RANDY LANDERS tells me to no longer provide coverage of POTEMKIN PICTURES releases on FAN FILM FACTOR… (editorial)

The new year didn’t start off well for Star Trek fan films…or for me.

On the FAN FILM FORUM Facebook group, 2024 began with an early morning post (well, early for me waking up in Palm Desert, California) from RANDY LANDERS of POTEMKIN PICTURES. Over the past eight years, I’ve published a staggering 90-plus blogs on the numerous fan film releases from Potemkin‘s many, many creative groups. And I still wasn’t quite caught up! Their two most recent releases, “EMPYREAN” from STARSHIP CALIBORN and “HONOR AND TREACHERY” from SCOUTSHIP QAB’ELTH were both on deck for early 2024 coverage. In fact, Randy had just given me the names of the team members from Caliborn whom I should reach out to for the blog about “Empyrean.”

Randy’s post to the Fan Film Forum Facebook group started with him proudly announcing that Potemkin Pictures would NOT be crowd-funding in 2024. They had all of their expenses covered. Yay! A year ago, I had helped promote their previous campaign and even tossed in a few bucks myself. Granted, announcing that you’re not going to crowd-fund seemed, to me at least, like announcing that you’re not going to plant tomatoes in your garden this year. I mean, it’s good to know that you’re covered on tomatoes…is that the right reaction?

But then Randy also said something a little odd…and rather controversial, as it turned out. He suggested (somewhat forcefully and resentfully) that other fan productions shouldn’t crowd-fund either. In other words, “I’m not going to plant tomatoes in MY garden, so no one else should plant tomatoes in THEIR garden either!”

This was, to say the least, a bit shocking to some people. And not just people doing crowd-funding campaigns. As the day went on, folks from all over the fan community were IMing with variations of “WTF?” and suggesting/demanding that I remove Randy’s post from the Fan Film Forum Facebook page.

Meet the new year…same as the old year?

Randy Landers

Now, I kinda get where Randy is coming from. Kinda. With Christmas time having just ended, I’d seen countless commercials on television asking me to do everything from supporting Shriners Children’s Hospital to “symbolically” adopting an elephant, helping to fight world hunger, assisting kids around the world in getting their cleft palates surgically repaired…it seems like everyone wanted at least a little of my money. Add to this the various Indiegogos and GoFundMes for fan films, families in need, comic book writers trying to pay off their attorney bills, and it just seems like you can’t escape the cacophonous chorus of crowd-funding campaign cattle calls.

That said, as much as I’d love to tell Shriners Hospital and the World Wildlife Fund to kindly shut the heck up and stop barraging me with donation requests, such outbursts are generally frowned upon as being quite Grinch-like, thoughts best kept to oneself or shared privately around the dinner table.

And so I spent the next couple of hours responding to a small flood of messages (from around the world, no less!) from shocked and angry fan filmmakers. I realized that, If I didn’t calm things down quickly, Fan Film Forum was likely going to erupt into an online shouting match…which is fine for some Facebook groups, but the admins and I try hard to keep the drama, conflict, and negativity out of our specific group.

So I asked these people to please not engage in the thread and that I would handle it. And so I did…or at least I tried to. I suggested in a comment under Randy’s post that he might not want to poo-poo crowd-funders in general—especially having crowd-funded himself barely 11 months before—as it’s tough enough to generate donations in the current economic environment without someone lobbying against all fan film crowdfunding.

Unfortunately, while my public responses to Randy may have calmed others, Randy went to battle stations. We exchanged one round of heated comments, but then I reached out to him privately and apologized for not having gone private in the first place. Totally my bad. I told Randy about all of the messages I’d received, he told me how many people felt the same way he did about crowd-funding, and I told him I’d be willing to just agreed to disagree…

Crisis averted…or so I thought.

January 2 was a bad day for me for many reasons. I was driving back from my in-laws to our house (which is very deeply in the middle of a remodel at the moment). Indeed, the 10-day stay at our in-laws allowed most of the new flooring to be laid while our asthmatic son was able to avoid most of the sawdust. Unfortunately, however, the work wasn’t quite finished yet, and for the next day or two, I would have no Internet and no desk to set up my computer on.

But that wasn’t what made January 2 a bad day. As we were driving home, my brother called me from Boulder, Colorado needing to deal with a crisis involving our recently-widowed mother, her assisted living situation, and a somewhat obstinate insurance company. Most of the rest of my Tuesday was spent on the phone to two states beginning with the letter “C” (the other being Connecticut, where the insurance company is based).

So, between the driving, the family emergency, and having no home Internet or desk for my computer, I wasn’t monitoring social media pretty much at all on Tuesday. And as it turned out, the timing could not have been worse!

