It’s BATTLESTATIONS for the SQUADRON Indiegogo! (interview with JAKUB HOLÝ)

Here’s the link to donate to SQUADRON’s Indiegogo (if you can afford to right now):

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/squadron-a-star-trek-fan-production

With just under two weeks left, it’s highly doubtful that the Indiegogo campaign for the Czech fan film SQUADRON will reach its $15,000 goal. That didn’t seem to be the case back in February when the campaign was launched. Of course, way back then (seven seeks ago), the world was a VERY different place, and crowd-funders for a quality fan production like this one had a decent chance of making it.

And Squadron really IS a very high quality fan film. Along with fantastic looking uniforms, Hollywood-level props, and eye-popping prosthetics and makeup, these folks actually have a full 360-degree 24th century bridge set! Just check (or Czech) out their amazing trailer…

A Star Trek fan film set during the Dominion War is a rare thing in our community. And almost unheard of is a fan film that features a Vorta and two Jem’Hadar because the make-up demands are so far beyond the capacities of most fan productions. But just take a look at this trio…!

And that’s not all. They’ll also be featuring an Andorian, a Vulcan, and an Orion. All the live action footage has already been shot, but the Squadron team needs money to complete post production…including visual FX. Unfortunately, the campaign is less than a quarter of the the way to its goal with only 13 days left.

But these folks are NOT giving up!

Once or twice each week, they release a new video in one of four categories: Behind the Scenes (including an awesome look at how they did their make-up), Movie Clips, Trailers, and Trek Talk. The latter playlist includes a really interesting close-up examination of a screen-used Voyager uniform (purchased at auction) and the following tour of their humble studio in Prague that includes the amazing bridge and ready room sets…

In other words, they’re trying really, really hard to keep folks interested and excited. Their Facebook page has new posts and photos and videos almost daily. Just yesterday, they revealed new test footage of the CGI model for their main Federation starship…

But it’s now crunch time! The Indiegogo deadline is April 20, leaving little time to reach their goal—or even just inch a little closer to it. So I was curious: what does a Central European fan production do when the world economy is collapsing around our ears, and crowd-funding dollars are harder and harder to come by? Is Squadron in jeopardy of not being able to be completed if they don’t reach their goal? Or is there a lower threshold that still makes this eagerly-anticipated fan film possible?

For answers, I reached out to Squadron executive producer JAKUB HOLÝ…

Continue reading “It’s BATTLESTATIONS for the SQUADRON Indiegogo! (interview with JAKUB HOLÝ)”

NICHELLE NICHOLS and other Trek/sci-fi celebs sign onto the virus-safe SPACE COMMAND: “RIPPLE EFFECT”!

First of all, a big congratulations to MARC ZICREE of SPACE COMMAND for raising more than $57K from nearly 700 backers in his latest Kickstarter. It’s a challenging time to be crowd-funding, and the latest campaign did struggle over the past few weeks. But for a project with a goal of $48K, surpassing that by nearly 20% is quite impressive.

This latest campaign will fund the shoot for the fourth hour of Space Command, part 2 of “Forgiveness.” Hour one (part 1 of “Redemption”) is completed and can be viewed here. Hours two and three are in post production, and hour four will go into production just as soon as society is allowed to leave our homes and come into contact with each other again…which could be weeks or it could be months.

In the meantime, actors still like to hone their craft, even if they can’t leave their homes…and Space Command creator Marc Zicree is giving them a chance to do just that! As I mentioned last week, Marc is writing a special episode of Space Command titled “Ripple Effect.” It will take place in the continuity of the Space Command universe, featuring characters from the two episodes that are being produced so far plus introducing a bunch of new ones.

The actors themselves won’t have to leave their homes. Instead, each one will be able to film themselves using their own camera. The footage will be uploaded, and Marc and his post production team will edit the pieces, add VFX, adjust sound and color balance, and turn it all into a special “free” episode (no crowd-funding) that will be posted publicly to YouTube.

Even more exciting is that Marc is planning to allow fans to watch the post production process every step of the way through completion.

