Elementary school kids have a blast filming at STARBASE STUDIOS…and all hell breaks loose in fandom! (part 2)

Read Part 1 of this blog entry if you haven’t already.  Did you do it?  Good.

So it was now a few weeks before Christmas, and VANCE MAJOR was ready to tag out and I was ready to tag in to try to get this compromise settlement for STARBASE STUDIOS to the finish line.  Vance was exhausted, but he got the runners 90% of the way there.  Just a few teensy details left to work out…or so I thought.

Keep in mind, neither Vance nor I is a lawyer.  Instead, we were just trying, as friends, to help SCOTT JOHNSON and KENT EDWARDS work out a way where GLEN L. WOLFE would drop his lawsuit against them, and Starbase Studios could continue without fan filmmakers having to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars to use the Starbase Studios TOS sets.

By the time I tagged in, there was a full legal settlement agreement already written up by Glen’s lawyer, ready for Scott and Kent to sign.  But they still had some issues with it.  One of the biggest was that Scott decided that he didn’t want Glen to own 100% of the Starbase sets.  But he was willing to split them 50/50.  Would Glen agree?  Scott didn’t think so.  And frankly, neither did Vance.

“Look,” I said to Vance, “Maybe he’ll say no, and we’ll be back to square one.  But if Glen says yes, then we’re there!  It’s worth it to at least ask him.”

Vance agreed to make the call.  Five minutes later, I had Glen’s answer…

Continue reading “Elementary school kids have a blast filming at STARBASE STUDIOS…and all hell breaks loose in fandom! (part 2)”

Elementary school kids have a blast filming at STARBASE STUDIOS…and all hell breaks loose in fandom! (part 1)

There’s a lot going on behind the scenes at STARBASE STUDIOS recently, and I’ll get to that in a moment.  But first, you might want to read up on the current situation if you don’t already know about the lawsuit and all of the other drama going on of late.

All right, strap in.  Let’s start with this past weekend when a group of 5th and 6th graders from Parkview Elementary School Music Club got a chance to film a music video project on the amazing TOS sets of Starbase Studios, currently located in Marble Falls, Arkansas.

The field trip was set up by their teacher, KEVIN CROXTON, who had composed the music for THE FEDERATION FILES’ second episode Walking Bear, Running Wolf last summer.  In exchange, Kevin had asked show-runner GLEN L. WOLFE for the opportunity to bring Kevin’s music students (they’re local) to the sets to film a video project.  So this past weekend’s excursion has been planned for nearly 7 months.

And, really, isn’t this what Starbase Studios is all about?  Sets by the fans, for the fans…and even attracting a whole new (next!) generation of young fans.  So what could possibly be wrong with that?

Well…

Continue reading “Elementary school kids have a blast filming at STARBASE STUDIOS…and all hell breaks loose in fandom! (part 1)”

VIC MIGNOGNA posts a special “thank you” video from the sets of STAR TREK CONTINUES

This past Monday evening, STAR TREK CONTINUES show-runner VIC MIGNOGNA posted a very special video onto the STC Facebook page.  Principal photography was completed last February on the final STC episode, “To Boldly Go.”  Shortly thereafter, Vic walked the corridors of the amazing TOS sets on a rainy day in Kingsland, GA, filming himself using a selfie stick as he discussed his feelings about wrapping up the series after nearly six years.

In the background, you can see how the sets are laid out in the warehouse, what some of the Enterprise “walls” look like from the other side, and how close everything was from the edges of the soundstage itself.  They certainly filled that space.

Some of the TNG set pieces on display at the now-closed Hollywood Entertainment Museum

The video shows a quiet and thoughtful moment for Vic, similar to one I experienced several years ago during my final visit to the Star Trek: TNG sets on display at the Hollywood Entertainment Museum.  For several years, I and friends from a local Trek fan club used to give docent tours in uniform once a month before the museum closed its doors forever.  While I can’t completely equate that experience to Vic’s in terms of time commitment and dedication, I still understand a little of how he felt when he made this video.

Everyone else was gone (or so it appears on Vic’s video), and it was a final chance to take in everything this project had meant to him personally for those many years.  Like Vic, I also did my final “set walk” alone.  I stayed there for about 45 minutes in silence (the museum was now closed to the public and we’d been helping get props organized and stowed—I was the last one there).  I sat in Picard’s chair, walked around Worf’s station, stood in the transporter, and took one last look at all the humorous details Mike Okuda had hidden in Geordi’s engineering cutaway of the Enterprise-D: Nomad, an airplane, the rubber duck.  And for no reason whatsoever, I gave one final tour…to no one.  I went through every part of the docent speech my friends and I used to give for the tourists, as I’d long ago memorized every line.  It was just a special moment with the sets…one last time.

