Marvel Comics Writer PAUL JENKINS joins AXANAR as CO-WRITER! (interview, part 2)

Last time, we began a fascinating discussion with PAUL JENKINS, who will be the new co-writer of Axanar.  Although ALEC PETERS has already written complete drafts of the two 15-minute short fan films allowed thorough his legal settlement with CBS and Paramount, and at least ten major iterations of the full 90-minute script exist, Alec has asked Paul to come on board to help polish and finalize all three long and short scripts.

Paul himself is a very impressive writer and film producer in his own right.  He is credited as one of the main reasons that Marvel Comics escaped Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the 1990s when he helped to create the “Marvel Knights” series of titles.  He has written a wide range of both Marvel and DC comics characters, winning an Eisner Award and five Wizard Fan Awards.  His work on Wolverine: Origin was even turned into a blockbuster feature film.

Paul has written and creative directed numerous titles for the video gaming industry, and he’s worked on projects with many of the major motion picture studios.  Paul currently lives in Georgia and chairs an advisory committee to educate the Georgia General Assembly on the evolution of digital and interactive technologies.  He’s also been tasked by Georgia’s governor to help cultivate and nurture the growing film development industry in the state.

And now Paul will be lending his impressive talents to Axanar.

In the first part of our interview, we learned how Paul first got involved in the project, and how the announcement of his involvement almost immediately caught the attention of Axanar detractors who contacted him with very negative and angry messages.  (Seriously, guys?)

But Paul is taking it all in stride.  Having been a prolific comic book writer for more than two decades, this isn’t Paul’s first rodeo.  As far as he is concerned, the lawsuit has been settled, and now the job ahead is to make the next two Axanar episodes as good as they can be.

And now, back to our great interview…

Continue reading “Marvel Comics Writer PAUL JENKINS joins AXANAR as CO-WRITER! (interview, part 2)”

Marvel Comics Writer PAUL JENKINS joins AXANAR as CO-WRITER! (interview, part 1)

AXANAR has a new co-writer!  Ladies and gentlemen, meet PAUL JENKINS.  As you can see from his IMDb page, this bloke (he’s British) has done a LOT of stuff in television, film, and video games.  He’s also one of the writers credited with helping to rescue Marvel Comics from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the late 1990s with the introduction of the “Marvel Knights” series of titles.  Since then, Paul has written everything from Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk to the ground-breaking Wolverine: Origin (which served as the basis for the feature film with Hugh Jackman).

And now, Paul will be helping ALEC PETERS complete the scripts for the Axanar fan films.

The script for Axanar has trekked a long road.  Alec first began working on the story back in 2011.  And Alec welcomed input from folks like John Muenchrath (who played Dr. McCoy on Star Trek: New Voyages under the stage name “John Kelley”), Star Trek novelist Dave Galanter (see Dave Galanter’s post below in the comments section), Prelude to Axanar director Christian Gossett, and of course, “Trouble with Tribbles” episode writer David Gerrold.  During 2015, then-Axanar director ROBERT MEYER BURNETT brought on BILL HUNT to take yet another pass at tweaking the script.  By the time Axanar was ready to shoot in early 2016, the 90-minute script was already on version 7.

During the lawsuit, Bill Hunt and Alec worked on additional revisions of the script.   I read one of their iterations, and it was up to version 9.

Finally, after the lawsuit settled, Alec was permitted to make Axanar not as a 90-minute feature film but rather as two 15-minute short fan films.  There would still be a full 90-minute script distributed to donors, but two 15-minute scripts would now need to be written, based on the longer version.

Alec decided to write the new 15-minute scripts as “Part IV” and “Part V” of The Four Years War mock documentary, with Prelude to Axanar having been “Part III.”  The first drafts of both of those scripts were completed by Alec this past summer, with a number of people (including me) reviewing them an providing feedback.  Then, on October 6, Alec announced that Paul Jenkins would be joining the Axanar team as co-writer.

