“HUNTING GROUNDS: The Battle of Terra Nova” – The latest enhanced audio drama from THE ROMULAN WAR: WAR STORIES!

Considering that THE ROMULAN WAR fan film project began production three years ago and hasn’t yet been released, show-runner MARK NACCARATO has certainly released a ton of original content for it!

Along with a series of really amazing trailers (all of which can be viewed here), behind-the-scenes production briefs (available here) and the online comic book short stories “Holocaust” and “Intruders,” Mark had also previously released five extraordinary “enhanced” audio dramas called WAR STORIES. These short vignettes would normally be considered pure audio dramas (something which, regrettably, I don’t have the time nor resources to cover here on Fan Film Factor), except for the fact that they each also include an animated visual component.

Most of these War Stories vignettes feature photos along with brief computer animations, while others contain short video clips or even VFX shots. The final effect is to create a series of “personal log” voice-overs from various characters who experienced the Romulan War from a diverse series of perspectives. In fact, one of those characters was voiced by yours truly! You can view and listen to all of them on this YouTube playlist.

With production finished and post-production nearing completion, Mark has just released a sixth War Stories installment called “HUNTING GROUNDS: The Battle of Terra Nova.” It features the earth colony visited by the NX-01 crew in the sixth episode of Enterprise, along with some video clips and a few new VFX scenes. Let’s check it out…

Not too shabby, huh? I reached out to Mark for a little more background on this newest release, along with asking for the latest updates on The Romulan War fan film and when Mark expects to finally have it ready for viewing. Here’s what he said…

Continue reading ““HUNTING GROUNDS: The Battle of Terra Nova” – The latest enhanced audio drama from THE ROMULAN WAR: WAR STORIES!”

RENEGADES: OMINARA Kickstarter reaches $29.5K with one week left!

On Monday, I reported on how the second part of the one-hour RENEGADES series premiere, “The Requiem,” would be available for free via YouTube for the first time ever…but only through August 28, 2020. This unusual move is intended to promote the current 15-day Kickstarter for the newest Renegades project, OMINARA, starring NICHELLE NICHOLS and WALTER KOENIG in what is likely to be Nichelle’s final performance in a film (the actress is 87 years old).

Ominara will be the first new Renegades project since “The Requiem” debuted back in 2017. This latest short film is intended to reboot the series by introducing a new character, Ominara, who is the queen of the galactic underworld. Nichelle will play the character in her twilight years, as she recalls her past and the path she chose to become the woman she became. From the Kickstarter description of the storyline…

As the first test subject of the “link,” Ominara (Nichelle Nichols) was exposed to myriad experiments that could be construed as torture. All for the advancement of technology and the “betterment” of mankind. Anton Steiner (Walter Koenig) knew that Ominara’s escape would cause problems for both himself and his company in the future, but he had no idea how much. 

The new Kickstarter has one week left (they started with two), but they have already exceeded their goal of $20,000…in fact, they did so on only the second day of the campaign! Right now, the total donated stands at $29,590…which includes a $5,000 donation, seven $500 donations, plus another 255 individual donations including $33 from yours truly.

Part of the reason for the large number donors is that the finished film will only be shared with backers who contribute $25 or more. Eventually, Renegades will be one of the tentpole pieces of content in the new AtomicTV lineup.

According to the campaign page, money raised in this Kickstarter will go toward the following…

1. Pre-Production – Getting the script written, the sets designed and built, the budgets finalized, securing the permits, the rental of the studio space, the costumes designed and fabricated as well as the props, such as tricorders, phasers, computer screens, etc.

2. Production – Paying the Cast and Crew, the cost of the Lights, Cameras, Grip equipment, Monitors, Food/Meals, Makeup/Prosthetics and Sound Equipment, etc.

3. Post Production – Paying the Editing Team as well as the cost of the CGI Effects, Color Correction, Sound Mixing, and Musical Score. (For this Campaign, the CGI Effects will be marked as a Stretch Goal.)

Plans call for production to begin “immediately” upon funding, likely in the third quarter of 2020. No details have been included about safety measures due to COVID-19 due to the advanced ages of Nichelle and Walter, but I am certain that all appropriate precautions will be taken when filming. The team plans to supply donors with updates and photos as production progresses.

To donate,, please click on the link below…

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/atomicstudios/renegades-prequel-nichelle-nichols-final-performance

RENEGADES: “THE REQUIEM, Part 2” available on YouTube until AUGUST 28!

