The women of TREK SHORTS, Part 2: THE ICARUS ENCOUNTER (interview with ALEXA BROWN)

Last week, I presented the first of what will be three consecutive interviews with the very impressive female actors who have played (and will continue to play) leading roles in the TREK SHORTS fan series. British Czar of CGI SAMUEL COCKINGS has created an ever-expanding buffet of eye-popping Star Trek fan films compositing performers acting in front of green screens with ultra-detailed and realistic-looking digital backgrounds recreating starship interiors from the 23rd through the 25th centuries of Starfleet history. Then he combines these live-action scenes with uncanny VFX shots to bring to life character-based stories in ways that few fan filmmakers can.

Before I go any further, this is a good time to remind readers that Sam is currently trying to raise $35,000 to make even more Trek Shorts. There’s less than a month left, so don’t wait to make a donation…

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/trek-shorts-2022-by-fans-for-fans

Since the kick-off of Sam’s previous Indiegogo campaign a year and a half ago, he’s already released an impressive EIGHT Trek Shorts fan films:

And more will be completed and released soon, with several others waiting to be crowd-funded.

I covered The Tholian Gambit last week along with an interview with lead actress NIMRAN SAUND, who has appeared in no less than five of Sam’s films (see last week’s interview for links). This week, I turn our attention to another skilled thespian, the talented ALEXA BROWN, who reprises her role of Captain Joan Keller of the U.S.S. Vigilance for the first time in a Trek Short entitled The Icarus Incident.

Wait a second! Did I just says “reprises her role for the first time”? Yes, for the first time in a Trek Short. You might recognize Alexa’s character of Captain Keller from another excellent fan film from filmmaker GARY O’BRIEN (also of Great Britain), THE HOLY CORE, originally released in mid-2019. Sam brought in Alexa to play the same role in a Trek Short that was released back in August of this year, which you can watch below…

Pretty good, huh?

Alexa’s character is actually replacing the role of Captain Alexander Richardson, played by Dutch actor and showrunner of STAR TREK: DARK ARMADA, ROBIN HIERT. Robin was supposed to appear in the mega-fan film crossover project, CONVERGENCE, which Sam had crowd-funded back in late 2018 and was delayed due to the multiple COVID lockdowns in Europe. “Robin was set to join us for our June shoot as late as January 2022,” explains Sam. “However, in February, Robin’s real life took over, and we didn’t hear from him for a long while. At that point, he left the project, but we had still set a June Convergence shoot, as we were long overdue.” And that’s when Sam reached out to Alexa Brown.

Continue reading “The women of TREK SHORTS, Part 2: THE ICARUS ENCOUNTER (interview with ALEXA BROWN)”

The women of TREK SHORTS, Part 1: THE THOLIAN GAMBIT (interview with NIMRAN SAUND)

Even though the awesome fan film THE THOLIAN GAMBIT from the British Minister of Visual Effects, SAMUEL COCKINGS, came out nearly six months ago, I’ve been saving it in my back pocket in order to combine today’s interview into a series of three interviews, each with one of what I was originally going to collectively call “Sam’s Women.” Instead, I’ve decided to use the monicker “The Women of TREK SHORTS.” Either way, the three actresses have all proven themselves to be very impressive performers, certainly some of the highest caliber among Star Trek fan films.

But perhaps even more notable than their obvious talent is the fact that Star Trek fan films don’t typically present women as the leads. There have certainly been plenty of female actors who appear in a wide range of Trek fan films, but seldom do they sit in the center seat and/or become the main/sole focus of the story. There are, of course, some notable exceptions, dating all the way back to Captain Elizabeth Shelby in STAR TREK: HIDDEN FRONTIER, Lexxa Singh in STAR TREK: RENEGADES, Captain Sian Gabriel of STARSHIP DEIMOS, Captain Castille of STAR TREK: DECEPTION II, Captain Kara Carpenter of STAR TREK: AURORA, three of the four captains of the Czech fan film SQUADRON and Captain Shelby of the Czech fan film MYSTERIOUS ODYSSEY, Ensign Williams of THE RED SHIRT DIARIES, the two PROJECT: RUNABOUT fan films, Commander Alisa Vandre of PACIFIC 201, Captain Keller in THE HOLY CORE, and Aaron Vanderkley’s main character in LINE OF DUTY plus his captain in BEYOND THE SUN and OUTBREAK.

