DISCOVERY vs. AXANAR – choose “your” KLINGON WAR! (editorial / review)

WARNING – SPOILERS!!!  Lots and lots and lots of SPOILERS!!!


I really WANTED to like Star Trek: Discovery.  And to be honest, some things I actually DID like.  Sonequa Martin-Green put in a great performance playing the character of Commander Michael Burnham, and I loved the dynamic of seeing two women interacting as captain and first officer of a starship…and neither was caucasian!  (If only both characters could have continued beyond two episodes, but alas, we’ll soon be back to a captain who’s a white male.  Oh well, at least we’ve still got a black female lead.)

I even really liked some of the scenes…like when Burnham talks the ship’s computer into letting her out of the brig before power goes out.  But in the end, I just really didn’t enjoy the show overall—at least the first two episodes.  It was so dark (visually and emotionally), and I just couldn’t grab onto that uplifting feeling I used to get when watching Star Trek.  This new show felt so weighed down to me that even when things were moving quickly, they still seemed somehow slow and heavy.  A couple of times during those Klingon scenes with the never-ending subtitles, I nearly dozed off!

And it wasn’t even the Klingon actors’ fault they were so boring.  The decision to completely redesign the look of the Klingons not only alienated many long-time Trek fans, but it made it virtually impossible for those actors to deliver decent performances.

Imagine if you were asked to give a compelling performance while wearing a medieval suit of knight’s armor with the face-plate covering every part of your face except your mouth. You can barely move your head except a little side to side—very little!—and your arms won’t go any higher than your chest. You can’t even bend your elbows!  And then, before you go in front of the camera, you realize that all of your lines are in Polish…and your don’t speak Polish!  Sounds like an actor’s worst nightmare, right?  Well, that was pretty much the assignment these unfortunate Klingons were given.

And as I was considering this, I began to imagine what Discovery would have been like had they NOT redesigned the Klingons…or the Starfleet uniforms…or made the starships into barely-recognizable whatever-they-were…or had a dark bridge covered with lens flares.  What would Discovery have looked like then?

And then I realized: it would have looked a lot like Axanar

Continue reading “DISCOVERY vs. AXANAR – choose “your” KLINGON WAR! (editorial / review)”

AXANAR update…the news is actually GOOD!

Every so often, just for a shats and giggles, I head over the the Axamonitor blog site to see the latest “news” CARLOS PEDRAZA has to “report.”  It’s funny because, while some people like to see the AXANAR glass as half-full (if not more so), Carlos does his best to convince folks that the Axanar glass is 99% empty.  I noticed, in one of his latest updates, that Carlos included such catastrophic sub-headlines as…

  • Axanar Could ‘Take Years’
  • Failed California Studio
  • Indiegogo Failure
  • Hemorrhaging Money
  • Abandoning Nonprofit Plans
  • Bait and Switch?
  • No More Axanar

And that’s just ONE blog update, folks!!!

Sheesh, with “news” like that, it’s hard to imagine any reason to smile in the land of Axanar fandom.  So why am I and so many others still smiling?

Despite naming his blog site “Axamonitor,” Carlos seems to be very—what’s the word?—selective in what he actually “monitors” and chooses to include.  So if there are any positive things to say or good news or report about Axanar, you’re unlikely to find it there.

Fortunately, there’s other places on the Internet to get the rest of the story…including here.  And so that’s the subject of today’s blog: all the GOOD news that’s happening right now in the world of Axanar….

Continue reading “AXANAR update…the news is actually GOOD!”

TERRY McINTOSH is officially warned by actor TONY TODD not to use his AXANAR blooper footage!

After yesterday’s blog about the troubling behavior of TERRY McINTOSH, I’d really hoped to get back to fan films today.  Yeah, I thought I was out, but Terry pulled me back in.  However, this WILL be my last Terry McIntosh blog for the foreseeable future.  I don’t want to keep giving him all this attention, even if it is completely negative.  But I felt it was necessary to follow-up on yesterday’s blog because of something that happened later on last evening.

