2018-in-review: The return of the Trek fan film CROWD-FUNDER!

Remember the good, old days? Back in 2015 and before, Star Trek fan film crowd-funders were as common as lens flares on a JJ Abrams movie set! They’d easily take in thousands, tens of thousands, and in some cases, hundreds of thousands of enthusiastically-donated fan contributions.

We all know what happened. Axanar was sued. Six weeks later, Tommy Kraft was told by CBS to take down his $250K Kickstarter for Federation Rising. And then in June 2016, the fan film guidelines came out. And while they didn’t forbid crowd-funding, they did put a $50K cap on it and severely curtailed what kinds of perks could be offered.

Fans (including me) predicted the complete demise of Star Trek fan films. It turned out that we were wrong. Fan films found a way to not only live on but also to prosper, working within the guidelines (mostly) while still being pretty decent—in some cases even quite excellent.

Ah, but crowd-funding…therein lied the rub! While the days of the six-figure Kickstarters and Indiegogos for Trek fan films were obviously gone, maybe fans would still donate five-figures or even just four-figures. Maybe? For a while, it wasn’t looking good.

For the remainder of 2016, only Renegades (with Star Trek surgically removed) attempted a crowd-funding campaign for “The Requiem” (reaching $146K). And Starbase Studios raised $3,500 for a move from Oklahoma to Arkansas for their TOS sets. But beyond that, the only crowd-funding even peripherally connected to Star Trek fan films was a $19K successful Kickstarter by Star Trek: Horizon creator Tommy Kraft to fund his NON-Star Trek fan film Runaway.

Would 2017 fare any better for Trek crowd funders? Well, not so much…

Continue reading “2018-in-review: The return of the Trek fan film CROWD-FUNDER!”

It’s gonna be a NAIL-BITER for SKY FIGHTER!!!

I have to be honest with you guys: I didn’t think it was gonna happen.  With many recent crowd-funding campaigns for Trek fan films clawing their way to $10K (if that!), how was a NON-Star Trek fan film by a first-time director gonna possibly take in $25,000???  And beyond that, SKY FIGHTER‘s writer/director LUKAS KENDALL had selected the all-or-nothing “Fixed Goal” option on Indiegogo, where if you don’t reach your goal, you get NOTHING (just like on Kickstarter).

I mean, who does that????  If you’re gonna use Indiegogo, at least choose the “Flex Goal” option and keep whatever you raise, regardless of how much or how little.  But as Lukas told me in this interview, he was going all in…$25K or bust!!!

I was also curious about Lukas’ somewhat unorthodox approach, including posting his complete script for the Sky Fighter short film for anyone to read, using a lot of tongue-in-cheek humor to describe himself and his project, and including among his perks certain ones that seemed a bit (purposefully) outrageous.

Would this work?  Could this work?

The answer may just turn out to be YES, but it’s gonna be SUPER-CLOSE!  With just two days left (the campaign ends this Thursday at midnight Pacific Time), the Sky Fighter Indiegogo is nearly 90% of the way to its $25,000 goal.. at $22,248 as I type this.

Lukas, who gained a following producing CD collections of popular science fiction TV and movie scores, has been relying on those same followers for a lot of his donor support, and it’s certainly been working.  Among his most popular perks are the “Best of Both Worlds” signed CD ($20 + shipping), the Return to Tomorrow – Making of ST:TMP book ($35 + shipping), and especially the Star Trek TOS CD box set & 50th Anniversary 4 CD set ($199, free shipping). That latter bundle saves people around $100.

There is eve a weekend on Martha’s Vinyard for $1,000 where you get to spend a Friday-Sunday in August with Lukas Kendall’s MOTHER!  She’ll even take you out for dinner on Saturday night.  (I told you there were some outrageous perks.)    Donate $1,000 and you get to go through Lukas’ crap in the basement!

C’mon, folks!  Let’s get this Indiegogo campaign across the finish line…

CLICK HERE TO DONATE!

THE ROMULAN WAR releases NEW VIDEO showing CGI model tests!