(And yeah, I might be missing a few female fan film leads, but trust me, that list is waaaaay shorter than the list of male captains and lead actors…kinda like Star Trek itself, to be honest.)

So let’s give Sam Cockings credit for casting three very talented female actors as leads and captains in his various fan films, including his recent parade of Trek Shorts releases. Speaking of which(!), just a friendly reminder that Sam is trying to raise $35,000 for a series of even MORE awesome Trek Shorts (plus the final release of CONVERGENCE), and he’s 11% of the way there as I type this. I encourage everyone reading this to click on the link below and donate at least a little something. There’s some very nice perks, but mainly, Sam and this team just make incredible fan films, and we’d really like to see more…!

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/trek-shorts-2022-by-fans-for-fans

Today’s Part 1 blog turns the spotlight on NIMRAN SAUND, or “Nim” for short. Her first Trek fan film dates back to 2013 when she filmed scenes for Sam’s excellent TEMPORAL ANOMALY, which was eventually released in 2019. Since then, she’s reprised her character of Keeley (or rather, Keeley’s 24th century descendent) in A LONG WAY FROM HOME, ONE SMALL STEP, and a cameo in the INTREPID episode “PURSUIT OF A DREAM.” And most recently, Lt. Anna Keeley got a promotion to Captain in one of the first Picard season two fan films, The Tholian Gambit

Continue reading “The women of TREK SHORTS, Part 1: THE THOLIAN GAMBIT (interview with NIMRAN SAUND)”

Now there are TWO crowd-funding campaigns in “IN DEMAND” status: AVALON and FARRAGUT FORWARD!

For anyone who’s curious, the 2-month long crowd-funding campaign for the AVALON UNIVERSE’s ambitious new multiversal crossover fan film, CRISIS ON INFINITE EXCALIBURS, finished up with $11,605. Since it surpassed its initial $8K goal (by 45%, in fact!), Indiegogo allows the the campaign to shift into “In Demand” status, meaning showrunner JOSHUA IRWIN can continue to crowd-fund beyond this past Monday’s deadline.

Oh course, if you’re talking AMBITIOUS fan films that are still crowd-funding using “In Demand” Indiegogos, you have to enthusiastically include FARRAGUT FORWARD from showrunner JOHN BROUGHTON and director JOHNNY K. They already released a short teaser trailer back in February that blew people’s socks off with the quality of the monster maroon uniforms, Klingon armor and make-up, and overall production quality. Take a look…

At the same time, they launched an Indiegogo to raise $30K intended to complete the full film, a sequel to their long-running STARSHIP FARRAGUT fan series. At the start of their campaign, I interviewed John and Johnny about the new project, which you can watch here…

Like Avalon, the Farragut Forward Indiegogo managed to surpass their goal, finishing at $33K on April 2 and shifting into “In Demand” status. And since then, they’ve managed to add 11 more backers and an extra $1.5K on top of their previous total. Johnny K. confirmed to me that the campaign is still very much active…

Our crowd-funder on Indiegogo is still open, and additional funds will give us even more options for Klingon sets, and maybe even a few surprises. So please keep the donations coming, and help spread the word that we’re still funding. Now is a perfect time to jump on board and help be a part of this project.

Here’s the link to donate:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/farragut-forward-a-star-trek-fan-production

Johnny continued…

There’s so much passion and genuine love for Star Trek, and we all know that we’re creating something special. You can just feel it. Dozens of very talented people are taking time away from their personal lives and families to bring this vision to life, and we’re incredibly grateful for that.

