What REALLY happened with STARBASE STUDIOS! (Part 2)

Yesterday, we looked at the history of STARBASE STUDIOS from its founding in 2010 to its move from Oklahoma to Arkansas at the beginning of 2017.  Things started to get tense and messy by early summer, with DAN REYNOLDS stepping aside, leaving GLEN L. WOLFE wanting to charge fan producers $500/day (plus extra fees) to use the studios TOS sets and resources…while SCOTT JOHNSON and KENT “WORDS” EDWARDS wanted to keep the sets free for use by fans (only requesting a donation to cover the cost of electricity for the day).  And as long as CHARLES “BUD” PELSOR, the landlord of the warehouse where the STARBASE STUDIOS sets were being housed in Dogpatch, AR, was providing free rent until the end of 2018, offering use of the sets essentially for free was certainly doable.

Then, in early August, as recounted in this recent blog a large number props and items both freestanding and attached to the sets were removed and taken from the warehouse.  It was not a break-in, as there was no indication of forced entry.  Later on, when the police were brought in,they spoke with Glen’s attorney who explained that the items taken were the personal property of Glen Wolfe, and if Scott and “Words”  wanted to prove otherwise, they would need to do so in civil court.  The police then told everyone that they would stay out of the matter until ownership was clearly and legally established.

Quite a sticky wicket!  Here’s what happened next…

Continue reading “What REALLY happened with STARBASE STUDIOS! (Part 2)”

What REALLY happened with STARBASE STUDIOS! (Part 1)

As you might recall from this recent blog, SCOTT JOHNSON and KENT “WORDS” EDWARDS, with the help of VANCE MAJOR, posted a video showing many critical pieces of the TOS sets that were removed, 90 days earlier, along with damage done to the remaining set pieces during the removal process.  But the question must be asked: was this “theft” and “vandalism” or simply someone reclaiming his personal property?  And it is now looking as though that question will end up being answered in an Arkansas courtroom.

There’s a LOT of ground to cover right now, folks, and I’m going to share as much as I’m allowed to while trying to break this whole situation down for you.  Ready?

Continue reading “What REALLY happened with STARBASE STUDIOS! (Part 1)”

A history of STAR TREK CONTINUES (feature, part 5)

Last time, as 2015 came to a close, STAR TREK CONTINUES was well on its way to a royal fizzbin.  They purchased the entirety of the sets in Kingsland, GA, and released their sixth episode, “Divided We Stand.” STC‘s second “Kirkstarter” at the beginning of 2015 had brought in nearly $215,000 to fund their next two episodes and build two new sets: Engineering and a planet set similar to what existed for TOS back in the 1960s on the Paramount lot.  And then 2016 brought the release of those next two episodes, “Come Not Between the Dragons“and “Embracing the Winds.”

With eight episodes completed and released, STC was now way past the mid-point of what was originally intended to be a 13-episode run.  Show-runner Vic Mignogna never envisioned STC going past that number of episodes, and joked that he, now well into his fifties, couldn’t play a 35-year-old James T. Kirk forever.  Indeed, episodes 7 and 8 already began introducing plot elements that would form into an ongoing story arc that would culminate in the series finale that would end Kirk’s five-year mission and lead into Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

But as 2015 drew to a close, no one suspected that 2016 would turn out to be an uncertain and controversial year, not just for STC, but for all Star Trek fan films.  And it all began just before New Years with the filing of a copyright infringement lawsuit by CBS and Paramount against another fan production…Axanar.

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If you STILL don’t believe that LORCA is from the MIRROR UNIVERSE…read this blog! (editorial)

Spoilers GALORE!!!

What do STAR TREK: DISCOVERY and GAME OF THRONES have in common?

Answer: they each have only six episodes left to complete their story lines.

Oh, I know that Discovery has been renewed for a second season.  But up until that recent announcement, and all during the writing and filming of the 15 episodes of the first season, the production team didn’t know if they’d get a second season or, even if they did, if the setting and time era of the show would shift (as original show-runner Bryan Fuller has initially envisioned).

So the idea was always to wrap up the Klingon war story in a single 15-episode (originally 13-episode) season.  If the series got renewed, great.  They’d do a new story arc during season two.

The problem, of course, is time.  While Game of Thrones has had SEVEN seasons and 67 episodes (so far) to slowly develop their many intricate plots and sub-plots and mysteries, move their characters into unexpected situations, and quite often surprise the viewer, Discovery has actually had to “rush” things.

Places where this lack of time has been particularly noticeable include:

Continue reading “If you STILL don’t believe that LORCA is from the MIRROR UNIVERSE…read this blog! (editorial)”

SPACE COMMAND is back with EXPLOSIVE NEW KICKSTARTER! (audio interview with MARC ZICREE)

The year was 2012.  The name of the place was Kickstarter.  The project: SPACE COMMAND.

But back in 2012, fan films weren’t exactly scoring big bucks.  In fact, at the time of the Space Command Kickstarter in May of that year, no Star Trek fan film project had yet succeeded in reaching their goal and getting funded.  (Star Trek: Renegades‘ Kickstarter was still four months away).  And even though Space Command wasn’t actually Star Trek (it was an original  production created in a modern style that drew inspiration from the sci-fi literary and film classics of the the 1950s), it featured a cast that included notables from Star Trek and other well-known sci-fi franchises:

  • Robert Picardo (Star Trek: Voyager)
  • Doug Jones (Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy, and now Star Trek: Discovery’s Saru)
  • Bruce Boxleitner (Babylon 5)
  • Mira Furlan (Babylon 5)
  • Bill Mumy (Babylon 5 and Lost In Space)
  • Faran Tahir (Star Trek 2009…he was the captain of the USS Kelvin)
  • James Hong (Big Trouble in Little China)

And that’s only a partial list from just their first episode.  Space Command is intended to be an entire series made up of multiple 2-hour episodes.  The 2012 Kickstarter was in tended to set-up a studio, build sets, and film the first episode…which they did.  They raised $221,000 from nearly 3,000 backers!

Two years later, in 2014, I got my first taste of Space Command when I saw the following scene with Robert Picardo and Doug Jones from their first episode…

I was blown away, and I couldn’t wait to see more!  Unfortunately, it turned out that I would have to.  Despite trailers like this one and this one that made it look like the finished product was nearly ready, years would go by with nothing new happening.

Until now!

Last week, Space Command launched a new Kickstarter campaign to complete the final post-production on the first 35 minutes of their debut episode.  And if you’re wondering if fans are still willing to support a non-studio project that had raised hundreds of thousands of dollars and not delivered a finished product even after five years…the answer is: HELL, YEAH!!!!

With a goal of only $39,000, they blew past that in a matter of days!  As I write this, they’ve topped $52,600 from 530 donors (including $60 from me), and they still have more than three and a half weeks to go!  Stretch goals will allow them to complete additional segments of their first 2-hour pilot episode.

Marc Scott Zicree

I caught up with writer/ show-runner MARC SCOTT ZICREE last week (just look at his IMDb page to see all the stuff he’s worked on—including Trek, B5, Sliders, and the Star Trek: New Voyages fan film episode “World Enough and Time“), and I asked him about the Space Command project, the new Kickstarter, plans for the future, and or course, why it’s been over 5 years with no finished episode yet.

Take a listen (Marc gives an AWESOME interview!)…

And click here to donate!

STAR TREK CONTINUES releases its SERIES FINALE! (includes special video intro by VIC MIGNOGNA)

Now listen to me very carefully:

  • Go into your kitchen.
  • Make some popcorn.
  • Go back to your computer (or TV if you watch YouTube there).
  • Close the door.
  • Turn down the lights.
  • Turn off your phone(s).
  • And watch the series finale of STAR TREK CONTINUES before anyone can spoil it for you.
  • Do it NOW…that’s an order!

