan – Lisa has said many things about Alec, few to none being remotely complimentary, in other places over the last few years (yes, years) so her remarks are neither surprising nor out of character.

  6. Mr Tesi’s email worked for me so I bumped up my Patreon contribution. Looking forward to the series of fan films that they have in the queue.

  7. If I was Ray I’d be concerned about insulting posts being made by someone connected with my studio and by extension represents it, but then, I’m not Ray, so if such things are okay with him, what does that say about the people he associates with?

  8. Well Alec Peters is a controversial figure as well as the haters who have to hate there are well respected people in the Star Trek community who portray their experiences with him in not the best light and you are mentioned in conjunction with him.

    However I do not know the truth of the matter and seriously I do not care I just want to see Axanar preferably in its full length entirety.

    I find it strange that Mr Tesi was unaware of your association with him until it was brought to his attention by this “Lady” perhaps he does not know about Star Trek? Seems that there may well be more to this story than their appears.

    That he has handled it in such a cowardly way sorry to use such a term but nothing else seems appropriate and after as I have seen on your Blog you donating your time and resources to helping him speaks volumes about his character.

    That you have chosen the high road and seen the bigger picture also speaks volumes about yours. Since you have chosen to put aside your personal differences which I am not sure I would in these circumstances certainly no one should pull their support from Mr Tesi on your behalf is is after all your choice to move on and not seek to damage his enterprise or his reputation.

    Their is however another issue with supporting Neutral Zone Studios. Not directly connected with your personal experiences with him. His Patrons are giving him money for the purpose of Upkeep of these sets to allow Star Trek fan Films to be made, an unwritten contract.

    What they are not doing is giving him money to allow Star Trek Fan films to be made only by people he likes or approves of. If he was paying full freight then of course he can do what he likes but he is not.

    He is in essence ripping of his patrons some may wholeheartedly approve of his move but I presume many would not. He should e-mail all of them not to ask for more money but informing them that he has withdrawn support for your fan film even though it was all previously agreed because he does not like Mr Peters. See then if they are still happy to contribute. I suspect he will not do this as even if the people financially supporting him have never heard of Alec Peters he is simply not keeping up his end of the bargain by making the Studio available to fan film productions.

    1. Sorry Glenn, there aren’t any “well respected people in the Star Trek community” who have had issues with me. All the professionals, like JG Hertzler and Gary Graham, or Doug Drexler, or any of the Star Trek pros I have dealt with at Propworx, my company, or through Axanar, I have great relations with.

      I was asked by CBS in 2013 to help Creation upgrade their convention for the 50th anniversary. That is the kind of reputation I had with CBS before they decided to sue me and Axanar.

      At Propworx we have done auctions for half a dozen Star Trek behind the scenes luminaries.

      The actors who work on Axanar go away saying it is one of the best experiences they have ever had.

      Sure there are people who don’t like me who worked with me, but the majority seem to be people who promised, or were paid to do work, and then failed to deliver.

      So forgive me if I take issue with your ignorant comment. I get sick of people who don’t know anything besmirching my reputation.

      Alec

      1. Well said Alec. It’s nice to see someone taking a stand. I’m sick and tired of this higher ground garbage.

  9. Dare I comment on this?

    Okay, I will bite. I love Star Trek. I LOVE to see new Star Trek. When it is well done, I adore it.

    BUT, just like the real world, there is a secret poison in everything, and that is egos. Egos destroy, they do not build up anything. They puff up the person who lets their ego control all their actions, and that puffing up pushes people away. The very best work in the world can be poisoned by bad attitudes. Consider that we are all fallible human beings, and we are all our own little islands in the world’s ocean of life. We all over-estimate our importance in the grand scheme of things, and we all have a dark side that wants to win at all costs and be king of the mountain.

    But that is the most destructive attitude anyone can have. I’ve had it from time to time, and every time I let it win, it was a mistake. Sometimes we can take back our mistakes and make amends, and we can forgive one another. That does happen, and has happened in my life. Some folks reading this will probably know exactly what I’m talking about.

    But when it becomes a detrimental and even hateful thing, how does this impact our love for Star Trek? It tarnishes it. It diminishes it. After all, the idea of Star Trek is that we all work together to solve problems, misunderstandings, even to overcome hatred that has been earned and deserved.

    “It doesn’t make any sense.”

    “To expect sense from two mentalities of such extreme viewpoints is not logical.”

    “But their planet’s dead. Does it matter now which one’s right?”

    “Not to Lokai and Bele. All that matters to them is their hate.”

    “Do you suppose that’s all they ever had, sir?”

    “No. But that’s all they have left.”

    When we fight among ourselves, then we lose. A house divided cannot stand. People are people. They make mistakes. They have ideals that are in conflict with other people’s ideals. Some can’t get past them. If we are to continue to thrive, all hostilities must end.

    After all, “Only a fool fights in a burning house.”

    Ken Thomson
    Starship Saladin

      1. We just have to admit we’re a killer species… but we will not kill, today. That’s all it takes. A decision each day to not give in to our darker sides.

        Heh… much easier said than done. But it is a goal worth striving for. And that IS the spirit of Star Trek, in a nutshell.

    1. As far as I am concerned, The out of control fandom, fan politics, and infighting has already poisoned the wells of Star Trek.

      Star Trek has run its course and the fans have played a huge part in that. Especially those in the fan film community. Alec Peters, Axanar, Vic Mignogna, and Farragut Films being prime examples of such immoral behavior and toxic acts.

      Jonathan, I hate to say I told you so concerning your association with Alec. But, it was your choice being associated with him. I hope it was worth it.

      Personally , I don’t think it was.

