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…

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STALLED TREK is back with a brand new KICKSTARTER! (interview with MARK LARGENT, part 1)

STALLED TREK.  The name alone is enough to induce waves of confused ignorance and disinterested apathy to all but the most hard-core fan film aficionados.

But to those who know, those who have seen, heard, and experienced this Star Trek parody masterpiece, the name Stalled Trek is enough to bring outbursts of laughter and cries of “MORE! MORE! MORE!”

The Stalled Trek characters are all 3D animated puppet versions of the TOS crew, and writer/director/animator MARK LARGENT squeezes every drop of humor from each gag he presents.  The first episode of Stalled Trek, “Amutt Time,” was crowd-funded in one of the first Star Trek fan film Kickstarters with 106 supporters donating $2,200.  Rather than just reading about it, why don’t you just take a look for yourself at this MUST-SEE parody fan film…

Pretty hilarious, right?  Well, that was all way back in 2012.  And while Mark Largent did do another Stalled Trek short film in 2016, Prelude to Ax’d-We-Are (along with some blogger named Lane co-writing and co-producing), that was a parody of Prelude to Axanar and the infringement lawsuit filed by CBS and Paramount.  It featured all new animated puppet characters rather than the original TOS crew of the USS Second Prize.

But some of us wanted to see the original crew again.

It’s been six years, but Stalled Trek is back with a Kickstarter for an all-new episode: “The City on the Edge of Foreclosure.”  With an initial goal of $600, Mark blasted through that total in less than 8 hours!  He’s now up to about $1,400 (as I type this), and has set stretch goals at $2,000 (for a new director’s commentary video pointing out all of the inside jokes and giving behind-the-scenes info), $4,000 (remastering “Amutt Time” in HD and adding it as a digital download and also to the Blu-ray for donors at the $25 level and above), and $6,000 (adding a remastered copy of “The Wobbling Dead,” which was Mark’s other puppet parody).

So let’s check in with the puppet-master himself…

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Oh, the answers I boldly got…about the DR. SEUSS/STAR TREK mash-up! (interview with GLENN HAUMAN)

Have you ever given a few bucks to a street performer?  Maybe it was a guy juggling bowling balls while riding a 10-foot high unicycle…or a woman playing seven different musical instruments at the same time.  The reason you might drop a few coins or dollars into their hat is that these folks entertain you.  They’re talented, and they use those skills to bring some fun and joy into your day…and maybe show you something you probably don’t get to see very often (if ever).

What does any of this have to do with the proposed Oh, the Places You’ll Boldly Go! illustrated book mashing up Star Trek with Dr. Seuss?  As you probably know, an infringement lawsuit was filed by Dr. Seuss Enterprises (DSE) against creators DAVID GERROLD, TY TEMPLETON, and ComicMix, which intended to publish the book.  (To learn more about the lawsuit, read my latest update from a couple of weeks ago.)  Recently, ComicMix launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to help pay the costs for their legal defense.

Obviously, the goal of Oh, the Places You’ll Boldly Go! is to bring some joy and fun into YOUR day…entertainment for Trek fans that will certainly never happen if the verdict in this lawsuit goes against ComicMix and “Team Mash-up.”  But to make things even more entertaining, ComicMix’s own GLENN HAUMAN wrote the whole GoFundMe description ENTIRELY IN RHYME.  (Seriously, check it out…it’s pretty amazing!)

But Glenn’s not done rhyming yet…!

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SPACE COMMAND Kickstarter takes in $33K before it even STARTS!

Wow, that was quick!

The latest Kickstarter for the long-awaited fan film SPACE COMMAND hadn’t even launched to the general public yet when it took in more than $33K of its $45K goal in barely 24 hours earlier this week!

How did they manage this feat?  Easy…they had an “early bird special” for existing donors to have first crack at some limited-item perks, and over 500 of those prior donors pledged even more money to this latest campaign.

Why all the excitement?  To answer that question, you need to understand the history of this not-so-little endeavor.

Imagine a major fan film project with Star Trek and sci-fi veteran actors cast in it, and a team of Hollywood professionals lined up as the production crew.  Imagine one of the earliest Kickstarter campaigns bringing in six figures in donations, and then a second crowd-funder bringing in another six figures.  Now imagine those funds going into not only set construction and filming but also the creation of an actual studio intended to be used not only for this production but also to be rented out to other fan film projects.

Now imagine years and years going by with no finished fan film delivered.  Oh, there’s been some short scenes released, some VFX, lots of updates by the show-runner assuring donors that, yes, this project is still on track.  But no actual film.  In fact, to finish the film, donors were informed that it’s going to take even more contributions from fans.

You’re imagining Axanar, aren’t you?  Well, stop it!  This is the history of Space Command, folks…

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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…

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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???

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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…?

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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)…

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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…

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