STARSHIP TRISTAN Creative Group releases their 12th fan film: “PRIDE AND PREJUDICE”!

Last week, I announced the release of the eleventh fan film, “Sepulchre,”  from the STARSHIP TRISTAN Creative Group from POTEMKIN PICTURES.  I noted that the previous tenth release had come out seven months earlier.  But now, the new twelfth release, “Pride and Prejudice,” has followed only ONE WEEK after the eleventh.  What gives?

I decided to go to the source and ask show-runner RANDY LANDERS.  I was quite surprised to learn the answer:

Back in August, I had a quadruple bypass which delayed post production on a number of our short films. We have never before held back releases, in fact, but we actually are this ti me.  We released “Sepulchre” as soon as it was ready, then released the follow-up “Pride and Prejudice” a week later.  “Pride and Prejudice” was actually ready for release in January.  For the same reason, we’re holding up the release of “Shattered Sky” (a Deimos film) until we finish up and release “Prodigal Daughter.”

It’s quite possible we will have four releases in March!

I asked Randy how he was doing after the bypass.  (My own father had a double bypass about three years ago and is still going strong).

I’m doing great. You can quote me, and report that two productions were filmed without me (“New Orders,” which was directed by Jason Furman, and “Sepulchre” which was directed by Lee Drew).  And “Pride and Prejudice” was directed by Christin Woods [who plays T’Noshi  -Jonathan] relieving me of that concern as well. I’m very proud of the work they did to get these productions completed.

I should also mention that this latest episode from the Tristan folk was written by WILLIAM C. SEARCY, who plays the fan-favorite character of the half-Vulcan Dr. Skep Anderson.

So please enjoy the second Potemkin Pictures fan film release in two weeks, “Pride and Prejudice”…


R.I.P. – STEPHEN HAWKING (1942 -2018)

I suppose I could cite the Star Trek connection: PROFESSOR STEPHEN WILLIAM HAWKING was the only person to ever play himself on an episode of any Star Trek series when he appeared in a Holodeck simulation at the beginning of TNG‘s “Descent, Part 1” in 1993.

But I would have dimmed the lights of Fan Film Factor regardless of Hawking’s appearance on Trek because…well…because we was Stephen Frickin’ Hawking, dammit!  He was cool.  He was a rock star.  He was almost impossible.

What I mean by that is Stephen Hawking should never have happened.  His disease—amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)—is a cruel killer.  It takes away your body while it leaves your mind trapped inside.  By all predictions of his doctors back in 1963 when he was first diagnosed, Hawking’s expected lifespan was optimistically two years.  By all rights, Stephen Hawking should have been long dead before the first episode of Star Trek ever aired in 1966.  But as we all know, that never happened.

Instead, this hyper-brilliant man found a way to live on for more than FIVE decades beyond his original death sentence.  But he didn’t just live—that would have certainly been miracle enough—but he thrived.  He taught, researched, wrote books, toured and lectured, and became quite the media celebrity.  Hawking opened up the wonders of the universe and science to so many who—like me—had absolutely no idea whatsoever what the heck he was taking about!  (Yeah, I tried to read a Brief History of Time.  I even began my time at Cornell University in 1985 as a physics major.  That didn’t last.  But my love and respect for science lived on.)

Hawking made science and nerdiness seem somehow cool…which was really odd, if you think about it.  Even without the wheelchair and the debilitating motor neurone disease, Hawking still looked like a complete Poindexter…the kind of guy who would have his lunch money taken on a regular basis by bullies who would leave his underwear stretched up to his shoulders.  Add in the monotone computer-synthesized voice, and this guy was sure to be picked on relentlessly by the knuckle-draggers of the world.

Except he wasn’t.

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STARSHIP TRISTAN Creative Group releases their 11th fan film: “SEPULCHRE”!

