A whole new DIMENSION to my fan film INTERLUDE!

And this is why I’m not a video editor!

But before I begin publicly admitting my embarrassment, let me first say how excited and encouraged I am to see so much support for my Axanar Universe fan film INTERLUDE. After just 24 hours, we’d already made it an amazing 1/8 of the way to our $19,500 goal…with new donations popping up every few hours. So THANK YOU!

If you haven’t donated yet and would like to, here’s the link:

https://www.gofundme.com/interlude

So let me tell you a little bit about my experience as a filmmaker…

And there it was. I’m not an accomplished editor or VFX artist; I can’t compose music; I don’t know lighting; and I’m working my way up to”novice” when it comes to video cameras and the latest technology. Fortunately, I have some amazing people who DO know this stuff backwards and forwards, and I’m more than happy to find them some money to produce a film and then just get out of their way and let them work their magic.

However, when it came to creating the “ask” video for Interlude, I didn’t feel comfortable requesting or expecting too much free work just yet. Oh sure, LEWIS ANDERSON created the awesome CGI render of the opening VFX sequence, MARK EDWARD LEWIS added the sound effects, KEVIN CROXTON composed the music, and Mark did the sound mixing. Those 19 seconds were a true team effort.

But the other 12 minutes and 16 seconds of the ask video were all me, my Canon G3X camera, and my Mac. And as I said, I’m not exactly an accomplished expert, and I don’t have the high-end editing software (nor did I have time to learn it). So I just did my best to record footage and assemble the video using the “Happy Meal” of Mac film editing applications: iMovie.

Considering my limited experience and abilities, and also the short amount of time I had to complete everything, the 13-minute ask video and the 1-minute Interlude “commercial” came out fairly decently. Lots of people agreed…even a few detractors, if you can believe it. But those same detractors were all too eager to point out how disappointed they were that Interlude would have a standard HD aspect resolution of 16:9 instead of the wider screen cinemascope aspect ratio of 2:39.1 that Prelude to Axanar was shot in.

Then, two days after I’d launched the GoFundMe with the “ask” video that I was so proud of, my CGI guy messengered me to ask why I cropped his cinemascope VFX footage down to 16:9?

To quote the great Scooby Doo: “R’uh R’oh!”

Continue reading “A whole new DIMENSION to my fan film INTERLUDE!”

My INTERLUDE GoFundMe launches with $1,600 in just 6 hours!

Wow! I launched the GoFundMe campaign for my Axanar Universe fan film INTERLUDE during the rescheduled livecast of this week’s Axanar Confidential. Then I headed out to have dinner with a good friend and watch episodes of Fear the Walking Dead and The Last Kingdom. After dinner but before geeking out in front of the TV, I showed my friend the YouTube “commercial” I posted for Interlude

He was curious how much we’d raised so far. I joked that it’d only been about two and a half hours, only 70 people had watched the podcast live, and we really hadn’t started the heavy promotion yet. Nevertheless, I pulled out my cell phone and checked: $420. Not bad, I thought…even though $100 of that came from me as the first donation.

But when I returned home three hours later (just a few minutes ago as I write this), I was shocked to see the total had jumped to $1,620! And this included an anonymous $1,000 donation (whoever you are, I love you—thank you so much!). Actually, I want to thank everyone who has donated so far, from a $5 donation from my dear friends ALEX & SARAH ROSENZWEIG to a $100 donation from CLAUDE FRANCIS DOZIERE in Italy (who will be the costume consultant for Axanar) to a $250 donation from a fellow named JT KLAMER, whom I’m not sure I know yet, but I’d sure like to. To you five and the other half dozen donors so far, THANK YOU SO MUCH!

But there’s still a long road to get from here to there…which is my ultimate goal of $19,500. Over the coming weeks, I’m going to be publishing a LOT of blogs about Interlude to keep up interest and excitement in the project. These will include features, interviews, a couple of videos, some editorials, and the seven pages of the short comic book story I wrote that Interlude is based on.

