Filming RESUMES at STARBASE STUDIOS (audio interview with KENT “WORDS” EDWARDS)

It was quiet…too quiet.  At least, that’s the way it’s seemed lately when it came to STARBASE STUDIOS in Arkansas…an amazing fan film resource of TOS sets including the Trek community’s only 360-degree USS Enterprise bridge.  Since 2011, Starbase Studios has been used to shoot scenes for literally dozens of various Star Trek fan projects.

Starbase Studios has had a rather turbulent nine months, beginning last August when a significant number of props and set pieces were removed from the warehouse where the sets were being stored.  This was followed by a lawsuit where one of the owners, GLEN WOLFE, sued the other owners, SCOTT JOHNSON and KENT “WORDS” EDWARDS, for ownership and monetary compensation.  Fan filming there all but screeched to a halt for several months while both sides tried to negotiate a compromise.

With some outside assistance, a settlement agreement was signed earlier this year, and the sets are now owned by Glen Wolfe (50%), Scott Johnson (25%), and GLENN MILLER (25%)…although many of the items removed have not yet been returned.  With the exception of a one-day video shoot with Parkview Elementary School students this past January (which had been reserved six months earlier), no filming has happened on the Starbase Studios sets since the new year began.

That changed this past weekend when a “who’s who” of Starbase Studios personnel got together in Marble Falls, Arkansas for a very special video shoot.  Among the participants were Glen Wolfe and Scott Johnson, seeing each other in person for only the second time since the lawsuit was settled.  Would they find a way to get along?  Would that old feeling of camaraderie from fan filming Star Trek rekindle their friendship?  Or had things been pushed too far for healing to happen?

Needless to say, I was dying to find out!  And fortunately, Kent “Words” Edwards, who organized the weekend production, was nice enough to call me from the road and do a quick audio interview.

So let’s check in on Starbase Studios and see what’s up and what went down this past weekend…

THE EXPANSE might get a FOURTH season after all!

Well, it’s not “mission accomplished: just yet, but just 10 days after Syfy announced the cancellation of the critically-acclaimed and deeply-loved space sci-fi series THE EXPANSE, word has come down that Amazon is in discussions to pick up the show for a fourth season to air on Amazon Prime!  It’s still too early for fans to pop the champagne corks, but we’re definitely in a much more optimistic place than we were last Friday when I posted this urgent blog.

Now, as much as I’d like to believe this move was the result of fans hiring a place to fly a banner over the Amazon Studios in Santa Monica saying #SaveTheExpanse and sending Jim Holden-inspired coffee care packages to employees at Amazon, there’s actually quite a bit more going on.

First, Syfy canceled the show because, quite frankly, they had a terrible deal.  The series is very expensive to produce.  Syfy didn’t own the show and only had the ability to make money from selling advertising on the airings of The Expanse on their network in the U.S.  Netflix has the international rights, and Amazon has the SVOD (streaming video on demand) rights for the U.S.

And that pre-existing deal that Amazon had for the SVOD rights meant they already had some skin in the game on this series.  But add to that the fact that, reportedly, Amazon CEO Bezos is a big fan of The Expanse book series.  Back when the TV series was first being shopped around, Amazon lost the bid to Syfy (owned by NBCUniversal).  Bezos was apparently furious and told his people he wanted them to go out and find a Game of Thrones-level show like The Expanse for Amazon Prime.  And now Bezos might finally be getting exactly what he wanted…along with a last laugh at the company that outbid him for The Expanse in the first place.

In the meantime, folks, please keep watching The Expanse within three days of its first airing on Wednesday nights at 9pm Eastern (8pm Central) on Syfy.  The more profitable we make this show look, the better!

YOU have FOUR CHANCES left to appear in THE ROMULAN WAR!

