STAR TREK CONTINUES answers some questions from fans about their FINAL EPISODES!

As reported a week ago, STAR TREK CONTINUES has announced a release date for its eighth episode, “Still Treads the Shadow,” of April 1 at Fan Expo Dallas.  STC also confirmed that they will release three additional episodes after that, completing their run with eleven episodes total (two fewer than their originally-planned thirteen episodes).

These announcements led to some major speculation among fans (especially here on FAN FILM FACTOR and on the SMALL ACCESS Facebook page) wondering how long the episode will be, how are they getting around the guidelines, have they been in contact with CBS and gotten any kind of permission, etc.

Yesterday, STC sent out a newsletter to donors (yep, I got mine!) that included a spotlight on STC guest star Rekha Sharma (of the new Battlestar Galactica, who will be appearing in this upcoming STC episode) as well as some frequently asked questions and answers about their remaining episodes.

Before I publish the STC Q&A, I want to warn any Axanar supporters reading this that, yes, they include a bit of a dig in their fifth answer.  As many fans are aware, there is no love lost between Vic Mignogna of STC and Alec Peters of Axanar (total understatement!).  And in the “I hit Krako, Krako hits Teppo, Teppo hits me…” traditions of fine fan film feuding, we have yet another hit.

As a proud backer of both series who loves watching Vic play Kirk and Alec play Garth, I personally find the mutual animosity distasteful (whichever of them it comes from).  And as a donor to STC, I could have done without the inclusion of the Axa-negativity in the statements.  It wasn’t necessary to say it like they did and just serves to prolong the feud another day/week/month.  But it’s their production, their newsletter, and their chip on the shoulder.

I do dream of a day when we can all just get along and celebrate each others’ successes.  Maybe someday.  But I will stop editorializing now.  Just know that, yes, the dig is in there.  Yes, you’re all welcome to light up my comments section with yet another flame war (they’re kinda like tribbles, aren’t they?).  But no, I’m not going to participate.  I love BOTH productions, and I’m ROOTING for both productions.  I invite those of you who can get past the resentment and anger to join me in not exploding yet again.  It requires a LOT less energy and doesn’t raise your blood pressure nearly as much.

All right, getting down from my soapbox now and handling the mic over to STC

Continue reading “STAR TREK CONTINUES answers some questions from fans about their FINAL EPISODES!”

STARSHIP REPUBLIC contacts CBS DIRECTLY about their INDIEGOGO CAMPAIGN! (Interview, Part 2)

Last time, we chatted with Ray Tesi about one of the newest fan projects, Starship Republic.  Filmed at Starbase Studios before it recently moved from Oklahoma City to Arkansas, the fan production just released a short vignette and launched an Indiegogo campaign with a $16,000 goal.

One of the most intriguing things about Starship Republic is the fact that show-runner Ray Tesi actually reached out to John Van Citters of CBS Licensing to review their crowd-funding campaign and give feedback on whether or not there was any problem with them distributing unlicensed perks…both physical and digital.  And so far, CBS sees no issues with Republic doing just that.

We also learned a little about what will make Starship Republic unique…specifically aiming for a look and feel that reflects more modern cinematic techniques rather than trying to faithfully recreate the style of the 1960’s era original series episodes.

And now it’s time to conclude our interview with Ray as we learn more about how the production came to be, how they found their cast, what it was like to actually produce the project, and what’s in store for the future…

Continue reading “STARSHIP REPUBLIC contacts CBS DIRECTLY about their INDIEGOGO CAMPAIGN! (Interview, Part 2)”

UPDATE – DS9 Documentary unveils $500K stretch goal: REMASTERED HD FOOTAGE!

Yesterday, I reported that the new Deep Space Nine documentary WHAT WE LEFT BEHIND had just crossed the $400,000 milestone on their Indiegogo campaign (with 9 days left).  This amount is well more than double their original goal of $150,000 and has allowed them to reach certain stretch goals.  Among these are a longer running length (from 60 to 90+ minutes), an extended writers room feature, original music performed by an orchestra, and new 3D graphics and animations.

Their next goal is $425,000 (allowing for more interviews), but there was also a $500,000 stretch goal that was left a mystery…at least when I wrote yesterday’s blog entry.  Now the veil has been lifted and the mysterious half-million-dollar stretch goal revealed:

When Star Trek: The Next Generation was remastered into high-definition (HD), it took several years and cost millions of dollars.  Original film negatives were meticulously re-edited while entirely new VFX sequences were modeled and rendered by computer.  But in the end, sales of the remastered ST:TNG Blu-rays were disappointing (to say the least), leaving CBS and Paramount quite hesitant about ever trying to remaster DS9.

