My sincere apologies to VANCE MAJOR

I know a lot of people in the fan film community—friends, comrades-in-arms, friendly acquaintances, long-distance buddies—but few of them do I feel closer to than VANCE MAJOR. You might have heard of him…’cause I mention him a lot on this blog!

Last month, I posted an audio interview with Vance when he released 51 new episodes of THE CONSTAR CHRONICLES and 18 special editions of the MINARD saga of fan films. Earlier this month, I posted a blog promoting his new GoFundMe campaign for CONSTAR CONTINUES…which I hope you’ll consider donating to.

Over the coming weeks, I’ll be featuring audio interviews with two guys named Greg—GREG TEFT and GREG MITCHELL—both of whom worked on Constar with Vance in significant production roles. Vance requested that I interview them separately to give each fan filmmaker a chance to shine. And I’m happy to do it!

The reason is that I love Vance…I love him like a brother. In fact, he frequently calls me “brother”—although I think that’s just his word for “dude”—but “brother” just shows what a truly warm and loving heart he has for people.

I’ve literally lost sleep because of Vance—not because I worry about him but because he works an overnight shift and our calls frequently start after midnight my time (2am for him in Kansas) and can usually last an hour or even two! We’ve chatted about everything from fan films and fan filmmakers to Star Trek, superhero movies, politics, weather, triumphs, frustrations, and my favorite subject: our boys. Vance is a dad like me—and a damn awesome one!—and since my son is half a decade older than his, I can give him some “heads up” advice and also look back at those days gone by and silently envy Vance getting to live those wonderful moments himself.

Yesterday, I hurt Vance.

I didn’t mean to, but I did. When you write 3-to-5 blogs a week, it’s hard to never screw up even a little. But this went beyond a “little” screw up to something that upset Vance deeply.

I didn’t find out from him directly, although he did abruptly resign as an admin from the Fan Film Forum Facebook group and quickly left our admin Messenger group a few seconds later. I tried contacting Vance on Messenger myself asking what was wrong, but hours went by with no response.

I found out later when a mutual fan film friend contacted me that Vance was hurt by the blog I published Saturday promoting the Indiegogo for STARSHIP INTREPID‘s new episode “Echoes.” (Fee free to donate to that campaign, too, of course.) According to our mutual friend, Vance felt as though I had implied that he was a failure for having not yet reached his $1,175 goal yet (he’s only $490 away) while Intrepid is already at $1,074 after only a few days.

Obviously, I never meant to imply that Vance was failing at anything. I was simply trying to “piggyback” a mention of his campaign onto a post about Intrepid‘s campaign (two birds, one blog). I never imagined I’d be inadvertently hurting the feelings of my dear, dear friend.

So I am now apologizing in the most public way I can to let Vance and all the rest of you know how badly I feel about what I said and implied. Vance is the true beating heart of the Star Trek fan film community. He’s worked tirelessly to help people in that community, support them, befriend them, and invite even more new people into our “collective.” He brings his own perspective through his many, many, MANY fan films, and he stands as an inspiration to all of us that you don’t need five-figure budgets and a studio full of unpaid professionals to make a fan film. You just need a dream, desire, determination, and a camera phone.

I never intended to mock, deride, nor denigrate my friend, and I hope that by apologizing in the same very public way that I made my initial comment that I can demonstrate my earnest sincerity to him.

Vance, I am sorry. And I hope that you can see your way to understanding that I never meant to hurt your feelings nor say anything intentionally negative. You are my friend. I have been, and ever shall be, yours.

26 thoughts on “My sincere apologies to VANCE MAJOR”

  1. I was going to say something when I read it, but I knew you didn’t intend it to lean that way. I’m sure Mr. Major will see that as well.

  2. Well said. It’s easy to slip up – despite best intentions – when writing about things other people hold dear.

  3. Very nice apology Jonathan. Written word often lacks a context of voice and gestures. Often, folks can misinterpret what was in writing. Being so close, I have to say, Vance should have called you first, and I feel confident, you both could have laughed off your little blunder. I can see where Vance might have felt slighted, and depending on what’s going on in his life at the moment, could have over reacted. There’s always two sides to every interaction with people. I’m hopeful you two will work it out soon. Over the phone too!
    Good luck to you both!

  4. Jonathan,
    My view from outside is that I did not preceived any form of disrespect towards anyone in the previous article. It was clearly an attempt to explain the phenomenon of “waves” in crowdfunding.
    Using Vance’s campaign as an example was clearly a way to promote it. Seeing the half-full glass, I see you acted as a friend. Seeing the glass half-empty, the fact is that you actually promoted a campaign that can only benefit of that.
    Sometimes, there are misunderstanding, it is clearly the case here, I hope Vance will realise soon he should let you a chance to clear things out. It is too sad to lose a friend for… nothing !