I am also planning to continue to cover the larger world of fan films. After all, that’s what this blog is all about! Already, I have an audio interview with MARC ZICREE of SPACE COMMAND coming on Thursday, another audio interview with the show-runners of DREADNOUGHT DOMINION the following week, a sneak peek at VANCE MAJOR’s upcoming series THE CONSTAR CHRONICLES, and the first new STALLED TREK animated puppet parody in more the three years.

So no, it’s not going to be “all Interlude all the time,” and yes, it is going to be a VERY busy summer for Jonathan!

And I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Please consider making a donation to my crowd-funder for Interlude, or at least please share the link below…

https://www.gofundme.com/interlude

The DOG ate my LIVECAST – INTERLUDE launch rescheduled for TONIGHT at 9PM Eastern Time!

Some of you might be aware that last night I was planning to launch my GoFundMe crowd-funding campaign for my Axanar Universe fan film INTERLUDE. We had it all planned: ALEC PETERS would host me and my directors, VICTORIA FOX and JOSHUA IRWIN, on his Axanar Confidential YouTube Livecast. The start time was supposed to be 9:00 pm Eastern. I posted all over Facebook and to a number of mailing lists.

And then the dog happened…

To be honest, I’d been a feeling little uneasy about the livecast the entire day. Alec was traveling back to Georgia all the way from Oklahoma (where he had been for the weekend)—a 13-hour drive! Could he make it back in time for the livecast?

As the day went on, I checked in with Alec periodically. By lunchtime, he and his girlfriend CRYSSTAL HUBBARD were in Memphis…half-way there. Later in the afternoon, while passing through Birmingham, Alabama, Alec’s GPS showed an arrival time of 8:30 pm. Cutting it close, to be sure…but we should still make it. Whew!

But then Alec texted me that he had to cancel the livecast. The reason: an emergency dog rescue…

Continue reading “The DOG ate my LIVECAST – INTERLUDE launch rescheduled for TONIGHT at 9PM Eastern Time!”

The REVISED BUDGET for my fan film INTERLUDE!

The crowd-funder for my fan film INTERLUDE goes live next week, and this is my last chance to share the details of the budget, explaining the goal of…

$19,500

…(a slight increase over the estimate in my previous blog from three weeks ago because a few things have changed).

Before I begin, let me state for the record that this budget was compiled by me based on input from a number of sources, including my directors VICTORIA FOX and JOSH IRWIN along with several other people whom I trust. But the final numbers and estimates were mine because, as executive producer, I am the guy responsible for raising the money, explaining to you how we are going to utilize it, and ultimately writing the checks from the money we raise.

So is this budget 100% perfect? Probably not. Some things might end up costing less, some will cost more, and probably a bunch of things we haven’t even thought of will suddenly pop up out of nowhere. If we come up short, we’ll need to figure out ways to trim things. For that reason, I’ve “erred on the side of caution” and created my budget to assume costs on the high side. That way, if we don’t make our goal, we’ll hopefully still have enough to make a decent fan film by streamlining and trimming things from the budget.

And what if we go over our goal?  Well, if there’s enough left over, perhaps we take the surplus and mail out some extra patches to our donors as a thank you gift. Maybe we can afford something even nicer than a patch. Maybe we can afford something even nicer than a patch. We’ll see. If there’s a lot left over, it goes into a bank account to be reserved for a future Axanar Universe fan film from me or another Axanar fan.

One place the funds do NOT go is to Axanar Productions to help ALEC PETERS in any way to make his Axanar sequels. That would, according to Alec himself, violate his settlement agreement with CBS and Paramount. This includes giving him any of our uniforms to use for his shoot. (Amusingly, he can loan some of his uniforms to us, but not vice-versa. Even though that sounds odd, it’s the legally prudent thing to do.)

And now, let’s take a deep-dive into our budget…

Continue reading “The REVISED BUDGET for my fan film INTERLUDE!”

ALEC PETERS chokes up at a panel from AXACON…

In the TOS episode “Whom Gods Destroy,” Kirk mentions that Garth’s exploits were required reading at Starfleet Academy. Well, if you’re a fan of AXANAR and ALEC PETERS, then the video below should be considered “required viewing.”

