INTERLUDE update: logos and patches and plaques, oh my!

It’s time for another look behind the INTERLUDE curtain, my friends! Last week, I showed you the secret origin of the photo of the Golden Gate Bridge that will appear behind Admiral Slater for about 20 seconds at the end of the fan film. This week, I’m going to shine the spotlight on how we came up with the ship’s logo for the USS Artemis. The process was much more involved than I thought it would be!

Our story begins over a year ago before Interlude was ever going to be a fan FILM and was simply going to be a fan COMIC BOOK. It was time for my illustrator, the amazingly talented DANIEL FU, to draw Captain Imari Jakande of the USS Artemis for the first time, and he needed to know what kind of insignia to put on his chest.

Hmmm…

By this point, three of the Ares-class starships had logos designed for them: Ajax, Ares, and Hercules:

They each featured some kind of weapon (I consider a lightning bolt thrown by a super-strong demi-god to be a weapon). So what kind of weapon was Artemis known for? Well, as goddess of the hunt, she was often depicted with a bow and arrow. The problem was, bows and arrows are very thin and don’t typically have enough room to fit a command star symbol in the center…let alone a sciences planet or an engineering comet.

But Daniel did a little research to discover that Artemis was also the goddess of the moon. Sure, the moon isn’t a weapon (usually), but it’s still a nice celestial outer space thingie. So I gave Daniel a green light to do a moonish insignia. Here’s what he came up with:

As I said, this was long before Interlude the fan film became a possibility. But once it did, I realized that we were going to need an insignia for the USS Artemis tunics in the film…and suddenly there was a problem again. (Isn’t there always in these blogs?)

Continue reading “INTERLUDE update: logos and patches and plaques, oh my!”

Star Trek FAN FILMS are most certainly NOT DEAD…here’s what’s coming down the pike!

No, not THAT Pike! But if you know one of those crazy people who keeps saying that Star Trek fan films are “dead” or that the guidelines or the Axanar lawsuit “destroyed” Trek fan films forever…well, it’s time for a little reality check!

Not only are Star Trek fan films alive and thriving, but we’re about to be inundated with new major productions at all levels of funding ranging from pocket-change to six-figure budgets.

The past year has already been loaded with a plethora of new fan film releases: Galaxy Hopper, Galactic Battles, Temporal Anomaly, Avalon Lost, The Fighting Fourth, Last Survivor, Diplomatic Relations, Desperate Gambit, The Holy Core, Dreadnought Dominion, All Ahead Full, Children of Eberus, The Looking Glass, Confrontations, To Have Boldly Gone, Repercussions, Stunt Doubles, and the just-released Line of Duty. And those are just the ones I’ve covered here on Fan Film Factor! Check out the Star Trek Reviewed blog for a ridiculously more detailed list including all of the smaller fan productions that I don’t usually have a chance to get to.

But you ain’t seen nuthin‘ yet!

Within the next six months, a host of exciting NEW Star Trek fan films are scheduled for release onto YouTube—some of them eagerly anticipated. Last week, I reached out to some prominent fan filmmakers to get updates on their productions and when fans will get a chance to finally see them.

Here’s just some of what you can look forward to in the very near future…

Continue reading “Star Trek FAN FILMS are most certainly NOT DEAD…here’s what’s coming down the pike!”

How I spent my first crowd-funded $12 on INTERLUDE…

As filming dates rapidly approach, things are getting really exciting for both AXANAR and INTERLUDE! And while ALEC PETERS updates everyone on the progress of his fan film, I’m going to write a series of blogs about the happenings on the Interlude side of the fence…since it’s a really fascinating journey we’re on. I want to share that journey with all of you as much as I can; that’s what blogging is all about!

I’m not planning to write a blog whenever I pay for something for my fan film. But your first time is always special, and I wanted to tell you about it.

But first, I’d like to share a another special moment that came at 12:16am on June 23, 2019—12 days after I’d launched my crowd-funding campaign for Interlude. I received what was to be the first of nearly 100 daily e-mails from GoFundMe…

Wow. Just…wow.

It’d taken me a couple of weeks to get my bank account properly linked to my GoFundMe account. But truth to tell, I hadn’t realized that GoFundMe gives you the money each night just after midnight for any donations your campaign receives that day. Honestly, I wasn’t sure how they did it, but getting money transferred each night at midnight felt like having elves or leprechauns visit and leave money behind! Some days, I’d receive less than $10 while other days would see deposits into the hundreds or even thousands of dollars! For for three months, those “Your money is on the way” e-mails appeared almost every night. It was soooo weird.

Anyway, I let that money accrue, and the balance in my bank account just kept growing. As of the beginning of September, my account balance was over $19,000. (This is a separate bank account set up for the campaign, not our main joint account.)

