The typical “life cycle” for most crowd-funding campaigns (especially for Star Trek fan films) is a burst of excitement and donations at the beginning, then a slowdown in the middle, and (if you’re lucky) a smaller burst at the end just before the deadline. I’ve seen it dozens of times.

The problem for my Axanar Universe fan film INTERLUDE, however, is that I decided to use GoFundMe instead of Kickstarter or Indiegogo. The latter two have built-in deadlines—usually 30 or 60 days—before the campaign must either reach its goal or fail.

But GoFundMe is open-ended. Conceivably, I could still be raising money for Interlude when Earth makes first contact with the Vulcans 44 years from now! Of course, I don’t plan to do that. At some point, I will need to shut this campaign down and deliver a completed fan film to you all. The question is…when?

We had a FANtastic first month, taking in nearly half of our goal from more than 100 backers ranging from $5 and $10 and $20 donors to donations in the hundreds and even thousands of dollars! But in the past couple of weeks, although donations are still coming in, the pace has slowed considerably…which is consistent with the crowd-funding “life cycle.”

Unfortunately, without a specific deadline, it’s unlikely that we’ll get that final boost. And even if I do set an artificial deadline (which I am about to do in this blog), it’s not likely that we’ll reach or exceed the $19,500 goal that our budget calls for.

However, as I mentioned last week, my budget blog back in June mentioned that my numbers purposefully erred on the high side in order to provide flexibility for trimming and cutting various items just in case we didn’t make our goal.

So this past week, I sat down with my directors, VICTORIA FOX and JOSHUA IRWIN, and went through every line item with a fine-toothed comb. We sliced, we diced, we cropped and capped. And in the end, we came up with a minimum that we’ll need to commit to making this fan film…as well as the date we’ll need to have those funds by in order to be ready to shoot the first weekend of November.

So what’s our “point of no return”?

Let’s start with budget. Getting rid of nearly every bell and whistle, we can do this at a minimum funding level of $13,500. Conceivably, we might even be able to squeeze it down to $13,000, but Victoria knows that unexpected things go wrong all the time, and her exact quote to me was: “I’d feel a lot more comfortable with that extra $500…just in case.” Me, too. So we’ll see what happens. I’ve decided to set the “point of no return” at $13,500 knowing that we can come up just a wee bit short and still make it.

And that brings us to the “point of no return” date: August 20. Now, please understand that this is not the date that I will be shutting down the campaign. Let’s say we manage to make it to the $13,500 by the deadline. That allows us to fund certain upfront items immediately and still have enough to shoot in November. But maybe another thousand or two might come in before November and something we thought we couldn’t have suddenly becomes possible after all.

The August 20 date was based on a number of things that need to happen before cameras roll the first weekend of November, and it allows us a two and a half month buffer. It also means we’ll wrap up our push for donations shortly before ALEC PETERS begins collecting private funding from backers for the two AXANAR sequels. So I’ll no longer be badgering you with two blogs each week about my project…just in time to start helping raise awareness for Alec’s efforts to fund his project.

Over the next four weeks, however, I plan to do a full-court press in trying to get the word out about the campaign and the deadline. If you can help me do that by sharing the link, I would greatly appreciate that:

And of course, if you haven’t donated yet—or if you have donated and can spare just a wee bit more—we’re currently just above $10K and only need another $3.4K to make it to…the point of know return!

And now, let’s take a brief musical “interlude” back to 1977…

(Hmmm…is that background explosion at 1:06 from Space 1999?)

25 thoughts on “And the INTERLUDE GoFundMe “POINT OF NO RETURN” is…”

  1. Keep up the reminders my friend. After the first I’m going to shoot for donating at least another $10 hopefully a little more.

    1. Always appreciated, SF. As I tell other fan filmmakers with crowd-funders: you need to ask early, often, and repeatedly. Yeah, it can be exhausting (crowd-funding should be your “job” for at least 30-60 days), and you might eventually be seen as annoying (“oh, here he goes again!”), but it brings in way more donations than just posting the campaign, sitting back, and waiting for people spread the word for you.