AXACON took place last November in Atlanta, and about 30 people attended. However, knowing that there were thousands and thousands more supporters of Axanar who wouldn’t be able to make it, Alec hired a video crew to film every panel—along with several interviews with the guests—through the 3-day weekend event. About ten of these interviews have already been released for early viewing to ARES STUDIOS Patreon donors, with about half of those now posted publicly to YouTube. (You can view all of the public Axacon videos here.)

The latest video to be released to the public debuted on Friday evening as a livecast on YouTube. Since then, it’s been viewed nearly a thousand times…and with good reason. It’s a really FANtastic panel…especially if you love Axanar. And for me, it was probably my favorite panel of the weekend. Why, you ask?

Well, it was an exhausting weekend…three days of non-stop fun mixed with hard work and little sleep (or was it hard work mixed with fun and almost no sleep?) where I conducted countless interviews and led seemingly endless panels. And honestly, I totally don’t know how to lead panels! I’m not sure if there are classes in it, but it there are, I never took any of them. So for most of the weekend I was flying by the seat of my pants and getting terrorized by J.G. HERTZLER and GARY F-ING GRAHAM. (You’ll need to watch my interviews with them to get that joke…and some haven’t been released yet.)

By the time we got to the “Elite of the Fleet” panel—the next-to-last of the weekend—I was totally spent. You can tell it from watching the video below. But now I had to lead STEVE JEPSON and Alec as we discussed Admiral Slater and Garth. I’d already interviewed Steve about Slater a few hours earlier, and Alec had already spoken on another panel about Garth. So I just kinda winged it…as did Steve and Alec.

To my utter surprise, this exhausted trio managed to have a fascinating and lively discussion—just three obsessed Axanerds chatting about their favorite fan film. It’s the kind of geeked-out conversation we fans love to have from time to time, and it was totally engaging and fun. Each of us got ample time to talk, and everything was SO interesting.

And then a very unexpected and special “moment” happened.

Continue reading “ALEC PETERS chokes up at a panel from AXACON…”

To perk or not to perk (or percolate) – the BIG RISK for my INTERLUDE crowd-funder!

Among the more annoying and often-ignored fan film guidelines is number 6e: “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.”

Boo. Hiss. Expletive.

And as I’ve said elsewhere, a number of post-guidelines fan film crowd-funding campaigns have ignored that one…offering posters, patches, and a bunch of other perks. Thus far, CBS hasn’t seemed to mind. In one case, the production even got permission from CBS to offer perks!

However, I’d be naive to believe that CBS won’t have me and my production under a microscope. So I’m taking great pains to keep INTERLUDE completely separate from Alec Perets’ Axanar sequels (other than having Alec play Garth) and to establish very clearly and publicly my intention to follow ALL of the guidelines.

And that means…no perks!

Man, it’s a huge risk. Perks are exciting! Perks are cool! Perks make people think they’re getting something tangible for their donation (which, if you think about, isn’t that different from simply buying that perk…which is probably why CBS doesn’t want fan productions to do it).

But perks also cost money to make and to mail. In addition to the patches or posters or T-shirts or mugs, you’ve got to buy shipping materials and pay for postage. And heaven help you if you’ve got backers from places like Asia or Australia. That $10 donation is likely gonna cost you $25 just to mail them a frickin’ patch!

So I’ve obviously got a pretty good reason NOT to offer perks. I’m already trying to raise about $20K. Add in perks and packaging and postage, and you can increase that number easily to $22K or $23K!

So instead, all I am going to be offering as a “perk” is getting your name in the credits. But are people going to want to donate simply to see their name at the end of my fan film??? Granted I do have some fun categories for listing the names:

  • Ensign – donate up to $10
  • Lieutenant – $11-$50
  • Lieutenant Commander – $51-$100
  • Commander – $101-$250
  • Captain – $251-$500
  • Commodore – $501-$1000
  • Admiral – $1001-$2500
  • Associate Producer – $2501 and up
    (no Fleet Captain…that rank’s reserved for Garth!)

