AXANAR completes its first shoot – WHY IT MATTERS…!

It's nothing to do with what we got today.  That's great.  It's the next piece...and the piece after that...until we finish the work.  And at that point, we can be judged on our finished piece of work.  That's how it works.  So we had a great time; we did some really great stuff.  The trick is to finish it, not to start it.

- PAUL JENKINS, Axanar Director

For the past almost-four years, I’ve been asked the same question over and over again: “Why do you stick with ALEC PETERS?” The reasons they give for me turning my back on him are numerous: he’s a con-man, he’s incompetent, he’s not a nice person, no one will work with him, he’ll stab you in the back, he’ll never make AXANAR, you’re wasting your time on this loser…the list goes on and on.

Earlier this summer, someone even offered me actual money to walk away from Alec (and pretty decent money at that!) in the form of an “investment” to help take Fan Film Factor to the next level. All I had to do was stop defending Alec Peters, make Interlude without him, and stop providing coverage of Axanar on my blog. It was a serious offer from someone with the funds to make good on it, and sincerely proffered. I refused. (And no, I won’t tell you who made the offer, so don’t ask.)

When you believe in something—a person, a thing, a dream—and someone else doesn’t, it’s hard to connect with them to convey just how important it is to you…how deeply you love it and are committed to it. It happens all the time with religion and politics…and with me, it happened with Star Trek, with fan films, and most deeply with Axanar.

I fell in love with Axanar, with the pocket universe within Star Trek that it created. It didn’t matter whether or not it was “canon”; it was canon to me. And I wanted to see more. CBS and Paramount almost took that away from me and from other Axanar supporters, but we never lost hope. We believed—we KNEW—this weekend would someday arrive. And now that it did, everything has changed.

It’s not simply that Alec Peters put $50K of his own money into making this past weekend’s 3-day shoot happen. Anyone with enough money can throw dollars at a fan film project…crowd-funded or not. But the bar for Alec Peters—whether fairly or unfairly—has always been set higher because he carries with him not only supporters with high hopes but also detractors with all of those criticisms I listed above.

But in the end, it’s hard to argue with what your eyes have seen and your ears have heard. And thanks to a battalion of folks with cameras and camera phones livestreaming all weekend, we have now seen the facts and the hard evidence that:

  • Alec Peters is NOT a con-man. Con-men take the money and run while Alec has stayed, persevering against all odds and even spending a quarter million dollars of his own money to make Axanar happen (with no guarantee there will even be additional crowd-funds available).
  • Alec Peters is NOT incompetent. This weekend happened because of everything he did, every plan he made, every person he brought on, and every commitment he kept.
  • Alec Peters IS a nice person (or at least can be) and people WILL work with him. We can all be grouches sometimes, but those 80 folks on the set this weekend were truly having the time of their lives, and everyone was loving working with Alec (more on that in a moment).
  • Alec Peters has never once stabbed me in the back and has, in fact, been a truly loyal and supportive friend…and vice-versa.
  • Alec Peters is indeed making Axanar!

And while I agree with Director PAUL JENKINS, whom I quoted at the top of this blog, that this is only the beginning and what matters is FINISHING Axanar, I must point out that today was still very significant because you can’t ever finish what you don’t start. Every minute of this weekend, every second of footage shot, every interview, every podcast and video update, every smile and laugh and cheer…that is all “money in the bank” now. No one can ever take away or erase what happened this weekend.

Now sure, the “go to” argument from the detractors this weekend has quickly switched from “Will he ever start it?” to “But can he FINISH it?” And hey, bring it on! Paul Jenkins is right there with you. But what’s changed is that those other old detractor claims that “no one will work with Alec Peters” or “he’s incompetent” are now patently disproven. Those buckets won’t ever carry water anymore. The videos I’ve posted over the last three days (including those below) don’t show stressed, miserable people laboring under a despotic ogre. The interviews that will appear on the Blu-Ray extras will show people as committed to the Axanar dream, as committed to Alec Peters, as I’ve been for the past five and a half years (I actually got on board in early 2014!).

Before I present the videos from Sunday’s final day of filming the first shoot of Axanar, I’d like to share with you something that Ares Studio volunteer REECE WATKINS wrote to me in a private messenger chat about the weekend and Alec…

Have you ever been part of a volunteer event over a weekend? School, Church, Scouts, anything like that? Where everyone starts out enthusiastic, but then the chaos starts, and some things go wrong, and by Sunday, even your good friends are getting on your nerves?

