ALEC PETERS talks about AXACON, the latest AXANAR financials, and the bridge set! (interview, part 2)

Yesterday, I published part 1 of an interview with ALEC PETERS, executive producer of AXANAR, discussing, among other things, the financial update he just posted last week (you can read it here.)

Axanar had a net loss of $150K overall, funds covered personally by Alec, as they exceeded the $1.2 million raised from the various crowd-funders.  In 2017 alone, expenses for Axanar Productions totaled just over $35K, of which approximately $26K was paid to cover final legal expenses for items not included in the pro bono agreement with law firm Winston & Strawn.

Although Axanar Productions never completed its filings for 501(c)(3) status in California, there is currently some consideration of trying to make OWC Studios into a tax-exempt charity, considering the work they’re doing with film education in the local Georgia school districts.

Alec and I went on to discuss work being done towards the completion of the USS Ares bridge by a team of volunteers, along with future intended uses for the set and studio.  And then we began talking about the upcoming Axacon event scheduled for November 2-4 (order your tickets here!) when Alec dropped a bombshell that he expects to LOSE $5,000 on Axacon.  Rather than being a profitable endeavor and helping to fund production of the final two Axanar fan films, this convention is going to cost Alec quite a pretty penny!

And that’s where we pick up our interview, already in progress…

Continue reading “ALEC PETERS talks about AXACON, the latest AXANAR financials, and the bridge set! (interview, part 2)”

ALEC PETERS talks about AXACON, the latest AXANAR financials, and the bridge set! (interview, part 1)

This past Friday, ALEC PETERS published a blog providing the latest “AXANAR Financial Update.”  (You can read it here.)  In the blog, Alec explains that Axanar Productions is now serviced by one of Atlanta’s largest and most prestigious accounting firms, Frazier and Deeter, and that Axanar Productions owes no taxes currently due to a business loss of more than $150,000 over and above the $1.2 million donated by supporters in 2014 and 2015.  This loss was money put in by Alec Peters personally to cover expenses not covered by contributions.

One would assume that a large and reputable accounting firm would not take on as a client any corporation with obviously shady dealings, potential embezzlement, tax fraud, etc.—and that they would do their due diligence prior to signing up any new client.  So the fact that Frazier and Deeter, which has in the past advised Pinewood Studios where many Marvel movies have been shot in Atlanta, decided to represent Axanar Productions argues against many of the spurious claims of “corruption” by Axanar detractors.

The majority of the numerical specifics of Alec’s update were included in a single paragraph:

There were $ 35,103.78 in Axanar expenses in 2017, of which approximately $26,000 was legal expenses left over from the lawsuit.  These were the only legal expenses from the CBS/Paramount lawsuit, as we received over $1M in free legal services from Winston & Strawn.  However, our pro-bono agreement was that we paid all actual expenses which consisted of deposition and expert witness costs.  I personally paid those costs as well as the other costs in 2017 in order to keep the studio and operation going.

While Axanar Productions had attempted to file for 501(c)(3) tax exempt status back in California, those plans were tabled after the move to Lawrenceville, Georgia.  Now, Alec and his advisers are considering starting the process of making OWC Studios into a 501(c)(3) since they’re working on an educational program for local high schools and colleges in the Atlanta area that have video and film programs.

In anticipation of that, and in preparation for the upcoming Axacon event from November 2-4 (get your tickets here), Alec and his team are also working to complete the amazing USS Ares bridge set.  There’s obviously a LOT going on with Axanar (in addition to ramping up to film the two sequel episodes), and I though this might be a good time to have a little chat with Captain Garth himself, Alec Peters…

Continue reading “ALEC PETERS talks about AXACON, the latest AXANAR financials, and the bridge set! (interview, part 1)”

STARSHIP TRISTAN releases its 15th fan film: “Distant Echoes, part one”!

Four weeks…four fan films.  Sounds like I’m talking about POTEMKIN PICTURES again!  These folks from Alabama are a veritable fan film factory, with SIX different fan series  from different creative groups all in active release…and a seventh series about to launch.

Over the past month, Potemkin Pictures first debuted its newest fan series from the Hospital Ship Marie Curie Creative Group.  A week later came the 14th fan film from the Starship Tristan Creative Group.  And a week after that, fans saw the release of the second film from the Starship Triton Creative Group…complete with a record number of Orions!