The idea is that, the larger your donation, the higher your rank and the larger your name in the credits. And for the Associate Producers (assuming I get any), they will also be invited to join us at ARES STUDIOS for filming. They’ll have to pay for their own transportation and lodging—but I figure if they can afford thousands of dollars to donate to a fan film, they shouldn’t have a problem with a plane ticket and a Holiday Inn Express.

And there’s one more fun thing I wanna do…!

Continue reading “To perk or not to perk (or percolate) – the BIG RISK for my INTERLUDE crowd-funder!”

How I plan to have a SUCCESSFUL crowd-funder (HOPEFULLY!!!!)

Last week, I revealed that I’m going to need to raise $18,800 (possibly more if I end up getting production insurance) in order to make my fan film INTERLUDE, which takes place in what I’ve decided to call the “Axanar Universe.” Now, $18.8K is pretty ambitious in the post-guidelines fan film world. So how am I going to get there?

Over the years that I’ve published the Fan Film Factor blog, I’ve seen a LOT of crowd-funding campaigns—some more successful than others—and I’ve noticed some things that work and some that don’t. I’ve shared this “acquired wisdom” with many folks along the way, but now it’s time to see if I can practice what I’ve been preaching!

They say that a magician should never reveal how they do their tricks, but today I am going to do just that. I’m gonna tell you all exactly what I’m planning to try to make this a successful crowd-funding campaign. And hey, if you’ve got any additional ideas that I haven’t thought of (and don’t require me to “break bad”), please feel free to share them in the comments.

Okay, let’s pull back the magician’s curtain…

Continue reading “How I plan to have a SUCCESSFUL crowd-funder (HOPEFULLY!!!!)”

ALEC PETERS announces first shooting date for AXANAR sequels!

It’s the announcement fans have been waiting more than three years to hear!

Production on AXANAR (the sequel to PRELUDE TO AXANAR) had originally been scheduled to begin in early 2016. I had even cleared my schedule to drive to Valencia, CA to visit the set on the morning of February 2 and then drive a contest winner from there for a quick trip to nearby Vasquez Rocks in the afternoon. Fans were so excited to see this highly-anticipated full-length Star Trek fan film finally begin shooting.

You know what happened next.

A copyright infringement lawsuit filed by CBS and Paramount forced ALEC PETERS to suspend production, and a year-long legal battle finally ended in a settlement that allowed Axanar to be made with the same actors and professional crew…but only as two 15-minute short films rather than a full 90-minute feature, and with no public crowd-funding allowed (although private donations are permitted).

The subsequent loss of Industry Studios in mid-2017 resulted in a move from California to Lawrenceville, Georgia, and additional delays…during which time the amazing USS Ares bridge set has been nearly completed.

The delays in the start of production have confounded fans and supporters. Shooting had initially been announced (in an audio interview I did with J.G. Hertzler) to begin late last year, but Alec didn’t officially confirm the dates, and 2018 ended with no cameras rolling and the bridge still unfinished (although very close to completion).

In January of 2019, a new Patreon campaign was started to help fund the monthly rent for Ares Studios in Lawrenceville, renamed after the 18-month sponsorship of the studio by OWC Digital ended. Four months later, the Patreon is 55% of the way to its $4,000/month goal and still growing…currently at an impressive 229 backers contributing $2,184 each month.

For most of 2019 so far, Alec had been hinting at an unnamed fan production, in addition to Axanar, that would be filming on the USS Ares bridge set. Then earlier this month, I announced that the mystery project was my fan film, INTERLUDE, and would take place in the Axanar Universe…separate from Alec’s sequels and intended to fit in between them and Prelude (hence my title). But still no official word on when Axanar itself would begin filming.

This past weekend, the word was finally given. Production on the first of four shoots for Axanar will kick off during the first weekend of October, 2019…one week after I complete my two-day shoot at Ares Studios (plus one day at Neutral Zone Studios in nearby Kingsland, GA). The timing is not entirely coincidental, but I’ll talk more about that in an upcoming blog.

Right now, however, I turn the spotlight over to Alec Peters himself and a video update from Saturday that’s already garnered several thousand views…

My STAR TREK fan film is going to cost HOW MUCH???

$18,800. WTF???

