How INTERLUDE’s Thousand Dollar Thursday became FIVE Thousand Dollar Thursday!

Wow.

Even in my wildest dreams, I didn’t expect this…although my friend MIKE BAWDEN predicted it the day before. “I really think you’ll be up five or six thousand dollars by the end of Thursday,” he said, “You might even come close to your $19,500 goal.”

And he was right. After a crazy day of more than 70 donations, 40 from brand new donors and another 30 donations from existing backers (plus the $1,200 each from both of my match-backers), we’d taken in more than $5,000 for our GoFundMe for INTERLUDE!

So how did this all happen? Was it just blind luck? Did everyone simply wait to donate on the same day? How did Thousand Dollar Thursday turn into FIVE Thousand Dollar Thursday?

I know that a number of my readers have held crowd-funders of your own—or are planning to. And when something works for one of us, there’s no reason not to share our “secrets.” After all, we fan filmmakers are in this together!

So this blog is a deep-dive for anyone who is interested in everything that happened “behind-the-scenes” to set up all the dominos that fell into place so perfectly yesterday. Sure, every campaign is unique, and not everything that I did will translate to other campaigns. But take from this whatever insights you think might help you out.

For everyone else, feel free to read this blog if you’re curious to find out everything that the duck was doing under the water while gliding smoothly over the surface. It was pretty wild! Otherwise, feel free to skip this one…

So…funny story to start this out. While I haven’t been paying much lip service to the detractors during this campaign, I did find it amusing when—as the donations were pouring in—one detractor tried to turn lemonade back into lemons with the following comment…

What followed, as you can probably imagine, were a series of snarky comments aimed at me and, of course, ALEC PETERS. (You can read the whole thread here.) But what surprised me was that some detractors were actually DEFENDING me! Can ya believe it??? And a well-earned appreciative tip of my hat to—of all people—CARLOS PEDRAZA for schooling MATTHEW MILLER a few comments later…

So thank you, Carlos, and to all of the other folks on Axamonitor who have ve stuck up for me and my project over the past two months.

As for Matt, welll…in his mind, I’m “outsourcing everything”—directing, acting, building sets, sewing costumes, doing lighting, supplying music or VFX…all of the things mean you’re doing something useful for the production. Of course, he’s forgetting one of the most important jobs: raising money so that all of those other things can happen!

Sure, you can always shoot your fan film on a shoestring budget. But if your dream is to make a high-quality fan film and you don’t have the money finance it all yourself (which I don’t), then setting up a successful crowd-funding campaign makes everything else possible.

I freely admit that, while I did write the Interlude script, I don’t have the skills to act or direct, do CGI or handle lighting, make-up, sound, music, and my editing skills are minimal, etc. But one thing I do know how to do (or was pretty confident that I could) was crowd-fund. Granted, I hadn’t actually done it before, but I’ve spoken to many people who have, watched carefully what’s worked and what hasn’t, and I felt ready to take a swing at it myself.

And here’s how I tackled Thousand Dollar Thursday…

TIMING

In a crowd-funding campaign, try to avoid weekends or any day that touches a weekend. In other words, Fridays-Mondays are bad. Tuesdays-Thursdays are good. Why? People go away on weekends and sometimes leave a day early or come back a day late. Sure, not everyone goes away every weekend, but the likelihood is that at least some of your audience is away from the Internet on the “bad” days…more than on the “good” days. If you’re doing a special promotion for your campaign, you want as many eyeballs home and with access to the Internet as possible.

So how did I decide on Thursday and not Tuesday or Wednesday? Nothing scientific…I just like alliteration. When my two big backers said they’d be comfortable capping their matching donations at $1,200, the phrase “Thousand Dollar Thursday” just popped into my head. Also, considering that I’d already set August 20 (a Tuesday) as my “point of no return” deadline, choosing a date five days prior allowed for a time cushion to build up to a big final push day (or even a do-over) just in case the promotion tanked.

Why not schedule it the previous Thursday instead of cutting it so close to the end? Well, first, the offer had only been made to me a few days prior to the previous Thursday, which wouldn’t give me a lot of time to promote it. And second, I would be flying back from Colorado to Los Angeles the previous Thursday (Aug 8), and this wasn’t the kind of promotion one leaves on “auto-pilot.” I needed to be on top of this thing for the entire day.

CROSS-PROMOTION

I can’t stress this enough: it’s not what you know but whom you know…and whom THEY know!

In the week leading up to Thousand Dollar Thursday, I reached out to dozens of my fellow fan filmmakers and asked if they could mention Interlude and the promotion on their Facebook feeds and, if possible, as a shout-out to their donor emailing lists. Folks like VANCE MAJOR (Minard/Constar), GARY DAVIS (Dreadnought Dominion), MARK NACARRATO (The Romulan War), GARY O’BRIEN (The Holy Core), CHRISTOPHER ANDREWS (Arianna’s Enterprise), ALEC PETERS (Axanar), LUKAS KENDALL (Sky Fighter), MARK EDWARD LEWIS (Blade of Honor), AARON VANDERKLEY (Line of Duty), and a few others that I’m forgetting all agreed to help spread the word leading up to Thursday. Those without big followings—like Kenny Smith (First Frontier) and Mark Largent (Stalled Trek)—promised instead to at least donate. I thank all of them.

