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.
Last time: well, last time there was just way too much to summarize, so just click here to read it if you haven’t already.
Basically, with a trial date set for January 31, 2017 and no settlement announced yet, the case has entered the discovery phase. (So yes, “Star Trek: Discovery” now means two totally different things to CBS!)
During discovery, both the plaintiffs and the defendant must provide the other side with any piece of evidence they ask for that is relevant to the case. Witnesses are questioned (deposed), documents are collected and shared, and queries are submitted in writing requiring honest and open answers…and all this months before a jury is ever seated and the clerk says, “This courtroom will now come to order.”
It’s time for Star Trek discovery! No, not the new TV series. I’m talking about the next phase of the Axanar copyright infringement lawsuit: legal discovery.
Last week, former Axanar marketing director and tech guru, Terry McIntosh, posted on Facebook that he had just been subpoenaed by CBS and Paramountto be deposed as part of the copyright infringement lawsuit against Alec Peters and Axanar. Terry is not in any legal peril himself, as no other defendants other than Alec Peters were named in the lawsuit. Instead, the studio lawyers will probably just ask for copies of all of Terry’s correspondence (e-mails, IMs, chats) with members of the Axanar team, and the studios might set up a deposition to ask Terry some (maybe even a lot of) questions either in person or over the phone.
And this means that the (coincidentally named) DISCOVERY phase of the lawsuit is now in full swing. So what does that mean?
STAR TREK CONTINUES’ seventh full-length episode, “Embracing the Winds” is–at least in my opinion–a masterpiece. It’s a MUST SEE+Star Trek fan film and possibly one of the best ones released to date. Fan reaction has ranged generally from positive to gushing, with almost no one saying anything overall negative (only pointing out this or that little issue…and we Trekkers always have our “little issues”).
But really, STC has continued to up their game, and the quality and watchability of their newest offering is superb. The acting, writing, directing, pacing…everything is top-notch. There’s not of a lot of “wasted” scenes where the viewer feels the production has indulged itself too much and stretched things out. In short, it’s a tight, exciting story that does what Star Trek has traditionally done so well: take a modern day issue (in this case, a very politically charged one at the moment) and provide a “safe” mirror through which we can examine our society and beliefs…and look at ourselves with a critical eye.