The new sci-fi professional/fan film hybrid series THE CIRCUIT started off their Kickstarter with a goal of $50,000.  And with just 5 days left, they’re at nearly $84,000…and that’s great.

But now they’re trying to reach a stretch goal of (are you sitting down???) $200,000!  Impossible, you say?  Preposterous?  Never happen?  Perhaps.  But $200,000 will allow them to fund an entire season—ten full episodes—and so they’re gonna to make a run at it!

And here’s how…

It all happens this coming Saturday, May 20, for twenty-four hours starting at midnight Pacific Time.  The CHALLENGE is for 100,000 fans to each donate at least $1.  A buck is almost nothing these days (especially at Starbucks!).  I’ve already donated $80 to this campaign, so I’m going to up it to $81.  (See?  Only 99,999 fans to go!)  Their message is being sent out far and wide, and YOU can help send it!

Also on Saturday, beginning at 10am Pacific Time, members of the cast of The Circuit will be streaming a LIVE CHALLENGE SHOW via their Facebook page for 14 straight hours until the challenge ends at midnight!  Confirmed guests on the LIVE CHALLENGE SHOW include:

  • Tim Russ
  • Walter Koenig
  • Armin Shimerman
  • Robert Picardo
  • Olivia d’Abo
  • Cody Saintgnue
  • Manu Intiraymi

…and more will likely show up, as show-runner Manu Intiraymi (Icheb from Star Trek: Voyager) is trying to coordinate everyone’s schedules (there’s 20 actors in the cast!).  There will also be new videos and new trailers as the cast tracks the pledges on their tote board.

Fans will be helping out, as well.  In fact, it was a fan who suggested the 24-hour challenge and another fan who suggested the live show!  And now folks like me (and you!) can help spread the word.  Here’s what people need to know:

WHEN: All day Saturday May 20, 2017 – midnight PDT to the following midnight


WHAT TO DO: Donate $1 here and ask other people to do it, too!

Tweet!  Post!  E-mail!  Shout!  Send smoke signals!  If this works, it’ll make fan film history!

To learn more about THE CIRCUIT, listen to this audio interview with MANU INTIRAYMI:

Manu Intiraymi – show-runner for THE CIRCUIT

STAR TREK: DISCOVERY trailer is finally shown in New York City!

Earlier today, Entertainment Weekly posted the image to the left on their website, and Trek fans saw their first official photo from the new STAR TREK: DISCOVERY television series.  But that was only the beginning!

A few hours later, CBS showed off a series of trailers for its upcoming fall line-up—including Discovery—trying to excite advertisers to purchase commercial space for these fresh new shows.  It’s called the Upfronts, and the event takes place each year in New York City (the main hub of the advertising industry).

All of the major networks show off their fall line-ups, and each has a time-slot reserved for their presentation at a different location.  For anyone curious, here is a schedule for this year’s Upfront presentations in New York City:

Monday, May. 15
  • NBCUniversal Upfront Presentation — Radio City Music Hall, 10:30 a.m.
  • Fox Upfront Presentation  — The Beacon Theatre, 4 p.m.
Tuesday, May. 16
  • ESPN Upfront  — Minskoff Theatre, 9:15 a.m.
  • Univision Upfront Presentation — The Lyric Theatre, 11.a.m.
  • ABC Upfront Presentation — Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall, 4 p.m.
Wednesday, May. 17
  • Turner Upfront Presentation — The Theater at Madison Square Garden, 10:15 a.m.
  • National CineMedia Upfront Event — AMC Lowes Lincoln Square Theater, noon
  • CBS Upfront Presentation — Carnegie Hall, 4 p.m.
Thursday, May. 18
  • The CW Upfront — New York City Center, 11 a.m.

THE ORVILLE…coming this fall to FOX!

Some fans were suspicious that the timing of CBS’s reveal of the new trailer for Star Trek: Discovery was somehow tied to the enthusiastic fan reception for another new sci-fi show debuting on Fox, The Orville, produced by and starring SETH MacFARLANE (Family Guy, The Cleveland Show, Ted, and a bunch of other funny stuff) and directed by John Favreau (Iron Man, The Jungle Book).  An obvious spoof of Star Trek, the production values, costumes, sets, make-up, lightning, and VFX all looked top-notch…and fans were talking about this new series almost non-stop on social media Monday and Tuesday.  The Orville trailer has already been viewed on Youtube more than 1.3 million times in less than 48 hours!

