We’re not going to make it, are we?

As you might recall from last week, Lee Quessenberry and I kicked off a HeadTalker Campaign to try to get 500 people to agree to have a message posted to their Twitter, Facebook, and/or other social media account(s) at noon EST on June 13.  The message would say:

“We want to change the Star Trek #Fanfilm Guidelines. Follow Small Access Trek to find out how you can. https://hdtk.co/VSsvF

The idea was to get the message to trend long enough to bring some more attention, eyeballs, and ultimately (hopefully) members to the SMALL ACCESS campaign to get CBS and Paramount to revise at least one of the fan film guidelines.

With less than 24 hours to go, we’re just short of 100 out of the 500 sign-ups we need.  So barring a miracle (or Spock sacrificing himself in engineering), to quote Sulu, “We’re not going to make it, are we?”

No, we’re probably not.

So what does this mean for SMALL ACCESS?  Well, in the words of Monty Python’s peasant: “Not dead yet!”  In fact, we’ve taken in 45 new members in the last two weeks, which is 3.5% growth.  No, it’s not the hundreds and thousands we need, but it’s better than stagnation or collapse.  I choose to see the glass as 3.5% full.

And hey, even if we don’t grow large enough to succeed in our holy quest, we’ve still got a great group that’s spreading the gospel of Star Trek fan films…and I very much want that group to continue.

So what happens next?  I’m not sure yet.  Probably we’ll try another HeadTalker campaign with a smaller goal number.  But I’ll be contacting Lee Quessenberry this week to get his ideas for plan B, C, D, and possibly E.  We’ve got a few months before Star Trek: Discovery premieres, so there’s still time to grow this group some more.  I’m willing to give it a chance if you are.

And hey, if you happen to know 407 people with social media accounts who might be willing to help us make it to our 500-person goal before noon tomorrow, please ask them to sign up here:

Small Access Trek

Could you do me a favor? It’ll only take you three clicks!

I NEED YOUR HELP!  Yes, you!

Two weeks ago, I discussed how Project: SMALL ACCESS needed to grow in order to give the group any reasonable leverage in trying to convince CBS and Paramount to revise the “no ongoing fan series” portion of fan film Guideline #1.  Since then, we’ve added about 40 new members (3% growth)…which is certainly a nice start.  But we need to grow a LOT more than that, my friends!

Needing advice from people more experienced in guerilla marketing on the social media front, I sought the assistance of Lee Quessenberry, who had helped with the online marketing efforts for Axanar during their Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns.  One of the first things Lee did was to set up a HEADTALKER campaign for SMALL ACCESS.

What’s a HEADTALKER?

It’s pretty simple.  People sign up to allow HeadTalker to send out a single post from one (or more) of their social media accounts—Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr—on a certain day at a certain time.  With enough simultaneous posts, the message will “trend” and get a boost.

For example, here’s the message you would be agreeing to share (it would be posted automatically for you) on June 13, 2017 at 12:00pm Eastern Time:

“We want to change the Star Trek #Fanfilm Guidelines. Follow Small Access Trek to find out how you can. https://hdtk.co/VSsvF

 

There’s only one catch: we need 500 people to sign up to share this message or it won’t get sent out.  Right now, we’ve got 67 (which, according to the Headtalker page, gives us a social media reach of 941,141…assuming everyone’s contacts read the message).

BUT WE NEED TO MAKE IT TO 500…AND WE HAVE ONLY 7 DAYS LEFT!

If we don’t make it, we can always try it again with a smaller goal like 100 or even 75 or 50.  But it would be so awesome if we could get to that 500 goal.

A note on your privacy

When you log into HeadTalker using your Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, or LinkedIn account, you’re allowing their platform to share a single message on your behalf. That’s all. They use the absolute minimum permissions possible to post a message on your behalf. The social media platforms they integrate with sometimes include additional permissions that we do not use.

It’s really as simple as three clicks (well, possibly four if you’ve never used HeadTalker before):

1. Click here to go to the campaign page.

2. Then click on the social media platform you want to use (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)

3. On the pop-up window, click the “Add Support” button.

And you’re done!  Simple as that.

Can you please help us?

 

Lightning strikes AGAIN as WARNER BROTHERS allows another high-quality HARRY POTTER FAN FILM to be produced!

