VANCE MAJOR needs uniforms (again) to complete CONSTAR…new GoFundMe campaign launched!

VANCE MAJOR has produced about a billion Star Trek fan films (or it seems like a billion!)…and he’s not finished yet. With a new batch of about 20 episodes of CONSTAR CONTINUES set for release early next year, Vance still has a bunch more fan films in him! So he’s already planning for his NEXT fan series.

The new project will be titled CONSTAR COMPLETED, and Vance needs some new uniforms to put on his actors. If this sounds kinda déjà vuish to you, you’re not imagining things. Vance has sought out the financial assistance of the fan film community for uniform funding a few times before…and he usually gets there within the first day or two…a week tops! In fact, there’s been a couple of instances when I haven’t even had time to get a blog posted announcing the new Constar crowd-funder before Vance reached his goal.

So this time, I’m rushing as fast as I can to get this blog written and published! Indeed, it’s been less than a day already, and Vance is already nearly a third of the way to his $1,100 goal (including a little sumthin’-sumthin’ from yours truly). That’s the way it goes in this community…even during a pandemic with an economic slowdown.

However, it is still a pandemic with an economic slowdown, so it never hurts to spread the word (rather than the virus!) to fellow fans and friends. So here is the link to Vance Major’s new Constar Completed crowd-funding campaign on GoFundMe:

https://www.gofundme.com/f/constar-completed

If you have a little sumthin’-sumthin’ yourself to give, I guarantee you’ll get a fan film out of it—maybe even one or two DOZEN fan films! And even if you can’t afford to donate at the moment, please help get the word out by sharing the above link. And as always, thanks from both Vance and me.

This is my ONE THOUSANDTH blog – time for a Fan Film Factor PATREON!

That’s right, folks! I’m finally taking the plunge and launching a PATREON campaign to help fund the expenses of the Fan Film Factor blog. Here’s the link to donate…

https://www.patreon.com/fan_film_factor

I don’t need much. Each year, my expenses to keep this blog site operational run about $400. This includes domain registration for FanFilmFactor.com, web hosting at GoDaddy for a WordPress site (along with hi-end tech support, which is an extra premium but VERY helpful!), my SSL certificate (so that your browser trusts my blog site), and an additional layer of site security to guard against Russian hackers, random bad actors, and angry detractors.

When I first started including Google Ads on the right column of my blog pages, I was getting a bit more traffic because of the Axanar lawsuit, and the ad revenue pretty much covered the cost for the site upkeep. But in the last two years, ad revenue has settled in at a solid $200 annually, which is about half of what I pay to keep the blog’s lights on.

With the pandemic, money is tight, and so I decided to do what a few others in our community have done before—like RAY TESI from Neutral Zone Studios, ALEC PETERS from Ares Studios, and TREY McELWAIN from Mac’s World Creations Studio. (Hmmm, maybe I need to become a “studio”!) If just 18 or 20 folks sign up to give $1/month, then all is good. If I get even more donors, then I’ll be covered if ad revenue goes down…or maybe even be able to stop doing all of this completely for free.

That said, I’ve never been interested in turning blogging into a lucrative career. I do this for LOVE—love of Star Trek and of fan films, as well as respect and admiration for the fine folks who produce these great projects. The stories behind their stories deserve to be told. And between researching, writing, editing, interviewing, sound-editing, and graphics preparation, I average between 10 and 25 hours per week working on this blog site that I love so much. I’ve been doing all this for free for nearly five years now, and sure, it’d be nice to make a few bucks from it. But that’ll never be a deal-breaker for me.

In fact, this blog that you’re reading marks my ONE THOUSANDTH published blog on Fan Film Factor since January of 2016! Just take a look at my WordPress dashboard…

Click to enlarge

Earlier this year, I’d been curious how many blog entries I’d published and saw the total at 928. So I kept in the back of my mind that I should do something special for blog number 1,000. Then, a couple of months ago when I decided to launch a Patreon, it seemed like the perfect time to announce it.

