DIRECTORS CHOICE AWARD SHOW submission deadline is THIS MONDAY!

While you all were having a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year (I hope!), GLEN L. WOLFE and DAN REYNOLDS were continuing to accept submissions from year three of the annual Fan Film DIRECTORS CHOICE Awards. If you’re a fan filmmaker from any genre or franchise—NOT only Star Trek!—you have until midnight Central Time on January 15 to submit up to three films released during calendar year 2023. The cost is $10 per entry, and you can submit using the form on this web page…

https://thefederationfiles.com/?page_id=1407

The DIRECTORS CHOICE Awards are one of two annual fan film competitions (the other being the SHOWRUNNER AWARDS) where the judging panel is made up of actual fan filmmakers. As the name implies, the judges for the Directors Choice show will be the directors of the submitted fan films, who will each have until March 15 to submit their ballots. Each submission can be entered into a maximum of six of the following categories…

Best Actor
Best Actress
Best Director
Best Original Costuming
Best Make-up/Hairstyling
Best Cinematography
Best Original Music
Best Audio Mixing
Best Lighting
Best FX Make-Up
Best CGI FX
Best Green Screen
Best Composite Shot
Best Screenplay
Best Parody/Comedy
Best Portrayal of an Existing Character
Best Animated Fan Film
Best Editing
Most Canon Award
Best Ensemble
Best On-Location Scene
Best Plot Twist
Best Use of Improvised Sets
Best Choreography

And just like last year, there will be a “Best in Fest” $250 cash award for the fan film which receives the greatest number of votes across all categories. Of the above two dozen categories, the last four were newly added as of this year.

Glen Wolfe reports healthy participation again this year…

The clock is ticking, folks! The submission deadline is this coming Monday. So once again, here’s the link to enter…

https://thefederationfiles.com/?page_id=1407

Good luck!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meet the new year…same as the old year?

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

2023 Star Trek Fan Film YEAR IN REVIEW…PODCAST!

In 2017, I began publishing an annual YEAR IN REVIEW blog of major news and events from the world of Star Trek fan films. And 2023 is no different…

…or is it?

This year, for the first time ever, there will be a fan film Year In Review PODCAST! And not just ANY podcast! Joining me today are three other prominent members of the Star Trek fan film community: JEFFERSON “BigJ” KELLEY from BEYOND TREK PODCAST, COUSIN CHEETO from the NERD TUBE YouTube Channel, and JOSHUA IRWIN, the showrunner of the AVALON UNIVERSE fan productions and director/DP-at-large for various fan series. We four have covered, interviewed, and in some cases even MADE Star Trek fan films for the past several years, and now we’re teaming up for the first (and hopefully not last!) time.

The ball started rolling on this idea back in November when Jefferson Kelley reached out to me to with some nice feedback on a blog I’d written about a fan filmmaker whom he’d just interviewed on his podcast, as well. Over the past year or so, Jefferson has been diving ever deeper and more frequently into the world of Trek fan films, and I’ve caught a number of his podcasts. They’re upbeat, positive, and enthusiastic…which is a must for fan films (at least in my opinion!). As we chatted, “BigJ” suggested that we do a podcast together at some point.

My mind started pondering what we could talk about and almost immediately landed on doing this December’s Year in Review as a co-produced podcast with Jefferson and myself co-hosting. “BigJ” loved the idea, and a few days later DM’d me back to ask if Cheeto from Nerd Tube could join us. I suddenly heard Worf’s voice in my head saying, “That would make it a threesome…” and thought: the more, the merrier!

Then Josh ended up getting involved due to the release of his latest Avalon fan film, CRISIS ON INFINITE EXCALIBURS (which I haven’t had a chance to cover yet). Along with being absolutely jaw-dropping in its production quality, Crisis also represents one of the most collaborative crossovers of fan series and filmmakers since the release of YORKTOWN: A TIME TO HEAL in 2022. Indeed, it was this growing trend of fan film “team-ups” that inspired our co-produced Year in Review podcast…which won’t be branded as either Fan Film Factor, Beyond Trek Podcast, Nerd Tube or Avalon but a true four-way collaboration.