Back in June of 2016, on the second day of filming the first hour-long episode of STAR TREK: RENEGADES, “The Requiem,” the production team received a nasty and potentially catastrophic surprise. CBS and Paramount had just released a new set of guidelines for Star Trek fan films that would essentially stop Renegades in its tracks.

The timing of the release might not have been entirely coincidental.

Six months earlier, CBS and Paramount had “stopped” the fan film AXANAR with a huge, multi-million dollar copyright infringement lawsuit. But there were still many other fan productions out there using the Star Trek name and intellectual property. And while Axanar had been the first to cross the million-dollar threshold by raising $1.2 million in donations from thousands of fans, Renegades was hot on Axanar‘s heels with (at the time) over $850K in crowd-funding, also from thousands of fans.

And while Axanar featured one veteran Star Trek actor reprising his role from canon (GARY GRAHAM as Soval), Renegades would feature TIM RUSS as Tuvok, WALTER KOENIG as Chekov, NICHELLE NICHOLS as Uhura, CIRROC LOFTON as Jake Sisko, TERRY FARREL as “Jadzia” (minus the Dax symbiont), ROBERT BELTRAN as Chakotay, ARON EISENBERG as Nog, and even HANA HATAE as a grown-up Molly O’Brien.

The previous year, Star Trek: Renegades had premiered a 90-minute fan film with a red carpet premiere at the historic Crest Theatre in Westwood, Los Angeles, calling the project a “backdoor pilot”or “spec pilot” for CBS to consider. Late in 2015, CBS requested (politely) that the Renegades team stop referring to their fan film as a pilot, a request they quickly compiled with. So instead they announced plans to release 12 half-hour webisodes per year (or “season”) oftheir spinoff Star Trek series, with “The Requiem” being the kickoff full-hour episode.

But the guidelines put the kibosh on all of that. No longer permitted to use Star Trek veteran actors or crew people, no longer allowed to pay professions, and constrained to no more than two 15-minute episodes and no sequels or seasons or ongoing series, Renegades had been effectively castrated as a Star Trek fan production before production come even get up to speed.

Continue reading “RENEGADES: “THE REQUIEM, Part 2” available on YouTube until AUGUST 28!”

Latest SPACE COMMAND Kickstarter reaches nearly $64K

Back on Tuesday, with less than two days left to reach their $48K goal and still $11K short, I said of the latest SPACE COMMAND Kickstarter: “Don’t count them out completely just yet.” With less than 22 hours to go, they were still nearly $8K short. Show-runner MARC SCOTT ZICREE even posted this impassioned plea to supporters of the project.

Remember that, with Kickstarter, if a campaign fails to reach its goal, the organizers get nothing. But it turns out that the backers of this fan-funded original sci-fi series had a few surprises left in them after all!

A surge in those last 22 hours, which included at least one and possibly two different $10K donations, leapfrogged them past their goal to a staggering $63,852 from 526 people. But it wasn’t just the big donations coming in. A final e-mail went out to veteran donors with just 19 hours left, opening up some new exclusive perks, including a special T-shirt. This rallied enough supporters that the new campaign added nearly 70 new donors during that final day.

With the funding of this latest campaign going more than 30% over the goal, work can continue on production of the second hour of the second episode “Forgiveness,” even as post-production continues on the second hour of the first episode “Redemption” and the first hour of the second episode (got all that?). The full scope of this sci-fi epic will be six 2-hour episodes compromising the first “season,” telling a series of stories of the exploits and adventures of grandparents, parents, children, grandchildren, and even great grandchildren spanning more than a century of time.

So far, SPACE COMMAND has released the completed first hour of their first episode, “Redemption,” which you can view here…

Space Command also recently undertook a very ambitious project: releasing a totally brand new, special two-hour episode featuring 25 different actors and cast members who recorded their segments from their homes (thanks to the pandemic and quarantine). The resulting film, “Ripple Effect” (released on July 1), chronologically spans the entire scope of history that Space Command will cover, from the year 2030 through 2071. These home performances were combined with some previously shot footage to create an immersive montage of all the many storylines that Marc Zicree has planned for the intiial run of Space Command.

Among the actors participating in “Ripple Effect” are NICHELLE NICHOLS (from Star Trek), DOUG JONES (from Discovery); ROBERT PICARDO (from Voyager); ARMIN SHIMERMAN and J.G. HERTZLER (from Deep Space Nine), MIRA FURLAN and BILL MUMY (from Babylon 5), BARBARA BAIN (from Space: 1999), and even NEIL DeGRASSE TYSON (from Cosmos). For obvious reasons, the film lacks polish in places, but overall, it’s actually quite well done and well acted. Some performances are truly magnificent.