    By the way, Jonathan, you can treat me like dirt if you can make peoples fund me a new roof for my house 😉

  5. Vance is a top shelf guy, and I think he will understand you meant no offense. Just give him time.
    The V-Man rocks.

    1. Vance has all the time he wants or needs. I’m here waiting.

      As the old saying goes, “If you love something, set it free. If it comes back to you, it’s yours. If it doesn’t, hunt it down and kill it.”

  6. Vance is quick to misunderstand the most benign of mistakes and blow them up to cataclysmic proportions. I know, because he did the same thing to me.

    Good luck getting back in touch with your friend.

  7. It was because of him and his courage that compelled me to begin my first Fan production. Hopefully by middle of summer, also he gave me great advice.

  8. Oh dear, sorry to hear that, I can see what you were saying and how it got taken. I see you using Constar as an example of what exists as normal for this time of year, but because you only used Constar as an example it detracted from that sense of normality which you intended and thus seemed like a criticism of Constar.

    Big hugs to all of you, I wish you peace and long life 🙂

  9. I read the previous blog. There was nothing in there to upset Vance. If he read something into it that wasn’t there, that’s his fault. Hopefully, he’ll rejoin the fold. I saw that you contributed to his last campaign. There comes a point when friends wonder why they’ve suddenly been ousted. The only thing you can do is hope he’s well, then continue on your way. It’s frustrating to try to imagine what Vance was thinking or feeling. Be healthy, be happy.

    1. I’ve been told that Vance was actually seething from something else I did recently (I wasn’t told what, unfortunately…or else I’d apologize for that, too). 🙂

      The only interaction we had when I said anything at all negative, it wasn’t even about him. He’d sent me a cool VFX shot to look at–and it was pretty cool–but there was a stray shadow of a distant starship on the hull of another approaching starship. It made it look like the two ships were next to each other rather than one approaching the other. So I pointed out the glitch but said it was a strong shot otherwise. It didn’t seem to be anything important…just an easily-correctible “oopsie” that could be fixed fairly quickly with a new render…certainly more easily than reshooting a scene with a cord in the doorway or bad sound.

      Anyway, I simply made the suggestion and didn’t think anything of it. I’ve given Vance feedback before on many occasions. He’s bounced story ideas off me, I’ve given him suggestions, too. Heck, I recently came up with this ultra-cool mirror universe plot that ended with the doorway between universes being closed (a la “The Alternative Factor”) and two mortal enemy characters trapped inside. It would be easy to film (just three flats and a rotating camera…like they did in 1967). But Vance ultimately decided not to go with the idea. Was I insulted? Of course not. I simply joked, “Oh, well…it would have been glorious.” And that was that. Still friends, no harm, no foul.

      And hey, I don’t get angry if people find typos in my blogs…or even factual errors. I just thank them and correct the mistake(s). So I really didn’t think anything of it when I pointed out the stray shadow, and Vance certainly didn’t say anything to me about it…and that was nearly a month ago. So I don’t know if that’s the other thing I did or not. It might not be. I don’t know if there’s a statute of limitations on telling a friend you’re pissed off at him, but I’d say after a couple of weeks of not saying anything, it’s unfair to expect that I’d know there was anything wrong. I’m certainly not telepathic.

      But honestly, that is the only other interaction I’ve had with Vance lately…other than him putting me in touch with his two Gregs (Greg Teft and Greg Mitchell) to set up interviews. And I’m pretty sure I didn’t say anything wrong in either of those 3-way Facebook chats.

      So I’m pretty much stumped if there’s something other than Saturday’s blog at play here. I really wish Vance would explain if he’s angry about something else and why. But I’ve done what I could here. I’ve apologized in the same public venue where the original offense happened. I ate some crow. I’ve extended an olive branch. And of course, I’ll continue my wholehearted support of Vance’s crowd-funding campaign. Not sure what else I can do at this point, so I’ll leave the next move to Vance. If he doesn’t make it, I’ll be sad. But I’ll never stop thinking of him as my friend.

      1. I don’t know any of you, but I just have to say this. Jonathan don’t carry on a conversation online, public, to all the other members of the group. This will cause more consternation than the original error. People (me for Ex:) would get really upset if you told the world about our misunderstanding and then went on to talk about other things that you or I considered hurtful. I hope this makes sense to you, I’m having a time saying what I want to say.

