What REALLY happened with STARBASE STUDIOS! (Part 2)

Yesterday, we looked at the history of STARBASE STUDIOS from its founding in 2010 to its move from Oklahoma to Arkansas at the beginning of 2017.  Things started to get tense and messy by early summer, with DAN REYNOLDS stepping aside, leaving GLEN L. WOLFE wanting to charge fan producers $500/day (plus extra fees) to use the studios TOS sets and resources…while SCOTT JOHNSON and KENT “WORDS” EDWARDS wanted to keep the sets free for use by fans (only requesting a donation to cover the cost of electricity for the day).  And as long as CHARLES “BUD” PELSOR, the landlord of the warehouse where the STARBASE STUDIOS sets were being housed in Dogpatch, AR, was providing free rent until the end of 2018, offering use of the sets essentially for free was certainly doable.

Then, in early August, as recounted in this recent blog a large number props and items both freestanding and attached to the sets were removed and taken from the warehouse.  It was not a break-in, as there was no indication of forced entry.  Later on, when the police were brought in,they spoke with Glen’s attorney who explained that the items taken were the personal property of Glen Wolfe, and if Scott and “Words”  wanted to prove otherwise, they would need to do so in civil court.  The police then told everyone that they would stay out of the matter until ownership was clearly and legally established.

Quite a sticky wicket!  Here’s what happened next…

Continue reading “What REALLY happened with STARBASE STUDIOS! (Part 2)”

What REALLY happened with STARBASE STUDIOS! (Part 1)

As you might recall from this recent blog, SCOTT JOHNSON and KENT “WORDS” EDWARDS, with the help of VANCE MAJOR, posted a video showing many critical pieces of the TOS sets that were removed, 90 days earlier, along with damage done to the remaining set pieces during the removal process.  But the question must be asked: was this “theft” and “vandalism” or simply someone reclaiming his personal property?  And it is now looking as though that question will end up being answered in an Arkansas courtroom.

There’s a LOT of ground to cover right now, folks, and I’m going to share as much as I’m allowed to while trying to break this whole situation down for you.  Ready?

Continue reading “What REALLY happened with STARBASE STUDIOS! (Part 1)”

STAR TREK CONTINUES releases its SERIES FINALE! (includes special video intro by VIC MIGNOGNA)

Now listen to me very carefully:

  • Go into your kitchen.
  • Make some popcorn.
  • Go back to your computer (or TV if you watch YouTube there).
  • Close the door.
  • Turn down the lights.
  • Turn off your phone(s).
  • And watch the series finale of STAR TREK CONTINUES before anyone can spoil it for you.
  • Do it NOW…that’s an order!

There’s no need to say anything more, unless you missed “To Boldly Go, Part I” (in which case, watch that first and then follow my previous orders).

Comments with spoilers are welcome below, but if you haven’t watched the episode yet, for heaven’s sake, DON’T SCROLL DOWN THIS PAGE!!!  Just…don’t.  Watch the finale first.  It’s 58 minutes and 10 seconds of absolute Star Trek bliss.

Also, don’t miss the final two installments of my “History of Star Trek Continues blog series this Friday and next.  Out of respect for those who don’t follow orders, I will be waiting until next Friday to get into any details about the finale.  I will also be including video segments from the STC panel discussion after the live screening).

Speaking of which, here is a SPECIAL INTRODUCTION by show-runner VIC MIGNOGNA that was given in Los Angeles before the screening…

And now, after fifty years, it’s time to finally witness the end of that historic five-year mission and celebrate this groundbreaking fan series…a precious gift to all of Star Trek fandom.  Ladies and gentlemen, this is why I’m here…

 

FAN FILM FACTOR gets 100K visits last month!

THANK YOU!!!

From the bottom of my heart, I just wanted to take a quick moment to thank everyone who comes to read this blog…whether you’re one of my “regulars” or you just visit every so often or even if you’ve never been here before.  It means more to me than you can know.

Last month, for the first time ever, the total visits to this blog site ticked up over 100,000!  Now, I realize that’s probably just a temporary blip, as the previous two months were closer to 25K (although the month before that was at 85K—it’s a crazy place this Internet!).  And I also understand that some of that traffic is likely web crawling Internet “bots” hitting my blog site for search engine purposes.  But hey, that doesn’t much matter.