      1. “Jonathan, I hate to say I told you so concerning your association with Alec. But, it was your choice being associated with him. I hope it was worth it.”

        Totally worth it. Alec is a good friend, and there are so many other great people associated with my project. My crowd-funder is nearly half-way to its $19.5K goal after only four weeks (and with no perks, no less!). Why wouldn’t it be worth it? Sure, I can’t film at NZS, but Glen Wolfw stepped up almost immediately to offer WARP 66 Studios as an alternative solution, and I am forever grateful to him for that.

        There’s so many good and kind-hearted people in this community. I feel sorry that you’re purposefully choosing not to notice them, Pap. On the other hand, seeing the good would mean admitting you’ve been wrong about mostly everything regarding fan films…and I’m sure that isn’t a pleasant reality for you to even consider. No one likes to be proven wrong…especially so publicly. So I understand your decision to live only for the negative. I just feel sad for you is all…as you’re really missing out on so much. 🙁

        1. The ONLY thing I am missing out on so much is when Star Trek was a good thing.

          Now, it has become a huge joke because of the BS that the fans – or fanatics – have pulled.

          1. Papillon, hate to disagree here but…

            Star Trek has become a joke, not because of the Fans who kept the franchise alive for 50+ years. It’s become a joke because of corporate greed, and the need to “reinvent” the franchise, in the style of JJ Abrams films. His style worked for the films, because it was an alternate universe. But the style in use for Discovery, is wholly out of line from ALL previous Treks, and the characters and storytelling is worse than the 1st season of SGU (which was unanimously hated by Stargate fans).

      2. Your opinion of Alec is so far from the truth it’s absolutely absurd. You don’t know the man. I’d much rather associate with Alec than any of you ridiculous hate filled people. You’re another prime example of someone who doesn’t comprehend what Star Trek is really about. I pity you.

        1. It’s true that many of those people who so often demonize Alec seldom look at their own actions with an objective eye. Earlier today, one of them tried to sabotage Alec’s upcoming action for the Trekcetera Museum and encouraged others to help do so. Never mind that the owners of the Trekcetera Museum are two of the nicest guys you’d ever want to meet (they’re Canadian, so being super-nice is kinda in their DNA), and thanks to Alec, they have an opportunity to keep their museum dream alive with donations of props and costumes from collectors whom Alec knows (and from Alec himself). Alec tries to do something to help out and those who hate him try to ruin it…not caring whom they hurt in the process.

          Who is the true villain? I think the answer is beyond obvious.

  10. I believe in IDIC. Everyone deserves a civil conversation. I believe in the preservation of the sets in Kirkland and any others that have contributed to the release of any fan film anywhere of any type or quality. We’re all better people when we work together.

  11. Jonathon you as always show class and restraint in this case you were clearly wronged both morally and financially by Mr. Tesi, whether he acted on his own accord as he maintains or was influenced/coerced by some harpie who has a problem with your association with Alec. I echo the comments of others who say that Mr. Tesi should open the sets to all productions if he is taking crowd funding to keep it open, otherwise his actions are at the very least not in keeping with the IDIC spirit of the very philosophy he seeks to promote with his studio. It is a shame to see such vilification of those who are just Star Trek fans trying to make a fan film, perhaps there should be a penalty for such bad behavior in the form of a loss of revenue/financial support and there are other studios so…

    1. I wasn’t wronged financially by Ray in any way, Dale. It’s not like I paid him the $300 fee and he’s refusing to give it back. No money ever changed hands. And as I said in an earlier blog, Ray’s decision actually saves my project some money because I will no longer have to cover the cost of a rental car for me or hotel rooms in Kingsland. Now morally wronged…well, that’s for others to decide. It’s not worth it to me to hold a grudge.

  12. I can understand NZS’s imposing a guilt by association on you. Right or wrong, I understand it. It’s much like your own Interlude fundraising effort. I’m certain there are many people that have not donated for the EXACT same reason. Quite frankly, perpetuating your ongoing defense of he who shall rename nameless shines even a brighter (dark) light on you. There is a bit of difference here though. NZS would seem to have somewhat of a obligation to it’s donors to do what is necessary to keep bringing the business in, keeping the lights on etc. While your potential (direct) contribution to that would have been small ($300 for a day or whatever), it also may have generated future follow on business (either from you or others as a result of Interlude’s possible success). It’s shortsighted on their behalf to close that opportunity off IMHO, especially if the issue is solely focused on your undying, unrelentless (and completely misdguided) support for another person that they take issue with. Now, had you done something directly to them (NZS) that couldn’t be forgiven, I guess that’s another story but probably not that one that is going on here. This is my opinion and if you don’t like it (Who are we kidding, I know you don’t like it) you can do what you do best. Delete my comments or turn off commenting about it. Right after you get the last word in of course.

    That said – the NZS sets look amazing and I bet they didn’t even have to replace dozens of computers and monitors to get their bridge 95% done either 🙂 I do wonder how they (and really ANY other studios) really have enough funding stream to keep doors open though. Perhaps if it is run as a walk-through museum on non shoot days you get enough visitor traffic to cover costs etc, but are there really enough fan film activities and just general monthly donors to keep all these floating? It amazes me if that’s the case. I’m new to the fan film world so perhaps there is far more activity out there then I understand or appreciate.

    1. There is a walk-through museum, Jim, but it’s in Ticonderoga, NY and is exclusively licensed to James Cawley by CBS to be a Star Trek TOS set tour. So Ray doesn’t have the option of opening his sets to do a similar walk-through museum…nor does anyone else in America. Indeed, Ray spoke to CBS and made certain they knew that he would NOT be charging fans to see his sets during either his first or his second fan appreciation weekends.

