List of Fan Films (highest to lowest rated)

Articles and interviews spotlighting the fantastic world of fan films and the fascinating folks who make them.

Viewing log entries: BY RATING                 Click to View:   Newest First     or     Alphabetically

NOTE: In cases where there are multiple episodes of a fan series in one feature article, the highest-rated episode determines the placement on this list.


THE VERY BEST OF STAR TREK FAN FILMS (special video)

Created by Fan Film Factor blogger  JONATHAN LANE, this special video compilation features clips from nearly three dozen Star Trek fan films spanning decades.  The goal was to show people who were unfamiliar with Star Trek fan films what was possible.  So the main criteria for being included was that the segment make a typical person think, “Wait!  This is a FAN film???”

If you’re new to Star Trek fan films or just looking for ideas of which one(s) to watch first, start with this video and see if anything speaks to you.  Most likely, you’ll come away with at least one clip that leaves you wanting more.

READ MORE….

Blog entry posted: August 7, 2021

View: The Very Best of STAR TREK Fan Films
Rating: MUST SEE +


THE HOLY CORE (interview)

It’s not easy making a set-based TNG-era Star Trek fan film! Unlike TOS, where there are multiple set recreations where fans can film, TNG sets are much more difficult to construct and maintain. Most often, 24th century Trek fan films go the route of compositing actors filmed in front of a green screen with digitally-generated backgrounds.

Such was not the case with GARY O’BRIEN from Great Britain. His first Trek fan film, the must-see CHANCE ENCOUNTER, was released in 2017 to rave reviews from fans. While filmed primarily in outdoor locations, it also featured an elaborate shuttlepod interior set as well as a turbolift constructed for the production. For Gary’s next TNG-era project, however, there were a LOT of sets to build. Unfortunately, a 30-day Kickstarter campaign in early 2018 failed to reach more than half-way to the goal, and so no money was collected from backers.

Just when all seemed lost, however, an angel donor named ALEXANDER MAYER stepped up with an offer to fund the entire project.

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: May 13, 2019

View: The Holy Core
Rating: MUST SEE +


INTERLUDE, version 1 (feature)
INTERLUDE, version 2 (feature)
INTERLUDE Confidential (behind-the-scenes blogs)

As a project, INTERLUDE began when JONATHAN LANE wanted to see a fan film shot on the (at the time) newly-completed U.S.S. Ares Bridge set in Lawrenceville, GA.  Using a short sequence taken from the script for the first of the AXANAR sequels, Jonathan expanded the story first into an eight-page online comic book and then into a full shooting script.  The story serves as a direct sequel to PRELUDE TO AXANAR and a lead-in to the sequels—essentially an “interlude” between the two.

The project kicked off with the addition of JOSHUA IRWIN and VICTORIA FOX, two professional filmmakers from Arkansas who had already made names for themselves in the fan film community with their AVALON UNIVERSE projects.  All told, more than fifty people came together to create an exciting and touching fan film with top-level production quality, stunning visual effects, powerful performances, and music from an Emmy-winning composer.

READ MORE…

Blog entry feature for version 1 posted: April 5, 2021
Blog entry feature for version 2 posted: April 23, 2021


PACIFIC 201—Part 1 (interview)
PACIFIC 201—Part 2 (feature)

Originally crowd-funded with a $26K Kickstarter way back in September of 2015 and a$32K Indiegogo campaign the following year, Pacific 201 was the brainchild of Harrisburg, PA-based showrunner ERIC HENRY.

What makes Pacific 201 so unique and exciting is the time period it covers in Federation history. The year is 2200. It’s four decades after the end of the Romulan War and the founding of the United Federation of Planets, and still more than six decades before the time of Kirk’s five-year-mission. Earth and the Federation are at a crossroads. Those who remember the horrors of the Romulan attacks fear a return to deep space exploration and the risk of provoking new enemies. But a new generation born after the war dreams of returning to a renaissance of exploration and discovery.

READ MORE…

Blog entry interview for Part 1 posted: November 14, 2020
Blog entry feature for Part 2 posted: December 31, 2020


Exeter CoverSTARSHIP EXETER (feature), Part 1 – “The Savage Empire”

STARSHIP EXETER (feature), Part 2 – “The Tressaurian Intersection”

What a long, strange trip it’s been for Starship Exeter!

In December of 2002 when Starship Exeter released its first episode, “The Savage Empire,” it was a total game-changer.  Exeter rewrote the rules of what a Star Trek fan film could be and helped to usher in what many call the modern age of fan films.  Twelve years later, Starship Exeter released the final act of its second episode, “The Tressaurian Intersection,” considered by many to be one of the few MUST SEE Star Trek fan films out there.

READ MORE…

Blog entry PART 1 posted: January 16, 2016

View #1: “The Savage Empire”
Rating: PRETTY GOOD  Rating 2a

View #2: “The Tressaurian Intersection”
Rating: MUST SEE +


STAR TREK CONTINUES (feature), Part 1Cover 1
STAR TREK CONTINUES (feature), Part 2
STAR TREK CONTINUES (feature), Part 3
STAR TREK CONTINUES (feature), Part 4
STAR TREK CONTINUES (feature), Part 5
STAR TREK CONTINUES (feature), Part 6

“If only…”

I always found it eerily appropriate that this two-word piece of dialog, spoken by Captain Kirk at the end of the final TOS episode “Turnabout Intruder” in 1969, was the last line uttered for the entire original Star Trek series run.

“If only…”

Kirk was referring to the tragic descent into hate-filled insanity of his former love, Dr. Janice Lester. But for me, these two words were so much more powerful: If onlyStar Trek hadn’t been canceled. If onlyStar Trek could have…

…continued.

READ MORE…

Blog entry PART 1 originally posted: April 15, 2016 (updated October 20, 2017)

View #1: “Pilgrim of Eternity”
Rating: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED +

View #2: “Lolani”
Rating: MUST SEE

View #3: “Fairest of Them All”
Rating: MUST SEE +

View #4: “The White Iris”
Rating: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED +

View #5: “Divided We Stand”
Rating: MUST SEE

View #6: “Come Not Between the Dragons”
Rating: MUST SEE +

View #7: “Embracing the Winds”
Rating: MUST SEE +

View#8: “Still Treads the Shadow”
Rating: MUST SEE

View#9: “What Ships Are For”
Rating: MUST SEE

View #10: “To Boldly Go, Part I”
Rating: MUST SEE +

View #11: “To Boldly Go, Part II”
Rating: MUST SEE +

View all Star Trek Continues episodes, vignettes, and videos here: http://startrekcontinues.com/episodes.html


Zicree-Cover1STAR TREK: NEW VOYAGES – Ep. 03 “WORLD ENOUGH AND TIME” – Marc Zicree (interview), Part 1
Marc Zicree (interview), Part 2

Some fans believe that Axanar was the first fan film to use professionals or, at the very least, the first to pay them. Both of those assumptions are incorrect by nearly a decade.

The first fan film to feature a known Star Trek professional in their credits was the debut episode of Star Trek: New Voyages in early 2004, “Come What May,” which featured Doug Drexler as visual effects artist (under the pseudonym “Max Rem”) while Doug was also actively working doing the digital FX for Star Trek: Enterprise and also for the new Battlestar Galactica.

READ MORE…

Blog entry PART 1 posted: July 8, 2016

View: “World Enough and Time”
Rating: MUST SEE +


Mind-Sifter CoverSTAR TREK: NEW VOYAGES – Ep. 09 “MIND-SIFTER” – Fulling a 30-Year Promise to the “Grandmother of Trek.”

If you’re a true Star Trek fan, you should watch “Mind-Sifter,” the ninth episode released from Star Trek: New Voyages.

You shouldn’t watch “Mind-Sifter” simply because it’s a well-constructed, well-acted, and well-produced story.  And you shouldn’t watch it simply because it feels like good Star Trek.

No, you should watch it to honor the memory of an amazing woman who almost single-handedly helped to define, grow, and nurture Star Trek fandom while it was still in its infancy.  I dare say that we all wouldn’t be here today celebrating Star Trek as passionately as we do if it weren’t for Shirley S. Maiewski, also known as “Grandma Trek.”

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: January 12, 2016

View: “Mind-Sifter”
Rating: MUST SEE +


ADVENTURES OF THE USS PARKVIEW – “The Bunny Incident” (audio interview)

Easter came early to STARBASE STUDIOS on a cold day in January.  That’s when Emmy-winning musician and Parkview Elementary School teacher KEVIN CROXTON brought 33 students from his Music Club to shoot a Star Trek fan film.

I consider this a MUST SEE Trek fan film not simply because the kids are adorable but because it really is a remarkably well-produced fan film!  It’s well-lit with lots of interesting camera angles, the sound levels are perfect, the music is great (the kids even get to sing!), there’s amazing make-up on Spock and the Klingons (plus really nice TOS Klingon uniforms), and all of the children do a spectacular job.

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: March  29, 2018

View:ADVENTURES OF THE USS PARKVIEW – “The Bunny Incident”
Rating: MUST SEE


AVALON UNIVERSE: “Avalon Lost” (audio interview)

THE AVALON UNIVERSE kicked off its debut with a complete surprise for most fans: the 2-part GHOST SHIP, a sort of “Star Trek meets The Walking Dead” hybrid fan film that quickly went viral and now has a combined 280K views on YouTube!

Filmed both in Kingsland, GA on the old Star Trek Continues TOS sets and also in the new WARP 66 Studios in Arkansas, Ghost Ship looked amazing. Lighting, make-up, directing, editing, music, VFX, acting…everything came together flawlessly to present fans with one of the most polished-looking set-based fan films in a long time.

The second Avalon Universe fan film, “Avalon Lost,” premiered and quickly surpassed 35K views! This time, it was a one-parter with a very unexpected ending.

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: March 8, 2019

View: AVALON UNIVERSE: “Avalon Lost”
Rating: MUST SEE


AVALON UNIVERSE: “Cosmic Stream” (video interview)

The AVALON UNIVERSE is an alternate Star Trek timeline where show-runner JOSHUA IRWIN (from Fayetteville, Arkansas) can play around with stories without worrying about tripping over existing canon.  in the very first episode from the Avalon folks, GHOST SHIP, Captain Derek Mason (played by TYLER DUNIVAN) is given command of the U.S.S. Excalibur).  But in the very next episode, AVALON LOST, the character died.  Or did he?

Four episodes were released since then with a new lead actor, but now with the seventh Avalon release in less than three years, fans discover that Captain Mason might not have died after all!  But where is he?  When is he?  And do these strange aliens who look like people he’s known mean him harm?  Find out as Captain Mason and viewers watching enter the COSMIC STREAM…

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: July 17, 2021

View: Cosmic Stream
Rating: MUST SEE


AVALON UNIVERSE: “Demons” (audio interview)

The AVALON UNIVERSE made its unexpected debut in our universe on Halloween of 2018…which was somewhat appropriate, considering the storyline of the debut episode (the 2-part GHOST SHIP) was kinda a “Star-Trek-meets-The Walking Dead” mash-up. Exactly one year later, on Halloween 2019, the latest Avalon Universe fan film, DEMONS (the third story so far), premiered the first of its two segments, with part 2 coming out a week later. In between was the one-part AVALON LOST, which came out in February of 2019.

All three stories were something quite different than most other fan films…and I don’t mean just the unusual meshing of Kelvin-verse uniforms with TOS-style sets…along with nacelles and shuttlecraft which looked slightly different than the familiar Prime Universe technology. No, what fans noticed almost immediately was a quality level—of acting, directing, lighting, camera angles and lens selection, sound mixing, film editing, pacing—that was a step or three above the vast majority of other Star Trek fan films.

