RED ALERT! The BJO AWARDS are in jeopardy…along with TREKLANTA and ERIC WATTS’ house!

For the past nine years, ERIC L. WATTS has been chairman of the annual TREKLANTA convention, a small con in the Atlanta area that has always been very supportive of Star Trek fan films. In fact, for the last half-decade, Eric and Treklanta have hosted the annual BJO AWARDS—originally called the Independent Star Trek Fan Film Awards, and rechristened the “Bjo’s” after the woman credited with saving Star Trek from an early cancelation in 1968, BJO TRIMBLE.

Those awards, and the Treklanta convention, have been a special boon to the Star Trek fan film world, letting us celebrate—year after year—the best our community has to offer. Eric has never charged fan filmmakers a fee to register for the Bjo’s. Trek fan productions were simply included in the contest if they met the qualifications…and most did.

Eric has done so much for the fan film community. Now he needs us to do something for him…and it’s pretty much an emergency!

Treklanta has never drawn huge crowds, and that has resulted in years finishing in the red. Rather than default on commitments and risk businesses no longer willing to do business with Treklanta, Eric would pay off the shortfalls out of his own pocket, using credit cards when there was too much to cover with available funds.

As the years went on, the credit card debt piled up with Eric only able to pay the minimums and interest mounting. Eventually, just making those minimum payments delayed Eric’s ability to submit his own mortgage payments on time.

Now Eric is about to lose his home, still buried in credit card debt, all because he wanted to keep a convention going that celebrated Star Trek and its fan films.

It’s tempting to do a whole bunch of woulda/shoulda/coulda to Eric. But advice on handling things differently over the last nine years isn’t going to fix the immediate problem. Eric needs $6,000 to pay his past-due mortgage, and another $5,000 pays off the convention’s credit card.

Eric has just set up a GoFundMe campaign, and in the first 7 hours, 13 fans donated $635 (including $50 from me)…or about 6% of what he needs. There’s still a long way to go, but the news is only just beginning to make its way around fandom. Please help spread the word and, if possible, make a donation…even if it’s just a small one.

Click here to save Treklanta, the Bjos, and Eric’s House.

Once we help put out this fire, we fans can step up with some ideas to help make sure that Eric doesn’t fall down this slippery slope again (like maybe charging fan filmmakers a small $10 or $20 registration fee to enter the Bjo Awards contest). But right now, it’s all hands on deck to help someone in need.

Below is Eric’s public plea for assistance. You can tell this was not an easy video for him to make, and all the more reason to try to offer him some desperately needed assistance…

Dr. Seuss has appealed – they now want a do-over…so we’re at it again, get set for round two-over!

Just when you thought it was time to vamoose
From all of this talk of the law of Fair Use
Regarding the mash-up of Star Trek and Seuss
Here comes the sequel, we’ll call it “Part Deuce!

And with that, I shall stop rhyming…although I can’t say the same for GLENN HAUMAN of ComicMix, the folks who, this past March, won a copyright infringement lawsuit filed against them by Dr. Seuss Enterprises (DSE). You can read more about the judge’s final ruling here.

The case involved an illustrated “mash-up” of Star Trek and Dr. Seuss titled Oh, The Places You’ll Boldly Go! This proposed book was written by “The Trouble with Tribbles” author DAVID GERROLD and illustrated by award-winning comic book artist TY TEMPLETON…with ComicMix doing the publishing. Back in late 2016, they held a Kickstarter that raised $30,000 but were quickly shut down by DSE, who later sued. The nearly two-year legal battle was a back-and-forth rollercoaster ride, with the lawsuit eventually being dismissed after the judge ruled Boldly to be Fair Use.

As I pointed out at the end of that previous blog, DSE always had the option to appeal the decision to the Ninth Circuit…something they did just two weeks after I published that blog, on the same day the district court entered Hon. Judge JANIS SAMMARTINO’s ruling officially into the record. The Plaintiff’s notice of appeal also asked for, and was granted, an extension of a few months in order to file their opening appellate brief…all 81 pages of it! (No, you don’t have to read it…although it is pretty interesting and very well-presented.)

DSE also submitted four amicus briefs, which are opinions submitted to the court by non-litigants who, even though they aren’t part of the lawsuit, still have a vested interest in the outcome of the case. In this instance, DSE got help from two professors from the Berkeley School of Law, three members of The Copyright Alliance, the Motion Picture Association of America, and The Sesame Workshop (yep, Big Bird is buddies with The Cat in the Hat!). That’s another 140 pages to add to your summer reading list. They mostly say the same thing…essentially that the judge got it wrong and here’s why they think so (and why the law backs up their belief).