When first I mentioned this last week, only a few of the actors had signed up for the project. But Marc was in the process of talking to more of them, and this past weekend he announced a growing cast confirmed to appear. These include:

  • NICHELLE NICHOLS (Star Trek)
  • ROBERT PICARDO (Star Trek: Voyager)
  • ETHAN PHILLIPS (Star Trek: Voyager)
  • MIRA FURLAN (Babylon 5, Lost)
  • BILL MUMY (Babylon 5, Lost in Space)
  • MICHAEL HARNEY (Orange is the New Black, Project Blue Book)
  • BRYAN McCLURE (Atlanta, Doom Patrol)
  • BARBARA BRAGG (Carol’s Acting Class, American Horror Story)

The full cast of Space Command is even more extensive than that, so I suspect we’ll see yet more names added to the above list. It sounds like a fun project, and I’d imagine actors are itching to act during this stay-at-home crisis (or at least read Shakespearean sonnets). So we’ll see what happens.

And of course, once Marc starts offering fans a look at how the project is progressing, I’ll be sure to keep you all in the loop!

The future of AXANAR! (audio interview with ALEC PETERS & PAUL JENKINS)

A lot was happening in the world of AXANAR just three short weeks ago. After raising $50K to cover 2/3 of the cost of the first two shoots at Ares Studios (ALEC PETERS covered the rest personally), an additional $5K was raised in a new private crowdfunding campaign in February. That allowed a third one-day shoot to happen on March 15, just as fears of the pandemic were beginning to take hold in many states.

This led Alec to announce via Axanar Confidential that the fourth shoot, a major two-day green screen excursion to Los Angeles to film nearly half a dozen aliens in full prosthetics and makeup, would be delayed and no longer happen in April as planned. And the premiere of Axanar itself would likely no longer occur at San Diego Comic Con, as it was possible that the huge gathering of hundreds of thousands of dedicated fans might itself be canceled.

This didn’t stop Axanar completely, however. The first full trailer was released online the night of March 15, and you can see it here if you haven’t already…

This followed the release a few weeks earlier of some rough cut footage of actor JAMIE RENELL doing some background ad-lib for his on-screen interview as USS Ares Chief Engineer Alexei Leonov

And of course, on March 15 Axanar also launched its third private fundraiser on Ares Digital, this one with a goal of $30K to cover the major “alien shoot” in L.A. Some people asked if this was an appropriate time to raise money for a Star Trek fan film with people being furloughed and losing their jobs and the economy in a tailspin. Alec answered that question in a blog on the Axanar.com website. At the time, the campaign had already taken in about 25% of its goal in less than a week. In the two weeks since then, donations have slowed considerably, although they’re still trickling in steadily…

If you’re interested in donating (and are able to), you can do so by clicking here:

https://aresdigital.axanar.com

Continue reading “The future of AXANAR! (audio interview with ALEC PETERS & PAUL JENKINS)”

SPACE COMMAND is filming a special VIRUS-SAFE episode: “Ripple Effect”!

The global coronavirus pandemic has shut down most, if not all, television and movie production nationwide. Many TV news anchors are broadcasting from their homes and basements, self-quarantining because they want to keep themselves and others safe. And while a number of fan films that have already been shot are still being worked on in post production—where folks can work individually at home (including my own fan film INTERLUDE)—projects that were either in, or soon to be entering, production have had to put their plans on hold for the time being.

All but one, it seems.

Publicly launched back in 2012, SPACE COMMAND has already raised over a million dollars from crowd-funding and from selling shares in the production. The brainchild of TNG and DS9 episode writer MARC SCOTT SICREE, Space Command will ultimately span twelve 1-hour episodes for its first season, featuring such notable sci-fi actors as DOUG JONES (from Discovery); ROBERT PICARDO (from Voyager) ; MIRA FURLAN, BRUCE BOXLEITNER, and BILL MUMY (from Babylon 5); FARAN TAHIR (the captain of the USS Kelvin from Star Trek 2009); JAMES HONG (from Big Trouble in Little China and Kung Fu Panda); and a host of others.