But my biggest thank you, however, goes to RYAN HUSK and MARC SCOTT ZICREE of Space Command. Ryan had already facilitated me getting a shout-out on a donor mailing update for Renegades/Cozmo’s early in the campaign. They have a HUGE mailing list of previous backers, and their shout-out brought in some nice donations and helped spread the word. (In fact, I’d likely have gotten a second shout-out from them for Thousand Dollar Thursday had this not also been the week that the crowd-funded series Cozmo’s is launching a new $100K Kickstarter for episode 2.

But the biggest fish in the pond was Marc Zicree. His mailing list of Space Command loyalists numbers in the the thousands! And while they’re not necessarily plugged into the Star Trek fan film community, they probably love Axanar (most fans do…even the detractors think Prelude is a solid fan film). And, of course, they’re predisposed to donate to crowd-funding campaigns. And they LOVE Marc Zicree (who doesn’t?) A positive shout-out from him spreads the word to a whole slew of folks who might not know about Interlude yet and would probably be likely to donate.

But Marc’s a busy guy! And getting to him, even with Ryan helping me out, took nearly two months. Sometimes I’d go for weeks without hearing from Ryan, only to get a sincere apology for not getting back to me as he’d been trying hard to get in touch with Marc to ask about the shout out. But I persisted in keeping myself on Ryan’s radar, and Ryan eventually delivered…and just in time!

The shout-out was an e-mail from Marc (whom I’ve interviewed multiple times, so he knows me) focused exclusively Interlude and the Thursday promotion. It went out to thousands of people around the world! Marc and Ryan timed the e-mail to post Wednesday night at 11:30pm Pacific Time, and my first donations came in just after midnight. I’m convinced that most of those first $600 worth of donations (and a portion of what came later) were new donors brought in by Marc’s e-mail.

EXISTING DONOR RELATIONS

So that took care of bringing in new donors. But don’t ever forget your existing backers. Just because someone donates in week one doesn’t mean they don’t have a little extra again by week five of the campaign. Granted, some folks really do struggle and don’t have enough for follow-up donations. So never assume and always be humble when asking.

Of course, if all you do is send your donors repeated requests for more money, they’re not gonna appreciate it. Donors aren’t ATMs. So you need to build relationships with them through your updates…and also through your thank you notes. Most crowd-funding sites let you send out individual e-mails to backers right after they donate. Personalize as much as possible. At the very least, check to see if someone is donating for a second or third time, and say “thanks again.” This takes a little extra organization, but you want to make each donor feel special and appreciated.

As for donor updates, I’ve posted 20 so far. Only three have asked for more money…and the third was for Thousand Dollar Thursday. In other words, don’t over play the “asking for money” card. Hopefully, there’s lots more about your project to talk about—the people involved, how it came to be, progress (if any), or even how encouraged and excited you feel about how things are going.

With crowd-funding campaigns, the best way to connect to your donors is to talk to them through updates. The more updates, the better the connection.

BUILDING EXCITEMENT

Another aspect of timing is the question of when to start promoting something like this. You don’t want to wait until the last minute, as some folks need time to save up their money. On the other hand, if you announce a promotion like this too soon, then you’ll have a “donation dead zone” while people hold back until the big day.

I decided to give the promotion a five-day lead-in…both through donor updates, on my blog, and via Facebook. But also, for the week prior, I wasn’t really pushing donations the way I had been. Yeah, that led to a general slowdown in donations, but I felt that was better than encouraging donations only to then “double-dip” the following week when the big promotion happened.

The “big reveal” campaign was pretty basic. One week prior, as soon as the previous Thursday turned to Friday (didn’t want anyone getting confused about which Thursday was Thousand Dollar Thursday), I began to “tease” things by sharing the name but not explaining what it was yet. That reveal came on Monday when I explained about the matching donations and everything being worth triple.

I also appeared on the video podcast Egotastic Funtime, and even though it was released on YouTube on Monday, I blogged about it on Wednesday—a convenient time to remind everyone about Thousand Dollar Thursday the next day. I also asked Alec Peters to give me a short segment at the beginning of Axanar Confidential’s Monday podcast to talk about Thursday’s promotion.

THE BIG DAY

And finally, Thursday arrived. I’d already created a Photoshop template that would let me quickly grab a screen cap of the latest total and move the USS Ares across the graphic from left to right as the daily total went from $0 to (hopefully) $1,200…

I intended to keep updating these graphics throughout the day on Facebook and here on Fan Film Factor. In the meantime, I checked in with all of my friends in the fan film community who’d offered to help with a friendly reminder of the link, an offer to assist them if they needed anything, and of course, a big thank you to each of them. Never take anyone for granted!

Before the day was even half over, I had a good news/bad news situation. The good news was that we’d hit our $1,200 matching maximum after barely 10 hours! The bad news is that the day still had 14 hours left, and my exciting “tote board” graphic was now irrelevant.

Or was it?

Now that we’d hit our $1,200 goal, why not expand the progress bar to show our final goal: $19.5K? I quickly re-engineered the “tote board” to show the day’s progress toward our final goal…

(By the way, my son Jayden suggested the checkered flag line at the end. I love that kid so much!)

Meanwhile, as I kept updating the “tote board” every few hours, I kept IMing and emailing my fan film friends and updating them, too. And of course, I thanked people who donated. With more than 70 total donations for the day, I spent much of my time thanking people personally, making sure I got their names right, and being certain to check for previous donations before writing “thanks” versus “thanks again” as part of the note.