As you’ve probably noticed over the past five weeks, I’ve been very prolific in my support of THE ROMULAN WAR and its current Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign.  A week ago, show-runner MARK NACCARATO announced that he was extending out the campaign for an additional 30 days because they had not yet reached their $10,000 goal.  (Yes, Indiegogo lets you do that now.  Really!)

The extension has proven to be a real blessing, as the total raised has increased by nearly $2,000 in just six days to (as I write this) $7,785 from 66 backers…just 22% away from being fully funded.

To increase excitement and antici…

…pation for the fan production—and of course, to encourage more donations—I suggested to Mark that he “liberate” some of the special features that had, up until now, been hidden in a donor-only section.  I joked to him, “That’s like showing a commercial for your restaurant only to people who are already seated at your tables eating their dinner!”

Mark agreed, and the first special feature was posted to the public earlier this week.  It shows some CGI model tests for a few of the NX-era starships, Roumlan ships, Federation vessels, and space stations that will be appearing in this fan film.  It also shows the mysterious Stormbird-class flying by…looking very much like a Klingon D-7.  How did the Romulans and Klingons come to use such similar designs a century before Romulans started using Klingon designs?  Mark actually answered that question in this awesome chat/interview we had a few weeks ago.  Take a listen if you haven’t already.

Mark has also been on not one but TWO podcasts in the last two weeks:

CONTINUING MISSIONhttp://trek.fm/continuing-mission/46

THE FINAL FRONTIERhttp://www.podcasts.com/the-final-frontier-b29b64d07/episode/The-Final-Frontier-Podcast-18-Interview-with-Mark-Naccarato-0e1a

Meanwhile, the video of the fly-bys looks AMAZING (see below).  And what blows my mind most of all is that these aren’t even close to final sequences…they’re just test renderings!  The finished VFX are, I’m told, going to look even better…incredibly better, in fact.

I don’t know—these look pretty awesome…

Click here to learn more and (if you can) to donate.

(And if you can’t donate, then please share the link with your friends.)

Get on board the SKY FIGHTER Indiegogo! (interview with LUKAS KENDALL)

I get a lot of requests to cover  crowd-funding campaigns for fan films here on this blog.  Many of those requests I politely decline because the projects have no connection to Star Trek, which is where I focus most of my attention.

So why did I decide to feature a non-Star Trek fan project like SKY FIGHTER?  Well, there actually is a connection to both Star Trek and Trek fan films.  First, show-runner LUKAS KENDALL produced many of the Star Trek music compilations on CD over the years.  And second, Lukas is a close friend of ROBERT MEYER BURNETT and tapped him to edit the final Sky Fighter short film.  Rob, as many of you know, was the editor of the highly popular Prelude to Axanar fan film and was, until recently, slated to direct the remaining two episodes of the Axanar trilogy.

But that wasn’t the only thing that intrigued me enough to want to bring this new Indiegogo campaign to your attention.

The first thing I noticed about the campaign was the tongue-in-cheek humor.  While some projects take a somewhat light tone here and there, this one is going all-in with comedy.  Lukas even calls himself “a highly qualified un-qualified person” and makes sure to mention that “I am not stupid!”  He even included an illustration to hammer home that point…

Also really funny were some of the perks.  Most of them are serious items of some value, but a few were eye-popping in their obvious outrageousness…

Click to enlarge…

But it wasn’t just the humor that got my attention.  Lukas also made the unusual decision to post his entire script for the short film for all to read (rather than keeping it secret, as most productions to).  And it’s definitely worth reading, folks—I was very impressed.

Also, the short film is a “proof-of-concept” that will apparently lead to a full-length feature…and there is already an offer on the table!

And last but not least, this $25,000 Indiegogo is an all-or-nothing Fixed Goal campaign…meaning it either makes the goal or the production gets nothing (which is usually the caae for Kickstarter).

Fortunately, Lukas has managed to generate almost $9,000 (as I type this) from nearly 100 backers with 23 days still to go.  Needless to say, I asked him about that early success straight away when we chatted…

Continue reading “Get on board the SKY FIGHTER Indiegogo! (interview with LUKAS KENDALL)”

THE ROMULAN WAR extends its INDIEGOGO another 30 DAYS!

