Oh, The Places You’ll Boldly GoFundMe!

Mash-up mess-up!  Seuss sues!  Tricky Trekkies find fans to fund!

…or at least that’s the short form of the story so far.  As I’ve covered in a series of blogs over the past year, copyright and trademark precedent is being made right under our very noses, and Star Trek is right smack dab in the middle of it!  But this time, it’s not a fan film in the thick of things but an unpublished attempt to mash-up Star Trek and Dr. Seuss into a fun (but allegedly not entirely allowable) illustrated book intended to be titled Oh, The Places You’ll Boldly Go!

Written by Star Trek‘s own DAVID GERROLD (creator of the tribbles) and illustrated by TY TEMPLETON (Eisner award-winning mainstream comic book artist), this project was going to be crowd-funded through Kickstarter and managed to raise $30,000 in September of 2016.  But Dr. Seuss Enterprises (DSE) asserted their intellectual property rights, and Kickstarter elected to shut down the campaign.  On November 10, DSE sued Gerrold, Templeton, and ComicMix (the company running the campaign) for both copyright and trademark infringement.

It’s now nearly two years later, and this case is nowhere near done.  In fact, the trial isn’t scheduled to begin until next spring, and the lawyers on both sides have been VERY busy (more on that tomorrow)!  But in the meantime, the legal bills are piling up.  This isn’t as much of a problem for DSE, which makes money every time someone buys Green Eggs and Ham or The Lorax, not to mention royalties on all the movie remakes of classic Seuss stories.  ComicMix, on the other hand, is a much smaller company…and apparently, their cash bucket isn’t nearly as deep.  And unfortunately, unlike a certain fan production we all remember, ComicMix didn’t find attorneys willing to work for free.

And so ComicMix has launched a GoFundMe campaign with a $25,000 goal.  So far, they’ve managed to get about 9% of the way there.

“Why is this worth donating to?” you ask.  I’ll tell you…

Continue reading “Oh, The Places You’ll Boldly GoFundMe!”

STAGE 9 STUDIOS announces a new PATREON, OPEN HOUSE, and an awesome WALK-THROUGH VIDEO!

Would you pay $1, $5, $10, or $25/month to keep the lights on for the only full TOS sets to be completely open to the fan film community?  Right now, 11 people are already doing that, giving STAGE 9 STUDIOS in Kingsland, GA a combined $100/month (or thereabouts) in guaranteed financial assistance to pay for rent, electricity, and maintenance.

With rent estimated at about $3,000/month, a hundred bucks a month might not seem like much.  But Stage 9 Studio only just recently launched their new Patreon, and owner RAY TESI is currently paying all expenses out of his own pocket from retirement savings.  So donating even as little as a dollar a month will be a welcome help.

For those not familiar with Patreon, it’s similar to Kickstarter and Indiegogo in that anyone can set up a campaign, anyone can contribute, and there can be perks.  The difference is that, while the latter two are designed for a one-time contribution, Patreon is set up so that supporters (patrons) donate monthly, a recurring contribution charged to their credit card or transferred from their bank account until the donor says otherwise.  Patreon is designed for ongoing endeavors rather than one-time projects, so it’s perfect for something like Stage 9 Studios where the expenses from rent, utilities, and maintenance are ongoing.

And what happens if the Patreon generates more per month than it costs to “keep the lights on.”  (What a great problem to have, right!?!)  Simple.  Additional funds will be used to improve the studio (like adding air conditioning, perhaps?) and maybe even to build more sets.  As the Patreon page clearly states:

STAGE 9 STUDIOS is NOT a money-making enterprise, but an opportunity to share the passion that millions of STAR TREK fans have for the series!

But that’s not all that’s happening with Stage 9 Studios.  Would YOU like to see these amazing sets in person…for FREE???

Continue reading “STAGE 9 STUDIOS announces a new PATREON, OPEN HOUSE, and an awesome WALK-THROUGH VIDEO!”

YOU could appear in GARY GRAHAM’S new MUSIC VIDEO!

GARY GRAHAM is no stranger to Star Trek and sci-fi…and he’s also been a friend to Trek fan films for over a decade.  Known as Ambassador Soval from Star Trek: Enterprise (he was in an episode of Voyager, too) and Detective Matt Sikes from the TV series Alien Nation, Gary also appeared in the Trek fan films Of Gods and Men, Renegades, and Prelude to Axanar.

But did you know that Gary also has a rock band that plays original songs with Star Trek-themed lyrics?  It’s true!  Heck, he’ll even perform at your wedding or birthday party with his group, THE SONS OF KIRK.  (Seriously, how cool would it be to have a Star Trek veteran actor come to your house and sing Star Trek songs???)