      In general, standing fan film sets with rent don’t last long. Starbase Studios existed for 6 years in Oklahoma City specifically because their rent was free. Once they lost that deal and moved to Arkansas, things didn’t last much longer. Ray’s rent and utilities are $3500/month, which was all coming out of his pocket until the Patreon. He’s still covering about $11,000/year from retirement savings. Similarly, Ares Studios has about $4,000/month in expenses (actually a bit less now), of which $2,150 at present is being covered by donations. So as you can see, fan support through Patreon can make a huge difference in the survival of these amazing fan resources. And that’s why I wrote this blog.

      1. It’s a shame Ray doesn’t have that same option as that place in NY. Though I don’t really understand the distinction between allowing him to charge $300 a day (or whatever) for people to USE the set but can’t charge people $5 to walk THROUGH the set. Perhaps, all he needs to do is offer a few “usage” options to get around the legalities of it all. $300/day, $10/10 minutes etc… You can even give the people a MPG file (emailed) of the “movie” they made while they were there (walking around the set LOL). All within the letter of the law, so to speak.

        In any case, your supporting their continued fundraising to keep the doors open (or at least costs down) is a positive thing and hopefully NZS will reflect on their previous decision to allow you to use their resources at some point.

        1. Ray can’t try to make a profit in any way. The $300 covers the cost of the usage while there. $100 goes to electricity and insurance and a sliver of rent. $100 each goes to Sam Rook and Royal Weaver, who are required to be on site for the duration of filming to manage electrical (don’t want those hot lights sparking a fire!) and protect the sets from misuse (“No, don’t pull the turbolift door like that!”!). Eat of those men needs to take time away from work, home, and family to be on site, so they’re compensated.

          And honestly, as it is, CBS is already a little “We’re keeping an eye on you…” with NZS. James Cawley is not happy that CBS is allowing “competition” to his exclusive license. So Ray is trying very hard not to “push the envelope” to see how much he can get away with. If anything, he’s erring mostly on the side of caution.

    2. This whole article is about getting away from the the hate but you just had to dig your claws into Alec for no reason at all. You’re a perfect example of what’s wrong with this fandom. Well done. You could have easily said all of that without insulting Alec and Johnathan for being friends with him. If you don’t like Alec fine but you don’t need to throw that in the face of his friends in some kind of backassward compliment. Cheap shot.

  13. So much hate… incredible.
    Well, the STC team is used to that and had shown its nuisance ability at the time of splitting from the New Voyages project. So, we know who we deal with.
    My position is that I do not work for those peoples but for the show they produce and mostly for the public watching it.
    About supporting NZ, I can’t do it because I did it for Republic and it was not delivered and no news about it. I Supported Axanar twice, it is not delivered yet but there are communications on the continuing mission so I am still confident. Pacific 201 sent its patches then vanished… well that is some good reason to be more careful at supporting distant projects.
    Indeed, donating to a crowdfunding limits ones investment to the amount sent. Patreon is a different thing since it is a regular expense on which you have generally no return since the goal is more to have ongoing revenues than finishing a project. For instance, to open sets to filmmakers is a good thing, but since one can be terminated for such a bad reason is a good reason not to fund it.
    For both Republic and Axanar, I maintain my offer to translate the subtitles because I think the stories desserve it, regardless to the shenanigans we are forced to endure.
    Fanfilm makers are a reflect of the global community, with its pros and cons, bit it is sad that the cons make so much shadow over the pros.
    CBS guidelines would have been more useful if it forbid hate. Using electronic (forwardable) messages always comes back as ones true mind and maybe Lisa is paying some of NZS bills, but she is not serving any peaceful intentions here. The us and them problem is that peoples place themselves in that situation, I think a STC epidode precisely deals with that…

    1. “CBS guidelines would have been more useful if it forbid hate.”

      Now THAT would’ve ended fan films for sure, Nicolas! 🙂

      But seriously, there isn’t nearly as much hatred in fan films as people think. It’s simply that those with grudges and anger aways seem to shout more loudly then the nice people who simply speak at a normal volume.

    2. I think there is good news about 2 of the films you mention that I also look forward to viewing: a revised version of Republic is planned to be filmed at Neutral Zone and finished in 2020 according to one of the actors; there is online evidence that Pacific 201 is nearing completion to be released sometime this year (recently there was a note from Mr Henry online that suggested he was close to success). Jonathan probably has additional intel about these that is more detailed than I have gleaned from social media.

      1. I do have more information on certain “still to be released” fan films, but not Pacific 201. But I am hopeful! Not much more on Republic either. I do know what First Frontier got delayed, and it’s good news/bad news. A professional is stepping in to help with the VFX, which is the good news. But the process, if done right, will take time. The final episode of Starship Farragut is in limbo at the moment, but I’ve heard rumors it’s sitting on a hard drive waiting for a final edit.

        1. I am currently working on VFX for Farragut’s finale. There are several shots to complete, and I estimate it will take awhile. Some very challenging shots.

          1. Thanks for that update, Ken. Any idea why it’s taken nearly four years to get to the point where it’ll still take awhile? I don’t ask that to be snarky…I really am curious to know what happened.

    3. Nicolas, please contact me, as I definitely would love your help.

      Have faith in Pacific 201. Eric Henry is a great guy and working away.