So what was a major comic book and Hollywood writer was doing coming to work on a Star Trek fan film???

Continue reading “Marvel Comics Writer PAUL JENKINS joins AXANAR as CO-WRITER! (interview, part 1)”

My FAN FILM just beat AXANAR in the Berlin Sci-Fi Film Festival! (Yay!)

Now, this is pretty crazy!  Back in April of 2016, while the CBS/Paramount v. Axanar lawsuit was still going strong, MARK LARGENT and I decided to create a parody of the whole mess with a short animated spoof called PRELUDE TO AX’D-WE-ARE.  We wrote the script together in about five days, and I provided the voices for half of the characters.  Mark did the lion’s share of the work, animating the entire seven-minutes in just 31 days!  (For more background on how this all came together, check out this blog.)

When I first heard about the Berlin Sci-Fi Filmfest back in June, I posted about it because, for the first time that I was aware of, an international film festival was featuring a category specifically for FAN FILMS!  I suggested to Mark Largent that he might want to enter Prelude to Ax’d-We-Are.  After all, it was just 15 bucks.  Other Trek fan films were also entered—including the excellent Chance Encounter, Starship Republic – “Serpent of Yesterday”, and Survivors—and we figured we might have a shot…maybe.  There were also three Star Wars fan films (one from the UK and another from France), a Blade Runner fan film out of South Africa, and a horror movie spoof.

And then we saw that Prelude to Axanar had been entered.  Oh well, we thought, there goes our chance to win.  (Prelude is pretty much a juggernaut.)  But at least audiences would be able to watch both the parody and the original it was based on.

We actually made it to the semi-final round, along with Tears in the Rain (the South African Blade Runner fan film with some great acting), The Secret of Tatooine (all in French with awesome visual effects), and of course, Prelude to Axanar.  With competition like that, we figured that “semi-finalist” was as far as we’d get.  We were wrong.

We won BEST FAN FILM!!!!

Mark and I thought it was a typo!  But no, there is was up on their website with our poster image.  “I feel like there’s all these guys in my class who studied for months to pass the exam and all I did was cram at the last minute and ace it!” Mark told me over the phone.

I joked to ALEC PETERS of Axanar, writing, “I hope you’re not pissed at us.”

Why would I be pissed?” he wrote back.  “It’s awesome.  Its all in the family.  We have won 47 awards.  Nice for you guys to win one.”

So Mark and I, co-writers and co-producers, can now also call ourselves winners of an international sci-fi film festival competition.  And that is totally cool!  Thanks for letting me share that news with you.

And in case you missed it, here’s Prelude to Ax’d-We-Are in all of its 7 minutes of glory…

A history of STAR TREK CONTINUES (feature, part 6)

WARNING!  SPOILERS AHEAD!

Last time, an Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign in early 2016 gave the STAR TREK CONTINUES team just under $200,000 to produce more episodes of their fan series.  But a new set of fan film guidelines released by CBS and Paramount threatened to stop the production in its tracks by limiting episode length to 15-minutes, blocking ongoing series, and forbidding the use of paid professionals and Star Trek alumni on any fan production.  STC‘s episodes had been regularly violating several of these new guidelines, and while the new rules were not retroactive, they would apply to anything produced by STC going forward.

But the STC team decided to forge ahead anyway, arguing that the guidelines were only that—guidelines—and not some kind of new “law.”  They only said that fan productions that followed these guidelines would not be sued by the studios, NOT that those who didn’t follow the guidelines would be sued.

So STC announced their intention to produce four new full-length episodes with professional actors and crew, release all four in 2017, and then shut down their fan series for good.  The hope was that their amicable relationship with CBS would convince the studios to allow them to finish up, shut down, and go out on the high note.  It wasn’t the most optimum solution, of course.  STC had initially wanted to produce 13 episodes, and now they would only go to 11.  However, considering the harsh constraints of the new guidelines on fan films, being able to produce four full-length episodes—assuming the studios would let them do so without a cease and desist letter or a lawsuit—seemed to be more of a victory than a defeat.

