STARSHIP DEIMOS releases their eighth episode: “The Deimos Factor”!

Two weeks after releasing their sixth and seventh episodes just one day apart, the production team for STARSHIP DEIMOS just debuted their eighth episode, “The Deimos Factor.”  If it seems like Deimos is pushing its production warp engines to ludicrous speed, it’s actually much simpler than that.  All of the fan series from POTEMKIN PICTURES ran into a many-months-long delay last year when show-runner and main editor RANDY LANDERS (who also directed each of the latest releases) had quadruple bypass surgery last August.  He’s fine now, by the way.

Randy’s ultimate goal is to release one fan film per month under the Potemkin Pictures label, and it looks like he’s rapidly getting back on schedule.  With seven different fan “series” in active production, plus the 36 episodes of the completed Project: Potemkin, Randy has released a jaw-dropping 62 separate fan films in 8 years, ranging in length from a couple of minutes to nearly an hour.  That’s an amazing accomplishment.

I’ve heard a small number of fans recently disparaging Randy and his fan films, claiming there is weak writing or minimal character development or just complaining about the low production values.  I say: “Nonsense!!! Malarkey!!!  Horse pooey!!!”  What Potemkin Pictures has done is to assemble separate casts of people over five dozen times, get them to perform and complete enough full scenes to create finished productions, edit those scenes together, add VFX and music, and release those completed episodes on a very consistent schedule fro nearly a decade.  Along the way, they built home-made sets, got inexpensive costumes to look like Starfleet officers and assorted aliens, and even had some make-up.

As for the scripts, while not every one is a cinematic masterpiece, they have all managed to be unique and non-repetitive.  They focus on different characters and different scenarios…just like Star Trek.  There are episodes with lots of cast members and ones with just two or three.  There’s first contacts, prime directive dilemmas, space battles, mind control, alien rituals, medical emergencies, diplomatic missions, Starfleet bureaucracy and intrigue, personal crises, spatial anomalies, drama, humor, triumph, and tragedy.  It’s never the same thing twice.

You try to do that 62 times and see how diverse your scripts are!

Anyway, you can watch all 62 productions here on the Potemkin Pictures website.  And you can watch their 63rd release, “The Deimos Factor,” right here, right now…

 

Time to GO FUND the new fan film THE LEXINGTON ADVENTURES! (interview with JOSEPH BONICE and VANCE MAJOR)

Yep, it’s another crowd-funder, folks!  But this one’s only trying to reach $1,350…and they’re already about a third of the way there ($420) in just one week!  So congratulations to THE LEXINGTON ADVENTURES!  If you want to make a donation yourself, here’s the link.  It’s a GoFundMe campaign, meaning there’s no perks.  But there’s also no time limit and no requirement to meet a goal in order to collect the money raised.

This year actually didn’t start out so well on the fan film funding front.  A Kickstarter back in March for The Holy Core failed to get even halfway to their $12K goal, despite being run by the same folks who wrote and directed the highly popular Chance Encounter fan film.  Fortunately, an angel donor can through and funded the entire production, so The Holy Core will be made, after all.  Yay!

Things were still looking sluggish in April when a $10K Indiegogo for The Romulan War stalled about halfway to its goal.  But after extending the campaign out an additional thirty days, The Romulan War not only fully funded but surpassed the goal with nearly $12K, allowing them to cover the overhead cost of using Indiegogo in the first place.

Also wrapping up last week and going over their Indiegogo goal was the non-Trek fan film (but edited by Axanar and Free Enterprise‘s own Robert Meyer Burnett) Sky Fighter, which blew past its $25K goal to finish at $31,284.

So things seem to be looking up for fan film crowd-funding…at least for now.  Can The Lexington Adventures continue this trend and reach THEIR goal, as well?  To do that, they need support from fans like you.  Is Lexington worth your donation dollar?

For the answer to this question, I went right to the source: show-runner JOSEPH “JOEY” BONICE and VANCE MAJOR, who will be a producer on this fan film.  Joey works for the U.S. government and is currently stationed in Germany.  But he’ll be moving back to the U.S. soon and and will be diving right into working on The Lexington Adventures, currently scheduled for filming during the third week of September.  Vance is known to most fans as the face of Erick Minard of Starship Valiant and about 30 other fan films that Vance wrote and directed.

Let’s see what the guys had to say…

Continue reading “Time to GO FUND the new fan film THE LEXINGTON ADVENTURES! (interview with JOSEPH BONICE and VANCE MAJOR)”

Why can’t STAR TREK to be more like LOST IN SPACE?! (review editorial, part 2)

DANGER, WILL ROBINSON!  LOST IN SPOILERS!