I was telling Josh about the idea, and he volunteered to let us use his Streamyard account for recording the piece, to be our “roving reporter” to interview fan filmmakers, and even to edit the finished production. (As if Josh doesn’t have enough to do already!)

And that’s how Josh made it a foursome!

So please sit back and enjoy this special presentation of the 2023 Star Trek Fan Film Year in Review—with special guests, clips, commentary, and news from this crazy little corner of the Star Trek sandbox (oh, and check out my new “ugly” Star Trek Christmas sweater at the very end, as well)…

DREADNOUGHT DOMINION’s command torch is passed “IN OUR OWN TIME”… (interview with GARY DAVIS and RANDY WRENN)

Seven years. That’s how long DOMINION MEDIA co-showrunner GARY DAVIS has been playing Captain Jason Brousseau, commanding officer of the DREADNOUGHT DOMINION. And in the two years before that, Gary played Commander Brousseau, the ship’s first officer. So that’s NINE years in front of the camera on this long-running fan series.

DAVID “RANDY” WRENN, the other Dominion Media co-showrunner, has played his character, Chief Engineer Stephen Denson, for just as long, himself rising through the ranks to first officer and eventually captain of engineering. But as of September 29, 2023, both men performed those roles as leads for a final time in their swan song episode “IN OUR OWN TIME,” which saw them pass the command baton of the U.S.S. Dominion to Captain Maurine Farrell, played by popular fan film actress of multiple fan series, VICTORIA AVALON.

The episode was another strong offering from the team, with a fun, original, and engaging story and their typical mix of seriousness and humor. Take a look…

I plan to speak more with Victoria Avalon when Dominion‘s next episode premieres. But right now, I’ve decided to focus on Gary and Randy and their decisions to step away from the front of the camera to focus (no pun intended) more of their attention to efforts behind the scenes…

Continue reading “DREADNOUGHT DOMINION’s command torch is passed “IN OUR OWN TIME”… (interview with GARY DAVIS and RANDY WRENN)”

Funny videos: “Servin’ with Captain Lorca” and “Cardassian Space Station”

What if “Weird Al” Yankovic were a Trekkie? (Actually, he probably is!) But that’s okay, because we’ve already got a brilliant song parody writer in the form of IAN RAMSEY of the STAR REKT YouTube channel. I covered Ian’s parody music videos in a blog back in February, but the guy’s as prolific as a tribble! He’s covered everyone from Queen to Katy Perry to The Backstreet Boys to Barry Manilow and more—each parody more hilarious than the last!! And now we can add Ricky Martin and Green Day to that list with parodies of Livin’ La Vida Loca and American Idiot. Set phasers for laughter…!

New CROSSOVER fan film “ORIGINAL PARTS” on tap for 2024, a UNITED KINGDOM collaboration between AMBUSH and INTREPID! (interview with GREG LOCK)

Back in 2022, after being in production since 2014(!!!), the long-awaited TOS-era fan film AMBUSH (out of the United Kingdom) was finally released by showrunner GREG LOCK and his team. This past year, Ambush won “Best Fan Film” in the 2023 Star Trek Fan Film SHOWRUNNER AWARDS…along with wins in a dozen other categories…making it the top award-winner overall.

Since then, fans have wondered if and when Greg Lock might return to Star Trek fan films and whether we might see the return of members of the crew of the U.S.S. Ambush someday. That question was answered the day before Christmas with the release of the following very unexpected trailer featuring none other than NICK COOK and DAVID REID from the fan series INTREPID wearing Pre-STAR TREK: PICARD-era uniforms. Check it out…

David Reid is returning to the role of the Intrepid‘s Romulan security officer S’Ceris, a character he hasn’t reprised in nearly a decade. And Nick Cook is, of course, playing Captain Daniel Hunter, a role he’s performed not only in episodes of Intrepid but also in other fan series like TREK SHORTS and CONSTAR.

