Major AXANAR update! (audio interview with ALEC PETERS)

Believe it or not, it’s been nearly three months since my last blog update on the status of the AXANAR sequels. But that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been a TON of stuff going on!

For those folks who have been watching the regular updates by ALEC PETERS on the (usually) weekly “Axanar Confidential” YouTube podcast, you know a lot of the exciting things that have been happening lately…including the fact that the first official shoot for the two Axanar sequels is scheduled for October 4-6! This will include J.G. HERTZLER flying down to Georgia to appear as Sam Travis. Scenes will be filmed on the USS Ares bridge set along with green screen scenes and recording the audio drama version of the full Axanar script.

But for all of those recent updates, I still had a few unanswered questions for Alec—things like…

  • If this production is going to cost $150K-$200K (as Alec has estimated previously), then when is he planning to start raising private donations from backers…and who has been paying for things up till now?
  • Is KATE VERNON going to appear in the Axanar sequels?
  • Who else has been brought onto the project and in what roles (both actors and production crew)?
  • How close is the bridge to being finished—and will it be ready in time for October’s shoot?
  • How many other shoots are planned, and where and when will they be happening?

So with these and other questions floating around in my head, I decided this might be a good time to interview Alec. We set up a phone call for last Friday evening, but naturally, he was late because he had to rescue a dog. And so we had to reschedule. (Yes, I’m serious.) So we chatted a couple days later, and I’ve just finished editing the sound file…which—I am certain will not surprise anyone—includes the sound of dog barks in the background.

So please enjoy the latest Axanar update with Alec Peters (woof!)…

INTERLUDE hits its goal of $19,500 on STAR TREK’s anniversary!

I feel overwhelmed right now, deeply touched, humbled, and just a little bit verklempt.

A few hours ago, during the 53rd anniversary of the debut of Star Trek on NBC, the GoFundMe campaign for my Axanar Universe fan film INTERLUDE reached its goal of $19,500. It was an amazing feeling…especially as the donation that got us there was for an incredibly-generous $500. Earlier in the day, another donor had brought us to exactly $19,000 with a $28 donation. That kind of support and belief in our team and me means more than I can put into words.

The backer who pushed us into the end zone was SHANE FREUND, an Axanar supporter who had also donated to Interlude a few weeks previously. Along with yesterday’s donation came this message:

On the anniversary of Star Trek, I wanted to help you reach your goal because having the courage to take a risk is what Star Trek is all about.

I thought about that statement for a few minutes. In my mind, Star Trek is about a lot of things: tolerance, empathy, inclusiveness, loyalty, duty, honesty, a desire to explore and discover, hope for the future, and a willingness to help others to make things better. And yes, Star Trek is also about taking chances and believing in yourself, in the abilities of your friends and crew, and even believing in luck and your ability to beat the odds.

I grew up in the 1970s watching scenes like this over and over in reruns…

And when you think about it, taking a chance and beating the odds is also what crowd-funding is all about. You put yourself out there and hope that your friends (and crew…and a bunch of strangers) will come through and help you out.

Of course, successfully crowd-funding a project (or a dream) does require a lot of work . Campaigns don’t just fund themselves. But it all comes down to one game-changing word: CAN. “I can.” “You can.” “We can.” Those are among the most powerful sentences in the English language.

And do you know what the other most powerful sentences are? “I can’t.” “We can’t.” “You can’t.”

I mention this because I’ve spent this entire GoFundMe campaign these past three months trying my darnedest to ignore the almost constant drip-drop of negativity from many, many members of the Axamonitor Facebook group. Even when some fair-minded folks over there tried to be supportive of me and my project, others would make comments like this…

Continue reading “INTERLUDE hits its goal of $19,500 on STAR TREK’s anniversary!”

INTERLUDE’s not-so-phantom menace: SCHEDULING!

Before I dive into the slings and arrows of outrageous scheduling, I’d like to thank INTERLUDE supporter and donor STEPHEN HUGHES for creating the stunning image above (along with several others). This is the kind of love and enthusiasm that’s the cherry on top of the sundae that is fan filmmaking.

I’d also like to thank all of the donors who have helped bring the Interlude GoFundMe to a staggering $18,808!!! This included an amazingly generous $300 donation this past weekend from a member of the Axamonitor Facebook group—CLARENCE THOMPSON—who had previously donated $100…bringing his total to $400 and giving him the honored rank of “Captain” in my credits.

