THE ROMULAN WAR releases its newest ENHANCED audio drama: “THEY WANT US DEAD”!

I’m beginning to really, really love these enhanced audio dramas that are being released by MARK NACCARATO as a lead-in to his highly anticipated THE ROMULAN WAR fan film!  The project itself managed to take in over $12,000 in a recent Indiegogo (and is now trying to reach $14,000 to cover the cost of new live-action footage shot in Australia along with new CGI).  And the full fan film itself is supposed to be released very soon.

But in the meantime, Mark has released a series of “enhanced” audio dramas under the banner The Romulan War: “War Stories.”  These are personal log entries from those serving in Starfleet during the Romulan War with Earth that led to the founding of the United Federation of Planets in the mid-22nd century.  The idea is to tell the “smaller” stories of war, while the main fan film tells the “big” story.

And what are “enhanced” audio dramas?  Like most audio dramas, the actors record their lines vocally, without a video camera running.  But rather than just playing back the audio over a black screen or a single image or even a series of images, there is actually an ongoing video the whole time, some with simple 2D animation, some with video footage, and some even with 3D CGI.

Mark’s first release was made available to the public about a month ago, the two-part “Sleep Is Hard To Find” (you can view it here).  Now the second release is a one-parter entitled “They Want Us Dead,” and it’s riveting.  I really mean that.  An intense and gripping vocal performance was turned in by actress GINNY WELSCH, who has extensive experience with voice work, over a brilliant script written by ANDREW J. LUCAS, who previously penned multiple episodes of the just-completed The Romulan Wars (plural) fan series.

You’ll probably recognize some footage in the video “borrowed” from a number of familiar cinematic sci-fi sources.  Whether or not the studios who own that footage will care about or bother with a small fan film getting a few hundred views is anyone’s guess.  But that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the production…

And remember that you can still donate to the “in demand” Indiegogo campaign to help them reach $14,000…

Just click here to donate.

The Romulan War posted the following press release regarding this newest addition to their offerings…

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STALLED TREK scores Hollywood composer MAX McGUIRE to score its parody fan film!

Back in 2012, a brilliantly zany and devoted Star Trek fan named MARK LARGENT released the wildly hilarious animated parody STALLED TREK: AMUTT TIME.  This must-see fan film used 3D computer graphics to create puppet characters for all of the original series cast members and put them into a tongue-in-cheek version of the fan-favorite TOS episode “Amok Time.”

You can watch that parody fan film here…

This past August, Mark launched a Kickstarter for a brand new sequel, “The City on the Edge of Foreclosure,” with a relatively initial low goal of only $600.  He reached that in less than 8 hours (!) and wound up with a total of nearly $4,200…700% of the initial goal!!!

Among the things this now allows Mark to do is hire a professional musical composer, which he is allowed to do, as parody fan films fall under the protection of Fair Use and do not need to conform to the fan film guidelines.

But whom to hire…?

Max McGuire

The answer came to Mark (instead of vice-versa) when composer MAX McGUIRE reached out to him.  Max has composed music for a wide variety of projects including shows airing on FOX, ABC, NBC, E!, CBS and TBS…and more recently provided additional music for the hit Syfy/Netflix series 12 Monkeys under the guidance of lead composer Stephen Barton.  In March 2018, Max conducted his score for the short film All The World’s A Stage (starring Olivia Colman, who has been cast as Elizabeth II in seasons 3 and 4 of Netflix’s The Crown!) at Abbey Road Studios in London.  The short is currently showing at festivals around the world including the Academy Awards Qualifying Festival, Hollyshorts.

So what’s this well-known Hollywood composer doing asking to work on a fan film???

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Final CONVERGENCE puzzle piece revealed in new TEMPORAL ANOMALY teaser!

Over the past three weeks, 3D animator incredibus SAMUEL COCKINGS has released three teasers for his upcoming multi-crossover fan film, CONVERGENCE.  The project, already well into production, will be holding an Indiegogo shortly to cover expenses, and these three teasers are meant to build interest and excitement leading up to the launch of the campaign.  (Yep, crowd-funders, that’s the way you should do it!)

One of the intriguing “mysteries” about Convergence was the question of which fan films/series will be crossing over—there will be five in all.  The first teaser revealed that Star Trek: Intrepid show-runner and star NICK COOK would be reprising his fan favorite role of Captain Daniel Hunter of the USS Intrepid.  The second teaser revealed that the fan series Star Trek: Dark Armada would also be part of this crossover, with that series’ show-runner and star, ROBIN HIERT, playing his character Captain Alexander Richardson of the USS Batavia.

