PLEASE HELP! STAR TREK MUSEUM needs $10,000 from fans in 24 hours!

Attention!  All hands in deck!

Some of you may have heard of the TREKCETERA Star Trek Museum that had been located in the small town of Vulcan, Alberta, Canada.  The museum was fully licensed by CBS with displays that included props, costumes, and set pieces used in various Star Trek movies and TV series.

BUT WITHOUT YOUR HELP TODAY, THE MUSEUM IS IN DANGER OF DISAPPEARING FOREVER!

From 2013-2016, the museum did modest business in the town of Vulcan.  But last year, the owners, Devan J. Daniels and Michael Carl Mangold (both huge Trekkers who had sunk their life savings into this museum) made the difficult decision to move out of the perfectly-named town of Vulcan (about 90 minutes from Calgary) to the not-so perfectly-named town of Drumheller, Alberta (about the same distance away from Calgary).

Why the move?

Unfortunately, the perfectly-named Vulcan is off the beaten track and didn’t bring in a lot of foot traffic.  Drumheller, on the other hand, is located in “Dinosaur Valley” and gets a half million visitors a year to see dinosaur fossils in the nearby badlands, a huge dinosaur museum, and even the world’s tallest dinosaur statue.  And if you’ve got kids who love dinosaurs, maybe they love sci-fi, too…?

Relocating was a smart move.  In just five months after reopening in Drumheller, the TREKCETERA Star Trek Museum made TRIPLE  that they had made in ALL of 2016 in Vulcan.

Devan J. Daniels and Michael Carl Mangold put their heart, soul, and life savings into the TREKCETERA Star Trek Musuem.

But moving wasn’t cheap, and it required Devan and Michael to take out a large loan to help fund the move to the new location and the construction costs of converting the new building to hold their Trek exhibits.

While business is growing and the debt is being repaid, the burden is high, and the owners are looking at a default this week.  However, they do have ONE LIFELINE…and YOU CAN HELP!

Their lender has agreed to restructure their entire debt to a lower interest rate and payment schedule if—IF!!!—they can raise $10,000 by tomorrow!

Friends of Devan and Michael have stepped forward this past weekend to set up a last-minute GO FUND ME campaign to help them save their museum.  And even though GO FUND ME won’t release the funds immediately, a local bank has agreed to cover the payment until the money hits their account.

THIS IS A ONE-DAY CROWD-FUNDING EMERGENCY, FOLKS!

If you wait until Wednesday or Friday, it’ll be too late for the museum.  It has to be today…even if all you can afford is $10 or even $1 (I gave $50, someone else gave $500).  And if you can’t afford anything, then please, PLEASE pass the following link around to anyone and everyone you know:

https://www.gofundme.com/save-the-trekcetera-museum

If we don’t help, this wonderful Star Trek museum and all of its exhibits could be lost forever!

I thank you all in advance for any help you can give.

DISCOVERY vs. AXANAR – choose “your” KLINGON WAR! (editorial / review)

WARNING – SPOILERS!!!  Lots and lots and lots of SPOILERS!!!


I really WANTED to like Star Trek: Discovery.  And to be honest, some things I actually DID like.  Sonequa Martin-Green put in a great performance playing the character of Commander Michael Burnham, and I loved the dynamic of seeing two women interacting as captain and first officer of a starship…and neither was caucasian!  (If only both characters could have continued beyond two episodes, but alas, we’ll soon be back to a captain who’s a white male.  Oh well, at least we’ve still got a black female lead.)

I even really liked some of the scenes…like when Burnham talks the ship’s computer into letting her out of the brig before power goes out.  But in the end, I just really didn’t enjoy the show overall—at least the first two episodes.  It was so dark (visually and emotionally), and I just couldn’t grab onto that uplifting feeling I used to get when watching Star Trek.  This new show felt so weighed down to me that even when things were moving quickly, they still seemed somehow slow and heavy.  A couple of times during those Klingon scenes with the never-ending subtitles, I nearly dozed off!