Many were thinking that Orville looked better than Discovery, and some fans were musing that the strongly positive reaction to Orville scared CBS into rushing out a trailer for Discovery.  But as you can see from the schedule I included above, there was no such panic involved.  FOX went first on Monday, and CBS was simply waiting its turn today.

And now that turn has come.  Int addition to the trailer, CBS announced an extension of the first season of Discovery from 13 to 15 hour-long episodes and the addition of a weekly “Talking Trek” discussion show following the general concept of similar shows like “Talking Dead” on AMC.

Watch the trailer for Discovery here (or view a lower resolution version below if you can’t see it on the CBS site) and tell me what you think in the comments section…


Things got very interesting on Sunday morning after STAR TREK CONTINUES posted this message on their Facebook page overnight:

Got CBS All Access yet? STC has been invited to join the affiliate program, so you can sign up through our website now. Sign up today!

Almost immediately, fans started conjecturing what this meant for STC.  Were they suddenly being accepted by CBS?  Would they now be allowed to complete their cancelled 12th and 13th episodes?  Were they getting a kickback from CBS?  Would STC be shown on All Access?

The answers to all of these questions appear to be “no.”  Apparently, STC was simply contacted by a division of CBS (likely CBS Interactive or else someone in marketing) and offered the option of becoming a CBS All Access Affiliate, promoting subscriptions to the network’s streaming service through online banners on their website.  (Note to CBS Interactive: the hyperlinks aren’t working from Mac browsers.)

It’s unclear whether or not STC will be receiving a commission for any fans who sign up for CBS All Access.  STC posted on their Facebook pages that they are not being compensated.  However, I just signed up Fan Film Factor for the same program and was required to agree to terms that included the following (which I screen capped)…

Continue reading “STAR TREK CONTINUES becomes a CBS All Access AFFILIATE!”


With just ONE WEEK left in their debut Kickstarter campaign, THE CIRCUIT is about to cross the $80,000 milestone on their way to their next stretch goal: $100,000!

I recently spoke to show-runner MANU INTIRAYMI (Icheb from Star Trek: Voyager) about this intriguing and exciting project, a hybrid of a fan film with professionals (or is that a professional indie film with fans?).  You can listen to that fun interview here.

Having originally set a goal of $50,000 and achieved that in just one week(!), the next stretch goal was $75,000, which will allow the team to be able to afford incredible CG VFX showing fans more of the city of “Urbiessa” in all its glory.  Now the next stretch goal of $100,000 will fund the following (according to their Kickstarter page):

We NEED amazing PRACTICAL VFX to make a film quality series! The best film quality entertainment is a blend of practical effects and CG. Only the best directors of the day know this, and practical FX can be just as expensive if not more expensive then brilliant computer generated VFX sequences. Ask Thomas E. Surprenant—he only worked on X-Men, The Grinch, Donnie Darko, Halloween, Star Trek: DS9, plus he was kind enough to kick butt for us on 5th Passenger and now he’s down for “The Circuit: Urbiessa.” He makes humans aliens, builds creatures, and does the incredible when it comes to things on camera that are actually ON CAMERA. We need him.

When we REACH our next stretch goal everyone that pledged $25 or more will receive a Limited Edition Mini-Poster! If you pledged $35 dollars or more it will be signed by the cast!!!!! 

So tell you’re friends to pledge, up your pledges, and let’s start reaching for more episodes!!!!!

In the meantime, every time the campaign crosses a $10,000 milestone (starting with their goal of $50,000), they release a video of someone from the cast doing a HAPPY DANCE!  So far, they’ve had dances by WALTER “Chekov” KOENIG, TIM “Tuvok” RUSS, CODY SAINTGNUE from MTV’s Teen Wolf, and MINDY ROBINSON from King of the Nerds (her video is DEFINITELY worth a look!).  And with $80,000 just a few hundred dollars away…we’ll learn the identity of the next happy dancer VERY soon!

