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!”

Just $535 away from saving ERIC WATTS’ house!

Eight days ago when I first covered this story, ERIC L. WATTS had just launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise $11,000…of which, the first $6,000 would go toward getting his house out of foreclosure and the other $5,000 would pay off the credit card debt accrued from Eric personally covering the shortfalls from the TREKLANTA convention (held each year since 2011). For the past five years, that convention has hosted what is now known as the BJO AWARDS, the only annual contest focused exclusively on honoring Star Trek fan films.

While I don’t usually cover campaigns for personal crowd-funding help, in Eric’s case, I made an exception because Treklanta and the Bjo Awards are a special resource for our fan film community, and I’d rather not lose either of them. And of course, Eric is a friend, and I don’t want the guy to be homeless.

I’ll be honest with you—I doubted that Eric would be able to pull this off…even just making it to $6,000 to save his house. It wasn’t that I doubted the generosity of our community. Heck, my own recent crowd-funding for Interlude has been surprisingly successful. But this isn’t a campaign for a fan film. Donors won’t get anything in return for supporting Eric’s campaign…other than the satisfaction of helping a fellow human being in need.

But it turns out that our community has quite a big heart after all! And in just a little over a week, Eric is within $535 from being able to save his house…and just in time, as his past-due mortgage payments must be received by early September (I don’t have the specific date) or else his home goes into foreclosure.

Part of the reason for the success of Eric’s campaign is certainly Eric’s reputation as an important part of our fan film and Star Trek community, along with his work in organizing the Bjo Awards each year. Another is that Eric wisely made use of a relatively new crowd-funding feature on Facebook where donations can be made through their site, as well.

So instead of having one campaign trying to reach $11,000 to cover mortgage and credit card debt, Eric now has two campaigns, each trying to reach only $6,000 combined to cover just the past-due mortgage itself. (Paying off the credit card will potentially be a separate endeavor. Right now, the priority for Eric is to keep his home.) Here are links to the two campaigns…

GoFundMe: https://www.gofundme.com/help-save-eric039s-house-treklanta-amp-the-bjo-awards

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/donate/2457823331114420/

By splitting the campaign in two, a new avenue for donations was opened, and now the GoFundMe is up to $3,145 from 52 donors (including me), and the Facebook total is at $2,320 from 53 backers. That combines to $5,465…just $535 away from the $6,000 Eric needs to (after fees) save his house. I think he might just be able to pull this off after all!

Eric provided me with the following statement of gratitude…

Continue reading “Just $535 away from saving ERIC WATTS’ house!”

Help kickstart episode 2 of COZMO’S…from the folks who brought you RENEGADES!

With all of the Star Trek themed fan films out there, some folks have asked why fan filmmakers don’t take the next logical step and use their skills, resources, and crowd-funding successes to make some original content?

Well, someone has done just that…and now they want to do it again!

The folks who brought us Star Trek: Renegades and the two-part Renegades: “The Requiem” cast a collection of Star Trek and sci-fi notables in a completely new sci-fi universe…more specifically, in a dive called Cozmo’s Thirsty Tentacle Bar and Grill. Some of the more notable names in the cast included Ethan Phillips (“Neelix” of Star Trek: Voyager), Robert Picardo (“The EMH Doctor” of Voyager), Aron Eisenberg (“Nog” of Deep Space Nine), and Claudia Christian (“Susan Ivanova” of Babylon 5). The original director was Stephen Furst (Vir from Babylon 5), who tragically passed away shortly after the live action scenes were shot in early 2017.

With the production footage “in the can” (as they say), it was time to raise funds for post-production…with a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign in November of last year that blasted past its $16K goal to finish at a stunning $54.4K from 865 backers! This allowed the pilot for COZMO’S to be completed and released (for backers only) earlier this summer.

Because the series is being shopped around to studios, the full pilot episode is not accessible unless you’re a donor to either the first campaign or the current campaign for episode two (at a level of at least $35). However, the creators have posted the first ten minutes of the half-hour pilot for the public to view. So take a look…

Aside from the obviously high production quality (lighting, sound, camera work, etc.) and the impressive acting, what stands out the most is the amazing combination of make-up and VFX that weaves itself so seamlessly through nearly every scene. Much of this is due to the masterful skills of the make-up team under the supervision of Vincent Guastini, whose professional work in Hollywood includes World War Z, Silent Night, Sushi Girl, I Am Legend, Scary Movie 4, and Dogma.