      Alec

    4. Nicholas, keep the faith, Pacific 201 is alive. I worked and filmed with them yesterday, so it is going to happen. I did advise Eric to post more often so that fans and supports know that he is still working on it. LLAP

  14. Seems awfully petty and, frankly, childish, for NZS to withdraw their approval for you to use their sets just because of your association with Alec Peters, a person whom the studio head dislikes. Just because Ray doesn’t like him doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be friends with him. What does it matter who your friends are so long as you are willing to pay the fee to use the sets? It does not embody the “neutral” in Neutral Zone for them to pick and choose which productions get to film on their sets and which do not based on who people know and/or are associated with. So long as you weren’t planning to invite Alec to the set while you filmed, what business is it of Ray Tesi’s or Lisa Hansell’s who your friends are?

    I think amends could very easily be made by Ray in renewing the approval to use the sets if you still have need of them (and are willing to use them after this debacle).

    That said, I have to agree that I would find it difficult to continue supporting a person or studio who conducts their business based on who people’s friends are rather than who is willing to pay their fees. Do I want to see quality sets turned to trash? Certainly not. But will I donate my money to help maintain them when the studio is run by and employs people who operate their business with personal bias and not objective business sense? Probably not.

    1. Well, to be honest, we’ve made other plans to film at WARP 66 Studios in Arkansas. And Glen Wolfe is already looking at ways to adapt his Sickbay to look more like the Sickbay in “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” which will be cool. And we’ll fake the Engineering set with a green screen. Even if Ray did reverse his decision, we don’t really need the sets anymore, and in fact, we’ve budgeted now not to drive down to Kingsland and stay in hotels there. So yeah, it might be a nice gesture, but it’s mostly meaningless at this point.

  15. While I do commend you for still supporting them , banning someone for associating with someone else really limits their income to keep their doors open. Soon its gonna be a six degrees of separation type of thing and no one is gonna want to donate to any fan films which is totally sad, we should be supporting all fan films if I had the money I would donate to everyone of them.

  16. Guys what a pity to read this. Probably only good intentions here but please talk to each other.
    Assumptions give a wrong picture and that does not do the scene any good.
    Communication is the key.

    So, when you have the option. Buy some beers make an appointment and meet each other. Speak out your frustration and then toast to a fantastic franchise.
    Maybe a bit short-sighted, but it will surprise you how well this works.

    1. As an update, Ray did finally text me on Wednesday evening suggesting we talk over the phone. Because of family commitments over the holiday weekend and ribs that need to be slowly smoked, I suggested we chat next week…and so we are planning to.

      Meeting each other in person is more problematic as the wider part of the continent of North America separates us. We live next to two totally different oceans, Thomas. 🙂

  17. The other thing to note is that Neutral Zone Studios has lost two other major fan film groups, who were set to use the studio, all because of mishandling of the bookings and springing usage fees at the last second.

    So now there are 4 of the better known fan film groups that can’t or won’t use the studio. Frankly, there arent many fan films out there that can afford the budget to travel to Neutral Zone (in the middle of no where BTW…sorry Kimber!) and pay for the use of the studio.

    So besides the name being hypocritical, there is no business model for the continued upkeep of the studio outside of the Patreon.

    I reached out many times to Ray to find ways to help him or work together. All rebuffed. Fine, being that STC has always been hostile to helping any other fan film projects, it is no surprise that that animosity seeps into Ray by way of Vic and Lisa. (Someone should teach them what Star Trek is all about).

    But at some point, you should be doing what you need to to support your studio and the Patrons that donate to you every month. You can’t go asking them for more money when you turn it away at every opportunity yourself.

    Alec

  18. Pretty simple math… you lost the right to use the set because of your association with Alec Peters. It sucks, but you should not be surprised by that. The staff at Star Trek Continues and Starship Farragut put a lot of work into those sets over the years. None of those people would want to be associated with Peters (who has slandered them online countless times), and anything related to “Axanar” is associated with him. If I was in Ray Tesi’s position, I would have done the same thing.

    1. That would be fair had it been Ray’s position from the very beginning. But Ray knew that Interlude was going to be an Axanar Universe fan film from the first time I spoke with him about it in March. He knew we’d be filming at Ares Studios on Saturday and Sunday and then driving down late Sunday to film in Kingsland in Monday morning. We even chatted on the phone (we’ve spoken at least a dozen times) about the possible pushback from Axanar detractors, and Ray said to me, “Y’know, I named it the NEUTRAL Zone because I wanted to stay neutral. People need to be okay with that.” Yes, Ray, they do. 🙂

      Anyway John, the issue that I had was never with Ray’s decision to not allow me to film on his sets. Had he said that all along, I would have understood. Granted, I wouldn’t have been happy about it, and I probably would have pointed out all of the help I’ve given him over the years. But I would have been okay and found a different solution for the two scenes I needed to film on his sets.

      No, my issue was in that Ray committed to letting me use the sets despite accepting that there would be pushback from certain people…and then, after I had committed to publishing my budget (which included costs associated with going to Kingsland), changing his mind and not even bothering to contact me directly. Are you defending that, John?

      1. Ray did mishandle the situation. The way it was mishandled could cause some to perceive that he planned to prevent you from filming the entire time but said that you could film only to suddenly and abruptly refuse to allow you to film without warning in an attempt to harm you financially for being a supporter of Alec. Just to be clear I am saying the Ray deliberately attempted to harm you but I am saying that it can and probably is being perceived that way. It also contributes to a potential fear that Ray would ban Gary Graham or J. G. Hertzler and any other actors from Axanar due to being associated with Axanar and for that matter anyone and everyone that has ever donated and possibly even anyone that has voiced support for Axanar.

        1. I think you might be reading too much into the situation, Borg. I suspect that, when Gary Graham was told by CBS not to attend Fan Appreciation Weekend 2, Ray panicked. I don’t know this for certain, but we’re planning to talk next week about it. Now, CBS telling Gary not to be involved likely had little do with Axanar but more to do with James Cawley, who frequently invites Trek celebrities to his official TOS Set Tour. I don’t think CBS was comfortable with Ray setting that precedent for NZS. I suspect the same would have happened had he invited Marina Sirtis or Tim Russ.