Sometime on Tuesday afternoon, ALEC PETERS (of AXANAR fame) decided to unload on Randy Landers’ post against crowd-funding. Apparently, it wasn’t pretty. I can’t tell you for certain because, before I could get home and set up the Internet, Randy had deleted his post and all comments associated with it. Indeed, I only found out about it because Randy sent me the following irate text later that evening…

Keep in mind that I had no idea that Alec had even posted anything. Most of the messages I’d received from people had come in the day before. And while Randy himself might not have noticed, my Axanar coverage has been minimal over the past three years, only blogging when there’s a major film shoot for the production (so only a total of THREE Axanar blogs since the end of 2020…really!). While I still support the project, my days of hyper-coverage of Axanar are long past. I expect to cover the long-awaited premiere of the sequels later on this year (fingers crossed on that), but no, Randy, Alec Peters is not my “boss.” You missed the memo.

Anyway, after receiving this angry text, I responded to Randy explaining that I had spent the day trying to make certain that my mother wasn’t kicked out of her assisted living facility less than a month after losing her husband of 58 years, and that I would deal with whatever Randy’s crisis was just as soon as my brother and I made sure that our mother wasn’t suddenly homeless. And yes, I might not have been quite as “customer service oriented” as I’d been the day before when I apologized to Randy and tried to smooth things over, but January 2 had taken a LOT out of me. (By the way, we did eventually get things worked out with the insurance company, and Mom still has a place to live, but it took a couple of days to fix the problem).

Randy, however, wasn’t exactly feeling patient. He responded immediately to my reply with the following…

As you can see from the bottom of the above phone screen cap, Randy then immediately unfriended and blocked me, and he left the Fan Film Forum Facebook group shortly thereafter. (But hey, at least he was sorry about my mom.)

Ironically, or perhaps unfortunately, if I’d had more bandwidth that night (both literally and figuratively), I might well have taken down Alec’s comment if it indeed violated our group rules of courtesy and no axe-grinding. But I’ll never know, as when the original post got deleted, all of the comments disappeared along with it, and no one screen-capped what Alec wrote.

Now, I’m obviously hurt that after 8 years, 90+ blogs, and what I thought was a decent friendship, Randy decided to kick me to the curb, not for something I said or did but for something someone else said that I wasn’t able to get to “in time”—despite explaining the reason for my lack of prompt action.

But I am also feeling very sad right now. It’s not a sadness for me personally, however. It’s for Randy’s team of actors and writers and directors and production crew. Y’see, it used to be that, whenever I’d cover a new Potemkin Pictures release, I’d get my information directly from Randy himself. But in recent years, Randy felt it was better to shine the spotlight on the various individual members of his creative groups…and I was fine with that. Indeed, most of those people were thrilled to be featured on Fan Film Factor with a blog interview that they could post to Facebook and share with their friends and family.

But now, it seems, that’s all over.

Obviously, there are more than enough new Star Trek fan films coming out that I’m not terribly worried about losing Potemkin coverage. But I am saddened for those Potemkin team members who won’t get their chance to to be recognized here on this blog.

That said, I’m not nearly as angry at Randy Landers as he seems to be at me. And I don’t typically hold grudges. Since I have no way of contacting Randy directly anymore, I can only hope he or some fan he works with will convey this message to him:

If not, though, I wanted my readers to know why new Potemkin Pictures releases were no longer being covered here in this blog. It wasn’t my choice.

52 thoughts on “RANDY LANDERS tells me to no longer provide coverage of POTEMKIN PICTURES releases on FAN FILM FACTOR… (editorial)”

    1. Thanks for asking, and yes, all is fine now. My brother and I, Mom’s doctor, and Mom’s assisted living facility were all able to tag-team the insurance company and create a situation where it was easier to just cover the cost of her care than to argue about it. It took a few days, but red alert is now condition green.

      1. I’m so thankful your beloved mother is okay. Thank you for caring for her and coming to her rescue! You’re a gentleman (one of the highest compliments I can give) … and your reasoned, patient, wise response to Mr. Landers merely underscores that fact.

        1. Thank you, Ivan. I have to give most of the credit, however, to my brother David, who lives in Boulder about 10 minutes away from Mom and takes care of most of her urgent needs. But this was a matter we both needed to deal with together, as we wanted numbers on our side with dealing with insurance.

  1. Calling Alec your “boss” kind of shows the company Randy may be keeping.
    Would also explain his sudden aversion to crowd funding.
    Hopefully he’ll come around eventually.

    1. Yeah, it was a pretty stupid thing to say. After all, my Axanar coverage for the past three years has been almost non-existent. Alec would never let that happen if he had any say in what I do.

