The 13-YEAR mission of STARSHIP ANTYLLUS is nearing its end… (interview with GEORGE KAYAIAN, part 1)

What defines a Star Trek fan film? There are so many possible answers to this question! But for me, when you strip away everything else—costumes, sets, lighting, acting, directing, VFX, makeup, music, and all the rest—the one thing that unites ALL Trek fan films is passion, determination, and a deep love for Star Trek. (Well, okay, that’s three things, but you get the idea.)

And when I think of those three qualities, I think of GEORGE KAYAIAN. This is a guy who so desperately wanted to make Star Trek fan films that he built elaborate sets, including a starship bridge, essentially out of cardboard in his parents’ basement! And not only is George one of the most dedicated fan filmmakers ever (he’s been making Star Trek fan films almost non-stop since 1992…more than THREE DECADES!), but he’s also one of the nicest guys in the entire community. And that’s not just my opinion. Fan filmmakers far and wide who have worked with or even just casually interacted with George will all agree that he’s a real sweetheart with a sweet heart.

Back in the 1990s, George would make his fan films with the help of his brother William and also his mom and dad, both of whom appeared in his Star Trek productions for nearly 17 years! After that, George began working with his daughter Anya when she was just a wee bairn on a new Trek fan series: STARSHIP ANTYLLUS…that was 2013. Now, a little over a decade later, the Antyllus saga is nearing an end, as George and Anya are starting to wrap up the last episodes of their third and final season.

You can view all the episodes of Antyllus on this YouTube playlist. Their most recent two releases (episodes twenty-three and twenty-four) were released last November and this past January, respectively. Episode twenty-three, “Despite the Fall,” appears below, and I’ll include a link to episode twenty-four in the conclusion of this 2-part interview. Both are definitely worth checking out to get a feel for this very “grass roots” fan series…

As you can see, George manages to do quite a lot with quite a little, which is at the core of what fan filmmakers do best! With the series drawing to a close, I thought this might be a great time to give George the spotlight once again to learn more about him and his efforts with Antyllus

Continue reading “The 13-YEAR mission of STARSHIP ANTYLLUS is nearing its end… (interview with GEORGE KAYAIAN, part 1)”

STUCK ON AN UNKNOWN PLANET shows how one fan filmmaker can help another (interview with KARL FAULKNER and VANCE MAJOR)

“Let me help.” About 5 years or so from now, a famous novelist from a planet orbiting the far left star in Orion’s belt will write a classic using that theme. He’ll recommend those three words even over “I love you.”

A couple of months ago, VANCE MAJOR, one of the most prolific fan filmmakers in Star Trek history, suggested I check out STUCK ON AN UNKNOWN PLANET from fan filmmaker KARL FAULKNER. Karl is from Ely, a cathedral city and civil parish about 14 miles north/northeast of Cambridge and 80 miles north of London in the U.K.

Stuck on an Unknown Planet is 3-part fan series with episodes posted on Vance’s NO BUDGET PRODUCTIONS YouTube Channel. When I went to check them out, I immediately noticed that this was not your typical fan film. It was clearly created from a place of passion for Star Trek at a very grass-roots entry level. And while Stuck on an Unknown Planet is certainly not as polished as some of the higher-end fan films out there, it 100% demonstrates that anyone can make a fan film…and I think that’s absolutely wonderful.

The reason that Stuck on an Unknown Planet appears on Vance’s channel is because Karl asked Vance to assist him in finishing the project…hence, the “Let me help” opening of this blog. Here’s the first episode of the series that was posted on Vance’s YouTube channel after the two fan filmmakers collaborated…

As I said, a very unique fan film! Click here to watch episode two and here to watch episode three. After that, Vance retired from fan films in order to spend more time with his 7-year-old son Royce. But Karl has continued to produce his fan series, and you can watch Karl’s subsequent episode on Karl’s YouTube channel.

Before we talk to Vance about the why’s and how’s of his participation, let’s start off by chatting with Karl…

Continue reading “STUCK ON AN UNKNOWN PLANET shows how one fan filmmaker can help another (interview with KARL FAULKNER and VANCE MAJOR)”

HARRY KIM’S NIGHTMARE inspires a new fan film contest: TREKS IN 90 SECS!

Recently, two things happened totally on a lark. The first was JOSH IRWIN, DAVID CHENG, and VANCE MAJOR teaming up for an ultra-short Star Trek fan film titled HARRY KIM’S NIGHTMARE. It was a fun little idea that Josh came up with, essentially a quick gag scene showing Harry Kim decades after Voyager, wearing a STAR TREK: PICARD-era uniform.