          Where Ray lost points (at least from my perspective) was in not telling me himself about his decision and also in not telling my directors, Josh and Victoria, until AFTER they had driven across four states to get there. Had they known we weren’t going to be allowed to film there, they would have canceled their road trip (and saved money), since they would no longer have needed to film a segment for my ask video on the NZS bridge set.

          1. If Rey were to reimburse you for wasting your project’s money on the road trip it could help benefit his Patreon which would benefit the sets.

          2. Actually, I suggested that Ray might want to make a donation to my GoFundMe. It’s not that I’m desperate for the money, but the gesture could go a long way toward stemming the tide of the negative PR he seems to be experiencing at the moment.

    2. So telling the truth about people is slander now. It’s a sad time to be Star Trek fan. Can we go back to 1993 now please?

    3. John, even though The production staffs of both Star Trek Continues and Starship Farragut were victims of Alec Peters and the Axanar scandal, they are not entirely innocent of certain things either. Some issues happened with them that led to the departure of some actors from Starship Farragut.

      Two other issues that landed Vic Mignogna and Farragut Films in controversial hot water was Vic’s illegal release of the Star Trek – New Voyages episode that he directed(Kitumba). The other one was Vic’s and Farragut Films’s involvement in the theft of the newly built sets from the now defunct Starship Ajax production from the now defunct Starbase Studios. Both of these incidents happened in 2011. I should point out that both incidents also involved Alec. The former being a failed coup on Vic, Alec, and John Kelly’s part in taking over James Cawley’s production. The latter being that Vic missed out on the purchasing of the Starship Exeter bridge set from Exeter Studios. Starbase Studios already purchased it for Ajax. Vic later offered to help build new sets for Ajax in exchange for being allowed to film on the old Exeter bridge. The staff at Ajax accepted the offer. The sets were built and then later illegally taken by Vic and Farragut Films in an act of retaliation. Word of mouth through the fan film grapevine has it that the hijacking of the sets was an inside job that Alec may have been involved with. Given Alec’s controversial reputation, I would not be surprised by that.

      When you get right down to it, not all Star Trek fan films are innocent of any wrong doings.

        1. It’s a statement of fact, Jonathan.

          Some of this information was confirmed by Robert Damian Mauro and Patty Wright. Especially from a friend of mine who was a part of the Starbase Studios staff before it literally went under.

          I would hardly equate that with an episode of Drunken History.

          1. And I spoke directly to Richard Wells, who was present when Vic came to pick up the set pieces from the airplane hangar in OKC.

            Wanna compare sources? Feel free. 🙂

      1. The only people who think Alec Peters has a controversial reputation are idiots who hate him for no reason. You better be able to back up your accusations because you’re bordering on libel. Instead of blaming him for what CBS did maybe you could take the time to get to know the man. That would of course force you to admit you are wrong which I know is something you Axahaters can’t seem to accomplish. You come across like you consider Johnathan a friend or at least respect what he does and yet you constantly him for being friends with someone you hate. Go to Axamonitor and hate on Alec if you think it’s necessary to waste your time with it. Hating on the guy on his friends platform is a dick move.

        1. I’ve deleted and trashed most of Papillon’s more accusatory posts rather than approved them…as they just drudge up the same old unsubstantiated accusations and arguments and are, frankly, just plain stupid. I let a through of the almost-intelligent ones through just so Pap can say he’s being completely censored. I censor stupidity. 🙂

          Look, when it comes right down to it, you may as well be arguing with a religious zealot, Shane. You’re not going to convince them of anything with logical arguments or reasonable explanations or even pleas for objective rationality. The narrative is all they care about because, if they ever allow a contradictory narrative past their mental forcefield, they risk the worst of all possible scenarios for their mental wellness: being wrong.

          After putting so much time, effort, and emotional intensity into such intense hatred and resentment, even the possibility of having to admit it was all wasted, that they can’t trust their own mental narrative, is too much to bear.

          If Alec turned out to be a decent guy, or even if Alec turned out to be someone who just made a mistake four years ago and doesn’t warrant having to carry the scarlet letter A branded on this chest for the rest of this life…just the merest hint that Pap and his compatriots are ten times worse than Alec ever was because of their cyberbullying behavior threatens to unleash a stampede of conscience that, if they allowed it to happen, would ultimately destroy them. They’d never allow themselves to believe in anything again, always doubting their resolve and righteous indignations. And no one wants to live like that.

          And so, Shane, you are always destined to lose with them, since they desperately cling to their narrative rather than risk facing an unfaceable truth. And that is why I barely give them any attention anymore.

  19. As always JL, you won me over!

    Time to go sign up for NZS!

    Thanks again, for all that you do!

    Because you really do so much good in the world.

    ~LLAP

  20. What really rankles me is the name ‘Neutral Zone Studios’. It’s a joke, but I’m not laughing…

    I hope you get an apology, you deserve one.

    1. I was thinking the same Alastair,

      Think Mr Tesi needs to “man up” and not let people dictate to him on who uses his studios.
      Jonathan has every right to slate (he hasn’t but I would have) NSZ (which btw is a Joke of a name, change it ray to NOT neutral studios!) Ray and everyone involved at NSZ.
      I may not agree with Jonathan all the time( or Alec as it goes) however He is like a kid in a candy store when Star trek and fan films are involved and Alec has given Star Trek an who new, unique universe inside one we ALL claim to love for reasons mostly to do with What and HOW humanity can be….yet most seem to act like Pakleds or Ferengi!