At the end of last month, the eagerly-anticipated new fan project THE ROMULAN WAR extended its Indiegogo campaign for an additional 30 days.  The move seems to be working out quite well, as an additional $2,200 in donations have come in since then…leaving the production just $1,810 short of its $10,000 goal (as I type this) with two full weeks left to attract donations from fans.

By far the most exciting of the perks being offered was an opportunity for donors to actually APPEAR in this fan film!  For a $100 donation, you have the option to record your voice, reading a line or two from the script, and having that recording be included in the finished film.  That’s the perk level I donated for, by the way, and there’s still 38 of those voice-over options still available.

The other opportunity offered a few lucky fans (who wanted to donate $250) the choice APPEAR in the film if they so desired.  Donors at this level would be asked to film themselves at home using a camera or smart phone according to instructions, possibly say a few lines, and upload the footage, which would then be edited into the film.

Initially, there were only five of these “Commodore Access” on-camera perks available…and they disappeared very quickly.  By the time the Indiegogo was extended, they were long gone.

But last week, show-runner MARK NACCARATO added five more “Commodore Access” on-camera perks to the list.  Already, one has been snatched up, leaving four.  So HURRY if you want to be in an actual fan film!

Assuming each of these perks is snatched up, that’ll leave the campaign within spitting distance (just $810 away) from their $10,000 goal, which should be quite doable in 14 days.

To learn more or donate (and get this great perk!), click here.

 


And now, please enjoy the latest video offering from THE ROMULAN WAR featuring some behind-the-scenes photos from last summer’s shoot in Nashville, Tennessee…

Save THE EXPANSE by NOT binge-watching it! (URGENT!)

I admit it: I got THE EXPANSE canceled by Syfy.

I didn’t mean to.  It’s just that I’ve fallen so far behind in my TV watching that I’m still on stuff that first aired back in April!  I’ve been collecting the season 3 episodes The Expanse on my DVR to binge-watch over the summer at some point when I have more time…something I did for the previous two seasons, as well.

And that’a why the series just got canceled!

The Expanse, based one the Hugo Award-winning book series by the same name, debuts new episodes each Wednesday night at 9pm (8pm Central) on the Syfy Network.  While the series is more complex than most other sci-fi series out there—it’s been called “Game of Thrones in space” (which is pretty spot on)—it’s amazingly well-produced with great acting and awesome visual FX that show outer space and zero-G physics incredibly accurately.

It’s rated 100% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, and those fans who, like me, have stuck with the show consider it to be one of the finest television space sci-fi series on the air.

That’s why we were dumbfounded last week when Syfy announced that this critically-acclaimed, fan-favorite series would be canceled after its third season.  Supporters immediately mobilized, starting an online petition (which already has over 110,000 signatures), creating a website and #SaveTheExpanse, and posting this very well-edited video reminding fans why The Expanse is so good and worth saving…

By this past Tuesday, thousands of fans had raised enough money on GoFundMe to hire a plane to fly a banner over the Santa Monica, CA offices of Amazon Studios trying to convince Jeff Bezos to pick up the series on Amazon Prime…

There’s also been a concerted letter-writing campaign to Netflix executives trying to convince them to pick up the beloved space science fiction series.

With time running out and the Toronto-based Expanse sets already being taken down (some possibly being purchased by Star Trek: Discovery), fans have been working overtime in a valiant attempt at a last-minute rescue of the series.

And then this video got posted…

Continue reading “Save THE EXPANSE by NOT binge-watching it! (URGENT!)”

STARSHIP DEIMOS releases TWO fan films in FIVE days!

POTEMKIN PICTURES now produces five active fan series (even though they don’t call them “fan series,” since the guidelines don’t allow those) plus another two with episodes in post-production, plus the 36 episodes of the completed Project: Potemkin fan series.

You might remember back in early March when Starship Tristan released two new episodes (their 11th and 12th productions) within a week of each other.  Now its time for Tristan‘s sister series, STARSHIP DEIMOS, to have two releases, this time just five days apart!  In this case, it’s Deimos’ 6th and 7th episodes.