According Gary, “All of [my] insider experiences are infused into the songs and lyrics!  Every single song is Star Trek-themed, with hilarious, cool, and sexy lyrics to make even the most casual fan crack a Vulcan Smile. No filler, No additives; just #NerdCool.

Gary and his band have just launched a KICKSTARTER campaign with a $5,000 goal.  Their hope is raise enough to record their first studio album and then create a music video for one of the songs.  If they surpass their goal (which is looking likely, as nearly a third of that $5K has been raised in the first 12 hours!), they will have stretch goals for additional songs and potentially more music videos.

Perks include the expected—copies of the finished album, autographed photos, merchandise, listings in the credits at various producer levels—plus a a couple of unique options.  With as little as a $15 donation, your name will be mentioned in a special “Thank You” song (not on the album, but released to the public).  And all contributors of $200 or more get to be in the music video (travel and lodging not included).

You can follow The Sons of Kirk on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

To donate, visit their Kickstarter page.

DREADNOUGHT DOMINION launches new GOFUNDME with two vignettes! (interview, part 2)

Last week, we took a look at the fan series DREADNOUGHT DOMINION, which debuted in early 2015 and returned in late 2016 and 2017 with two additional episodes that crossed over with STARSHIP VALIANT and Vance Major’s MINARD saga.  Now Dominion is set for yet another return, and has launched a brand new GoFundMe campaign attempting to raise $1,500 for a full-length (two 15-minute episodes) fan film.

In the first part of my interview with show-runners GARY DAVIS and RANDY WRENN, we discussed the crowd-funder, the guidelines, and the two recent vignettes that were released.  But were very outside-of-the box fan films.  The first, “Reality Check,” debuted last month and features jumps between the Star Trek fan film universe and the “real” world where their production is actually being filmed.  You can watch it here…

The second vignette, “Silent Acknowledgement,” focused on an intriguing concept: a communications officer who is deaf.  Played by Gary’s wife TRACEY DAVIS, who is actually deaf and has cochlear implants, Lt. Paula Tomkins’ “disability” is no more a hindrance in the 23rd century than Geordi LsForge’s blindness was in the 24th century.  For hearing impaired watchers of fan films, this is (I believe) the first totally deaf character to be featured in any fan production or series.  You can watch the vignette below…

One of the most distinctive things about Dreadnought Dominion (in addition to the deaf communications officer and the use of a tri-nacelled Federation-class dreadnought design from the Franz Joseph Starfleet Technical Manual from the 1970s) is where the series has been filmed.  The first two episodes and the most recent two vignettes were each filmed on the TOS sets in Kingsland, GA, previously used exclusively for the fan series Starship Farragut and Star Trek Continues.  No other fan production was ever allowed to film there.  But Dominion filmed there years earlier and was also the first fan production to film on those sets just as the new owner, RAY TESI of STARSHIP REPUBLIC, was opening them up to other fan productions.  How did they manage that…?

Continue reading “DREADNOUGHT DOMINION launches new GOFUNDME with two vignettes! (interview, part 2)”

DREADNOUGHT DOMINION launches new GOFUNDME with two vignettes! (interview, part 1)

One of those “hidden gems” of Star Trek fan films is the series DREADNOUGHT DOMINION.  Not as fancy or polished as the “big guns” like Star Trek Continues or New Voyages, Dominion is one of those mid-tier productions that has benefited from using  TOS sets from other productions (or faked it when they weren’t able to) and put a lot of heart and dedication into producing labors of love.

I also fancy this particular fan series because it’s the only one to feature the Federation-class dreadnought starship design from the Franz Joseph Starfleet Technical Manual from the 1970s.  I always loved that 3-nacelled design with the hangar bay on the front!

Dreadnought Dominion release two episodes in 2015, each filmed on the sets used at the time by Starship Farragut and Star Trek Continues (the only other fan production to ever use those sets).  Their third episode wouldn’t come out until the end of 2016 and was actually a crossover with Starship Valiant.  You can read more about all of that in this blog.  Ten months later, Dominion crossed over again withStarship Valiant but in the Mirror Universe as part of the MINARD saga from Vance Major.  That’s covered in this blog.