      If I was Ray and I run a business based on “he said she said BS” well there wouldnt be a business FACT
      GTFU

  21. *Facepalm*

    Jonathan, you’ve GOT to be kidding me. Hansell’s post and the resultant bad blood only proves the brats are bickering about bupkis.

    I donated to Axanar because Prelude was GOOD.

    STC? Nah, bad acting, bad writing, it just didn’t hold my interest. (Well, bad is a subjective term, but I’ll say it wasn’t good enough for ME.)

    Unfortunately your approach to ‘take the high road’ does NOTHING to stop the bad NZS-Nazi behavior. Nothing stops them from doing that to anyone else. And if I were a fan film showrunner, I’d have serious doubts if NZS would honor ANY commitments from now on. How could any producer plan for a reversal of now-I-get-to-use-the-studio-now-I-don’t?

    So, children, I’m going to take my ball and go home. NONE OF YOU will get ANY of my money from here on until you stop this bullshat. (Are you listening, Ms. Hansell? You just represented NZS studios in that posting of yours, no matter WHAT Ray says from now on. The damage you just did will reverberate for a LONG time.) I AM TIRED OF THIS.

    There may be others who are like minded.

    But remember this: IT’S OUR MONEY. We don’t have to support you.

    Especially after all this claptrap.

    1. Hey, let’s remember that what the Nazis did was millions of degrees of separation worse than telling some guy in Los Angeles that he can’t shoot on Star Trek sets. Let’s keep this all in perspective please, David.

  22. To each their own Johnathan but when one wrongs me or mine I’m not quick to forgive. Neutral Zone Studios is in no way neutral. In my opinion this obsession with taking the high ground only causes it to hurt more when they tear it out from under you. Honestly I hope they fold. Even if it means a Star Trek film set goes in the dumpster. They made this bed and they can lay it. If they fold I hope someone truly neutral comes along and buys the sets. I’m sick and tired of this hate for all things Axanar. Morally I feel Alec did nothing wrong. If he stepped over a line legally (and that’s a big if in my book) he has more than paid for it. All these people who seem to be of the mind that Alec has somehow destroyed Star Trek need to move the frack on with their lives.

    As for the division in the fandom. As far as I’m concerned people like Vic Mignogna, Ray Tesi, that obnoxious Lisa &;+¢# and all their supporters are the ones responsible. Their refusal to move on or examine the facts and their bashing of all things Axanar is why there’s division in the fandom. That and all the garbage CBS is doing.

    They can hate Alec or anyone they want. I don’t care. But they have no business denying the use of their studio to a fan group willing to pay. I would understand if they turned away nazis or some other hate group. But Axanar related productions like yours are just more fans trying to keep Gene’s Vision alive.

    1. I believe the Vulcans have a term for what you wrote in your first paragraph, Shane: “Cutting off one’s ears to spite one’s face.” Be careful what you wish for because it could just ruin things for everyone…not only me.

          1. Well, I coulda gone with the other ol’ standby:

            Q: What kind of ears does Spock have?
            A: Vulcan ears.
            Q: What kind of ears does Scotty have?
            A: Engineers.

            🙂

  23. Why does this scene spring to mind…

    from “STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN”
    JOACHIM: They’re requesting communications, sir.
    KHAN: Let them eat static!
    JOACHIM: They’re still running with shields down.
    KHAN: Of course. We’re one big happy fleet.

    It should be…
    KHAN: Of course. We’re NOT one big happy fleet.

  24. When I posted my reply early in this collection I had no expectation that your original post would generate so many responses, so much anger, so much negativity, so much conflict (how naive was I in that?). The essential point in my response was that the world of fan films should be one of an inner joyful participation in extending the Star Trek universe. The corollary to that is that if people are not deriving joy (in its deeper sense) in being part of this universe, why are they taking part in it?

    While many responses are echoing the positive aspect of this particular issue, many are not. There is anger, distrust, jealousy and even hate (is that too strong?), a range of attitudes potentially damaging to the entire realm of Star Trek fan film creation.

    If being involved in making or contributing to these fan films creates so much angst in the hearts of some, why do they persist in the hobby (yes, no matter how seriously the devotion to these films, no matter how much work may be involved, no matter how costly some can be, it is in essence a hobby) ─ why continue in an activity that is causing so much emotional stress?

    What happened to the joy?

    1. I can’t speak for anyone other than myself, but I have a suspicion that for at least some people out there (not me) some joy is found in being negative and argumentative and hurtful. And I don’t just mean for Star Trek fan films. Certain politicians are like this, as well. And fans of other sci-fi franchises seem to relish in their own manufactured controversies. I suspect the world has always had a certain element of those who love stirring the pot, who relish in it and in the rush of inciting others to do likewise. But I believe that it wasn’t until the Internet gave nearly everyone a voice that now reached beyond the walls of their home and the boundaries of their communities…that the more civil aspects of our society began systematically breaking down.

      But the again, I could also be wrong.

  25. Sadly, Jonathan, I believe you are oh so right. As a senior citizen (me, not you) it has always been common to hear, “things were so much better when I was young” ─ the phrase being negatively associated with the older generation. We can think of many things that were quite bad when I was younger (the “Red Menace” scourges and engendered suspicions for example) but on balance it was a happier time ─ at least if you were white and male! But even with that awareness, for a period, society was slowly improving overall ─ not so today.

    So I must agree, the conflicts we see on a personal scale, such as are being revealed, yet again, in so many of the responses here in this forum, are some sort of reflection on what is occurring in a society which is in decline on the larger scale.