To watch all the happy dance videos and/or to donate and help THE CIRCUIT reach $100,000…CLICK HERE!

AKIRA YOSHIMURA reprises his role as SULU on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE…41 years later!

Does a SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE sketch count as a Star Trek fan film?  Aw, who cares?  This is still a really fun story…

The earth date was May 29, 1976, and Saturday Night Live (SNL) was about to air the 22nd episode of their first season.  The cutting-edge sketch comedy series had become a late night TV hit, and Elliott Gould was the host for that week’s show.  The writers had come up with a clever skit (that has since become a true classic) entitled Star Trek: The Last Voyage of the Starship Enterprise.  The legendary JOHN BELUSHI played an over-the-top, Shatneresque Captain James T. Kirk.  CHEVY CHASE played a perfectly deadpan Mr. Spock.  And the awesome DAN AYKROYD played both Dr. McCoy and provided a voice-over of Scotty on the com from Engineering.

During the skit, the Enterprise is chased by a 1968 Chrysler Imperial with a tinted windshield, registered to a 20th century corporation known as “NBC” (which, according to the ship’s computer, used to manufacture cookies).  The starship is boarded by Elliott Gould and Garrett Morris, two executives from the network announcing that Star Trek has been canceled due to low Nielsen ratings.  Hilarity ensues…mostly thanks to the brilliant performances of the main actors.

DORIS POWELL as Uhura, CHEVY CHASE as Spock, John BELUSHI as Kirk, and AKIRA YOSHIMURA as Sulu.

There was only one problem at the time: SNL didn’t have an Asian comedian or actor available to play Sulu.  Rather than leave the helm seat empty (which wouldn’t work anyway, as Kirk orders evasive action during the sketch), the producers grabbed one of the production designers, a Japanese-American named AKIRA YOSHIMURA, to play Sulu.  There also wasn’t a black woman available to play Uhura, so a production assistant named DORIS POWELL was put into a red uniform (with the wrong rank braids).  Both people were given a bit of of dialog to speak, although Yoshimura got nearly a dozen lines (and flubbed two of them)…but hey, at least he was willing to be on camera in front of millions of people!

Flash forward to May 6 of 2017.  Actor CHRIS PINE (who plays James T. Kirk in the rebooted Star Trek movie series) was the SNL host, and the writers decided to once again feature a Star Trek skit.  There was only one problem: it was four decades later and Saturday Night Live STILL didn’t have an Asian comedian or actor available to play Sulu!

Continue reading “AKIRA YOSHIMURA reprises his role as SULU on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE…41 years later!”

FAN FILM GUIDELINES: Reality Check (Part 7) – Eating the Elephant!

In the previous entry of this blog series, I shared my thoughts on how to proceed with the SMALL ACCESS protest campaign I created the Small Access Facebook-based group to try to put pressure on CBS and Paramount to revise some or all of the fan film guidelines by having our members pledge to watch the new Star Trek: Discovery TV series on All Access only in groups (with a single designated subscriber hosting viewing parties) rather than subscribing as individuals.  This would be a potential revenue hit to CBS and a way to (hopefully) get them to take notice of our protest.

Our first attempt at convincing the studios to revise the guidelines culminated in a letter-writing campaign that met with no discernible success.  One of the challenges we faced—along with our unfortunately small size—was the fact that CBS and Paramount worked very hard writing these guidelines.  The people involved had to get approvals and sign-offs from numerous stakeholders at higher levels.  And so, convincing the studio executives to make significant changes to the guidelines now requires them to go back through that same time-consuming review and approval process.  And spoiler alert: it also means they have to explain to their bosses that they screwed up writing the guidelines in the first place!  To be honest (and realistic), I doubt that 1,300 irate Trekkies are going to be much of an incentive to get them to do that.

So I realized, sadly, that a wide-ranging change to all or even most of the guidelines wasn’t a realistic goal.  It was just too much of an uphill climb, no matter how passionately some might feel about the righteousness of our “noble” cause.  To the studios, the guidelines are now written in stone….and it’s a BIG stone…elephant-sized, in fact!