Quick recap: Terry McIntosh, who worked with Axanar Productions for years before flying off in a huff has all the footage from Prelude to Axanar…including outtakes.  Even though Terry signed a non-disclosure agreement agreeing to keep all Axanar-related materials confidential, he already leaked an early version of the full Axanar script, and now he’s announced plans to release a Prelude to Axanar blooper reel…even though he doesn’t own the footage or have permission to do so.

Terry’s stated intention is to use the blooper reel to embarrass Alec Peters, who apparently worked through numerous bad takes to get his performance as Garth to a point where it would be strong enough to feature in the fan film alongside the professional actors (who obviously didn’t flub their lines as much as Alec did…since he’s not a trained actor).

Terry contacted the other actors (with the exception of the late Richard Hatch and his estate) to ask “permission” to use their blooper footage (failing to mention that he was no longer with Axanar Productions and was doing this “rogue” in an attempt to embarrass Alec Peters).  Although Kate Vernon said okay, Gary Graham and J.G. Hertzler said no.

Then Terry said this:

In other words, Terry asked for permission, was not given that permission, and is now considering ignoring this actor’s wishes and using the footage anyway.

What I wrote in yesterday’s blog was NOT pretty.  But at least, I thought, this can’t get any worse.  There’s no way for Terry to possibly sink any lower.

Man, was I wrong…

Continue reading “TERRY McINTOSH is officially warned by actor TONY TODD not to use his AXANAR blooper footage!”

TERRY McINTOSH should be ashamed! (editorial)

I’m kinda sick to my stomach right now—so disgusted that I am quite literally nauseous—and I really don’t know how to deal with it other than blogging to try to clear this out of my head.

You guys might remember a few weeks ago when TERRY McINTOSH, the former marketing director for Axanar Productions, released an old version of the original full script for the AXANAR movie.  Even though he had signed a non-disclosure agreement (N.D.A.), promising to keep all Axanar-related materials private and confidential, he decided he was pissed off enough at ALEC PETERS that he no longer gave a shat about signed agreements or breaking promises.  The script, Terry believed, was so bad that releasing it would embarrass Alec, who had called it the best Star Trek script ever (or something like that).

In the end, it was mostly a tempest in a teapot.  I’ve now read the old script, and it wasn’t all that bad.  And now that I’ve read the two new 15-minute segments script, the outdated version of the full script doesn’t really ruin much of anything.  A lot has changed (obviously).

Anyway, y’know when Khan says, “I’ve hurt you…and I intend to go right on hurting you.”  Well, that seems to be Terry when it comes to Alec Peters.  Terry will chase Alec round the moons of Nibia and round the Antares Maelstrom and round Perdition’s flames before Terry gives him up!

But all kidding aside, Terry really doesn’t know when to stop, and now he’s carrying the vendetta to a very dark and troubling place.  But I don’t simply mean troubling to me.  Any reasonable Trekkie or Trekker should feel very concerned, as well…

Continue reading “TERRY McINTOSH should be ashamed! (editorial)”

DR. SEUSS/STAR TREK: What happens next? (Part 3)

Feel free to read Part 1 and Part 2 if you haven’t already.  This time, we’re going to look at is the state of the Dr. Seuss/Star Trek “mash-up” lawsuit as it stands right now.

Initially , there were three legal complaints filed by the plaintiffs, Dr. Seuss Enterprises:

  1. Copyright infringement
  2. Trademark infringement
  3. Unfair competition

Judge Janis L. Sammartino of the Ninth Circuit Federal Court dismissed the second and third complaints, leaving only the copyright infringement claim as the lawsuit…and that one was “nearly perfectly balanced” based on the “fair use” defense.

But the judge did give the plaintiff a “second chance” to get those two dismissed claims back.  She gave them two weeks to file an amended complaint that might change her mind about dismissing trademark infringement and unfair competition.

The plaintiff did, indeed, re-file an Amended Complaint.  Not surprisingly, the defendants then filed a new Motion to Dismiss.

The plaintiff wants their two dismissed claims back.  The defendant would like to keep those two claims dismissed and, if possible, dismiss the final copyright claim and end the lawsuit completely.