Clarence is one of a small few of that group who have donates, but I want to acknowledge this support from some of those whom I’ve historically called “detractors.” Many of them still detract and deride and demonize, but obviously not all…and that says and means a lot to me. So a big THANK YOU to everyone who has stepped forward to support Interlude.

And of course, there’s still time to donate (we’re less than $700 from our $19,500 goal):

https://www.gofundme.com/interlude

Okay, let’s get onto the update as I shine the spotlight on…scheduling!

Y’know how starships have short-range and long-range sensors (and if the script calls for it, medium-range sensors)? Well, it turns out that fan films have the same thing—or at least mine does. You might remember from back in June a blog I wrote about all of the things that went wrong and threatened to delay the launch of my GoFundMe campaign: epic floods, stray dogs, trapped woodpeckers, etc.

Well, it turns out that Murphy and his law about things going wrong isn’t quite finished with me yet. Read on, my friends…

Continue reading “INTERLUDE’s not-so-phantom menace: SCHEDULING!”

INTERLUDE GoFundMe tops $18,000…nearing the goal!

It wasn’t long ago that I was fearing, even assuming, that the GoFundMe campaign for my Axanar Universe fan film INTERLUDE would fall far short of its $19.5K goal. And so my directors and I created a “point of no return” minimum budget of $13.5K that would guarantee us being able to shoot in November.

But after a an amazing “Thousand Dollar Thursday” push a couple of weeks ago that turned into FIVE Thousand Dollar Thursday, we blew past that minimum and were now looking at the reality of shooting this thing (or at least the Ares Studios scenes) in November…barely 10 weeks away! And now that we had over $17K in the coffers, that meant we didn’t have to tighten our belts nearly as much. It also meant it was time to make a final budget!

Last Friday, I had a very productive 90-minute production call with my two co-directors, VICTORIA FOX and JOSHUA IRWIN. They’re both super-busy right now on other professional productions, as well as finishing up their latest Avalon Universe fan film “Demons.”  But we carved out some time to add up everything we now could and couldn’t afford to do with Interlude.

Without going too deeply into the weeds (I’m done with the hassles of detailed budget blogs—too many back-seat producers out there), I can tell you all with absolute confidence and excitement that we’re now back to being able to do everything that we originally wanted to do in this fan film—with two notable exceptions….

The first item where we’re still short is that we completely forgot to budget hard drive storage for all of our video footage!  (I knew we were gonna forget something!  I even said so in my budget blog…third to last paragraph.)  Josh’s current hard drive and back-up drive are filled with Avalon footage, so we need to buy new drives for Interlude.  Two 10TB G-drives (one for back-up) are about $600 total.  So we still need funds for that.

The second item is contingency (also known as “what could possibly go wrong?”) funds.  Assuming we raise enough to buy the hard drives but don’t bring in a penny more, then we’re at a point where we have to pray that everything goes perfectly and nothing unexpected pops up…which almost never happens, of course!

All of which is to say that this crowd-funding campaign is still very much alive and active, so please keep spreading the word. Remember that there are still very nice Axanar poster sets available from MARK PAYTON for $125 each (with proceeds after shipping & handling being donated by Mark to Interlude).  And of course, if you haven’t donated yet (or would like to donate more), here’s the link…

https://www.gofundme.com/interlude

Donations do keep coming in, and we’re just about at $18,300 (including about $100 in direct Paypal donations) from 215 backers. Another $1,200 gets us those hard drives and $1,000 in contingency. I’m confident we can make it!

Continue reading “INTERLUDE GoFundMe tops $18,000…nearing the goal!”

AXANAR posters (set of four) FOR SALE from MARK PAYTON…to benefit INTERLUDE!

A few weeks ago, two of the donors to my Axanar Universe fan film INTERLUDE offered to match, dollar-for-dollar, every donation made to my GoFundMe campaign for 24 hours. It was incredibly generous and resulted in an amazing day of over $5K in donations.

Now, another supporter has stepped forward with a very generous offer. MARK PAYTON is an artist who lives and breathes Axanar (an Axanartist, if you will!). His artwork graces the pages of his original Axanar novella, “The Inverness Revision,” and he’s done other graphics for the Axanar project over the past couple of years.

Among the art pieces that Mark created were the four images you see above, including the stunningly majestic rendering of the late RICHARD HATCH as Kharn the Undying and the montage of the main Axanar characters drawn in a comic/animation style. Last year, Mark printed up a run of posters for these beautiful images to sell at Axacon. At the end of the weekend, he still had about 15-20 sets of posters left over.