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: November 30, 2019

View: AVALON UNIVERSE: “Demons”, Part 1
View: AVALON UNIVERSE: “Demons”, Part 2
Rating: MUST SEE


CHANCE ENCOUNTER (Feature)

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.

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: February 1, 2017

View: Chance Encounter
Rating: MUST SEE


DATA & PICARD (feature)

The strangely surreal DATA & PICARD Star Trek fan music video has been viewed on YouTube nearly seven and a half million times…making it one of the most widely seen Trek fan productions of all time.  When the musician/DJ/remix artist/film editor/YouTuber POGO (whose real name is NICK BERTKE) first uploaded this unusually hypnotic video back in late 2016, it was certainly a project I intended to cover. But less than two years later—and before I was able to blog about him—Pogo/Nick created some major controversy and trouble for himself.

And so I was torn. On the one hand, Pogo had created this wildly popular Star Trek fan film music video…and his background story is quite interesting. On the other hand, hate speech and homophobia is anathema to me. I am totally repulsed by Pogo’s prejudices against gay people and women. If you can’t stomach my decision to post this blog feature, then please feel free to skip it.

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: May 1, 2019

View: Data & Picard
Rating: MUST SEE


THE FALL OF STARBASE ONE

AARON VANDERKLEY is a wonder from down under!  When some fans began complaining that the guidelines‘ limit of 15 minutes for a fan film wasn’t long enough to tell a compelling story, Aaron proved them wrong by doing it in less than HALF that time!

Aaron has just released his fourth fan film in two years, THE FALL OF STARBASE ONE, his longest and ambitious yet…and another MUST SEE.  After this, Aaron plans to do only one more “big finale”—likely sometime later this year.  As of now, the final script isn’t written or even titled.

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: June 24  2018

View: The Fall of Starbase One
Rating: MUST SEE


GALACTIC BATTLES (feature)

Back in early 2015, a group of young fan filmmakers out of Vancouver, Canada launched an Indiegogo campaign trying to raise $15,000 (Canadian) to complete their production. It would be a crossover fan film featuring the ships and characters from Star TrekStar WarsMass Effect, and Halo. They had already been working for nearly two years, starting out pretty slow with just a few artists, all of them new to the pipeline process of working together on an open, collaborative, community-driven movie project.

By 2015, they had managed to build a team of 20 digital artists, two sound designers, several actors (including Mark Meer from Mass Effect), one dedicated screenwriter, two social media coordinators, and many more. Along the way, they picked up sponsors that donated some pretty amazing free hardware, software, plus meeting and studio space. Having now developed an industry-grade pipeline process, they just needed $15,000 to finish this incredibly ambitious project.

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: January 4, 2019

View: Galactic Battles
Rating: MUST SEE


AVALON UNIVERSE: “Ghost Ship” (audio interview)

The vast majority of the fan film community had no idea that GHOST SHIP was coming (including me)!  But just a few weeks ago, on Halloween, the newest full-length Star Trek fan production from JOSHUA IRWIN and VICTORIA FOX debuted on YouTube.

A “Star Trek meets The Walking Dead” mash-up, of sorts, the film combines spooky zombie horror tropes with comedic moments and fun characters to create a wonderfully enjoyable space adventure.  And it follows the guidelines completely, including dividing the fan film into two less-than-15-minute segments.  The cast is made up of trained actors along with a crew of experienced film producers.  The result looks great, sounds great, and is written, directed, and edited at a noticeably high level.

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: November 22, 2018

View: Ghost Ship, Segment 1
View: Ghost Ship, Segment 2
Rating: MUST SEE

 


GOOD MEN (interview)

Last October, I posted an interview with the fan film wonder from down under, Australia-based Trekker AARON VANDERKLEY.  When the fan film guidelines came out in 2016, many fans worried that it would be impossible to create a decent Star Trek fan film story in 15 minutes or less.  But Aaron had already disproven that six months earlier when he released the six-and-a-half minute NEEDS OF THE MANY, an emotionally intense NX-01 era fan film with great acting, real practical sets (not green screen), and wonderful costumes.

In September of 2017, Aaron wowed the fan film world again with yet another NX-01 era fan film, the twelve-minute THE DERELICT.  Even more intense than his first effort, Derelict cemented Aaron’s reputation as a top-notch Star Trek fan filmmaker.

But Arron wasn’t done yet!

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: February 12, 2018

View: Good Men
Rating: MUST SEE


LINE OF DUTY (interview)

When the fan film guidelines set a 15-minute limit on the runtime of Star Trek fan films, many in the community shouted, “It can’t be done!”  AARON VANDERFLEY in Australia apparently didn’t get the memo.

Between 2016 and 2018, Aaron released four different NX-era fan films, each impeccably produced, beautifully acted and directed with compelling stories, and none over the 15 minutes allotted by the guidelines.  The four films seemed to be completely unconnected to each other, but now with a fifth and final release, Aaron ties all five films together in a masterful effort that is as good, if not better than, his previous releases.

Who says it can’t be done?

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: August 6, 2019

View: Line of Duty
Rating: MUST SEE


NEEDS OF THE MANY and THE DERELICT (Interview)

Fan films like Star Trek: HorizonPrelude to AxanarStar Trek: RenegadesStar Trek Continues, and New Voyages have been viewed millions and millions of times on YouTube….and with good reason.  All are excellent productions of professional-level quality.

But those are the “big fish” in the fan film pond.  Two much smaller fish have swum underneath the sonar and haven’t been noticed by more than a couple of thousand viewers each…which is a shame because they are two of the best, highest quality Star Trek fan films you’re likely to see!

They didn’t have mega-budgets like some fan films, nor did they use big-name Hollywood actors or Trek veteran producers.  Both short films take place during the Enterprise NX-01 era and use real, practical sets instead of green screen.  The costumes look amazing, and the actors do a really spectacular job.  Add in subtle lightning, great make-up, excellent camera work, a strong script, solid directing, and even top-notch editing, and these two fan films can easily take their place among some of the best ones so far.

READ MORE…

Blog entry PART 1 posted: October 6, 2017

View: Needs of the Many
Rating: MUST SEE

View: The Derelict
Rating: MUST SEE


THE RED SHIRT DIARIES (interview)

THE RED SHIRT DIARIES ran from September 2014 through January 2016 and produced 30 hilarious short episodes plus an almost equal number of specials, sneak peaks, and light-hearted behind-the-scenes vignettes.  Much like potato chips, I guarantee you won’t be able to watch just one episode.

What makes this series fun, creative, and unique is the fact that Ensign Williams (played by the amazingly talented ASHLEY VICTORIA ROBINSON) is NOT directly involved in any of the missions that we TOS fans have seen a thousand times. And yet she is involved… in her own way.  A poor player strutting and fretting her hours behind the stage, Ensign Williams is stuck on Deck 7, commenting in her logs on what is going on.  And her insights and observations are hilarious… as are guest appearances by certain fellow crew members and other colorful and familiar faces like Trelane, Harry Mudd, and Balok.

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: October 16, 2018

View all episodes: The Red Shirt Diaries
Rating: MUST SEE


THE ROMULAN WAR, PART I (audio interview)
THE ROMULAN WAR, PART I (interview for first crowd-funder)

The first hints of THE ROMULAN WAR fan film appeared back in 2017. Not to be confused with the fan series THE ROMULAN WARS (plural) from show-runner LEE GARTRELL in Arkansas, this fan film from show-runner MARK NACCARATO in Tennessee is a straight-up two-parter—presented in the same “mockumentary” style as PRELUDE TO AXANAR.

By the time 2018 hit, The Romulan War had most of its scenes filmed and was crowd-funding for mainly post-production costs with a $10K Indiegogo (which ultimately took in more than $13K). With visual FX by the sensei of CGI, Great Britain’s SAMUEL COCKINGS, the trailers and stills from this dynamic fan film created a palpable excitement throughout the community. Frustratingly—but unavoidably—post-production would stretch out another two-plus years. However, unlike other fan films, The Romulan War served fans an almost constant stream of “hors d’oeuvre” vignettes and trailer/prequels and even a couple of short comic book stories leading up to the big premiere of the main fan fillm.

READ MORE…

Blog entry audio interview posted: October 20, 2020
Blog entry crowd-funding interview posted: April 10, 2018

View: The Romulan War, Part 1
Rating: MUST SEE


SQUADRON (Zoom video interview)
SQUADRON: THE MUSIC VIDEO (feature)

When you think Star Trek, you probably don’t immediately think of the Czech Republic in central Europe (Star Czech maybe, but not Star Trek). But when it comes to Trek fan films, there’s some folks in Prague who have taken things to a whole other level!  A number of fan groups have already utilized an amazing 360-degree 24th century-era bridge and ready room set, but the group from SQUADRON has taken things to a whole new level.

Having filmed just prior to the pandemic and only partially crowd-funded just after the lockdown started and the global economy began to collapse, the Squadron folks managed to do a whole lot with relatively little.  Costumes, props, make-up (including a Vorta, two Jem’Hadar, a Vulcan, Andorian, Trill, and Orion), VFX, lighting, editing, music—all are executed flawlessly in this Dominion War era fan film.  The lines are all in Czech, but English subtitles are available on YouTube.  It’s not to be missed!

READ MORE…

Blog entry for Zoom video interview posted: February 7, 2021
Blog entry for Music Video posted: February 22, 2021

View: Squadron
View: Squadron: The Music Video
Rating: MUST SEE


THE ROMULAN WAR: War Stories (feature )
War Stories: “Final Flight” (feature)
“Holocaust” Motion Comic (interview)

War stories, if done right, can be very compelling.  They test the characters, twist them into unrecognizable shapes, and spit them out…sometimes for the better but all-too-often for the worse.  How do we survive war?  How do we fight?  What decisions do we make that might have been unimaginable to us during peacetime?

There are just some of the questions that are asked in a fascinating new “enhanced” audio drama just released in the lead-up to the debut of The Romulan War fan film series.

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: August 15, 2018
Blog entry posted for “Final Flight” posted: December 20, 2018
Blog entry posted for the “Holocaust” motion comic: February 17, 2021

View: “Sleep Is Hard to Find, Part 1”
View: “Sleep Is Hard to Find, Part 2”
View: “They Want Us Dead”
View: “Final Flight”
View: “The Fighting Fourth”
View: “Hunting Grounds”
View: “Holocaust” Motion Comic
Ratings vary by episode from:
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED +to MUST SEE


STALLED TREK: ALL AHEAD FULL (feature)

The last time fans saw the kooky TOS crew of the USS Second Prize was in 2012’s “Amutt Time.”  But  last summer, Stalled Trek creator and certified genius lunatic MARK LARGENT announced a Kickstarter to fund a brand new episode: “The City on the Edge of Foreclosure.” He successfully raised $4,181 from 114 backers, and so it was off to make a new fan film parody.

But before he could begin, Mark found himself forced to switch over to a new 3D modeling and rendering application, Blender 3D, and it required a bit of a learning curve.  To challenge himself to master the new digital tool by tackling an actual project, Mark decided to create a Stalled Trek “quickie,” and the vigneette ALL AHEAD FULL is the hilarious result.

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: June 19, 2019

View: Stalled Trek: All Ahead Full
Rating: MUST SEE


Cover 2STALLED TREK: AMUTT TIME (interview), part 1
STALLED TREK: AMUTT TIME (interview), part 2

Okay, now I’ve seen everything!

Star Trek MUPPETS???  Well, why not?

Truth to tell, when I first found this little gem—entirely by accident on YouTube—I wasn’t expecting much. It looked silly, and I didn’t really get what the title meant.  And then I watched it. Hilarious! Brilliant! A perfect parody of one of the most classic fan-favorite TOS Star Trek episodes: “Amok Time.”