      And hey, today blog just brought in $20…my first donation in four days! 🙂

  2. Inquiring minds are interested in why you all deemed absolutely required and what you cut.

    1. I discussed with my directors whether or not to write yet another “budget blog” explaining all of the cost-cutting…item by item. In the end, they strongly recommended that I not do so. In fact, they weren’t really thrilled that I wrote a budget blog in the first place! Few productions ever share their line items and costs publicly, and to be honest, not many fan films do that either. Occasionally, they’ll say that 35% is being reserved for X and 20% for Y, etc. And on the extremely rare occasion, they’ll say, “We’re budgeting $XXX for costumes and $XXX for food…” etc. But to do what I did and list everything right down to the price per pair of pants and amount being paid to a seamstress to sew patches onto tunics, well, I don’t think any fan film has ever done that–at least, none that I can remember. (Not even Axanar’s first annual report back in 2015 didn’t get that detailed.)

      So why did I publish my budget back in June then? Frankly, it was because I knew there would be people out there who’d see my nearly $20K goal and assume I was just trying to raise money through a back-door to give to Alec Peters for Axanar. I wanted folks to have no doubt whatsoever that my $19,500 goal was based on real expenses, itemized and presented with complete transparency. And even then, there are still idiots out there who are 100% convinced I’m simply planning to funnel this money to Axanar Productions…which I swear I am not.

      But to be honest, I wasn’t writing my budget blog for a few knuckle-dragging detractors who think “Alec” is a four-letter word. I was writing it for CBS. I know there’s gonna be scrutiny around anything and everything Axanar related, since Alec has a legal settlement he must adhere to. And while I’m not a party to that settlement, I am still producing an Axanar Universe fan film…and I’ve been friends with Alec since long before the lawsuit. So I wanted CBS to know exactly where my crowd-funding was going. I wanted them to see zero dollars going to salaries. I wanted them to see everything else laid out with realistic costs (and CBS is savvy enough to know the prices of things like tunic production and equipment rental and providing food, etc.).

      Anyway, writing that budget blog, while necessary in my mind for the reasons I just stated, caused me no end of headaches! From the tempest-in-a-teapot over production insurance to criticisms about sourcing mock turtlenecks from Land’s End to endless suggestions about patch production (and the list goes on and on), it seemed like everyone had something to criticize. And it wasn’t just me being grilled. Victoria and Josh were often dragged into the debates. And in the end, there really shouldn’t be debates about our budget at all—except among the three of us. After all, it is OUR budget for OUR fan film.

      So this time we’ve decided–for the sake of our own sanity!–to keep the details off the blog. Suffice it to say, we’ve managed to trim nearly a third of our budget…which is pretty damn good! Now we just need to make it to $13,500 to make sure we can shoot in November. Please consider helping us get there.

      1. Jonathan,
        Publishing you budget was also very informative about things to consider for peoples which might have to use crowdfunding one of these days. Going deep in the details, and to explain these details, shows how to handle a project.
        As a matter of fact, it is wise to start with a somewhat ‘large’ budget instead of beginning with an already trimmed one that could leave you without margins.
        From my point of view, your budget list was educational because, as you wrote, the others don’t share so much details and just guessing sometimes leads to failure…
        So, thanks for sharing.

        1. Well, the other reason that I wanted to share the details of my budget, Nicolas–in addition to demonstrating to CBS that I wasn’t simply trying to back-door fund Alec and to cut off the inevitable detractor accusations before they could make them–is specifically because it’s so rare for fan filmmakers to do so. This is Fan Film Factor, where I tell the stories behind the stories. I explore how fan films go from being an idea in someone’s head to a video on YouTube. I’m fascinated by the process, and paying for things and budgeting is part of that process. So why not talk about it all now that I’m living it? However, now that I’ve “been there, done that” in blogging about my budget–and it created so many headaches–I’m going to pass on elaborating further.

