STAR TREK: VOYAGER documentary will include HD REMASTERING!

It’s been a dream of fans ever since Paramount and later CBS Studios decided to remaster TOS and TNG using original film negatives and redone CGI effects to create HIGH DEFINITION version of all of those treasured episodes. These special editions looked glorious…unbelievably better than when they first aired on television in standard definition.

Sadly, the owners of Star Trek lost their enthusiasm for this expensive process of remastering after the completion of the seven season of TNG in late 2014. No announcements were ever made regarding similar projects for Deep Space Nine or Voyager, and as it’s now been nearly a decade since work began on the TNG remaster. With CBS putting all of its considerable financial resources into producing (currently) FIVE different first-run Star Trek series, it’s unlikely any other pre-CBS Trek series will be getting the remastering treatment.

But all hope is not completely lost…!

When IRA STEVEN BEHR and the folks at 455 Films were making the DS9 documentary WHAT WE LEFT BEHIND—which was initially crowd-funded back in 2017 and released the following year—they were disappointed with the low SD quality of the footage. They had hoped to spend some of the nearly 650K that they had raised in their Indiegogo remastering a few of the clips that they’d be including. But seeing the quality of those crisp and vibrant HD scenes only bummed them out whenever they saw a lower quality clip.

Unfortunately, the process for remastering is quite costly, both in terms of time and especially money. You have to look through seeming endless reels of raw film, find the takes you need, digitize those segments, and spend painstaking hours adjusting light levels, color balance, and a ton of other details. The results are amazing—they just cost a ton of money…

SD to the left versus HD on the right…what a difference!

With nearly all of the money raised from their Indiegogo already accounted for, the folks behind the DS9 documentary held additional fundraisers to cover the costs of digitizing the rest of the more than 20 minutes of footage they were using, at one point even offering “sponsorships” of specific clips. In the end, the addition crowd-funding was successful, including live action scenes and some amazing remastered VFX sequences.

Now, it looks like Star Trek: Voyager might get the same HD treatment!

With ten days left, the Indiegogo for the new Voyager documentary by the same folks at 455 Films is already hundreds of thousands of dollars above their DS9 predecessor’s campaign. In fact, they’re nearing a MILLION DOLLARS (which will set a new record for crowd-funding a documentary film on Indiegogo).

There have been ample stretch goals—revealed one-at-a-time as previous stretch goals were unlocked—but when they crossed $750K, they revealed three more stretch goals, and two of them are for remastering footage…

Already, they’ve passed the first of these goals, with the next one in sight. It’s very possible that this documentary will indeed take in over $1 million in donations from nearly 10K backers. Click below if you’d like to be one of them…

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-star-trek-voyager-documentary

VOYAGER Documentary crowd-funder raises nearly HALF A MILLION DOLLARS in just 36 HOURS!

Wow. Just…wow!

Four years ago, when 455 Films—the production team behind the popular Star Trek-related documentaries FOR THE LOVE OF SPOCK, CHAOS ON THE BRIDGE, THE CAPTAINS, THE CAPTAINS CLOSE UP, STILL KICKING, and GET A LIFE—began crowd-funding for a major new documentary celebrating Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, it took them a full week to reach $300K (and they finished their Indiegogo with nearly $650K).

A new documentary retrospective spotlighting Star Trek: Voyager just launched an Indiegogo campaign at 2am Pacific Time on Monday morning and had reached $300K barely nine hours later! As I type this Tuesday afternoon, they’ve crossed 490K with 4,869 backers.

Now, before anyone starts saying “Nyah, nyah…fans like Voyager more than DS9!” keep in mind that it’s always easier to crowd-fund a project when you have 1) an existing list of previous donors and 2) another successfully-completed crowd-funded project under your belt.

It also helps that this Indiegogo campaign has some pretty exciting perks at relatively affordable levels, like exclusive zoom calls (limited to no more than 50 donors) with duos of Star Trek celebrities from various Trek TV series…each for only $150.

