Coming in 3 days: the BLOGGER-BATTLE OF AXANAR!

These days, I don’t typically engage directly with the AXANAR detractors.  There’s no point.  I’m not gonna change their minds, and they’re certainly not gonna change mine.  Any “discussion” we get into quickly breaks down into all the old beating-dead-horse accusations and rumors and criticisms—often with a generous helping of vitriol and vulgarity—and frankly, it’s just a waste of my time.

And yet, in just three days time, I’ll be posting (in conjunction with Trekzone.org) an epic 3-part discussion and debate between myself and noted Axanar detractor MATTHEW MILLER…and I do mean epic!  Take a listen to the teaser that Matthew just posted…

When we set out to have our across-the-globe (Matt’s in Australia) audio “smackdown,” we had no idea how long the discussion would last or how heated it would get.  There were no rules and only a loose outline of topics/questions to guide us.   Our intention was to keep things civil, and for the most part, we did…although not completely.

When all was said and done, we’d managed to go at it for nearly three hours over the course of two days of Skype calls!  On the second day, I’d caught my son’s cold, and if you listen carefully, you’ll probably hear from my voice the exact point when the day one conversation ended and day two began.

What makes this interaction between me and Matthew so interesting and enlightening (and dare I say “fun”?) is that we actually interview EACH OTHER.  Matt’s done scores of interviews with notable Trek people, as have I.  So rather than simply having one of us interview the other, we ask questions back and forth…and tough questions at that!  And best of all, unlike the recent pay-per-view Michael Hinman/Carlos Pedraza podcast on Alpha Waves Radio, this one is not only presenting BOTH sides of the controversial topic (rather than a simple echo-chamber), but it’s also absolutely FREE to listen to!

So how did this whole “Blogger Battle of Axanar” come to be?

Continue reading “Coming in 3 days: the BLOGGER-BATTLE OF AXANAR!”

NO CENSORSHIP for MIDNIGHT’S EDGE on Fan Film Forum… (editorial update)

Last week, I published a blog about the MIDNIGHT’S EDGE tabloid-style reporting on Star Trek…and the controversy it often triggers among fans.  I myself am more than somewhat conflicted when it comes to this video series and the content it presents online.

I also reported last week that the Fan Film Forum Facebook group was being polled to see whether members wanted to ban all postings providing links to Midnight’s Edge videos because such postings tended to rile up many fans on both sides of the Discovery/CBS fence (supporters and detractors) and result in rancorous commentary.

After a week of voting, the polls closed last night with a final tally of 21 votes to ban and 40 votes not to ban.  So by a margin of 2-to-1, there will be NO censorship of Midnight’s Edge on Fan Film Forum.

I have to say, I am very relieved.  I’m not comfortable with censorship of anything that isn’t rude and crude, insulting, or patently false.  And as I said, Midnight’s Edge isn’t patently false.  But it is filled with rumor and innuendo that all too often turns out not to be true.

As an example of one such misleading claim, Midnight’s Edge just this past Tuesday released a legitimate interview with the legendary NICHOLAS MEYER (writer and director of Star Trek II and VI, among other films).  He was asked about his proposed Ceti Alpha V project for CBS, and here’s what he said…

Now check out what Midnight’s Edge was reporting about the new Nick Meyer series during the summer of LAST year…

Obviously, their “reporting” from last summer was completely wrong.  Meyer has now said that his project was only ever commissioned as three-night event and not a new TV series…and certainly not as a replacement for Discovery.

Granted, back in their 2017 podcast, Midnight’s Edge did say “word is…” and “rumor…”—so Midnight’s Edge isn’t committed to standing behind what they said last year.

But let’s face it, when listening to that second video (from 2017), it’s hard NOT to assume that these rumors are true, right?  The narrator’s voice just sounds so sure and confident.

In a perfect world, Midnight’s Edge would report only verifiable facts and not rumors and speculation.  But then the world wouldn’t be so perfect for Midnight’s Edge…which I’m certain would not have nearly as many views.

So once again, I advise folks to take what Midnight’s Edge says with a healthy pile of salt and listen carefully and intelligently, not blindly accepting everything they tell you.

Thank YOU for two reasons…

I know that nearly everyone in America is busy saying “Thanks!” today for this and that.  Even before I woke up this morning, I received about a dozen private and public messages from folks thanking me for being their friend, for writing this blog, for reading their blog or listening to their podcast, and for just being me.  And to them I say: “Right back atcha!”