But then came the moment that I knew was inevitable. After watching the money only go INTO the account for three months, I was finally going to have to make my first payment FROM that account. And even though, as executive producer, I’ve always known I was going to have to one day start spending those crowd-funded dollars, it still felt weird…and a little scary! After all, once money is spent, it doesn’t come back without more crowd-funding. And I gave donors a very specific budget.

To make things even more scary, my first expense was completely unplanned for and unbudgeted. (See? I toldja we’d forget something! That’s why we need contingency.) Fortunately, the unexpected expense was (this first time) was only twelve bucks…

So what cost us just $12? Glad you asked…

Continue reading “How I spent my first crowd-funded $12 on INTERLUDE…”

AXANAR video update posted…with ALEC PETERS and PAUL JENKINS!

I’m sure some folks are thinking, “For the love of Spock, Lane! ANOTHER update on AXANAR??? Just make the damn movie already!”

Actually, one of my readers posted a comment last week during the previous Axanar update, asking the following question: “Isn’t the finished product the important thing?” Well, yes and no…

Obviously, we all want a really awesome Axanar fan film—so the finished product is certainly an important thing. But so is the JOURNEY in getting there.

It’s been a long road, getting from there to here with Axanar. A lot of time, money (!!!), and patience has gone into this project…along with copious amounts of hard work, support, team effort, and faith in the dream against all odds. Axafans and Axanerds have been waiting years for the moment when production finally begins again…ever since the lawsuit shut everything down six weeks before cameras were set to start rolling in February of 2016.

But now all the hard work, patience, and planning is coming together. This is where the fun begins, Saavik.

So please indulge me if I get caught up in the excitement. And for anyone wondering why I don’t give this sort of coverage to other fan productions—I actually do…when they have it. I’ve covered pre-release updates on Temporal Anomaly, First Frontier, The Romulan War, The Holy Core, The Constar Chronicles, and other fan projects, each using information, interviews, photos and footage they supplied to me. It just so happens that ALEC PETERS is posting a LOT of content and updates these past few weeks…so I cover it!

(I’ll also be features Interlude updates over the coming weeks and months, as I can supply myself with lots of content, too.)

Anyway, this week’s Axanar Production Update is a quick and energetic 10-minute video that features Alec talking with Axanar director PAUL JENKINS. Some folks wondered if Paul had walked away from the project because his name wasn’t included in the recent Axanar press coverage that made it to some news outlets in the Atlanta area. But that was only a small oversight. Paul is still very much involved, and his enthusiasm for the project and his camaraderie with Alec are very evident in the video.

See for yourself…

R.I.P. ARON (“Nog”) EISENBERG – 1969 to 2019

ARON EISENBERG, the actor who played Quark’s Ferengi nephew and Rom’s son Nog on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, passed away suddenly on Saturday having been taken to the hospital in critical condition. He was only 50 years old…survived by his two sons, Nicholas Lawrence Eisenberg and Christopher Eisenberg, and his recently-married wife Malíssa Longo (the hyperlink is to her announcement of Aron’s passing).

At times like these, people tend to talk about how the recently deceased touched their life or recall a personal encounter with them or simply say what a great person they were.

Although Aron didn’t touch my life in any way other than portraying a wonderful character for seven seasons of my favorite Star Trek series, that character was still an inspiration to me and many others. At first, I never really cared much for Nog. He seemed troublesome and headed nowhere, bringing his friend Jake Sisko down and potentially screwing up what was obviously a brilliant Starfleet career awaiting the son of the station’s Commander.

But then, slowly but ever-so-surely, Nog began to turn his life around. While Jake became less certain about his future following in his father’s footsteps, Nog became determined NOT to follow in his father’s footsteps and instead worked hard and earned his way into Starfleet Academy. The young Ferengi officer who emerged bore no more resemblance to how Nog started out than a tribble does to a targ. And yet, he was always Nog.

Now, I realize that Nog’s character arc was mostly due to the words written for him by the producers and writers, but Aron brought those words to life and made them (and Nog) real and believable to Trekkers and fans around the world. Who knows how many people, feeling aimless and trapped in their own lives, were inspired by Nog’s journey from bar-worker to Starfleet cadet to the first Ferengi Starfleet officer. In that way, I’m certain Aron touched many fans’ lives through his portrayal of Nog.

But fans also touched Aron’s life. In fact, we helped save it…

Continue reading “R.I.P. ARON (“Nog”) EISENBERG – 1969 to 2019″

Even more AXANAR news!

