Australian AARON VANDERKLEY releases his FINAL NX-era fan film LINE OF DUTY (interview, part 2)

In Part 1, we began what will likely be our last-ever interview with Australian fan filmmaker extraordinaire AARON VANDERKLEY as he releases his fifth and final NX-era Star Trek fan film. The first four, NEEDS OF THE MANY, THE DERELICT, GOOD MEN, and THE FALL OF STARBASE ONE, came out beginning in early 2016, and none was longer than the 15-minute limit set by the fan film guidelines. In fact, the shortest was only 6 and a half minutes in length and was nevertheless a dramatic masterpiece—beautifully acted, tenderly directed, with amazingly accurate NX-era Starfleet uniforms and very ambitious sets. Aaron was the writer and director on each of these MUST-SEE fan films.

His latest offering LINE OF DUTY, is perhaps his most powerful fan film so far, and certainly the most ambitious. It’s garnered nearly 50K views on Youtube in just two weeks. Check it out…

After the debut of his first Trek fan film, Aaron’s intention was always to produce a total of five and then move on to other challenges. And so this is a bittersweet interview, celebrating his amazing portfolio of work and his latest fan film triumph while acknowledging that, sadly, this is all we’ll get. But we’re so thankful for these five amazing productions.

And now, the conclusion of our interview with Aaron. When we left off, he had just said that everything went perfectly smoothly with his latest project, no hiccups at all…

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Australian AARON VANDERKLEY releases his FINAL NX-era fan film LINE OF DUTY (interview, part 1)

When the fan film guidelines set a 15-minute limit on the runtime of Star Trek fan films, many in the community shouted, “It can’t be done!”

AARON VANDERFLEY in Australia apparently didn’t get the memo because six months earlier, he’d already released an amazingly powerful 6-minute fan film called NEEDS OF THE MANY with strong acting, impressive sets, and spot-on uniforms from the NX-era of Star Trek. Aaron was already a professional freelance filmmaker and wanted to try his hand at Trek fan films. This was only his first effort, but there was a LOT more to come!

In mid 2017, Aaron did it all over again, this time with the 12-minute THE DERELICT, an intensely dark and haunting horror/thriller (very unique for a Star Trek fan film). Again, the acting was top-notch, the uniforms amazing, and now there was even action, suspense, and a few stunts thrown in. It really felt like part of an episode of Star Trek: Enterprise.

By the begining of 2018, Aaron treated fans to a third superbly-crafted NX-era film, GOOD MEN, this one only 9 minutes long. Time limit? What time limit!

Finally, last summer, Aaron flirted just 30 seconds shy of that 15-minute runtime with his most ambitious release so far, THE FALL OF STARBASE ONE. Taken as a whole, the four fan films appeared to be mostly unrelated to each other beyond their time period, which seemed to take place during the Romulan War with Earth and the Coalition of Planets.

But then I watched Aaron’s fifth and final (or so he says) Star Trek fan film and noticed that not everything was as unrelated as it seemed. More on that in a moment during my interview with him. But first, take a look at Aaron’s latest Star Trek triumph: the very unique and masterfully-produced LINE OF DUTY (finally cracking the 15-minute mark as a 20-minute two-parter)…

Below is what will, sadly, be my final interview with Aaron Vanderkley (unless he changes his mind about this being his last Star Trek fan film). If you want to read more interviews with Aaron, I’ve done two previous ones which you are welcome to check out here.

And now, let’s hear what Aaron has to say about Line of Duty

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THE ROMULAN WAR releases newest WAR STORIES: “THE FIGHTING FOURTH”!

A week and a half ago, I reported that MARK NACCARATO, who is completing the fan film THE ROMULAN WAR (due out in the next few months), was about to release the fourth of his WAR STORIES vignettes: “The Fighting Fourth.” That happened for the general public this past weekend, and I have to say that this was my favorite War Story so far! (And since I starred in the third one, you know I’m being sincere.)