I’ll post reminders from time to time (unless I get tons of patrons all at once, which I don’t expect). But for now, once again, please click below to sign up:

Thanks in advance if you decide to become one of my Patreon supporters!

ARES STUDIOS offers the complete set of AXANAR Master Systems Display posters in a new KICKSTARTER!

It’s the third Kickstarter in the last five months from ARES STUDIOS offering exclusive poster prints from the AXANAR universe!

The first Kickstarter ran during the final two weeks in May and brought in $9.7K to help pay expenses for Ares Studios in Lawrenceville, GA. That Kickstarter offered a super-size (36″ x 24″) Master Systems Display cutaway poster of the U.S.S. Ares plus a smaller schematic poster featuring top, bottom, side, front and rear views of the Ares. And because that campaign blew past two stretch goals, two additional 11″ x 17″ posters were included for all donors: a MSD cutaway poster for the U.S.S. Geronimo class and a Klingon tactical display poster.

The second Kickstarter raised nearly $11K after being active for two weeks in early July. This time, the campaign was for an amazingly detailed 9-sheet set of deck-by-deck blueprints crafted meticulously by ALEXANDER RICHARDSON of Great Britain. Alexander also created the MSD cutaway posters. The stretch goal for the second Kickstarter was a smaller 11″ x 17″ version of the U.S.S. Ares MSD poster from the first Kickstarter…the idea being that, while the larger poster was suitable to put up on the wall, the smaller poster could be stored alongside the same-sized blueprint pages in this Portfolio Presentation folder (available on Amazon).

Now it’s time to complete the set of 11″ x 17″ Master Systems Display posters with the remaining three starship classes from Axanar: the U.S.S. Triton, U.S.S. Magellan, and U.S.S. Korolev. And because the Korelev has the secondary hull BETWEEN the two nacelles, there will be an additional MSD poster of that starship class showing the cutaway view from the top.

But wait, there’s more!

The MSD poster set will also include the two previous starship classes that were stretch goals in the previous two campaigns (since not everyone donated to those and might not have them). So in total, there will be six 11″ x 17″ posters featuring all five Federation starship classes from PRELUDE TO AXANAR and the Axanar sequels.

But wait, there’s even MORE!!

You can get the six MSD posters for a $25 donation (plus shipping), but for an extra $10, you can add on two U.S.S. Ares Monitor Graphics posters (also 11″ x 17″ and designed by DANA WAGENR and ALEXANDER RICHARDSON)…replicas of the graphics used on the incredible bridge set at Ares Studios.

The Kickstarter quickly passed its $2K goal in its first 24 hours, so there’s no chance that this won’t fund. And all of the orders from the first two Kickstarters have already been shipped, so there’s a pretty quick turnaround. In fact, I’ve been meticulously studying my Ares blueprints deck-by-deck for the last week and a half!

Right now, the Kickstarter stands at about $3K after 4 days, with 16 days to go. And if donations top $6K, there’s a special stretch goal for this campaign, as well: a U.S.S. Ares Bridge graphic 11″ x 17″ poster, based on the panel that hangs to the left of the turbo lift opposite the dedication plaque…for FREE.

Click below to visit the Kickstarter page:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/aresstudios/axanar-msd-poster-collection

Despite fan confusion with the NICHELLE NICHOLS elder abuse GoFund Me, the Kickstarter for RENEGADES: OMINARA passes $43K…

In a cosmic case of bad timing, a brand new Kickstarter debuted two weeks ago for the new RENEGADES: OMINARA fan-produced film starring NICHELLE NICHOLS…at the same time a GoFundMe campaign launched to cover the cost of a lawsuit involving elder-abuse of the beloved Star Trek TOS actress.

First things first: the two campaigns are COMPLETELY unrelated. RENEGADES is a fan-run project from SKY CONWAY, who got involved with Star Trek licensing shortly before GENE RODDENBERRY passed away in 1991. Sky became close friends with Gene and his wife Majel and eventually went on to become a manager for various Star Trek alumni actors, including Nichelle Nichols.