Then last month, Dominon returned yet again…this time all on its own, once again using the STC sets in Georgia( now owned by Ray Tesi).  They promptly released an amusing 10-minute vignette titled “Reality Check” that broke the “fourth wall”…

Then last week they released another new vignette, “Silent Acknowledgement” that focuses on a hearing-impaired communications officer (the first Trek fan series that I’m aware of to feature a deaf character)…

They also just launched a new GoFundMe campaign trying to raise $1,500 for their next production:

https://www.gofundme.com/dreadnought-dominion

By the way, “they” are show-runners GARY DAVIS and RANDY WRENN, who also play the new captain and first officer of the USS Dominion.  And of course, I interviewed them (’cause that’s what I do)…

Continue reading “DREADNOUGHT DOMINION launches new GOFUNDME with two vignettes! (interview, part 1)”

Time to GO FUND the new fan film THE LEXINGTON ADVENTURES! (interview with JOSEPH BONICE and VANCE MAJOR)

Yep, it’s another crowd-funder, folks!  But this one’s only trying to reach $1,350…and they’re already about a third of the way there ($420) in just one week!  So congratulations to THE LEXINGTON ADVENTURES!  If you want to make a donation yourself, here’s the link.  It’s a GoFundMe campaign, meaning there’s no perks.  But there’s also no time limit and no requirement to meet a goal in order to collect the money raised.

This year actually didn’t start out so well on the fan film funding front.  A Kickstarter back in March for The Holy Core failed to get even halfway to their $12K goal, despite being run by the same folks who wrote and directed the highly popular Chance Encounter fan film.  Fortunately, an angel donor can through and funded the entire production, so The Holy Core will be made, after all.  Yay!

Things were still looking sluggish in April when a $10K Indiegogo for The Romulan War stalled about halfway to its goal.  But after extending the campaign out an additional thirty days, The Romulan War not only fully funded but surpassed the goal with nearly $12K, allowing them to cover the overhead cost of using Indiegogo in the first place.

Also wrapping up last week and going over their Indiegogo goal was the non-Trek fan film (but edited by Axanar and Free Enterprise‘s own Robert Meyer Burnett) Sky Fighter, which blew past its $25K goal to finish at $31,284.

So things seem to be looking up for fan film crowd-funding…at least for now.  Can The Lexington Adventures continue this trend and reach THEIR goal, as well?  To do that, they need support from fans like you.  Is Lexington worth your donation dollar?

For the answer to this question, I went right to the source: show-runner JOSEPH “JOEY” BONICE and VANCE MAJOR, who will be a producer on this fan film.  Joey works for the U.S. government and is currently stationed in Germany.  But he’ll be moving back to the U.S. soon and and will be diving right into working on The Lexington Adventures, currently scheduled for filming during the third week of September.  Vance is known to most fans as the face of Erick Minard of Starship Valiant and about 30 other fan films that Vance wrote and directed.

Let’s see what the guys had to say…

Continue reading “Time to GO FUND the new fan film THE LEXINGTON ADVENTURES! (interview with JOSEPH BONICE and VANCE MAJOR)”

THE ROMULAN WAR Indiegogo ends TOMORROW!

It’s been a long road getting from there to here…nearly sixty days!  A month ago, having raised just under $6,000 of their $10,000 goal, show-runner MARK NACCARTO extended the Indiegogo for THE ROMULAN WAR for another 30 days.  And it paid off.  Now, with less than 48 hours left, The Romulan War is only $335 (3%) away from being FULLY funded.  If you haven’t donated yet, then to quote Pavel Chekov: “Now vould be a good time!”

With a final push for donations, Mark has just posted the last of his Mission Briefing videos: “Final Countdown.”  In it, he announces that the donation threshold for a contributor to appear in The Romulan War (as a voice-over) is now only $40 with the new “Comms Officer Access” perk.  Perviously, it took  a $100 “Captain Access” donation to get a speaking role.  That perk is still available, but the $40 option is a less expensive alternative with fewer additional items.  With either perk, your name will appear in the credits.  Also, there are still 3 remaining “Commodore Access” perks for $250 each which allow you to be seen, not just heard, in the finished film.

Mark also shows off some of the ultra-cool posters that are available at multiple donation levels.  So the reasons to contribute are many.  If you haven’t donated already, or if you want to be the one to push them over the $10,000 goal …

CLLICK HERE TO DONATE!

 

And take a look at the “Final Countdown” video below…

THE ROMULAN WAR releases a GAME-CHANGER!

Yesterday I mentioned that the SKY FIGHTER Indiegogo only needed 10% more to reach their goal of $25,000.  And—poof!—they had done it by late afternoon!

So now I’m mentioning the the Indiegogo for THE ROMULAN WAR, which is only $1,705 short of its $10,000 goal with just FOUOR days left.  Yeah, it would’ve been cooler to say $1,701 dollars short, but either way, they’re knocking on the door of being completely funded.

I asked show-runner MARK NACCARATO what this final $1,705 will cover.  What if they don’t make it?  What won’t be in the final version that otherwise would have if you (yeah, I’m talking to YOU, Mr./Ms. reader!) had just donated ten or twenty bucks.

