STAR TREK finally comes to DISCOVERY!!! (editorial review)

WARNING – There’s spoilers off the starboard bow!

People seem to think that I only write negative things about STAR TREK: DISCOVERY…that I’ll never accept it and will always find something to criticize: uniforms, Klingons, lack of banter, etc.

Well, the pigs are flying folks! Satan is skating to work! And Jonathan Lane is about to write a 100% POSITIVE review of the latest episode of Discovery, “New Eden.”

What can I say? I loved it. It felt like I was watching STAR TREK…possibly for the first time since Burnham and Georgiou walked across that desert planet at the beginning of the premiere episode. Nothing bothered me…not the uniforms or the “non-canon” console graphics or even Tilly. Heck, I didn’t even mind that the magic mushroom drive once again saved the day.

When it’s good Star Trek—when it FEELS like good Star Trek—all the rest of the discontinuities with canon can be safely beamed out of my mind.

So what made this feel like “real” Star Trek to me…?

Continue reading “STAR TREK finally comes to DISCOVERY!!! (editorial review)”

ARES STUDIOS launches new PATREON! (interview with ALEC PETERS, part 2)

Yesterday, I began speaking to ALEC PETERS about his new PATREON campaign for ARES STUDIOS. Officially launched last Friday evening, in less than a week, with 95 patrons as of this evening, it’s already nearly 25% of the way to its goal of generating $4,000/month in donations to help pay rent and utilities for the studio in Lawrenceville, GA.

Alec explained that Ares Studios is an entirely separate business entity from Axanar Productions, which will be producing the final two Axanar fan films. So crowd-funding through Patreon is allowed because the legal settlement with CBS and Paramount only covers the production of the two 15-minute Axanar sequel fan films.

And speaking of those two films, let’s return to our interview with Alec as he tells us why he hasn’t started filming Axanar yet (’cause we all REALLY want to know!)…

Continue reading “ARES STUDIOS launches new PATREON! (interview with ALEC PETERS, part 2)”

ARES STUDIOS launches new PATREON! (interview with ALEC PETERS, part 1)

It’s been hinted about for the past few weeks, but on Friday night, it became official. ARES STUDIOS (formerly OWC Studios) in Lawrenceville, GA—home to the amazing USS Ares bridge set—has launched a new PATREON campaign to help cover the monthly costs of rent and utilities (about $4000/month).

For those of you unfamiliar with what a “Patreon” campaign is, it’s somewhat different than crowd-funding using Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or GoFundMe. In the case of those three, backers pledge a one-time donation of $25 or $100 or $500 or whatever amount, and they’re done. With a Patreon, donation amounts are much smaller, but they are MONTHLY and ongoing. That’s why, if you look at the Ares Studios Patreon, you’ll see perks listed for levels of only $2, $5, $10, and $20. By the end of the year, those amounts would total the equivalent of a one-time donation to a Kickstarter.

The new campaign was announced on Friday night during the first episode of what ALEC PETERS intends to be a regular YouTube livestream broadcast called REEL TREK, produced by Ares Studios to discuss all things Star Trek live with fan viewers. During the broadcast, fans donated about $120 as they posted their comments, but that was just the beginning. Toward the end of the program, Alec announced the new Patreon to about 200 live viewers, and a few folks started signing up to the campaign.

Only 24 hours later, however, the views of the archived live discussion had jumped to 4000, and Patreon sign-ups grew to more than 60 pledging about $535 per month ($6,420 per year)…meaning that the campaign passed 1/8 of the way there in just a day, with little fanfare or marketing so far.

Some detractors have predicted (hoped) that this initial surge would quickly fade to a trickle, with Carlos Pedraza reminding people that a crowd-funding campaign back in 2017 tried to raise $200,000 to keep Ares (Industry) Studios in California and only made it to $22,000. On the other hand, if the Patreon can get to that same number, it covers half the monthly expenses…and Paatreons don’t come with ending dates.

Anyway, this sounded like a good time for an interview with Alec about not only the Patreon but also those two 15-minute fan films he’s supposed to be working on…

Continue reading “ARES STUDIOS launches new PATREON! (interview with ALEC PETERS, part 1)”

NEW TRAILER from the AVALON UNIVERSE!

JOSHUA IRWIN and VICTORIA FOX burst onto the Star Trek fan film stage this past Halloween with the unexpected release of GHOST SHIP. Shot using real actors and high production design on the TOS sets in Kingsland, GA and on the new WARP 66 Studios’ bridge sets in Arkansas, Ghost Ship was fun a “Star Trek meets The Walking Dead” fan film that took the community by storm. Part 1 already has more than 167K views on YouTube, and Part 2 over 70K. (You can listen to a great audio interview with both producers here.)

One of the things that got fans’ attention was the Kelvin-verse Starfleet uniforms juxtaposed with TOS sets and warp nacelles for a Constitution-class starship that glowed blue. What universe was this???

