Major AXANAR update! (audio interview with ALEC PETERS)

Believe it or not, it’s been nearly three months since my last blog update on the status of the AXANAR sequels. But that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been a TON of stuff going on!

For those folks who have been watching the regular updates by ALEC PETERS on the (usually) weekly “Axanar Confidential” YouTube podcast, you know a lot of the exciting things that have been happening lately…including the fact that the first official shoot for the two Axanar sequels is scheduled for October 4-6! This will include J.G. HERTZLER flying down to Georgia to appear as Sam Travis. Scenes will be filmed on the USS Ares bridge set along with green screen scenes and recording the audio drama version of the full Axanar script.

But for all of those recent updates, I still had a few unanswered questions for Alec—things like…

  • If this production is going to cost $150K-$200K (as Alec has estimated previously), then when is he planning to start raising private donations from backers…and who has been paying for things up till now?
  • Is KATE VERNON going to appear in the Axanar sequels?
  • Who else has been brought onto the project and in what roles (both actors and production crew)?
  • How close is the bridge to being finished—and will it be ready in time for October’s shoot?
  • How many other shoots are planned, and where and when will they be happening?

So with these and other questions floating around in my head, I decided this might be a good time to interview Alec. We set up a phone call for last Friday evening, but naturally, he was late because he had to rescue a dog. And so we had to reschedule. (Yes, I’m serious.) So we chatted a couple days later, and I’ve just finished editing the sound file…which—I am certain will not surprise anyone—includes the sound of dog barks in the background.

So please enjoy the latest Axanar update with Alec Peters (woof!)…

INTERLUDE hits its goal of $19,500 on STAR TREK’s anniversary!

I feel overwhelmed right now, deeply touched, humbled, and just a little bit verklempt.

A few hours ago, during the 53rd anniversary of the debut of Star Trek on NBC, the GoFundMe campaign for my Axanar Universe fan film INTERLUDE reached its goal of $19,500. It was an amazing feeling…especially as the donation that got us there was for an incredibly-generous $500. Earlier in the day, another donor had brought us to exactly $19,000 with a $28 donation. That kind of support and belief in our team and me means more than I can put into words.

The backer who pushed us into the end zone was SHANE FREUND, an Axanar supporter who had also donated to Interlude a few weeks previously. Along with yesterday’s donation came this message:

On the anniversary of Star Trek, I wanted to help you reach your goal because having the courage to take a risk is what Star Trek is all about.

I thought about that statement for a few minutes. In my mind, Star Trek is about a lot of things: tolerance, empathy, inclusiveness, loyalty, duty, honesty, a desire to explore and discover, hope for the future, and a willingness to help others to make things better. And yes, Star Trek is also about taking chances and believing in yourself, in the abilities of your friends and crew, and even believing in luck and your ability to beat the odds.

I grew up in the 1970s watching scenes like this over and over in reruns…

And when you think about it, taking a chance and beating the odds is also what crowd-funding is all about. You put yourself out there and hope that your friends (and crew…and a bunch of strangers) will come through and help you out.

Of course, successfully crowd-funding a project (or a dream) does require a lot of work . Campaigns don’t just fund themselves. But it all comes down to one game-changing word: CAN. “I can.” “You can.” “We can.” Those are among the most powerful sentences in the English language.

And do you know what the other most powerful sentences are? “I can’t.” “We can’t.” “You can’t.”

I mention this because I’ve spent this entire GoFundMe campaign these past three months trying my darnedest to ignore the almost constant drip-drop of negativity from many, many members of the Axamonitor Facebook group. Even when some fair-minded folks over there tried to be supportive of me and my project, others would make comments like this…

Continue reading “INTERLUDE hits its goal of $19,500 on STAR TREK’s anniversary!”

The very FIRST Star Trek fan film ever to be SHUT DOWN by the studio lawyers was in…1968???

As we celebrate the 53rd anniversary of the premiere of Star Trek on September 8, 1966, let’s take a trip back in time five decades to what was very likely the first-ever Star Trek fan film to be shut down by the studio that owns the franchise.