Will either side succeed?  Let’s take a closer look…

Continue reading “DR. SEUSS/STAR TREK: What happens next? (Part 3)”

DR. SEUSS/STAR TREK: A “near-perfect balancing” of FAIR USE factors! (Part 2)

Last time, we began looking at the intriguing case of the Dr. Seuss/Star Trek “mash-up” book Oh, the Places You’ll Boldly Go! by DAVID GERROLD and TY TEMPLETON.  Last November, they got sued by Dr. Seuss Enterprises for copyright infringement, trademark infringement, and unfair competition.  The defense quickly filed a motion to dismiss the case.  After a brief extension, the judge issued a ruling last month.  (For more details, read yesterday’s blog.)

The motion to dismiss centered around the “mash-up” being protected as “fair use.”  And while judges do not usually rule on fair use this early in a case, the Honorable Janis L. Sammartino of the 9th Circuit Federal Court did (again for reasons explained in yesterday’s blog).

So did the fair use defense work or not?  What did the judge say???

In short, it’s a tie.  She called it a “near-perfect balancing of the factors” of fair use.  And what does that mean?  Get comfy, folks, ’cause Jonny’s gonna do his best to break this down into layperson’s English for you all…

Continue reading “DR. SEUSS/STAR TREK: A “near-perfect balancing” of FAIR USE factors! (Part 2)”

DR. SEUSS/STAR TREK “Mash-Up” files new MOTION TO DISMISS! (Part 1)

Last week, I wrote a blog about what is rapidly becoming the second biggest copyright infringement lawsuit involving Star Trek in the last year.  But this time it isn’t CBS and Paramount doing the suing, it’s Dr. Seuss Enterprises.  And the target isn’t a fan film but rather a “mash-up” book that takes the characters, settings, and concepts of Star Trek and presents them in a style inspired by (the plaintiffs say “slavishly copied from”) the classics of Dr. Seuss.

The authors of the mash-up, entitled Oh, the Places You’ll Boldly Go!, include Star Trek “The Trouble with Tribbles” writer DAVID GERROLD and award-winning comic book artist TY TEMPLETON.  Together with their publisher, ComicMix, they were sued last November for both copyright and trademark infringement, along with unfair competition, by Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the owners of all the works of Dr. Seuss.  This lawsuit is seeking $150,000 in damages per infringement (of which there were multiple instances provided in the filing), for a potential judgment in the MILLIONS!  And all of this for a small, grass-roots book project that took in only $30,000 in a Kickstarter last September (pledged money that is now being held by Kickstarter pending the outcome of this case) and has never been published.

(If you’re wondering how the non-publication of a book could cost the copyright owners millions of dollars in damages, well, sit tight.  We’ll get to that in part 2.)

Anyway, last month, the judge in the case, the Honorable Janis L. Sammartino of the 9th Circuit Federal Court (yeah, the same court where the Axanar case was filed—but a totally different judge), made a series of significant pre-trial rulings.  Among these were the dismissal of the trademark infringement and unfair competition portions of the complaint and declaring that the fair use defense was valid but still “too close to call” (my words, not hers) due to a lack of evidence of financial harm.

Many thought the case was pretty much over, but it wasn’t.  So what happens now?

If you’re thinking this is gonna be another one of Jonathan’s long legal blogs, you’re probably right.  But I’ll be walking you through it in helpful layperson’s English…and I guarantee you’ll come out of it much better informed.  Ready?

Continue reading “DR. SEUSS/STAR TREK “Mash-Up” files new MOTION TO DISMISS! (Part 1)”

AXANAR Comic Book NOW AVAILABLE!

Last month, I presented an interview with uber-AXANAR fan TREY McELWAIN, who was planning to release a 4-page (including cover) Axanar comic book.  The cover itself was already completed, and Trey told me that his artist (and personal friend) DANIEL FU was working feverishly on the artwork.

Apparently, “feverishly” was indeed the adverb to use, as it is less than a month later and the comic book is now finished!  It debuted earlier today in various places on the Internet (it’s a free comic, after all), and I’ve been allowed to feature it here on Fan Film Factor, as well.

Trey greatly enjoyed the creative process, and he told me that he’d really like to produce more comic stories and adaptations of Axanar:

I am not sure what the future holds for “Trey’s AxaComics.” My hope, my dream, is to continue on, and get the Parts 1 and 2 out.

