Secure from battlestations…

I really hate when things go nuclear.  It happens all too often these days…especially online.  Neither party wants to give an inch, each believing he or she is in the right and the other is a total git and knee-biting jerk.  People start taking sides, arguments get heated, “evidence” is collected, and folks generally begin gettin’ real pissy.

That was yesterday.

JAMES HAMS and I went toe-to-toe, mano-a-mano for much of the day over what amounted to three words in a recent blog he wrote.  Granted, they weren’t just any three words, but the point is that the world wasn’t ending.  And yet, you’d never know from all the urgent text messages and e-mails I had to read and write throughout the day.  I’m sure James had a similar experience on his end.

Vance Major Owen – peacemaker, diplomat, good friend

Enter VANCE MAJOR OWEN.  Vance is a friend of both James and myself, and he’s also one of Trek fandom’s calmest and coolest heads.  Think of Vance as Switzerland…only with a beard.  Not liking the escalation of tempers he was witnessing between his two friends, Vance stepped in, spoke to us both separately, and negotiated a “cease fire.”

In short, James will be removing those three words from his blog (along with half a sentence that will no longer make sense with the three words gone).  I’ll be telling the folks on SMALL ACCESS (and here on FAN FILM FACTOR) to stand down, secure from general quarters, cancel battlestations…whatever you want to call it.  We’ve both agreed not to mention the other—or their blog(s) or Facebook group(s)—on our own blogs in any negative way on a go-forward basis.

We’re both in agreement on this, and there’s no hard feelings.  There were definitely hard feelings yesterday, but it’s nice to know that things can, with a little give and take, be worked out without going to DefCon 1.

I’d like to thank James for being part of the solution…and also Vance for making that solution possible in the first place.  I much prefer writing a short blog entry like this one over writing a long entry like yesterday’s!

Setting the record straight on SMALL ACCESS!

Man, I so hate dealing with misinformation!  Really, it’s one of my biggest pet peeves.

When I screw up, as I did on this blog a few months ago, I am quick to correct the mistake.  I usually hope that others will do the same. Alas, it doesn’t always happen that way…

And that leaves me facing a choice: let the misinformation remain uncorrected (potentially confusing people and spreading the false claim even further) or try to correct it myself, potentially coming off as petty and vindictive.

It’s really a no-win scenario for me…which is why I hate having to decide what do do when confronted with blatant misinformation.  In this case, I’m choosing to shine a light on the situation and try to correct it.  And I apologize in advance if I seem petty or vindictive, as that’s not my intention.  And hey, feel free to skip this blog entry if you prefer to come here just for the fan film stuff.  I’ll get back to that after this blog.

So here’s what happened…

Continue reading “Setting the record straight on SMALL ACCESS!”

Could you do me a favor? It’ll only take you three clicks!

I NEED YOUR HELP!  Yes, you!

Two weeks ago, I discussed how Project: SMALL ACCESS needed to grow in order to give the group any reasonable leverage in trying to convince CBS and Paramount to revise the “no ongoing fan series” portion of fan film Guideline #1.  Since then, we’ve added about 40 new members (3% growth)…which is certainly a nice start.  But we need to grow a LOT more than that, my friends!

Needing advice from people more experienced in guerilla marketing on the social media front, I sought the assistance of Lee Quessenberry, who had helped with the online marketing efforts for Axanar during their Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns.  One of the first things Lee did was to set up a HEADTALKER campaign for SMALL ACCESS.

What’s a HEADTALKER?

It’s pretty simple.  People sign up to allow HeadTalker to send out a single post from one (or more) of their social media accounts—Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr—on a certain day at a certain time.  With enough simultaneous posts, the message will “trend” and get a boost.

For example, here’s the message you would be agreeing to share (it would be posted automatically for you) on June 13, 2017 at 12:00pm Eastern Time:

“We want to change the Star Trek #Fanfilm Guidelines. Follow Small Access Trek to find out how you can. https://hdtk.co/VSsvF

 

There’s only one catch: we need 500 people to sign up to share this message or it won’t get sent out.  Right now, we’ve got 67 (which, according to the Headtalker page, gives us a social media reach of 941,141…assuming everyone’s contacts read the message).

BUT WE NEED TO MAKE IT TO 500…AND WE HAVE ONLY 7 DAYS LEFT!

If we don’t make it, we can always try it again with a smaller goal like 100 or even 75 or 50.  But it would be so awesome if we could get to that 500 goal.

A note on your privacy

When you log into HeadTalker using your Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, or LinkedIn account, you’re allowing their platform to share a single message on your behalf. That’s all. They use the absolute minimum permissions possible to post a message on your behalf. The social media platforms they integrate with sometimes include additional permissions that we do not use.

