INTERLUDE GoFundMe – How long to the point of no return?

When I launched the GoFundMe campaign for my Axanar Universe fan film INTERLUDE, I knew going in that there were three possible outcomes…

  1. Total failure – I was using GoFundMe (not Kickstarter or Indiegogo) with no perks…would that even work? If I’d only managed to take in a few thousand dollars in the first month or two, I’d likely need to refund the donations and give up on my dream project.
  2. Smashing success If I quickly blasted past my $19.5K goal in a few weeks, then full speed ahead and maybe even start planning for a second production.
  3. Something in between.

We’re definitely in the third scenario, folks, which is fine. In fact, I kinda expected it. When I wrote my budget blog, I even said the following:

If we come up short, we’ll need to figure out ways to trim things. For that reason, I’ve “erred on the side of caution” and created my budget to assume costs on the high side. That way, if we don’t make our goal, we’ll hopefully still have enough to make a decent fan film by streamlining and trimming things from the budget.

And that’s where we are. It’s been a little over a month, and we’ve just crossed the half-way point to our goal. We’re at $9,768 as I type this…plus another $100 or so in Paypal donations. It’s a solid start, and donations are still coming in. But they’ve slowed down (as they usually do after a quick start), and I need to look at practical considerations now.

In order to film in November, we need to commit to certain things by September. For this reason, I can’t simply keep up the GoFundMe until we reach our goal (even if it takes months or years). We have to figure out a “point of no return.” What is the minimum we need to get this project filmed? Can we do it for $17K? $15K? $13.5K? Do we have enough with just the nearly $10K raised so far?

Obviously, if we have to cut things out of the budget, we won’t have all the bells and whistles. But for me, it’s more important to turn this dream into a reality. So I’m going to sit down with my co-directors, VICTORIA FOX (who is also my producer) and JOSHUA IRWIN and start figuring out what can be trimmed, and by what date we need to lock down our GoFundMe to either commit to filming in November or else delay the production until we’re better funded. (I think we’ve taken in enough to no longer need to consider canceling the project.)

So what do I need from you folks right now?

Well, obviously, please keep donating. If you haven’t already or can afford to give a little more, every dollar brings us closer:

https://www.gofundme.com/interlude

Also, I have a special request to anyone wanting to make those “helpful suggestions” on what to cut and/or how to save money. I appreciate the support and enthusiasm—I really do!—but Victoria and Joshua know my budget backwards and forwards, and they both work professionally in the film industry. We’ll figure things out ourselves, my friends. Just please be patient, and in another week or two, I’ll let you all know our “point of no return” date and our minimum goal to hit.

And as always, my sincere appreciation to everyone who is providing support through donations, encouragement, or simply sharing the link to our campaign. I can’t thank you all enough!

36 thoughts on “INTERLUDE GoFundMe – How long to the point of no return?”

  1. While Ill take your advice and refrain from telling you what to cut I will just say a few things. Please try to remember you are doing this for fun and are making no money from it. My point with this would be that while you want it to look as good as some very well funded projects, you can do a good job with much less. Things can be borrowed, as you know, let people donate their time and a little gas money to work on your project. Don’t feel you have to make sure all involved are not losing anymoney, assuming the budget doesn’t get there, think of it as there extra contribution if they are willing. Whether you buy some pants at a cheap or discount place or spend a bunch on them as long as they are close most will not bat an eye. We just want to enjoy the story. If you can’t make it work for near $10,000 I would say you aren’t trying hard enough.. hope it all works out

          1. i think you missed my point or i did not put it right… I wasnt saying what you should or shouldnt cut i was saying that if you have to make cuts to tell your story people will be able to overlook any flaws that they may bring. That is all. Im not saying you should spend less on anything, Im saying that finding a way to present your story is more important than perfection, in my opinion. That was all. Sorry if that was misconstrued

          2. I think we’re on the same page, Jim. My point was simply that you were making a lot of suggestions about how I might cut things from the budget…which I specifically requested that people please not do. We’re going to re-budget a film with fewer “luxuries” and bells/whistles. But we’ll decide what gets axed and what gets ax’d (get it?) and what doesn’t. The more suggestions that come in, the more times I have to say, “Thanks, but we’ve got this.” 🙂