It’s kinda mind-blowing, I know, considering that my fan film, INTERLUDE, is shooting on two existing sets (Ares Studios and Neutral Zone Studios), the guidelines don’t allow me to pay people, and we’re only planning to film for three days. On the other hand, my goal is to do a top-quality fan film…a worthy sequel to Prelude to Axanar. And apparently, even keeping things really tight budget-wise, doing this thing right is gonna cost some bucks.

At the risk of invoking 1980s rock-and-roll wisdom, I may ask myself: “Well, how did I get here?” (And more to the point: “My God, what have I done???”) Let me take you through it.

Now, before I get started diving into the nitty gritty, let me warn you that this is going to be a looooooong blog. If you don’t care, then by all means, please skip it. I won’t take it personally. And some people (including one with the initials A.P.) told me not to even bother explaining that high number. “It’s gotta be Axanar quality,” he said. “It costs what it costs. People will accept that.”

Maybe. But if even I was shocked by that high number, then I just know others are gonna wonder if I’m just trying come up with some sushi and tire money…and believe me, nothing could be farther from the truth! So I want to be as forthcoming and up front with all of you as I can be. And when someone says to me later, “Hey, I know you don’t need that much money for such-and-such,” I’ll just answer, “Yes, I do—check out paragraph 27 of my blog!”

Also, as a blogger who devotes his waking moments to bringing fans closer to fan filmmakers and their processes, discussing my budget in detail provides a unique opportunity for a deep-dive into what I consider to be one of the most fascinating aspects of production: figuring out what everything is gonna cost.

So if you haven’t bailed on the blog yet, let’s all boldly go into Jonathan’s budget for Interlude

Continue reading “My STAR TREK fan film is going to cost HOW MUCH???”

I will appear LIVE TONIGHT with ALEC PETERS on a private YOUTUBE Q&A stream exclusively for ARES STUDIO Patrons!

If you haven’t signed up to be a backer of the ARES STUDIOS Patreon campaign yet, to quote Chekov: “Now vould be a good time!”

Patrons at all levels (even as low as $2/month) get access to a monthly PRIVATE livestream YouTube Question & Answer session with ALEC PETERS. The link isn’t posted publicly but rather is emailed directly to anyone who is part of the Patreon.

Tonight (Thursday, May 16) at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time, I will be joining Alec to discuss BOTH of our upcoming fan films…and there’s a lot of news about each! You can be among the first to learn what the budget will be for my fan film Interlude, who will be working on it, and when we expect to film. As for Axanar, well, I’ll let Alec share his big news himself…and trust me, it’s BIG news!

There’s another perk to being part of the Ares Studios Patreon—which is already over halfway to its $4,000/month goal, having now reached an all-time high of $2,164 from 225 patrons. In addition to the private YouTube chats with Alec, each month backers at the $5 level and above get early access to exclusive videos from last November’s AXACON.

Although only 30-40 people were in attendance at the 3-day event, Alec hired a professional camera crew to record pretty much every panel and guest. So far, seven interviews have been released exclusively to patrons. The general public has only gotten to see two of these videos so far. The first, an interview with ALBERT MARTINEZ—a fan filmmaker guest at the con who created Chasing the Infinite Sky and will be part of the upcoming Axanar VFX team—was released publicly three months ago. It included a special HD remastered version of Albert’s breathtakingly beautiful fan film.

And earlier this week, the second Axacon video was released. It’s a lively discussion I had with STEVE JEPSON, one of my favorite people on the planet and the man who became of the face of Prelude to Axanar‘s ill-fated commander: Admiral Conrad Slater. But was Slater really ineffectual, or was he just a Starfleet scapegoat? And what happened to Slater after he was replaced by Admiral Ramirez? It’s a fascinating conversation that you’re now able to check out for yourself…

And remember that there’s still five other exclusive Axacon videos that the public hasn’t seen yet…with more being added each month. So if you haven’t yet signed up to help fund Ares Studios, now you’ve got two great reasons to do so: exclusive videos plus a chance to ask Alec and me questions LIVE about our two upcoming projects (and get inside info before anyone else in the fan community).

Click below to sign up…

https://www.patreon.com/aresstudios