And it wasn’t even the Klingon actors’ fault they were so boring.  The decision to completely redesign the look of the Klingons not only alienated many long-time Trek fans, but it made it virtually impossible for those actors to deliver decent performances.

Imagine if you were asked to give a compelling performance while wearing a medieval suit of knight’s armor with the face-plate covering every part of your face except your mouth. You can barely move your head except a little side to side—very little!—and your arms won’t go any higher than your chest. You can’t even bend your elbows!  And then, before you go in front of the camera, you realize that all of your lines are in Polish…and your don’t speak Polish!  Sounds like an actor’s worst nightmare, right?  Well, that was pretty much the assignment these unfortunate Klingons were given.

And as I was considering this, I began to imagine what Discovery would have been like had they NOT redesigned the Klingons…or the Starfleet uniforms…or made the starships into barely-recognizable whatever-they-were…or had a dark bridge covered with lens flares.  What would Discovery have looked like then?

And then I realized: it would have looked a lot like Axanar

Continue reading “DISCOVERY vs. AXANAR – choose “your” KLINGON WAR! (editorial / review)”

Great news for STAR TREK: DISCOVERY…or is it? (news and editorial, part 2)

Rather than writing a review of STAR TREK: DISCOVERY (that’s coming tomorrow), I decided to take a look at the bigger picture.  Were the record sign-ups right after the premiere really “big news” or simply the inevitable result of hundreds of millions of dollars in production and advertising/marketing budgets?  Also, what does it tell us that CBS remains so reluctant to provide hard numbers about how many people actually subscribed last night?

As I said in yesterday’s blog, my goal here is NOT to try to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory for CBS.  I’m actually very happy that Star Trek: Discovery did so well in both ratings and sign-ups.  This means that the worst-case scenario—CBS simply assumes that Star Trek has run its course and is no longer a viable sci-fi franchise—has been avoided.  Nearly 10 million people watched the free network TV premiere on Sunday night.  So anyone accusing me of sour grapes is wrong.  Wet blanket, yes.  Sour grapes, no.

My desire, to be honest, is to simply take a wider look at this new series…beyond just Sunday night or this one week.  Now that the horse is fast out of the starting gate, what are the challenges facing Star Trek: Discovery in terms of keeping and growing its viewership?  Obviously, CBS is in a unique situation due to its decision to require viewers to pay to see episodes of the new series.  How does that affect their goal of attracting and keeping viewers?

Continue reading “Great news for STAR TREK: DISCOVERY…or is it? (news and editorial, part 2)”

Great news for STAR TREK: DISCOVERY…or is it? (news and editorial, part 1)

The news seems to be REALLY great for the premiere of STAR TREK: DISCOVERY.  According to a press release quickly and enthusiastically circulated by an exuberant CBS, the premiere of the newest Star Trek TV series has resulted in record-breaking sign-ups for the ALL ACCESS streaming service:

Tonight’s premiere of STAR TREK: DISCOVERY on CBS All Access, the CBS Television Network’s digital subscription video on demand and live streaming service, broke a new record for subscriber sign-ups in a single day, eclipsing the previous record held by the 2017 GRAMMY Awards®.

In addition to its single day subscriber sign-up record, CBS All Access experienced its best week and month ever for sign-ups due to the launch of STAR TREK: DISCOVERY, the fall kick-off of the NFL ON CBS on the service’s live local feeds and the season finale of BIG BROTHER and the BIG BROTHER LIVE FEEDS.

Also, the free premiere on the regular CBS network was watched by 9.6 million people.

But before people start gulping down too much champagne (although there is certainly reason for celebration), I’d like to mention a few things that CBS and fans should be noting.

Now, I realize this blog is going to sound like a wet blanket, but please make no mistake: I am ABSOLUTELY, SINCERELY HAPPY that so many people liked the new show!  (I personally wasn’t thrilled with it, although I do plan to watch more episodes eventually.)

But I’m also a business strategist trained to look at multiple aspects of a situation.  As I did in my previous blog about Star Trek: Discovery, I want to take a look at the whole picture…which is, of course, impacted significantly by CBS’s decision to offer their new Star Trek series exclusively as a paid streaming video-on-demand service.

