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…

Continue reading “Some unsolicited CROWD-FUNDING advice from me… (editorial)”

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

Can STALLED TREK’s kickstarter reach $4,000??? $6,000???

A couple of days ago, I wrote a blog asking “Can SPACE COMMAND make it to $100,000???”  Less than 24 hours later, it did just that with a total of $102,632!  Can lighting strike twice?

Today, I shift the fan film spotlight to a much more modest Kickstarter for STALLED TREK: “The City on the Edge of Foreclosure.”  The campaign started with a teensy goal of only $600.  That goal was reached in less than eight hours!  Now there’s only  29 hours left, and the total so far is $3,796 with 99 backers.  There’s a stretch goal at $4,000 that will result in an HD remastering of the hilarious and brilliant first episode of Stalled Trek: “Amutt Time.”  If you haven’t seen it, take a look…

Another stretch goal awaits at $6,000…the remastering of The Wobbling Dead, the other puppet parody of a major genre franchise by Stalled Trek creator MARK LARGENT .

To encourage more donations, Mark has just added a NEW donation level of “Acting Captain” for $100:

I’ll make a puppet of you and put you in the Captain’s chair on the bridge! You’ll get a wallpaper of it and it will appear in a special section of the closing credits! Plus you get the Blu-Ray and the digital copy!

Already, 8 of this level perk have been claimed.  But the most popular perk (50 backers so far) still remains the $25 level:

Your very own blu-ray! Plus a digital copy and your name in the credits. I’m only making 250, so make sure you get one.

Yes, Mark is allowed to distribute Blu-rays because this is a parody and not a standard fan film.  Reaching the $4,000 or even $6,000 stretch goal levels will help him to produce “City…” and the other films more quickly, as the finding will enable him to purchase more computer processors to render the many frames of 3D animation.  (You can read more about that in my recent 2-part interview with Mark.)

Click here to donate to the STALLED TREK Kickstarter.

Can SPACE COMMAND make it to $100,000?!?!?

WOW!  Just three days ago, I wrote a blog about two Kickstarter campaigns that each had less than a week left: STALLED TREK (which wraps up early this Thursday morning in the U.S.) and SPACE COMMAND (which ends at 9:06pm Pacific Time on Monday night…tonight!).

At the time I wrote the blog, Space Command had well exceeded its $45,000 goal…insuring they would collect the donations and locking in post-production on Part 3 of their 4-part, two-hour pilot “Redemption.”  In fact, by that point, they’d raised $73,581 from 921 donors with four days to go…very impressive!

The hope of writer/director/show-runner MARC SCOTT ZICREE (whose birthday was this past Saturday) was to reach all the way to the $100,000 stretch goal.  This would fund post-production on both Parts 3 and 4, completing the two-hour pilot.

I’ll be honest with you: I thought they might get close, but based on needing to increase their total by 35% in just 93 hours, reaching that final stretch goal seemed to be a pretty remote possibility at best.

Not anymore!

The Kickstarter has taken in a staggering $20,000 from nearly THREE HUNDRED new backers in the last 72 hours…leaving them only $6,000 short of their $100,000 stretch goal (as I write this) with just 21 hours to go!  Can’t they make it to $100,000?  Possibly even by the time I wake up in seven hours…we shall see!

How did they manage to attract 300 new donors in just three short days?  Those of you trying to fund projects of of your own might want to take note.  During those three days, Space Command managed to get a “shout out” from two other successful crowd-funding campaigns with large donor lists (in the thousands each).  Renegades and The Circuit both issued e-mail updates to their donors—which they do periodically—and mentioned the Space Command Kickstarter.  Since actors from those two projects also appear in Space Command, the shout-out is actually relevant.  (By the way, Renegades‘ update was a simple one: “September 8th, 2018 – RENEGADES RETURNS…”  Oh, wow!)

Anyway, if you haven’t donated to Space Command yet and want to get something in before the deadline, please click here!

And if you still need convincing, listen to this interview I did with Marc Zicree two weeks ago:

Marc Scott Zicree

…and/or watch Part 1 of “Redemption”:

TWO Kickstarters enter the HOME STRETCH!

Have YOU donated yet?  Smack dab in the middle of a year that’s turned out to be very busy on the crowd-funding front, two active and worthy Kickstarter campaigns are heading into their final days.

Both are well past their goals, so each will get to keep the money donated.  In fact, each has even surpassed a stretch goal or two, so they’re doing quite well.

But there’s always room for more donations, right?  Well, at least I think so!

The first campaign ends on Monday night just after midnight Eastern Time.  It’s raising money to pay for post-production on the third part of the 2-hour pilot for SPACE COMMAND: “Redemption.”  (Here’s the link to their Kickstarter page.)  With an initial goal of $45,000, they’re currently at $73,581 from 921 donors.  If they reach $100,000 in donations, post production on the pilot can be completed.