“Trial By Fire,” which I’ve just released, would actually be Part 3, with the Ares going up against the D6.  Parts 1 and 2 are going to cover the Klingon Invasion, and the construction of the Ares.

And then when we all get to see Episodes 4 and 5 from Alec, I’d like to follow suit and continue on with the adaptation process! One thing is for sure though, this entire experience has been a blast, and I am thrilled to share it with everyone!

I’ve included lower-resolution images of the pages below.  But if you’d like to see the artwork in beautiful higher resolution, feel free to download and view this Axanar Comic PDF file.

Otherwise, take a look right here…

Continue reading “AXANAR Comic Book NOW AVAILABLE!”

2-YEAR-OLD version of full AXANAR movie script purposefully LEAKED! (news and editorial)

This morning I face a bit of a dilemma.  There’s an 800-pound mugato in the cave (a more appropriate metaphor than “elephant in the living room”), and I needed to decide how to deal with it.

On the one hand, it’s fan film news…major fan film news, in fact.  A version of the 90-minute AXANAR script that was “locked” prior to the lawsuit (meaning it would be used to determine line item costs) was leaked yesterday by disgruntled (man, is that an understatement!) former CTO and Marketing Director for Axanar Productions, TERRY McINTOSH.  It was actually an earlier version than the one used for the lawsuit (Terry released version 7.3, but the version submitted in the legal filings was 7.7—and the latest version that exists now actually goes to 11).  But the fact is that a version of the Axanar script is now out there…and that’s news.

On the other hand, Terry violated a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) in doing so.  The thing about NDA’s is that, for a project like Axanar, they are unlikely to be enforced because ALEC PETERS would have to prove financial damages and injury.  Since Alec is unlikely to lose any money from the release of an outdated script that’s been rewritten multiple times since 2015, there’s little reason to bother taking legal action.  (But hey, who knows?)

That said, despite the lack of legal “teeth,” signing an NDA is like making a promise…saying that you’re trustworthy and able to keep a secret.  I’ve signed an NDA with Axanar Productions, as well.  The things I know could potentially explode my page views.  But I don’t share them because I gave my word—and at least for me, that means something.

So, yes, there’s an outdated Axanar script out there now, and you’ll probably be able to find it fairly easily if you look.  But I am not going to post it here.  Nor am I going to link to any of the numerous detractor sites that have sprung up in the last 24 hours to tear the script apart.

Have I read the script myself?  Not yet.  I’ve been too busy reading through Alec’s new scripts for the two 15-minute Axanar films and preparing my feedback for him, and I didn’t want to get distracted.  I might read the leaked script eventually…maybe not.  I haven’t decided yet.

But what I have decided is to honor my own signing of an NDA and not facilitate access to the outdated script, even though it is now public.  Unlike some people, when I give my word, I keep it.

GUEST BLOGGER ALEC PETERS: Why Star Trek Continues Violating the Fan Film Guidelines is GOOD for Fan Films! (editorial)

Earlier today, ALEC PETERS posted the following blog on the AxanarProductions.com website.  As it’s very relevant to my editorial blog entry from yesterday—and it makes some excellent points—I asked for and received Alec’s permission to re-post the blog in its entirety here on FAN FILM FACTOR.  (Please note that the opinions expressed and descriptions of events presented are solely those of Alec Peters.)


There is a a lot of talk lately about how Star Trek Continues has decided to openly violate the Star Trek Fan Film Guidelines that CBS put in place last year. STC has already violated the guidelines with the release of their last episode, and is making 3 more roughly 50 minute episodes that violate at least 5 Guidelines including length (close to 50 minutes) and the use of Star Trek actors.

I would highly recommend you read Jonathan Lane’s Fan Film Factor article on the matter here:

Fan Film Factor

Jonathan provides a very fair view of the matter, as he likes both Axanar and STC.  And Jonathan calls out Vic for his hypocrisy in attacking Axanar for violating “guidelines” that never existed, while violating the actual written rules himself.  And lets be clear, Star Trek Continues has neither been “grandfathered” in (total nonsense), nor do they have a special deal with CBS.  They are simply stating that “we think CBS will be OK with us doing this.”