With only ONE day left to go on its $10,000 Indiegogo campaign, the new fan project THE ROMULAN WAR has been essentially stuck just under $6,000.  I had featured a text interview with show-runner MARK NACCARTO when the project first kicked off.  At that point, the campaign had jumped out to an impressive start.  And within the first 10 days, they’d generated over $4,000 in contributions.

But then things slowed down and nearly screeched to a halt!  The needle barely moved at all during their third week when I published an audio interview with Mark trying to figure out what was going on.  Why were the donations drying up?  Was it the hit of Tax Day in the U.S.?  Was it the guidelines or the lawsuit from 2016?  Was it just that Mark wasn’t campaigning enough?  Or have fans simply hit donating a wall?

It wasn’t just the normal mid-campaign slowdown.  Even now, with only one day left, donations are almost nonexistent.   I’d even e-mailed Mark to suggest that he might want to publicly release some of the special features (videos, ship dossiers, character background info, etc.) that had been reserved only for donors…just to excite and encourage more contributions.  But time was running out!

Well, apparently, time is a luxury that we once again DO have…thanks to the folks at Indiegogo!  Apparently, the crowd-funding service will now let a project team extend the duration of a 30-day campaign by an ADDITIONAL 30 days…even if they haven’t reached their goal yet!

So guess what Mark just did?  Aw, why don’t I let him tell you himself…

Continue reading “THE ROMULAN WAR extends its INDIEGOGO another 30 DAYS!”

Is TREK crowd-funding in TROUBLE? (a lively chat with MARK NACCARATO of THE ROMULAN WAR)

Are Star Trek fan films in danger of having the donation well run dry?  It’s hard to know, but right now, things look somewhat troubling.

Last month, a Kickstarter for the proposed The Holy Core fan film (the same folks who produced the excellent Chance Encounter) didn’t even manage to get half way to their $12,000 goal and instead got nothing.  Another Kickstarter for The Roddenberries’ new album and music video set a two month goal of $9,500 and, with only 11 days to go, is only up to $3,565.

And now, THE ROMULAN WAR, an exciting new Star Trek fan project, is struggling to reach its $10,000 goal on Indiegogo.  Although they burst out of the starting gate with $4,200 in less than two weeks, last week was a veritable desert of donations with only a few hundred dollars coming in over the span of six days.  And this despite the fact that last Monday saw a new video posted to social media spotlighting the cast and showing some never-before-seen footage, and on Wednesday there was a cool TrekYards feature on the Romulan “Strombird” class.  Fortunately, yesterday saw nearly a thousand dollars come in (not sure why, since nothing notable happened on Sunday), but they’re still only 55% of the way to their goal with just 12 days left!

What the heck is going on??? Continue reading “Is TREK crowd-funding in TROUBLE? (a lively chat with MARK NACCARATO of THE ROMULAN WAR)”

CHANCE ENCOUNTER creators announce NEW Star Trek fan film: THE HOLY CORE!

I love Brits who make Trek fan films!  A year ago, writer / director GARY O’BRIEN and co-writer PETER LAIGHT released their first-ever Star Trek fan film CHANCE ENCOUNTER…and fans were blown away.  Superb acting, touching story, well-directed, fantastic costumes and VFX, perfect music, and even custom-built shuttlepod and turbolift sets—it’s a MUST-SEE fan film well worth 20 minutes of your time to watch if you haven’t already.

This entire magnificent production was funded for just £1,862 (about $2,700) raised through a Kickstarter.  And now, Gary and Peter have just announced a NEW crowd-funding campaign (coming in March) to try to raise £7,000 – £8,000 (about $10,000)…well within the $50K limit set by the fan film guidelines.

Speaking of the guidelines, I asked Gary about film length and crowd-funding perks:

We are structuring the script to split in half at the 15-minute mark, and so we are aiming for an overall run-time of 30 minutes for the story. We have yet to decide whether to make that two separate uploads of 15 minutes or not.  That choice will be made much later in the process I think.

As for perks, we will probably only offer wallpapers, scripts, etc.  Our hope is that anyone who donates does so to see the film get made.  The simpler the perks, the more money we can put on screen!