  2. Randy likes to do ultra low budget films. I never have a problem with that. Our guidelines allow for a generous funding limit, so go for it if you want. Remember the original TOS had a very small budget (for TV) and you see what we got. It’s about creativity. People seem to want CGI over practical effects and that can add to the budget. When I did mine I bought standard already created graphics and saved a lot. Just have fun guys and gals, this is a special world we play in and most got along it our TOS world. Even the Klingons joined the federation. Q’Pla and LLAP

    1. Yeah, that was kinda the way everyone except Randy felt about it: crowd-fund if you want, don’t crowd-fund if you don’t want. Live and let live. The fact is that most crowd-funders these days have very small goals because fewer people are giving, and many are giving less. So a $40K crowd-funder like Farragut Forward or a $12K one like Avalon (which funded three fan films!) are a rarity these days. Neutral Zone Studios’ current GoFundMe has a $3500 goal, and they are 40% of the way there.

      People like Randy who don’t want to donate don’t need to donate. But not wanting to see Facebook posts asking for money isn’t a good enough reason to try to take away the punchbowl from everyone else. Sorry, that’s just too selfish…especially for someone who did, himself, crowd-fund less than a year ago.

  3. Well, Jonathan, I’m glad you managed to get things straightened out for your mother. And it’s unfortunate you find yourself in the middle, kinda, but, as the saying goes: “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”.
    John Lydgate

  4. It’s a shame this happened. With what’s going on in the world today, many are more on edge than ever but I’m glad about your even-tempered response to Randy.

    I know I’ve personally gone right to the edge and had to work myself out of flaming someone else so I know what it feels like. I know in my case it was a minor trigger that almost unleashed an avalanche. And I know that your approach reinforced my own work to deal with the emotional flood waters. So thanks for helping me reinforce my own attempts.

    1. You’re welcome, Jerry. I try to be a nice guy when I can. Most people do think of me that way, as it happens. Hopefully, the same is true for you!

  5. Wow.

    That’s pretty much all I’ve got, regarding this brouhaha of someone else’s making. Too bad Randy couldn’t see past the end of his own nose regarding this. Such a shame.

    Also, allow me to offer my most sincere condolences on your dad’s passing. My own father passed away in October, so I can definitely empathize.

    1. My thanks and my sympathies, as well, Doug. It’s hard to lose a parent, but I hope you had a good and long relationship with your dad as I did with mine.

      1. As well as one can expect to have with their parents, and thank you, sir. The “year of the firsts” (as one of my ex-bosses so eloquently put it) did start out rough…first Thanksgiving, first Christmas (and this one was especially tough, as my dad loved to play Santa for the entirety of December up to Christmas), first birthdays, etc. Thankfully, I still have my mom, too…and I have one of my brothers living with us to lend a hand. Assisted living will be our last option, as we want mom to live out her final years at home.

        1. Mom was living in a two-floor townhouse rental until this past September when my brother and I finally(!!!) convinced her that those stairs were way too dangerous for both her and my Alzheimer’s father to navigate day after they. So they moved into a one-story apartment a few months before my father’s passing. But even that apartment was problematic. The shower was a death trap for a woman with severe scmholeoisis, and without my father to help her get in and out, Mom was relegated to only showering when a home healthcare worker could visit. Add to that a single tall step leading into the building itself and the owners refusing to install a ramp, and Mom’s ability to leave her apartment even to get the mail or take a walk outside was severely curtailed. Assisted living has been a game-changer.

  6. “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”.

    Oh dear. I’d give a chance for some space and let heads cool. Who knows what factors came together to start this off? Maybe in a few weeks or months there will be some fresh perspective and things will begin to mend.

    In the meantime I’m sorry about your family troubles. I lost my dad a couple of years back so I can empathise. It changes a lot of family dynamics but, again, let time do its work.

    Chin up, mate.

  7. It’s rather obvious that a few things happened:

    HE decided to stop crowd funding and recommended that all other fan films do the same.

    Instead of being impartial and looking into the issue further you sided against him.

    You decided to blame him for what’s going on.

    You don’t see what Alec did as it’s rather obvious Alec came on your Facebook Group and after Randy deleted the post you decided “IF I had seen it I could have deleted the comment”…..

    What you didn’t do was block Alec because of one of two or more factors:

    1. You should have banned or blocked Alec permanently from your Facebook group (we both know that you would never dare do anything of that nature towards Alec because you fear him)

    2. YOU could have called Alec out and put him in check so everyone could see (you won’t do that because you fear him).

    Randy didn’t do anything wrong, All he did was give you a point of view that you can’t agree with for whatever reason.

    When will you realize it’s time where people start paying for their own hobbies instead of encouraging fan film makers to pre on fans for money?