      1. Im not trying to insult or anything, just saying fan films get made for less. Am i saying he shouldnt strive to reach his goal? no, I am saying that he should be able to still tell his story with what he has raised. I am not judging or anything i am stating that it depends on how bad he wants to do it, that determines what you are willing to sacrifice. I still hope he reaches his goal, but based on what he was saying about over estimating and the discussions of insurance and some of the things he has talked about during the launch and such i seriously doubt if the funds stopped coming in there would be no film. Now i could be wrong, but I have a feeling we will see Interlude either way and I am excited for it

  2. I hope you make it my friend. If you keep going into August I might be able to donate a little more. I wish I could do more now. If nothing else at least you were able to get the story out in comic form with Trey Mcelwain. I haven’t read it yet because I want to be surprised but I’m assuming it’s the comic version of what the movie will be.

    This is probably a long shot but Alec knows a fair number of celebrities. You may as well I don’t know. Perhaps there’s a Star Trek celeb or a fan with money who might be willing to make a large donation. More and more Hollywood celebrities are coming out of the geek closet these days. Take Joe Mangeniello for example. He’s a big D&D geek. Imagine if he was willing to make a donation and only asked to be a part of it. Just a thought.

    I really hope you can pull this off.

    1. When I got my book published back in 2012, my dad said, “Just have Oprah talk up your book, and it’ll sell through the roof.” Yep, so easy…wish I’d thought of it! 🙂

      The thing about celebrity endorsements is that they are valuable things. Many celebrities charge for such things, and you usually have to convince their agents or managers, as celebrities aren’t just sitting there waiting for fans to come up to them asking for free favors.

      Alec can get JG and Gary to talk up the Axanar sequels because they will be appearing in them. But they won’t be in Interlude. And I’ll be honest with you, the only other celebrities I have even a tangential connection to are Leeza Gibbons and Snoop Dog, and I wouldn’t begin to know how to ask either of them for an endorsement or if it would even make a difference.

      So like the Oprah suggestion, it sounds great in your head–like building a bridge over the Grand Canyon–but the idea faces a lot of hurdles and challenges once it hits reality.

      What I have been working on is expanding the reach of my message in other, ground-game kind of ways. Next week, I hope to get a shout out in a mass-mailing to the donors of another major fan film. Many of those donors might not have heard about Interlude yet. I’ve lso reached out to a number of podcasters to do Interlude interviews, and a few are close to happening. The problem has been San Diego Comic Con, as the run-up to it and the event itself preclude coverage of a small, crowd-funding Star Trek fan film. Beyond that, I will be going back to my existing donors to ask if they can afford an extra $10 or $20. I’ve only got two “mega” donors, and asking them for thousands of dollars more seems a bit ballsy at the moment. So it’s a last resort after I’ve exhausted all other avenues. But celebrity endorsements are problematic.

    2. When I got my book published back in 2012, my dad said, “Just have Oprah talk up your book, and it’ll sell through the roof.” Yep, so easy…wish I’d thought of it! 🙂

      The thing about celebrity endorsements is that they are valuable things. Many celebrities charge for such things, and you usually have to convince their agents or managers, as celebrities aren’t just sitting there waiting for fans to come up to them asking for free favors.

      Alec can get JG and Gary to talk up the Axanar sequels because they will be appearing in them. But they won’t be in Interlude. And I’ll be honest with you, the only other celebrities I have even a tangential connection to are Leeza Gibbons and Snoop Dog, and I wouldn’t begin to know how to ask either of them for an endorsement or if it would even make a difference.

      So like the Oprah suggestion, it sounds great in your head–like building a bridge over the Grand Canyon–but the idea faces a lot of hurdles and challenges once it hits reality.

