TREK ISOLATION, the long-awaited spin-off fan series to the long-running and celebrated Starship Farragut, is finally here with its first series episode “Out of the Fire.“
Technically, Trek Isolation has been “here” for a couple of years already. The series first debuted in late 2014 with a short prelude vignette titled “Change in Command.” During the 5-minute fan film, Captain Jack Carter (played by co-writer and Starship Farragut show-runner/star John Broughton) informs his chief of security (played by co-writer Eric Moran) that the lieutenant commander will be getting a promotion and reassignment as first officer and science officer aboard the USS Babylon.
Six months later, the Trek Isolation team SHOCKED fans when it released its second prelude vignette “A Great Responsibility“ featuring none other than Marvel Comics legend STAN LEE as a Starfleet Admiral! And it wasn’t just a brief cameo, as happens in so many Marvel movies. Instead, Stan does a two and a half minute scene as part of this four and a half minute fan production as he assigns Captain Hawkins (played by co-writer Dave Turner) as the new commander of the USS Babylon.
In 2011, a new Star Trek fan series based in the movie-era released its first episode, and the world of fan films was introduced to PROJECT: POTEMKIN.
Five years and thirty-four episodes later, Project: Potemkin has just released its series finale, “Destinies.” No spoilers except to say that this seven-minute episode wraps up the series nicely and ties in with three other fan series also being produced by Potemkin Pictures: Starship Tristan, Starship Deimos, and Starship Endeavour.
Some fans have been wondering whether Project: Potemkin is yet another victim of the fan film guidelines released by CBS and Paramount. Not so, says series show-runner RANDY LANDERS:
“I’m just takin’ a Greyhound on the Hudson River line…”
Billy Joel first sang those lyrics back in 1976. Forty years later, you can take a Greyhound up alongside the majestic Hudson River from New York City four hours north to Ticonderoga, New York (a very scenic drive, I might add!)–or you can fly into Burlington, VT and meander over across Lake Champlain in about 90 minutes–and live the dream of every Trekkie. You can walk around the original USS Enterprise NCC-1701, lovingly recreated by uber-fan and Elvis impersonator extraordinaire James Cawley and his team at Star Trek: New Voyages.
Originally used to film nearly a dozen episodes of Cawley’s amazing fan series, the sets were recently converted into an officially licensed Star Trek Set Tour open to the public six days a week (closed Mondays). For less than 25 bucks a head, er, body, you can walk where few fans have gone before, take all of the pictures and videos you want, and brag to your friends that you got to visit this one-of-a-kind exhibit. (Yeah, I know there’s one just like it in Georgia, too, but Star Trek Continues‘ sets aren’t open to the public nor are they officially licensed.)
One fan who braved the four-hour trek (sorry, pun couldn’t be helped) from Manhattan to Ticonderoga is New York City-based comedian Tom Kelly. So just in case you don’t think you’ll be able to make it up there yourself–or if you’re looking for a reason to actually go–just take a look at this very entertaining and fun video…
Recently, I featured a 2-part interview with Paul Olsen, the man responsible for the breathtaking opalescent paint job of the refit Enterprise from Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Together with the designer and builder of the original model, Paul is trying to raise $3 million to recreate that model, bigger, more sturdy, and with all modern electronics within a custom 4D viewing chamber. The model would travel around the world to be enjoyed by Star Trek fans everywhere.
But $3 million is a lot of money, and way beyond way could be raised from simple crowd-funding. So Paul is planning to do a concerted public relations campaign, coordinated by a major PR company, targeted at bringing in major corporate sponsors like Enterprise Rent-a-Car, SpaceX, Boeing, and many others. So instead of needing $3 million, Paul just needs $50,000 to fund the PR effort. In fact, the PR effort is only intended to raise the first $450,000 to get them started. Then, with the studio and materials in place, Paul can negotiate documentary rights to bring in the completion funding of $3+ million over the two years of the rebuild.