Indeed, crossover collaborations like this are proliferating recently in the fan film world! In fact, one of the most recent examples, CRISIS ON INFINITE EXCALIBURS from the AVALON UNIVERSE (which I will be covering once I can schedule a Zoom interview with the very busy star of that release) was a major collaboration among nearly a DOZEN different showrunners and fan series!

Frankly, I think this trend of collaboration is awesome, as fan filmmakers can pool resources, knowledge, characters, filmmaking equipment, props and uniforms, and all sorts of other things to make more and even better productions.

But how did this particular collaboration between two of the U.K.’s most prominent Star Trek fan filmmakers (the other being the omnipresent SAMUEL COCKINGS…I wonder if he’ll be a part of this, too) come to happen? For the answers to this and other questions, I spoke to Greg Lock himself…

Continue reading “New CROSSOVER fan film “ORIGINAL PARTS” on tap for 2024, a UNITED KINGDOM collaboration between AMBUSH and INTREPID! (interview with GREG LOCK)”

SANTA needs a new KIDNEY…

As some of you know, back in 2012, I helped a professional, real-bearded Santa Claus write his memoirs in a book titled BEING SANTA CLAUS, which is available on Amazon in hardcover, paperback, kindle, and audiobook versions. It recounts the heartwarming stories of Santa Sal’s then-20-year career wearing the red suit–from his first clueless mistakes to becoming one of the most believable and effective Santas you could ever meet.

Last year, Sal lost his beloved wife of 35 years, Linda, and this past November, Sal was placed on the kidney transplant list. He now lives with his daughter and granddaughter in Kentucky, and they struggle to make ends meet. You can help make Christmas for Sal and his family a little merrier in two ways:

1) You can buy a copy of the book in any version, and royalties from the sale go to Sal and his family. You can also spread the Amazon link to your friends and family and loved ones.

2) You can donate to the following GoFundMe campaign…
https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-sal-lizard-aka-santa-aka-the-vampire-santa

I know that at at least one person out there in the Star Trek fan community has generated more than $18K crowd-funding his legal bills/debts for an upcoming lawsuit. Right now, Santa Sal (a Trekkie and former president of STARFLEET: the International Star Trek Fan Association, Inc.) has generated just $707 to help himself and his family survive a very challenging Christmas.

Whether or not you gave to that other campaign, please consider donating a little to help Santa Sal and his daughter and granddaughter. Or maybe buy a copy of the book. Sal’s stories are wonderful and will make you laugh, cry, cheer, and always smile. My friend Sal has given so much over the years, and I hope people can see their way to giving back at least a little.

Thank you and Merry Christmas.

Funny video: Tuvok, the Vessel’s Vulcan

It’s that most wonderful time of the year again! That magical time when Trekkies with waaaaay too much free time go through hundreds of hours of episodes looking for certain spoken words to create Christmas carol music videos like Let It Snow (Make It So) and All I Want for Christmas. And now, it’s time for Star Trek: Voyager to get the same treatment! Actually, this video is over half a decade old already. But if you haven’t seen it yet, it’s new for you! Take a look, and have a very Merry Christmas…

STARSHIP DEIMOS releases their 22nd fan film “DREAM TIME” (interview with writer DAVID EVERSOLE and actors TUCK STEVENS and DASHAWN KELLEY)

It was March of 2016 when STARSHIP DEIMOS released their first episode, “THE LUCKY ONE.” Now, more than seven and a half years later, they released their 22nd completed fan film, “DREAM TIME,” this past September. As usual for releases from POTEMKIN PICTURES‘ numerous creative groups (there are currently six active teams), the story is intriguing. But even more intriguing is the story behind the story, which was conceived by the late HOMER WILLIAM EVERSOLE and then completed posthumously by his brother DAVID EVERSOLE, both of whom have written numerous fan film scripts for Potemkin Pictures.