    1. Close-minded people like Charles E. Baxter III tend to frustrate me, so I won’t bother responding directly to him. However, for anyone else reading, here are the protocols on Fan Film Forum for posts that violate our group rules:

      1) We first contact the poster with a warning and (if possible) an opportunity to adjust their post to remove whatever violated our rules. Otherwise, we will remove the post.

      2) If the person has shown a pattern of misbehavior, the warning will turn into a 24-muting period with the next violation.

      3) Further violations result in longer muting periods of 2 days, 4 days, and finally a full week.

      4) By the time a member has reached a week-long muting period, they are informed that this is their final warning and that their next transgression will result in a permanent ejection from the group. In extreme cases, we can jump over some of those steps and go immediately to ejection, but this has only happened 2 or 3 times in seven and a half years.

      Since neither I nor either of the admins had a chance to read what Alec wrote, we couldn’t determine whether or not he violated our rules with his comment. As such, we were not able to contact him with a specific warning, not knowing exactly what he had said. However, I did reach out to Alec a couple of days later to let him know that his post had upset Randy and to please try to remain civil within the group.

      On Monday, January 8, Alec posted this comment to the group. While certainly passionate, the majority of the post did not violate any of our rules…except for one sentence mentioning Matt Miller directly and calling him out on “his bullshit.” THAT absolutely violated our rules. And as is protocol, after Dave Heagney (an admin) turned off commenting temporarily and contacted me, and I messaged Alec. For anyone curious, this is a screen cap of our brief conversation:

      As Charles Baxter and everyone else can see, I have no “fear” of Alec (what an idiotic thing to say, by the way). Nor did Alec have any problem stripping the Matt Miller sentence from his post after being told it violated our rules. As for Alec going to “war,” he’s welcome to do whatever he wants in other Facebook groups and on his own website…but not on Fan Film Forum (or Factor).

      As for Randy sharing his point of view, yes he did. And I shared mine. And I suggested we agree to disagree. Charles obviously agrees with Randy. That’s fine. And if he wants to argue that fan filmmakers shouldn’t crowd-fund despite the Star Trek fan film guidelines allowing crowd-funding up to $50K, that’s fine. And like Alec, Charles can fight that war elsewhere…just not in my Facebook group or on my website. Allowing this specific comment here was his one “freebie.”

  8. Jonathan,

    First and foremost, I’m glad to hear that you were able to secure living arrangements for your mother. Before anything else, FAMILY FIRST.
    With that said, I must admit to being surprised by the situation you found yourself in. Ultimately, it wasn’t fair for Randy to put you in a position of having to be the referee on the Fan Film Forum after his proclamation that no one should crowd-fund. By making his statement, he forced you to choose sides in a situation that really didn’t require your support either way, and that was selfish of him. On top of that, I feel he owes you an apology, because while you were dealing with personal family issues, this situation was blowing up, but he acted like you needed to drop everything and come riding to the rescue IMMEDIATELY. People have lives outside of the Fan Film community, and for him to act the way he did toward you is, quite frankly, lacking in maturity and understanding. Also, as you pointed out, Alec Peters is NOT your boss and it is rude of Randy to believe this to be the case. Alec Peters is his own person, and he has no problem voicing his opinions. Whether is was wise of him to say what he did (which I don’t know either because I only became aware of this with your editorial), I don’t know, but his response obviously stirred up a wildfire that will only cause damage amidst the community as people are divided on the issue.
    My stance, as inconsequential as it may seem to the ‘giants’ of the community like Randy and Alec, is this: I don’t need Randy telling ME or anyone else what I should or should not do with my money. If I choose to respond to a crowd-funding request from one of the many Star Trek fan film creators, that’s my business and my responsibility to decide whether to support, not support, or even ignore their requests. Based on the little portions you show, it sounds like Randy is saying that a massive amount of the fanbase is crying out for crowd-funding to cease. That’s odd, since most fan films live or die via this form of support…unless they’re like Alec Peters, who was fortunate to have an Axanar supporter actually fund the remaining costs of the rest of the production to (finally) finish the Axanar series. Potemkin, Avalon, Ares Studios…IT DOESN’T MATTER! If I choose to support these fan film groups, that’s MY business, not Randy’s, and I certainly am not going to go crying to him or anyone else to make the big, mean fan film creators stop asking me for money. I’m a big boy (52 years old) and I can certainly decide whether to delete requests for support, or decide to send money to help out. For awhile, I was a willing Patreon supporter of Ares Studios and Axanar, until it became clear that Alec Peters had gained a supporter who agreed to fund the remainder of the Axanar production. That was why I supported him in the first place and with that finish line in sight and someone willing to fund the remainder of the cost, I decided that I needed to focus my personal funds more on my own family’s needs. See there! I made a big boy decision and I didn’t need Randy Landers telling me with to do, so there! Nyah!
    Fund or don’t fund, that’s MY decision to make, not Randy’s or Alec’s or anyone else’s. If Alec needed support, I would consider helping, but otherwise, he’s doing fine and the Axanar fan film will soon see completion. My part, in the form of a few thousand dollars over the last six or seven years, helped him along with the support of others. He didn’t twist my arm, and even if he had tried, it would have been MY decision to make. If there are people out there who are troubled by receiving requests to support fan film creators, maybe they should learn to hit the DELETE button in their email more often, and complain less. Perhaps that might have saved us the frustration of a pissing contest between Randy and Alec, while the rest of us were forced to deal with the golden showers.
    In the end, it’s about being mature and reasonable in the way we respond to situations. Randy had an opinion, but he chose to make HIS choice what should be best for EVERYONE, and that was not his call to make. The manner in which he voiced his opinion was guaranteed to cause a reaction, and given the likelihood that he named names (Avalon for example) means he stepped on toes, ensuring that their supporters and others would respond. Ultimately, Randy CAUSED this situation…he should be the better man and apologize for the damage he has caused, and the friendships he has cast aside through his ego.


