STAR TREK: FIRST FRONTIER unveils its first TEASER PREVIEW!

Ten years ago, Kenny Smith wrote a rough draft for a Star Trek fan film that he wanted to direct. It focused on Captain Robert April, the first person to command the USS Enterprise NCC-1701.

Smith wanted to tell the story of the USS Enterprise’s initial mission, to see her being built in spacedock—along with the fleet of twelve sister ships in Earth orbit—and to watch her launch for the first time towards indescribable adventure.

Smith owned the sci-fi convention company I-Con and recently, at one of Smith’s conventions, he met a film producer who was looking for a project to work on. Smith told the producer about his idea for a Captain April fan film, and he loved it. Knowing that the fiftieth anniversary of Star Trek was quickly approaching, they set to work on the script.

They also managed to convince Emmy-nominated Lee Stringer (who worked on numerous science fiction projects including Star Trek: Voyager, Battlestar Galactica, and Firefly, to name just a few) to join their team. And to make their visual effects look true to the original series, rather than just creating computer-generated 3D effects, the team went on to build an 11-foot physical model of the original Enterprise…along with sets as close to those in the original pilot as possible.

Also notable about this fan film is the way it was funded. In March of 2015, Smith began a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter with a goal of $130,000. But after two months, he’d raised only $30,000 from just 67 backers. Instead of letting the campaign end in failure, Smith canceled the Kickstarter and announced that he would self-fund the project.

Although they missed their original target release date of September of 2016 (to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Star Trek), they’re still making impressive progress.  How impressive?  Take a look at this:

 

ALEC PETERS discusses the AXANAR LAWSUIT and SETTLEMENT (Interview – Part 2)

In Part 1 of my interview with AXANAR executive producer ALEC PETERS,  we covered the past and the present.  We discussed what led up to the copyright infringement lawsuit from CBS and Paramount, what happened during the 13 months the lawsuit was progressing toward trial, and what led to the unexpected (to most of us, at least) settlement.

Now it’s time to transition toward a look into the future.  What exactly is Axanar allowed to do going forward, and what plans are there so far.  But first, there was one really important question that I think a lot of people–donors and detractors alike–wanted to know…


JONATHAN: Okay, remember when you said I could ask you any question?

ALEC: Oh, boy…

JONATHAN: How much personal blame do you accept for the lawsuit and the delay in producing Axanar?

Continue reading “ALEC PETERS discusses the AXANAR LAWSUIT and SETTLEMENT (Interview – Part 2)”

ALEC PETERS discusses the AXANAR LAWSUIT and SETTLEMENT (Interview – Part 1)

ALEC PETERS, the executive producer of AXANAR PRODUCTIONS) has arguably become one of the most controversial and polarizing figures in the world of fan films.  Having worked on the fan series Star Trek: New Voyages/Phase II, Alec ultimately set his sights on producing a Star Trek fan film of his own: Axanar.  Using the relatively new crowd-funding tools of Kickstarter and Indiegogo, Alec was able to go where no Star Trek fan filmmaker had gone before: past the $1 million mark in fan donations to build a studio and produce his dream project.

He also became the first-ever Star Trek fan filmmaker to get his ass sued simultaneously by two major Hollywood studios.

Rather than turning into a mass of quivering jelly and accepting a potentially multi-million dollar judgment against him, Alec was able to find a top intellectual property law firm to represent him pro bono (for free), and “David” took on “Goliath” in a case that I’ve analyzed extensively here on Fan Film Factor.  It was ugly, surprising, frustrating, amusing at times, full of twists and turns, and even covered by the mainstream media.  The case carried the potential of settling huge precedents in copyright law that could affect all fan films…for good or ill.  And thousands of fans and donors watched eagerly to see what would happen next.

But fandom was not united in their opinion of this case nor their feelings about Alec Peters.  Some fans (like myself) were huge supporters and proudly proclaimed, “I Stand With AXANAR!”  Others felt just as strongly that an arrogant and overconfident Icarus had flown far too close to the sun and deserved to plummet to a painful, smashing oblivion far below.