Meanwhile, for donors with deeper pockets, three different “away missions” to sacred filming sites of Star Trek—Vasquez Rocks, Griffith Observatory, and the Japanese Garden (aka Starfleet Academy)—will be led by Trek cast members and limited to groups of just 40 donors…and those perks are $1,000 each (travel costs not included). Then $2,000 gets you access to a 10-donor dinner with JAMES DARREN, NICOLE DeBOER, CONNOR TRINNEER, DOMINIC KEATING, and maybe more. There are also perks at lower levels, like $36 T-shirts and lapel pins, and even perks at levels of just $15 or even $5.

The initial goal was a “modest” $150K, which was passed in the first few hours. Since then, stretch goals have fallen like dominoes…funding additional 3D graphics and animations, the filming of the Voyager reunion convention in London this November, expanding the scope of the documentary from 60 to 90 minutes, and composing an original score.

And that’s all just in the first 24 hours of the campaign—there’s still 29 days left!!!

What does all of this donated money actually pay for? The campaign page answers…

We are still in the early stages of production with more interviews and support footage yet to be filmed. Once that is complete, Post-Production expenses will need to be covered such as editing, music, animation, color-correction, sound mixing and CBS/Star Trek footage licensing. The more we raise on this Indiegogo campaign, the more creative ways we have of making this documentary unique.

Also, remember that the Ds9 documentary, WHAT WE LEFT BEHIND, ended up doing additional fundraising for special remastering of the original film negatives and VFX footage to provide clips to match the HD quality of the remastered Next Generation blu-rays—something ViacomCBS sadly does not seem likely to spend money on for the other pre-CBS Trek series.

Anyway, the Indiegogo campaign is up, there’s already more than 4,500 backers, and you can be one of them if you’d like to donate here…

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-star-trek-voyager-documentary#/

Can THE ROMULAN WAR generate $1,000 more in just 36 hours???

It’s been a surprising (and rather inspiring!) Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign for THE ROMULAN WAR, Part 2. Launched in late November with a $10K goal and sixty-day deadline, that target was reached on January 15 with two full weeks left. So showrunner MARK NACCARATO decided on a stretch goal of $14K.

Usually, stretch goals come with some special perk if you reach that higher level in donations, but Mark is trying it straight up with no extra perk. Actually, there is kinda a perk: if Mark reaches $14K, he’ll be able to give fans more film! Here’s what he had to say…

The Stretch Goal would cover another film shoot which allows us to add more alien characters, and it covers Indiegogo’s “platform and processing fees” which cut into our overall fundraising total.

Since announcing the new stretch goal two weeks ago, nearly $3K of additional donations have come in! That’s truly amazing. But the campaign ends at midnight tomorrow (Pacific Time), and the race is on!

One of the reasons the campaign is doing so well is that Mark has proven himself capable of using backers’ donations to deliver a top-tier, MUST SEE fan film with strong acting, fast pacing, and jaw-dropping visual FX. If you haven’t seen Part 1 yet, you totally need to check it out right now…

The other reason for the campaign’s success, I believe, is the opportunity for donors, at the $100 and $500 levels, to actually APPEAR in Part 2 of this cutting-edge fan film. At the $100 “Captain Access” level, you get to record your voice and have it be heard somewhere in the finished production…along with receiving digital downloads of posters, lobby cards, and the soundtrack, access to their members-only “Memory Alpha” site where you get early access to new releases and updates, and of course, your name in the credits.

And at the $500 “Admiral Access” level, you can actually be SEEN in the film (or you have the option to; nobody’s forcing you)! You also get all of the above plus a T-shirt and an Associate Producer credit in the film (which will appear on IMDb). Already, 14 fans have claimed the “Admiral Access” perk and another 16 opted for the “Captain Access” perk…resulting in about two-thirds of the donations made thus far. But the other third is from $25 and $50 backers, and they still get access to Memory Alpha, their names in the credits, and the $50 donors get the digital posters and sound track. And of course, you can give other amounts—higher or lower—if you have the means right now.