Would you like Vincent to turn YOU into an alien? Well, guess what! That’s actually one of the very tempting perks being offered in the just-launched Kickstarter for Cozmo’s episode 2…

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/atomicstudios/cozmos-goes-out-of-this-world-with-ep-2

Episode 2 also brings in some exciting changes to the way things were done in episode 1….

Continue reading “Help kickstart episode 2 of COZMO’S…from the folks who brought you RENEGADES!”

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!”

RED ALERT! The BJO AWARDS are in jeopardy…along with TREKLANTA and ERIC WATTS’ house!

For the past nine years, ERIC L. WATTS has been chairman of the annual TREKLANTA convention, a small con in the Atlanta area that has always been very supportive of Star Trek fan films. In fact, for the last half-decade, Eric and Treklanta have hosted the annual BJO AWARDS—originally called the Independent Star Trek Fan Film Awards, and rechristened the “Bjo’s” after the woman credited with saving Star Trek from an early cancelation in 1968, BJO TRIMBLE.

Those awards, and the Treklanta convention, have been a special boon to the Star Trek fan film world, letting us celebrate—year after year—the best our community has to offer. Eric has never charged fan filmmakers a fee to register for the Bjo’s. Trek fan productions were simply included in the contest if they met the qualifications…and most did.

Eric has done so much for the fan film community. Now he needs us to do something for him…and it’s pretty much an emergency!

Treklanta has never drawn huge crowds, and that has resulted in years finishing in the red. Rather than default on commitments and risk businesses no longer willing to do business with Treklanta, Eric would pay off the shortfalls out of his own pocket, using credit cards when there was too much to cover with available funds.

As the years went on, the credit card debt piled up with Eric only able to pay the minimums and interest mounting. Eventually, just making those minimum payments delayed Eric’s ability to submit his own mortgage payments on time.

Now Eric is about to lose his home, still buried in credit card debt, all because he wanted to keep a convention going that celebrated Star Trek and its fan films.

It’s tempting to do a whole bunch of woulda/shoulda/coulda to Eric. But advice on handling things differently over the last nine years isn’t going to fix the immediate problem. Eric needs $6,000 to pay his past-due mortgage, and another $5,000 pays off the convention’s credit card.

Eric has just set up a GoFundMe campaign, and in the first 7 hours, 13 fans donated $635 (including $50 from me)…or about 6% of what he needs. There’s still a long way to go, but the news is only just beginning to make its way around fandom. Please help spread the word and, if possible, make a donation…even if it’s just a small one.

Click here to save Treklanta, the Bjos, and Eric’s House.

Once we help put out this fire, we fans can step up with some ideas to help make sure that Eric doesn’t fall down this slippery slope again (like maybe charging fan filmmakers a small $10 or $20 registration fee to enter the Bjo Awards contest). But right now, it’s all hands on deck to help someone in need.

Below is Eric’s public plea for assistance. You can tell this was not an easy video for him to make, and all the more reason to try to offer him some desperately needed assistance…

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!”

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!”

CONTINUING CONSTAR GoFundMe gets 50% of the way to its goal in just 19 hours!

There’s just something about VANCE MAJOR that makes fans want to give him money! Maybe it’s his adorable son Royce, Maybe it’s the three dozen Minard fan films he’s made. Maybe it’s the photos from his shoots that he posts almost daily to the Fan Film Forum Facebook group. And maybe it’s because he knows you can see the cord in the doorway of his scene and he just doesn’t care because he’s more interested in having fun and telling a good story.

Whatever the reason, Vance has won the hearts and minds of scores of fans, and his crowd-funding campaigns quickly reach their goals. Granted, these goals are usually in the mid-hundreds of dollars and not difficult to achieve. But whenever Vance launches a campaign, it’s always completely funded before I even have a chance to mention it here on Fan Film Factor.

Not this time, though!

I’m in Colorado this week and next visiting my family…while the rest of fandom is in Las Vegas enjoying Star Trek celebrities and the eighth plague suffered by the Egyptians in the Old Testament’s book of Exodus.  But that means a brief pause in fan film blogs till I get back. So I have the opportunity to slot in this quick shout-out to tell you all about Vance’s new campaign before it gets fully funded in a few more hours (or less!).

Vance isn’t offering any perks, and his CONSTAR CHRONICLES fan series won’t premiere until December (read more here). But he already wants to shoot additional episodes in 2020, and he needs to buy more uniform tunics and props. The goal this time is $1,100 (his first foray into four-figure funding), and in the first 19 hours, he’s already halfway there.

So if you want to be part of this Major movement, part of Vance’s victorious vision for Constar contributions, just click over to the following link and make a donation…

https://www.gofundme.com/f/continuing-constar