Now, before anyone starts drooling about this Indiegogo campaign resulting in a complete HD-remastered Blu-ray collection of all seven seasons of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, that’s not going to happen…and certainly not for a measly $75,000.  But their next stretch goal level will potentially allow the producers to remaster the DS9 clips that they’ll be showing during the documentary.  This involves getting access to the original archival masters and original film elements from the Deep Space Nine series. The documentary team announced yesterday that they have, in fact, officially been in talks with CBS Television Studios to do just that.

And if they manage to hit or surpass $500,000 in the next 8 days (right now, they stand at $413, 374–so it’s certainly within reach!–click HERE to donate), they will be able to use that footage along with CGI effects rendered by DS9 VFX alum Doug Drexler to give fans a taste of what DS9 could look like if it were ever to be remastered.

And it might look something like this video (created by Trekcore.com):

DEEP SPACE NINE DOCUMENTARY crowd-funding campaign crosses the $400,000 mark!

When last we checked in on the new Deep Space Nine documentary WHAT WE LEFT BEHIND, their Indiegogo campaign had kicked off with an initial goal of $150,000 and zoomed past that in less than 24 hours to $170,000 with 29 days still to go!

Well, now there’s just 9 days left to go, and the project has just crossed the $400,000 milestone!!!  This has allowed them to reach a couple of exciting stretch goals…

CROSSING $250,000 –
Allowed them to extend the length from 60 to 90+ minutes and add in a whole bunch of new, cool 3D graphics and animations.

Crossing $350,000 –
Allowed them to now have an original score and hire a live orchestra to perform it.  It will also allow them to extend their “Writer’s Room” feature where the original DS9 writers will reunite to brainstorm a story-arc and episode ideas for what a hypothetical season eight would have looked like.

And if they cross $425,000 (almost a certainty at this point!) –
They will be able to film additional round-table interviews with DS9 crew members and fans.  Oh, and it will unlock an additional bonus item for donors, as well.

And if they reach a half million dollars???  Well, we don’t know yet, but the milestone is there on the Stretch Goal graphic above.  (Just click to enlarge it.)

You’ve still got 10 days to make a donation of your own (or increase the one you’ve already made) to show CBS that DS9 is truly loved by us fans:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/what-we-left-behind-star-trek-deep-space-nine-doc

And make sure to watch this hysterical video featuring Ira Behr and “Mr. F”–it is the FUNNIEST crowd-funding video EVER!  I kid you not!!!

FAN FILM GUIDELINES: Reality Check (Part 2) – The DEATH of TREK FAN FILMS?

If you read Part 1, you know that I want to keep fighting for a change to the fan film guidelines issued last June by CBS and Paramount.  I’m not ready to give up.

You might remember that when those guidelines were first announced, they were met with cries of panic that the world of Star Trek fan films was doomed.  These guidelines would eliminate, destroy, even obliterate fan films.  (Yep, I used all of those words.)

And you know what?  I was wrong.

Rather than killing the medium of Star Trek fan films, the guidelines didn’t seem to have had much of a curtailing effect at all.  In fact, do you know how many Star Trek fan films have been released in the eight months SINCE the guidelines were announced last June?

Take a guess.

Continue reading “FAN FILM GUIDELINES: Reality Check (Part 2) – The DEATH of TREK FAN FILMS?”

STAR TREK CONTINUES announces PREMIERE DATE and TITLE for their EIGHTH episode!

It’s been quite a while since fans and donors got an update from STAR TREK CONTINUES.  Despite many, many new posts (sometimes more than one a day!) on their Facebook page, there has been precious little news on the plans for Star Trek Continues now that the fan film guidelines are in place.  After all, with guidelines saying that a Star Trek fan film can’t contain the words “Star Trek” in the title, must be less than 15 minutes in length and a maximum of a 2-parter (for 30 minutes total), and cannot be a continuing series, it seemed like Star Trek Continues couldn’t…well…continue without running afoul of multiple guidelines.

As I reported here last August, STC writer/director/co-producer JAMES KERWIN had told me at Creation’s 50th Anniversary Star Trek convention in Las Vegas that what CBS and Paramount have said is if you follow all of these guidelines, then they will not sue you.  But they do NOT say that if you don’t follow these guidelines, then they will sue you.  There is a big distinction there.

James also told me during our talk that STC wanted to spend the remainder of their crowd-funding resources to film their final four episodes to wrap up the series. They hoped that their good relationship with CBS might result in the studio allowing the fan series to complete its run.  The plan for STC had always been to do a limited number of episodes (originally planned for 12 or 13–now the total will be 11)…as star and show-runner VIC MIGNOGNA himself said that he won’t be able to play a 37-year-old Captain Kirk forever.  (The Internet reports Vic’s current age as 54.)

But since last August, updates have been scarce from STC…until now, that is.  They just published a MAJOR announcement confirming their intention to release the last four episodes of the series (already filmed and in post-production) and providing a premiere date for their eighth episode, “Still Treads the Shadow.”

