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.
The interview also addresses the confusion and misinformation currently circulating about whether Axanar is behind the SMALL ACCESS campaign…which it is not. While I happily support Axanar and write this fun blog on the Axanar website, I’m way too busy with FAN FILM FACTOR and SMALL ACCESS to run everything past Alec Peters, and he’s way too busy to micromanage me. So we’re two ships in the same fleet fighting the same enemy, but Alec has his battles, and I’ve got mine.
Anyway, here’s the full interview for your viewing pleasure. Let me know what you think…
I really love these guys! The Star Trek short fan film, CHANCE ENCOUNTER, is cruising along smoothly at high warp, and they’ve just launched a new website with their first trailer on the home page (posted below).
The attractive website has production news (all of the video updates posted so far), bios on the cast and crew, and a brief but informative “About” page with the following back story:
It began when Gary and Paul decided to embark on another short film project together. This would be their ninth collaboration in about 11 years.
Originally the premise had nothing to do with Star Trek, or even science fiction. Rather, it had a contemporary setting and the hope was to tell a gentle story that showed men and women as equally capable of listening to, and helping one another on issues of both life and love.
Various scenarios were conceived of and abandoned before Paul hit upon a soft science fiction element in one of the many draft outlines he was writing. This sparked an idea in Gary who saw that with a sci-fi element in the mix, and the the themes of decency and respect being explored, that maybe they had hit upon a great Star Trek idea.
Paul agreed and after several more draft outlines were produced, the pair decided that they were ready to try and raise some funds to make the film a reality. And so they launched their first Kickstarter campaign to great success, exceeding the modest amount they had hoped to raise and thus securing their funding. Whilst they would still both contribute financially to the film themselves, the generosity of the Kickstarter backers ensured that the project was now able to be made.
As promised, RENEGADES: The Series has released a special video of the final curtain call Walter Koenig would have playing the character of “Pavel Chekov” (or at least an admiral with a heavy Russian accent who has had a iconic career in space). It’s a magical moment as filming wraps, and the cast and crew both applaud the living legend.
The video was released because Renegades managed to raise more than $120,000 for post production on their 2-part episode “The Requiem.” They set out to raise $60,000 for the first part and got there in less than a week. Passing that goal, they now need to reach $150,000 for part 2. So they’re almost there!
If they raise another $30,000 by midnight Pacific Time tonight, they won’t have to do another campaign anytime soon (until they make MORE episodes!). Maybe a tall order, but you do still have about eleven more hours (as I post this) to make your donation. Just CLICK HERE!
And in the meantime, please enjoy WALTER KOENIG’S final curtain call as Chekov…
Even though Renegades: The Seriesis no longer technically a Star Trek fan film, Walter Koenig is still playing a very old Russian admiral with a thick accent and a long history of service to the Fleet. In other words, even if they’re not calling him “Chekov,” we all know in our hearts that this will be the final time Walter plays that legendary role on film (he has said as much).
When filming wrapped last month on the Renegades 2-parter “The Requiem,” there was a magical moment when Walter Koenig walked off the set of the Icarus, the final time he would be playing Pavel Chekov (with or without the name). The production crew all applauded, and it was captured on film. Wanna see it?
The Renegades team has promised to share that once-in-a-lifetime video clip with fans if they help the RenegadesIndiegogo campaign reach $120,000. As I type this, they’re just over $106,000 with less than a week to go! So if you haven’t donated yet, please hop over there and consider giving a little something. (And if you have already given, maybe you’d like to give a bit more…hmmm?)
In the meantime, Renegades has released this awesome new teaser to get you even more excited:
IF YOU WANT TO HELP US GET THE FAN FILM GUIDELINES CHANGED, SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE…
In 1968, NBC received 115,893 letters from Star Trek fans pleading for the network not to cancel their favorite show…and it worked. Star Trek was renewed for a third and final season.
It is now 2016, and fans have a new opportunity to make their voices heard. This time, the imperiled entity is Star Trek fan films, restricted by a new set of guidelines issued by Star Trek license holders CBS and Paramount. Not all of these guidelines are threatening to fan films. Nearly half of them are perfectly acceptable as written. Another a quarter of them simply need some minor tweaking to better clarify what the studios are trying to communicate. It is only the small number of remaining guidelines that have overshot the mark and wound up too restrictive to allow fans the creativity and passion that the studios themselves say they want to encourage fans to showcase.