In Part 1, I looked at some of the striking similarities between the two franchises LOST IN SPACE and STAR TREK.  And then I shared how my seven-year-old son and I absolutely LOVED the first season of the new Netflix reboot of Lost in Space, while I personally have been mostly disappointed with the new Star Trek: Discovery on CBS All Access (which I don’t let my son watch).

Yesterday, I provided an overview of why Jayden and I enjoyed LiS so much.  It made us cheer.  We rooted for the characters and wanted to see them get out of trouble and win.  On the other hand, during the first season of Star Trek: Discovery, I found myself caring very little about any of the crew or nearly all of the other characters on that show.

But enough with the generalities!  It’s time to provide some specifics of what I think LiS is doing right that Discovery is failing to do.  So let’s dive right in…

Continue reading “Why can’t STAR TREK to be more like LOST IN SPACE?! (review editorial, part 2)”

Why can’t STAR TREK to be more like LOST IN SPACE?! (review editorial, part 1)

DANGER, WILL ROBINSON!  LOST IN SPOILERS!

Like Star Trek, LOST IN SPACE recently returned to television after a long absence with a new series…available only through a paid subscription service.  Both shows are “darker” than their original versions, very expensive to make (about $8-$8.5 million per episode), and both are produced entirely in Canada (Star Trek: Discovery in Toronto and Lost in Space in British Columbia).

Both series debuted to very strong viewership numbers.  When the first two episodes of Discovery premiered on the CBS network, 9.6 million people watched.  When LiS debuted on Netflix, Nielsen estimated that 6 million people watched it in the first three days alone and that 1.2 million binge-watched all ten episodes during that time.  More viewers—such as myself and my 7-year-old son Jayden, watched LiS several weeks later over the course of many nights.

While it’s not known how many people are watching Discovery (CBS keeps those numbers locked up tighter than the gold in Fort Knox!), estimates are that about 300,000-500,000 subscribers view Discovery on All Access with more watching on Space TV in Canada and on Netflix in other countries around the world.  And despite mixed reviews from both critics and fans, both series have now been renewed for a second season.

So those are their main similarities.  But what about their differences?  And what is it about those differences that leaves me so much MORE enthusiastic about the new Lost in Space than I am about Star Trek: Discovery?

Continue reading “Why can’t STAR TREK to be more like LOST IN SPACE?! (review editorial, part 1)”

Guest blogger ERIC L. WATTS discusses having ALEC PETERS at Treklanta… (editorial)

Today, please welcome special Guest Blogger ERIC L. WATTS, Chairman of the annual TREKLANTA convention in Atlanta, GA and the organizer of the BJO Awards that honor the top Star Trek fan films each year.  Eric and Treklanta have been an important and integral part of theTrek fan film community for many years now—screening fan productions, featuring fan film panel discussions and guests, an generally giving support and validation to the genre.

Treklanta 2018 took place over the Memorial Day weekend and featured a couple of panels focusing on fan films.  Everything was going great until it was announced that ALEC PETERS of AXANAR would be taking part in these panels.  Then the shat hit the fans, and Eric was berated by angry e-mails and Facebook posts and even a phone call telling him how wrong he was for letting Alec Peters anywhere near his convention…let alone allowing Alec to be an announced guest on two panels.

The blowback both privately and on social media blasting Eric over Alec’s presence at Treklanta became so intense that I asked Eric if he’d like to comment on it here on Fan Film Factor in a blog I was preparing last week about the Bjo Awards.

Eric agreed, but his comment was so thorough and heartfelt that I decided it would be better to let it stand in its entirety as a separate guest blog.  My apologies to you and Eric for the delay in getting it posted (one week), but with two different crowd-funders ending, it’s been a very crowded seven days of blogs (and I was away in Santa Barbara over the weekend).

Anyway, here’s what Eric had to say about Alec Peters and panels at Treklanta…

Continue reading “Guest blogger ERIC L. WATTS discusses having ALEC PETERS at Treklanta… (editorial)”

THE ROMULAN WAR Indiegogo ends TOMORROW!

It’s been a long road getting from there to here…nearly sixty days!  A month ago, having raised just under $6,000 of their $10,000 goal, show-runner MARK NACCARTO extended the Indiegogo for THE ROMULAN WAR for another 30 days.  And it paid off.  Now, with less than 48 hours left, The Romulan War is only $335 (3%) away from being FULLY funded.  If you haven’t donated yet, then to quote Pavel Chekov: “Now vould be a good time!”