Already, work has been completed on the first full hour episode, which you can watch here. (Mira Furlan, Doug Jones, and Robert Picardo give especially poignant performances…definitely worth checking out!) Post production is being completed on the second half-hour, which will form a single two-part episode titled “Redemption.”

The second two-parter, “Forgiveness,” is currently in production. Part 1 has been fully crowd-funded and filmed, and Part 2 is being crowd-funded right now. In fact, their Kickstarter ends on April 4. Although they’ve crossed their $48K goal, it’s only just barely. So a little “cushion” would certainly help. If you’d like, you can donate to “Forgiveness – Part Two” by clicking here:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/spacecommand/space-command-forgiveness-part-two

Obviously, actual production won’t be starting on that episode until the COVID coast is clear.

BUT!!!

Marc Zicree just announced that he’s writing a special standalone episode of Space Command called “Ripple Effect”—and it will be filmed now…during the pandemic while everyone is self-quarantining. How is this possible while not being irresponsible? Simple: everyone will be working from home!

Many of the main actors from the series have agreed to film scenes in their own homes with their own equipment. No camera crews or lighting or sound or make-up or wardrobe people…just actors and their cameras. Some might have green screens, others might not. Then their footage will be edited, scored, VFX added, sound-mixed, etc. And everyone will be working completely apart from each other.

Will it work?

Too soon to say, but it certainly sounds intriguing and exciting! And to make it even more so, Mark is planning to make the magic right in front of us, showing fans the project AS it takes shape every step along the way. No crowd-funding necessary, and the finished film will be posted for free.

Here’s Marc to tell us more…

New teaser for THE ROMULAN WAR: “Nightingale”!

Back in June of 2018, show-runner MARK NACCARATO managed to crowd-fund more than $11.6K for an ambitious new fan production titled THE ROMULAN WAR. Set during that critical interstellar conflict that resulted in the founding of the United Federation of Planets, this exciting project will feature the same “mock” documentary format as PRELUDE TO AXANAR with a number of trained actors and some incredible VFX by fandom’s #1 CGI hit Brit, SAMUEL COCKINGS.

The Romulan War has had some unfortunate and unavoidable delays during post production, including the passing of a close family member of Mark Naccarato’s last year. But in the meantime, Mark has released a wonderful series of enhanced audio dramas focusing on compelling “War Stories” from various participants in the war—from admirals to MACO grunts to civilian freighter pilots to the inventor of the Warp 7 engine. Each vignette features an audio monologue augmented by a series of graphics and animations…and each is 100% MUST SEE viewing. You can watch all of the “War Stories” vignettes here.

Mark has also released a series of short teasers and trailers over the past two years, and last week, he posted his latest offering: a teaser clip entitled simply “Nightingale.” The VFX by Sam Cockings are, as usual, pulse-pounding and breathtaking—as is the music. And amazingly, this teaser tells a full story in less than 35 seconds (well under the 15 minutes allowed by the guidelines!). Take a look…

For those wanting a little more background to the story of this ill-fated vessel , Mark also posted this…


The Tale of the Nightingale

DATELINE: May, 2156 – After a brutal nuclear attack on the Centauri colonies which killed over 450,000 civilians, the medical ship Nightingale mounted a rescue operation to evacuate the survivors of Alpha III.

A refitted transport left over from the Cochrane Expedition seventy years earlier, Nightingale was old, slow, and unarmed. Escorted by two Intrepid-class light cruisers, the medical ship managed to take on approximately 5,500 sick and wounded refugees when long-range sensors detected enemy movement. Nightingale and her escorts left the system, bound for Tau Ceti, with two Romulan Raptor-class heavy cruisers in pursuit.

The Romulans chased the Earth convoy for nearly two days when the escort ships decided to break formation and try to cover Nightingale’s escape. The escort ships, Republic and Sirius, were not heard from again. When Nightingale began braking maneuvers to hide inside a gas cloud, the Romulan cruisers caught them.

Subcommander Chulak, who led the Romulan assault, reported in his log that “those who are not healthy enough to serve the Empire don’t deserve to live. They should be thanking us for the mercy we’ve shown them.”

This clip from The Romulan War: A Star Trek Fan Production features the voice of L. Honey Hereth, visual effects from Samuel Cockings, and an original music piece by Nashville composer Mark Allen.