Prior to these two, the last fan film to come from the Deimos Production Crew debuted nearly a year ago.  The reason for the delay, followed by the quick double release, was that show-runner and main editor RANDY LANDERS (who also directed both of these latest releases) had quadruple bypass surgery last August, and much of the work had to be pushed back.

These latest two episodes could not have been more different from each other.  The first, “Prodigal Daughter,” takes place mainly on a Klingon battlecruiser and features “action” fight scenes (hey, those aren’t as easy as they look!), and it focuses on a single member of the Deimos crew.  At the end of the episode, we are told there is also a new captain on board, even though we don’t meet him yet.  The previous captain, Jeremy Quinn, was played by actor TERRY SELF.  The new captain, Mark Stone, is played by TONY ANDERSON, taking his place as one of the few black actors to command a starship in Star Trek fan films.

The second episode, “Shattered Sky” (which actually shows the new captain), had scenes filmed on location at a historic landmark in Birmingham, AL, other scenes filmed on their bridge and lounge sets, and still others in front of green screen with composited backgrounds.  Nearly all regular members of the crew were featured throughout.  So it was a pretty ambitious production, all things considered.

Also, Potemkin Pictures has begin to use ADR (voice dubbing) to record dialog separately into a microphone after a scene is filmed.  The process results in clearer sound quality, but sometimes the words don’t synch perfectly to the lip movements.  Oh, well…it’s a fan film, the The Avengers.

You can view all of the Potemkin Pictures releases on their website.

And here are the latest two adventures of the crew of the USS Deimos

THE ROMULAN WAR releases NEW VIDEO showing CGI model tests!

As you’ve probably noticed over the past five weeks, I’ve been very prolific in my support of THE ROMULAN WAR and its current Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign.  A week ago, show-runner MARK NACCARATO announced that he was extending out the campaign for an additional 30 days because they had not yet reached their $10,000 goal.  (Yes, Indiegogo lets you do that now.  Really!)

The extension has proven to be a real blessing, as the total raised has increased by nearly $2,000 in just six days to (as I write this) $7,785 from 66 backers…just 22% away from being fully funded.

To increase excitement and antici…

…pation for the fan production—and of course, to encourage more donations—I suggested to Mark that he “liberate” some of the special features that had, up until now, been hidden in a donor-only section.  I joked to him, “That’s like showing a commercial for your restaurant only to people who are already seated at your tables eating their dinner!”

Mark agreed, and the first special feature was posted to the public earlier this week.  It shows some CGI model tests for a few of the NX-era starships, Roumlan ships, Federation vessels, and space stations that will be appearing in this fan film.  It also shows the mysterious Stormbird-class flying by…looking very much like a Klingon D-7.  How did the Romulans and Klingons come to use such similar designs a century before Romulans started using Klingon designs?  Mark actually answered that question in this awesome chat/interview we had a few weeks ago.  Take a listen if you haven’t already.

Mark has also been on not one but TWO podcasts in the last two weeks:

CONTINUING MISSIONhttp://trek.fm/continuing-mission/46

THE FINAL FRONTIERhttp://www.podcasts.com/the-final-frontier-b29b64d07/episode/The-Final-Frontier-Podcast-18-Interview-with-Mark-Naccarato-0e1a

Meanwhile, the video of the fly-bys looks AMAZING (see below).  And what blows my mind most of all is that these aren’t even close to final sequences…they’re just test renderings!  The finished VFX are, I’m told, going to look even better…incredibly better, in fact.

I don’t know—these look pretty awesome…

Click here to learn more and (if you can) to donate.

(And if you can’t donate, then please share the link with your friends.)

Get on board the SKY FIGHTER Indiegogo! (interview with LUKAS KENDALL)

I get a lot of requests to cover  crowd-funding campaigns for fan films here on this blog.  Many of those requests I politely decline because the projects have no connection to Star Trek, which is where I focus most of my attention.