And now it’s week four, and we’re back to the Constellation-class Starship Tristan.  In this latest episode, we see most of the crew, with a spotlight on its captain, Eva Privette, played by KIMBERLY WHITE.  She’s got a lot of lines, and all were memorized.  (In some of the more “grass roots” fan films, cast members with large amounts of dialog don’t/can’t learn all their lines and instead read from cue cards or scripts off-camera…and sometimes this can be very obvious.)  Potemkin Pictures tries to use, when possible, students from local drama programs and people from community theater who have studied acting.

What’s notable about this latest offering is that it’s the first time any Potemkin Pictures production has been divided into a part one and part two.  Show-runner RANDY LANDERS explained to me that the full run-time for “Distant Echoes” was 18 minutes, over the 15-minute time limit imposed by the fan film guidelines.  So part one ends at the 9:40 mark. “We chose not to risk the ire of CBS,” Randy said.  “The second part will be our next release, possibly by month’s end.”  If that happens, then it’ll be five fan films in five straight weeks!

All episodes of the various Potemkin Pictures series can be accessed from their website.  You can watch the latest release from Starhsip Tristan below…

THE ROMULAN WAR releases its newest ENHANCED audio drama: “THEY WANT US DEAD”!

I’m beginning to really, really love these enhanced audio dramas that are being released by MARK NACCARATO as a lead-in to his highly anticipated THE ROMULAN WAR fan film!  The project itself managed to take in over $12,000 in a recent Indiegogo (and is now trying to reach $14,000 to cover the cost of new live-action footage shot in Australia along with new CGI).  And the full fan film itself is supposed to be released very soon.

But in the meantime, Mark has released a series of “enhanced” audio dramas under the banner The Romulan War: “War Stories.”  These are personal log entries from those serving in Starfleet during the Romulan War with Earth that led to the founding of the United Federation of Planets in the mid-22nd century.  The idea is to tell the “smaller” stories of war, while the main fan film tells the “big” story.

And what are “enhanced” audio dramas?  Like most audio dramas, the actors record their lines vocally, without a video camera running.  But rather than just playing back the audio over a black screen or a single image or even a series of images, there is actually an ongoing video the whole time, some with simple 2D animation, some with video footage, and some even with 3D CGI.

Mark’s first release was made available to the public about a month ago, the two-part “Sleep Is Hard To Find” (you can view it here).  Now the second release is a one-parter entitled “They Want Us Dead,” and it’s riveting.  I really mean that.  An intense and gripping vocal performance was turned in by actress GINNY WELSCH, who has extensive experience with voice work, over a brilliant script written by ANDREW J. LUCAS, who previously penned multiple episodes of the just-completed The Romulan Wars (plural) fan series.

You’ll probably recognize some footage in the video “borrowed” from a number of familiar cinematic sci-fi sources.  Whether or not the studios who own that footage will care about or bother with a small fan film getting a few hundred views is anyone’s guess.  But that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the production…

And remember that you can still donate to the “in demand” Indiegogo campaign to help them reach $14,000…

Just click here to donate.

The Romulan War posted the following press release regarding this newest addition to their offerings…

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STALLED TREK scores Hollywood composer MAX McGUIRE to score its parody fan film!

Back in 2012, a brilliantly zany and devoted Star Trek fan named MARK LARGENT released the wildly hilarious animated parody STALLED TREK: AMUTT TIME.  This must-see fan film used 3D computer graphics to create puppet characters for all of the original series cast members and put them into a tongue-in-cheek version of the fan-favorite TOS episode “Amok Time.”

You can watch that parody fan film here…

This past August, Mark launched a Kickstarter for a brand new sequel, “The City on the Edge of Foreclosure,” with a relatively initial low goal of only $600.  He reached that in less than 8 hours (!) and wound up with a total of nearly $4,200…700% of the initial goal!!!

Among the things this now allows Mark to do is hire a professional musical composer, which he is allowed to do, as parody fan films fall under the protection of Fair Use and do not need to conform to the fan film guidelines.

But whom to hire…?