  10. Sometimes one just never knows how a mixture of a few words and headlines and text will get interpreted. When one writes, one has a certain purpose and mindset. Others reading what was written may see them in totally different ways. As an example…last fall the nearby big town daily paper sent a young reporter out into our rural area looking for public interest stories. He found a local mechanic who had been in business for over 30 years who was willing to reminisce about his years in the community. It was near the end of the day and the mechanic said something like, “Well, I need to close up and head home.” Well, it was a very nice write up that the young reporter did and the article was copied in our local weekly paper. Only thing is that everyone who read the article immediately assumed that the mechanic was retiring and closing his business. He started getting all these “congratulations on your retirement” calls and his suppliers looked at him in suprise, “Oh, you’re still open. I thought you’d closed up shop.” Now the article said NOTHING about the mechanic retiring or closing his business, but it cost him a lot of business. Two months later his volume was still down dramatically. So, people will read into the written word their own meanings and sometiems there are strange connotations that pop up and were not at all what we intended when writing them.

    Hopefully, this issue of unintended consequences will lead to some extra funds for Vance AND hopefully, he can find it in his heart to understand that any negative connotations in your words were definitely unintended. Good luck to you both. LLAP

    1. Amusing–albeit frustrating–story. I feel for the guy.

      There’s always a challenge when you write anything of being misunderstood. The more you write, the more it can happen. Did you know I’ve written 890 blogs in four years? Yeah, I was amazed, too (I just counted). Some are as short as 400 words, others go at high as 2,800 (any longer and I usually split into two parts). So that means I’ve written an average of 4.25 blogs a week averaging 1,600 words each! That’s 6,800 words a week for four years. So yeah, something’s gonna go wrong eventually! I’m just sorry it hurt a friend.

  11. I agree, everything you said about Vance is absolutely true.
    A good guy, all around.
    But Jonathan, while you may be responsible for what you say, you are not responsible for how anyone understands, interprets, or reacts to them.
    You did not rant about his flaws, you did not write anything intentionally hurtful.
    Maybe you could have chosen better words or a better way to phrase things but what is done, is done and you made the heartfelt gesture to apologize.

    IMHO, if someone is going to get butthurt over a minor misunderstanding and not have the courtesy to say something themselves, frak ’em.
    A simple, ‘hey man, what did you mean by this?’ should be all it takes to start clearing something like this up.

  12. Wow! It’s fun to look back like that and see what you’ve accomplished. Not to mention the love of Trek that you’ve shared and, hopefully, played a part in funding success of some of the many fan films you’ve shared info about. Not to mention that I sure wouldn’t have known about any of the wonderful videos out there that are available to watch otherwise. Your slog through the legal cases to share info with us was (as some of the kids say) totes amazeballs!

    So I for one want to sincerely thank you for all your efforts.

    1. You are truly welcome, Tory. I do appreciate the appreciation. The countless hours I put into this blog are spent mostly looking at a computer screen. It’s nice to know there’s someone on the other end who likes what I have to say. Thank you.

  13. my two cents- worth about that:
    if you’ve offended someone you care about, call them. Don’t blog about it and turn their hurt into your content. Certainly don’t drive eyeballs by speculating about how they feel or why.

    I’m not suggesting you are making a profit or anything like that. but this is your hobby, your space. Your apology now becomes about you, not about correcting a hurt.

    With respect, I also think your earlier comment about why Vance may or may not be ‘seething’ is unlikely to build faith or friendship. I wouldn’t be delighted about someone speculating on the internet about why I may or may not feel something.

    as I said, my two cents.

    1. Fair enough, Nadav. I’m not going to apologize for apologizing incorrectly, however. The fact is that Vance unfriended me on Facebook, which I took to be a “don’t bother to try calling” message, as well. Also, I knew from a past experience when another fan filmmaker had angered Vance and Vance had unfriended and blocked him that Vance did not welcome his multiple attempts to call. Perhaps I should have taken the chance anyway. Too late to fix that now.

      As for using the blog, I didn’t think I had any other choice. I wanted to tell Vance I was sorry. Being unfriended on Facebook, there was a chance I’d been blocked as well. But even if Vance were still able to read my posts, a public apology on Facebook is still as public as a blog. As for “making money” off of the blog, about 61 cents perhaps. My total take from yesterday was 75 cents, but some of that ad revenue comes from older blogs. Either way, I’m not getting rich off of apologizing. If I could, I’d apologize to at least one person a day!

      Anyway, it is what it is at this point. I’ve tried to fix things, perhaps I’ve made them worse, but I leave the next move to Vance.

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