READ MORE…

Blog entry PART 1 posted: March 11, 2016

View: Stalled Trek: Amutt Time
Rating: MUST SEE


Prelude to Ax'd We Are bannerSTALLED TREK: PRELUDE TO AX’D WE ARE (feature)

How’s this for a first? A parody fan film of another fan film! And not just any fan film…it’s a parody of Prelude to Axanar!

Prelude to Ax’d-We-Are is a love letter to the amazing fan production that has become so popular… and it also doubles as a bit of light-hearted satire on this whole copyright infringement controversy. Oh, and it’s pretty darn funny, too!

So how did this Axanar parody come about? Who can we blame?

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: April 22, 2016

View: Stalled Trek: Prelude to Ax’d-We-Are
Rating: MUST SEE


Cover 3STARSHIP FARRAGUT, Part 1 (2004 to 2007)
STARSHIP FARRAGUT, Part 2 (2008 to 2010)
STARSHIP FARRAGUT, Part 3 (2011 to 2016)

“Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!”

Rear Admiral David G. Farragut issued that order in 1864 at the Battle of Mobile Bay during the American Civil War.  A century and a half later, a group of dedicated Star Trek fans has followed that order with enthusiasm to make a film series that bears his name.

Starship Farragut had its fair share of torpedoes to get past, but speed on it did.  And through a full decade of filming and production, Farragut has continued to grow, improve, and evolve into one of Star Trek fandom’s MUST-SEE fan-based series.  Along the way, Farragut boldly went where no fan film had gone before, blazing a successful trail for other fan series to follow.

READ MORE…

Blog entry PART 1 posted: February 5, 2016

View #1: “The Captaincy”
Rating: PRETTY GOOD  Rating 2a

View #2: “For Want of a Nail”
Rating: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED  Rating 3a

View #3: “Just Passing Through”
Rating: PRETTY GOOD +

View #4: “Rock and a Hard Place”
Rating: PRETTY GOOD 

View #5: “Power Source”
Rating: PRETTY GOOD 

View #6: “The Needs of the Many
Rating: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED Rating 3a

View #7: “The Price of Anything”
Rating: MUST SEE

View #8: “Night Shift”
Rating #: PRETTY GOOD +

View #9: “Conspiracy of Innocence”
Rating: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED Rating 3a

View #9: “The Crossing”
Rating: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED +

 


STAR TREK: DARK ARMADA, Part 1 (2005 to 2009)
STAR TREK: DARK ARMADA, Part 2 (2010 to 2016)

To quote Scotty, “I’ve always held a sneaking admiration for this one.”  Actually, my admiration for the efforts of Fan Trek Productions (out of the Netherlands) has never exactly been “sneaking.”  These “semi-professional” (their words) fan filmmakers have consistently turned out really impressive, self-funded episodes of their fan series.  And now, after ten years, that series, STAR TREK: DARK ARMADA, has released its final episode.

But that’s only the beginning!

I’ll explain that unusual comment in Part 2, but first, let’s take a look back at a decade of a truly remarkable fan series…

READ MORE…

Blog entry PART 1 posted: January 13, 2017

View #1: “These Are the Voyages”
Rating: PRETTY GOOD  Rating 2a

View #2: “Worst Nightmare”
Rating: PRETTY GOOD +

View #3: “Choices, part one”
Rating: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED  Rating 3a

View #4: “Choices, part two”
Rating: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED  Rating 3a

View #5: “Promotion”
Rating: PRETTY GOOD  Rating 2a

View #6: “It’s Dark… Get Over It”
Rating: PRETTY GOOD +

View #7: “Nightfall”
Rating: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED  Rating 3a

View #8: “Almost Time”
Rating: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED +

View #9: “Out of Time”
Rating: MUST SEE


STAR TREK: DECEPTION (feature)

Back in 2013, LEO TIERNEY of the United Kingdom set out to make a Next Generation-era Star Trek fan film called STAR TREK: DECEPTION.  Most live action fan films set in that time frame either record away teams in outdoor locations or else use green screen composited actors in front of virtual backgrounds…since creating practical sets in the 24th century style is incredibly challenging.

Leo, however, was up to the challenge of building a TNG-era set!  He decided to design and construct an actual Starfleet runabout cockpit set in which to film his actors.  He just needed a little bit of money to do it.  How little?  Well, considering what even the cheapest fan films cost, £500 (about $635 back then) was an amazingly small amount for what Leo was planning.  Ultimately, after a month, his January 2013 Kickstarter took in a little over twice that amount: £1,174 (about $1,500).

Then it was time to get to work…and so he did!

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: January 19, 2018

View: Star Trek: Deception
Rating: MUST SEE


STAR TREK: DECEPTION II (interview)

Shortly after the debut of the first Star Trek: Deception back in mid-2013, writer/director LEO TIERNEY began discussing the production of a sequel.  However, the idea mostly languished until Leo briefly brought it up again on Facebook in 2015.  But even then, nothing much happened for nearly another year.

Leo began working in earnest on Deception II in 2016, and once again set out to construct actual physical (practical) sets—this time for both an Excelsior-class bridge and also for the bridge of a Klingon bird-of-prey.  And he constructed both…in a tiny garage!

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Blog entry posted: October 16, 2018

View: Star Trek: Deception II
Rating: MUST SEE


STAR TREK: FIRST FRONTIER (audio interview with KENNY SMITH and ZEKE FLATTEN)
STAR TREK: FIRST FRONTIER (interview with KENNY SMITH)
STAR TREK: FIRST FRONTIER (video montage interview with MATT GREEN and SCOTT LYTTLE)

September 8, 2020 is the 54th anniversary of the first airing of STAR TREK back in 1966. It is also the five-year anniversary of the beginning of production on STAR TREK: FIRST FRONTIER, the long-awaited fan film from show-runner KENNY SMITH.

Kenny had a dream to create a fan film focussing on the very first captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701, Robert April, and his first mission commanding that legendary starship. Kenny’s dream was BIG! He wanted real sets and real professional actors and even visual effects with a real, custom-built 11-foot model of the U.S.S. Enterprise…none of this CGI nonsense. Go real or go home!

READ MORE…

Blog entry audio interview posted: September 8, 2020
Blog entry video montage interview posted:
Blog entry interview posted:


STAR TREK: HORIZON (interview), part 1Cover 1
STAR TREK: HORIZON (interview), part 2

Man, are you guys ever in for a treat! The full-length Star Trek: Horizon has just been released to the general public, and it is a cinematic triumph of Trek fan films.

Show-runner Tommy Kraft gave me a special link to view the movie early. I’d watched barely the first 15 minutes when I shot him a Facebook IM saying simply “F—king WOW!”

Horizon (no ‘s’ at the end, folks!) starts out with a bang—several, in fact—and immediately lets the viewers know that they’re in for a wild and high-quality fan film ride.

READ MORE…

Blog entry PART 1 posted: February 26, 2016

View: Star Trek: Horizon
Rating: MUST SEE


STAR TREK: RENEGADES, Part 1 (feature)
STAR TREK: RENEGADES, Part 2 (feature)
STAR TREK: RENEGADES, Part 3 (feature)
STAR TREK: RENEGADES, Part 4 (feature)
RENEGADES: The Series, Part 5 (feature)

Before there was Renegades: The Series, there was STAR TREK: RENEGADES, one of the largest, most ambitious fan film projects ever attempted.  Nearly four hundred thousand dollars in crowd-funding, multiple Star Trek veteran actors reprising their roles from the various TV series, paid industry professionals on both sides of the camera, two years in the making, enthusiastic plans to present this to CBS as a potential pilot for a new Star Trek TV series, and even a gala Los Angeles red carpet premiere at the historic Crest Theater in Westwood.

Looked at through the hindsight lens of the constraining limitations of the post-guidelines reality we now live in, it’s hard to imagine that something like STAR TREK: RENEGADES could even have been attempted, let alone successfully completed and released with such fanfare.  How on earth (or in space) did they manage it?

READ MORE…

Blog entry PART 1 posted: July 14, 2017

View: Star Trek: Renegades
Rating: MUST SEE

View: Renegades: The Series – “The Requiem, Part 1”
Rating: MUST SEE


STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE – Modern Trailer

It’s amazing how much movie trailers have changed in the last few decades!

Three months ago, I shared a link to a fan video from 2016 that featured a modern take on the trailer for STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN.  The updated trailer was created by  JONATHAN WORMAN, a talented video editor based in Toronto, Canada who has worked on commercials, music videos, shorts, and documentaries over the past eight years.  Posting under the name “Orange Band,” Jonathan’s Wrath of Khan trailer has already garnered more than 100,000 views on YouTube.

Then, last month, Jonathan Worman did it again!  This time, he tackled STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE.  And…wow!  Considering how relatively slow the pacing was for the first Trek feature film (I still think it’s a good movie…just slow), this new and updated trailer makes the film look like a real thrill ride!

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: December 22, 2017

View: Star Trek: The Motion Picture – Modern Trailer
Rating: MUST SEE


STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN – Modern Trailer

Most fan films feature fan-written scripts with fan actors, fan-generated visual and sound effects, etc…some with small budgets and others with big budgets.  But as far as I’m concerned, fan films don’t stop there!

Sometimes fans can show their innovation and cleverness by taking existing Star Trek footage from the five decades of countless episodes and 13 feature films, editing and manipulating it in new and creative ways.

One of the best examples I’ve seen of this recently is a fan-edited version of the trailer for Star Trek II: The Wrath of KhanJONATHAN WORMAN is a talented video editor based in Toronto, Canada who has worked on commercials, music videos, shorts, and documentaries over the past eight years.  Last summer, he released a brilliant “modern” version of a trailer for this beloved fan favorite feature film.

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: September 8, 2017

View: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan – Modern Trailer
Rating: MUST SEE


cover-2

STONE TREK, Part 1 (interview)
STONE TREK, Part 2 (interview)

When it comes to fan films, Star Trek is no stranger to mash-ups.  Fans have taken Star Trek into the Star Wars universe and vice versa. Kirk and Spock have met the 1960s TV Batman and Robin.  Heck, the Enterprise has even picked up Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz!  (I’ve already done a feature on Star Trek vs. Batman.  The others are coming.)

But by far (at least in my opinion) the most inspired, creative, and well-executed of all the Star Trek fan film mash-ups is Stone Trek, a series of nine cartoon shorts created by Brian Mathews and released online using Adobe’s Flash software between 2000 and 2007.

Stone Trek is NOT some silly crossover where the USS Enterprise travels back in time to Bedrock and Fred Flintstone beams up to meet Captain Kirk. Instead, it’s a complete hybrid of the two shows, an entirely new entity combining recognizable elements of both but ultimately emerging as something totally unique and original.

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: October 2, 2016

View all episodes from this playlist:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL-Ebp3MDibXLuftTRzk3Jga0Amz0FJGl0
Rating: MUST SEE


TEMPORAL ANOMALY (audio interview)

The time has finally come! After nearly six years, TEMPORAL ANOMALY has been released to astound and amaze Star Trek fans. Written, directed, and produced by SAMUEL COCKINGS—the King, Ace, and Jack of all trades involving CGI animation—back in 2013, Temporal Anomaly has traveled a long and challenging path on its way to completion. This included an e-mail directly from CBS saying, “You can’t release this fan film!”

Yep, for only the fourth time, CBS stepped in to put the kibosh on a Star Trek fan film project (the others being Axanar, Federation Rising from Tommy Kraft, and “He Walked Among Us” from Star Trek: New Voyages). Considering there are literally several hundreds of Trek fan films, the VAST majority never hear from CBS. But Samuel did…just weeks before releasing his half-decade labor of love.

