If you donated to the AVALON Indiegogo, please read this blog
First of all, you’ve got until THIS SUNDAY to donate to the Indiegogo campaign for the third AVALON UNIVERSE fan film: “Demons”…so hurry up and click on the link below (or at least share it with friends):
Currently, the total shows the campaign at $4,615 from 70 backers, about 54% of the way to their $8,500 goal. But as it turns out, there’s a $500 donation MISSING (more on that in a moment), meaning the total is really up to $5,115, or about 60% of the goal.
So how did a $500 get lost? No one knows exactly—not even Indiegogo. But here’s what we do know…
When I was a kid growing up in the 1970s, watching Star Trek each weeknight at 6:00pm, I used to dream of one day building my own Enterprise bridge. I’d have it on the second floor of my house, in a circular area, with a turbolift elevator that would go up to it, doors whooshing open to shock and impress my friends.
Sadly (at least for me, not sad for my wife), that didn’t happen.
But miraculously, I can still walk onto the bridge of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701. I can sit in the captain’s chair, stand in the transporter, walk through the corridors, visit sickbay and engineering, wander into the briefing room and Captain Kirk’s quarters. And I can even do it in two different locations!
The first place I can go is the officially licensed Star Trek Original Series Set Tour in Ticonderoga, NY. For $22.50/person (less for seniors, military, and kids), I can walk around meticulous, museum-quality recreations of the original 1960s sets that were used to film Star Trek. The sets in upstate New York were used to make the fan series Star Trek: New Voyages/Phase 2, and now are available throughout the year for personal and group tours.
Further south in Kingsland, GA are the sets that were originally used for the fan series Starship Farragut and Star Trek Continues. A little over a year ago, those sets were sold by VIC MIGNOGNA to RAY TESI, who has opened them up for free filming (just pay the electricity costs) to any fan production that follows the CBS guidelines. Originally called Stage 9 Studios, the sets were recently renamed NEUTRAL ZONE STUDIOS to avoid confusion with the Virtual 3D walkthrough of the Enterprise-D that was shut down by CBS.
Last October, Ray Tesi opened his Georgia sets to the general public for a FAN APPRECIATION WEEKEND. It featured tours, photo opportunities, some fan film celebrity guests, and even two different fan productions shooting scenes in front of a live, studio audience.
Remember the good, old days? Back in 2015 and before, Star Trek fan film crowd-funders were as common as lens flares on a JJ Abrams movie set! They’d easily take in thousands, tens of thousands, and in some cases, hundreds of thousands of enthusiastically-donated fan contributions.
We all know what happened. Axanar was sued. Six weeks later, Tommy Kraft was told by CBS to take down his $250K Kickstarter for Federation Rising. And then in June 2016, the fan film guidelines came out. And while they didn’t forbid crowd-funding, they did put a $50K cap on it and severely curtailed what kinds of perks could be offered.
Fans (including me) predicted the complete demise of Star Trek fan films. It turned out that we were wrong. Fan films found a way to not only live on but also to prosper, working within the guidelines (mostly) while still being pretty decent—in some cases even quite excellent.
Ah, but crowd-funding…therein lied the rub! While the days of the six-figure Kickstarters and Indiegogos for Trek fan films were obviously gone, maybe fans would still donate five-figures or even just four-figures. Maybe? For a while, it wasn’t looking good.
For the remainder of 2016, only Renegades (with Star Trek surgically removed) attempted a crowd-funding campaign for “The Requiem” (reaching $146K). And Starbase Studios raised $3,500 for a move from Oklahoma to Arkansas for their TOS sets. But beyond that, the only crowd-funding even peripherally connected to Star Trek fan films was a $19K successful Kickstarter by Star Trek: Horizon creator Tommy Kraft to fund his NON-Star Trek fan film Runaway.
Would 2017 fare any better for Trek crowd funders? Well, not so much…
At midnight Pacific Time last Friday (while I was on East Coast time in Atlanta…don’t worry, folks, Axacon coverage is coming later this week!), the 5-way crossover fan film CONVERGENCE finished up its Indiegogo campaign with $7,385 from 114 backers! This was a third over their posted goal of $5,500, and allowed them to surpass two stretch goals. The first (at $6,000) would cover the Indiegogo fees and perk production costs, meaning that all $5,500 could go to the production itself. The second stretch goal ($7,000) will fund both a new late TNG/DS9 era uniform for actor Jim Von Dolteren (of a quality to match the others) as well as a special behind-the-scenes bonus video with interviews, bloopers, and “making of” features.
Even though Indiegogo offers the “In Demand” status for any campaign that exceeds its goal (meaning, you can continue raising money even after your campaign “ends”), sh0w-runner and Hobbit ring-bearer (to bring them all, get it?) SAMUEL COCKINGS has decided that he’s now got enough to make this happen. So the campaign is now officially closed.