The third and final teaser filled in another two pieces of the puzzle.  JIM VON DOLTERAN of the Trek fan series Starship Republic will also be appearing, captaining a starship of the futuristic Archer-class, which was seen in the original Star Trek: Renegades fan film (before it de-Trekified itself).  Also appearing in Convergence will be the alien Syphon race, the terrifying bad guys from Renegades.

So with four fan films/series accounted for, fans still didn’t know the fifth…until yesterday when Samuel Cockings posted an unexpected FOURTH teaser!  But this time, the teaser didn’t include footage from Convergence but rather from his upcoming (and long-anticipated) fan film TEMPORAL ANOMALY.  (You can listen to an audio interview with Samuel about this project here.)  This project’s release was delayed by CBS, but Samuel was ultimately granted a small guideline exemption in exchange for making certain adjustments, which are still being completed.

But the big news is that his new teaser, featuring an intriguing two-and-a-half minute scene from the final film, reveals that Temporal Anomaly will be the final of the five fan productions crossing over, specifically the character of Captain James Munro.  Take a look…

STARSHIP TRITON releases its SECOND fan film: “The Crown Jewels of Xantharus”!

Another week, another new fan film from POTEMKIN PICTURES…or at least it seems that way lately!  The end of August saw the release of “The Beast,” the debut episode of their new fan series Hospital Ship Marie Curie.  A week later, the 14th fan film from the Starship Tristan creative group, “Deception,” was posted to YouTube.

And then a week after THAT, yet another new release—this one the second fan film from the STARSHIP TRITON creative team: “The Crown Jewels of Xantharus.”  Their debut episode, featuring the character of Commander Janice Rand, debuted last December.

Three fan films in three weeks sounds pretty ambitious, but in fact, the goal of Potemkin Pictures, according to show-runner RANDY LANDERS, is to release an average of one new fan production per month for a total of twelve films each year.  In 2016, that steak was impacted by heart bypass surgery for Randy in August, which delayed releases until March of 2017.  But Potemkin came roaring back with multiple releases, two of which were released only five days apart and, at one point, five in just three months!

For anyone keeping count (like me), this latest release marks Potemkin’s ninth in 2018.  And since it’s September, that actually does average out to one per month…so the streak is holding!

This particular episode, despite looking very low budget (as usual) was actually a really big challenge to film.  It took sixteen months to complete everything (not even counting pre-production).  That included separate shoots (during different months) to film scenes in a bar, on a pirate ship, on a Romulan ship, shots of Starfleet officers watching an Orion dance, the dance itself, and a Happy Birthday bit at the end.  Then they had to re-film the bar scene when they had to replace one of the actors.  Then they had to re-re-film the bar scene at a different location when they realized the lighting hadn’t worked!

Most impressive—to me, at least—were multiple Orion women (and one man), all of which needed to be covered head-to-toe in green.  I asked Randy how much make-up they went through: “Half a cake per person!  But we filmed one actress who was replaced, and had to film Lezlie Cohen’s and Brute’s bar scene twice. So five and a half large cakes of Wolfe Aqua (water activated) parrot green. Total makeup time over all the shoots: 11 hours (one hour per person). Total expense in just green: $220.”  Wow!

It’s worth watching just to marvel at the record number of Orions in one fan film!

THIRD and final CONVERGENCE teaser fills in two more pieces of the puzzle!

For the last couple of weeks, show-runner and “Trekyards” super-duper CGI trooper SAMUEL COCKINGS has been releasing a new teaser for his new fan project, CONVERGENCE, each weekend.  Convergence will be a mega-crossover event, bringing together (according to Samuel) FIVE different fan films and series.

The first couple of teasers gave fans the initial two pieces of the puzzle.  One of the cross-over fan series would be Star Trek: Intrepid, featuring Intrepid show-runner and star NICK COOK reprising his fan favorite role of Captain Daniel Hunter, as shown in the first teaser…

The second teaser revealed that the fan series Star Trek: Dark Armada would also be part of the cross-over equation, as that series’ show-runner and star, ROBIN HIERT, would be playing his character Captain Alexander Richardson of the USS Batavia.  Here’s the second teaser…

That left three more cross-over fan films/series still a mystery…until last Saturday when the third and final weekly trailer made its debut.  Two important (and surprising!) pieces of the puzzle were revealed with this announcement/introduction by Samuel:

STAR TREK: RENEGADES and STARSHIP REPUBLIC.  That’s right!  While the Renegades team have moved to a non-Trek universe, we are officially carrying on the torch for their Star Trek pilot and telling a new story with parts from the Star Trek: Renegades ‘verse.

Also joining as our final captain is JIM VON DOLTEREN from Starship Republic!  He will be flying to the UK to ensure that all our captains can be in the same room at the same time for some important scenes and to get the best quality production possible!