When STAR TREK: RENEGADES became RENEGADES: THE SERIES, all overt or even quasi-overt references to Star Trek had to be surgically amputated. This included this like changing the character of Chekov to simply “The Admiral” and “Tuvok” to “Kovok,” calling it the “Confederation of Planets,” ditching comm badges from the uniforms (“We don’t need no stinkin’ badges!”), making sure that Aron Eisenberg’s alien make-up looked nothing like a Ferengi, and a host of other tweaks.
Unfortunately, those tweaks also impacted the visual effects, some of which had already been completed and delivered. Y’see, no Star Trek means no recognizable space vessels either…including Romulan warbirds. And that meant that a gorgeous 10-second space battle sequence rendered out by AtomicBrain SFX would never be seen by fans. Or would it…?
Renegades just posted on YouTube this short tracking shot for everyone to enjoy. We might not ever see it in a fan film (it would have been glorious…), but we can at least see it here:
I’m guessing that the makers of the German fan film STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE – THE NEW GENERATION were saying “Was ist los?” (which loosely translates to WTF?) when they got the notice this past Tuesday from YouTube that CBS had filed a copyright claim against four of their fan film videos! And most confusing of all, these were videos which had been online since 2007!!!
Continuing a new tradition of renaming their fan series with each fresh episode release, the fan series formerly known as STARSHIP TRISTAN has posted their latest episode, “The Greater Good.”
The renaming of the series is meant to keep their production in compliance with the CBS/Paramount fan production guidelines, which specify no ongoing series. Technically, all the stories for Starship Tristan take place on the same Starfleet vessel, but so far, the characters have changed with each new episode released since the guidelines were published.
We’ll have to see what happens if/when the “series-that-isn’t-a-series” features its first recurrence of a character or characters. But for now, the production continues to follow all the guidelines in terms of length (shorter than 15 minutes), budget (pretty much nothing), no professionals, no unlicensed prop or costume knock-offs, etc. This latest episode is just a quiet conversation between two people, one of whom is from a canonical race of Trek pacifists, and he’s just had to kill someone in order to protect his people. What kind of fallout follows such an act?
The fan series is from the folks at Potemkin Pictures, and they currently produce multiple series. You can find all of their releases on their website.
It’s a production that used to be known as a Star Trek fan series. It’s been crowd-funded by Star Trek fans, and it features many Star Trek veteran actors (including Walter Koenig, Tim Russ, Nichelle Nichols, and a host of others from various Star Trek series) in roles that could be considered, with just a little squinting, to be their iconic Star Trek characters. And so Fan Film Factor is still keeping our eye on RENEGADES: THE SERIES.
Their big news at the moment is that they are now picture locked on both part one and part two of “The Requiem.” What is picture locking? Well, there are several steps in the film editing process…
Perhaps the second most problematic aspect of Axanar (after the lawsuit) is the fulfillment of perks (or lack thereof) to the backers of their three crowd-funding campaigns. Two years after their second Kickstarter, which raised a jaw-dropping $638,000 from supporters, perks have still not gone out to donors. Fortunately, that is about to change with the final completion of the back-end Ares Digital 2.0 accouont management system.
But before we discuss how Axanar is finally pulling itself OUT of this sand pit, let’s take a look at how Axanar fell INTO this sand pit in the first place…
STAR TREK CONTINUES’ seventh full-length episode, “Embracing the Winds” is–at least in my opinion–a masterpiece. It’s a MUST SEE+Star Trek fan film and possibly one of the best ones released to date. Fan reaction has ranged generally from positive to gushing, with almost no one saying anything overall negative (only pointing out this or that little issue…and we Trekkers always have our “little issues”).
But really, STC has continued to up their game, and the quality and watchability of their newest offering is superb. The acting, writing, directing, pacing…everything is top-notch. There’s not of a lot of “wasted” scenes where the viewer feels the production has indulged itself too much and stretched things out. In short, it’s a tight, exciting story that does what Star Trek has traditionally done so well: take a modern day issue (in this case, a very politically charged one at the moment) and provide a “safe” mirror through which we can examine our society and beliefs…and look at ourselves with a critical eye.