So yes, the news is definitely good for CBS.  But it might be a little too soon to consider the game won…

Continue reading “Great news for STAR TREK: DISCOVERY…or is it? (news and editorial, part 1)”

VANCE MAJOR releases SEVEN TREK FAN FILMS in SEVEN DAYS!

Last month, 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!

Continue reading “VANCE MAJOR releases SEVEN TREK FAN FILMS in SEVEN DAYS!”

My son JAYDEN turns SEVEN today! (personal)

The great thing about doing my own blog is that I get to decide what I write about.  And even though my focus is usually Star Trek fan films, today I’m going to indulge with a different kind of fan project: my son JAYDEN.  He turns seven years old today, and I promised him that I’d feature him on my blog today.

Some of you have already seen me talk about him in blog comments or viewed him in videos like this one I did just before Axanar Productions moved out of Industry Studios.  I’ve been doing my part to raise Jayden as a proper Trekkie (as I hope the photo on the left demonstrates).  Jayden has already been a special guest on his first-ever Star Trek podcast interview, and he enthusiastically watches TOS episodes with me each night while I exercise.

We’re half-way through the animated series at present, and then we’ll hit Star Trek: The Motion Picture.  With proper timing, we can just finish that film by the time I take Jayden to the Los Angeles Comic Con in later October to see the series finale of Star Trek Continues live with some of the cast.  STC‘s final two-parter completes the five-year mission of the USS Enterprise under James Kirk and leads into The Motion Picture.  After that, we’ll re-watch “Space Seed,” then the next five Trek feature films, and on to TNG.  (At least, that’s the plan; we’ll see what Jayden’s tastes are like in a couple more years.)

Today, I’d like to share two special fan films with you.   In this case, it’s me being a fan of my son Jayden.  And if you think that’s too sappy or inappropriate for a Star Trek fan film site, then come back on Friday instead for SEVEN new Trek fan films!

And for anyone who’s still sticking around, here’s a video I made during spring break of 2014 (which was half a lifetime ago for Jayden!) when everyone was making their own versions of Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” music video.  I took Jayden around to our favorite places in southern California and edited this together…

And finally, here’s a video that’s been seven years in the making and will probably go for at least another seven or ten years…or whenever Jayden finally decides that enough is enough (or when I finally run out of song).  And yes, that’s the theme to Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, a very singable song called “Suspension” sung by Kipp Lennon and written by the awesome STU PHILLIPS (who also composed themes for the original Battlestar Galactica, Airwolf, and Knight Rider).

HAPPY 7th BIRTHDAY, JAYDEN!!!

THE FEDERATION FILES releases “Walking Bear, Running Wolf”! (interview with DAN REYNOLDS)

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.

Utilizing the sets of Starbase Studios, previously in Oklahoma City and now in Arkansas (some of which Glen himself helped build), the two episodes of The Federation Files focus on original series-era stories, the first featuring the USS Constitution and a certain interplanetary con-man, and the second featuring the crew of the USS Enterprise.

The character of Dawson Walking Bear was first introduced in the next-to-last animated Star Trek episode “How Sharper Than A Serpent’s Tooth.”  The script called for a Native American crewman who would be the only one to recognize the ancient Aztec/Mayan god Kukulkan.  That was Walking Bear’s only appearance on film until Star Trek: New Voyages featured him in their short vignette “Going Boldly” and then in the full-length “Mind-Sifter.”  New Voyages would also feature another animated crewman, Lt. Arex, briefly in the same “Going Boldly” vignette…

Walking Bear (top) and Arex shown in both their live-action STAR TREK: NEW VOYAGES appearances and also as they first looked in the animated series.

New Voyages wasn’t the only live-action fan series to feature a character from the animated series.  Project: Potemkin showed Carter Winston (from “The Survivor”) in his human form in their episode “Beach Towel” and in his alien Vendorian form in their following episode “Shovel of Kahless” …

PROJECT: POTEMKIN featured the shape-changing Vendorian Carter Winston in two episodes.