So why did I decide to feature a non-Star Trek fan project like SKY FIGHTER?  Well, there actually is a connection to both Star Trek and Trek fan films.  First, show-runner LUKAS KENDALL produced many of the Star Trek music compilations on CD over the years.  And second, Lukas is a close friend of ROBERT MEYER BURNETT and tapped him to edit the final Sky Fighter short film.  Rob, as many of you know, was the editor of the highly popular Prelude to Axanar fan film and was, until recently, slated to direct the remaining two episodes of the Axanar trilogy.

But that wasn’t the only thing that intrigued me enough to want to bring this new Indiegogo campaign to your attention.

The first thing I noticed about the campaign was the tongue-in-cheek humor.  While some projects take a somewhat light tone here and there, this one is going all-in with comedy.  Lukas even calls himself “a highly qualified un-qualified person” and makes sure to mention that “I am not stupid!”  He even included an illustration to hammer home that point…

Also really funny were some of the perks.  Most of them are serious items of some value, but a few were eye-popping in their obvious outrageousness…

Click to enlarge…

But it wasn’t just the humor that got my attention.  Lukas also made the unusual decision to post his entire script for the short film for all to read (rather than keeping it secret, as most productions to).  And it’s definitely worth reading, folks—I was very impressed.

Also, the short film is a “proof-of-concept” that will apparently lead to a full-length feature…and there is already an offer on the table!

And last but not least, this $25,000 Indiegogo is an all-or-nothing Fixed Goal campaign…meaning it either makes the goal or the production gets nothing (which is usually the caae for Kickstarter).

Fortunately, Lukas has managed to generate almost $9,000 (as I type this) from nearly 100 backers with 23 days still to go.  Needless to say, I asked him about that early success straight away when we chatted…

Continue reading “Get on board the SKY FIGHTER Indiegogo! (interview with LUKAS KENDALL)”

It’s a MIRACLE as THE HOLY CORE finds an ANGEL DONOR!

This is turning out to be a week of VERY good news for Star Trek fan-funded projects!  As I reported yesterday, the Star Trek rock band, The Roddenberries, managed to just reach their $9,500 Kickstarter goal with less than an hour left!  The Romulan War was able to extend their Indiegogo campaign an extra 30 days, and now they’re now nearly 75% of the way to their $10,000 goal.

But by far the most shocking (in a VERY good way!) news came yesterday when writer/director GARY O’BRIEN announced that his newest fan film project, THE HOLY CORE, has been fully funded by a single donor!

At the end of March, the situation wasn’t nearly as rosy for The Holy Core, as their $12,000 Kickstarter (about £8,700) didn’t even reach the half-way point and received nothing.  That was surprising for many of us, as Gary’s previous fan film, Chance Encounter, is considered one of the best ever low-budget Trek fan films.

I spoke to a very disappointed Gary after the failed Kickstarter, asking if he might try an Indiegogo instead (or multiple campaigns) and perhaps make the film in smaller installments.  Gary wasn’t sure what he would do next, and I didn’t want to press him.  Then, a week or so later, Gary told me privately that he might have found funding, but to please keep it under wraps until he knew for certain.

As the weeks went by, things sounded increasingly hopeful.  But I was still asked to hold off sharing anything until the money was “in the bank.”  After all, Murphy’s Law is still a thing.

And then yesterday, it all became official as Gary posted this video…

I asked Gary if this donor had requested to remain anonymous, as the video seems to go to great lengths not to provide a name.  Gary replied…

Actually he hadn’t confirmed either way when I shot the video, so I played it safe and didn’t mention him. However, literally 10 minutes ago, he got back to me and says he’s happy for me to tell people.  So…

He’s ALEXANDER MAYER, and he was the single largest backer of Chance Encounter. He’s about my age and hails from Germany. He’s a big TNG and Voyager fan and likes to back projects he thinks look good. Among others, he has funded Tommy Krafts’ sci-fi film about the Runaway androids (not sure if he funded it all or not though). Other than that, I don’t really have much info.