That didn’t happen here. Alec was busy as hell, but he never once lost his cool and unloaded on someone. And it was infectious. Sure, everyone was exhausted each night, but they showed right back up the next day with the same energy.

Alec deserves a lot more credit than he’s getting. I’ve been a Scoutmaster, and I’ve had those frazzled Sunday afternoons all too often. It takes real strength of character NOT to bite someone’s head off when they’ve packed the trailer wrong or thrown out equipment and kept trash.

My point is that most of the projects run by “One Big Guy” that I’ve followed in the past had a cranky tyrant at the top, and once you met them face-to-face, the illusion was shattered. Alec isn’t like that. Sure he’s stubborn and opinionated, but he doesn’t ever treat people like shit that don’t deserve it. That’s leadership, and it’s all too rare in this world.

Now you’d expect the longtime fans to sing his praises and overlook any abuse, but it was also the new people and the non-Trekkies that had nothing but good things to say about the whole shoot. They had zero incentive to kiss Alec’s ass. But on every single interview Keith M. Sedor did with the actors, crew, or volunteers, the praise was unanimous.

I think this is a big part of the message that needs to go out to the fans. Axanar is very much alive, and yes, it’s taken a while for all the right people, places, and other pieces to fall into place, but the magic is still there. Just like it was before the lawsuit—if not better. And yes, I’d tell you guys if things had tanked this weekend. They didn’t. Not even close.

I really wish you all had been there to experience it. Trust me, when you see the first footage come through, you’ll instantly know you backed the right side for these past five years.

I know I backed the right side, Reece—and the right person. And now, let’s take a look at the videos from Day Three…

And of course, here’s the three livestreams of the day. The first is compliments of JP POOL of Egotastic Funtime…

And another from JP…

And finally, doing a great interview with the actor playing Captain Robert April along with answering a slew of viewer comments, is super Axafan TREY McELWAIN. Play us out, Trey…

38 thoughts on “AXANAR completes its first shoot – WHY IT MATTERS…!”

  1. As a donor I’m glad that Alec is finally getting around to accomplishing something. However, you’ve set up a number of straw man arguments that I don’t think reflect the prevailing sentiments about Alec among his critics. Or, you’re simply wrong.

    I’ve never said Alec was a con man. He wanted to make a Star Trek movie. Unfortunately, he confused making a fan film with a career and opening a film studio.

    He is incompetent. It took him 2.5 years since the settlement to pull together filming for 30 minutes of film. He pretty much accomplished nothing during the time OWC was sponsoring the studio. Also, as a “lawyer” Alec has a habit of misjudging his adversaries, getting legal concepts wrong, and generally embarrassing himself.

    Shawn can provide the list of the many people who will never work with Alec again, as he has many times. Good on Alec that he was able to assemble a new team who could look past his history. He’s a good salesmen as long as he stays off social media. Kind of like Trump.

    Most importantly, accomplishing what he did this weekend does not change what he did. He took donor money and mismanaged and scope-creeped it into oblivion. He’s never apologized for that. He’s never taken responsibility for it. Until he does, he’s going to have a hard time redeeming himself.

    1. “I’ve never said Alec was a con man.”

      And I never said, “Chris Condon said Alec is a con man.” But many others did, both here on this blog site in comments and elsewhere.

      Look, Chris, these are the same old arguments that have not only beaten the horse dead but have effectively atomized it. I won’t waste time going tit for tat for the umpteemth time on all of the Axamonitor nonsense. Want to know what I think? Read the last three and a half years of my blog responses to these same accusations and you will also see discussion of many delays that, from my point of view, were not Alec’s fault.

      Alec could have just walked away and given up. He didn’t. And I’m just one of many, many donors and supporters who are glad he persevered to keep the dream alive.

  2. Nice to see your Axanar coverage. Every once in a great while I check out Trek fan films, and I was knocked out by Prelude back in the day. Later when I saw the lawsuit I was disgusted. Then when I read that Axanar would go ahead, I posted about it on my blog. I was unprepared for the vitriolic response to my fannish enthusiasm. I eagerly look forward to seeing the final project some day. Soon, I hope.