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: January 31, 2019

View: Temporal Anomaly, Part 1
View: Temporal Anomaly, Part 2
Rating: MUST SEE


A LONG WAY FROM HOME (interview)

SAM COCKINGS surprised the fan film community at the beginning of May 2021 by launching an Indiegogo campaign funding not just one fan film but SIX different fan films!!! The series of unrelated anthology stories will be set in different time periods of Trek from TOS to the Wrath of Khan era to the Dominion War to the Enterprise-E encountering another “Doomsday Machine” planet-killer. Calling the anthology series TREK SHORTS, Sam announced participants from various other Trek fan series including: INTREPIDAVALON UNIVERSESTAR TREK CONTINUESDREADNOUGHT DOMINIONDARK ARMADA, and TEMPORAL ANOMALY.

Sam was so excited and eager to show fans (and potential donors) the amazing quality of these productions that he didn’t wait to release the first one!  Featuring four different actors from three previous fan productions, Sam debuted A LONG WAY FROM HOME to rave reviews for acting, uniform quality, and stunning VFX that meld characters into virtual backgrounds seamlessly.

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: May 13, 2021

View: A Long Way from Home
Rating: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED +


AVALON UNIVERSE: “Air and Darkness” (feature)

This fifth release from the AVALON UNIVERSE not only follows the introduction from LEGACY, but it also picks up on the mysterious plot points left unresolved in the excellent 2-part Avalon release DEMONS from late 2019.  While most of the recent “fandemic” films tend to have just one character on the screen at a time, that would have been impossible with this production due to the stunts requiring hand-to-hand combat. So VICTORIA FOX and JOSHUA IRWIN came up with a very clever way to work masks into the outdoor fight scenes and simultaneously minimize the need for make-up.

You don’t usually see convincing hand-to-hand fight scenes in Star Trek fan films. But when your main star is also an accomplished martial artist and works in the entertainment industry, you’ve got a valuable asset. CHUCK MERÉ, who plays Captain Lance Ramirez, was the fight choreographer and did a fantastic job. He also was one of two FX make-up artists on the production.

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: January 5, 2021

View: AIR AND DARKNESS
Rating: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED +


BOLDLY GO! – Where No Musical Has Gone Before (feature)

You don’t have to be a theoretical physicist to write a Star Trek musical…but it sure helps!

BOLDLY GO! – Where No Musical Has Gone Before didn’t start off as a fan film.  In fact, it was only performed six times in front of audiences in late February and early March of 2016 in Pasadena, CA at the Ramo Auditorium at Caltech.  But last month, a year after its too-short theatrical run, the full two-and-a-half hour live performance was posted to Youtube…and now I consider it officially a “fan film.”  And not only that, but it’s one to which I am giving a rating of “Highly Recommended +” because it’s REALLY good!  (And if you don’t want to commit that much time, at the end of this blog, I’m including time codes to skip to the four best musical numbers that are MUST SEE/HEAR.)

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: May 26, 2017

View: To Boldly Go!
Rating: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED +


CHASING THE INFINITE SKY (video interview)

Back in the summer of 2016, ALBERT MARTINEZ debuted a new fan film consisting primarily of breathtaking CGI visual FX inspired by the Kelvin-verse style of starship design. CHASING THE INFINITE SKY quickly went viral with hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube.

Usually, my interviews of fan filmmakers are simply audio or text (’cause I can’t afford camera crews!). But today I present to you a special VIDEO interview. At the end, the video also includes a new REMASTERED higher-quality version of Chasing the Infinite Sky.

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: February 13, 2019

View: CHASING THE INFINITE SKY
Rating: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED +


HOURS AT WARP (feature)

SAMUEL COCKINGS was in the middle of a crowd-funding campaign for his TREK SHORTS series of green screen fan films.  He’d been planning to put together a now teaser-trailer for the third Trek Short, “Hours to Doomsday,” which would star MARCUS CHURCHILL, reprising his role of Ensign Sam Harriman from Temporal Anomaly, along with NIMRAD SAUND as Lieutenant Keeley.  But on the scheduled day of filming, Nimrad was diagnosed with COVID-19 and couldn’t come for the shoot.  (She fully recovered.)

Not wanting to cancel the shoot entirely, Sam called up Marcus, who was still an hour and a half away, and told him to come anyway.  Sam then spent the next 90 minutes writing a 5-minute vignette script for Marcus to perform.  The finished product, including Sam’s impeccable CGI and Marcus’ fine acting (and a voice-over cameo from ROBIN HIERT of DARK ARMADA) looks FANtastic and is proof that necessity can certainly be a mother.

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Blog entry posted: May 27, 2021

View: Hours at Warp
Rating: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED +


INTREPID (3-part interview)
INTREPID: “Dangerous Minds” (Interview)

If you hear the words “Star Trek” and “Scotland,” chances are you’ll immediately think of Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott.  But do you think of NICK COOK and the cast and crew of the STAR TREK: INTREPID fan series?  You should…because Intrepid is currently the longest-running Star Trek fan series still in active production (and there’s no end in sight).

Even though their first episode didn’t premiere until 2007, production actually began way back in 2003—before there was YouTube!—and you could count the total number of Trek fan series on one hand (well, maybe you’d need a couple of fingers from your second hand, too).

Since then, Intrepid has released twelve fan films PLUS an additional three crossover fan films with STAR TREK: HIDDEN FRONTIER…and has also had its characters make cameos in three (soon to be four) additional fan series.

READ MORE…

Blog entry feature posted: December 5, 2019
Blog entry interview posted: February 12, 2020

View all episodes: Intrepid
Ratings vary by episode from:
PRETTY GOOD  Rating 2ato HIGHLY RECOMMENDED +


HINDSIGHT: The Unmaking of ALTERNATIVE VICTORY (feature)

Back in the winter of 1982, a number of dedicated Trekkers from northern California came together to make a Star Trek fan film.  Most were in high school or college, and nearly all of them were pretty clueless about filmmaking.  But the thing was: they didn’t know they were clueless!  And so they soldiered on, always imagining the awesomeness of their final production.

This 2013 documentary is a retrospective from 30 years later, featuring the young kids—now all grown up—who tried to make Alternative Victory.  Looking back from the perspective of adults in their 40s and 50s, the documentary isn’t just about the making of this fan film. It’s about the people involved and the effect this shared experience had on all of their lives…even decades later.

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: April 24, 2020

View: HINDSIGHT: The Unmaking of ALTERNATIVE VICTORY
Rating: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED +


LAST SURVIVOR (interview)

Back in 2010, a short 10-minute 24th century-era Trek fan film made its debut. Despite being ultra-low budget, it was actually quite ambitious, being shot in multiple outdoor locations by a team of just four people…two of whom appeared on screen. It was called SURVIVOR and was written, produced, and directed by MATTHEW BLACKBURN, who also starred in the leading role.

Most fans thought Survivor was just a one-and-done effort, but seven years later in the summer of 2017, Matthew released a sequel: SURVIVORS. Still low-budget, this time six people had produced the fan film, and it was 15 minutes long and a bit more ambitious.

At the very end of 2018 (two days before the new year), Matthew released what seems to be—at least from the title—the final installment of the Survivor trilogy: LAST SURVIVOR. It’s my favorite of the three, although they are each very enjoyable.

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: March 15, 2019

View: Last Survivor
Rating: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED +


Potemkin - Cover 1PROJECT POTEMKIN (interview), Part 1
PROJECT POTEMKIN (interview), Part 2

Without a doubt, we live in a veritable renaissance of Star Trek fan films… one after the other they come, dazzling us with intricate and expansive sets, elaborate green screen backgrounds, meticulously crafted costumes, breathtaking special effects, professional level make-up and lighting, and rich music and sound effects.  Production teams in the hundreds often include veteran Star Trek actors and professional screenwriters who have worked in Hollywood.  Heck, some of these fan films are even being shot in Los Angeles with crowd-sourced budgets well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

But what if your budget is missing four or five zeros at the end?  What if you’ve got virtually nothing to spend on your fan film?  With all the blazing supernovae of independent Star Trek cinematic achievements out there, is it even worth it to make just a simple “fan film” anymore?

READ MORE…

Blog entry PART 1 posted: January 26, 2016

View episodes from here: http://www.potemkinpictures.com/potemkin/episodes.html
Ratings vary by episode from:
DECENT EFFORT Rating 1a to HIGHLY RECOMMENDED + Rating 3b


PROJECT RUNABOUT: “Pilot” (interview)

To paraphrase (De)Forrest Gump: “Fan films are like a box of chocolates—you never know what you’re gonna get.”

That was certainly the case when I sat down to watch the premiere of the new fan series PROJECT: RUNABOUT, created by GARY DAVIS and RANDY WRENN, who are also the co-showrunners behind the veteran fan series DREADNOUGHT DOMINION. I went in completely cold, knowing only that Gary had worked long and hard to build a brand new TOS-era cockpit set in his basement and that British VFX phenom SAMUEL COCKINGS had designed an awesome-looking CGI model of a 23rd century runabout and was really excited about the visual effects that he was creating for this initial release.

What I was NOT expecting was…a music video??? And honestly, a really good music video!

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: July 23, 2021

View: Project: Runabout: “Pilot”
Rating: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED +


STARSHIP VALIANT (feature), Part 1
STARSHIP VALIANT (feature), Part 2
STARSHIP VALIANT (feature), Part 3
STARSHIP VALIANT (feature), Part 4
STARSHIP VALIANT :”Animals” pre-launch countdown (feature)

The brainchild of local resident MICHAEL L. KING, who would play the main character of Jackson Bishop, STARSHIP VALIANT was the first completed fan production to film on the 360-degree bridge set at Starbase Studios back in late 2013. In 2016, they would also be the last fan series to film at that location.  During those years, they produced three excellent fan films focusing mainly on the characters rather than the more typical space battles or threats to the ship.  Starship Valiant would introduce the character of  Chief Engineer Erick Minard, played by VANCE MAJOR, who would go on to appear in several dozen more low budget fan films.

After a nearly four-year hiatus, Starship Valiant returned in early 2021 to release a brand new fan film episode titled “Animals.”  In a four-part series of blogs, we take a deep dive look into the long and rich history of this highly-respected Star Trek fan series.

READ MORE…

Blog entry countdown posted: January 19, 2021
Blog history features posted: January 21 – February 11, 2021

View all episodes: Starship Valiant
Ratings vary by episode from:
PRETTY GOOD  Rating 2ato HIGHLY RECOMMENDED +


STAR TREK: AURORA (feature)Aurora-cover

In today’s world of cutting-edge Star Trek fan films, teams of dozens—sometimes hundreds!—work to make these ambitious cinematic endeavors come to life on YouTube, Vimeo, or even a DVD or Blu-ray.

So it’s definitely worth taking notice when a top-tier Trek fan film is produced by only ONE man.  Well, I should qualify that.  His first episode cast was comprised of 17 people (including the creator himself and his wife Jeannette), the original music was composed by John Catney, and a number of CGI 3D meshes and textures were created by other artists.  But everything else – the writing, directing, producing, sets, make-up, wardrobe, lighting, sound, camera angles, editing, and 3D animation – that was all in the hands of one guy: Tim Vining.

And he never even had to get out of his chair!

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: February 16, 2016

View #1: Episode 1 of STAR TREK: AURORA
Rating: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED +

View #2: Episode 2 – “Mudd in Your I”
Rating: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED +


STAR TREK: DISCOVERY Opening Title Sequences by Fans

Like STAR TREK: DISCOVERY itself, people seem to either love or hate the opening title sequence for Star Trek: Discovery…just as they did for the “Faith of the Heart” opening for Star Trek: Enterprise.  But Enterprise was canceled before YouTube existed (or rather, just as it was being launched).  Now, however, fans feel quite comfortable making and posting their own new versions of the opening title sequence, and there are currently dozens of videos out there!