In 2006, Sky wrote and produced—along with TIM “Tuvok” RUSS, who directed —the first “mega” Star Trek fan film to feature multiple big-name veteran actors from the franchise…including Nichelle, WALTER KOENIG, GARRETT WANG, J.G. HERTZLER, GARY GRAHAM, CHASE MASTERSON, ALAN RUCK, and others. He would later go on to produce STAR TREK: RENEGADES and the sequel “THE REQUIEM.”

Walter Koenig, Alan Ruck, and Nichelle Nichols in STAR TREK: OF GODS AND MEN, filmed in 2006

Meantime, there is a tragic and highly disturbing story (read more about it in this Newsweek article) about a man named GILBERT BELL who entered Nichelle’s life in 2010 (years and years after Sky Conway did) and presented her with a feature film idea. Nichelle would be the co-star, and profits would be split evenly between her and Bell. But the project never happened…if such a thing ever existed at all.

But Bell nevertheless took over as Nichelle’s new “talent manager,” collecting fees from her many convention appearances (usually about $10K per appearance and paid in cash). Meanwhile, Bell convinced Nichelle to allow him to move into the second house on her property (where he still lives), locking in a ridiculously low rent in perpetuity while Nichelle paid all of his utilities. Had it stopped there, things would have been bad enough. But the story gets MUCH worse.

In 2013, Nichelle was in a very weakened state following a hospitalization for pancreatitis. She was later transferred to a Los Angeles area rehabilitation center and nursing home. Diagnosed later with dementia, Nichelle was (according to the Newsweek article) surreptitiously removed from the facility against medical advice by Bell. That same day, Bell convinced Nichelle to sign both a directive naming Bell as her primary agent for health care decisions as well as documents handing General Power of Attorney to him. The next day, Bell also allegedly arranged for new bank accounts to be opened at Wells Fargo, granting him direct access to Nichelle’s assets.

But wait, it gets even worse…

Continue reading “Despite fan confusion with the NICHELLE NICHOLS elder abuse GoFund Me, the Kickstarter for RENEGADES: OMINARA passes $43K…”

RENEGADES: OMINARA Kickstarter reaches $29.5K with one week left!

On Monday, I reported on how the second part of the one-hour RENEGADES series premiere, “The Requiem,” would be available for free via YouTube for the first time ever…but only through August 28, 2020. This unusual move is intended to promote the current 15-day Kickstarter for the newest Renegades project, OMINARA, starring NICHELLE NICHOLS and WALTER KOENIG in what is likely to be Nichelle’s final performance in a film (the actress is 87 years old).

Ominara will be the first new Renegades project since “The Requiem” debuted back in 2017. This latest short film is intended to reboot the series by introducing a new character, Ominara, who is the queen of the galactic underworld. Nichelle will play the character in her twilight years, as she recalls her past and the path she chose to become the woman she became. From the Kickstarter description of the storyline…

As the first test subject of the “link,” Ominara (Nichelle Nichols) was exposed to myriad experiments that could be construed as torture. All for the advancement of technology and the “betterment” of mankind. Anton Steiner (Walter Koenig) knew that Ominara’s escape would cause problems for both himself and his company in the future, but he had no idea how much. 

The new Kickstarter has one week left (they started with two), but they have already exceeded their goal of $20,000…in fact, they did so on only the second day of the campaign! Right now, the total donated stands at $29,590…which includes a $5,000 donation, seven $500 donations, plus another 255 individual donations including $33 from yours truly.

Part of the reason for the large number donors is that the finished film will only be shared with backers who contribute $25 or more. Eventually, Renegades will be one of the tentpole pieces of content in the new AtomicTV lineup.

According to the campaign page, money raised in this Kickstarter will go toward the following…

1. Pre-Production – Getting the script written, the sets designed and built, the budgets finalized, securing the permits, the rental of the studio space, the costumes designed and fabricated as well as the props, such as tricorders, phasers, computer screens, etc.

2. Production – Paying the Cast and Crew, the cost of the Lights, Cameras, Grip equipment, Monitors, Food/Meals, Makeup/Prosthetics and Sound Equipment, etc.