Continue reading “New teaser for THE ROMULAN WAR: “Nightingale”!”

How will CORONAVIRUS affect STAR TREK FAN FILMS?

Last Friday night on AXANAR CONFIDENTIAL #52, ALEC PETERS announced that the fourth shoot for AXANAR, originally scheduled for April in Los Angeles, will need to be delayed at least until May and possibly longer because of the coronavirus pandemic. (The good news is that he now has a little longer to raise $30K in the fundraiser on Ares Digital.) The planned premiere of “The Gathering Storm”—the first of the two Axanar sequels—might no longer happen during San Diego Comic Con or even at Creation’s Las Vegas Star Trek convention because there’s a chance that one or both events will be postponed or canceled.

Whether or not you personally feel that the media is making too much out of all this, the fact remains that folks across the United States and the world are taking this new virus very seriously. Sporting events, concerts, offices, schools, theaters, restaurants, fitness clubs—all are being temporarily closed to prevent people from inadvertently sharing this very infectious new virus while congregating in close quarters. All of these measures are intended to slow the spread of the disease until such time (hopefully soon) when a vaccine can be developed, tested, and deployed to the general population.

And this also includes film production. CBS, ABC, Netflix, Apple, and Disney are all suspending shooting on series including Young Sheldon, Grey’s Anatomy, Supergirl, Batwoman, Claws, All Rise, Lucifer,  Stranger ThingsGrace and Frankie, The Morning Show, Foundation, For All Mankind, and NCIS…to name but a few! (Get the whole current list here.) Disney has halted production on nearly all pilots, including the new Falcon and the Winter Soldier planned for release on Disney+. So this is going to cost the studios some big bucks and major lost revenue in advertising and subscriptions.

But the logic is sound. Production crews can often number in the hundreds, and they work in very close quarters as make-up and costume people, lighting and camera people, actors, directors, sound engineers, and countless others are constantly near or touching each other and the same items to adjust mics, wardrobe, make-up, hold up light meters, etc. And production teams can’t afford for even small numbers of their crew to be out sick at the same time.

And of course, even though survival rates are in the 98%-plus range, the elderly are most susceptible…and most younger folks in sets have parents and grandparents (plus some of the actors themselves are older). It would be irresponsible on the part of the studios (and possibly trigger some legal liability) to put so many people at risk just to make a TV program, Indeed, I suspect even more shows will announce they are suspending production soon.

So what does all of this mean for Star Trek fan films? After all, Axanar‘s production and release might very well be delayed by months due to COVID-19—what about other productions? I decided to ask around…

Continue reading “How will CORONAVIRUS affect STAR TREK FAN FILMS?”

AXANAR releases the FULL TRAILER…kicks off fund-raiser for SHOOT #4!

The full trailer for AXANAR is finally here!  Four months ago, after the first October shoot at Ares Studios, a brief teaser was released with about 30 seconds of actual footage—a combination of a couple of brief VFX sequences and a bunch of quick-cut live-action shots filmed on the USS Ares bridge set.  Since then, however, fans and donors have been patiently (and not-so-patiently) waiting to see more.

And now that time has come. Over a thousand people watched the live premiere of the trailer live on Sunday evening. So many people wanted to donate to the Axanar fundraiser that it temporarily crashed Ares Digital and the Axanar.com websites! Both problems were fixed within the hour, but in the meantime, over $1,000 was donated to Ares Studios through superchats during the live podcast.

Here’s the new Axanar trailer…

Pretty impressive huh?

The just-launched fundraiser is attempting to raise $30K to pay the costs for a fourth and final shoot in a green screen studio in Los Angeles, travel and lodging, equipment rental, and most of all for the make-up and prosthetics for two Vulcans (including GARY GRAHAM as Soval), two Andorians, one Klingon plus two humans. (Will one of them be KATE VERNON as Sonya Alexander? No confirmation yet!)

The trailer does have a few visual glitches, so the plan is to re-edit it, possibly adding in some additional footage, and then re-release a new version in a week or so. And when that happens, I’ll be sure to let you all know.