At some point in the next week or three, the official crowd-funding campaign for Convergence will launch, and fans will discover who the final character(s) is/are and from which fan project.  In the meantime, you share in the excitement as you view Samuel’s rendition of the Archer-class starship from Renegades and Jim Von Dolteren’s voice-over debut in the third and latest teaser for Convergence

Some unsolicited CROWD-FUNDING advice from me… (editorial)

At this point, I’ve seen a LOT of crowd-funding campaigns.  I’ve seen them succeed, and I’ve seen them fail.  I’ve seen the good, the bad, the fantastic, and the face-palm.  I might not be the uncontested expert on how to create a strong campaign, but I’ve talked to enough successful crowd-funders and seen enough examples of what works and what doesn’t work that I think I can share some pretty useful advice if asked…

…and in certain cases, if I’m not asked.

I have to say that this year has been pretty wild when it comes to crowd-funders.  I’m already outlining the “2018’s Year in Review” blog to focus on the various Kickstarters, Indiegogos, GoFundMes, and even FundRazrs that have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for various fan projects over the past several months.  Some have soared, some have been absolute nail-biters until the final hours, and yes, some have struggled.

I feel really bad for the struggling ones.  In some cases, I do whatever I can to help with blogging support and even personal contributions on occasion.  But sometimes, all I can do is watch helplessly from my computer, seeing so clearly what’s being done wrong (or not being done), and wanting to shout like a frustrated fan sitting in the bleachers to a quarterback on the field.

But usually, I just hold my tongue (or in the case of blogging, my typing fingers).  After all, these are not my campaigns, and if people don’t ask me, then all I’m doing is shoving my nose in where it doesn’t belong, right?

Well, I’m about to shove my nose in.  Hopefully, I won’t regret it…

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STARSHIP TRISTAN releases its 14th fan film: “Deception”!

Well, it’s been a week since the last fan film release from POTEMKIN PICTURES…so I guess it’s time for another!

Actually, the goal for show-runner RANDY LANDERS is to release twelve new fan films per year from their various creative teams.  Last week featured the debut episode of their newest fan series Hospital Ship Marie Curie.  This week, we return to the series that has the most releases of any of the Potemkin Pictures projects (that are still in active production): STARSHIP TRISTAN.  Their initial fan series, Project: Potemkin, holds the record currently with 36 completed episodes, but that production is no longer releasing new episodes.

The latest installment in the adventures of the Constellation-class USS Tristan (during “movie era” Star Trek time) shines a spotlight on fan favorite character T’Noshi, played by actress CHRISTIN WOODS.  Her Vulcan character initially debuted way back in the early days of Project: Potemkin and remains a part of the Potemkin Pictures fan film “factory” even now nearly half a decade later.

Their budgets are, of course, ultra-low…and the on-location “sets” don’t have a lot of dressing.  In fact, in this latest episode, you can even see an “EXIT” sign in the background in one scene.  But that’s not why these folks do it.  For them, it’s all about the love of Star Trek and the fun of creating a fan film that starts from an idea, becomes a script, and then through a lot of hard work and persistence, emerges months later as a completed film.  It’s the joy of creating something no one has ever seen before, and now you and others get to see it for yourselves.

All episodes of the various Potemkin Pictures series can be accessed from their website.  You can watch the latest release from Starhsip Tristan below…

CONVERGENCE teaser number two features ROBIN HIERT of Dark Armada!

The last time fans saw ROBIN HIERT playing the role of Captain Alexander Richardson of the USS Batavia, it was December of 2016 in the finale of the popular Dutch fan series Star Trek: Dark Armada

(Technically, Robin also made a brief cameo in one of the final Minard Saga films.)

In the last minutes of that finale (spoiler warning!), fans discovered that the entire series thus far had been taking place in the Kelvin timeline (24th century), and we finally got a glimpse of Captain Richardson from the prime timeline.

At the time, Robin Hiert told me that a new sequel series, Batavia, would start filming the following year (2017).  But it’s now far into 2018, and no episodes of that series have emerged yet.

And so, fans of Dark Armada will be very happy to see and hear that Captain Richardson and the USS Batavia will play a part in the upcoming multi-fan film crossover event CONVERGENCE from “Trekyards” CGI guru SAMUEL COCKINGS.  The second teaser was released this past weekend…

And for those who missed it, here is the first teaser again featuring NICK COOK of the fan series Star Trek: Intrepid

Samuel will be releasing a third and final trailer this coming weekend before launching an Indiegogo campaign to fund production and post-production on this FIVE-WAY crossover.  Which other fan films/series will be included in the crossover besides Intrepid and Dark Armada?  You won’t have to wait too long to find out!