It’s a little early in the process for me to start making predictions. After all, this is only the initial brief (which is anything but brief!), and ComicMix hasn’t had its chance to respond yet. I will try to summarize what arguments are being made in the appeal, however. But before I do, since we now have the opening brief from DSE, I reached out to Glenn Hauman for an initial statement from ComicMix.

As he’s done previously, Glenn responded poetically (with some pretty decent rhymes—including one in Latin!)…

Continue reading “Dr. Seuss has appealed – they now want a do-over…so we’re at it again, get set for round two-over!”

POTEMKIN PICTURES releases newest TRISTAN two-parter…and moves to KENTUCKY!

It’s actually been about four weeks since POTEMKIN PICTURES released “Repercussions, Part Two,” the 18th episode from the STARSHIP TRISTAN creative group. It followed the release about a month earlier of the 17th episode from Tristan, “Repercussions, Part One.”

Two episodes back-to-back within a single month is pretty impressive. But it followed a drought of eight months without a single Starship Tristan episode. In contrast, during the seven months prior to that, Tristan had released no less than FIVE episodes. I was curious how a team that was so prolific last year went through the first half of this year without a single episode completed. So I asked Potemkin Pictures show-runner RANDY LANDERS: why the sudden slowdown? Here’s what he said…

No slowdown as far as we’re concerned. Last year we may have cranked up production, but as stated, our goal is 12 productions per year. To date, we have released 2 Tristans, 2 Deimos and 1 Triton this year for a total of 5. We have 2 Tristans, 3 Deimos, 1 Kupok, and 1 Marie Curie slated for release between now and December 31st. That’s a total of 12, and we’re on a pace to accomplish that easily.

Certain projects have been affected by real life. One of our musical composers is stepping away to do some VFX work. One of our VFX artists’ partner was injured in an accident, and his project was quite understandably delayed by that. Stuff like that happens, and we move on and deal with it.

We do expect a slow start to next year, in fact. My wife has changed jobs, and we’re in the process of relocating to Lexington, Kentucky. I completed the deconstruction of our sets in Pelham, Alabama (Studio 3a, 3b and 3c were decommissioned at 17:11 Central Time on July 31), and we will be starting up in Lexington soon.

Wow, I had no idea these guys were moving! And Lexington, Kentucky is 430 miles from Pelham Alabama (you have to drive through all of Tennessee to get there…fortunately, it’s the short way through Tennessee, not the long way!).

So the next question I asked was how this would affect the production. Most of the current cast members are local actors and fans based in Alabama. Are they gonna want to drive 12 hours round-trip just to make Star Trek fan films…?

Continue reading “POTEMKIN PICTURES releases newest TRISTAN two-parter…and moves to KENTUCKY!”

How INTERLUDE’s Thousand Dollar Thursday became FIVE Thousand Dollar Thursday!

Wow.

Even in my wildest dreams, I didn’t expect this…although my friend MIKE BAWDEN predicted it the day before. “I really think you’ll be up five or six thousand dollars by the end of Thursday,” he said, “You might even come close to your $19,500 goal.”

And he was right. After a crazy day of more than 70 donations, 40 from brand new donors and another 30 donations from existing backers (plus the $1,200 each from both of my match-backers), we’d taken in more than $5,000 for our GoFundMe for INTERLUDE!

So how did this all happen? Was it just blind luck? Did everyone simply wait to donate on the same day? How did Thousand Dollar Thursday turn into FIVE Thousand Dollar Thursday?

I know that a number of my readers have held crowd-funders of your own—or are planning to. And when something works for one of us, there’s no reason not to share our “secrets.” After all, we fan filmmakers are in this together!

So this blog is a deep-dive for anyone who is interested in everything that happened “behind-the-scenes” to set up all the dominos that fell into place so perfectly yesterday. Sure, every campaign is unique, and not everything that I did will translate to other campaigns. But take from this whatever insights you think might help you out.

For everyone else, feel free to read this blog if you’re curious to find out everything that the duck was doing under the water while gliding smoothly over the surface. It was pretty wild! Otherwise, feel free to skip this one…

Continue reading “How INTERLUDE’s Thousand Dollar Thursday became FIVE Thousand Dollar Thursday!”

And so it begins…THOUSAND DOLLAR THURSDAY!

For the next 24 hours, every donation to the INTERLUDE GoFundMe will be tripled! The starting point is $11,701. (Yeah, I noticed NCC number hiding in there.) Let’s see if we can reach $12,901 by Thursday at midnight!

Click here to donate: https://www.gofundme.com/interlude

I’ll be updating this total throughout the day.


I went to sleep 6 hours ago and woke up to discover we’re nearly halfway to our $1200 ceiling already! Take a look…

Continue reading “And so it begins…THOUSAND DOLLAR THURSDAY!”

I just had an EGOTASTIC FUNTIME with JP!

