I’m sure that Alanis Morissette would appreciate the irony. After years of accusing ALEC PETERS of lying (and a host of other evil deeds), one prominent detractor actually lied about flying to Georgia and attending Axacon this past weekend.
SHAWN P. O’HALLORAN is one of the three admins for the Axamonitor Facebook group, one of the main hang-outs for Axanar detracting. If you’re not familiar with just how negative they can go, while I’m loathe to send anyone there, take a look at how they reacted to photos of the bridge that they all said would never be completed. Sour grapes have seldom been so sour.
But the detractors hit a new low when Shawn O’Halloran PRETENDED to go to Axacon and then lied about what he saw and did there (since he wasn’t actually there). How do we know he wasn’t actually there, and how did he try to make us think he was? Sit back, my friends, and watch how the hoax unfolded…
Hey, guys. Not a lot of time to blog. I flew out on a red-eye from Los Angeles with minimal sleep last night, arrived in Atlanta at 6:30 am, and got to ALEC PETERS’ house about 8am. Thank goodness he didn’t ignore the doorbell (he’d been pulling consecutive all-nighters with the team to get the USS Ares bridge completed). After taking a 3-hour nap in one of Alec’s guest bedrooms, I got ready for my first-ever trip to OWC studios.
Alec put me to work almost immediately, tasking me and my co-host KEITH M. SEDOR with conducting a number of video interviews with various guests. I spoke with ALBERT MARTINEZ (the creator of Chasing the Infinite Sky), DON GAFFNEY (Star Trek prop-maker and Klingon expert), DANA WAGNER (who is supervising the completion of the bridge set), and his wife ALLISON (who works with the local school district getting high schoolers access to the the set at the studio for ultra-cool student projects). Keith got to interview GARY GRAHAM (Soval) and J.G. HERTZLER (Sam Travis/Martok). I’ve interviewed J.G. before, so Keith got the big celebrities.
Unfortunately, all that work prepping, doing pre-interviews, and conducting the interviews themselves didn’t give me as much time for photos and videos as I wanted, but Alec hired a 4-person professional film crew to record the entire event. This included about 40 people wandering through the bridge and, at one point, being treated to a live read-through of two scenes from the full 90-minute Axanar script (which will, eventually, be released in both written and audio format). The readers included Gary, J.G., Alec, and STEVEN JEPSON (Admiral Slater himself). It was really awesome hearing Gary and J.G. doing a dramatic script reading—they’re both incredibly gifted actors. There were even special Axanar cookies brought in by one of the attendees!
It was a super-fun day for everyone who made the, er, trek to Lawrenceville…and there’s even more on tap for Saturday and Sunday (including a panel of upcoming fan films with some footage debuting exclusively at Axacon!).
But the star of Friday’s show was the USS Ares bridge. Still not 100% finished, it’s now about 95% of the way there…with some fun little Easter eggs to find hidden in plain site on a few of the control panels. I’ve included some pictures of those along with the best of the photos I got on Friday…
Last week, when I posted my blog editorial about Carlos Pedraza getting banned from Axacon, there were a LOT of comments posted. One of them was a an impassioned post from ALEC PETERS himself, discussing Carlos’ obsession with both Alec and the Axanar Productions finances. Alec’s post began with this…
I seriously considered telling Carlos to come to Atlanta and sit down and go through the detailed finances with me. I would even pay for my accountant from highly respected accounting firm Frazier and Deter to be there. But you know, it won’t change Carlos’ mind, and he would still twist it to serve his agenda. Facts don’t matter to him. He will lie, manipulate and twist anything as he has done for almost three years.
Alec ended with…
Just about anyone in the Axanar world, especially donors, are more than welcome to Axacon, which is meant to be a celebration of Axanar and our fans. And frankly, I would probably sit down with anyone to review our finances in detail and share everything if I was asked. But not Carlos. He and his minions have made up their minds and only the facts that support their world view will be accepted.
