Perhaps the second most problematic aspect of Axanar (after the lawsuit) is the fulfillment of perks (or lack thereof) to the backers of their three crowd-funding campaigns. Two years after their second Kickstarter, which raised a jaw-dropping $638,000 from supporters, perks have still not gone out to donors. Fortunately, that is about to change with the final completion of the back-end Ares Digital 2.0 accouont management system.
But before we discuss how Axanar is finally pulling itself OUT of this sand pit, let’s take a look at how Axanar fell INTO this sand pit in the first place…
I wasn’t sure what to write on this incredible day when Star Trek turns FIFTY YEARS OLD!
I didn’t want to let the moment pass without saying at least something. But what? Then a few days ago, I received a message from a podcaster who was still working on an interview I’d done with him:
To be honest with you, I’m pretty much over Star Trek at this point. When I can finally bring myself to finish this episode I’m gonna upload it to the network and then I’m done with Star Trek fandom. There’s plenty of stuff to spend my time and money on. I’ll post you as soon as the episode is up.
This really broke my heart, mostly because it wasn’t the only message like this I’d seen recently. Some members on the SMALL ACCESSgroup had expressed similar sentiments, as had others here and there.
I understand the reason for being frustrated or even angry at the moment–with the studios, with other fans, with Star Trek in general. But then I started remembering all the reasons I chose to become a Trekkie in the first place. Heck, I sometimes wonder if it was actually the other way around and Star Trek chose ME! But however I got here, I can’t quit you, Star Trek! I can’t even imagine doing so…no matter how many lens flares I see or how many fan film guidelines I read.
Last time: well, last time there was just way too much to summarize, so just click here to read it if you haven’t already.
Basically, with a trial date set for January 31, 2017 and no settlement announced yet, the case has entered the discovery phase. (So yes, “Star Trek: Discovery” now means two totally different things to CBS!)
During discovery, both the plaintiffs and the defendant must provide the other side with any piece of evidence they ask for that is relevant to the case. Witnesses are questioned (deposed), documents are collected and shared, and queries are submitted in writing requiring honest and open answers…and all this months before a jury is ever seated and the clerk says, “This courtroom will now come to order.”
It’s time for Star Trek discovery! No, not the new TV series. I’m talking about the next phase of the Axanar copyright infringement lawsuit: legal discovery.
Last week, former Axanar marketing director and tech guru, Terry McIntosh, posted on Facebook that he had just been subpoenaed by CBS and Paramountto be deposed as part of the copyright infringement lawsuit against Alec Peters and Axanar. Terry is not in any legal peril himself, as no other defendants other than Alec Peters were named in the lawsuit. Instead, the studio lawyers will probably just ask for copies of all of Terry’s correspondence (e-mails, IMs, chats) with members of the Axanar team, and the studios might set up a deposition to ask Terry some (maybe even a lot of) questions either in person or over the phone.
And this means that the (coincidentally named) DISCOVERY phase of the lawsuit is now in full swing. So what does that mean?
STAR TREK CONTINUES’ seventh full-length episode, “Embracing the Winds” is–at least in my opinion–a masterpiece. It’s a MUST SEE+Star Trek fan film and possibly one of the best ones released to date. Fan reaction has ranged generally from positive to gushing, with almost no one saying anything overall negative (only pointing out this or that little issue…and we Trekkers always have our “little issues”).
But really, STC has continued to up their game, and the quality and watchability of their newest offering is superb. The acting, writing, directing, pacing…everything is top-notch. There’s not of a lot of “wasted” scenes where the viewer feels the production has indulged itself too much and stretched things out. In short, it’s a tight, exciting story that does what Star Trek has traditionally done so well: take a modern day issue (in this case, a very politically charged one at the moment) and provide a “safe” mirror through which we can examine our society and beliefs…and look at ourselves with a critical eye.
The interview also addresses the confusion and misinformation currently circulating about whether Axanar is behind the SMALL ACCESS campaign…which it is not. While I happily support Axanar and write this fun blog on the Axanar website, I’m way too busy with FAN FILM FACTOR and SMALL ACCESS to run everything past Alec Peters, and he’s way too busy to micromanage me. So we’re two ships in the same fleet fighting the same enemy, but Alec has his battles, and I’ve got mine.