But it’s said that if you want to eat an entire elephant, you need to do it one bite at a time.  Could this be a viable strategy with the guidelines?  Could we start with just one bite and work our way forward from there…?

Continue reading “FAN FILM GUIDELINES: Reality Check (Part 7) – Eating the Elephant!”


ALEC PETERS has just announced that his new studio in Lawrenceville, GA now has a corporate sponsor that has purchased naming rights.  So allow me to introduce… OWC STUDIOS!!!

For anyone who listened to Axanar Podcast #41 last December, you’re already aware that OWC Digital (OWC stands for Other World Computing) is Axanar‘s second largest single contributor (behind Alec Peters himself), having donated well over $20,000 in computer hardware and software for director/editor Robert Meyer Burnett to store all the digital footage and edit it.  Their equipment was already used to edit Prelude to Axanar and the Vulcan scene.

To give you an idea of how large high-quality digital video files can be, most of us can go to Best Buy and purchase a consumer hard drive with up to four terabytes (a terabyte is 1,000 gigabytes).  Axanar was given a drive with 64 terabytes…and it’s already half-full!

And when you’re dealing with files that are so large, it’s not enough to simply have a big hard drive; you need software to make sure it can access and edit those files quickly and smoothly without crashing or taking seven hours to open a file.  Those are the kinds of solutions that OWC Digital provides for Hollywood production companies and others in related industries.

OWC Digital is a privately-held company with offices in Woodstock, IL (just northwest of Chicago) and Austin, TX.  According to figures I was able to find on the Internet, in 2011, they had sales revenue of $88.3 million with 137 employees.  The company was on the Inc. magazine 5000 “Fastest-Growing Privately Owned Companies” and “Computer and Electronics Top 100” lists from 2007 through 2013.

The founder and CEO of the company is Larry O’Connor, who is a big fan of the Axanar project.  Back in 1988, at age 14, Larry started up LRO Enterprises selling computer memory chips via America Online.  In 1994, the company had grown to fill 6,500 square feet of office space and was renamed Other World Computing (OWC).  By 2008, OWC had grown to fill a 37,000 square foot space and, a year later, had installed a wind turbine that generated twice the electricity that OWC needed to run their facility…making OWC the first technology manufacturer/ distributor in the U.S. to become totally on-site wind powered.  Pretty cool, huh?

So now OWC has partnered up with Alec Peters and his new production company Rocketworx to sponsor a studio just outside of Atlanta dedicated to producing fan film and independent sci-fi projects.  This is the press release that I just received announcing the deal…

Continue reading “AXANAR SETS get a CORPORATE SPONSOR… and a NAME for their NEW STUDIO!!!”

AXANAR sets arrive in GEORGIA!

The Ares has landed.

On Saturday, nearly THIRTY(!!!) volunteers showed up at the new location for AXANAR PRODUCTIONS in Lawrenceville, GA to help unload three super-sized moving trucks carrying the amazing sets that were originally constructed to be used in the full-length Axanar fan film.  And even though that full-length film has been reduced in scope to two 15-minute episodes (agreed to in the legal settlement) and will now be produced in mocumentary style like Prelude to Axanar, those sets are still VERY nice and VERY usable by other fan films and sci-fi productions.  And so they’ve now been moved to a much less expensive location from their previous home at Industry Studios in Valencia, CA.

ALEC PETERS posted two live video segments to Facebook on Saturday, which I’ve compiled at the end of this blog entry for anyone who is curious to see what the move-in looked like.    He also provided some interesting tidbits of information.  And if you don’t feel like watching a 9-minute video, here’s a short summary of what he covered…

Continue reading “AXANAR sets arrive in GEORGIA!”

What is…THE CIRCUIT? An audio interview with MANU INTIRAYMI

What is THE CIRCUIT…and why are fans so excited by it that the project’s Kickstarter campaign surpassed its initial $50,000 in just ONE WEEK???  (They’re now up to $64,000!)

Is it a fan film?  Kinda.  Is it a professional independent film?  Well, yeah, it’s that, too.