In the meantime, John Broughton continues to supervise the creation of the costumes, the construction of the sets and props, and a whole bunch of other pre-production tasks. And he’s been chronicling these efforts in a series of updates posted to their Indiegogo page. Speaking of sets, take a look at this…!

Impressed? Johnny K. sure is…

I was blown away when I saw the mocked-up sets for the first time. It just reinforces how massive this undertaking really is. From the sets, to the top-tier costumes, props, SFX and VFX, the time and energy poured into this production is unbelievable.

Filming kicks off on October 8, and we’ll be shooting off and on in several stages for many months and into next year. It’s a huge story to tell and we’re taking our time with it to make the best film we can possibly make.

Big donations take the AVALON UNIVERSE Indiegogo from STALLED to STELLAR!

For the past two weeks, the Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign for CRISIS ON INFINITE EXCALIBURS from THE AVALON UNIVERSE was going nowhere fast. Prior to that, there’s had been doing well for the first four weeks, with donations nearing the halfway point to their $8,000 goal. But then Star Trek Last Vegas and DragonCon began to suck up all the oxygen in the fan community for two consecutive weeks, and it was hard to generate enough attention in all of the excitement to promote a fan film crowd-funding campaign.

But the timing worked out well in the end, as the middle weeks of any crowd-funder are typically the slowest, and over the past several days, a healthy influx of new donations has brought Team Avalon up to $6,430—only 20% short of their goal—with two weeks left.

Most of that recent jump came from two mega-donors, one of them choosing a $1,000 Producer-level package (which includes an optional voice-over as background “bridge chatter” in the final film), and the other selecting a $1,500 Executive Producer donation, qualifying that supporter for a walk-on role. Since showrunner JOSHUA IRWIN already made the announcement on Facebook, I can likewise reveal that Executive Producer to be none other than RAY MYERS, who was also my top donor on INTERLUDE and appeared on camera as the first officer of the ill-fated U.S.S. Artemis. In Crisis on Infinite Excaliburs, Ray will be playing the character of Captain Jennings of the Excalibur. The only question is: WHICH Excalibur?

Soon-to-be Executive Producer for AVALON, this is RAY MYERS on the set of INTERLUDE.

While online promotion for the campaign slowed for a couple of weeks, it will kick back into high gear for the duration of the Indiegogo, which will continue through September 26. Josh is preparing for a special partnership with the Star Trek-themed Lore Reloaded YouTube channel, which has 115K subscribers and will be posting some new Avalon content over the coming weeks.

Josh is also working to set up a podcast interview with a widely-viewed prominent member of the professional Star Trek fan community. (Is there such a thing as a “professional Star Trek fan”? Yes, as a matter of fact, there is! Assuming it happens, I’ll share the name in an upcoming blog.)

And finally, Josh informs me that he is planning to purchase a YouTube boost for his “ask” video, which has been very effective in generating donations (including his first Executive Producer $1,500 package from a first-time contributor). The boost is supposed to provide an additional 7,500 views of the video. Even if only a tiny fraction of those people decide to donate, it should easily cost of the cost of the boost. Here’s the “ask” video if you’d like to see it…

And of course, if you’re able to donate, that’s just peachy-keen, too! The Indiegogo link is below…

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/crisis-on-infinite-excaliburs-a-star-trek-fan-film#

As always, I’ll keep you all posted on how the campaign is doing as it reaches its finale.

One TREK crowd-funder reaches their GOAL while another needs our HELP!

As one door successfully closes, another door optimistically opens…

On Sunday evening, the Indieogo campaign for THE TEST OF TIME, the next release coming soon from RAY TESI and TALES FROM THE EUTRAL ZONE, finished up at 124% of its $6K goal…reaching a very impressive $$7,452 in just 30 days! It’s still active, as Indiegogo offers an “In Demand” status where people can continue donating, and another $400 came in after the official deadline, bringing the total to $7,867 from 65 backers!

Among the fan filmmakers involved with The Test of Time is their dynamic director of photography, JOSHUA IRWIN, who also directed their wildly popular previous release, DOOMSDAY, already up to 90K views on YouTube since its release on April 5.