Anyway, here’s the full interview for your viewing pleasure. Let me know what you think…
Now that the SMALL ACCESS campaign has grown to nearly 1,300 members and 85 packets of the Focus Group Report have already been mailed out to CBS and Paramount executives, it’s time to try to spread the word far and wide…or at least try my best to do so.
And thus was I pleasantly surprised and excited to get the following e-mail from Matthew Miller of Trekzone in Australia:
Hi Jonathan, just wondering whether you’d like to join me on a Trekzone Spotlight podcast to discuss Project Small Access?
I really love these guys! The Star Trek short fan film, CHANCE ENCOUNTER, is cruising along smoothly at high warp, and they’ve just launched a new website with their first trailer on the home page (posted below).
The attractive website has production news (all of the video updates posted so far), bios on the cast and crew, and a brief but informative “About” page with the following back story:
It began when Gary and Paul decided to embark on another short film project together. This would be their ninth collaboration in about 11 years.
Originally the premise had nothing to do with Star Trek, or even science fiction. Rather, it had a contemporary setting and the hope was to tell a gentle story that showed men and women as equally capable of listening to, and helping one another on issues of both life and love.
Various scenarios were conceived of and abandoned before Paul hit upon a soft science fiction element in one of the many draft outlines he was writing. This sparked an idea in Gary who saw that with a sci-fi element in the mix, and the the themes of decency and respect being explored, that maybe they had hit upon a great Star Trek idea.
Paul agreed and after several more draft outlines were produced, the pair decided that they were ready to try and raise some funds to make the film a reality. And so they launched their first Kickstarter campaign to great success, exceeding the modest amount they had hoped to raise and thus securing their funding. Whilst they would still both contribute financially to the film themselves, the generosity of the Kickstarter backers ensured that the project was now able to be made.
Word is beginning to spread about the Fan Film LETTER WRITING CAMPAIGN, and I’m very encouraged so far. After just one week, we’ve already had 75 packets mailed to executives at CBS and Paramount with the focus group results and recommendations from the 1,200+ members of the SMALL ACCESS Facebook group.
Now, 75 packets might not seem like much (especially considering that the original Star Trek letter writing had over a hundred thousand letters), but keep in mind that 1) word is only just starting to get out about this initiative, and 2) the packets are supposed to contain a 37-page Focus Group Report and optional Cover Letter, which will use up a lot of toner and paper and cost about two to three bucks per packet to mail (more from outside the U.S., although I don’t expect as many international fans to participate due to the higher postage costs). So each mailed packet represents a greater amount of time, effort, and investment by a fan then just sending a 1-page letter or copy/pasted e-mail. I was actually kinda worried that we’d only get about one or two dozen packets sent…so 75 in a week is pretty awesome. (And remember, only one copy has to get read by the right executive!)
During the next week, Mike Bawden will be trying to get us some press coverage in the mainstream media, but there’s already been some interest just around fan circles. Earlier today, I did a podcast for an upcoming episode of TrekZone (look for it this weekend). And Shane Stacks told me he’ll be mentioning the campaign on the excellent Shane Plays Radio and Podcast.
And I’m even being covered by other blogs!!! And that brings us to…
As promised, RENEGADES: The Series has released a special video of the final curtain call Walter Koenig would have playing the character of “Pavel Chekov” (or at least an admiral with a heavy Russian accent who has had a iconic career in space). It’s a magical moment as filming wraps, and the cast and crew both applaud the living legend.
The video was released because Renegades managed to raise more than $120,000 for post production on their 2-part episode “The Requiem.” They set out to raise $60,000 for the first part and got there in less than a week. Passing that goal, they now need to reach $150,000 for part 2. So they’re almost there!
If they raise another $30,000 by midnight Pacific Time tonight, they won’t have to do another campaign anytime soon (until they make MORE episodes!). Maybe a tall order, but you do still have about eleven more hours (as I post this) to make your donation. Just CLICK HERE!
And in the meantime, please enjoy WALTER KOENIG’S final curtain call as Chekov…