  3. Well Jonny, why don’t YOU stump up some cash to make up the short fall? Most people use their own money to pay for their hobbies. Every other fan film maker that I know of has put in significant amounts of their own money into their productions. Yet you’ve donated just $100 to your own campaign. Maybe people view that paltry amount as a lack of commitment on your part and figure why bother donating. It’s YOUR film mate, you should be willing to pay for it.

    1. I’ve been getting this question a lot from both Sandy and a number of his fellow whatever-I’m-supposed-to-call-them. Many are snarky and obnoxious and just get deleted, but I’ve decided to approve and reply to this comment, because there’s a very good answer to it. Or rather, a question…

      “What if a fan filmmaker such as myself doesn’t have thousands of dollars available?”

      I’m sure Sandy would say something like, “Then you have no reason for making such an expensive fan film! Work within your means.”

      That’s one answer. But another is to see how much one can fund-raise from others who want to support the project. That’s what crowd-funding campaigns are all about. Not everyone has the money available to take the family on a vacation to Thailand. My own family vacation two weeks ago involved driving two hours to San Diego (no, not for Comic Con). Next week, I’ll be visiting my parents in Colorado and sleeping on their sofa (with Jayden on a cot) to save on the cost of a hotel or motel room for the week. Instead of renting a car, we’ll be taking the shuttle bus an hour from the Denver airport, with my parents picking us up at the bus stop (they’re too old to drive all the way to and from the airport). My family isn’t poor, but we’re far from being rich. We live comfortably but frugally, and my wife made me promise before launching this crazy dream-project that we would NOT be funding it ourselves. “If your friends are willing to help you pay for it, fine,” she told me. “But don’t you dare touch our savings.”

      So what else was I to do? Sure, I could have decided either not to make Interlude at all or else try to make it on a shoestring. But as you saw from my budget blog, this isn’t a shoestring project. It’s not a six-figure or seven-figure production, either, but doing Interlude for just a few hundred or even a few thousand dollars wouldn’t be possible. My directors told me what it’ll cost, and my job was (and is) to try to get them that money. And so that’s just what I did.

      Trust me, if I could just write a $20,000 check (without it bouncing like a basketball!), I would in a second. Heck, I’d love to just cover the remaining $3.3K that I need right now. But it’s simply not possible, and it seems to me to be very insensitive for Sandy to suggest otherwise. I’m not sure he realizes that, but I know the rest of you do.

      Anyway, 143 people (plus another half-dozen via Paypal) have donated $10,180 so far (plus another $150 from Paypal), without having any problems with me putting in only $100 of my own money. And this, to me, is the best and strongest response to Sandy’s comment.

      1. Oh Jonny, condescending as usual. So, your hobby is only worth $100 to you? That’s all you’re willing to spend? That’s pretty sad really.

        The answer to your question is simple. If you don’t have the funds to make it yourself (or to contribute significantly) is either film with what you have or don’t film it at all.

        See, it’s all about priorities. My family lives for our holidays and time together so we save everything we can for our three holidays a year. Travelling is our hobby, and I wouldn’t dream of asking anyone else to pay for it. If we didn’t have the money for Thailand we’d jump in the car instead and head to Northumberland like we did this spring. If we didn’t have the funds for even that we’d set up a tent in the back garden. We make sacrifices to fund our hobby. It’s all about priorities.

        I am confused though why you think my asking the question is insensitive though. Maybe it hits a bit too close to home, or maybe you’re just not embarrassed enough going begging. 143 donors shouldn’t fill you with confidence or justification, especially considering the thousands of likes and subscribers you have.

        1. “Oh Jonny, condescending as usual.”