3. Post Production – Paying the Editing Team as well as the cost of the CGI Effects, Color Correction, Sound Mixing, and Musical Score. (For this Campaign, the CGI Effects will be marked as a Stretch Goal.)

Plans call for production to begin “immediately” upon funding, likely in the third quarter of 2020. No details have been included about safety measures due to COVID-19 due to the advanced ages of Nichelle and Walter, but I am certain that all appropriate precautions will be taken when filming. The team plans to supply donors with updates and photos as production progresses.

To donate,, please click on the link below…

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/atomicstudios/renegades-prequel-nichelle-nichols-final-performance

RENEGADES: “THE REQUIEM, Part 2” available on YouTube until AUGUST 28!

Back in June of 2016, on the second day of filming the first hour-long episode of STAR TREK: RENEGADES, “The Requiem,” the production team received a nasty and potentially catastrophic surprise. CBS and Paramount had just released a new set of guidelines for Star Trek fan films that would essentially stop Renegades in its tracks.

The timing of the release might not have been entirely coincidental.

Six months earlier, CBS and Paramount had “stopped” the fan film AXANAR with a huge, multi-million dollar copyright infringement lawsuit. But there were still many other fan productions out there using the Star Trek name and intellectual property. And while Axanar had been the first to cross the million-dollar threshold by raising $1.2 million in donations from thousands of fans, Renegades was hot on Axanar‘s heels with (at the time) over $850K in crowd-funding, also from thousands of fans.

And while Axanar featured one veteran Star Trek actor reprising his role from canon (GARY GRAHAM as Soval), Renegades would feature TIM RUSS as Tuvok, WALTER KOENIG as Chekov, NICHELLE NICHOLS as Uhura, CIRROC LOFTON as Jake Sisko, TERRY FARREL as “Jadzia” (minus the Dax symbiont), ROBERT BELTRAN as Chakotay, ARON EISENBERG as Nog, and even HANA HATAE as a grown-up Molly O’Brien.

The previous year, Star Trek: Renegades had premiered a 90-minute fan film with a red carpet premiere at the historic Crest Theatre in Westwood, Los Angeles, calling the project a “backdoor pilot”or “spec pilot” for CBS to consider. Late in 2015, CBS requested (politely) that the Renegades team stop referring to their fan film as a pilot, a request they quickly compiled with. So instead they announced plans to release 12 half-hour webisodes per year (or “season”) oftheir spinoff Star Trek series, with “The Requiem” being the kickoff full-hour episode.

But the guidelines put the kibosh on all of that. No longer permitted to use Star Trek veteran actors or crew people, no longer allowed to pay professions, and constrained to no more than two 15-minute episodes and no sequels or seasons or ongoing series, Renegades had been effectively castrated as a Star Trek fan production before production come even get up to speed.

Continue reading “RENEGADES: “THE REQUIEM, Part 2” available on YouTube until AUGUST 28!”

Latest SPACE COMMAND Kickstarter reaches nearly $64K

Back on Tuesday, with less than two days left to reach their $48K goal and still $11K short, I said of the latest SPACE COMMAND Kickstarter: “Don’t count them out completely just yet.” With less than 22 hours to go, they were still nearly $8K short. Show-runner MARC SCOTT ZICREE even posted this impassioned plea to supporters of the project.

Remember that, with Kickstarter, if a campaign fails to reach its goal, the organizers get nothing. But it turns out that the backers of this fan-funded original sci-fi series had a few surprises left in them after all!

A surge in those last 22 hours, which included at least one and possibly two different $10K donations, leapfrogged them past their goal to a staggering $63,852 from 526 people. But it wasn’t just the big donations coming in. A final e-mail went out to veteran donors with just 19 hours left, opening up some new exclusive perks, including a special T-shirt. This rallied enough supporters that the new campaign added nearly 70 new donors during that final day.

With the funding of this latest campaign going more than 30% over the goal, work can continue on production of the second hour of the second episode “Forgiveness,” even as post-production continues on the second hour of the first episode “Redemption” and the first hour of the second episode (got all that?). The full scope of this sci-fi epic will be six 2-hour episodes compromising the first “season,” telling a series of stories of the exploits and adventures of grandparents, parents, children, grandchildren, and even great grandchildren spanning more than a century of time.