I’m just excited that, after nearly two years of writing Fan Film blogs for this site, people are still coming to read them!!!  And quite a few people, at that!  My daily web traffic is between a few hundred and a few thousand.  And that translates into ad dollars that sometimes get as high as $1 or $2 a day!  Yeah, I’m not really doing it for the money, folks.

So why am I doing it?

It’s actually quite a bit of work.  I research, write up, and edit (you only see the typos I don’t catch).  I reach out to fan film producers to conduct interviews, try to keep track of the latest goings on in the Trek fan film community, hunt down little-known Trek fan productions from years ago to write about, and look for active crowd-funding campaigns….and all of this while trying to stay just a few days (or maybe a week if I’m lucky) ahead of publishing deadlines.  I don’t want this blog site to get stale if I can help it!

If you’re curious how Jonathan puts this blog together, here’s an idea of what I’m working on at any given moment…

Continue reading “FAN FILM FACTOR gets 100K visits last month!”

STARSHIP ANTYLLUS releases 55-MINUTE two-part 10th episode!

When CBS and Paramount announced the new fan film guidelines in June of 2016, the first guideline was among the most controversial:

The fan production must be less than 15 minutes for a single self-contained story, or no more than 2 segments, episodes or parts, not to exceed 30 minutes total, with no additional seasons, episodes, parts, sequels or remakes.

Since then, nearly a hundred Star Trek fan films have been released (possibly more, I haven’t counted them all!), and most have followed those guidelines as best they can.  A few have gone slightly over the time limit or tried to get around the “no series” rule by changing the series title with each new “episode” of a fan series despite featuring the same cast and characters.

Of course, Star Trek Continues has been the most notable for not hewing to the guidelines in each of their final four episode releases…all produced after the announcement of the guidelines (the last episode coming next Monday…you’ll LOVE it!).  But STC is shutting down production.

Another fan series, however, is NOT planning to shut down, and they’ve just released the 55-minute long tenth episode of their first season.  That series is STARSHIP ANTYLLUS, which began back in 2013.  They released their ninth episode just over a year ago, months after the guidelines were announced.

Show-runner GEORGE KAYAIAN has actually been making Star Trek fan films since way back in the 1990s when he produced three full-length amateur features ranging from one to one-and-a-half hours in length.  These low-budget productions starred his mother as the captain and his father as chief engineer.  (Yeah, my parents would never have agreed to that!  Then again, they can’t really act.)

Two decades later, Starship Antyllus still features George’s friends and family members, but now George is a parent himself with one of the most adorable daughters you’ve even seen.  Anya has actually appeared in a 2-part episode, and she helps behind the scenes, as well.

Episode 10, “Consequences,” completes season one of the long-running fan series, and George is already working on the first few of episodes of season two, with the whole season-long story arc mapped out.  Many scenes have already been filmed, with more being added soon.  Obviously, this is going to be an ongoing fan series, something the guidelines say is a no-no.

So what does George have to say about this situation?

Continue reading “STARSHIP ANTYLLUS releases 55-MINUTE two-part 10th episode!”

ROBERT MEYER BURNETT resigns as director on AXANAR!

Almost from the very beginning, ROBERT MEYER BURNETT, who directed and co-wrote the film Free Enterprise with William Shatner and Eric McCormack, has been almost as synonymous with the AXANAR project as Alec Peters himself.  He edited Prelude to Axanar and is credited by many as being a major reason that this mockumentary-style fan film came out as well as it did.

For the past three years, Rob has been listed as the director of the upcoming Axanar fan film, originally intended as a 90-minute feature film.  In fact, Rob directed the impressive 3-minute “Vulcan scene” vignette, planned to be a part of that final feature.  After a legal settlement with CBS and Paramount, the Axanar production has now been shortened to two 15-minute mockumentary-style sequels to Prelude.

Rob has been one of the staunchest supporters and cheerleaders for the project (probably even more than me!) and has been involved in pre-production efforts, podcasts, convention appearances, and social media outreach for Axanar over the past two and a half years.  But with the move of Alec Peters and the Axanar sets across the country from Los Angeles to Atlanta, GA, the logistics of a bi-coastal collaboration became more of a challenge.

Yesterday, Rob announced that he was moving on from the production…

Continue reading “ROBERT MEYER BURNETT resigns as director on AXANAR!”

