AXANAR raises $15.7K in first ten days of private crowd-funding!

The big news in the fan film world a week and a half ago was, of course, the wildly successful first shooting weekend for AXANAR. If you haven’t already, you can take a look at the many, MANY online streamed videos of the exciting shoot here, here, and here.

A week later, the biggest news is how much ALEC PETERS has managed to raise in just ten days of private crowd-funding for the production of the two Axanar sequel fan films. As of the publication of this blog, that number stands at nearly $15,800!

And what’s most amazing about that total is that those donations are almost exclusively from existing donors…with no public marketing or advertising of the campaign thus far. (In contrast, my GoFundMe for INTERLUDE took six times that long to raise that amount.)

You might be wondering why Alec is trying to raise money AFTER the shoot rather than before it. The answer is simple. Alec paid for the first shoot entirely out of his own pocket…about $75,000, according to him. This brings the total money that Alec has personally put into funding Axanar over the last five years well over a quarter of a million dollars.

“While I don’t mind fronting money for the remaining production,” Alec told me, “and I’ve certainly been doing quite a lot of that, Axanar was never intended to be funded by just one person. And honestly, I no longer have anything left to put into this project…much as I’d love to.

“So now we have to go back to our existing donors as we return to our roots of being a crowd-funded fan film. And that means we need $70,000 right now to fund the costs for our first two shoots. That’ll cover some of the expenses I already paid, although not all. Considering that our second shoot is going to cost another $20,000, even when we reach the full goal amount, I’ll probably still be left having put about $25,000 of my own money into these first two shoots. I don’t mind that, but I simply can’t afford $70,000 or more.

“So that’s where our existing donors need to step up. And they’re already starting to—which is fantastic!”

The next question I had for Alec is one that many people are asking right now: is Alec actually allowed to crowd-fund Axanar anymore? What does his legal settlement with CBS and Paramount let him do and not do when it comes to fundraising? Does he have to abide by the $50,000 limit imposed by the guidelines, or does he get a special waiver to exceed that limit (just as Alec has a special exemption allowing him to use professional Star Trek veteran actors like J.G. HERTZELR and GARY GRAHAM)?

Alec answered my questions for this blog with a blog of his own that he just posted on the Axanar website. You can read it below…

While the settlement with CBS and Paramount is confidential and we cannot discuss the details of it, there have been enough wild rumors and conjectures that we think the studios would agree that it’s important to at least clarify some of the ground rules that were established for us.  We won’t go into specifics but instead just provide a general outline of what is and is not allowed in terms of crowd-funding the Axanar sequels.

Most important of all, yes, CBS and Paramount are allowing fans and supporters to make new donations to help fund the completion of Axanar.  However, any such donations must be raised privately and not publicly.  Now what does that mean?

Axanar Productions cannot publicly solicit donations on our main website, through our Facebook pages, on YouTube, in blog or podcast interviews, etc.  We cannot place online ads or make posts saying, “Go to this link to donate to Axanar.”  We cannot utilize public services such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or GoFundMe.  We can’t get a table at a convention and ask for donations.  We can’t even put a “DONATE NOW TO FUND AXANAR” button on the main page of our website.

And we have been extremely careful to follow all of these rules.  Even in my video updates during the first Axanar shoot, I was careful to explain that I was not allowed to give details publicly about the new crowd-funding campaign.  And with the exception of this one blog explaining the do’s and don’ts, we will not be posting anything further on the public website.

So what are we allowed to do?

We are allowed to privately crowd-fund by reaching out directly to those on our mailing list either via e-mail or snail mail or phone or even in person.  We already have an extensive mailing list with tens of thousands of names, and anyone is welcome to sign up for that list.  If you do, then you’ll receive regular updates, sneak peeks at exclusive video footage and trailers, access to special online gatherings, and yes, the opportunity to support us.

Thus the crowd-funding engine we use to collect donations is behind the Ares Digital firewall.  It is not publicly available and only donors and members of our mailing list can access it.  Our system uses Stripe, a major credit card processing system, and so we are not the ones collecting billing information.

And we sincerely hope that CBS and Paramount appreciate all of our efforts in regard to following the constraints of our settlement agreement with them.  We are truly grateful for the opportunity we have to not only crowd-fund the remaining two Axanar fan films but to crowd-fund over the limit listed in the general fan film guidelines.  We’re even off to a very solid start, and we are extremely excited by how much support the donors on our mailing list are showing us during this kickoff week.

The Axanar sequels are going to be even better than Prelude.  Already the the footage we shot last weekend is surpassing our expectations. We simply need to raise enough money from our backers to finish producing them, and we thank you all for helping make that happen!

And please log in to Ares Digital and update your information!

Alec Peters

So what happens now in terms of fundraising for the remaining four shoots?

Alec explained to me that the second shoot won’t happen until the current private fundraising total reaches $70,000 to cover the full cost of the first two shoots (not counting the $25,000 that Alec is covering personally). If that happens in a week, great…full steam ahead. If it takes a month or two, then the next shoot might be in January or February. And the same will be true of shoots three, four, and five. It all depends on the Axanar fans and donors.