However, Josh is more widely known in this sector of the galaxy as the showrunner for the AVALON UNIVERSE fan series, and his just-released THE NEEDS OF THE ONE is also racking up the YouTube views as it nears 10K after just two weeks!

At the same time that The Needs of the One premiered, Josh also launched a brand new Indiegogo campaign of his own to fund the production of the ambitious multiverse-crossover fan film CRISIS ON INFINITE EXCALIBURS. With a total duration of 60 days to reach their goal, the new campaign has started out decently (but not strongly)…having gotten only 11% of the way to the $8K they need.

I partially blame myself for this somewhat slow start, as I haven’t been giving Josh as much early support here on Fan Film Factor as I did for Ray. And I intend to rectify that starting now!

The first thing I’m going to do is share with you Josh’s excellent new “ask” video…

And the second thing I’m going to do is provide the following link as I ask you to please consider donating something—if you can afford to—because Josh’s Avalon fan films are really something special (and if you can’t afford to, please share the following link)…

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/crisis-on-infinite-excaliburs-a-star-trek-fan-film

And the third thing I’m going to do is provide more promotional support for Josh and Team Avalon over the coming weeks. I’m currently editing the second of my video interviews with the cast of The Needs of the One (with more still coming). You can watch the first interview with ALEX REXFORD (the new actress playing U.S.S. Excalibur first officer Mikaela Allenby) on this blog page. The next video interview will feature fan films’ CUTEST Vulcan/human couple: CORA WILSON (who plays Nurse T’Prin) and WADE KING (who plays Security Officer Williams). And trust me, they are just as adorable in real life as they are in the Avalon Universe…AND they can kick your ass if you step out of line!

And finally, I’m preparing a blog for next week spotlighting the unique perks being offered with this campaign (like a smart-phone case), some of which were designed by yours truly! That’s gonna be a really fun blog to read…once I finish writing it, that is!

AVALON UNIVERSE releases a trailer for THE NEEDS OF THE ONE…just THREE DAYS before the premiere!

The AVALON UNIVERSE is a very unique Star Trek fan series. Some viewers see the uniforms and mistakenly think these stories take place in the Kelvin timeline. They don’t. But they don’t take place in the Prime timeline either. The Avalon Universe has its own continuity and mythos. Yes, many (not all) of the uniforms are from JJ Trek, but the sets are all straight TOS (shot at both WARP 66 STUDIOS in northern Arkansas and NEUTRAL ZONE STUDIOS in Kingsland, GA). And the U.S.S. Excalibur looks mostly like TOS but with some intriguing upgrades and refinements.

Having your own alternate universe to play around in has given showrunner JOSHUA IRWIN intriguing opportunities to tell stories that retain the heart of Star Trek without being “trapped” by 56 years of canon. It’s led to the release of nine superb fan films since 2018 (you can view them all here) with a tenth, THE NEEDS OF THE ONE, debuting this Thursday at 7pm Central Time.

In anticipation of that premiere, earlier today Josh posted a 60-second trailer for the new episode…

I asked Josh what fans can expect from this latest film (beyond what’s shown in the trailer)…

“We’re going to get to know more characters on the Excalibur, all while following Commander Allenby’s journey. She’s just become first officer, and Commodore Jakande is giving her a chance to prove herself under really difficult circumstances. But that’s what commanding a starship is all about, right? How she handles the challenges in this film will take her out of her comfort zone. ALEXANDRA REXFORD, who just joined our cast, has added so many incredible layers to this wonderful character. Fans are definitely going to want to see more of Alex in future films.”

Josh also discussed another new addition to the cast, CORA WILSON…

“Speaking of characters fans are going to want to see again, Cora just knocks it out of the park as Nurse T’Prin! She was originally going to be just a one-off character for this specific story of a Vulcan female going through pon farr and watching what it does to her both physically and emotionally. Playing a Vulcan is challenging enough, but playing one trying to maintain control and failing is really hard. LEONARD NIMOY did it the best, of course, but Cora’s performance is amazing. I can’t wait for people to see it!

