New multi-franchise crossover fan film GALACTIC BATTLES quickly goes viral!

Back in early 2015, a group of young fan filmmakers out of Vancouver, Canada launched an Indiegogo campaign trying to raise $15,000 (Canadian) to complete their production. It would be a crossover fan film featuring the ships and characters from Star Trek, Star Wars, Mass Effect, and Halo. They had already been working for nearly two years, starting out pretty slow with just a few artists, all of them new to the pipeline process of working together on an open, collaborative, community-driven movie project.

By 2015, they had managed to build a team of 20 digital artists, two sound designers, several actors (including Mark Meer from Mass Effect), one dedicated screenwriter, two social media coordinators, and many more. Along the way, they picked up sponsors that donated some pretty amazing free hardware, software, plus meeting and studio space. Having now developed an industry-grade pipeline process, they just needed $15,000 to finish this incredibly ambitious project.

Their Indiegogo failed…badly. Only $2,574 (Canadian) was raised from just 68 donors.

But they weren’t giving up! Even though everyone was working for free in their spare time, the team still managed to complete filming over the next 12 months. Now they needed to finish post-production. The script called for a staggering 200-plus CGI shots, and that would require the team to pay for server fees, Google Drive fees, and additional software licenses.

They launched a second Indiegogo in 2016, with a much lower goal of only $2,000 (Canadian). This time, the failure wasn’t as awful…mainly because the goal was so much lower. Nonetheless, the team only came out with $850 from 15 backers. That didn’t mean they couldn’t finish—they were determined to!—only that it would take a little longer

Two and a half years later, on December 21, 2018, GALACTIC BATTLES 2018 – The Ultimate Crossover Fan Film finally debuted on YouTube. In the two weeks since, they have generated over 67K views with a 30-to-1 ratio of likes to dislikes. Nearly everyone who’s contacted me about this fan film has said it’s a MUST-SEE…and I think they’re right!

I’ve contacted director CALVIN ROMEYN (who plays Han Solo in the film), and he’s agreed to an interview, which I’ll publish here in a few weeks when he releases a behind-the-scenes video. But I don’t want folks to have to wait to see this ground-breaking new fan film, so go watch it now…and be sure to stick around till the very end!

THE FEDERATION FILES releases its 4th fan film: “GALAXY HOPPER” (interview with DAN REYNOLDS)

THE FEDERATION FILES is an anthology Star Trek fan series from show-runners GLEN L. WOLFE and DAN REYNOLDS, both currently based in Arkansas. In fact, Glen is 50% owner of what remains of the TOS sets formerly known as STARBASE STUDIOS. But more recently, Glen and Dan constructed a new TOS bridge set for use in their latest Federation Files fan film, “Galaxy Hopper.”

The Federation Files first launched in October of 2016 with the 47-minute “His Name Is Mudd” featuring the crew of the USS Constitution.  Ten months later, their second anthology episode, the 28-minute “Walking Bear, Running Wolf,” featured two live-action characters who had previously been seen only in the Star Trek animated series: Ensign Dawson Walking Bear and Lt. M’Ress of the USS Enterprise.  Most recently, in January of 2018, The Federation Files‘ third production,  the 13-minute “Extraction,” featured Romulans, a Starfleet shuttlecraft interior, and the dreadnought-class USS Nikita.

Through it all, the one constant (aside the use of the Arkansas sets for filming) has been the “Wolf/Reynolds Production” logo at the end.  With the release of their latest Federation Files episode, the Star Trek/Star Wars crossover “Galaxy Hopper,” Glen and Dan come together once again for a very exciting and good-looking fan effort on board the USS Lexington. What stands out this time—in addition to a really awesome astromech droid!—is a brand new TOS bridge set constructed specially for this production…along with the director: KELLY REYNOLDS.

You probably haven’t seen the name “Kelly Reynolds” in any other Star Trek fan film before…and that’s because, up until November 24, 2018, that wasn’t her name! Kelly and Dan just got married!

I decided to interview Dan Reynolds about “Galaxy Hopper,” the new bridge set, and finding the love of his life and having her direct his latest fan project. But first, take a look at what they just released…

Continue reading “THE FEDERATION FILES releases its 4th fan film: “GALAXY HOPPER” (interview with DAN REYNOLDS)”

Are video pirates LOSING INTEREST in CBS’s new SHORT TREKS?

Have video pirates lost their enthusiasm for the new SHORT TREKS mini-episodes being released by CBS…and possibly for new Star Trek in general?  If so, then it’s a sorta good news/bad news situation for CBS.  The good news is that video piracy hurts the bottom line for CBS.  So if folks are downloading Discovery and Short Treks without paying a subscription fee (to either All Access or Netflix), that’s potentially money out of CBS’ pocket.  So less piracy is a GOOD thing, right?