So far, SPACE COMMAND has released the completed first hour of their first episode, “Redemption,” which you can view here…

Space Command also recently undertook a very ambitious project: releasing a totally brand new, special two-hour episode featuring 25 different actors and cast members who recorded their segments from their homes (thanks to the pandemic and quarantine). The resulting film, “Ripple Effect” (released on July 1), chronologically spans the entire scope of history that Space Command will cover, from the year 2030 through 2071. These home performances were combined with some previously shot footage to create an immersive montage of all the many storylines that Marc Zicree has planned for the intiial run of Space Command.

Among the actors participating in “Ripple Effect” are NICHELLE NICHOLS (from Star Trek), DOUG JONES (from Discovery); ROBERT PICARDO (from Voyager); ARMIN SHIMERMAN and J.G. HERTZLER (from Deep Space Nine), MIRA FURLAN and BILL MUMY (from Babylon 5), BARBARA BAIN (from Space: 1999), and even NEIL DeGRASSE TYSON (from Cosmos). For obvious reasons, the film lacks polish in places, but overall, it’s actually quite well done and well acted. Some performances are truly magnificent.

If you’ve been a fan of Space Command so far, it’s definitely worth checking out…

Latest SPACE COMMAND Kickatarter in danger of coming up short!

Up until now, MARC ZICREE’s original sci-fi epic SPACE COMMAND hasn’t had much, if any, difficulty raising crowd-funding donations from fans. But we are currently living in the age of a global pandemic, people are losing their jobs and/or being furloughed, and contributions to fan projects aren’t flowing nearly as freely as they used to be.

Space Command got its start waaaaaaay back in 2012 with an early Kickstarter that brought in a staggering $212K from more than 2,000 donors. It then took five years for the project to reach post-production, where a second Kickstarter raised an additional $108K that would help complete the first hour of the 2-hour pilot episode “Redemption.”

third Kickstarter raised $102K more for post-production on the second hour of the pilot. Marc also sold individual $7,500 shares in the venture for supporters looking for a return on investment if/when the series sells. Those shares brought in an additional half million dollars.

A fourth Kickstarter in 2019 raised $86K for production to begin on the first hour of the second 2-hour episode, “Forgiveness.” And finally, this past April, a fifth Kickstarter raised $57K to help fund production on the second half of “Forgiveness.” Add it all up, and that’a more than $565K in donations and over a million dollars total including investment share sales!

Last month, Space Command launched a sixth Kickstarter to fund the remainder of production on “Forgiveness.” Already, the first hour of “Redemption” has been completed and released, and the second hour has been filmed and is nearly complete (it will have more than 900 visual FX shots!). The first hour of “Forgiveness” is filmed and now in post production. And the second hour of “Forgiveness” is ready to film as soon as it’s safe to do so and as soon as this sixth Kickstarter reaches its $48K goal.

And therein lies the problem.

Kickstarter’s rules say that your campaign needs to set a goal, and if you don’t reach that goal—no matter how close you come—you don’t get anything, no one’s credit card is charged, and the campaign is considered a failure. With only two days to go, the latest Space Command Kickstarter is still $11K short of its $48K goal (a miss of nearly 25%).

While it’s not impossible that Space Command can bridge that gap in so short a period of time, the independent sci-fi film project has never had to face such a challenge before. Each of the previous campaigns reached their goals easily and even surpassed them to unlock stretch goals.

But right now, the global economy is in shambles, millions have lost their jobs, and many crowd-funding campaigns are struggling (not just this one). On the other hand, Space Command still has thousands of loyal supporters. So don’t count them out completely just yet.

If you want to make a donation, click on the link below…

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/spacecommand/space-command-episode-4-forgiveness-part-2

And here is the exciting pitch video from MARC SCOTT ZICREE…

Continue reading “Latest SPACE COMMAND Kickatarter in danger of coming up short!”

INTERLUDE clip gets 7.8K views (and 1K likes) in 15 HOURS!