Of course, the question on many people’s minds is why did it take until now (March 15) for the trailer to be released?  After all, the first shoot was back in October and the second shoot in December.  It’s now the middle of March.  I spoke to ALEC PETERS and asked about the apparent delay. Here was his answer…

Continue reading “AXANAR releases the FULL TRAILER…kicks off fund-raiser for SHOOT #4!”

A winning streak of SUCCESSFUL Trek fan film CROWD-FUNDERS!

Lately, it seems like I’m covering a LOT of crowd-funding campaigns raising money for a variety of Star Trek fan films. That’s because it’s been a really pretty busy few months…with more campaigns to come!

Fortunately for our wallets, though, four campaigns have just successfully reached their funding goals (or come very close!), clearing the way for the newcomers. So let’s take a brief look at the fan productions that scored recent wins…

THE TEARS OF J’KAH

Two week ago, I reported on how BENNY HALL raised $49,183 (of his $50K goal) for his second Trek fan film THE TEARS OF J’KAH…from just 13 donors! This post-guidelines crowd-funding record was accomplished with the help of some very generous friends and contacts who each made donations of $5K and even $10K.

AXANAR – shoot #3

Last Thursday morning, ALEC PETERS launched a “tiny” (his word) fundraiser on Ares Digital trying to generate $3,400 to cover expenses for the third AXANAR shoot at Ares Studios in Larenceville, GA on March 15. By Sunday evening, he’d taken in more than $5,000!

The surplus will go into the upcoming fundraiser for the “big” fourth shoot. That on is scheduled to happen in Los Angeles and will include GARY GRAHAM playing Vulcan Ambassador Soval plus a bunch of other aliens, each of whom will require a top-level make-up artist. Combined with the cost of studio rental, travel, lodging, etc., this is expected to be around a $30,000 expenditure (although a final budget is still being worked out).

The Axanar fundraiser for Shoot #4 will launch on Ares Digital right after shoot #3 wraps on March 15…with the long-awaited debut of the FULLL TRAILER! You can watch it debut live by clicking here.

STARSHIP INTREPID – “ECHOES”

For the first time in its decade-and-a-half history, those INTREPID folks from Scotland have sought some financial assistance from fans and supporters. NICK COOK set the goal at a humble $2,500 (or thereabouts, since they get their money in pounds, not dollars) with a 60-day deadline. Earlier this week, with less than two weeks left and with the help of 72 backers, they hit their goal.

CONSTAR CONTINUES

With an even more humble goal of $1,175, VANCE MAJOR launched his latest GoFundMe campaign back in December. It’s taken a little while, but this past Monday morning, he also reached (and slightly surpassed) his goal…with the help of 24 backers (including me).


My congratulations to all of the projects I’ve just mentioned, and my thanks to those of my readers who chose to donate in order to help make these fan film dreams into realities.

So what’s left that still needs crowd-funding help (besides Axanar)? Glad you asked!

Continue reading “A winning streak of SUCCESSFUL Trek fan film CROWD-FUNDERS!”

AXANAR launches new “tiny” fundraiser for SHOOT #3 with test footage of Chief Engineer LEONOV!

After raising more than $50,000 to cover the costs for the first two AXANAR shoots back in October and December, ALEC PETERS just reached out to donors on the Axanar mailing list with a request for $3,400 for the third shoot.

Initially, Alec had announced that “Phase 2” of the private crowd-funding would try to raise another $30,000 to cover BOTH the upcoming third shoot at Ares Studios in mid-March as well as the planned fourth shoot in Los Angeles, which would include GARY GRAHAM as Soval along with other aliens requiring a skilled make-up team.

So why separate the fundraisers for the two campaigns?

I’ve been told that there are some specific expenses for the third shoot that need to be paid immediately up front. Alec, along with director PAUL JENKINS and producer SCOTT CONLEY, have streamlined the budget for the March shoot. They’re not doing all the bells and whistles that they did during the first two shoots. But they still have to do things like feed people on set, pay for transportation and lodging for key people traveling from out of state, rent equipment, pay for production insurance, etc.