After reviewing all the ones I could find, I selected my TOP TWELVE.  Yeah, I know it’s supposed to be TOP TEN, but I just couldn’t eliminate the final two.  They were just so good!

I’ve assembled those twelve fan-made videos here in one blog—ranked in order so that my favorite is last.  Which one is YOUR favorite?

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: March 22, 2018

View all twelve sequences: On the blog page
Rating: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED +


STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE II – “The Crossing” and “The Beginning of the End” (feature)

Two of the most ambitious and visually stunning Star Trek fan films you will ever see don’t feature a single human actor on the screen. Instead, both fan films star action figures from the Art Asylum line for Star Trek: Enterprise and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (plus a Terminator action figure thrown in for good measure).

One of these fan films took two and a half years to complete…the other took more than eight years! Both of them will blow you away, and you’ll be even more blown away when you go behind-the-scenes to see the meticulous work and craftsmanship that went into each one.

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: March 10, 2021

View: Star Trek: Enterprise II – “Crossroads”
Rating: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED  Rating 3a

View: Star Trek: Enterprise II – “The Beginning of the End”
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED +


STAR TREK: OF GODS AND MEN (feature)

Before there was Renegades: the Series or Star Trek: Renegades, there was Star Trek: Of Gods and Men.  And if you are a student of fan film history (or you want to be), this article is required reading.

You see, Star Trek: Of Gods and Men marked a turning point for fan films…several turning points, in fact.  It was the first time a major fan film used the resources of another major fan film for shooting.  It was the first time multiple Star Trek acting veterans all appeared together in the same fan production reprising their iconic characters.  And it was the first time a major fan film had done a stand-alone feature-length film.  (Other fan series had done hour-plus length episodes, but these were all for ongoing fan series.  Star Trek: Of Gods and Men was a one-shot story with a movie run-time of nearly 90 minutes.)

A look at this groundbreaking fan production from 2008 actually allows us to look at its fascinating place in the grander history of all Star Trek fan films…

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: August 14, 2016

View: Star Trek: Of Gods and Men
Rating: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED +


STAR TREK: PHASE II – “Origins: The Protracted Man” (feature)

In the spring of 2016, STAR TREK: PHASE II founder and show-runner JAMES CAWLEY announced, shortly before the unveiling of the fan film guidelines by CBS, that his fan series would cease all fan film production.  This left three projects nearly all filmed but still uncompleted: “Bread and Savagery” (a sequel to the TOS episode “Bread and Circuses), “Torment of Destiny” (a sequel to “For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky” and featuring the now-deceased RICHARD HATCH), and “Origins: The Protracted Man” (co-written by DAVID GERROLD and the recently-passed DAVE GALANTER).

On January 4, 2021, without any fanfare or explanation, James Cawley quietly posted “Origins: The Protracted Man” in its unfinished format. The film is still very close to completed, but there are some obvious places where the sound and/or image quality is off, the VFX are low resolution or missing entirely, and some scenes remain unfilmed. And the entire film is has a slight horizontal compression. But nevertheless, there is enough to get a good feel for how this excellent fan film would have turned out…including amazingly powerful performances.

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: January 12, 2021

View: Origins: The Protracted Man, Part 1
View: Origins: The Protracted Man, Part 2
Rating: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED +


STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE FANIMATION (feature)

The one thing that nearly every fan and viewer agrees on is that the visual effects sequences in Star Trek: The Motion Picture are stunning and some of the grandest, most beautiful, and unforgettable in Star Trek‘s 50-plus year history.

Those VFX sequences, overseen by the legendary DOUG TRUMBULL and JOHN DYKSTRA, were rushed together in less than six months. To see the finished breathtaking scenes, one would hardly think any of them were created with anything other than the most painstaking attention to detail over years…not simply months.

But apparently, there were indeed some mistakes. And now a fan has fixed those mistakes—not with physical models and high quality camera equipment but instead using only his computer…

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: December 23, 2019

View: Opening Klingon/V’Ger sequence
View: Drydock departure
View: Wormhole
Rating: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED +


DREADNOUGHT DOMINION (feature)
DREADNOUGHT DOMINION (interview)
DREADNOUGHT DOMINION (audio interview)
DREADNOUGHT DOMINION (interview)
DREADNOUGHT DOMINION (interview)

Back in April of 2015, a new Star Trek fan series called DREADNOUGHT DOMINION premiered with its initial episode.  It wasn’t the only TOS-era fan series to feature the crew of a non-heavy cruiser class starship, but it was the first and only one to feature the crew of a Starfleet dreadnought-class starship based on the mid-1970s Franz Joseph Star Trek Technical Manual.

Over the next half-decade and beyond, the cast and crew has served up a steady and consistent meal of fan films ranging in length from short vignettes up to full episodes 22 minutes in length. This is particularly impressive considering that the two show-runners, GARY DAVIS and RANDY WRENN, live in Ohio and North Carolina, respectively, and they film at NEUTRAL ZONE STUDIOS in Kingsland, Georgia with many cast and crew members from out of state, as well.

READ MORE…

Blog entry feature posted: November 11, 2016
Blog entry interview posted: July 29, 2018
Blog entry audio interview posted: June 16, 2019
Blog entry interview posted: March 31, 2020
Blog entry interview posted: November 18, 2020

View: “Haunted”
Rating: PRETTY GOOD +

View: “Anchors Aweigh”
Rating: PRETTY GOOD

View: “Chain of Command”
Rating: PRETTY GOOD +

View: “Reality Check”
Rating: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED Rating 3a

View: “Silent Acknowledgement”
Rating: PRETTY GOOD

View: “Technical Difficulties”
Rating: PRETTY GOOD

View: “Redemption at Red Medusa”
Rating: PRETTY GOOD

View: The Heist”
Rating: PRETTY GOOD

View: “A Barrel Full of Quincys”
Rating: PRETTY GOOD +

View: “I Get Knocked Down”
Rating: PRETTY GOOD

View: “We Are Many”
Rating: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED Rating 3a


FANIMATIONS (feature)

There’s a whole sub-sub genre of Star Trek fan films where the filmmakers don’t bother with sets or actors but instead simply use their CGI or animation skills to tell a story. I call these “fanimations.”

These “fanimators” tell a STORY through their productions. It’s not easy! It usually involves at least two different ships (or a ship an an object), since having only one ship usually falls into the “hero shot” video category. For there to be a story, the viewer needs to imagine the crews on board, hear in their head the familiar orders given (“Raise shields!” “Evasive maneuvers!” “Fire phasers!”), and figure out what has happened at a pivotal moment. In other words, the viewer should be able to figure out the story even without words or narrations…and hopefully the story is compelling and makes some sense.

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: September 18, 2019

View all fanimations on the blog page.
Ratings vary by episode from:
PRETTY GOOD  Rating 2ato HIGHLY RECOMMENDED  Rating 3a


THE HUMAN ADVENTURE (interview)

At the heart of every Star Trek fan film is…well…heart. The drive to create fan-produced stories emanates from a deep love of Star Trek. And few Trekkers love the series more than cosplayers. So what happens when a bunch of cosplayers get together to make a Star Trek fan film?

Writer/producer DAVID CHENG and his team produced THE HUMAN ADVENTURE, a TMP-era vignette focusing on the “meeting” Admiral Kirk had with Admiral Nogura convincing the Starfleet commander to give Kirk back the Enterprise to investigate the giant cloud approaching earth.

On the surface, The Human Adventure is a fairly simple and straightforward fan production—minimal VFX, no custom-built sets, basic sound, etc. But below the surface, there’s a lot to be said for this effort.

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: October 10, 2019

View: The Human Adventure
Rating: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED  Rating 3a


I AM SPOCK (interview)

There are some amazing cosplayers and impersonators out there…folks you walk past at conventions and you do a double-take. “Was that…? Nah, couldn’t be! Could it?”  One of the most convincing cosplay impersonators out there has to be JENS (pronounced “YENS”) DOMBEK…also known as “The German Spock.” Born in Berlin and currently a resident of Brieselang, Germany, Jens is completely committed to our favorite Vulcan/Human hybrid, portraying him in all manner of uniforms and clothing.

Like many others, I was blown away by the simple-yet-complex intensity of a fan film monologue that lasts a total of less than 80 seconds and takes place against a stark and empty black background. One of the best things about fan films is that there are no rules—guidelines, yes, but I’m not talking about those. Fans can add in or leave out whatever they want. And in this short film, so much was left out in order to distill a haunting but loving tribute to the “emotionless,” logical first officer of the starship Enterprise.

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Blog entry posted: July 8, 2020

View: I Am Spock
Rating: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED  Rating 3a


LEFT BEHIND (interview)

The name MATTHEW BLACKBURN isn’t the most famous in the fan film community, but Matthew has just released his fourth Star Trek fan film in ten years, and he’s still going strong. The first three each had the word “Survivor” in them and all follow a general “pattern” of featuring nearly all of the action down on a planet where the protagonist(s) is/are separated from any help from the ship.  While down on the surface, they face a threat that usually involves running, climbing, and at least one solid fight scene. And all in all, these fan films are really quite excellent!

Matthew and his team of six people have now released a fourth Star Trek fan film, LEFT BEHIND, and it’s another very strong offering—definitely their most ambitious so far.

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: October 28, 2020

View: Left Behind
Rating: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED  Rating 3a


The MINARD Saga (feature and interview)

In an interview with fan film maker VANCE MAJOR, I called him the “Where’s Waldo of Star Trek fan films.”  The interview included a list of over a dozen different Trek fan films that Vance had written, directed, produced, appeared in, and/or worked on.

But now, after releasing ANOTHER seven (yes, SEVEN!) Trek fan films—one per day!—in just seven days, I think I need to rechristen Vance the “Oompa Loompa of Star Trek fan films”…perhaps even Willy Wonka himself!

Prior to these most recent seven fan film releases, Vance’s previous production was the emotionally charged Minard.  The fan film followed the career of the chief engineer character whom Vance first portrayed in the extended edition of STARSHIP VALIANT‘s initial episode “Legacy” back in 2014.  The 7-minute Minard was meant to be one of many non-linear pieces of a “tapestry” of fan productions and short vignettes focusing on this character.

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: September 22, 2017

View all episodes: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLmKxi5xAVJrJuLkreoPnHq-nAc2wIt4_t

Ratings vary by episode from:

DECENT EFFORT +to HIGHLY RECOMMENDED  Rating 3a


THE QUINTAIN (audio interview)

As far as fandom and canon go, the animated series (TAS) is a peculiar life form. TAS was the first time we ever learned that the “T” in James T. Kirk stands for Tiberius (which became official canon in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country). Details of Vulcan from the animated episode “Yesteryear” made it into fourth season episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise. And many fans consider Robert April to be the first captain of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701 and Dr. McCoy’s daughter’s name to be Joanna…both revealed in TAS episodes.

CURT DANHAUSER has already released numerous animated Trek fan films, ranging in length from short vignettes to 66-minute multi-part releases. Curt’s latest 23-minute episode spotlights Scotty and premiered on July 9, 2020, timed to coincide with the year marking one century since actor JAMES DOOHAN was born and exactly 15 years to the month of his passing in 2005. This year also marks the 25th year since Curt Danhauser’s Guide to Animated Star Trek website debuted on the Internet.