    1. I don’t imagine that Randy will ever apologize to me, as that takes a lot of pride-swallowing. Randy is generally perceived by many (including me) as a nice guy, but he is also very VERY proud.

      Indeed, it’s been suggested to me that his opposition to crowd-funding stemmed from a place of pride for his many fan series, each of which takes place during the “lost years” of the movie-era (between TOS and TNG). That has been Randy’s “home turf” for more than a decade, and until recently, he mostly owned the time period with “bootstrap” funding and a lot of hard work and heart. But then John Broughton and Farragut Forward burst onto the scene, crowd-funded $30-40K, and suddenly all anyone can talk about is how Farragut Films is doing the most amazing movie-era Star Trek fan film ever. And not only are they posting photos and videos and updates that are making jaws drop, but each time they do so, they link to their still-active Indiegogo campaign (which, admittedly, is exactly how one needs to crowd-fund to get to or past $40K). So it’s been hypothesized that, rather than feeling resentful at seeing “all of these crowd-funding campaigns” posts on Facebook (there haven’t really been all that many lately), Randy is mainly incensed at seeing so many FARRAGUT crowd-funding campaign posts on Facebook.

      The person who shared this theory with me postulated that Randy might be feeling resentful that these “new kids on the block” are grabbing all the headlines with their meticulous costumes and incredible sets and uncanny make-up and top-level VFX. While Randy and his teams have been busting their asses since 2010, these guys swoop in grabbing all the glory…and all the money. Potemkin will never be able to compete with a movie-era fan production on Farragut’s quality level, and frankly, it’s frustrating to Randy that the playing field is now so uneven. So he’s trying to level that playing field by forcing all fan films to be made without crowd-funding just like his various series.

      Anyway, that’s the hypothesis as it was relayed to me. I have no way of confirming whether or not it’s true.

      That said, if it is true that Randy’s new no-crowd-funding obsession is based on a resentment of Farragut, I can only point out that this isn’t a competition. I mean, there are fan film award shows, but Potemkin releases did win previous Showrunner Awards, and Randy will likely continue to sweep the Matt Miller Awards, since no other fan film(s)/series seem to be eligible for his show anymore. But in the meantime, I was still happy to feature Potemkin releases with 100% respect and enthusiasm. And if Randy doesn’t want that coverage anymore–for whatever reason–so be it. Either way, Farragut Forward will be released, other productions will continue to crowd-fund, and Randy and his small group of howlers will still be out there, floating on their raft, yelling back to the shore that fans should fund their own hobbies.

  9. Lots of hyperemotional stuff going on. I’m not sure what the motivator behind any of this is, but I don’t think you (Jonathan Lane) did anything wrong.

    I don’t know that Randy was motivated to say what he said based on the idea that our money could be spent better elsewhere (e.g. charities). My guess is that he may believe that crowd funding got us to where we are now–the 15 minute, limited episode. By keeping the funding on the downlow, maybe he feels there’s a greater chance of Paramount letting fan projects continue to thrive. The problem is, there are very few fan projects that could launch without crowdfunding.

    People ‘blame’ Axanar for this, perhaps because it was the most successful at crowd funding, but I really believe that Paramount was going to limit fan films anyway. Sure, they were concerned that fan projects were fund raising on their intellectual property, but Paramount was also coming out with their own, new TV series and–given the advances in technology–fan made projects were achieving the sophistication and cinematic quality of ‘real’ TV. I think Alec may have felt that Randy’s comment was a jab at Axanar and took it personally. (For all we know, words may have been said behind the scenes.)

    Not much you can do but what you already have done–be as respectful as possible to Randy and Alec. Give them some time to work this out. Both players seem to be extremely passionate about their points of view.