If you’ve been a fan of Space Command so far, it’s definitely worth checking out…

Latest SPACE COMMAND Kickatarter in danger of coming up short!

Up until now, MARC ZICREE’s original sci-fi epic SPACE COMMAND hasn’t had much, if any, difficulty raising crowd-funding donations from fans. But we are currently living in the age of a global pandemic, people are losing their jobs and/or being furloughed, and contributions to fan projects aren’t flowing nearly as freely as they used to be.

Space Command got its start waaaaaaay back in 2012 with an early Kickstarter that brought in a staggering $212K from more than 2,000 donors. It then took five years for the project to reach post-production, where a second Kickstarter raised an additional $108K that would help complete the first hour of the 2-hour pilot episode “Redemption.”

third Kickstarter raised $102K more for post-production on the second hour of the pilot. Marc also sold individual $7,500 shares in the venture for supporters looking for a return on investment if/when the series sells. Those shares brought in an additional half million dollars.

A fourth Kickstarter in 2019 raised $86K for production to begin on the first hour of the second 2-hour episode, “Forgiveness.” And finally, this past April, a fifth Kickstarter raised $57K to help fund production on the second half of “Forgiveness.” Add it all up, and that’a more than $565K in donations and over a million dollars total including investment share sales!

Last month, Space Command launched a sixth Kickstarter to fund the remainder of production on “Forgiveness.” Already, the first hour of “Redemption” has been completed and released, and the second hour has been filmed and is nearly complete (it will have more than 900 visual FX shots!). The first hour of “Forgiveness” is filmed and now in post production. And the second hour of “Forgiveness” is ready to film as soon as it’s safe to do so and as soon as this sixth Kickstarter reaches its $48K goal.

And therein lies the problem.

Kickstarter’s rules say that your campaign needs to set a goal, and if you don’t reach that goal—no matter how close you come—you don’t get anything, no one’s credit card is charged, and the campaign is considered a failure. With only two days to go, the latest Space Command Kickstarter is still $11K short of its $48K goal (a miss of nearly 25%).

While it’s not impossible that Space Command can bridge that gap in so short a period of time, the independent sci-fi film project has never had to face such a challenge before. Each of the previous campaigns reached their goals easily and even surpassed them to unlock stretch goals.

But right now, the global economy is in shambles, millions have lost their jobs, and many crowd-funding campaigns are struggling (not just this one). On the other hand, Space Command still has thousands of loyal supporters. So don’t count them out completely just yet.

If you want to make a donation, click on the link below…

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/spacecommand/space-command-episode-4-forgiveness-part-2

And here is the exciting pitch video from MARC SCOTT ZICREE…

Continue reading “Latest SPACE COMMAND Kickatarter in danger of coming up short!”

PAUL JENKINS and AXANAR part ways!

Well, I certainly had an interesting Saturday morning! Before I get into the news and the statements from PAUL JENKINS and ALEC PETERS on the subject of the termination of their relationship, I’d like to start this blog with something that happened on Friday night…

Several weeks ago, just prior to Alec contracting COVID-19, I’d offered to help edit a new trailer for AXANAR. Normally, the trailers are cut by the editor, MARK EDWARD LEWIS. But post-production funding is only just starting to trickle in, and I’m willing to work for free patches. So Alec agreed to send me all of the raw footage from the Axanar shoots and let me have at it. Cool, I thought.

Then Alec got sick and couldn’t leave the house. So the hard drive with the files on it didn’t arrive here in California until Friday afternoon. I took a look through everything—hundreds and hundreds of video and audio files—and thought to myself: which of these takes are the ones that the director (Paul Jenkins) wants to use? I watched through nearly everything until about 2:30am, and then went to sleep, expecting to (hopefully) set up a 3-way call with Alec and Paul sometime over the weekend or in the coming week to figure out which takes they wanted to select for the trailer.

Then I woke up Saturday to this…

Click to enlarge

Honestly, the first thing that went through my head as I considered my previous plan of going through selects with Paul and Alec was Lt. Kevin Riley’s line from “The Naked Time”: No dance tonight…

But seriously, folks…WTF???

Continue reading “PAUL JENKINS and AXANAR part ways!”

The latest in FANdemic Star Trek – THE FEDERATION FILES: “The Green Manifesto”…

Okay, I’ve decided to coin a new term: “FANdemic Star Trek film.” Because let’s face it, the global COVID-19 crisis isn’t going away anytime soon, and we’re gonna need to wear masks and social distance at least until a safe vaccine is developed and disseminated (and people actually take it!).

But Star Trek fan filmmakers are a dedicated and tenacious bunch! And just because most of Hollywood has shut down doesn’t mean fan films have to. We simply need to do things a little more creatively and carefully. Already, we’ve seen several pandemic-produced fan film releases from all over the world. One of the first, HORREUR POST ATOMIQUE from France, told the story of three survivors of World War III living in bunkers, just before first contact with the Vulcans. Then LOOK FORWARD TO THE DAY showed a socially distancing Kirk, Spock, and McCoy having a futuristic Zoom call. Two weeks later, JENS DOMBEK, “The German Spock,” released a one-man (well, one-Vulcan) fan film called I AM SPOCK. And even VANCE MAJOR has released two CONSTAR CONTINUES films post-pandemic (and I’ll be featuring an audio interview with him soon).

So for lack of a better word, I’m going with “FANdemic” film. And the latest example of one was written only three and a half weeks ago, filmed shortly thereafter in Mountain Home, Arkansas, and released this past weekend from WARP 66 STUDIOS and WOLF/REYNOLDS PRODUCTIONS. It’s the seventh overall fan film from the fan series THE FEDERATION FILES (you can view all of their releases on this YouTube playlist). Because their anthology format covers the entire history of the Star Trek universe, stories have ranged from the 20th and 21st centuries to the 23rd and 24th centuries.

Their latest production is set solidly in the 21st century during the time of World War III and focusing on Colonel Green from the TOS episode “The Savage Curtain” (although in this fan film, Green is still a Major). His genocidal campaign in the 21st century resulted in the deaths of 37 million people. Green believed he was cleansing the gene pool—a hero in his own mind and to scores of followers…an evil homicidal monster to others and to the annals of future history.

But how did he kill so many people so quickly? This fan film seeks to shine a light on this dark question with a little help from today’s headlines. Producer and director of photography DAN REYNOLDS (who also appears in the film as the scientist who engineers a deadly virus) suggested to writer GLEN WOLFE the idea of creating a story about a pandemic. Glen then researched the character of Colonel Phillip Green.

Continue reading “The latest in FANdemic Star Trek – THE FEDERATION FILES: “The Green Manifesto”…”

GARY GRAHAM leaves the AXANAR project!

The following message from actor GARY GRAHAM was posted to Facebook on Wednesday afternoon:

An hour or so later, when asked what happened, Gary added this brief explanation:

This obviously comes as a blow to AXANAR fans who looked forward to once again seeing Vulcan Ambassador Soval in the two 15-minute sequel fan films. Gary had already played the venerated character to near universal praise in PRELUDE TO AXANAR and then a year later in the 3-minute “Vulcan Scene.” In the years since the lawsuit that shut down production on Axanar in 2016, Gary had been an ardent supporter of both the project itself and of show-runner ALEC PETERS. Gary traveled from California to Georgia to appear at AXACON in 2018, saying positive things about Alec and the original production in interviews like this one (skip to 14:40).

Gary’s announcement came without any warning. And in the last 36 hours, I’ve seen unconfirmed reports of “irreconcilable differences,” that Gary is hoping to land a role on the new Star Trek: Strange New Worlds series and worried that an association with Axanar Productions would hurt his chances, and even political friction (Gary and Alec are on opposite sides regarding Donald Trump).

With so many unconfirmed rumors spreading on social media, I reached out to both Alec and Gary for comment. Gary has not yet responded to my request, but Alec confirmed that the first he knew that Gary was leaving the project came on Wednesday, and Alec provided me with the following statement (which has also been posted to the Axanar website)…


Continue reading “GARY GRAHAM leaves the AXANAR project!”

Could the new LOWER DECKS be the STAR TREK series fans have been waiting for?

Get ready for an, ahem, animated discussion…and probably a whole bunch of really angry response comments!

These days, if a new Star Trek series from CBS All Access debuts to universal or near-universal acclaim, then it’s probably premiering in a different universe! In THIS universe, Trek fans are an infamously hard-to-please/easy-to-piss-off mob with social media pitchforks and YouTube podcast torches.

I know; I’ve been one of them…kinda.

Granted, I’ve probably kept more of an open mind than many, and with the exception of the last two episodes of the first season of PICARD, I actually really enjoyed that series. But you guys know how critical I was of DISCOVERY‘s first season—and season two, while significantly better, didn’t completely escape my blogs of shame!

And so, like many fans, I reacted to details about the new STAR TREK: LOWER DECKS series (debuting next month) with some serious trepidation…although still trying very hard to keep an open mind. It hasn’t been easy. The very concept of the new series scared the crap out of me!

I mean…an animated comedy???

Star Trek has survived being animated before. The 22 episodes from Filmation in 1973-74 had a few true gems (“Yesteryear” and “The Slaver Weapon”) and some major klunkers (“The Infinite Vulcan”). But it was generally a well-executed series. As for comedy Trek, episodes like “The Trouble with Tribbles,” “A Piece of the Action,” and movies like Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home showed that you could certainly add a bit of comedic flair to Trek and get a pretty decent result.

Don’t say that Star Trek can’t be funny!

But could an animated series designed purposefully for non-stop gags and punchlines still work as Star Trek? Would fans accept such a tongue-in-cheek approach to a universe that we’ve dearly cherished and believed in for all these decades?

Well, CBS (now VCBS, I guess) and ALEX KURTZMAN have decided to find out—and I suppose we will, too, on August 6…and more likely on August 7 when the fannish mob once again takes to social media to make their opinions known (probably quite loudly).

But I am going to go out on a limb and say that, in my gut, we fans might just be getting the Star Trek we’ve been demanding for so long now from both CBS and Paramount!

Before diving into my reasons for that bold prediction, however, if you haven’t seen the latest trailer yet (released on July 12), then please have a look…

Also, a short scene from the first episode was just released yesterday…

And now, let’s cry “Havoc” and let those dogs of war slip a little…

Continue reading “Could the new LOWER DECKS be the STAR TREK series fans have been waiting for?”

INTERLUDE clip gets 7.8K views (and 1K likes) in 15 HOURS!

Wow…what a difference a successful YouTube Channel makes!

I posted a link to the 48-second “sneak peak” clip from INTERLUDE last week as part of a blog explaining why we were going to miss our announced premiere date of July 25, 2020. Long story short, the music isn’t done yet. But I wanted to give folks a taste of how the music sounded. So I cut a short clip and posted it. The video got 363 views over six days.

Last night, ALEC PETERS debuted the same video clip on the AXANAR YouTube channel. If you haven’t seen it yet, here it is…

I woke up this morning to see that the clip has now had over 7.8K views and 1K thumbs up (versus only 35 thumbs down)…so YAY! Of course, the channel has 89K subscribers—no wonder it got so many views so quickly. But hey, I’m not complaining!

I also read though the comments, and there were a number of questions and topics that came up repeatedly. So I thought I’d respond to them here if anyone is interested and/or curious:

1. When is Interlude coming out?

Soon. As I explained in last week’s blog, KEVIN CROXTON is about halfway done with the music, then MARK EDWARD LEWIS will add in the final sound effects and balance the sound levels. We’re also awaiting one final VFX sequence from LEWIS ANDERSON. Then we’re pretty much D-O-N-E.

2. The music is too loud/voices are too low.

Yep. As I said, the sound-mixing gets done last (since you need all the music before you can balance the levels). This clip was simply to give folks a taste of the music, and it’s a work-in-progress.

One of the most FUN things about making this fan film is showing you folks the behind-the-scenes steps of making a fan film. I didn’t want this clip to be polished and perfect…yet. It’s more interesting to hear the music raw before sound-mixing and then compare it to the finished product in order to get an appreciation for what sound mixing can do.

3. We waited ten years for 48 seconds???

Sigh. First of all, Interlude isn’t Axanar. We only started crowd-funding a year ago. And for the record, Axanar had its first crowd-funding campaign in 2014…six years ago, not ten. (Why people keep saying “ten years” is beyond me. Counting to six isn’t hard…you don’t need to round to the nearest ten!) And remember that Axanar was sued for a year, had to move across the country, then finish the bridge, raise money to replace the funds that were lost during the lawsuit while filming couldn’t happen, and then had to go through the many and complex steps of actually producing a fan film.

Axanar has now had multiple shoots, and only one 2-day shoot remains…a shoot that can’t happen while the international pandemic is still shutting down union productions everywhere. And if you’d like to donate to Axanar so that it can be finished, please click on the link below…

https://aresdigital.axanar.com

Continue reading “INTERLUDE clip gets 7.8K views (and 1K likes) in 15 HOURS!”