It’s generally accepted in our community that the first major Star Trek fan film produced with a decent degree of quality by American fans was the 1974 project PARAGON’S PARAGON. But thanks to the folks at RODDENBERRY ENTERTAINMENT and some recently-discovered letters from the archives of the late GENE RODDENBERRY (Star Trek‘s creator), we’ve just learned that there might well have been a significant Star Trek fan film half a decade sooner—while Star Trek was still on the air!—if only a lawyer at Paramount hadn’t killed the fan project in its infancy.

Sure, we all know about the Axanar lawsuit. And some fans mistakenly believe that CBS (and before them, Paramount) hate Star Trek fan films and want to shut them all down. But if you look at the numbers, that claim doesn’t hold up. Over the decades, there have been thousands of Star Trek fan films created and released onto the Internet and, prior to that, copied from VHS tape to VHS tape and even shot on Super 8. In all of that time, the studio lawyers have only stepped in a small handful of times.

In other words, this blog isn’t a hit-piece bashing CBS or Paramount for being “evil” corporations dedicated to trying to screw over their loyal fans. Instead, it’s what Spock would consider a fascinating look back at a time when the concept of a fan film was likely as alien to a studio lawyer as an Andorian or Tellarite.

Surprisingly (or perhaps not so), Star Trek‘s very own creator—a man often considered ahead of his time—was all for the idea of a Star Trek fan film and tried to talk Paramount’s lawyer into it. But there’s an old saying that it’s easier to ask forgiveness than to get permission.

This is a story of what happened when a Trekkie tried to get permission…

Continue reading “The very FIRST Star Trek fan film ever to be SHUT DOWN by the studio lawyers was in…1968???”

INTERLUDE’s not-so-phantom menace: SCHEDULING!

Before I dive into the slings and arrows of outrageous scheduling, I’d like to thank INTERLUDE supporter and donor STEPHEN HUGHES for creating the stunning image above (along with several others). This is the kind of love and enthusiasm that’s the cherry on top of the sundae that is fan filmmaking.

I’d also like to thank all of the donors who have helped bring the Interlude GoFundMe to a staggering $18,808!!! This included an amazingly generous $300 donation this past weekend from a member of the Axamonitor Facebook group—CLARENCE THOMPSON—who had previously donated $100…bringing his total to $400 and giving him the honored rank of “Captain” in my credits.

Clarence is one of a small few of that group who have donates, but I want to acknowledge this support from some of those whom I’ve historically called “detractors.” Many of them still detract and deride and demonize, but obviously not all…and that says and means a lot to me. So a big THANK YOU to everyone who has stepped forward to support Interlude.

And of course, there’s still time to donate (we’re less than $700 from our $19,500 goal):

https://www.gofundme.com/interlude

Okay, let’s get onto the update as I shine the spotlight on…scheduling!

Y’know how starships have short-range and long-range sensors (and if the script calls for it, medium-range sensors)? Well, it turns out that fan films have the same thing—or at least mine does. You might remember from back in June a blog I wrote about all of the things that went wrong and threatened to delay the launch of my GoFundMe campaign: epic floods, stray dogs, trapped woodpeckers, etc.

Well, it turns out that Murphy and his law about things going wrong isn’t quite finished with me yet. Read on, my friends…

Continue reading “INTERLUDE’s not-so-phantom menace: SCHEDULING!”

INTERLUDE GoFundMe tops $18,000…nearing the goal!

It wasn’t long ago that I was fearing, even assuming, that the GoFundMe campaign for my Axanar Universe fan film INTERLUDE would fall far short of its $19.5K goal. And so my directors and I created a “point of no return” minimum budget of $13.5K that would guarantee us being able to shoot in November.

But after a an amazing “Thousand Dollar Thursday” push a couple of weeks ago that turned into FIVE Thousand Dollar Thursday, we blew past that minimum and were now looking at the reality of shooting this thing (or at least the Ares Studios scenes) in November…barely 10 weeks away! And now that we had over $17K in the coffers, that meant we didn’t have to tighten our belts nearly as much. It also meant it was time to make a final budget!