    The rest of us enjoy the updates on Fan Film Factor and hope that you continue your posts. Not sure if Randy is aware, but most of us find out about new fan projects/releases through your reviews and interviews, so you do an incredible service to fan films by doing this blog, Potemkin included. Please keep up the good work!

    Regarding fan films and crowd funding, I personally think that Paramount owes a great debt to these projects for keeping the Star Trek flame alive through a period of drought. If they really wanted to ‘cash in’ Paramount should have supported the fan-made projects and–after vetting, of course–put them on Paramount+ as a fan anthology series and sold ad space. This could have been a win-win, but I guess big entertainment can’t seem to think outside the box…

    1. At some point, I plan to write a blog about why Paramount will never carry Star Trek fan films on their streaming service, but not today. However, while I’d love to see fan films given more exposure, I totally understand their reasons for not doing so.

      As for Randy’s reasons for wanting to shut down all fan film crowd-funding, while I don’t know for certain, I did share one fan filmmaker’s theory (not mine, I swear!) in my reply to the previous comment.

      1. I read your previous response. Interesting theory. You know the players better than most of us out here, so you are better at judging such things.

        Interestingly, I’ve always held story above production values for fan films. Whether you crowd fund $40,000 or $40, these are projects that express the fans love for ST, so most of us overlook the fact that the sets aren’t perfect, the costuming isn’t Bill-Theiss worthy, the acting isn’t 100%, and the SFX aren’t state of the art CGI.

        I guess Starship Exeter and New Voyages (both bridge sets initially made before crowd funding was a thing) set a new high bar for live sets and crowd funding upped the ante. Even so, I really do enjoy series like Potemkin and am always impressed when they really nail it. There is more spirit of Trek here than in some of the latest Paramount+ incarnations.

  10. “Since I have no way of contacting Randy directly anymore”

    Really – what happened to phone calls or email or an actual letter? There are still ways to “directly” contact the man and the company.

        1. Thanks for letting me know that, Nadav. Unfortunately, I’ve since read some of Randy’s posts on other Facebook groups, and it’s looking like he’s not coming back, even after having read my blog and my message to him saying I would love to cover Potemkin again. Maybe he will come around some day and read the majority of comments that have been posted here (there have been so many!). But right now, he appears to be in an echo chamber where Jonathan did no right and he did no wrong. And with so many voices casting so much shade in this direction, there’s little to no chance that an e-mail from me has a snowball’s chance of turning things around…certainly not right now with so much anger and vitriol being hurled in both directions at the moment.

          1. I hear that- but I would imagine that direct communication is more likely to be successful than a blog about him in the third person! Regardless of the merits of the claim, I think that you are more likely to get results- or resolution- talking TO people than ABOUT them.

            That, I think, is the great shame of the Axanar issue, too- with not even a middle ground in which to TALK, with each side having its own echo chamber, and bans aplenty (seemingly me amongst them) to shut up the ‘other side.’ It doesn’t lead to any productive exchange of ideas, or resolution of fact-claims either.
            Perhaps, if nothing else, Randy has screenshots of the messages…
            I hope that a door stays at least cracked open to talk, if not agree.

          2. I guess time will tell. Randy posted the following comment that leads me to believe that he is not only not coming back but that he is trying to convince himself and others that Alec Peters is somehow my “boss,” even though the screen cap of my text exchange with Alec (scroll up the comments on this page) demonstrably proves otherwise. When someone’s mind is ignoring actual facts and spewing nonsense in order to justify their personal anger and resentments, there’s not much that rational and civilized people like myself can do to fix their perceptions, let alone repair the situation. Read the following and tell me there’s still hope because I just don’t see it…

  11. First, I so glad to hear that your mom’s situations is now settled. Insurance companies appear to be very much against doing what their business is supposed to represent (yes, all businesses are in it for profit; but, if you say your business provides insurance under the conditions contracted for…) under the contract entered to with a client. Although thankful that you, your sibling and the doctor I’m extremely surprised. My best wishes to your mom going forward. That none of you have to go through this garbage with the insurance company for something else in the future.

    Now, onto the “controversy”…

    IMHO, it is hard to understand that someone would expect you, or any admin of any group, to hang over your groups and blog 24/7/365. Furthermore, to still have that view after providing (which you shouldn’t have had to do, nor should someone expect that you will do so) an explanation for why you weren’t hanging over the FB group or blog posts. I don’t know the level of action that your additional admins have (could they flag and inform you, or, could they completely remove/hide a comment to a post?). So, I cannot comment on what could or could not have happened while you–as anyone else in the same situation you found yourself in–unavailable.