The nice folks at POTEMKIN PICTURES now have five different Trek fan production teams producing new fan films, two teams with new series in post-production, and of course the completed series that started it all: PROJECT: POTEMKIN (with three dozen episodes).  You can watch everything from Potemkin Pictures on their website.

The first fan series to spin off from Project: Potemkin was STARSHIP TRISTAN, filmed in Pelham, Alabama where show-runner RANDY LANDERS is based.  It debuted in December of 2015, but six months later, the fan film guidelines prohibited ongoing fan series.  So Starship Tristan simply dropped their fan series name and began naming each new release with the title of that particular “episode.”

Their latest offering is a fan film called “Sepulchre” which runs ten and a half minutes.  Set in the post-TOS-movie-era, the series has built its own somewhat cramped bridge set and uses simplified long-sleeve shirts for uniforms.  But if you’re watching these productions for their big-budget quality, then you probably want Star Trek Continues down the hall.  These folks are more about the story, and this latest story is pretty decent.  In fact, if lengthened out and developed a little more, I could imagine “Sepulchre” easily being an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Although the first ten episodes of this fan-series-that-is-not-to-be-called-a-fan-series were released about once every 1 to 3 months, it’s actually been 7 months since the last new Tristan fan film.   However, in that time, there has been an interesting change that I noted.  Previously, all new releases were credited to the “Tristan Production Crew” or the “Potemkin Creative Team”—not really wanting to call too much undue attention to the previous fan series name.  Now the opening credits say “Produced by the STARSHIP TRISTAN Creative Group.”  Big step forward, in my opinion.  With luck, CBS won’t bat an eyelash.

And now, please enjoy Tristan’s latest fan production, “Sepulchre”…

Has the ANTI-AXANAR “vendetta” finally gotten RIDICULOUS?

Actually, I think the AXANAR detractors have been pretty ridiculous for quite some time now.  In fact, one Axanar supporter told me recently, “Y’know, if Alec Peters goes to take a leak in a restaurant, someone from one of the hater groups is gonna follow him in to see if there’s any piss left on the toilet seat.  Then Carlos Pedraza will write a blog about how Alec has no respect for janitors!”

What a great image to begin a blog with, huh?  Well, it seems that the Axanar detractors are stooping nearly that low (if they haven’t already surpassed it) in their latest efforts to try to embarrass and sabotage their favorite target of ridicule, Alec Peters.

While I usually ignore the day-to-day antics of the Axanar detractors, every so often something pops up that just leaves me scratching my head.  And let me tell ya, my scalp was itching like crazy when I saw a recent Facebook IM conversation that recently went on between Axamonitor blogger Carlos Pedraza and the assistant of Tony Cade.

But before I show it to you, there’s a quick bit of background you need to know first…like who the heck is Tony Cade???

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Why you ABSOLUTELY should DONATE to this KICKSTARTER for THE HOLY CORE (from the makers of CHANCE ENCOUNTER)!

One of my favorite Star Trek fan films is CHANCE ENCOUNTER, co-written by PAUL LAIGHT and GARY O’BRIEN, and directed by Gary.  This 20-minute, TNG-era fan film was a perfectly-acted love story with wonderful music, tight editing, very nice costumes and uniforms, and even some physical TNG-era sets.  Usually for this era, fan films just shoot actors in front of green screens and composite in the complex 24th century starship interiors as background images.  But these guys built an actual shuttlepod cockpit and turbolift set.

It’s been over a year since Chance Encounter debuted, funded with the help of a Kickstarter campaign that raised £1,862 (about $2,700).  Since then, many fans have wondered when we might see another fan production from this team.  The answer was revealed last Thursday when Gary and Paul launched a new Kickstarter for their second project: THE HOLY CORE.


This time, they’re trying to raise £8,700 (approximately $12,000) for a much more ambitious production.  This one will be 30-minutes long, following the fan film guidelines and split into two 15-minute parts.  Once again, there will be physical sets, this time augmented by CGI backgrounds.  Here’s a test shot that appears on their Kickstarter video:

And that’s just a TEST…wait’ll they shoot the real film!!!