Creator MARC ZICREE has just added a new perk at the $1,000 level (for those who can afford it): “A 16 Gigabyte Jump Drive with an INCREDIBLE AMOUNT OF SUPER SECRET SPACE COMMAND MATERIAL! Screen Tests! Concept Drawings! Visual Effects Tests! Rehearsals! Outlines! Series Bible! Scripts! Behind-the-Scenes Footage! Character Designs! Alternate Takes! Discarded and Bonus Scenes! Trailers! And MUCH MUCH MORE!”


The other Kickstarter campaign isn’t nearly as ambitious, but it’s just as deserving of your support and contribution.  It’s for the Star Trek animated parody STALLED TREK.  The first episode, “Amutt Time” (watch it below), was hilarious.  Now creator MARK LARGENT is ready to create a sequel: “The City on the Edge of Foreclosure.”

With a modest goal of only $600, the campaign quickly surged passed that level as well as its first $2,000 stretch goal: a special behind-the-scenes feature for download and included on the Blu-ray for anyone donating $25 or more.

Right now, with just six days left, Mark has taken in $2,281 from 74 backers.  If he crosses $4,000, he’ll be able to render out a special HD version of “Amutt Time” to include on a Blu-ray.  (Here’s the link to his Kickstarter page.)


Check out videos for both.  Here’s Part 1 of Space Command: “Redemption”…

Click here to donate to Space Command


And here’s Stalled Trek: “Amutt Time”…

Click here to donate to Stalled Trek

 

 

THE ROMULAN WAR’s new “War Stories” introduces ENHANCED audio dramas!

One of my favorite things about Star Trek is that there are so many stories still waiting to be told…not only about the crews of the USS Enterprise or Voyager or Deep Space Nine but all over Starfleet, the Federation, the Klingon Empire…the entire Milky Way Galaxy!  It’s one of the reasons I love fan films so much, as they explore that special universe that I cherish.

I also find myself truly intrigued with how we get/got/will get from here to there…not just the triumphs that built the Federation but also the struggles and even the failures.  It’s why I’m such a fan of Axanar, and why I’m so looking forward to the upcoming Pacific 201 and First Frontier, both filling in some of the missing details about major turning points in the history of the United Federation of Planets.

And it’s why I can’t wait to see the new fan production THE ROMULAN WAR.

War stories, if done right, can be very compelling.  They test the characters, twist them into unrecognizable shapes, and spit them out…sometimes for the better but all-too-often for the worse.  How do we survive war?  How do we fight?  What decisions do we make that might have been unimaginable to us during peacetime?

There are just some of the questions that are asked in a fascinating new “enhanced” audio drama just released in the lead-up to the debut of The Romulan War fan film series.

I don’t usually cover audio dramas—not because I don’t enjoy them but simply because I don’t have the time to cover both audio dramas AND fan films.  But in this case, I’m making an exception because 1) The Romulan War will be a fan film soon, and 2) this isn’t “just” an audio drama.

While some audio dramas feature still images in a slide-show format over the dialog, The Romulan War series “WAR STORIES” goes a step farther.  Rather than try to explain it, let me just show you their first 2-part audio episode: “Sleep Is Hard To Find”

Continue reading “THE ROMULAN WAR’s new “War Stories” introduces ENHANCED audio dramas!”

MARC ZICREE talks about SPACE COMMAND! (audio interview)

Yesterday I promised you all a really awesome interview with MARC SCOTT ZICREE.  And now it’s time to deliver!

Marc has written hundreds of hours of television for dozens of different shows, including episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Babylon 5, M.A.N.T.I.S. and Sliders.  He also wrote, directed, and produced the excellent Star Trek: New Voyages fan film “World Enough and Time” with George Takei.

And now Marc’s passion project is the independently crowd-funded epic fan series SPACE COMMAND.  The initial Kickstarter raised over $220K back in 2012.  Since then, it’s been a long journey, with two additional Kickstarters, the latest going on right now!  As I type this it’s up over $66K (far past the original goal of $45K), with 12 days still to go.  Already, post-production has been funded for the first 90 minutes of the two-hour pilot, “Redemption.”  But if this current campaign can reach $100K, there will be enough to complete all 1,900 visual FX and the rest of post production on the entire two hours of the pilot.

The cast is a veritable who’s who of Star Trek and sci-fi veteran actors, including:

  • Robert Picardo (Star Trek: Voyager)
  • Doug Jones (Pan’s LabyrinthThe Shape of Water, and Star Trek: Discovery)
  • 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 new actors are being added for later episodes, including the most recent announcements: Ethan Philips (Voyager) and Armin Shimerman (Deep Space Nine).

Marc is a fascinating person to talk to with loads of stories and unique perspectives—and he always gives a really great interview.  Today is no exception…

Marc Zicree…on Mars!

Continue reading “MARC ZICREE talks about SPACE COMMAND! (audio interview)”

SPACE COMMAND: “REDEMPTION” (part 1) is now available to the public!

Fans have been waiting for six years to finally see SPACE COMMAND…ever since the initial Kickstarter back in 2012 took in $221,000 from more than 2000 donors.  During that time, show-runner MARC ZICREE created a studio, built sets (no, not all by himself), cast actors like ROBERT PICARDO, DOUG JONES, MIRA FURLAN, BILL MUMY, and a host of other noted sci-fi and Hollywood veterans, filmed scenes, sold shares to investors, and planned out post-production.