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Blog entry posted: July 20, 2020

View: The Quintain
Rating: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED  Rating 3a

 


Cover 1STAR TREK: HIDDEN FRONTIER (feature), part 1
STAR TREK: HIDDEN FRONTIER (interview), part 2

From its humble beginnings as just a fun activity for the STARFLEET fan club chapter USS Angeles, Hidden Frontier turned into a fan film production dynamo for more than a decade, going on to produce 50 episodes over seven seasons plus five spin-off series and even cross-overs with other fan series.  Hidden Frontier broke new ground in using green-screen compositing, generating home-made 3D visual effects, recasting established characters from Star Trek canon, and even featuring the first gay Starfleet officers in a fan film series.

READ MORE…

Blog entry PART 1 posted: April 1, 2016

Ratings vary by episode, but in general:
Seasons 1 and 2 – DECENT EFFORT Rating 1a Season 3 – PRETTY GOODSeasons 4 thru 7 –HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

View the 7 seasons of Star Trek: Hidden Frontier here: http://www.hiddenfrontier.net/productions/hf/


STAR TREK: SECRET VOYAGE (audio interview)

Back during the summer of 2012, something happened at the annual Creation Entertainment Star Trek convention in Las Vegas that had never happened before and hasn’t happened since: there was a convention table dedicated solely to an unlicensed Star Trek fan film!

STAR TREK: SECRET VOYAGE was a unique Trek fan film, featuring the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701 from TOS but with an entirely different crew on a secret mission. Shot primarily in a desert area in southern Nevada, the cast and crew featured a mix of trained professionals, semi-professionals, and just plain old Trek fans. Considering the amount of footage and variety of camera angles, it was a very ambitious production.

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: March 25, 2021

View: Star Trek: Secret Voyage – “Whose Birth These Triumphs Are”
PRETTY GOOD  Rating 2a

View: Star Trek: Secret Voyage – “Rise of the Gongdea”
Rating: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED  Rating 3a


STAR TREK STUNT DOUBLES (audio interview)

How many people does it take to make a Star Trek fan film?  Five?  Ten?  Fifty?  A few have listed over a hundred cast and crew members in their credits.

But what if there’s just ONE guy?  One guy doing all the camera work, costuming, make-up, writing, direction, lighting, sound, editing, compositing, visual FX…and even playing all of the roles?

Meet MrBonk85 (that’s his YouTube handle) and his STAR TREK STUNT DOUBLES fan series.  I first discovered this fellow a few months ago when he released his version of the TOS episode “Spectre of the Gun” (see below).  It compressed the classic episode down to just 5 minutes, a mix of recreations of scenes using original dialog with unexpected flourishes of humor.  And this one fan was was playing all of the roles himself!  It was very surreal.

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: May 11, 2018

View all episodes: Youtube Playlist

Ratings vary by episode from:
DECENT EFFORT +to HIGHLY RECOMMENDED  Rating 3a


STAR TREK: SURVIVOR and SURVIVORS (audio interview)

How many people does it take to make a Star Trek fan film?

Think about the actors, writer(s), director, camera people, sound people, lighting people, costumers, make-up, props people, set designers and builders, special effects, visual FX, music composers, editor…and don’t forget all the production assistants and even the folks who bring the snacks, do the catering, or just run our for pizza.

For the “big” productions, like Star Trek Continues or Axanar, the number can be 50 or even 100 people!  For some of the smaller productions, maybe one or two dozen.

But for a little fan film released in 2010, the answer was just…FOUR.  Titled STAR TREK: SURVIVOR, the 10-minute production featured just four names in the credits, including one name who was the writer / director / producer / star / director of photography / camera operator / editor / music composer / special effects / miniatures / make-up / visual effects / and additional voices guy: MATTHEW BLACKBURN.

Seven years went by, and Star Trek: Survivor seemed content to hold its place in fan film history as a simple one-off project.  I’d written a blog about it early on for my FAN FILM FRIDAY feature on the Axanar website, and I was planning on bringing it over here to FAN FILM FACTOR eventually.  But before I could, Matthew Blackburn surprised me with a SEQUEL!!!

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: June 30, 2017

View: Star Trek: Survivor
Rating: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED  Rating 3a

View: Survivors – A Star Trek Fan FIlm
Rating: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED  Rating 3a


ARIANNA’S ENTERPRISE

At the beginning of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Admiral Kirk quips, “Galloping around the cosmos is a game for the young…”  If he only knew!

The captains just keep getting younger as 8-year-old ARIANNA ANDREWS takes the center seat in ARIANNA’S ENTERPRISE…an impressive 6-minute fan film.

As a dad myself, I smiled the whole time as I watched this adorable little girl put in a top-notch acting performance along with her father (a professional actor and writer) and her mom.  I reached out to Arianna’s daddy, CHRISTOPHER ANDREWS, with enthusiastic praise and some questions for him and his daughter.

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: July 26  2018

View: Arianna’s Enterprise
Rating: PRETTY GOOD +


CONSTAR CHRONICLES (audio interview)

VANCE MAJOR had previously made a name for himself when he turned his character of Chief Engineer Eric Minard from the fan series STARSHIP VALIANT into an artificially long-lived Starfleet officer whose career spanned from the Christopher Pike era all the way through the Battle of Wolf 359, the re-taking of Deep Space Nine, and beyond. Along the way, Minard has encountered multiple alien races, survived space battles and starship crashes, and even squared off against his Mirror Universe doppelgänger. All the while, Vance paid for his dozens and dozens of fan films with the change he found in his sofa, and shot them all on his cell phone.

To me, Vance represents the true HEART of the Star Trek fan film community—a Trekker who does this not to get noticed or to get accolades for quality or “sizzle” (most of his episodes are, frankly, minimalistic and slow-moving) but because it’s in his blood…an itch he has to scratch. And Vance invites others to come along and play in his little corner of the sandbox simply because it’s fun!

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: December 9, 2019

View all episodes: Constar Chronicles
Ratings vary by episode from:
DECENT EFFORT + to PRETTY GOOD + 


CONSTAR CONTINUES (audio interview with GREG TEFT)
CONSTAR CONTINUES (audio interview with GREG MITCHELL)

When you hear the word “Constar”—at least if you’re a member of the Star Trek fan film community—you’ll probably think of VANCE MAJOR. Between his MINARD saga fan films, his CONSTAR CHRONICLES and CONSTAR CONTINUES fan series, and his brand new CONSTAR COMPLETED fan productions, Vance is responsible for roughly a hundred different Star Trek fan films!

But Vance isn’t SOLELY responsible for them, and he’ll be the first to tell you that. In fact, shortly after his Constar Chronicles fan series dropped forty new fan films at the end of 2019 and his Constar Continues was about to kick off in early 2020, I asked Vance if he wanted to do a Fan Film Factor interview to discuss his newest series. And that was when Vance suggested, rather than yet another interview where he was the center of attention, why not shift the focus to some of the other important people who help make the U.S.S. Constar fly…both literally and figuratively.

READ MORE…

Blog entry audio interview with GREG TEFT posted: December 1, 2020
Blog entry audio interview with GREG MITCHELL posted: December 8, 2020

View all episodes: Constar Continues
Ratings vary by episode from:
DECENT EFFORT + to PRETTY GOOD + 


Digital Ghost-coverDIGITAL GHOST (feature)

It was the dawn of the Modern Age of Fan Films…

Although fan films date back to the early days of the original Star Trek series, it wasn’t until the mid-1990s that fans were finally able to create something with off-the-shelf consumer products that looked like more than just a crappy home movie.  By the late 90s, fans could record and edit footage using digital cameras, do their own 3D effects and Chroma-keying, and even add music through the use of MIDI.  Many fans were also getting quite good at costuming.  Suddenly, the only limits facing fans who wanted to make their own filmed versions of their favorite genre franchises were their imaginations, creativity, and skills with these new technologies.

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: February 21, 2016

View: Digital Ghost
Rating: PRETTY GOOD +


DREADNOUGHT DOMINION/STARSHIP VALIANT“Command and Conquer” (feature)

Last November, the fan series DREADNOUGHT DOMINION returned from a 16-month hiatus with a new episode that crossed over with sister fan series STARSHIP VALIANT…an episode entitled “Chain of Command.”  You can read more about that endeavor here in this Fan Film Factor blog.

Written by Vance Major, Gary Davis, and David R. Wrenn, and directed by Vance and Gary, the scenes for “Chain of Command” were filmed separately in the states of Ohio, North Carolina, and Oklahoma (the former location of Starbase Studios) and then edited together into a 7-minute fan film.  It focused on the new CO of the USS Dominion trying to find a first officer.

It’s rare to see the full (or nearly full) casts of two different fan series cross over into a single fan film.  What’s even rarer is to see them cross over TWICE!

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: August 14, 2017

View: Command and Conquer
Rating: PRETTY GOOD +


THE FEDERATION FILES: “Galaxy Hopper” (interview)

THE FEDERATION FILES is an anthology Star Trek fan series from show-runners GLEN L. WOLFE and DAN REYNOLDS, both currently based in Arkansas. In fact, Glen is 50% owner of what remains of the TOS sets formerly known as STARBASE STUDIOS. But more recently, Glen and Dan constructed a new TOS bridge set for use in their fan films.

With the release of their latest Federation Files episode, the Star Trek/Star Wars crossover “Galaxy Hopper,” Glen and Dan come together once again for a very exciting and good-looking fan effort on board the USS Lexington. What stands out this time—in addition to a really awesome astromech droid!—is a brand new TOS bridge set constructed specially for this production…along with the director: KELLY REYNOLDS.

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: January 3, 2019

View: “Galaxy Hopper”
Rating: PRETTY GOOD +


THE FEDERATION FILES: “The Green Manifesto” (feature)

 The the seventh overall fan film from the fan series THE FEDERATION FILES (you can view all of their releases on this YouTube playlist), “The Green Manifesto” was written and filmed after the start of the global pandemic and provides a possible origin story for the COVID-19 outbreak.

Set solidly in the 21st century during the time of World War III, the story focuses on Colonel Green from the TOS episode “The Savage Curtain” (although in this fan film, Green is still a Major). His genocidal campaign in the 21st century resulted in the deaths of 37 million people. Green believed he was cleansing the gene pool—a hero in his own mind and to scores of followers…an evil homicidal monster to others and to the annals of future history.  But how did he kill so many people so quickly? This “fandemic” fan film seeks to shine a light on this dark question with a little help from today’s headlines.

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: August 2, 2020

View: “The Green Manifesto”
Rating: PRETTY GOOD +


THE FEDERATION FILES: “Voices from the Past” (audio interview)

When is a Star Trek fan film NOT a Star Trek fan film? Or is it vice-versa? For GLEN L. WOLFE, writer and director of the sixth installment of the anthology series THE FEDERATION FILES, “Voices from the Past,” any distinction is totally blurred and probably irrelevant. No matter what “Voices” might seem to be, it is at heart VERY much a Star Trek fan film!

Granted, it certainly doesn’t look like a Star Trek fan film. There are no starships flying around, no one wearing Starfleet uniforms, no Klingons or Romulans or Cardassians in sight. No main characters from any Star Trek TV series or movie are walking around. “Voices” doesn’t even take place in the 23rd or 24th century. And yet, it’s 100% a Star Trek fan film!

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: May 14, 2020

View: “Voices from the Past”
Rating: PRETTY GOOD +


THE FEDERATION FILES: “Walking Bear, Running Wolf” (interview)

Last year, show-runner GLEN L. WOLFE released “His Name Is Mudd,” the first fan film in a new anthology series called THE FEDERATION FILES.  Now Glen and his producer DAN REYNOLDS have released the second production in the anthology series, “Walking Bear, Running Wolf.”

Glen has actually worked in myriad capacities on more than a dozen different fan films (take a look at his IMdB page for a complete list) from actor to producer to set decorator, cameraman, even electrical operator.  But The Federation Files was Glen’s first chance to really take charge, writing and directing both episodes of the new anthology series.