And while Vic obviously still has access to his sets, I can imagine how deeply introspective he must have felt when he made this video—and I’m glad he decided to share it with us…

STAR TREK: DISCOVERY just royally PISSED ME OFF!!! (spoiler-filled editorial review)

Did I mention there will be spoilers?  Oh, there WILL be spoilers!

I actually liked the tenth episode of STAR TREK: DISCOVERY…until I hated it.

Well, “hate” is a strong word.  So instead, I’m just gonna go with “totally pissed me off!”

So what was the straw that stuck in my craw?

Was it the underwhelming “surprise” that Ash Tyler is really the Klingon Voq and that there never was any “rape”?  Nah.  I knew he was Voq all along.  Being predictable doesn’t piss me off.

Was it that Ash/Voq killed Dr. Culber…arguably the only character on the ship I was starting to actually like?  No.  That stung, but as I said in a previous blog, I’m not really emotionally invested in any of the characters.  So I got over Culber pretty quickly.

Was it that I still have to wait to say “I told you so!” when we finally learn that Captain Lorca was/is originally from the Mirror Universe?  Not really.  I can wait another week or two for that “surprise” reveal.

Was it the cringe-worthy scene of Tilly’s first attempt at being “Captain Killy”?  No.  I pretty much expected something like that to happen—the inevitable “fish out of water” scene to establish that our civilized folks are gonna find it tough to pretend to be barbarians.  And it wasn’t too bad.  It was even kinda fun and cutesy.

Was it the Mirror Universe uniforms that somehow managed to be even more outrageous than the Starfleet uniforms?  No, I pretty much ignored the glitzy half-vests…right after singing Let’s Do The Time Warp Again when I first saw the Discovery crew wearing them.  Actually, I was more horrified to discover that the Elvis-like Starfleet uniforms on this show include golden soles on the boots!  Who designed their footwear…Usain Bolt???

Was it the lack of banter?  No.  This episode actually had some decent banter for a change.  (When I see/hear banter in an episode, my friends, I freely admit it.)

So why did this episode piss me off so much…and why did it only piss me off at the end?

Continue reading “STAR TREK: DISCOVERY just royally PISSED ME OFF!!! (spoiler-filled editorial review)”

THE FEDERATION FILES releases its third episode “Extraction”! (feature)

Just before the start of the new year, the anthology series THE FEDERATION FILES released its third full episode: “Extraction.”  Produced by GLEN L. WOLFE and DAN REYNOLDS, this episode was written by Glen and features Dan as the captain of the USS Nikita, a dreadnought-class starship.  Glen also appears briefly as a shuttlecraft pilot.

But the cast is much more extensive than that.  The 12-minute fan film features Romulans, a Starfleet bridge crew, shuttlecraft pilots, and a team of TOS-era MACOs.  The episode also features a Starfleet shuttlecraft interior set that took about four weeks to build.  The control console, front view ports, and one panel on the the left side were supplied by JAMES CAWLEY and were used previously for one of the episodes of Star Trek: New Voyages, “The Holiest Thing.”  Glen and Dan built out the rest or the interior, including the iconic lightbox ceiling, and the electronics were custom made by Glen.  The shuttle interior remains standing at Dan’s WARP TV studio in Harrison, Arkansas, available to use in future fan films.

The rest of the episode was filmed both at STARBASE STUDIOS (mostly before the recent controversy) and by a second unit in a rock quarry close to the Harrison studio during a few hours while Romulan make-up was being applied to JIM VON DOLTEREN and ALLYSON MARX back at the studio.  In total, about four days were spent filming all the scenes, mainly during July of last year.

The Federation Files has already released two previous episodes: “His Name Is Mudd” and “Walking Bear, Running Wolf.

Dan reports that he and Glen will soon be choosing one of the remaining ten scripts that Glen has already written to film as their fourth production in The Federation Files anthology series.  Now that Glen has moved to Arkansas, Dan expects them to have a lot more time to brainstorm, write, create, and produce new Star Trek. .