Well, I for one would like to personally THANK Herr Mayer for his super-generous support of these three fan films!  Hopefully, when fans see the quality of The Holy Core, perhaps they will realize that Star Trek fan films are still a thing worthy of their support and donations.

THE RODDENBERRIES make it to their KICKSTARTER goal at the LAST MOMENT!

If you’ve popped on to the Fan Film Factor “CROWDFUNDING NOW” page over the past two months, you probably noticed the link to the $9,500 Kickstarter for The Roddenberries Star Trek Band Boldly Goes to Album II.

I admit to having been pretty nervous about this one.  After 9 weeks, with only a few days left to go until the final day of May 4, they hadn’t even gotten to the 50% mark.  I saw The Roddenberries in Las Vegas at the 50th Anniversary Star Trek convention, and I thought they were awesome.  I even have a copy of their first album CD sitting right here on my desk.

I felt slightly guilty for having not pushed theur Kickstarter more here on Fan Film Factor.  But I was also trying to spotlight the campaigns for The Holy Core (in March) and then The Romulan War (in April…and still going on).  And with another new Indiegogo being spotlighted later this week, well, I don’t want it to seem like all I do is ask you guys to donate your money!

Anyway, with the clock ticking down, the galaxy’s premiere Star Trekkified, multi-media sci-fi rock cabaret seemed in danger of falling short of their Kickstarter goal and getting zero, zip, zilch, nada.  And having been away from my computer most of the day on their final day Friday and Saturday, I didn’t check their campaign page until Sunday.  I suppose on some subconscious level, I didn’t want to face the frustrating news that they’d failed to reach their goal and got nothing.

When I did finally visit their Kickstarter page last night, I was shocked to find their project successfully FUNDED with $9,745 from 109 backers!  Apparently, according to updates, they reached 60% with just 17 hours left and crossed the 70% mark with just over an hour to go.  Where that final $3,000 came from isn’t clear, but it doesn’t really matter.  The fact is that The Roddenberries made their goal, they get their money, and best of all, fans will soon hear a new album and see a new music video.

And speaking of music videos, let’s all raise a glass of scotch with the band to celebrate this great news.  No pressure…

Visit The Roddenberries website for even more of their great music!

New AXANAR fan comic released!

Last July, AXANAR super-fan TREY McELWAIN released the four-page (including cover) “Trial By Fire,” the first-ever comic story based on the hugely-popular Prelude to Axanar Star Trek fan film.  Trey wrote the comic and his friend DANIEL FU illustrated the story, which looked at a space battle during the Four Years War with the Klingon Empire.

Now, Trey and Daniel offer the first glimpse of their second Axanar fan comic: “Arcanis IV,” which looks at the Klingon sneak attack that launched the long and bloody conflict.  Unlike their first comic, where the three story pages were released all at once, this time Trey and Daniel are releasing the pages as they are completed, about once a month.

Here is the Facebook announcement for the kick-off of the new project…


Bear witness to the very first attack of the “Four Years War”!

An unsuspecting Starfleet caught off guard by a relentless and formidable foe!

Each month, a new page will be presented to continue with the story of “Arcanis IV,” highlighting scenes from “those that didn’t make it back” and the choices and sacrifices Admiral Slater had to make during those first 2 years before Ramirez took command of the fleet.

Then after that, a new comic to continue with the story arc of the “Four Years War,” with cover and pages being presented each and every month (one page per month).

Based off of Prelude to Axanar by Alec Peters
Story by Trey McElwain
Artwork by Daniel Fu

For the HI-DEF versions of these most incredible pieces, make sure you go to the Axanar Comics Website to find them!
https://axanarcomics.wixsite.com/axanarcomics

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