Like Chance Encounter, the new film, The Holy Core, will be set in a time period about midway through TNG, likely 2368 or thereabouts, with a cast of all new characters.  And while Chance Encounter was basically a love story, Gary says…

This time we will touch on several themes, such as scientific pursuit, the roles of religion, and a little hint of romance, too.

The new campaign will start up around March 1 and run through the end of that month.  Filming will likely happen over the summer (once sets are built and cast members selected), and the finished film(s) will likely debut in late 2018 or early 2019.  Obviously, a lot can happen before then, but Chance Encounter stayed pretty much on schedule all though production.

So start saving your pennies (or pence) for a very exciting crowd-funder coming in just five more weeks.  And here’s something to get you in the donating mood…

Got a DOLLAR? THE CIRCUIT will host a 24-HOUR PLEDGE DRIVE this SATURDAY!

The new sci-fi professional/fan film hybrid series THE CIRCUIT started off their Kickstarter with a goal of $50,000.  And with just 5 days left, they’re at nearly $84,000…and that’s great.

But now they’re trying to reach a stretch goal of (are you sitting down???) $200,000!  Impossible, you say?  Preposterous?  Never happen?  Perhaps.  But $200,000 will allow them to fund an entire season—ten full episodes—and so they’re gonna to make a run at it!

And here’s how…

It all happens this coming Saturday, May 20, for twenty-four hours starting at midnight Pacific Time.  The CHALLENGE is for 100,000 fans to each donate at least $1.  A buck is almost nothing these days (especially at Starbucks!).  I’ve already donated $80 to this campaign, so I’m going to up it to $81.  (See?  Only 99,999 fans to go!)  Their message is being sent out far and wide, and YOU can help send it!

Also on Saturday, beginning at 10am Pacific Time, members of the cast of The Circuit will be streaming a LIVE CHALLENGE SHOW via their Facebook page for 14 straight hours until the challenge ends at midnight!  Confirmed guests on the LIVE CHALLENGE SHOW include:

  • Tim Russ
  • Walter Koenig
  • Armin Shimerman
  • Robert Picardo
  • Olivia d’Abo
  • Cody Saintgnue
  • Manu Intiraymi

…and more will likely show up, as show-runner Manu Intiraymi (Icheb from Star Trek: Voyager) is trying to coordinate everyone’s schedules (there’s 20 actors in the cast!).  There will also be new videos and new trailers as the cast tracks the pledges on their tote board.

Fans will be helping out, as well.  In fact, it was a fan who suggested the 24-hour challenge and another fan who suggested the live show!  And now folks like me (and you!) can help spread the word.  Here’s what people need to know:

WHEN: All day Saturday May 20, 2017 – midnight PDT to the following midnight

WHERE: The LIVE SHOW is at https://www.facebook.com/thecircuitmovie/

WHAT TO DO: Donate $1 here and ask other people to do it, too!

Tweet!  Post!  E-mail!  Shout!  Send smoke signals!  If this works, it’ll make fan film history!


To learn more about THE CIRCUIT, listen to this audio interview with MANU INTIRAYMI:

Manu Intiraymi – show-runner for THE CIRCUIT

What is…THE CIRCUIT? An audio interview with MANU INTIRAYMI

What is THE CIRCUIT…and why are fans so excited by it that the project’s Kickstarter campaign surpassed its initial $50,000 in just ONE WEEK???  (They’re now up to $64,000!)

Is it a fan film?  Kinda.  Is it a professional independent film?  Well, yeah, it’s that, too.

Is it Star Trek?  No.  But on the other hand, just take a look at this cast…

  • Walter “Chekov” Koenig (Star Trek)
  • Terry “Jadzia Dax” Farrell (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
  • Robert “Chakotay” Beltran (Star Trek: Voyager)
  • Armin “Quark” Shimerman (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
  • Robert “EMH” Picardo (Star Trek: Voyager)
  • Ethan “Neelix” Phillips (Star Trek: Voyager)
  • JG “General Martok” Hertzler (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)               
  • Robert “Gowron” O’Reilly (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
  • Hana “Molly O’Brien” Hatae (Star Trek: TNG/DS9)
  • Tim “Tuvok” Russ (Star Trek: Voyager)
  • Doug “Lt. Saru” Jones (Star Trek: Discovery, Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth)
  • Manu “Icheb” Intiraymi (Star Trek: Voyager)