And for anyone wondering if this’ll be just another love story disguised as a Star Trek: TNG episode, the answer is no.  This time, things will be much more fast-paced and filled with deep ethical and moral questions.  The crew of the USS Vigilance, a Nebula-class starship, has a mission to help the inhabitants of the planet Vita II.  But things aren’t as they first appear, and the crew must wrestle with the difficult topics of faith, science, sacrifice, and destiny itself.

Assuming Gary and Paul reach their goal (they are already 15% of the way there after just five days…including $175 from me), they intend to release the completed fan film next February or March.  I’d really like to see that happen, folks

As such, I’ll be publishing reminders about this Kickstarter over the next three and a half weeks, and I hope you’ll join me in both donating and spreading the word.  This one is really worth it!

And now, here’s a message from show-runners Gary O’Brien and Paul Laight…

Continue reading “Why you ABSOLUTELY should DONATE to this KICKSTARTER for THE HOLY CORE (from the makers of CHANCE ENCOUNTER)!”

Continuing drama for STARBASE STUDIOS…and my departure

Sometimes no good deed goes unpunished.  When last I reported on STARBASE STUDIOS, things looked like they would finally work out.  An agreement that had been in negotiation for three arduous months had finally been agreed to and signed by all parties. The Starbase Studios lawsuit filed by Glen Wolfe was dropped, and it seemed like things could return to normal.

The new owners of the sets would be GLEN WOLFE (50%), SCOTT JOHNSON (25%), and GLENN MILLER (25%).  KENT EDWARDS would no longer own any part of the sets but would continue to be involved with Starbase Studios, LLC, and working with fan filmmakers.

Although the sets would remain in their current location in Marble Falls, Arkansas until the end of this year, after that, plans were that they would be moved into a fantastic new building with heat, A/C, electrical, and best of all, bathrooms!  Free rent would be provided by the building’s owners, Glen Wolfe and his wife, and fan productions going through Starbase Studios would be able to continue using the sets essentially for free.  It was looking like Starbase Studios had gotten through the rough waters and emerged safely on the other side of the river.

Yeah, well, don’t get out of the boat just yet, folks…

Continue reading “Continuing drama for STARBASE STUDIOS…and my departure”

The latest AXANAR NEWS!

Last October, it was announced that Marvel Comics writer PAUL JENKINS would be joining ALEC PETERS as co-writer of the 2-part Axanar fan film allowed by the settlement with CBS and Paramount.  I interviewed Paul shortly thereafter, and you’re welcome to read what he had to say here.

But then Axanar went pretty quiet over the holiday season and through the entire month of January.  But last week, Alec posted a flurry of updates, and suddenly I’ve got LOTS to report on!

If you regularly visit the website, chances are you already know most of what I’m about to tell you.  In fact, I’ll be taking a lot of the updates verbatim from there.  But since not all my readers go there, I’ll be providing all of the updates here in one convenient blog post.

So let’s jump right in…

Continue reading “The latest AXANAR NEWS!”

INTREPID releases their TWELFTH fan film: “THE STORY”

My favorite Scottish Trek fan series (well, the ONLY Scottish Trek fan series that I’m aware of) has finally reached an even dozen fan film releases.  This is even more amazing when you consider that STAR TREK: INTREPID released its very first fan production waaaaaaaay back in 2006 (a dozen years ago) but actually began working on that first episode as far back as 2003!  (And yeah, I’m working on a “History of Star Trek: Intrepid” blog with show-runner NICK J. COOK right now.  Look for it soon.)

Aside from the awesome accents (I love a good Scottish brogue), one of the best things about this series, making it stand out from so many American Trek fan films and series, is the wonderful scenery that Intrepid features whenever they shoot on location.  This latest episode, “The Story,” is no exception, with most of it filmed in what Nick Cook says is “…an old Limekiln in a place called Boddin Point.”  (Whatever a limekiln is!)  “It’s technically an unsafe building,” Nick continues, “because it’s quite badly eroded into the sea.  But we like to live dangerously.”