But I feel it’s very important for me to thank YOU today for reading my blog.  It truly means the world to me!  And not just because I made $5.97 over the past week in ad revenue (although, hey, nothing to complain about).

I’m thanking you for two reasons…

1) Love it or hate it, you’re coming here to read what I write, or listen to the folks I interview.  That feels amazing, especially since I put so much time and effort into this blog.  Whether it’s a multi-part blog feature about the history of a long-running fan series, a 2o00-word editorial, a short 350-word news update, or an hour-long audio interview, all of that takes time to produce.

For example, tomorrow I’ll publish a 55-minute audio interview with the show-runners for the just-released fan film GHOST SHIP.  In addition to watching the half-hour fan film (and then re-watching it), I also had to set up the interview (clear time in my schedule to match theirs), conduct the interview, go back later and remove the “um”s and long pauses and places where we accidentally talked over each other (that took about three hours to edit), listen through the finished interview once again, take screen caps for the feature image and interviewee photos, and then write a 400-word intro for the blog.  So it’s nice to know that at least a few hundred (or few thousand, if I’m lucky) people are reading and listening.

2) I love fan films.  I don’t know how it happened, but it did.  And now that I’m hooked, I want to spread the love and appreciation.  It’s why I keep doing this blog: not just for me as an ego trip, and not just for you as a fan base…but for all of the fan film creators out there who work even harder than I do.  They deserve our support, and Fan Film Factor is here to celebrate them all (or as many as I can cover before I run out of time!)

So on behalf of myself and of the FANtastic community of fan filmmakers out there, thank YOU for visiting my blog.

My love/hate relationship with MIDNIGHT’S EDGE… (editorial)

“The first duty of every Starfleet officer is to the truth!”  Picard said those eleven words to Wesley Crusher in season five of TNG, but for me those were words I’d already been living by for a quarter century.  I don’t hate much in my life, but I do hate lies.  It’s one of the reasons I call out Axanar detractors when they make up provable falsehoods and why I publicly correct even my own readers when they say things like James Cawley used crowd-funded donations to build his TOS sets (he didn’t).

So what do I think about MIDNIGHT’S EDGE?

For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, Midnight’s Edge (and its sister podcast Midnight’s Edge After Dark) is a YouTube channel made up of hundreds of videos—most of them very well-produced—from different voice-over “reporters”covering films and TV shows from the sci-fi, fantasy, horror, and superhero genres.  They bill themselves as “spin-free analysis of Hollywood corporate politics, film & comics.”

Well, kinda.

I will admit to only watching the videos they’ve made covering the behind-the-scenes “ugliness” of Star Trek: Discovery.  And as I said, the quality of their graphics, sound, background music, transitions, and the organization of information is extremely good.  I’m never bored and usually am quite engrossed for the entire extent of these 20-to-30 minute long videos.  And that’s probably part of the reason these folks typically get views in the tens or even hundreds of thousands (occasionally even cracking a million!).

But every time I watch an episode ofMidnight’s Edge, I have to stop and ask myself: “Is this really going on?”  I mean, it’s usually so JUICY—the intrigue, the back-biting, the incompetence, the panic at CBS!—that a cynical part of me certainly wants it to be true.  Those with a passionate dislike for CBS and Discovery will likely get an emotional rush of satisfaction to see things unraveling behind the scenes at All Access as the house of cards appears to be crashing down.

But is it all, in fact, true…or are fans being duped?

Continue reading “My love/hate relationship with MIDNIGHT’S EDGE… (editorial)”

Clips of STAN LEE in two STAR TREK FAN FILMS!

I realize it’s unusual to re-eulogize the same person two days in a row, but STAN LEE was special.  Also, since this is Fan Film Factor, I wanted to take a moment to highlight his appearances in two fan films (and his love for Star Trek) before <sniff, sniff> letting him go.

Three years ago, the folks at STARSHIP FARRAGUT raised $15,787 from 202 backers in a Kickstarter intended to fund their series finale “Homecoming.”  You can read about the full history of this cutting-edge fan series in this 3-part blog.

