Major AXANAR news! (interview with ALEC PETERS, part 2)

Click here to read Part 1.

ALEC PETERS is pretty much a man who needs no introduction…at least in the fan community.  But if you’ve only just landed on this planet, here’s a quick run-down.  Alec has been the driving force behind the fan production AXANAR for half a decade, writing, producing, and appearing in the widely popular Prelude to Axanar fan film.  He worked ceaselessly over three crowd-funding campaigns to raise more than $1.3 million in fan donations to build out a studio and sets and begin filming a 90-minute Star Trek fan film detailing the final battle of the Four Years War with the Klingons at the planet Axanar.

And then Alec got sued by CBS and Paramount for copyright infringement.  He fought back, and after a year of legal proceedings, the lawsuit was settled just days before a trial was set to begin.  While the specifics of Alec’s settlement with the studios aren’t public, we do know that Alec is now allowed to make two 15-minute Axanar fan films with his original cast (if they choose to return) as well as other entertainment industry professionals.

That settlement came nearly a year and a half ago, and still there is no completed follow-up Axanar fan film or films.  With that in mind, let’s pick up where we left off yesterday as I ask Alec a question that both Axanar supporters AND detractors have certainly been wondering about… Continue reading “Major AXANAR news! (interview with ALEC PETERS, part 2)”

Major AXANAR news! (interview with ALEC PETERS, part 1)

“What’s happening with AXANAR?”  “When is it coming out?”  “Has the entire project just fallen apart?”  “Who’s the director?”  “Do they even have a production team?”

These questions and so many like them pour into comments, IMs, and emails to me almost weekly.  (In fact, the “fallen apart” one came in just last week.)  I’ve so wanted to share what I know, but I’ve been asked repeatedly by ALEC PETERS to please keep things under wraps for the time being.

A few weeks ago, I finally started asking Alec in earnest when we could do a proper interview and announce some of these big news items publicly.  Believe it or not, it’s actually been well over a YEAR since my last full interview with him!  Anyway, it took some prodding and nagging, but I finally convinced the man behind Axanar to sit down with me for an extended interview and update.

Let’s dive right in…

Continue reading “Major AXANAR news! (interview with ALEC PETERS, part 1)”

Guest blogger ERIC L. WATTS discusses having ALEC PETERS at Treklanta… (editorial)

Today, please welcome special Guest Blogger ERIC L. WATTS, Chairman of the annual TREKLANTA convention in Atlanta, GA and the organizer of the BJO Awards that honor the top Star Trek fan films each year.  Eric and Treklanta have been an important and integral part of theTrek fan film community for many years now—screening fan productions, featuring fan film panel discussions and guests, an generally giving support and validation to the genre.

Treklanta 2018 took place over the Memorial Day weekend and featured a couple of panels focusing on fan films.  Everything was going great until it was announced that ALEC PETERS of AXANAR would be taking part in these panels.  Then the shat hit the fans, and Eric was berated by angry e-mails and Facebook posts and even a phone call telling him how wrong he was for letting Alec Peters anywhere near his convention…let alone allowing Alec to be an announced guest on two panels.

The blowback both privately and on social media blasting Eric over Alec’s presence at Treklanta became so intense that I asked Eric if he’d like to comment on it here on Fan Film Factor in a blog I was preparing last week about the Bjo Awards.

Eric agreed, but his comment was so thorough and heartfelt that I decided it would be better to let it stand in its entirety as a separate guest blog.  My apologies to you and Eric for the delay in getting it posted (one week), but with two different crowd-funders ending, it’s been a very crowded seven days of blogs (and I was away in Santa Barbara over the weekend).

Anyway, here’s what Eric had to say about Alec Peters and panels at Treklanta…

Continue reading “Guest blogger ERIC L. WATTS discusses having ALEC PETERS at Treklanta… (editorial)”

Have the new GUIDELINES really hindered the production of STAR TREK FAN FILMS? (panel video from Treklanta)

Photo courtesy of Lee Drew

The annual TREKLANTA con in Atlanta, GA is not a particularly huge convention, but it is one of the most fan-film-friendly cons you’re likely to find anywhere.  This is thanks in large part to Chairman ERIC L. WATTS, who organizes the convention along with Treklanta’s annual BJO AWARDS for the best Star Trek fan films from the previous year.  And there’s usually at least a panel or two dedicated to a particular fan film or fan films in general.

This year, the most notable fan film panel was being led by RANDY LANDERS, show-runner for POTEMKIN PICTURES in Pelham, AL, which has produced about five dozen Trek fan films over the past eight years!  The title of the panel: “Have the new guidelines really hindered the production of Star Trek fan films?”

Good question!

To help answer this, Randy invited five additional noted Star Trek fan filmmakers to join him for a lively panel discussion:

JOSE E. CEPEDA -Show-runner and lead actor on the long-running STAR TREK: NATURES HUNGER web series.

GREG TEFT – Cast member of STARSHIP: REPUBLIC, which will soon be filming more fan productions on the former Star Trek Continues “Stage 9” sets in GA.