“Anyway, now that this episode is completed, I can’t imagine not revisiting this character in a future story or two, and I suspect the fans will want to see her again, as well.”

Continue reading “AVALON UNIVERSE releases a trailer for THE NEEDS OF THE ONE…just THREE DAYS before the premiere!”

Neutral Zone Studios’ THE TEST OF TIME Indiegogo gets over ONE-THIRD of the way to its goal in just SIX DAYS!

Granted, as they say in stock investing, “Past performance is no guarantee of future results.” And I could well be jinxing the whole endeavor just by writing this blog! But there’s many ways for a new crowd-funding campaign to launch, ranging from very strong down to don’t-get-your-hopes-up. And the new Indiegogo for THE TEST OF TIME from NEUTRAL ZONE STUDIOS is definitely on the “good” side of that bell curve with $2,295 of their $6,000 goal raised in less than a week from 18 backers.

I reported on the launch of this Indiegogo last Friday, mentioning that for a donation of $150, you can get a decent quality TOS-era tunic (any standard size) as a perk. As I write this, 6 of the original 10 available at that donation level are gone, while 11 others are still available at higher donation levels. T-shirts are available at the $75 level, and a set of TOS data disks and console button prop replicas happen at $50. Even at $25 and lower, there are decent digital perks available.

Situated in Kinglsand, GA, Neutral Zone Studios was, of course, the shooting location for the fan series STARSHIP FARRAGUT and, later on, STAR TREK CONTINUES. Sold by VIC MIGNOGNA to Florida resident RAY TESI in 2018, Ray opened up the expansive TOS sets to many other fan productions, including DREADNOUGHT DOMINION, CONSTAR CHRONICLES, and the AVALON UNIVERSE…among others.

The sets have also been used for TALES FROM THE NEUTRAL ZONE, a “fanthology” series focusing on different TOS-era starships and their various crews.  THE LOOKING GLASS (released in June of 2019) and ENDOSYMBIOSIS (February 2021) were recently joined by their third release, the very successful DOOMSDAY, which is currently nearing 90K views on YouTube after just two months.

JOSHUA IRWIN directed Doomsday and also provided his services as director of photography for The Test of Time, most of which has already been filmed, with only a few pick-up shots remaining. The majority of the funds raised from this Indiegogo, in addition to covering expenses that have already been paid for things like food, travel and lodging, wardrobe, etc., will be applied to what are certain to be jaw-dropping CGI effects that will include what I believe will be the first Federation timeship ever seen in a fan film.

In addition to the timeship, VFX starchild SAMUEL COCKINGS has also created a variant of the U.S.S. Stargazer bridge seen in the second season of STAR TREK: PICARD to be used as a virtual background behind green screen actors.

All in all, this looks like a very exciting fan project with a fairly reasonable price tag, considering what’s in it. And while still $3.7K short of their goal, nothing succeeds like success, and this campaign is off to a very encouraging start in its first week!

If you’d like to toss a few shekels into the collection plate, here’s the link:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-test-of-time-a-star-trek-fan-film-production

Neutral Zone’s THE TEST OF TIME Indiegogo launches…offering over 20 TOS UNIFORMS for donors!

These days, it’ll cost you $50-100 just to get a decent TOS tunic from the Internet. But now you can get one (with chest patch and rank braids included…any size) and feel good about donating to the latest crowd-funder from NEUTRAL ZONE STUDIOS—all for as little as $150.

Or if you don’t have that kind of cash available, maybe you’d like a T-shirt for $75…or maybe a set of TOS data disks and console button replicas. Still too much? $25 gets you two digital prints and a 1080p digital download of the final film. And heck, even $10 gets you your name in the credits! (Actually, any donation of $10 or more gets your name into the credits.)