Last Friday, I had a very productive 90-minute production call with my two co-directors, VICTORIA FOX and JOSHUA IRWIN. They’re both super-busy right now on other professional productions, as well as finishing up their latest Avalon Universe fan film “Demons.”  But we carved out some time to add up everything we now could and couldn’t afford to do with Interlude.

Without going too deeply into the weeds (I’m done with the hassles of detailed budget blogs—too many back-seat producers out there), I can tell you all with absolute confidence and excitement that we’re now back to being able to do everything that we originally wanted to do in this fan film—with two notable exceptions….

The first item where we’re still short is that we completely forgot to budget hard drive storage for all of our video footage!  (I knew we were gonna forget something!  I even said so in my budget blog…third to last paragraph.)  Josh’s current hard drive and back-up drive are filled with Avalon footage, so we need to buy new drives for Interlude.  Two 10TB G-drives (one for back-up) are about $600 total.  So we still need funds for that.

The second item is contingency (also known as “what could possibly go wrong?”) funds.  Assuming we raise enough to buy the hard drives but don’t bring in a penny more, then we’re at a point where we have to pray that everything goes perfectly and nothing unexpected pops up…which almost never happens, of course!

All of which is to say that this crowd-funding campaign is still very much alive and active, so please keep spreading the word. Remember that there are still very nice Axanar poster sets available from MARK PAYTON for $125 each (with proceeds after shipping & handling being donated by Mark to Interlude).  And of course, if you haven’t donated yet (or would like to donate more), here’s the link…

https://www.gofundme.com/interlude

Donations do keep coming in, and we’re just about at $18,300 (including about $100 in direct Paypal donations) from 215 backers. Another $1,200 gets us those hard drives and $1,000 in contingency. I’m confident we can make it!

Continue reading “INTERLUDE GoFundMe tops $18,000…nearing the goal!”

It’s time to enter YOUR Star Trek fan film into the IndieBOOM! FILM FESTIVAL!

There are a lot of film festivals out there, but very few of them have a specific category where fan films only compete against other fan films.  That “levels the playing field”—at least a little bit—as a fair amount of independent films are made by people with more experience (and often more funding) than your typical fan film.

IndieBOOM! is one of those rare film festivals with a exclusive “fan film” category…along with many other categories (comedy, drama, documentary, animation, scifi/thriller, music video…you can view the entire list here). It’s a real film festival, entering its third year of presenting awards to both aspiring and accomplished independent filmmakers…including fan filmmakers!

Does your fan film qualify?

If your fan film runtime is less than 40 minutes (and the CBS fan film guidelines pretty much ensure that if your fan film is Star Trek-based), then yes…YOU qualify! In the first year of IndieBOOM!, Star Wars fan film from Mexico won in the category. And last year, a Star Trek fan film, THE FEDERATION FILES: “Walking Bear, Running Wolf” took first place as best fan film against two Star Wars, one Blade, one Superman, and one Stranger Things fan film competitor finalists.

How does judging work?

A panel of judges chose the films that make it as finalists. Those, in turn, will be posted online and to IndieBOOM!‘s ROKU channel for viewing. The film that gets the most views on their website and ROKU app in each category receives “Winning Laurels” (first prize) in that category. Also, the panel of judges will choose their favorite selection among all finalists, which will receive the Jury Prize Laurels. And finally, the overall most-viewed film of the festival will receive Fan Favorite Laurels and a cash prize of $500!

All winning Selections will have the option of streaming on BKOD for a worldwide audience!

How much does it cost to enter?

The early-bird deadline has already passed (sorry), so the entry fee is now $45 per film. The regular deadline is September 10, but there’s also a late deadline of November 10 where the entry fee is still only $45. (Why doesn’t it go up? I have no idea, but that’s what’s published on the website.) And finally, for those real procrastinators, there’s an extended deadline of December 10, but the entry fee for that does go up to $55.

There is no restriction for what year the fan film was released or whether or not it has been on YouTube or Vimeo previously.  All are welcome.

So get your fan films entered. Just click on the link below:

https://www.indieboomff.com/enter-a-film-or-video.html

Help kickstart episode 2 of COZMO’S…from the folks who brought you RENEGADES!

