STUCK ON AN UNKNOWN PLANET shows how one fan filmmaker can help another (interview with KARL FAULKNER and VANCE MAJOR)

“Let me help.” About 5 years or so from now, a famous novelist from a planet orbiting the far left star in Orion’s belt will write a classic using that theme. He’ll recommend those three words even over “I love you.”

A couple of months ago, VANCE MAJOR, one of the most prolific fan filmmakers in Star Trek history, suggested I check out STUCK ON AN UNKNOWN PLANET from fan filmmaker KARL FAULKNER. Karl is from Ely, a cathedral city and civil parish about 14 miles north/northeast of Cambridge and 80 miles north of London in the U.K.

Stuck on an Unknown Planet is 3-part fan series with episodes posted on Vance’s NO BUDGET PRODUCTIONS YouTube Channel. When I went to check them out, I immediately noticed that this was not your typical fan film. It was clearly created from a place of passion for Star Trek at a very grass-roots entry level. And while Stuck on an Unknown Planet is certainly not as polished as some of the higher-end fan films out there, it 100% demonstrates that anyone can make a fan film…and I think that’s absolutely wonderful.

The reason that Stuck on an Unknown Planet appears on Vance’s channel is because Karl asked Vance to assist him in finishing the project…hence, the “Let me help” opening of this blog. Here’s the first episode of the series that was posted on Vance’s YouTube channel after the two fan filmmakers collaborated…

As I said, a very unique fan film! Click here to watch episode two and here to watch episode three. After that, Vance retired from fan films in order to spend more time with his 7-year-old son Royce. But Karl has continued to produce his fan series, and you can watch Karl’s subsequent episode on Karl’s YouTube channel.

Before we talk to Vance about the why’s and how’s of his participation, let’s start off by chatting with Karl…

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RANDY LANDERS tells me to no longer provide coverage of POTEMKIN PICTURES releases on FAN FILM FACTOR… (editorial)

The new year didn’t start off well for Star Trek fan films…or for me.

On the FAN FILM FORUM Facebook group, 2024 began with an early morning post (well, early for me waking up in Palm Desert, California) from RANDY LANDERS of POTEMKIN PICTURES. Over the past eight years, I’ve published a staggering 90-plus blogs on the numerous fan film releases from Potemkin‘s many, many creative groups. And I still wasn’t quite caught up! Their two most recent releases, “EMPYREAN” from STARSHIP CALIBORN and “HONOR AND TREACHERY” from SCOUTSHIP QAB’ELTH were both on deck for early 2024 coverage. In fact, Randy had just given me the names of the team members from Caliborn whom I should reach out to for the blog about “Empyrean.”

Randy’s post to the Fan Film Forum Facebook group started with him proudly announcing that Potemkin Pictures would NOT be crowd-funding in 2024. They had all of their expenses covered. Yay! A year ago, I had helped promote their previous campaign and even tossed in a few bucks myself. Granted, announcing that you’re not going to crowd-fund seemed, to me at least, like announcing that you’re not going to plant tomatoes in your garden this year. I mean, it’s good to know that you’re covered on tomatoes…is that the right reaction?

But then Randy also said something a little odd…and rather controversial, as it turned out. He suggested (somewhat forcefully and resentfully) that other fan productions shouldn’t crowd-fund either. In other words, “I’m not going to plant tomatoes in MY garden, so no one else should plant tomatoes in THEIR garden either!”

This was, to say the least, a bit shocking to some people. And not just people doing crowd-funding campaigns. As the day went on, folks from all over the fan community were IMing with variations of “WTF?” and suggesting/demanding that I remove Randy’s post from the Fan Film Forum Facebook page.

Meet the new year…same as the old year?

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AVALON UNIVERSE releases their 12th fan film: KNIGHTS OF THE VOID! (video interview with TYLER DUNIVAN and JOSHUA IRWIN)

These guys again??? Well, yeah. AVALON UNIVERSE produces a LOT of high-quality fan films! In fact, they’ve just released their 12th completed production in less than five years…with another major release just a couple of months away. That’s more than two-and-a-half fan films per year, folks! (You can watch them all here on this playlist.) So it’s no wonder I’ve published a ton of blogs focusing on showrunner JOSHUA IRWIN and, more recently, his co-director and one of the stars of Avalon, TYLER DUNIVAN.

Tyler appeared in the first two Avalon releases, GHOST SHIP and AVALON LOST, but then he left the series for a period of time—with his character of Captain Derek Mason being killed off. Mason’s love interest, Engineer Jamie Archer (played by actress VICTORIA ARCHER), was then killed off in the following episode, DEMONS, as that actress also asked to leave the series.

Of course, no death is necessarily permanent in Star Trek (paging Captain Spock!), especially when the actors want to come back to their roles, and so both Tyler and Victoria returned to play resurrected versions of their characters a few episodes later in COSMIC STREAM. Since then, both characters have also appeared in a post-credit sequence in the episode AGENT OF NEW WORLDS.

Now, once again, Mason and Archer get an episode all to themselves…well, themselves, a Starfleet crew, and an unexpected visitor. KNIGHTS OF THE VOID is the latest release from the Avalon Universe

Sadly, there will only be two more Avalon Universe fan films before the series reaches its always-planned conclusion. The first of the two releases will be CRISIS ON INFINITE EXCALIBURS, due out in just a couple of months with an incredible multiverse crossover that is, I predict, going to be talked about throughout many genres of fan films for a LONG time! And then the series will conclude with THE ONCE AND FUTURE CAPTAIN, coming at some point in 2024.

What is particularly interesting (and impressive!) about these final three fan films is that they were shot simultaneously! I don’t mean back-to-back over a single long weekend. There were actually five separate shoots during which scenes for multiple productions were filmed during the same set of shooting days. In fact, according to Josh, there are still two or three shooting days left for the remaining two films in order to get some pick-up shots.

With such a demanding production schedule, Josh determined that there was simply too much for him to coordinate during the shoots all by himself. So Tyler stepped up and offered to direct the actors and their performances while Josh focused more on the technical aspects of the scenes, although Josh still did some directing of the actors, as well.

How did this tag-teaming work and work out? Discover the answer to this question and many others as Tyler and Josh return to their Zoom screens for a lively discussion of Knights of the Void, the upcoming Crisis on Infinite Excaliburs, and other enlightening stuff…