  3. All I want to write is that I’m really happy at the progress on Axanar. I suspect that there’s something about the opposition that inspires everyone involved to take it to another level as an answer to the negativity. I’m looking forward to the result.

    1. While it’s certainly fun and satisfying to finally do the victory lap, the primary joy and determination comes from a love of Star Trek and dedication to making this great fan film a reality.

  4. All good things! I got my patches last week (I never even knew I was supposed to get them) Hopefully I’ll get the soundtracks and DVD of the final film if that’s in the offing.

    So you were busy, Jonathan. Fantastic. I stopped by FFF to see if anyone had reported Vic’s lawsuit being tossed by the judge in TX, but you were clearly busy over the weekend. No matter. The Axanar shoot takes priority.

    Well done, everyone! Sorry you had to leave LA to get it done, but them’s the breaks. Congrats!!

    1. I’m totally staying out of the Vic legal mess. It really has nothing to do with fan films beyond the fact that Vic once played Kirk in STC. And anyway, there’s enough reporting on that elsewhere.

  5. Fantastic! I wish I could have been there. I look forward to a happy ending to this long and tumultuous journey. I have to say WOW when I read that someone was willing to throw money at you to just abandon Axanar and Alec. To think that the money could have been used for something more positive in the Star Trek fandom, but instead people, or corporations, are just desperate to have their “win”. Boggles the mind.

  6. Well I’m truly gobsmacked Jonny. Someone offered you a ton of money for your work on this site and all you had to do was walk away from Peters? Especially when just two months ago said in a comment on one of your posts that you barely had enough money to pay the bills??? So either you’re not being truthful or you’ve put your loyalty to a friend and fan film over yourself, your wife, and your child’s financial well being. I’m actually properly shocked.

    1. Don’t be shocked. I weighed the pros and cons. Personally, I don’t feel that Fan Film Factor has a strong enough business model to support a stable, significant stream of revenue for me…even were I to start covering all genres of fan films and bring on a larger “staff” of freelance writers (where the investment was intended to go). There’s just not enough people out there interested in fan films, and I doubt I’ll change the world all that much with a single blog site (or even a fleet of them). Right now, I make less than a dollar a day in ad revenue on average. If this person’s investment had increased that commission tenfold, I’d be only at $10/day. Fiftyfold and I’d be at $50/day. And honestly, I doubt that the money being invested would have upped my revenue by even tenfold. Is ten bucks a day worth betraying a friend? My loyalty doesn’t come that cheaply. Does yours?

      1. I guess you could expand into independent film making to broaden your possible viewership, but then you would not only seriously dilute your platform but then you would be competing the some of the larger news sites.

        I understand why you passed on the offer though; money can buy many things, especially when it comes to home life stability, but if you need to risk loosing a friend over it is it really worth it?

      2. Maybe your revenue would only increase marginally but it could open more opportunities. Either way family should always come first and that potential £300 a month could be the difference between paying your bills or not.

        My loyalty does not come cheaply, but my family comes before anything else. I’m still shocked that yours doesn’t.

  7. Ive been following along with some of JP’s content over the weekend and it looked like it was a very busy, productive and fun one!

    That picture of the Ares Bridge crew, is the character stood to the Captains left meant to be the same race of the President in TUC?

    Speaking of the Bridge, that set finally finished is seriously stunning! If I ever found myself in Georgia I’d love to take a peak behind that curtain.

    1. If you’re ever going to be in Georgia, give Alec a call beforehand. If you’re an Axanar backer, he’d probably be happy to show you what your donor funds paid for. And yes, that fellow on the Ares bridge is an Efrosian, a race first seen at the helm of the USS Saratoga at the beginning of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and a different member of that race was, indeed, the Federation president in Star Trek VI. Pretty cool, huh?

      1. Unfortunately no not a backer, I had been on the verge before the CBS legal situation but since then there really hasn’t been the money for Crowd Funding projects (had to pass on some really interesting projects). One of the few which got through my shields was for a Charity Ghostbusters convention being held next year in Scotland.

        Being from the UK makes being anywhere near Georgia a fairly remote possibility too.

        Just a Trek fan who loves set design and chatting with other fans. I used to do alot more liking / sharing etc etc to do my part in helping things I’m interested in… Unfortunately as you are aware the fandoms been rather toxic the last couple of years over different topics which put a bit of a downer on proceedings.