STARBASE STUDIOS shuts down, documents removal and damage of set pieces

The fan film world was jolted yesterday to learn that STARBASE STUDIOS, which had recently relocated from Oklahoma to neighboring Arkansas, has shut down—at least for now—due to the removal of critical pieces of their TOS sets and damage to items that still remain.

To document was was done to the sets, KENT “WORDS” EDWARDS and SCOTT JOHNSON, two of the four joint owners of the Starbase Studios sets (the other two owners being GLEN L. WOLFE and DAN REYNOLDS…although it is possible that Dan has stepped away; I don’t yet have confirmation on that) have made a 22-minute video with the help of prolific fan film-maker VANCE MAJOR.

Here is that video…

You will notice that the video bleeps out the name of co-owner Glen Wolfe.  This is because Glen was the one responsible for the removal of the set pieces.

Now, before anyone starts targeting their phasers on Glen, I want everyone to understand that there are, in fact, TWO sides in this situation, each with reasonable grievances against the other side.

I have friends on both sides of this, and I have been speaking with them over the past two months off the record.  That was their request, and I have and will continue to honor it.  The hope on both sides was that this matter might be resolved before needing to make it public.  Obviously it hasn’t been, and now Scott and “Words” have decided to take the next step for them, which is releasing the above video.

I have promised each side that I will report this story as fairly and objectively as I can, quoting each of them with minimal editorializing.  I have been told that Scott is now willing to speak on the record, and I’ll reach out to the other side shortly to see if they are ready, as well.

However, the one thing I can report on right now is why the police are not getting involved in what appears to be a case of theft and vandalism.  And that’s because it’s not.  Glen is a co-owner of these sets, and if he has a key (which he does), the police do not consider that to be breaking and entering.  Moreover, when there is a question of ownership, such cases are not considered criminal but rather under civil jurisdiction to be fought over by business lawyers.  In short, like it or not, this is a civil case…if it does, in fact, wind up in court.


I beg your indulgence if I don’t get around to reporting on this further until next week.  I’ll be volunteering at my son’s school all day for their Halloween carnival and then trick-or-treating with Jayden tonight.  Then I have to clear time to speak to folks on both sides of this mess and organize their comments into an objective and coherent presentation for all of you.  Please stay tuned.

STAR TREK CONTINUES gives fans a SNEAK PEEK at their FINAL EPISODE!

It was truly one of the most extraordinary moments I’ve ever experienced at a convention.  And for the rest of my life, whenever someone uses the word “bittersweet,” my mind will remember seeing the finale of STAR TREK CONTINUES at L.A. Comic Con with the entire cast, some guest stars, writers, directors, VFX and make-up people, crew, about 200 fans…and my son Jayden.

But in addition to “bittersweet,” I would use words like amazing, inspiring, suspenseful, intimate, dazzling, heartfelt, loving, and incredibly satisfying to describe both this final episode and the nearly 90-minute discussion that followed.

THERE WILL BE NO SPOILERS!

In fact, when this episode is finally released onto the Internet on Monday, November 13, I recommend you rush to watch it as soon as you can and allow yourself NO advanced knowledge of anything.  There are truly unexpected surprises in this episode, and you don’t want them ruined.  “To Boldly Go, Part II,” as promised, will end Kirk’s five-year mission with drama, emotion, and an intensity seldom seen in fan films.

It’s a MUST SEE-PLUS-PLUS-PLUS!

As director JAMES KERWIN commented to the audience, he loved hearing everyone applauding at just the right moments, some sniffles at others, all the reactions he was hoping for.  This one hits on all cylinders, folks, and is a beautiful way to wrap up eleven top-notch episodes and five unforgettable years of this beloved fan production.

Anyone wanting to put down show-runner VIC MIGNOGNA or trivialize the accomplishments of these dedicated and talented individuals…well, you’re going to need to do it elsewhere.  As a proud donor and follower of this celebrated fan series, I will stand up for Star Trek Continues every single time!

And speaking of Vic, he respectfully asked for anyone who was recording Sunday evening’s live panel discussion to please not share the video until after the episode had a chance to circulate…as many details were mentioned that could spoil the viewing experience for others.

So I have some wonderful footage from the Q&A session that I will share in a few weeks.  But for now—and I hope Vic will indulge a proud father—I would like to share this one SPOILER-FREE response to a question from my son Jayden, as Vic Mignogna explains his production in a way that any seven-year-old can understand…

Thank you, Vic, for that answer.  And thank to everyone on the STC team for sharing Vic’s dream with appreciative Trekkers who have waited five decades to see Kirk’s historic five-year mission finally reach its conclusion.