Another interesting aspect to this latest release is that the starship Deimos has now seen its fourth captain take command, following stints by TERRY SELF as Captain Jeremy Quinn, TONY ANDERSON as Captain Mark Stone, and most recently VICTORIA AVALON as Captain Sian Gabriel. The newest captain, the recently-promoted Timothy Harper, is played by returning cast member TUCK STEVENS, who has served in various producer roles on Deimos throughout the last half-decade.

And finally, actor DASHAWN KELLEY is an actual working actor with nearly two dozen film credits on his IMDb page…only a handful of them fan films for Deimos. Up until now, his character of helm officer Daken has had relatively limited screen time. But in this latest release, Daken is the main character, and Dashawn gets ample opportunity to show fans his acting chops, which he does very impressively. In fact, let’s all take a look at “Dream Time“…

With these three individuals each contributing significantly to the success of this fan film, I’ve decided to give each of them his own interview segment, beginning with writer David Eversole…

Continue reading “STARSHIP DEIMOS releases their 22nd fan film “DREAM TIME” (interview with writer DAVID EVERSOLE and actors TUCK STEVENS and DASHAWN KELLEY)”

My SON the FAN FILMMAKER!

Two weeks ago I blogged about, among other things, how VANCE MAJOR retired from fan films only to discover that his 7-year-old son ROYCE MAJOR wanted to make fan films! In fact, here’s one of Royce’s first projects.

Over the years, Vance and I have swapped “dad” stories and compared notes, as my 13-year-old son Jayden is very similar to Royce: Star Trek and sci-fi fans, very into computers, very creative, adorable, and way smarter than their dads (both Vance and I both are totally out of our league when it comes to our kids completely lapping us!). And as I was giving Vance some compliments on Royce’s latest efforts and praising his involvement as a father in encouraging Royce’s passions, I told Vance a little about what Jayden was up to these days.

“Y’know, Jonathan, I’d really like to read a blog about that,” Vance said to me. “I mean, it’s great reading about all these other fan filmmakers and their projects, but Jayden is the ‘next generation,’ and finding out what he’s been doing would be really interesting…to me, at least. You really should write a blog about Jayden and his latest projects.”

Okay, Vance, because you asked for it…!

Like many kids, Jayden has a lot of hobbies and interests. He builds competitive robots and takes karate. We watch Star Trek, Stargate, and other sci-fi together. He spends waaaaaaay too much time viewing YouTube videos, but welcome to Generation Alpha (the next one after Gen Z). He hangs out on Discord in a bunch of special interest group servers (he even has a server of his own), he has his own YouTube Channel, and has friends and followers all over the world (he says that people from other countries are nicer than Americans). And yes, Mommy and I feel completely overwhelmed trying to keep track of and monitor all of this online activity…heaven help us!

Fortunately, Jayden is at his core a “good kid”—kind, empathetic to others, and a bit of a prude. We’ve discussed online privacy and safety with him, and he gets it. Like many parents, we’re crossing our fingers that the genie doesn’t get too far out of the bottle, but eventually you just have to trust that you’ve raised your kid right.

One of the things that completely blows our minds—in addition to the robot-building—is Jayden’s ability to code video games. He creates his projects using the Scratch game engine (developed at MIT for kids) at a level that, frankly, most 13-year-olds aren’t even close to being able to do.

You’ve obviously heard of fan films, but did you know there are also fan GAMES? Jayden, along with possibly hundreds of others, has taken to creating video games based on a 2D online game released in 2015 called Undertale (read more about it here).

Here’s a short segment of one of literally dozens of fan games that Jayden was created based on Undertale

Continue reading “My SON the FAN FILMMAKER!”