But would CBS and Paramount allow then to actually do it?

Continue reading “A history of STAR TREK CONTINUES (feature, part 6)”

What I’m THANKFUL for…

I’m thankful for YOU!  If you’re here, reading this blog, I want you to know that I sincerely appreciate it.  I’m not really doing this for the 80 cents a day I usually make from Google Ads.  I’m doing it because I love Star Trek and fan films, and I want to share that love.  I’m thankful because YOU’RE taking the time to read what I take the time to write.

Here in America, once a year on the third Thursday in November, we take a moment to stop and feel the gratitude for what we have.  I kinda wish we did that more often, as I think many of us take a lot of the blessings in our life for granted way too much of the time.  But at least for this one day, we can reflect on what and who mean the most to us and, if we’re lucky, share that appreciation with them.

Today, I want to share it with you, and say THANK YOU.  Thank you for continuing to love Star Trek and for caring enough to support the producers making Trek fan films.  While I’m most grateful for my wonderful family, my amazing son, our happy life, our health, and our fantastic friends, I’m also thankful for the following things:

  • Star Trek: Discovery – yeah, I don’t always see eye-to-eye with what the show-runners have decided to do, but at least they’re doing it.  The alternative to that isn’t some kind of BETTER Star Trek on television, it’s NO Star Trek on television.  But CBS saw fit to spend $120 million on a new TV show, and even though they are charging fans to see it and not always getting everything the way all the fans would want it, Star Trek is not sinply being abandoned by its owners and left to slowly fade away.
  • Fan films live on – seventeen months ago, we feared that Trek fan films were doomed because of those guidelines from CBS and Paramount.  That hasn’t happened.  Sure, we lost some of the biggest fish, but Star Trek Continues gave us four more spectacular episodes before they shut down, Renegades is still out there, Axanar is still to come, and so are other long-awaited productions like Pacific 201 and First Frontier.  And of course, many fan producers like Potemkin Pictures, Intrepid, Antyllus, Vance Major, and others are still sharing their stories with us fans.
  • There are good people in this community – Sure, the detractors are gonna detract, tract, tract, tract, tract.  But their echos are fading.  Their blog sites and Facebook groups have, at most, a few hundred of the same members posting the same old nastiness.  Meanwhile, the rest of us are here on Fan Film Factor and Fan Film Forum and elsewhere, and with a few rare exceptions, we’re being NICE to each other and rooting for fan films…all fan films.

And that, my friends, is what I have to be thankful for today.  And I’m so glad that YOU’RE here to share it all with me.  HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

SPACE COMMAND Kickstarter nears $65,000 – releases NEW TRAILER!

Probably the most exciting (and successful) sci-fi fan film Kickstarter to come recently is the one for SPACE COMMAND.  Although Space Command was originally funded through Kickstarter with more than $200K back in 2012 and all the sets were built and all scenes filmed for its pilot 2-hour episode, post-production (visual FX, music, color adjustment, etc.) still needs a bit more funding to be completed.

Two weeks ago, a new Kickstarter was launched with a goal of $39K for post-production for the first half-hour of the pilot, and that was quickly met and surpassed.  A stretch goal of $55K was set with a promise of a new trailer if that number was reached.  This happened last week, and this exciting video was released shortly thereafter…

As of this writing, they are just $568 short of their new stretch goal of $65K, when they will release a SECOND new trailer!  If you want to help them reach that number or even get to $80,000 to fund the second half hour of the pilot, then…

CLICK HERE TO DONATE!