YOUR Star Trek fan film could WIN $500!

Hurry!  You’ve only got until November 3, 2017 to enter your Star Trek fan film for a chance to win $500!

(Of course, it’ll cost you $35 to enter on their website.  But hey, it’s worth a shot, right?)

Yesterday, I told you about how some independent film festivals are beginning to add a new category specifically for FAN FILMS.  The Berlin Sci-Fi Filmfest has already completed its entry period.  But there’s still a week and a half left to enter the New York-based IndieBOOM! film festival for a chance to win that $500 cash prize.

Created by the team at the award-winning Art of Brooklyn Film Festival, IndieBOOM! is for filmmakers and short-form content creators working everywhere, in all genre categories. There are no restrictions on completion date, as long as the films run no longer than 40 minutes.  So a Star Trek fan film that’s already been out for a few years is still eligible as long as it’s shorter than 40 minutes.

Here’s the description for their Fan Film category:

Are you a super-fan who has created an amazing “trailer” for the superhero (or super villain) film you wish existed, a lightsaber battle set in a galaxy far, far away… or a film that dares to trek where no-one has gone before? Or maybe you made a film about one ring that rules them all. Whatever your fandom, we want to see your fan film!

IndieBOOM!’s official selections will be chosen by a panel of industry professionals: critics, producers, writers, directors and actors.

It’s also an interactive festival. IndieBOOM will give entrants tools to help them promote their films to their networks and increase their fan-base. The most-viewed film in each category (Comedy, Sci-Fi, Documentary, Fan Film, etc.) wins an award.

“Ah, I know that trick!” I can hear you say.  Just get a bunch of friends to keep refreshing their browsers a few thousand times, and you’ll win.  Bah, humbug!”

Well, not this time.  IndieBOOM! will keep track of total views and also overall time viewed for each selection. (So just refreshing a web page over and over won’t help you win.)

Their jury of industry professionals will acknowledge a single standout film with a special Jury Prize, regardless of the views/votes.  All winning selections will get a one year non-exclusive streaming contract on Brooklyn On Demand (which is carried on Roku to a worldwide audience and already has 16,000 subscribers).

And the selection (from all the categories together) with the most views overall wins the Fan Favorite Award—and a $500 cash prize!

So what are you waiting for?  (Well, assuming you’ve produced a fan film, that is!)  The submission deadline is November 3, 2017.

Click here to enter.

INDIE FILM FESTIVALS are starting to add a NEW category: FAN FILMS!

While studios like Paramount, CBS, Warner Brothers, Disney, Fox, and others try to figure out what to do about fan films, Independent Film Festivals already have a solution: CREATE SPECIAL CATEGORIES FOR THEM!

Up until recently, if you were a Star Trek fan film, your options were pretty limited when it came to entering your production into a film festival or contest.

For the last few years, the annual Treklanta convention has held the Independent Star Trek Film Awards (now called the “Bjos”). Obviously, entries are limited to only Star Trek fan films.

And then there are the independent film festivals that allow entrants from all genres and production backgrounds.  There’s a lot of these.  In fact, Prelude to Axanar won awards in 19 different film festivals, including the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival, Creative Arts Film Festival, Widescreen Film & Music Video Festival, Nevada Film Festival, IndieFEST Film Awards, and California International Shorts Festival.

Star Trek Continues has also taken in its fair share of awards at the Accolade Global Film Competition, The Burbank International Film Awards, and most recently was given awards in five categories of the International Independent Film Awards.

And while some award shows, like the Geekie Awards, limit the range of entrees to specific genres like sci-fi, fantasy, horror, etc., Trek fan films are still competing with “real” independent films with professional production teams and budgets that are often into the six or even seven figures.  Micro-budget Trek fan productions often face almost insurmountable competition.  And if the awards show is not limited to just sci-fi and related genres, the competition becomes even more wide ranging.

With high budgets, Hollywood actors, and professional production quality, Prelude to Axanar and Star Trek Continues were able to make their mark. against stiff competition.  But with the guidelines now limiting how much fan films can spend and who can work on them, will Star Trek fan films be able to be competitive again in film festivals?

Perhaps…

Continue reading “INDIE FILM FESTIVALS are starting to add a NEW category: FAN FILMS!”