Well, here’s the bad news.  Video piracy is also a barometer, of sorts.  Does decreased interest in Short Treks by pirates imply that the general public is also not interested?  And what makes me say that video pirates are losing interest in Short Treks in the first place?

It all began early last month while I was having dinner with a friend (who shall remain nameless) who illegally downloads Star Trek: Discovery and Short Treks.  For the record, I personally do NOT do this, and I subscribed to CBS All Access from October 2017 through February 2018.  Here’s my e-mail receipt from them…

So just to be clear, I am NOT endorsing video piracy in any way.  This blog is simply looking at an existing trend from a journalistic perspective.  Video piracy (or any kind of digital piracy) is illegal and should not be attempted by anyone reading my blogs.

And now that that’s out of the way, back to my story…

Continue reading “Are video pirates LOSING INTEREST in CBS’s new SHORT TREKS?”

2018-in-review: The return of the Trek fan film CROWD-FUNDER!

Remember the good, old days? Back in 2015 and before, Star Trek fan film crowd-funders were as common as lens flares on a JJ Abrams movie set! They’d easily take in thousands, tens of thousands, and in some cases, hundreds of thousands of enthusiastically-donated fan contributions.

We all know what happened. Axanar was sued. Six weeks later, Tommy Kraft was told by CBS to take down his $250K Kickstarter for Federation Rising. And then in June 2016, the fan film guidelines came out. And while they didn’t forbid crowd-funding, they did put a $50K cap on it and severely curtailed what kinds of perks could be offered.

Fans (including me) predicted the complete demise of Star Trek fan films. It turned out that we were wrong. Fan films found a way to not only live on but also to prosper, working within the guidelines (mostly) while still being pretty decent—in some cases even quite excellent.

Ah, but crowd-funding…therein lied the rub! While the days of the six-figure Kickstarters and Indiegogos for Trek fan films were obviously gone, maybe fans would still donate five-figures or even just four-figures. Maybe? For a while, it wasn’t looking good.

For the remainder of 2016, only Renegades (with Star Trek surgically removed) attempted a crowd-funding campaign for “The Requiem” (reaching $146K). And Starbase Studios raised $3,500 for a move from Oklahoma to Arkansas for their TOS sets. But beyond that, the only crowd-funding even peripherally connected to Star Trek fan films was a $19K successful Kickstarter by Star Trek: Horizon creator Tommy Kraft to fund his NON-Star Trek fan film Runaway.

Would 2017 fare any better for Trek crowd funders? Well, not so much…

Continue reading “2018-in-review: The return of the Trek fan film CROWD-FUNDER!”

So where’s that darn DEEP SPACE NINE documentary??? (update revisited)

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. So there’s this fan film project that’s going to feature veteran Star Trek actors and production crew, and it’s going to be presented in documentary format. Although people are excited about the project even before the crowd-funding campaign begins, the show-runners are nevertheless blown away when donations blast through the initial goal and reach nearly $650,000.

Emboldened by this unexpected abundance of production funding, the show-runners decide to expand the scope of the project far beyond what was initially planned, and a year later, they go back to the donors and fans to ask for even more money.

But then stuff happens, and the release date gets delayed…and then delayed again.

Nope, not Axanar. This same sequence of events happened with the ambitious Star Trek: Deep Space Nine documentary WHAT WE LEFT BEHIND, directed by ADAM NIMOY. Crowd-funded in early 2017 with more than $647,000, the original release date was estimated as February 2018. But by April, with no documentary in sight, show-runner IRA BEHR updated fans with a written message that I featured in a blog titled “So where’s that darn DEEP SPACE NINE documentary???

Ira didn’t make excuses so much as provide reasons why things were taking so long…including the fact that there were over 100 hours of new interviews with cast and crew to go through, plus fan submissions, archival materials, animations, audition tapes, convention footage and more than 170 broadcast episodes…all of which needed to fit into a final documentary that was no longer than a few hours! Plus, they were remastering some of the original standard definition footage into beautiful high definition footage.

By September, there was still no completed documentary, and Ira posted yet another update…this time as a video and asking for even MORE money! Why would he “tap the well” again so late in the game?

Continue reading “So where’s that darn DEEP SPACE NINE documentary??? (update revisited)”

Did peer pressure make MATTHEW MILLER openly LIE about AXANAR?

During our marathon 3-hour “Blogger Battle of Axanar,” Australian Trekzone.org blogger MATTHEW MILLER and I discussed many things, including telling the truth about Axanar…something that I noted the detractors seldom do. It’s one of the reasons I spend so much time correcting the record here on Fan Film Factor, because if I don’t, and the lies get told over and over without challenge, they can insidiously supplant the truth.

