JOHN SIMS makes an impression as [Q]uincy in DREADNOUGHT DOMINION’s latest vignette! (interview with GARY DAVIS)

Let face it, most (not all) Star Trek fan films take themselves seriously. And why not? Many are crowd-funded, and most require weeks or months or even years of planning and hard work to complete successfully. So Star Trek fan films have every right to take themselves seriously.

But one fan series in particular, DREADNOUGHT DOMINION, has bucked that trend. Granted, over the past half-decade of releasing fan films, not everything from Dominion has been a light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek romp. In fact, their first couple of episodes were completely serious, as was the recent “Redemption at Red Medusa.” But mixed in with those offerings were a series of humorous vignettes like “Reality Check” (which broke the 4th wall) and “Technical Difficulties.” Both of these short fan films featured actor JOHN SIMS playing a crewman named Quincy…who turned out to be a member of the Q Continuum. The character is mysterious and compelling—and quite a bit mischievous—all at the same time.

Quincy makes is third and most significant appearance in the latest Dominion vignette, “A Barrel Full of Quincys,” and it’s quite a hoot! John Sims gets to show off his range of celebrity impersonations in a short film with rather impressive production values. Check it out…

I asked John what his impression of the episode was (get it?), and he typed back in a very British accent (he’s actually from Worcester, Massachusetts and currently lives in Florida, but he’s a self-declared Anglophile):

I enjoyed the opportunity that Gary and Randy gave me. They are alright blokes with great sense of humour!

Indeed they are! GARY DAVIS and RANDY WRENN are the show-runners for the Dominion fan series, and I spoke to Gary recently about what went into creating this latest vignette. Turns out a LOT more work went into crafting this little short film than you’d suspect…!

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New teaser for THE ROMULAN WAR: “Nightingale”!

Back in June of 2018, show-runner MARK NACCARATO managed to crowd-fund more than $11.6K for an ambitious new fan production titled THE ROMULAN WAR. Set during that critical interstellar conflict that resulted in the founding of the United Federation of Planets, this exciting project will feature the same “mock” documentary format as PRELUDE TO AXANAR with a number of trained actors and some incredible VFX by fandom’s #1 CGI hit Brit, SAMUEL COCKINGS.

The Romulan War has had some unfortunate and unavoidable delays during post production, including the passing of a close family member of Mark Naccarato’s last year. But in the meantime, Mark has released a wonderful series of enhanced audio dramas focusing on compelling “War Stories” from various participants in the war—from admirals to MACO grunts to civilian freighter pilots to the inventor of the Warp 7 engine. Each vignette features an audio monologue augmented by a series of graphics and animations…and each is 100% MUST SEE viewing. You can watch all of the “War Stories” vignettes here.

Mark has also released a series of short teasers and trailers over the past two years, and last week, he posted his latest offering: a teaser clip entitled simply “Nightingale.” The VFX by Sam Cockings are, as usual, pulse-pounding and breathtaking—as is the music. And amazingly, this teaser tells a full story in less than 35 seconds (well under the 15 minutes allowed by the guidelines!). Take a look…

For those wanting a little more background to the story of this ill-fated vessel , Mark also posted this…


The Tale of the Nightingale

DATELINE: May, 2156 – After a brutal nuclear attack on the Centauri colonies which killed over 450,000 civilians, the medical ship Nightingale mounted a rescue operation to evacuate the survivors of Alpha III.

A refitted transport left over from the Cochrane Expedition seventy years earlier, Nightingale was old, slow, and unarmed. Escorted by two Intrepid-class light cruisers, the medical ship managed to take on approximately 5,500 sick and wounded refugees when long-range sensors detected enemy movement. Nightingale and her escorts left the system, bound for Tau Ceti, with two Romulan Raptor-class heavy cruisers in pursuit.

The Romulans chased the Earth convoy for nearly two days when the escort ships decided to break formation and try to cover Nightingale’s escape. The escort ships, Republic and Sirius, were not heard from again. When Nightingale began braking maneuvers to hide inside a gas cloud, the Romulan cruisers caught them.

Subcommander Chulak, who led the Romulan assault, reported in his log that “those who are not healthy enough to serve the Empire don’t deserve to live. They should be thanking us for the mercy we’ve shown them.”

This clip from The Romulan War: A Star Trek Fan Production features the voice of L. Honey Hereth, visual effects from Samuel Cockings, and an original music piece by Nashville composer Mark Allen.

Continue reading “New teaser for THE ROMULAN WAR: “Nightingale”!”

How will CORONAVIRUS affect STAR TREK FAN FILMS?

Last Friday night on AXANAR CONFIDENTIAL #52, ALEC PETERS announced that the fourth shoot for AXANAR, originally scheduled for April in Los Angeles, will need to be delayed at least until May and possibly longer because of the coronavirus pandemic. (The good news is that he now has a little longer to raise $30K in the fundraiser on Ares Digital.) The planned premiere of “The Gathering Storm”—the first of the two Axanar sequels—might no longer happen during San Diego Comic Con or even at Creation’s Las Vegas Star Trek convention because there’s a chance that one or both events will be postponed or canceled.

Whether or not you personally feel that the media is making too much out of all this, the fact remains that folks across the United States and the world are taking this new virus very seriously. Sporting events, concerts, offices, schools, theaters, restaurants, fitness clubs—all are being temporarily closed to prevent people from inadvertently sharing this very infectious new virus while congregating in close quarters. All of these measures are intended to slow the spread of the disease until such time (hopefully soon) when a vaccine can be developed, tested, and deployed to the general population.

And this also includes film production. CBS, ABC, Netflix, Apple, and Disney are all suspending shooting on series including Young Sheldon, Grey’s Anatomy, Supergirl, Batwoman, Claws, All Rise, Lucifer,  Stranger ThingsGrace and Frankie, The Morning Show, Foundation, For All Mankind, and NCIS…to name but a few! (Get the whole current list here.) Disney has halted production on nearly all pilots, including the new Falcon and the Winter Soldier planned for release on Disney+. So this is going to cost the studios some big bucks and major lost revenue in advertising and subscriptions.

But the logic is sound. Production crews can often number in the hundreds, and they work in very close quarters as make-up and costume people, lighting and camera people, actors, directors, sound engineers, and countless others are constantly near or touching each other and the same items to adjust mics, wardrobe, make-up, hold up light meters, etc. And production teams can’t afford for even small numbers of their crew to be out sick at the same time.

And of course, even though survival rates are in the 98%-plus range, the elderly are most susceptible…and most younger folks in sets have parents and grandparents (plus some of the actors themselves are older). It would be irresponsible on the part of the studios (and possibly trigger some legal liability) to put so many people at risk just to make a TV program, Indeed, I suspect even more shows will announce they are suspending production soon.

So what does all of this mean for Star Trek fan films? After all, Axanar‘s production and release might very well be delayed by months due to COVID-19—what about other productions? I decided to ask around…

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AXANAR releases the FULL TRAILER…kicks off fund-raiser for SHOOT #4!

The full trailer for AXANAR is finally here!  Four months ago, after the first October shoot at Ares Studios, a brief teaser was released with about 30 seconds of actual footage—a combination of a couple of brief VFX sequences and a bunch of quick-cut live-action shots filmed on the USS Ares bridge set.  Since then, however, fans and donors have been patiently (and not-so-patiently) waiting to see more.

And now that time has come. Over a thousand people watched the live premiere of the trailer live on Sunday evening. So many people wanted to donate to the Axanar fundraiser that it temporarily crashed Ares Digital and the Axanar.com websites! Both problems were fixed within the hour, but in the meantime, over $1,000 was donated to Ares Studios through superchats during the live podcast.

Here’s the new Axanar trailer…

Pretty impressive huh?

The just-launched fundraiser is attempting to raise $30K to pay the costs for a fourth and final shoot in a green screen studio in Los Angeles, travel and lodging, equipment rental, and most of all for the make-up and prosthetics for two Vulcans (including GARY GRAHAM as Soval), two Andorians, one Klingon plus two humans. (Will one of them be KATE VERNON as Sonya Alexander? No confirmation yet!)

The trailer does have a few visual glitches, so the plan is to re-edit it, possibly adding in some additional footage, and then re-release a new version in a week or so. And when that happens, I’ll be sure to let you all know.


Of course, the question on many people’s minds is why did it take until now (March 15) for the trailer to be released?  After all, the first shoot was back in October and the second shoot in December.  It’s now the middle of March.  I spoke to ALEC PETERS and asked about the apparent delay. Here was his answer…

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PACIFIC 201 releases a brand new TRAILER! (interview with ERIC HENRY)

PACIFIC 201 was initially crowd-funded with a $26K Kickstarter way back in September of 2015. The following year, an Indiegogo campaign raised about $32K more. So armed with more than $58K, Harrisburg, PA-based show-runner ERIC HENRY set off to make a fan film…and not just any fan film.

Eric was building actual sets (and paying monthly rent for a warehouse), creating costumes, refining new starship designs, doing his own VFX, and treating this project very professionally. The images looked amazing, and the story very intriguing.