Josh enlisted the participation of David Cheng because he played Captain Harry Kim in last year’s BORG HUNTERS fan film from David’s STAR TREK FAN PRODUCTIONS INTERNATIONAL. David has one of those cool leather/suede jackets from Picard season three that he was able to wear as “future” Harry Kim.

As for Vance, well, he had a fourth season DISCOVERY uniform for the dream/nightmare sequence that he was able to make available to David, and Josh had also asked Vance to appear briefly (this was before Vance retired for the final time). Both David and Vance filmed themselves, David against a green screen and Vance with his son ROYCE in the shot. Then Josh edited the best takes together with some quick VFX by DAN BRELAND. The result is a 44-second fan film with another 24 seconds of closing credits…

The release of this “quickie” prompted a second idea on a lark. In a Facebook chat group where numerous fan filmmakers come together to share resources, someone suggested having a contest where all of the entries had to be a minute or less. Everyone loved the idea but felt that 60 seconds wasn’t enough and suggested at least 90 seconds.

And so ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to announce the…

The concept is simple: make a complete Star Trek fan film of about 90 seconds in length and post it to YouTube. Then send me the link [ jonathan(at)fanfilmfactor(dot)com ]. The submission deadline will be July 31, 2024. No entry fee.

Then during the first week of August, I’ll post a blog with all of the entries I receive on a single webpage along with a voting widget. Visitors can select their top 1, 2, and 3 choices, and after two weeks of voting, the three videos with the highest totals will be announced as winners.

What’s the prize? Absolutely nothing! No trophy, no online certificate, no spreadable condiment. Just bragging rights. And who doesn’t like to brag, am I right?

So here’s a few minor rules because, well, reasons…

  1. The fan film doesn’t need to be “exactly” 90 seconds. It can be less or even a little more. But if you run over two minutes, it ain’t gettin’ entered.
  2. The fan film needs to be Star Trek related in some way.
  3. The fan film must be a complete “story” (however you want to define that term). If can be funny, dramatic, sad, exciting, all dialogue, no dialogue, whatever you’d like. But what it can’t be is a segment from an existing fan film. It needs to be 100% new.
  4. A maximum of three fan film submissions per entrant.

And that’s it. If any more rules need to be added, I’ll let you know. Otherwise, good luck and have FUN!

A video interview I did with GARY GRAHAM and J.G. HERTZLER back in 2018…

Fans are still reeling from the unexpected passing last week of beloved sci-fi actor GARY GRAHAM, who died of a heart attack at the too-young age of 73. In my tribute eulogy on Tuesday, I briefly mentioned my own personal encounter with Gary at the first AXACON gathering in Georgia back in 2018.

Unbeknownst to yours truly, ALEC PETERS informed me when I arrived that I would be conducting a number of recorded interviews with various Axacon guests as well as and hosting a number of panels that weekend, including interviewing both Gary along with his PRELUDE TO AXANAR co-star J.G. HERTZLER. And I have to admit that, despite having already done countless interviews with fan filmmakers for this blog site, I was feeling quite overwhelmed with being dropped into the deep end interviewing two well-known Star Trek celebrities.

Adding to the challenge for me is that Gary and J.G. were quite jovial and easily distracted themselves with tangents into all sorts of inanity while being interviewed. In other words, they both loved clowning around…especially at my expense as the poor, overwhelmed interviewer!

But ultimately, our recorded session came out really well and was very informative about both actors’ work not only in Axanar but also in other Star Trek fan films over the years like STAR TREK: OF GODS AND MEN and RENEGADES. They also discussed their stage craft in general along with sharing information about their backgrounds (did you know that Gary Graham got his start in ballet?!?).

As I thought about Gary after his death last Monday, I remembered that interview and contacted Alec, asking if he still had the footage (which was initially intended for a Blu-ray extra but was also released onto the Axanar YouTube channel shortly after the Axacon event). Fortunately, Alec still had access to the interview, and Alec gave me the green-light to edit the best parts together into a single video that could be (re)posted to YouTube so that fans could watch and enjoy it.