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: September 8, 2017

View: “Walking Bear, Running Wolf”
Rating: PRETTY GOOD +


AVALON UNIVERSE: “Legacy” (feature)

The fourth AVALON UNIVERSE fan film, LEGACY, is a short vignette that will lead into their major fifth release, AIR AND DARKNESS. Filming on both projects happened at WARP 66 STUDIOS in Mountain Home, Arkansas on GLEN WOLFE’s TOS bridge set. But as you’ll see from the fan film, the bridge underwent some noticeable modifications to mimic the look of the U.S.S. Ares bridge set in Lawrenceville, GA.

And indeed, an Ares-class starship, the U.S.S. Athena, is the setting for this vignette, with visual FX done by his lordship—or is it shiplord?—SAMUEL COCKINGS. The music was composed by ADAM MULLEN, who has been scoring scores of VANCE MAJOR’s many MINARD and CONSTAR fan films and has recently begun scoring for DAVID CHENG’s many cosplay fan films that have come out this year. Adam is a busy guy!

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: December 28, 2020

View: Legacy
Rating: PRETTY GOOD +


AVALON UNIVERSE: “New Orders” (interview)

NEW ORDERS might not seem like much. There’s minimal VFX, and only two characters are talking to each other via subspace for most of it, with a third popping up at the very end. But for me, it was so much more—it was a chance to watch two dear friends come together to make a fan film.

JOSHUA IRWIN and VANCE MAJOR have worked together before this. Josh (as well as his Avalon Universe collaborator VICTORIA FOX) has appeared in some of Vance’s CONSTAR productions, like “SHAKEDOWN.” And Vance made a very brief cameo in the Avalon Universe episode DEMONS. But this time felt different. New Orders wasn’t simply one of them appearing briefly in the other’s film. It was two fan filmmakers who have become “legends” in our small-but-close-knit community, coming together as equals, and teasing the arrival of an awesome fan-favorite character into a fresh, new universe.

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Blog entry posted: May 17, 2021

View: New Orders
Rating: PRETTY GOOD +


LET OLD WRINKLES COME (interview)

When everything else is stripped away, fan films are the chance we adults get to live out the fantasies we had as children. We are the music makers. We are the dreamers of dreams. And Benny Hall is the very epitome of what fan films are all about. LET OLD WRINKLES COME is a 16-minute fan film shot both at Neutral Zone Studios in Kingsland, GA as well as at the iconic Vasquez Rocks Park north of Los Angeles where Kirk fought the Gorn and Vulcan was destroyed by Nero. But this time, Kirk isn’t fighting a Gorn—he’s fighting a Mugato!

The fan film has a real flavor of the 1960s TOS Star Trek, right down to Kirk putting the moves on a female crew member. I mention this because, what seemed totally normal five decades ago as Kirk regularly hit on crew women like Yeoman Rand, Dr. Helen Noel, and Lt. Marlena Moreau has been supplanted by the #MeToo movement. And while Let Old Wrinkles Comes has generally been getting very positive feedback, Kirk’s romantic overtures toward a female crew member in this fan film are stirring up a bit of controversy.

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: January 8, 2020

View: Let Old Wrinkles Come
Rating: PRETTY GOOD +


STAR TREK VS. BATMAN (feature)Cover

Holy campy cosmic crossovers!

Is it true that the Caped Crusader cunningly confronted a cranially-controlled Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock??? Did the Dynamic Duo actually encounter an Enterprise ensnared by a capricious collaboration of the Clown Prince of Crime and the captivating Catwoman??? Hold onto your phasers and buckle your utility belts, because Batman and the Boy Wonder are about to go where no Gotham superhero has gone before…

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: March 26, 2016

View: Star Trek vs. Batman
Rating: PRETTY GOOD +


coverStar Trek / Star Wars – A TALE OF TWO GALAXIES (feature)

As you know from reading my many blogs, there’s a heck of a LOT of Star Trek fan films out there!  And thanks to the annual Lucasfilm Star Wars Fan Film Awards (which have been going on since 2002), there’s at least as many (if not more!) Star Wars fan films out there!

But surprisingly, there’s almost no crossover Star Trek/Star Wars fan films on the Internet. And it’s not as though the idea of crossing the franchise streams is completely alien. Fans have edited together scenes from both franchises to create clever mash-ups where the USS Enterprise battles a Star Destroyer or Captain Picard confronts Darth Vader over the view screen. But try to find a film where fans themselves portray the characters of both realities at the same time, and you’ll be looking for a long while.

Fortunately, you don’t have to look…I found one for you!

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: December 15, 2016

View: A Tale of Two Galaxies
Rating: PRETTY GOOD +


TIMES ARE CHANGING (interview)

Back in the fledgling days of filmmaking, silent movies endeavored to tell stories without the benefit of spoken words. Indeed, the early works of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton endeavored to make audiences laugh with purely physical (“slapstick”) comedy. In many ways, silent movie-making is a bit of a lost art.

But what’s so great about the fan film format is that there are no rules (only guidelines), and that freedom and flexibility allow fan filmmakers to explore all aspects of cinematic expression…including, as of now, silent slapstick comedy.  Granted, I don’t think Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy have anything to fear (yet) from the comedy hijinks of JENS DOMBEK (“The German Spock”) and his buddy MICHAEL O’CONNOR KELLY. But who cares? It’s fun watching Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock in a whimsical series of sight gags.

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: February 26, 2021

View: Times Are Changing
Rating: PRETTY GOOD +


CERBASI TREK – The Search for Nicolas (interview)

The Cerbasi family lives in the town of Reading in the United Kingdom.  “Captain Daddy” WAYNE CERBASI has two sons, PETER (almost 12-years-old) and NICHOLAS (9-years-old).  And a few months ago, they made a 16-minute Star Trek fan film.

Most machinima-based Trek fan films use only the video game renderings for all of their scenes.  What makes Cerbasi Trek unique, however, is that this is the first time (that I’m aware of, and I’ve looked hard) that a Trek fan filmmaker has utilized green screen compositing alongside machinima to incorporate real people INTO the computer-generated scenes.  Wayne and his two sons appear with the CGI characters on the virtual bridges, and the result is a really fun-looking adventure…

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: April 27, 2018

View: CERBASI TREK – The Search for Nicolas
Rating: PRETTY GOODRating 2a


THE FEDERATION FILES “Extraction” (feature)

Just before the start of the new year, the anthology series THE FEDERATION FILES released its third full episode: “Extraction.”  Produced by GLEN L. WOLFE and DAN REYNOLDS, this episode was written by Glen and features Dan as the captain of the USS Nikita, a dreadnought-class starship.  Glen also appears briefly as a shuttlecraft pilot.

But the cast is much more extensive than that.  The 12-minute fan film features Romulans, a Starfleet bridge crew, shuttlecraft pilots, and a team of TOS-era MACOs.  The episode also features a Starfleet shuttlecraft interior set that took about four weeks to build.

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: January 4, 2018

View: “Extraction”
Rating: PRETTY GOOD  Rating 2a


THE FEDERATION FILES “Friends and Foes”

Recently, Glen Wolfe “rescued” (my word) a fan film from several years ago that was partially filmed at Retro Studios in Ticonderoga, NY, but never completed. That fan film was STAR TREK: EQUINOX.  Glen came in, created a new 24th framing sequence, and finished the ill-fated fan film half a decade later.

Late last year, Glen decided to do an encore with another uncompleted fan film from 2006-2007 called STAR TREK: ORIGINS – “The Wounds of War.” Once again, Glen produced a framing sequence and incorporated filmed elements of the the original footage to create an entirely original production—a new episode of the The Federation Files that he chose to call “FRIENDS AND FOES.”

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: June 4, 2021

View: “Friends and Foes”
Rating: PRETTY GOOD


THE FEDERATION FILES “His Name Is Mudd” (feature)

If there were ever a game of “Where’s Waldo” using the credits of Star Trek fan films, Glen L. Wolfe would surely be Waldo.  If you visit Glen’s IMDb page, you’ll see him having participated in a dozen different fan films and series stretching back to 2013: Star Trek: Renegades, Horizon, Deception, Secret Voyage, Ambush, Equinox, Temporal Anomaly, and multiple episodes of New Voyages and Continues.  He’s worked on fan films as an actor, producer, cameraman, electrician, and art designer.

And now Glen can add writer and director to that list, having finally been the show-runner on a fan film of his own.  “His Name Is Mudd” serves as the debut release of the new THE FEDERATION FILES, which is produced in conjunction with Starfleet Studios in Iowa.

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: October 21, 2016

View: “His Name Is Mudd”
Rating: PRETTY GOOD Rating 2a


HORREUR POST ATOMIQUE (interview)

When the global pandemic hit and the world began sheltering in place (at least in many countries), I wondered what effect the quarantining would have on Star Trek fan films. After all, most fan films involve multiple people interacting closely together. Even the distance between an actor and a camera person can’t always be six feet…and who wants to film a bridge crew who are all wearing masks? I mean, I suppose you could do a fan film that takes place entirely on board a Breen or Gorn vessel, but most races in Star Trek show their mouths and noses.

When I finally saw how one group of Trekkers from France solved that problem, their answer seemed so elegant (leave it to the French!) and so obvious that I just had to stand up and clap for their ingenuity and inspiration. At first, you don’t even realize it’s a Star Trek story, but then—well, rather than spoil it, just watch the short film first, and then read on.

READ MORE..

Blog entry posted: June 10, 2020

View: Horreur Post-Atomique
Rating: PRETTY GOOD  Rating 2a


LOOK FORWARD TO THE DAY (interview)

The world is just a little topsy-turvy at the moment. Social distancing is affecting nearly all aspects of life. And for us Trekkers, that includes our fan films.  Lately, a series of fan films have been produced entirely during the weeks of shelter-in-place orders. This “fandemic” film, LOOK FORWARD TO THE DAY, features three very familiar characters to fans: James T. Kirk, Mr. Mr. Spock, and Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy…having the future equivalent of a three-way Skype call or Zoom meeting. Our new normal, apparently, is also the new normal in the late 23rd century—at least temporarily for our three heroes.

What makes this new fan film extra fun is that the three actors portraying Kirk, Spock, and McCoy are not only cosplayers, but two of them are impersonators of these characters who appear at many conventions.

READ MORE…

Blog entry posted: June 18, 2020

View: Look Forward to the Day
Rating: PRETTY GOOD  Rating 2a


MELBOUNE “Storm Front, Part 1” (interview)
MELBOURNE “Storm Front, Part 2” (feature)

At the end of March, a new Star Trek fan production titled MELBOURNE (just that, no “Starship” in front of the name) posted its debut fan film: “Storm Front, Part 1.”  One of several fan series shot on the sets of STARBASE STUDIOS (while they were still in their previous Oklahoma City location), Melbourne initially released two ultra-short vignettes, “Pen Pals” and “Pen Pals 2”.)  But fans were really waiting for their first full episode to see what this new fan production would be all about.

Most successful Star Trek fan projects have a driving force behind the production, and in the case of Melbourne, that driving force is show-runner/producer/writer VANCE MAJOR OWEN (his friends call him “Vman”), who lives in Kansas with his wife of 17 years and his newborn son, Royce.  I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Vance for a very friendly interview.  In fact, “friendly” is one of the best adjectives I could use to describe this warm and humble film producer from the Sunflower State.