GLEN L. WOLFE – Co-owner of the STARBASE STUDIOS sets in AR and the show-runner of THE FEDERATION FILES anthology series.

MARK NACCARATO – Show-runner for the upcoming Trek fan project THE ROMULAN WAR, which is crowd-funding right now!  (Have you donated yet???)

ALEC PETERS – Head of Axanar Productions and Executive Producer of PRELUDE TO AXANAR.

Interestingly , when Alec’s participation on the panel was announced, even though the panelists were all fine with it, apparently a number of detractors weren’t.  Eric L. Watts was berated with e-mails and criticism in detractor social media groups.  (I’ve invited Eric to comment on that separately as a guest blogger later this week.)

The panel discussion was really enlightening and fun to watch.  And thanks to a video shot by LEE DREW (and posted here with the blessing of both Lee and Eric), you get to watch it, as well (in two parts)…

What’s WRONG with making a mockery of AXANAR… (editorial)

MICHAEL ILASI, a dedicated AXANAR detractor, announced last month that he was planning to create a “parody” of Prelude to Axanar using actual footage from the fan film…re-edited to be “funny.”

But what Michael released wasn’t a parody so much as a mockery.  It belittled ALEC PETERS and the other cast members of Prelude by showing their bloopers, adding banjo music, crickets, laughter, etc…and making it look like these were bungling idiots rather than actors trying to put in solid performances while flubbing the occasional line.

Michael called it a “fan film,” but I don’t think it qualifies.  A fan film should celebrate and honor something a fan loves—Star Trek, Star Wars, Doctor Who, Harry Potter—not try to tear it down or cheapen it in some way.  In fact, that’s sorta the OPPOSITE of a fan film.

Michael was using Axanar blooper footage released without permission last year by former Axanar marketing director turned vitriolic detractor TERRY McINTOSH, violating his non-disclosure agreement with Alec and Axanar Productions and releasing footage that was not legally his to release.

The arguments being employed currently by Michael and other detractors justifying the creation and release of this mockery film can best be summed up as follows:

  1. Alec can’t own the Prelude footage because it’s all Star Trek, and Alec doesn’t own the Star Trek intellectual property.
  2. Parody is protected speech under fair use.  Alec can’t do anything to prevent Michael from enjoying his First Amendment rights.
  3. Axanar is”open source.”  Alec even said so himself.
  4. Get over yourselves and laugh, fer cryin’ out loud!  They’re bloopers, not KFC’s secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices.  Lighten up.

You probably won’t be surprised to hear that I’ve got an answer to each of these attempts to justify and excuse what Michael did.

Continue reading “What’s WRONG with making a mockery of AXANAR… (editorial)”

How AXANAR DETRACTORS condone HARASSMENT (editorial)

(My apologies in advance for the length of this blog.  But I think the current situation merits it.)

As you probably know, there are certain areas on the Internet (mostly Facebook) where many of the most hard-core AXANAR detractors congregate and feed off of one anothers’ obsessive antipathy toward this fan project and its show-runner.  Just look at the image to the left.  Here’s a detractor who has spent countless hours creating literally dozens and dozens of these faux movie posters…each of them denouncing ALEC PETERS and Axanar, hurling insults and accusations, and mocking Axanar supporters (like good ol’ “Slow” Lane here—they love calling me that for some childish reason).

Most of the time, this “fear and loathing” of all things Axanar remains safely locked away in the echo chambers of these Facebook groups.  But last week, I was concerned to read the following message posted on the main Axamonitor Facebook page by SHAWN O’HALLORAN……

Continue reading “How AXANAR DETRACTORS condone HARASSMENT (editorial)”

Has the ANTI-AXANAR “vendetta” finally gotten RIDICULOUS?

Actually, I think the AXANAR detractors have been pretty ridiculous for quite some time now.  In fact, one Axanar supporter told me recently, “Y’know, if Alec Peters goes to take a leak in a restaurant, someone from one of the hater groups is gonna follow him in to see if there’s any piss left on the toilet seat.  Then Carlos Pedraza will write a blog about how Alec has no respect for janitors!”

What a great image to begin a blog with, huh?  Well, it seems that the Axanar detractors are stooping nearly that low (if they haven’t already surpassed it) in their latest efforts to try to embarrass and sabotage their favorite target of ridicule, Alec Peters.

While I usually ignore the day-to-day antics of the Axanar detractors, every so often something pops up that just leaves me scratching my head.  And let me tell ya, my scalp was itching like crazy when I saw a recent Facebook IM conversation that recently went on between Axamonitor blogger Carlos Pedraza and the assistant of Tony Cade.

But before I show it to you, there’s a quick bit of background you need to know first…like who the heck is Tony Cade???

Continue reading “Has the ANTI-AXANAR “vendetta” finally gotten RIDICULOUS?”

The latest AXANAR NEWS!

Last October, it was announced that Marvel Comics writer PAUL JENKINS would be joining ALEC PETERS as co-writer of the 2-part Axanar fan film allowed by the settlement with CBS and Paramount.  I interviewed Paul shortly thereafter, and you’re welcome to read what he had to say here.