In the end, all of that hard work in the days and weeks leading up to the promotion—and during Thousand Dollar Thursday itself—paid off incredibly well. We now have enough not only to shoot in November but also to put back in some of the stuff we were planning to take out had we only made it to our minimum $13.5K.

Naturally, August 20 is no longer our “point of no return,” since we’re now far past it ($17.5K as I type this). But I do intend to leave the campaign up through the end of October, just in case we do make it to our full $19.5K goal. There probably won’t be much more in the way of big pushes for donations, but I’ll still float the occasional reminder here and there.

In the meantime, it looks like the Interlude fan film is gonna happen, folks! Thanks again to everyone who donated, is still planning to donate, or has simply stuck by and supported us along the way.

39 thoughts on “How INTERLUDE’s Thousand Dollar Thursday became FIVE Thousand Dollar Thursday!”

  1. Jonathan, I loved Axanar, I loved the idea, and I loved the idea of another film in the same setting of the same story line (CBS: Hint) It is your project and you have been a Axanar supporter, so what was not to support? I support your idea and your desire to do something you obviously love a lot, and can do, and tie in a community of like minded people. Keep at it and make us proud!

    1. I’ll do my best…although at this point, I’m beginning to turn the reins of power over to my directors. My work here is nearly done. Their work is just beginning! 🙂

  2. It’s always rewarding to see a fundraising effort come together like that.

    As a way of keeping people engaged, you should think about offering a single perk of some sort to the one person who pushes you over $19,500.

    That might be fun!

    Good luck, and I hope you do it!

  3. Congratulations on the big day and the greenlight to make Interlude, Jonathan! And don’t sweat the critics!

    1. I don’t sweat the critics, Mark, I just wish they could just let things happen without throwing so much negativity out into the universe. It’s hard enough to crowd-fund when everyone is rooting for you. But when there’s a whole group rooting against you, predicting failure, questioning where you’ll be spending your money (Alec get 500 bucks to rent the studio for two days…period), providing graphs each week showing you missing your goal, criticizing you for not funding the entire budget yourself, and the list goes on and on…

      In my mind, no fan filmmaker should have to go through any of that b.s. let alone all of it. Imagine if you had to deal with a peanut gallery like that. Or how about Gary O’Brien while he was making “The Holy Core” or Aaron Vanderkley while he was making “Line of Duty” or any of dozens of other fan filmmakers. It’d be just as inappropriate, right?

      Most of the time, I didn’t let it bug me. I always knew I’d get the last laugh one way or another. Their current efforts to shift focus over the past 24 hours have been particularly satisfying to watch, as has the squabbling between those who are still holding onto their resentment of me (like Matt) and those who are actually giving me some credit for having pulled this off. But in the end, they’re just a side show. Most of my time is spent with comments like these…

      I believe in the project.

      I believe in you and your vision. Can’t wait to see the film!

      Because Jonathan is a loyal friend but is still his own person and just wants to make a good fan film. And he will.

      I donated because Interlude is as great story that needs to be told. I donated because Axanar is the best Star Trek out there, in my opinion, and Interlude is part of that story Universe. I donated because Jonathan Lane is an honorable man who will deliver what he promises. I donated because I need more quality sci-fi!

      There are literally dozens of comments like that from donors. So I read them, soak them in, and every so often wander over to the Axamonitor FB and look at the latest biscuit photo. Life is good. 🙂

      1. Congrats Jonathan. I am happy for you, and I profoundly sympathize with what you went through emotionally vis-a-vis your detractors. In my own charitable giving crowd funding – now almost 18 months in age – Karen is handling everything on my family’s behalf. It is her personal details connected to the funding site, and I send my messages of heartfelt gratitude through her. It is difficult to make updates that are positive in a situation where returning home is the key, and staying put leads to dire medical consequences. Last week my daughter and I came down with Montezuma’s Revenge and this sent her to the hospital while I stayed home. I am not covered by Polish healthcare as is my daughter, who was born here. She was treated in hospital while I used medicine Karen sent us in a care package some time ago (Pedialyte), which I could read the instructions to and self-administer. I was down for 5 days straight and haven’t felt so dehydrated in recent memory. I find this sort of news difficult to share with backers. There was the time two summers ago when our small camping fridge fell apart, and we urgently needed a new fridge. But, again, crowdfunding to get home is not crowdfunding to maintain the status quo. I had to pass the hat around with people I know. Miraculously it fell into place. I had to do that again this past winter just for us to get by because we relied heavily on my wife’s elderly parents who ran a small grocery for food. They closed their business last July as taxes and a big Walmart-like food store (Carrefour) made continuing their mom’n pop business financially impossible. I shared my years long (15 to be exact) struggles to find work on social media. I thought I should do that since I was asking for a hand up. I had gone so far as to finally set up a kind-of chamber of commerce for international CEOs who, I imagined, I could shot fish in a barrel. I even worked with them on a board of directors. But, while everyone liked the organisation, no one wanted to hire or be a client. When that did not work, I knew I had reached the end. So I turned to my contacts in public relations with an initial crowd funding set up by a friend on another site and they all found a media embargo on stories not pertaining to the narrative for crowdfunding, which was and continues to be about refugees. [Note I am not the pot calling the kettle black but merely reporting the actual fact.] But that, too, did not make for a good update sound bite.

        And the detractors and trolls came out of the woodwork, something I did not expect at all when seeking help for my daughter. Even my supporters I recently found out have been targeted by these people.