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Blog entry for “Storm Front, Part 1” posted: April 21, 2017
Blog entry for “Storm Front, Part 2” posted: July 30, 2018

View: Melbourne – “Storm Front, Part 1
Rating: PRETTY GOOD  Rating 2aView: Melbourne – “Storm Front, Part 2
Rating: PRETTY GOOD  Rating 2a


PARAGON’S PARAGON (original blog feature)
PARAGON’S PARAGON (restored release blog feature)
PARAGON’S PARAGON (restored release interview)

PARAGON’S PARAGON was the first “major” Star Trek fan film to be produced…way back in 1974. It wasn’t the first Trek fan film ever; those were being made when TOS was still in first-run (like THE THING IN THE CAVE from 1967). But writer/director/producer JOHN COSTENTINO, a carpet-layer from Warren, Michigan, spent $2,000 of his own money (the equivalent of $11-15,000 today) to build multiple elaborate set replicas of the bridge, transporter room, turbolift, and other parts of the starship Enterprise (or, as he renamed it, the U.S.S. Paragon).

Unfortunately for fans wanting to get a true feel for this early fan film, there wasn’t much available beyond  8 minutes of highlights without dialog. But then, in April 2021, the same fan who had posted those highlights, ROBERT LONG II, unexpectedly posted a new, longer version…this time with restored audio. Although still not the entire 100-minute fan film, the two 15-minute parts show the first 25 minutes plus 5 minutes of “next week on Paragon’s Paragon.”

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Original blog entry posted: January 10, 2016
Restored release blog entry posted: April 30, 2021
Restored release interview posted: May 6, 2021

View: Paragon’s Paragon, Part 1
View: Paragon’s Paragon, Part 2

Rating: PRETTY GOOD  Rating 2a


PEACE AND GOODWILL (interview)

Do they know it’s Christmas time at all? This is an interesting question when it comes to Star Trek. The earliest mention of the annual winter holiday was waaaay back in November of 1966 when the ninth episode of TOS, “Dagger of the Mind,” mentioned that Captain Kirk had met Dr. Helen Noel at a Christmas party in the science lab. (Noel / Christmas…get it?) Later on, Picard enters the Nexus in Generations and emerges inside of a Christmas holiday with his “family.”

Now, in a brand new release from STAR TREK FAN PRODUCTIONS INTERNATIONAL, we get to see what happens at Starfleet HQ and on a couple of familiar starships on Christmas eve. PEACE AND GOODWILL is the fifth fan film that this group has released, and the fourth this year alone! (You can watch all of their releases here.) The latter four were all produced remotely with the actors recording their lines in separate locations and editing the footage together later—what I have taken to calling “fandemic” films.

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Blog entry posted: December 17, 2020

View: Peace and Goodwill
Rating: PRETTY GOOD  Rating 2a


QUICK TREK (interview)

DAVID WHITNEY is an avowed Voyager fan and has already made a name for himself and his STARFLEET STUDIOS production company with a series of Voyager Continues fan films including the half-hour long RAVEN from 2016 and the short fan film DERELICT.

With plans in motion for more Voyager and Raven productions, David has also busied himself with a new and unique series of five “QUICK TREKS” (not to be confused with Short Treks, since David’s fan films came first), each running between two and four minutes.  The first Quick Trek debuted last November and focused on Captain Janeway’s quest to order a simple cup of coffee while being “thwarted” at every turn by a friendly and helpful barista.

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Blog entry posted: October 12, 2018

View all: Quick Trek
Ratings vary by episode from:
DECENT EFFORT + to PRETTY GOOD  Rating 2a


Grissom2STARSHIP GRISSOM – from STARBASE STUDIOS (interview)

RICHARD WELLS: I was initially explaining the idea of using the sets for educational productions to my cousin, who is a teacher, and she said she would talk to some friends about it.  A few months later, out of the blue, she called and said, “We have the first script ready!”  And I suddenly realized: “Okay, so I’m producing a fan film.”  I hadn’t really thought about doing my own film before that phone call.

The local teachers who wrote the lesson plan scripts – each is a short story teaching some aspect of science in an engaging way – plan to incorporate our show into the classroom with their students.  Hopefully, it will inspire them to go further along with their science interests.

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Blog entry posted: May 9, 2016

View: “Planet L-197”
Rating: PRETTY GOOD  Rating 2a


STARSHIP REPUBLIC (interview)

Now, this is intriguing!  If you look about half-way down the fan film guidelines to the second-to-last point under #6, you find the following:

No unlicensed Star Trek-related or fan production-related merchandise or services can be offered for sale or given away as premiums, perks or rewards or in connection with the fan production fundraising.

That seems pretty straightforward.  If you want to give away any perks, they have to be licensed Star Trek merchandise.  You can’t give any patches or T-shirts or signed scripts or posters or anything related to your fan production in exchange for donations…at least if you want to make sure you aren’t sued or sent a cease and desist letter by CBS and Paramount.

So how was it that STARSHIP REPUBLIC, the newest fan film to launch a crowd-funding campaign (and the first to do so since the Axanar settlement), was offering a whole set of perks?  Sure, most perks were digital, but there were also physical posters in the mix (like the two images shown above).

Well, it turns out that they simply asked CBS for permission–and they got it!  Well, kinda…

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Blog entry posted: February 24, 2017

View: “Serpent of Yesterday, Part 1
Rating: PRETTY GOOD  Rating 2a


STARSHIP WEBSTER (interview)
STARSHIP WEBSTER (all blog entries)

The various Potemkin Pictures productions have seen three bases of operations over a ten-plus year period. Things began in Albany, GA with their first fan series (back when you were allowed to call it that), PROJECT: POTEMKIN. When show-runner RANDY LANDERS moved to Alabama, some of the production team stayed in Georgia while others migrated to Alabama and various new creative groups formed: DEIMOSALEXANDERTRISTANMARIE CURIEBATTLECRUISER KUPOKTRITON, and ENDEAVOUR…releasing (prior to the pandemic) an average of a dozen combined fan films each year.

In 2019, Randy and his wife moved again, this time to Lexington, KY. This has allowed a whole new assemblage of fan filmmakers—writers, directors, producers, actors, make-up and costuming people, set builders, etc.—to join in on the fun in a brand new location.

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First blog entry posted: November 6, 2020

View all episodes: Youtube Playlist

Ratings vary by episode from:
Rating: DECENT EFFORT +Rating 1bto PRETTY GOODRating 2a


STAR TREK: THE ROMULAN WARS (feature)

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.

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Blog entry posted: August 21, 2017

View episodes from here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WryHWtn28xU&list=PLUQz8J8ePpZ5dcXW4_XfAYn4aKARs2bcv

Ratings vary by episode from:
DECENT EFFORT Rating 1a to PRETTY GOOD  Rating 2a


TIME’S ECHO – CONSTAR CHRONICLES/DREADNOUGHT DOMINION crossover (audio interview)

A couple of months ago, VANCE MAJOR announced that he would be returning to fan films with a new series titled CONSTAR CHRONICLES, about the heavy cruiser class starship that Erick Minard commanded in the later part of his long career.  The debut episode of that new series just premiered a few weeks ago as a 5-minute crossover with Dreadnought Dominion featuring Vance’s friend GARY DAVIS playing Captain Jason Brousseau.  It’s a fun little vignette, and I must say that it’s about time!  You’ll get that joke after you watch it.

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Blog entry posted: August 23, 2018

View: Time’s Echo
Rating: PRETTY GOOD  Rating 2a


TO HAVE BOLDLY GONE (audio interview)

I think it was Deforest Gump who once said, “Star Trek fan films are like a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re gonna get…” Or did I dream that?

Speaking of dreaming and never knowing what you’re gonna get, I recently experienced the brand new 2-part Star Trek fan film TO HAVE BOLDLY GONE, written and directed by (and starring) LARRY FLEMING…and it was quite a head trip, lemme tellya!

To Have Boldly Gone is the first time Larry has been a show-runner on his own Trek fan production…and the film is a pretty wild ride! Is it a parody? A dream sequence? Theater of the absurd? Take a look at this 2-parter and decide for yourself…

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Blog entry posted: July 10, 2019

View: To Have Boldly Gone
Rating: PRETTY GOOD


UNREST (interview)

It’s now the age of the pandemic fan films—or fandemic films, as I like to call them—at least for the time being. And like the coronavirus itself, Star Trek fan films are proving to be quite tenacious and hard to get of…which is a GOOD thing if you like Star Trek fan films (and I certainly do)!

After releasing the LOOK FORWARD TO THE DAY with Kirk, Spock, and McCoy having a long distance “Zoom call,” DAVID CHENG and MIKE LONGO have teamed up once again, this time with KEN HAYASHIDA, to present a brand new “Zoom call” adventure…this time featuring Captain Kirk, Captain Sulu, and Admiral Nogura (along with a forth “Away Team Officer”). The 7-minute vignette is from STAR TREK FAN PRODUCTIONS INTERNATIONAL and is very nicely done (especially since all of the actors are cosplayers and have impeccable monster maroon uniforms).

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Blog entry posted: October 16, 2020

View: Unrest
Rating: PRETTY GOOD  Rating 2a


VOYAGER CONTINUES – “Derelict” (feature)

In the genre of Star Trek fan films, the universe (quadrant?) of the series Voyager is a rare setting.  But one stalwart fan believes that the indomitable Intrepid-class starship, lost for seven years in the Delta Quadrant, is the perfect subject matter for a Trek fan production.

I interviewed David Whitney of STARFLEET STUDIOS as he was completing post-production on his first VOYAGER CONTINUES project: STAR TREK: RAVEN, which debuted last October as a 32-minute fan film.  That film concentrated on events in the Alpha Quadrant during the time that Voyager was missing but ended with a scene on Voyager itself.

Now, half a year later, David just released his second effort, a 9-minute short film titled “Derelict.”  This one focuses on two members of the crew—Harry Kim and Seven-of-Nine—on board a, you guessed it, derelict spacecraft. And while Raven used mostly green screen sequences where actors were composited against virtual backgrounds created in CGI, “Derelict” uses practical (physical) sets with consoles that had originally been created for and used by the television series Stargate Atlantis!

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Blog entry posted: April 4, 2017

View: Voyager Continues: “Derelict
Rating: PRETTY GOOD  Rating 2a


VOYAGER CONTINUES -“Star Trek Raven” (interview)

If the release of the new guidelines by CBS and Paramount was the shot heard round the fan film world, then the subsequent response by the show-runner of Star Trek Raven was the first hint of return fire.

Or was it?

A week after CBS and Paramount published their guidelines for Star Trek fan films, an announcement went up on the news page for Star Trek Raven, a little-known fan series based in central Iowa filmed at Starfleet Studios (not to be confused with Starbase Studios in Oklahoma). The production had only released three short vignettes so far (this, this, and this), but Raven was about to become one of the most talked about fan films.

On July 1, the lead producer for Raven, David Whitney, posted this proactive statement:

The rules which pertain to direct copyright infringement and intellectual property will be adhered to. The rules which do not directly support their copyright, and copyright law, will be ignored.

 Wow! Them’s fightin’ words!!

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Blog entry posted: July 17, 2016

View: “Star Trek Raven
Rating: PRETTY GOODRating 2a

 


THE THING IN THE CAVE – fan film from 1967 (interview)

From way back in March of 1967, while the original Star Trek was still in its debut season, a trio of youngsters created a short Trek fan film titled THE THING IN THE CAVE. And here’s the most amazing thing: they used actual tunics from the show loaned out to them directly from the Star Trek set on the Paramount lot!

Imagine a fan film today using actual spare uniforms from Discovery or Picard. The mind boggles! But things were apparently much different in 1967 (the year I was born).  So who were these kids, how did they get a hold of actual Star Trek tunics, and why are we only first finding out about this “lost” fan film 53 years later?

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Blog entry posted: May 7, 2020

No film exists…only photos
Rating: DECENT EFFORT +Rating 1b