Although “Homecoming” is still unreleased (all of the scenes and reshoots were completed by summer of 2016, so the finale remains in a state of post-production), a brief segment was released in August of 2017 featuring none other than STAN LEE!  I captured a still image of Stan from that video and used it yesterday for my eulogy blog.  Here is the full minute-long clip that includes Stan’s full cameo…

Stan had previously appeared in an early pilot vignette for the fan series TREK: ISOLATION, which was set to spin off from Starship Farragut back in 2015.  The vignette, “A Great Responsibility,” viewers with stunned looks on their faces as they  saw the legendary Marvel Comics godfather sitting at a desk, wearing a gold TOS Starfleet admiral’s tunic!  Here is that video in its entirety…

The fact that someone as famous as Stan Lee, a man who was already well into his 90s(!!!) when these two productions were shot, would even agree to appear in a “silly” Star Trek fan film says so much about this amazing man whom we lost yesterday.  Stan was so easy-going, so humble, and loved to have fun.  He truly appreciated the fans and would often bend over backward for them.

And Stan loved Star Trek.  He discussed the original series with ROD RODDENBERRY (son of Star Trek‘s creator GENE RODDENBERRY) for the documentary TrekNation

I leave you with this wonderful illustration that I saw yesterday on Facebook…

Face front, true believers!

R.I.P. – STAN LEE (1922-2018)

No one lives forever.

But for a brief flicker of precious time on this planet, it seemed like STAN LEE just might.  He was only seven weeks short of his 96th birthday when he passed away on Monday.  But almost until the last moment, Stan would make cameo appearances in nearly all of the MARVEL Cinematic Universe movies.  While flying back from Atlanta last week, I watched Avengers: Infinity War once again, and there was Stan, driving Peter Parker and his high school classmates to a field trip on Coney Island.  It was a fun and amusing reminder of the guy we all have to thank from these blockbuster films and the wondrous characters they feature.

I bought my first five comic books back in 1979, three of them with the words “STAN LEE PRESENTS…” written just above the title.  To a young Jonathan growing up in the 1970s and 1980s, Stan Lee WAS comic books.  Oh, sure, names like John Byrne and Chris Clamemont, Roger Stern, Roy Thomas, Jim Shooter, George Perez, Frank Miller, Alan Moore…they were super-exciting, too.  But “STAN LEE PRESENTS…” was right up there above all their names on every Marvel comic book that I’d pay my 35 cents to buy.  (Yep, that’s what they cost when I started!)

The list of characters that Stan Lee created or co-created is massive.  You can see them all here.  (Seriously, go check out that link.  You’ll be amazed.)

But what’s uncanny to me is how many of these characters were created day after day, week after week, month after month…all while Stan was just doing  his job at Marvel Comics.

Think about that for second.

Continue reading “R.I.P. – STAN LEE (1922-2018)”

As AXANAR rises, DETRACTORS hit a new low! (editorial)

I’m sure that Alanis Morissette would appreciate the irony.  After years of accusing ALEC PETERS of lying (and a host of other evil deeds), one prominent detractor actually lied about flying to Georgia and attending Axacon this past weekend.

SHAWN P. O’HALLORAN is one of the three admins for the Axamonitor Facebook group, one of the main hang-outs for Axanar detracting.  If you’re not familiar with just how negative they can go, while I’m loathe to send anyone there, take a look at how they reacted to photos of the bridge that they all said would never be completed.  Sour grapes have seldom been so sour.

But the detractors hit a new low when Shawn O’Halloran PRETENDED to go to Axacon and then lied about what he saw and did there (since he wasn’t actually there).  How do we know he wasn’t actually there, and how did he try to make us think he was?  Sit back, my friends, and watch how the hoax unfolded…

Continue reading “As AXANAR rises, DETRACTORS hit a new low! (editorial)”

Fan-filmed before a live studio audience at STAGE 9 STUDIOS…but not without a little controversy!

An estimated 1,300 fans came to STAGE 9 STUDIOS in Kingsland, GA on October 19-21 to visit the amazing TOS sets and meet STAR TREK CONTINUES cast and crew members, including VIC MIGNOGNA, CHRIS DOOHAN, LISA HANSELL, and many others.  (Here’s a complete list.)  Dubbed “Fan Appreciation Weekend,” the event was free of charge and admitted anyone who showed up on Friday from 2-10pm, Saturday from 9am-7pm, and Sunday from 9am-6pm.  That’s 27 hours of open set visit time over a three-day period!

Not just a simple “tour” (like what is offered in Ticonderoga, NY by James Cawley), this event included the opportunity for fans to watch and even participate in the FILMING of episodes for two different fan productions.  Both DREADNOUGHT DOMINION and the upcoming  CONSTAR CHRONICLES shot scenes on the bridge on Friday night and in engineering on Saturday as fans looked on.