Well, now we know, as there is a new trailer for upcoming fan films from Josh and Victoria in what they are calling the AVALON UNIVERSE

There is also a new Facebook page for the Avalon Universe (featuring the crew of the USS Excalibur). On Facebook, there’s the following posting:

The second fan film taking place in our "Avalon Universe" has begun filming. We'll meet new characters, and see interesting new design elements including visfx, LCARS readouts, uniforms and even unique divergent Starship and shuttle designs, and a new starbase dry dock design all from the amazingly talented Samuel Cockings and his crew of CG artists. The story is co-written and directed by Victoria Fox!
Look for it soon along with information on our crowd funding campaign, which will bring you more stories from this interesting alternate reality.

Filming for their second episode wrapped yesterday in front of a green screen in Arkansas. Plans currently call for the second episode to debut on February 1…along with a crowd-funding campaign for episodes 3 and 4.

Although I plan to do another interview with Josh and Victoria next month, I did ask Josh if he had any other details about what fans could expect from the Avalon Universe going forward…

Continue reading “NEW TRAILER from the AVALON UNIVERSE!”

THE FEDERATION FILES wins big at the IndieBOOM! film festival!

There aren’t many film festivals that feature a category specifically for FAN FILMS, but IndieBOOM! was one of the first to do so back in 2017. In this, its second year, scores of independent films were submitted in a dozen categories (comedy, drama, documentary, animation, scifi/thriller, music video…you can view the entire list here). A panel of judges chose 47 films to make it as finalists, to be posted online and to IndieBOOM!‘s ROKU channel for viewing.

From December 20 to January 5, the finalists were presented free for streaming, with over 600 hours of independent films viewed. The highest viewing totals in each category were declared the winners.

Despite competing against five other fine fan films (including two Star Wars, one Blade, one Superman, and one Stranger Things), the winner was a STAR TREK fan film: “Walking Bear, Running Wolf”—the second fan film from THE FEDERATION FILES anthology series produced by GLEN WOLFE and DAN REYNOLDS. (Last month, they released their fourth fan film, “Galaxy Hopper.”)

But “Walking Bear, Running Wolf” didn’t stop at just winning in the FAN FILM category! Glen Wolfe had also entered his production in the SCI-FI/THRILLER category…where the competition grew from five other entries to eight. But guess who won a second time!

Congratulations to Glen and Dan. In celebration of this impressive achievement, I am re-publishing my September 2017 blog spotlighting “Walking Bear, Running Wolf,” which includes a FANtastic interview with producer Dan Reynolds…

Continue reading “THE FEDERATION FILES wins big at the IndieBOOM! film festival!”

STAR TREK: DISCOVERY season two premiere REVIEW – Am I back on board? Well…

WARNING: Teeny-weeny spoilers ahead

On Thursday night, I watched the season two premiere of STAR TREK: DISCOVERY, the episode”Brother.” I also watched the latest episode of The Orville just before because fate and network programming executives have seen fit that new episodes of both shows debut on the same night!

Well…

Mostly, the reviews I’ve read seem to be positive. My friend Dave even texted me the following morning and said, “Considering all the banter, I thought you’d have enjoyed it…”

For me, it wasn’t that simple. “It was good” or “it was bad” or “it was better than season one” or “it was closer to Star Trek” oversimplifies what I consider to be a very complex reaction to a show that is obviously hitting the “reset” button after its first season struggled to attract an audience. Discovery had to make a lot of course corrections for season two, and on some maneuvers it succeeded and leaves me hopeful—and for others, I sigh and shake my head as the show is still missing the mark…at least for me.

In other words: it’s complicated…

Continue reading “STAR TREK: DISCOVERY season two premiere REVIEW – Am I back on board? Well…”

Update on THE CONSTAR CHRONICLES (interview with VANCE MAJOR, part 2)

Last week, I began chatting with VANCE MAJOR, the “Where’s Waldo of Star Trek fan films.” After completing nearly three dozen fan films featuring the (long) career of the character of Erick Minard, Vance briefly stepped away from producing Trek fan films. Briefly.

He returned to the fold early last year, announcing the launch of production on THE CONSTAR CHRONICLES. While these new fan films would also feature Vance playing Minard, they would now focus on various members of his crew, once again weaving a complex tapestry of stories that could be viewed individually or as one long saga. In this way, Vance skirts the “no ongoing series” guideline (kinda) because these will be individual, self-contained stories and not an ongoing series. In fact, The Constar Chronicles isn’t even the official name of the production. Ultimately, it will simply be a number of separate fan films which feature some of the same characters serving on the same starship(s).

Last month, Vance released the following trailer…

In Part 1, Vance talked about the filmmaking process so far on Constar. But then we left off with a most intriguing question…

Continue reading “Update on THE CONSTAR CHRONICLES (interview with VANCE MAJOR, part 2)”

STAR TREK: FIRST FRONTIER releases NEW trailer…with never-before-seen footage!

Back in March of 2017, I featured a great 3-part interview (definitely worth reading or at least looking at the photos!) with KENNY SMITH, the show-runner behind the upcoming fan film STAR TEK: FIRST FRONTIER. At the time, a just-released trailer promised a debut of the hour-long film in 2017. Although the trailer disappeared for a short while, it was re-posted in September of 2017, still promising a 2017 release.