For anyone wanting to get to know Gary Graham a little better and see the kind of funny, vivacious, and thoughtful person that he truly was, this video is for you—and him…

Directors’ commentary for CRISIS ON INFINITE EXCALIBURS from the AVALON Universe… (video interview with JOSHUA IRWIN and TYLER DUNIVAN)

The AVALON UNIVERSE fan series got its start back in 2018 with the production and release of GHOST SHIP. While driving back to northwest Arkansas after a shoot at the TOS sets in Kingsland, Georgia, showrunner JOSHUA IRWIN got an idea for a fan film that would be a crossover of multiple Star Trek realities. And thus was born the fan film that would ultimately become CRISIS ON INFINITE EXCALBURS, which was finally released in December of 2023 after more than two years of production. (You can view all Avalon Universe fan films on this playlist.)

The project required over half a dozen different film shoots that were combined with shoots for two other Avalon productions: the already-released KNIGHTS OF THE VOID and the still-t0-be-completed series finale THE ONCE AND FUTURE CAPTAIN. Indeed, Crisis has turned into one of the most ambitious Star Trek fan film projects to date, with nearly 75 fans involved in its creation, including more than THREE DOZEN actors and extras, many of the actors playing multiple roles (doppelgängers from different realities), and a few of them even appearing alongside themselves in the same shots!

In this way, Crisis is unquestionably one of the most technically challenging Trek fan films to date, tackling not only multiple Star Trek realities like the Mirror Universe and Kevin-verse but also other sci-fi franchises like The Orville, Stargate, Babylon 5, Galaxy Quest, Back to the Future, Battlestar Galactica (both versions!), Star Blazers, Battle of the Planets, Andromeda, Red Dwarf, and even Spaceballs! Heck, it’s even got Elvis!!! Crisis also contains clips from more than two dozen other fan films both past, present, AND future. There literally has never been another fan film quite like Crisis…and very well might never be.

With so many hands of deck, Crisis also holds the distinction of being one of the most cross-collaborative Star Trek fan films since YORKTOWN: A TIME TO HEAL, which combined the efforts of fan filmmakers from dozens of different series in multiple countries. Crisis likewise brought together multiple people from numerous fan projects including CONSTAR, THE FEDERATION FILES, TALES FROM THE NEUTRAL ZONE, STARSHIP ANTYLLUS, PROJECT GEMINI: CROSSROADS, TREK SHORTS, INTREPID, and STARSHIP ARMITAGE.

The finished fan film is, to say the least, stunning. Some fans have called it a game-changer. I just call it a heck of a lot of fun to watch and enjoy, which you can do right now…

Such a complex production of this kind of quality requires a great deal of skill and experience in filmmaking to successfully complete. Fortunately, both Josh and Tyler work professionally in the entertainment industry. But a fan film like this also deserves some special attention when doing an interview.

As such, this time I’m going to do something different than usually do. I’ve noticed a growing trend among fan film podcasters lately of watching the release with the creator(s) and having them comment as it plays. And that’s exactly what I’ve done with Josh and Tyler.

Continue reading “Directors’ commentary for CRISIS ON INFINITE EXCALIBURS from the AVALON Universe… (video interview with JOSHUA IRWIN and TYLER DUNIVAN)”

DIRECTORS CHOICE AWARD SHOW submission deadline is THIS MONDAY!

While you all were having a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year (I hope!), GLEN L. WOLFE and DAN REYNOLDS were continuing to accept submissions from year three of the annual Fan Film DIRECTORS CHOICE Awards. If you’re a fan filmmaker from any genre or franchise—NOT only Star Trek!—you have until midnight Central Time on January 15 to submit up to three films released during calendar year 2023. The cost is $10 per entry, and you can submit using the form on this web page…

https://thefederationfiles.com/?page_id=1407

The DIRECTORS CHOICE Awards are one of two annual fan film competitions (the other being the SHOWRUNNER AWARDS) where the judging panel is made up of actual fan filmmakers. As the name implies, the judges for the Directors Choice show will be the directors of the submitted fan films, who will each have until March 15 to submit their ballots. Each submission can be entered into a maximum of six of the following categories…

Best Actor
Best Actress
Best Director
Best Original Costuming
Best Make-up/Hairstyling
Best Cinematography
Best Original Music
Best Audio Mixing
Best Lighting
Best FX Make-Up
Best CGI FX
Best Green Screen
Best Composite Shot
Best Screenplay
Best Parody/Comedy
Best Portrayal of an Existing Character
Best Animated Fan Film
Best Editing
Most Canon Award
Best Ensemble
Best On-Location Scene
Best Plot Twist
Best Use of Improvised Sets
Best Choreography

And just like last year, there will be a “Best in Fest” $250 cash award for the fan film which receives the greatest number of votes across all categories. Of the above two dozen categories, the last four were newly added as of this year.