Pacific 201 is set in the year 2200, four decades after the Romulan War, and Earth is still hesitant to trust the galaxy.  The desire to explore space faded after the first few years of the NX program—helped along by the Xindi and Romulans—and was replaced with a fear that seeking out new life and new civilizations would result in them shooting at us.

But now Earth is just beginning to shake off its post-traumatic stress, and the starship Pacific NCC-201 is the first vessel in decades to head out with UESPA scientists aboard alongside Starfleet military.  Can humanity conquer its fears and truly embrace its destiny among the stars?

This push/pull of paranoia vs. positivity is put on display in one of my all-time favorite fan vignettes, which Eric released back in late 2016. (You can watch it here.) In this short film, the first officer of the USS Pacific is grilled by a talk show host who is anything but fair and balanced when it comes to restarting the exploration of space. The following summer, another Pacific 201 short vignette was released, featuring the new captain. (You can watch that here.)

All this time, the “coming soon” dates were coming and going with no Pacific 201. Most recently, in 2018, a series of images were released along with a promised release date of spring 2019. We’re now a year beyond that, and still no fan film. BUT!!! For the first time since 2018, new content from Pacific 201 has been released in the form of this intriguing new trailer…

So…August 2020 it is, then! Fingers crossed.

In the meantime, I thought it might be a good time to check in with Eric Henry on what’s been taking so long, what still needs to be done, and whether there will be any sequels to Pacific 201 (once the first film comes out, that is!). Let’s hear what Eric has to say…

Continue reading “PACIFIC 201 releases a brand new TRAILER! (interview with ERIC HENRY)”

INTERLUDE Confidential #6 – meet WARREN HAWK, Captain Jakande of the USS Artemis…

Post-production work on INTERLUDE is continuing, with our third rough cut edit currently being worked on. I love seeing it all take shape, and I adore watching actor WARREN HAWK playing USS Artemis Captain Imari Jakande. I can’t wait for you all to see him on screen!

Warren was the final actor we cast, and it happened only four days before before our November shoot! I was biting my fingernails down to the nubs, but VICTORIA FOX and JOSHUA IRWIN assured me that everything would work out. Sometimes actors are cast very late in the process; it’s just the nature of the industry. Turns out they were right.

Casting the rest of Interlude, by comparison, was relatively simple. Our other main character, Fleet Captain Kelvar Garth, would be played by ALEC PETERS (of course!). The rest of the speaking parts were pretty minor. Two of the actors who played bridge officers on the USS Ares for the AXANAR shoot in October—AARON ROMANO as Comm Officer Caine and ROBERT HAYES as Pilot Deville—returned to play those same roles for Interlude‘s November shoot. Also on the Ares bridge was Science Officer Franklin, and Joshua got one of his friends, JAY PLYBURN (who lives in the area) for that part. Jay is also a trained actor, and Josh has directed him in the past.

Admiral Slater will appear at the end of Interlude, and STEVEN JEPSON agreed to play him. The two remaining on-camera speaking roles are the Ares doctor, a role which Victoria is filling, and the Artemis chief engineer, being played by an actor whose name we’re keeping secret for the moment (but it’s a person with some fan film experience). Then there’s two voice-over roles, plus all of the background actors who won’t be speaking.

And that left Jakande…

Continue reading “INTERLUDE Confidential #6 – meet WARREN HAWK, Captain Jakande of the USS Artemis…”

A winning streak of SUCCESSFUL Trek fan film CROWD-FUNDERS!

Lately, it seems like I’m covering a LOT of crowd-funding campaigns raising money for a variety of Star Trek fan films. That’s because it’s been a really pretty busy few months…with more campaigns to come!

Fortunately for our wallets, though, four campaigns have just successfully reached their funding goals (or come very close!), clearing the way for the newcomers. So let’s take a brief look at the fan productions that scored recent wins…

THE TEARS OF J’KAH

Two week ago, I reported on how BENNY HALL raised $49,183 (of his $50K goal) for his second Trek fan film THE TEARS OF J’KAH…from just 13 donors! This post-guidelines crowd-funding record was accomplished with the help of some very generous friends and contacts who each made donations of $5K and even $10K.

AXANAR – shoot #3

Last Thursday morning, ALEC PETERS launched a “tiny” (his word) fundraiser on Ares Digital trying to generate $3,400 to cover expenses for the third AXANAR shoot at Ares Studios in Larenceville, GA on March 15. By Sunday evening, he’d taken in more than $5,000!

