On Friday evening, at a little after 8pm Pacific Time, inside of Stage 31 at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, Star Trek Beyond Producer JJ Abrams shocked the fan film world by announcing that the copyright infringement lawsuit against AXANAR was “going away” and that “fans will be able to work on their projects.”
Last time: we began our fascinating discussion of crowd-funding with two of the most successful campaigners in the history of Trek fan films, Alec Peters (Axanar executive producer) and Mike Bawden (Axanar director of public relations). Together, these two men have organized Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns for multiple productions that have raised nearly $2 million combined (including $1.3 just for Axanar alone).
If you want to know how to run a successful crowd-funding campaign, pay attention to these guys. This discussion isn’t just a Crowd-Funding 101 class; it’s a graduate-level seminar with some amazing insights from two people who’ve actually walked the walk. Their experiences have provided them a unique perspective and many insights that, to me at least, should be considered pure gold to anyone looking to be a part of a successful crowd-funding campaign.
I’ll be going to the big Star Trek Beyond fan event on Friday at Paramount Studios where director Justin Lin will be screening the brand new trailer…followed by a Q&A session. And just wait’ll you read how I managed it!
Last time: we looked at some of the factors that might have affected the recent Indiegogo campaign from Star Trek Continues (which just wrapped up last week).
Now it’s time to continue our discussion of crowd-funding with two crowd-funding experts: ALEC PETERS, show-runner of Axanar, and MIKE BAWDEN, director of public relations for Axanar, who has also worked on the Kickstarter for Space Command, an early campaign that raised $242,000. Mike has been involved in over a dozen crowd-funding campaigns, and the two men together have helped to raise nearly two million dollars of donations from fans for various projects, including $1.3 million for Axanar.
If you’re thinking of doing a crowd-funding campaign of any kind, then get out your pen and start taking notes! The following discussion is a crowd-funding “how to” guide that you’re not likely to get anywhere else…
As I said yesterday, folks, mark your calendars for January 31, 2017. Just as CBS gets ready to launch their new Star Trek TV series, the gavel will fall on the judge’s desk to cal to order CBS and Paramount’s lawsuit against Axanar Productions and Alec Peters. Unless there is a settlement or mediation in the next eight and a half months, the most important case ever for fan films (in many people’s opinions) will be litigated in front of a judge and possibly a jury.
Judge R. Gary Klausner ruled as follows:
Although the Court declines to address whether Plaintiffs’ Claims will prosper at this time, the Court does find Plaintiffs’ claims will live long enough to survive Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss. For the foregoing reasons, the Court DENIES Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss.
According to the Axanar website:
Winston & Strawn will now prepare our answer to the amended complaint, which is due in 14 days.
In the meantime, we continue our efforts to settle this matter with CBS and Paramount so we can move forward with telling the story of AXANAR in a way that satisfies both the studios and the over ten thousand fans who financially supported our project.
And the (legal) adventure continues…
Mark your calendars! The judge in the lawsuit between Paramount/CBS and Axanar has now set a trial date of January 31, 2017. This is about three and a half months earlier than the litigating parties had mutually recommended to the court.
Judge R. Gary Klausner now has all of the paperwork submitted by the plaintiffs, the defense, and even an amicus brief filed by the Language Creation Society disputing the claim by the plaintiffs that the Klingon language can be copyrighted. It’s quite an attention-grabbing case!
The judge could rule in the coming weeks on any or all of several motions filed on behalf of Axanar, including the removal of Paramount as a plaintiff, dismissing the part of the lawsuit dealing with the Axanar movie (of which, only one 3-minute scene has actually been completed while the rest of the film remains in stalled pre-production), and even the possibility of dismissing the entire case.
Even if the case continues onward, a LOT can happen between now and next January, including a settlement between the two parties. If not, then we’ll see everyone in court in less than nine months.
Last time: we learned the fate of the Starship Exeter bridge set was not oblivion. After decaying in a Texas barn for years, it was moved to Oklahoma City in 2010 by John Hughes to be used for a new production called Starship Ajax. John advertised for volunteers on Craigslist, and two guys from the concert industry became leaders of the project in their own right: Richard Wells and Scott Johnson
Shortly thereafter, John Hughes decided to concentrate primarily on his fan film, leaving Richard and Scott to complete the bridge restoration and set up Starbase Studios, a place where fan filmmakers could shoot their Star Trek stories for free on an actual TOS bridge recreation set.
But not all went swimmingly. As we continue our interview with Richard and Scott, we learn what happened after when the hand of nature once again threatened this beautiful bridge replica…
If you read my recent blog about Starship Exeter’s second episode, you’ll recall that when we last left the magnificent Exeter bridge set, it was rotting, unused and forgotten, in a barn in central Texas. What happened next is the amazing and heartwarming story of Starbase Studios.
Going against my better judgment (that’s screaming at me, “Jon, stop typing NOW!”), I’m going to jump head first into the latest controversy surrounding a recent comment claiming that Axanar has “poisoned the well” for all other fan films.
Buckle up, folks!
In what has to be one of the strangest amicus briefs (a “friend of the court” opinion submitted in a case by a party not directly involved) to ever come across U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner’s desk, Marc Randazza of the Language Creation Society has argued that Paramount and CBS’s claim of ownership of the Klingon language should be dismissed because Klingon is, in fact, NOT copyrightable!
Today’s Hollywood Reporter has a very entertaining write-up of this story which actually contains a link to the filing itself. As far as I’m concerned, this amicus brief is a MUST READ just to enjoy the fact that a serious legal document has been filed in Federal Court that is written partly in KLINGON!
And just to remind everyone, Paramount did produce this hilarious episode of Frasier, “Star Mitzvah,” back in 2002: