CBS contacts and delays the STAR TREK: TEMPORAL ANOMALY fan film!

Okay, no one panic!  CBS isn’t going all lawsuit-happy again.  In fact, it’s possible that their experience in the Axanar lawsuit has resulted in a new approach to dealing with Star Trek fan films that concern them: Ask questions first, shoot later.

The first time post-lawsuit that CBS contacted a fan filmmaker with concerns was early in 2016 when Tommy Kraft was trying to raise $250,000 for Star Trek: Federation Rising, his sequel to Star Trek: Horizon.  CBS requested strongly (but politely) that Tommy shut down the project, and he complied.

CBS has been pretty quiet since then when it comes to fan films, until now.  SAMUEL COCKINGS recently released his trailer for STAR TREK: TEMPORAL ANOMALY,  a fan production he has been working on for five years.  I interviewed him about that project here.  For reasons that will likely become super-obvious when you view the trailer, this planned fan film raised some red flags with CBS for not following a few of the announced guidelines.

Star Trek: Temporal Anomaly was supposed to premiere today on YouTube.  Instead, apparently CBS has asked for (apparently, again, politely) for some changes before it gets released.  Samuel Cockings just posted this announcement to the Temporal Anomaly Facebook page:

Hello Everyone,

While the intent was to release Temporal Anomaly today we were contacted by CBS and are now delaying release of the film until those discussions are concluded and resolved. These have been polite communications and we thank CBS for their approach in dealing with these concerns.

We had hoped to release the project in its pre-guideline state as Temporal Anomaly was written in 2013 and filmed in 2013/2014 however a public release of this now dubbed “Directors Cut” is no longer possible.

A public altered edit of the film may be able to be produced but we are in the early stages of that.

Thank you for the support and interest you have shown, there will be an update on Kickstarter for our backers shortly.

Samuel Cockings

More news as it becomes available…

4th and 5th GRADERS meet the EASTER BUNNY at STARBASE STUDIOS! (audio interview with KEVIN CROXTON)

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.

The previous summer, Kevin had agreed to compose and record music for GLEN WOLFE’s and DAN REYNOLD’s fan production “Walking Bear, Running Wolf” (part of their FEDERATION FILES anthology fan series).  In exchange, Kevin was invited to bring his 4th and 5th grade students to the Starbase Studios TOS sets in Marble Falls, Arkansas (about three hours from Parkview Elementary) to spend a day there filming.

The finished product was released a couple of weeks ago and is already up to an impressive 3,200 views.  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.

But don’t just take my word for it, have a look…

I reached out to Kevin for an interview, and we had a wonderful chat.  Toward the end, he told me that a photographer named BRENDA YELVINGTON had taken hundreds of behind-the-scenes photos, and offered to let me use them for the interview.

Normally, I just do my audio interviews as MP3 files with no visual elements.  But this time, I was able to do something a little extra special and turn the interview into a full YouTube video.  But before anyone says, “That looked really great, Jonathan, you should do it more often…” it only works when you’ve got hundreds of photos and I have a lot of extra time!

Anyway, now that you’ve watched this wonderful little fan film, please enjoy this behind-the-scenes look at group of kids and adults who made it possible…

STAR TREK: DISCOVERY’S “Secret Scene”! (editorial)

Over this past weekend, at WonderCon in Anaheim, CA, STAR TREK: DISCOVERY show-runner AARON HARBERTS released what he referred to as a “secret scene. ” He told the audience, in what I thought was a strange comment, that they decided to cut the scene out of the season one finale because it would be “…more exciting to bring it to a place like [WonderCon].”

Um, yeah.

By now, many of you have probably viewed the two and a half-minute “secret scene” (complete with a full minute and a half of credits…which seemed odd and unnecessary to me).  If you’re in the U.S., you can view the clip below…

And in a case of international legalistic inconvenience, those folks in Canada can only watch it here, and the rest of the world can see it here.

Almost immediately, fans started talking excitedly about this “new” scene and what it means for season two.  And not surprisingly, a whole bunch of folks e-mailed and/or IM’d me to ask what I thought about it.  I guess all those Discovery blogs I’ve written have marked me as some kind of fan barometer or something…or maybe they were just hoping I had some interesting insight or that maybe I’d find some fun way to trash the scene.  Who knows?

But since I’ve had a bunch of people ask for my opinion, I thought it best to just write it once.  Obviously, I’m not going to put any spoiler warnings here, as the season ended last month and the “secret scene” is right here on this blog.

So here we go…

Continue reading “STAR TREK: DISCOVERY’S “Secret Scene”! (editorial)”

HOLY CORE, BATMAN! This TREK fan film KICKSTARTER has only 5 DAYS LEFT!

Lately, some of my readers have complained that the fan film guidelines have essentially ended quality Star Trek fan films.  “You can’t make a decent Trek fan film in just 15 or 30 minutes,” they say, “and limiting crowd-funding to just $50,000 is ridiculously constraining.”

To them I reply, “Watch CHANCE ENCOUNTER!”  This 20-minute TNG-era fan film out of the U.K. had real actors, real sets, a fantastic script, wonderful directing, emotional music, great effects…you name it!  And it was made for just a few thousand dollars (or rather, pounds, since they’re all British).

Now these guys want to make another fan film…and they’re struggling to reach their Kickstarter goal of $12K.  They’re nearly halfway there, have raised an impressive $5, 345 from 74 backers (including me)…

…BUT THEY HAVE ONLY FIVE DAYS LEFT!!!

And the problem with Kickstarter is that, if they don’t reach their goal, they get ZERO!  Show-runner GARY O’BRIEN and co-writer PAUL LAIGHT are trying very hard to reach out to fans.  They’ve produced multiple spotlight videos, have been living on Facebook, and even did a podcast.  But so far, they’ve only made it half way…and time is running out!

Please help.

This is the kind of quality Star Trek fan film you’ve been wanting to see, folks.  But without donations, you won’t see it.  That’s why I’m pushing so hard to assist these guys…because I really want to see it, too!

Here’s the link to donate:

Please consider making a pledge.  But whether or not you do, at least share that link on Facebook, Twitter, in chat-rooms, forums, e-mail lists, skywriting, smoke-signals, semaphore…whatever you’ve got!

And just to get you a teensy bit more excited, here’s their latest spotlight video with a look at their LCARS…

The TOP TWELVE new STAR TREK: DISCOVERY title sequences created by FANS!

Ever since William Shatner first said the words, “Space, the final frontier…” every Star Trek series has had an opening title sequence featuring, well, space!  All but one, that is…

STAR TREK: DISCOVERY broke with tradition to give fans an odd montage of seemingly random images—a drafting sketch of the USS Discovery, the Victoria Crater of Mars, a human nose/mouth/neck, a close-up on a human eye, an EVA-suit, a phaser, a communicator, a Vulcan salute, a Klingon blade, a weird giant plant spitting out the Discovery, a grappling hook, two space-gloved hands reminiscent of the iconic “The Creation of Adam” biblical fresco by Michelangelo, and finally the logo for the series and a fly-by of the USS Discovery again.

But no space (the final frontier).

The music is an eerie-sounding composition that transitions into a sometimes driving, sometimes mournful orchestral piece culminating in the familiar opening melody of the original Alexander Courage Star Trek theme.  Composed by Jeff Russo, the Discovery music combines with the visuals to create an intensely surreal impression similar to the opening title sequence of the series Westworld.

For those who haven’t watched Discovery yet, here’s the opening title sequence that begins each episode…

Like the series 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?

Continue reading “The TOP TWELVE new STAR TREK: DISCOVERY title sequences created by FANS!”

The complete HISTORY OF STAR TREK CONTINUES…in a single PDF!

Just as STAR TREK CONTINUES was releasing their series finale last October, I was publishing an ambitious 6-part weekly blog feature covering the half-decade history of this beloved fan-made production.

The blog series was, without a doubt, my most ambitious endeavor to date, researched and compiled from several dozen sources—articles, interviews, features, reviews, Facebook posts, updates from STC itself, and even video recorded live by yours truly.  The six parts took me months to complete, and in the end, a few thousand people came to Fan Film Factor to enjoy reading about this fan series and the people who produced it.

I kinda figured that was it for STC on FFF.  The series wrapped up, the blogs were done…time to move on to other fan films both old and new.  But one of my readers, BRYAN LEECH from Melbourne, Australia, posted a comment on Part 3 of the blog:

Is there any possibility that, when completed, you could make your work available as a complete downloadable entity?

Man, did that sound like extra work!  I politely declined, explaining that I was pretty busy writing new blogs.  But then Bryan offered to create a PDF himself.  He’d assemble all of the text, add the graphics, and even include and test all of the hyperlinks that I’d included in the original blog.

Bryan got started in December and would send me versions to review every so often.  We’d discuss designs and fonts choices; whether to use italics, bold, and/or ALL CAPS in certain places; where to place images and how large to make them, and whether to have the text by completely justified on the right or not.  We troubleshooted bad hyperlinks, and Bryan even fixed some of my ultra-rare typos.

It took a few months and a lot of hard work on Bryan’s part to get things perfect, but in the end, the finished product is something we’re both very proud of.  SO big thanks to Bryan!

In addition to the link below, I’ve also posted the PDF file to my new “PDFs” section here on Fan Film Factor.  You can find that menu option in the middle of the top nav bar.  Check it out, as there’s some other fun PDFs there for download as well.

And now for your reading pleasure, here it is: the complete HISTORY OF STAR TREK CONTINUES

Click here to view the History of Star Trek Continues PDF.

My 500TH published blog!!!!!

When I started FAN FILM FACTOR on January 10, 2016, it was suggested that I try to write at least one or two new blogs per week so I’d stay relevant and keep readers coming back.  Instead, I’ve written and published, on average, between four and five blogs per week for over two years.  Some were short—just a few hundred words—while other blogs went 1,000 or 2,000 words (occasionally even longer).   I calculated recently that I’ve written way more than HALF A MILLION WORDS about fan films…sheesh!!!

I wondered how I might mark this 500th blog milestone, and then I had an idea.  Have you ever wondered how I manage to keep all of these blogs coming week after week, month after month, year after year?  If you haven’t, then feel free to stop reading now.

But if you’re curious the learn how the Fan Film Factor sausage is made, this’ll be a fun read for you…

Continue reading “My 500TH published blog!!!!!”

Today is a good day to PLEDGE…to “The Holy Core” Kickstarter!

Hey, folks.  Just a friendly reminder that the Kickstarter for THE HOLY CORE, a new Star Trek fan project from the folks who brought us CHANCE ENCOUNTER, has only 13 days left to go!  There’s already 53 backers, and they’re up to nearly 1/3 of the $12,000 they need to raise.  But remember that if they don’t make it to their goal, they get nothing…zero, zip, zilch, nada.  And that would be such a shame.

The key right now is to help SPREAD THE WORD (and donate, if you haven’t already)!  Send out and share links to their Kickstarter campaign page:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1512203744/the-holy-core-a-star-trek-fan-film

They’ve already shared a few cool videos of some of what they’re planning for this TNG-era fan film.  This video spotlighting their transporter effect was just released:

Then there was this one from last week showing the design for the Vitan satellites, which will play an important role in the planned 30-minute fan film:

And here’s the Kickstarter campaign video for the overall project:

Please consider making a donation, or at least helping to spread the Kickstarter link:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1512203744/the-holy-core-a-star-trek-fan-film

Thank you.

STARSHIP TRISTAN Creative Group releases their 12th fan film: “PRIDE AND PREJUDICE”!

Last week, I announced the release of the eleventh fan film, “Sepulchre,”  from the STARSHIP TRISTAN Creative Group from POTEMKIN PICTURES.  I noted that the previous tenth release had come out seven months earlier.  But now, the new twelfth release, “Pride and Prejudice,” has followed only ONE WEEK after the eleventh.  What gives?

I decided to go to the source and ask show-runner RANDY LANDERS.  I was quite surprised to learn the answer:

Back in August, I had a quadruple bypass which delayed post production on a number of our short films. We have never before held back releases, in fact, but we actually are this ti me.  We released “Sepulchre” as soon as it was ready, then released the follow-up “Pride and Prejudice” a week later.  “Pride and Prejudice” was actually ready for release in January.  For the same reason, we’re holding up the release of “Shattered Sky” (a Deimos film) until we finish up and release “Prodigal Daughter.”

It’s quite possible we will have four releases in March!

I asked Randy how he was doing after the bypass.  (My own father had a double bypass about three years ago and is still going strong).

I’m doing great. You can quote me, and report that two productions were filmed without me (“New Orders,” which was directed by Jason Furman, and “Sepulchre” which was directed by Lee Drew).  And “Pride and Prejudice” was directed by Christin Woods [who plays T’Noshi  -Jonathan] relieving me of that concern as well. I’m very proud of the work they did to get these productions completed.

I should also mention that this latest episode from the Tristan folk was written by WILLIAM C. SEARCY, who plays the fan-favorite character of the half-Vulcan Dr. Skep Anderson.

So please enjoy the second Potemkin Pictures fan film release in two weeks, “Pride and Prejudice”…

 

The story BEHIND THE PURCHASE of the STAR TREK CONTINUES sets! (audio interview with RAY TESI)

Fans gave a sigh of relief in early February when it was announced that the STAR TREK CONTINUES sets in Kingsland, Georgia had been purchased by a fan filmmaker who intended to make the sets available to other fan filmmakers to create their Trek fan productions.  The new owner is a fellow by the name of RAY TESI, and his own fan project was STARSHIP REPUBLIC, which had released the 9-minute Serpent of Yesterday vignette in February of last year.

But I was curious about something: how was Ray affording all this?

Y’see, after releasing his fan film vignette, Ray launched an Indiegogo campaign to try to raise $16,000 to continue the production of his fan series.  That campaign only made it to $2,351, and the project was shelved indefinitely.

Now, I didn’t know whether Ray had purchased the sets from VIC MIGNOGNA of Star Trek Continues or had gotten them for free (turns out Ray bought them).  But I did know that the rent for the warehouse where the sets reside is tens of thousands of dollars per year!

So how is a guy who needed $16,000 in crowd-funding a year ago suddenly able to afford thousands of dollars a month in rent?  Did he win the lottery?  Rob a bank?  Blackmail a rich politician?

It turns out, fortunately(!), that it was none of the above.  In fact, when you hear the actual story behind Ray’s purchase of the STC sets, I think that you—like me—will gain a new respect for Ray Tesi and feel truly inspired and positive about the future of this wonderful fan resource.

Here’s the interview…

Ray Tesi in the center seat surrounded by the cast of Starship Republic

And for anyone wanting to see how awesome these sets are, here’s a walkthrough from a few years ago (before they added Engineering, which makes it all even MORE awesome!)…