Continue reading “ALEC PETERS discusses the AXANAR LAWSUIT and SETTLEMENT (Interview – Part 1)”

CHANCE ENCOUNTER is available for viewing!

The bar has just been raised for Star Trek fan films.  On May 2 of last year, Gary O’Brien and Paul Laight launched a Kickstarter to fund their latest short film.  Based in Oxfordshire in the United Kingdom, over the past eleven years Gary and Paul had collaborated on eight other short films.

At first, their script had nothing whatsoever to do with Star Trek.  It was, quite simply, a chance encounter between an older man and a younger woman.  Then Paul suggested adding in a science fiction element, and Gary (who would later be crowned the U.K.’s “Ultimate Trekker” and win a trip to Los Angeles to tour Paramount Studios) suggested that the idea might work well as a Star Trek story.

Their Kickstarter was surprisingly modest, asking for only £1,700 (the equivalent of only about $2,500).  They ultimately raised £1,862…including £10 me yours truly.  And although Gary put in some of his own money, you will likely be shocked that a fan film of such quality could be made for so little…especially considering that the actors were paid a modest amount (production predated the guidelines requiring no one be paid) and that two very impressive sets were constructed, props created, uniforms purchased, visual FX rendered, and original music composed.  And the entire project was completed in just half a year!

You can discover more about this project, find out about the cast and creators, and see some fun behind-the-scenes videos on their website.

Do yourself a favor.  Drop whatever you’re doing and take twenty minutes to watch this impressively crafted, deftly acted, and gently touching fan film…

We…are BACK!!!

Thanks to the fine people at UPS, my new MacBook Pro arrived this evening at 7:00pm (one day earlier than expected)!  I installed all my old goodies from my last backup onto the new internal drive while I gave Jayden his dinner and got him ready for bed.  And after a quick dinner of my own, I got to work answering a few e-mails that I couldn’t get to while my old computer was seizing.

I am now ready to dive back into FAN FILM FACTOR…one day early!  This means that I expect to have the Alec Peters‘ interview posted on Thursday (part 1) and Friday (part 2).  And I’ll begin catching up on the now-38 comments beginning on Wednesday.  But don’t expect too much in the next 24 hours, as I’m working tomorrow (yes, I still do some freelance twice a week while Jayden’s at school).  But I definitely want to clear out this backlog of comments…and my apologies in advance if I don’t post responses to certain folks (especially the Tellarites).

It’s good to be back!  Now as I type letters on my keyboard, they actually appear on my screen without a three second delay!  I can’t begin to tell you how annoying it was NOT to have that “luxury” for a week.  Thanks for your patience, everyone.

Listen to JONATHAN’s radio interview discussing the AXANAR LAWSUIT!

Last Saturday, your sometimes-humble blogger, Jonathan Lane, appeared live on the SHANE PLAYS geek talk radio show to discuss the AXANAR lawsuit and surprising last-minute legal settlement.  Since then, folks who weren’t able to listen when it first  aired have asked me when and how they can listen to the entire broadcast online.

Wonder no more!

The recording was just posted to  iTunesGoogle Play Music and Stitcher.

There’s also a direct MP3 download:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/shaneplays/Shane_Plays_1-28-17_podcast.mp3

The Axanar discussion begins at 15:50 point.

FAN FILM FACTOR “hibernation” update!

According to the UPS tracking website, my new 15.4″ MacBook Pro laptop is currently sitting somewhere in Louisville, KY and scheduled to arrived late Wednesday.  (And yes, that’s a screen cap of my desktop in that image.)  With luck, I’ll be home in time to sign for it, and the computer will work properly out of the box.  (I own 420 shares of Apple–it’d better work!!!)

Once the new Lane workhorse is saddled up and loaded with all my backed-up software, Fan Film Factor will emerge from hibernation and rise like a fiery Phoenix…oh, heck, enough with he poetry and metaphors!