But wait!  There’s more…

  • Ryan Eggold (The Black List, The Black List: Redemption)
  • Sylvester McCoy (The Hobbit, Doctor Who)
  • Gigi Edgley (Farscape, Rescue Special Ops)
  • Miltos Yerolemou (Game of Thrones, Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
  • Valerie Leslie (The Paranormal Hour, 5th Passenger)
  • Corin Nemec (Stargate SG-1)
  • Rob Archer (Lost Girl, Pixels, Kick Ass 2)
  • Jai Koutrae (Death’s Requiem)
  • Mindy Robinson (V/H/S/2)
  • Olivia D’abo (The Wonder Years, Conan The Destroyer)
  • Cody Saintgnue (MTV’s Teen Wolf)

Interested yet?  Well, guess what?  YOU might even be able to work on this project!  Yes, YOU, Mr. or Ms. Fan! And it isn’t even just one fan film; it’s TEN—all linked together in…The Circuit!

But what is…The Circuit??  (Didn’t I already write that?)

I recently sat down with MANU INTIRAYMI (the actor who played the Borg teenager Icheb on Star Trek: Voyager) for one of Fan Film Factor’s first-ever audio interviews.  And I asked him to help fill in the mystery of what is……The Circuit???  So let’s find out the ANSWER…

MANU INTIRAYMI as Icheb on STAR TREK: VOYAGER (left) and today.

To learn more or to donate, click here.

RENEGADES releases the trailer for “THE REQUIEM, PART 2” and seeks $80,000!

By now, you’re probably aware of how Star Trek: Renegades became RENEGADES: THE SERIES on the day the new fan film guidelines were announced…and how they surgically removed all traces of Star Trek from their Star Trek fan film.

But the show must go on!  And filming completed for both Parts 1 and 2 of the first full episode of Renegades, “The Requiem,” after the release of the initial 90-minute pilot.

Starring Walter Koenig as an aging admiral named “Pavel” with a strong Russian accent, Nichelle Nichols as another unnamed admiral, and Tim Russ (who also directed it) as the Confederation Security Chief Kovok—plus a half dozen other Star Trek acting veterans from various series—“The Requiem, Part 1” was already completed and released and can be viewed here.

Now the time has come to finish post-production on Part 2, and that means another round of crowd-funding.  Their first round of crowd-funding for “The Requiem” (called episodes 2 and 3 at the time) came via Kickstarter at the end of 2015 and raised more than $378,000!  That covered production (sets, costumes, make-up, actors, production crew, equipment, studio, etc.) but not post-production (visual effects, sound, music, color balancing, editing, etc.).

A separate crowd-funding campaign for post-production was held using Indiegogo last August with a goal of $60,000 for “The Requiem, Part 1” and $150,00 for the completion of both episodes.  And they nearly made it!  A total of $138,580 was raised…allowing them to complete and release “Part 1” and nearly complete Part 2.

So let’s see, doing the math, Renegades needed $150,000 and raised just over $138,000.  So that leaves…$80,000???  Yeah, you were probably gonna say $12,000, but this is crowd-funding math!

Aw, I’m just teasing…although Renegades really is asking for another $80,000.  But like certain other fan productions (you know the one I’m talking about), when you’ve done successful crowd-funding, there’s always room for scope-creep, and Renegades is promising lots more than originally planned:

We are seeking post-production funding to expand and finish our visual FX work, and to finish up the audio, mixing and color correction. This campaign will also allow us to add many new VFX shots to enhance the story and dramatically increase the visual production value – if you’ve viewed part one, you’ve seen what an amazing job the team has done with the effects! Renegades: the Requiem is so close to public release, and we are eager to offer the dramatic conclusion to the film. Spoiler alert: the Renegades universe will never be the same!

You can donate by clicking on this link.

This time out, they’re doing their own internal crowd-funding campaign (no Kickstarter or Indiegogo) with some great perks.  And in just two days, they’re already raised more than 10% of their goal!  Please consider making a donation if you can.

And if you’re on the fence, this trailer for Part 2 should definitely put you in the mood to open your wallet!