That didn’t happen.

However, it wan’t because Kenny and his team were simply resting on their laurels! The script for First Frontier was iniitally written in 2014, and after a Kickstarter in 2015 failed to reach its $130K goal, Kenny decided to simply fund it himself. He built sets (for the era of Captain Robert April, 20 years before Kirk), created costumes, and even constructed a highly detailed $30,000 eleven-foot long model of April’s Enterprise NCC-1701 in order to film visual FX the old fashioned way!

He hired professional actors and production crew (this was all pre-guidelines) and even had NICHELLE NICHOLS record a voice-over. When all was said and done, Kenny spent around $200,000 of his own money (and that was back in 2017…he’s likely now up over a quarter million!).

The majority of the work over the past two years has been on post production: lighting and color adjustments, editing, sound, music, and of course, VFX. Most recently, Kenny and his team built a miniature shuttlecraft and hangar deck “set” for a series of sequences involving a shuttlecraft. Now, when I say “miniature,” it isn’t THAT miniature. Although you can’t tell from this photo taken while everything was still being completed, this shuttlecraft is about the size of a microwave oven!

How awesome is that???

With a planned YouTube premiere only a couple of months away (fingers crossed, people!), Kenny has just released a new trailer. It has most of the same footage as the previous 2017 trailer, but a few new scenes have been added, including a brief glimpse of two-time Emmy nominee actor BARRY CORBIN. We also get to hear Nichelle at the end.

I’m really looking forward to this one…!

The FINAL FATE (?) of the Arkansas TOS sets formerly known as STARBASE STUDIOS!

Well, this isn’t the happy ending I was hoping to write. It almost was, but then things turned disappointing in a very short amount of time.

Okay, let me first give bring everyone up to date on the story so far. The TOS sets that were formerly known as STARBASE STUDIOS have been sitting in a building in Marble Falls, Arkansas since early 2017. The building is part of an abandoned and dilapidated former theme park known as Dogpatch, which is owned by Charles “Bud” Pelsor.

Ownership of the TOS sets—which included a full 360-degree bridge originally constructed in 2004 for a fan film called Starship Exeter “The Tressaurian Intersection,” a partial sickbay, a transporter room, a briefing room, and corridors—was, until recently, divided among GLEN L. WOLFE (50%), SCOTT JOHNSON (25%), and GLENN MILLER (25%). Unfortunately, the three owners weren’t typically (if ever) on the same page, and frictions quickly developed and escalated.

“Bud” Pelsor had apparently offered to house the sets until the end of 2018, after which ownership of the Dogpatch property was to transfer to Heritage USA, and the sets would need to be relocated. But where would they go? Who has space for a full bridge, sickbay, transporter, and briefing room?

Earlier this past week, an answer seemed to have miraculously presented itself—with a solution worthy of King Solomon himself…

Continue reading “The FINAL FATE (?) of the Arkansas TOS sets formerly known as STARBASE STUDIOS!”

Follow-up: Yes, SHAWN O’HALLORAN, you ARE stalking ALEC PETERS!

Yesterday, I called SHAWN P. O’HALLORAN a moron and a stalker. Shawn didn’t like that at all. In fact, he got so upset that he wrote an 800-plus word Facebook response, culminating in the following hysterical rant…

Please excuse the vulgarity. I felt it necessary to show how off-the-handle Shawn had flown.

Unfortunately, the saddest part is that Shawn has COMPLETELY missed the point of yesterday’s blog. Whether he wants to face the truth or not, Shawn P. O’Halloran IS a stalker—at least according to this definition on Wikipedia:

Stalking is unwanted or repeated surveillance by an individual or group towards another person. Stalking behaviors are interrelated to harassment and intimidation and may include following the victim in person or monitoring them.

That’s almost word-for-word what they (the detractors operating individually and as a group) do to ALEC PETERS. Looking though his records (public or not), analyzing his business dealings, even following him around at conventions and live-streaming him and his girlfriend…that is MONITORING. Heck, the Facebook group is even named for the blog site: AaxMONITOR!

In Shawn’s case, the obsession with Alec has become socially demented and dysfunctional. I mean, Shawn spent his own money to research Alec Peters’ business records and even whether or not Alec owns his own house!

What normal person does that?

It’s not like Shawn is a journalist working on an article (Carlos Pedraza claims that alleged distinction). Shawn doesn’t work for law enforcement or the plaintiff’s law firm. He’s not a private investigator. He’s just some obsessively weird nobody from Las Vegas who can’t stop writing about, ridiculing, and prying into the professional and private life of some guy in Georgia. In other words: a stalker. (Victims of stalking don’t necessarily have to be famous or beautiful or even women.)

Of course, Shawn says his primary goal is to “keep the public informed” before they give Alec any more money. But that’s essentially bull poop. Shawn’s true purpose is intimidation and harassment, as shown here in Shawn’s original post announcing his “deep research” into Alec…

Continue reading “Follow-up: Yes, SHAWN O’HALLORAN, you ARE stalking ALEC PETERS!”