And that’s one of the things that surprised me the most about this campaign: that we’re in the middle of a global pandemic with huge economic uncertainties, and yet so many fans have contributed to this campaign. Yes, I know there are other more deserving charities out there, but fans supporting other fans is a very special thing, too…which is why I let folks know about campaigns like this one…

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-romulan-war-part-2#

With just 3 weeks left, THE ROMULAN WAR Indiegogo is less than $2K away from its $10K goal!

I’ll be honest with you guys: I didn’t think this would happen. Traditionally, the holiday season is the absolute WORST time to kick off a crowd-funding campaign for Star Trek fan films. Everyone is spending their money on Christmas and Hanukkah presents, holiday travel, and not really paying much attention to social media posts from fan filmmakers asking for money. Plus, this year, the world has been economically (and metabolically) choked by COVID-19, and I doubted there would be much extra money out there that fans would have available for donating.

So when I saw the launch of this Indiegogo campaign to complete Part 2 of THE ROMULAN WAR, I didn’t expect that show-runner MARK NACCARATO would take in more than a few thousand dollars (if that!) of the $10,000 that was his goal before New Years. I even told him that I’d help push his Indiegogo in January and that it was smart of him to set a 60-day active period for the campaign because he’d likely be way short after the first month.

Man, was I wrong!

With three weeks left, Mark has managed to cross the $8,000 threshold with 58 backers (including me). Half of this amount is from 8 donors who gave $500 each for the “Admiral Access” level, which includes an actual role in the film (either on camera or just audio) plus all of the following:

  • “Associate Producer” credit
  • T-Shirt
  • Posters (Digital Download)
  • Your Name in the Credits
  • Access to “Memory Alpha”
  • Script (Digital Download)
  • Lobby Cards (Digital Download)
  • Soundtrack (Digital Download)

Another 14 backers donated $100 each for the “Captain Access” level, which includes a bunch of digital swag but also comes with the option of recording your voice to be heard somewhere in the film (this is the level I donated at, although I was already the voice-over guy for one of Mark’s excellent WAR STORIES enhanced audio dramas). There are also support levels at $50 and $25, and all levels include access to “Memory Alpha” where you can see special features and get an advanced look at all releases.

So why was I so wrong?

Well, it’s possible that, with COVID, many travel plans were canceled and fewer Christmas presents were purchased…so more money was available to donate. It’s also possible that those higher end perks (appearing in Part 2) were just too tempting to pass up!

But frankly, I think the real credit here goes to Mark Naccarato himself for crediting such an awesome Part 1. If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out (it’s a MUST SEE fan film that has already been viewed 320K times!)…

In the end, the best motivation for getting people to donate to your next project is to do a really amazing job on your previous project. And Mark did just that!

So if you have a few bucks lying around and aren’t financially precarious right now, please consider donating a little to help push this Indiegogo over the finish line (or at least spreading the following link)…

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-romulan-war-part-2#/

THE ROMULAN WAR Indiegogo for PART II is 33% of the way to its $10K goal!

It’s been just about two months since the first part of the long-awaited THE ROMULAN WAR debuted on YouTube. Stunning to watch with blow-your-mind visual effects, this mockumentary-style fan film tells the story of Earth’s war with the Romulan Empire that resulted in the founding of the United Federation of Planets a hundred years before Kirk’s first five-year mission. It is a MUST-SEE fan film, and if you haven’t watched it yet, then for the love of Grogu, click here to view it!!!

That 24-minute fan film was completed with the help of a $10K Indiegogo campaign (which actually took in more than $13K). Now it’s time to crowd-fund the post-production on Part II, and that will require another $10K for mostly the same sort of things: the remaining principal photography, editing, visual effects modeling & animation, film score, ADR, and other post-production expenses.

The new Indiegogo campaign kicked off two weeks ago and has already taken in $3,330 from 24 backers (including me, of course!). The campaign is set for a 60-day active period, meaning that Mark has taken in a third of what he needs in just a quarter of the time he needs to. That’s actually very impressive, considering how hard the pandemic has hit the global economy AND the fact that it’s currently holiday season…traditionally the most challenging time of the year to crowd-fund fan films.

One of the reasons for Mark’s fundraising success, I believe, is the quality of Part I. But also, the perks are unique and rather compelling. Following the fan film guidelines, Mark is offering no physical perks (which also save him the cost of shipping!). Instead, at the lower levels, in addition to getting your name in the credits, there’s exclusive access to the “Memory Alpha” section of their website—which means a first look at all their content before the public sees it—as well as 8 different custom poster designs (check them out here) by CGI miracle worker SAMUEL COCKINGS, each of which can be printed out as an 11″ x 17″ poster.

But wait, there’s more!

At the fairly reasonable $100 donation level, you can actually be a part of the Part II fan film…or rather, your voice can. You’ll be offered the option to record your voice to have it used in the production. And at the $500 level, you actually get to appear in the film! Or you can just do a voice-over if you don’t want to be on camera. And in addition to all the other perks, donors at this level will be listed as “Associate Producer” in the Part II credits (and on the film’s IMDB entry and their website).

This is a really exciting project, currently scheduled for completion next year…assuming it’s funded. And that’s where you come in. If you can afford to make a donation (even a small one), please do. If not, you can still help by sharing the following link to the Indiegogo campaign with your Star Trek fan friends….

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-romulan-war-part-2#/

RENEGADES: “THE REQUIEM, Part 2” available on YouTube until AUGUST 28!

Back in June of 2016, on the second day of filming the first hour-long episode of STAR TREK: RENEGADES, “The Requiem,” the production team received a nasty and potentially catastrophic surprise. CBS and Paramount had just released a new set of guidelines for Star Trek fan films that would essentially stop Renegades in its tracks.

The timing of the release might not have been entirely coincidental.

Six months earlier, CBS and Paramount had “stopped” the fan film AXANAR with a huge, multi-million dollar copyright infringement lawsuit. But there were still many other fan productions out there using the Star Trek name and intellectual property. And while Axanar had been the first to cross the million-dollar threshold by raising $1.2 million in donations from thousands of fans, Renegades was hot on Axanar‘s heels with (at the time) over $850K in crowd-funding, also from thousands of fans.

And while Axanar featured one veteran Star Trek actor reprising his role from canon (GARY GRAHAM as Soval), Renegades would feature TIM RUSS as Tuvok, WALTER KOENIG as Chekov, NICHELLE NICHOLS as Uhura, CIRROC LOFTON as Jake Sisko, TERRY FARREL as “Jadzia” (minus the Dax symbiont), ROBERT BELTRAN as Chakotay, ARON EISENBERG as Nog, and even HANA HATAE as a grown-up Molly O’Brien.

The previous year, Star Trek: Renegades had premiered a 90-minute fan film with a red carpet premiere at the historic Crest Theatre in Westwood, Los Angeles, calling the project a “backdoor pilot”or “spec pilot” for CBS to consider. Late in 2015, CBS requested (politely) that the Renegades team stop referring to their fan film as a pilot, a request they quickly compiled with. So instead they announced plans to release 12 half-hour webisodes per year (or “season”) oftheir spinoff Star Trek series, with “The Requiem” being the kickoff full-hour episode.

But the guidelines put the kibosh on all of that. No longer permitted to use Star Trek veteran actors or crew people, no longer allowed to pay professions, and constrained to no more than two 15-minute episodes and no sequels or seasons or ongoing series, Renegades had been effectively castrated as a Star Trek fan production before production come even get up to speed.

Continue reading “RENEGADES: “THE REQUIEM, Part 2” available on YouTube until AUGUST 28!”

USS ARES blueprints Kickstarter finishes up with $10,887 from 217 backers!

Yesterday, with less than 5 hours to go in the 16-day Kickstarter for deck plans of the USS Ares-class assault cruiser, the total raised was still about a thousand dollars below the $10K needed to reach their stretch goal. The campaign had already surpassed its initial $3K goal in the first few hours, but if it passed $10K, each donor would ALSO get a free 11″ x 17″ version of the USS Ares Master Display Poster along with the blueprints.