Here’s the link to the campaign…

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-test-of-time-a-star-trek-fan-film-production

Neutral Zone Studios scored a major hit on April 5 of this year with the release of the TOS-era fan film DOOMSDAY, which is currently nearing 90K views on YouTube after just two months. That production was directed by JOSHUA IRWIN (of AVALON UNIVERSE fame, who will be launching an Avalon crowd-funder of his own in a few weeks) and looked amazing! Josh has returned for this new fan film, THE TEST OF TIME, as director of photography, so you can be certain it will look just as good.

Actually, a majority of this new project has already been filmed, with some pick-up shots still needing to be filmed. Most of the work remaining is VFX by the Q of the CGI Continuum, the omnipotent SAMUEL COCKINGS, who will be rendering starships from multiple centuries plus incorporating green screen actor footage against a modified virtual background inspired by the U.S.S. Stargazer from season two of STAR TREK: PICARD

Plus there’s post-production editing, music, and sound still to do. Indeed, the funds raised from the current Indiegogo will be going to a mix of covering the upcoming post-production costs as well as offsetting expenses that were already paid upfront by showrunner and Neutral Zone Studios owner RAY TESI, who uses his own money to pay most of the rent on the studio.

The $6,000 goal of the campaign isn’t particularly ambitious, and already five donors (including me) have taken the total up to 19% of the money needed. Granted, four of those TOS tunics are now gone, but nearly twenty still remain for the fleet of finger!

Meanwhile, speaking of Ray Tesi, I asked him why he’s willing to risk his own money shooting The Test of Time BEFORE successfully crowd-funding it? After all, if they fall short of their goal, Ray’s on the hook for potentially thousands of dollars.

“I believe in the fans, and I believe in what we’re doing,” he answered. “Star Trek enables creative people to express themselves, to tel their stories. And that’s how I feel…that we have become a benefit to the fan film community. Right now, I’m confident that our fans and supporters will come through for us.”

And again, if you’d like to be one of those supporters, here’s the link to donate…

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-test-of-time-a-star-trek-fan-film-production

STALLED TREK is crowd-funding its third TOS puppet parody: “THE DUMBSDAY MACHINE”! (interview with MARK LARGENT)

Back in 2012, one of the earliest Kickstarters for a Star Trek fan film set a goal of $600 and raised $2,200 from over a 100 backers. The result, a hilarious animated puppet parody of the TOS episode “Amok Time,” premiered later that same year. Showrunner and animator MARK LARGENT originally intended that STALLED TREK: “AMUTT TIME” would be a one-off fan production…especially considering all of the work and computer rendering hours required to complete it.

But Mark’s CGI puppets weren’t quite finished yet!

In 2016, during the early days of the AXANAR lawsuit, I was interviewing Mark about “Amutt Time,” we got to talking, and we ended up co-writing and co-producing a hysterical puppet parody called PRELUDE TO AX’D-WE-ARE. Although it didn’t feature any of the zany Kirk/Spock/McCoy/etc. characters, it was still branded as Stalled Trek.

Two years later in 2018, Mark decided that it was time to go back to the TOS roots of Stalled Trek and parody a second classic episode. STALLED TREK: “THE CITY ON THE EDGE OF FORECLOSURE” launched a Kickstarter with a humble goal of just $600 and blew past it in just 8 hours! By the time that campaign ended, Mark had generated $4,181 from 114 backers. But shortly thereafter, Mark discovered that the 3D application he’d been using to animate Stalled Trek would no longer be supporting or updating the application on the Macintosh platform, and Mark didn’t have the money to switch to a Windows PC. Instead, he switched programs and started from scratch with Blender 3D.

The following year, as a proof of concept, Mark released the short vignette, ALL AHEAD FULL, in June of 2019, which was—as usual—brilliantly funny. And in the meantime, work continued on “City…”

Close to the finish line, Mark held an additional Indiegogo campaign at the end of 2020/beginning of 2021 that raised another $3,785 from 54 backers for “City…” offering DVDs/Blu-rays plus a high-quality 48-page “flip” comic styled after the old Star Trek “fotonovels” from the 1970s—one side adapting “Amutt Time” and the upside down side adapting City…”

And before anyone starts yelling about selling unlicensed Star Trek merchandise, Stalled Trek is unquestionably a PARODY and is—unlike most non-parody fan films—directly protected under the Fair Use doctrine.