The news has been spreading through the fan film community faster than a snitch through a quidditch match!  According to a rapidly-expanding plethora of online sources, Warner Brothers studios, which owns the movie rights to the HARRY POTTER franchise, have given approval to the producers of a high-quality fan film titled VOLDEMORT: ORIGINS OF THE HEIR to be made.  The only conditions: the producers must make no profit, and the completed project can only be shown for free via YouTube.

This didn’t seem to be the case last July when Warner Brothers shut down the Kickstarter page for this project.  The production had already successfully funded a $30,000 campaign, but faster than you can say “Expelliarmus!” all trace of the campaign was gone, replaced by a pretty harsh sounding notice:

Description of infringing material: It recently came to our attention that users on your site, at the link(s) below, were contemplating a project that violates Warner Bros.’ rights. We have discussed it with the users who have agreed to remove the project from the site and have requested that we send this notice so that the project is removed. I have a good faith belief that the project is not authorized by Warner Bros., its agent, or the law. Accordingly, please act expeditiously to remove or disable access to the URL listed below.

In fact, some fans actually thought there was some sort of litigation (apparently, there wasn’t), and even Wikipedia erroneously reports that in their entry.  (Look quick, before they fix it!)

But then this happened…

Continue reading “Lightning strikes AGAIN as WARNER BROTHERS allows another high-quality HARRY POTTER FAN FILM to be produced!”

STAR TREK: DISCOVERY vs. THE ORVILLE – Should CBS be worried? (Part 2)

Last time, I discussed the recent release by two of the major networks of official trailers for their new sci-fi shows debuting for the upcoming 2017 season.  CBS, of course, unveiled STAR TREK: DISCOVERY, while FOX surprised (many) genre fans with a new Star Trek-ish series from Seth MacFarlane titled THE ORVILLE.  Both trailers were viewed millions of times with thousands of comments.  But what was very intriguing came from the thumbs-up/thumbs-down ratios.

The trailer for Star Trek: Discovery has about two and a half times more thumbs-down reactions than the trailer for The Orville.  Some misunderstood my previous blog and thought I was calling this a competition—as though fans were going to choose EITHER Discovery OR Orville.  Not quite.  Many fans (like me) might choose to watch both series.

But what makes this interesting is that we have a pretty close comparison of trailers and their reactions from viewers.  The two shows are coveting essentially the same audience (Trekkies and sci-fi fans), so the trailers and series themselves are unmistakably in the same “marketing category.”  The two trailers have almost the same run-length (2.5 minutes) and were released at nearly the same time using the same platform (Youtube).  But beyond that, the two networks are going in very different directions.

CBS is making Discovery available only through paid subscription streaming services (after a free preview of the pilot on CBS).  FOX is putting Orville on their regular network.  CBS went for a very unfamiliar (to Trekkers) production design with dark sets and mostly monochromatic uniforms.  FOX is using a very familiar-looking Star Trek visual approach of brightly-lit sets and and colorful uniforms.

So these two series are coveting the same kinds of fans with very different approaches.  One is very derivative of Star Trek but based within a different universe, and the other is very different but based within the Star Trek universe.  So the word “versus” in the title of this blog entry doesn’t imply that fans must make a choice but rather simply refers to putting the two series side-by-side for comparison, analyzing the very noticeable differences in fan reaction.

So with fans appearing to show a measurable preference for Orville over Discovery—admittedly using only online reaction through thumbs-up/down plus a general trend in posted comments—should CBS be worried?

Continue reading “STAR TREK: DISCOVERY vs. THE ORVILLE – Should CBS be worried? (Part 2)”

STAR TREK: DISCOVERY vs. THE ORVILLE – Should CBS be worried? (Part 1)

Before I begin, please note that the title of this blog is the question “Should CBS be worried?” and not the statement  “CBS should be worried.”  I’m pondering, not preaching.

Also, I want to mention up front that I personally enjoyed the new trailer for Star: Trek Discovery and am looking forward to at least checking out the new series.  People seem to think I’m just another Discovery hater/detractor.  Not so!  I am very much keeping an open mind.  But I’m not blind to the reality of the situation either, and that’s what this blog is about.

(And yes, I know that this is a site about fan films.  But it’s also a site about Star Trek…and it’s my blog, so I can editorialize whatever I want to.)