I replied—as I often do—with a short, humorous little comment:
Hey, why not schedule a panel to show the full Axanar financials to everyone except the detractors? You could project them onto the big screen in the panel room! 🙂
I actually wasn’t serious, but Alec wrote me back and said that he LOVED the idea! Now he just needed to figure out how to do it…
Wow, quite a shat-storm started a’blowin’ after my blog post yesterday about CARLOS PEDRZA being banned from AXACON and then asking ALEC PETERS to refund the $413.50 Carlos lost buying a non-refundable plane ticket! So much came out yesterday that, unfortunately, I need to do a follow-up to clarify, explain, and respond to a bunch of different items.
Up first, I did have a small inaccuracy in yesterday’s blog. I stated that “…a Paypal order came into SphinxCon for a ticket with an Axacon add-on for one Carlos Pedraza.” DAVE WEINER, manager of SphinxCon, reached out to correct me. The ticket was mistakenly purchased through their website as an Axacon-only ticket with an Axacon add-on…
This was due to a glitch on the SphinxCon purchasing page. Carlos mentioned later in his e-mail response back to Alec that he (Carlos) intended to attend panels at SphinxCon as well as Axacon. So Carlos had obviously intended to buy a SphinxCon ticket with an Axacon add-on. But SphinxCon tickets were no longer available online and had to be purchased at the door. So the Axacon add-on was invalid since it requires a SphinxCon ticket. Make sense? Sorry if it doesn’t.
Technically, Carlos never purchased a SphinxCon ticket and therefore was never refunded for it being canceled. Dave Weiner has made clear to Carlos that he will not be banned from SphinxCon should he choose to attend. But neither will Carlos be allowed at Axacon. That decision belongs to Alec Peters and has been made.
Next up was the elephant in the living room both Carlos and the detractors seemed reluctant (afraid) to talk about…
There’s chutzpah and then there’s CARLOS PEDRAZA chutzpah. I’m talking cajones-the-size-of-monster-truck-tires chutzpah!!
It all began this past Sunday night at 5:54pm Eastern Time when a Paypal order came into SphinxCon for a ticket with an Axacon add-on for one Carlos Pedraza. This immediately led to a discussion between SphinxCon‘s organizer, DAVID WEINER, and Axacon‘s organizer, ALEC PETERS.
About three and a half hours later, Carlos received the following e-mail from Alec…
We note you attempted to buy a ticket to Axacon. Your ticket is being refunded. You are on notice that you, or any current or former member of the Axamonitor Facebook group that attempts to enter the Axacon facility, will be asked to leave. As Axacon is meant to celebrate and support the Axanar project, those who have shown repeated animosity, negativity, and antagonism toward Axanar Productions, its team members, myself, and guests of the convention are not welcome to attend.
A former Georgia Sheriff’s Deputy is in charge of security and local law enforcement will be notified before the event that we have had an issue with stalkers and will be prepared to respond if you or any of your fellow stalkers attempt to attend. The hotel will also be notified in advance.
It is very clear that, like your blog, your only intention is to make trouble.
Had things ended there, I wouldn’t have bothered writing this blog. After all, I haven’t blogged about Carlos Pedraza for several months (go ahead and check), and I was enjoying focusing exclusively on fan films. But things didn’t end there…
The first-ever AXACON is less than three weeks away, and ALEC PETERS hasjustreleased the schedule. It’s a pretty busy weekend, filled with all kinds of activities and panels…most of them focused on AXANAR (both past, present, and future), but also a few opportunities to expand beyond just one fan film.
Here’s a look at some of the things that will be going on:
A set tour of OWC Studios (including photo ops on the USS Ares bridge)
A reading from the full 90 minute version of the Axanar movie script (featuring J.G. Hertzler, Gary Graham, Alec Peters, and Steven Jepson)
Socialize at the bar with the actors and Axanar team (donor funds will NOT be used to pay the bar tab!)
The Top 10 Star Trek fan films (at least in our opinion…and we don’t all agree!)