Visitors would be escorted in groups through the sets by none other than STC star and show-runner Vic Mignogna, who would discuss the fan filmmaking process, point out certain details of the sets, share a few “secrets” (like how they filmed a scene from a camera angle when a permanent wall was in the way—answer: they put a hidden hole in the wall to film from behind!), and answered questions.  Other groups were escorted by Stage 9 owner RAY TESI, who purchased the sets from Vic last year and decided to make them available to any fan film that wanted to shoot there.  (Listen to Ray’s interview here.)

Vance Major live in front of a studio audience

The groups traveled in cycles through all of the sets—sickbay, auxiliary control, transporter room, captain’s quarters, briefing room, etc.—finally emerging on the bridge and/or engineering to watch rehearsal, set-up, or actual filming during certain scheduled times.  Each group spent about 5-10 minutes with the film crews before moving on and letting in the next bunch.  The fan filmmakers would talk to the audience, answer questions, and in some cases, even offer a few lucky fans the chance to throw on a tunic and be filmed as extras on the bridge or in engineering!  How cool is that???

The event was not without some controversy, though.

Continue reading “Fan-filmed before a live studio audience at STAGE 9 STUDIOS…but not without a little controversy!”

A follow-up to yesterday’s blog about CARLOS PEDRAZA and AXACON…

Wow, quite a shat-storm started a’blowin’ after my blog post yesterday about CARLOS PEDRZA being banned from AXACON and then asking ALEC PETERS to refund the $413.50 Carlos lost buying a non-refundable plane ticket!  So much came out yesterday that, unfortunately, I need to do a follow-up to clarify, explain, and respond to a bunch of different items.

Up first, I did have a small inaccuracy in yesterday’s blog.  I stated that “…a Paypal order came into SphinxCon for a ticket with an Axacon add-on for one Carlos Pedraza.”  DAVE WEINER, manager of SphinxCon, reached out to correct me.  The ticket was mistakenly purchased through their website as an Axacon-only ticket with an Axacon add-on…

This was due to a glitch on the SphinxCon purchasing page.  Carlos mentioned later in his e-mail response back to Alec that he (Carlos) intended to attend panels at SphinxCon as well as Axacon.  So Carlos had obviously intended to buy a SphinxCon ticket with an Axacon add-on.  But SphinxCon tickets were no longer available online and had to be purchased at the door.  So the Axacon add-on was invalid since it requires a SphinxCon ticket.  Make sense?  Sorry if it doesn’t.

Technically, Carlos never purchased a SphinxCon ticket and therefore was never refunded for it being canceled.  Dave Weiner has made clear to Carlos that he will not be banned from SphinxCon should he choose to attend.  But neither will Carlos be allowed at Axacon.  That decision belongs to Alec Peters and has been made.

Next up was the elephant in the living room both Carlos and the detractors seemed reluctant  (afraid) to talk about…

Continue reading “A follow-up to yesterday’s blog about CARLOS PEDRAZA and AXACON…”

CARLOS PEDRAZA wants MONEY from ALEC PETERS??? (editorial)

There’s chutzpah and then there’s CARLOS PEDRAZA chutzpah.  I’m talking cajones-the-size-of-monster-truck-tires chutzpah!!

It all began this past Sunday night at 5:54pm Eastern Time when a Paypal order came into SphinxCon for a ticket with an Axacon add-on for one Carlos Pedraza.  This immediately led to a discussion between SphinxCon‘s organizer, DAVID WEINER, and Axacon‘s organizer, ALEC PETERS.

About three and a half hours later, Carlos received the following e-mail from Alec…

Carlos:

We note you attempted to buy a ticket to Axacon.  Your ticket is being refunded.  You are on notice that you, or any current or former member of the Axamonitor Facebook group that attempts to enter the Axacon facility, will be asked to leave.  As Axacon is meant to celebrate and support the Axanar project, those who have shown repeated animosity, negativity, and antagonism toward Axanar Productions, its team members, myself, and guests of the convention are not welcome to attend.

A former Georgia Sheriff’s Deputy is in charge of security and local law enforcement will be notified before the event that we have had an issue with stalkers and will be prepared to respond if you or any of your fellow stalkers attempt to attend.  The hotel will also be notified in advance.

It is very clear that, like your blog, your only intention is to make trouble.

Alec Peters

Had things ended there, I wouldn’t have bothered writing this blog.  After all, I haven’t blogged about Carlos Pedraza for several months (go ahead and check), and I was enjoying focusing exclusively on fan films.  But things didn’t end there…

Continue reading “CARLOS PEDRAZA wants MONEY from ALEC PETERS??? (editorial)”