Last time, Alec paid most of those outlays personally before raising the $50K. This time, Alec doesn’t have the funds to do that again, and there are expenses that need to be covered in the next two weeks. So there is a small campaign right now to raise $3,400, and then another campaign will launch in a couple of weeks to cover the more complex shoot #4.

To generate excitement, Alec just posted the following video of actor JAMIE RENELL “getting into” his character of Chief Engineer Alexei Leonov of the USS Ares. Rather that just having Jamie recite his lines from the script, Paul Jenkins did a little off-script improv with Jamie first, chatting with him as an “old friend” and having Jamie respond in character as Leonov (Russian accent and all). None of what you’re about to see is scripted, and the majority will likely not be included in the two Axanar sequels (except in the “extras”). But it’s still a really fun video…

For those waiting (im)patiently for the eagerly anticipated full Axanar trailer, I have good news! I’m told that you’ll see it within the next two weeks, timed to coincide with the launch of the fundraiser for shoot #4.

In the meantime, the Axanar fundraiser is—as required by the settlement with CBS and Paramount—behind a firewall and accessible only through the Ares Digital portal to fans who have signed up for an account. You can get there be clicking the following link…

https://aresdigital.axanar.com

When you get to the donate page, you’ll notice the goal is listed as only $2,300 and not $3,400. That is because one supporter already generously donated $1,100 directly. Already in the first few hours, nearly $800 more has come in…meaning that shoot #3 is only about $1,500 away from being fully funded!

NEUTRAL ZONE STUDIOS is becoming an ESCAPE ROOM???

I bet you didn’t see THIS coming! Neither did I, and my reaction quickly went from surprise to overwhelming curiosity…which I’m sure must be true for a number of you folks, as well.

NEUTRAL ZONE STUDIOS, which houses the TOS sets originally built by STARSHIP FARRAGUT and STAR TREK CONTINUES and is now offered to any Star Trek fan film that wants to use them by current owner RAY TESI, will be moving from Kingsland, GA about 180 miles south to Orlando, FL in late April. (Man, that was a long sentence!) Once relocated, the TOS sets will be repurposed into two sci-fi themed “Escape Room” attractions with video hints recorded by sci-fi celebrities, including NICHELLE NICHOLS, WALTER KOENIG, MARINA SIRTIS, and/or TIM RUSS.

The TOS sets will be divided into two scenarios with three rooms each plus a newly-created bridge control room where players will start their adventure. Customer participants will then experience an hour-long, immersive sci-fi “mission” with puzzles and mysteries to solve. This new business venture will be called GALACTIC ADVENTURES and is set to open on July 1, 2020.

Later on, joining the TOS sets from Kingsland will be the alien bar sets originally constructed in Los Angeles for STAR TREK: RENEGADES and later used for the crowd-funded independent sci-fi comedy COZMO’S from the ATOMIC NETWORK. At some point in the near future, those sets will form a third Escape Room scenario.

(You’re going “WTF” right now, aren’t you?)

To find out some specifics, I went to the source and asked Ray Tesi himself, who told me…

We will not be using the bridge in the escape and instead will keep it in pristine condition. We will be constructing a new bridge with a different look and feel for the escape. We’ll also be re-purposing some of the other sets for the escape and introducing some new sets that are remnants of other productions. Our Escape Room isn’t the Enterprise and instead will feature missions on a new starship (we are creating original stories) because we don’t want it to look like Star Trek.

I can understand why they’d want to change the look, as CBS might not appreciate an unlicensed Star Trek-themed Escape Room…even if the words “Star Trek” don’t appear anywhere.

But where does that leave Neutral Zone Studios and the many fan films that rely on it? Will fan productions still be able to film there? And even though the bridge won’t be a part of the Escape Room scenario, will the rest of the sets still look enough like TOS to be recognizable? Ray responded…

We want it to look like our own starship, but it can change back for fan films. The studio will remain available for fan film productions, and if and when that happens, we will close the Escape Room during filming. But we have a long way to go before any of that happens.

A long way indeed! But they’re off to an impressive start…

Continue reading “NEUTRAL ZONE STUDIOS is becoming an ESCAPE ROOM???”