First, here’s the link to submit your Star Trek fan film to the first annual Star Trek Fan Film SHOWRUNNER AWARDS (deadline to enter is May 31):
It’s funny how, over the past week and a half since I announced the first annual Star Trek Fan Film Showrunner Awards, several folks in the Axamonitor group have been up in arms (up in arms, I tells ya!) about this simple little fan film competition. This seemed pretty bizarre, since most of them have never even made a Star Trek fan film and won’t be competing.
At first, it appeared as though their issue was that the Showrunner Awards are charging a $10 entry fee (plus $1 per additional category like best director or best music). And thus I saw several posts like this…
Of course, submission fees are the industry standard. Just look on Film Freeway (where nearly all independent film festivals list their competitions), and you’ll see that submission fees range from $25 up to $100 per film. Even the recent fan film DIIRECTORS CHOICE Awards charged $10 per submission. Entry fees keep film competitions from being innundated with too many free entries.
When I pointed this out in one of the fan film Facebook groups, suddenly the issue “transformed” into from simply charging an entry fee to using those fees to help defray the ongoing annual hosting and site security costs for Fan Film Factor. The aforementioned JUSTIN BURTON suddenly switched to saying he was “fine” with the $10 fee itself, but not with what it would be used for…
And that’s when I realized: this is a complaint in search of a problem! (Imagine that!!!) I was actually tempted to reply, “Okay, so I won’t use the money raised for Fan Film Factor, and instead I’ll just go out and have a sushi dinner.” But I decided against it.
I probably don’t need to point out that fan filmmakers hold crowd-funders all the time looking for donations to help finance their “hobby.” And of course, I’ve covered hosting and security costs for Fan Film Factor mainly out of pocket for more than six years.
But hey, whether this blog site is a “hobby,” a pastime, a ridiculous time-suck, or a crazy obsession, Fan Film Factor serves our community in a very unique and important way. It honors and celebrates fan filmmakers and their creations, gives their projects extra exposure and web views, helps in their crowd-funding, and provides independent media coverage when these fan filmmakers opt to list themselves on IMDb.
Amusing, though, the negative nellies seemed to be even MORE incensed (if such a thing is possible) with the decision of our 12-member judging panel to open the competition to fan films released over MULTIPLE years—in the case of this first awards show, any fan film released from January 2017 through December 2021.
To me, this last complaint was the most ridiculous one of all. Aside from the obvious question: “And why does this bother you so much?” (again, the people kvetching aren’t the ones who’ll be competing), I actually think our 5-year submission window is one of the COOLEST things about the Showrunner Awards!
Over the years, I’ve watched the annual BJO AWARDS present honors to a parade of very deserving Star Trek fan films. Over that same period, I’ve also watched as a number of similarly deserving fan films did not win because they happened to be released in the same year as a “juggernaut” like PRELUDE TO AXANAR, RENEGADES, HORIZON, or the series finale of STAR TREK CONTINUES. Those were all FANtastic films, of course, but for fan films unlucky enough to come out the same year, it was wham-bam-thank-you-fan. And hey, that’s the way life is, right? With the Academy Awards, the Emmys, and other major awards shows, there are no “better luck next year” second chances. You lose, you lose.
Interestingly enough, however, this is NOT the case with most independent film festivals…!
As I began entering my fan film INTERLUDE into various cinematic award shows, I discovered that the vast majority of these festivals open entries to films released over a range of years, not just within a single year. For example, this year’s Venice Shorts Film Festival allows for submission of any independent film released in 2018 or later. And the Sci-Cine Sci-Fi & Fantasy Film Festival welcomes films released as far back as 2013 (almost ten years)!
“So if all of those other film festivals can do it, why not the Showrunner Awards?” And that’s exactly what I said to our panel. “That way, Star Trek fan films would get a second chance to win an award…or even a third or fourth chance, depending on the year of release.” Many of the judges on our panel had themselves encountered the one-and-done aspect of past years’ award shows for their own fan films, and loved the idea. Even GLEN L. WOLFE and DAN REYNOLDS, the fans behind the Directors Choice Awards—which only covered a single year of release—liked that the Showrunner Awards and the Directors Choice Awards would be different enough to justify fan filmmakers submitting to both competitions. Vive la différence (which is French for IDIC)!
The only thing left to decide was how far back to go. Three years? Four years? Five years? Anything longer seemed like too much, even though there were some excellent fan films released in 2016 (like Horizon, Starship Farragut: “The Crossing,” and two awesome Star Trek Continues episodes). But in the end, we decided to start with a five-year window and see what happens. Maybe five years is too much, and we’ll wind up with too many submissions. And if so, we can always make changes in year two and beyond, right?
Of course, opening things up to more years of submissions might make the competition even more challenging to win (although once a fan film wins in a category, it is no longer eligible to win in that category in future years). But like the Olympics, to increase the chances of winning something, the Showrunner Awards will be offering Admiral, Captain, and Commander level digital certificates…
In the meantime, though, I just can’t fathom how the Showrunner Awards are SO important that they merit the time and passion that the gallery of the peanuts is putting into criticisms and complaints. This is just a fun little fan film award competition, after all…not Russia invading Ukraine or Will Smith smacking Chris Rock at the Oscars. Just let it go, kids. There’s enough room in the sandbox for everybody. And again, you guys AREN’T the ones competing!
Going forward, I’ll be keeping the Showrunner blog updates minimal and will just post the link to the submission form weekly on social media as a friendly reminder. Oh, and speaking of which…
If anyone is curious, we’ve received a total of eight submissions so far, four from fan films released in 2021, two from 2020, one from 2019, and one from 2017. I’ve been told by a number of fan filmmakers out there that they’ll be filling out their entries in the next few weeks (Vance Major is planning to enter EIGHT of his films!) since the May 31 deadline is still nearly a month and a half away. But don’t wait too long, folks, because that is a hard deadline. After all, we need to give the judges enough time to WATCH all these wonderful fan films!