With a final push for donations, Mark has just posted the last of his Mission Briefing videos: “Final Countdown.”  In it, he announces that the donation threshold for a contributor to appear in The Romulan War (as a voice-over) is now only $40 with the new “Comms Officer Access” perk.  Perviously, it took  a $100 “Captain Access” donation to get a speaking role.  That perk is still available, but the $40 option is a less expensive alternative with fewer additional items.  With either perk, your name will appear in the credits.  Also, there are still 3 remaining “Commodore Access” perks for $250 each which allow you to be seen, not just heard, in the finished film.

Mark also shows off some of the ultra-cool posters that are available at multiple donation levels.  So the reasons to contribute are many.  If you haven’t donated already, or if you want to be the one to push them over the $10,000 goal …

CLLICK HERE TO DONATE!

 

And take a look at the “Final Countdown” video below…

The SGT. PEPPER version of STAR WARS?

It was 50 years ago today…that Sgt. Pepper blew the world away!

Actually, it’s been 51 years plus a week—May 26, 1967 saw the debut of THE BEATLES’ eighth studio album SGT. PEPPER’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND.  Professor Kevin J. Dettmar called it “…the most important and influential rock and roll album ever recorded” in the Oxford Encyclopedia of British LiteratureSgt. Pepper changed popular music forever.

Ten years later (almost to the day!) on May 25, 1977, GEORGE LUCAS released a little film he’d been working on called STAR WARS.  (You may have heard of it.)  This movie changed Hollywood forever.

Like the chocolate and peanut butter in the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, The Beatles and Star Wars don’t seem to have much else connecting them.  And yet, if somehow combined, might they not become something totally mind-blowing???

Well, guess what: someone did just that…and knocked it out of the galaxy!

Get ready for PRINCESS LEIA’S STOLEN DEATH STAR PLANS, a full 13-track musical album (from a duo calling themselves PALETTE-SWAP NINJA) that merges Star Wars: A New Hope with the full Sgt. Pepper album in a way that is indescribably amazing.  (Yeah, I know this is supposed to be a blog site about Star TREK fan films, but Solo: A Star Wars Story is still the #1 movie in theaters right now, so I’m making an exception.)

Dan Amrich and Jude Kelley

The two genius musicians behind this mash-up masterpiece are San Francisco-based guitarist/singer DAN AMRICH and Boston-based keyboard player and digital drummer JUDE KELLEY.  The two met back in 2003 playing an 80’s cover band in the Bay Area.  And even though Jude moved to the east coast a few years later, they still collaborated.

It took them FIVE YEARS to complete the full Princess Leia’s Stolen Death Star Plans album, and it debuted one year ago on the 50th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper and the 40th anniversary of Star Wars.  Video editor KATRIN AUCH masterfully matched scenes from A New Hope to the music to create a series of MUST SEE videos that, combined, have millions of views on YouTube.

Take a look and then come back for some more background information about this project and what happened when it first debuted on the Internet…

Continue reading “The SGT. PEPPER version of STAR WARS?”

THE ROMULAN WAR releases a GAME-CHANGER!

Yesterday I mentioned that the SKY FIGHTER Indiegogo only needed 10% more to reach their goal of $25,000.  And—poof!—they had done it by late afternoon!

So now I’m mentioning the the Indiegogo for THE ROMULAN WAR, which is only $1,705 short of its $10,000 goal with just FOUOR days left.  Yeah, it would’ve been cooler to say $1,701 dollars short, but either way, they’re knocking on the door of being completely funded.

I asked show-runner MARK NACCARATO what this final $1,705 will cover.  What if they don’t make it?  What won’t be in the final version that otherwise would have if you (yeah, I’m talking to YOU, Mr./Ms. reader!) had just donated ten or twenty bucks.

Here’s what Mark told me…

That final amount is going to allow us to properly visualize the legendary BATTLE OF CHERON. Those of you who know your Trek history know that Cheron was the final battle of the war where Earth marshaled its forces for one last desperate assault to stave off complete annihilation by the Romulans. This sequence will be everything you think it should be. In a word, it will be EPIC!

So do it for Cheron, folks!  Do it for jaw-dropping visual FX!  Do it for Starfleet so we can win this war!

To give fans a taste of what this battle might look like, Mark just released a final trailer for the campaign, titled “Game Changer.”  The video introduces fans to the character of Admiral Matthias Jefferies, who is an expert on the weapons and tactics used by Earth during the Romulan War of the 22nd century.  Although the visual FX are still only early renderings and will look MUCH better in the finished fan production, they still look pretty darn awesome and also introduce the new Yorktown-class starship.