There’s a LOT of video podcasts out there, and one of my favorites (and I’m not just saying that!) is EGOTASTIC FUNTIME. The host, JP, is really funny, lively, insightful, and of course, a total geek. He covers The Orville, Star Trek, the latest blockbuster movies, video games, and whatever water cooler geek-news is out there at the moment. He edits his videos very well, cutting out the pauses and “ums” so you get one of those short ‘n’ choppy viewing experiences that can save you a lot of viewing time. (Now, if only certain bloggers could learn to be just as pithy…but we all have our mountains to climb, folks!)

Anyway, JP has recently expanded his offerings to include what he’s calling “Egotastic Talks” (I would have called them “FunTalks”…but that’s just me.) Last week, he premiered the new format with an 18-minute podcast featuring ALEC PETERS discussing both AXANAR news and Alec’s exciting online auction for the Trekcetera Museum collection. And this week, JP’s second guest was none other than the guy typing out this blog: me.

Naturally, the subject of the interview would be my Axanar Universe fan film INTERLUDE. The challenge at this point in a campaign (at all points really) is finding ways to spread the word beyond people who already know about it. I’d been working with JP for a number of weeks trying to set up an opportunity to appear on his podcast, as he has over 22K subscribers. In fact, in the two days since the video got posted, it’s been viewed more than two thousand times!

This has translated into upwards of $350 in new donations to the GoFundMe campaign since Monday. Things had slowed down prior to that, but it wasn’t too concerning, as I’ve been planning for the big THOUSAND DOLLAR THURSDAY (tomorrow) when all donations will be tripled. So I hadn’t been pushing the campaign as much as I usually did over the past seven days in order to focus more donations towards this Thursday.

Speaking of which, Thousand Dollar Thursday is going to have a “tote board” progress report, of sorts, as I track the donations throughout the day…hoping to reach our target of $1200 for the day. Here’s the GoFundMe link again (if you haven’t already committed it to memory):

https://www.gofundme.com/f/interlude

In the meantime, check out my appearance on Egotastic Funtime below. It was an hour-long chat that JP edited down to 29 minutes, so there’s a couple of “jumps” in the conversation flow, but it’s still a fun little chat and worth a listen…

First STAR TREK, then THE EXPANSE, now THE ORVILLE…is this the beginning of the end for “free” TV sci-fi???

Before I begin, let me explain that the purpose of this unique blog is to bring folks up to speed about what the HECK is going on with all of these new streaming TV services that are suddenly appearing like clowns getting out of a Volkswagen. I’m going to focus mainly on how this is affecting the sci-fi genre of television shows…although the impact is pretty much across the board. Then I want to explain why it’s happening so fast, why it’s not going away anytime soon, and then speculate on where this is all heading in the future.

I began working on this blog a month ago when Seth MacFarlane announced the The Orville would be moving from the FOX broadcasting network to behind a paywall at Hulu. Since then, I’ve been researching like crazy! And each time I thought I’d gotten the blog finished, there’d be more “BIG” streaming announcements from folks like NBCUniversal and, just last week, Disney. Eventually, though, I just needed to pull the trigger…knowing that parts of this blog are gonna be old news almost as soon as I hit “Publish.”

I do want to apologize if this is a longer blog than usual, but there’s just SO much going on, and I want to help you folks process it all like I just managed to do…mostly. Also, I’m going to focus mainly on America only because, once you head internationally, the shows and services all shift around and this poor blog would be six times as long!

Remember when automated teller machines (ATMs) first started being installed at banks? I can’t remember if it was still the 1970s or the early 1980s; I only remember that hardly anybody used ’em. Why risk your hard-earned money on a “fallible” computer when you could deal with a competent human being you could talk to?

The same thing happened when e-commerce first appeared. The idea of entering your credit card information onto a website in order to buy something seemed…overwhelming! Was it safe? Would the thing I just ordered even arrive? How long would it take? Why not just go to the store like everyone else, buy something, pay for it, and take it home?

We were so naive back then, weren’t we? It just took us a decade or so to get used to the “new normal,” and now everything is so much easier, faster, and more convenient.

So is paywall streaming TV the “new normal”?

Continue reading “First STAR TREK, then THE EXPANSE, now THE ORVILLE…is this the beginning of the end for “free” TV sci-fi???”

TRIPLE the value of your donation to the INTERLUDE GoFundMe for 24 hours during $1,000 THURSDAY (August 15)!!!

This is really exciting, folks! Last week, two of my backers for INTERLUDE approached me separately with an offer to match—dollar for dollar—any donation made to the Interlude GoFundMe during a 24-hour period that I could determine. Both backers have asked to remain anonymous, but one of them is the fan who donated $1,000 just a few days after we launched in June.