As you might remember, Samuel was contacted by a concerned CBS when they saw the trailer to his other upcoming Trek fan film TEMPORAL ANOMALY. And even though discussions with CBS were cordial, and Samuel reached an agreement when Temporal Anomaly could be released with some changes and is now allowed to exceed the 30-minute runtime limit, Samuel prefers not to poke the bear when it comes to the Trek copyright holders. He set out to raise $5,500. He did so, got a little extra to improve the finished project, and now he doesn’t need to keep taking in more money.
On the final day of the campaign, Samuel released a sneak-peek “test scene teaser” showing what Convergence will look like when finished. Well…kinda. Y’see, it’s a TEST scene, and it still needs quite a bit of work. Samuel says it’s got the wrong LCARS, it’s missing a Master Systems Display, a dedication plaque, and possibly some extra crew members in the background. The sound and music aren’t finalized yet either. “It’s a work-in-progress (WIP),” Samuel told me with the enthusiasm of someone tackling a challenging project that he’s really excited about. And I’m also excited!
And I think, after you watch this sneak-peek video, even though it’s still rough around the edges, you’ll be excited, too…
The Indiegogo campaign for the multi-crossover fan production CONVERGENCE ends in less than two days! Convergence unites actors and elements from FIVE different fan films and series—Intrepid, Dark Armada, Starship Republic, Renegades, and the soon-t0-be-released Temporal Anomaly—under the direction of fan CGI wunderkind SAMUEL COCKINGS.
The campaign has already met its primary goal of $5,500 and currently sits at $6,040. But if Samuel can reach $6,400, he’ll be able to afford an improved late-DS9/TNG movie-era uniform…or possibly even something a little more, shall we say, futuristic (since one of the characters will be traveling back from the future). I’m pretty sure he can make that goal before things close up.
And the campaign will be closing up. Although reaching a goal on Indiegogo allows a campaign to continue raising funds after the campaign “ends” (it’s called “In Demand” status), Samuel has no intention of doing so. Since he’s offering a lot of really exciting perks, he doesn’t want CBS to think that he’s trying to turn this project into an online shopping site. (Right now, Samuel has a good relationship with CBS after making the changes they requested to Temporal Anomaly before releasing it…which is why it’s been delayed.)
So once this campaign is over, it’s over—and the perks will no longer be available. If you want any of ’em, donate NOW!
There are also currently some exciting stretch goals. At $7,000 (certainly within reach!) fans will get to see special behind-the-scenes features: bloopers, interviews, making-of documentary, etc. $8,000 will see the addition of a NEW SCENE in the corridor (which requires a new virtual CGI “set” be created), available as a special direct-to-donors extended cut. $9,000 funds a second exclusive NEW SCENE, this one in Engineering. And $10,000 will allow Samuel to create a new shuttle design rather than using the existing Type 11 shuttlecraft we’ve all seen before.
So take those credit cards out of your wallets (assuming you’re so inclined!), and let’s try to give our Trekyards buddy a donation boost as far as we can:
And here’s a fun little video with NICK COOK and ROBIN HIERT that knocks on that fourth wall a little while showing the quality that can be expected once this ambitious cross-over fan production is completed…
With less than seven days to go, and within striking distance of his goal, Trekyards co-host and treknology trexpert SAMUEL COCKINGS is filling his final week of his Indiegogo campaign for CONVERGENCE with new videos. Currently at $4,755 as I type this, they’re just $845 (14%) away from their goal of $5,500…although Samuel would love to reach $6,000 to cover Indiegogo fees and perk costs. And if he reaches $7,000, he’ll release bonus behind-the-scenes content. (There’s also other stretch goals beyond that.)
Samuel has saved the best videos for last. Already, there was a fun interview on Wednesday with NICK COOK, who will be reprising his role of Captain Daniel Hunter of the fan series Star Trek: Intrepid. And on Friday, Samuel posted another interview with actor CHRIS BURDETT from the upcoming fan film Temporal Anomaly. Both of these gentlemen will be starring in Convergence.
While both of those interviews were very well-produced (good lighting, good sound, interesting questions and answers) and are certainly worth viewing if you’re a fan of fan films, it was the video Samuel released this morning that blew me away.
This 3-minute vignette is now my second favorite crowd-funding “ask” video ever. Why is it my second favorite? Well, nothing will likely ever surpass this video (and the four that came after it) from Star Trek Continues‘ “Kirkstarter 2.0.” But the reason this Convergence video gets the secondprise (get it?), is because it has so much fun while asking folks to donate.