The surplus will go into the upcoming fundraiser for the “big” fourth shoot. That on is scheduled to happen in Los Angeles and will include GARY GRAHAM playing Vulcan Ambassador Soval plus a bunch of other aliens, each of whom will require a top-level make-up artist. Combined with the cost of studio rental, travel, lodging, etc., this is expected to be around a $30,000 expenditure (although a final budget is still being worked out).

The Axanar fundraiser for Shoot #4 will launch on Ares Digital right after shoot #3 wraps on March 15…with the long-awaited debut of the FULLL TRAILER! You can watch it debut live by clicking here.

STARSHIP INTREPID – “ECHOES”

For the first time in its decade-and-a-half history, those INTREPID folks from Scotland have sought some financial assistance from fans and supporters. NICK COOK set the goal at a humble $2,500 (or thereabouts, since they get their money in pounds, not dollars) with a 60-day deadline. Earlier this week, with less than two weeks left and with the help of 72 backers, they hit their goal.

CONSTAR CONTINUES

With an even more humble goal of $1,175, VANCE MAJOR launched his latest GoFundMe campaign back in December. It’s taken a little while, but this past Monday morning, he also reached (and slightly surpassed) his goal…with the help of 24 backers (including me).


My congratulations to all of the projects I’ve just mentioned, and my thanks to those of my readers who chose to donate in order to help make these fan film dreams into realities.

So what’s left that still needs crowd-funding help (besides Axanar)? Glad you asked!

Continue reading “A winning streak of SUCCESSFUL Trek fan film CROWD-FUNDERS!”

AXANAR launches new “tiny” fundraiser for SHOOT #3 with test footage of Chief Engineer LEONOV!

After raising more than $50,000 to cover the costs for the first two AXANAR shoots back in October and December, ALEC PETERS just reached out to donors on the Axanar mailing list with a request for $3,400 for the third shoot.

Initially, Alec had announced that “Phase 2” of the private crowd-funding would try to raise another $30,000 to cover BOTH the upcoming third shoot at Ares Studios in mid-March as well as the planned fourth shoot in Los Angeles, which would include GARY GRAHAM as Soval along with other aliens requiring a skilled make-up team.

So why separate the fundraisers for the two campaigns?

I’ve been told that there are some specific expenses for the third shoot that need to be paid immediately up front. Alec, along with director PAUL JENKINS and producer SCOTT CONLEY, have streamlined the budget for the March shoot. They’re not doing all the bells and whistles that they did during the first two shoots. But they still have to do things like feed people on set, pay for transportation and lodging for key people traveling from out of state, rent equipment, pay for production insurance, etc.

Last time, Alec paid most of those outlays personally before raising the $50K. This time, Alec doesn’t have the funds to do that again, and there are expenses that need to be covered in the next two weeks. So there is a small campaign right now to raise $3,400, and then another campaign will launch in a couple of weeks to cover the more complex shoot #4.

To generate excitement, Alec just posted the following video of actor JAMIE RENELL “getting into” his character of Chief Engineer Alexei Leonov of the USS Ares. Rather that just having Jamie recite his lines from the script, Paul Jenkins did a little off-script improv with Jamie first, chatting with him as an “old friend” and having Jamie respond in character as Leonov (Russian accent and all). None of what you’re about to see is scripted, and the majority will likely not be included in the two Axanar sequels (except in the “extras”). But it’s still a really fun video…

For those waiting (im)patiently for the eagerly anticipated full Axanar trailer, I have good news! I’m told that you’ll see it within the next two weeks, timed to coincide with the launch of the fundraiser for shoot #4.

In the meantime, the Axanar fundraiser is—as required by the settlement with CBS and Paramount—behind a firewall and accessible only through the Ares Digital portal to fans who have signed up for an account. You can get there be clicking the following link…

https://aresdigital.axanar.com

When you get to the donate page, you’ll notice the goal is listed as only $2,300 and not $3,400. That is because one supporter already generously donated $1,100 directly. Already in the first few hours, nearly $800 more has come in…meaning that shoot #3 is only about $1,500 away from being fully funded!

NEUTRAL ZONE STUDIOS is becoming an ESCAPE ROOM???

I bet you didn’t see THIS coming! Neither did I, and my reaction quickly went from surprise to overwhelming curiosity…which I’m sure must be true for a number of you folks, as well.