    As an aside, it’s interesting to read some accusing you of taking “the high ground” and others saying the opposite, attaching that description to your “opponents”. Which could lead me into a different discussion about human frailty, but I will resist.

      1. Nor even with, “I could be wrong…” which although usually followed with, “but” never has the unvoiced meaning behind the ‘but’ included; the complete meaning being, “… but I absolutely know I’m irrefutably right!”

  26. It gives you credit that you decided not to hold a grudge where you are clearly entitled to one. I know I would not forgive that easily. The very nature of this case subverts the point you are trying to make. You want to pretend it’s all fine for the sake of other fanfilmmakers that might need those sets, but what makes you think they have any better chance than you got?

    It looks like anyone can anytime fall into a disgrace. All it takes is an association with Alec Peters or perhaps anybody on the no doubt very long blacklist and then what. This looks to me like the sets are exclusive to a few priviledged, approved individuals and as such it doesn’t have as big a value for the fan film community. Especially if the charge you mention is correct. I just smell something foul. Call me paranoid.

    1. Okay, you’re paranoid. 😉

      But seriously, no one aside from Alec and me has been barred from filming at NZS (that I know of). Granted, their rules state you must be willing to follow all of the fan film guidelines, so it’s possible that a fan filmmaker who might not be willing to agree to that would therefore not be allowed usage. But I don’t think this is “the shape of things to come.” Indeed, I think it’s more of just the need to add a new rule to the FAQ page: “No fan film project can have a direct or indirect connection to Alec Peters or Axanar.” Add that, and I think it covers things. And I don’t mean that sarcastically. If it’s a rule, then state it publicly so that folks like you and others don’t think the decision to reject fan productions happens randomly or capriciously…or at least randomly. 🙂

  27. I feel sorry that Jayden was denied the opportunity to tour the set as was promised. Perhaps to mend fences Ray can let you record Jayden taking the tour of the set and you can then use the video to promote the Patreon page since such a video would help garner more support.

    1. The challenge lay in getting Jayden there. We’re not rich folks, and a plane trip across the country is usually reserved for visiting family in the northeast, not trekking to the southeastern corner of Georgia. Maybe if we go to Orlando someday, but imagine convincing my wife to let me take a full day away from Disney World or Universal Studios to drive to a small Georgia town to walk around Star Trek sets for a few hours and drive back. Good luck with that!

      Remember also that Jayden has school. My original shooting date utilized a vacation day so he wouldn’t miss any class. So a future trip to Kingsland, while a nice dream, is probably not in the cards at the moment. To be honest, I’m more likely to travel to upstate New York and combine that with a trip to Ithaca to show Jayden where I went to college (Cornell University) and maybe do it in the fall when the leaves are changing. Out here in California, all the leaves are brown…and the sky is gray. 🙂

        1. Ares Studios is still a possibility, because we’re filming over a weekend. Mommy has the final word on that, though. As for Arkansas, even I’m not going to that shoot. I’d love to see the WARP 66 sets, but I can’t justify the expense for what will likely be maybe two hours of shooting a single scene.

  28. Ray may have potentially been convinced that your footage or portions of it could potentially be acquired by Alec for Axanar and refused to allow you to shoot out of fear of a lawsuit.

    1. Again, I think you’re reading too much into this, Borg. Also, Ray knew exactly what I was doing. I made very clear from day one (which was, in Ray’s case, I think early March) what my plans were for Interlude…and how it would be completely separate from anything being done by Axanar Productions. Also, no lawsuit against me would involve Ray any more than it would involve the person making costumes or the pizza place feeding our actors and crew.

  29. If Neutral Zone Studios wanted to live up to their name, they wouldn’t have followed up your banning with a two part Orange Man bad! politically biased fan film right after. If I wanted to watch (and pay for) the injection of one sided real world politics in Star Trek, I’d do so with Discovery. I expect better from a fan film organization named “Neutral” Zone Studios. And, because some folks will start making assumptions about my own politics, I thought that as an independent neither major political party offered a good choice in the 2016 election.

    1. I didn’t think “Looking Glass” was making a political statement about anything in particular. It seemed to be more your standard, generic planet-in-political strife plot device used so often in Star Trek.

  30. Maybe Ray should look into using Twitch and Mixer to reach potential donors that may not be noticing his videos on YouTube. For Example Twitch users stream themselves playing games like Star Trek Online as well as other Star Trek games. Those people that play or watch Star Trek Online being played may be willing to help support Ray’s Patreon page.

  31. Forgive me, but for me some detail has been lost in the mists of time. The common thread through all of this correspondence is Alec Peters and Axanar. There is a significant group that is negative, but how significant is that group? Is it of significant size or is it smaller but significant in being a very vocal group?

    Then there’s the question to which I’m also unclear on the answer; is the anti-Peters feeling due to him achieving a Star Trek fan film that was technically way ahead of the field, i.e., jealousy; or is it that he brought down the wrath of CBS etc ─ or both? The technical quality of some fan-based films was inevitably going to reach the fringes of the contemporary professional world, and the overlap of the two sworlds is now being blurred with such material as being produced by “Mr. Sci-fi” (although not Star Trek of course).

    If the emergence of the CBS rules is the main factor, let’s face it ─ that was going to happen eventually and Alec was simply(?) the unlucky one to have triggered the whole unhappy saga.

    Have I left something out?

  32. The wording of Lisa’s post appears to imply that she is admitting to telling Ray that your reservation of the set was a covert means of giving Alec access to the set. If I am reading the wording correctly she is effectively admitting to slandering you to Ray in an obvious attempt to harm you. Maybe I am misreading it.