Last week, all of the major networks unveiled trailers for shows that will premiere during their upcoming 2017 season.  Naturally, Star Trek fans were eagerly expecting to see their first extended glimpse of the new STAR TREK: DISCOVERY series…coming to the subscription-based CBS All Access.

What fans weren’t expecting, however, was a new Star Trek-ish series from FOX starring and produced by Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy, Ted) and directed by Iron Man‘s John Favreau.  Titled THE ORVILLE, this new hour-long series looked more like the Star Trek of yore: bright sets, colorful uniforms, chest emblems with division insignia, sleek and over-lit starships (some filmed from actual physical models!), and a token alien species or two with big bumpy foreheads.  The Orville is obviously meant to be a campy tongue-in-cheek comedy, but the production values, sets, costuming, make-up, and visual FX looked like…well…WOW!

For two days, fans were aflutter with comments about this surprise new sci-fi series.  And the comments were nearly all positive, with many Trekkers suggesting that THIS was the Star Trek we’d wanted all along (minus the implied parody, of course), and wondering why CBS just didn’t get it.

Then, last Wednesday, CBS had their turn to say, “Hey, we DO get it…and here’s what OUR new Star Trek will look like.”  But did they really get it?

Continue reading “STAR TREK: DISCOVERY vs. THE ORVILLE – Should CBS be worried? (Part 1)”

FAN FILM GUIDELINES: Reality Check (Part 8) – Size DOES matter!

I started the SMALL ACCESS protest campaign on Facebook last July, shortly after CBS and Paramount released the new guidelines that seemed to spell certain doom for Star Trek fan films.  I’d hoped we could start a “movement” that would make the studios take notice and convince them to revisit and revise the guidelines.

It’s now almost a year later, and the guidelines remain in place…unchanged.  We tried to get bunch of the guidelines changed all at once, but that didn’t work.  And I realized instead that, if we tried to “eat the elephant” in smaller bites (try to change one guideline at a time), then we might have more luck in convincing the studios to listen to us and maybe even work with us.

And our offer would be simple: revise just one guideline, and our members will subscribe to CBS All Access for a month (to check it out, see if we like it).  Revise two guidelines, two months.  And so on.  The first guideline we wanted to target was the “no ongoing fan series” rule (we voted on that), suggesting that Guideline #1 could be rewritten with a revised second part:

The fan production must be less than 15 minutes for a single self-contained story, or no more than 2 segments, episodes or parts, not to exceed 30 minutes total. The production can continue featuring the same title, characters, and settings for additional episodes as long as no single story extends beyond two consecutive segments, episodes or parts.

The big question was: would the members of SMALL ACCESS agree to subscribe for a month if the studios made his first revision to Guideline #1?  I published the results of a survey last week in Part 7, but here they are for you again…

Continue reading “FAN FILM GUIDELINES: Reality Check (Part 8) – Size DOES matter!”

STAR TREK CONTINUES becomes a CBS All Access AFFILIATE!

Things got very interesting on Sunday morning after STAR TREK CONTINUES posted this message on their Facebook page overnight:

Got CBS All Access yet? STC has been invited to join the affiliate program, so you can sign up through our website now. Sign up today!

Almost immediately, fans started conjecturing what this meant for STC.  Were they suddenly being accepted by CBS?  Would they now be allowed to complete their cancelled 12th and 13th episodes?  Were they getting a kickback from CBS?  Would STC be shown on All Access?

The answers to all of these questions appear to be “no.”  Apparently, STC was simply contacted by a division of CBS (likely CBS Interactive or else someone in marketing) and offered the option of becoming a CBS All Access Affiliate, promoting subscriptions to the network’s streaming service through online banners on their startrekcontinues.com website.  (Note to CBS Interactive: the hyperlinks aren’t working from Mac browsers.)

It’s unclear whether or not STC will be receiving a commission for any fans who sign up for CBS All Access.  STC posted on their Facebook pages that they are not being compensated.  However, I just signed up Fan Film Factor for the same program and was required to agree to terms that included the following (which I screen capped)…

Continue reading “STAR TREK CONTINUES becomes a CBS All Access AFFILIATE!”

FAN FILM GUIDELINES: Reality Check (Part 6) – The CARROT and the STICK

First I should mention (in a follow-up to our previous post) that the survey results are in.  I invited members of the SMALL ACCESS protest campaign to vote in an online Facebook poll: which ONE if the new fan film guidelines feels like it is the most problematic for fan filmmakers?  This would be the guideline that Project: SMALL ACCESS will focus on convincing CBS and Paramount to revisit and revise.  And there was a clear winner: Guideline #1.