        I am not a complainer but how can I tell the truth without sounding like I am complaining. Does everyone go through this sort of thing? I admit that crowdfunding is not in my wheelhouse but I have never heard anything but uplifting stories about crowdfunding success, or about scams. Scams promise something for the donor but never deliver – very unlike my appeal for charitable giving in structure, and a budget that is itemized explaining exactly where the money goes.

        I lack the mailing lists and contacts. I am just an ordinary guy who decided to find a wife and have a family, full of the cockiness of running a successful consultancy in a country where I did not speak the local language (Quebec, Canada – where I am from, even though I am English). I felt the worst case scenario would be I would teach English, but that did not pan out once Poland joined the EU and 22-year-old Brits were prioritized over Canadians like myself. Being “old” did not help either and the pay scale fell sharply while the cost of living adjusted to European standard.

        My daughter starts school in September 2020, and I pray she starts school in Canada where the culture is, well, less Communist. I can’t put it more succinct than that – don’t be surprised if the way someone is brought up affects their worldview I can say. Canada offers me a chance to once again engage with my local community, benefit from universal healthcare (my wife will have to wait then until she becomes a Canadian), and both my wife and I can work some form of jobs for at least minimum wage. (I’ve been unemployed for 19 years next year, and I have run out of ways to plug the holes in my resume https://www.linkedin.com/in/whipple/ so I reasonably expect to be welcoming people to Walmart – which is more than I can do here, and I would be grateful for the opportunity to stand on my own two feet again.

        I am at the end of my rope crowdfunding. I honestly never thought I would be in this situation. I cannot help but think you wrote this blog post for me. And I wish there were some advice I could take from your suggestions to fuel my own crowdfunding success. I have all the motivation to do so. But it goes back to the one lesson I have learnt in my time here and that is that all the effort can be applied, and applied well, but the result is not assured.

        I can attest that your gratitude towards the people who have supported you is 100% genuine because no matter what is being crowdfunded or the merits of the project funding is sought for, success is not a given. Congrats Jonathan. You’ve a reason to be proud.

        1. Unfortunately, Richard, your job is significantly harder than mine or any other fan filmmaker. All we have to do is figure out ways to get people excited and enthusiastic enough to donate. You have to share your misery and hope you get people depressed enough (and sympathetic enough) to want to help you…and that’s tough for anyone to do.

          If I had to give you some unsolicited advice, I’d suggest two things. First (and I realize this is totally hypocritical coming from long-winded ME), try to write less. Your life story is intriguing, but it could be told much more succinctly. For example,

          “Many years ago, I came to Poland from Canada, worked, fell in love, got married, had a child, and life was good. Then things took a turn for the worse…much worse. I became ill and couldn’t work, and the Polish economy is now in a state where even a qualified English teacher like myself cannot find employment. My illness still requires medication and treatment, but as a non-Polish citizen, I am not entitled to medical care under their socialized program. Fortunately for my daughter, who suffers from an illness, as well, she is covered. But there are still costs involved. My wife must support all of us, but her job pays little. Her parents, who up until recently owned a grocery store, used to give us food. But they had to sell their business, making our daily struggle even harder.”

          Then my second recommendation is to switch into the positive and hopeful…

          “But there is hope for us. If we can emigrate back to Canada, my daughter and I will both receive free medical care, and I will be able to find work again. But the cost of such a move is significant. Some have asked why I don’t go back first on my own and send for my family later. The reason is that someone has to care for my daughter while my wife works. If I’m half a world away, there will be no one. So we all three of us have to travel to Canada together or not at all. The cost to emigrate for the three of us will be…”

          Then shift to talking about your daughter and what a wonderful little girl she is. Talk about your wife and how much you love her, how supportive she is and how hard she works. Share updates of your day-to day life—struggles, yes, but also the little triumphs. Get people to care about you and your family.

          And for God’s sake, man, get the hell off Twitter! I don’t care how deep or intellectual you think your 280 characters of wisdom are; they aren’t more important than your family. Let other people argue and complain and get the last word. Your tweets are what led to me getting blacklisted for trying to help you earlier this year. Delete all of your old tweets (no one reads them after a few days anyway), keep your head down, and let your crowd-funding campaign be your face to the world. If you ever feel the need to tweet, let it be about your adorable daughter and wonderful wife. Leave world politics alone for the time being. It’ll still be there waiting for you when you get to Canada. Know your priorities, Richard…and tweeting about global unrest in Europe and the Middle East is not a priority unless you work in the news media or a government’s state department.

          Anyway, that’s my unsolicited advice if you’re open to it. If not, please forgive my presumption. Either way, I do wish you and your family luck in trying to get to Canada.

          1. Jonathan I didn’t read Richard’s very lengthy discourse, but I did read your response. Although my details have been totally different to Richard’s I have been dealing with extreme medical issues for decades and permanently unable to work ─ not the same set of problems but an unbelievable succession where friends have likened me to Job. There are good periods, but this year has seen me housebound waiting on major surjeries blocked until another condition resolves. Enough background.

            I have gone through Richard’s way of dealing with the problems, writing at length hoping that if others understand my plight, allowances will be made and help given. That succeeds initially but, of course, eventually this turns people away.

            Richard, from experience, I can tell you that Jonathan has given you the best advice on a way foreward that can be given. Give it your deepest consideration. You may need to adapt aspects of what he said to suit your circumstances, but the main thrust is absolutely spot on.