It’s really as simple as three clicks (well, possibly four if you’ve never used HeadTalker before):

1. Click here to go to the campaign page.

2. Then click on the social media platform you want to use (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)

3. On the pop-up window, click the “Add Support” button.

And you’re done!  Simple as that.

Can you please help us?

 

STAR TREK CONTINUES announces RELEASE DATES and TITLES for their FINAL THREE EPISODES!

It’s a bittersweet time for followers of the groundbreaking fan series STAR TREK CONTINUES.  The “sweet” part is that we will be served with FOUR new full-length episodes from this production team in the matter of just SEVEN months!  We’ve already seen the first of these four episodes, the ambitious and poetic “Still Treads the Shadow,” released at the beginning of April.

The “bitter” lies in the fact that this is it for STC…the end of this amazing fan series.  Although they were originally planning to make 13 episodes—and instead they will now only be doing 11—the fact is that they always intended for the series to have a completion point.  Some fans have been asking them to continue (no pun intended) and not shut down, but the end story has been written and filmed and soon will be released.  The Georgia studio sits quiet and unused (or so I’ve been told).

Show-runner VIC MIGNOGNA himself said in interviews that, at his current age (he turns 55 in August), he wouldn’t be able to play a 35-year-old Jim Kirk for much longer.  So yes, folks, this is the inevitable end of the line for STC…with a return of the U.S.S. Enterprise from its historic 5-year mission.

And here’s the schedule for release dates.  The episodes will premiere at three different cons during three weekends and then be posted online a day or so later:

Episode IX, “What Ships are For” will premiere at Florida Supercon in Ft. Lauderdale the weekend of July 27-30.

Episode X, “To Boldly Go (Part One)” will premiere at Salt Lake City Comic Con the weekend of September 21-23.

Episode XI, “To Boldly Go (Part Two)” will premiere at New York City Comicon the weekend of October 5-8.

So the gap between episodes VIII and XI will end up being about three and a half months.  Then the gap between XI and X will be less than two months.  And finally, fans won’t have to wait more than two weeks for the second half of the final two-parter.  That’s quite a feast!

Although few details of the series finale have been released, we do know that the ninth episode, “What Ships are For,” was written by Kipleigh Brown, who plays Lt. Smith on the fan series.  There will also be at least three professional actor guest stars in that episode: Elizabeth Maxwell, Lex Lang, and Sandy Fox.

For a closer look at this fan series from its beginnings in 2012, check out this three-part history of Star Trek Continues.

 

Lightning strikes AGAIN as WARNER BROTHERS allows another high-quality HARRY POTTER FAN FILM to be produced!

The news has been spreading through the fan film community faster than a snitch through a quidditch match!  According to a rapidly-expanding plethora of online sources, Warner Brothers studios, which owns the movie rights to the HARRY POTTER franchise, have given approval to the producers of a high-quality fan film titled VOLDEMORT: ORIGINS OF THE HEIR to be made.  The only conditions: the producers must make no profit, and the completed project can only be shown for free via YouTube.

This didn’t seem to be the case last July when Warner Brothers shut down the Kickstarter page for this project.  The production had already successfully funded a $30,000 campaign, but faster than you can say “Expelliarmus!” all trace of the campaign was gone, replaced by a pretty harsh sounding notice:

Description of infringing material: It recently came to our attention that users on your site, at the link(s) below, were contemplating a project that violates Warner Bros.’ rights. We have discussed it with the users who have agreed to remove the project from the site and have requested that we send this notice so that the project is removed. I have a good faith belief that the project is not authorized by Warner Bros., its agent, or the law. Accordingly, please act expeditiously to remove or disable access to the URL listed below.

In fact, some fans actually thought there was some sort of litigation (apparently, there wasn’t), and even Wikipedia erroneously reports that in their entry.  (Look quick, before they fix it!)

But then this happened…

Continue reading “Lightning strikes AGAIN as WARNER BROTHERS allows another high-quality HARRY POTTER FAN FILM to be produced!”

DEIMOS Production Crew releases their fifth episode: “No Greater Love”!

Anyone who says that Star Trek fan films are “dead” needs to get that message out to the fine folks at POTEMKIN PICTURES!  These guys continue to churn out new releases with the constancy of the north star and the inevitability of death and taxes!

Currently, two Potemkin Pictures production teams are working on a series of fan films featuring two different Starfleet crews.  Over in Georgia, the Starship Tristan production crew is currently in pre-production on their NINTH fan film.  And in Pelham, Alabama, the STARSHIP DEIMOS production crew has just released its FIFTH episode, the 14-minute “No Greater Love.”

Both productions use actors enrolled in drama programs at nearby academic institutions, along with other actors from local community theater.  As such, the performances of many who appear on camera in these two series tend to be slightly more elevated than your typical Trek fan film that uses only fans who are usually untrained in the performing arts.