    1. Whatever she was admitting to doing, I don’t really care. I’ve forgiven Lisa. The only reason I included the screen cap of her comment was simply to prove to people who were blaming this all on Vic (as Alec himself tried to do) that Lisa was taking credit for it.

  33. I know none of the people involved in fan films. I will contribute to fan films that are well founded.

    I have contributed to Demons. I may well contribute to Interlude. I have no knowledge of the staff, actors or producer connections to each other, except that in these two cases, there may be a connection to A. Peters. I neither blame him or seek to ostracize him, but I do not support his works.

    I have VERY MUCH enjoyed the STC series and I would happily contribute to that universe if there were ever an opportunity. The work of Vic, the actors, and the production crew have earned my eternal gratitude.

    JOHN, I have read this thoughtful stream, and YOUR broad argument for “preservation” above personal feelings, and I will immediately create a patreon account and give a token contribution to NZS. I encourage every star trek fan to do the same. We need every TOS asset. Separately, I will seek out Interlude for a direct contribution to your project.

    This is the correct road, and you have well written the reasoned argument to take this path. I encourage Neutral Zone to welcome all productions.

    1. I see a new patron has joined NZS, Eric. If that was you, my thanks for rising above the bickering to protect what’s most important for fans.

      As for Interlude, I would most certainly appreciate anything you’d care to donate. Here is the link to the campaign:

      https://www.gofundme.com/interlude

      Thank you in advance, Eric.

  34. You’re far kinder to these @#$&$-+_#-!&#_-(&#+)&## than I’d be Johnathan. But as this is your forum I’ll play by your rules.

  35. Jonathan ─ again I enter the fray, but briefly. With your patience, tolerance and understanding throughout this long saga, you reveal yourself as a saint. Your understanding of the human condition is remarkable, as is your persistence in throwing light into the dark corners of this Star Trek world.

    One point I want to make (not original ─ I think you have said this more than once) but to any casual reader of what has transpired here, and this may not be immediately apparent ─ the naysayers, the sources of negativity and even hate, are in a substantial MINORITY. An intensely vocal minority, but their numbers are comparatively few. Such people can be found everywhere (religion is a common stamping ground). Keep that in mind.

    1. I keep trying to tell people that. There are surprisingly (well, not surprising to me!) few agitators out there. The vast majority of folks in both the Star Trek fan community and the fan film community are great people, kind and civil people, and not inclined to hurl stones. But those who do choose to kvetch, kvetch LOUDLY! So you think there’s more of them than there are.

  36. I hope Ray does not make a habit of waiting for other fans to show up for filming day only to deny access for arbitrary reasons such as but not limited to fan film donation history or association.

  37. The timing of waiting until your directors were done filming the Patreon promotional film prior to disinviting them from the sets is a tad suspicious at best and deliberate at worst or he was maybe lazy.
    It is good that you are rising above pettiness by focusing on preserving the sets even though you can not use them. Instead of paying money to you Ray could promote your GoFundMe as you have his Patreon that way the money you receive will not negatively impact the sets.

    1. I should point out that, after contacting me on the 3rd of July to suggest we talk, and after I told him to wait until the following week after the holiday weekend, it’s now the end of that following week and Ray has still not followed up with me in any way to set up a time to talk. Now, perhaps he thinks that I was supposed to contact him, but after five days, I’d think he’d at least reach out to say, “Hey, Jon, not sure if you were gonna contact me or vice versa, but I’d still like to set up a time to chat. When would be a good time?”

      So Ray, if you’re reading, just to be clear, it’s on you to reach out to me and set up a time to chat. I think you owe me that courtesy at least.

      1. Maybe you could send Ray a bill with a choice to either pay a set amount for creation of the promotional video or to pay nothing and instead promote your GoFundMe at no cost.

  38. Jonathan, I’ve just quickly glanced at the length of this collection of exchanges and at the general mood that persists throughout. Although I think you have been essentially correct in your responses (does that sound a little hesitant? ─ I’m just allowing that no one is perfect, not even you ─ or me) I think you are doing the wrong thing in allowing this to have continued way past the point where anything worthwhile may have been achieved.

    It’s obvious you wish your blogs to be open fora, and other than deleting the more intensely nasty posts you wish to continue an approach of what we Aussies refer to as ‘having a fair go’, but somehow (and I don’t know how) you should have tried to bring this to a graceful conclusion some time ago. New potential donors to your GoFundMe coming across this, unaware of where it springs from, may well react to the generally unhappy saga with a, “If this is what the Star Trek fan world is like, I’m keeping out of it!”

    As you (and I) have clearly observed, those unhappy wretches the negative individuals are very few in number, but that is far from obvious to the newcomer. With the interactions and activities that have occurred between us over the last couple of years you know that I speak as a true friend, and honestly, you should, gently but firmly, bring this blog to and end. I don’t disagree with what you have said here, but in total, too much has been said and it has been going in circles for a while now.

    1. Fair advice, but just FYI, the total number of visits to this blog page was 15 yesterday and 11 today (so far). In other words, there’s not many eyeballs bothering to read this blog anymore…which is fine. So I let the few echoes of “I wanna have the last word” continue to play for a little while longer. Like most of my more controversial blogs, comments will fade to nothing in less than a week without me having to close anything down.

  39. Thanks Jonathan. Again, you show a reasonableness not necessarily shown by (some) others. If your blog is to be fair, you must give ‘air time’ to some less welcome visitors. It’s just that it pisses me off that those very few who claim to be Star Trek fans but seem to spend most of their time in activities antipathatic to the whole concept of fandom, get a say at all. But that’s a component of democracy, and happens, as you have said, in other fan film spheres ─ as well as more broadly in society.

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