Begging for money is never easy, and fan films who go the crowd-funding route have taken various approaches from serious to whacky. Sometimes it’s easy because they have big celebrities or they’ve already filmed or released other work to show what they can do. But sometimes, you’ve just gotta work with what you have.
And that’s what Samuel did, combining a script for the video with ad-libs and outtakes to produce a very real, creative, sincere, and funny video that just makes me want to throw my money at them! Take a look, and see if you agree…
For anyone planning a crowd-funder, bookmark this video and the others in Samuel’s series. And speaking of which, our Mr. Cockings promises another two interviews over the next two days, followed by what he calls a “4th wall-breaking viral video” on Tuesday and the first full teaser with actual footage on Wednesday. The campaign ends Friday.
If only every Kickstarter could be this way! The 4-week crowd-funding campaign forCOZMO’S from the team that produced RENEGADES went live to the general public Tuesday at 11:00 am Pacific Time with a goal of $16,000. But it had already blasted through that goal and was above $22,00 when the world found out about it. (Now it’s up even higher at nearly $25,000!)
How the heck did this happen???
Well, it helps when you have an existing database of thousands of fans who contributed to your previous successful crowd-funders for Renegades )to the tune of more than a million dollars!). And it helps when you open your Kickstarter with a special 48-hour “pre-launch” with exclusive access to certain perks.
It also helps when you have a cast that includes actors from Star Trek and Babylon 5 in your pilot episode:
Ethan (“Neelix”) Phillips
Robert (“The EMH Doctor”) Picardo
Aron (“Nog”) Eisenberg
Claudia (“Susan Ivanova”) Christian
Plus many other professional actions from sci-fi and related genres
Also, the footage (which was all shot back in early 2017 using sets originally constructed for Renegades‘ “The Requiem”) was directed by Stephen Furst (Vir from Babylon 5…who tragically passed away during June of last year).
The project is billed as “Cheers in Space”…
Cozmo’s Thirsty Tentacle Bar and Grill is a local hotspot—well, local to anyone visiting an asteroid—where an enormous variety of lifeforms visit to party, do business dealings, find work, meet their true love…or just to get drunk and alien-watch.
The owner of this esteemed establishment is, of course, Cozmo, a four-tentacled alien (played by Ethan Phillips), who has a knack for mixing stellar martinis and giving good advice. His serving staff includes two humans, Kallie, played by Renee Olstead(13 Going on 30), and Ken, played by Drake Bell (Drake and Josh, Ultimate Spiderman). They’d love their jobs if it weren’t for one tiny detail—humans are the butt of the joke of the entire galaxy.
The hilarity never stops as zany characters like a hermaphrodite with blue hair (Robert Picardo), a crustacean-like madam (Claudia Christian), an alien who’s head is shaped like a….well, like a butt (Aron Eisenberg), and so many others swarm, bump, argue, laugh, and scheme at Cozmo’s!
It looks hilarious (and very well-produced!)…
Heck, I threw in $35 myself before lunchtime on Monday!
Welcome to CONVERGENCE…a fan production uniting FIVE accomplished fan films and series from FOUR different countries into ONE amazing crossover event!
And YOU can help make it all possible.
These folks have already completed one video shoot with four of their five primary actors: NICK COOK from Star Trek: Intrepid (Scotland), ROBIN HIERT from Star Trek: Dark Armada(The Netherlands), and CHRIS BURDETT and NIMRAN SAUND from the upcoming Temporal Anomaly (Great Britain). They also have a number of jaw-dropping VFX created by SAMUEL COCKINGS, life-long Star Trek fan and co-host/co-creator of the popular webseries “Trekyards.” Some of this CGI will include the Archer-class starship from the original Star Trek: Renegades, as well as the villains from that fan film, the Syphon.
Their project is already well underway. But now they need $5,500 to complete it, and they’ve just launched a new Indiegogo campaign. Fan donations will allow Samuel to fly in his full cast for a second studio green screen shoot to get the rest of their scenes filmed with proper lighting, sound, and staging. This will include their final main actor, JIM VON DOLTEREN from Starship Republic, who will be flying to the U.K. from America, along with the others.
They’ve got some really nice perks that you can choose from, and thanks to a series of preview teaser promos released over the past month, the campaign is already off to a decent start, taking in about 9% of the goal in the first 24 hours (including $60 from me). It also has one of the most impressive “ask” videos that I’ve seen for a crowd-funding campaign in a very long time. Check it out…
After you watch that video, you’ll probably be excited enough to donate. But even if you’re not, you should listen to this really awesome audio interview with Samuel. Not only do we discuss Convergence, but we also discuss Temporal Anomaly, his interactions with CBS legal, the fan film guidelines, and a host of other topics that you’re certain to find, as Jean-Luc Picard would say, engaging…
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…
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 DS9…as 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…
To donate (or donate again!), visit their website: