AXANAR video update posted…with ALEC PETERS and PAUL JENKINS!

I’m sure some folks are thinking, “For the love of Spock, Lane! ANOTHER update on AXANAR??? Just make the damn movie already!”

Actually, one of my readers posted a comment last week during the previous Axanar update, asking the following question: “Isn’t the finished product the important thing?” Well, yes and no…

Obviously, we all want a really awesome Axanar fan film—so the finished product is certainly an important thing. But so is the JOURNEY in getting there.

It’s been a long road, getting from there to here with Axanar. A lot of time, money (!!!), and patience has gone into this project…along with copious amounts of hard work, support, team effort, and faith in the dream against all odds. Axafans and Axanerds have been waiting years for the moment when production finally begins again…ever since the lawsuit shut everything down six weeks before cameras were set to start rolling in February of 2016.

But now all the hard work, patience, and planning is coming together. This is where the fun begins, Saavik.

So please indulge me if I get caught up in the excitement. And for anyone wondering why I don’t give this sort of coverage to other fan productions—I actually do…when they have it. I’ve covered pre-release updates on Temporal Anomaly, First Frontier, The Romulan War, The Holy Core, The Constar Chronicles, and other fan projects, each using information, interviews, photos and footage they supplied to me. It just so happens that ALEC PETERS is posting a LOT of content and updates these past few weeks…so I cover it!

(I’ll also be features Interlude updates over the coming weeks and months, as I can supply myself with lots of content, too.)

Anyway, this week’s Axanar Production Update is a quick and energetic 10-minute video that features Alec talking with Axanar director PAUL JENKINS. Some folks wondered if Paul had walked away from the project because his name wasn’t included in the recent Axanar press coverage that made it to some news outlets in the Atlanta area. But that was only a small oversight. Paul is still very much involved, and his enthusiasm for the project and his camaraderie with Alec are very evident in the video.

See for yourself…

Even more AXANAR news!

It’s a FANtastic time to be an AXANAR supporter…with big news and updates coming fast and furiously now. It’s creating a feeling of excitement and electricity throughout the community. Meanwhile, the detractors are rapidly running out of things to complain about! (Seriously. After perk packets began arriving in mailboxes this week, the folks on the Axamonitor Facebook group were reduced to making fun of a single typo in the perk letter from ALEC PETERS and suggesting that they should all burn their perk patches. So yeah, lots to be proud of over there.)

Meanwhile, back on the side of goodness and light…

With only two weeks until filming begins on the first Axanar shoot in Lawrenceville, GA on the bridge of the USS Ares (plus recording of the audio version of the full Axanar script), all the pieces are rapidly coming together. In the last few months, a LOT has been happening behind the scenes, and now fans are beginning to see what’s been taking so long.

A fair amount of Axanar news was revealed in my audio interview with Alec Peters last week. But already there’s even MORE news to share! Most of that news came out last night during the first new Axanar Confidential podcast in three and a half weeks. I’ll include that video at the end of this article.

But for those of you who want the highlights, here’s what we now know that we didn’t before…

Continue reading “Even more AXANAR news!”

FANIMATIONS: all-CGI Star Trek fan films with NO ACTORS!

When most of think of Star Trek fan films, we picture fan actors—trained and untrained—dressing up and portraying characters on fan-made sets or green-screen composited in front of virtual backgrounds. Sometimes, we only hear the actors’ voices under computer-generated scenes or captured from Trek online or CD-ROM games.

The one thing all of these types of fan films have in common is they feature actors. But what if you don’t have any actors? What if the stars of your fan film are…starships?

There’s a whole sub-sub genre of Star Trek fan films where the filmmakers don’t bother with sets or actors but instead simply use their CGI or animation skills to tell a story. I call these “fanimations.” Now, of course, there’s countless digital artists out there looking to showcase their work with elaborate (or simple) renderings of fly-bys and “hero shots” of various well-known starships. But I’m not talking about those folks this time.

Instead, I’d like to focus on those “fanimators” who tell a STORY through their productions. It’s not easy! It usually involves at least two different ships (or a ship an an object), since having only one ship usually falls into the “hero shot” video category that I described in the previous paragraph. For there to be a story, the viewer needs to imagine the crews on board, hear in their head the familiar orders given (“Raise shields!” “Evasive maneuvers!” “Fire phasers!”), and figure out what has happened at a pivotal moment. In other words, the viewer should be able to figure out the story even without words or narrations…and hopefully the story is compelling and makes some sense.

As you’ll see from the following selection of “ship star” (as opposed to “starship”…get it?) fan films I’ve included, the filmmaker’s CGI animation skills don’t have to be breathtaking (although some are pretty high up there). Heck, some aren’t even 3D! The trick lies simply in communicating the plot through sound and movement. The ships become the characters in these fan films, and they must do a sort of interpretive dance. Do they succeed? I think these five fan films do.

Let’s see what you think…

Continue reading “FANIMATIONS: all-CGI Star Trek fan films with NO ACTORS!”

POTEMKIN is now in LEXINGTON (Kentucky) and invites locals to a PRE-PRODUCTION meeting October 26!

The eagle has landed…or more precisely, the LANDERS have landed. I refer, of course, to RANDY LANDERS, the show-runner of POTEMKIN PICTURES, and his wife. Mrs. R. recently got a new job in a new state, and so the two of them have just moved from Pelham, Alabama, about six hours away to Lexington, Kentucky. And they took a half-dozen starships with them!

Those starships are, of course, the many elaborate sets used to film a plethora of fan series including Starship Tristan, Starship Deimos, Starship Endeavour, Hospital Ship Marie Curie, Starship Triton, and Battlecruiser Kupok…plus a half-completed full-size “shuttlecoupe.” You can view all of the several dozen fan films released during the past almost-decade by Potemkin Pictures here on their website.

Over the years, there’s been a lot of Star Trek fan film-making in the southeastern U.S.—including in Georgia (Star Trek Continues), Alabama (Potemkin), North Carolina (Dreadnought Dominion), Tennessee (The Romulan War(s)), and Arkansas (Federation Files and Avalon). But to my knowledge, Kentucky has never before been the home to a significant Trek fan film production…which is surprising because Kentucky (and specifically the Lexington area) is Shatner horse country!

But that’s about to change in a big way, as not only is Randy Landers bringing his sets with him with plans to continue his existing fan projects, but he also intends to launch a NEW fan series featuring local area residents as actors and production crew!

So if you or someone you know live(s) in or around Lexington, Kentucky and want(s) to be part of an established fan filmmaking, er, enterprise (Enterprise, Potemkin, Lexington…this blog is becoming a fleet!) and get in on the ground floor of a new fan series, check out the following announcement and invitation from Randy Landers to attend a Pre-Production Meeting on Saturday, October 26th from 10:00AM until 11:30AM at the Tates Creek branch of the Lexington Public Library in Lexington, KY…

Continue reading “POTEMKIN is now in LEXINGTON (Kentucky) and invites locals to a PRE-PRODUCTION meeting October 26!”

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