Anyway, there will be a LOT happening once I’m back at full power.  First up, there is the premiere of the short Star Trek fan film out of the U.K. Chance Encounter on February 1.  I’m really looking forward to that.

Next on Friday and Saturday, I have a two-part interview with ALEC PETERS that–love him or hate him–folks are not gonna wanna miss.

Then I’ll take some time over the weekend to approve and respond to posted comments (there’s currently 31 in the queue).

After that, there will be the debut of the don’t-call-it-a-Star Trek fan film Renegades “The Requiem, Part 1.”  Donors get an exclusive look on February 2 (no word yet on when/if the general public gets to see it…although I can’t believe it won’t find its way to the masses somehow).

Then next week, I have an interview with Axanar lead defense attorney Erin Ranahan (you didn’t see that coming…or did you?).

Later on in February, the creator of the acclaimed Star Trek: Horizon, Tommy Kraft, releases his new crowd-funded non-Star Trek fan film Runaway.

I’m also working on a feature about the 2012 fan film Star Trek: Secret Voyage, and I have an interview with the creators of The Red Shirt Diaries from about a year ago that I’m planning to reprint here pretty soon.

And at some point, I’m gonna find time to give everyone an update on Project: SMALL ACCESS and what the plans are for that campaign now that the Axanar lawsuit has ended in a settlement.

So don’t go too far, folks!  Fan Film Factor will once again be leaving space dock and returning to our mission faster than you can say, “There’s coffee in that nebula!”

REMINDER: Jonathan discusses AXANAR and FAN FILMS live Saturday at 2pm Eastern Time (11am Pacific)!

I’l be doing a live interview on the SHANE PLAYS radio program tomorrow (Saturday) at 2pm Eastern Time (that’s 11am Pacific Time for me).  Shane will be talking to me about the AXANAR lawsuit and settlement–was there a clear winner and/or loser?–and about what this all might mean for the future of Star Trek fan films.

The show broadcasts live in the Little Rock area on 96.5 FM the Answer, and people can listen online at http://965fmtheanswer.com.  You can also call in.  The show will be archived afterwards for anyone to listen to who wants to.


Oh, and for anyone who is curious about my computer situation, a new MacBook Pro has been ordered and is now on its way from Brooklyn, NY to Los Angeles, CA (I order most of my expensive gadgets from &B&H Photo). As I feared, the culprit was indeed the logic board on my five and a half year old Mac laptop.  I will miss the 17″ screen (not made anymore), but time marches on.

My old computer will works at ultra-slow speed (it’s taken me 25-minutes to type this blog so far), so Fan Film Factor will likely remain “in hibernation” until mid-to-late next week.  My apologies.

JONATHAN’S computer being fixed

Hey, folks.  My trusty ol’ Macintosh is gettin’ a little too ol’, so while I contemplate spending thousands on a new one (sorry, PC people, I’m never going back to Windows), the current contraption is going into the shop for at least a day or two.

This means a delay on any new blog posts (including my interview with Alec Peters), as well as approving and/or responding to any comments.  As soon as I’m back at full power, I’ll make those two tasks my priority (after my family, of course).

In the meantime, if you’re looking for something to do on an otherwise pleasant Saturday, think about tuning in for my Axanar lawsuit update on the Shane Plays radio broadcast this Saturday at 2pm Eastern (11am Pacific).  The show broadcasts live in the Little Rock area on 96.5 FM the Answer, and people can listen online at http://965fmtheanswer.com.  You can also call in!

AXANAR clarifies some additional questions about the SETTLEMENT

While we wait for my interview with Alec Peters for be reviewed and approved by the AXANAR legal team (yes, they’re taking the confidentiality aspects of the settlement agreement quite seriously…as they should), there was a posting made yesterday morning addressing some of the questions many Axanar fans (and detractors) have been asking.

ALEC PETERS answered four frequently-asked questions and also provided a link to a special blog about the Axanar financials (coming really soon…right, Alec???).

Here is yesterday’s post in its entirety…

Continue reading “AXANAR clarifies some additional questions about the SETTLEMENT”