          You get the pot/kettle irony there…right, Sandy? 🙂

          “The answer to your question is simple. If you don’t have the funds to make it yourself (or to contribute significantly) is either film with what you have or don’t film it at all.”

          Have you seen “The Holy Core” by your fellow Gary O’Brien? Here’s a link if you haven’t…

          It’s a really excellent fan film. Cost about 9,000 pounds. Unfortunately, the Kickstarter for the project raised less than half that. Now, according to your logic, it was just a hobby, and if he didn’t have enough money for his hobby, then he should have found another hobby rather than trying to make a fan film he couldn’t afford to self-fund.

          It’s a good thing that Alex Mayer (who came through with an offer to fund Gary’s “hobby” in its entirety) doesn’t subscribe to your world view, Sandy, or else The Holy Core would never have been made. In fact, neither would 10 of the 11 episodes of Star Trek Continues, as those were all entirely crowd-funded. In fact, they even used $165,000 to pay actors and crew over a 3-year period. Gary Graham asked fans to help him fund his hobby—music (his band Sons of Kirk band)—and no one ever asked Gary how much he was putting in himself. Heck, it might have ended up being zero. Who knows?

          So many fan filmmakers have held crowd-funding campaigns specifically because they DON’T have enough money to fund their “hobby”: Eric Henry, Tommy Kraft, Mark Largent, Vance Major, Larry Fleming, Gary Davis, John Broughton, Mark Naccarato, Marc Zicree, Sky Conway, Lukas Kendall, and that’s just off the top of my head. In fact, the only fan filmmaker I know of who shut down his campaign because he personally had enough to self-fund is Kenny Smith of the upcoming First Frontier.

          So really, Sandy, I think you’re basing your opinion about fan films and crowd-funding on a false premise that most most people have enough to fund their own projects. But if that were true, then why are there so many crowd-funding campaigns for Star Trek fan films…and successful campaigns at that?

          “My family lives for our holidays and time together so we save everything we can for our three holidays a year.”

          Wow, three holidays a year. That’s really lucky, Sandy. You’ll notice that I’m not asking anyone to fund my trip to Colorado to see my parents or pay for my family to go to Disneyland to see Galaxy’s Edge for my birthday next January. But I am asking for help funding my fan film.

          “I am confused though why you think my asking the question is insensitive though.”

          Because you’re asking someone who is barely managing to pay the bills to take money from his family’s saving and fork over thousands of dollars. Isn’t that just a wee bit cheeky, as the Brits say?

          Look, I used to donate to fan films left, right, and center. I donated $300 to Axanar’s various campaigns, $150 to Star Trek Continues, I gave $50 here, $75 there, big projects, little projects; I’ve probably made a couple of dozen donations to various campaigns since 2014. But that was then. Our living costs have gone up in the last couple of years. So for my own campaign, I could only afford to put in $100 to seed the collection plate. Asking me to put in 30 or 50 or 200 times that amount is, I feel, insensitive on your part, Sandy. I don’t think anyone would have asked Gary O’Brien to do that for The Holy Core.

          “Maybe it hits a bit too close to home, or maybe you’re just not embarrassed enough going begging.”

          Nothing to be embarrassed about…unless you think all those other fan filmmakers I listed should have felt embarrassed, too…in which case, the person who should be embarrassed is probably sitting in front of your keyboard and not mine. Sometimes, Sandy, I don’t think you feel embarrassed enough over the things you do and say. But that’s your soul’s problem, not mine.

          “143 donors shouldn’t fill you with confidence or justification, especially considering the thousands of likes and subscribers you have.”

          I have thousands of likes and subscribers???? Awesome!

          And considering that, in direct marketing, a 2% response rate is considered successful, then I’ve potentially doubled or even tripled that…possibly even quintupled! So yeah, I’m not only filled with confidence and justification but downright jubilance!!!