Now, Mark is looking to offer these four collector’s item posters as a set for $125 (including shipping and handling), and I am certain there are some Axanerds out there (like me) who want them. I’ve seen them up close, and they’re very high quality prints. Three are sized at 11″ x 17″ and the other is 8.5″ x 11″. All are shipped as the poster-only, but each can be inexpensively framed as the sizes are pretty standard.

However, Mark has ALSO offered to take whatever proceeds he collects and donate that money (minus packaging and shipping costs) to the Interlude GoFundMe! NOTE: this is not a perk. No one is donating directly to me. People are purchasing posters from Mark Payton who is then welcome to make a donation just like any other supprter.

Just how much that donation to Interlude will be is uncertain. Even if Mark sells all the posters he has left, the shipping costs to different states and possibly other countries is unknown right now. But Mark estimates that selling everything could put an additional $1,000 into the campaign. And since we’re currently at more than $17,800 (including PayPal donations), another thousand would place us only $700 from our $19,500 goal!

But as they say on TV: “Hurry, because supplies are limited, and this offer won’t last!”

To purchase one or more of these poster sets, contact Mark at mpgraphics@hotmail.com with the subject line of “Interlude posters”.

Continue reading “AXANAR posters (set of four) FOR SALE from MARK PAYTON…to benefit INTERLUDE!”

And so it begins…THOUSAND DOLLAR THURSDAY!

For the next 24 hours, every donation to the INTERLUDE GoFundMe will be tripled! The starting point is $11,701. (Yeah, I noticed NCC number hiding in there.) Let’s see if we can reach $12,901 by Thursday at midnight!

Click here to donate: https://www.gofundme.com/interlude

I’ll be updating this total throughout the day.


I went to sleep 6 hours ago and woke up to discover we’re nearly halfway to our $1200 ceiling already! Take a look…

Continue reading “And so it begins…THOUSAND DOLLAR THURSDAY!”

I just had an EGOTASTIC FUNTIME with JP!

There’s a LOT of video podcasts out there, and one of my favorites (and I’m not just saying that!) is EGOTASTIC FUNTIME. The host, JP, is really funny, lively, insightful, and of course, a total geek. He covers The Orville, Star Trek, the latest blockbuster movies, video games, and whatever water cooler geek-news is out there at the moment. He edits his videos very well, cutting out the pauses and “ums” so you get one of those short ‘n’ choppy viewing experiences that can save you a lot of viewing time. (Now, if only certain bloggers could learn to be just as pithy…but we all have our mountains to climb, folks!)

Anyway, JP has recently expanded his offerings to include what he’s calling “Egotastic Talks” (I would have called them “FunTalks”…but that’s just me.) Last week, he premiered the new format with an 18-minute podcast featuring ALEC PETERS discussing both AXANAR news and Alec’s exciting online auction for the Trekcetera Museum collection. And this week, JP’s second guest was none other than the guy typing out this blog: me.

Naturally, the subject of the interview would be my Axanar Universe fan film INTERLUDE. The challenge at this point in a campaign (at all points really) is finding ways to spread the word beyond people who already know about it. I’d been working with JP for a number of weeks trying to set up an opportunity to appear on his podcast, as he has over 22K subscribers. In fact, in the two days since the video got posted, it’s been viewed more than two thousand times!

This has translated into upwards of $350 in new donations to the GoFundMe campaign since Monday. Things had slowed down prior to that, but it wasn’t too concerning, as I’ve been planning for the big THOUSAND DOLLAR THURSDAY (tomorrow) when all donations will be tripled. So I hadn’t been pushing the campaign as much as I usually did over the past seven days in order to focus more donations towards this Thursday.

Speaking of which, Thousand Dollar Thursday is going to have a “tote board” progress report, of sorts, as I track the donations throughout the day…hoping to reach our target of $1200 for the day. Here’s the GoFundMe link again (if you haven’t already committed it to memory):

https://www.gofundme.com/f/interlude

In the meantime, check out my appearance on Egotastic Funtime below. It was an hour-long chat that JP edited down to 29 minutes, so there’s a couple of “jumps” in the conversation flow, but it’s still a fun little chat and worth a listen…

SQUADRON STRIKE: AXANAR is available for purchase! (audio interview with KEN BURNSIDE)

Although it’s been a couple of months since I reported any major AXANAR news, that doesn’t mean nothing’s been happening in Lawrenceville, Georgia. In fact, a LOT had been going on, including the launch of Ares Digital 3.0, preparations for the first shoot in October, bringing on a line producer and director of photography, adding the finishing touches to the bridge set, having the rent for the studio lowered so there doesn’t need to be a move, receiving all of “The Cage”-era tunics from Italy, getting the Four Years War-era uniforms into the manufacturing pipeline, and starting to cast the various roles. And all of that doesn’t even include the release of my Axanar comic book “Stardate 2245.1” or the current GoFundMe for my Axanar Universe fan film INTERLUDE.