Wow…what a difference a successful YouTube Channel makes!

I posted a link to the 48-second “sneak peak” clip from INTERLUDE last week as part of a blog explaining why we were going to miss our announced premiere date of July 25, 2020. Long story short, the music isn’t done yet. But I wanted to give folks a taste of how the music sounded. So I cut a short clip and posted it. The video got 363 views over six days.

Last night, ALEC PETERS debuted the same video clip on the AXANAR YouTube channel. If you haven’t seen it yet, here it is…

I woke up this morning to see that the clip has now had over 7.8K views and 1K thumbs up (versus only 35 thumbs down)…so YAY! Of course, the channel has 89K subscribers—no wonder it got so many views so quickly. But hey, I’m not complaining!

I also read though the comments, and there were a number of questions and topics that came up repeatedly. So I thought I’d respond to them here if anyone is interested and/or curious:

1. When is Interlude coming out?

Soon. As I explained in last week’s blog, KEVIN CROXTON is about halfway done with the music, then MARK EDWARD LEWIS will add in the final sound effects and balance the sound levels. We’re also awaiting one final VFX sequence from LEWIS ANDERSON. Then we’re pretty much D-O-N-E.

2. The music is too loud/voices are too low.

Yep. As I said, the sound-mixing gets done last (since you need all the music before you can balance the levels). This clip was simply to give folks a taste of the music, and it’s a work-in-progress.

One of the most FUN things about making this fan film is showing you folks the behind-the-scenes steps of making a fan film. I didn’t want this clip to be polished and perfect…yet. It’s more interesting to hear the music raw before sound-mixing and then compare it to the finished product in order to get an appreciation for what sound mixing can do.

3. We waited ten years for 48 seconds???

Sigh. First of all, Interlude isn’t Axanar. We only started crowd-funding a year ago. And for the record, Axanar had its first crowd-funding campaign in 2014…six years ago, not ten. (Why people keep saying “ten years” is beyond me. Counting to six isn’t hard…you don’t need to round to the nearest ten!) And remember that Axanar was sued for a year, had to move across the country, then finish the bridge, raise money to replace the funds that were lost during the lawsuit while filming couldn’t happen, and then had to go through the many and complex steps of actually producing a fan film.

Axanar has now had multiple shoots, and only one 2-day shoot remains…a shoot that can’t happen while the international pandemic is still shutting down union productions everywhere. And if you’d like to donate to Axanar so that it can be finished, please click on the link below…

https://aresdigital.axanar.com

Continue reading “INTERLUDE clip gets 7.8K views (and 1K likes) in 15 HOURS!”

USS ARES blueprints Kickstarter finishes up with $10,887 from 217 backers!

Yesterday, with less than 5 hours to go in the 16-day Kickstarter for deck plans of the USS Ares-class assault cruiser, the total raised was still about a thousand dollars below the $10K needed to reach their stretch goal. The campaign had already surpassed its initial $3K goal in the first few hours, but if it passed $10K, each donor would ALSO get a free 11″ x 17″ version of the USS Ares Master Display Poster along with the blueprints.

Then, with four hours to go, an e-mail went out to the Ares Studios mailing list reminding supporters that the blueprints were still available, but not for long! An hour later, the Kickstarter total crossed $10K…and when the dust settled at 9pm Eastern Time, 217 backers had pledged $10,887 to the campaign.

The money (after the cost of printing and packing materials) will go toward funding the ongoing expenses for Ares Studios in Lawrenceville, GA, home to the extraordinary USS Ares bridge and captains quarters sets plus the Pike-era sets that were used on the upcoming FIRST FRONTIER fan film. Additional donations are coming in monthly to Ares Studios through an ongoing Patreon campaign.

Note that Ares Studios is a separate legal entity from Axanar Productions, which fundraises privately to finance the completion if the two AXANAR sequel fan films. That campaign is currently at $23,305 out of $35,000 needed for the final filming weekend plus the beginning of post-production. To donate to Axanar, click the link below and follow the instructions provided…

https://aresdigital.axanar.com