Then, with four hours to go, an e-mail went out to the Ares Studios mailing list reminding supporters that the blueprints were still available, but not for long! An hour later, the Kickstarter total crossed $10K…and when the dust settled at 9pm Eastern Time, 217 backers had pledged $10,887 to the campaign.

The money (after the cost of printing and packing materials) will go toward funding the ongoing expenses for Ares Studios in Lawrenceville, GA, home to the extraordinary USS Ares bridge and captains quarters sets plus the Pike-era sets that were used on the upcoming FIRST FRONTIER fan film. Additional donations are coming in monthly to Ares Studios through an ongoing Patreon campaign.

Note that Ares Studios is a separate legal entity from Axanar Productions, which fundraises privately to finance the completion if the two AXANAR sequel fan films. That campaign is currently at $23,305 out of $35,000 needed for the final filming weekend plus the beginning of post-production. To donate to Axanar, click the link below and follow the instructions provided…

https://aresdigital.axanar.com

LAST DAY to order USS Ares BLUEPRINTS!

As Kermit the Frog once said, “Time’s fun when you’re having flies.” Nowhere is that more apparent at the moment than Kickstarter where the full set of deck plans for the USS ARES-class assault cruiser are available for pre-order until 9:00 pm Eastern Time on Sunday night.

Like the previous Kickstarter for the USS Ares Master Display Poster, this current Kickstarter has been a quick 16-day campaign with a modest goal of only $3,000. And also like the previous campaign, the goal was easily reached within hours. The previous poster campaign took in donations totaling $9,690 from 258 AXANAR fans and supporters. This surpassed two stretch goal amounts, resulting in supporters getting two additional posters.

As I type this, the Blueprints campaign sits at $8,742 from 181 backers. If the total passes $10K, then each of us backers also gets a special stretch goal extra item: an 11″ x 17″ mini-poster version fo the USS Ares Master Display cutaway (the original was a massive 24″ x 36″ size)…

Both the cutaway poster and the blueprints were meticulously crafted by Axanar graphic designer extraordinaire ALEXANDER RICHARDSON, who spent an average of 5-10 hours per deck and then another 3 hours laying them out on the individual pages (plus extra time making alterations along the way).

Although the blueprints will eventually be available later on in the Ares Studio OnlineStore, the price will, most likely, be higher than the $30 plus shipping on the Kickstarter page. And remember that, if the campaign can generate just $1,258 more, each donor will receive a stretch goal prize, as well, for no additional cost.

Like the Ares Studios Patreon campaign (which generates about $2.5K per month from about 250+ patrons), the net proceeds from these two Kickstarters go toward the expenses of Ares Studios in Lawrenceville, GA…not to the production of Axanar fan film sequels. Those donations can be made through the private fundraising campaign on Ares Digital (currently about $8.7K short of funding the final Axanar film shoot).

In the meantime, the clock is ticking off the final hours to order your USS Ares Blueprint set. Just click on the link below…

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/aresstudios/uss-ares-blueprints

AXANAR schedules shoots in AUGUST and OCTOBER!

AXANAR needs only two more shooting days and the production phase will be complete. Just…two…more…days.

Seems so simple, and yet, because of COVID-19, it’s proven to be just out of reach. And it’s not just Axanar that’s been stopped dead in its tracks. Because of concerns from the various Hollywood trade unions, television and motion picture production has been brought to a standstill throughout the entertainment industry. Don’t binge-watch too much too fast because your favorite shows aren’t coming back in September…and probably not even this year!

But there is finally a ray of hope.