A week after the guidelines were announced, John Van Citters of CBS Consumer Products Inc. appeared on a podcast and said the following:
“All of this is definitely a conversation. We hope very much that this helps settle things with Star Trek fan films, that it provides some clarity for everybody, and that we can see what is working and what is not working…and we can follow up accordingly with that.”
But how do fans approach the studios to share our concerns? There is no official mechanism for fans to sit down with the CBS and Paramount executives to try to find a fairer compromise between the best interests of both parties. There is no single fan representative who speaks with the collective voice of fandom. Even fan filmmakers themselves are all over the map in their responses to the guidelines. So how can fans provide their feedback and recommendations to the studios?
The little fan film that could continues to prove that it can. In the latest of what have become almost weekly video updates on production, the British-based short fan film reported the completion of principle filming this past weekend, posting a video showing all the cast members together for the first time. Now the project enters the post production phase, and I can’t wait to see the finished product!
The SMALL ACCESS group on Facebook began as a protest against the new fan film guidelines issued by CBS and Paramount. But it quickly grew into something more significant. Rather than simply complaining about the guidelines or arguing over whose fault it was they were written in the first place, the group began discussing each of the guidelines one-by-one. Opinions were shared, surveys were taken, and in the end, over 1,200 fans participated in one of the largest Star Trek focus group research projects ever!
Now those results have been compiled into a massive 37-page report written up by Jonathan Lane (yeah, that’s me), a former creative director and focus group coordinator with decades of experience in researching what consumers and product users like and don’t like. When it came to the guidelines, half were considered fine as currently written (according to polling results). Another quarter only needed minor revision tweaks for clarification. And it was only a few remaining guidelines that required more significant compromise solutions.
The report compiles these results into a series of recommendations by the fans to the studios for revising the guidelines in a way that both respects the studios’ interests in protecting their intellectual property while also allowing more flexibility for fan filmmakers to create their productions.
Next week, fans will be invited to mail printed copies of this report to key executives at the studios in a new LETTER WRITING CAMPAIGN. If enough fans participate in the weeks leading up to the actual 50th Anniversary of Star Trek (September 8), it’s our hope that the news media will cover this campaign, which will put pressure on the executives to at least read and consider our suggestions rather than ignoring them completely.
Is it a stunt? Yes. Is it a long shot? Yes. But it’s at least worth a shot, right? After all, what other mechanism do fans have to engage a conversation with the studio execs who wrote and enforce these guidelines?
The letter writing campaign will kick off next week, but the report itself has been made available for early viewing on the SMALL ACCESS Facebook page. If you’re interested, please take a look. Next week, you’ll get a chance to make Star Trek letter-writing history…again.
Nearly a thousand backers have donated nearly $100,000 so far to help RENEGADES: THE SERIES(formerly Star Trek: Renegades) complete post-production on their two-parter “The Requiem.” Considering that Renegades had previously generated nearly $400,000 for production, “The Requiem” (when released) will be the most expensive Star Trek fan film ever completed–at more than a HALF MILLION DOLLARS…wow!!
(Of course, Renegades is no longer technically a Star Trek fan film. But in my heart, it will always be one.)
Their primary goal was $60,000 for this Indiegogo campaign, which they reached easily within the first week. This would pay for post production entirely for the first episode of the 2-parter. But with $150,000, they could complete post production on both.
Can they make it? As of today, they’re just over $95,000 with just over two weeks left. So it’ll be close! If you’re looking for fan film to donate just a little more of your money to, click on over to the Renegades Indiegogo campaign and give what you can. The campaign officially ends on August 31!
The fan-funded British short Star Trek film, CHANCE ENCOUNTER, began filming two weeks ago, and they will continue filming this coming weekend. I have to thank director Gary O’Brien for making my job all the easier by posting regular video updates on the progress of his production.
The most recent update (their seventh total) shows members of the cast during rehearsal. And for those of you who are familiar with Doctor Who, you might be amused to see the name of the character being played by actress Ayvianna Snow (remember, this fan production is based on the United Kingdom, after all). Take a look at their latest update below: