“I’m just takin’ a Greyhound on the Hudson River line…”
Billy Joel first sang those lyrics back in 1976. Forty years later, you can take a Greyhound up alongside the majestic Hudson River from New York City four hours north to Ticonderoga, New York (a very scenic drive, I might add!)–or you can fly into Burlington, VT and meander over across Lake Champlain in about 90 minutes–and live the dream of every Trekkie. You can walk around the original USS Enterprise NCC-1701, lovingly recreated by uber-fan and Elvis impersonator extraordinaire James Cawley and his team at Star Trek: New Voyages.
Originally used to film nearly a dozen episodes of Cawley’s amazing fan series, the sets were recently converted into an officially licensed Star Trek Set Tour open to the public six days a week (closed Mondays). For less than 25 bucks a head, er, body, you can walk where few fans have gone before, take all of the pictures and videos you want, and brag to your friends that you got to visit this one-of-a-kind exhibit. (Yeah, I know there’s one just like it in Georgia, too, but Star Trek Continues‘ sets aren’t open to the public nor are they officially licensed.)
One fan who braved the four-hour trek (sorry, pun couldn’t be helped) from Manhattan to Ticonderoga is New York City-based comedian Tom Kelly. So just in case you don’t think you’ll be able to make it up there yourself–or if you’re looking for a reason to actually go–just take a look at this very entertaining and fun video…
Recently, I featured a 2-part interview with Paul Olsen, the man responsible for the breathtaking opalescent paint job of the refit Enterprise from Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Together with the designer and builder of the original model, Paul is trying to raise $3 million to recreate that model, bigger, more sturdy, and with all modern electronics within a custom 4D viewing chamber. The model would travel around the world to be enjoyed by Star Trek fans everywhere.
But $3 million is a lot of money, and way beyond way could be raised from simple crowd-funding. So Paul is planning to do a concerted public relations campaign, coordinated by a major PR company, targeted at bringing in major corporate sponsors like Enterprise Rent-a-Car, SpaceX, Boeing, and many others. So instead of needing $3 million, Paul just needs $50,000 to fund the PR effort. In fact, the PR effort is only intended to raise the first $450,000 to get them started. Then, with the studio and materials in place, Paul can negotiate documentary rights to bring in the completion funding of $3+ million over the two years of the rebuild.
When STAR TREK: RENEGADES became RENEGADES: THE SERIES, all overt or even quasi-overt references to Star Trek had to be surgically amputated. This included this like changing the character of Chekov to simply “The Admiral” and “Tuvok” to “Kovok,” calling it the “Confederation of Planets,” ditching comm badges from the uniforms (“We don’t need no stinkin’ badges!”), making sure that Aron Eisenberg’s alien make-up looked nothing like a Ferengi, and a host of other tweaks.
Unfortunately, those tweaks also impacted the visual effects, some of which had already been completed and delivered. Y’see, no Star Trek means no recognizable space vessels either…including Romulan warbirds. And that meant that a gorgeous 10-second space battle sequence rendered out by AtomicBrain SFX would never be seen by fans. Or would it…?
Renegades just posted on YouTube this short tracking shot for everyone to enjoy. We might not ever see it in a fan film (it would have been glorious…), but we can at least see it here:
I’m guessing that the makers of the German fan film STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE – THE NEW GENERATION were saying “Was ist los?” (which loosely translates to WTF?) when they got the notice this past Tuesday from YouTube that CBS had filed a copyright claim against four of their fan film videos! And most confusing of all, these were videos which had been online since 2007!!!
Have you ever sat in the audience for something–a concert, a stage play, or a seminar–and there was an unexpected delay? Maybe there were technical problems, or maybe someone was stuck in traffic. Whatever the reason, as things took longer and longer to get started, was the audience becoming impatient?
Maybe you were lucky and there was a host or a warm-up act who could keep the audience engaged and entertained during the delay. Or maybe you weren’t lucky and just sat there waiting…and waiting…and waiting. Maybe some people even got frustrated and walked out before the show started.
What does any of this have to do with Star Trek: Discovery and fan films? Glad you asked!
Continuing a new tradition of renaming their fan series with each fresh episode release, the fan series formerly known as STARSHIP TRISTAN has posted their latest episode, “The Greater Good.”
The renaming of the series is meant to keep their production in compliance with the CBS/Paramount fan production guidelines, which specify no ongoing series. Technically, all the stories for Starship Tristan take place on the same Starfleet vessel, but so far, the characters have changed with each new episode released since the guidelines were published.
We’ll have to see what happens if/when the “series-that-isn’t-a-series” features its first recurrence of a character or characters. But for now, the production continues to follow all the guidelines in terms of length (shorter than 15 minutes), budget (pretty much nothing), no professionals, no unlicensed prop or costume knock-offs, etc. This latest episode is just a quiet conversation between two people, one of whom is from a canonical race of Trek pacifists, and he’s just had to kill someone in order to protect his people. What kind of fallout follows such an act?
The fan series is from the folks at Potemkin Pictures, and they currently produce multiple series. You can find all of their releases on their website.
It’s a production that used to be known as a Star Trek fan series. It’s been crowd-funded by Star Trek fans, and it features many Star Trek veteran actors (including Walter Koenig, Tim Russ, Nichelle Nichols, and a host of others from various Star Trek series) in roles that could be considered, with just a little squinting, to be their iconic Star Trek characters. And so Fan Film Factor is still keeping our eye on RENEGADES: THE SERIES.
Their big news at the moment is that they are now picture locked on both part one and part two of “The Requiem.” What is picture locking? Well, there are several steps in the film editing process…
You might not consider the new “Spockumentary” from Adam Nimoy to be a typical fan film, but I think it very much qualifies. Sure, it might not have needed to follow the fan film guidelines, but FOR THE LOVE OF SPOCK still managed to raise more than $662,000 from nearly 10,000 fans! It was, for all intents and purposes, a labor of love and a product of love…not just of a son for his father but also of fans for a beloved character and actor.
As Adam Nimoy explains in the opening of the film, the original idea had simply been to produce a documentary film to be released for the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, looking at the origins and the impact of the character of Mr. Spock on society and culture. Adam’s father, actor Leonard Nimoy, insisted the film be only about the character and not the actor himself. Leonard was always very humble and felt that his own life was hardly worthy of a full documentary–or even part of one. So Adam agreed to focus his film exclusively on the character of Spock and not on the actor who played him. The two Nimoys began their work.
Perhaps the second most problematic aspect of Axanar (after the lawsuit) is the fulfillment of perks (or lack thereof) to the backers of their three crowd-funding campaigns. Two years after their second Kickstarter, which raised a jaw-dropping $638,000 from supporters, perks have still not gone out to donors. Fortunately, that is about to change with the final completion of the back-end Ares Digital 2.0 accouont management system.
But before we discuss how Axanar is finally pulling itself OUT of this sand pit, let’s take a look at how Axanar fell INTO this sand pit in the first place…
I wasn’t sure what to write on this incredible day when Star Trek turns FIFTY YEARS OLD!
I didn’t want to let the moment pass without saying at least something. But what? Then a few days ago, I received a message from a podcaster who was still working on an interview I’d done with him:
To be honest with you, I’m pretty much over Star Trek at this point. When I can finally bring myself to finish this episode I’m gonna upload it to the network and then I’m done with Star Trek fandom. There’s plenty of stuff to spend my time and money on. I’ll post you as soon as the episode is up.
This really broke my heart, mostly because it wasn’t the only message like this I’d seen recently. Some members on the SMALL ACCESSgroup had expressed similar sentiments, as had others here and there.
I understand the reason for being frustrated or even angry at the moment–with the studios, with other fans, with Star Trek in general. But then I started remembering all the reasons I chose to become a Trekkie in the first place. Heck, I sometimes wonder if it was actually the other way around and Star Trek chose ME! But however I got here, I can’t quit you, Star Trek! I can’t even imagine doing so…no matter how many lens flares I see or how many fan film guidelines I read.