One such example came early in Part One of our podcast debate when Matthew asked me about “most” of the main cast and crew leaving after PRELUDE TO AXANAR when ALEC PETERS decided to build a studio. I challenged Matthew’s choice of the word “most,” as that’s one of those lies that’s been told and retold so many times it’s taken on urban legend status. So I counted the people who left and those who didn’t. The final score: 5 people left and 15 stayed. So “most” actually stayed. Matthew admitted in the discussion that I had “schooled” him. But really, I just stated the truth and backed it up with facts.

Which brings us to this past Wednesday, and the latest Axanar lie…this time directly from the mouth of Matthew Miller himself. It came at the end of an re-edit of our 3-hour discussion, awkwardly trimmed down to 26 minutes of “best of” clips taken mostly out of context. This was followed by a two-minute editorial wrap-up where Matt ended with a massive false statement regarding Axanar and Alec Peters. It was such an obvious lie that I had to rewind and listen a second time to make sure I hadn’t misheard…

“Irrefutable fact,” huh? In what alternate universe? Did Matthew not watch this video tour of Industry Studios…?

Did he not see the Vulcan Scene…?

But according to Matthew, the $1.5 million went towards neither [the studio nor the film]. Really, Matt? None of it??? It was WTF time…!

Continue reading “Did peer pressure make MATTHEW MILLER openly LIE about AXANAR?”

The four days of Christmas…POTEMKIN PICTURES style!

POTEMKIN PICTURES, run by RANDY LANDERS out of Pelham, Alabama, is a juggernaut of low-budget, from-the-heart Star Trek fan films. With six different fan “series” (actually, they don’t like to call them “series” since the guidelines don’t allow that) currently in production and another about to debut soon, Randy’s goal is to release an average of one new fan film a month. And so far this year, they’ve been on par to hit that mark, having released a total of 11 completed fan films prior to December. At one point, they even posted five fan films in five consecutive weeks!

But would they be able to, before the end of the year, make it an even DOZEN within twelve months? Well, kinda.

Yes, Potemkin Pictures did manage to release their 12th fan film before the end of the year…and their 13th…and their 14th…and their 15th!!!

Four fan films from three different series were posted to Youtube in just FOUR DAYS! (You can watch them all at the bottom of this blog entry.) The new productions included a two-part fan film from the STARSHIP ENDEAVOUR creative team (since its total runtime of 19 minutes was over the 15-minute guideline limit), a pivotal addition to the STARSHIP DEIMOS storyline, and the first new release from the BATTLECRUISER KUPOK creative team since August of 2017.

I asked Randy why the rush to release four fan films in just four days? I understand releasing the two-parter on consecutive days, but why not hold the other two and spread things out a little? Randy replied…

We don’t sit on any production. When it’s done, it’s released. Not everyone loves every creative group. There are Deimos fans, Endeavour fans, Kupok fans. Each of them got a Christmas present…so to speak.

Speaking of Kupok, “Spirit in the Star” features an absolutely gorgeous CGI model of a K’t’inga-class Klingon battlecruiser, created and supplied by ROB BONCHIUNE (who used to do the VFX for DS9 and Voyager). The honourable warrior of Trekyards, SAMUEL COCKINGS, rendered some gorgeous VFX shots featuring this digital model that are truly stunning (or maybe I should say “disrupting”).

You can access the nearly-70 previous Potemkin Pictures fan films from their website. And here are the latest four releases…

Continue reading “The four days of Christmas…POTEMKIN PICTURES style!”

THE ROMULAN WAR: WAR STORIES – new release “FINAL FLIGHT” starring…me!

Hey, guess who developed the Warp Seven engine?  Me, that’s who!

Well, that’s not entirely true.  I had help (will have help?) from my NX-Zeta project team, and from MARK NACARRATO, the show-runner of the upcoming fan production THE ROMULAN WAR.  Oh, and it wasn’t really me; it was Lieutenant Geoffrey Christopher of the United Earth Space Probe Agency.  But he looks and sounds a lot like me.

I suppose I should back up a few steps and explain what the heck I’m talking about…

For those of you unfamiliar with The Romulan War, it’s going to be an amazing Trek fan film picking up where Star Trek: Enterprise left off…at the beginning of the war between the Coalition of Planets and the Romulan Empire.  Filming on the production is all but completed, and now the finishing touches of post production—editing, VFX, sound, music, etc.—are being applied.  Release is planned for 2019.

Of course, with the limitations of the fan film guidelines, it would be nearly impossible to recount the entire war…despite using a “mock” documentary style similar to Prelude to Axanar.  So Mark came up with an interesting idea to push the envelope a bit—WAR STORIES.  These are short vignettes that are essentially audio dramas…just with a little something “extra” added: images with simple animations.  These “enhanced” audio dramas are presented as the logs of various Starfleet officers who served during the war, and the logs are accompanied by computer readouts and archival photos with some short video clips.  Less than a full fan film but more than a simple audio drama.