With all of the Star Trek themed fan films out there, some folks have asked why fan filmmakers don’t take the next logical step and use their skills, resources, and crowd-funding successes to make some original content?

Well, someone has done just that…and now they want to do it again!

The folks who brought us Star Trek: Renegades and the two-part Renegades: “The Requiem” cast a collection of Star Trek and sci-fi notables in a completely new sci-fi universe…more specifically, in a dive called Cozmo’s Thirsty Tentacle Bar and Grill. Some of the more notable names in the cast included Ethan Phillips (“Neelix” of Star Trek: Voyager), Robert Picardo (“The EMH Doctor” of Voyager), Aron Eisenberg (“Nog” of Deep Space Nine), and Claudia Christian (“Susan Ivanova” of Babylon 5). The original director was Stephen Furst (Vir from Babylon 5), who tragically passed away shortly after the live action scenes were shot in early 2017.

With the production footage “in the can” (as they say), it was time to raise funds for post-production…with a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign in November of last year that blasted past its $16K goal to finish at a stunning $54.4K from 865 backers! This allowed the pilot for COZMO’S to be completed and released (for backers only) earlier this summer.

Because the series is being shopped around to studios, the full pilot episode is not accessible unless you’re a donor to either the first campaign or the current campaign for episode two (at a level of at least $35). However, the creators have posted the first ten minutes of the half-hour pilot for the public to view. So take a look…

Aside from the obviously high production quality (lighting, sound, camera work, etc.) and the impressive acting, what stands out the most is the amazing combination of make-up and VFX that weaves itself so seamlessly through nearly every scene. Much of this is due to the masterful skills of the make-up team under the supervision of Vincent Guastini, whose professional work in Hollywood includes World War Z, Silent Night, Sushi Girl, I Am Legend, Scary Movie 4, and Dogma.

Would you like Vincent to turn YOU into an alien? Well, guess what! That’s actually one of the very tempting perks being offered in the just-launched Kickstarter for Cozmo’s episode 2…

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/atomicstudios/cozmos-goes-out-of-this-world-with-ep-2

Episode 2 also brings in some exciting changes to the way things were done in episode 1….

Continue reading “Help kickstart episode 2 of COZMO’S…from the folks who brought you RENEGADES!”

AXANAR posters (set of four) FOR SALE from MARK PAYTON…to benefit INTERLUDE!

A few weeks ago, two of the donors to my Axanar Universe fan film INTERLUDE offered to match, dollar-for-dollar, every donation made to my GoFundMe campaign for 24 hours. It was incredibly generous and resulted in an amazing day of over $5K in donations.

Now, another supporter has stepped forward with a very generous offer. MARK PAYTON is an artist who lives and breathes Axanar (an Axanartist, if you will!). His artwork graces the pages of his original Axanar novella, “The Inverness Revision,” and he’s done other graphics for the Axanar project over the past couple of years.

Among the art pieces that Mark created were the four images you see above, including the stunningly majestic rendering of the late RICHARD HATCH as Kharn the Undying and the montage of the main Axanar characters drawn in a comic/animation style. Last year, Mark printed up a run of posters for these beautiful images to sell at Axacon. At the end of the weekend, he still had about 15-20 sets of posters left over.

Now, Mark is looking to offer these four collector’s item posters as a set for $125 (including shipping and handling), and I am certain there are some Axanerds out there (like me) who want them. I’ve seen them up close, and they’re very high quality prints. Three are sized at 11″ x 17″ and the other is 8.5″ x 11″. All are shipped as the poster-only, but each can be inexpensively framed as the sizes are pretty standard.

However, Mark has ALSO offered to take whatever proceeds he collects and donate that money (minus packaging and shipping costs) to the Interlude GoFundMe! NOTE: this is not a perk. No one is donating directly to me. People are purchasing posters from Mark Payton who is then welcome to make a donation just like any other supprter.

Just how much that donation to Interlude will be is uncertain. Even if Mark sells all the posters he has left, the shipping costs to different states and possibly other countries is unknown right now. But Mark estimates that selling everything could put an additional $1,000 into the campaign. And since we’re currently at more than $17,800 (including PayPal donations), another thousand would place us only $700 from our $19,500 goal!