Speaking of which, I’ve been shown a rough cut of the “ask” video for the Indiegogo page…and it looks really amazing.  To others looking to create crowd-funders, all I can say is watch this video and take careful notes!

Because several Convergence scenes and VFX sequences have already been shot and rendered, Samuel is able to provide some clips from the film itself, plus excerpts from behind-the-scenes interviews along with lots of footage taken during shooting on the green screen set with the main four actors.  So yes, you’ll definitely learn which other three fan films/series will be a part of this major cross-over event once the Indiegogo launches in a few more weeks.

In the meantime, remember to visit Convergence on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/Convergenceastartrekfanfilm

DS9 documentary is looking for a LITTLE MORE MONEY…for something REALLY COOL!

Ah, scope creep…

You’ve got your budget, the money is available, but suddenly you realize that you want to do something really AWESOME, and now you need more money.  It happens all the time in Hollywood.  It’s happened to Star Trek multiple times.  It happens for Marvel movies and other blockbusters.  It’s happened to fan films like Renegades, Space Command, and Axanar.  And now it’s happening to the Deep Space Nine documentary WHAT WE LEFT BEHIND.

It’s not like producer/show-runner IRA STEVEN BEHR and director ADAM NIMOY just squeaked by with their Indiegogo campaign last year.  Not only did they exceed their initial goal of $150,000…they more than QUADRUPLED it with nearly $650,000!  They even blew past four different stretch goals along the way.

So why do they need even more money now, just months away ?  I’ll let Ira Behr explain it…

So that’s the story.  The resampled footage looks amazing, incredible, AWESOME!  There’s five minutes of clips from various episodes that now appears in glorious, vibrant, and crystal clear high definition.

But there’s also 15 minutes of standard definition footage, captured from the same DVDs you probably have on your shelf or the episodes you watch on Netflix or All Access.  The problem is that, because the HD footage looks so good, the SD footage palls in comparison and makes the viewer think, “Why do some of the clips look so crappy?”

Unfortunately, although TOS and TNG were digitally remastered to HD from the original film negatives, the same treatment is highly unlikely for DS9.  The process is expensive (even more so for DS9as Robert Meyer Burnett explains in this interview), and the TNG remastered Blu-ray sets didn’t sell nearly as well as expected, so CBS is unlikely to throw more money down the Bajoran wormhole.

And thus, this is pretty much the one shot fans have to get more footage from DS9 remastered.  Sure, it won’t be all seven seasons, but even another 15 minutes sure would be nice.

The documentary makers are now taking new donations for the remastering exclusively through their website.  For $50, you get a special challenge coin.  But for $500—and this is REALLY cool!—your name will appear superimposed over the remastered footage.  Take a look…

Click to enlarge to REALLY see the difference!

To donate (or donate again!), visit their website:

https://ds9documentary.com

POTEMKIN PICTURES launches its 7th fan series! (interview with RANDY LANDERS)

It’s been a long road…getting from Project: Potemkin to here.  Project: Potemkin was the first fan series produced (and completed after more than three dozen episodes) by what would become POTEMKIN PICTURES—but it certainly wouldn’t be the last!  Over the majority of the past decade, Potemkin Pictures has launched the fan series (all currently in active production) Starship Tristan, Starship Deimos, Battlecruiser Kupok, Starship Triton, Starship Endeavour…and they’ve just debuted their seventh ongoing fan series HOSPITAL SHIP MARIE CURIE.

Of course, the guidelines prohibit ongoing fan series, but Potemkin Pictures carefully skirts the edges of this spatial anomaly by naming each fan film something unique and simply attributing these efforts to different “creative teams.”  So the Hospital Ship Marie Curie creative team has just released a fan film titled “The Beast.”  So far, with nearly two dozen fan films released in this manner since the publication of the guidelines, CBS and Paramount have not seemed to mind or take notice.

Potemkin Pictures‘ newest fan series is unique in a number of ways.  Although it uses the existing ultra-low budget costumes and sets of most of the other Potemkin projects, the hospital ship Marie Curie is a new design of starship that has no weapons.  After all, as I told someone recently who was commenting that the ship was too weak, “You don’t usually arm an ambulance like you would a tank!”  This makes for an interesting story angle in the pilot episode when the crew faces a situation where they potentially need to go into battle completely unarmed.

Another item of note—in addition to having a Betazoid crew member during movie-era Star Trek time—is that this series has two prominent African American characters, including the aforementioned Betazoid (played by Staci Marshay) as well as the captain herself (Lillian Cole).  They join the new captain of the Starship Deimos (played by Tony Anderson) as prominent black actors in the Potemkin Pictures family of fan films.

All episodes of the various Potemkin series can be accessed from their website.  You can watch their latest series release below, and then keep reading for a short interview with Potemkin show-runner RANDY LANDERS…

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