Is it Star Trek?  No.  But on the other hand, just take a look at this cast…

  • Walter “Chekov” Koenig (Star Trek)
  • Terry “Jadzia Dax” Farrell (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
  • Robert “Chakotay” Beltran (Star Trek: Voyager)
  • Armin “Quark” Shimerman (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
  • Robert “EMH” Picardo (Star Trek: Voyager)
  • Ethan “Neelix” Phillips (Star Trek: Voyager)
  • JG “General Martok” Hertzler (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)               
  • Robert “Gowron” O’Reilly (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
  • Hana “Molly O’Brien” Hatae (Star Trek: TNG/DS9)
  • Tim “Tuvok” Russ (Star Trek: Voyager)
  • Doug “Lt. Saru” Jones (Star Trek: Discovery, Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth)
  • Manu “Icheb” Intiraymi (Star Trek: Voyager)

But wait!  There’s more…

  • Ryan Eggold (The Black List, The Black List: Redemption)
  • Sylvester McCoy (The Hobbit, Doctor Who)
  • Gigi Edgley (Farscape, Rescue Special Ops)
  • Miltos Yerolemou (Game of Thrones, Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
  • Valerie Leslie (The Paranormal Hour, 5th Passenger)
  • Corin Nemec (Stargate SG-1)
  • Rob Archer (Lost Girl, Pixels, Kick Ass 2)
  • Jai Koutrae (Death’s Requiem)
  • Mindy Robinson (V/H/S/2)
  • Olivia D’abo (The Wonder Years, Conan The Destroyer)
  • Cody Saintgnue (MTV’s Teen Wolf)

Interested yet?  Well, guess what?  YOU might even be able to work on this project!  Yes, YOU, Mr. or Ms. Fan! And it isn’t even just one fan film; it’s TEN—all linked together in…The Circuit!

But what is…The Circuit??  (Didn’t I already write that?)

I recently sat down with MANU INTIRAYMI (the actor who played the Borg teenager Icheb on Star Trek: Voyager) for one of Fan Film Factor’s first-ever audio interviews.  And I asked him to help fill in the mystery of what is……The Circuit???  So let’s find out the ANSWER…

MANU INTIRAYMI as Icheb on STAR TREK: VOYAGER (left) and today.

To learn more or to donate, click here.

2017 Independent Star Trek Film Awards (now the “BJO’s”) WINNERS ANNOUNCED!

Hollywood has the Oscars, the Emmys, and the Golden Globes.  Now Star Trek fan films have the Bjos!

Last year at the TREKLANTA Star Trek Convention, the second annual INDEPENDENT STAR TREK FAN FILM AWARDS were presented by none other than BJO TRIMBLE and her husband JOHN TRIMBLE.  As most fans know, Bjo Trimble is celebrated as being the woman who saved Star Trek from cancellation in 1968 by organizing the great letter-writing campaign (among other achievements).  She told Treklanta organizer ERIC L. WATTS how impressed she was with the entire awards program.

After the ceremony, Eric asked Bjo if she would endorse the awards by allowing them to be named in her honor, and she humbly agreed.  So now we get to save a bit of time and typing and just call them “The Bjo’s.”

The 2017 Bjos were presented at and by the Treklanta Star Trek Convention last Sunday in Atlanta, Georgia. The panel of judges included Diana Dru Botsford, Keith R. A. DeCandido, John DeSentis, Matthew M. Foster, Andrew Greenberg, Robert Greenberger, Cheralyn Lambeth and Archie H. Waugh.  Each judge had to watch through a combined total of nearly TWELVE HOURS of 33 different Star Trek fan films and rank them in twelve different categories!

The Masters of Ceremonies were Eric L. Watts and Brian Holloway. The presenters included David Gerrold, Gary Graham, J. G. Hertzler and James Horan. The award plaques were sponsored by Lawrence L. Fleming.

All of the entrants for the 2017 awards needed to have been released to the public during calendar year 2016.  For a full list of rules, entrants, and winners from previous years, click here.

Eric posted this 15-minute video to announce the winners…along with photos of all of the judges and a full list of film entrants selected for review.  But if you’d prefer a quick text summary of just the winners, here it is after some spoiler space…

Continue reading “2017 Independent Star Trek Film Awards (now the “BJO’s”) WINNERS ANNOUNCED!”