The SMALL ACCESS group on Facebook began as a protest against the new fan film guidelines issued by CBS and Paramount. But it quickly grew into something more significant. Rather than simply complaining about the guidelines or arguing over whose fault it was they were written in the first place, the group began discussing each of the guidelines one-by-one. Opinions were shared, surveys were taken, and in the end, over 1,200 fans participated in one of the largest Star Trek focus group research projects ever!
Now those results have been compiled into a massive 37-page report written up by Jonathan Lane (yeah, that’s me), a former creative director and focus group coordinator with decades of experience in researching what consumers and product users like and don’t like. When it came to the guidelines, half were considered fine as currently written (according to polling results). Another quarter only needed minor revision tweaks for clarification. And it was only a few remaining guidelines that required more significant compromise solutions.
The report compiles these results into a series of recommendations by the fans to the studios for revising the guidelines in a way that both respects the studios’ interests in protecting their intellectual property while also allowing more flexibility for fan filmmakers to create their productions.
Next week, fans will be invited to mail printed copies of this report to key executives at the studios in a new LETTER WRITING CAMPAIGN. If enough fans participate in the weeks leading up to the actual 50th Anniversary of Star Trek (September 8), it’s our hope that the news media will cover this campaign, which will put pressure on the executives to at least read and consider our suggestions rather than ignoring them completely.
Is it a stunt? Yes. Is it a long shot? Yes. But it’s at least worth a shot, right? After all, what other mechanism do fans have to engage a conversation with the studio execs who wrote and enforce these guidelines?
The letter writing campaign will kick off next week, but the report itself has been made available for early viewing on the SMALL ACCESS Facebook page. If you’re interested, please take a look. Next week, you’ll get a chance to make Star Trek letter-writing history…again.
Many Star Trek fans dream big, and I love that…I really do. But what I love the most is a fan with a plan to make that dream a reality. I spoke to one such fan recently. And although I started my interview thinking his was a crazy dream without a prayer of ever happening, by the time I finished, I’d gone to his Kickstarter page and made a donation. This isn’t a fan film, but it’s a cool enough idea that I’m making an exception and sharing it with all of you.
This dreamer is Paul Olsen, and the dream is to rebuild the model of the refit USS Enterprise exactly as it appeared in Star Trek: The Motion Picture…only 50% larger (12 feet long!). The model would travel the world in its own special display, be painted with a opalescent finish to exacting specifications, and be built to last for centuries.
Crazy, you say? Crazy awesome, you say? Not a chance of it ever happening, you say? Well, before you turn away and get on with your life, take read through this interview and see if you start believing in the dream—and the fan with the plan—just like I did…
Whether you loved, hated, or felt ambivalent about Star Trek Beyond, I think you’ll really enjoy this fun video compilation of the cast Dubsmashing. And if you don’t know what it means to Dub Smash, well, watch the video and you’ll figure it out pretty fast. Get ready to smile…
Nearly a thousand backers have donated nearly $100,000 so far to help RENEGADES: THE SERIES(formerly Star Trek: Renegades) complete post-production on their two-parter “The Requiem.” Considering that Renegades had previously generated nearly $400,000 for production, “The Requiem” (when released) will be the most expensive Star Trek fan film ever completed–at more than a HALF MILLION DOLLARS…wow!!
(Of course, Renegades is no longer technically a Star Trek fan film. But in my heart, it will always be one.)
Their primary goal was $60,000 for this Indiegogo campaign, which they reached easily within the first week. This would pay for post production entirely for the first episode of the 2-parter. But with $150,000, they could complete post production on both.
Can they make it? As of today, they’re just over $95,000 with just over two weeks left. So it’ll be close! If you’re looking for fan film to donate just a little more of your money to, click on over to the Renegades Indiegogo campaign and give what you can. The campaign officially ends on August 31!
Before there was Renegades: the Seriesor Star Trek: Renegades, there was Star Trek: Of Gods and Men. And if you are a student of fan film history (or you want to be), this article is required reading.
You see, Star Trek: Of Gods and Men marked a turning point for fan films…several turning points, in fact. It was the first time a major fan film used the resources of another major fan film for shooting. It was the first time multiple Star Trek acting veterans all appeared together in the same fan production reprising their iconic characters. And it was the first time a major fan film had done a stand-alone feature-length film. (Other fan series had done hour-plus length episodes, but these were all for ongoing fan series. Star Trek: Of Gods and Men was a one-shot story with a movie run-time of nearly 90 minutes.)
A look at this groundbreaking fan production from 2008 actually allows us to look at its fascinating place in the grander history of all Star Trek fan films…
The fan-funded British short Star Trek film, CHANCE ENCOUNTER, began filming two weeks ago, and they will continue filming this coming weekend. I have to thank director Gary O’Brien for making my job all the easier by posting regular video updates on the progress of his production.
The most recent update (their seventh total) shows members of the cast during rehearsal. And for those of you who are familiar with Doctor Who, you might be amused to see the name of the character being played by actress Ayvianna Snow (remember, this fan production is based on the United Kingdom, after all). Take a look at their latest update below:
Here’s all my best photos from the 50th Anniversary convention in Las Vegas (along with clever captions–read ’em; they’re funny!). Click on any photo to enlarge it, then click the “back” button to return to this page…
Bryan Fuller, showrunner for the new CBS All Access TV series Star Trek: Discovery (or DSC, for short), just announced the time-frame for the highly-anticipated new series. It’s already been reported that DSC will take place in the prime universe (not the Kelvin timeline), but now we know when:
TEN YEARS before the original series!
Fans of the Axanar project nearly had a collective heart attack (including yours truly), until we realized that this time period is actually ten years AFTER the Four Years War depicted in the 20-minute 2014 fan film Prelude to Axanar.
When the new fan film guidelines were announced by CBS and Paramount, one of the biggest concerns was what would happen to Star Trek Continues. This celebrated fan series now violated most of the guidelines, including a run time of more than 15 minutes per episode, the fact it was a continuing series in the first place, their recent $200,000 crowd-funding campaign (the new limit is $50,000), the distribution of perks, their use of professional actors and crew (including some who have previously worked on Star Trek films and/or licensed products), and of course, the words “Star Trek” in the title.
Of course, fans didn’t mind any of this. In fact, Star Trek Continues remains one of the most popular and successful of all the fan series…with a passionate and devoted following (including myself, a proud donor). And that’s why we were so concerned that these new guidelines would spell the end of Star Trek Continues (as they had already claimed another beloved fan series, Star Trek: New Voyages).
Before I begin, I’d just like to go on record that I’ve had the time of my life here in Las Vegas for the last five days. And CREATION ENTERTAINMENT founders Adam Malin and Gary Berman (and their many employees, volunteers, and celebrity guests) have outdone themselves in putting on a superb 50th anniversary tribute to Star Trek. I laughed, I cried, I kissed about $250 goodbye in the dealers room. It was the best of times; it was an incredible gift to the 6,000 fans who could afford to make it to Las Vegas and ordered their tickets before they sold out. So well done, I say to all of Creation!