It’s a FANtastic time to be an AXANAR supporter…with big news and updates coming fast and furiously now. It’s creating a feeling of excitement and electricity throughout the community. Meanwhile, the detractors are rapidly running out of things to complain about! (Seriously. After perk packets began arriving in mailboxes this week, the folks on the Axamonitor Facebook group were reduced to making fun of a single typo in the perk letter from ALEC PETERS and suggesting that they should all burn their perk patches. So yeah, lots to be proud of over there.)

Meanwhile, back on the side of goodness and light…

With only two weeks until filming begins on the first Axanar shoot in Lawrenceville, GA on the bridge of the USS Ares (plus recording of the audio version of the full Axanar script), all the pieces are rapidly coming together. In the last few months, a LOT has been happening behind the scenes, and now fans are beginning to see what’s been taking so long.

A fair amount of Axanar news was revealed in my audio interview with Alec Peters last week. But already there’s even MORE news to share! Most of that news came out last night during the first new Axanar Confidential podcast in three and a half weeks. I’ll include that video at the end of this article.

But for those of you who want the highlights, here’s what we now know that we didn’t before…

Continue reading “Even more AXANAR news!”

POTEMKIN is now in LEXINGTON (Kentucky) and invites locals to a PRE-PRODUCTION meeting October 26!

The eagle has landed…or more precisely, the LANDERS have landed. I refer, of course, to RANDY LANDERS, the show-runner of POTEMKIN PICTURES, and his wife. Mrs. R. recently got a new job in a new state, and so the two of them have just moved from Pelham, Alabama, about six hours away to Lexington, Kentucky. And they took a half-dozen starships with them!

Those starships are, of course, the many elaborate sets used to film a plethora of fan series including Starship Tristan, Starship Deimos, Starship Endeavour, Hospital Ship Marie Curie, Starship Triton, and Battlecruiser Kupok…plus a half-completed full-size “shuttlecoupe.” You can view all of the several dozen fan films released during the past almost-decade by Potemkin Pictures here on their website.

Over the years, there’s been a lot of Star Trek fan film-making in the southeastern U.S.—including in Georgia (Star Trek Continues), Alabama (Potemkin), North Carolina (Dreadnought Dominion), Tennessee (The Romulan War(s)), and Arkansas (Federation Files and Avalon). But to my knowledge, Kentucky has never before been the home to a significant Trek fan film production…which is surprising because Kentucky (and specifically the Lexington area) is Shatner horse country!

But that’s about to change in a big way, as not only is Randy Landers bringing his sets with him with plans to continue his existing fan projects, but he also intends to launch a NEW fan series featuring local area residents as actors and production crew!

So if you or someone you know live(s) in or around Lexington, Kentucky and want(s) to be part of an established fan filmmaking, er, enterprise (Enterprise, Potemkin, Lexington…this blog is becoming a fleet!) and get in on the ground floor of a new fan series, check out the following announcement and invitation from Randy Landers to attend a Pre-Production Meeting on Saturday, October 26th from 10:00AM until 11:30AM at the Tates Creek branch of the Lexington Public Library in Lexington, KY…

Continue reading “POTEMKIN is now in LEXINGTON (Kentucky) and invites locals to a PRE-PRODUCTION meeting October 26!”

Major AXANAR update! (audio interview with ALEC PETERS)

Believe it or not, it’s been nearly three months since my last blog update on the status of the AXANAR sequels. But that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been a TON of stuff going on!

For those folks who have been watching the regular updates by ALEC PETERS on the (usually) weekly “Axanar Confidential” YouTube podcast, you know a lot of the exciting things that have been happening lately…including the fact that the first official shoot for the two Axanar sequels is scheduled for October 4-6! This will include J.G. HERTZLER flying down to Georgia to appear as Sam Travis. Scenes will be filmed on the USS Ares bridge set along with green screen scenes and recording the audio drama version of the full Axanar script.

But for all of those recent updates, I still had a few unanswered questions for Alec—things like…

  • If this production is going to cost $150K-$200K (as Alec has estimated previously), then when is he planning to start raising private donations from backers…and who has been paying for things up till now?
  • Is KATE VERNON going to appear in the Axanar sequels?
  • Who else has been brought onto the project and in what roles (both actors and production crew)?
  • How close is the bridge to being finished—and will it be ready in time for October’s shoot?
  • How many other shoots are planned, and where and when will they be happening?

So with these and other questions floating around in my head, I decided this might be a good time to interview Alec. We set up a phone call for last Friday evening, but naturally, he was late because he had to rescue a dog. And so we had to reschedule. (Yes, I’m serious.) So we chatted a couple days later, and I’ve just finished editing the sound file…which—I am certain will not surprise anyone—includes the sound of dog barks in the background.

So please enjoy the latest Axanar update with Alec Peters (woof!)…

INTERLUDE hits its goal of $19,500 on STAR TREK’s anniversary!