How quickly the next episode gets started and  produced depends on the resolution of the current lawsuit regarding the Starbase Studios sets.  From what I understand, there is some hopeful progress happening in that situation.  I’ll report more as soon as I’m cleared to.

In the meantime, enjoy “Extraction”…

The TOP 10 fan film news stories of 2017

A few days ago, I posted a blog looking back at the MANY fan film news stories I covered on Fan Film Factor over the past year—nearly 75, believe it or not!  (Not bad for a sub-genre that some predicted would be all but extinct by now.)

But what were the fan film news stories from 2017 that had the greatest impact on the world of Star Trek fan films?  Well, guess who just made a Top 10 list of that very thing!

I’m sure some folks won’t agree with all of my selections.  Heck, some of the stories I chose aren’t even directly Star Trek-related.  But hey, everyone’s got opinions, right?  And if you think a different fan film story should have made it onto the list, feel free to tell me in the comments.  (That’s a sneaky way of turning a “Top 10” list into a “Top 10 Plus” list!)

And so, without further ado, here’s the biggest fan film stories of 2017…

Continue reading “The TOP 10 fan film news stories of 2017”

2017 Star Trek fan film YEAR IN REVIEW!

“Why are you even bothering with this blog?” one anonymous poster wrote to me a little over a year ago.  “Star Trek fan films will all be gone soon, even your precious Axanar, and you’ll have nothing left to write about!”

Well, I’m still here…and so are Star Trek fan films!  (And I really hope that anonymous person is reading today’s blog because he wasn’t just wrong; he was VERY wrong!)

2017 was a BIG year for Star Trek fan films…possibly one of THE biggest!  And that’s kinda funny considering how many people told me that the fan film guidelines would spell certain doom for Trek fan films.  Even I thought that at first!

I will admit that, one year ago, things did seem kinda bleak in fan film land.  The Axanar lawsuit was less than a month from trial.  The Axanerds and Axa-detractors were going at it like Hatfields and Dr. McCoys.  The guidelines had been in existence for half a year, and already the long-ruinning Star Trek: New Voyages had halted production, the also-long-running Star Trek: Dark Armada had released its final episode at the end of 2016, Star Trek: Renegades had become Renegades: The Series-that-n0-longer-had-anything-to-do-with-Star-Trek-beyond-all-the-acrtors, and Star Trek Continues had announced their intention to produce only four (as opposed to six) final episodes to complete their fan series.

But I believed in fan films and the people who make them.  I had faith that the genre would continue despite the guidelines—perhaps even because of them (since they now gave Trekkers official permission from the studios to create their own productions…albeit within some overly-strict limits).

And Trek fan films certainly didn’t die!  In fact, they kept me pretty darn busy with news, features, and interviews all year long.  Anyone who believed Trek fan films were on their deathbed at the end of 2016 should join us on this trip down Memory…er…Lane (!) as I take a look back at what fan film news made my blog’s headlines over the past 12 months.

This special post will list the biggest Fan Film Factor news articles for 2017, in order by month, with links to each one of those blog entries if you want to dive in deeper.

And be sure to scroll down to the bottom for a few final words from me about what’s coming in 2018…!

Continue reading “2017 Star Trek fan film YEAR IN REVIEW!”

SETH MacFARLANE’S many STAR TREK fan films!

It’s no secret that the creator of The Orville, SETH MacFARLANE, is a major Trekkie.  He’s said as much in interviews.  But few fans realized that Seth’s preoccupation with our favorite sci-fi franchise went BEYOND simply watching it or collecting stuff or even doing Captain Kirk impressions.  Yep, Seth MacFarlane actually made his own Star Trek fan film!

And no, I’m not talking about The Orville (although many have argued that he’s made a kind of Star Trek “fan film” in creating that show).  I’m talking about an honest-to-goodness amateur Star Trek fan film…where a teenaged Seth sits in the center seat on a home-made bridge set, wearing a do-it-yourself command tunic, barking orders at a friend wearing pointed ears while an AMT model of the refit USS Enterprise—complete with a drooping left nacelle—speeds across a blue screen chroma-keyed with a cheesy black hole space effect.

Here, take a look…

But believe it or not, Seth MacFarlane would go on to have many MORE opportunities to publicly geek out as a Trekkie…from playing James T. Kirk on real TV to hiring Patrick Stewart and even appearing on two actual Star Trek episodes!

Continue reading “SETH MacFARLANE’S many STAR TREK fan films!”