J.G. and Gary talk about their time on televised Star Trek
An Axanar UPDATE with Alec Peters and director/co-writer Paul Jenkins
Alec discusses how the Honor Harrington novels influenced Axanar
A special Axanar donor lunch with the actors and production team
Axanar fan fiction with three people who are writing/drawing/animating it
Alec and Paul discuss the evolution of Axanar from story to screenplay
The Axanar fleet – designing cool starships from 20 years before TOS
A preview of upcoming Star Trek fan films
Klingon kostuming…er, costuming
The Axanar project from a fan’s perspective
Everyone hits the bar again, including J.G. and Gary
Starship combat in the Axaverse (when did we start calling it that?)
J.G., Gary, and Alec discuss working on Prelude to Aanar and plans for the remaining two Axanar films
When fan films become professional independent films…what does the future hold?
Alec discusses James T. Kirk’s hero: Garth of Izar, and Steven Jepson discuss the infamous “Admiral Scaredy”: Conrad Slater
Axanar trivia…with PRIZES!
As you can see, a lot of careful consideration went into filling this mini convention with diverse content while still keeping it centered around Axanar. I think the organizers did an excellent job with that.
They also scheduled me to host five panels and appear on an additional three…for a total of EIGHT panels in THREE days! Oy. But in one of those panels, I have to interview J.G. Hertzler, Gary Graham, and Alec Peters about their work on Prelude and plans for the two upcoming Axanar films. And that’s where I need YOUR help…
AXACON is now exactly one month away, and ticket prices for the weekend convention have just been lowered from $85 (not counting online processing fees) to $50.
This price reduction is based on a different scope to the ticket being purchased. Initially, attendees would be required to first buy a $60 ticket to SphinxCon (celebrating the Honor Harrington book series) and then add on a $25 Axacon ticket. The attendee would then be able to attend BOTH conventions.
But although attendees for SphinxCon were allowed to opt out of Axacon and simply buy the one ticket, attendees to Axacon had to buy a ticket for both…even if they didn’t really care about or were completely unfamiliar with the Honor Harrington novels (like me).
The challenge for ALEC PETERS and the organizers of Axacon was this: they’re “piggybacking” their convention on top of an existing convention. SphinxCon is paying all the bills for the hotel facilities, and Axacon is then using a small section of their convention area for a weekend of panels and events. So it seemed logical to Alec (at the time) to require all Axacon attendees to buy a regular ticket for SphinxCon. That way, SphinxCon would recoup some of the added costs for the extra hotel space.
Yeah, it seemed logical. But then again, so did this comment from ERIC L. WATTS, the chairman of the annual TREKLANTA convention: “You’re looking at a minimum of $85 for admission to Axacon, which to me, seems rather pricey for what you get if you’re not interested in Honor Harrington.”
“Fair enough,” thought Alec. “I may be a huge Honor Harrington fan, but we can’t expect everyone to be!” After discussing the situation with DAVID WEINER, who manages SphinxCon, the two came up with the following new pricing policy:
Axacon-only ticket: $50 – can attend only Axacon panels and events.
SphinxCon/Axacon-combo ticket: $75 – can attend panels and events for both conventions.
In this way, SphinxCon still gets reimbursement for sharing their hotel space (half of each Axacon ticket), but Axanar supporters no longer need to pay for a separate SphinxCon ticket if they have no intention of going to the Honor Harrington panels. Or they can buy a combo-ticket for both. Also, information on one-day tickets will be posted soon, as well.
Those Axacon attendees who have already purchased a SphinxCon ticket and don’t want to use it will be given a refund.
Yesterday, I published part 1 of an interview with ALEC PETERS, executive producer of AXANAR, discussing, among other things, the financial update he just posted last week (you can read it here.)
Axanar had a net loss of $150K overall, funds covered personally by Alec, as they exceeded the $1.2 million raised from the various crowd-funders. In 2017 alone, expenses for Axanar Productions totaled just over $35K, of which approximately $26K was paid to cover final legal expenses for items not included in the pro bono agreement with law firm Winston & Strawn.
Although Axanar Productions never completed its filings for 501(c)(3) status in California, there is currently some consideration of trying to make OWC Studios into a tax-exempt charity, considering the work they’re doing with film education in the local Georgia school districts.