“No Greater Love” is no exception.  Constrained by budgets, Potemkin Pictures concentrates primarily on character and st0ry-driven scripts.  The result is a fan film without the glitz and sizzle of the sleeker, higher-budget fan productions, but with a lot of heart and soulful performances.

So no, my friends, Star Trek fan films are not dead…not if Potemkin Pictures and show-runner RANDY LANDERS have anything to say about it!  You can read a 2-part interview that I did with Randy last year by clicking here.

And you can watch “No Greater Love” below…

THE ROMULAN WARS releases PART 1 of their FINAL EPISODE!

On May 13, 2005, Star Trek: Enterprise aired its series finale, “These Are the Voyages”–completely skipping over a half-decade of the much anticipated Romulan War with Earth and the Coalition of Planets.

Many fans were, quite understandably, disappointed.  In addition to strengthening the alliances that would form the Federation and shaping the very direction of Starfleet technology from pure exploration into vessels that could also fight and defend, the very nature of the Romulan War promised action and drama that the fifth Star Trek television series (sixth if you count the animated series) had not previously been able to develop.

Two and a half years later, on November 23, 2007, Star Trek fans began to fill in that missing half decade with a new fan series: STAR TREK: THE ROMULAN WARS.  Led by show-runner LEE GARTRELL, this Arkansas-based production didn’t have the financial resources or the professional polish of a Star Trek: New Voyages or Starship Exeter, but what they did have was passion and commitment.  They sewed their own costumes, built their own simplified sets, green-screen composited in backgrounds behind their actors, and created their own VFX.

It was a labor of love that didn’t always have the best lighting or sound quality, but you could still see how much time and effort went into this fan series which was, at the time, the only fan production that attempted to tackle the 22nd century NX-01 era of Star Trek.

Over the course of the next eight years, The Romulan Wars would release nine full-length episodes ranging in length from 22 to 45 minutes (nearly four and a half hours of content!).  Their previous offering, a prequel episode entitled “The Atlas,” was released a year before the fan film guidelines were ever announced.  At the time, Lee Gartrell was planning for a full run of 16 episodes to finish up the war.

Unfortunately, Guideline #1 prohibits continuing series.  So The Romulan Wars is wrapping up with their tenth episode, a two-parter entitled “The Tunnel at the End of the Light.”  Part 1 has just been released, with Part 2 planned for posting within the next week or so.  Part One runs 23 minutes (longer than the 15 minutes permitted by the guidelines), but the first four minutes doesn’t really count.  And if Star Trek Continues can release 45-minute episodes post-guidelines, I doubt 19 minutes for a non-crowd-funded fan film will wake the sleeping giant.

You can view all the previous episodes here.

And below, Part One of the series finale, “The Tunnel at the End of the Light”…

FAN FILM GUIDELINES: Reality Check (Part 8) – Size DOES matter!

I started the SMALL ACCESS protest campaign on Facebook last July, shortly after CBS and Paramount released the new guidelines that seemed to spell certain doom for Star Trek fan films.  I’d hoped we could start a “movement” that would make the studios take notice and convince them to revisit and revise the guidelines.

It’s now almost a year later, and the guidelines remain in place…unchanged.  We tried to get bunch of the guidelines changed all at once, but that didn’t work.  And I realized instead that, if we tried to “eat the elephant” in smaller bites (try to change one guideline at a time), then we might have more luck in convincing the studios to listen to us and maybe even work with us.

And our offer would be simple: revise just one guideline, and our members will subscribe to CBS All Access for a month (to check it out, see if we like it).  Revise two guidelines, two months.  And so on.  The first guideline we wanted to target was the “no ongoing fan series” rule (we voted on that), suggesting that Guideline #1 could be rewritten with a revised second part:

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. The production can continue featuring the same title, characters, and settings for additional episodes as long as no single story extends beyond two consecutive segments, episodes or parts.

The big question was: would the members of SMALL ACCESS agree to subscribe for a month if the studios made his first revision to Guideline #1?  I published the results of a survey last week in Part 7, but here they are for you again…

Continue reading “FAN FILM GUIDELINES: Reality Check (Part 8) – Size DOES matter!”

Got a DOLLAR? THE CIRCUIT will host a 24-HOUR PLEDGE DRIVE this SATURDAY!

The new sci-fi professional/fan film hybrid series THE CIRCUIT started off their Kickstarter with a goal of $50,000.  And with just 5 days left, they’re at nearly $84,000…and that’s great.

But now they’re trying to reach a stretch goal of (are you sitting down???) $200,000!  Impossible, you say?  Preposterous?  Never happen?  Perhaps.  But $200,000 will allow them to fund an entire season—ten full episodes—and so they’re gonna to make a run at it!