            In my case, I am single and my small family is widely disperse, as are many of the close friends built up over the years. Also in my case I am actively Christian and that has been a great help ever since some years ago I needed to stop dwelling on the negatives and build on the positives. That inner change in me was essential and didn’t, at least obviously, have anything to do with my faith. I’m not trying to lead you to a religious path (for all I know, that may already be there), that’s just my case, and one of the things I’ve done among my many interests is enrol in an online certificate course in theology (trying to learn Hebrew, an option, at 78 is a bit of a challenge, but good brain stimulus).

            You have a lot going to provide the source(s) of positive stimulus, focus on that and all else that is positive. That is the path to lead you to the best possible future in dealing with and minimizing your problems. Read and absorb Jonathan’s very good advise.

          2. Wow, Brian, now I appreciate your donations to Interlude even more!

            As for Hebrew, that was enough of a pain to learn when I was 10-12. I can’t imagine tackling it at 78! Good luck when they take away the vowels on ya! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Dave. As for Matt, he’s a bitter man…at least as far as I’m concerned. You can see it in his decision to refer to me as “Lane.” There’s pretty much no other Jonathan involved in Axanar or even fan films (it’s why I go by Jonathan and not Jon). And of course, I never call him simply “Miller.” I call him him “Matt” or “Matthew” or I use his full name if it’s the first time in the blog that I mention him. I hold no bitterness toward him. I simply don’t appreciate the constant spray of negativity emanating from his keyboard. He should really be more positive about fan filmmakers…like I am! Instead, two fan filmmakers in particular (me and Alec) and anyone who chooses to work with us (like Josh and Victoria) feel his wrath. It’s not a good look for someone who is trying to grow (and crowd-fund) a blog and podcast service like Trekzone.

      But Matt just seems to need to find fault with the things that I do. So the best he can come up with is that I’m not directing or acting or doing anything useful for the production. As usual, the truth and Matt don’t get along well. And when even Carlos Pedraza himself has to point out that Matt’s wrong, well, yeah…that’s gotta hurt. But maybe this time “Miller” will finally get the message. (Yeah, I just called him by him last name on purpose.) 😉

      1. Funny thing is I remember another time when he became a pariah in that group. Wonder what he’ll do to suck up now.

  4. I can’t emphasize how important it is at least to me to not continually bug your donors. I have a number of worthy causes I donate to once a year. If they bug me too often, I get annoyed and may even stop donating because looking up the last time I donated is too much trouble given that I’m annoyed.

    So with Interlude, my first donation was what I planned to give period. So what changed my mind? Matching funds. When I read that there were two people willing to match donations, it sent a strong message to me that two people were willing to put a decent chunk of change where their “mouths were”.

    At that point I did not want to see money left on the table and felt I had to kick in a few more dollars as a show of support both to the project and two donation matchers.

    1. I love it when a plan comes together. 🙂

      But seriously, Jerry, thank you so much for your additional donation. I know that many of my backers aren’t exactly swimming around in pools filled with gold coins (who does that, anyway?), and so when they choose to donate a second, third, or even fourth time, it means the world to me and the team.

  5. Congratulations on all the work done and an early thank you from Interlude as I look forward to seeing the final result.
    I sincerely hope that this is only the first of several movies, it would be very interesting to see a version of the story “Why We Fight” on the screen…

    1. “Why We Fight” is more of a stage play, but I think it’d be a pretty easy fan film to shoot. The only problem is getting Kate Vernon to appear at the end as Sonya. I suppose we could re-cast that part, though.

      But let’s finish one fan film at a time, shall we? 😉

    2. Agreed. Both a short story and maybe a film in future re: “Why We Explore” also sound interesting to me.

      1. It’d be fun to do “Why We Explore,” but I’d need to heavily crowd-fund the make-up budget. Andorian, Vulcan, and Tellarite…oh, my! What’d be really cool would be if we could shoot on the Cozmo’s bar set that Atomic TV uses. That would save us having to find a real bar where we’d have limited time to shoot and higher cost to rent the place.

        But as I said…one fan film at a time! 🙂

  6. Jonathan, what can I say but CONGRATULATIONS! You have done well because people recognize your integrity as a key component in your devotion to all things “Trek”. Part of that integrity is in knowing where your skills are secure, and in knowing where you should engage others to carry you along to achieve your goal. Honestly, I won’t be surprised come October deadline, if you exceed the original $19.5k.

    As for detractors ─ they are a regrettable component of the human species (some of whom barely fit into that category of life-form). But they exist everywhere, not just in the Axanar universe. Look at items on YouTube that are laudable in absolutely every way, yet you will always see some thumbs-down numbers. I’m convinced there are people who just enjoy going through YouTube and randomly ticking thumbs-down. Of course, the word “Axanar” is more specific, evoking mindless rage in a small number of people, and I’m very happy to see your perspective on these anomalies.

    One side; in writing this present post you used the word, “alliteration”; few of those detractors are likely to understand words like this.

    1. Don’t call the detractors dumb or ignorant (or imply it), Bryan. Many of them seem to be pretty intelligent people who would certainly know a word like alliteration…or at least be able to quickly look it up if they didn’t.

      Their problem is simply one of obsession, and comfort in that obsession. They share a bond with each other based on something negative and hurtful. They don’t help anyone, they don’t create anything other than biscuit photos, but they reinforce each other’s skewed beliefs…beliefs that would, in a vacuum without such reinforcement, have evaporated away to nothingness years ago, In this way, the detractors themselves are the only reason the detractors exist. It has nothing to do with Alec or Axanar anymore. He’s just this mantra that the cult members all chant and repeat in unison. It’s the joy and belonging they feel from the cult itself that sustains them.