I feel overwhelmed right now, deeply touched, humbled, and just a little bit verklempt.

A few hours ago, during the 53rd anniversary of the debut of Star Trek on NBC, the GoFundMe campaign for my Axanar Universe fan film INTERLUDE reached its goal of $19,500. It was an amazing feeling…especially as the donation that got us there was for an incredibly-generous $500. Earlier in the day, another donor had brought us to exactly $19,000 with a $28 donation. That kind of support and belief in our team and me means more than I can put into words.

The backer who pushed us into the end zone was SHANE FREUND, an Axanar supporter who had also donated to Interlude a few weeks previously. Along with yesterday’s donation came this message:

On the anniversary of Star Trek, I wanted to help you reach your goal because having the courage to take a risk is what Star Trek is all about.

I thought about that statement for a few minutes. In my mind, Star Trek is about a lot of things: tolerance, empathy, inclusiveness, loyalty, duty, honesty, a desire to explore and discover, hope for the future, and a willingness to help others to make things better. And yes, Star Trek is also about taking chances and believing in yourself, in the abilities of your friends and crew, and even believing in luck and your ability to beat the odds.

I grew up in the 1970s watching scenes like this over and over in reruns…

And when you think about it, taking a chance and beating the odds is also what crowd-funding is all about. You put yourself out there and hope that your friends (and crew…and a bunch of strangers) will come through and help you out.

Of course, successfully crowd-funding a project (or a dream) does require a lot of work . Campaigns don’t just fund themselves. But it all comes down to one game-changing word: CAN. “I can.” “You can.” “We can.” Those are among the most powerful sentences in the English language.

And do you know what the other most powerful sentences are? “I can’t.” “We can’t.” “You can’t.”

I mention this because I’ve spent this entire GoFundMe campaign these past three months trying my darnedest to ignore the almost constant drip-drop of negativity from many, many members of the Axamonitor Facebook group. Even when some fair-minded folks over there tried to be supportive of me and my project, others would make comments like this…

Continue reading “INTERLUDE hits its goal of $19,500 on STAR TREK’s anniversary!”

COZMO’S Kickstarter needs $32,284 in the next week…or else!

Kickstarter is a harsh mistress. Since its inception in April of 2009, Kickstarter has held to one simple rule that has confounded, frustrated, and in some cases terrified crowd-fund organizers:

If your campaign doesn’t reach its goal, you get nothing.

So why risk using Kickstarter when other crowd-funding platforms like Indiegogo and GoFundMe allow campaigns to keep all donations made—even if a goal is not reached?

The simple answer is that Kickstarter campaigns, on average, take in about 2.35 times as much as Indiegogo campaigns (and way more than GoFundMe’s). Perhaps this disparity is because Kickstarter backers feel more confident that a project they support will happen rather than fearing their donation night disappear into a crowd-funding black hole if a campaign comes up far short of its goal. Or maybe it’s because Kickstarter does more marketing, has more site visitors, or simply has a better reputation in general for more high-quality projects than other services. Likewise, the same article linked to above says that conversion rates are 3x-4x higher for Kickstarter campaigns than for Indiegogo.

Whatever the reason, Kickstarter has the greater potential payoff, just with an increased risk of getting nothing. Because of this, determining the right amount to set as a goal on Kickstarter is critical. Ask for too much and fail to get there, and you’ve just wasted months of work. Ask for too little, and you might make your goal but wind up with less than you really need.

This was the dilemma facing the folks making episode 2 of COZMO’S (the same folks who made s Star Trek: Renegades and the two-part Renegades: “The Requiem”). They need $100K to make this film, and so that’s what they asked for. And with a week left, their campaign is doing pretty well. So far, 341 backers have pledged more than $67K (including two $10K donors!) to bring them 2/3 of the way there.

But with only seven days left, it’s gonna be a nail-biter!

The producers recently sent out an update reminding folks that episode 2 and beyond will be more serious than the pilot:

Though we understand that the pilot may have been a bit too much on the slapstick side, we wanted to point out that it was directed by Animal House alum, Stephen Furst. He had put his own twist on things, as Hollywood directors often do. Then again, The Orville started out as a comedy and has now pulled back those strings to become more of a Star Trek drama, which most people are loving.

The new episode will lean more toward the dramatic side of storytelling, utilizing a piece of sci-fi literary history penned by Damon Knight that was also used to create an extremely famous Twilight Zone episode. The episode was called “To Serve Man.” Of course, we’ll be throwing in some new twists in the Cozmo’s fashion.

With a cast including Star Trek and sci-fi genre veterans, and amazing make-up and effects by Hollywood professionals, this is a project definitely worth supporting…

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/atomicstudios/cozmos-goes-out-of-this-world-with-ep-2