However, Guideline #1 is actually a two-part guideline made up of the following:

#1a – The fan production must be less than 15 minutes for a single self-contained story, or no more than 2 segments, episodes or parts, not to exceed 30 minutes total…

and

#1b – …with no additional seasons, episodes, parts, sequels or remakes.

It’s possible for us to request a revision by CBS to one part of this guideline without necessarily changing the other part.  And so I divided Guideline #1 into two options, and together these were, by far, the highest vote-getters, taking more than 95% of the nearly 140 submitted responses.  So which one got the most votes?

Continue reading “FAN FILM GUIDELINES: Reality Check (Part 6) – The CARROT and the STICK”

FAN FILM GUIDELINES – Have you voted yet?

Last week, I invited folks to vote on just one of the fan film guidelines that they thought the SMALL ACCESS group should focus our energies on trying to convince the studios to revise.

Initially, we set out to encourage multiple changes simultaneously from CBS and Paramount and pretty much got nowhere.  And while we still have a veeeerrrrry steep mountain to climb, we might end up with a better chance of success asking for just one change rather than many.

And so we set up a survey over on the Small Access Facebook Group, and so far, we’ve had just under a hundred votes.  Two-thirds favor a focus on the second half of the first guideline: “…With no additional seasons, episodes, parts, sequels or remakes.”  And with about a quarter of the vote, the notorious 15-minute limit is currently in second place.

But there’s still time to vote because, to be honest, I haven’t had a chance to work on the next entry of my “FAN FILM GUIDELINES: Reality Check” blog series yet.  And since I’m on vacation next week (heading up the California coast with the family and my camera), there might be a solid two weeks left to vote.

Here’s the link for the poll if you haven’t voted yet or want to encourage others to:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/smallaccess/permalink/465593603781344/

And in the meantime, if you want to help me write the next entry in the blog series, how do YOU think we should proceed from here?  We’ve got 1,300 in the Small Access group…92 of which are bothering to vote.  We’re not exactly a “movement,” but we’re not entirely invisible either.  A full-on boycott with just 1,300 people is pretty meaningless, though.  And I doubt we’re going to convince every fan filmmaker out there to simply ignore the guidelines and risk getting sued.  So what else is there?

I have a few ideas, but I’m curious first to see what other people think.  Feel free to comment on this page or, if you’re a member of SMALL ACCESS (and if you aren’t–why not???) on that Facebook group page.

FAN FILM GUIDELINES: Reality Check (Part 5) – Betcha can’t choose just ONE…continued!

Last time, we began looking at all of the fan film guidelines one at a time, wondering if we could choose just one to present to the studios with a request for reconsideration.

Why choose just one?  Don’t we hate all of the guidelines?  Don’t we want everything to go back to what it was when the only rules were “Don’t charge to see your fan film” and “Don’t make any profit”?

Well, actually, no…at least I don’t feel that way anymore.  Actually, I never wanted to get rid of all of the guidelines, and I only ever thought that maybe four of them were truly problematic for fan films.  As I discussed in Part 2, the guidelines didn’t kill Star Trek fan films.  In fact, since the guidelines were announced last June, more than SIXTY Trek fan films have been released…some of which did not follow the new guidelines but many did.

And then in Part 3, I discussed how the guidelines weren’t a completely bad deal for fan producers.  By providing a safe harbor, much of the guesswork, uncertainty, and outright fear could be avoided by fans wanting to ensure they would not answer the door one day to a person holding a subpoena.  Of course, the guidelines are still very restrictive, but they are far from impossible to follow.

However, I still believe there is room left to improve the guidelines to make them less constraining for fans while still protecting the interests of the studios.  But the reality is that the more changes we fans try to get made to their guidelines, the less likely the studios will be to cooperate.  So last week and this week, I’m looking at all the guidelines in an attempt to choose just one to focus on—one little compromise.  If we can adjust just a single guideline, it’s still a win for fans…and we go from there.

But which one?

Last week, we quickly eliminated nearly half of the guidelines because they weren’t really problematic.  Then we began looking at the second group of guidelines, a category I called…

Continue reading “FAN FILM GUIDELINES: Reality Check (Part 5) – Betcha can’t choose just ONE…continued!”