DVDs for STAR TREK CONTINUES? There’s good news and bad news…

Now that all 11 episodes of STAR TREK CONTINUES have been completed and released, the question rings out: Will there be DVD’s available for sale?

Some Trek fans like having DVDs of their favorite fan films, and some productions have obliged.  However, with the guidelines now forbidding the sale or distribution of fan films on DVDs or Blu-rays, most fan producers are opting not to release their episodes on disc except in the rare circumstance where they are given directly only to people who worked on their productions.

However, Star Trek Continues hasn’t exactly been following all of those guidelines.  So the question of whether they will continue that philosophy and release DVDs anyway is certainly a fair one to ask.

And now STC has answered.  In an e-mail sent out Saturday, executive producer VIC MIGNOGNA said the following:

Thousands of you have been asking for years if our series would ever be available on DVD & Blu-ray. Because there is significant cost in having discs and artwork pressed & packaged, it’s not feasible for us to make physical discs since we cannot sell them. That’s the bad news….
 
Now for the good news.  From the cast & crew of STC, our Christmas present to all of you is this: ISO image files (files in the .iso format) of all four volumes (and all 11 episodes) of our series are now available for free download on our website at so you can burn your own DVDs & Blu-ray discs:

www.startrekcontinues.com/downloads.html
 
You can also download the artwork inserts & disc art for all four volumes for free as well!
 
But that’s not all! We have made available the full-sized 24”x36” posters of all 11 episodes for free, including a custom STC poster I created which is displayed in this newsletter. [See the image at the top of this blog -Jonathan] All of our final shooting scripts can be downloaded as well.
 
But that’s not all! Many of you have asked about the original music that has been composed & produced for STC. We are releasing all of that music for free download, as well as the artwork and disc art for “The Music Of Star Trek Continues.”
 
So let’s recap:

  • DVD & Blu-ray disc .iso files for all four volumes (all 11 episodes) of STAR TREK CONTINUES
  • Artwork inserts and disc art for all four volumes
  • The official posters from all 11 episodes, full-sized and ready to print
  • “The Music Of Star Trek Continues” CD file download
  • Artwork for the music CD case insert and disc
  • All 11 STC shooting scripts in .pdf format 

All for free!
 
Merry Christmas from STC!

Potemkin Pictures’ TRITON production crew releases its FIRST fan film: “New Orders”!

POTEMKIN PICTURES holds a truly unique distinction in the world of Star Trek fan films.  After several years of producing three dozen episodes of the fan series Project: Potemkin, the production company branched out to launch additional fan series: Starship Deimos, Starship Tristan, and Battlecruiser Kupok.  And this past July, the first episode premiered focusing on the crew of the USS Endeavour.

Overseeing these various series is RANDALL LANDERS, who began shooting Project: Potemkin back in 2010 in Albany, Georgia (here’s a great interview with him) and then moved to Pelham, Alabama, where he currently lives.  Randy serves as executive producer and edits just about all of the episodes.  He also directs some of the episodes, provides the occasional story and/or script, sound effects, and even makes the rare appearance in front of the camera.

Randy and his team are a fan film-making MACHINE!  For years, there was something new released from Potemkin Pictures at least once every month or two!  But things have slowed down recently.  Their last offering, an episode of the Klingon-based series Battlecruiser Kupok, was released at the end of August.   In the three and a half months since, we’ve seen nothing from any of the Potemkin series.

Then, late last week, there was a fan film release from a brand new Potemkin Pictures production crew: TRITON.  With the fan film guidelines now nixing ongoing fan series, this new offering is not called Starship Triton but rather is simply credited to the “Triton Production Crew.”  But one would assume that, like the other series, it will focus on the missions and crew of a single starship.

While most Trek fan films are set in TOS, TNG, or NX-01 periods, all of the Potemkin Pictures series (I mean “production crew projects”) are set in a time after Star Trek VI and before TNG.  This latest production focuses on Commander Janice Rand, recently reassigned from the USS Excelsior where she served with Captain Sulu.  Somewhat unavoidably—considering where the new series is filmed (Alabama)—Rand has developed a distinctive southern drawl.  But if you can get past that, this looks like a promising new fan series…even if we can’t call it a fan series.

You can access the entire nearly FIVE DOZEN fan films released thus far by Potemkin Pictures at their website.

And here is the first offering from the Triton Production Crew: “New Orders”…