    As to the exchange between Randy and Alec, I, like you, cannot really make an intelligent comment as I did not see this exchange. Therefore, what Randy may, or may not have meant regarding his commentary on crowd-funding, I cannot make a statement for or against. This is also true regarding what Alec did or didn’t post in reply. Nor can I comment on the level of “heat” that these comments came from or resulted in.

    As many have now said, it should be a decision by the fan film creator(s) whether to ask for support for their project(s). Similarly, it should be up to the individual whether they want to, and can, support the project, no matter who’s project that is. People support a project based on their own reasons; their own passion for the project and their own monetary situation. There may be individuals out there (myself included) that would support projects if the money was there to do so. Fiscal responsibility is up to the individual (unless you’re in a state of personal bankruptcy, where there is oversight of all spending by the trustee).

    Some have stated that perhaps Randy was really trying to say to people that they should re-direct the funds they are providing to projects to other concerns–be they deserving charities, or the payment of debt, or… That’s an opinion that I wouldn’t disparage; BUT, I wouldn’t be on my “high horse” telling people that that is what they have to do. Even supporting charities or paying down dept, etc., is a personal choice (save for the situation I previously mentioned regarding bankruptcy). If you want to voice that opinion, do so respectfully and without spite or demanding it be the case for all.

    It’s too bad that Randy has so emphatically taken the stance that he has. I wonder if it a failure to garner enough; or believe his projects wouldn’t; funds versus other projects and has struck out from frustration that he wouldn’t get donations that he would expect/need. That he the passion to continue to produce projects and on low budgets, that is something he should be proud of. Go ahead and shine a light on the fact that he has done his projects without large amounts of money, but don’t do so by casting vitriol on those projects that do work with crowd funded money.

    He has proverbially “cut hose nose off despite his face.” He, likely, has done damage to his projects as well to his reputation with some. That is not the situation he should have been seeking, and likely not one he was, but nonetheless that seems to be where he has landed himself–rightly or wrongly.

    The same can be said regarding Alec. Again, I do not know what passed between Alec and Randy, but it seems that those comments have not only added to the controversy, but put a unfavourable light on him personally. I understand that after so many personal attacks it should be expected that Alec vehemently defends himself, the project he leads and those that are his friends associated with the projects. Why is anyone surprised at this? Would they not do the same?

    However, and yet one more time I say I did not see what either individual said in their comments, I would hope that Alec wasn’t rude, or spiteful, in his reply. A vehement defence should be expected, a rude, spiteful or personal (by name) attack against an individual shouldn’t happen–Alec has experienced this and I would hope that he would not engage in personal attacks. Again, defence of himself, the project and his friends and family should be expected.

    I would hope that Randy and Alec adopt a more measured response. Statements that respectfully state their view on crowd funding, and why. Then, if necessary, a polite debate on their points, with an understanding that these are their opinions and that the reader should be allowed to make their own determination on which opinion they adhere to. I would also suggest that they do so in a manner that does not allow others to comment. Furthermore, they need to find a place to do so that is appropriate to that debate–that, I believe is not here. That is not the purpose of Fan Film Factor or the associated Facebook group.

    Last, it’s disappointing that two fans of Star Trek, to individuals that have a passion for Star Trek to the level of expression that comes with making a fan film, cannot see that their opinion can differ, and that the final arbitrator is the individual who either decides to monetarily support a project or not. That it is the creator of the project, and those associated with managing that project, whether or not they feel it’s acceptable to put out a request for monetary support.

    I wish both success in their projects, now and in the future, and that their decisions regarding crowd funding be respected as their choice. Furthermore, that each respect the individual in whether they decide to support or not support, monetarily, each project. Neither option–ask, don’t ask–is “wrong.” Neither option should be disparaged–they are personal choices and are theirs to make.

    This whole topic is so disappointing to have occurred. It doesn’t look good on either of these individuals, and I do sincerely hope that as soon as possible cooler heads prevail and they both show respect for each other’s pov–as you say, politely agree to disagree and allow each to “go there separate ways” (politely!).

      1. Disappointingly true.

        Perhaps we all chalk it all up to frazzled nerves and over-protectiveness due to historical circumstances, and some then, and now, hurt feelings.

        And! here’s hoping that all directly involved in the “dust up” can recognize that the whole thing got blown out of proportion and, perhaps, take another look and decide that all involved; again directly; can see that things escalated unnecessarily, thereby allowing some calm to settle and hurt feelings, etc., to restore themselves, reaching an equilibrium that lets all “live.”

        Sounds wonderful, and perhaps a little “fantastic”. But, it’s time for some “kumbaya” and a moment of “zen”? One can hope…right???

