Just posted: PAGE 7 of the INTERLUDE comic “STARDATE 2245.1”!

Has it been six weeks already? Wow, this summer is flying by! When I posted page 1 of this comic on June 18, the GoFundMe campaign for INTERLUDE had been up for a week, and we’d just crossed the $3K mark with 53 donors. Now we’re at $10,415 with 144 donors (plus a few more via Paypal)!

That is so awesome, and I can’t tell you how amazing it feels to have so many people supporting me and sharing this crazy dream of making a fan film. But we’re still not quite there yet, so once again, here’s the link to the GoFundMe campaign for Interlude.

https://www.gofundme.com/interlude

Please donate or at least share. And now, let’s wrap up the comic…

SPOILER ALERT!

Yep, one last time, here’s your warning. The “Stardate 2245.1” comic book short story is pretty much the same plot you’ll see in the fan film Interlude. So if you don’t want to know what’s going to happen, for the love of Garth(!) don’t read the 7-page (plus cover) comic below. So say we all.

Okay, let’s discuss the last page…

Continue reading “Just posted: PAGE 7 of the INTERLUDE comic “STARDATE 2245.1”!”

And the INTERLUDE GoFundMe “POINT OF NO RETURN” is…

The typical “life cycle” for most crowd-funding campaigns (especially for Star Trek fan films) is a burst of excitement and donations at the beginning, then a slowdown in the middle, and (if you’re lucky) a smaller burst at the end just before the deadline. I’ve seen it dozens of times.

The problem for my Axanar Universe fan film INTERLUDE, however, is that I decided to use GoFundMe instead of Kickstarter or Indiegogo. The latter two have built-in deadlines—usually 30 or 60 days—before the campaign must either reach its goal or fail.

But GoFundMe is open-ended. Conceivably, I could still be raising money for Interlude when Earth makes first contact with the Vulcans 44 years from now! Of course, I don’t plan to do that. At some point, I will need to shut this campaign down and deliver a completed fan film to you all. The question is…when?

We had a FANtastic first month, taking in nearly half of our goal from more than 100 backers ranging from $5 and $10 and $20 donors to donations in the hundreds and even thousands of dollars! But in the past couple of weeks, although donations are still coming in, the pace has slowed considerably…which is consistent with the crowd-funding “life cycle.”

Unfortunately, without a specific deadline, it’s unlikely that we’ll get that final boost. And even if I do set an artificial deadline (which I am about to do in this blog), it’s not likely that we’ll reach or exceed the $19,500 goal that our budget calls for.

However, as I mentioned last week, my budget blog back in June mentioned that my numbers purposefully erred on the high side in order to provide flexibility for trimming and cutting various items just in case we didn’t make our goal.

So this past week, I sat down with my directors, VICTORIA FOX and JOSHUA IRWIN, and went through every line item with a fine-toothed comb. We sliced, we diced, we cropped and capped. And in the end, we came up with a minimum that we’ll need to commit to making this fan film…as well as the date we’ll need to have those funds by in order to be ready to shoot the first weekend of November.

So what’s our “point of no return”?

Continue reading “And the INTERLUDE GoFundMe “POINT OF NO RETURN” is…”

Just posted: PAGE 6 of the INTERLUDE comic “STARDATE 2245.1”!

Yesterday, the GoFundMe campaign for INTERLUDE crossed the $10,000 threshold (on our way to $19,500) with 140 backers! Plus there’s a handful of Paypal donors. And of course, donations are always welcome right here…

https://www.gofundme.com/interlude

And without further ado, the blog…


SPOILER ALERT!

As we present the next-to-last page of “Stardate 2245.1,” I’ll remind you all once again that, if you want to be know nothing about my Axanar Universe fan film Interlude, then you should stop reading now and find another webpage to visit. The comic story is almost the same as the fan film story. So if you want to be completely surprised by Interlude, staying on this blog entry is pretty much the worst place you could be!

There, I said it.

As much as I love every single panel of every page of artwork that my illustrator DANIEL FU produced, if I had to pick a favorite, Page 6 would be it. Go ahead and scroll down to the bottom of this blog page to check it out and then come back up here, because it truly is a beautifully composed masterpiece.

I recall that Daniel and I spent a lot of time on this page, discussing it both before and after he had produced the first clean version. Initially, Daniel’s bridge background in panel three wasn’t accurate to the photos of the actual set, and while I hated asking my poor, overworked artist for a redo, I also felt it was very important that this particular panel look like the real thing.

And here’s why…

Continue reading “Just posted: PAGE 6 of the INTERLUDE comic “STARDATE 2245.1”!”

Just posted: PAGE 5 of the INTERLUDE comic “STARDATE 2245.1”!