But almost forgotten in all of that news was the release last month of the latest supplement for the SQUADRON STRIKE! board game…a supplement based entirely on Axanar! Created by KEN BURNSIDE of Ad Astra Games, this new supplement features the characters and ships seen in PRELUDE TO AXANAR, caught up in space battle action and fun gameplay.

The game is available for purchase as a core product selling for $74.95 (you can order it here) with multiple supplements available for purchase covering a wide array of sci-fi universes with different ships, characters, and storylines. The latest supplement features Axanar and sells for an additional $37.95 (order it here). And if you order on or before August 19, you can get a 10% DISCOUNT for orders of $100 or more using the code: AXANAR10OFF

Now, you might be wondering if this game is licensed, and if so, licensed from whom: CBS or Axanar Productions…or both…or neither? An excellent question! And it’s one of the many I asked Ken Burnside in the following audio interview that’s definitely worth a listen…

The INTERLUDE GoFundMe tops $11,000!

Yesterday, the GoFundMe campaign for my fan film INTERLUDE crossed $11,000! Although this might not seem as significant a milestone as crossing the half-way point or crossing $10,000…it’s very exciting to me personally because it means I’m doing my job properly. (Also, most of the detractors never thought I’d raise more than $5K-$10K at the most, and now even some of them are impressed!)

Y’see, unlike many folks who make fan films, I don’t have any background or experience in filmmaking. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada. While I’m a decent graphic designer and can edit as a novice with iMovie on my Mac, I’m not a director or VFX artist or lighting specialist or cameraman. I can’t compose music, build sets, create props, do make-up, or even sew uniforms and costumes. I’m not a sound FX guy, and while I’ve done a couple of fan film voice-overs, I’m not an actor and won’t even appear in my own fan film! All I did was write a script.

So why am I here at all? What’s my bag, baby?

The simple truth is that I’m here to convince people like you to give me your money. In return, I’ve assembled a very talented team who are going to make an amazing fan film for all of you to enjoy. It’s going to have the quality level of PRELUDE TO AXANAR (or as close as we can get!) and be able to stand beside its “siblings” (Prelude and the two Axanar sequels) as a proud part of the expanded “Axanar Universe.”

But in order to do that, things (some of them kinda expensive) needed to be paid for.

Believe me, I would have loved to have just written a check or charged everything to a credit card. But I simply don’t have the financial means—certainly not at the level required to match up to the other Axanar fan films. And even though the Ares bridge set is now complete (or 98% of the way there), this fan film is more than just the set.

So with essentially no skills, no experience, and no money, what the heck am I doing trying to make a fan film???

Well, let me tell you what I do have…

Continue reading “The INTERLUDE GoFundMe tops $11,000!”

A ‘Death Howl’ for Kur’Den (guest blog by DON GAFFNEY)

Before I turn the blog over to me friend DON GAFFNEY, I’d like to say few quick words myself.

DENZIL MIRACLE was a die-hard Trekker, a Klingon kosplayer, an avid Axanar supporter, and a truly awesome guy. I only met him once, briefly, at Axacon last November, but he was just this big bundle of warmth and happiness and excitement…the best that we fans have to offer.

In these days when so many of us are quick to show our worst devils to each other, it’s important to honor those who present the best angels of their natures.

Denzil had been stricken too early in life with brain cancer and passed away a couple of weeks ago surrounded by family. While I knew of his terminal condition, I wasn’t aware of his actual passing until I read yesterday’s eulogy from his good friend (and fellow Axanerd) Don Gaffney. It’s a beautiful remembrance, and I humbly ask you to consider taking a moment to read it and perhaps even give a quiet Klingon death howl to the warriors of Sto’Vo’Kor, where I have no doubt Denzil is currently having an awesome time.

And now, my friends, Don Gaffney remembers his friend, Denzil Miracle…

Continue reading “A ‘Death Howl’ for Kur’Den (guest blog by DON GAFFNEY)”