But I am going to argue that this is actually good for fan films.

Now let’s be clear, I don’t like Vic.  He has been lying about Axanar since he stormed out of the Prelude to Axanar Premiere we invited him to in 2014.  But I support Star Trek Continues as I do all fan films.  I don’t let my feelings for Vic cloud my feelings for a very worthy fan film series.  Along with Star Trek New Voyages, they have done wonderful things in the fan film genre.

Now what is ironic is that while Vic refuses to help anyone else in fan films, (he famously asked Tommy Kraft for a role in the Horizon sequel while telling Tommy he wouldn’t lift a finger to help him) and has refused to allow others to use his sets (unlike James Cawley or Starbase Studios who generously allowed anyone to come use their sets), Vic’s decision to ignore the Star Trek Fan Film Guidelines may well help all fan films moving forward.  How is that?

Well, CBS always hated policing fan films.  Having communicated extensively with with John Van Citters, (Head of Star Trek licensing), Liz Kolodner (VP CBS Licensing) and Bill Burke (VP CBS Consumer Products) about fan films for years, and having advocated extensively for guidelines, I knew that CBS didn’t WANT to have to worry about fan films as they saw it as a huge waste of time.  They were too busy making money to have to worry about a bunch of fans making films.  I once joked with John Van Citters that CBS treated fan films with “benign neglect” and that was good, as fan films did nothing but help the franchise.  And CBS told me over and over how it would be impossible to come up with fan film guidelines because of 50 years of Star Trek contracts and agreements with unions, guilds and actors.

Well, clearly that wasn’t the case, since they were able to come up with Guidelines pretty quickly after they sued Axanar.  And while many feel the guidelines are too severe (e.g. limiting fan films to 15 minutes and no more than two installments) or even possibly illegal (it’s questionable if CBS can tell you who you CAN’T hire for your fan film) – the guidelines are what they are. They provide some general rules to follow if a Star Trek fan film producer doesn’t want to run the risk of getting sued by CBS.

So how does Star Trek Continues violating the Star Trek Fan Film Guidelines help all fan films?  Well, it just supports what we at Axanar have known for a while.  Axanar was sued because we didn’t look like a fan film.  Not because we made “profit” (we didn’t) or that we built a “for-profit studio” (we didn’t…STNV did that), both reasons made up by people who don’t know what they are talking about, but because Axanar looked like it came from the studio.

Now CBS doesn’t want to sue its fans again.  The 13 months of the lawsuit was not good for CBS and Paramount from a PR perspective.  And the Guidelines were basically a way to put a lid on the “arms race” of professionalism taking place.

But what we see here is CBS giving Star Trek Continues a pass.  And why?  Because over a year ago, CBS said to me, “No one is going to confuse them with real Star Trek.”   And that is the crux of the matter.  Yes, Star Trek Continues, like Star Trek New Voyages, have excellent production values, with amazing sets, brilliant VFX and visuals, and excellent costuming and props.  They LOOK amazing.  But the acting is mostly amateurs, and that is the main reason fan films don’t have widespread appeal. (By the way, I love Chris Doohan as Scotty in STC.  Simply brilliant).  But ask fans what they think of fan films, and the overwhelming # 1 reason they give for not watching or liking them is the acting.  And this is one of the main reasons I decided to give up the role of Garth in the feature film.

So, as long as you aren’t too good – and stay in familiar territory – it appears you are in a safe harbor.  Want to break the Star Trek Fan Film Guidelines? Just don’t make something that CBS perceives as a threat.  There’s no question that from a marketing perspective, fan films are actually very good for the Star Trek franchise, and the powers that be at CBS know this and will allow you to break many of the guidelines as long as you aren’t overly ambitious.  And since no one is really raising money for their productions anymore, I don’t think CBS has to worry about this.  STC is spending the money they had previously raised and why they cut down on the number of episodes they were making.

So, while I won’t advocate a fan film maker break the CBS Star Trek Fan Film Guidelines, I think what Star Trek Continues has shown is that CBS isn’t going to worry about a product that they don’t see as threatening.  And that gives all fan film makers a little breathing room.

Alec