  7. Congrats on passing your “point luck”(old time Midway reference). I know Josh and Victoria will help you make the best fan film “interlude” can be.

    Really awesome show of support from the entire fan film community.

  8. Considering Matt tried his hand at fan films you’d think he’d be more sympathetic. Guess he’s still nursing his wounds from your debate.

    1. Possibly. In Matt’s case, he made a very basic, low-cost fan film. There were no sets and no costumes. His VFX were created by Samuel Cockings, whom I am told is very affordable for fan filmmakers. There was an assistant director and a make-up artist. But Matt wrote, directed, and (I think) edited the thing, and in his mind, that made him “involved”–which he most certainly was–in a way that I’m not. Although I wrote Interlude, I am not directing it, and I’m outsourcing (in his mind) just about every other job…and even making others pay for it. In Matt’s mind, I’m guessing, he sees me as a “freeloader” getting everyone else to make my fan film for me while I sit back and watch.

      Naturally, I see it another way…

      I’ve assembled a team of really enthusiastic, highly skilled people who all want to come together and make this fan film. In fact, one of things that’s exciting them all is the promise of being able to work with each other. But they can’t do anything unless there’s a certain amount of money available. Now there is. That was my job. Josh’s job is directing. Victoria will be doing casting, producing, and working with the actors. Lewis will be doing VFX. Kevin music. Mark sound-mixing. Dana blowing up the bridge. We don’t want Josh writing the music or Lewis blowing up the bridge any more than we want Kirk doing surgery or McCoy fixing the transporter. Everyone has their assigned task. Mine was bringing in money…which I’ve now done.

      I think Matt’s mistake in all of this is not understanding that there is more than one kind of fan film. His was totally a one-man show in terms of getting everything done. Sure, he had actors come in, Aaron Vanderkley helping out, and Sam doing his VFX, but Matthew was the force behind everything. And that’s fine. A number of fan films are primarily due to the efforts of a single show-runner, like Tommy Kraft or Matthew Blackburn, where one person is wearing many hats. But others are team efforts where a group works together toward a shared goal without much multitasking, and there’s less of a single show-runner and more of a facilitator who makes it possible for everyone else to shine. This includes folks like Alec Peters, Vic Mignogna, and Randy Landers.

      Unfortunately, Matt has translated his myopic view of fan film production into negativity directed at me…and that’s just not helpful to anyone.

  9. I seem to be getting linked to the wrong place, but…

    Sorry Jonathan, my last sentence wasn’t intended to be taken literally, just a throwaway pejorative barb. I do realize the validity of your reply ─ it’s a pity that in general, that group cannot appreciate the intelligence of your reply to me.

    In the wishful thinking department ─ if only a had a couple of thousand bucks (US) it would be yours instantly to be sure of getting to your original goal. Somehow, with people seeing the support you have received, I suspect, come October end, you could well get there. Colloquially speakin’, I’m rootin’ for ya.

    1. To be honest, even if we didn’t raise another penny (out latest donation was $75 about three hours ago), we’d be in very good shape. Our cost-cutting down to $13.5K required a LOT of sacrifices. So having access to an additional $4K (actually about $4.2K right now) is allowing us some wonderful flexibility in adding things back in. While an extra $2K would be wonderful, I’m truly grateful for what we have right now. Thanks for supporting us, Bryan.

  10. Hi Jonathan
    the haters pretend to be Borg, Resisting is futile!
    But I have a deep respect for those person as you who fight to the end without ever giving up!
    You know, the haters have also crossed the ocean and I’ve come to Italy, despising our work
    quality and more….. All haters just gives Angela and me more incentive. Thanks haters !!
    Compliment again Jonathan to you and to all the people like you who make the dream come true.

    1. At this point, not too much. We made a lot of hard choices to come down to $13.5K. So now that we’re at $17.7K (including money donated through Paypal), there’s a LOT more breathing room. Just about everything I really wanted NOT to have to cut is back in. Another $1.8K would be great, but it’s not a make-or-break at this point.

  11. Hi Jonathan,

    It would be really fun if you did a brief Cameo, like an Easter Egg. In Clive Cussler novels, he always appears as himself, in every Dirk Pitt story. I realize you’ve already written the script, but still?

    Anyways, it’s very exciting to see everything coming together! Best if luck.
    Looking forward to updates along the way.

    1. There’s really no place for me to appear anywhere, David. And frankly, I wouldn’t really add anything to the overall viewing experience. I have a good look for radio. 🙂

  12. Hello, Jonathan. Whilst I am truly grateful for your fulsome response to Richard, and similarly grateful for Bryan’s additions thereto, I feel there are a few points I’d like to make in order to balance the books, as it were. Since I am naturally inclined towards prolixity, I will try to temper that inclination here and keep things as brief as possible.

    Having come to know Richard, I feel he always writes very much from the heart, being that he is both a committed, and a truly passionate person. His depiction of his plight is very much a “cri de coeur,” if you will, and, as such, I think he has to write what he feels he has to, and no more or less.

    He’s not making a “pitch” as such, ie, pitching for something like seed money for a movie, but, instead, he is trying desperately to get help for his wife, his daughter, and himself. I feel that any attempt on his part to gloss over his situation, or to introduce brevity purely for its own sake, might well result in making his case seem weaker, rather than stronger, and perhaps do nothing for those reading it except to make them feel that he is being insincere, and, as such, that his “pitch” is therefore merely a scam.