Take a look and then click here to donate while there’s still time!

It’s gonna be a NAIL-BITER for SKY FIGHTER!!!

I have to be honest with you guys: I didn’t think it was gonna happen.  With many recent crowd-funding campaigns for Trek fan films clawing their way to $10K (if that!), how was a NON-Star Trek fan film by a first-time director gonna possibly take in $25,000???  And beyond that, SKY FIGHTER‘s writer/director LUKAS KENDALL had selected the all-or-nothing “Fixed Goal” option on Indiegogo, where if you don’t reach your goal, you get NOTHING (just like on Kickstarter).

I mean, who does that????  If you’re gonna use Indiegogo, at least choose the “Flex Goal” option and keep whatever you raise, regardless of how much or how little.  But as Lukas told me in this interview, he was going all in…$25K or bust!!!

I was also curious about Lukas’ somewhat unorthodox approach, including posting his complete script for the Sky Fighter short film for anyone to read, using a lot of tongue-in-cheek humor to describe himself and his project, and including among his perks certain ones that seemed a bit (purposefully) outrageous.

Would this work?  Could this work?

The answer may just turn out to be YES, but it’s gonna be SUPER-CLOSE!  With just two days left (the campaign ends this Thursday at midnight Pacific Time), the Sky Fighter Indiegogo is nearly 90% of the way to its $25,000 goal.. at $22,248 as I type this.

Lukas, who gained a following producing CD collections of popular science fiction TV and movie scores, has been relying on those same followers for a lot of his donor support, and it’s certainly been working.  Among his most popular perks are the “Best of Both Worlds” signed CD ($20 + shipping), the Return to Tomorrow – Making of ST:TMP book ($35 + shipping), and especially the Star Trek TOS CD box set & 50th Anniversary 4 CD set ($199, free shipping). That latter bundle saves people around $100.

There is eve a weekend on Martha’s Vinyard for $1,000 where you get to spend a Friday-Sunday in August with Lukas Kendall’s MOTHER!  She’ll even take you out for dinner on Saturday night.  (I told you there were some outrageous perks.)    Donate $1,000 and you get to go through Lukas’ crap in the basement!

C’mon, folks!  Let’s get this Indiegogo campaign across the finish line…

CLICK HERE TO DONATE!

Have the new GUIDELINES really hindered the production of STAR TREK FAN FILMS? (panel video from Treklanta)

Photo courtesy of Lee Drew

The annual TREKLANTA con in Atlanta, GA is not a particularly huge convention, but it is one of the most fan-film-friendly cons you’re likely to find anywhere.  This is thanks in large part to Chairman ERIC L. WATTS, who organizes the convention along with Treklanta’s annual BJO AWARDS for the best Star Trek fan films from the previous year.  And there’s usually at least a panel or two dedicated to a particular fan film or fan films in general.

This year, the most notable fan film panel was being led by RANDY LANDERS, show-runner for POTEMKIN PICTURES in Pelham, AL, which has produced about five dozen Trek fan films over the past eight years!  The title of the panel: “Have the new guidelines really hindered the production of Star Trek fan films?”

Good question!

To help answer this, Randy invited five additional noted Star Trek fan filmmakers to join him for a lively panel discussion:

JOSE E. CEPEDA -Show-runner and lead actor on the long-running STAR TREK: NATURES HUNGER web series.

GREG TEFT – Cast member of STARSHIP: REPUBLIC, which will soon be filming more fan productions on the former Star Trek Continues “Stage 9” sets in GA.

GLEN L. WOLFE – Co-owner of the STARBASE STUDIOS sets in AR and the show-runner of THE FEDERATION FILES anthology series.

MARK NACCARATO – Show-runner for the upcoming Trek fan project THE ROMULAN WAR, which is crowd-funding right now!  (Have you donated yet???)

ALEC PETERS – Head of Axanar Productions and Executive Producer of PRELUDE TO AXANAR.

Interestingly , when Alec’s participation on the panel was announced, even though the panelists were all fine with it, apparently a number of detractors weren’t.  Eric L. Watts was berated with e-mails and criticism in detractor social media groups.  (I’ve invited Eric to comment on that separately as a guest blogger later this week.)

The panel discussion was really enlightening and fun to watch.  And thanks to a video shot by LEE DREW (and posted here with the blessing of both Lee and Eric), you get to watch it, as well (in two parts)…