But as they say on TV: “Hurry, because supplies are limited, and this offer won’t last!”

To purchase one or more of these poster sets, contact Mark at mpgraphics@hotmail.com with the subject line of “Interlude posters”.

Continue reading “AXANAR posters (set of four) FOR SALE from MARK PAYTON…to benefit INTERLUDE!”

POTEMKIN PICTURES releases newest TRISTAN two-parter…and moves to KENTUCKY!

It’s actually been about four weeks since POTEMKIN PICTURES released “Repercussions, Part Two,” the 18th episode from the STARSHIP TRISTAN creative group. It followed the release about a month earlier of the 17th episode from Tristan, “Repercussions, Part One.”

Two episodes back-to-back within a single month is pretty impressive. But it followed a drought of eight months without a single Starship Tristan episode. In contrast, during the seven months prior to that, Tristan had released no less than FIVE episodes. I was curious how a team that was so prolific last year went through the first half of this year without a single episode completed. So I asked Potemkin Pictures show-runner RANDY LANDERS: why the sudden slowdown? Here’s what he said…

No slowdown as far as we’re concerned. Last year we may have cranked up production, but as stated, our goal is 12 productions per year. To date, we have released 2 Tristans, 2 Deimos and 1 Triton this year for a total of 5. We have 2 Tristans, 3 Deimos, 1 Kupok, and 1 Marie Curie slated for release between now and December 31st. That’s a total of 12, and we’re on a pace to accomplish that easily.

Certain projects have been affected by real life. One of our musical composers is stepping away to do some VFX work. One of our VFX artists’ partner was injured in an accident, and his project was quite understandably delayed by that. Stuff like that happens, and we move on and deal with it.

We do expect a slow start to next year, in fact. My wife has changed jobs, and we’re in the process of relocating to Lexington, Kentucky. I completed the deconstruction of our sets in Pelham, Alabama (Studio 3a, 3b and 3c were decommissioned at 17:11 Central Time on July 31), and we will be starting up in Lexington soon.

Wow, I had no idea these guys were moving! And Lexington, Kentucky is 430 miles from Pelham Alabama (you have to drive through all of Tennessee to get there…fortunately, it’s the short way through Tennessee, not the long way!).

So the next question I asked was how this would affect the production. Most of the current cast members are local actors and fans based in Alabama. Are they gonna want to drive 12 hours round-trip just to make Star Trek fan films…?

Continue reading “POTEMKIN PICTURES releases newest TRISTAN two-parter…and moves to KENTUCKY!”

How INTERLUDE’s Thousand Dollar Thursday became FIVE Thousand Dollar Thursday!

Wow.

Even in my wildest dreams, I didn’t expect this…although my friend MIKE BAWDEN predicted it the day before. “I really think you’ll be up five or six thousand dollars by the end of Thursday,” he said, “You might even come close to your $19,500 goal.”

And he was right. After a crazy day of more than 70 donations, 40 from brand new donors and another 30 donations from existing backers (plus the $1,200 each from both of my match-backers), we’d taken in more than $5,000 for our GoFundMe for INTERLUDE!

So how did this all happen? Was it just blind luck? Did everyone simply wait to donate on the same day? How did Thousand Dollar Thursday turn into FIVE Thousand Dollar Thursday?

I know that a number of my readers have held crowd-funders of your own—or are planning to. And when something works for one of us, there’s no reason not to share our “secrets.” After all, we fan filmmakers are in this together!

So this blog is a deep-dive for anyone who is interested in everything that happened “behind-the-scenes” to set up all the dominos that fell into place so perfectly yesterday. Sure, every campaign is unique, and not everything that I did will translate to other campaigns. But take from this whatever insights you think might help you out.

For everyone else, feel free to read this blog if you’re curious to find out everything that the duck was doing under the water while gliding smoothly over the surface. It was pretty wild! Otherwise, feel free to skip this one…

Continue reading “How INTERLUDE’s Thousand Dollar Thursday became FIVE Thousand Dollar Thursday!”