Max McGuire

The answer came to Mark (instead of vice-versa) when composer MAX McGUIRE reached out to him.  Max has composed music for a wide variety of projects including shows airing on FOX, ABC, NBC, E!, CBS and TBS…and more recently provided additional music for the hit Syfy/Netflix series 12 Monkeys under the guidance of lead composer Stephen Barton.  In March 2018, Max conducted his score for the short film All The World’s A Stage (starring Olivia Colman, who has been cast as Elizabeth II in seasons 3 and 4 of Netflix’s The Crown!) at Abbey Road Studios in London.  The short is currently showing at festivals around the world including the Academy Awards Qualifying Festival, Hollyshorts.

So what’s this well-known Hollywood composer doing asking to work on a fan film???

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Final CONVERGENCE puzzle piece revealed in new TEMPORAL ANOMALY teaser!

Over the past three weeks, 3D animator incredibus SAMUEL COCKINGS has released three teasers for his upcoming multi-crossover fan film, CONVERGENCE.  The project, already well into production, will be holding an Indiegogo shortly to cover expenses, and these three teasers are meant to build interest and excitement leading up to the launch of the campaign.  (Yep, crowd-funders, that’s the way you should do it!)

One of the intriguing “mysteries” about Convergence was the question of which fan films/series will be crossing over—there will be five in all.  The first teaser revealed that Star Trek: Intrepid show-runner and star NICK COOK would be reprising his fan favorite role of Captain Daniel Hunter of the USS Intrepid.  The second teaser revealed that the fan series Star Trek: Dark Armada would also be part of this crossover, with that series’ show-runner and star, ROBIN HIERT, playing his character Captain Alexander Richardson of the USS Batavia.

The third and final teaser filled in another two pieces of the puzzle.  JIM VON DOLTERAN of the Trek fan series Starship Republic will also be appearing, captaining a starship of the futuristic Archer-class, which was seen in the original Star Trek: Renegades fan film (before it de-Trekified itself).  Also appearing in Convergence will be the alien Syphon race, the terrifying bad guys from Renegades.

So with four fan films/series accounted for, fans still didn’t know the fifth…until yesterday when Samuel Cockings posted an unexpected FOURTH teaser!  But this time, the teaser didn’t include footage from Convergence but rather from his upcoming (and long-anticipated) fan film TEMPORAL ANOMALY.  (You can listen to an audio interview with Samuel about this project here.)  This project’s release was delayed by CBS, but Samuel was ultimately granted a small guideline exemption in exchange for making certain adjustments, which are still being completed.

But the big news is that his new teaser, featuring an intriguing two-and-a-half minute scene from the final film, reveals that Temporal Anomaly will be the final of the five fan productions crossing over, specifically the character of Captain James Munro.  Take a look…

STARSHIP TRITON releases its SECOND fan film: “The Crown Jewels of Xantharus”!

Another week, another new fan film from POTEMKIN PICTURES…or at least it seems that way lately!  The end of August saw the release of “The Beast,” the debut episode of their new fan series Hospital Ship Marie Curie.  A week later, the 14th fan film from the Starship Tristan creative group, “Deception,” was posted to YouTube.

And then a week after THAT, yet another new release—this one the second fan film from the STARSHIP TRITON creative team: “The Crown Jewels of Xantharus.”  Their debut episode, featuring the character of Commander Janice Rand, debuted last December.

Three fan films in three weeks sounds pretty ambitious, but in fact, the goal of Potemkin Pictures, according to show-runner RANDY LANDERS, is to release an average of one new fan production per month for a total of twelve films each year.  In 2016, that steak was impacted by heart bypass surgery for Randy in August, which delayed releases until March of 2017.  But Potemkin came roaring back with multiple releases, two of which were released only five days apart and, at one point, five in just three months!

For anyone keeping count (like me), this latest release marks Potemkin’s ninth in 2018.  And since it’s September, that actually does average out to one per month…so the streak is holding!

This particular episode, despite looking very low budget (as usual) was actually a really big challenge to film.  It took sixteen months to complete everything (not even counting pre-production).  That included separate shoots (during different months) to film scenes in a bar, on a pirate ship, on a Romulan ship, shots of Starfleet officers watching an Orion dance, the dance itself, and a Happy Birthday bit at the end.  Then they had to re-film the bar scene when they had to replace one of the actors.  Then they had to re-re-film the bar scene at a different location when they realized the lighting hadn’t worked!