The pilot episode, “Redemption,” features a cast that included notables from Star Trek and other well-known sci-fi franchises:

  • Robert Picardo (Star Trek: Voyager)
  • Doug Jones (Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy, and now Star Trek: Discovery’s Saru)
  • Bruce Boxleitner (Babylon 5)
  • Mira Furlan (Babylon 5)
  • Bill Mumy (Babylon 5 and Lost In Space)
  • Faran Tahir (Star Trek 2009…he was the captain of the USS Kelvin)
  • James Hong (Big Trouble in Little China)

For a great interview with writer and show-runner MARC ZICREE, where he explains why it’s taken five years to get this far and why Space Command will be worthy your donation, take listen to this:

And remember to visit their Kickstarter page for more information!

What REALLY happened with STARBASE STUDIOS! (Part 2)

Yesterday, we looked at the history of STARBASE STUDIOS from its founding in 2010 to its move from Oklahoma to Arkansas at the beginning of 2017.  Things started to get tense and messy by early summer, with DAN REYNOLDS stepping aside, leaving GLEN L. WOLFE wanting to charge fan producers $500/day (plus extra fees) to use the studios TOS sets and resources…while SCOTT JOHNSON and KENT “WORDS” EDWARDS wanted to keep the sets free for use by fans (only requesting a donation to cover the cost of electricity for the day).  And as long as CHARLES “BUD” PELSOR, the landlord of the warehouse where the STARBASE STUDIOS sets were being housed in Dogpatch, AR, was providing free rent until the end of 2018, offering use of the sets essentially for free was certainly doable.

Then, in early August, as recounted in this recent blog a large number props and items both freestanding and attached to the sets were removed and taken from the warehouse.  It was not a break-in, as there was no indication of forced entry.  Later on, when the police were brought in,they spoke with Glen’s attorney who explained that the items taken were the personal property of Glen Wolfe, and if Scott and “Words”  wanted to prove otherwise, they would need to do so in civil court.  The police then told everyone that they would stay out of the matter until ownership was clearly and legally established.

Quite a sticky wicket!  Here’s what happened next…

Continue reading “What REALLY happened with STARBASE STUDIOS! (Part 2)”

What REALLY happened with STARBASE STUDIOS! (Part 1)

As you might recall from this recent blog, SCOTT JOHNSON and KENT “WORDS” EDWARDS, with the help of VANCE MAJOR, posted a video showing many critical pieces of the TOS sets that were removed, 90 days earlier, along with damage done to the remaining set pieces during the removal process. But the question must be asked: was this “theft” and “vandalism” or simply someone reclaiming his personal property? And it is now looking as though that question will end up being answered in an Arkansas courtroom.

There’s a LOT of ground to cover right now, folks, and I’m going to share as much as I’m allowed to while trying to break this whole situation down for you. Ready?

Continue reading “What REALLY happened with STARBASE STUDIOS! (Part 1)”

A history of STAR TREK CONTINUES (feature, part 5)

Last time, as 2015 came to a close, STAR TREK CONTINUES was well on its way to a royal fizzbin.  They purchased the entirety of the sets in Kingsland, GA, and released their sixth episode, “Divided We Stand.” STC‘s second “Kirkstarter” at the beginning of 2015 had brought in nearly $215,000 to fund their next two episodes and build two new sets: Engineering and a planet set similar to what existed for TOS back in the 1960s on the Paramount lot.  And then 2016 brought the release of those next two episodes, “Come Not Between the Dragons“and “Embracing the Winds.”

With eight episodes completed and released, STC was now way past the mid-point of what was originally intended to be a 13-episode run.  Show-runner Vic Mignogna never envisioned STC going past that number of episodes, and joked that he, now well into his fifties, couldn’t play a 35-year-old James T. Kirk forever.  Indeed, episodes 7 and 8 already began introducing plot elements that would form into an ongoing story arc that would culminate in the series finale that would end Kirk’s five-year mission and lead into Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

But as 2015 drew to a close, no one suspected that 2016 would turn out to be an uncertain and controversial year, not just for STC, but for all Star Trek fan films.  And it all began just before New Years with the filing of a copyright infringement lawsuit by CBS and Paramount against another fan production…Axanar.

Continue reading “A history of STAR TREK CONTINUES (feature, part 5)”