And here’s how…

It all happens this coming Saturday, May 20, for twenty-four hours starting at midnight Pacific Time.  The CHALLENGE is for 100,000 fans to each donate at least $1.  A buck is almost nothing these days (especially at Starbucks!).  I’ve already donated $80 to this campaign, so I’m going to up it to $81.  (See?  Only 99,999 fans to go!)  Their message is being sent out far and wide, and YOU can help send it!

Also on Saturday, beginning at 10am Pacific Time, members of the cast of The Circuit will be streaming a LIVE CHALLENGE SHOW via their Facebook page for 14 straight hours until the challenge ends at midnight!  Confirmed guests on the LIVE CHALLENGE SHOW include:

  • Tim Russ
  • Walter Koenig
  • Armin Shimerman
  • Robert Picardo
  • Olivia d’Abo
  • Cody Saintgnue
  • Manu Intiraymi

…and more will likely show up, as show-runner Manu Intiraymi (Icheb from Star Trek: Voyager) is trying to coordinate everyone’s schedules (there’s 20 actors in the cast!).  There will also be new videos and new trailers as the cast tracks the pledges on their tote board.

Fans will be helping out, as well.  In fact, it was a fan who suggested the 24-hour challenge and another fan who suggested the live show!  And now folks like me (and you!) can help spread the word.  Here’s what people need to know:

WHEN: All day Saturday May 20, 2017 – midnight PDT to the following midnight

WHERE: The LIVE SHOW is at https://www.facebook.com/thecircuitmovie/

WHAT TO DO: Donate $1 here and ask other people to do it, too!

Tweet!  Post!  E-mail!  Shout!  Send smoke signals!  If this works, it’ll make fan film history!


To learn more about THE CIRCUIT, listen to this audio interview with MANU INTIRAYMI:

Manu Intiraymi – show-runner for THE CIRCUIT

STAR TREK: DISCOVERY trailer is finally shown in New York City!

Earlier today, Entertainment Weekly posted the image to the left on their website, and Trek fans saw their first official photo from the new STAR TREK: DISCOVERY television series.  But that was only the beginning!

A few hours later, CBS showed off a series of trailers for its upcoming fall line-up—including Discovery—trying to excite advertisers to purchase commercial space for these fresh new shows.  It’s called the Upfronts, and the event takes place each year in New York City (the main hub of the advertising industry).

All of the major networks show off their fall line-ups, and each has a time-slot reserved for their presentation at a different location.  For anyone curious, here is a schedule for this year’s Upfront presentations in New York City:

Monday, May. 15
  • NBCUniversal Upfront Presentation — Radio City Music Hall, 10:30 a.m.
  • Fox Upfront Presentation  — The Beacon Theatre, 4 p.m.
Tuesday, May. 16
  • ESPN Upfront  — Minskoff Theatre, 9:15 a.m.
  • Univision Upfront Presentation — The Lyric Theatre, 11.a.m.
  • ABC Upfront Presentation — Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall, 4 p.m.
Wednesday, May. 17
  • Turner Upfront Presentation — The Theater at Madison Square Garden, 10:15 a.m.
  • National CineMedia Upfront Event — AMC Lowes Lincoln Square Theater, noon
  • CBS Upfront Presentation — Carnegie Hall, 4 p.m.
Thursday, May. 18
  • The CW Upfront — New York City Center, 11 a.m.

THE ORVILLE…coming this fall to FOX!

Some fans were suspicious that the timing of CBS’s reveal of the new trailer for Star Trek: Discovery was somehow tied to the enthusiastic fan reception for another new sci-fi show debuting on Fox, The Orville, produced by and starring SETH MacFARLANE (Family Guy, The Cleveland Show, Ted, and a bunch of other funny stuff) and directed by John Favreau (Iron Man, The Jungle Book).  An obvious spoof of Star Trek, the production values, costumes, sets, make-up, lightning, and VFX all looked top-notch…and fans were talking about this new series almost non-stop on social media Monday and Tuesday.  The Orville trailer has already been viewed on Youtube more than 1.3 million times in less than 48 hours!

Many were thinking that Orville looked better than Discovery, and some fans were musing that the strongly positive reaction to Orville scared CBS into rushing out a trailer for Discovery.  But as you can see from the schedule I included above, there was no such panic involved.  FOX went first on Monday, and CBS was simply waiting its turn today.

And now that turn has come.  Int addition to the trailer, CBS announced an extension of the first season of Discovery from 13 to 15 hour-long episodes and the addition of a weekly “Talking Trek” discussion show following the general concept of similar shows like “Talking Dead” on AMC.

Watch the trailer for Discovery here (or view a lower resolution version below if you can’t see it on the CBS site) and tell me what you think in the comments section…