Another week, another $700 for the ol’ GoFundMe campaign for INTERLUDE. We’re just about half-way, and at this rate, we’ll make it to our $19,500 goal by mid-October. But we don’t have until mid-October—more on that situation at the end of this coming week.

In the meantime, we’re just $442 away from passing the $10K threshold. So if you haven’t donated yet or would like to increase your donation a weeeeee bit, operators are standing by…

https://www.gofundme.com/interlude

And now, the blog…


SPOILER ALERT!

By now, you know that the spoiler alert is there because this comic book one-shot tells the same story as INTERLUDE. So if you want to be completely surprised by the fan film when it comes out, then completely don’t read the 5 pages (plus cover) at the end of this blog.

Heed my words, humans.

Okay, if you’ve stuck around, you might be wondering how close the comic will be to the final fan film. The dialog is pretty darn close, but it’s not an exact match. The comic book needed to be truncated in places in order to keep it at just seven pages and not have all of the artwork covered up by word balloons.

But there’s also two places where you’ll discover that the comic and film will diverge quite a bit. One of those two places is at the end. But since we’ve still got two pages to go, I won’t spoil that for you just yet. I’ll discuss that divergence in two more weeks.

The other place where the two versions are different comes closer to the beginning—in fact, it’s right after the opening VFX sequence. Originally, the shooting script matched the comic book much more closely. But after VICTORIA FOX, my producer and the co-director for Interlude, read the shooting script, she had some feedback.

Now, I’ll be honest with you, I wasn’t looking forward to making any more changes. I’d already sat with this script for nearly two years, tweaking it here and there, and I was pretty happy with it. So was ALEC PETERS. Why mess with “perfection”?

Well, it turns out it wasn’t quite perfect just yet…

Continue reading “Just posted: PAGE 5 of the INTERLUDE comic “STARDATE 2245.1”!”

Just posted: PAGE 4 of the INTERLUDE comic “STARDATE 2245.1”!

As usual, a quick check on the GoFundMe campaign. While donations have slowed, they’re still coming in and inching us closer to our $19,500 goal. Right now, we’re 45.3% of the way there and 118 donors, with some promotional pushes planned over the next couple of weeks. Fingers crossed!

In the meantime, if you haven’t donated yet, have a little extra to spare at the moment, or simply want to help us spread the word, here’s the link…

https://www.gofundme.com/interlude

And now, the blog…


SPOILER ALERT!

The spoiler warning is there to remind you that this short comic book story is pretty much identical to what you’ll see in INTERLUDE when it’s finished…only the comic is two-dimensional drawings without sound or motion or all the other cool stuff you see in fan films.

Interestingly enough, we’ve reached the point where I need to start being very selective in choosing which panel(s) to show at the top of the blog entry. I always like to show some thumbnail, as it increases the visibility of the link when I post to Facebook and Twitter. Also, if I don’t set the thumbnail, Facebook and Twitter will use their mysterious algorithm to decide for themselves with thumbnail to use…and that could inadvertently end up giving away an important spoiler.

So as you can see from the image at the top, I’ve chosen something very ambiguous to display while still showing off the amazing artwork of my illustrator DANIEL FU.

And speaking of Daniel, I’d like to take a moment to point out something that many of you might not have noticed. Sure, his art looks awesome…with great composition that moves the eye around the page, dramatic expressions and poses, confident line work, and contoured contrasts of light and shadow.

But did you notice the colors? I mean, they’re bright and vibrant and all, which is important for this era of Star Trek (before things got darker and less saturated in the later TV series like Discovery and Enterprise). But it’s more than just that.

When Daniel and I discussed the story and pages, I art directed him that I felt it was important to distinguish the two bridges—Ares and Artemis—which are, of course, identical. And they’re both at red alert, meaning they both should be colored to reflect that emergency battle status. So how could Daniel make two identical bridges, both tinged red for battle status, look different?

Continue reading “Just posted: PAGE 4 of the INTERLUDE comic “STARDATE 2245.1”!”

INTERLUDE intro: “getting from there to here” – Sound FX!

If you liked last week’s blog about the previs that went into the opening 19-second VFX sequence for my Axanar Universe fan film INTERLUDE, then you’re probably going to find this week’s blog just as fascinating.

But first, a reminder to please donate to our GoFundMe campaign (we’re nearly halfway to our $19.5K goal—just cracked $8.7K!)…

https://www.gofundme.com/interlude

Okay, let’s get this blog rolling!


I really feel like I’m walking with giants. This is totally my first rodeo. I’ve never executive produced a fan film (or any film) before. BUT!!! Through goodwill, good fortune, good nature, or just blind luck, I’ve managed to attract some incredibly skilled and experienced people to direct, produce, do casting, create visual FX, and take on other important tasks to make Interlude amazing. And isn’t that what fan films are all about—bringing together people who love Star Trek?