Already, the private Axanar campaign is nearly a quarter of the way to fully funding the first two shoots…and all of this before Alec and his team begin releasing any footage or trailers. Once that happens, the hope is that enthusiasm explodes throughout the fan community and donations start flooding in through the Ares Digital private web area.

Many Axanar supporters, like me, have been patiently waiting for the opportunity to fund this project to completion. Now our chance has arrived. So please help spread the word (since Alec isn’t allowed to).

11 thoughts on “AXANAR raises $15.7K in first ten days of private crowd-funding!”

  1. I kicked in a few dollars being mindful that “the same will be true of shoots three, four, and five. ” In other words, I expect to be donating more for later shoots and presumably more than this time.

    I’m going to need a break from those in my political party coming to me with very large vacuum cleaners hoping to suck every spare penny from me for the 2020 campaign.

    I’ll no doubt be kicking in some money to ensure that those on the side of “truth, justice and the American way” win next year but I’ll reserve some cash for Axanar.

    1. I’m in the same boat, Jerry. I tossed in a small donation, but I need to save the pennies for Interlude. The contingency is evaporating before my very eyes, and if we go over budget, someone’s gonna have to cover the overage. As for political donations, those will come next year. I’m not supporting a bloody primary. Once there’s a sure candidate, I’ll pitch in.

      1. I think you’re good re: Interlude’s budget. There is a steady stream of additional support emerging and the total exceeds $20K. If an unexpected expense pops up, we backers as a group can probably cover it fairly easily. Holler if you need something, as the older relatives used to say. Enjoy the filming. I’m looking forward to this tale.

        1. I’m not sure I’m entirely comfortable with the concept of retroactively crowd-funding after the shoot, but I’ll keep the idea in mind. Thanks, CW.

    2. Jerry,
      I won’t presume to speak for Alec or anyone else on the production team, but I will say THANK YOU for your donation. Whether it is large or small, donations from fans like yourself, are what keep the Axanar alive.

      Yes, there will be fundraising for each shoot, however you are not under any obligation to feel you “have” to donate to every one of the shoots.

      Live Long and Prosper

  2. As a fan of the whole Axanar project I am worried about the high cost. We are talking about a project that has raised more money than any other in fan films that is just getting started and needs way more money to get to completion. Sure Alec has paid for a bit, but most Fan film creators eat all of the costs or at least the majority. Was there ever a cost breakdown of the money raised before? If so i missed it, but knowing how the money has been spent and where my money is going in the future would help me decide on donating. I remember watching the Prelude trailer at a Con in Houston with Alec and a handful of cast members, and it was amazing. I am just worried about this project, while also worried about the cost.

    1. I’ll let Alec chime in for this one, but I will say that there is a huge difference between the quality of a fan film like Vance Major would make with the money he finds in the cushions of his sofa and a professional-quality production like Axanar. Even Star Trek Continues spent upwards of $50,000 per episode (including salaries)…and that was after they had all the sets and costumes already constructed. And that doesn’t include private financing by Internet entrepreneur Steven Dengler, who put a large private investment into the STC fan series in exchange for being the security chief on the Enterprise (and a great character!).

      Another example of a high-end “fan film” (independent film from a fan using sci-fi celebrity actors) is Space Command. That one is over a million dollars in crow-funding for two hours of pilot. Star Trek: Renegades, with a run time of 90 minutes, raised nearly $900,000 from fan donations. So the Axanar budget of $1.2 million initially and now another $150K isn’t outside of the realm of the reasonable when viewed with the knowledge of how much it costs to make a film of this quality–whether Trek fan film or independent production. Even my own “small” fan film Interlude quickly reached a budget of $20K…and that’s WITH the CBS-restriction of not being allowed to pay anyone! Initially, Axanar Productions was paying most of their production team and cast, which also explains the million-dollar plus budget. Tobias Richter ain’t cheap! 🙂

      Sure, most fan filmmakers go with budgets in the thousands or, if they’re ambitious, the tens of thousands. And that’s fine. But they will inevitably reach a ceiling in what they can accomplish for that amount. Sure, folks like Gary O’Brien (“The Holy Core”/”Chance Encounter”), Aaron Vanderkley (“Line of Duty”/”The Fall of Starbase One”), and Joshua Irwin/Victoria Fox (“Ghost Ship”/”Avalon Lost”) can do an amazing job with relatively little. But Axanar is still operating at a higher level. It just is. Could Alec cut corners to try to take it down from that highest level to a level just below? Some could argue that he’s already doing that just by budgeting these two 15-minute episodes in the low six-figures instead of the high six-figures or even seven figures. Alec has knocked off a decimal place, but he’s not knocking off two decimal places. And I, for one, don’t feel he should have to.

    2. Yes there was a cost breakdown, and two law firms and two accountants reviewed and approved the financials. All the money was spent properly, and CBS then bankrupted Axanar.

      And I have put in over $250,000 into keeping Axanar alive. Pretty sure no other fan film producer has done anything near that.

      And yes, to finish the next two episodes will cost about $200,000, or about double what Prelude cost.


  3. I’m in for a modest amount… as I’m soon to be retired(!), I’ve gotta watch those pennies as I go to early-bird dinners and read my monthly copy of AARP The Magazine! ‍

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