You can’t please all the Trekkies all the time.
I wrote that sentence at the beginning of yesterday’s blog featuring the new YouTube music video from GARY DAVIS of DREADNOUGHT DOMINION. In it, Gary featured a compilation of many of the viewer comments that have come in through social media over the past five years both praising and scorching their fan film efforts.
The video—set to the popular song “I Get Knocked Down, But I Get Up Again” (the actual title is “Tubthumping” by the band Chumbawamba)—reflects Gary and his team’s positive and “bring it on” attitude about their hobby. They know they aren’t the giants of fan films, but they’re having FUN…and that’s really all that matters.
After writing that blog yesterday, I began thinking about the fan reaction to the trailer I released last Wednesday for my own fan film INTERLUDE. Man, did that one light a match! And it all came from a fun and silly little idea I had to do an homage to the opening credits of one of my favorite sci-fi series from the mid-1970s, Space: 1999. If you haven’t seen the trailer yet, or you’d like to check it out again, here it is…
Actually, lots of people liked it. It’s had about 2.1K views so far on YouTube, with 85% of the reactions being thumbs up. Of the 15% that were thumbs down, the main complaint seemed to be my choice of music—likened by some to 70’s porn, and called by one Facebook poster “ear-raping” (whatever that means…although I’m guessing it’s not a good thing).
Others didn’t like the quick cuts, the over-use of the CGI shots, and one fellow thought I had too many clips of people spinning around in their chairs! ALEC PETERS said he liked the trailer but added that it’s not what he would have done. One of my oldest friends, ADAM “MOJO” LEBOWITZ, took time from his busy schedule to write on my Facebook post: “That’s the kind of trailer a fan makes after the movie came out. A mash up. It was cute and cool but I know nothing about your movie other than battle CGI.” Heck, even one of the members of my Interlude production team told me didn’t like the trailer. (Hey, at least he was honest.)
Such a fuss over a 1-minute trailer that I threw together in iMovie on a lark! Honestly, folks, I didn’t make the trailer for Alec or Mojo or for ear-raping guy. I made it for me…as a way to provide a sneak peek to supporters and friends and family members of what this fan film that they’ve been hearing about for a year was going to look like. It was fun to edit together, and I like the way it came out. Sure some people didn’t like it. So what? The world didn’t end (at least, not because of one Star Trek fan trailer).
But these past five days of reactions to the trailer got me thinking about what’s gonna happen when we release the full Interlude fan film on July 25. Do I expect people to criticize our passion, hard work, and dedication? Of course I do! Asking Star Trek fans to all universally praise something is like asking the sun not to rise or for all politicians to get along with each other.
Some fans will justify their criticism by saying, “Hey, I’m entitled to my opinion! If you don’t like my comment, then don’t read it (or don’t listen to it).” Of course, in the modern world of social media and podcasts, it’s really hard NOT to read or listen. After all, by completely avoiding Facebook and Twitter and YouTube and all of the rest, you miss the good along with the bad—and we certainly don’t want to miss the good, right?
So what’s the solution…?
While the folks at Dreadnought Dominion have chosen to sing their fight song—“I get knocked down, but I get up again!”—my fight song is a more laid back “you do you; I’ll do me” kind of ditty…
I realize that the famous Eagles song “Peaceful Easy Feeling,” written by Jack Tempchin, is technically about being okay with not finding love and instead living in the moment with no pressures or expectations. But the song speaks to so much more than just romantic connection. It’s a song about life itself and providing a simple path to dealing with adversity, criticism, uncertainty, and failure…
I got a peaceful, easy feelin’
And I know you won’t let me down.
‘Cause I’m already standin’
On the ground.
I didn’t set out to make Interlude because I wanted accolades. I didn’t need to go down in the history books as having been the producer of one of the greatest fan films ever seen by human eyes. Heck, Interlude could suck, everyone could tell me so (although I hope it won’t be that bad), and I’d still be “standin’ on the ground.”
And the reason is simple. My goal in producing a fan film was to produce a fan film. I wanted to have the experience…both as a fan who loves the universe of Star Trek and as a blogger who’s been writing about this quirky sub-sub-genre and the people in it for nearly half a decade now.
Interlude wasn’t only about the destination; it was about the journey getting there…the TREK, if you will. And it’s been such an incredible, eye-opening experience. It’s provided me with amazing first-hand insight into filmmaking that I couldn’t have gotten any other way…insight that is certain to make me a more effective blogger on this subject.
In fact, part of what I wanted to do in producing Interlude was to share this unique experience with my readers, every step of the way—from conception through crowd-funding and pre-production, then production, and finally post-production—aided by photos and videos, animations and audio files, and interviews and insights from the people who would be helping me make this dream a reality. I’ve assembled an awesome team of incredibly talented fans who have given their all to this project. What else could I ask for?
I’ve already been able to share so much with all of you through these many Interlude blogs, and there’s even more to come! So in that way, even if people aren’t impressed with the finished product, it’s still been a satisfying success in my eyes.
So that, my friends, is where my “peaceful, easy feeling” stems from, even if my dream project winds up getting torn to shreds on social media. I already had criticism when I released the comic book version of the Interlude story when some people complained that it’s ridiculous that both Federation starships spend the entire time running away from the Klingons without firing back a single shot. (By the way, folks, that’s because phasers and photon torpedoes are ineffective against the new D7 battlecruisers’ reinforced hulls and improved shielding—so full power of the fleeing vessels is being diverted to aft shields.)
I’m sure there will be even more criticism when Interlude is released in July. I’m already expecting the members of a certain Facebook group to mock ALEC PETERS’ acting (although I think some people will be pleasantly and unexpectedly impressed) or say that we should have done it this way or that way. Everyone is suddenly an expert when they criticize, right?
Bring it on, guys; it’s all good…
…’cause I’m already standing on the ground.