Three of those tasks were still required for completing the opening sequence for Interlude. My CGI guy, LEWIS ANDERSON (not his real name), had already produced this amazing VFX masterpiece…

But of course, there was no sound yet. We still needed music, sound effects, and someone to mix them together so that the music didn’t overwhelm the sounds of the engines/torpedoes/explosions…and also vice versa. These three tasks were the job of two of my “giants”: KEVIN CROXTON and MARK EDWARD LEWIS.

Kevin is a musical composer who has won an Emmy Award (and yes, I will say that over and over and over again!) and now teaches music in Arkansas. Last year, he wrote and directed the musical Star Trek fan film THE BUNNY INCIDENT starring his 4th and 5th grade music students.

Mark was the sound-mixer on PRELUDE TO AXANAR. He also did editing and sound-mixing on two episodes of Star Trek: New Voyages (plus dozens of other independent films and shorts), and will be doing the editing for the upcoming Axanar sequels. Mark has access to all of the original sound effects for Prelude, and he was happy to mix them into my fan film, too.

The only question now was kind of a chicken-and-egg one: who works on the opening sequence next? Does Kevin write the music first, or does Mark add the sound effects first?

Continue reading “INTERLUDE intro: “getting from there to here” – Sound FX!”

Just posted: PAGE 3 of the INTERLUDE comic “STARDATE 2245.1”!

First, a quick check on the GoFundMe campaign: another three days, another $320 for a total of $8,651 from 111 donors. There’s also another $50 from Paypal donations, bringing us 44.6% of the way to our $19,5000 goal after three weeks. It’s all good, folks.

To donate or if you’d just like to help spread the word, here’s the link:

https://www.gofundme.com/interlude

And now, the blog…


SPOILER ALERT!

Once again, a friendly reminder that this 7-page (plus cover) comic book story is nearly identical to what you will see when INTERLUDE is completed and released. So if you don’t want to know anything about my fan film—and that’s fine!—please stop reading now and don’t look at the page artwork below…’cause that wouldn’t be quite as fine.

Let’s talk briefly about the captain of the USS Artemis: Imari Jakande. When I first wrote up my “alternate” script for the two Axanar sequels, I’d named the captain of the ArtemisKyle Donovan,” and I didn’t really think about his race or background. I just needed a person in the center seat of that starship. Kyle could just as easily have been Kylie, as well. Race, gender, ethnicity…they just weren’t as important to me at that moment as getting my thoughts down on paper (well, keyboard) before they faded from my mind. Initially, I don’t even think the original three or four pages of the scene with the Artemis and Ares took me more than 15 minutes to write.

So when I first expanded that sequence into a seven-page comic book script, I left the character’s name as Kyle Donovan. My illustrator, DANIEL FU, suggested making him a black man, and I had no problem with that. Good idea! And when the page artwork came in, I loved what I saw.

A few weeks later was when I first showed the artwork to ALEC PETERS. I had already gotten his thumbs-up to do the comic, but I wanted him to be able to review the progress. After all, it was important to me that this story be acceptable “head canon” for the Axanar “universe.”

Alec liked the artwork, but suggested that, since the captain of the Artemis was black, perhaps he should have an African name. By this, Alec didn’t mean African American but rather from the African continent—like Uhura—with an authentic African name.

As Alec did with the Axanar character of Sam Travis, who was named after a famous military leader, I wanted my character to have an African name with some historical significance.

Turns out that was much easier said than done!

Continue reading “Just posted: PAGE 3 of the INTERLUDE comic “STARDATE 2245.1”!”

INTERLUDE intro: “getting from there to here” – Previs and VFX!

First, a quick update on the GoFundMe campaign for the INTERLUDE fan film. Since Monday’s blog, we’ve gained over $400 (2% closer to our goal of $19,500) for a current total of $8,331. We’ve also crossed the 100 backer threshold (currently at 109). So steady as she goes…!

As I say each time, if you haven’t donated yet, or if you’d just be willing to help spread the word, here’s the link:

https://www.gofundme.com/interlude


This is the first in a series of three weekly blogs I’ll be posting about the opening VFX sequence for my fan film Interlude and how it went from an idea in my head to looking like this…

When I first set out to raise money to make Interlude, I knew I needed to show something. Obviously, without costumes or a cast, we couldn’t shoot any actual footage. Of course I’d feature the creative people involved, but doesn’t typically create high excitement unless some of those people are Star Trek celebrities (which fan filmmakers can no longer use). So what’s left? Well, VFX, of course!

I spoke to my CGI guy, LEWIS ANDERSON (a pseudonym my friend is using) and asked if he’d be willing to churn out a quick visual effects sequence from my script to show what Interlude might look like. “Sure,” he said. “Shoot me over the script, and let me take a look at what you’re thinking.”

Easy-peasy. I sent him the full script, but highlighted the opening scene…

After receiving it, Lewis messaged me back: “Shouldn’t be a problem, Jon. Do you have anything storyboarded?”