          What are you full of, Sandy? No, wait, don’t both answering…the rest of us already know. 😉

          1. Oh Jonny, you need to grow up and become a bloody adult. As I said above it’s about priorities. You sharing your tales of financial woe illustrates my point perfectly. When adults can afford the thing they want do they don’t do it, or they make sacrifices so they can. Your wife gets it, she’s clearly the adult in the relationship. She knows you can’t afford it so your options are to not do it, go begging, or wait and save up until you can afford it. Like an adult.

            Every fan film producer you mentioned put in a significant contribution to their projects in time or money. They did the work themselves to save money or put in their own cash when needed. When even that didn’t make up the shortfall the cut things out or put things on hold. Like adults.

          2. Ah, I see the flaw in your argument like a supernova in the sky. “very fan film producer you mentioned put in a significant contribution to their projects in time or money.” Since none of the fan filmmakers I listed put in a significant amount of their own money, you must be drawing a distinction between between me and them in regards to time commitment. And that’s where I claim victory because, of everyone on my team, I have so far put in more time than any of them. That donated $10,230 didn’t just happen. Successful crowd-funding is a very time-consuming endeavor, especially when you’re not offering perks. The amount of writing and image creation I’ve put in, the planning and assembly of the “ask” video, the time I’ve spent interviewing and setting up interviews, the follow-ups I’ve made with people who have their own e-mailing lists from previous crowd-funders and who can give my campaign a shout-out, the updates and individual thank you e-mails I’ve written to each donor…that all counts as time put into my project.

            Look, I’m sorry this bothers you so much, Sandy. I really am. $10,000 is a very impressive number—certainly “adult” money, as you might call it—and I think you’d be hard-pressed to convince people otherwise. Even some of your fellow detractors are impressed I’ve gotten this far and have told me so publicly on Facebook. So there’s every indication that I made the correct decision in trying to crowd-fund this project rather than, as you suggest, just not doing it because I can’t afford it personally.

            And no one likes to be proven wrong, Sandy. I totally get that. It’s obvious from your posts here that my success in crowd-funding a project (that you probably want to see fail anyway) is totally getting under your skin, and so you spend time on a seemingly endless stream of grasping-at-straws arguments and name-calling. But I am going to do you a big favor and end this little back-and-forth so we both can get back to our lives. As you said: “priorities”…and if you’re not going to be the adult here, then I will. If you have anything further to say about my project, please do it elsewhere so I don’t have to waste any more time on your silly sniping.

          3. Sandy’s proposition appears to be that you are not allowed (morally, socially or on some other basis) to have a dream or a hobby unless you have the money to support it.
            That seems so obviously absurd that I think I must be missing something. It may not be FEASIBLE to carry on a hobby or a dream if you don’t have the funding, but why should the wish be conditional on the resources?

            I truly don’t understand Sandy’s position. It seems to me quite obvious that the social contract between would-be creators and others is that the creator specifies what they will bring to a project, and others are free to determine if that’s enough to entice them to make a contribution to the project.

            Perhaps, Jonathan, you’ll grant me an indulgence and give Sandy leave to explain. Or, feel free to pass him my email and he can communicate with me directly.

          4. I suspect Sandy’s brain (if he has one) is set only on “send” and not “receive,” Nadav. You’d likely hear little from a private correspondence with him than you didn’t already read here on FFF. Sandy made his opinions quite clear. He’s 100% wrong, of course, but at least he’s not wishy-washy about it. 🙂

            Look, the whole point of crowd-funding is to help those who can’t afford to do everything themselves to create their dream projects. And there’s no requirement going in that a fan filmmaker must meet a certain minimum financial contribution themselves before asking others to help. For example, Vance Major just launched a GoFundMe for $1,100 to buy more uniforms and props for additional episodes of “The Constar Chronicles,” which haven’t even premiered yet. He’s had two previous crowd-funders for $500 each. In none of these cases has anyone asked Vance how much money he’s willing to put in himself…and that’s because we either know already that the answer is pretty much nothing (Vance ain’t exactly living in the top 1% bracket) or that we just don’t care…or both!