Actors, directors, writers, camera people, hair & make-up, grips, gaffers, and pretty much everyone in the film industry are dying to get back to work. They just don’t want to be dying BECAUSE they went back to work (man, that sounded morbid!). As such, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers recently formed a task force to put together this 21-page white paper providing guidelines for “safely” restarting production. I put “safely” in quotation marks because it’s hard to be 100% safe when actors often have to be up close to other actors and not wearing face coverings, and lighting and camera and sound people have to lean in close to each other, and hair and make-up people can’t do their jobs if they’re 6 feet away from the actors and aren’t able to powder noses and put on lipstick because of face masks and…you get the idea.

But the white paper does its best to provide a reasonable “cover-your-asses” approach to restarting film production…and both the unions and the studios are on board with it. After all, people need to get back to work! And the recommendations are pretty obvious, all things considered:

  • Crews should consist of as few people as possible.
  • Have production meetings virtually or at least with social distancing.
  • Everyone wears PPEs on set except for actors when they’re filming.
  • Wash hands frequently; clean every piece of shared equipment as often as is practical.
  • Regular, periodic testing of the cast and crew; social distance as much as possible on set.
  • Use electronic scripts and call sheets on personal handheld devices (or if you need print things out, make sure no paper is shared).

And the list goes on and on. But the idea is to minimize the risk factors on production sets as much as possible.

Because Axanar is a union project, no new filming could be done until a set of guidelines was issued that Axanar Productions could follow. But now that the white paper is available and being slowly adopted throughout the industry, the Axanar project can begin moving forward again, albeit tentatively at first.

Here’s the plan as it stands right now…

Continue reading “AXANAR schedules shoots in AUGUST and OCTOBER!”

USS Ares BLUEPRINTS now available in a new Kickstarter for ARES STUDIOS!

Hurry, hurry! Get ’em while they’re hot…and available! (Well, at least get them while they’re still only $30 plus shipping.)

Last month, ALEC PETERS raised nearly $10K for ARES STUDIOS in a Kickstarter that offered a special Master Systems Display cutaway poster of the USS Ares, the fan-favorite Starfleet assault cruiser depicted in PRELUDE TO AXANAR, the soon-to-be released INTERLUDE fan film, and the upcoming AXANAR sequels. The campaign ended up passing two stretch goals, adding two additional free posters to the orders for all donors: a cutaway of the Geronimo-class and a D7 tactical display.

That campaign, it turns out, was just a warm-up to the main event: a new Kickstarter offering a full set of USS ARES BLUEPRINTS! In total, it will be eight 11″ x 17″ blueprint sheets that show every deck and part of the Ares-Class Assault Cruiser.

The campaign launched at 9:30am Eastern Time with a goal of $3,000 (the same as the first campaign) and a 16-day duration. That means, according to Kickstarter rules, that Ares Studios has only half a month to reach that goal or else they get zero. No worries, though, as the campaign surpassed that goal in HALF A DAY (closer to just seven hours) and is currently at $4,906 from 100 backers as I write this. There’s actually a stretch goal of $10K that, if reached, will result in every donor being sent a free 11″ x 17″ version of the USS Ares Master System Display poster from the first campaign.

Naturally, I ordered mine as soon as got to my computer this morning. Ever since I first got ahold of the original Franz Joseph blueprints for the USS Enterprise back in 1975, I have LOVED deck-by-deck renderings of starships. There haven’t been many full sets done over the years, but the few that have been published remain some of the jewels of my collection.

When I heard that Axanar graphic designer ALEXANDER RICHARDSON was creating deck-by-deck blueprints of the USS Ares-class, I got very excited. And when I first saw some of his initial layouts, excitement quickly turned to elation. Each time he completed and shared another deck, I marveled at the careful attention to detail, thought, and quality that went into every line.

Alexander used Adobe Illustrator to create the blueprints, spending an average of 5-10 hours per deck and then another 3 hours laying them out on the individual pages (plus extra time making alterations along the way). Alexander told me, “I based the aesthetics on Rick Sternbach’s Enterprise-D blueprints, a copy of which has been hanging on my walls for reference for some time.”

Just take a look at some of these samples…

Continue reading “USS Ares BLUEPRINTS now available in a new Kickstarter for ARES STUDIOS!”