      What I have been working on is expanding the reach of my message in other, ground-game kind of ways. Next week, I hope to get a shout out in a mass-mailing to the donors of another major fan film. Many of those donors might not have heard about Interlude yet. I’ve also reached out to a number of podcasters to do Interlude interviews, and a few are close to happening. The problem has been San Diego Comic Con, as the run-up to it and the event itself preclude coverage of a small, crowd-funding Star Trek fan film. Beyond that, I will be going back to my existing donors to ask if they can afford an extra $10 or $20. I’ve only got two “mega” donors, and asking them for thousands of dollars more seems a bit ballsy at the moment. So it’s a last resort after I’ve exhausted all other avenues. But celebrity endorsements are problematic to say the least.

  3. Fair enough. I hadn’t thought about Comic Con. That’s a tough thing right now because so many people who might donate to Interlude are spending their money in San Diego. I still can’t help but think that there are probably more than a few folks out there with money that would make a donation if asked but they’re probably hard to find. Like you said agents and such insulate those people. Let us know what podcasts you’re going to do or that are going to talk about Interlude. Once my FB ban is up I’ll pimp it out on my page. I’ve got a few folks who might chip in.

    What’s your book? I didn’t know you wrote one. Where can I find it?

      1. That looks like a lot of fun. I got a copy on my phone.

        You should write a book about fan films. I’d buy a copy.

  4. I’ve already donated WAY past what I can really afford, but I figured, “You can’t take it with you…” was an old catch phrase that rang true. No, this isn’t to say I’ll squeeze a little more but just to say I’m an encouraging voice a long way away. Personally, I would have ditched the comic, but if that’s being produced at no additional cost this thought becomes irrelevant, and I realize it is a boost for those who really like the comics. Of course, even if it has added to the cost, it’s already extant so the comment was too late anyway. So Jonathan, keep at it, I know you and your team will come up with something (no, not “awesome” ─ that word is not only overused but misused) ─ I will content myself with, “something you can really be proud of” ─ and something we will really enjoy.

    1. The comic was completed before I ever launched the crowd-funder, and Trey McElwain and Daniel Fu were chomping at the bit to release it (and Daniel wanted to post his artwork to his FB page). So I figured why not just post the comic pages once a week to keep up interest in the project?

      And every donation is appreciated, Bryan. No one is required to give more. That fact that you’ve donated anything means so much to me! So please consider my upcoming mailing to be a humble and gentle request and not an intensely panicked plea. 🙂

      1. Jonathan, unlike another ill-informed comment I just read, I have far too much confidence in your knowledge and inherent skills to ever consider your posts on the GoFundMe as anything like a ‘panicked plea’. As I essentially indicated, I know you will deliver ‘the goods’. Continuing to read these posts simply keeps me in touch with progress.

          1. The comment editor “hung up” on me. I was trying to extend that to say:-
            Oops – of course that was meant to be, “…to NEVER consider…” which I assume you realized.
            But I can’t resist adding that if Yves’ (comment below) approach to life is afflicted with such a, “What’s the point in striving for your best?” approach, I feel sorry for him. You develop yourself as a person by striving for the best in everything you do (while maintaining a realistic sense of proportion). Only by always trying to do better, will your skills, your values, your knowledge, and your sense of self-worth (totally different from self-importance) grow.

  5. I’ve been following these productions for a long time and it’s well beyond the time for everyone to remember that fan productions are nothing more than play-acting Star Trek. So scale your ambitions to your experience—which is honestly nil. Consider yourself lucky some people have funded your hobby at all scale your ambitions appropriately: take the money you can get and make the film you can (and learn from it). Are you going to have closeups of boots? No? Then you don’t need expensive ones. No one will ever notice. Since you can’t make money on whatever film you make the audience size has no practical consideration except bragging rights and perhaps visibility, ergo you don’t *need* names to appear in or or sponsor it. Scale. To. Fit.

    1. Ah, another reader who ignored my request. 🙂

      For the record, I do consider myself VERY lucky and blessed to have reached nearly the $10,000 mark in just six weeks. And I have no illusions that we’ll somehow make it all the way to $19,500…barring a shout-out from George Takei or something like that. But there’s a lot of stops on the train between $10K and $19.5K. I’m just going to figure out (with my directors) how far the train has to travel in order for us to still make it to our destination.