Glen Wolfe reports healthy participation again this year…

The clock is ticking, folks! The submission deadline is this coming Monday. So once again, here’s the link to enter…

https://thefederationfiles.com/?page_id=1407

Good luck!

RANDY LANDERS tells me to no longer provide coverage of POTEMKIN PICTURES releases on FAN FILM FACTOR… (editorial)

The new year didn’t start off well for Star Trek fan films…or for me.

On the FAN FILM FORUM Facebook group, 2024 began with an early morning post (well, early for me waking up in Palm Desert, California) from RANDY LANDERS of POTEMKIN PICTURES. Over the past eight years, I’ve published a staggering 90-plus blogs on the numerous fan film releases from Potemkin‘s many, many creative groups. And I still wasn’t quite caught up! Their two most recent releases, “EMPYREAN” from STARSHIP CALIBORN and “HONOR AND TREACHERY” from SCOUTSHIP QAB’ELTH were both on deck for early 2024 coverage. In fact, Randy had just given me the names of the team members from Caliborn whom I should reach out to for the blog about “Empyrean.”

Randy’s post to the Fan Film Forum Facebook group started with him proudly announcing that Potemkin Pictures would NOT be crowd-funding in 2024. They had all of their expenses covered. Yay! A year ago, I had helped promote their previous campaign and even tossed in a few bucks myself. Granted, announcing that you’re not going to crowd-fund seemed, to me at least, like announcing that you’re not going to plant tomatoes in your garden this year. I mean, it’s good to know that you’re covered on tomatoes…is that the right reaction?

But then Randy also said something a little odd…and rather controversial, as it turned out. He suggested (somewhat forcefully and resentfully) that other fan productions shouldn’t crowd-fund either. In other words, “I’m not going to plant tomatoes in MY garden, so no one else should plant tomatoes in THEIR garden either!”

This was, to say the least, a bit shocking to some people. And not just people doing crowd-funding campaigns. As the day went on, folks from all over the fan community were IMing with variations of “WTF?” and suggesting/demanding that I remove Randy’s post from the Fan Film Forum Facebook page.

Meet the new year…same as the old year?

Continue reading “RANDY LANDERS tells me to no longer provide coverage of POTEMKIN PICTURES releases on FAN FILM FACTOR… (editorial)”

2023 Star Trek Fan Film YEAR IN REVIEW…PODCAST!

In 2017, I began publishing an annual YEAR IN REVIEW blog of major news and events from the world of Star Trek fan films. And 2023 is no different…

…or is it?

This year, for the first time ever, there will be a fan film Year In Review PODCAST! And not just ANY podcast! Joining me today are three other prominent members of the Star Trek fan film community: JEFFERSON “BigJ” KELLEY from BEYOND TREK PODCAST, COUSIN CHEETO from the NERD TUBE YouTube Channel, and JOSHUA IRWIN, the showrunner of the AVALON UNIVERSE fan productions and director/DP-at-large for various fan series. We four have covered, interviewed, and in some cases even MADE Star Trek fan films for the past several years, and now we’re teaming up for the first (and hopefully not last!) time.

The ball started rolling on this idea back in November when Jefferson Kelley reached out to me to with some nice feedback on a blog I’d written about a fan filmmaker whom he’d just interviewed on his podcast, as well. Over the past year or so, Jefferson has been diving ever deeper and more frequently into the world of Trek fan films, and I’ve caught a number of his podcasts. They’re upbeat, positive, and enthusiastic…which is a must for fan films (at least in my opinion!). As we chatted, “BigJ” suggested that we do a podcast together at some point.

My mind started pondering what we could talk about and almost immediately landed on doing this December’s Year in Review as a co-produced podcast with Jefferson and myself co-hosting. “BigJ” loved the idea, and a few days later DM’d me back to ask if Cheeto from Nerd Tube could join us. I suddenly heard Worf’s voice in my head saying, “That would make it a threesome…” and thought: the more, the merrier!

Then Josh ended up getting involved due to the release of his latest Avalon fan film, CRISIS ON INFINITE EXCALIBURS (which I haven’t had a chance to cover yet). Along with being absolutely jaw-dropping in its production quality, Crisis also represents one of the most collaborative crossovers of fan series and filmmakers since the release of YORKTOWN: A TIME TO HEAL in 2022. Indeed, it was this growing trend of fan film “team-ups” that inspired our co-produced Year in Review podcast…which won’t be branded as either Fan Film Factor, Beyond Trek Podcast, Nerd Tube or Avalon but a true four-way collaboration.