        1. One can hope, but Randy has, sadly, started hanging out in a Facebook group known for nastiness, resentment, and attempts to smear others who don’t believe as they do. And when that’s what’s flowing into his ear, day after day, it’s unlikely that Randy will be drawn to a “kumbaya” or moment of “zen” anytime soon.

          But yes, one can always hope.

  12. Sounds like you’ve been Ghosted my friend? Hopefully, he gets over it, and realizes where he may have made mistakes on this.

  13. Here is what you should do.
    One. Tell Alec that is not HIS group and he needs to make that statement.
    Two. Apologize to Nick Cook.
    Three Your mods banned Nick when he went to Randys defense after Jon, Brian, Dave, and Alec started attacking Randy. Alec then had the nerve to include Nick as part of the group in his post after YOUR admins banned him I wont say who gave them to me but if you do not want those screen shots to go public I think you better get your house in order. Jon, Brian, Dave, Colin have no business have no business being in charge of that group I have seen them grind axs with plenty of people and you do nothing about it. So do not claim that you are being impartial when you can not even keep your own house in control. Josh Irwin could be added as an admin but get rid of EVERYONE connected to Alec and his hate group. Furthermore I see Mike Baldwin is still the lead admin of your group. If you are unable to do anything about Jon, Dave, Brian or Colin have Mike step in and clean house. IF Fan Film Factor is to be neutral THEN it has to STAY neutral!

    1. I literally have no idea what you are talking about. Nick Cook has never been banned from Fan Film Forum. Only Dave Heagney and Colin Krapp are mods in the group. Mike Bawden was a mod over half a decade ago but hasn’t been in the group since 2018.

      Have you been taking the right meds today? I’m serious.

      1. Jonathan,
        perhaps you’ve banned each other, and hence can’t see it, but Mike is an admin.
        I’m happy to send you a screenshot.
        He’s also been quite active in the group, of late- Alec had some things to say about him, and in reply!

          1. Wow, that is so weird! Okay, I just looked up on Facebook how to remove admins and mods and took down Mike and Justin. Neither has been an active admin/moderator in to FFForum for years, and to my knowledge, neither has posted anything in that time, either. Anyway, thanks for pointing that out, NP.

  14. Just to say that I hope the situation with our mother is better and that the general chaos settles down, giving you an easier rest of the year.

    Also I feel both Randy and Alec should have a bit of a time out from online. They do seem to lash out at times.

    Regarding crowd funding – at the end of the day we are all here to create stories and characters in this universe we all love. Dictating to others how fan films should be funded (and so close the door to many) is not the right direction.

    1. Agreed. As to giving Alec or Randy a “time out,” sadly, such things don’t typically happen on social media unless someone gets a temporary muting. Also, they’re both big boys now.

  15. I’m sorry, Jonathan, but, once Randy followed up with, “I’m sorry about the situation with your Mom, but…” and proceeded to prattle on about his self-inflicted dilemma, any empathy I may have had for his position immediately goes right out of the window.

    Let’s get some high-level perspective here; nothing is a higher priority than your family. I don’t care how proud another individual might be…The instant they discovered your plight, any human-being with even a scintilla of empathy should have completely dropped anything relating to their current issue, offered an apology, scaled back the aggression, and approached the situation with fresh eyes.

    The fact that this person chose another approach tells me everything I need to know about where their head is. The world does not revolve around them, or, in fact, shock of shocks, the Star-Trek fan film community.

  16. Jonathan,

    While you may be correct that Randy probably won’t be reading the comments submitted regarding your family and his lack of empathy after learning of your mother’s situation, we did, and while he probably won’t see any reason to respond and correct his actions, WE have seen it and it is now on the record where his priorities were.

    As I indicated to you, as have others, FAMILY FIRST before anything else. If Randy was thinking of anything else except himself, he would have immediately stopped and realized he’d overstepped his boundaries. He didn’t, and now all of us can see that this wasn’t about a noble purpose to avoid overburdening fans with requests for crowd-funding, it was about ego. I’ve witnessed conversations where someone has gotten on their high-horse and felt a sense of self-righteousness…only to be brought to an eye-opening realization that they were wrong, and they’ve sheepishly apologized.

    For the good of the community, I would hope that Randy would come to this realization, however late it may be. Bickering amongst the fan-base is never productive, especially when it comes to something that, in the long-term scheme of things, isn’t a major hill to die on.

    1. Perhaps. Ironically, by leaving the Fan Film Forum Facebook group, Randy has abandoned the audience he was most fervently trying to persuade. He is now hanging out with folks who believe as he does, which is fine for confirmation of his opinion but will never change things in any noticeable way. The vast majority of people on Axamonitor do not crowd-fund nor do they donate to fan film crowd-funders. The folks on FFForum, on the other hand, do both. He is no longer able to address them directly, and so his message is now contained within an echo chamber from which it cannot escape.

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