Most impressive—to me, at least—were multiple Orion women (and one man), all of which needed to be covered head-to-toe in green.  I asked Randy how much make-up they went through: “Half a cake per person!  But we filmed one actress who was replaced, and had to film Lezlie Cohen’s and Brute’s bar scene twice. So five and a half large cakes of Wolfe Aqua (water activated) parrot green. Total makeup time over all the shoots: 11 hours (one hour per person). Total expense in just green: $220.”  Wow!

It’s worth watching just to marvel at the record number of Orions in one fan film!

THIRD and final CONVERGENCE teaser fills in two more pieces of the puzzle!

For the last couple of weeks, show-runner and “Trekyards” super-duper CGI trooper SAMUEL COCKINGS has been releasing a new teaser for his new fan project, CONVERGENCE, each weekend.  Convergence will be a mega-crossover event, bringing together (according to Samuel) FIVE different fan films and series.

The first couple of teasers gave fans the initial two pieces of the puzzle.  One of the cross-over fan series would be Star Trek: Intrepid, featuring Intrepid show-runner and star NICK COOK reprising his fan favorite role of Captain Daniel Hunter, as shown in the first teaser…

The second teaser revealed that the fan series Star Trek: Dark Armada would also be part of the cross-over equation, as that series’ show-runner and star, ROBIN HIERT, would be playing his character Captain Alexander Richardson of the USS Batavia.  Here’s the second teaser…

That left three more cross-over fan films/series still a mystery…until last Saturday when the third and final weekly trailer made its debut.  Two important (and surprising!) pieces of the puzzle were revealed with this announcement/introduction by Samuel:

STAR TREK: RENEGADES and STARSHIP REPUBLIC.  That’s right!  While the Renegades team have moved to a non-Trek universe, we are officially carrying on the torch for their Star Trek pilot and telling a new story with parts from the Star Trek: Renegades ‘verse.

Also joining as our final captain is JIM VON DOLTEREN from Starship Republic!  He will be flying to the UK to ensure that all our captains can be in the same room at the same time for some important scenes and to get the best quality production possible!

At some point in the next week or three, the official crowd-funding campaign for Convergence will launch, and fans will discover who the final character(s) is/are and from which fan project.  In the meantime, you share in the excitement as you view Samuel’s rendition of the Archer-class starship from Renegades and Jim Von Dolteren’s voice-over debut in the third and latest teaser for Convergence

FUNNY video: “All About That Borg”

As fan-made Star Trek parody music videos go, this one is right up there with some of the best.  RANDY TURNBOW from Maricopa, Arizona has some amazing costumes from various sci-fi and related franchises, and he’s not afraid to wear them…in front of green screens!  Most of his parodies over the past three years have been Star WARS (including a MUST SEE Frozen/Star Wars parody that is NOT a version of “Let It Go”).  But today, let’s take a look at his one (so far) Star TREK music video, a very well produced and hilarious parody of “All About that Bass” by Meghan Trainor…

Some unsolicited CROWD-FUNDING advice from me… (editorial)

At this point, I’ve seen a LOT of crowd-funding campaigns.  I’ve seen them succeed, and I’ve seen them fail.  I’ve seen the good, the bad, the fantastic, and the face-palm.  I might not be the uncontested expert on how to create a strong campaign, but I’ve talked to enough successful crowd-funders and seen enough examples of what works and what doesn’t work that I think I can share some pretty useful advice if asked…

…and in certain cases, if I’m not asked.

I have to say that this year has been pretty wild when it comes to crowd-funders.  I’m already outlining the “2018’s Year in Review” blog to focus on the various Kickstarters, Indiegogos, GoFundMes, and even FundRazrs that have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for various fan projects over the past several months.  Some have soared, some have been absolute nail-biters until the final hours, and yes, some have struggled.

I feel really bad for the struggling ones.  In some cases, I do whatever I can to help with blogging support and even personal contributions on occasion.  But sometimes, all I can do is watch helplessly from my computer, seeing so clearly what’s being done wrong (or not being done), and wanting to shout like a frustrated fan sitting in the bleachers to a quarterback on the field.

But usually, I just hold my tongue (or in the case of blogging, my typing fingers).  After all, these are not my campaigns, and if people don’t ask me, then all I’m doing is shoving my nose in where it doesn’t belong, right?

Well, I’m about to shove my nose in.  Hopefully, I won’t regret it…

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