After discussing details with both of them, we came up with the following rules for this special one-day promotion:

  • The 24-hour period will be this Thursday, August 15 beginning at the stroke of midnight PDT and ending at 11:59pm PDT Thursday night.
  • Both of these backers will each match any donation from $1 to $100 with an equal donation…essentially TRIPLING whatever you give. This means a $10 donation is worth $30 to the campaign, $25 becomes $75, and $100 becomes $300!
  • The matching donations will max out at $1,200 for the day for each of our two match-backers. This means that, if we manage to hit our ceiling, the Interlude GoFundMe will take in $3,600 in just 24 hours!!!

Now, you might be wondering why they’re matching only donations of between $1 and $100 and not larger ones. We discussed this, and the reason is because both of these match-backers want this to be FUN! But if someone came along and just donated all $1,200 in one fell swoop. Then—poof!—the promotion would end…and no one else would enjoy knowing that their donation just tripled.

And why is there a $1,200 ceiling? That’s simply because that’s the amount that each of these backers was comfortable matching. I don’t want anyone going broke, y’know…and it’s a very generous offer on both of their parts.

So if you’ve been waiting to make a contribution to Interlude, THIS THURSDAY is the day to do it! And if you’ve already donated, even if you just have an extra $5 sitting around, it’ll be worth $15. If we make our maximum, we’ll hit nearly $15K…surpassing the minimum $13.5K we need by August 20 in order to film in November.

You’re also welcome to donate before or after thus Thursday, but for 24 hours, it’ll be a sprint to $1,200! Here’s the link (and I’ll post it again on Thursday, of course)…

https://www.gofundme.com/interlude

Australian AARON VANDERKLEY releases his FINAL NX-era fan film LINE OF DUTY (interview, part 2)

In Part 1, we began what will likely be our last-ever interview with Australian fan filmmaker extraordinaire AARON VANDERKLEY as he releases his fifth and final NX-era Star Trek fan film. The first four, NEEDS OF THE MANY, THE DERELICT, GOOD MEN, and THE FALL OF STARBASE ONE, came out beginning in early 2016, and none was longer than the 15-minute limit set by the fan film guidelines. In fact, the shortest was only 6 and a half minutes in length and was nevertheless a dramatic masterpiece—beautifully acted, tenderly directed, with amazingly accurate NX-era Starfleet uniforms and very ambitious sets. Aaron was the writer and director on each of these MUST-SEE fan films.

His latest offering LINE OF DUTY, is perhaps his most powerful fan film so far, and certainly the most ambitious. It’s garnered nearly 50K views on Youtube in just two weeks. Check it out…

After the debut of his first Trek fan film, Aaron’s intention was always to produce a total of five and then move on to other challenges. And so this is a bittersweet interview, celebrating his amazing portfolio of work and his latest fan film triumph while acknowledging that, sadly, this is all we’ll get. But we’re so thankful for these five amazing productions.

And now, the conclusion of our interview with Aaron. When we left off, he had just said that everything went perfectly smoothly with his latest project, no hiccups at all…

Continue reading “Australian AARON VANDERKLEY releases his FINAL NX-era fan film LINE OF DUTY (interview, part 2)”

SQUADRON STRIKE: AXANAR is available for purchase! (audio interview with KEN BURNSIDE)

Although it’s been a couple of months since I reported any major AXANAR news, that doesn’t mean nothing’s been happening in Lawrenceville, Georgia. In fact, a LOT had been going on, including the launch of Ares Digital 3.0, preparations for the first shoot in October, bringing on a line producer and director of photography, adding the finishing touches to the bridge set, having the rent for the studio lowered so there doesn’t need to be a move, receiving all of “The Cage”-era tunics from Italy, getting the Four Years War-era uniforms into the manufacturing pipeline, and starting to cast the various roles. And all of that doesn’t even include the release of my Axanar comic book “Stardate 2245.1” or the current GoFundMe for my Axanar Universe fan film INTERLUDE.

But almost forgotten in all of that news was the release last month of the latest supplement for the SQUADRON STRIKE! board game…a supplement based entirely on Axanar! Created by KEN BURNSIDE of Ad Astra Games, this new supplement features the characters and ships seen in PRELUDE TO AXANAR, caught up in space battle action and fun gameplay.

The game is available for purchase as a core product selling for $74.95 (you can order it here) with multiple supplements available for purchase covering a wide array of sci-fi universes with different ships, characters, and storylines. The latest supplement features Axanar and sells for an additional $37.95 (order it here). And if you order on or before August 19, you can get a 10% DISCOUNT for orders of $100 or more using the code: AXANAR10OFF

Now, you might be wondering if this game is licensed, and if so, licensed from whom: CBS or Axanar Productions…or both…or neither? An excellent question! And it’s one of the many I asked Ken Burnside in the following audio interview that’s definitely worth a listen…