    I, for one, assuming I came to Richard’s case with no prior knowledge whatsoever, would want as much information as I could get in order to come to a reasoned decision as to whether I would help him, or not.

    It’s hard to know how another person feels, and the faculty of empathy is over-rated in my mind, and so it’s not possible to comprehend how Richard feels deep inside himself. I do believe, however, that trying to put on a “positive spin” in such a situation is not calculated to succeed. I feel it would achieve the opposite result to that intended.

    I think that when we’re in the throes of something awful, like a serious illness, perhaps, then the idea of being positive, the hope that one will recover, is often hard to come by. We can only feel what we feel in the moment, and trust, and hope against hope (sometimes), that an improvement will occur in the fullness of time. Richard’s present life appears to be akin to a nightmare, although it is his reality every single waking hour of every single day.

    I can only admire what Richard has done so far in trying to keep body and soul together in the face of such overwhelming odds, and truly awful living conditions. I think that many people, myself included, might have taken the easy way out by now when faced with such circumstances, that is to say either saving themselves in some way, or simply checking out of this veil of tears.

    I think any discussion about Twitter is not relevant here. I shall attempt to explain why. To quote the oft-repeated maxim: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” This is attributed to Edmund Burke, although it’s perhaps more likely that John Stuart Mill said something like it first.

    Richard has, in my experience, never stood idly by and allowed hypocrisy to go without challenge. I don’t think it would be possible for him to do so, because it’s not in his character. He is always going to speak out against injustice, and shame The Devil. I have observed how he has remained calm and fearless, even in the face of some truly vile ad hominem attacks (some of which were obviously orchestrated by a person, or persons, who chose to remain unknown and in the background).

    I can remember one discussion where he simply used two words as his parting shot: “Be informed,” and this was directed at a person who was most obviously not informed in any significant respect about anything (and who probably did not wish to be). For his pains in trying to show people the dangers of erroneous thinking, Richard has been called everything from being a racist, a sexist, a denier of religion, and many more besides. The man I know is none of those things. He is a true thinker worth the name. It matters not to him who is right, but, rather, what is right.

    Was it actually Richard’s Tweets that led you, Jonathan, to be blacklisted? I am not contradicting you, but I feel it might have been the mindless hatred of those trolls, and other self-styled “Internet Keyboard Warriors” that really led to your being blacklisted. This is happening all the time on Social Media. Those who run Social Media websites appear not to care that such things go on, and so, through their inaction, they allow the mob mentality to flourish unchecked.

    Those of us who wish to shine some honest light on the debate about what is happening in this world are hounded off the Internet by a howling gang of irrational people whose only motivation is hatred of those with a differing point of view, and whose only weapons are personal insult and constant attack (which in some cases takes the form of cyber attack against a person’s computer, and Richard has endured his share of that). If we allow such people to rule the Internet, and it is happening, then I think we’re really headed into a very dark place indeed.

    Whilst I know that Richard’s greatest desire is to help his family, I feel that were he to merely “keep his head down,” and allow those drone-like beings with their hive mentality to rule Social Media with their lies and deceit, then he would feel like he was disowning a valuable part of himself. “This above all, to thine own self be true…” He could no more go against his nature and his convictions than he could rip out his own heart.

    To Bryan I would say that whilst I agree that something like learning a language is, indeed, good brain stimulus, it is not the universal panacea to all suffering. I know Bryan does not mean to infer that it is, so this isn’t a criticism of what he said. As far as brain stimulus goes, I know that Richard is presently researching a historical novel (and the comprehensive nature of his research material is very impressive). If that book ever reaches publication, and I hope dearly that it does, I have the feeling that it will be a great critical success.

    Okay, maybe it won’t top the best seller lists here, or in the UK, or whatever, but that is not Richard’s intention. What he is doing has more to do with the creation of a work of literature, something that will stand the test of time, more than anything else. My intuition tells me that his book will go on to be included in the reading list of college students who wish to study the written word (and fine examples thereof). In view of this, and in view of the scope, and depth of the research Richard is currently doing, I believe he has all the mental stimulus he needs.

    In closing, I hope that you will view these remarks in the spirit in which they are meant. I intended no criticism, or condemnation, either of you, Richard, or Bryan, and my intention here was merely to add to what has already been said, by way of creating a bigger picture than might otherwise have been depicted here

    1. Sorry for the delay in approving and responding to this comment, Keith. There was a lot to process, and I needed time to organize a proper and respectful answer.

      As I’m certain Richard is aware, there is such a thing in direct-response marketing as A/B testing. This is when you send out two (or more) versions of the same mailer and see if one gets a better response rate than the other(s). Obviously, if one is significantly more successful than the other(s), then you incorporate those elements–color, word choice, typeface, headline placement, imagery, communication style, etc.–into future mailings and try to avoid those that weren’t as effective. Perhaps you try subsequent A/B tests to see if you can repeat those results or if they were a fluke…and possibly see if you can refine what works and what doesn’t even further.