Last August, Mark released the first War Stories, the two-part “Sleep Is Hard to Find.”  If you go to that blog page, you’ll see that yours truly provided some of the Photoshop work to get the actors’ faces onto NX-era uniforms.  A month later, Mark released the second War Stories, “They Want Us Dead.”  That one didn’t require my Photoshop services, but the third release, “Final Flight,” did.

It also required my face…

Continue reading “THE ROMULAN WAR: WAR STORIES – new release “FINAL FLIGHT” starring…me!”

The BLOGGER-BATTLE OF AXANAR! (part 3 of 3)

Congratulations, folks, you’ve made it to Part 3!  I’m assuming you’ve already sat through Part 1 and Part 2 of the debate about all things AXANAR between myself and Australian blogger MATTHEW MILLER of Trekzone.org.  The first two parts have received a few hundred views each, with lots of comments made on both sides of the Axanar controversy.  But now it’s time to wrap things up with some of our most controversial discussions yet…

We begin by shifting our focus from CARLOS PEDRAZA and Axamonitor to Matt’s own Trekzone.org blog?  Is he providing fair coverage, or does Trekzone suffer from the same skewed “telling only half the story” that Axamonitor (and some would say Fan Film Factor) suffer from?

Then we move onto one of the most controversial hot-button questions: have the Axanar detractors gone too far in their stalking and cyberbullying?  How far is too far?  And is the behavior just as bad on the supporter side, or is that sinply the false equivalency of “what aboutism”?  And what does coffee have to do with anything?

Of course, we spend a little time debating whether ALEC PETERS paid himself a salary or just reimbursed himself for out-of-pocket expenses.  And did other folks like VIC MIGNOGAM or JAMES CAWLEY ever earn anything personally from money paid by donors?

Moving on to the future of Axanar, we discuss the USS Ares bridge set.  After hundreds of thousands of dollars in fan donations and out-of-pocket payments by Alec himself, and after thousands of man-hours in labor…will the bridge ever be used to film any scenes of the Axanar story?

And finally, even if Axanar never gets made, does Alec still deserve credit for making it as far as he did…despite all of the headwinds, a year-long lawsuit from two billion-dollar corporations, a move across country, and the almost constant attacks by dozens of detractors?

And what if Axanar does get made?  What will it take to get a positive comment out of a detractor like Matthew Miller or Carlos Pedraza?

Is there ANY common ground to be had?  Find out as the Blogger-Battle of the Axanar concludes…

The BLOGGER-BATTLE OF AXANAR! (part 2 of 3)

Last Wednesday, we debuted Part 1 of a three-hour discussion and debate about all things AXANAR between myself and Australia-based Star Trek blogger MATTHEW MILLER.  We both have very strong feelings about the Axanar project and its show-runner ALEC PETERS, and we’ve never been particularly shy about sharing those feelings and opinions in various public forums.

But now we’re doing in it the same forum at the same time, voicing our disagreements directly to each other to see if there’s any common ground…or if the two sides of this controversy are destined to simply never come together.

Last time, we primarily discussed the building of Ares Studio, followed by some brief commentary about the fan film guidelines.  And just before ending Part 1, we left off having just scratched the surface of our next (BIG!) topic: the copyright infringement lawsuit.

In Part 2, we’ll be discussing the lawsuit in much greater depth, including…

  • Should Alec have fought the lawsuit as intensely as he did, or should he have just settled and moved on?
  • Did CBS and Paramount offer a settlement when the lawsuit was first filed?  If not, when did they first make a settlement offer…and what were their terms?
  • Why did Alec and CBS/Paramount finally decide to settle the lawsuit two weeks before trial?
  • Were the final settlement terms more favorable to Alec, to CBS/Paramount, or pretty much even?
  • What would have happened if Renegades, New Voyages, or Star Trek Continues had been sued instead of Axanar?

Then we shift gears to the Axanar supporter/detractor conflict…

  • Why have things escalated so much over the years?
  • What role have CARLOS PEDRAZA and his Axamonitor blog site played in exacerbating the tensions?  (Carlos tells us himself!)
  • Are Carlos’ blogs telling only half the story and thereby reinforcing pre-existing detractor biases?
  • Does Carlos rush to publish negative blogs and purposefully avoid reporting positive Axanar news like Axacon (which still hasn’t been covered on Axamonitor after six weeks)?
  • And what about Fan Film Factor?  Am I telling only half the story, too?

And now the Blogger-Battle of Axanar continues…

And check back Wednesday at 2:00pm Pacific Time for Part 3!