            When all is said and done, Nadav, Sandy’s purpose is not to torpedo all crowd-funding projects–even if that’s what it sounds like he’s doing with his comments about “hobbies.” He simply wants to torpedo my project. He knows I don’t personally have the money to afford to make “Interlude” as awesome as he fears it will be. So if he can somehow convince me NOT to crowd-fund it, or to convince others not to donate, then “Interlude” either won’t be made or won’t be as good as it might otherwise be. I doubt he’s fooling anyone, of course. His logic is so obviously flawed and overtly ridiculous that anyone not realizing what he’s really trying to do would have to be blind. Actually, even blind people would be able to see through Sandy.

            But in the end, “Interlude” has taken in nearly $11K in less than two months, and nothing Sandy says can change that. And considering that, since he made his first silly post on this subject, over $700 more has come in, it seems that the fan world continues to ignore his barely-disguised attempts at fan film sabotage.

        2. Sandy you’re a real douchebag dude. Like so many other people on here I’m going to tell you the same thing. If you’re not here to support what Jonathan is doing and support fan films (which unless the creator is independently wealthy requires crowd funding) why the hell are you here?

          Try being an adult for a change. Grow the hell up. You’re just a childish little troll am I have no patience for trolls nor should anyone else.

          Oh and Sandy you’re also a condescending dick because his name is Jonathan not Johnny as you insist on calling him. Again grow the hell up. You and your kind are exactly what’s wrong with all fandoms not just Star Trek.

          1. Well, Shane, I guess you get the last word, because Sandy’s comments on the matter are now going directly into the delete folder so as to stop wasting all of our time. He had his chance to be a grown-up and failed. Now he’s back in time-out.

  4. I would not spend time answering Sandy. Nothing you write would ever satisfy someone who lives to attack.

    I for one appreciated all the detail in the budget. It told me that you were being very careful to understand costs. And it was one of the factors that caused me to donate what I did.

    I have my fingers, arms, legs and eyes crossed that you’ll get enough donations to make the video.

    1. I have no doubts at this point that we’ll be able to make the video. As I type this, we’re only $3,095 away from a minimum (possibly $2,595). That’s eminently doable. The question simply becomes whether we can raise that in the next four weeks. If not, then we’ll have to delay our shooting date.

      As for responding to Sandy or any of the other detractors, I don’t really do that to change his mind. “You can’t fix stupid,” as my uncle used to say. I do it for the supporters out there to show who the bad guys are (they damn themselves with their own words) and why this project is so important to prove them wrong. I have a screen cap of a detractor saying that Interlude will never happen. He guarantees it. With that kind of arrogant negativity in the aether, it becomes even more important that Interlude happen in order to show other fan filmmakers that we fans can unite in a common goal to help our fellow fans create their dreams.

  5. Jonathan:

    You do amazing work and ADD to the Star Trek and fan film community in a very positive way. malignant personalities like Sandy add nothing and you waste your time tolerating that guy. About the only thing he has “created’ is a fake Facebook page about me.

    Stick to your guns and keep doing great things.

    1. I figure it this way, Alec: one day, we will all be dead: Sandy, you, me, Carlos, all of us embroiled in this dance of detraction. But for all of his dedication to impugning you and me, nothing Sandy has said or written will outlive him for very long. He adds nothing to the world and will be forgotten quickly by all but a very few. But Prelude to Axanar and the Vulcan Scene will be around long after every detractor is dust. So will Interlude. Fan films are creations of love and dedication, inspirations for other creators, and legacies to other fans. Sandy’s comments are legacies of hatred and pettiness. Carlos’ blogs will vanish when he does and the fees are no longer paid on All they have worked so hard and put so much time and vitriol into nurturing will die with them…while our creations will live on to touch thousands and even millions for decades to come.

      It’s a nice thought, isn’t it? 🙂

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