      By the way, Yves, I didn’t see a donation from you. Were you trying to give me advice with no skin in the game? Or did you donate under a different name?

    2. Dude maybe you’re not meaning to maybe you are but you sound like a douchebag. This isn’t your project. If you can’t be constructive why are you here?

      1. Look, when all is said and done, each fan film creator is free to make his or her fan film in the best way he or she can. CBS allows crowd-funding up to $50,000 for 15 minutes. I’m asking for $19,500. Some other folks do it for half that…or a quarter…or with the loose change they find in their sofa. But you’re right, Shane, in reminding Yves that “Interlude” isn’t his project; it’s mine. I’ve set my budget, raised about half so far, and am adjusting course accordingly…just as any decent executive producer is supposed to do. I guess that makes me a decent executive producer, huh? 😉

  6. No offense, but I think most of your readers could see this coming once we read your budget.

    Multiple people spoke at length about the fact your budget was around 50% clothes and accessories. There were many suggestions to low the cost by eliminating patch of reusing uniforms.
    Rather then thoughtfully discussing them, you seemed to lash out a bit because people had the audacity to make suggestions. Yeah, I get that can be frustrating. But remember all those suggestions are from people that want to see you succeed. Except maybe Carlos, lol.
    Maybe go back and look at those original comments with a “I need to budget cut eye” and reconsider them. Remember you are making a Star Trek fan film, not a Alec Peters love story or an Axanar fan film (hard to make a fan film for something that doesn’t now and isn’t ever likely to exist).
    The people here and on Facebook want to see you succeed, but some of the comments you have made indicate you are to entangled with Alec and letting him run this production.

    1. “No offense, but…”

      As my mentor Gary H. used to say, “Everything before the ‘but’ is bullshit.” “But” is a negator. So despite saying “no offense,” you give yourself permission to offend by using “but.”

      “Remember you are making a Star Trek fan film, not a Alec Peters love story or an Axanar fan film (hard to make a fan film for something that doesn’t now and isn’t ever likely to exist).”

      And there it is. The intent to offend…not only directed at me but also Alec Peters, Christian Gossett, and everyone else who worked on “Prelude to Axanar.” It most certainly does exist…as does the Vulcan scene, which is also referenced in my script, John.

      You also suggest that Alec is running my production. What makes you think that? Simply because he gave me feedback on one scene in my script and suggested I give the black captain an African name? Or is it because he’d like my uniforms to be consistent with his? If you think those three minor things constitute running the show, then you know little to nothing about producing a film. The lion’s share of the work right now is being done by me, and that is raising money. I had help from my team in creating the “commercial” and “ask” video, but it’s my show right now. Victoria and Josh are helping me determine budget…not Alec. He’s just supplying the introduction to the costume manufacturer and the use or the bridge set. Once the money is raised, things get turned over to Victoria to handle casting. Josh organizes the equipment and figures out what we need to rent versus what we already have. The two of them make up the shot list and handle the shoot. I’ll just be paying all the bills and reimbursing expenses like gas and hotel for their travel from Arkansas.

      Alec is involved in none of that. His job is to learn his lines, get his hair dyed, show up, and play Garth. Everything else is either me or my team, and the main decisions are mine, Josh’s, and Victoria’s.

      As for listening to others, I have. Just not to you. Just because I chose to take advice from people encouraging me to aim high and not from those who suggested I aim low doesn’t make my decisions wrong. It simply makes them mine. I knew going in that $19.5K was a high number. What I didn’t know was how much I’d get. There was only one way to find out, though! 🙂

      Look, in the end, it’s my fan film to make, and so far everything is going great. The GoFundMe didn’t crash and burn, and after six weeks, it’s about to cross $10K! That’s amazing, John! I’ve never made a fan film before and people are trusting me to the tune of nearly five figures (we’re only $102 short of that as I type this). Not many fan films post-guidelines have made it that far. So I am VERY happy.