Here’s the full update…

The announcement you’ve all been waiting for!

Continue reading “STAR TREK CONTINUES announces PREMIERE DATE and TITLE for their EIGHTH episode!”

STARSHIP REPUBLIC contacts CBS DIRECTLY about their INDIEGOGO CAMPAIGN! (Interview, Part 1)

Now, this is intriguing!  If you look about half-way down the fan film guidelines to the second-to-last point under #6, you find the following:

No unlicensed Star Trek-related or fan production-related merchandise or services can be offered for sale or given away as premiums, perks or rewards or in connection with the fan production fundraising.

That seems pretty straightforward.  If you want to give away any perks, they have to be licensed Star Trek merchandise.  You can’t give any patches or T-shirts or signed scripts or posters or anything related to your fan production in exchange for donations…at least if you want to make sure you aren’t sued or sent a cease and desist letter by CBS and Paramount.

So how was it that STARSHIP REPUBLIC, the newest fan film to launch a crowd-funding campaign (and the first to do so since the Axanar settlement), was offering a whole set of perks?  Sure, most perks were digital, but there were also physical posters in the mix (like the two images shown above).

Well, it turns out that they simply asked CBS for permission–and they got it!  Well, kinda…

Continue reading “STARSHIP REPUBLIC contacts CBS DIRECTLY about their INDIEGOGO CAMPAIGN! (Interview, Part 1)”

FAN FILM GUIDELINES: Reality Check (Part 1) – DO WE FIGHT ON?

When CBS and Paramount jointly announced their new fan film guidelines last June, most of us in the fan production community (both filmmakers and viewers) were horrified, furious, indignant, grief-stricken, and depressingly convinced that these ten Draconian rules would spell the end of world for Star Trek fan films as we knew them.

And few out there felt more strongly about this than yours truly!  I used words like “carnage,” “eliminate,” and “destroy.”  I proclaimed in a blog I posted on June 23, 2016:

In short, these new guidelines would obliterate the majority of fan films…

And I quickly moved to set up a new protest campaign, Project: SMALL ACCESS, endeavoring to use the threat of fewer subscriptions to CBS’s new All Access paid video streaming service to try to encourage the studio(s) to revise and revisit these overly-restrictive guidelines.

SMALL ACCESS quickly grew to over a thousand members in a group on Facebook, and we examined the guidelines one-by-one.  Through polling and discussions, we determined that about half of the guidelines were actually just fine as they were and didn’t cause much angst.  Another quarter of them could benefit from a little tweaking of the phrasing to explain them better.  And the final quarter of them, well, they pretty much pissed most of us off completely.

Eventually, we created a 38-page Focus Group Report, and members mailed 115 copies to various executives at both studios.  Yes, it was a stunt, and no, it didn’t work.  Eight months later, the guidelines are still in place, and the studios don’t seem to be inclined to make any changes.

So what in the name of James Tiberius Kirk do we do now?

Continue reading “FAN FILM GUIDELINES: Reality Check (Part 1) – DO WE FIGHT ON?”

CORRECTION! — It was NOT CHEAPER (as far as I can tell) for AXANAR PRODUCTIONS to BUILD a studio than to RENT one

One little mistake…

On September 23, 1999, the Mars Surveyor Orbiter crashed into the red planet because of a very simple (some say “stupid”) error.  According to the NASA.gov website:

…one team used English units (e.g., inches, feet and pounds) while the other used metric units for a key spacecraft operation.

One little mistake…

The result was the loss of a $125 million satellite.

In early February 2017, I was IM’ing with one of my local producer friends, asking how much it costs to rent a decent studio/sound stage here in Los Angeles.  He IM’d me back: “About $15-$30K per day.”

That number intrigued and excited me.  It wasn’t long before I’d done the math and determined that–lordy lordy!–it was actually CHEAPER for Alec Peters to have built out Ares/Industry studios than to have RENTED an existing sound stage!  And the savings difference was in the six-figures!!!!

This was HUGE!  Or so I thought…

Continue reading “CORRECTION! — It was NOT CHEAPER (as far as I can tell) for AXANAR PRODUCTIONS to BUILD a studio than to RENT one”

TRISTAN Production Crew releases new episode: “DEPARTURES”!

The fan series that started out as STARSHIP TRISTAN (and is now no longer a fan series but rather a collection of individually-titled fan films) has released its latest, um, well, “episode” is now no longer an appropriate word either, come to think of it.  How about “offering”?

“DEPARTURES” is the latest adventure of the USS Tristan and her crew, produced by RANDY LANDERS for Potemkin Pictures, and filmed in Pelham, Alabama.  You can watch all of the offerings from the various productions teams at the Potemkin Pictures on their website: http://www.potemkinpictures.com/productions.html

And you can view “Departures” below…