Marc Zicree discusses his episode of Star Trek: New Voyages and professionals working on fan films (part 1)

Some fans believe that Axanar was the first fan film to use professionals or, at the very least, the first to pay them. Both of those assumptions are incorrect by nearly a decade.

Zicree-1The first fan film to feature a known Star Trek professional in their credits was the debut episode of Star Trek: New Voyages in early 2004, “Come What May,” which featured Doug Drexler as visual effects artist (under the pseudonym “Max Rem”) while Doug was also actively working doing the digital FX for Star Trek: Enterprise and also for the new Battlestar Galactica.

New Voyages’ next episode, “In Harm’s Way,” likewise included Doug Drexler…this time as an executive producer. It also featured veteran Star Trek TOS guest stars William Windom (reprising his role as an older, time-displaced Commodore Matt Decker), BarBara Luna, and Malachi Thorne (also voicing his former role as Commodore Jose Mendez as well as playing a Klingon).

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SMALL ACCESS campaign Q&A (we’re not telling people to boycott!!!)

Small Access bannerWith great notoriety comes great misunderstanding and misinformation!  (Sounds pretty catchy, don’t it?)

Now that Project SMALL ACCESS has picked up nearly one thousand active participants on Facebook in just three days, we’re getting noticed.  Obviously, we have a fair number of supporters–and still growing!–but there are also detractors out there calling out our campaign for all sorts of reasons…some valid, and some very much not.

In an effort to make sure there are no misunderstandings about what we’re doing, how we’re doing it, and who is behind it, I’ve put together the following list of questions and answers that I hope will be widely shared…

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The wrong people were in the room

Remember this scene?

I was having a discussion a couple of days ago with one of the many Trekkers who is furious about these new Star Trek fan film guidelines from CBS.  “It’s obvious that they just wanted to destroy all fan films forever!” he said with anger and disgust.

“I’m not sure that’s true,” I responded.  “I think they sincerely wanted to help fan films by making these guidelines.”

He was shocked…especially since I’ve gone so far as to set up the SMALL ACCESS protest.  He couldn’t believe I was being serious!  But I was.

My wife is an attorney, and I used to work closely for many years with the Star Trek licensing department (back when they were still Viacom Consumer Products).  Granted, I wasn’t in the conference room at CBS when these guidelines were written up, but I still think I know what happened and why it happened…and it was all because the wrong people were in the room.

Let me ‘splain…

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Want to send a loud message to CBS?

Don’t want to read a long blog? Then just click here.

CBS logo parodyBy now, you’ve likely heard that CBS and Paramount have finally, after decades of silence, released a series of guidelines for Star Trek fan films to follow and not get sued. Unfortunately, the guidelines were written by a group of over-caffeinated lawyers and licensing employees with little to no understanding of the concept of Star Trek fandom. In short, these rules would essentially obliterate nearly all past and current Star Trek fan films and series.

From their announcement on StarTrek.com, CBS seems almost proud of themselves, feeling that they’ve done fandom some kind of favor. And even though nearly 200 (as I write this) comments have been posted with about 90% highly negative reactions, I doubt that CBS or Paramount will see the devastating reality of what they’ve done…

…unless we make them see it.

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BLADE OF HONOR (interview), part 3

Cover 2Last time: Ryan T. Husk, executive producer of the independent sci-fi series Blade of Honor, discussed the cast and crew of this exciting new project that’s currently raising money for its pilot episode (and possibly more episodes!) via Kickstarter. This web series features a number of Star Trek actors like Tim Russ, Aaron Eisenberg, and Cirroc Lofton, plus professional actors from other series, including Richard Hatch of Battlestar Galactica and James Kyson from Heroes. There’s also a bunch of veterans from Star Trek fan films like New Voyages and Horizon.

Ryan’s insights into to film industry have been fascinating, to say the least! As our interview concludes, we start off by discussing what differentiates an independent film from a fan film. And then we jump into how to set up and run a crowd-funding campaign… Continue reading “BLADE OF HONOR (interview), part 3”

CBS/PARAMOUNT’s answer to AXANAR counter-claim may have given a “gift” to the AXANAR legal team

Axanar logoFour weeks ago, I wrote a very impassioned op-ed decrying that Trekkers should be fans and not lawyers.  I am now going to turn myself into a complete hypocrite and become an armchair attorney myself…partly because of the shameless reason that it seems to boost readership of one’s blog but also because I think there’s a fascinating details about the latest Axanar lawsuit news that’s not being reported at the moment.

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BLADE OF HONOR (interview), part 2

Cover 3aLast time: we began a great conversation with Ryan T. Husk, executive producer of the new independent sci-fi series Blade of Honor, currently holding a Kickstarter campaign with a goal of $30,000 for its pilot webisode (which they’ve reached, but they’re now trying to raise enough for a second webisode!).

This exciting project stars a number of major Star Trek actors like Tim “Tuvok” Russ, Aaron “Nog” Eisenberg, and Cirroc “Jake Sisko” Lofton, plus professional actors from other series, including Richard Hatch of Battlestar Galactica and James Kyson from Heroes. There’s also a bunch of veterans from Star Trek fan films like New Voyages and Horizon.

Beyond simply talking about Blade of Honor itself, Ryan shared some amazing insights into what producers do in Hollywood and why the same people frequently seem to keep working together project after project after project. And that was just part 1!

So let’s jump right back in as we learn even more about what goes into an independent film production from the bottom up and top down….

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BLADE OF HONOR (interview), part 1

Cover 1Initially, Ryan T. Husk was going to sit in on that fascinating conversation that I recently had with Alec Peters and Mike Bawden about the Realities of Crowd-funding. But ironically (or perhaps appropriately) Ryan couldn’t participate because he was busy launching a Kickstarter campaign for a brand new, original sci-fi fan series call Blade of Honor.

Even though Ryan’s new project wasn’t technically a Star Trek fan film, it features a number of Star Trek actors both from the various television series as well as several Star Trek fan film veterans. So even though I usually limit myself to mainly Star Trek fan films, I was intrigued enough by Blade of Honor that I figured I’d make an exception.

What I didn’t expect was to get some of the most amazing insights from Ryan…so much so that I was almost tempted to turn this interview into parts 5 and 6 of “The Realities of Crowd-Funding” 4-parter! Instead, just sit back and enjoy one of the most thoughtful fan filmmaker interviews I’ve done so far…

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The Realities of Crowd-Funding, part 4

Last time:Cover 3 we continued our in-depth discussion of crowd-funding with Alec Peters (Axanar executive producer) and Mike Bawden (Axanar director of public relations), two veterans of Trek fan films who, together, have raised nearly $2 million through multiple Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns for various projects.

Alec and Mike possess a wealth of knowledge about running successful crowd-funding campaigns. And whether you’re planning to do a campaign of your own someday or simply thinking of donating to one, we now conclude this compelling conversation on the realities of crowd-funding…

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Highlights of the STAR TREK BEYOND event at PARAMOUNT

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My badge and wrist-band

It was an incredible night!  I’ve been to my fair share of special STAR TREK events in my life, but this one had to be one of the best I’ve ever experienced.  There was just something magical about being in the same sound stage that TOS filmed in 50 years ago while also celebrating that rich five-decade history with people who all loved this franchise so dearly.

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