Before continuing, I just want to remind everyone to please donate a few bucks to their Indiegogo campaign. Although they surpassed their original goal, additional footage for the main film was shot by AARON VANDERKLEY in Australia, and Mark needs to reach $14,000 to cover Aaron’s additional expenses. He’s $980 short…can you help him out?

Anyway, this latest release is another “enhanced” audio drama, although I think I’d call this a full-on fan film! The difference is that “The Fighting Fourth” actually features a video recording of the main character, not simply the audio recording of log entries “enhanced” with display readouts and various animations. The footage features actor CHEWE NKOLE playing crewman Evander Littlejohn, and the African actor (now living in western Australia) turns in a very strong performance.

Also worth mentioning is sensational CGI effects done by everyone’s favorite British invader, SAMUEL COCKINGS of Trekyards. So we’ve got what I believe is the first-ever Star Trek fan film produced on three different continents (North America, Australia, and Europe), and a really fun and well-crafted 5-minute look at yet another intriguing aspect of The Romulan War

You can watch the other War Stories vignettes here.

THE ROMULAN WAR fan film is now being made on THREE CONTINENTS!

One of the fan productions I’m most looking forward to at the moment is MARK NACCARATO’s project focusing on the battles and strategies of THE ROMULAN WAR with Earth. Presented as a war documentary (similar to Prelude to Axanar), Mark’s stories will pick up where Star Trek: Enterprise frustratingly left off: just BEFORE the ware between the Coalition of Planets and the Romulan Star Empire began.

Leading up to the planned May 2019 premiere of the full fan film, Mark has released a series of short “enhanced” audio dramas called WAR STORIES. They typically present personal logs or subspace correspondence made by someone involved in the war, usually recorded by a trained voice actor reading the script. (I say “usually” because I am definitely not a trained actor, but I recorded one myself!) The releases, while available in audio format for listening only, are ALSO available on YouTube with added VFX and other graphics to look like Starfleet archival footage. They’re REALLY cool.

For anyone who hasn’t seen and heard these War Stories releases yet, you can view them all on this YouTube playlist. They are only 17 and a half minutes total, so it’s not even that much of a time investment. In fact, anyone who says you can’t tell a decent fan film story in 15 minutes or less NEEDS to watch these four productions, as they each do it in under five minutes! (Well, one is a two-parter.)

This is one of the few fan projects set in the NX-era. Another is the series of amazing and powerful short films produced by AARON VANDERKLEY in Australia. If you haven’t watched them yet, you should check them out.

Now Mark Naccarato and Aaron Vanderkley have joined forces for the latest War Stories production, “The Fighting Fourth.” So that’s America and Australia teaming up for the first time. BUT! Let’s also add in a third continent—Europe—as Britain’s own SAMUEL COCKINGS, the hardest-working Trekpert in geek fandom, has lent his talents with some amazing CGI animation. Just take a look at this trailer…

“The Fighting Fourth” will be released first to donors very soon. So if you’d like to see it early, contribute a buck or three to the still-active Indiegogo campaign (now funding post-production costs).

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THE FALL OF STARBASE ONE – the latest Trek Fan Film from AUSTRALIA!

AARON VANDERKLEY is a wonder from down under!  When some fans began complaining that the guidelines‘ limit of 15 minutes for a fan film wasn’t long enough to tell a compelling story, Aaron proved them wrong by doing it in less than HALF that time!

Aaron’s first Trek fan film Needs of the Many, (only six and a half minutes long) actually came out six months before the guidelines were announced.  And the following year, it won two “BJO” awards at Treklanta (including best short-form fan film).

His second short film, the 12-minute The Derelict, came out in late 2017 and was even more intense that its predecessor.  Both films take place in the NX-era and feature amazingly accurate Starfleet uniforms and physical (practical) sets that look like something directly out of Star Trek: Enterprise.  The acting, lighting, sound, editing, music…everything has a professional quality level that makes both films MUST-SEE.  I interviewed Aaron about these two projects shortly after his second production debuted.