      But I always knew there was a chance we wouldn’t be able to reach the high-end goal, which is why I estimated on the high side to begin with. It gives us room to maneuver, cut, trim, reassess priorities…all the euphemisms for “tighten our belts.” Are we gonna have to do with fewer patch designs? Probably. Cheaper black pants? Likely. Less cool equipment rented? Totally. And a bunch of other things. We’re figuring it all out just like they do in Hollywood when the studio cuts the expected budget. Heck, that happened all the time with Star Trek! They tightened their belts, scheduled more “bottle” shows, cut down effects and the amount of alien prosthetics, and all sorts of other tricks. But the one thing Star Trek never did was to ask the studio for a minimum budget at the outset…because the studio cuts from there.

      Had I come out and said my goal was $14K, how do you know I wouldn’t have stalled out at $7K? How do you know that, by asking for $19.5, that wasn’t the reason I’ve gotten to $10K before the inevitable slowdown? The answer is: you don’t know. So why act all “know-it-all” now, John?

      Look, I’m sorry to be so harsh with you, but I am going to use the word “but” which means I’m not sorry. And the reason is that I never criticize another fan filmmaker’s choices (except once when a crowd-funder was launched in a half-assed way and took in nearly nothing). But other than that one time, I don’t criticize budgeting levels or production decisions or how they try to raise their money. And the reason is that I respect them all for trying to make their dreams come true not only by talking about it but actually DOING IT. Sure, I’ll give advice if asked. But if I’m not asked, then I show those fan filmmakers the courtesy of supporting them without criticism, unsolicited advice, or (worst of all) I-toldja-so’s.

      You should try it some time, John.

      1. Hey Jonathan – relax – you’re gonna burst a blood vessel.

        Everything you said there is justified and totally correct, but (hmm, there’s that word again), one way or another you have said all of this in the past, and of more significance, it will probably fall on deaf ears. It’s not worth wasting so much of your time and energy on comments and people like this. That time and energy is better applied to more useful ends.

        But (what, again?), I guess there come times when you must let go and vent steam. Apparently, this was one of those times.

        1. I’ve been getting a lot of comments like this. Most are obnoxious and just get trashed. This one seemed civil enough (barely) to get a response. So yes, I vented…likely (as you say) on deaf ears.

          1. Normally I would leave it at this point, except for reading that you are getting a lot of comments like this, many sufficiently obnoxious to be deleted. That’s disturbing to read but, sadly, seems to be a common modern trend.
            Like the people who give thumbs down to the new Picard series discussed in your latest post. When you explore YouTube (which I do, there’s a massive amount of good live classical music, musical theatre, a whole range of high-quality material related to my interests) and you always see thumbs down to the most benign or totally positive material there. Are your negative comments coming not only from Axanar haters, but also that wider spectrum of people who enjoy the opportunity to be unpleasant because it’s not face-to-face (they wouldn’t have the guts for that!), they have the immunity of the internet? A sad observation on present society.

            I’m not sure that I would cope as well as you with those poisoned comments.

          2. Most of the obnoxious comments come from anonymous folks who use a variety of made up names. One of the ones who doesn’t hide his identity, though, is Gabe Koerner, but those comments I really LIKE to read because they mean I’m getting under his skin. He doesn’t like when I succeed at something that’s supposed to be his domain. I used to just delete all of his comments unread, but lately I’m actually reading them because it feels oddly satisfying to know I’m an itch Gabe just can’t seem to scratch…try as he might. (It’s the little joys that keep me going.) 🙂

      2. Wow Jonathan that was awesome. I read his post and there was so many things I wanted to say and then I read your response and I was like “I got nothing else. Jonathan covered it.”

  7. As a producer and director of Interlude, I happen to be one of the few people giving Jonathan solicited advice. Rest assured, not a single one of the helpful suggestions for budget cuts (or any other production item) has been anything that we hadn’t thought of yet. Costume expenses? Jonathan knows this has been the number one item on MY chopping block since the very first budget discussion and WOULD be adjusted if he did not make his goal. I believe in responsibility to donors and will not participate in a project where I believe money is mishandled.

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