You can watch the previous eleven Intrepid episodes here on this YouTube page.

And now, please enjoy the latest offering from that magical place that brought the world the sports of both Golf and Curling, the Loch Ness Monster, and the first and best James Bond…

Coming next week: the first-ever AXANAR SHORT STORY written by…me!

Yes, folks, I wrote an Axanar short story…and you’ll get to read it in just one more week!

Inspiration hit last spring when another Axanar super-fan, Trey McElwain from Texas, announced that he would be releasing a three-page (plus cover) original Axanar comic book story.  I interviewed Trey back in June (read it here) and was really excited to see the finished product…which would debut in July.  But I also thought about how much fun it would be to write an Axanar comic book myself.

The first thing I needed to decide is what the story would be about.  Space battles with Starfleet fighting the Klingons seemed obvious…perhaps too obvious.  After all, Prelude to Axanar had already given us quite a bit of starship combat, and so had Trey’s Axanar comic book.  I didn’t want to simply do more of the same.

To me, the most interesting aspects of the Axanar tapestry were the characters themselves and also the world of the Federation a short 20 years before Captain Kirk’s five-year mission.  At the time, I hadn’t seen the script for the full Axanar feature or the two 15-minutes “mockumentary-style” fan films being planned.  So I didn’t really know what I could and couldn’t do with the characters…even if I set the story during the events of Prelude.

So that left the world of 2245 and where the United Federation of Planets was at that point in its history.  Yes, there was a four-year-long war with the Klingons going on.  But for me, there was something even more significant, and it all came from a single line from Prelude

Continue reading “Coming next week: the first-ever AXANAR SHORT STORY written by…me!”

The first-ever ORVILLE fan film!

Yeah, I know I concentrate mainly on Star Trek fan films here, but seeing how this ORVILLE fan film was the work of VANCE MAJOR, I can make an exception.

As you’ll remember from previous blogs, Vance wrote, produced, appeared in, and in many cases directed nearly THREE DOZEN Trek fan films following the life and adventures of Starfleet officer Erick Minard.  And although Vance is stepping away from Trek fan films after having completed the multi-episodic Minard saga, he still apparently had one more fan project left in him…this time in The Orville universe.

The challenge with doing an Orville fan film, of course, is that the Planetary Union uniforms are twice as expensive (about $100-150) as the cheaper Halloween costumes available for Star Trek TOS and TNG/DS9/VOY-era uniforms.  And sets from the Orville are also very elaborate and not easily constructed.

Vance “solved” both of these problems.  For the uniforms, he simply didn’t bother.  He created a story in which the main character (Derek Minard…yeah, cute idea) is communicating from his quarters, apparently while off-duty and dressed in more leisurely wear.  As for the sets, a little green screen compositing can go a long way to making something look like it’s taking place on a futuristic spacecraft.  Throw in some original music by Vance’s close friend Dan T. Hawkins, and you’ve got yourself a short fan film.

The total run time is under nine minutes, even though Fox has no  guidelines limiting the length of a fan film the way CBS does.  Vance simply needed nine minutes to tell the story he wanted to.

And so the first Orville fan film “flag” is planted, and Vance Major now gets to be a footnote in Orville history.  Will other Orville fan films follow?  I hope so—although good luck on that Bortus make-up!  And will Fox decide to issue guidelines of their own?  Considering that Disney just acquired Fox, and the only fan film guidelines issued for Star Wars (which Disney also now owns) are simply for eligibility in their annual fan film awards competition, one would highly doubt it.  Also, Orville creator Seth MacFarlane is not exactly a stranger to fan films himself!

Anyway, enjoy the first-ever Orville fan film: THE MARIANA’S TRENCH, compliments of the now-legendary Vance Major…