Then, last November, a second Kickstarter raised an additional $108,000 from 1,126 backers…enough to fund post-production on the first hour of the two-hour pilot “Redemption.”  Post-production includes things like editing, VFX, sound, music, compositing, and a host of other tasks that take a bit of time.  But finally, last month at San Diego Comic Con, Marc debuted the first half-hour of Space Command: “Redemption” to a live audience.

Shortly thereafter, Marc shared a special video link so that donors could also see that first half-hour segment.  It was really well done—especially considering that the budget was the merest fraction of what gets spent on shows like Discovery or The Expanse.

I expected, when the newest Kickstarter campaign launched late last month (to fund post production on the remaining hour of the pilot), that the link to the completed Part 1 would be shared with the general public.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t.

Yesterday, I interviewed Marc (great interview, by the way; it’ll be posted tomorrow) and asked him about that.  It turns out that Marc was just waiting for a few last-minute tweaks.  Apparently, the version that had been posted to donors was rushed out to be ready for Comic Con, and now Marc wanted to fix a few things before showing it to everyone else.

But now those fixes are in (and apparently, a few more are still to come), and the video is available for the public to see.  HOORAY!  There’s a short 5-minute introduction by Marc—which you’re welcome to watch or skip—followed by the complete first half hour of “Redemption.”  Enjoy…


And remember that you can donate to their latest Kickstarter up through August 27 by clicking here:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/58936338/space-command-redemption-chapters-3-and-4

 

 

 

GARY GRAHAM’S “Sons of Kirk” KICKSTARTER enters its final TWO-DAY push!

It took Star Trek and sci-fi actor GARY GRAHAM just 33 hours to hit his $5,000 goal on a Kickstarter to help fund the first official studio album and music video for his rock band THE SONS OF KIRK. Gary’s band plays songs with Star Trek and sci-fi themed lyrics inspired by Gary’s own personal experiences playing various characters not only on Star Trek: Enterprise and Voyager but also in Alien Nation and in the Trek fan films Of Gods and Men, Renegades, and Prelude to Axanar.

The real goal for this Kickstarter was actually more ambitious: $15,000 to produce an extended album and multiple music videos.  The $5,000 goal was set simply to make certain they reached their goal and didn’t miss out on the money entirely (as Kickstarter gives you nothing if you fail to reach your goal).

But Gary and the band needn’t have worried.  Less than a day and a half after going live, they blasted past that $5,000 goal.  They’d now be able to produce an album with at least six full songs.  So they next set a series of stretch goals, each upping the total a little bit more in increasingly larger chunks:

  • $7,000 – Song #7 (unlocked)
  • $8,000 – Song #8 (unlocked)
  • $10,000 – Songs #9 and 10 (unlocked)
  • $13,000 – A second music video (unlocked)
  • $16,000 – A third music video of an unoffical bonus acoustic jam (unlocked)
  • $19,000 – A final video of the band rocking out live at Star Trek Las Vegas

The $16,000 stretch goal was reached late Sunday afternoon, and that leaves only the last stretch goal to achieve.  The Sons of Kirk just performed as the house band at Creation’s 2018 Star Trek convention in Las Vegas a week ago.  I’m guessing they shot footage.  The question is: will we fans get to see it?

We’ll know in just about 58 hours (as I type this).  Right now, they’re at $16,288 from 213 backers.  If you haven’t donated yet, or if you want to up your donation to send them over the top, click here.

 

STALLED TREK is back with a brand new KICKSTARTER! (interview with MARK LARGENT, part 2)

Yesterday, I turned the spotlight on a brand new Kickstarter campaign for STALLED TREK: “CITY ON THE EDGE OF FORECLOSURE.” The Kickstarter had an initial goal of $600 to cover the cost of pressing 250 Blu-ray discs to be used as perks.  In an amazing show of immediate support, dozens of backers blew through that $600 goal in less that 8 hours!

This wildly hilarious Star Trek parody fan film will feature 3D animated puppets of the TOS crew and is the sequel to the 2012 fan parody, Stalled Trek: “Amutt Time.”  If you haven’t watched it yet, take a few minutes to enjoy this MUST-SEE fan film below…

Now at more than double that initial goal, creator / writer / director / animator / jokester MARK LARGENT has announced stretch goals, including a special behind-the-scenes feature at the $2,000 level, and HD remasters of “Amutt Time” and his “The Wobbling Dead” parodies at the $4,000 and $6,000 levels.

Those extras will be added to the Blu-ray perks that will be sent out to all donors at $25 or above.  Supporters contributing less will get access to those extras (and “City…” of course) as HD digital download files.  In the first part of my interview, Mark explained that the distribution of Star Trek parodies via Blu-ray perks is totally kosher since parodies qualify for Fair Use protection under copyright law.

And speaking of interviews, let’s get back to our discussion with Mark…

Continue reading “STALLED TREK is back with a brand new KICKSTARTER! (interview with MARK LARGENT, part 2)”