But up until now, no fan film had ever tackled the Caitian feline communications officer Lt. M’Ress, until The Federation Files released “Walking Bear, Running Wolf.”  And not only did M’Ress appear, she actually had a fairly decent bit of screen time…

Lt. M’Ress with her paws on the controls of communications…

I reached out to “Walking Bear, Running Wolf” producer DAN REYNOLDS to ask him some questions about this ambitious fan production.

Continue reading “THE FEDERATION FILES releases “Walking Bear, Running Wolf”! (interview with DAN REYNOLDS)”

JONATHAN LANE appears as a guest on the SHANE PLAYS RADIO SHOW!

A week and a half ago, I taped an episode of the SHANE PLAYS GEEK TALK RADIO SHOW.  Shane talks to guests about all things geek, from sci-fi to fantasy to horror, movies, television, comic books, video and role-playing games, you name it!  It’s an actual hour-long radio show (like, you can listen to it in your car if you’re driving through parts of Arkansas) and also posted as a podcast.

Usually, it’s a live show, and I’m not always available to be a phone-in guest on the Saturday mornings when it’s broadcast, but this particular show had to be recorded so Shane could fulfill a family commitment.  And that allowed me to appear, as Shane has been wanting to focus on the world of Star Trek fan films.

The show was just posted online, with me discussing Star Trek Continues, the new Star Trek Film Academy, Axanar, Renegades, Potemkin Pictures, Pacific 201, the newly renamed Fan Film Forum Facebook group, and a host of other fan film related news and topics.

If you’re curious to know what I sound like, or if I can hold my own in a live recorded interview, here’s your chance to find out (and yes, I noticed the typo on the YouTube still image–don’t tell Shane!)…

AXANAR update…the news is actually GOOD!

Every so often, just for a shats and giggles, I head over the the Axamonitor blog site to see the latest “news” CARLOS PEDRAZA has to “report.”  It’s funny because, while some people like to see the AXANAR glass as half-full (if not more so), Carlos does his best to convince folks that the Axanar glass is 99% empty.  I noticed, in one of his latest updates, that Carlos included such catastrophic sub-headlines as…

  • Axanar Could ‘Take Years’
  • Failed California Studio
  • Indiegogo Failure
  • Hemorrhaging Money
  • Abandoning Nonprofit Plans
  • Bait and Switch?
  • No More Axanar

And that’s just ONE blog update, folks!!!

Sheesh, with “news” like that, it’s hard to imagine any reason to smile in the land of Axanar fandom.  So why am I and so many others still smiling?

Despite naming his blog site “Axamonitor,” Carlos seems to be very—what’s the word?—selective in what he actually “monitors” and chooses to include.  So if there are any positive things to say or good news or report about Axanar, you’re unlikely to find it there.

Fortunately, there’s other places on the Internet to get the rest of the story…including here.  And so that’s the subject of today’s blog: all the GOOD news that’s happening right now in the world of Axanar….

Continue reading “AXANAR update…the news is actually GOOD!”

THE ORVILLE – not bad for a STAR TREK FAN FILM! (editorial/review)

At first, I was thinking, “Yeesh!  This is as bad as the critics were saying!”  I thought of all the things I could say to try to sugarcoat my disappointment in this new series that I’d been looking forward to all summer.  “Hey, the pilot episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation wasn’t much to write home about either.”  (And it wasn’t!)  “Come to think of it, the pilots for DS9 and especially Voyager kinda sucked, too.”

But hey, if you’re gonna try to prop up the pilot of a new series by saying that other pilots sucked, too, then you’re pretty much admitting that the pilot for The Orville sucked, right?  And even if TNG, DS9, and Voyager eventually did get better, there was no guarantee that The Orville would follow suit.

But then a strange thing happened: it did get better!

In fact, by the time the episode came back from the midway 30-minute commercial break, the pilot was actually quite a lot of fun to watch.  It was exciting, engaging, well-paced, and intelligent.  Even the stupid jokes weren’t falling quite as flat as they had in the first two acts.

Continue reading “THE ORVILLE – not bad for a STAR TREK FAN FILM! (editorial/review)”