Alec and I went on to discuss work being done towards the completion of the USS Ares bridge by a team of volunteers, along with future intended uses for the set and studio. And then we began talking about the upcoming Axacon event scheduled for November 2-4 (order your tickets here!) when Alec dropped a bombshell that he expects to LOSE $5,000 on Axacon. Rather than being a profitable endeavor and helping to fund production of the final two Axanar fan films, this convention is going to cost Alec quite a pretty penny!
And that’s where we pick up our interview, already in progress…
This past Friday, ALEC PETERS published a blog providing the latest “AXANAR Financial Update.” (You can read it here.) In the blog, Alec explains that Axanar Productions is now serviced by one of Atlanta’s largest and most prestigious accounting firms, Frazier and Deeter, and that Axanar Productions owes no taxes currently due to a business loss of more than $150,000 over and above the $1.2 million donated by supporters in 2014 and 2015. This loss was money put in by Alec Peters personally to cover expenses not covered by contributions.
One would assume that a large and reputable accounting firm would not take on as a client any corporation with obviously shady dealings, potential embezzlement, tax fraud, etc.—and that they would do their due diligence prior to signing up any new client. So the fact that Frazier and Deeter, which has in the past advised Pinewood Studios where many Marvel movies have been shot in Atlanta, decided to represent Axanar Productions argues against many of the spurious claims of “corruption” by Axanar detractors.
The majority of the numerical specifics of Alec’s update were included in a single paragraph:
There were $ 35,103.78 in Axanar expenses in 2017, of which approximately $26,000 was legal expenses left over from the lawsuit. These were the only legal expenses from the CBS/Paramount lawsuit, as we received over $1M in free legal services from Winston & Strawn. However, our pro-bono agreement was that we paid all actual expenses which consisted of deposition and expert witness costs. I personally paid those costs as well as the other costs in 2017 in order to keep the studio and operation going.
While Axanar Productions had attempted to file for 501(c)(3) tax exempt status back in California, those plans were tabled after the move to Lawrenceville, Georgia. Now, Alec and his advisers are considering starting the process of making OWC Studios into a 501(c)(3) since they’re working on an educational program for local high schools and colleges in the Atlanta area that have video and film programs.
In anticipation of that, and in preparation for the upcoming Axacon event from November 2-4 (get your tickets here), Alec and his team are also working to complete the amazing USS Ares bridge set. There’s obviously a LOT going on with Axanar (in addition to ramping up to film the two sequel episodes), and I though this might be a good time to have a little chat with Captain Garth himself, Alec Peters…
In June of 2017, when I saw the headline that a former Star Trek actor was planning to run for the U.S. Congress, I wasn’t at all surprised to find out that it was J.G. HERTZER.
Even though his character of General Martok from Deep Space Nine (who eventually became Chancellor Martok, leader of the Klingon Empire) loathed politics, J.G. always seemed drawn to it. The few times I’d seen and spoken with him at conventions, J.G. would invariably share his strongly-held progressive views on political issues and politicians in general.
So it kinda made sense that J.G. would combine his two passions—theater and politics—into his campaign to represent the 23rd Congressional District of New York State. That said, I still scratched my head a little at J.G.’s choice to run simultaneously as himself and also as his “spokesman” Mark Twain (pen name of noted American author Samuel Clemens). Clemens spent a portion of his adult life living and writing in J.G.’s upstate New York district, and the author’s humorous and straight-spoken approach to life seemed a perfect way to comment on the state of our union and the challenges facing it.
Unfortunately for the fan film AXANAR, however, J.G.’s choice to campaign as Mark Twain included a decision to also look the part, which meant letting his hair grow long and wavy (like the author). This precluded J.G. from filming any scenes of the upcoming Axanar fan film sequels until after the U.S. midterm elections in November, as his character of Admiral Sam Travis had a distinctively short military-style haircut.
So naturally, as an Axanar supporter myself, I took notice when I learned last week that J.G. Hertzler was SUSPENDING his Congressional campaign! Did this mean he was now free to cut his hair and do Axanar sooner? Was he even going to do Axanar at all? (He hadn’t been officially confirmed yet.) And why would J.G. suddenly suspend his campaign less than three months before the midterm elections?