        The bugs come back though with completing a run through of TNG and now alternating DS9 and Voyager.

        That aside though I have said many a time that if I ever bumped into Alec in a pub I’d buy him a pint (or whatever his tipple is) and talk Trek.

        Yeh thats really cool, I’ve wanted some of those background seen once or twice races to appear again.

  8. You may or may not respond to this but, as I read your blog, it concerns me greatly that last night I was watching a video on YouTube that informed of CBS suing Alex and AXANAR…again!

    Any truth to this or just CBS-based rumors? Either way, it may be something to follow up on.

      1. Good to know!

        So, the lesson for today is, don’t believe everything that’s posted on YouTube! I guess I won’t use those lottery numbers that they suggested, after all.

        1. Yeah, definitely don’t believe everything that’s posted on YouTube. Doomcock just said that I’m a professional actor and am appearing in Axanar! That was the first I heard of either. No, I’m not a professional actor, and unless Alec can dress me up as a Tellarite in a background scene on location here in L.A., you won’t see me in Axanar. Heck, you won’t even see me in Interlude (although you might hear me). 🙂

  9. I must admit to being doubtful Alec would get this far at times, but only because certain people and a particular company seemed determined to make it as difficult as possible. Shows just how much Alec loves ST and wants to tell this story.

  10. Chris Condon makes some very valid points. Points that I totally concur with 110 percent. Something that both Shawn O’Halloran and Carlos Pendraza have justifiably pointed out.

    This entire Axanar fiasco has proved – literally and certainly – the absurdity of out of control fandom and toxic fan politics.

    Another sign that Star Trek has run its course.

    1. Yep, Star Trek has totally run it’s course, BT. In fact, I heard that CBS was shutting down production of Discovery, canceling the upcoming season of Picard before airing any episodes, firing all of the animators on Lower Decks, and throwing all of the unaired Short Treks into the dumpster. Jonathan Frakes has been booted to the sidewalk, Creation’s license was pulled along with every other Star Trek licensee, all unsold Star Trek novels will be promptly burned or pulped, and everything shown last weekend at New York Comic Con was quickly denied by CBS as ever having happened. In fact, no one in Starfleet is allowed to mention the new trailers OR Michael Burnham an the USS Discovery.

      One hundred percent run its course. RIP Star Trek.


  11. Well, having been part of an amazing team at the shoot, having been a part of the live stream team, and being part of the BTS (behind the scenes) crew. I have to say that I have always suspected that the detractors were off point. My time at the studio has only bolstered my belief. Chris and Blue Thunder… guys, I honestly do not know what to say to you to convince you so I won’t. To others who really are not sure. I saw a man who loves his craft. I raised my voice more than once in the middle of my duties, but I did not see Alec do that once. We all left blood and sweat on that soundstage and in the makeshift BTS studio next door as well. I invested a fair chunk of my own money to be a part of this, and I did so with full knowledge of what was expected. So all of the naysayers out there are trying to burn a stone structure to the ground. I was and am proud of what we accomplished, and (especially now) am all in.

    1. Alec has raised $10.5K in less than a week from private donations. So it seems the detractors’ detractions are falling on deaf ears…if anyone is even bothering to listen.

      1. My only problem with Sandy Greenbergs point of view(and I do understand it in a Purely financial way) is how much value do you put on a friendship? I mean if someone offered me a “LARGE sum of money” to never hang out with Someone, or a group of friends, I would be remiss in NOT considering the offer. But I would have to weigh the offer, against my own understanding of my personal reputation and character and what the impact on that would be.

        Since I trust so few people and when I call someone “my friend” it means something, I would probably turn down the offer as well.

  12. We have plenty official and fan “family portrait” graphics of former Star Trek starship captains (Kirk, TNG era Picard, Sisko, Janeway, Archer). Now I’m waiting for “family portraits” of present time Star Trek captains – Pike-Mount, Mercer-MacFarlane, Peters-Garth, old Picard, Georgiou-Yeoh and STO’s Shon.

      1. I’m not asking CBS, I’m asking these talented fan-artists like Thomas Raube or Sean Tourangeau, who – I’m certain – are regularly reading your blog ;).

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