Here’s what Mark told me…

That final amount is going to allow us to properly visualize the legendary BATTLE OF CHERON. Those of you who know your Trek history know that Cheron was the final battle of the war where Earth marshaled its forces for one last desperate assault to stave off complete annihilation by the Romulans. This sequence will be everything you think it should be. In a word, it will be EPIC!

So do it for Cheron, folks!  Do it for jaw-dropping visual FX!  Do it for Starfleet so we can win this war!

To give fans a taste of what this battle might look like, Mark just released a final trailer for the campaign, titled “Game Changer.”  The video introduces fans to the character of Admiral Matthias Jefferies, who is an expert on the weapons and tactics used by Earth during the Romulan War of the 22nd century.  Although the visual FX are still only early renderings and will look MUCH better in the finished fan production, they still look pretty darn awesome and also introduce the new Yorktown-class starship.

Take a look and then click here to donate while there’s still time!

It’s gonna be a NAIL-BITER for SKY FIGHTER!!!

I have to be honest with you guys: I didn’t think it was gonna happen.  With many recent crowd-funding campaigns for Trek fan films clawing their way to $10K (if that!), how was a NON-Star Trek fan film by a first-time director gonna possibly take in $25,000???  And beyond that, SKY FIGHTER‘s writer/director LUKAS KENDALL had selected the all-or-nothing “Fixed Goal” option on Indiegogo, where if you don’t reach your goal, you get NOTHING (just like on Kickstarter).

I mean, who does that????  If you’re gonna use Indiegogo, at least choose the “Flex Goal” option and keep whatever you raise, regardless of how much or how little.  But as Lukas told me in this interview, he was going all in…$25K or bust!!!

I was also curious about Lukas’ somewhat unorthodox approach, including posting his complete script for the Sky Fighter short film for anyone to read, using a lot of tongue-in-cheek humor to describe himself and his project, and including among his perks certain ones that seemed a bit (purposefully) outrageous.

Would this work?  Could this work?

The answer may just turn out to be YES, but it’s gonna be SUPER-CLOSE!  With just two days left (the campaign ends this Thursday at midnight Pacific Time), the Sky Fighter Indiegogo is nearly 90% of the way to its $25,000 goal.. at $22,248 as I type this.

Lukas, who gained a following producing CD collections of popular science fiction TV and movie scores, has been relying on those same followers for a lot of his donor support, and it’s certainly been working.  Among his most popular perks are the “Best of Both Worlds” signed CD ($20 + shipping), the Return to Tomorrow – Making of ST:TMP book ($35 + shipping), and especially the Star Trek TOS CD box set & 50th Anniversary 4 CD set ($199, free shipping). That latter bundle saves people around $100.

There is eve a weekend on Martha’s Vinyard for $1,000 where you get to spend a Friday-Sunday in August with Lukas Kendall’s MOTHER!  She’ll even take you out for dinner on Saturday night.  (I told you there were some outrageous perks.)    Donate $1,000 and you get to go through Lukas’ crap in the basement!

C’mon, folks!  Let’s get this Indiegogo campaign across the finish line…

CLICK HERE TO DONATE!

YOU have FOUR CHANCES left to appear in THE ROMULAN WAR!

At the end of last month, the eagerly-anticipated new fan project THE ROMULAN WAR extended its Indiegogo campaign for an additional 30 days.  The move seems to be working out quite well, as an additional $2,200 in donations have come in since then…leaving the production just $1,810 short of its $10,000 goal (as I type this) with two full weeks left to attract donations from fans.

By far the most exciting of the perks being offered was an opportunity for donors to actually APPEAR in this fan film!  For a $100 donation, you have the option to record your voice, reading a line or two from the script, and having that recording be included in the finished film.  That’s the perk level I donated for, by the way, and there’s still 38 of those voice-over options still available.

The other opportunity offered a few lucky fans (who wanted to donate $250) the choice APPEAR in the film if they so desired.  Donors at this level would be asked to film themselves at home using a camera or smart phone according to instructions, possibly say a few lines, and upload the footage, which would then be edited into the film.

Initially, there were only five of these “Commodore Access” on-camera perks available…and they disappeared very quickly.  By the time the Indiegogo was extended, they were long gone.

But last week, show-runner MARK NACCARATO added five more “Commodore Access” on-camera perks to the list.  Already, one has been snatched up, leaving four.  So HURRY if you want to be in an actual fan film!

Assuming each of these perks is snatched up, that’ll leave the campaign within spitting distance (just $810 away) from their $10,000 goal, which should be quite doable in 14 days.

To learn more or donate (and get this great perk!), click here.

 


And now, please enjoy the latest video offering from THE ROMULAN WAR featuring some behind-the-scenes photos from last summer’s shoot in Nashville, Tennessee…