There’s no need to say anything more, unless you missed “To Boldly Go, Part I” (in which case, watch that first and then follow my previous orders).

Comments with spoilers are welcome below, but if you haven’t watched the episode yet, for heaven’s sake, DON’T SCROLL DOWN THIS PAGE!!!  Just…don’t.  Watch the finale first.  It’s 58 minutes and 10 seconds of absolute Star Trek bliss.

Also, don’t miss the final two installments of my “History of Star Trek Continues blog series this Friday and next.  Out of respect for those who don’t follow orders, I will be waiting until next Friday to get into any details about the finale.  I will also be including video segments from the STC panel discussion after the live screening).

Speaking of which, here is a SPECIAL INTRODUCTION by show-runner VIC MIGNOGNA that was given in Los Angeles before the screening…

And now, after fifty years, it’s time to finally witness the end of that historic five-year mission and celebrate this groundbreaking fan series…a precious gift to all of Star Trek fandom.  Ladies and gentlemen, this is why I’m here…

 

FAN FILM FACTOR gets 100K visits last month!

THANK YOU!!!

From the bottom of my heart, I just wanted to take a quick moment to thank everyone who comes to read this blog…whether you’re one of my “regulars” or you just visit every so often or even if you’ve never been here before.  It means more to me than you can know.

Last month, for the first time ever, the total visits to this blog site ticked up over 100,000!  Now, I realize that’s probably just a temporary blip, as the previous two months were closer to 25K (although the month before that was at 85K—it’s a crazy place this Internet!).  And I also understand that some of that traffic is likely web crawling Internet “bots” hitting my blog site for search engine purposes.  But hey, that doesn’t much matter.

I’m just excited that, after nearly two years of writing Fan Film blogs for this site, people are still coming to read them!!!  And quite a few people, at that!  My daily web traffic is between a few hundred and a few thousand.  And that translates into ad dollars that sometimes get as high as $1 or $2 a day!  Yeah, I’m not really doing it for the money, folks.

So why am I doing it?

It’s actually quite a bit of work.  I research, write up, and edit (you only see the typos I don’t catch).  I reach out to fan film producers to conduct interviews, try to keep track of the latest goings on in the Trek fan film community, hunt down little-known Trek fan productions from years ago to write about, and look for active crowd-funding campaigns….and all of this while trying to stay just a few days (or maybe a week if I’m lucky) ahead of publishing deadlines.  I don’t want this blog site to get stale if I can help it!

If you’re curious how Jonathan puts this blog together, here’s an idea of what I’m working on at any given moment…

Continue reading “FAN FILM FACTOR gets 100K visits last month!”

A history of STAR TREK CONTINUES (feature, part 4)

WARNING!  SPOILERS AHEAD!

Last time: we took a look at the first three episodes of STAR TREK CONTINUES to be filmed with $126,000 in funds donated from their first “Kirkstarter” campaign in late 2013: “Lolani,” “Fairest of Them All,” and The White Iris.

The last of these three episodes was filmed in January of 2015, just as STC was launching its second Kickstarter campaign (Kirkstarter 2.0, as they called it) to fund their next episode….and possibly more.  But before we get to the crowd-funding campaign, something even more significant was about to happen in the Georgia Studio where STC shared space with Farragut Films.

Farragut Films wanted out, and was ready to let STC take over the studio completely (along with the $4,000/month rent!).  The only problem: Farragut Films wanted to take their bridge with them.  After all, they built it!  But how was STC going to make more episodes without the most important TOS set of them all???

Later on at the end of 2015, STC would file for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, and their submitted paperwork became public record.  As such, we now know all of the details of what happened behind-the-scenes when Farragut Films moved out of the studio…

Continue reading “A history of STAR TREK CONTINUES (feature, part 4)”

FINALLY…DISCOVERY does a STAR TREK episode! (editorial review)

SPOILER WARNING (OF COURSE)!