As a matter of fact, I did! I actually had FOUR different storyboards!!!

The first wasn’t actually a storyboard so much as a more detailed description of the sequence that I had written up for my comic book artist, DANIEL FU, when I decided (a year earlier) to turn this script into a one-shot AXANAR comic book called “Stardate 2245.1” . The description I wrote up for Daniel was divided into three comic book panels and looked like this…

Continue reading “INTERLUDE intro: “getting from there to here” – Previs and VFX!”

Just posted: PAGE 2 of the INTERLUDE comic “STARDATE 2245.1”!

A quick check of the GoFundMe campaign before we begin. After two weeks, we’re already on the cusp of 100 BACKERS(!!!) with a total of $7,901—more than 40% of the way to $19,500. That’s FANtastic progress! If you haven’t donated yet, or if you’d just be willing to help spread the word, here’s the link:

https://www.gofundme.com/interlude

And now, today’s blog…


SPOILER ALERT!

If you do NOT want to know what my Axanar Universe fan film INTERLUDE will be about, if you want to want to go in completely cold with no idea what happen, then stop…

reading…

NOW.

Seriously. This far. No farther. Go to a different website or read another blog. Final warning.


Okay, for those brave/curious/impatient souls who are left, what IS Interlude about anyway? So far, I’ve kept things pretty vague. Here’s what it says on my GoFundMe page:

INTERLUDE is an exciting vignette story that shows fans whom those D7s were shooting at, and why those targets were so important.  The story is about honor an sacrifice, bravery and duty in the face of a surprise sneak attack that leaves no time to plan or react with anything other than one's true self.

I’ve mentioned previously that the reason for the story was to explain the absence of Admiral Marcus Ramirez from the Axanar sequels. The real reason, of course, is that actor TONY TODD no longer wished to be a part of the production going forward. So there’s a point in my script where Ramirez gets severely wounded, but beyond that, I’ve given few details.

The reason for the vagueness is that Interlude is actually a pretty fast-paced story. It starts in the middle of a space battle and spends most of its (estimated) ten minutes in that same tense situation. While there’s drama and action, the majority of the dialog happens between just two characters…one of whom is Captain Kelvar Garth of the USS Ares.

I always thought of this story as a small but important part of the tapestry of Garth’s life…a tapestry that includes PRELUDE TO AXANAR, my short story “Why We Fight,” another short story I haven’t written yet called “Why We Explore,” the two upcoming Axanar sequels, and perhaps even the TOS episode “Whom Gods Destroy.”

Combined, all of these stories help to piece together the puzzle that is Kelvar Garth, the victor at Axanar and the personal hero of Captain James T. Kirk. Who is Garth? We only saw a fleeting glimpse of the true man at the end of “Whom Gods Destroy,” and I for one want to learn more.

So here’s Page 2—along with the cover and Page 1—of another piece of the Garth puzzle (click to enlarge the images)…

Read mor

Set Cancellations, Scheduling Conflicts, Costume Conundrums, Stray Dogs, Trapped Woodpeckers, and Acts of God…what I DIDN’T expect when I decided to make a fan film!

Before we begin, quick crowd-funding update! After ten days, 88 backers have already donated $7,621 to INTERLUDE (nearly 40% of the way to $19,500!). That’s amazing! If you haven’t donated yet, or if you’d just be willing to help spread the word, here’s the link:

https://www.gofundme.com/interlude

And now, today’s blog…


“Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.” Man, am I learning that lesson with Interlude!

Over the years, I’ve interviewed countless fan filmmakers, and the one thing that nearly all of them have in common are stories of unexpected crises that pop up out of nowhere…demanding to be dealt with quickly lest the project get partially or completely derailed.

I never truly appreciated what these show-runners go through until I became an executive producer myself. My fan film hasn’t even started shooting yet, and already I’ve had to deal with some of the weirdest occurrences that I could have ever imagined—including emergency dog rescues, woodpeckers in chimneys, and an honest-to-goodness flood—all of which have conspired to try to delay the launch of my crowd-funder!

The dog actually DID delay it. You all probably remember how a stray canine in Alabama crossed the highway in front of ALEC PETERS and CRYSSTAL HUBBARD, and how they spent the next two hours trying to keep the dog safe (keep it from trying to cross back) until help could arrive. And those two hours ate up the window for livecasting Axanar Confidential that Monday night, forcing us to delay the roll-out of the GoFundMe campaign for INTERLUDE until the following night.

But wait till you hear about some of the other Murphy’s Law moments I’ve had over the past month and a half…

Continue reading “Set Cancellations, Scheduling Conflicts, Costume Conundrums, Stray Dogs, Trapped Woodpeckers, and Acts of God…what I DIDN’T expect when I decided to make a fan film!”