      So far, Richard has just done A-testing with no B variation to compare it to. And it obviously isn’t working. So why not try another approach? Forgive my bluntness, but the results can’t end up being too much worse than what’s already been tried. Sure, Richard has a lot of rationales for continuing to do it the way he has already been doing it–and you’ve explained those reasons well. Here’s the only reason I can think of to try something else, but it’s a pretty solid reason: Richard’s way simply isn’t working. And so there’s nothing to lose with putting a B-test version out there and seeing if results improve. If not, then feel free to tell me “I told you so.” I’m not proud. 😉

      As for Twitter, well, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen someone tweet, “Y’know, you’re absolutely right and I was wrong. You’ve convinced me to change my mind. Thank you.” So what Richard is doing arguing with those out there who believe differently than he does is, essentially, wasting his time. 280 characters is not going to convince anyone to give up their deeply held beliefs. And what he is doing with those who believes the same way he does is just telling them, “Yeah, I agree with you,” which is also a waste of time. Nothing significant changes in the world from Richard’s tweets. Not even Donald Trump’s tweets do much to change anyone’s minds…and he’s the president of the United States. Richard is just a poor Canadian living in a poor eastern European country. If Trump has no impact tweeting (except to crash the U.S. stock market!), then I doubt Richard is going to change the world anytime soon.

      But what Richard is accomplishing on Twitter is giving folks who bother to look up and find his tweets reasons to call him an anti-semite, whether or not that is a correct interpretation of his tweets, opinions, and statements. Richard can shake his fist in the air and declare himself unjustly accused of something untrue, but no one is left listening/reading at that point. He’s shouting at empty air because they’ve moved on. Meanwhile, the damage is done. Those tweets remain online for anyone to see, and in my case, for people to use against those (like me) who reach out to try to help this man and his family. What is so important about Twitter that Richard feels he needs to put tweeting his opinions and arguing in front of strangers above trying to help raise money for his family?

      You see, when it comes right down to it, that is the choice Richard is making. You can argue otherwise, but I’ve seen the deleterious effect of his controversial tweets personally and directly. I’m a victim of it. My efforts to help Richard were sabotaged by folks who found his tweets, reported them to Facebook, and got them to suspend my account for 24 hours for openly supporting hate-speech. And again, noting Richard says now to defend or explain himself matters. Facebook has moved on to a billion other users and crises and doesn’t care anymore. But now I, a supporter and ally of Richard’s, have been removed from the chess board…all because Richard feels the need to tweet.

      There are some interesting facts about Twitter that many people in the world don’t realize:
      1) Only 22% of Americans are on Twitter at all. The percentage is even lower in other countries.
      2) 80% of the Twitter content is created by 10% of its users.
      3) If you do the math(10% of the 22%), then at least here in America, this means that 2% of Americans (and an unknown number of Russians) create 80% of the content on Twitter.
      4) So Twitter is not representative of anything other than the 2% of the population that spends its whole day tweeting.

      Back to Richard. At least in my mind, the risk doesn’t come close to justifying the reward. What does he gain from tweeting? Fighting for the honor of the righteous and just? So what? He’s changed little or nothing. It’s all ego on Twitter: “I’m right, dammit, listen to me!” That’s pretty much what almost every tweet says if you distill it to its essence. In other words, Richard isn’t saying anything that tens of millions of other users aren’t saying, too…and most of them don’t care enough to see his tweets as anything particularly special. So Richard is sacrificing his reputation and the opportunity for potential help and support–and sabotaging his own crowd-funding campaign–to be a loud nobody on an Internet populated by other loud nobodies. And my evidence for this belief is what I experienced only a few months ago, something that happened to me because of my support for Richard and his campaign.

      I realize that it’s a hard truth I share. It’s said from a place of love and support, though. I see this all from a distance, and the value of that kind of perspective should not be discounted. Whatever Richard chooses to do or not do with what I’ve said, I still wish only the best for him and his family.

  13. To Jonathan, Keith and of course, Richard.
    First, this is an amazing reply, amazing for its wisdom, depth, understanding and above all, caring for Richard. I wouldn’t/couldn’t attempt to add anything to except for adding the reinforcement from my own experiences comparable in so many ways, although unique to my circumstances.
    Richard, I implore you to dwell deeply on these words. I can very honestly say that I fully understand the immense difficulty in accepting that the path you are on needs to be drastically changed and even totally abandoned. You need to steer away from focusing on and reiterating all the negatives (I’ve well and truly been there and done that), all the problems, all that troubles you, and focus on positives ─ no matter how grim things may seem, there are always positives to find.
    I mentioned some approaches that work for me, you Richard, will have your own solution possibilities to seek. (Keith the language reference was just an example of how I’m exploring positives. Many things I’ve done are in keeping with the mood of Jonathan’s advice, but I found it also stimulating to explore some new fields to bring freshness and vigor to the mind).
    Richard, I don’t know you, but I see a fellow human being who is suffering in a way very similar to what I’ve suffered , and over which, finally triumphed. So I’m reaching out in simple human love, hoping and praying my words of experience may also be of some small help.

    [Jonathan; if you think his would benefit from some changes, feel free. And if you think it better to delete entirely and leave well enough alone, don’t hesitate.]

    1. I don’t edit people’s comments, Bryan (unless there is a huge glaring typo in the middle of an important point…and even then, I hesitate). If Richard is in a place to listen, process, and truly absorb what we’ve said, great. But Twitter is an actual behavioral addiction (start down the rabbit hole of learning how with this article), and breaking the mind of this addiction is as difficult as stopping drinking if one is an alcoholic. It can be done, but it takes a lot of work and behavioral adjustment…and most Twitter users aren’t motivated in the least to do so. Maybe Richard can be the rare exception. Who knows?

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