NEUTRAL ZONE STUDIOS, which houses the TOS sets originally built by STARSHIP FARRAGUT and STAR TREK CONTINUES and is now offered to any Star Trek fan film that wants to use them by current owner RAY TESI, will be moving from Kingsland, GA about 180 miles south to Orlando, FL in late April. (Man, that was a long sentence!) Once relocated, the TOS sets will be repurposed into two sci-fi themed “Escape Room” attractions with video hints recorded by sci-fi celebrities, including NICHELLE NICHOLS, WALTER KOENIG, MARINA SIRTIS, and/or TIM RUSS.

The TOS sets will be divided into two scenarios with three rooms each plus a newly-created bridge control room where players will start their adventure. Customer participants will then experience an hour-long, immersive sci-fi “mission” with puzzles and mysteries to solve. This new business venture will be called GALACTIC ADVENTURES and is set to open on July 1, 2020.

Later on, joining the TOS sets from Kingsland will be the alien bar sets originally constructed in Los Angeles for STAR TREK: RENEGADES and later used for the crowd-funded independent sci-fi comedy COZMO’S from the ATOMIC NETWORK. At some point in the near future, those sets will form a third Escape Room scenario.

(You’re going “WTF” right now, aren’t you?)

To find out some specifics, I went to the source and asked Ray Tesi himself, who told me…

We will not be using the bridge in the escape and instead will keep it in pristine condition. We will be constructing a new bridge with a different look and feel for the escape. We’ll also be re-purposing some of the other sets for the escape and introducing some new sets that are remnants of other productions. Our Escape Room isn’t the Enterprise and instead will feature missions on a new starship (we are creating original stories) because we don’t want it to look like Star Trek.

I can understand why they’d want to change the look, as CBS might not appreciate an unlicensed Star Trek-themed Escape Room…even if the words “Star Trek” don’t appear anywhere.

But where does that leave Neutral Zone Studios and the many fan films that rely on it? Will fan productions still be able to film there? And even though the bridge won’t be a part of the Escape Room scenario, will the rest of the sets still look enough like TOS to be recognizable? Ray responded…

We want it to look like our own starship, but it can change back for fan films. The studio will remain available for fan film productions, and if and when that happens, we will close the Escape Room during filming. But we have a long way to go before any of that happens.

A long way indeed! But they’re off to an impressive start…

Continue reading “NEUTRAL ZONE STUDIOS is becoming an ESCAPE ROOM???”

SQUADRON crowd-funder launches…CZECH IT OUT! (audio interview with JAKUB HOLÝ)

The Czechs are coming! The Czechs are coming! And do they have a treat for YOU!!!

SQUADRON will be the latest Star Trek fan film to come out of the Czech Republic, scheduled for release later on this year. And while you probably don’t speak Czech, if you’re willing to help fund their project, you won’t have to. Raising $15,000 will help them complete post-production on their already-filmed project, but reaching a stretch goal of $17,000 will allow them to bring on native English-speaking voice-over actors to dub the entire 2-part Squadron so you won’t have to read a single subtitle!

But why would you want to help crowd-fund a fan film being made in Eastern Europe? Let me give you a few excellent reasons…

  1. They have an amazing 360-degree, 24th-century bridge set.
  2. They have impeccably tailored uniforms and professional-quality props and make-up.
  3. They will be one of the only Star Trek fan films so far to feature a Vorta and Jem’Hadar during the Dominion War.
  4. They also have a really awesome-looking Vulcan and Andorian.
  5. Think of the conversations you could start with friends and family saying, “Yeah, I just helped fund a Star Trek fan film from the Czech Republic!” and then see who can find that country on a map (hint: southeast of Germany, southwest of Poland).

However, the best reason I can give you for donating to Squadron is the stunning quality of this “ask” video…

Now imagine a half-hour’s worth of this kind of quality! It’ll happen if YOU can help out a little…or a lot. Whatever you can spare will take these hardcore Czecher Trekkers a little bit closer to their goal. Just click on the link below…

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/squadron-a-star-trek-fan-production

They’re offering some intriguing perks at all levels (donate a large enough amount, and you’ll get hotel accommodations in Prague, a personal tour of their lovely city, and a visit to the studio with the bridge set…and photos, of course!). Naturally, they have their trailer online, and there’s also a whole bunch of very impressive photos showing their amazing sets, uniforms, make-up, and props…plus, they even have a really cool virtual 3D tour of their bridge. This is a top-notch crowd-funding campaign page, folks. Even if you can’t donate right now, it’s worth checking (or Czeching) out their Indiegogo campaign page just for all of the eye-catching visuals.

And if you’d like to hear some more about this exciting new production, take a listen to this FANtastic interview I did with the man behind the campaign, JAKUB “JIM” HOLÝ, and listen to his uncanny Czech/Irish accent…