I was telling Josh about the idea, and he volunteered to let us use his Streamyard account for recording the piece, to be our “roving reporter” to interview fan filmmakers, and even to edit the finished production. (As if Josh doesn’t have enough to do already!)

And that’s how Josh made it a foursome!

So please sit back and enjoy this special presentation of the 2023 Star Trek Fan Film Year in Review—with special guests, clips, commentary, and news from this crazy little corner of the Star Trek sandbox (oh, and check out my new “ugly” Star Trek Christmas sweater at the very end, as well)…

DREADNOUGHT DOMINION’s command torch is passed “IN OUR OWN TIME”… (interview with GARY DAVIS and RANDY WRENN)

Seven years. That’s how long DOMINION MEDIA co-showrunner GARY DAVIS has been playing Captain Jason Brousseau, commanding officer of the DREADNOUGHT DOMINION. And in the two years before that, Gary played Commander Brousseau, the ship’s first officer. So that’s NINE years in front of the camera on this long-running fan series.

DAVID “RANDY” WRENN, the other Dominion Media co-showrunner, has played his character, Chief Engineer Stephen Denson, for just as long, himself rising through the ranks to first officer and eventually captain of engineering. But as of September 29, 2023, both men performed those roles as leads for a final time in their swan song episode “IN OUR OWN TIME,” which saw them pass the command baton of the U.S.S. Dominion to Captain Maurine Farrell, played by popular fan film actress of multiple fan series, VICTORIA AVALON.

The episode was another strong offering from the team, with a fun, original, and engaging story and their typical mix of seriousness and humor. Take a look…

I plan to speak more with Victoria Avalon when Dominion‘s next episode premieres. But right now, I’ve decided to focus on Gary and Randy and their decisions to step away from the front of the camera to focus (no pun intended) more of their attention to efforts behind the scenes…

Continue reading “DREADNOUGHT DOMINION’s command torch is passed “IN OUR OWN TIME”… (interview with GARY DAVIS and RANDY WRENN)”

New CROSSOVER fan film “ORIGINAL PARTS” on tap for 2024, a UNITED KINGDOM collaboration between AMBUSH and INTREPID! (interview with GREG LOCK)

Back in 2022, after being in production since 2014(!!!), the long-awaited TOS-era fan film AMBUSH (out of the United Kingdom) was finally released by showrunner GREG LOCK and his team. This past year, Ambush won “Best Fan Film” in the 2023 Star Trek Fan Film SHOWRUNNER AWARDS…along with wins in a dozen other categories…making it the top award-winner overall.

Since then, fans have wondered if and when Greg Lock might return to Star Trek fan films and whether we might see the return of members of the crew of the U.S.S. Ambush someday. That question was answered the day before Christmas with the release of the following very unexpected trailer featuring none other than NICK COOK and DAVID REID from the fan series INTREPID wearing Pre-STAR TREK: PICARD-era uniforms. Check it out…

David Reid is returning to the role of the Intrepid‘s Romulan security officer S’Ceris, a character he hasn’t reprised in nearly a decade. And Nick Cook is, of course, playing Captain Daniel Hunter, a role he’s performed not only in episodes of Intrepid but also in other fan series like TREK SHORTS and CONSTAR.

Indeed, crossover collaborations like this are proliferating recently in the fan film world! In fact, one of the most recent examples, CRISIS ON INFINITE EXCALIBURS from the AVALON UNIVERSE (which I will be covering once I can schedule a Zoom interview with the very busy star of that release) was a major collaboration among nearly a DOZEN different showrunners and fan series!

Frankly, I think this trend of collaboration is awesome, as fan filmmakers can pool resources, knowledge, characters, filmmaking equipment, props and uniforms, and all sorts of other things to make more and even better productions.

But how did this particular collaboration between two of the U.K.’s most prominent Star Trek fan filmmakers (the other being the omnipresent SAMUEL COCKINGS…I wonder if he’ll be a part of this, too) come to happen? For the answers to this and other questions, I spoke to Greg Lock himself…

Continue reading “New CROSSOVER fan film “ORIGINAL PARTS” on tap for 2024, a UNITED KINGDOM collaboration between AMBUSH and INTREPID! (interview with GREG LOCK)”