Aaron’s third fan film, Good Men, came out this past January with a length of nine minutes, again within the time limit and again telling a very engaging story…another MUST SEE effort.  I decided to interview Aaron a second time about that one.  Both interviews are worth a read.

Aaron has just released his fourth fan film in two years, THE FALL OF STARBASE ONE, his longest and ambitious yet…and another MUST SEE.  After this, Aaron plans to do only one more “big finale”—likely sometime later this year.  As of now, the final script isn’t written or even titled.

I asked Aaron about his decision wrap things up with his next fan film…

As I spoke about in our interviews, it was always my intention to do five – five was the golden number, and I think that’s enough from me.

There’s absolutely every temptation to keep making them (I really would have liked to adapt one of my original short films into a Star Trek story), but I don’t really want to be just known for (or stuck) making fan films. From a career perspective, that’s not very attractive.

I’ll admit I’m a little sad, but I truly appreciate all the care and effort that Aaron has put into all of his FANtastic films.  And I certainly wish him all the best in his film career.

So please enjoy this fourth absolutely awesome Australian adventure from Aaron: The Fall of Starbase One

AARON VANDERKLEY triumphs again with “GOOD MEN”! (interview)

Last October, I posted an interview with the fan film wonder from down under, Australia-based Trekker AARON VANDERKLEY.  When the fan film guidelines came out in 2016, many fans worried that it would be impossible to create a decent Star Trek fan film story in 15 minutes or less.  But Aaron had already disproven that six months earlier when he released the six-and-a-half minute NEEDS OF THE MANY, an emotionally intense NX-01 era fan film with great acting, real practical sets (not green screen), and wonderful costumes.

In September of 2017, Aaron wowed the fan film world again with yet another NX-01 era fan film, the twelve-minute THE DERELICT.  Even more intense than his first effort, Derelict cemented Aaron’s reputation as a top-notch Star Trek fan filmmaker.

But Arron wasn’t done yet!

Two weeks ago, Aaron released his third NX-01 era fan film, the nine-minute GODD MEN.  You can view it below…

After watching yet another really strong fan film, I emailed Aaron a few quick questions for the blog where I would announce the new release.  Little did I know Aaron would send me back some really fantastic, in-depth answers that turned my “simple” announcement blog into a full-on interview!

Let’s dive right in…

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The BEST TWO Trek fan films you’ve NEVER seen! (interview with AARON VANDERKLEY, Part 1)

Fan films like Star Trek: Horizon, Prelude to Axanar, Star Trek: Renegades, Star Trek Continues, and New Voyages have been viewed millions and millions of times on YouTube….and with good reason.  All are excellent productions of professional-level quality.

But those are the “big fish” in the fan film pond.  Two much smaller fish have swum underneath the sonar and haven’t been noticed by more than a couple of thousand viewers each…which is a shame because they are two of the best, highest quality Star Trek fan films you’re likely to see!

They didn’t have mega-budgets like some fan films, nor did they use big-name Hollywood actors or Trek veteran producers.  In fact, there isn’t even a VFX space shot in either.  What’s more, neither violates any of the fan film guidelines, coming in at 6 and a half minutes and 12 minutes respectively.

The first of these two films, THE NEEDS OF THE MANY, was released in January of 2016 (five months before the guidelines were ever announced) and the second, THE DERELICT, debuted just last month on the 51st anniversary of Star Trek.

Both short films take place during the Enterprise NX-01 era and use real, practical sets instead of green screen.  The costumes look amazing, and the actors do a really spectacular job.  Add in subtle lightning, great make-up, excellent camera work, a strong script, solid directing, and even top-notch editing, and these two fan films can easily take their place among some of the best ones so far.

So who made these two masterpieces, and how did they manage to do such a FANtastic job for so little?  For the answers, we need to travel all the way to the land down under…

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