There’s a misconception out there that I never write blogs that have anything nice to say about STAR TREK: DISCOVERY.  To hopefully dispel this silly rumor, I would like to acknowledge publicly that the eighth episode, titled “Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum” (“If you want peace, prepare for war”) was MARVELOUS!  I enjoyed it thoroughly in ways that I haven’t enjoyed the previous seven episodes.  In short, this episode was true Star Trek.

And it wasn’t just I who thought that.  Many fans, including After Trek host MATT MIRA agreed…

The woman to whom they are referring is episode writer Kirsten Beyer, who has also written nearly a dozen Star Trek: Voyager novels and is working with Pocket Books on the Discovery novels and IDW Publishing on their Star Trek: Discovery comic book series.  In other words, she’s a true, long-time fan…something that I’ve felt has been missing from the writing of the other seven episodes.

To me at least, the Star Trek elements of this series to date have felt more like last-minute add-ons to their scripts rather than an intrinsic part of them…almost like hanging Hallmark Star Trek ornaments onto a tree at Christmas.  Underneath all those decorations, it’s still just a tree without any inherent connection to Star Trek.

Not so with this eighth episode!  It really did feel like Star Trek.

Interestingly, this episode was NOT loaded up with references to canon.  It didn’t need them.  While some other episodes have tended to squeeze canon Easter eggs in like sardines—as if to say, “Look at how Star Trek we are!”—this episode included only a couple: a reference to the Prime Directive and the good ol’ “Needs of the many…” quote from Vulcan philosophy.  But rather than being add-ons to the story, both were essential parts of it.

Really, though, here’s what made this episode feel like it had the  true spirit of Star Trek for me…

Continue reading “FINALLY…DISCOVERY does a STAR TREK episode! (editorial review)”

STARSHIP ANTYLLUS releases 55-MINUTE two-part 10th episode!

When CBS and Paramount announced the new fan film guidelines in June of 2016, the first guideline was among the most controversial:

The fan production must be less than 15 minutes for a single self-contained story, or no more than 2 segments, episodes or parts, not to exceed 30 minutes total, with no additional seasons, episodes, parts, sequels or remakes.

Since then, nearly a hundred Star Trek fan films have been released (possibly more, I haven’t counted them all!), and most have followed those guidelines as best they can.  A few have gone slightly over the time limit or tried to get around the “no series” rule by changing the series title with each new “episode” of a fan series despite featuring the same cast and characters.

Of course, Star Trek Continues has been the most notable for not hewing to the guidelines in each of their final four episode releases…all produced after the announcement of the guidelines (the last episode coming next Monday…you’ll LOVE it!).  But STC is shutting down production.

Another fan series, however, is NOT planning to shut down, and they’ve just released the 55-minute long tenth episode of their first season.  That series is STARSHIP ANTYLLUS, which began back in 2013.  They released their ninth episode just over a year ago, months after the guidelines were announced.

Show-runner GEORGE KAYAIAN has actually been making Star Trek fan films since way back in the 1990s when he produced three full-length amateur features ranging from one to one-and-a-half hours in length.  These low-budget productions starred his mother as the captain and his father as chief engineer.  (Yeah, my parents would never have agreed to that!  Then again, they can’t really act.)

Two decades later, Starship Antyllus still features George’s friends and family members, but now George is a parent himself with one of the most adorable daughters you’ve even seen.  Anya has actually appeared in a 2-part episode, and she helps behind the scenes, as well.

Episode 10, “Consequences,” completes season one of the long-running fan series, and George is already working on the first few of episodes of season two, with the whole season-long story arc mapped out.  Many scenes have already been filmed, with more being added soon.  Obviously, this is going to be an ongoing fan series, something the guidelines say is a no-no.

So what does George have to say about this situation?

Continue reading “STARSHIP ANTYLLUS releases 55-MINUTE two-part 10th episode!”