But then Axanar went pretty quiet over the holiday season and through the entire month of January.  But last week, Alec posted a flurry of updates, and suddenly I’ve got LOTS to report on!

If you regularly visit the AxanarProductions.com website, chances are you already know most of what I’m about to tell you.  In fact, I’ll be taking a lot of the updates verbatim from there.  But since not all my readers go there, I’ll be providing all of the updates here in one convenient blog post.

So let’s jump right in…

Continue reading “The latest AXANAR NEWS!”

Why one AXANAR detractor is now a FORMER Axanar detractor! (audio interview)

Some call them “haters.”  I call them “detractors.”  Any way you slice it, though, they are the Captain Ahabs and Khans of the fan film community.  They will chase ALEC PETERS ’round the moons of Nibia and ’round the Antares Maelstrom and ’round perdition’s flames before they ever let go of their anger and resentment for him and his fan project AXANAR.

And their wrath and indignation aren’t simply reserved for Alec himself but also for anyone who supports him and his production, anyone who stands up to defend him, and in fact anyone who has any connection to him and Axanar whatsoever…real or perceived.

Sometimes, the detractors just insult people, call them names, and/or create a few snarky memes.  Sometimes it’s angry tweets and posts on Facebook.  But occasionally it goes beyond that to attempts to sabotage people in social media through reports to Facebook and the like, online threats, or even interfering with people’s livelihoods.  Such a thing happened the week before last…and I wouldn’t have even known about it had not a member of Carlos Pedraza’ AXAMONITOR Facebook group contacted me privately to share his newfound concerns and disgust for the group.

I personally stopped visiting the Axamonitor Facebook group (and any other lingering detractor echo-chambers) many, many months ago.  It was a waste of my time, as the petty nastiness and cruel vulgarity in those groups was frankly nauseating.  And it wasn’t just the insults against Alec (or me).  These guys often turned venomously on each other, and the moderators had to frequently warn members to be respectful of other members (just not respectful of any Axanar supporters).

So when JOES DIAZ sent me an IM request on Facebook on Superbowl Sunday morning, I had no idea who he was or what had happened in the Axamonitor group.  When I found out, I was pretty disgusted myself…although not entirely surprised.

As we messaged back and forth, I asked Joe if he felt strongly enough about this incident, and about his fellow detractors, that he might want to do an interview to share his story.  He said yes, and the next day, we had the following very eye-opening discussion…

I can imagine how the detractors will react to this interview.  But maybe, just maybe, a few of them might hear Joe’s words and begin to realize that hating on Axanar and Alec Peters won’t solve anything…and perhaps it’s finally time to just settle down and move on.

AXANAR DETRACTOR changes his mind about ALEC PETERS!

On Saturday, GABE KOERNER, a well-known detractor of Axanar and ALEC PETERS, sent me the following e-mail out of the blue:

I’ve given up on the Idea that the guy is some kind of willful criminal. He isn’t. He’s just a mix of Massively Egotistical and Massively Incompetent which can LOOK “criminal” but it really isn’t.

Yeah, it’s obvious that Gabe isn’t ready to finally stop trying to disparage Alec (frankly, I doubt that Gabe will ever be able to completely let this go).  But this was a HUGE revelation and step forward for someone who, like many detractors, had been calling Alec all kinds of synonyms for crook, thief, criminal, liar, embezzler…the list goes on and on!

At the heart of the most extreme detractor arguments has been a contention that Alec had willfully taken money from Axanar donors to fund a lavish lifestyle of things like jet-setting around the world, eating sushi, paying for health insurance, and buying new tires for his car.  I’ve seen the full Axanar financials—endless pages of spreadsheets!—and I’ve tried to explain about a million times here and elsewhere how this wasn’t the case at all.  It was like trying to reason with jello!

And even if you’re one of those people who thinks the Axanar books were somehow cooked, the fact remains that the goal of embezzling is to come out with MORE money, NOT less.  And yet, Alec Peters has put in close to a quarter of a million dollars of HIS OWN money (generated from the sale of screen-used props from his extensive collection) to fund this project.  Of course, you can argue whether or not a studio should have been leased/built or simply rented, But even Alec himself now agrees that he should have filmed Axanar on James Cawley’s TOS sets in upstate New York as originally envisioned.  So that’s not the point today.

Now personally, I have no idea if any other of the detractors on their various public and secret Facebook groups are now in agreement with what Gabe has just acknowledged…and frankly, I don’t feel like checking those crass and vitriolic places to confirm.  And I don’t really have to.

The story today is simple.  I received an e-mail on Saturday, unsolicited, from someone who is a good friend of, and has been conversing with, former Axanar director ROBERT MEYER BURNETT.  And in this e-mail, Gabe Koerner finally gives up on a long-standing claim that he has clung to that Alec Peters is some kind of willful criminal.  That’s a BIG step forward.

And if Gabe can finally move past such a deeply-held belief—despite the other digs that he still feels he must make—then maybe there is some hope for other Axanar detractors out there.  Maybe…