“City…” was finally completed and mailed to donors on a blu-ray in June 2021. Since then, this humble fan film has gone on to win a ton of awards…

  • Indie Short Fest
  • IndieX Film Fest
  • Azure Lorica Fan Film Awards
  • LA Sci-Fi & Horror Festival (2 awards)
  • New York International Film Awards
  • Grand Rapids Comic-Con Film Festival
  • MonsterFlix Awards
  • Oniros Film Awards
  • Cult Movies International Film Festival
  • Independent Shorts Awards
  • RED Movie Awards
  • Berlin Sci-Fi Filmfest

Plus it was a finalist in The Galactic Imaginarium Film Festival and the Beyond the Curve International Film Festival.

So where can you see this marvel on YouTube? At present, you can’t. But Mark is once again making “City…” available on DVD along with “Amutt Time” and a BRAND NEW puppet parody, STALLED TREK: “THE DUMBSDAY MACHINE.” Here’s a trailer for it…

Continue reading “STALLED TREK is crowd-funding its third TOS puppet parody: “THE DUMBSDAY MACHINE”! (interview with MARK LARGENT)”

‘Tis the season for GIVING…to FAN FILMS!

When folks come to me for advice on crowd-funding their fan projects, I always tell them the same thing: DON’T LAUNCH YOUR CAMPAIGN DURING THE HOLIDAY SEASON!!! Ever since 2015, I’ve noticed that fan film crowd-funders that try to raise donations in November and December often struggle to reach their goals or even fail outright. The holiday season seems to be a “donation desert” for fan films.

It makes total sense. Nearly everyone is buying Christmas (or Hanukkah or Kwanza or Festivus) gifts for friends and family. And before COVID, people used to take expensive vacations during the holidays to visit family or just get away—remember when that used to happen? Charities, of course, usually choose this time to appeal to that ol’ spirit of giving and approach (hopefully) generous donors to give a little sumthin’. And soon Christmas bonus checks are spent before they even get cashed, and bank account balances do their impression of the Titanic.

I get that…not the time for fan films to ask for money.

But this past Monday, I received a bunch of e-mails from various places informing me that “Giving Tuesday” was here. So now we apparently have Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and…Giving Tuesday? When did that become a thing? Actually it started in 2012 at New York City’s famous 92rd Street Y (where I went to summer camp back in 1981) and has grown into an international movement to encourage a little healthy philanthropy among the manic bargain-hunting.

I wasn’t able to write a blog in time for this year’s Giving Tuesday because I just had cataract surgery early this week, and it took away my ability to see the text on my computer screen for a couple of days. Today is the first day I’ve got reliable sight back enough to compose a blog.

I’d actually been meaning to post something reminding folks about the ongoing Fan Film Factor Patreon to cover my annual expenses for keeping this blog site running. Currently, I’m taking in enough in monthly donations to cover the costs of domain registration and hosting, technical support, and security services.

But last month, I added a new annual expense: a $160/year Pro Account for Zoom. You might have noticed that I’ve been doing more video interviews with fan filmmakers lately. Zoom is an easy way to reach multiple people and record the interview calls. And Zoom is free as long as your call is less than 45 minutes or has only one other person on it. But my interviews go 60-90 minutes, and I often have multiple people on at the same time.

So with “Giving Tuesday” happening, even though we’re in the middle of the “fan film donation desert,” as I call it, I thought this might be a good time to post a little reminder about my Patreon

I’m looking for monthly contributions of $1, $2, whatever folks can spare to help cover the annual expenses of Fan Film Factor

PATREON link: https://www.patreon.com/fan_film_factor

Continue reading “‘Tis the season for GIVING…to FAN FILMS!”